Wednesday, December 3, 2008

NFL picks week 14.

Stupid football. I am now 115-77-1 straight-up, and 113-80 against the spread. Last week, I was 11-5 straight up, and 10-6 ATS. If it weren't for the Broncos, I would be 192-0-1 straight up, and 193-0 against the spread. Alright, I'm making that up. I mean the Broncos and the Chargers. I HATE the Broncos this year! More than I do most years! Anyway, here are my picks for the upcoming week, which might be terrible. Or good.

Chargers - Raiders: OK, the Chargers suck this year. They are now done, in terms of making the playoffs, and they are playing out the string. But even a very half-assed effort from the Chargers is enough to beat Oakland, who are coming off an embarassing loss to the Chiefs. At home on Thursday in San Diego, the Chargers should win and cover the 10 points.

Chargers, 34-7. What a dominant effort. If the Chargers had played this way all year, they would be...5-8. Like they are. After all, this was the Raiders and you can't read anything into that at all. But I am calling for San Diego to win in the final week of the season against Denver. And the Raiders should probably not win again. This year, anyway. Off to a good start this week! So far so good!

Arizona - St. Louis: The Cardinals have lost two in a row, but the Rams have lost six. And Arizona should win the division this week with a victory over the hapless team from St. Louis, who have yet to win a game in their own division this year. However, 13 1/2 points is too much here, for a divisional game against a Rams team that runs hot and cold. Cards to win, Rams to cover.

Arizona, 34-10. Well, the Rams ran cold this week. Real cold. And the Cards managed to cover a monster spread. With the win, the Cardinals clich their division title, not so much because they are that good, but because they are in a division where the second best team is the Niners. The weakest division in football is the AFC West, but this one's pretty darn close.

Baltimore - Washington: This one is off the board right now, so I don't really know who is favoured, but I would assume it will be Baltimore. The Skins are a very good team, but going into Baltimore to play a Ravens team that is hitting on all cylinders right now is a tall task. And Washington has struggled a little of late. Take the Ravens to win, and cover whatever the spread may be.

Baltimore, 24-10. So, Baltimore won, and covered whatever spread there may have been. The Skins are sinking pretty fast, now in last place in their tough division. And although I'm still not totally sold on the Ravens, I think they are close to the elite teams, the Titans and the Giants and the Steelers and the Colts. But until they beat one of those teams, I won't be convinced. Tough finishing stretch of the season for the Ravens - they have Pittsburgh this coming weekend, and Dallas the week after that.

Buffalo - Miami: This is not really a home game for the Bills, what with the game being played in Toronto at the Rogers Centre. No one in Toronto has any specific allegiance to the Bills, and I would suspect that the game will be attended by an equal number of fans from each side. Who knows how the players will react to playing home games in a different city, but I don't think it matters. The Dolphins, quite simply, are a better team, and the Bills are tanking fast. Look for that to continue, as the Fish win here. The Bills are favoured by one point.

Miami, 16-3. The Dolphins are just a better team than the Bills. That's it. Since that incredible start, Buffalo has won one of their past eight. And that one was against Kansas City. The Bills could well lose each game between now and season's end. And Miami could - just possibly - make the playoffs! This has to be the most amazing turnaround of a football team I have ever seen in just one year.

Chicago - Jacksonville: The Bears are the better team this year. The Jaguars have been incredibly disappointing, but they are still capable of pulling out a huge game and beating a team like the Bears, even in Chicago. Bears are favoured by 6 1/2, and I think they will win, but I think the Jaguars have a shot, and they will cover.

Bears, 23-10. Well, the Jags didn't cover. They are just not going to ever live up to any pre-season expectations, and even if they do, they can't possibly go anywhere. The Bears are still in the hunt for a playoff spot, and they have a pretty good shot.

Denver - Kansas City: The Broncos make me furious. Every time they should get blown up (last week against the Jets, anyone) they win. Every time they should beat a team, they get blown up. (Oakland?) So this is Kansas City. Who are terrible. And Denver should destroy them. By this logic, I will take the Chiefs not only to cover the 9-point spread, but to win the game outright. I have not once been right about a Broncos game this year. This is the week!

Denver, 24-17. And I am still not right. Why? Because the Broncos hate me. They were down 17-7 in the third quarter. But they won, not because they should have, but because they want to make sure I am never right about them all year long. Whatever I pick next week, make sure to bet against that outcome. At least the Chiefs covered the spread. And if the Broncos totally tank, and the Chargers win out, the Broncos could miss the playoffs! I'm crossing my fingers...

Green Bay - Houston: The Packers are sub-.500. They are two games back of first in their division. And they have a tough hill to climb. But they DO finish the season in Lambeau against the Lions. And they DO have the Texans this week, which should help. Green Bay has beaten the teams they should beat whenever they have had a shot at it. They will win this game, covering the 6-point spread.

Texans, 24-21. And...the season ends with a whimper. This team makes no sense to me. Playing the Texans in exactly the same kind of back-and-forth, close contest they had with the Panthers last week? Letting them pass for 400 yards against the Pack's "good" pass defense? Forcing four, five turnovers, scoring 21 points off turnovers, and still losing the game? It's over. No playoffs for Green Bay. And I am sad.

Indianapolis - Cincinnatti: The Colts are looking pretty good, but not yet great. They have not, really, dominated a single team this year. And they have not covered the spread too often. The Bengals are terrible, and Indy will win this game, but the 13 1/2 spread is way too much. Bengals to cover.

Colts, 35-3. Now the Colts look great. Everyone on that team is stepping up at the right time to make a big contribution, and they are blowing out the teams that deserve to be blown out. The Bengals were one of those teams. And that spread was not too much, in fact it was not nearly enough.

Minnesota - Detroit: The Vikings could easily fall into a trap here - divisional game, in Detroit, and you have to think the Lions are going to win at least one this year. I think the Vikings should win this one, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Lions took it. Detroit played their best game of the year in Minnesota. There is no line now, and you have to take Minnesota to win - but Detroit to cover whatever the spread may end up being.

Minnesota, 20-16. I must confess - after the heart of the Vikings defensive line was suspended for this game, I called all my pool administrators and changed my pick to the Lions. And I fully stand by that pick. When I found out, moments before the game, that they had been reinstated, I didn't have time to change back. So I lost all of these points. But the Lions had to cover whatever that spread ended up being, at the very least.

New England - Seattle: The Patriots are beating the teams they should beat. Seattle is a team they should beat. Look for New England to make things interesting in their division by winning, covering the 5-point spread.

New England, 24-21. Think the Patriots are breathing a sigh of relief? The Seahawks played an awfully tough game against New England here, and Seattle was leading just about wire-to-wire. Things ARE interesting in the division now - three teams tied at 8-5.

New Orleans - Atlanta: The Saints are at home, and favoured by 3. New Orleans has been fantastic at home this year, but are still mired at 6-6, and have no playoff shot. The Falcons have a real shot, and need this win more. I will take the Falcons to win in the upset.

New Orleans, 29-25. The Saints offense was firing on all cylinders, their defense was missing on all cylinders. Thankfully for New Orleans, they were the last to score in this game, which went back and forth like crazy. The Falcons are still a better team than the Saints. Just not in New Orleans.

New York Jets - San Francisco: I am going to consider the Broncos game a blip. Because it's the Broncos, kings of the blip this year. And the Jets will want to re-establish their dominance against a weak rival. Yes, it's a cross country, west-coast game. But the Jets won't care, and they will cover the 4 point spread. Easily.

Niners, 24-14. Ummm...what? OK, the Broncos wasn't a blip. The Jets really, truly, aren't that good. They are not much better than the Patriots, and they might not even be as good as the Dolphins. Losing a big game, I can understand. Losing two straight after knocking off the Titans? One of them to the Niners? Look out, New York.

New York Giants - Philadelphia: The Eagles might be on track after that big win last week. They also have a few extra days to prepare for this one, and they always play the Giants very very tough. I think they will actually win this game, and shock New York. Giants are favoured by 7.

Eagles, 20-14. The Eagles are looking very, very good. Not only did they beat the Giants, they did so convincingly. For 3.9 quarters, they held the Giants scoreless, with the only TD coming off a blocked field goal. McNabb has that offense going, and has Michael Westbrook broken out? If so, look out Dallas.

Pittsburgh - Dallas: The Steelers are playing amazing football right now. So are the Cowboys, who have looked very good the last couple of weeks. But Dallas is notorious for fading down the stretch in December, and this Steelers team is too much for the Cowboys right now. Pittsburgh to beat the Cowboys, covering the 3-point spread.

Steelers, 20-13. What a game! Pittsburgh looked weaker on defense than they have all year, giving up more total yards and more rushing yards than they have yet this season. But it was their offense that bailed them out at the very end, scoring 10 points in the last seven minutes, and then the defense did what they were supposed to do, putting the cap on the whole thing with that TD interception return. I'm loving Troy Polamalu.

Tennessee - Cleveland: Poor Browns. Not only do they have to deal with the best team in the AFC, they also have to do so without their two top QBs, Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn. The Browns have no shot here, whatsoever. Titans to win, covering the 13 1/2. And then some.

Titans, 28-9. Titans covered, and then some. Really, this game was no test for the best team in the AFC, what with the third-string QB in for the Browns. The real test for this team will come in the final two weeks, when they host Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.

Carolina - Tampa Bay: These are the two top teams in the NFC outside the Giants. If it's in Tampa, the Bucs win. But it's in Carolina, and the Panthers will take it. The Panthers will run their record to 7-0 at home, and cover the 3-point spread that is up right now. This will, I think, be the best Monday night game of the year.

Panthers, 38-23. The Panthers are very, very good. And this wasn't the best Monday night game of the year, because the Panthers are absolutely dominant at home. And it looks pretty solid that they will be getting a home game in the playoffs this year, after earning that first-round bye. I don't see Tampa Bay coming back and overtaking them for the division, and who else is going to step in and take away that bye? Right. No one. Panthers are the second best team in the NFC.

127-81-1 straight up, 122-87 ATS.

No comments:

Post a Comment