Friday, October 27, 2006


NFL Week 8 Picks

I had a strong bounce-back last week, going 4-1 to run my record to 19-16-4. I have another tennis tournament this weekend, so clearly I'm a glutton for punishment. With that in mind, here's eight more picks.

Houston +3 at Tennessee: The better team is getting the points here. You take these any time you can get them. The Texans drummed a decent Jacksonville team last week.

Arizona +4 at Green Bay: The Cardinals must be out of ways to lose games...right? The Packers' pass defense is bad and injured, which is not a good combination. After allowing the mediocre Joey Harrington to shred them for 414 yards last week, the Pack faces Matt Leinart; though a rookie, he is a power of ten better. Good enough to stay within four points, at least.

St. Louis +9.5 at San Diego: The Rams are good, the Chargers are great. I think the good team, coming off a bye, can stay within shouting distance of the great team.

Indianapolis +2.5 at Denver: The marquee matchup of the week, and a tough call. Denver has a substantial home-field advantage, and their defense has stuffed a succession of stumblebums. The Colts are another matter entirely. I think Indy wins a squeaker.

New York Jets +1.5 at Cleveland: Again, the better team is getting the points. As I mentioned last week, the Jets do not stink. I assure you, the Browns stink on ice, covered with Lysol and wrapped in plastic. They should only be favored over the Raiders, which leads me to....

Pittsburgh -9 at Oakland: Although they lost last week, the Steelers seem to have rediscovered the joys of offense. At the time of posting, it appears that QB Ben Roethlisberger will start. It certainly does not matter; they could start Oprah at quarterback and beat the Raiders.

Dallas +6 at Carolina: My massively contrarian play of the week. An inexperienced QB, making is first pro start on the road, facing one of the scariest pass rushes in the league. I just have a hunch that Tony Romo has the goods athletically, and Bill Parcells will put him in good situations. He'll probably get sacked three times in the last minute, with the Cowboys down by four. But they'll cover. Listen to me, I gave you the Chiefs last week.

New England -2.5 at Minnesota: I'm still not sold on the Vikings, and I think the Patriots are at least a touchdown better. What's more, their coach talked some smack about Patriots Coach Bill Belichek. That was a stupendously bad idea. The Pats will use formations and plays never before seen to humiliate the Vikes on Monday night.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


NFL Week 7 Picks

My tennis tournament didn't go exactly as planned. I was matched against a seventeen-year-old in the first round, and he made no concessions to the 28 years and approximately 140 pounds I spotted him. I won the consolation, though, and a cheesy little trophy.

Last week's picks didn't fare any better than I did against the kid, going 1-4. Now 15-15-4, I need to get back on the winning track. Here's five picks to click for this week.

Kansas City +6 vs. San Diego: What's that? Kansas City got slaughtered last week, and the Chargers are on fire? All true, but here's a little factoid for you: the Chiefs have been this big an underdog at home ten times in the last 23 years. They won seven of those games outright, and covered in the other three. The 1996 Packers, the only team in NFL history to lead the league in offense and defense the same season, were throttled in Kansas City. The Bolts will be lucky to get out alive.

Green Bay +5 at Miami: The Dolphins' offense is just not good enough to be five-point favorites over anybody. Packers RB Ahman Green, now fully healthy after the team's bye, will be the difference.

Carolina +3.5 at Cincinnati: I don't know; perhaps this is the week the Bengals find their lost mojo. I do know this: the Panthers have found their mojo, in the person of WR Steve Smith. Can a 5'9" receiver be the MVP of the league? They were 0-2 to start the season without him, and 4-0 since, so, um, yeah.

Detroit +4 at New York Jets: The Lions are showing signs of life, and WR Roy Williams is a true stud. The Jets don't stink, but if that's the nicest thing you can say about a team, maybe they shouldn't be four-point favorites.

Denver at Cleveland under 32 points: The Browns are bad-surprise!-and they will get nowhere against Denver's rugged defense. But the Broncos' normally-efficient offense is MIA this season, so the under is the right play.

Friday, October 13, 2006


NFL Week Six Picks

Making my picks on Friday night instead of Saturday morning this week, as I have a tennis tournament this weekend. Should I survive, expect updates in this space.

My picks went 3-2-1 last week, making my season record 14-11-4. I think I'm getting the hang of this. Here's five more reasons to risk your financial future.

Houston at Dallas over 43 points: The Cowboys are due to bounce back in a big way this week. They will probably cover the generous 13.5-point spread, but their suspect pass defense makes the over the smart play. Texans WR Andre Johnson is Terrell Owens without the personality disorder.

Kansas City +7 at Pittsburgh: The defending champs haven't looked like one all year. Neither are the Chiefs, but they will keep this one close enough to cover, even if they don't win.

San Diego -10.5 at San Francisco: Just because the Niners can flatten the Raiders doesn't mean they won't get flattened by the Chargers. This is the first of three heavy favorites I am picking to cover, a dangerous strategy in the long term. But this week, these favorites are going to take their opponents behind the woodshed and administer a fearsome beating.

Denver -15 vs. Oakland: The conventional wisdom is that you can't lay this many points in a rivalry game. Conventional wisdom is a shortcut to the poorhouse. This Raider team appears to care more about cashing their paychecks than beating their rivals. Broncos Head Coach Skeletor (errr, Shanahan) is another story. Even if the Raiders don't hate him, he really, really hates them. Jeez, you fire a coach one time....

Chicago -11.5 at Arizona: The Bears are not the biggest favorite of the week. Can anyone tell me why? On Monday night, with the rest of the league watching, the Bears will look to make a loud statement. New Cardinals QB Matt Leinart is in for a harsh education on the realities of pro football.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


NFL Week 5 Picks

I had my first losing week of the season last week, going 3-4-1 to bring my season mark to 11-9-3. Is it a speed bump, or a grim harbinger of things to come? Let's see how this week's six-pack fares before we rush to judgment.

New Orleans -7 vs. Tampa Bay: The Saints are, incredibly, a real football team this year. What's scary is they haven't figured out how to use Reggie Bush yet, except as a decoy. The Bucs, on the other hand, are going nowhere fast, starting a rookie QB on the road. Ouch.

Tennessee +19 at Indianapolis: Don't misunderstand me--the Colts will win this game. My pick is predicated on Indy having a bye next week, and looking to start their week off at the end of the third quarter. Vince Young will do enough in the fourth for a back-door cover.

Cleveland +8 at Carolina: Many people think the Panthers have righted their ship after consecutive wins. I think they are still taking on a little water. Specifically, their front four on defense has not been the scary unit everyone projected. I might start believing in them again if they cover this spread.

San Francisco -3.5 vs. Oakland: Two once-proud franchises, now wallowing in their own filth. The difference is that the Niners have been taking baby steps back toward respectability, while the Raiders are still a smoking crater. Kind of sad, really.

San Diego -3.5 vs. Pittsburgh: The Steelers MUST have this game. They are coming off a bye. The Chargers are still hung over from a loss last week that never should have happened. So, yeah, I'm taking the Chargers. You see, the NFL is perverse. If everything is lined up one way, one must run, not walk, the other direction.

Baltimore +4 at Denver: A similar concept is at play here. The Ravens have been winning very ugly. The Broncos are fresh off their bye, playing with their considerable home-field advantage. They will probably lead the entire game, but Ravens QB Steve McNair will either beat them or scare the bejeezus out of them in the last four minutes. I want the points in what might be the lowest-scoring game of the week.

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