Monday, November 10, 2008

A Question for the Ages

There are a lot of bad end-of-game coaches in the NFL. Andy Reid gave us a display tonight that rivaled himself in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. Now I have to hear for another week that the Giants are the best team in the NFL. Thanks, Coach.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

NFL Predictions: Week 10

First off, to the five of you read my weekly football post, I'm sorry for missing a week. It could not be avoided. I went to Chicago last Friday, so Thursday was packed with all the pre-trip things one must accomplish (buy underwear because you're too lazy to do laundry, etc.), and was nearly too busy during the weekend itself even to set my fantasy lineup. Beyond that, though, I have no excuse at all. I should've posted this week's picks before Thursday's game, but remembered there was a game at all far too late. Between the trip, the conference I attended, the alcohol consumed, the election, the alcohol consumed, and the overall sleep deprivation, I've just been too fried to get much done.

It's a rainy Saturday in Oakland now, though, my belly is filled (note: if you're in the area, the fried chicken sandwich at Bake Sale Betty's is up to the challenge of meeting its reputation), and my mind is sharp. First, though, a peek at last week's picks that you did not get to see. Figures that I'd do well on a non-posting week.

BUFFALO (-5) over Jets (wrong)
Detroit (+12.5) over CHICAGO (correct)
Jacksonville (-7.5) over CINCINNATI (wrong)
CLEVELAND (-1.5) over Baltimore (wrong)
Green Bay (+5.5) over TENNESSEE (correct)
KANSAS CITY (+8.5) over Tampa Bay (correct)
Arizona (-3) over ST. LOUIS (correct)
Houston (+4.5) over MINNESOTA (wrong)
DENVER (-3.5) over Miami (wrong)
Atlanta (-3) over OAKLAND (correct)
GIANTS (-9) over Dallas (correct)
Philadelphia (-6.5) over SEATTLE (correct)
INDIANAPOLIS (-6) over New England (wrong)
Pittsburgh (+2) over WASHINGTON (correct)

With that out of the way ... onward ho! to the picks!

CLEVELAND (-3) over Denver (WRONG)
I don't think anybody could've anticipated Cutler throwing for nearly 450 yards. Though we should've anticipated the Browns blowing another lead.

ATLANTA (-1) over New Orleans
New Orleans has to win a game on the road eventually, but nothing stops the feel-good Atlanta Falcons from defending their home! Not even a 'roided up Saints team.

Tennessee (-3) over CHICAGO
I watched much of last week's bizarre Detroit-Chicago game at a sports bar in downtown Chicago. I've nothing against the Bears, but I did find myself rather offended, as a non-partisan football fan, that they were able to come back and win that game. It was worth it, though, to hear the horror and jeers when Rex re-entered the game. Does any other city have such a complex relationship with their QB? Maybe Philly & McNabb, but I think most of us can agree that's more irrational than complex -- insert obligatory wife joke here.

DETROIT (+6.5) over Jacksonville
It might be a little unfair to pick on Jacksonville, given their horrendous loss to the Bengals last week, but who will be surprised if they do the same thing on the road against a Detroit team whose most lop-sided loss in the past four weeks was eight points?

MIAMI (-8.5) over Seattle
Miami has to be the quietest playoff-contending team right now. The AFC East is ripe for the taking ... in an epic struggle between the Jets and Miami. God. What a weird year.

Green Bay (+2.5) over MINNESOTA
I still cannot figure either of these teams out. Despite the fact Minnesota won last week and Green Bay won, I kind of feel like Green Bay has its act together more. Grant looks to be getting healthy -- he had a very frisky 4.6 yards p/carry average against a very stingy Tennessee defense -- and you just never know when either Driver or Jennings can burn you long. Their defense just needs to show up, I think, make a couple of stops, and let the passing game pick apart Minnesota's very shaky secondary.

NEW ENGLAND (-3.5) over Buffalo
That Buffalo bandwagon is looking very deserted right about now, and I don't think it's just because it's nearly winter. I'd like to see them right the ship, and what better game than this one, when their back is firmly against the wall and on the verge of a third straight divisional loss. Ordinarily I'd pick the hungrier team, but it's just become a foregone conclusion in the league that Bellichek does not lose two straight, ever.

St. Louis (+8) over NEW YORK (JETS)
The new coach smell in St. Louis seems to have faded considerably, and the Jets seem primed for a really cheap cover ... but I simply cannot resist the points.

Baltimore (-1) over HOUSTON
All of a sudden Baltimore is relevant in the AFC again. How time flies in the NFL. With Big Ben hurting while Pittsburgh plays Indy this week, a win over Houston would give Baltimore the same record as their rival with one more head-to-head match-up. "Chance for the playoffs" trumps shit-stained pride.

Carolina (-9) over OAKLAND
Thank you, Raider Nation, for not selling out McAfee, or whatever that place is called now. Thank you, for the wonderful prize of not having either your pride and joy OR the 49ers sully my television screen on Sunday. Bad news for the rest of the country: the 49ers are playing on Monday night. HA! Welcome to my world!

PITTSBURGH (OFF) over Indianapolis
Gambling is turned off here because of the mystery of Big Ben's injury status. I'm not sure it matters, actually. With as erratic as Manning has been so far, does he stand a chance against Pittsburgh defense? Indy fans, cover your children's eyes. It could get brutal.

Kansas City (+15) over SAN DIEGO
I actually think LT runs wild here and KC gets blown out, and might even be inclined to throw this game into a two-team teaser. But as a stand-alone handing over of fifteen points, no. Kansas is just feisty enough to make this potentially interesting.

PHILADELPHIA (-3) over New York (Giants)
Let me go on the record, if I haven't already, that I still do not believe in the Giants or Eli Manning. Philly is getting healthy. If they stay so, they will be a team to be reckoned with. The only concern is that they've no proven go-to wide receiver -- well, that, and a bruising short-yardage guy. DeSean Jackson has moments, but he's too streaky, and the streaks have become fewer with each passing week it seems. I'm betting, though, that this week the Eagles take a step back into full-blown NFC relevance. They have enough balance, though, with a healthy Westbrook that they could stretch the Giants' unremarkable secondary.

ARIZONA (-9.5) over San Francisco
The Bay Area's gift to the rest of the country! Maybe Mike Singletary will get so frustrated at Kornheiser that he'll banish him to the locker room, too.

Last week: 8-6
Season: 63-63-5