Friday, October 03, 2008

NFL picks, week 4

Tennessee (-3) at Baltimore - Can the Ravens put up 10 points on the Tennessee defense? Maybe. Much more than that? No.

Seattle at N.Y. Giants (-8) - Phrase: "Damning with faint praise." Example: "The Seahawks are the best team in the NFC West."

Washington at Philadelphia (-6) - Yes, the Redskins just won in Dallas, where the Eagles failed to. But the game's in Philadelphia, and Washington hasn't got enough good wins in the last few years to convince me that they can mentally handle one. I suspect that the Eagles win by 10 or more.

San Diego (-7) at Miami - Did the Dolphins kick the Patriots' butts up and down the field - in New England - just two weeks ago? Yes. Yes, they did. Aren't they a good bet to stay with the Chargers at home? No. No, they are not.

Chicago at Detroit (+3) - "Ding, dong, the witch is dead. Which old witch? The Wicked Witch! Ding, dong, the Wicked Witch is dead!" And there was much rejoicing. ("But wait!" I hear you cry. "He may be gone, but he left behind a parody of an NFL team. You cannot really believe that they'll beat the might Bears this week, can you?" Yes, I can. Yes, I do.)

Atlanta at Green Bay (-10) - As I'm making my picks, this game is not on the board, due to uncertainty about Mr. Rodgers. So I set the spread myself, assumed that he'd play, maybe not at full strength, and the Packers would win by two touchdowns.

Indianapolis (-3) at Houston - Early season Colts' struggles notwithstanding, this is not something I'm wasting time or energy wondering about until I see some reason to think that's necessary.

Kansas City at Carolina (-10) - One big performance in a rivalry game at home, and suddenly the Chiefs are going to be competitive with a good team on the road? Uh, sorry, Herm.

Tampa Bay at Denver (-3) - The big question here, the real serious question, is this: Does Lyford have the guts to predict that this game goes into the books as a push? Yes. Yes he does. "Three shall be the count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shall thou not count, nor shall thou count two excepting that thou shouldst then proceedeth to three. Five is right out."

Buffalo (-1) at Arizona - Do we give the Cardinals' defense a mulligan for last week? Even if we do, what do we make of this team? What do we make of the Bills? I haven't seen enough of either of them yet to make any kind of rational case either way. My gut says that Buffalo's a better team, and rooting for the worse team is always a little dodgy.

New England (-3) at San Francisco - The Patriots have a lot riding on this game. They are going to be, I think, significant underdogs next week in San Diego, and I think that they're going to be on the West Coast for the whole week. Another loss, particularly a loss in which the defense gets chewed up, is going to make for an unpleasant week, and the very strong potential of looking at three straight losses before October is over. But I don't see that happening. The defense tightens up, they loosen the reins on the offense a little bit, and New England wins fairly comfortably, 24-14 or so.

Cincinnati (+17) at Dallas - Would it surprise me to see Dallas cover this, winning in a three or four touchdown blowout? Not even a little bit. But I don't trust them to play consistent sound football, and we've seen the Bengals play tough enough to lose close to good teams before. That's what I expect to see again this week. Dallas by 7-10.

Pittsburgh (+4) at Jacksonville - If they play this game 10 times, they go 5-5 with an average spread of margin of victory of three and four of the 10 games being settled in overtime. Picking the Steelers to beat the spread is fairly easy, picking a winner isn't. Eeny-meeny-miny-Jaguars. By three.

Minnesota at New Orleans (-3) - What can I say? I'm not buying the Vikings yet.

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