Update: A couple of picks have changed this week, given some last minute news, particuliarly in the Browns & Packers, and Giants & Cardinals games. Enjoy!
Chargers vs. Chiefs
San Diego breaking my heart this past week versus Denver. A perfect trap was scenario for them with a trap game for the Broncos and they choked at home after coming off a bye week. They have given up 72 points in their last two games and look like the second worst team in the division. The good news for them is that the worst team in the division is next up. Back to the bad news, the Chiefs have looked very good in the past few weeks and have won and covered as I have suspected they would with Matt Cassel playing lights out. The Chiefs even got their first win, albeit versus the horrid Redskins. I am running out of patience with the Chargers but have to believe they will rebound this week and will win the game. Covering is another thing. They beat the Chief last year by one point both times, and this year’s Chief team is better. While the Chiefs record is poor, they have actually played pretty good and have kept most games close. I take the 4.5 points
Colts vs. Rams
The Rams gave Jacksonville all they could handle this past week and with a line of +9 going and the Jags potent offense I expected a blowout. I think it has more to do with the Jags playing like an inconsistent team than the Rams actually improving. Avery is a hell of a receiver for the team and Steven Jackson may be the second best running back to Adrian Peterson, but we may never know as he has no line to help him. Mark Bulger returned last week to help the offense out. No sense in talking about the Colts, we all know what they are capable of and that my friends is scoring. I have a feeling that Peyton will score at will here and will be surprised if they don’t cover the 13.
Bengals vs. Bears
This is going to be a very tough game. Both teams coming off a loss with the Bengals falling into that trap game versus Houston, and the Bears losing to Atlanta on Sunday night. The Bengals lost to a potent Houston team and their secondary was embarrassed allowing Matt Schaub to move the ball freely and toss 4 TD’s last week. Jay Cutler may be better than Schaub, but he certainly doesn’t have the weapons to duplicate that performance. The Bengals are playing at home and Cedric Benson is going to be motivated to exact some revenge on his former team who he claims tried to “black ball” him. I quite frankly expected more out of the Bears after having two weeks to prepare for Atlanta. Now traveling with short rest to play a very motivated Bengals team, I don’t like the match up for them. Everyone is jumping on the Bears this week, I’m going the other way. I like Cincy this week and I will give the low number of 1.5.
Packers vs. Browns
I don’t think that the Browns have necessarily improved, I just think that the Steelers defense isn’t what it was last year and people have been able to move the ball. On the flip side, the Packers beat up on the Lions who were playing well going into the game, but were outmanned with Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford out. Tough to gauge what you have with the Packers. You know what you have with the Browns however, and that is one of the most dysfunctional teams in the NFL and now they all appear to be suffering from the flu. Green Bay has had trouble covering all season and they have stuck it to me all year. With that said, I’m going to take the lowly Browns who are playing at home to keep it closer than the 7 points. I know it sounds nuts right now, but everyone is taking the Packers and sometimes you have to take a flier and go the opposite way. Besides, the Browns play tough at home and at least they will be rested from a week of sitting around from H1N1. I change my pick to Green Bay as the Browns being out all week will affect their ability to be properly prepared, not to mention a recent car accident to a defensive back has their secondary up in the air.
Steelers vs. Vikings
The Steelers have had trouble stopping opposing offenses all season. They have also had a tough time covering the spread. This week they give up 4 points to the Vikings who have done just about everything right this year (Except fall apart in the 4th quarter and kill those who picked them to cover last week….not that I’m bitter or anything). Because this seems to be the matchup of the week, let’s take a look at this from a logical perspective. The Steelers offense is potent with Hines Ward, Rashard Mendenhall, Santonio Holmes, and of course Big Ben. The problem with the offense is that they haven’t played anyone. They have beaten up on Cleveland, Detroit, San Diego (only 2 wins…believe it), and Tennessee. They have lost to quality teams in Chicago and Cincy. Passing on Minnesota is not the same as Cleveland and Ben won’t throw for 450 yards. Plus he gets sacked a ton and who has one of the sack happy defenses in the league…that’s right, the Vikings! On the other side, the 4th quarter defensive meltdown, while agitating to me because it cost me, I believe is an aborition and I think they will be motivated to beat the defending champs. The Steelers are missing Aaron Smith on the D-line to slow one of the best rushing teams in the league with “All Day” Adrian Peterson in the backfield. Kirschke, and Polamalu are both hurting and have not practiced this week. Everyone is taking the Steelers and talking about how the Vikings haven’t played anyone. When the sheep go in one direction I go the other. I am going to take the Vikings the 4 points and hope Jared Allen has a big day.
Patriots vs. Buccaneers
The Pats crushed the Titans as I thought they would, in fact they beat them so bad had Jeff Fisher wearing a Peyton Manning jersey this past week just to feel like a winner. The Bucs played well last week and I have been saying that kid Johnson is a player. They came up short and didn’t cover, but it was still a worthy flier. This week they have the Patriots coming to town …oh wait, they are coming to Town in another country! Poor guys will be flying over the Atlantic Ocean for a butt kicking. We could get into analysis, doesn’t this seem relatively easy? It’s Tom Freaking Brady with an offense running on all cylinders against a horrid defense. The Brits will be saying “Beckham who?” after watching Brady. I know 14.5 is a ton of points to give and I wouldn’t recommend it, but Bill Belichick runs up the score and doesn’t mercifully end any beating, so I expect them to cover.
Texans vs. 49er’s
The 49ers’s should having come off they bye week should be refreshed and prepared to take on the Texans. Not to mention they get Frank Gore back and now it appears Crabtree will get the start at WR. I’m not sure of the impact he will have as a rookie in his first game. With all of those positives for the 49er’s it might surprise you to know that I’m favoring the Texans this week. They seem to have ignited on offense since that second half versus the Cardinals and the defense surprisingly has cut in half what they were giving up in their first 3 games. They beat a very good Bengals team last week that had a good rusher and pass attack themselves with Carson Palmer and Cedric Benson. With a defense playing better and what appears to be a high powered offense with Andre Johnson just a man among boys, I think the Texans, playing at home can take on San Francisco and their pedestrian passing attack. I give the 3 points.
Jets vs. Raiders
People are going to think I’m a Raider hater. The truth is I consider them one of the NFL’s most traditional franchises and I’m saddened by their demise. With that said, this sorry sack of a team beat the power house Eagles. What??? Okay I didn’t get that win last week, but obviously with those types of losses what do you expect? It was a tough week for me. The Eagles played like choking dogs. The Jets on the other side played like choking dogs themselves and loss to the Bills. I really want to take the Raiders here who have played with pride except that game against the Giants, but I still hate JaMarcus Russell although he played much better last week. So, what to do? Pick the team with promise that has underachieved in recent weeks or the poor team that has overachieved recently? The passing game for both teams is terrible and Sanchez and Russell rank amongst the lowest QB’s in the league. And while the Raiders are on an upswing after taking it to the Eagles they have lost by more than 20 points three times this year. The Jets have some real motivation here after looking bad. With Kris Jenkins out for the Jets they should still win this game. This may be a defensive struggle as both teams have good ones. Not to mention the Jets historically have had trouble playing the Raiders. At the end of the day I think the Raiders are capable of keeping it close and covering 6.5.
Bills vs. Panthers
Trent Edwards is out for the Bills and quite frankly I don’t know if this is a bad thing for them as he has been terrible. The team got a big win versus the Jets last week. This surprised me quite a bit considering they are really banged up on defense. I think it has more to do with those pesky divisional rivalry games than anything. Two lousy teams but Carolina is playing at home with a better and healthier defensive and offensive squad. The kicker here is that they are only giving up 1 point. I hate to say ‘no-brainer’ here because I always seem to lose those games, but I will go with the Panthers as I think the Bills will be flat after that big win last week.
Saints vs. Dolphins
Wow, was I wrong about last week’s game. The Saints absolutely crushed my beloved Giants and showed they are to be reckoned with. They are outstanding and impressive to watch. I suspected the Giants would have trouble defending the pass, but goodness that was embarrassing. On the flip side, I have been banging on Henne all season, but after watching his start against the Jets I am a reformist. That kid throws a great ball and has a hell of an arm. I take back all my little snide comments about him. I think this is a trap game for the Saints. It’s going to be hot, on turf, coming off an emotional win, playing against a motivated Miami team off a bye week. The world is going to take the Saints this week after what they did to the G-men, but I think Miami may be a tougher matchup. They are solid rushing and it won’t be a track field for the Saint receivers. I can’t say the “wildcat” is hookie as few teams have been able to stop it. Miami is extremely efficient and effective on offense and should control the ball and the clock. They may lose to the Saints ultimately, but it will be more like when they lost to the Colts after holding the ball for 45 minutes. There is a reason why this line is so low considering how well the Saints have been playing. With everyone going in one direction I am taking my next biggest flier and going with Miami to cover the 6.5
Cowboys vs. Falcons
The Falcons have looked impressive this season and haven’t given up a sack in a 3-4 games. Roddy White is a stud and has come up big in the last few games with Matt Ryan playing like an old veteran. The Cowboys on the other hand have only beaten crummy teams this season and barely got a win versus the Chiefs before their bye week. With that said, the Cowboys are coming off a bye week, the pass rush has improved, they have an upcoming star in Miles Austin, their rushing is solid, and they are playing for way more than the Falcons this week. They really need this win to keep pace with the rest of the NFC east. The Falcons are hurting in the secondary and they didn’t look too hot in that Chicago game. In fact I picked the Bears to win last week and almost got away with it. This week, if you couldn’t already tell, I’m taking the Cowboys who are playing at home and are highly motivated for this game. I give the 4 points.
Giants vs. Cardinals
What’s your reward NY for not being able to stop the pass and giving up close to 500 in offense to New Orleans last week? The pass happy Cardinals with Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and ex-Giant castaway Kurt Warner. Remember he played for them? How time flies. It could be the fact that my judgment is clouded by my loyalty to the Giants, but I think the defense will be inspired to perform better. A tough draw for the Jints with Arizona playing well against the rush. My concern with Arizona has been their inconsistency. I’m not sure who is coming to play. At the very least you know what you’re getting with the Giants. Is Arizona capable of beating them? Yes and by a wide margin if the Giants can’t stop the pass. I hate this game and would steer clear if I were a betting man. But technically because I am a betting man, I think the Giants will win and cover the 7 as Boldin is now questionable and the winds will be swirling in Giants Stadium for that Arizona passing game.
Eagles vs. Redskins
Thank you Eagles. If I didn’t already dislike you because I’m a Giants fan, than thanks for coming up with the worst performance of the season and not only coming up short to the Raiders but not covering as well. I suppose I really should thank you for losing and not gaining ground in the division. With all that said, the Eagles truly are an awesome complete team and I’m still scratching my head over that loss last week. I think they are looking to make someone pay, and unfortunately for Jim Zorn it is going to be his Redskins who will most likely be his last game. That team is in a tailspin and coming into a divisional rival who just got the crap kicked out of them by the worst team in the NFL. Donovan McNabb and his weapons will come to play this week. The Eagles are giving 7 and I’m going with it.
In summary for those who hate to read:
- KC +4.5
- Colts -13
- Bengals -1.5
- Packers -7
- Vikings +4
- Patriots -14.5
- Houston -3
- Raiders +6.5
- Panthers -1
- Dolphins +6.5
- Cowboys -4
- Giants -7
- Eagles -7