Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Week 7 NFL Picks

"That's a good one. Next you're
going to tell me that there are two
point conversions. Whatever."  
Last week I got suckered into believing that the one glaring weakness that every analyst spent all week talking about defined a whole team.  For example, there was so much chatter about how bad the Bears’ offensive line was and how much pressure Jared Allen was going to put on Jay Cutler, I was distracted from the fact that (a) the Bears also have Devin Hester and one of the best defenses in the NFL, and (b) after 12 years in the league, Donovan McNabb is still unsuccessfully trying to perfect the bounce pass as if he doesn’t know that a pass is incomplete when it hits the ground which would be like not knowing that a regular season game could end in a tie. 

On to the picks (and I’m ditching the fantasy advice.  If you need me to tell you to start Miles Austin and Dez Bryant against the Rams this week, you might want to find another hobby).  Let's see if we can do a little better than 6-6-1 this week:

Chicago by 1 over Tampa Bay:  The Pick – Bears

The Bucs are coming off a roller coaster couple of weeks after getting blown out in San Francisco and then coming home and beating the Saints.  Kellen Winslow, Jr. started acting like an a-hole last week which was only surprising to the extent that he ever stopped acting like an a-hole in the first place.  This is a growing pains week for the Bucs who will struggle to put up 17 points.

Carolina by 2.5 over Washington:  The Pick – Redskins

I overcompensated for my inherent dislike for the Skins last week by picking them to win a game they were not ready to win.  A team quarterbacked by Rex Grossman that is going to finish no better than 8-8 is rarely going to start 4-1 and beat a desperate and talented team like the Eagles (though they almost pulled it off).  Now they get Cam Newton who was recently cleared of all NCAA violations through an investigation that involved the following interrogation of Auburn’s head coach, Gene Chizik:
"Now that would depend
on your definition of
'cheating' wouldn't it?"

Investigator:  Did you cheat coach?

Chizik:  No.

Investigator:  Do you swear?

Chizik:  Yes.

Investigator:  Thank God.  I thought for a minute there we might have to take back another Heisman.  Let’s go get us some pecan pie and celebrate.

I don’t think the Redskins defense is going to be quite so lenient.

San Diego by 2 over the Jets:  The Pick – Chargers

The Jets currently look like the guy in your office with flu symptoms who you wish would just go home for the day.  If the Dolphins had any concept of how to get the ball across the goal line, that would have been a competitive game on Monday night.  To make matters worse, Rex Ryan basically told his team that the Chargers have better players because he would have had a couple of rings if he were their coach the last few years.  At this point he might as well just tell Mark Sanchez he throws like a girl.

Cleveland by 3 over Seattle:  The Pick – Seahawks
"We're only going to 
Cleveland for one 
play . . . I promise."

This game may set the record for fewest minutes ever shown on the Redzone Channel.  Not because they won’t have scoring chances, but because fans would rather see the Packers punt than watch Charlie Whitehurst and Colt McCoy throw passes out of the back of the endzone and settle for field goals.  The Browns haven’t beaten a team with a win yet and the Seahawks are bad but not THAT bad.

Tennessee by 3 over Houston:  The Pick – Titans

I’ll give the Texans credit.  They hung with the Ravens in Baltimore for three quarters without Andre Johnson and Mario Williams and the line of scrimmage battle on both sides of the ball was basically a draw.  The Titans are all over the map with two solid wins, two bad losses and a win over Denver which was way closer than it should have been.  I’m giving the edge to the Titans because by now Derrick Mason has had enough time to start chafing Matt Schaub like a rash under his jock strap.  Let’s just say Joe Flacco never gets tired of seeing him on the other team's sideline.

Miami by 1.5 over Denver:  The Pick – Broncos

I watched one series of the Dolphins-Jets game on Monday night.  It was enough to see Matt Moore run out of bounds 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage instead of throwing it away on first down (taking them out of field goal range); Brian Hartline dropping a ball right in his hands on second down; an incomplete pass to nowhere on third down; and a punt on fourth down.  If they’re going to try that hard to win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes on national television, how far will they go at 1:00 p.m. on a Sunday when no one is watching?  And that’s before you factor in that the future governor of Florida is starting at quarterback for the Broncos.

Detroit by 3.5 over Atlanta:  The Pick – Lions


"You want some of this Suh? 
Do ya? I didn't think so."
It’s better for everyone involved that Ndamukong Suh was not standing next to Jim Schwartz during the infamous handshake (especially for Jim Harbaugh) but how great would that have been if Suh had leaned in and dropped his shoulder just enough to flatten Harbaugh as he ran by?  You know Harbaugh would have jumped-up and gotten chesty as Suh put his back to him.  I’m still not sure what to make of the Falcons but I do know they have one road win and it was by 2 over the Seahawks.  The Lions are built to stop what the Falcons do well and they will be playing pissed-off for their coach.

Oakland by 4.5 over Kansas City:  The Pick – Chiefs

Classic image on Sportscenter this morning of Carson Palmer at practice for the Raiders with a barbed wire topped fence in the background.  Did Al Davis install that to keep the residents of Oakland out or to keep the players in?  The Raiders are either going to start Kyle Boller or a guy who has not played since New Years at quarterback (you know Hue Jackson has been watching tape of Darren McFadden taking snaps for the Razorbacks and thinking "just maybe").  Meanwhile, the Chiefs have somewhat righted the ship since opening the season with two blowouts and losing Jamaal Charles (if you can call wins over the Vikings and Colts righting the ship - maybe more like climbing back into the boat).

Pittsburgh by 3.5 over Arizona:  The Pick – Steelers Cardinals

The Steelers are starting to look like an old fat lion too lazy to hunt.  Last week they started strong against the Jaguars who shouldn’t even be in their league and once they got to 17 points they said, “that should be enough.”  They're starting to feel like the 2011 Red Sox.  (What I wouldn't give for a story about Roethlisberger drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the locker room at halftime).  Throw-in Mike Wallace’s hamstring and the fact that they’re playing against Big Ben’s former offensive coordinator, and that half point just started looking very attractive.

Dallas by 12.5 over St. Louis:  The Pick – Cowboys
"We're going two backs and 
two tight ends bitches."

The Rams are averaging 9.8 points per game which is exactly 0.8 points per game more than Calvin Johnson.  (Can we now agree that the careers of Josh McDaniel and Charlie Weiss since leaving the Patriots prove that “The Situation” could be Tom Brady’s offensive coordinator and it wouldn’t matter?)  Meanwhile, the Cowboys have had the toughest schedule in the league so far (opponents’ record is 22-8) and are due for a 30+ point “everyone gets in on the fun” type free for all.  I think you could add a field goal to this line and it wouldn’t matter.

Green Bay by 9 over Minnesota:  The Pick – Packers

I’m not picking against the Packers until a team stops them from scoring as many points as they feel like.  Even when he throws an incompletion Aaron Rodgers looks like he meant to do it.  He reminds me of Danny Glover shooting at John Cleese’s posse in Silverado.  “Well let’s go.  He ain't hittin' nothin'.”…… "You idiot, he's hit everything he's aimed at!”  Oh yeah, the Vikings are starting a rookie quarterback and Charles Woodson has been singing It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas in the shower all week.

New Orleans by 14 over Indianapolis:  The Pick – Colts

The Colts have only lost by more than 10 points once this year and that was in Week 1 at Houston when right up until kick-off they were all saying, “ok, seriously, where’s Ashton Kuchar?.....seriously man….this sh-t ain’t funny.” They still have some of the best skill position players in the game along with guys like Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis on defense. Curtis Painter’s passer rating is 93.0 which puts him 4th in the AFC so at some point the rest of the players are going to stop moping around and win a game. Maybe without Manning throwing a pick 6 late, they’ll keep it closer than the Super Bowl. BAM! Take that pretty boy! (Ravens fans hate Peyton Manning because he keeps crushing our souls while wearing Johnny Unitas’ helmet which is just cruel).

Baltimore by 7.5 over Jacksonville:  The Pick – Ravens


Just once I'd like to see
this pose in Baltimore.
This is a classic trap game for the Ravens.  Their average margin of victory is 15.4 points and they’re playing against a rookie quarterback with no big time receiving threat so Ravens fans fully expect them to be clinging to a 4 point lead when they punt the ball with 2:32 left in the fourth quarter.  They will then either (a) allow Blaine Gabbert to miraculously drive 73 yards for the game winning score helped by two pass interference penalties (one legit and one not); or (b) return an interception for a clinching touchdown.  I am betting on (praying for) the latter.