Archive for the ‘Weekly Spread Picks’ Category

Week 1 Picks

September 11, 2009

By way of reminder, each week I pick games against the spread.

  • TN @ Pitt (-4.5). Pitt will barely pull this one out in overtime. Hines Ward will have a costly fumble at the end of regulation, but it won’t matter. Jeff Reed will kick 2 FGs, one of which will be an ugly liner that is lucky to go through. The announcers will talk on 2 separate occasions about how Bruce Arians, Pitt’s OC, won’t mess with Ben Roeth’s “courageous” approach to quarterbacking. Jeff Fisher will continue to have a mustache and occasionally contemplate during the game growing out his mullet again.
  • Mia @ Atl (-3.5). This is one of those games where I’d pick the home team no matter what. So, Atl. I’m surprised that with the loudish Bill Parcells at the helm, the Dolphins have kept a low profile this offseason – especially after winning the division last year.
  • Jax @ Indy (-6.5). Not sure what to expect from either team. Jack Del Rio tends to either maximize the potential of his players or minimize it – if the trends continues, this could be a good year. But not yet – Colts by many.
  • MN @ Cleve (+3.5). Tempted to take Cleve simply because Favre has had issues in his past winning games his team should win. Difference in this game is that the Cleve sucks (Mangini is too busy playing ridiculous games) and MN has good supporting cast.
  • Dal @ TB (+3.5). Despite this tremendous quote from cbssports.com, I don’t see good things in store for TB this week or this year (though I must say, low expectations are something Byron Leftwich usually does well with): Bucs WR Antonio Bryant (left meniscus surgery) appears ready to go against the Cowboys on Sunday and isn’t worried about developing timing with starting QB Byron Leftwich: “Most of the spectacular catches I made last year were bad timing.”
  • NYJ @ Hou (-4.5). I can see the Jets trying to surprise the Texans a bit by throwing early and often. What I’m not sure of is how Mark Sanchez will play. I can see him having a much talked-about debut and I can also see this game plan back-firing and Jet fans already starting to worry about Rex Ryan’s cockiness interfering with sensible game plans.  One thing to watch in this game is Hou’s defense – it could quietly be better than last year giving Hou a legit shot at the playoffs.
  • KC @ Balt (-9.5). I’ve gone back and forth here. It’s hard to know exactly what to expect from the re-tooled Chiefs and their wild coach Todd Haley. While I’ll wait to render full judgment, something tells me Haley is going to be one of those impulsive-zero-anger-management-skills coaches who benches key players for petty things at inopportune times. Take Balt here on the off chance Haley benches his entire starting defense for giving up a first down early in the game.
  • Den @ Cincy (-3.5). Read this quote from the Colorado Springs Gazette by Denver coach Josh McDaniels:  “Brandon certainly will (contribute), and he’s had a good week of practice. But we’re going to use a lot of people. It’s going to be hot.” It’s going to be hot? Who says that? WT…? Cincy by 2 TDs despite Denver’s heat.
  • Det @ NO (-11.5). It would be sad to be a Det fan for many reasons, but especially when starting the season at NO. I’ll bet a “success” in the eyes of fans/the organization this weekend will be not losing by more than 20. And that may even be out of reach. I don’t think Detroit is THAT bad, but starting them off against NO in NO is kind of cruel.
  • Phil @ Car (-1.5). Pretty interesting to me that Jake Delhomme got a fat contract renewal this offseason after throwing 6 picks in a playoff game and admitting “he just couldn’t see the field right” – and a year after major surgery no less. Jake seems like a really nice guy and a good teammate, but if I were a Carolina fan, I would have lobbied for Michael Vick. Vick, D Williams and Steve Smith would have been a formidable trio. As far as Philly, I have this suspicion that D McNabb and Philly may think they are a little better than they are right about now. They may struggle early in the season and then warm up.
  • Wash @ NYG (-6.5). Mike Florio and co at profootballtalk apparently picked Washington to go to the Super Bowl! What? I have been guilty in the past of picking Wash as an under-the-radar-underdog-type, but this is ridiculous. That said, the Giants are overrated and this game will be close. NYG probably wins, but not by much.
  • StL @ Sea (-7.5). I would be more comfortable if this spread were -6.5, but I’ll still take Sea. The Rams likely won’t be as porous defensively simply because of their new coach Spagnuolo (who has a knack for making regular guys big-time guys). Still, Sea’s passing game will overwhelm (despite at least one pick by StL S Otogwe). Amazing how Sea went from 1 receiving target last year (John Carlson) to 5 (Carlson, TJ Housh, Nate Burleson, Deion Branch and Deon Butler). I wonder if Mike Holmgren is somewhere feeling walrus-like.
  • SF @ Ariz (-6.5). Many think this may be a lopsided game but it won’t be. SF has the potential this year to surprise, though they face a similar concern as KC re the head coach’s impulsiveness. Singletary may evolve into a very good head coach, but I’d think a key for him will be surrounding himself with quality assistants who can help keep him in check if he’s about to go off (so he can retain some credibility). Don’t get me wrong, I like fiery guys, but there is a line between fiery and ridiculous. Watch out for Josh Morgan and SF’s improved passing attack now that Shaun Hill has been established clearly as THE guy.
  • Chic @ GB (-3.5). Not liking this spread as there is an outside chance that this could be a one field goal game. However, a bigger part of me (my leg) can see this being a route. I hate to be cocky as a Packer fan, but given the very real excitement that exists in the GB locker room for this team, it’s easiest right now for me to envision a chaos-causing defense getting the ball back several times for an offense that will seem unstoppable and unpredictable. My only concern is that I thought Jay Cutler performed quite well upon his return to Denver  – and there was certainly lots of pressure in that game. Still, Pack by 10+.
  • Buff @ NE (-10.5). I almost wonder if Dick Jauron may only have half a season left. If he doesn’t pull some early upsets and get a few wins, he could be out. Look for anywhere from 1-3 long Lee Evans TDs – but also look for a Bill’s defense that struggles to contain Welker and Kevin Faulk. Pats by 13+. (By the way, I heard the real reason TO doesn’t like the Buff no-huddle is because he planned to offer live tweets from each huddle during games).
  • SD @ Oak (+8.5). Rivers will go wild, LT will go wild, Gates will go wild…and so will Darren McFadden. I’m sure McFadden wants to play elsewhere so I’ll bet he is excited to show the NFL world how good he can be. I can see him producing this season if he stays healthy, but I can’t see Oak producing as a team. If Oak wins this game, I will feel very strange. If they don’t win, I will feel very concerned for all of Tom Cable’s assistants.

2008 Week 14 Picks

December 3, 2008
  • Atl @ No (-2.5) – hard to pick against Mike Smith and the Falcons…ever. They have scored lots of pool points for me this year. But I think Brees will overwhelm Atlanta and get them out of their game plan of running Turner 40 times.
  • Cleve @ Tenn (-13.5) – Should be a terrible game. Ken Dorsey will throw an early TD pass fooling everyone into thinking this will be a game and then Tenn will stomp all over sorry Cleveland. Crennel will be gone the day after the season ends.
  • Cincy @ Indy (-13.5) – Recent vote of confidence for Marvin Lewis by Cincy managment (with strong implication that he’ll be back next year). Leads me to believe maybe Lewis isn’t the total problem there…management is. All of them should be gone next year.
  • Hou @ GB (5.5) – this is a stubborn pick. Hou scares me. Slaton, Schaub, Johnson, Daniels all scare me. But the Pack has to win this game and my guess is that in 22 degree weather, the team will finally show up with lots of passion and will themselves to a lopsided win.
  • Jax @ Chi (-6.5) – Chicago should handle Jax as Jax seems to just not care. But my guess is that Garrard, Jones-Drew and a few others will do enough to at least keep this a game. (By the way, Orton has followed very well my command a few weeks back to work on getting his QB rating back into the 70s where it belongs). Jack Del Rio to Packers as D-Coordinator anyone? No, actually I’d check with Jim Bates first.
  • Minn @ Det (+9.5) – Crack pick alert. It has to happen at some point and right now, this may be Detroit’s best chance for a win. I’m taking Detroit outright mostly because that would be really really cool if it happened.
  • Phil @ NYG (-7.5) – this is a no-win pick for me. Every time I pick against either team, I lose. So, I’m sure by taking Philly here, the Giants will blow them out. The Giants are very good, but I’m starting to feel like they are getting too big for their britches (a terrible, terrible expression).
  • Wash @ Balt (-5.5) – Balt has quietly carved a new identity behind Flacco, but I’m not a total convert yet. I still don’t think the Skins are bad and can see them pulling this out as they need victory badly to remain in the hunt.
  • Oak @ SD (-9.5) – SD is bad. Oak is bad. Both are inconsistent though so it’s hard to say what will happen. Norv Turner also got a recent vote of confidence from his GM. Weird. I actually agreed with firing Shottenheimer because he very clearly couldn’t take the team to the highest level…a playoff choker. What I really disagreed with was both hiring Norv Turner, and this past off-season, getting rid of FB Lorenzo Neal. LT is still fuming re this as it has shaved hundreds of yards off of LT’s totals.
  • KC @ Den (-8.5) – Last week Jay Cutler talked about having a stronger arm that Favre. He said when Favre was in his 20s, maybe it would have been close, but not now. Serious bravado from a fairly inconsistent performer.
  • Mia @ Buff (-1.5) – Buff because they need it and I want them to win.
  • NYJ @ SF (+3.5) – Still not sure how SF beat Buff last week. But they did. I wonder how many times Jets fans have heard about how much Favre loves football.
  • Dal @ Pitt (-2.5) – I’m a believer in Pitt despite their inconsistent offense, but Dallas may be hard to stop…even in crappy weather. My guess is Dallas wins 20-17.
  • St L @ Ariz (-13.5) – How incredibly rare is it to see AZ favored over anyone by this amount of points this late in a season. Good for them. I’m excited for the organization.
  • NE @ Sea (+4.5) – Seattle is a joke. Hasselbeck hasn’t looked good all year and I think we’re beginning to see that maybe he never was that good. My mini-theory re Hasselback and Shaun Alexander is that they just benefited massively from having one of the top offensive lines in football for those few good years – but they’ve never been that great.
  • TB @ Car (-2.5) – Hard to pick against TB as they continue to play quality football. But I see Car having more upside offensively. Also, Car has that KR Mark Jones who apparently can just take important games over.

2008 Week 12 Picks

November 20, 2008
  • Cincy @ Pitt (-11.5) – Pitt by 35.They will finally get their offense on track.
  • Buff @ KC (+5.5) – Taking KC to win here seems like the sexy pick, but KC has lost 9 games. Buff is on a slide lately, but I do believe that the loss of Josh Reed and his ability to distract defenses just a bit for Lee Evans is big. He’s back. Both LJ and Lynch to have huge games. Tough one, in the end, I’ll bet Buff wins, KC covers.
  • Chic @ St. Louis (+7.5) – the temptation is huge to take the Rams. They did play well for a few games in the middle of the year. But I just can’t see Chicago blowing such a critical game, as much as I really really want them to. The Rams might tease their 8 fans by keeping it close, only to puke it at the end and then lose the franchise to LA.
  • Hou @ Cleve (-3.5) – Cleveland in a blow-out. It may be time for…gulp…Craig Nall to takeover from Sage “guaranteed multiple turnover” Rosenfels.
  • NE @ Mia (-1.5) – Pennington will continue to dominate because he’s great. But the reason Miami will win: 8 turnovers this year…8! That’s 2 games for Gus Frerotte alone.
  • NYJ @ Tenn (-5.5) – Leon Washington said in a recent interview that just being in the huddle with Favre in critical moments of the game makes him feel confident they can win. Maybe because all Favre has to do is give it to Leon Washington who can score from anywhere.
  • SF @ Dal (-10.5) – SF absolutely crushed St. Louis last week and Dallas lost to St. Louis. Doesn’t matter. Romo and company to go nuts this week. 42-13. (They’ll be playing Milwaukee Bucks 1980s scrub time music by mid 3rd quarter…you know, the Hungarian Waltz that would welcome Jerry “Ice” Reynolds to the floor.)
  • TB @ Det (+8.5) – A couple lucky TDs to Calvin Johnson will help Det cover.
  • Oak @ Den (-9.5) – shouldn’t even be a game. The only chance for Oak is if Asomoaishwqiue hgdhasdfuasdh picks off a few passes when Cutler mistakenly throws in his direction. The guy is very good (not Charles Woodson good, but very good). Denver by 30.
  • Car @ Atl (-1.5) – Atlanta will try to run on Carolina, but the running game may not get going until Matt Ryan takes some chances down-field to Roddy White and Michael Jenkins. Delhomme may snap out of his slump with a few nice passes to Steve Smith but it won’t be enough. Atlanta will win and cover.
  • NYG @ Ariz (+3.5) – despite vowing to never pick against the Giants again, I’m picking against he Giants again. This is a huge…huge…huge game for the Cardinals. This organization hasn’t won their division for 30 years, I believe I heard earlier today. 30 years! A win over the Giants and they not only almost clinch the division title already, but they finally make it over the “we’ve been a sucky franchise for years” hump (and both Brother Steve and I get to have an extra beer for picking them to win the division this year).
  • Wash @ Sea (+3.5) – Even though I picked Seattle to suck this year and be last in this division, I keep wanting to take them especially when they are at home. But the fact is, this is one really bad team. This is a very important game for Wash and important to Zorn for many reasons – Wash win and cover.
  • Indy @ SD (-2.5) – It makes more sense to pick Indy here considering they are somewhat hot lately and seem to be rounding back into form. But SD is very good at home and Indy may be just coming across this team at the wrong time.
  • GB @ NO (-2.5) – Brees scared the ____ out of me. I don’t see McAllister doing much. Pierre Thomas is more of a concern. And of course, if Bush is in there, we have to pay special attention to him as a receiver. Still, I think a solid ground game to keep Brees off the field should help us dominate time of possession and therefore the game. Pack to win an exciting game outright.

2008 Week 11 picks

November 13, 2008
  • NYJ @ NE (-3.5) – Favre and co will lead the AFC East after tonight (not just saying this because they’re up 24-13 right now, I had to submit my pool picks earlier and put a lot of points on them).
  • NO @ KC (+4.5) – Final score 44-30, NO. Wow, would Tony Gonzalez look good in Green and Gold!
  • Chi @ GB (-5.5) – Surprising spread here as this is usually a close game. The last few weeks, I have been very reluctant to pick the Pack, but this week, for some odd reason (especially consider Barnett’s injury), I’m not so worried. Packers…comfortably here.
  • Balt @ NYG (-6.5) – Coughlin apparently fined a player this week for thinking about showing up late for a meeting.
  • Oak @ Mia (-10.5) – hard to believe how little we’ve heard about Bill Parcells this year. Seriously.
  • Phil @ CIncy (+8.5) – How does Marvin Lewis have a job?
  • Det @ Car (-14.5) – Detroit has no chance…to even cover. Man, Drew Stanton must suck.
  • Den @ Atl (-5.5) – Mike Smith may be one of the most anonymous, highly talented coaches out there.
  • Tenn @ Jax (+2.5) – the unlikely undefeated reign ends here. Tenn is good and their coach is very good, but this undefeated business needs to stop. They are just not good enough for it to continue. I actually wouldn’t be too surprised to see it not only end, but come to a fairly dramatic halt.
  • Hou @ Indy (-8.5) – Hou is done. Sage Rosenfels is a disaster. He’s had some good quarters here and there but not a good QB. Too bad because they have serious talent.
  • MN @ TB (-3.5) – This is the kind of game that MN might win because they may need to tease their lame fanbase just a bit more before crashing dramatically at the end of the year leading the quiet and respectful Adrian Peterson to cry out for a trade.
  • St L @ SF (-5.5) – The NFL has reportedly decided to cancel this game due to lack of interest.
  • AZ @ Sea (+5.5) – Hasselbeck is back, but he was bad before he left in part because they have a bad team. But they have seen the slight resurrection of Koren Robinson. I like Sea to pull off the upset here as AZ may be feeling like they should give one back after last week.
  • SD @ Pitt (-4.5) – Does Ben Roeth now suck? No, Pitt is just reverse Minnesota. They struggle throughout the season giving everyone the impression that they’re not great, then they heat up and dominate. That domination may start any week.
  • Dal @ Wash (+1.5) – Dallas will awaken for this one. Jerry Jones will obnoxiate, as it were, on the sideline.
  • Buff @ Cleve (-5.5) – Cleve’s loss to Denver last week most likely ruined their season. Buff will get it back together after taking the last several weeks off apparently.

2008 Week 9 picks

October 30, 2008
  • GB @ Tenn (-4.5) – Pack to win, Pack better team, Tenn overrated, Fisher mullet in past – looked bad.
  • Hou @ Minn (-4.5) – Minn good 1st half, bad 2nd, Dunta 2 picks, Frerotte terrible, new QB contro
  • Jax @ Cincy (+7.5) – Jax to run wild; did Maurice keep his married name?
  • Balt @ Cleve (-1.5) – Still anti-Balt, Cleve is back, Crennel getting fatter as I write
  • Phi @ Sea (+6.5) – Done picking against Phil every week, so Sea likely to win outright
  • Det @ Chi (-12.5) – Orton must have puke game soon – this week? No, but close game.
  • AZ @ St. L (+2.5) – No idea here. None. Take St L because they have a giant arch.
  • Dal @ NYG (-7.5) – Brad Johnson very bad, but team still good – Johnson kind of looks like Ernie Els.
  • NE @ Indy (-5.5) – Peyton Manning #22 rated QB right now – whining not helping.
  • NYJ @ Buff (-5.5) – tough game – Favre turnovers the difference? Rian Lindell the difference
  • Atl @ Oak (+2.5) – Tempted w/Oak, but Atlanta got screwed in Philly, might have won.
  • TB @ KC (+8.5) – KC looked very good last week. Tyler Thigpen looked really really good.
  • Mia @ Den (-3.5) – Ricky Williams likes Denver – it too is a mile high.
  • Pitt @ Wash (-2.5) – Portis monster, Moss monster. Campbell, cool. Cooley, cool…ey. Andy, lame.

2008 Week 8 picks

October 23, 2008
  • TB @ Dal (-3.5) – Tampa is a legit team with their vaunted defense now vaunting, if you will. Dal though, knows it is win or face a massive media blitz of negativity. Funny, even if they lose, they’ll still be 4-4 and will soon get their star QB and a future star RB back. Look for Roy Williams to make his present known and Barber will go nuts. Dallas won’t lose here.
  • SD @ NO (in London +3.5) – Why is it that everyone is picking SD here. I know the loss of Reggie Bush hurts, but NO’s main weapon is Brees and if there is one thing Brees has proven this year, it’s that he can get the ball to anyone and anyone can make plays for this team. NO in an exciting game.
  • Atl @ Phil (-8.5) – I was tempted to pick Atl to win here, but every time I pick Phil to lose, they win. I will pick Atl to cover because I still think they are a sound team. Matt Ryan apparently grew up in Philly, admiring McNabb. Funny, I can’t see him as a bruiser/fighter, but he must be.
  • Ariz @ Car (-4.5) – Not sure why few are picking the Cards here. Sure, Caro put it together for a trouncing of a good team last week (NO), but they were incredibly bad just the week before. Ariz brings an interesting offense and a capable defense. Should be a really good game.
  • Oak @ Balt (-6.5) – Al Davis just called Ray Lewis a “drip” saying he acts just like that “Lane kid”. Al Davis then said “my shoe hurt the elephant when I tooted” and asked for his meds. Al needs to go. Oak, inspired by last week, hangs in there against Balt.
  • St L @ NE (-6.5) – who knows? Is the totally clueless, no game Cassel going to show up or the dominating Tom Brady protege going to show up. My guess is that at home, the Tom Brady one will show up. But so will St. Louis and their revived pass rush (Leonard Little is back and Chris Long is starting to become good). It is possible though, that Steven Jackson won’t play. Either way, I think NE will overwhelm here and Vince Wilfork will have 6 late hits/questionable plays.
  • Wash @ Det (+7.5) – Temptation here is to pick Wash in a route. They are good and there is no way they would look past a weak team after overlooking St. Louis (who may actually not be a weak team) snatch one away a couple weeks ago. But Detroit showed something by not getting blown out by a steadily improving Houston team last week. Houston could have blown them out in the first half, but Det hung in there and almost made a game of it.
  • KC @ NYJ (-12.5) – Not even worth watching. While Favre does tend to play down to his opponents (like I thought he would last week against Oak), this game is really important, it’s at home and KC may be the worst football team in the country…pro, college, maybe high school. Carl Peterson just told one of my “sources” that he thinks Tyler Thigpen is the next Brett Favre, so he thinks this should be a great game.
  • Buff @ Mia (+1.5) – I was very surprised Miami didn’t beat Balt last week. Another solid team rolls in this week in Buff, and another good defense at that. This should be a good game. It may come down to a great duel between the steady and still very good Chad Pennington and the rising, new Chad Pennington…Trent Edwards.
  • Cleve @ Jax (-7.5) – I picked Jax to go to the Super Bowl for some reason so I feel like I need to pick them all the time even against the spread, to do my part. And the Winslow suspension (suspended for telling the truth about a poor management decision of not letting Winslow share info re his illness), does hurt Cleve. But Cleve still has some other talent and I feel like they might keep it a game. In the end, Maurice Jones-Drew will be too much and Jax will win and cover. Wait, no, even worse for Cleve, Jax to blow them out.
  • Cincy @ Hou (-9.5) – Cincy has had a tough schedule this year, but contrary to popular NFL-speak presently, they are not the best 0-3, 0-4, 0-5, 0-6, team in the NFL. They just suck. At first, the players sort of believed that they were good, but just losing. Now, they know they suck. One nice TD by Slaton or Andre Johnson (yes, both on my fantasy team) and Cincy will mail it in. I’d wager that Dunta Robinson (on the All-Name team for sure) has a pick in his 2nd game back. Before his injury last year, he was a phenomenal CB. Houston keeps getting better (though they’re playing high school competition).
  • NYG @ Pitt (-2.5) – This will be a good game. I kind see this being a late fall, grind-it-out, muddy-bloody game. Pitt is good at those kinds of games. I think they win here because despite the bye, Eli will show he hasn’t shaken the turnover bug quite yet.
  • Sea @ SF (-4.5) – Interesting, forgot that by SF hiring Mike Singletary as the coach, they overlooked a coach who’s been a head coach in Mike Martz. Martz is apparently just fine with it. I still don’t think SF is that bad, but I do think Sea is terrible. While Seneca Wallace is good at handing the ball off (he doesn’t telegraph the hand-off like so many QBs, A-Rodg, Favre, Manning, etc do), he can’t do much else. He’s injured too so I don’t think he can even run well. Watching Seattle tank so quickly this year makes me remember not to take for granted the fact the the Packers have been mostly competitive for the last 16 or so years. We’re lucky folks.
  • Indy @ Tenn (-3.5) – I’m taking Indy here. Not a smart pick I’m sure according to most and in fact, I heard a few prognosticators today on the radio declaring that Indy is done for the year – no playoffs. It is possible that they miss the playoffs and start to fade here soon and a part of me does have a vision of a team mutiny of sorts by those who are so tired of Manning’s pissing and moaning. Still, I’m not ready to declare they’re done just yet and I don’t think a slide starts this week. Many people are trying to make sense out of their pounding of Balt followed by their huge blowout loss to the Pack. No need to think further because here’s what happened: Balt is a very inconsistent team that gets it going and then just isn’t that good. Not strange with a rookie QB. 2 weeks ago, Balt just didn’t show up. Last Sunday against the Packers, every team in the NFL would have lost to the Packers. Indy’s still good – and will win in Tenn.

2008 Week 7 Picks

October 16, 2008

(By the way, picks listed in order of confidence – from highest to lowest).

  • Balt @ Mia (-2.5) – Balt’s D got exposed last week, not as good as people think it is. Like I said in the preseason, Chad Pennington still has something left. I don’t like Parcells but the guy does know football. In fact, Miami reportedly has drawn up a play this week for Parcells (after activating him) to come down, wear a QB-type number, line up as WR and when the ball is snapped, he will just roll around on the ground basking in his unpleasantness and then do a few jumping jacks. This will distract the Ravens as RQB Ronnie Brown throws it 40 yards to a wide open Chad Pennington.
  • Min @ Chi (-2.5) – Last time these two teams played in Chicago, I think AP had 700 yards or so. This time, I don’t think it will happen. While the Vikes have won a couple games with Frerotte (as I indicated they would), they are ready to start their massive slide now. My guess is that they’ll go 1-4 in their next 5 games and I don’t even know who they’ll be playing. Childress is one more questionable decision away from losing his job. Normally reticent Vikes’ fans have apparently been really ticked at some of his poor decisions lately – even after winning.
  • Tenn @ KC (+7.5) – KC will respond to all the turmoil the team has been going through by surprising Tenn – maybe even beating them. Carl Peterson may also go public about his crush on Gonzalez.
  • Det @ Hou (-8.5) – Let’s see if Orvl;kjasdoqwetbbasd runs out of the end zone again – AND DOESN’T NOTICE! The incredible thing about that play last week wasn’t that they gave up a safety, it was that the QB didn’t even seem to notice that he was 2 plus feet out of bounds. Watch for the re-emergence of Mike Furrey. He was a tremendous pass catcher a couple years back.
  • Dal @ St. L (+6.5) – I think Dallas is still very good (and not enough is being made re the absence of Terrance Newman, which really hurts them). And, I think they could almost be as good with Brad Johnson back there because it will encourage them to stick to the running game they mysteriously abandon at times. They may eke out a win here, but they won’t cover. St. Louis’ victory last week has left them feeling like you do at 5:16pm on a Sat night when friends are coming over for a BBQ and you’ve just cracked open your first Pabst from the cooler – where it’s been sitting on ice for 2 hours.
  • Pitt @ Cincy (+9.5) – I’ve gone back and forth here. Cincy can’t continue to be that bad right? And Pitt has been known to go into Cincy (last 6 times I believe) and handle the Bengals. I can see Cincy putting forth a decent effort here because it’s a division rival, falling just short and Marvin Lewis being gone within the next 2 games. Soon, Mike Tomlin better start getting credit for being a good coach.
  • Cleve @ Wash (-6.5) – I am a believer in the Cleve and the Wash. I picked both to make the playoffs. The Cleve will be riding serious momentum, but Wash is very good. Anyone notice that after each game Clinton Portis seems to make questionable public statements (like after last week, that Zorn was too easy on them in practice). Wash will be very angry after letting last week’s game slip away.
  • Indy @ GB (+1.5) – Not sure why I’ll take GB here…oh, I take them every week. Indy must have been sharp last week, but they were playing a team with an overrated defense and a weak offense. Indy’s defense is poor (despite getting 5 lucky turnovers last week). As long as the Pack stops Freeney, our offense should have its way – and Grant will go nuts. Trick plays please MM – we’re waiting.
  • Sea @ TB (-10.5) – Huge spread here. I heard today from Brandon Lang (brandonlange.com – guest on 540 ESPN radio), that against a double digit spread, the dog is 9-0 this year. Seattle is terrible and should get rolled, but they’ll keep it a game and probably lose by 10.
  • NO @ Car (-2.5) – tough one. Which Car team shows up? I can see Steve Smith getting really pissed off if they start losing like last week and Ken Lucas inching over to the 50 yard line seats where his mom sits.
  • SF @ NYG (-10.5) – Eli finally puked one. I’ve been waiting for that to happen for a while now. He also apparently has bruised ribs. Speaking of which – what happens if you order braised ribs at a restaurant and the waiter drops the ribs on the floor – would you then have bruaised ribs? That was really dumb.
  • SD @ Buff (+.5) – SD is a good home team but Buff may be a better all-around team. I like the Buff in a close one here. By the way, not sure this is fair, but there is something relatively goat-like about Nate Kaeding. Maybe it was his hard luck from a few years ago, but I don’t have faith in that guy to win games – and he may lead the NFL in hitting the uprights.
  • NYJ @ Oak (+2.5) – Favre in Oak. Should be a no-brainer pick, but we all have experienced the Favre-play-down-to-a-bad-team Sunday. This may be one – the only difference may be that Favre’s defense and the rest of his guys will step up. The NY Jets are a good team.
  • Den @ NE (-3.5) – who knows? I read last week that nobody is even throwing in Champ Bailey’s direction anymore – at all. Probably smart. But if he’s guarding Moss, that may not be smart for NE. Moss looked like he was entering into a pouting phase during that SD game last week and if he continues to be an offensive afterthought – I foresee a tantrum. Would be fascinating to see how Belichick would handle that. NE also better come up with a remedy for Cassel’s weak play – and that may mean working in a more prominent run game, which I think they’ll do. They may also have a couple trick plays Monday night to ease the pressure on Cassel.

2008 Week 6 picks

October 9, 2008
  • Balt @ Indy (-4.5) – Indy will roll Balt. Flacco was just named starter for the year and Balt has surprised me with their play so far. Still, Indy has huge momentum after that ridiculous win last week…ridiculous win, and Manning just can’t continue to play so non-ly, if you will.
  • Car @ TB (-1.5) – This is the kind of game Garcia gets really fired up to play. Someone (his coach) has recently done him wrong and Garcia wants to prove to the world he can still play. This may sound horrible (and Jeff, I know you’re a regular reader so forgive me), but sometimes I think of Garcia as a little child moments away from a spectacular meltdown. Caro takes care of business here and starts to establish itself as a scary NFC force.
  • Chi @ Atl (+2.5) – I keep picking against Chi and I keep getting burned. But I can’t shake the thought that this most recent wave of confidence has been built on a weak foundation. Soon, boneheaded plays will creep in and remind them that they are actually not that good. Besides, Atlanta is not bad at all – Atlanta won all 3 phases of the game last weekend. Solid team. Key player in this game: the ubiquitous John Abraham.
  • Cincy @ NYJ (-5.5) – I’ve now read 3-4 articles referring to Cincy as the best 0-5 team in a long time. One stated the best 0-5 team in history. Ummm, no. I had Cincy going 5-11 this year because they aren’t very good. Marvin Lewis’ coaching seat has actually started on fire. Their only chance is if the NFL’s highest rated QB, Brett Favre, chucks a few to the wrong team.
  • Det @ Min (-12.5) – My “sources” indicated that Brad Childress held a post-practice team meeting after Thursdays’ practice in which he told the team that he plans to use AP minimally this week as he obviously isn’t very good – couldn’t produce last week. Childress borrowed the nauseating NFL cliche “what have you done for me lately” when explaining his move. Childress then described his new “Visanthe Shiancoe” game plan in which Shiancoe will not only get most passes but he will also get most of the carries…and Longwell may play QB. Players snickered in the background thinking this was funny, but Childress looked straight ahead and blinked a number of times. Then he said “I’m serious”.
  • Mia @ Hou (-2.5) – Interesting Houston (0-4) favored here. That’s due mostly to being home team I guess. Houston will be one pissed off team after puking up last week’s game (hardly a sage effort by their QB). Watch out for the Slaton/Ahman Green duo.
  • Oak @ NO (-7.5) – My “sources” (they’ve been busy) also just informed me that Al Davis just spoke to new head coach Tom Cable to inform him that he’d been fired for not winning enough. When Cable attempted to suggest that he actually hasn’t coached a game yet so perhaps it’s a bit premature, Davis called him a liar and then told Darren McFadden that Cable has always hated him. Brees to throw for 800.
  • St L @ Wash (-13.5) – tough game to pick here. I’ve lost every game this year I believe involving the Rams. But I don’t see Wash as an offensive powerhouse. They are good, and my preseason pick for them to make it to the postseason is looking good at the moment (as does my preseason thought that Zorn would be a good coach). I think they’ll win but not by 2 TDs. Also, I can see this being the game where Bulger, Holt, Jackson and co make Redskin fans entertain the uncomfortable possibility that they may be the first to lose to the re-defeated Rams – but they won’t.
  • Jax @ Den (-3.5) – Not sure what is going on with Jax this year. I believe I picked them for the Super Bowl. Out of sheer stubbornness then, I am picking them here to get them back on track.
  • Dal @ Ariz (+5.5) – Pacman vs Kurt Warner. What a contrast in people. I think Pacman could stand to spend some good time at Camp Warner for some tutelage in the right way.
  • GB @ Sea (-2.5) – How should the Packers feel as the dogs to a team that just lost 44-6? Not good. Yet for some reason, I just erased a whole paragraph explaining how the Pack will lose big-time. At the beginning of this week, I was convinced that the lowly Hawks would wipe us out. Now, perhaps because I’ve never picked against the Pack, I’ve come around and decided to pick the Pack. Both teams really need this one so it could be a close one. Here’s is my best guess at how the final few seconds will unfold: Olindo Mare comes onto the field (with Jon Ryan) for a desperation 65 yard field goal to tie the game; Jon Ryan shown on camera with a flush red face due to lingering, justified anger at TT/MM, calls an inaudible audible and unexpectedly takes off; after some nifty moves Ryan eventually gets to the end zone and promptly punts the ball into the stands bouncing off the glass of TT’s box; Seattle comes away with the dramatic last-second victory but in an unprecedented move (but a move that should be duplicated going forward), the official scorer deducts one point from the TD score because it was such an ugly run. Sea 32, GB-30, Packers cover.
  • Phil @ SF (+5.5) – This will be a good game, seriously. I like a Jim Johnson vs. Mike Martz match-up. That said, if Philly can find a way to shut down Frank Gore, Philly might not just win, but run away with it. I just don’t think they will.
  • NE @ SD (-5.5) – big spread here considering 1) NE is 4-0 in the last 4 games these 2 teams have played and 2) NE just took care of biz against a decent SF team on the road. I know Brady’s not there but Cassel was solid last week and seems to have learned the value of connecting with Moss. LT will probably be up for this one, but dealing with his inconsistency and injury issues could turn out to be a thorn in the side for SD this year. Good thing they have Sproles. Also, Chambers may be out with a sprained ankle I just heard???
  • NYG @ Cleve (+7.5) – I vowed after this past weekend to never pick against the Giants again. Well, I’m taking the Cleve because I want to continue losing all pools I guess. Anyone notice how huge Romeo Crennel has become? I’m not sure the guy game plans, coaches or watches film during the week at all anymore. I think he just eats, checks in at practice for 10 minutes, then eats again, drives his personal golf cart over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, showers maybe, eats again, watches reruns of Three’s Company, eats, and then drinks bacon grease. Sorry, that was mean.

2008 Week 5 picks

October 2, 2008
  • Atl @ GB (-6.5) – I’ve tossed and turned over this game. At first I thought it would be hard to pick not knowing Rodgers’ real status. While both Rodgers and Flynn will be affected by NFL sack-leader John Abraham’s pressure, Flynn would feel it more. In the end though, I’ve determined for some reason that QB play will not dramatically affect this game. I think the Pack will stick to their running game this week and it will pay off. Grant (on my fantasy team) will have nearly 200 yards and 3 TDs while his counterpart Michael Turner (also on my fantasy team) will struggle for 60 yards and 2 fumbles. Packers by 17. Also, Woodson may give Matt Ryan a rude welcome to Lambeau.
  • Chic @ Det (3.5) – Chic did just beat Philly (w/out Westbrook) and Philly is apparently good this year. And Orton is looking fairly un-Grossman-like this year. But I’m looking for an ugly game from Chic this week. Orton and yes, Matt Forte will struggle in a game they shouldn’t. Forte has been really good so far…suspiciously so. This may be the week we all learn about Forte’s silent weakness: fumbling.
  • Indy @ Hou (-3.5) – Houston will roll Indy. I’ll say it again, without Bob Sanders, Indy is not that great.
  • KC @ Car (-9.5) – I’ve heard Carolina has some of the best BBQ out there. But KC is no slouch in that department. Not sure why I note that here. Hungry I guess. (Car a surprisingly mediocre home team).
  • SD @ Miami (6.5) – Tough game to pick. If Tony Sparano has 2 weeks to game plan…look out. We may see some drop kick FGs, Pennington throwing lefty, fake kneel downs, kickers lining up for passes…
  • Sea @ NYG (-6.5) – Imagine if you will, being an NFL player, finishing up a horrendous first half of football, being 5 minutes late for the half-time discussion, and having Tom Coughlin and Mike Holmgren as co-head-coaches. Can you imagine the wrath? You’d be fined $50,000 for not being EARLY to the half-time discussion and Holmgren might Bill Schroeder you. Crack pick alert: Seahawks by 10, for absolutely no good reason.
  • Tenn @ Balt (2.5) – Another tough game. Balt looked impressive at times last week against the always-tough Steelers. But Tenn has looked impressive all year long. This will be a Kerry Collins puke game though – expect a few turnovers from him. Also, would any of you let your son/daughter watch a pre-game showing Ray Lewis getting the team fired up on the sidelines? I’m not quite sure how I’d explain that kind of behavior to a child.
  • Wash @ Philly (-5.5) – Wow, this spread makes for easy bulletin board material for the Skins here. They are 3-1 and the Eagles are 2-2 (corrected). It’s too early to say I told you so about the Skins, but I told you so (sorry Skins fans, I’ve just jinxed your season). You know, one thing that is just hilarious is that Philly is called the “City of Brotherly Love”. That is hilarious. I’m not sure there is another city in the US where you stand a better chance of being unwittingly pulled into a fist fight of some kind.
  • TB @ Den (-3.5) – The wife picked TB outright here. And they do look good. Tempting and sensible considering Denver hasn’t played a great defense yet. Still, I expect Denver to edge TB in this one, by 3.75.
  • Buff @ AZ (-1.5) – For a guy who loves the Buff and picked them to be good this year, it doesn’t make much sense to pick against them for the 2nd week in a row. But I think AZ will get hot in this one and win by a touchdown or so.
  • Cincy @ Dal (-10.5) – for an upset-minded picker, I tried to think of every possible way there could be an upset here (Palmer finally plays well…if he plays, Perry has a big ground game, Romo loses focus in another home game). Nothing substantive. Blowout that may finally lead to Lewis’ ouster.
  • NE @ SF (3.5) – NE after a bye week, not what I’d want to face if I were Mike Nolan. When a SF fan looked at this game 4 months ago on the schedule, it would have been hard to imagine a Cassel/O’Sullivan duo at QB.
  • MN @ NO (-3.5) – I was tempted to pick MN only because NO sometimes disappoints and their run D could struggle big-time against AP. However, I drifted back to NO quickly when I remembered Childress is coaching the Vikings and will probably limit AP’s carries to give Visanthe Shiancoe a chance to show his stuff

STEVE ADDS: Chicago, Indy, Carolina, San Diego, NY Giants, Tennessee, Philly, Denver, Arizona, San Francisco, Jacksonville, New Orleans.  And yes, Atlanta.  I’m assuming that Rodgers is not going to play.  Atlanta will run all over the Packers and it’s going to be ugly.  Atlanta comes into the game ranked #1 in rushing and the Packers are 26th against the run.  Ugly.  That said, if Rodgers plays the Packers will win.

Quarterly 2008 Picks Review, 32-28

October 1, 2008

So far, this season hasn’t been great in terms of picking against the spread. Of the 60 games played, I’ve made the correct pick just 32 times (53%). My goal for the next quarter is at least 70%. Week 4 proved to be much better (9-4) than the other weeks, but I really need to step up my level of play here.

STEVE ADDS: Andy had better pick it up.  I haven’t been posting my picks weekly, but I’m dominating him in the pool we’re in together.  Although I’m just a handicapping novice, I’m 34-26 against the spread.

If Andy goes 70 percent in the next quarter, we’re both quitting our jobs and moving to Vegas.


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