Friday, November 16, 2007

Week 10 - NFL picks

Arizona (+3) at Cincinnati - Cincinnati, for one week, gave a superficial appearance of defensive competence. Superficial, because the Baltimore Ravens were lined up across the ball. I don't have great confidence in Arizona to travel well, but I have great confidence that the Bengals defense stinks, and they shouldn't be favored over anyone who's offense is better than Baltimore's and San Francisco's. Which means pretty much everyone else.

Carolina at Green Bay (-9.5) - It would not totally shock me if the Panthers came out and played the kind of game that makes people think that they're a good team and John Fox is a good coach. But I won't bet on it. Given what the Panthers are likely to do offensively, I feel comfortable in saying that Green Bay wins by two touchdowns or more.

Cleveland (-2.5) at Baltimore - Didn't we just do this? Apparently not. It was almost two months ago, and Cleveland won by two touchdowns at home. At the time, it was a shocking outcome. In retrospect, it's surprising that it wasn't more. This one probably won't be more, either, but it'll be enough for the Browns to cover. There are some very bad offensive teams in the NFL right now. The Ravens are one of them. Probably not as bad as the 49ers (which is the very definition of damning with faint praise.)

Kansas City at Indianapolis (-14.5) - Dwight Freeney's gone, adding to what seems a massive injury problem for the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts lost a game that they should have won (though they should have lost) on Sunday night, and have a two-game losing streak. Kansas City won't cure everything that ails the Colts, but they'll cure the losing streak. The spread's uncomfortably high, but I'd rather be looking at the Colts to score in the 4th to cover than for the Chiefs to score or prevent Indy from scoring to beat the spread.

Miami (+10) at Philadelphia - The John Beck era begins. And the pressure on Ted Ginn increases, because if Beck can't play, passing on Brady Quinn for Ginn looks even worse. Obviously, the Dolphins haven't won yet. Less obvious, but true, I don't think that they'll win in Philadelphia, either. But I think very little of the Eagles, and suspect that this will be yet another in a long line of close losses for Miami.

New Orleans (0) at Houston - For one brief, shining moment, it looked like Houston had a real team. For one brief, shining moment, it looked like New Orleans was back. Staring at this game, it looks like the sort of thing one finds on Satan's DVR. If one has nothing interesting to say, one should just stop typi

Oakland at Minnesota (-5.5) - I could actually see the Raiders winning this game. It depends on whether the Vikings have completely quit on Brad Childress, or whether they just quit last week. If the former, Oakland could win. I'm going to bet the latter.

San Diego at Jacksonville (-3) - The San Diego Chargers played as badly as you could possibly play and still win a game against a good team last week. They won because of four special teams plays, any of which going the other way results in a loss, and they won because Peyton Manning through six picks. Jacksonville's not as good as the Colts, but who knows which Jacksonville team shows up? Or which San Diego team? There's just no way, right now, that you can pick a team with Norv Turner calling the shots and Philip Rivers calling the shots unless the spread is just enormous. This one isn't. Jacksonville covers.

Tampa Bay (-3) at Atlanta - This week's entry in the "Peanut Farming in Senegal" documentary competition. I suppose that Tampa is an NFC excuse for a mediocre team, but wow, does this have the potential to be tough on the eyes.

N.Y. Giants at Detroit (+2.5) - I had to look at this three times to make sure that I got it right. Here's a spread that I absolutely do not understand. Yes, the Lions looked weak in the desert last week. Yes, they got blown out by Philadelphia earlier. But these teams are both 6-3, and while neither of them has really beaten a good team yet, the Lions are undefeated at home, and I don't know why this wouldn't be considered a pick 'em game on a neutral field, and the Lions favored at home. I think that Detroit wins this game fairly easily.

Pittsburgh (-9.5) at N.Y. Jets - The Jets are bad. The Steelers are good. Is there really any more commentary warranted in this case?

Washington at Dallas (-10.5) - Picking the Cowboys because I just can't come up with a plausible scenario under which Washington keeps it within two touchdowns.

St. Louis (-2.5) at San Francisco - St. Louis woke up last week. San Francisco looks as if the question for them isn't whether they'll win another game this year - it's will they ever score again. If the 49ers were hosting Notre Dame this weekend, I'd predict a scoreless tie. As pitiful as the Rams have been, they'll come out of this weekend with a two-game winning streak.

Chicago at Seattle (-5.5) - These two teams each won their division in 2006, combined for a 22-10 record, and met in the 2nd round of the playoffs. This year, they're 9-9 and they won't be meeting in the playoffs. Seattle will probably make it again, because the rest of its division is so pathetic, but neither of these is a very good team. There's about a 10% chance of Good Rex showing up in the Pacific Northwest and an easy Bears win. The more likely scenario is weak Seahawk offense overcoming pathetic Bear offense. Seattle by a touchdown.

New England (-15.5) at Buffalo - The Colts held the Patriots to 24, the only time this season that they've failed to reach 34. Even if Buffalo holds them to 24 again, which I don't expect, they'll cover 15.5. The only team that's a better bet to get shut out this weekend than Buffalo is San Francisco.

Tennessee at Denver (-2) - Tennessee's a better team. In most regards. They're certainly better defensively. They are, I think, more consistent. But Vince Young is not yet trustworthy. And this is, I think, his first trip to Mile High. I'm going with the Broncos, who I also don't trust, to play a big game on national television and cover the small spread.

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