You guys are no fun any more, but I’m not quitting. Stubborn is me.
First off, let me give you guys a little update regarding my OMNI- pool. As you know you need to pick 5 games right to win, and if no one does it rolls. It rolled several weeks in a row, I think about 5, and we were looking at a pot of about $4000 last week. After Sunday’s games there was one guy left alive, he’d taken the Bucs to cover on Monday. Most of you probably know how that turned out. You can imagine I’m pretty pissed with teh whole Giants organization for a plethora of complete and total breakdowns capped off by a totally idiotic intentional safety that cost them the game. It was the wrong call, this wasn’t the Carolina situation, they’d botched the clock management so badly that there’s no way they should have taken the safety. Basically they had the ball, and they chose to give it up in exchange for maybe gaining 30 yards on a 1 in 4 chance onside kick. Dumb dumb dumb. Don;t even get me started on Stoudamire and Toomer.
Now to my picks for the rest of the games.
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh 12:00pm (Pittsburgh -3.0)
I’m not really sure why Pittsburgh would be favored. I know what you’re saying, I say that every week. The only indicators in their favor is the fact that they are at home, and that they won the last meeting. The latter isn’t much of an indicator since these two teams are nothing like they were in week 3. The Steelers haven’t exactly been a juggernaut at home, nor has Cincy been extraordinarily poor on the road either. The gut knows that Cincy is a much better team, and while that hasn’t always meant victory this year, it certainly is better than flipping a coin. I’ll gladly take the points in this one. Cincy can run, and Pittsburgh can’t. Kitna has been solid and Maddox has been erratic. Pittsburgh only scored more than 21 points twice, once in week one in an abberation vs the Ravens and once against the Cards at home. Cincy’s D isn’t awesome, but they will be good enough here. Final Score, Bengals 27 - Steelers 16.
New England @ Indianapolis 12:00pm (Indianapolis -4.0)
Really difficult game to call. On one side you have the legend of the Belichick schemes on D against the newly consistent and balanced Indy attack. You’ve got Brady playing great ball with no running game against a pretty respectable pass D. Peyton had a tweak in the arm, but all signs point to it being a-ok. I really don’t have a good read on this game, and I’d guess that it’ll be really exciting to watch. The difference could very likely be one mistake. In games like these, its tough to choose between home field and the points, but I think in this one I’m going to lean towards New England. Both teams have serious injury concerns, the Pats mainly at WR. The question I’m left with is this, is the Pats D good enough to offset the holes at WR? I say yes, but barely, and I might flip flop between now and gametime. Final Score, Pats 28 - Colts 27.
Buffalo @ N.Y. Giants 12:00pm (N.Y. Giants -3.0)
Couple of ugly teams. The Bills D is playing well enough to think they’ll force more of those errors that plague the Giants. Granted, how good can you feel about picking against a team that scores 30 points without even trying if they just catch the ball and not fumble it? I give up on both these teams this year. Since I have no insight that can’t be undone by the inevitable string of turnovers for both squads, I’m just gonna guess. Final Score, Giants 17 - Bills 13.
Atlanta @ Houston 12:00pm (Houston -3.0)
This game worries me, I want to take the Texans with all those young guys on offense who seem to be clicking wonderfully. However, Atlanta’s shown up to play every week and scares everyone they play lately. Neither D is really impressive, especially Atlantas, but the Atlanta running game has the pop to be really scary. And, there’s even a chance that Vick could be playing. Not sure how I expect that news to effect the team. The simple thing would be for them to lose out and start from scratch next year with Vick and a new QB. Thats exactly why they won’t. However, all this diminished by the fact that Warrick Dunn is out. He was probably the most important player on that team. I’m going to cop out and take the home team here, though the Texans QB uncertainty makes it iffy. Final Score, Texans 17 - Falcons 13.
San Francisco @ Baltimore 12:00pm (Baltimore -3.0)
The Niners suck on the road, and they are mysteriously plugging Garcia back in the line up against the Ravens on the road. Ray Lewis is going up against the only guy in the league who I hope he’ll get the better of in TO. How do you think TO will feel when they struggle early? I think this is a pretty safe bet, Jamal Lewis all day long. Final Score, Ravens 23 - 49ers 16.
A funny aside, I was just watching the Sports Center Not Top Ten. They had a couple clips of refs getting plunked in the jumblies during games last week. That was pretty funny, sadly I don’t think any were the refs from the Seattle-Baltimore screw up.
Philadelphia @ Carolina 12:00pm (Carolina -1.5)
I want to pick the Panthers here, I just like them for so many reasons this year. They even have a pretty good match up in Davis vs the Eagles D. But, they just seem to not step up when they get those big opportunities. They gotta like getting these guys at home, but the Eagles aren’t exactly a team that cares about a little booing. They even are the healthier team, but my gut and all the momentum just seems to go with the Eagles winning this one. Especially now that they’ve seen the Cowboys lose on Thursday. I wouldn’t wager on it, but the Eagles offense is clicking and I don’t seem McNabb being to troubled by the pass rush. Final Score, Eagles 24 - Panthers 21.
Arizona @ Chicago 12:00pm (Chicago -4.5)
The Bears are a monumental 4.5 point fave! Dear god, what has happened. You guys all laughed when I said that the Bears would have some success against the Broncos. While I never dreamed we’d win the game, and if Portis hadn’t gotten misplaced in the second half, we wouldn’t have, but the D and the running game are decent enough to make every matchup a battle and put them in a position to capitalize on mistakes. Of course, all this just means that Grossman won’t be getting any reps, stalling his development. The lame duck coaching staff can’t afford to start him before the team is technically eliminated because thats their only pipe dream fro being there next year. As a staff what incentive is there to worry about the future at the expense meaningless games now? Of course, playing teams like Arizona also means that we’ll probably win enough to not get a difference making draft choice either to screw up either. The tandem of Boldin and Blake scares me, and the return of Emmitt makes me smile and brim with confidence. I’m gonna hope the cold and possible weather will ice that Arizona passing game. Kordell still can’t hit the broadside of a barn from 8 feet up wind and up hill, so check the confidence at the door. Final Score, Bears 20 - Cards 15.
Minnesota @ St. Louis 12:00pm (St. Louis -6.0)
The Vikings have certainly imploded. The Rams are trying to implode, but keep squeaking by. This ones indoors and the Rams are benefitted by that more than the Vikes. Also, the Vikings need to get back on track running the ball to be successful, and they won’t against the Rams on turf, especially if they get behind. Of course the big caveat is that the key to Viking success was creating turnovers, especially INTS, which has been a huge issue for the Rams as of late. That fact scares me when you consider all the close games the Rams have had lately up against a 6 point spread. We’ll see. The Vikes should feel like they have the division locked up after that Green Bay flop, but frankly I don’t know how to think that’ll effect this team. Final Score, Rams 31 - Vikings 28.
New Orleans @ Washington 3:05pm (Washington -2.0)
No way the Saints are under dogs here. I don’t think that they’ll blow out the Redskins, but all the stats point to the Saints dominating this one. Ramsey is back in the lineup at less than 100% which makes me even less apt imagine them victimizing the Saints so-so D. Duce wins this one on his own, as long as Brooks doesn’t give it away, the Saints win easy. Final Score, Saints 34 - Redskins 14.
Cleveland @ Seattle 3:15pm (Seattle -6.0)
Cleveland’s D has been pretty impressive at times, and their offense fails to capitalize time and time again. They have enough skill to make big plays, but I have the impression that Butch Davis doesn’t understand how to put together a steady attack, especially in the redzone. They win when their athletisism allows them to make things happen, but you can’t count on that in this league when you need it. Seattle has its flaws on offense too, dropping lots of balls. But, alot of those issues seem to clear up at home. 6 is a cozy spread too. Final Score, Seattle 27 - Browns 20.
Kansas City @ San Diego 3:15pm (Kansas City -7.0)
Just 7? Thank you very much. I imagine that LT will pile up some numbers in his own right, and with a little fantasy luck Boston and Flutie will continue to get along nicely, however I’m not sure I can envision any situation where the Chiefs don’t score every time they touch the ball. Final Score, Chiefs 34 - Chargers 24.
Denver @ Oakland 3:15pm (Denver -3.0)
So are we done with the theory that Shanahan is a genius? You’ve got one of the top running backs in the game, he’s averaging some 12 yards a carry and he get lost in teh play calling after about 5 minutes in the third quarter. All this in a game when your QB is just getting back into sync against a team that isn’t likely to out score you. That doesn’t make much sense to me, but I’m just a guy, I’m not getting paid umpteen million bucks. Sterling Sharpe is out and so is Rod Woodson. Probably an edge for Oakland. They’ve been getting it done the old fashioned way as of late, and at home they’ll have a slight edge, but talent wise the Broncos have every excuse to win this game. Mirer has been pretty steady at QB, but Shanahan doesn’t lose to Al Davis. Final Score, Denver 24 - Oakland 20.
Sunday Night Football
Tampa Bay @ Jacksonville 7:30pm (Tampa Bay -3.5)
Leftwich is gonna start after all, and thats a good sign for the Jags. I do think that the Jags will win the battle of the running games on both sides, and at home thats a big advantage. The defense hasn’t been too shabby either. The Bucs on the other hand got a big gift on Monday night. They certainly haven’t done much to indicate that they are dominant in any phase of the game. The real danger is that the Jags will turn the ball over to an opportunistic secondary and still dangerous pass rush. I’m not sold, and since I won’t be betting it, I’ll be bold under the lights. Final Score, Jags 21 - Bucs 20.
Monday Night Football
Tennessee @ N.Y. Jets 8:00pm (Tennessee -1.0)
McNair is all banged up, and if he plays or not is undecided. Either way he won;t be 100% and that gives the Jets a shot. Normally with a healthy Titans, this would be a 6 point spread even in Jersey. Pennington and Co can score, and will even against this formidable D. I don;t think McNair will play, the smart move is to rest him here. Even as tough as he is, a pulled muscle could get alot worse and cost him the season. This isn’t a strain or a bruise, he needs time to heal for Indy and the playoffs. With Volek in there they still have a very good chance to win, and the Jets struggle so badly against the run that Eddie could look like the guy who was everyone favorite horse. Pass happy teams are the few that give this team troubles, and I think they may just fall short. Final Score, Jets 21 - Titans 20