Saturday, December 09, 2006

Humble Pie (Week 14 NFL Picks)

That's what I get for puffing out my chest and actually implying that I may know what I'm doing when it comes to picking these crazy-ass games. Nobody does. MSNBC's resident expert - former Cowboy tight end Jay Novacek - is 126-66 in games picked this year, but the pansy doesn't do spreads, just winners. Lame prick. For me, it's been two steps forward, five steps back all year long. Last week was totally back-asswards as I went a gaudy 4-12. This puts the season mark at 81-91-5.

Sadly, my loss column has already grown by 1 this week as I took the Cleveland Browns (the Cleveland Browns) to cover 9 against the Steelers on Thursday night. Bad idea. Here are some more (probable) bad ideas for Week #14.

Baltimore (+3) @ Kansas City: Both teams are coming off terrible losses, and I understand the Chiefs have a college-like home field advantage at Arrowhead Stadium. Poor Larry Johnson gets no pub thanks to LT's heroics this year in San Diego. This game comes down to who the better team is, and I'm thinking you're going to see a better overall effort from the Ravens than we saw last Thursday night. They've had plenty of time to regroup.

Atlanta (-3) @ Tampa Bay: The Falcons have been the epitome of a Jekyll and Hyde teams this year. They finally won a game decisively last week and they still have something to play for. They should school the Bucs' rookie QB. I'm going with a hungry Atlanta squad.

@Detroit (-1.5) vs. Minnesota: Another Norris Division battle. Yes, the Patriots freely admitted they were lethargic last Sunday, but if you watched the game, you also had to be impressed with some of the Lions' offensive plays. Dat crazy Mike Martz knows what he's doing.

Tennessee (+1) @ Houston: If they had a mulligan, do you think the Texans would consider taking Vince Young - or even Reggie Bush - over Mario Williams with the No. 1 pick? If they didn't, the entire scouting department should be shown the door. Then you find that Young is from the Houston area, and it blows your mind that they didn't take him. Think of all the tickets he'd sell. Supposedly, this game is the most sought-after ticket since the Texans' opener several years ago, and word has it the angry locals are going to be cheering for the Titans and their electric QB. It could get a bit awkward in the Texans' owners box today.

@Jacksonville (+1) vs. Indianapolis: I'm going with a mild upset here. The Colts haven't been playing good ball lately, and the Jags know they're on a tight leash if they want to be playing when it really counts. Peyton and his band of receivers will get their stats today, but the Jags imposing D will make yards tough to come by for Colts RB Joseph Addai.

NY Giants (E) @ Carolina: An intriguing matchup to say the least. Two talented teams spiraling downward, scratching and clawing to make the playoffs. And yet lots and lots of warts on both sides. Jake Delhomme's hurting but he'll play today - the stakes are too high. Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams is rapidly becoming a weapon, but if Michael Strahan is back today - as some think he will be - that gives the Giants an extra push at the line. Giants are the pick, but it should be an entertaining game.

@Cincinnati (-10.5) vs. Oakland: Next to the Chargers and the Cowboys, the Bengals may be playing the best on both sides of the ball right now. Carson Palmer is the definition of a pro quarterback. They will whip the Raiders, the only question is by how much. If the game was in Oakland, I'd think twice about the Raiders putting up a better fight. They'll go down hard today as Cincy continues to steamroll toward a playoff berth.

Philadelphia (-1) @ Washington: The Battle of Who Cares? Philly snuck out a last-minute win against Carolina on Monday night and they've had a short week to get ready. The Redskins are making coach Joe Gibbs daydream about NASCAR. Who knows which way this ugly game will turn. Because we have to select one team, we'll pin our hopes on the Eagles.

New England (-3.5) @ Miami: This is traditionally a tough game, but coming off last week's sleepwalk victory over Detroit, something tells me Coach Bill will have his guys ready to play better in a road division game. Laurence Maroney is officially out of this one, so we may see the Pats' depth at RB today. Miami will hang tough, but the Patriots pull away in the end. (TV, CBS, 1:00)

@San Francisco (-4.5) vs. Green Bay: I can just hear Chris Berman's angle on this one. A matchup of two former dynasties who have fallen on hard times. Steve Young is now analyzing the games next to Berman, while Favre's still calling the shots for the woeful Packers. And therein lies the problem. The 49ers have shown promise this year, and RB Frank Gore is emerging as the real deal. The Pack, well, they've shown up... kind of. San Francisco takes it.

Seattle (-3) @ Arizona: After their big win in Denver last Sunday night, the Seahawks are playing with renewed confidence with both Hasselbeck and Alexander back on the field. Everyone keeps talking about the Bears and the Cowboys in the pathetic NFC, but I think the Seahawks may be coming together at just the right time. Look for them to win by 7 in the desert. (TV, FOX, 4:00)

@NY Jets (-3.5) vs. Buffalo: Wish I had a dish so I could watch this one. This should be a pretty good ballgame. The Jets have been playing well and the Bills have been holding their own. A battle of two good defenses here, but I'll take Chad Pennington over J.P. Losman. J-E-T-S.

@San Diego (-7.5) vs. Denver: The consensus is that the Chargers are the best team in football, despite the spotty record of their coach. LaDainian Tomlinson is in a league of his own. The Chargers also play very well at home, and would like nothing better than to secure a first-round bye. Denver, meanwhile, is still trying to adjust to their new QB. Let's just say he didn't look very good in his debut last week against Seattle. (TV, 4:15, CBS)

New Orleans (+7.5) @ Dallas: With the new flexible TV schedule - in which NBC can have their pick of games - who would have ever thought they'd pick the Saints? The Cowboys have been playing out of their minds, and the Saints have already clinched most improved team of 2006. Logic says the Cowboys have to submit a subpar performance soon. I think Dallas wins this one, but I'll take the Saints to cover. (TV, 8:15, NBC)

@St. Louis (+6) vs. Chicago: Finally, a somewhat decent Monday Nighter. It's fun to watch the weekly car crash that is Rex Grossman. The Bears should win a tight one, but six points is too much for a Grossman-led offense to cover. I'm going with the Rams. (TV, 8:30, ABC)

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