Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Week 8 picks

I'm sorry. To the four of you who read these (and I probably already apologized to), please allow me to explain my 4/13 showing.
As always, I like to have a drink or two when I sit down to do this. As you get later in the picks, you'll see my St. Louis/Dallas and Indy/New Orleans gems. Thanks, Kokanee. Two down, seven to go.
Pardon me for the reigning Super Bowl champions not being able to beat a 1-5 team starting a rookie QB by more than nine and the Ravens laying a stinkbomb on Monday Night Football against a 1-5 team starting a rookie QB. Four down, five to go.
I didn't know Bears-Bucs were playing in London. That's completely on me, but had I known, who knows? Five down, four to go.
The Redskins weren't starting Rex Grossman. What was I supposed to do? Six down, three to go.
A 5-1 team at home against a 3-3 team. I'm not taking it back. Seven down, two to go.
As for the other two games (KC/Oakland, Houston/Tennessee) well, those are entirely on me.
This week, I'm currently on beer one, nobody is playing on another continent and I'm another week wiser, with the fullest of intentions to redeem myself. Here we go.

Home team in caps.

Indianapolis vs TENNESSEE (-9.5)

The battle of the two most underwhelming performances of Week 7! Indy needs to lose out to have a shot at Andrew Luck, a great successor to Peyton Manning with conceivable Favre/Rodgers parallels. The Titans can't lose if they want to stay in the AFC South race. Plus, the Colts' run defense is notoriously bad and Chris Johnson is so past due, he's getting collection notices. Also, Indy gave up 62 points last week, making Tennessee's 41 allowed look stingy.

New Orleans (-10.5) vs ST. LOUIS

To be honest, I still don't think the Saints are that good. I just think Indy's that bad, as evidenced by me taking 9.5 from a team that lost by 34 at home last week. Meanwhile, the Rams are also co-front runners for Mr. Luck. Now, I don't think they'll get him (or even want him... Sam Bradford is still decent), but I still don't see them being competitive here. Worst-case scenario, Saints-Cowboys are virtually a push. Dallas beat the Rams by about 91 last week, so take 3.5 on each side of the home-and-home tradeoff for St. Louis and New Orleans could still lay about 84 to the Rams and cover.

Miami (+9.5) vs NY GIANTS

I'm not falling for it again, Eli Manning. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. You screwed over my survivor pool against Seattle, I won't let you make me look bad again.
I'm probably about four days from regretting this, but we'll see. The Giants are like the Montreal Canadiens. If I pick them, they'll lose and vice versa. But here's the deal.
New York's next six weeks after Miami: at New England, at San Francisco, Philadelphia, at New Orleans, Green Bay, at Dallas. Wow. Pretty easy to overlook Miami with that on deck.

Minnesota vs CAROLINA (-3.5)

The Panthers are better than the Vikings. The only thing they have to do (obviously easier said than done) is slow down Adrian Peterson. And maybe Jared Allen.
Minnesota's job is to slow down Cam Newton, something that hasn't really been done yet. Oh, and the Viking secondary could use a few more guys with their ability to stop teams from passing on them.

Arizona vs BALTIMORE (-12.5)

Don't screw me over again, Ravens. This is your chance to make a New Orleans/Indy type statement.
Because of my logic hanging me out to dry, I'm retiring my Stone Cold Lock of the Week after back-to-back losses. But the logic still works here:
Kevin Kolb isn't getting Arizona to more than, say, 13 points, but it'll probably be closer to six.
Can Baltimore put up about 26 on Arizona's defense. Yes, the Orioles can.

Jacksonville (+9.5) vs HOUSTON

Like New Orleans, the Texans aren't that good. I don't know how their game against the Titans happened.
But Jacksonville might not be awful. And that's a lot of points to give to a not-awful team. The team played inspired ball against Pittsburgh and Baltimore and doing so against Houston easily puts them in line to cover, if not win outright. I'm counting on an inspired Jags team.

Washington vs BUFFALO (-5.5)

It's a good thing the Redskins can't play offense, because the Bills can't play defense. John Beck, Rex Grossman, Chris Weinke, it doesn't matter this week. No Santana Moss, no Tim Hightower. Oh, and Buffalo's offense is pretty good. I think you could double this line and I'd still jump on it. I'd call it the SCLotW, but Washington would win 33-24, so... I won't.

Detroit (-3.5) vs DENVER

OK, America, you can put away your Tebowners anytime now. Why is everyone going crazy for Tim Tebow? Sure, he's fun to watch and it's interesting to see 11 guys huddle to pray instead of call plays, but you realize he had 24 passing yards at one point in the third quarter against the same team that gave up 500 something to Tom Brady, right? And it took his team 57 minutes to score against one of the three worst teams in the NFL? And you'd be hard pressed to name two other starting Denver Bronco offensive players without looking it up? And Detroit was undefeated before two tough losses to pretty good teams?

Cincinnati vs SEATTLE (+2.5)

My favorite part of last week might have been picking the Seahawks to cover 3.5 points (which they did) and still losing (which they also did) in what can only be described as "The Worst Game of the 2011 Season." Cleveland's 6-3 win was highlighted by something, but I don't remember what it was. It may have been a nine-yard rush, I'm not sure.
That being said, Seattle is always better at home. Their fans are amazing (yeah, I'll admit it). They're like a bobo doll. Keep knocking it down, it's getting back up. Sonics, see ya. Mariners, awful since 2001. Seahawks, lost their only Super Bowl appearance since their inception in 1976.
Cincy is good, but definitely a one score, if not one point, game. Come on, Bengals, 14-13!!!!

Cleveland vs SAN FRANCISCO (-9.5)

I'm done betting against my 49ers until they give me a reason to. Jim Harbaugh has had two weeks to get ready for the Browns, who put up six points at home against the Seahawks. I really hope the Niners do what really good teams do in situations like this: win 34-6 or something.

New England (-2.5) vs PITTSBURGH

Two weeks to prepare for a 5-2 Steelers team that has played like it should be 3-4. I like it.
Pittsburgh has struggled with the Pats recently, including a 39-26 loss at home last season (when they went to the Super Bowl). The Patriots are better than they were last season, Pittsburgh isn't. The end.

Dallas (+3.5) vs PHILADELPHIA

Make or break week for the Eagles. They've already lost to the Giants at home, they're a game behind Dallas and two behind New York. Philadelphia has had two weeks to get ready for Rob Ryan's blitzes and aggressive defense, but an always-fragile Michael Vick is just one hit away from leaving the game.
Meanwhile, the Cowboy offense is thriving on momentum gained from throttling the Rams and shouldn't really take a step back against a mediocre Eagle defense. If it's a shootout, Philly might escape with a W, but a few stops against Vick and it could turn into a bit of a rout for Dallas.

San Diego vs KANSAS CITY (+3.5)

I got sucked into the Chiefs being awful thanks to getting annihilated against the Bills and Lions in the first two weeks, then scraping by against the Colts. They've been better recently, evidenced by a shellacking of a Raiders team missing Jason Campbell (oooooh). These teams already met (Week 3, following those aforementioned blowouts) and San Diego escaped with a three-point home victory. Granted the Chargers play poorly in September, but remember: The Chiefs won the AFC West last season. And despite their rough start, KC is only a game out of first place. If they win this game, it's a new season halfway through.
If nothing else, it's gonna be close. But I think the Chiefs want it more. Plus, I'm still not sold on Philip Rivers. Chiefs 30, Chargers 24.

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