Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NFL picks week 5

So far...44-18 straight up, 37-25 against the spread. Decent spread numbers, terrible straight up numbers (given the high win totals by most people this season).

Cincinatti at Baltimore (8.5): I think Baltimore had a really tough time against the Patriots because by the fourth quarter, they were afraid to touch Tom Brady. There was also that Clayton drop...As long as the Ravens are not afraid to touch Carson Palmer, they will be just fine. But not 8.5 points fine. The Bengals are unbeaten on the road and tied for the division lead with Baltimore. It will be a closer game than that. Ravens, 24-17. Verdict (Bengals, 17-14): Once again, the Ravens were the victims of some questionable officiating down the stretch. But they should be able to put these games away before it comes to that. The Bengals have been amazing in that they have been able to hang in with tough teams and pull out the victory in the end. The Bengals are for real.

Cleveland at Buffalo (no line): The Bills are just awful. But the Browns have to be worse, don't they? I would seriously think about taking Cleveland were this game in Cleveland. But since it's in Buffalo, I will take the Bills. And hold my nose. And not watch this terrible game at all. By the way - October 18th at Tail Gators I will be giving away a Bills jersey in a game of Xbox at half time. Well, if I lose. And I might not. The Browns might not lose this week. But they will. Bills, 30-27. Verdict (Browns, 6-3): They are both awful teams, that's for sure. I still think the Browns are worse, but who cares? They are awful and this game was awful and there was no reason at all to watch it.

Washington at Carolina (3.5): 3.5 points for a winless team over a two-win team? Well, yes. Carolina has lost to some good teams, while Washington has barely eked out victories over the worst of the worst. The Panthers are by no means 0-3 bad (but they are bad) and the Skins are by no means 2-2 good (they are much worse). Panthers, 21-13. Verdict (Panthers, 20-17): The Panthers are still bad. But the Skins are worse. Washington is in for a long, tough season. I thought there was a good chance both the Skins and Dallas would lose this weekend. The Cowboys won, but there are going to be two pretty weak teams in the NFC East this season.

Pittsburgh (10.5) at Detroit: Is Pittsburgh's new running game for real? Can they actually get it done without Willie Parker? These questions will not be answered against the Lions. But the Steelers get a free game to work out any kinks that might have cropped up, and get everything running smoothly. Look for them to do that about midway through the first quarter. Steelers, 30-17. Verdict (Steelers, 28-20): The Lions have a lot more pride of late, and they were able to hang in this game and pull to within one score late. But the Steelers were able to work out some problems, and when Polamalu gets back and is 100%, they will again be an elite team.

Dallas (8.5) at Kansas City: Frankly, I think playing this game on the road is a blessing for Tony Romo. He is getting crucified at home, and rightly so. I really think he just isn't, and never will be, a top-tier quarterback. I will always take a weak NFC team over a bad AFC team (and I think the Cowboys are a weak team, if not Washington bad), but I think the Chiefs can cause Romo enough problems to keep it close. I think a team of 14-year-olds can cause Romo problems. Dallas, 17-14. Verdict (Cowboys, 26-20 OT): This was pretty darn close. The Chiefs are still a dreadful team, but in pushing the Cowboys to overtime, they exposed many weaknesses in big D. Dallas will have a very rough season if they can't snap out of this funk.

Oakland at New York Giants (16.0): Seriously? The last three weeks, the Giants have played the Buccaneers, the Chiefs and now Oakland. What a tough stretch! None of those games has shown us how good the Giants really are. The one great thing about New York, though, is that they have not played down to those weak opponents. They have beaten them, and soundly. This can't help but continue with the Raiders. Giants, 34-13. Verdict (Giants, 44-7): Even with David Carr in at QB at the end of the game, their offense looked terrific, and the defense is the best in football.

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia (no line): Here's a gimme. No line, as the powerful Eagles come off the bye week to face what might be the worst team in football. And it's at home. Were there a spread, I would imagine it would be even larger than that of the Giants game. Eagles, 42-10. Verdict (Eagles, 33-14): With McNabb back, the Eagles are one of the most complete teams in football. Their two games with the Giants later this season might determine home field advantage in the NFC. Or, they might knock each other off and allow the Saints or Vikings to take it.

Minnesota at St. Louis (no line): Here's another gimme. Rush Limbaugh wants to buy the Rams. Ruch Limbaugh is a douche. But even were he to suit up and play for the Rams, they couldn't be any worse. Minnesota might have something of a letdown after a last-second dramatic win and the much-hyped Monday nighter against the Packers, but no amount of letdown could let this team lose to St. Louis. Vikings, 23-10. Verdict (Vikings, 38-10): Yep. Gimme. And no letdown. They kept their foot on the neck of the Rams all game long. These Vikings are for real, and then some.

Atlanta at San Francisco (2.5): This one is a really tough call. The Falcons are coming off the bye, they are rested, but San Francisco looks to have bounced back, and well, following that last-second loss to the Vikings. This one will be very, very close. And I predict overtime. Niners, 23-20. Verdict (Falcons 45-10): So...about that overtime...actually this game screws me up for the rest of the year. Or at least until next week. Are the Falcons really this good? Or are the Niners really not the team I thought they were? Or did the bye week have that much of an impact? I just don't know.

Houston at Arizona (no line): Even with no line, this game is no gimme. Both teams have been up and down all season. The Texans win a big one, then lose a bigger one. Last week, they won a big one. And this week, they play in Arizona. And the Cardinals are coming off a bye. And I will take a middling NFC team over a middling AFC team, this year anyway. Cardinals, 27-26. Verdict (Cardinals, 28-21): Both of these teams are middling. And this Cardinals victory says little about the Cardinals, and it says even less about the Texans. How annoying.

New England (3.5) at Denver: So far, I have been so very very wrong about every single Broncos game this season. I have picked them to lose, every time. And I am going to do it again. Because I still think that this team is not good. I no longer, of course, think they are the worst team in football. But I do think they are average at best. And this is the first really good team they will play this season. The first of four in a row. They will be 4-4. I'm almost totally sure of it. Patriots, 34-20. Verdict (Broncos, 20-17): It isn't that Brady lost his first game in overtime, ever. It's that the Patriots let this game go to overtime at all. I am now buying into the Broncos. But I'm still not going to pick them to win for a while yet. Even though they are single-handedly ruining my pool results.

Jacksonville at Seattle (no line): The Seahawks are not good. Without Matt Hasselbeck, they are even worse. And the Jaguars have been surprisingly decent. This is still no gimme. The Hawks are much better at home than they are on the road, and there are still a lot of questions in Jacksonville. But I think this is a game the Jags should win, and I think they are a team that will step up for those games. Jaguars, 26-18. Verdict (Seahawks, 41-0): What? Really...what? I have no idea what this decimation means. The Seahawks are NOT this good. The Jaguars are NOT this bad. But then...what?

Indianapolis (3.5) at Tennessee: Really? 3.5 points on a game between a 4-0 team and an 0-4 team? The Titans were certainly good last year, but they are in disarray this season. And the Colts could be the best team in football. In fact, they probably are. And if you think that secondary can slow down Peyton Manning, let alone stop him, you are insane. Colts, 38-20. Verdict (Colts, 31-9): Yeah, that 3.5 spread was...ill-advised. The Titans will have to win a few games later in the year, but they currently don't have a prayer against the elite teams.

New York Jets (2.5) at Miami: The Jets are still good. Their loss last week came against a powerhouse team in the Saints, and the New York defense looked fantastic, considering how good Brees and that offense really are. They won't give up two defensive TDs again, and the Dolphins won't force turnovers like the Saints did. Miami really looked like they were coming back into their own last week, but that was against a Bills team in disarray. The Jets are not the Bills. Jets, 24-19. Verdict (Dolphins, 31-27): The Jets are not as good as we thought, although they are still good. Their defense has a few questions now that it didn't have earlier in the week, but it looks like Braylon Edwards is going to fit in really nicely with this team, doesn't it? The Fish are digging themselves out after that 0-3 start, and it looks like this could well end up being a 3-team race for the division title.

So far, I am 8-6 straight up this week. And 7-7 against the spread. Which means that on the year, I'm 52-24 straight up, and 44-32 ATS.

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