Sunday, October 27, 2013

NFL Picks - Week 8

Season Record – 62-42

Struggling after a very disappointing 7-7 last week.  I’m having a tough time getting a consistent read on the ups and downs of a lot of teams this year.  One team I’m not having any trouble figuring out is the Bucs.  With Thursday night’s loss, they’re 0-7 with a loss at Seattle on the agenda next week.  Whether or not the players have quit on Schiano (I believe they have) this is an unrecoverable situation in my opinion, and it’s time for the Glazers to start over.  This includes Mark Dominik, the GM whose tenure may not be as repugnant as Schiano’s but features plenty of failures of its own.  Mike Glennon isn’t the answer to any question I’m interested in asking, so QB should be at the top of the team’s on-field needs.  That’s replacements at the three most important positions – Quarterback, Head Coach, and General Manager.  More on that later.  On with the picks.

Can I get a free W for the Thursday game even though I didn’t make an official pick?  You really think I would have taken Tampa Bay?

Cowboys @ Lions
I actually think this is a good spot for the Lions.  Will Dallas win three in a row?  DeMarco Murray is doubtful.  A rookie from Saginaw Valley State will start at strong safety.  I’m looking forward to the Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant back and forth, and I think the Lions win by at least 7. 

Browns @ Chiefs
Jason Campbell gets the start for Cleveland against the league’s top ranked defense thus far.  Kansas City is going to lose eventually, but I just can’t see it happening at home this week against a reeling Browns team and with the way Alex Smith has taken care of the football.  Chiefs by 17.  Hali and Houston combine for 4 sacks. 

Dolphins @ Patriots
Is there a chance the Patriots slip up at home against a reeling Dolphins team and let the Jets sniff the division lead?  I can’t see it.  Even without Aqib Talib to shadow Mike Wallace, I think the Patriots can effectively limit Ryan Tannehill.  Danny Amendola looks good to go this week, so Tom Brady will have he and Gronk on the field together for the first time.  It’s another ugly one, but the home team wins. 

Bills @ Saints
Sean Payton and the Saints have had two weeks to focus on their faults after that heartbreaking last second loss at the Patriots.  In their way stand the somewhat surprising Bills.  Yes they’re 3-4, but they beat Miami on the road last week and nearly beat the Bengals the weak before with Thad Lewis at QB, banged up running backs, and a depleted defense.  I won’t be surprised if this is close for a while, but I expect the Saints to take control in the second half.

Giants @ Eagles
This is what I was talking about when I said I had no clue about some teams.  I can’t figure out the Eagles.  I liked them last week against Dallas, and while their defense showed up for the first time, their offense laid an egg.  They already beat the Giants on the road in week five.  With Dog Killer back under center, I give the edge to the home team, but then again, what do I know?

49ers v. Jaguars (in London)
I don’t care where they play this one.  The Jags don’t win it.  San Fran may sleep walk through this one making it a lot closer on the scoreboard than it should be, but Jacksonville will still have a 0 in the W column tomorrow morning. 

Jets @ Bengals
Here’s one I’m really interested in watching today.  The Jets look like they may give the Patriots a run the rest of the way, and a win on the road against a Bengals team who plays well at home would be a big statement.  I think their defense keeps them in this one throughout, but Cincinnati gets it done again at home.  Bengals by 4; giving them a very quiet 6-2 record. 

Steelers @ Raiders
Look out, Pittsburgh has won two in a row.  They’re back!  Not so fast.  Wins against the Jets and struggling defending champs don’t tell me a ton.  I’m again going with the home team (this week’s theme apparently).  The Raiders are coming off their bye.  They’ve had two weeks to prepare for the Steelers, and Darren McFadden is reportedly looking sharp.  Raiders by 10. 

Redskins @ Broncos
Is it just me, or did it look like something was wrong with Peyton Manning in last week’s homecoming loss?  His passes looked very “uncrisp” throughout the game, especially in the second half.  Sure it was only Denver’s first loss of the year, but they haven’t exactly looked like Super Bowl material in their last three games - @ Dallas, v. Jacksonville, and @ Indy.  The Redskins had their best offensive output of the season last week against the Bears, putting up 45 points in earning their second win.  They’ll need at least that many this week.  144.  That’s the number of points the Broncos have scored in their three games against the other NFC East teams.  Sticking with the averages, Denver scores 48 today.

Falcons @ Cardinals
This Falcons team sucks, but the Cardinals have that trend of teams facing Seattle losing the following week going against them as well.  They’ve had a little longer to heal up for this one, and will, in my opinion, be able to shut down a Falcons offense missing both Julio Jones and Roddy White.  Andre Ellilngton has a big day for the Cardinals. 

Packers @ Vikings
Here’s the first game where I’m not picking the home team, and they won’t kick off until Sunday night.  This could be a sneaky spot for the Packers to slip up, but I expect them to be focused to stay atop the division, especially if Detroit wins earlier in the day as I expect them to do.  I don’t see Aaron Rodgers having a down game when he has a chance to beat up on the vulnerable Vikings and give his team a fourth straight win and 5-2 record before heading back home for a big MNF matchup against the Bears. 

Seahawks @ Rams
I don’t care if Sam Bradford didn’t tear up his knee.  The Rams weren’t beating Seattle.  Pad up Kellen Clemens.  So not only will the Rams lose this week, by rule of the Seattle trend, they’ll lose next week at home against the Titans. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

NFL Picks - Week 7

Season Record – 55-35

Running a little slow this morning, but it was well worth it.  The young man in the picture above put on a hell of a show last night and will be playing on Sunday soon enough.  Go Noles! 

Bucs @ Falcons
Two hugely disappointing teams.  Julio Jones is out for the year, and even if Roddy White is able to suit up, he’s far from full strength.  The Falcons defense is putrid, and the Bucs are running schemes that don’t suit their player strengths.  Going with the better of two bad teams in a who-really-cares tossup. 

Bengals @ Lions
To me Cincinnati is a disappointing 4-2.  They have yet to beat any handily, and that includes poor teams such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo.  They go on the road to face a Lions team that should have Calvin Johnson active.  I don’t trust the Bengals.  Prove me wrong Cincinnati.

Bills @ Dolphins
Miami went into their bye losers of their last two games, but the Bills are exactly what they need to get back on track.  If they can’t control Thad Lewis on their home turf, the Dolphins don’t belong in any postseason conversation.

Patriots @ Jets
It looks like this will finally be the week that Gronk gets back on the field.  New England is banged up on both sides of the ball, but I just can’t pick an upset here.  Even without Jerod Mayo and probably Aqib Talib, the Patriots should be able to scheme Geno Smith into a couple of turnovers and win another ugly one. 

Cowboys @ Eagles
In the division that doesn’t make any sense, I’m taking what I believe is the worse team. 

Bears @ Redskins
I’m not sure I exactly trust the Bears just yet, but I know I don’t trust the Redskins.  RGIII is way off, and that defense blows.  Bears win on the road.  Big day from Forte. 

Rams @ Panthers
A week after running through the Texans, the Rams get a reality check in Carolina.  I really like what the Panthers are doing on defense, and as long as Cam doesn’t make critical mistakes with the football, the home team will get the win. 

Chargers @ Jaguars
If I were a Chargers fan I’d be a little worried about this one.  East coast early game against a nothing-to-lose winless Jags team.  How well San Diego is able to contain Justin Blackmon will go a long way in determining this one.  I like what I’ve seen from Philip Rivers, and I’m counting on him playing like a veteran and escaping with a hard-fought 3 point win.

49ers @ Titans
Jake Locker will be back under center for the Titans, but I’m not sure it will matter if San Francisco’s defense brings it’s A-game.  I think this is a sneaky spot where Tennessee could pull off the upset if Colin Kapernick and the 49ers offense struggles to generate first downs early.  I’m counting on Jim Harbaugh having his team focused.  After this one at Tennessee, they play at Jacksonville before a week nine bye.  They can’t afford to lose games like this and slip further behind the Seahawks. 

Browns @ Packers
Even with his weapons dropping like flies, I can’t go against Aaron Rodgers at home.  Brandon Weeden is really struggling, so the Packers might not miss Clay Matthews this week.  Green Bay has yet to have a statement game this season, but the Browns may be just what the doctor ordered. 

Texans @ Chiefs
Welcome to the big show Case Keenum.  With Matt Schaub unable to go, the Texans turn to the former Houston Cougar to halt their four game losing streak.  I was never really high on the Texans, but I didn’t see them as a team that would lose four straight, regardless of opponent.  Now they get to travel to the loudest football environment outside of Seattle with a rookie QB against one of the league’s best defenses.  If the Texans’ losing streak isn’t intact after this one, the NFL is truly rigged. 

Ravens @ Steelers
Neither team is where they need or want to be.  Both struggle to put together scoring drives on offense, and neither resembles their reputation on defense.  I think it’s too early to completely bury the Steelers.  I don’t think they’re going to put together a meaningful winning streak, but I do think they get it done today at home against the Ravens.   

Broncos @ Colts
Guys like Peyton Manning who are among the elite of the elite are always looking for new incentives, reasons to excel.  I think he and Broncos play with a purpose and overwhelm the Colts.  Von Miller will be back, and he’ll make an impact early on.  Broncos by 20. 

Vikings @ Giants
When the Giants finally get their first win it will happen without me picking them.  As bad as they are on both sides of the ball, I can’t responsibly find a reason to pick them.  In that light I can’t exactly list Josh Freeman being under center as a huge shot in the arm for the Vikings.  Still, he should be an improvement over Ponder and Cassel.  I’m counting on a huge game in prime time from Adrian Peterson – 200 yards and 3 TDs. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

NFL Picks - Week 6

Season Record – 46-30

A look around the league reveals three undefeated teams and four winless ones.  Denver and New Orleans look like the real deal, while most are a bit skeptical of the Chiefs.  The Giants are 0-6 after a Thursday’s loss to the Bears, and the Bucs, Steelers, and Jags have combined for 13 losses.  How good are the good teams, and how bad are the bad ones?  I think one of the undefeated teams gets a scare this week, while two of the winless ones finally break into the W column.

Eagles @ Bucs
With no Dog Killer under center, the Eagles offense will be less of a guessing game this week.  I believe the Bucs defense can limit Nick Foles and company enough for their offense to take advantage of a defense that’s 30th in the league in points allowed per game.

Bengals @ Bills
Cincinnati is slow to convert doubters, but this game could go a long way in helping them do so.  With Thad Lewis under center for the Bills, the Bengals must have a dominant showing on the road.

Lions @ Browns
It looks like Calvin Johnson will miss his second straight game, and with the way the Lions floundered offensively last week at the Packers, I don’t like their chances against what I believe to be a considerably better defense. 

Raiders @ Chiefs
I think KC has a very good chance of losing this one, but I’ll give them the W, barely.  Alex Smith and the Chiefs are uncharacteristically careless with the football in this one, and Terrelle Pryor comes up just short on a potential game winning drive.  Chiefs by 3. 

Panthers @ Vikings
Flip a coin.  I’ll take the Panthers defense against Matt Cassel.  Thoughts go out to Adrian Peterson who is going through something no one should have to endure. 

Steelers @ Jets
Are the Jets this good?  Are the Steelers this bad?  How’s this for confusing?  I think the Steelers are this bad, but I’ll take them to get the win today.  My two main reasons are Dick LeBeau scheming against Geno Smith and Ben Roethlisberger working against a secondary with a missing or limited Antonio Cromartie. 

Packers @ Ravens
I feel like I always have to mention that I’m a closet Packers fan when I say things like this, but I really like the Packers to win decidedly at the Ravens.  Both have question marks on defense, but the Packers easily have the better functioning offense.  I think Eddie Lacy comes up big today, and Aaron Rodgers throws 3 TDs.   

Rams @ Texans
Bold prediction – Matt Schaub won’t throw a pick-6 for the fifth straight week.  The Rams and their 29th ranked run defense should be just what the doctor ordered. 

Jaguars @ Broncos
Denver averages 46 points a game, and Jacksonville agerages just over 10.  Final score – Broncos 46-10.

Titans @ Seahawks
Seattle returns home after two tough road games and makes it a long day for Ryan Fitzpatrick and company.  Seahawks by 17. 

Saints @ Patriots
My favorite game of the week.  This has historically been a game where New England gets the win.  They’re off an ugly road load, coming home to face a surging Saints team.  I won’t pick against the Saints until they start losing.  To me, they’re on even ground with the Seahawks as the best team in the NFC.  I really like what they’re doing on defense.  Saints by 10. 

Cardinals @ 49ers
This game worries me a little (since I’m picking the Niners).  I like Arizona’s defense, but I don’t think they’ll be able to generate enough scoring drives to get the win.  San Fran wins an ugly one.

Redskins @ Cowboys
As an admitted Tony Romo apologist, I’m really hoping for a bounce back from him tonight.  The putrid Redskins defense is just what the doctor ordered.  I’m counting on Dallas making more stops than Washington and avenging last year’s losses to the Skins. 

Colts @ Chargers
If you’re into “numbers”, this is the tease of the week.  Given what we’ve seen from these two teams, Indy should roll, but the “numbers” tell me not so fast my friend.  I can’t take the Chargers, so I’ll call a very close road win for the Colts. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

NFL Picks - Week 5

Season Record – 38-25

Recovering from my Atlanta trip to see Cy Kershaw and the Dodgers steal home field.  Go Blue! 

Saints @ Bears
Fade dome teams outdoors on a short week right?  Not this time.

Patriots @ Bengals
After unsuccessfully fading the Patriots and backing the Bengals last week, this one is a coin flip for me.  With a projected sloppy/wet field, I’m going with the home team to do just enough to give the Patriots their first loss of the year.

Lions @ Packers
Pack gets back on track.

Chiefs @ Titans
If KC can take care of business against a Fitzgerald-led Titans offense, they’ll be 5-0 with a home game against Oakland on deck.  I’ve got to think they’re focused for this one. 

Seahawks @ Colts
The Seahawks nearly fell at Houston last week, and the Colts are playing better ball than their division foes.  Seattle loses right?  I’m counting on a big game from Pete Carroll’s defense, focusing on shutting down the run and trusting his secondary to man-up the Colts receivers.

Jaguars @ Rams
Jacksonville is on the clock.

Ravens @ Dolphins
Even with the MNF loss at New Orleans, I still like the Dolphins.  They look a hell of a lot more cohesive than the Ravens through four weeks.

Eagles @ Giants
With as bad as the Giants are playing on offense, I’m not sure that they can score enough points, even against the sketchy Eagles defense to keep up. 

Panthers @ Cardinals
I wasn’t impressed with Arizona in their win at Tampa.  Carson Palmer has been a disappointment so far, and he’s facing another stout defense this week.  I’m counting on Carolina to come out of their bye week with a strong road showing. 

Broncos @ Cowboys
With 179 points through four weeks (44.75 per average), teams are just going to have to hope to win shootouts against Peyton and company until the weather gets bad.  Like Tony Dungy said, Peyton know this (Dallas’ cover two) defense better than any in the league.  Broncos score 46. 

Texans @ 49ers
Was last week’s loss the start of a big slide for the Texans?  Hitting the road to face a focused 49er squad that’s chasing the Seahawks isn’t the best bounce back opportunity.

Chargers @ Raiders
I’ll be turning this one on after the Dodgers take care of business a little ways up the road.  Rivers outguns Pryor in an entertaining Sunday capper. 

Jets @ Falcons
After last week’s flop, I don’t have a ton of faith in the Falcons, but they can’t lose at home to the Jets.  Can they?

Bonus Pick
Game 3 – Dodgers v. Braves
MVPuig homers; Dodgers win 5-2; lead series 2-1