Wednesday, November 5, 2008

NFL picks once more.

It is easier for me to write this stuff down ahead of time, so I can reference back to it rather than having to look stuff up from a bunch of different sources. In no way am I recommending that you follow my advice here, because it has so far been rather terrible, as far as advice goes. So you can, if you like, follow along and feel good about yourself in comparison to me.

Cleveland - Denver (Thursday night): Five weeks ago, this would have been a no-brainer in Denver's favour. Now, I think it is a no-brainer the other way. The Broncos are, truly, awful. However, Brady Quinn is going to be getting the start at QB for the Browns, and who knows how well he's going to play? As far as I'm concerned though, it doesn't matter how well he plays. Denver is not good enough to win in Cleveland. Or in Denver right now, for that matter. Browns are favoured by 3, they should cover that easily.

Denver, 34-30. Well, I'm pretty wrong. With Cleveland up by 13 late, I thought this one was over. The Broncos were not playing well at all, the Browns were playing well enough to hold them off, and this game looked to be done. But one long (I believe fluky) 94-yard pass, a fumble, and a dropped pass cost the Browns. The whole game. The team that played great, took advantage of the Broncos mistakes, was moving the ball seemingly at will, gave this game away entirely. I still think Denver sucks. But I also think the Browns are their own worst enemy.

Atlanta - New Orleans: A tough call for me. The Saints can light it up when they get on a roll, and they could easily win this one by 15. Then again, Atlanta looks awfully good on defense and their offense is coming along, so they could win this by 15. There is no line on this game right now, so I'm going to take the Falcons, simply because they have yet to win in their own division, and putting some distance between themselves and the Saints is imperative.

Atlanta, 34-20. Well, I'm pretty right. It was about time the Falcons won in their own division, and they are actually ready to take the division lead and keep it all the way through to the playoffs. Well. If their division didn't contain the Panthers, who are awesome. This, in other words, is a prediction that the Buccaneers will fall off after their bye. Falcons do, however, have an outside chance at the playoffs. It looks like the Saints are done.

Carolina - Oakland: Lock of the week. The Raiders have thrown in the towel, and even though they are home and the Panthers have not played well on the road yet this year, I will take Carolina to run it up big on Oakland. Even more than the 9 point spread I see today.

Carolina, 17-6. And...I'm right again. The Raiders really are as awful as we assume they are. The Panthers are as good as we think they are. This game could well have been as lopsided as the Jets game. Panthers clearly cover the spread, and win big. I think, given the rough inter-divisional games the NFC East will see, that Carolina has a good chance at home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Houston - Baltimore: The Texans are favoured by one, mostly I think because they have played very well at home this year. But the Ravens are a better team, they are on a 3-game win streak, and they have played reasonably well on the road. Houston can't match up, really, and I think Baltimore will take this one. A really mild upset if they do.

Baltimore, 41-13. Well, I never get sick of being right. This was a very, very mild upset, despite the massive point differential. The Ravens really are a better team than the Texans, and Houston will have to wait at least two more years to be really competitive. The Ravens have a real shot (an outside one, I still think) at the playoffs this year.

Jacksonville - Detroit: In my opinion, Jacksonville is the second-most disappointing team this year, next to the Chargers. They have lost two in a row, against teams which I predicted they would beat. They are now 3-5 and the playoffs appear to be slipping away, and they actually can't afford to look past the Lions. Detroit, on the other hand, has lost eight in a row this year. Without winning one. And they won't win this one. But they will cover the 9 1/2 spread, because they are coming on enough to keep some games close. And who knows - Jacksonville could completely crash and actually lose this one. They won't, but they could.

Jacksonville, 38-14. The Jaguars are STILL the second-most disappointing team this year. However, they are more than enough team to beat the Lions. Detroit, mind you, did not have enough in the tank to cover the spread in this one, mostly because the Jaguars finally put together a complete game. If they can continue to do so, Jacksonville could still contend for the playoffs.

Miami - Seattle: The Seahawks look as though they are coming on. A little bit. Of course, they were hammered by the Eagles, but the Eagles are very very good. The Dolphins are just pretty good. Which means Seattle should cover the 9-point spread. But the Dolphins should win nonetheless, because Seattle sure isn't there yet.

Miami, 21-19. The Dolphins are really taking advantage of their last-place schedule this year, aren't they? Not only are they playing teams that ought to be awful, they are playing teams that are suddenly bad. Like the Seahawks, who are playing far below their level in every game. There was no reason for a 9-point spread here, and Seattle showed that, but they couldn't convert on that two-point conversion, and that made all the difference. It may have taken a last-second knockdown for Miami to make it, but they are now 5-4 and in the thick of the chase for their division lead. Don't look now, but the AFC East has the second-best record of any division in football, with no .500 or sub-.500 teams.

New York Jets - St. Louis: The Rams looked as though they could have some real fight in them as they beat two superior teams in back-to-back weeks. Then they lost to two inferior teams in back-to-back weeks. Now they play a mediocre team, who have looked good the last two weeks and looked decent on the road. Jets to win, Rams to cover the way-too-big 8-point spread.

Jets, 47-3. OK, maybe that 8-point spread was way-too-small. Who would have thought the Jets would put 40 on the Rams in the first half? Or that the Rams would look so terribly overmatched? Not me, I guess. And perhaps, there is a chance, that the Jets are not in fact mediocre. They are now in the lead in the second-most powerful division in football.

Minnesota - Green Bay: Sure, it's in Minnesota. And the Vikings are much better at home than they are on the road. But the Packers are a much better team, despite identical 4-4 records. This stretch for the Pack (Vikings and Bears) could be the deciding factor in their season. And considering the terrific show they put on against the Titans, I don't see them losing either of those two games. Packers to win, and upset. Vikings are favoured by 2 1/2.

Vikings, 28-27. Wwll, I would take Green Bay, and their terrific kicker, to make that 52-yarder at the end of the game nine times out of ten. So I am not that despondent about this game. Frankly, Adrian Peterson is a monster in the Metrodome, and put up almost 200 yards against the Pack. Which looks bad on Green Bay, but their pass defense remains as good as ever, they are still a well-balance offense, and they stayed in the game until the end. In fact, they were in a very good position to win it, and they ARE a better team than the Vikes. Packers covered the spread, and I was right there. But they lost, and I was wrong there.

New England - Buffalo: The Bills are struggling some, having lost two in a row. Both teams are tied (with the Jets) for top spot in the East, but New England seems to have figured out how to win without Brady, last week's loss to the Colts notwithstanding. Patriots are favoured by 4 1/2, which is too much, but look for them to win by a field goal or less. The Bills, it should be said, are also winless in their own division.

New England, 20-10. New England has, indeed, figured out how to win without Brady. This was a complete effort on both sides of the ball, and that long, excruciating drive to break the back of the Bills in the fourth was a thing of beauty. Haha. Break the Back of the Bills. Some nice alliteration there. The Patriots have to, once again, be considered the class of the AFC East, a division with four teams with winning records.

Philadelphia - New York Giants: These, I believe, are the top two teams in the NFC. Since the Cowboys fell off, the Skins lost at home to Pittsburgh, and the Panthers are still sub-.500 on the road. With the Giants coming into Philly, I think the Eagles have the edge, simpy by virtue of this being a home game. They are favoured by 3, which I think is a bit much. So Giants to cover, Eagles to squeak one out at home.

Giants, 36-31. Well, the Giants did cover. And then won the game. I still think the Eagles are the second-best team in the East. But it's clear the Giants are still a step above all the other teams in this division. I think there is a chance the Panthers are as good as the Giants, but we won't know that for sure until the season ends.

Pittsburgh - Indianapolis: There is no line on this as I type. Notwithstanding the Indy victory over the Patriots this week, the Steelers are better than the Patriots right now, Roethlisberger or no Roethlisberger. Wow. Try typing that one twice in a row after drinking a little. I think the Steelers have to be favoured at home, whether the Colts are genuinely resurgent or not.

Indianapolis, 24-20. Well, I'm wrong. The Colts may well be back. They have won two tight, tense games late in the fourth, and that is impressive in itself. The Steelers still look great on defense, with a massive pass rush and some good run D, but it wasn't enough against the suddenly resurgent Colts. AFC, look out!

San Diego - Kansas City: Does anyone remember that the Chargers are sadly over-rated this year? Anyone? The spread on this game is 13.5. Thirteen and a half points for a team that currently sits at 3-5, having lost 2 games in a row. Against teams whose talent does not match up. Possibly excepting New Orleans, who have also been disappointing. Chargers ought to win this one, the Chiefs are terrible, but not by two TDs. Take KC to cover the spread. Not that you should take my advice. That's just who I'm taking.

San Diego, 20-19. I get why the Chiefs went for two. I really do. When you are that bad, you take every chance you get to straight-up Win The Game, thanks Herm Edwards. But I didn't get this channel today. I was watching the end of the Packers game, and I saw the score in this one, with 30 seconds to go, change from 20-13 Chargers to 20-16 Chargers. I went nuts, throwing things at the TV. What kind of moron would go for the field goal in that situation? Are you trying to cover the spread? It turns out the wrong score was put up, and this never took place. So kudos, Chiefs, you gave San Diego a run for their money. And give it up, Chargers, you are done. Chiefs cover spread and then some, San Diego squeaks out a win to go to 4-5, and boy am I ever right once again.

Tennessee - Chicago: I like the Bears at home, I really do. The Bears are 3-1 at home, they have played much better at Soldier Field than they have elsewhere...but then, the Titans are 3-0 on the road. And 5-0 at home. They are 8-0 on the season, and they are much, much better than Chicago. Look for this game to end with the Bears tied for the lead in the NFC South with a record of 5-4. Titans to cover the three points.

Tennessee, 21-14. And I'm right again. The Titans were going to cover the three, of course they were. And the Bears are indeed tied for the division lead in the NFC North, although it's with the Vikings instead of the Packers, as I had anticipated. The Bears are a pretty good team, but I still believe that Green Bay is the best team in this division, and they will rise to the top by the end of the season. The Titans won't face a truly elite challenger until Week 16 and 17, but they better watch out at Jacksonville next week.

Arizona - San Francisco: OK. I want to call the Niners in an upset here. Division game, Niners can play a great game...but Kurt Warner is just playing too well right now to discount. He will rack up the yards and the points for the Cards. But their defense will give up a fair amount as well. Niners to cover the 9.5, Arizona to win outright.

Arizona, 29-24. Nice to end the week with a correct prediction. But man, what a finish! The Niners have the capacity to upset a team like the Cardinals, even some teams that are better than Arizona. But when it comes down to the final play of the game, and San Fran must convert to win, I will bet against them every time. Sean Hill kept trying, as best he could, to throw the game away, getting picked off at big moments. The fact that the Niners even had a chance toward the end is a testament to the fact that Arizona is also incapable of putting a game away late.

I am now 81-64 straight up, 87-57 against the spread.

1 comment:

  1. I see that your selections for Week Ten are slightly different from mine.

    Just a few comments on some of this week's games:

    Denver can still throw the deep ball, the Cleveland defense is gawd awful. Both teams look awful so I'd give up on both of these teams for this season. I would still take Denver in a yawnfest. I agree with your selection of the Ravens but only because of Mr. Stupid... Sage Rosenfels who is starting in place of Matt Schaub who is injured for 2-4 weeks.

    On the NFC North, it is hard to predict what will happen in that division but one thing I know for sure is that should the Minnesota Vikings lose at home against Green Bay, the Vikings are cooked unless they happen to steal victories at either Tampa Bay and/or Jacksonville. The Bears are in big trouble if Rex Grossman has to fill in for the currently injured Kyle Orton. I'd say your Packers are in good shape provided that Aaron Rodgers plays well and his shoulder doesn't get banged up too much. Sometimes I ask myself, should the NFL make the playoffs the top 8 teams in each conference (regardless of where a team stands in their division) makes the playoffs based on overall conference record? Thoughts?

    Anyway, good luck to you with your selections and it should get better now that we're in the second half of the season.