Thursday, December 04, 2008

NFL Picks, Week 14

Oakland (+9.5) at San Diego - How bad has the AFC West been? This game, the 3-9 Raiders at the 4-8 Chargers, is the match-up of the 2nd and 3rd place teams in the division. That said, there really isn't any reason that I can see not to think that the Chargers are a significantly better team.

Jacksonville at Chicago (-6.5) - Just so there's no misunderstanding, let me make it clear - I'm not picking for Chicago. I'm picking against Jacksonville.

Minnesota at Detroit (+14) - The upset of the week. Detroit registers one in the win column.

Houston at Green Bay (-5.5) - I find it very hard to believe that these two teams have the same record. What happened to the Packers?

Cincinnati (+13.5) at Indianapolis - I have very little confidence in this pick, as the Bengals have obviously packed it in. But the Colts have tended to keep opponents in games until late, and 13 1/2 is a big spread. The Colts will win, but probably not cover. (Or they'll win by 40.)

Atlanta (+3) at New Orleans - I thought Matt Ryan could play at this level, but this well and this soon has surprised me.

Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants (-7) - There's been a fair amount of hype for this game. Misplaced. These two teams are not on the same level, and this one looks to be not very interesting.

Cleveland (+14) at Tennessee - Too many points.

Miami (+0) at Buffalo - The luckiest scheduling quirk in the NFL sees the Dolphins leaving they're warm home and flying to meet the Bills, not in snowy, cold Buffalo, but in the climate controlled Skydome in Toronto. Talk about throwing away any home field advantage...

Kansas City at Denver (-9) - The Chiefs took their first win at the expense of the Broncos back in September, in a shocking upset. A repeat would be far more shocking.

N.Y. Jets (-4) at San Francisco - This could be competitive. But it's hard to imagine it not ending in a Jets win.

New England (-4.5) at Seattle - The Patriots loss to Pittsburgh last week looked horrible on the scoreboard, but the game was much closer than it looked. Randy Moss dropped a touchdown pass that would have had New England up by 7 at halftime, which would have changed the complexion of the second half. The other thing is this - when the ball is fumbled, no matter who fumbles it, the recovery is essentially random, 50/50. The ball was on the ground four times during that game (three Patriots fumbles, one Steeler fumble) and the Steelers recovered all four. They won't turn the ball over five times this week, and this one won't be close after halftime.

St. Louis at Arizona (-14) - How fluky do those back-to-back Rams wins over the Cowboys and Redskins look now?

Dallas at Pittsburgh (-2.5) - Unless the Cowboys are better than I think they are.

Washington at Baltimore (-5.5) - If the NFC is really better than the AFC, the NFC East teams in these two games beat the AFC North teams. I don't think so.

Tampa Bay (+3) at Carolina - By record, these two teams are tied as the second-best team in the NFC. I'll say it again - it's tough to picture the NY Giants not being the NFC representative in the Super Bowl.

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