Friday, November 4, 2011

The Week 9 NFL Picks

We had Dan Fouts for 15 years and 
NOW we make it to the Super Bowl?!?
One final word on the importance of having a great (not good) quarterback if your team has genuine championship aspirations (and I count about 14 teams who could make that claim with a straight face - sorry Falcons fans, I saw you smirk).  Of the last twenty Super Bowl winners, four did not have a quarterback who is either in the Hall of Fame (Elway, Aikman and Young), going to be in the Hall of Fame (P. Manning, Brady, Favre, Warner and Roethlisberger (as much as it pains me to say it)) or making a strong case for the Hall of Fame (Brees and Rodgers).  So you can take your shot with Eli Manning, Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson or Mark Rypien but you better have a world class defense and you better hope you don't run into one of those HOF guys on the other side.  As the teams with Stan Humphries, Neil O'Donnell, Drew Bledsoe, Chris Chandler, Steve McNair, Jake Delhomme, Donovan McNabb, Matt Hassleback and Rex Grossman found out, you don't want to bring a knife (or in the case of Stan Humphries, a pillow) to a gun fight.  On to the picks:

Atlanta by 7 over Indy:  The Pick - Falcons

The Falcons posted solid wins over the Panthers and Lions before the bye and may prove to be a factor in the playoffs after all (if you can call losing in the first round being a "factor").  Meanwhile, Jim Irsay is doing everything but tweeting pictures of Andrew Luck wearing a Colts jersey. 

New Orleans by 8 over Tampa Bay:  The Pick - Bucs

"Did Sean call yet?"
The Bucs have only played one game where the margin was more than 7 points either way (of course the margin in that game was 45 but who's counting?)  They have the ability to bring the other team down to their level of mediocrity like a bad hockey team or Pat Riley's Knicks.  I also think Drew Brees is really starting to miss having Sean Payton on the sidelines.  Not in a football way but more in a Starsky and Hutch kind of way.               

Houston by 11 over Cleveland:  The Pick - Texans

That's a big number to cover but the Browns are suffering from that rare combination of having almost no talent and being dysfunctional at the same time.  Someone needs to tell them that having talent is a prerequisite to being dysfunctional otherwise ESPN won't even send a reporter to your town. 

Buffalo by 1.5 over the New York Jets:  The Pick - Jets

I don't have any evidence to support this but there seems to be a correlation between Rex Ryan shutting his pie hole and the Jets playing good football and we haven't heard much from Rex since he spouted off about Norv Turner two weeks ago.  The Bills need to score a lot of points to win (unless they're playing the Redskins) and I don't see that happening this week.   

Kansas City by 4 over Miami:  The Pick - Chiefs

We may need to start considering the possibility that Todd Haley is a good coach.  He lost his best offensive player and one of his best defensive players at the start of a season where his team lost their first two games by a combined 78 points.  Did he panic?  No.  Did he change the game plan?  No.  He just started acting like the Unibomber and the next thing you know they're 4-3.  He's crafty.        

San Francisco by 3.5 over Washington:  The Pick - 49ers

"We traded what for McNabb?
You're kidding right?"
Exhibit "A" for why you never trade high draft picks for veterans - the Redskins starting backfield is John Beck and Ryan Torrain and their best wide receiver is Jabbar Gaffney meanwhile their 2nd round pick from 2010 and their 4th round pick from 2011 are sitting on the bench in Minnesota and their 3rd round pick from 2006 and their 4th round pick from 2007 are catching passes in St. Louis.  Not a good sign when Terrell Owens would be your best receiver as soon as he walked through the door.                  

Dallas by 11.5 over Seattle:  The Pick - Seahawks

The Cowboys played five games where the largest margin of victory was four points and then they won 34-7 and lost 34-7.  Factor in that you have Tony Romo against a potential combination of Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst and you might want to put your money at risk somewhere a bit safer, like Libyan real estate.      

Oakland by 7.5 over Denver:  The Pick - Raiders

As a quarterback who is resisting his natural urge to run so he can show people that he is a pocket passer, Tim Tebow has to be a defensive coordinator's dream.  It's like playing against a much less accurate Scott Mitchell.  Let's just hope the Raiders fans don't get so carried away mocking Tebow that they accidentally light the fuse on the Apocalypse.    

Tennessee by 3 over Cincinnati:  The Pick - Bengals

"Let me think that one over for a 
minute and...get out of my store."  
I'm riding the Bengals until someone proves they are a fluke (and until the reverse jinx takes effect).  I was offered Chris Johnson and Matt Schaub for Aaron Rodgers this week.  In the words of the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, "that offer reminded me of Hi and Lois because it made me laugh."    

Arizona by 3.5 over St. Louis:  The Pick - Rams

These two teams have each won one game.  The Cardinals won their first and the Rams won their last.  I'm going with the team riding the winning streak.  Maybe CBS will send Gus Johnson to do this game to ensure it at least ends on a pick six in overtime.      

New England by 8.5 over the New York Giants:  The Pick - Giants

The Patriots haven't played one game this year that would indicate they can cover 8.5 against a decent team.  If you're the Tom Coughlin, don't you invite David Tyree to come up and hang around during warm-ups reenacting his helmet catch over and over and over again?  That would be hilarious until Belichik signaled the sniper.

Green Bay by 5.5 over San Diego:  The Pick - Packers

"Who likes putting on a tuxedo
after work on a Monday? I do!"
I didn't see much of the game Monday night because I was walking around the neighborhood in a tuxedo trying to pull of the Penguin from Batman which completely worked except that I'm 5'8, 160 pounds and bald so I ended-up looking like the guy from the Six Flags commercial wearing a top hat.  Did I mention that my wife really likes Halloween?  Anyway, what I did see of the Chargers indicated to me that we may finally be nearing the final act of the Norv era which is coming about three season later than most of us predicted so good for Norv.    

Pittsburgh by 3 over Baltimore:  The Pick - Ravens

The Steelers are playing better football right now and the Ravens are struggling to find their offensive identity (again) but (a) The Steelers' linebackers are all banged-up which should give Ray Rice some opportunities to make a couple of cool Ray Rice plays (like catch a one-handed screen pass, break four tackles and go for 50 yards), (b) the Ravens would love to see Roethlisberger throw it 50 times like he did against the Patriots because that would give Terrell Suggs and Jarrett Johnson 50 chances to hit him, and (c) there is a lot more pressure on the Steelers to win this game because they lost the first one and their schedule the rest of the way is tougher with road games at San Francisco and Kansas City.  Then again, I reserve the right to change my pick if the Steelers get the ball down by 3 with more than 1:30 on the clock (and now I will replace that image in my head with something more pleasant, "I'm sitting in the dentist chair now, the shrill whining of the drill begins and......").      

Philadelphia by 8 over Chicago:  The Pick - Bears

These are two teams that appear to be getting their acts together.  If this quote is any indication, Jay Cutler even seems to be winning over some of his teammates.  "He's a lot more outgoing, just more comfortable now,'' said Brian Urlacher who added, "we haven't even given him a swirly since training camp."  (The fact that any of that quote is accurate is surprising).  Strong defensive teams like the Bears always give Michael Vick trouble because of their radical game plans which include (a) covering his receivers and (b) slamming him on the ground.