Thursday, October 22, 2009

Football picks week seven

I am sitting at 60-30 straight up, 50-40 Against The Spread. Not great so far.

Chicago at Cincinnati (1.5): The Bears are coming back down to earth after a quick start. The Bengals lost a head-scratcher last week. The Bengals haven't played well at home, the Bears haven't played well on the road. I am going to assume the Texans had one of their "on" games last week, and that the Bengals remain a better team than the Bears. But only just. Bengals, 22-20. Verdict (Bengals, 45-10): I don't know how many people would have seen this coming. The Bengals are good, but not this good. I think this says more about the Bears than it does about Cincy. The Bears may not be nearly as good as I thought they were.

Green Bay (7) at Cleveland: The Browns are awful. Just awful. And now a bunch of them have the flu and might be out for Sunday's game. I'll be in Cleveland to watch this one, and I had better get a win out of my Packers! Packers, 27-14. Verdict (Packers, 31-3): A solid effort from the Packers against a really, really weak team. Browns fans have come to terms with the fact that their team is simply awful. The stadium was half-empty at half-time.

San Francisco at Houston (3): A tough call for me. The Texans look like world-beaters one week, then like chumps the next. The Niners looked great for a while, then looked simply dreadful. I think Mike Singletary will have them up for this game, and I think the Texans will sag after yet another promising win. Niners, 23-18. Verdict (Texans, 24-21): This time, the Jeckyl-and-Hyde Texans showed up - in the same game. Houston jumped out to a big early lead, then let the Niners claw their way back into it, just barely managing to hold on. Perhaps that gets the weak effort out of their system, and next week they will be the Good Texans again.

San Diego (5) at Kansas City: I really thought the Chargers would be up for the Broncos, knowing they needed that win. But they weren't. And the Chiefs have looked better every single week. They are still nowhere in the league of San Diego, and I think they'll have a little letdown after their first victory of the season. But it won't be a big one. Chargers, 27-21. Verdict (Chargers, 37-7): Is this the Great Chargers Team that was supposed to show up early in the season? It's tough to tell against KC, but the Chiefs have indeed been coming on and playing better and San Diego humiliated them. Maybe the Chargers have finally snapped out of it. Maybe.

Minnesota (4) at Pittsburgh: I really hate to go against an undefeated team. But the Vikings are on the road, they have just managed to squeak out a couple of wins, including their last one, and the Steelers have won three in a row. With Troy Polamalu healthy, that makes Favre a little less dangerous. Then again, the Vikings have that last-second magic and the Steelers have been awful in the fourth quarter. This one comes down to the wire. Steelers, 21-20. Verdict (Steelers, 27-17): Finally, the Steelers were able to put a team away in the 4th quarter. And finally, the Vikings looked human in the 4th. But a great effort from both teams and both still look terrific. Here come the Steelers!

Indianapolis (13.5) at St. Louis: The Rams have been playing teams tough of late, covering a lot of spreads and making things interesting. They are still awful though, and they have been playing mediocre teams at best. The Colts are no mediocre team. Colts, 33-17. Verdict (Colts, 42-6): There was never any doubt, was there? The Rams are better than Tampa, or the Browns. But they are simply no match for the elite teams, and right now the Colts are the best team in football.

New England (15) at Tampa Bay: This tends to be the part of the season where great teams become complacent and weird upsets start shocking them (witness the Raiders and Eagles last week). But the Patriots only recently became a great team again and they still have early-season focus. I think the 59-0 blowout is not something to get that excited about - it was in the snow, the Titans are awful, and they gave up pretty early on. But the Bucs are the worst team in football. Patriots, 27-6. Verdict (Patriots, 35-7): Lots of blowouts this week! I wonder if the fans in London were as bored with this foregone conclusion of a game as we were with our similar one in Cleveland!

Buffalo at Carolina (no line): Not exactly a gimme. The Panthers are not the team they were last year. And the Bills are coming off a very surprising, very big win. But I think that win said more about the Jets than it did about the Bills, and I can't imagine Carolina letting Buffalo punch them in the mouth at home. Panthers, 23-14. Verdict (Bills, 20-9): Carolina let Buffalo punch them in the mouth, at home. I now give up officially on the Panthers. Jake Delhomme is throwing a lot of interceptions against suspect secondaries. Then again, the Bills have picked off a lot of passes the past two games. Maybe they're coming on? I doubt it.

New York Jets (6.5) at Oakland: The Jets are falling, and fast. This will be one ugly game if Mark Sanchez can't turn things around, and we could see a competition between Sanchez and JaMarcus Russell for Worst Starting QB In the League honours. Well, when Derek Anderson isn't around. I think that last week the Jets showed that they were not an elite team. And the Raiders got lucky when the Eagles laid a huge egg. So I will take the Raiders to cover. But I can't quite see them winning outright. Jets, 14-12. Verdict (Jets, 38-0): I certainly didn't see the Jets defense coming back to pitch a shutout. In the end, I think all this game tells us is that the Bills are much better than the Raiders. But then, I knew that.

Atlanta at Dallas (3.5): I don't, for one second, believe Dallas is an elite team. But I am tempted to say the Falcons are one. Atlanta has looked very, very good in their last few games, while the Cowboys have fallen more in my estimation every week. Falcons, 33-23. Verdict (Cowboys, 37-21): Remember Tony Romo? That guy who plays quarterback? He showed up today. That guy is way, way better than the Tony Romo who throws interceptions. When he's around, the Cowboys can beat almost anyone. Even the Falcons.

New Orleans (7) at Miami: The Dolphins are better than their record would indicate. And that wildcat will confuse the Saints defense. But the Saints offense is, quite simply, unstoppable. They will not stop. And they will win big. Saints, 38-29. Verdict (Saints, 46-34): I watched most of this game at a bar in Cleveland. When I got to the bar, the Saints had fallen into a big, big hole thanks to the wildcat which did, indeed, confuse their defense. And I don't know if anyone watching this game remembers it as a double-digit blowout win for the Saints. Brees has to get the ball eventually, and then he will not be stopped. Saints are resilient, as well as powerful. That doesn't bode well for the rest of the NFC.

Arizona at New York Giants (7): The Cardinals are looking good again, and the Giants had a major setback last week. But I think that Saints loss will smart, a lot, and the Giants will come into this game looking to make a statement. New York, at home, I'm taking it. Giants, 28-17. Verdict (Cardinals, 24-17): I'm sure the Saints loss still smarts. But I'll bet this one feels worse. The Cardinals played a tough, hard-hitting game and looked like the better team. And the tougher team. And the more dangerous team. A very impressive effort.

Philadelphia (7) at Washington: Who should be more embarassed after last week? Well, the Eagles. They are a vastly superior team to the Redskins, and have much more to play for this season. They will rebound nicely, and batter the Skins the way they ought to. Eagles, 33-10. Verdict (Eagles, 27-17): The Eagles are still an elite team, despite their loss to the Raiders. But they ought to be able to put a team like the Redskins away once they go up by 17 points. Also, they need to figure out how to put together a solid four quarters of football. But they will. Oh - and figure out their wildcat, and how properly to use Michael Vick. That's about it.

I was 9-4 straight up this week, and 8-4-1 against the spread. Making me 69-34 overall, and 58-44-1 against the spread. Better this week.

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