Friday, November 02, 2007

Week 9 - NFL picks

Carolina at Tennessee (-4) - The Panthers were a fraud team even when they had their quarterback. The more time passes, the more Carolina's appearance in Super Bowl XVIII looks to have been a fluke of epic proportions.

Cincinnati at Buffalo (+1) - This is a very dangerous game. Buffalo has been decimated by injuries, but they've played tough, disciplined football, and are two plays (one against Denver, one against Dallas) from a 5-2 record. They're one of only two teams who have actually led the Patriots this season for any time at all. But an offensive juggernaut, they aren't. The Bengals won't play defense, but they don't need to this week. The question is this - can the Bills hold the Bengals under 17? If so, they've got a chance to win. The Bengals have got the skill players to make that iffy. I'm going with Buffalo, but have no great amount of confidence - I could easily see Palmer connecting with Johnson a couple of times, and putting 21-24 on the board, and the Bills just don't have the offense to overcome that. I'm picking the Bills anyway.

Denver at Detroit (-3) - Because the Lions are just a better team. (How long as it been since that was a true statement?)

Green Bay (+2) at Kansas City - What do you do when two teams that you always pick to lose match up? Particularly, when you're alway wrong on both of them? Well, my feelings about Kansas City are stronger than my feelings about Green Bay, so I'll pick the Packers (thus, probably, ensuring a Chiefs victory...)

Jacksonville (+3) at New Orleans - The Saints have awoken. But how good are they, really? And who's playing QB for the Jaguars this week? Do I care? I can see a New Orleans win, but I'm going with the better team from the better conference.

San Diego (-7) at Minnesota - I knew that the Chargers would go up to Green Bay and win. I was wrong. While I sometimes learn from mistakes, I know that the Chargers are going to go up to Minnesota and win.

San Francisco at Atlanta (-3) - Somehow, the San Francisco 49ers have won two football games. Part of me thinks that they don't win again. Part of me hopes that they don't win again. They may win again, but it won't be 2500 miles from home.

Washington (-3) at N.Y. Jets - There has, occasionally, appeared to be a "Patriots Hangover Effect." That is, teams that lose to New England get beaten up physically, get beaten up emotionally, and have their weaknesses exposed to the cold light of day. Fortunately for the Redskins, they face a team that is unequipped to take advantage of that.

Arizona at Tampa Bay (-3) - Since I think Tampa Bay is going to win and cover, I should be taking the Cardinals. But the specter of Kurt Warner, held together by baling wire, twine and duct tape, is just too frightening. Now, 3 points is a lot for the offense of the Buccaneers to cover. But I have confidence that they can do it.

Seattle at Cleveland (pick 'em) - On my pre-season list of "Phrases That Won't Be Needed During The 2007 NFL Season," sandwiched between number 3 ("it's a long bomb from Pennington to Cotchery!") and number 5 ("the 49ers are ready to assert control over the NFC West") was number 4 ("Cleveland just has too much offense for the Seahawks to match.") So the list needs some editing. Because, frankly, Cleveland just has too much offense for the Seahawks to match.

Houston at Oakland (-3) - In a game that will seen by families and close friends of the players, but not acquaintances, the Raiders and Texans play a game that is ugly enough to crack television screens. Fortunately, there won't be any tuned to it.

New England (-6) at Indianapolis - The Patriots have played better offense relative to their competition than the Colts have. The Patriots have played better defense relative to their competition than the Colts have. The Patriots are going to have better field position because of better special teams. The idea that a dominant Super Bowl champion can be undefeated, blowing out the competition and a 6-point underdog at home is mind-boggling, but the Patriots make the line reasonable. And they'll go out to Indy and cover. Again.

Dallas (-3) at Philadelphia - Philadelphia could win this game. If they bring their absolute best performance and Dallas plays their 'C'-'D' game, and Philadlphia wins the turnover battle +3 or more. Otherwise, the Cowboys win. Comfortably.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-9) - If the Ravens really had the defense that people seem to think that they do, 9 points would be far too much for the Steelers to give. But they don't. Baltimore's inept offense will score 10 or fewer, and the Steelers will score 20+ for the cover.

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