Thursday, November 3, 2011

Week Nine NFL Picks: Do You Ever Get The Feeling You've Been Cheated?

Those were the last words on stage for John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, in the first and only significant incarnation of the Sex Pistols. Spat at to the audience with only the degree of scorn that a self-righteous prick like Lydon can deliver, the gleeful destruction of whatever career the man had worked to build. But what a way to go, really.

Much in the same way that, say, Denver Fan who marked out for Tim Tebow might have felt. Or readers of this picks column, who had mostly enjoyed a sense of intelligence in this year's profit taking pick weeks.

So what's happened? The same thing that's happened to my sleep schedule, my sense of calm and my bottom line; a new work from home day job that just doesn't ever stop. I get days when it seems like it's going to sane, and then days like this, when I was on the phone a dozen times and putting out a fire that I thought I had put out a month ago. Nothing quite like feeling punished for a crisis when you told everyone what was coming a month ago. And so it goes; I've been more or less working for 14 straight hours today, and if you consider this blog work (and I do), there's still a few more in front of me. Caffeine isn't even making a dent anymore, folks.

But none of yesterday is going to make me money tomorrow, so let's ignore the rear view mirror, the fatigue and the fact that the last thing I want to look at right now is a computer screen. On to the picks!

* * * * *

NY JETS at Buffalo (-1.5)

The other day, several inches of snow fell in my area; much more of fell in other places, and we didn't lose power or take on water, so I'm considering myself blessed and moving on. But it did give us all a clear and present warning that fall wasn't really going to exist this year (or any other, it seems), and that the cruelty was coming. The same way it's coming for the Bills.

It's been a happy story; the no-names and no-money crew playing fun offense and getting enough turnovers to keep surprising teams. But the second half is for closers, and while Ryan Fitzpatrick is smart enough to figure out the Jets defense, he's not talented enough to seal the deal. Look for the Jets, always a dangerous road team, to start picking up bandwagon riders right about now.

Jets 24, Bills 20

SEATTLE at Dallas (-12)

Wow, was that a terrible game last week for the D-Men. Just lifeless, passive and gutless in a SNF evisceration, they now get a get-well game against the Seahawks, fresh off their own dispiriting loss at home against the Bengals.

The big number says the Cowboys will come out with pride and anger and vengeful fury; it would be better if they came out with a patient running game and a defense that actually schemes to take away the opposition's best weapon and adjusts, rather than getting beat over the head and shoulders. So look for Tarv Jackson to hook up with Sidney Rice and keep it close for a while, and the stubborn Seattle run defense to make things fall on Tony Romo. He's good enough to win this game, but not good enough to make that cover.

Cowboys 27, Seahawks 20

ATLANTA at Indianapolis (+7.5)

I don't know about you, but I'm offended at the idea that the Colts are Sucking For Luck; the concept that they could have three decades with two Hall of Fame QBs just strikes me as offensive on every level. (What, you aren't ready to give Luck his ticket to Canton? How dare you.) Five years or more in the wilderness is what you should get at the end of every iconic QB's tenure; if the next guy is just as good, it tarnishes the legacy, sez I. Either that, or maybe I just dislike Colt Fan; they are kind of the Football Braves of the Midwest.

This week, Atlanta visits, finds a quiet half-empty dome with lots of traveling fans, welcomes back WR Julio Jones and sets RB Michael Turner loose for stat padding. Nothing about that says close game. Besides, oppos have learned that QB Curtis Painter only has eyes for WR Pierre Garcon. Streaming defense against this group in fantasy is a win, folks.

Falcons 27, Colts 16

Miami at KANSAS CITY (-4.5)

Now *here's* a team that earned some Luck, people. Miami Fan has now had a full decade of trying to get enthused about Eagle castoffs (Jay Fiedler? AJ Feeley? Oh, that's good comedy) after Dan Marino, and they now have to endure a guy who couldn't even get Jake Delhomme to the curb. They showed some heart last week against a sleepy Giants team, but Arrowhead is a whole 'nother cup of misery, and Chiefs Fan is enjoying that happiest of year: the .500 recovery after all hope was crushed by injuries. And rookie WR Jonathan Baldwin is a beast, especially when he's fighting the oppo, rather than his teammates.

Chiefs 31, Dolphins 16

TAMPA at New Orleans (-8.5)

Revenge time in the Bayou? Not so fast; the Bucs are getting back their power running game with LeGarrete Blount and match up well with this Saints team, who look a whole lot less terrifying when they aren't scoring like a pinball machine. Besides, These Teams Just Don't Like Each Other, and also refuse to share recipes or move each other's empty trash cans off the street on windy days. It's just that mean. The Bucs will keep it tight and cover.

Saints 24, Bucs 20

SAN FRANCISCO at Washington (+4)

Skins Fan is having the exact opposite year of Chiefs Fan: hope early, horror the rest of the way. Of course, in DC they call that Every Year: why Daniel Snyder's trainwreck is still attracting rubberneckers is hard to fathom. Last week in Toronto, they made the Bills actually look good on defense, and that's hard to do. This week, I expect injuries to settle the QB "debate" (is it a debate when both positions are indefensible?), and for Mike Shanahan to try to screw fantasy players with a rotating committee of pointlessness at RB. But remember, he's a genius: just ask him. Who's the next brand name has-been coach to tarnish his legacy for Snyder Bucks?

Niners 22, Skins 13

Cleveland at HOUSTON (-11)

Woof, Cleveland, woof. So much for the sense that QB Colt McCoy had some hope, that RB Peyton Hillis was more than a one-hit wonder, and that your plan to build on the lines was making progress. Now, you look like the Bengals' clear poor cousins, and your fans are wondering just what has to happen to have hope. Look for RB Arian Foster to pay back his owners for that early season drama, and the Texans to cover easily.

Texans 31, Browns 13

Cincinnati at TENNESSEE (-3)

A surprisingly watchable game from surprisingly winning teams. The Titans have overcome Chris Johnson's effort to prevent any RB from ever getting paid again, and the Bengals are winning despite crippling youth at the QB and WR slots, mostly because their defense is making plays all over the place. I just don't think they can show up in back to back road games yet.

Titans 23, Bengals 16

Denver at OAKLAND (-9)

The lock of the week? Yes. Oakland's coming off a humiliating loss at home, got healthy during the break, coached up QB Carson Palmer, signed a security blanket in the similarly washed-up WR TJ Houshmanzadeh, and see the division as wide open with San Diego continuing to play hot potato with the ball. This week, they welcome God's Own Terrible QB, Tim Tebow, into the Black Hole for what should be his last start in the NFL. The difference between this game and the last two is that the Raiders play better in garbage time. Enjoy the CFL, Jebus Boy. Have your billboard buddies gotten their deposit back yet?

Raiders 27, Broncos 6

New York at NEW ENGLAND (-9)

A big number at home for the Pats to cover, but this Giants team isn't right at the present time, and there's only so long that Eli Manning can hide it. In a shootout with the Pats, he'll make mistakes, and it will get away from them a bit. Plus, the Giants are surprisingly poor at defending the TE this year, or at least have been when they've been on my TV. That's death against this Pats team.

Patriots 34, Giants 20

St. Louis at ARIZONA (-3.5)

Here's how hateful my roto football year has been. I drafted Kevin Kolb as my cheap QB, and as I believe in his situation and talent, I've stuck with him. Last week I had to start him in B'More due to bye week miseries, and he actually gave me a little more than I expected... and, of course. got hurt. Now he could miss the Rams game at home, aka one of the games that I most *certainly* drafted and kept him for. Waah, waah, waah.

So why do I like the Cardinals to win this game, even with their starting QB still in a walking boot? Because the Rams are a terrible road team, and aren't good enough to handle prosperity. And they gave the ball to Stephen Jackson too much last week; he won't be able to come through like that in back to back games. Besides, I think Kolb sucks it up and plays, assuming I keep him on my bench. 350 yards and 3 TDs? Only if he's inactive for me. Waah, waah, waah.

Cardinals 23, Rams 17

GREEN BAY at San Diego (+6)

This is the game that people have been pointing to all year as the Packer Slip Game. Many teams coming off the lockout have struggled this year, and it's never easy for Plains teams to go to San Diego and dream of what might have been. But the Chargers are down to, well, no one at RB, and QB Philip Rivers has been a turnover machine all year. Why should that stop against a team that's actually good at taking the ball away? Makes no sense to me. Oh, and QB Aaron Rodgers wants to go 16-0, win the MVP, then impregnate your grandmothers. HE'S JUST THAT UNSTOPPABLE.

Packers 34, Chargers 20

Baltimore at PITTSBURGH (-3.5)

Wow, things have changed a bit since Week One, haven't they? The Ravens looked like they were finally going to take the division as their own; instead, they gagged a week ago against Jacksonville on MNF, then nearly spit the bit in a de facto homecoming game against the Cardinals.

Pitt comes in with a curb-stomping of the Patriots, and a seemingly clear path to a #1 seed in the AFC... but they are still hurt on defense, and one good shot against QB Ben Roethlisberger from being a .500 team. But he's got the best WRs of his career right now, and the Steelers have a lot of payback on their mind after that Week 1 depantsing. One more blow to the idea that QB Joe Flacco is anything special...

Steelers 31, Ravens 17

CHICAGO at Philadelphia (-9)

Everyone fooled yet? I'm not. The Bears are going to be sensible enough to run the ball with patience, and Michael Vick has never beaten the Bears. (No, seriously.) I don't see the Bears doing enough to win -- that involves, as always, winning the turnover battle and having Devin Hester break a big play or six -- but they aren't just going to roll over and die, either. And coming off a bye, with all kinds of time to prepare? Pretty easy cover, and a real potential disaster game for the latest mid-season con job.

Eagles 25, Bears 20

Last week: 3-9-1

Year to date: 56-54-4

Career: 463-459-21

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, picking the Eagles to outright win this week? Miracles will never cease.

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