Friday, October 10, 2008

At the sports desk: NFL weekly picks

Last week was a strange one, with bizarre games and crazy endings, etc etc.
So I went 6-6-2, putting my record at 38-33-3. Time to improve this week!

Chicago 3 over ATLANTA. Pick: BEARS. The Falcons run the ball well, piling up over 170 yards again last week vs Green Bay. But the Bears stop the run well, and will load up to stop Michael Turner. The Bears seem to do well in this type of game.

Dallas 5 over ARIZONA. Pick: CARDINALS. There's a definite trend--Arizona does well at home, especially putting points on the board with their passing game (Kurt Warner last week at home--33 of 42, 250 yds). Meanwhile the Cowboys have injuries in the secondary. I see the Cowboys winning this game, but in a very tight one; go with the Cards to keep it real close.

DENVER 3.5 over Jacksonville. Pick: BRONCOS. The Jags have struggled on offense--only 38 yards rushing last week. Meanwhile Jay Cutler has largely shone, especially at home (last week 23 if 34, 227 yds). I think the Broncos will find a way to win this one by 6 or 7 pts.

HOUSTON 3 over Miami. Pick: DOLPHINS. I just think the Texans will still be shell-shocked from last week's unbelievable collapse; and the Dolphins have shown an ability to smash-mouth their running game down peoples' throats, and a tough D--they held the Chargers to 202 total yards last week. Go with the fish.

INDIANAPOLIS 4 over Baltimore. Pick: COLTS. Again--I think they're getting healthier, and they can hold Joe Flacco in check (he threw 2 INTs last week).

MINNESOTA 13 over Detroit. Pick: VIKINGS. Jon Kitna is out for the Lions; their defense can't stop anybody, and again they're awash in negativity. Adrian Peterson will run wild. Gus Frerotte will too--the Lions gave up over 300 yds passing to Kyle Orton, for goodness' sake.

NEW ORLEANS 7 over Oakland. Pick: SAINTS. Oakland has the craziness of a new coach and the usual drama there; the Saints unbelievably blew last Monday night's game despite Reggie Bush's heroics. But I like Drew Brees and the Saints offense to put more than 7 points distance between them and the Raiders.

NY JETS 5.5 over Cincinnati. Pick: JETS. Honestly, Cincinnati hasn't played that badly the last couple of weeks vs the Giants and Cowboys. But they're on the road again, for a third straight game; and they face a rested Jets team that's coming off a 56 point explosion vs Arizona. The Jets will win this game by at least a touchdown.

Philadelphia 5 over SAN FRANCISCO. Pick: EAGLES. Yes, the Eagles have had their troubles, including last week. But they face a 49er team that still doesn't know that well how to win, that is leaky on defense (gave up nearly 400 total yards last week to Matt Cassel) and turns the ball over (J.T. O'Sullivan last week threw 3 picks). I like the experienced Eagles to win this one by a touchdown or more.

SAN DIEGO 5 over New England. Pick: CHARGERS. The Chargers didn't play well at all last week, outgained by the Dolphins by nearly 200 yards. But they play better at home; the Patriots won last week, but benefited from a mistake-prone 49er squad--note that the Patriots, in winning last week, still allowed 5 sacks and had Cassel throw 3 INTs. I think the Patriots' less-than-awesome character now will catch up to them in San Diego.

SEATTLE 2 over Green Bay. Pick: SEAHAWKS. How to read this game? Neither team has looked too good lately; the Seahawks gave up over 500 total yards to the Giants, but Green Bay, in losing at home to rookie Falcons QB Matt Ryan, gave up over 400 total yards. Mike Holmgren is a good coach; his team is at home; they're bound to rebound.

TAMPA BAY 1.5 over Carolina. Pick: PANTHERS. Mainly because right now it seems to me that Jake Delhomme and the Panthers are executing better than Griese and the Bucs.

WASHINGTON 13.5 over St. Louis. Pick: REDSKINS. Mainly because the Rams have given no indication so far that, either at home or on the road, they're going to stay too close to anybody, new coach or no. Meanwhile, the 'Skins wins both at Dallas and at Philly were mighty impressive.

NY Giants 7.5 over CLEVELAND. Pick: GIANTS. Cleveland has simply not shown the ability to move the ball effectively or consistently, nor have they shown they can stop people. Meanwhile, the Giants running and passing games have been executed with near-precision by Eli Manning. To top it off, I saw today that someone on Cleveland's defense is talking trash about Brandon Jacobs. Yikes. The Giants to be motivated, and to power on ahead.