OK, lets see how many of these I can get done tonite. Sadly I wasn’t able to find time over the weekend, and now it seems likely that most of you won’t read much of this before game time and as such its probably moot. However, I do still need to make my picks tonite, and I’ll think out loud here.
Lots of pretty half-point spreads and off numbers, but its a really tough week of even matchups.
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay 12:00pm (Tampa Bay by 4)
Tough game to call. Tampa hasn’t had a very difficult schedule so far compared to alot of teams, but in the NFL anyone can win any week, so maybe that doesn’t indicate much. should say something that they’ve consistently wonthe games they are supposed to, can’t say that about many other teams. I’m starting to be sold on Vick. Its too soon to crown him king, and I think I recall similar rumblings after Randall Cunningham’s break out. He didn’t exactly end up owning the league. However, I do think Tampa’s defense is good enough to limit his big plays and confuse him downfield. Tampa’s offense has been a long ways from unstoppable and the Falcons have been hit or miss. I won’t be betting on this one, it could go either way, but for the sake of completeness I’ll pick the Bucs to win, Falcons cover.
Buffalo @ New England 12:00pm (New England by 4½)
Woohoo, this should be fun. While these teams have already played, its not nearly the same as when the game is in New England. It was big for the players in Buffalo, but in New England the fans will be into it and emotions will be stirred. I don’t expect another poor Bledsoe outing here, and the Buffalo defense has shown hints of life. Its gonna be close, and I think Buffalo is going to even the score. The game its critical to both squads, and I think the running game with be the difference maker. Bills in a upset.
Cincinnati @ Carolina 12:00pm (Carolina by 3½)
Couple of pigs here. I don’t really think that Cincy is going to lose out, they’ve got Dillon and a few talented guys, so eventually they will probably get enough breaks to win again. Peppers is out for the year now, but I’m not really sure how big of a factor that will be in the overall performance of the Panther D. However, I’ve got to imagine that the deal-breaker is the Cincy defense. Cincy has given up and are already researching for the #1 draft pick. This franchise is the type that might actually try for the worst record. Panthers win and cover, but it won’t be pretty.
Cleveland @ Jacksonville 12:00pm (Jacksonville by 1½)
Interesting article in the Sun Times about the state of Ohio football. Miami’s coaches against Marshall, OSU’s riots, U of Cincy’s brawl, the Bungles, and the unruly Cleveland Browns fans. Whew, ugly stuff for an entire state. Wonder if the Browns will pack it in, or if they’ll manage to somehow salvage some respect this season. They are still alive in the playoff hunt, and if Green continues to show signs and can really make them dangerous. The Jags are banged up, but shockingly Fred Taylor isn’t! Talentwise I’ve got to think the Jags are better, but they just haven’t shown it. Cleveland screwed me last week, and I’ll probably avoid staking anything on them from here on out. Just to illustrate how topsy-turvy the year has been, I’m taking them to win here in the upset.
Houston @ Pittsburgh 12:00pm (Pittsburgh by 13½)
Nearly 14? That seems high considering the QB situation in Pittsburgh. Maddox will start and probably have a short leash, Bettis will play. Houston has stayed in just about all of their games, with a few exceptions. No reason to think they’ll fall apart here, and Pitt has had trouble in the red zone. That looks to me like circumstances for a Steelers win and a Texan’s cover.
Indianapolis @ Tennessee 12:00pm (Tennessee by 2)
Before the season started this looked like it might be a marquee matchup. Then both teams sputtered, and it looked like it might be a pig. However, they’ve both scrapped and rallied. No one is really picking these guys as a powerhouse, but they’ll both probably be in the mix come playoff time. Tricky game to pick, both teams are awfully even, and I think that 2 point spread is solely based on home field. The Colts have been playing well on defense, as shocking as that sounds. And with McNair’s list of aches and pains, it could be a tough day for the Titans offense. I’m going to take the points and run, and pick Indy to edge out the Titans at home.
N.Y. Giants @ Washington 12:00pm (Washington by 2½)
The Giants have been impossible to pick this year. They seem to show up occasionally, and even when they don’t they find ways to mess up the spread. The thing I’m going to hang my hat on is all tehinjuries in the Giants defense. I think that Washington will score just enough at home to win this one, but I won’t be betting it.
San Francisco @ Dallas 12:00pm (San Francisco by 4½)
Another tough call. The 49ers are dinged up in alot of places and the Cowboys seem to be clicking on offense finally. I’m not sure I’m ready to pick this upset, but its tempting especially in Dallas. The Cowboys haven’t shown any consistency, and the 49ers have at least found ways to win the games they are supposed to, though they’ve look really iffy. I guess this will tell the tale if SF is a real player in the NFC picture. I’m going to guess that Dallas beats the spread, and that they upset them at home, though that last part is far from confident.
St. Louis @ Kansas City 12:00pm (Kansas City by 5)
I’ve been wondering to myself who’d I’d wather have to build a team around, Priest Holmes or LaDanian Tomlinson. I can’t decide, both are flat out awesome. Holmes stats are better, but LT seems to take over games a little better. Close race though, they both go 1-2 in most fantasy leagues next year. It makes me happy to say this, but the Rams are dead. If Bulger were starting, maybe i’d take them, but not Martin in KC. I don’t think KC will explode offensively here, St Louis’ D has been quietly effective. For some reason I think the Rams will be really feisty in this match up, and I’m tempted to pick them to cover, but the Chiefs just has so much more to play for at home. Chiefs win and cover, but it’ll be a game.
Detroit @ Arizona 12:00pm (Arizona by 1½)
Eh, who really cares about this one? The Lions are better than their record, thanks to Morningwood. Thats not a compliment, by the way. I haven’t watched an Arizona game yet this year, and as such can’t really speak intelligently. I have a feeling they might roll over. They won’t run, but the Lions will. If Harrington can manage to not turn the ball ovber, they win this one in the mild road upset. You know, the thought of Plummer in a Bears uniform doesn’t sound too bad.
I’ll try and get back with the late games in a bit.