Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NFL picks week 6

52-24 straight up so far...44-32 against the spread. Let's see...

Houston at Cincinnati (4.5): The Bengals are the better team. In fact, without that ridiculous miracle in Week One, they are 5-0. Their offense is clicking and they have that ability to win games late. However, Houston is better than their 2-3 record, and they seem constantly able to bounce back from big losses. Last week was a big loss. The Texans will play very well in Cincy, and it will be closer than this spread. Bengals, 27-24. Verdict (Texans, 28-17): Well, the Texans sure covered the spread. And it wasn't even close. The Bengals may not be that good. Or, the Texans might just be the Texans, and come up with a great effort every second game.

Detroit at Green Bay (13.5): Yes, the Packers should win this game. Coming off their bye, they need to win this game, because the Vikings and Bears are putting distance in front of them in the division. But there are still serious questions about the Packers' offensive line and their new 3-4. And the Lions are playing better and better every week - remember how they made a real game of it against the Steelers last week? Lions will cover this spread. Packers, 30-23. Verdict (Packers, 26-0): I sure didn't see this defense pitching a shutout. But if this is an indication of things to come, the Packers could be a real force to be reckoned with in the NFC South. The Vikings have to come back down to Earth sometime...don't they?

St. Louis at Jacksonville (10.0): The Jaguars got embarassed last week by a weak Seahawks team. They have to come back and make a statement this week if they hope to make anything out of this season. There is no better team than the Rams against whom they could do that. If the Jaguars have pride, they ought to stomp St. Louis. However, if they are deflated and sad, this might be the one game the Rams win all year. I am betting, a little bit, on pride. Jaguars, 23-10. Verdict (Jaguars, 23-20): Well, I got the 23 part right. I don't think the Rams are this good, I think the Jaguars are just this inconsistent.

Baltimore at Minnesota (3): The Vikings are at home. And that is a big advantage here. But they are playing a Baltimore team that went from being maybe the best team in football to a two-game losing streak. The Ravens will be desperately looking to re-establish their bonafides as one of the elite teams in football. And they still are. But so is Minnesota. A really tough call in a really tough game. Vikings, 21-20. Verdict (Vikings, 33-31): Pretty darn close. Baltimore covered, the Vikings won. How many times can you pull a win out of the fire to stay unbeaten? Apparently, the Vikings can do it week in, week out.

New York Giants at New Orleans (3): Another really, really tough call. The Saints are coming off their bye, and I think they will have their offense back on track. Their defense all of a sudden looks fantastic as well. But they are an attacking, ball-hawking defense, and I think Eli Manning can pick that apart. And if any defense can slow down Drew Brees at his best, it's the Giants. One of these teams will be undefeated after this game, and I think it will be New York. Giants, 29-27. Verdict (Saints, 48-27): Drew Brees really came off that bye week firing, didn't he? I still believe that the Giants win this at home, but New Orleans looks like the team to beat in the NFC.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh (14): Maybe the closest thing to a gimme all week, despite being a division game. The Browns looked just awful last week - and they were playing a team that was even worse. The Steelers are coming back into their own, and re-establishing themselves as one of the league's elite teams. They got to work out some kinks against the Lions last week, they will continue to do so against the Browns. Steelers, 28-10. Verdict (Steelers, 27-14): Pittsburgh still can't put teams away in the fourth, and the Browns made this one closer than it should have been. With Polamalu healthy though, this will be a different Steelers team from here on in.

Carolina (3) at Tampa Bay: One of only two teams favoured on the road are the Panthers, who are coming off a tense, down-to-the-wire win against a dreadful Redskins team. But that game showed the Panthers are ready to be a decent team again, and they will have far more confidence when they play the Bucs, who I think are the worst team in football so far this season. Panthers, 33-20. Verdict (Panthers, 28-21): I don't know if the Panthers have turned around their season with two wins against a couple of dreadful teams. But it's possible, and if they meet a solid challenge or two in the coming weeks, this could be a whole different season for them.

Kansas City at Washington (6.5): The Redskins (and the Cowboys, for that matter) are going to look much better than they really are at the end of the year because they are playing Kansas City and Oakland during the season. (It also gives people with an eliminator pool a couple of gimmes when the Giants and Eagles play them.) The Chiefs came awfully close to beating the Cowboys last week. They will come awfully close to beating the Skins this week. They might even beat them outright. In fact, I'm calling it. Chiefs, 22-21. Verdict (Chiefs, 14-6): The Redskins ARE that bad. They are painfully bad. And this might be the only game the Chiefs win this year, although they are looking better with every passing week. They just don't have any awful opponents like Washington for a while.

Philadelphia (14) at Oakland: Clearly, the easiest gimme of the week. The Eagles are able to put the boots to the bad teams, and they have been doing so. They will not let up on the Raiders, who are in disarray and may not win again this year now that they got that one KC game out of the way. Eagles, 42-10. Verdict (Raiders, 13-9): Ummm....whahappened? Clearly, NOT the easiest gimme of the week. I don't even know what to say about this. A team like the Eagles can't lay an egg like this one and still expect to be taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender. And they may no longer be. JaMarcus Russell was better than in previous weeks, but he still sucked. And the Raiders still won. I'm at a loss. Thank God I'd already taken Philly in my eliminator pool.

Arizona at Seattle (3): I have no idea who either of these teams are. The Seahawks looked amazing last week agains the Jaguars. The Cardinals looked very good against the Texans. Both teams are looking better now that the Niners have started to fall off a bit in that division. The winner of this game has a good shot at the division lead. And I think that winner will be...the Seahawks at home. Barely. I think. Seahawks, 20-18. Verdict (Cardinals, 27-3): The Seahawks have put up 44 points in the last two weeks. Which would appear to be a decent number...but 41 came last week. THREE points? With Hasselbeck at the helm? I know their offensive line is in disarray, but come on! I certainly thought the Cardinals had a good chance to win this game, but I would never have expected this hammering.

Tennessee at New England (9): Not a gimme, by any stretch. The Patriots' weaknesses have been exposed the last few weeks, and Brady looks pretty shaky. That being said, the Titans have looked awful all season, and the only unit shakier than Brady's passing might be the Titans' pass defense. Patriots, 27-23. Verdict (Patriots, 59-0): When I saw the snow coming down in Foxboro, I thought "the Titans might have a chance". Then I looked away. And looked back. And it was a million to nothing and the half hadn't even ended. Is Tom Brady really back? Well, the Titans have an awful pass defense right now, and the snow is a bizarre X-Factor. Still, looks pretty rosy for the Patriots at the moment.

Buffalo at New York Jets (no line): A real gimme against the spread, since the Bills are awful and the Jets are not. The Jets have several questions that need answering though, but not nearly enough to lose to Buffalo, who just need to start asking questions everywhere. The Jets defense is now, I think, suspect. But the Bills team is suspect. Jets, 24-12. Verdict (Bills, 16-13): OK. Maybe the Jets really are awful. Maybe they just got lucky early in the season by running into three teams who had yet to find their legs and their identites. Would anyone pick the Jets to beat New England again, now? I doubt it. The Bills are still a terrible team, but Mark Sanchez handed them this game. When your running back goes over 200 yards and you're terrible.

Chicago at Atlanta (3): The Falcons looked truly amazing last week against what I thought was a very strong Niners team. The Bears have been playing very well without Brian Urlacher, but I don't think they are on the level of the Falcons right now. When this weekend ends, the Saints could very well find themselves tied for first place in their division. Falcons, 27-23. Verdict (Falcons, 21-14): The Falcons look better to me with each passing week. And the Bears are just not a dominant team, much as they would like to be. The real test of Atlanta will likely come over the next few weeks, after their tuneup game against the Cowboys next Sunday.

Denver at San Diego (3.5): Denver is 5-0. Their defense has given up fewer points than any other in the league. Even those teams who have had bye weeks and haven't played five games. The Chargers are 2-2. And there are many questions about their team. And yet...San Diego is favoured in this game? Yes, and I agree. I have picked the Broncos wrong, 5 weeks in a row now. And I am being stubborn and picking them, again, to lose. Eventually I will have to be right. Chargers, 18-13. Verdict (Broncos, 34-23): That was a complete game. Now, the Broncos could still fall off and finish 9-7, while the Chargers could still come on and finish 11-5 and win the division. But it's looking less and less likely. I am now a believer. But I hate it.

I was 8-6 straight up this week, 6-8 ATS. That's my first losing week against the spread all year. Garbage! I am now 60-30 straight up, and 50-40 ATS.

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