Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NFL picks week 10

I am now 87-42 straight up, and 74-54-1 against the spread. Make your picks early - Thursday games start this week!

Chicago at San Francisco (3): Both these teams have looked weaker and weaker of late. The Niners, however, looked a little tougher to me against a suddenly-good Titans team, while the Bears appeared to throw in the towel early on against the Cardinals. Niners, 24-20. Verdict (Niners, 10-6). Well, I said the Niners would win by four. And they sure won by four. Thank goodness I don't play over-under! A solid defensive battle, but the Bears killed themselves. The fact that they even had a shot at the end of this game to win it was ridiculous. They got penalties on every play. Cutler threw five interceptions, several in the red zone. Frankly, the fact that this game was not a blowout for the Niners says more about the poor play of the Niners than it does about the defense of the Bears.

Detroit at Minnesota (16.5): Well, as far as no-brainers go...the Lions looked pretty awful in the second half against the lowly Seahawks, who spotted them 17 points before storming back. The Vikings will not spot the Lions 17 points. They will just obliterate them. Vikings, 35-10. Verdict (Vikings, 27-10). Well, they covered the spread, I guess. I thought they would win a little bigger. Oh well, it took the Vikings a little while to start rolling on offense. But what a powerhouse team this is.

Atlanta (1.5) at Carolina: The Panthers are all of a sudden a pretty dangerous team. Although they lost to New Orleans, they played awfully tough and held onto their big lead for much longer than I thought possible. In a divisional matchup, anything is possible. And I think the Panthers loss to the Saints was more impressive than the Falcons win over the Skins. Panthers, 21-17. Verdict (Panthers, 28-19). Look out for Carolina. I wouldn't pick them to make the playoffs...yet...but they will most definitely make things difficult for every team they play from here on in.

Denver (4) at Washington: Just what the Broncos need to get off their mini-slide. Sure, they've lost two games in a row. And yes, they have been exposed both on defense and on offense by two pretty good teams. But the Redskins are not even close to the Steelers or Ravens, and they will help Denver work out the kinks. Broncos, 27-21. Verdict (Redskins, 27-17). The Skins are not this good. It appears that Denver is really, really coming back down to Earth. And the Chargers will now win this division with ease, as everyone expected they would early in the season. Figures it would happen in the only game of the season where I pick the Broncos!

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (7): The most interesting game of the week, I think. The Steelers are in fine form, and have looked very impressive since their shaky start. The Bengals are likely the most under-rated team in football. Bengals are perfect on the road, Steelers are perfect at home. And the winner will have a huge leg up when it comes to taking the division. I am a little more confident in the Steelers, still. Apparently, so is Vegas - two almost identical teams, record wise and otherwise, and the Steelers are favoured by SEVEN? I don't think so. Steelers, 24-21. Verdict (Bengals, 18-12). Huh. I guess the Steelers shouldn't have been favoured by seven. Or, maybe, they shouldn't have been favoured at all. The Bengals are the better team.

Tampa Bay at Miami (10): The Buccaneers made all the right moves last week. Rookie QB comes in and tears it up, the team gets a bounce in their step and gains a huge amount of confidence. On the other hand, they are still Tampa Bay, and the rest of the team is still just awful. But all of a sudden they have some fight in them. Dolphins, 27-25. Verdict (Dolphins, 25-23). Bang-on! For the second time this week! I feel so good about myself...Tampa really does have some fight in them now. Look out in coming weeks.

Jacksonville at New York Jets (6.5): Remember when the Jets looked like they might be the best team in football? Yeah, me either. The Jaguars are a hit-and-miss team, and if Maurice Jones-Drew gets going they could blow up the Jets. If they can keep him even a little in check, they should be OK. Jacksonville just barely squeaked by the awful Chiefs this week, and I'm going with the Jets off the bye. Jets, 22-17. Verdict (Jaguars, 24-22). The Jets looked pretty rusty off the bye, and they couldn't stop MJD. The Jaguars covered the spread, but they could have won by much, much more.

New Orleans (14) at St. Louis: The Saints are on such a roll right now, they would be favoured over any team. They are still beating even the tough teams by double digits week in and week out. They won't have nearly that much trouble with the Rams. Saints, 44-13. Verdict (Saints, 28-23). The Saints losing this game (and they could have lost) would have been the biggest upset of the season. I am inclined to believe that the Rams covering this spread almost qualifies as the biggest upset in itself!

Buffalo at Tennessee (6.5): The Titans are seriously thinking they have a chance to make the playoffs. Seriously. After starting the season 0-6, they have won two straight, and would need to run the table just for a shot at a wild card. They will continue the attempt against the hapless Bills. But 6.5 points IS too many. Six is enough. Titans, 27-21. Verdict (Titans, 41-17). OK, six was not nearly enough. Look out for these Titans! 9-7 could be a wild-card in the AFC!

Kansas City at Oakland (1.5): Who cares? Well, I guess gamblers. Oakland's at home. That's almost, kind of, an edge I guess. Raiders, 13-10. Verdict (Chiefs, 16-10). Yeah. Who cares.

Dallas (3) at Green Bay: My heart really, really wants to believe that the Packers can win this. But they just let the winless Bucs kick their asses, and Romo and the Cowboys are on fire. Dallas is always terrific in November. But wait until December and the cold weather...wait! It's cold in Green Bay! Packers, 17-16. Verdict (Packers, 17-7). I hate to complain, but a shutout would have been nice. The Packers are not all that good, although they played a great game. The Cowboys are most definitely over-rated, and their slide begins now.

Seattle at Arizona (8.5): The Cardinals look to be rounding into form at the midway point of the season. But they are 1-3 at home and really have not played well there. Then again, the Seahawks are winless on the road. They should remain winless, but it will be closer than it should be. Cardinals, 33-29. Verdict (Cardinals, 31-20). The Seahawks were game, but the big-play Cardinals showed up in the second half to decide the game. The Cardinals may be an elite team again.

Philadelphia at San Diego (2.5): The Eagles have been sadly, and tumultuously, inconsistent this season. So have the Chargers. The Chargers can smell blood (I hope they can, anyway) now that the Broncos have lost two straight. But I will take an above-average NFC team over an above-average AFC team in any game this year. Eagles, 29-27. Verdict (Chargers, 31-23). Is this the beginning of the Chargers resurgence? Or the end of the Eagles' greatness? I am betting on the latter, since the Chargers are now tied for the division lead with the tanking Broncos, and they will win it easily.

New England at Indianapolis (3): Always a huge game. Always a good one. The Colts have squeaked out a couple of wins of late against lesser opponents, but there's no way they aren't getting up for their arch-rivals. And right now, the Colts are the better team. Colts, 30-25. Verdict (Colts, 35-34). I am not one of those people who are calling for Belicheck's head after that 4th-and-2 gamble. Either way, they were going to have to stop the Colts from scoring. And I don't believe they could have done so, regardless of field position. Their only hope was to hang on to the ball and run the clock down. The downside for the Patriots (other than the loss) is that the defense might feel pretty slighted by Belicheck now, and he might have cost them a lot of confidence in the coming weeks. That could end up being bigger than this loss to a great team.

Baltimore (10.5) at Cleveland: The Ravens ARE over-rated. Their defense is not what it used to be, and their offense is sketchy. But at their worst, Baltimore is still 10 points better than the Browns. There are high school teams that are three points better. Ravens, 30-17. Verdict (16-0 Baltimore). What was I thinking picking the Browns to score 17 points? I must have my head up my ass. The rest was pretty accurate though.

I am currently 10-5 straight up this week (97-47 overall), and 8-7 against the spread (82-61-1 overall).