Thursday, November 7, 2013

NFL Week 10 Picks: Screw You, Veterans

Also of the won-loss record
On Monday, we celebrate our country's vets, and their contri- butions to our country. And we're going to do that by giving them the worst NFL game of the year, broad- cast by the worst NFL announcing team. (Oh, and by the way, Under Armour's bloody Northwestern uniforms? Also not doing much for our veterans. Moving on.)

Seriously. We'll get Miami, home of the poster child for reprehensible locker room behavior, and Tampa, home of the most reprehensible coach in the league. We'll get Jon Gruden and Mike Tirico talking about the players and QBs (always the QBs, the only position that matters) as if they are moral failures, rather than athletic ones. Neither of these teams are going to the playoffs, or have anything in the way of meaningful games in front of them for the rest of the way. Wash that one down with some meager meal at Appleby's while you contemplate homelessness and the continuing scandal of VA health care. Yay, vets!

And no, I wouldn't have brought any of this up if not for ESPN pumping out their game (served by Appleby's!). Honestly, I would have just let it slide. But what should we expect from the NFL, who also, as the concussion scandal shows, treat their own veterans horribly?

And while this is going to sound fairly harebrained, I'm starting to wonder if it's just got something to do with the state of Florida. Darelle Revis is already well into a rest and vest experience of playing zone for no good reason in Tampa, and has not said a word in the media as to how he's being misused. It's a state of hucksters and charlatans, which makes their setting for VDay even more correct, really. Come watch our ads while we honor America.

And with that... on to the picks!

* * * * *

WASHINGTON (-2.5) at Minnesota

If you combined these teams, you might have a pretty compelling unit... but as is, there's just one decent QB and RB between them, and neither line does enough to make them shine. I'm going to go with road DC here, just because I don't think they've quit on the year yet, unlike the Vikings. The fact that this is a national game is further proof that all night games need to be flexed.

Washington 23, Vikings 17

SEATTLE (-6) at Atlanta


I keep expecting Seattle to play up to their true level, and for the Falcons to show a pulse. I'm never a fan of the road team in a dome, but Atlanta is out of real healthy wideouts, and that's so not what you want to have when you are lining up against Richard Sherman and Company. Also, Seattle has a real chance of taking a big step up on offense when WR Percy Harvin gets up to speed, along with their OL.

Seahawks 31, Falcons 20

Detroit at CHICAGO (+2.5)


Flip a coin on this one. Will Bears QB Josh McNown, likely to get another start after winning last week in Green Bay, stay clean again at home? Will Lions QB Matthew Stafford take advantage of the hampered Bears defense? And will the Bears follow up on their golden opportunity to seize control over the division now that Green Bay is Rodgers-less? Give me the home team and RB Matt Forte moving the chains, and Bear Fan making things difficult on the visitors.

Bears 26, Lions 22

PHILADELPHIA (NL) at Green Bay


This game changed dramatically with the injury to QB Aaron Rodgers, as no player in the NFL means more to his team. Green Bay will turn to QB Seneca Wallace, who is basically an older and worse version of QB Terrell Pryor that the Eagles just managed, but the Packers running game is a step up from the Raiders. They also won't play zone against the Eagle wideouts, which is the commonality between Good and Evil Nick Foles... but after five weeks of the Eagle defense holding teams to 20 points or less, I think they can handle Wallace. Which means this game comes down to turnovers, and I think the Packers will commit more of them. I also have to think that coach Chip Kelly will do some things to get off press this week.

Eagles 26, Packers 20

JACKSONVILLE (+11.5) at Tennessee


Coming off the London collapse, this looks to me like one of those games that the Jags lose late, rather than early. They've also had time to work out what they are going to do without suspended WR Justin Blackmon, and they aren't going to make the Blaine Gabbert mistake any more. Finally, I can't help but think that RB Maurice Jones-Drew has one more wake up the echoes game in him, and that the Titans aren't good enough to stop it. They'll win late, but not cover.

Titans 24, Jaguars 20

St. Louis at INDIANAPOLIS (-9.5)


This Colts team just keeps winning, and I don't see any reason why they can't stomp a mudhole in the visiting Rams. QB Kellen Clemens is just the kind of turnover-prone bad manager that you don't want in a road dome, and after last week's escape act against the Texans, the Colts are starting to get the sense that the division is theirs to lock down -- maybe even by Thanksgiving. Yes, RB Zac Stacy will do some damage, but RBs don't generally win games by themselves. This one will be close for a little while, since the Ram defense does have some teeth, but won't be able to keep it going for very long.

Colts 31, Rams 13

OAKLAND (+7.5) at NY Giants


When the Giants were good, they were always shaky favorites at home in spots like this; they would tend to stumble around for a quarter or two, and if the road team took advantage, it would be an all-day hairpull, and sometimes even the shocking upset. Now that they aren't good, and are dependent on one of the weaker running games in the league, I think they fall behind early, then turn it on late for a win. But not a cover. I also think this Raider defense is better than what they showed last week, and will come up with a bit of fire after that de-pantsing.

Giants 27, Raiders 24

BUFFALO (+3) at Pittsburgh


Is S Troy Polamalu done? He's 32, injury prone, and increasingly prone to embarrassing gambles like in last week's game against the Patriots, when QB Tom Brady was able to look him off and get WR Danny Amendola a cotton-soft deep strike for six. And he's far from alone in the Pittsburgh defense, who have traded smart and experienced for gasping and slow. Buffalo is a secret fast tempo team, and they'll probably get Actual NFL QB EJ Manuel back this week, which will make QB Jeff Tuel's 100-yard TAINTings a thing of the past. Oh, and the Bills outgained the Chiefs by a 2 to 1 margin last week. I think they win this game, and I wouldn't even be surprised if they end it early.

Bills 27, Pittsburgh 22

CINCINNATI (-1.5) at Baltimore


Know how the Packers had their year possibly ruined by losing Rodgers? The same and worse might have happened to the Bengals, who had a nice little dark horse AFC contender run end last Thursday in Miami, when DT Geno Atkins went down and the Bengals took a walkoff sack against the Fish. This week, they get the free-falling Ravens, who can't run the ball, have no defensive heart, and are bound to bounce back with a from nowhere breakout game to ruin this pick. Either that, or the Bengals use the extra rest and their better offensive players to rage against the dying of the year.

Bengals 24, Ravens 20

Carolina at SAN FRANCISCO (-6)


On the merits and the talent, the Niners aren't that much better than the Panthers. Actually, they are remarkably similar; mobile QB, one good WR, solid RBs that get cuckolded, defenses that occasionally put it all together and stomp teams. Which means this should be a three point game for the Niners at home... ah, but there's the rub. The Panthers don't travel well, QB Cam Newton doesn't have a history of road success, and the Panthers just seem due for a clunker. Oh, and the Niners have released Nnamdi Asomugha, which always has to make a team better, and come off the next best thing to a bye week, which is to say, a game against Jacksonville. (Albeit in London.)

Niners 27, Panthers 20

HOUSTON (+2.5) at Arizona


I'm still trying to figure out how the Texans lost that SNF game against the Colts with the big early lead, the sudden deep game from QB Casey Keenum, and the breakout work by WR Andre Johnson. But that's what happens when you try to go into prevent too early, especially with a battered RB corps. This week, I think they avoid that mistake, and that their defense makes big plays against the middling Cardinal o-line. Arizona would be so much better off if they just gave up the idea that RB Rashard Mendenhall deserves anything more than a release; Andre Ellington is so much better, it's not funny.

Texans 27, Cardinals 25

DENVER (+7) at San Diego


How little do the Chargers think of RB Ryan Mathews? So much that they've lost multiple games this year when giving the ball in goal line situations to replacement-level smurf Danny Woodhead. So much so that they've taken the best thing that this offensive line does -- run-block, especially with road-grading rookie DJ Fluker -- and made it an afterthought in last week's downright dumb loss to DC. So much that despite the fact that Denver hasn't really looked like world beaters for a while now, especially on the road, I like them to cover a big number here, just because they are going to score 7 at a time, and the Chargers aren't.

Broncos 38, Chargers 23

Dallas at NEW ORLEANS (-6.5)


Recovery week for the Saints? Let the good times roll with the night home game, which has always been a squash job, so long as Sean Payton is on the sidelines. With Dallas relying too much on QB Tony Romo due to injuries in the running game, and the Saints smarting from that unexpected bloodying in New York, I'm looking for the Saints to catch a turnover or two early, and for this one to get out of hand. It's happened before.

Saints 41, Cowboys 24

Miami at TAMPA BAY (+2.5)


There is no reason to watch, think, or discuss this game, but the column is the column, so here I go. Miami is 4-4 and facing an 0-8 Bucs team, has better talent and a roster that hasn't quit yet... but they are also down 40% of their offensive line due to self-inflicted asshattery, will spend the next five days in media hell, have a mess at running back, and will run into a Bucs team that is running out of chances to avoid going winless. Oh, and they couldn't protect the QB with their freaking starters, let alone whoever isn't good enough to replace the tormented and the tormentor. I'll take the home team, myself... and if you want to honor the troops, turn on the WWE during this game instead. They, at least, give out free tickets to military year-round.

Last week: 2-10 (yes, seriously)

Year to date: 55-73-4

Career to date: 425-435-4

1 comment:

snd_dsgnr said...

Maybe I'm just crazy, but I dislike the Buck/Aikman combo more than I dislike the Gruden/Tirico combo.

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