Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More football goodness. Or, badness.

Washington -St. Louis: I don't think there will be a point spread big enough to cover this one. After the Skins beat the Eagles and the Cowboys in back-to-back weeks, there is a chance that there will be a letdown of sorts in this matchup. But it's a slim chance. And the Redskins must be considered Super Bowl contenders after their remarkable 4-1 start. The Rams are just awful. The Skins will win, and cover in a big way.

St. Louis, 19-17. That last-second field goal made me feel (and look) pretty stupid. What is the MATTER with the NFL this year? Every team that looks good for a moment all of a sudden has to serve notice that nope, we are NOT that good. We are in fact barely adequate. It would make sense to think that the Skins were just suffering a letdown after the two big wins in the previous weeks. But one would think that even with none of their players paying ANY attention to this game, they could still have beaten the lousy, lousy Rams. What's HAPPENING?

New Orleans - Oakland: The Saints looked pretty good against the Vikings on Monday night. Well, except for all those errors. And screw-ups. And so forth. Their offense is moving the ball well. Reggie Bush is on fire on the special teams. Their defense is OK. All the Saints need to do against a weak, lame duck opponent like the Raiders is to not totally screw up. And after that shameful loss last week, New Orleans will be looking for redemption, and they will get it. Saints win big, cover spread, hammer Oakland.

New Orleans, 34-3. I could not have predicted that the Saints would hold the Raiders to 3 points. That just didn't seem to be in the cards. But Reggie Bush, as well as being on fire on the special teams, appears to have caught fire on offense as well. Look out for the Saints, they could be a serious contender down the stretch.

New York Jets - Cincinnatti: The Jets are coming off a bye, well-rested, and also coming off that total destruction of the Cardinals two weeks ago. The Bengals continue, even with Carson Palmer, to be terrible. This will likely become another QB duel, the way it was last week with Kurt Warner, and the way Brett Favre is playing and connecting with his receivers, the Jets are likely to run this one up too. Cincinnatti is disappointing this year. Most people thought they would just be bad. The spread is six. I can't imagine the Jets winning by less than a TD.

New York Jets 26-14. Yep. The Jets were not going to lose by less than a TD. Favre wasn't going to throw for six TDs again, but he was certainly going to do enough to beat the Carson Palmerless Bengals. If Palmer ends up playing more games this year, Cincinnatti will win two games. If he doesn't, they will win one. This team is dreadful.

Minnesota - Detroit: This is more a condemnation of the Lions than it is an endorsement of the Vikings. I still love Adrian Peterson and that running game, and I'm still impressed by the Vikings run defense. The Lions have nothing going at all. Now, the spread right now is 13.5 on this game, in favour of Minnesota. And that is too much. This is, after all, a division game, anything can happen, and you have to believe that the Lions will be able to keep it closer than that.

Minnesota, 12-10. Yep. The Vikings are not that good. And yep, with the Lions playing this divisional game, they kept it awfully close. Minnesota had to kick that last-second field goal just to win this tight one. Neither one of these teams is going anywhere this season, it's just that Detroit is getting there faster.

New York Giants - Cleveland: Poor Browns. It looks like they've got it together a little, like they might well end up with a fairly decent season after all. And then, they meet the red-hot Giants, who could very easily lay a 40-point beating on them, and ruin their season. I think the Browns will keep it closer than that, but not close enough to cover the 7-point spread. Plaxico Burress is back, the Giants are flying.

Cleveland, 35 - 14. Poor Browns. It looks like they've got it together a lot. And still they have a sub - .500 record. Good lord, what is wrong with the NFL? Now the only unbeaten team is the...Kerry Collins-led Tennessee Titans? And the only two winless teams are the hapless Lions and the almost as hapless Bengals? What is happening?

Philadelphia - San Francisco: The Eagles are coming off two tough losses. I thought at the beginning of the season that they were a playoff team, but they ran into the Cowboys, who are still the class of the NFC, and the Redskins, who are looking like they are right there with the Cowboys all of a sudden. The Eagles need to win all their games out of their division if they want to make the playoffs, and they need to start with teams like the Niners. Without Brian Westbrook, 4.5 points is a bit much to give up here, but the Eagles should be fine.

Philadelphia, 40-26. Well, I would never have thought that the Eagles would have to come back in the fourth quarter, but they did. And then they kept pouring it on. Sloppy play like they showed in this game, however, could kill them against really good teams. And the Niners are not very good, as we all imagined.

Green Bay - Seattle: The Packers are better than their record, and Seattle is exactly as good as their record indicates. The Seahawks got absolutely destroyed by the Giants last week, and were exposed as an absolutely lousy team. The Packers aren't great, but they're still at least a .500 team, and Seattle is absolutely terrible. The Hawks are favoured by 2.5 here, because they are at home. I don't think that makes a difference any more, take Green Bay in the upset.

Green Bay, 27-17. Is this really an upset? I'm going to say no. Seattle IS as bad as they have seemed, and Mike Holmgren seemed content to run the conservative, running-game-and-defense game plan. Here's the problem with that. The Seahawks don't have a good running game. Or a good defense. And maybe the Packers ARE still the best team in the NFC South.

Carolina - Tampa Bay: Again, take the upset. Tampa Bay is favoured by 1.5 right now, again because they are at home. And Tampa is a good team. But the Panthers are looking, more and more, like a great team. They seem to be getting better with every game, and they are either solid or excellent in every phase of the game. The Buccaneers don't have the offense to compete here, and they really should not be favoured. Panthers in the upset.

Tampa Bay, 27-3. I don't know how I could have been more wrong about this one. The Panthers, who I just said were solid or excellent in every phase of the game, looked poor or abysmal in every phase of the game. I still don't think the Buccaneers are that good, but then again, now I don't think the Panthers are either.

Dallas - Arizona: The Cowboys are still the class of the NFC, and if the Cards want to be taken seriously this year as a playoff contender, they need to show it in this game. I think the Cowboys have enough to come out on top regardless of how well the Cardinals play, but Arizona will be up for this game, and they will keep it close. Take Dallas to win, Arizona to cover the 6.5.

Arizona, 30-24. The Cards DID show it. They need to be taken very, very seriously as a playoff contender. And they sure did cover. And then some. In fact, they won this game that by all rights they should have lost. Not because Dallas played better. In fact, the Cardinals really did look like the better team. But I must confess that despite picking the Cowboys to win outright, I still cheered for the Cards because I hate Dallas. And when Wisenhunt called that onside kick that backfired, I was livid. And at the end of the game, the offside penalty that put the Cowboys barely into field goal range drove me nuts. Then they block the kick, but Wisenhunt has...called time out? What? Are you TRYING to lose? Great OT play to win it, though!

Chicago-Atlanta: The Bears are starting to look like they may well be a good team. The Falcons are actually pretty good too. Both teams are 3-2. But Chicago is favoured IN Atlanta, and I think deservedly so. Kyle Orton actually looks like - dare I say it - the answer in Chicago? The fact is, the Bears are now the best team in the NFC North, and Atlanta was able to beat Green Bay in Green Bay. But barely. Bears in a squeaker.

Atlanta, 22-20. OK, I still think the Bears might be a pretty good team. But I now think the Falcons are a pretty good team too. And frankly, the Bears would have won this if they remembered that a football game is 60:00, and not 59:51. Come on, HOW do you let the Falcons come back with that bomb and field goal, after taking the lead with ELEVEN seconds left? What's the matter with the Bears? They may be a good team, but they are not a winning team yet.

Denver - Jacksonville: The Broncos are favoured by 3.5 right now. Which is fine...if their defensive showing of last week is for real. And the Jacksonville secondary is hurting, which means if they don't get better Jay Cutler can pick them apart. And although the Jaguars have underperformed in a big way so far this season, the Broncos have also overperformed. This could be the game where the balance tips back the other way. I would take the Broncos to win outright, simply because this game is in Denver. But against the points, I lean toward Jacksonville. Don't be surprised if the Jags win outright.

Jacksonville, 24-17. And the Jags DID win outright. The Broncos looked bad on defense again. I think last week was a blip, in that this terrible defense looked better than it is. And the Jaguars ARE a better team than the Broncos. In fact, they may well be one of the best teams in the AFC right now, simply because there aren't that many impressive ones.

Houston - Miami: Wow. After massive wins over New England and San Diego, the two finalists in the AFC last year, there is still no one taking the Fish seriously. This is NOT the team it was last year. And Houston is favoured by three points. At home, on the road, the Texans have been a pretty poor team this year. What with not having won a game. At all. The Dolphins could have a big comedown after those two monster victories, but I wouldn't bet on it. Which is why I'm betting on the Dolphins to win in an upset. If you can call it that. I'm stunned with myself. This is the first time in two full years that I have bet on Miami to win!

Houston, 29-28. OK. Miami at least covered the spread. But what a ballsy call, the QB draw on the last play of the game! Matt Schaub, I am not yet a believer, but I am a fan. The Texans could actually make something of this season if they build on this momentum. And the Dolphins could do the same if they stop playing up to the good teams and down to the bad ones. Them and the Redskins.

San Diego - New England: Am I reading this line right? The Chargers are favoured by six. Against a team that has lost two games in two years. The Patriots lose once this season and all of a sudden they're second-rate? What's happening here? Let's not forget, the Chargers could not have been taken by surprise by the Dolphins last week when they lost to them. And the Pats came back after their monster loss with a methodical, by-the-book, Belicheck style win over the Niners. It's in San Diego, and the Chargers have the talent to beat anyone. They are also very likely to turn up the juice when they play a truly tough opponent. And I do think San Diego could eke out a win here. I just don't think they will. The Patriots are 3-1. San Diego is 2-3. If New England wins, is upset?

San Diego, 30-10. Well, no upset. The line was right. And it looks as though New England is indeed a less powerful team, in a big way, without Tom Brady. And San Diego is able to turn it on seemingly at will. If only they had been able to do that at the very end of a couple of earlier games this year, they would be the team to beat in the AFC. Now, they're just another of the pretty good teams.

Indianapolis - Baltimore: For me, this is the toughest game of the week to call. It could be a massive blowout either way, it could also end 7-6. The Ravens have, over the past two weeks, played as well as a team can play, without winning. If it wasn't for a blown call this week, they would be 3-1. The Colts are a perplexing 2-2, coming off an even more perplexing victory over the Texans. Houston gave that one up, Indy did not go and get it. Which is why I think Baltimore will come out on top in this one. The Ravens will not give it away. The Colts are favoured by 4.5 at home, and that's certainly too much. I'm taking Baltimore in the upset.

Indianapolis, 31-3. Whoops. It looks like Peyton Manning might actually have it back together. Which means look out for the Colts in the coming weeks. Picking apart this defense is impressive, and Manning is back in form. Pick the Colts the next couple of weeks. And I have no idea how to think about Baltimore. Was this a case of Manning getting hot and picking apart a great defense, or was it a case of a great defense being exposed as not-so-great. Or, is it just the screwy, weirdo NFL doing it's thing? If Miami can blow out the Patriots, and the Skins can lose to St. Louis...or maybe I just suck.

So far, my record is 47-40 straight up, and 53-34 against the spread. If I finish this season better against the spread than I do straight up, it will be a first in betting history, and the final proof that all of this may as well be totally random.

1 comment:

  1. Eric, if you are going to make straight up selections... (I'm not faring much better and you know it) don't come out with your selections early in the week- wait until Saturday or Sunday morning when the injury report has already been released and the information is updated during the weekend. College Football is different because you have games Thursday, Friday, Saturday and other days during the week. Good Luck to you this weekend and every weekend from hereon out.