Archive for the ‘Weekly Spread Picks’ Category

2008 Week 4 Picks

September 25, 2008
  • Atl @ Car (-7.5) – Steve Smith was so excited to play his first home game that he “inadvertently” popped Jake Delhomme in the face. When Jon Fox tried to break it up, Smith kicked him in the shin until it bled. Smith said afterward, “I won’t do that again, I’ve done it a few times, but it won’t happen again” – Smith then spit on the reporter who took the quote.
  • AZ @ NYJ (-2.5) – Interesting how the national media seemed to poop on Favre this past week. If things don’t turn around, I honestly don’t know if he’ll be able to handle that pressure emotionally. That said, and I do think AZ is good this year – NYJ in a route.
  • Cleve @ Cincy (-3.5) – Interesting match-up. Both teams have some strong talent and good reason to think they could be good. However, both teams have coaches who may not be around for much longer. I’ll pick the Cleve here only because I think they have a better chance to not totally suck from here on out. Bengals suck.
  • Denver @ KC (+9.5) – Denver has been on fire…offensively. Their defense has struggled (granted, against some offensive machines in NO and SD). Tony Gonzalez has stated he’d consider a trade. Ted Thompson, are you listening?
  • GB @ TB (-.5) – This is as close as I’ve come in a while to picking against the Packers. While the offense may be better with Wells back and Grant not hamstrung, the possibility of having Bigby, Collins, and Rouse either out or limited is scary. That could mean Jarrett Bush at safety folks.
  • Hou @ Jax (-7.5) – generous spread. Perhaps odds makers just noticed that Houston was trounced in their first two games. But they have potential yet and Steve Slaton stands an outside shot at being Rookie of the Year if he can stay injury free.
  • MN @ Tenn (-2.5) – unless AP goes totally nuts (which is possible, the vaunted Tenn D gave up 116 yards last week to Slaton), Tenn should win this game. Look for at least 3 turnovers from Frerotte this week and despite having opportunities (ruined by bad coaching decisions), MN should go down here.
  • SF @ NO (-6.5) – SF is a quality team and not to be taken lightly. Their wild offense and the defense highlighted by Patrick Willis and Justin Smith make them legit. Just not this week. Blowout alert, 48-13.
  • Buff @ St L (+8.5) – unreal that Bulger was benched. We’ll see how long Trent Green can go before knocking his head again. Why would he come back? I wonder if his wife wanted an ocean-side home but it was just out of their price range, so she made him go back out there. If they lose, Linehan is gone. As much as I love the Buff and think they’re as good as their record, this will be a fight.
  • SD @ Oak (+7.5) – read here for more on the Kiffin/Davis feud. I’m not sure I remember seeing such a public GM/coach feud like this – that has gotten so personal. You know when Kiffin brings up the stress this has caused his pregnant wife that he only shared a tiny bit of her real concerns – 6 months pregnant and not sure where her family will be living? Even a pious, anti-swearing woman would be dropping f-bombs in Al’s direction. Al Davis needs to get out of football.
  • Wash @ Dal (-11.5) – this seems like a huge spread. Dallas is really good as we all saw last week. But I won’t relent in my belief that Wash ain’t bad either. A well-timed turnover might be the difference in this game. Maybe a TO error?
  • Phil @ Chi (+3.5) – With McNabb and Westbrook hurting, this could be an ugly game for Philly. Even if they play, Chi will be ready for this one. It’s funny, Chi is becoming like the Vikings of the last 10 years – their games are all based on adrenaline and being pumped up, not on actually being good. Chi is not that good, but they’ll win this game. Chicago, like San Diego has scored more points than they’ve given up and they’re still 1-2).
  • Balt @ Pitt (-7.5) – Even without Casey Hampton, the Pitt D will make life miserable for QB Jon Flacco. Balt’s hyped defense will be pumped and primed for Monday night and may even have a monster hit or a pick – but they will not continue their defensive dominance. Pitt to roll here

STEVE ADDS: When did Joe Flacco lose his starting job to his younger brother Jon?


2008 NFL Week 2 Picks

September 11, 2008
  • NO @ Wash (-.5) The Colston injury affects NO somewhat. But this will be a Campbell-Cooley-Portis game. As good as NO will be this year, Wash will take this one. (If they don’t, I may have to give up my insistence that they’ll be good this year and that Jim Zorn could be great).
  • Buff @ Jax (-5.5) After week 1, most would pick Buff here (in fact 61% are taking Buff at presently). I like the Buff and think they’ll be good, but Jax will win comfortably here as players like Jones-Drew will be ready for this game.
  • Chi @ Car (-3.5) Not sure I would pick Carolina if they had lost last week because the Bears impressed. But I hate the Bears and am very much looking forward to seeing the resumption of a Bears’ QB controversy after Orton throws 2 picks and loses a fumble.
  • Tenn @ Cincy (-1.5) Tenn had to be solid to take down the Jags last week and their 7 sacks and 2 picks make them appear to be a high quality defense. I also think Cincy will by 5-11 this year. So why pick Cincy? They are at home and they do have some talent and like their last several years, Cincy needs to tease their fans a bit with a couple solid victories here and there before imploding.
  • GB @ Det (+2.5) I’ll take the Pack here because I think they’ll win. But the Pack isn’t great at Ford Field and Detroit does have some talent. The obvious key matchup will be Harris/Woodson against Johnson/Williams. Kitna has predicted a 63-4 victory for the Lions (though he noted that he will not be the one who gives up the 2 safeties).
  • NYG @ ST L (+8.5) Crack pick alert. Right now 73% of Sportsline participants are picking the NYG to cover in this game. Last year’s SB champs vs last year’s and this year’s crap team. Crap team may not win but they’ll fight. If St. Louis gets handled in this game too, Linehan might get sacked and my preseason crack pick of St. Louis being 9-7 will require public undressing.
  • Oak @ KC (-3.5) Interesting spread considering Oak got blown out last week and KC hung in there against the Pats. Of course the Brady injury changed that whole game. From a player’s perspective, this is probably what they’ll hear from Herm Edwards before the game: “This is the most important game, not just of the season, but of your lives. I know I said that last week, but still, it’s really important. It is a division rival, maybe the most important rivally in all of sports. blah, blah, blah…”. (By the way, not surprising that Croyle, who is 6’2″ and 28 pounds, got injured immediately).
  • Indy @ MN (+1.5) Once again, taking the less popular pick here. Not a fan of MN after the trash-talking and the no handshake. Apparently McCarthy talked to Childress Tuesday and all is well, but that is a public slap in the face. Of course, I’d love to see Indy roll the Vikes, but I don’t think they’ll be able to stop AP this week.
  • SF @ Sea (-8.5) This is a surprisingly big spread. When most teams “get” 3 points for being the home team, sometimes I think they give Seattle 7 or so because of the 12th man. It is a tough place to play. But this will be the coming out party for TE John Carlson (right now, Hasselbeck’s only target). I’m not sure how a putrid Seattle offense will take it to a quality SF defense, but they will and people will be falsely lulled back into thinking Seattle is good. If Seattle ends up in the playoffs this year, I’ll say it right now, it will be mostly because of coaching by Mike Holmgren.
  • Alt @ TB (-8.5) Appears to be a crack-like spread here considering Atlanta’s fine showing in week 1 and TB’s loss (of both the game and Garcia for week 2). It will be very interesting to see how Michael Turner runs against a better TB defense this week. I wonder if TB already wishes they’d offered more for Favre.
  • NE @ NYJ (-2.5) I’ll bet it was strange for NYJ fans to see them favored over the Pats. Will Cassel slip in fine because NE still has talent or will the team be deflated by losing its superstar? This game could feature a Jericho Cotchery nightmare for NE (one of the best names in the NFL, along with Roscoe Parrish from Buff).
  • SD @ Den (+2.5) Interesting SD favored. They lost their first game, Shawn Merriman is out for the year, Denver crushed Oak in their first game and the game’s in Denver. This may be a key game for determining if Cutler is ready to play at a higher level this year. He apparently looked unstoppable Monday night.
  • Balt @ Hou (-4.5) Houston did not have a good opening game in Pitt. The score was a poor reflection of how the game went. Pitt totally dominated (and once again they look like they’ll be really good again somehow). But Hou has talent, and some really exciting young talent. Schaub, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels and Steve Slaton likely will be the story lines after this game. The vaunted Balt D will run out of adrenaline about mid 3rd quarter while their offense will struggle. (Kubiak borrowed a page from Scott Linehan this week and burned the game tape from last week).
  • Mia @ AZ (-6.5) Miami may challenge a bit more than people think in this one, but in the end, Warner and co will escape comfortably. Now with Boldin deciding to perform again (he Randy Mossed in the first half last week against SF but dominated in the second), this remains a team with quality potential. I am excited for a Parcell’s chewing out that will happen soon if Miami loses this game and maybe another game or two after that.
  • Pitt @ Cleve (+5.5) The Cleve didn’t offer much last week against the overpowering offense of the Cowboys. But the Cleve will show up for this big game against division rival Pitt. Pitt is quality. Year after year, they find ways to win despite not having huge talent. They play intelligently there in Pitt, but this night will belong to the Cleve (and it has to frankly, if Cleve has designs on winning this division).
  • Phil @ Dal (-6.5) Big spread for game after Phil destroyed another opponent. This is usually a good game, but as long as Barber is in there, Phil will struggle to match up with all of Dallas’ weapons (Felix Jones, Barber, TO, Witten, Romo running). How did McNabb throw for 361 last week without any good receiving targets? I guess the Rams’ Otogwe couldn’t cover all the receivers by himself.

2008 NFL Week 1 Picks

September 7, 2008
  • Redskins @ NYG (-3.5) – Tough game to call. I guess I’ll take the Giants in a game that will feature a more exciting first half than second half. 16-7 final score, 16-10, no, no, I”ll go with 16-7. (Actually, in my pool, I did pick the Redskins – bad pick).
  • Bucs @ NO (-3.5) – Saints to handle the Bucs. Statement game. Watch out for NO this year.
  • Jets @ Dolphins (+2.5) – How will Favre do in his first NFL game in another uniform? 224 yards, 2TDs, 1int. Also, there will be a nice 1-2 punch from Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. Ricky WIlliams won’t waste any time showing that he’s ready for a big year.
  • Bengals @ Ravens (+1.5) – seems like a close spread for this game. It will play out just like you think it will – primarily as a battle between the Cincy O and the Ravens D. If the Ravens offense can manage to do anything at all, they will win this game. (By the way, Ocho Cinco has officially changed his last name to Ocho Cinco and the NFL finally will officially recognize this new, crazy, official last name by allowing him to put it on his uniform).
  • Lions @ Falcons (+3.5) – Kitna, his 2 receivers and the new addition of Kevin Smith will prove to be too much for a weak Atlanta team. On the flip side, if the Detroit is as bad as I think they may be, then I’d leave open the possibility that Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood might run the Lions into the ground and eke out a victory.
  • Rams @ Phil (-7.5) – Phil will roll to give people the false impression that they’ll be good this year. Then, 100-200 Philly fans will fight with each other after the game because they won and because they always fight.
  • Sea @ Buff (-.5) – Buff will handle Seattle and set people down the path toward badness. Holmgren’s swan song will not be very swan-like…not sure where “swan song” comes from – odd expression.
  • Jax @ Tenn (+2.5) – Jax will set tone for the division.
  • KC @ NE (-16.5) – KC is really bad and if NE wins this game easily, I will be as surprised as FDR when he learned that wife Eleanor was a switch hitter.
  • Hou @ Pitt (-6.5) – This could be a match-up of one team on the way up (Hou) and the other fading out (Pitt). That whole passing up Reggie Bush thing doesn’t look so bad anymore – Mario has some game.
  • Car @ SD (-9.5) – SD will take this one as LT will run wild. Chris Chambers will have a huge game ruining any fantasy victory chances for yours truly this week.
  • Dal @ Cleve (+5.5) – While Dal may barely pull this one out (or just lose), I would be surprised if they handle Cleveland. If they do, look out because they may run over teams this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dallas make a crazy play of Anquan Boldin if his contract issues persist.
  • AZ @ SF (+2.5) – SF’s defense could end up being too much for AZ in the end, but the more realistic scenario would be for AZ to get an early, good lead because of an aerial assault and make a comeback by SF too difficult. Whisenhunt may be the last chance for the AZ franchise to improve – it he fails, the team may need to move simply because they are incapable of being successful.
  • Chi @ Indy (-9.5) – Chi will keep this a game initially with an adrenaline-charged game swing or two (think Hester, or a lucky long Orton Bomb pass or two) and then the real colors will show and they will pull away in the second half (but not win by more than a TD). Indy won’t be the unstoppable offensive machine they’ve been in recent years. Wayne and Addai may be solid and maybe Clark, but outside of that, this team’s success will be dictated largely by the play and health of Freeney and Bob Sanders.
  • MN @ GB (-2.5) – Ugh, just don’t have any sense for how this will play out. I can see GB winning a close one (by a field goal or so), MN blowing out the Packers, the Packers blowing out MN, MN winning by a small margin, GB winning by a medium margin and MN winning by a medium margin. So, like I said, I just don’t know what to make of this game. How about GB 17- MN 14
  • Den @ Oak (+2.5) – Oak will be a surprise team this year. Denver will try to run over Oak and not have much success. Oak will run the ball well and when he’s not being harassed by Elvis Dumervil, JaMarcus Russell will show the NFL from day one that he can play effectively at this level.

2008 Super Bowl – Giants vs Patriots

February 1, 2008

This is a very difficult game for me to pick due to wanting so badly to be watching Patriots/Packers. However, it is the last pick of the season. I don’t even know what the spread is (it was 2 touchdowns I believe at one point) – but whatever it is, it is too high and the Giants will cover and I’ll even say Giants to win.

Game keys:

NE on offense: Kevin Faulk. He is one constant Brady has been able to go to now for years. He is a very solid receiver and tough player – one of those quiet players who could be a major reason NE pulls out a victory. He had 47 receptions this past year and when Welker is covered, appears to be Brady’s crutch.
NE on defense: Officiating could be a major factor. This could be a game where the adrenaline and overall dirtiness of some of the players involved could be an issue. The dirtiest player in the NFL, Vince Wilfork, needs to be watched carefully. This guy has been fined 4 times this past year for various offenses, including intentionally, clearly intentionally, trying to take out JP Losman’s knee. He’s a jackass. Add in Rodney Harrison who has always been a problem and the NE linebackers (Seau, Bruschi especially) who make a habit of hitting well after the play is over. With proper officiating, NE’s cheap play could affect them negatively in this game.
Giants on offense: KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING – IT’S WORKING! I would think as a coach against one the NFL’s best teams in a long time, it may be tempting to throw in some trick plays or somehow come at NE with a bunch of new plays. A couple wrinkles might be OK, but I would strongly recommend overall that the Giants continue the nice play mix on offense that they have been using the last 4-5 games. I think keeping Eli as comfortable as possible and playing within himself will be key, because we know Belichick will do his best to confuse and fluster Eli. Belichick, no question will be working hard to bring back Eli’s loser face. But the last few games, we’ve seen a maturing Eli who has handled immense pressure quite effectively (so much so that I have had to back off making fun of his loser face).
Giants defense: BE SENSIBLE WITH THE RUSH. I can see the pass rushers for the Giants (D-Line and linebackers) getting too pumped to flatten Brady and take him out of the game only to be burned by dump screens to Maroney or Faulk or Welker. I think some carefully thought out corner/safety blitz looks dropping Strahan and/or the other end (Oseawelhalkiwaher923n) back into screen coverage could be disruptive. The Giants D has to work hard to focus on one possession at a time because NE loves to fluster opponents by marching down and making things looks easy. Also, big note to Giants defense: WES WELKER RARELY GOES DEEP!! Every NE game I’ve watched has Welker running slants inside or little outs, but I’ve rarely see him go deep.

OK, my real take on this game. I really don’t like NE. I don’t mind Brady, but can’t stand Belichick. He is swarthy and annoying. I agree with the Senate for wanting to look into why the Spygate tapes were destroyed by the NFL (read about it here). NE cheated and was given the largest fine in league history – this is significant and I absolutely don’t know why the NFL would destroy the tapes and sweep the whole issue under the rug. Perhaps they were worried NE would win the Super Bowl and asterisk talk would begin. And, as I mentioned above, I think NE is a dirty team and they get away with a lot because often the dirty stuff is done by respected league veterans (Harrison, Seau, Bruschi – especially Seau).

That said, NE is good and may be one of the best teams of all time. Brady is extraodinarily efficient, Welker may be one of the most difficult players to defend in a long time (nobody can stick with him), and despite my dislike for the way some of the veterans play, they are a savvy group who know positioning really well (and apparently know what they can get away with). Vrabel in particular is a champ – the guy plays hard and is so disruptive on defense that I could see how he could be a major problem for the Giants.

I am rooting for the Giants. I was pissed at the Giants when they beat the Packers because they beat the Packers, not because they were dirty or unfair etc. This is a real team right now, and I’ll say it again, they seem to have come together as a team since Shockey got hurt. I would trade him so fast if I were Giants management. But the real surprise for me has been Eli. As I’ve already admitted, he has proven this critic wrong by his confident play over the last 6 games. I will be a bit surprised if he plays error free in this game though as Belichick will do everything in his power to bring Eli’s loser face back – but even a solid game from Eli may be enough if his playmakers step up (Burress, Bradshaw, Jacobs, Steve Smith, Boss, Ross, Strahan, Tuck, Pierce).

Giants 34 – Patriots 31.

Weekly Spread Picks – Conference Championships

January 18, 2008

Packers vs Giants (-7.5) Packers 41 – Giants 10 (look below for an explanation).

Before the playoffs, I picked Wash to beat Seattle. But I noted the following in case Seattle ended up winning that game:
“*Note: If the NYG beat TB and SEA ends up playing GB, then the NYG will beat Dallas in Dallas and then come to GB for the conference championship, and lose by 30.”

Because accountability is more important at Packergeeks than being right, I will have to hold to this prediction, Packers by 30. Despite the potentially neutralizing cold conditions and other factors like the Giants actually being pretty good now, it still wouldn’t be right for me to now unpredict, as it were (interesting that you can’t “unpredict” something, but something can be unpredictable), a blowout. So, I have to come up with ways that this game could possibly be a blowout:
1) several Giants are frozen to the bench on the opening kickoff leading to an easy run-back for the Packers.
2) the incredible inconsistency the Giants exhibited throughout the season, even within games, catches up to them and they have an ironic meltdown in 0 degree weather;
4) Eli’s inner-wuss just can’t handle the pressure and the cold – his passes are way off target and cameras pick up tears frozen to a loser face;
5) Sterling Sharpe is added to the Packers roster shortly before gametime and nobody can tackle him because he’s super strong AND fat now;
6) after the first bad thing that happens to the Giants, Coughlin’s bewildered, almost-cross-eyed look goes fully cross-eyed leaving him unable to contribute as a coach;
7) an accidental illegal hands-to-the-face by Tauscher ends up pushing Strahan’s top front teeth together making him leave the game so he can pursue the ladies with his newfound, spaceless smile.
8) The Packers dominate on offense, defense and special teams. (Out of concern for my masculinity/credibility, I need to note that I did NOT put a smiley face here for #8 – the computer won’t let me change it. I initially entered a #8 and don’t know why there is a smiley face – if anyone knows how to correct this let me know asap. I decided to edit this entry and put in this disclaimer so that Packergeeks readers aren’t concerned about Packergeeks authors and their ability to love NFL football while simultaneously using smiley faces).

SD @ NE (-13.5). New England 31 – San Diego 24.
NE will win this game, but SD will put in a hard-fought effort. Lots of trash talking in this one. One sneaky player who could make a difference is Comrartie. He has game and could be a difference maker in pass coverage, intercepting the ball and/or kick returns. While I agree with Bedard at re the Giant’s dirty play, I think NE is the worst in the league at this. Vince Wilfork is the dirtiest player in the NFL (eye poke and JP Losman injury prime examples), with Junior Seau, Bruschi and Harrison also hitting questionably late and unnecessarily. Oh, and Belichick cheats. This is the kind of game that could devolve into fighting and some ugliness. I’d root for SD, but Rivers makes it hard with all the trash talking he does – and he’s not even that good. If Volek plays, I’ll root hard for SD.

Packers vs Giants Game Keys

January 17, 2008

1) Packers will win this game because the Giants will try to run it constantly early on and this will fail. Then, Eli will need to start throwing and that will fail. If the Giants open up with some early passing and a balanced attack, the GB defense could be in for a difficult first half anyway. But most likely, the Giants will try to overpower the Packers on the ground and this strategy will not work. Eli will struggle to be effective because he’ll be intimidated by Lambeau and a lively secondary. Look for LOTS of incomplete passes and loser faces.

2) Special Teams – The flow of this game could be interesting as lots could happen in the beginning as each team tries to set the tone. It’s likely both teams open up with a score, but then a Packers special teams return will change the game. The Packers special teams unit has gotten virtually no attention at all as experts analyze this game. It will be special teams that helps give the Pack the early lead, which will be critical in this game.

3) Pack receivers on Giants secondary. The Giants secondary would have trouble with just Driver, Lee and Jennings, not to mention Robinson, Jones, Martin, Grant and the big surprise Sunday – Korey Hall. If Favre is able to throw the ball at all (I was just outside and it’s 10 degrees and windy and miserable), the Pack could have their way with the Giants.

4) Grant being more involved in the screen game. This would help counter the pass rush of the Giants, especially when they get extra aggressive and blitz linebackers/safeties.

5) Field position – punting. Hopefully Jon Ryan has a big day because getting first downs might prove to be difficult. Feagles is one player who could be severely affected by the cold weather – just imagine your grandpa out there trying to punt. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say he either has a shank or a blocked punt or something like that as frigid weather is particularly tough on osteoperosis.

6) Coaching – McCarthy’s team came out fired up last week, but promptly went down 14-0. There is no way McCarthy will let that happen in this game. No way. This team will score very early in the game and McCarthy will be insistent on grabbing the early lead. Coughlin may have a trick or two up his sleeve, but it likely won’t work out. McCarthy also may be aggressive and try a memorable trick play, but given the weather, it too, likely won’t work.

6.5) Weather – the younger team will deal better with the weather – advantage Packers.

7) The most important key: Favre is not alone this year. Over the past 10 years, Favre has placed the burden of winning largely on his shoulders. But he finally has a coach who has effectively reassured Favre, and the rest of the team, that there are 44 other players who can AND will contribute. If Favre screws up, the defense can get the ball back with a nice turnover play or special teams can provide decent field position or Grant can break an 80 yard run, or Driver (Jennings, Jones, Martin, Robinson or Lee) can break 3 tackles to get in the end zone or a rookie kicker can make a 50 yard field goal. This may be the key of the season – less pressure on Favre.

2008 Playoff Review so far

January 16, 2008

So far, I am 5 for 8 against the spread and 5 for 8 straight up. I was dead wrong re the Colts this past weekend, but that was the only mistake. I have made some nice calls (like NE beating Jax by 11, Packers handling Seattle) and some bad ones like Wash beating SEA and PITT beating Jax.

These playoffs have been exciting (mostly because the Packers are involved). I am buying that the Giants have come together as a team and are one of the hottest teams playing right now. The question as always with the Giants is when will the meltdown occur. NE continues to be NE – though I will say this again as I have throughout the season: their defense is old and simply not that good. If an opponent could figure out a way to just slow down the offense (stopping it is unrealistic), NE can be had. It was fun to see Dallas eliminated. I think they underestimated the Giants and ended up losing to a better team. Jax was a good story, but beating NE in NE was just too tall an order. At least they made it a good game. Seattle was overmatched and I’d say they were maybe the worst team in the playoffs. They were somewhat lucky to escape with a victory over Wash as the score of that game was deceptive. The Eagles, Saints, Vikings, and Cards would have likely been more difficult opponents than Seattle.

Divisional Playoff Picks

January 11, 2008

NYG @ DAL (-7.5) Not sure where the spread comes from on this one. The Giants are on one of their little hot streaks and Dallas hasn’t shown up since the Packers game. As I noted last week, if the Giants ended up beating Tampa Bay and going to Dallas, the Giants would beat Dallas. The key will be the Giants defensive line shifting to a run-stopping line, not just a pass rush line. If Dallas returns to playing decently, however, Dallas does have Marion Barber and the Giants secondary isn’t necessarily top notch. Witten, as always will likely be a big factor, but his counterpart, Kevin Boss may steal the show. Giants to cover – Giants to win outright 35-24.

This may be my last chance to rip on Eli this year. He has sort of shut me up the last few weeks, but even while playing well, he looks like a loser. Nobody seems to have talked about it, but I wonder if Eli is playing a bit better now that Shockey isn’t around. Sideline shot after sideline shot used to show Shockey jabbering away at Eli presumably asking for more balls to be thrown to him. Without that moron in his ear, maybe Eli isn’t as distracted.

Can you imagine what a Manning Thanksgiving sounds like? Peyton: “Eli pass the gravy, would ya?”. Eli: “Mom, Peyton asked for the gravy but he saw I had it in my hand and was about to use it…God…”. Peyton: “Eli, grow up.” Archie: “Boys, relax. Eli, what did we talk about? You have to be tougher, have thicker skin – don’t be so quick to cry”. Eli: “I know dad, it’s just that, God, nobody understands”…leaves table…

SD @ INDY (-7.5) At the beginning of the year, I had San Diego in the Super Bowl. If they have to get through Indy and then NE, I would say chances of that coming true are minimal. However, I continue to be intrigued by what I regard as one of the quietest yet smartest player personnel moves of the year: trading for Chris Chambers. With Gates out last week, having Chambers as the new go-to guy has opened up an offense that was hurting at WR. While I wrote a few weeks back that LT’s anger problem may help propel them in the playoffs, I’m noticing that his blockers may just be so bad it won’t matter. It will be interesting though as they get Lorenzo Neal back this week and that could make a big difference for LT. But still, I think defensively, aside from a pick or two from Comrartie, San Diego will be overmatched and lose this game. It’s strange I just wrote this and picked Indy and suddenly I’m wondering if I should change that and pick SD to win. Weird feeling. Couldn’t happen, could it? Dungy is too thorough a coach to have his guys unprepared, right? But nobody is picking SD and they are playing with nothing to lose. And LT is LT. Ok, Rivers is Rivers though too – talked myself through it. Indy to win and cover 27-17.

JAX @ NE (-11.5) After Jax’s improbable last second comeback last week, they could either ride that momentum and make this a game or totally sputter-out. It’s like golf. Notice, when an amateur weekend golfer hits his approach shot off a tree by the green only to have it eventually end up 10 feet from the hole because of a lucky ricochet, he stands over that putt thinking “I should be in the woods right now, I didn’t deserve this, I didn’t even call backboard…” – and then 3-putts. When a pro golfer has the same thing happen, he steps up to the putt thinking “nice break, certain birdie, let’s get this to -6 now…” Now Jax should have won that game outright, but were it not for a few horrendous play-calls by Pitt, especially on the 2-point conversions, Jax could very well be at home this week. Anyway, the thought here is that good players/good teams take advantage of breaks and roll with them instead of feeling kind of guilty for benefitting from such fortune. This will be a real test for Jax – have they officially become a good team? We’ll find out this weekend. I do think they’ll cover, but NE will likely win 27-16.

SEA @ GB (-8.5) See here for pick.

Packers – Seahawks

January 9, 2008

I wanted to share my pick for this weekend’s game early – so I don’t wait until Friday and change my mind 3-4 times due to reading way too much about the game. Overall, I do not think this will be a very close game. It may be a decent game in the first half, but I think McCarthy’s better team will make the better halftime adjustments and handle the Seahawks. Seattle also is 3-5 on the road this year and away from the 12th man, they play differently.

I do foresee Ryan Grant being a significant counter to the rush-happy Seattle defense, limiting the effectiveness of Kerney and Julian Peterson. I’m guessing a fair number of run plays will be called in the first half as well as screens and play action. This will also open up the passing game for Favre which will leave Seattle’s defense guessing. Koren Robinson, Donald Lee and James Jones will have a big games and the special teams on both teams will factor into this game significantly. The Packers need to keep an eye on Patrick Kerney (obviously), but also on Nate Burleson. He is a firey competitor who can burn us on punt/kickoff returns but also as a receiver. My guess is Hasselback will throw at least one pick and the Packers pass rush will awaken and cause a fumble or two. While Packer fans may be concerned re Favre forcing throws too, I think he’ll manage his game well and I don’t think he’ll end up with more than one pick.

Shaun Alexander will continue to be mediocre but smile and act like he’s a superstar and Hasselback will continue to be jealous of his brother having a hot wife. (By the way, does Elizabeth Hasselback sleep with lip gloss on? Never seen her without it – scaring myself for noticing that).

Packers 34 – Seattle 16.

Week 17 Spread Picks

December 28, 2007

NE @ NYG (+14.5) – Huge spread here. I can see Coughlin doing something stupid like playing his starters most of the game, having 2 or 3 of them get hurt and still getting crushed. Then Eli will make that loser face again and nobody will be sure if he is elated or suicidal.

BUFF @ PHILLY (-7.5) – Buff has been my go-to pick all year because I just like Buffalo. (And I’m not sure why really. Sure, I like Lee Evans and Tim Russert, who’s a huge Buffalo fan, but I’m still not sure. Maybe it’s because they are a small market, cold-weather team. Maybe it’s because I like eating buffalo meat). I do think Philly right now is the best non-playoff team in the league. Philly rolls in this one.

CINCY @ MIA (+2.5) – I have grown tired of Parcells and his ways. He will have an awfully difficult time NOT involving himself in GM/coaching roles. Has anyone ever noticed that he is just not fun to look at? He has a Mike Shermanesque body and he almost always has a scowl on his face (because he’s just been defensive about something).

SF @ CLEVE (-9.5) – Cleve needs this game and while they choked last week when they needed that game, I think they’ll get some revenge here on the poor SF. Now, this is assuming the quarterback with the highest winning percentage in NFL history is still having back problems and unable to play: the 2-0 Sean Hill.

DET @ GB (-3.5) – The Packers will win this one because McCarthy is pissed off about the Bears loss. Anyone else ticked off at the emphasis so many announcers (especially Aikman) put on the “Green” in Green Bay? Drives me nuts.

CAR @ TB (+2.5) – Tough game here. I can see Gruden coaching hard for a win for momentum sake, but Carolina has been a quality road team this year. TB is a pride-team though, so I have a hard time seeing Carolina winning here.

JAX @ HOU (-6.5) – Jax will go to the bench quickly in this one and no back-up corner can hang with Andre Johnson (even with the spice-man throwing to him).

SEA @ ATL (-2.5) – I would love to see Seattle lose by 30 so that their momentum for the playoffs might be in question. But that won’t happen, they’ll probably eke out a win and then crush whoever they face in the first round b/c of home-field advantage.

NO @ CHI (+2.5) – I want New Orleans because it may help wipe away the cocky, celebrating faces of the Bears players which I have come to resent.

STL @ ARI (-5.5) – Bulger apparently called Warner for advice on how to deal with his concussions and Warner told him to wait until he is ready to come back. There was seriously an article about this advice he gave this past week. Seriously. St. Louis here because that is lame/non advice. Warner is lame.

MIN @ DEN (+1.5) – Great quotes from Champ Bailey after Phillip Rivers trash-talked Jay Cutler. Read them here. Big game for MN, though a Wash loss at this point is unlikely.

SD @ OAK (+6.5) – Sapp is a moron. I’ll take Oakland here though as I think J-Marc may play so well that everyone begins to question why Oakland chose to waste a season NOT developing him.

PITT @ BALT (+5.5) – tough game – crack pick warning. McGahee is apparently out leaving Balt with officially zero offense. However, Roth will sit this one out and right now, several Ravens players apparently hate several Steelers. Taking Balt.

KC @ NYJ (-5.5) – blowout alert. Though there is the small side story of Edwards going back to NY for the first time, this game won’t be close. It will be Pennington’s last a Jet and he’ll go nuts. Great quarterbacks do that. By the way, why wouldn’t Chicago make a hard play for Pennington in the offseason?

DAL @ WASH (-7.5) – Sizeable spread here. I think Wash will win assuming Gibbs doesn’t break another rule costing 15 yards and eventually, the game. I will be rooting, however, for Wash to blowout Dal to leave Dal questioning a little bit how they have attained a rather lofty reputation despite some clear weaknesses.

TENN @ INDY (+6.5) – I know Indy will try hard to win this game. But Tenn has to win and I think Vince will have a huge game against a second-string defense. What happened to Jeff Fisher’s mullet? I miss that.