Friday, October 10, 2008

NFL picks, week 6

Chicago at Atlanta (+3) - One of these teams will be 4-2 when this game is over. The other will be 3-3. Both of those are better records than I'd have predicted for either of them before the season began.

Oakland at New Orleans (-7.5) - Poor Al Davis. Just a hard-working, sane NFL owner, taken in by yet another in a long line of coaches who have fraudulently convinced him to hire them. He's just too soft-hearted, too willing to give a coach a chance. Poor Al Davis. I'm sure that getting rid of Kiffen will have the Raiders playing like world-beaters any minute now.

Carolina at Tampa Bay (-1) - The next time I get a game right featuring either of these two teams, it will be the first time. OK, probably not, but they're not glamour teams, they're not from the conference I follow more closely, they aren't from the glamour divisions in the other conference. Really, what are they? They're two middle-of-the-pack generic NFL teams. Either could win, either could lose - there's no result short of a 40-point blowout that would surprise me, though I think the likely result is something like 20-16. Just going with the home team here.

St. Louis at Washington (-13.5) - Some Sunday this fall, the Rams are going to put together a good effort, catch someone napping, and actually win a game. It won't be this week.

Cincinnati (+6) at N.Y. Jets - I think that the Bengals win this one. Or two weeks from now in Houston. If not, they're looking a long haul before their December 21 rematch with the Browns. I've been saying 8-8 - it would take a miracle to get this team to 8-8 this year. I think they win this one anyway.

Detroit (+13) at Minnesota - OK, I'm picking the Lions until they win. Is this the week they keep it close, get out of town without embarassment? Eh... Sure, let's say they do. Am I going all the way to predict a Lions win? On the road? Hold on, let me think about that...um...well...uh...no. No, they'll still lose by 10, but not by 14+. Moral victory, Detroit. Scoreboard victory, Minnesota.

Miami (+3) at Houston - If this is the Miami team that played New England three weeks ago vs. the Houston team that played Indianapolis for 55 minutes last week, this is a hell of a game. More likely, this is just another game between two teams who are apparently in the vast middle. Miami could face a letdown after two big wins against pre-season favorites. The Texans could face a hangover from their devastating meltdown in the loss to the Colts. Before the season started, I thought that Houston would be a better team than Miami - right now, I'm not sure. Going with the Dolphins.

Baltimore at Indianapolis (-4.5) - The Colts defense has struggled, so Baltimore might be able to score. The Colts offense has struggled and the Ravens have a good defense, so they might be able to keep it close. Baltimore might be able to win this game. It would not surprise me, much. But, even though the signs of decay are visible in Indianapolis, I think that there's enough left to keep winning for a while.

Jacksonville at Denver (-3.5) - Denver's three wins thus far have been by 1, 2 and 3 points. In that order. Obviously, they're either going to lose, or win by 4. I'm opting for the latter.

Dallas (-5) at Arizona - I'd love to pick the Cowboys to go out and lose this game. I really would. I just don't think that I can. Inconsistent, undisciplined, questionably coached? Yup. Too much talent for the Cardinals? Yeah.

Philadelphia (-5) at San Francisco - Has San Francisco improved enough to make this not a gimme? Absolutely. And these two teams are both 2-3, and Philadelphia's flying 3000 miles to play it. Here's the difference - Philadelphia's 2-3 in the NFC East, San Francisco's 2-3 in the NFC West. That's kind of like a 2-3 ACC team playing a 2-3 division 3 school.

Green Bay (+2) at Seattle - I confess to being shocked by this line. Do people still think that Seattle's a good team? Based on what evidence?

New England (-5.5) at San Diego - Looking at the schedule before the season, this was a win for the Patriots. Looking at the schedule after the Dolphins game, this was a loss for the Patriots. Today, I'm saying win. "OK," I hear you ask. "Don't you always pick the Patriots to win?" Well, yes. That's true. And I'm picking them this week. But I believe it, too. Unless the defense has another meltdown game. Tomlinson's struggling, Merriman's out, and their two wins are against the Raiders and Jets. This is a very vulnerable team. The Patriots don't have the margin for error which they had with Brady under center, and they need to play well, but I think they will. New England wins 20-17.

N.Y. Giants (+9) at Cleveland - Cleveland's scoring just under 12 points per game. The Giants are allowing just over 12 points per game. So, looking at a 9 point spread in a game where Cleveland's clearly going to score 12, the question becomes, will the Giants score more than 21? Yes. They will.

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