Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Football...again

My record on the year is now 56-45 straight up, 61-40 against the spread. And the NFL remains weird this year. But now, things appear to be settling down a little, and perhaps the next few weeks will be...regular? Here goes:

Baltimore - Oakland: The Ravens are pretty good, and although it was Miami, they made a statement this week. The Raiders played above their pay grade last week against the Jets. But the Raiders have been playing teams tough, win OR lose, and the Ravens are getting more than a TD (7.5) right now. Take Baltimore to win, the Raiders to cover.

Baltimore, 29-10. Well, that was not close. The spread, or the game. Ravens win big, cover by eleven points. The Raiders are still tough, but they just can't play with good teams. I am not surprised that the Baltimore defense gave up only 10 points to this anemic Raiders offense. But I would have thought their offense would be a little slower. 29 points is remarkable. Baltimore is one of the teams on that playoff bubble right now. Maybe they're good enough to make the playoffs, maybe they aren't. Too early for a definitive verdict right now.

Washingon - Detroit: The Skins are not as good as they seem. But the Lions are as bad as they seem. The Skins are unlikely to look past Detroit, after a few alarm bells sounded in the past couple of weeks. So I will take Washington to beat the Lions, cover the 7.5 point spread, and demoralize Detroit even more than they already are.

Redskins, 25-17. And the Skins did indeed cover the spread. By a half point. For a while there, at the beginning, it looked as though the Lions came to play. And maybe for a while, Washington did indeed look past this game. But eventually, the world settled into it's proper rhythm, and the Redskins took the game. I don't think, however, that the Lions were demoralized by the game. (I wouldn't know for sure though - the stupid game was stupid blacked out in Ottawa. Because we might drive down to Detroit to actually watch.)

Buffalo - Miami: Yes, it's a divisional game, and the Dolphins are far better than they were last year. But their brief run of great play appears to be over, and the Bills looked really, really good against the Chargers this week. You don't look past the division games, Buffalo will not look past this one, and the Fish will lose their third straight.

Dolphins, 25-16. OK. The Fish ARE much better than they were last year. And they're much better than I predicted last week. And who knows? With a little luck and a bit of toughness, they could make the playoffs in this suddenly weak division!

New York Jets - Kansas City: Who would have thought the Jets would lose to the Raiders? Not me, anyway...Favre looks to be struggling a little, and until he snaps out of it and really gets it together, I can't take the Jets to cover this spread (which stands at 12.5). I also can't take the Chiefs to win, because they are still just awful. Jets to win, Kansas City to cover.

Jets, 28-24. Well, Favre DID snap out of it. A little. Still threw some bad passes, got a little lucky that there weren't more interceptions, but he also threw a couple of very impressive TD passes and he carried the offense. And the Chiefs played well against a below-average Jets defense. New York did win, Kansas City did cover, boy was I ever right.

New England - St. Louis: The Patriots are not that good. Their defense has come down some from last year, and without Brady, their offense is weak. Wait, what? They put up 41 on the Broncos? Well...the Broncos defense is awful. They held them to seven points? Oh...the Rams have had two great weeks in a row, but they surprised the Skins and caught the Cowboys in total disarray. Stephen Jackson can't beat the Patriots on his own, and St. Louis can't beat New England in Foxboro. There is no line on this game right now.

Patriots, 23-16. No, St. Louis can't beat New England in Foxboro. But the Rams have come to life under Jim Haslett. I have no idea what that man said to this team, but I really think that had this game been in St. Louis, the Rams would have come out on top. Stephen Jackson did not play, in the end, but it wouldn't have mattered. The Patriots are now a team that has no choice but to focus hard on the weak opponents, to get the wins when they have a chance. That is the only way they will make the playoffs.

Tampa Bay - Dallas: Even with Tony Romo at full health, I think the Cowboys are in such trouble right now they would not beable to win this game. Tampa Bay has been playing very well, and even with a weakened Dallas team, they are not going to take this one lightly. It remains a statment game for the Buccaneers, serving notice that they are one of the best teams in the NFC, and a real contender. I look for them to play lights-out and win big.

Cowboys, 13-9. Well, the Bucs' defense played lights-out. But then, so too did their offense. What is up with the Cowboys defense finally realizing that they need to win the game themselves? This Cowboys offense is dysfunctional, it's dreadful, but this defense ought to still be one of the powers in the league. And they showed in this game that they still have the capacity to be that. Or, maybe, Tampa Bay DID take this game lightly. But I don't think so. I was so, so wrong.

Carolina - Arizona: The Panthers had a blip, but look to have righted the ship. The Cardinals are quite good, but I believe they are not up to the standards of the Panthers, not yet anyway. Carolina at home will win this game. They won't run away with it, but they will win. I'm taking Carolina by three, Arizona to cover the spread that currently stands at 4.5.

Panthers, 27-23. Oh, so close. I thought Carolina would win by three. And they won by four. Cards did cover that spread, Panthers did win. Can I BE any more right? Well, except for the score. The Panthers ARE this good, and the Cardinals ARE good enough to have a chance to beat them. Both teams should make the playoffs, but only the Panthers will be a true Super Bowl contender.

Houston - Cincinnatti: Here is my upset pick of the week. The Bengals have to win at least one this year, and here is one of their better opportunites. The Texans didn't look terribly impressive this week, letting the Lions get back into the game late. The Bengals are better than the Lions, and they are due. Besides, the spread is 10 points, way too much for a Texans team that could go either way.

Houston, 35-6. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. This was what should have happened, and it did. The Texans are much better than the Bengals, and they certainly didn't look past this game. Helped out by a kick return early, Houston dominated in every phase of the game. And the Bengals are getting worse and worse.

Philadelphia - Atlanta: The Eagles need to make a move, and they need to do it now. The Redskins have come back down to earth after losing to the Rams. The Cowboys are in a complete shambles, after...losing to the Rams. Atlanta is pretty good all of a sudden, but the Eagles are much better, and they are at home. Eagles win, Eagles cover the spread, Falcons wait until next week.

Eagles, 27-14. The Eagles DID make a move. Doesn't the addition of Brian Westbrook help this team? Philadelphia looks like they are focused now, and they locked in during the second half of this game and kept the Falcons away. Atlanta is still a pretty good team, but they are certainly not at the level of a healthy Philadelphia team, and there is no way they'll make the playoffs in a tough division.

Jacksonville - Cleveland: Here are two Jekyll-and-Hyde teams. The Jaguars play great against good teams, and terrible against bad ones. The Browns are an average team. So...I think perhaps the Jaguars can pull this one out? Maybe even without Matt Jones? Jacksonville wins, Cleveland covers the 6.5 spread.

Clevleland, 23-17. Well, the maybe went the other way. The Browns beat the Jaguars, who ARE a better team than they are. Cleveland sure covered the spread, and then some. There is a chance, albeit a slim one, that this is the game that might create a turnaround in the Browns season, and send them off on a winning streak. But this is the 2008 NFL, and there is a pretty good chance that the game won't mean anything, to any team.

Pittsburgh - New York Giants: Pick 'em. It's in Pittsburgh, so the Steelers are favoured by 2.5 points. Read nothing into the Pittsburgh victory this week, it was against a terribly opponent. Then again, the Giants didn't look particularly impressive in beating a weak Niners team either. Take the Steelers, and the points.

Giants, 21-14. OK. The Steelers should have won this game. They're up by two points late, and then they snap the ball over the kicker's head, through the end zone, give up the safety, and let the Giants tie the game. Then, demoralized, they let New York march the length of the field and score the go-ahead TD. For a team that played some amazing defense early, Pittsburgh sure looked like a team that wanted to lose late. But these teams look to be pretty evenly matched, and look for them to both be in the thick of things come playoff time. As long as Roethlisberger doesn't keep throwing four picks a game.

Tennessee - Indianapolis: The Colts are not the team they once were. But they are still THE COLTS, and the second major test for the Titans this season. Tennessee will want to put the boots to them right away, and they will. That defense is terrific, the offense is competent, and the running game is fantastic right now. Titans to win, Titans to cover, Colts to cry and go home.

Titans, 31-21. The statement has been made. Power has shifter in the NFL. Most of it, of course, has shifted to the NFC. But in the AFC, the new team to beat is Tennessee, and this is the game that makes this so. Now, the result here is more about the Colts not being up to their usual standards, rather than the Titans becoming a truly great team, but it was the one game the Titans wanted most of all, and they went out and took it.

San Francisco - Seattle: San Francisco didn't wait until their bye week to fire their coach. But who really thinks changing a coach right now will help this team? They are bad. Then again...look at St. Louis. But here's how it will work. Either the new coach will do nothing to spark the team, and they will be the same team they were last week, and they will beat the Seahawks. Or, the new coach will light a Rams-style fire under their collective asses, and they will handily beat the Seahawks. Seattle is rotten, and they are done. Niners win, cover spread.

Seahawks, 34-13. Is that...a sign of life? In Seattle? Did the offense finally get going? Did the defense finally string together a couple of good performances? Or is this just another of those blip games we have seen so often this season?

San Diego - New Orleans: A true pick-'em game. First of all, it is not in North America. It is in London, England. Which means that either team could be adversely affected, moreso than the other team, by the travel experience. Or one team could be positively affected. Or neither. Or both. Both teams are schizophrenic this year, and San Diego tends to play better against good teams. The Saints are a good team. But then, so was Buffalo last week...the Saints were hammered by a very good team...and they don't have Reggie Bush this week...who knows? It could be a Chargers blowout. It could be a New Orleans blowout. This is such a toss up that I actually flipped a coin. Chargers to win, and cover their three points. That's what my coin said.

Saints, 37-32. Stupid coin. What does it know? Drew Brees played terrific football, as he's done all season. The Saints defense didn't play very well, but they didn't have to given the play of this high-flying offense, which has been firing on all cylinders for some time now. But can you believe that even with that amazing offense doing all those amazing things, the Saints are still only 4-4? Even more amazing, the Chargers still have as much if not more talent than any other team, and they are 3-5!

I am now 63-52 straight up, 68-47 ATS.

2 comments:

  1. Hey Eric, your missing a game because there was 102 games played thus far. My record is... (56-46) I didn't pull a Bachman Turner Overdrive: (60+ wins from week six to week ten) you're right man in saying that the NFL is weird this year. Here's hoping that 2009 will be a better year.

    I just want to comment on a few of your picks: Are you projecting Carolina to win by three points against Arizona?? Are you serious? Arizona is horrible on the East Coast and it is still the first half of the season. Bengals over the Texans? Not this week. Though, I think that the Bengals have a better shot at home against the Jaguars next week where Cincinnati might be able to catch Jacksonville asleep after playing Cleveland this weekend. Right now on the Ontario Pointspread lottery, the Chargers & Steelers are listed as three point favourites. (this will probably change on Friday) Common Sense dictates that you ALWAYS pick a team to win when someone is favoured by three points in an NFL game, so both the Chargers & Steelers are good picks. I would not question the rest of your picks and good luck to you buddy on your straight up and ATS selections this weekend Eric.

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  2. Hi Eric. The WSH-DET game couldn't be seen on regular (analog) cable because the FOX station signal that we get comes from Detroit. However if you have access to NFL Sunday Ticket, blacked out Detroit Lions home games are available in the Ottawa area as there are no blackouts of any NFL games in Ottawa through the Sunday Ticket package, just a heads up for future reference.

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