Thursday, October 16, 2014

NFL Week 7: No Time, No Time

Ticking away / the moments that...
I know that you have no time, because you are presumably a grown-up in 2014... but honestly? Every week for me is getting a little worse. Either the kids need more help or my wife is gigging more or the puppy needs attention and oh by the way, it's freaking Q4, and online advertising is crazy in Q4. And if it's not, you're officially screwed. At least a half dozen times a day now, as I look at the task list and the clock, I think the immortal words of Gob Bluth: I've made a terrible mistake.

Oh, and by the way? Other stuff is slipping. Leaves are falling and my gutters aren't clen, and that's a recipe for disaster. I have a fantasy basketball league auction on Saturday, and I'm not really prepared for that. I have to fly on business on Monday, for a week or full-throttle meetings on top of meetings in all likelihood, and slides need to get finished for that, too. I still have to run the miles, even though I don't have the time to get to the gym any more. It's all accelerating, and I get that this is probably what happens when you are 45 and have a teenager, but man alive...

Which, of course, is why last week's picks were not able to keep the momentum going. It's not that I'm dumb or flawed or doomed, just tired! But not these picks. These are gold, Jerry, gold!

And with that... on to the picks!

Oh, and by the way? Other stuff is slipping. Leaves are falling and my gutters aren't clean, and that's a recipe for disaster. I have a fantasy basketball league auction on Saturday, and I'm not really prepared for that. I have to fly on business on Monday, for a week or full-throttle meetings on top of meetings in all likelihood, and slides need to get finished for that, too. I still have to run the miles, even though I don't have the time to get to the gym any more. It's all accelerating, and I get that this is probably what happens when you are 45 and have a teenager, but man alive...

Which, of course, is why last week's picks were not able to keep the momentum going. It's not that I'm dumb or flawed or doomed, just tired! But not these picks. These are gold, Jerry, gold!

And with that... on to the picks!

* * * * *

NY Jets at NEW ENGLAND (-9.5)

I know, way too many points. But aren't TNF games almost always crapstorms of blowouts now, and isn't New England all better that QB Tom Brady has a healthy TE Rob Gronkowski, veterans back on the offensive line, and the annual romp through the AFC East cakewalk? Well, sure, even though LB Jarrod Mayo is a real loss, and I suspect the running game is going to take a hit due to injury, too. But QB Geno Smith just looks like he's trying to get to his career as a frustrated back-up somewhere else with speed, and the late game TAInt does look like a speciality of the hosed.

Patriots 27, Jets 16

Atlanta at BALTIMORE (-7)


I'd like the Falcons to cover here, but a week after they got punked at home by the lackluster Bears defense, it's hard to see how they can keep QB Mat Ryan upright on the road in Charm City. I don't expect the Ravens to unleash the 7-on-7 drill that was last week in Tampa, but they'll get enough done to cover.

Ravens 31, Falcons 20

TENNESSEE (+5) at Washington


Should the Slurs be favored by five at home to anyone right now? Well, probably, but it's not the Titans, who seem to do just enough all over the place to avoid blowouts. Besides, QB Kirk Cousins has been turning the ball over more than anyone else in the league, and with the clock ticking before Bob Griffin comes back, he's either going to be too passive to show he can do it, or too aggro and dig the hole deeper. He's just not that good, people.

Slurs 24, Titans 20

SEATTLE (-6.5) at St. Louis


Perfect get-well assignment for the Seahawks; a defense that's been historically inept at rushing the QB, on a short week, after falling apart in the last 35 minutes of a game that was going their way. One of these days, people are going to notice that Jeff Fisher's career record really isn't that good.

Seahawks 27, Rams 17

Cleveland at JACKSONVILLE (+5.5)


Time to save Gus Bradley's job? Well, maybe. In last week's loss in Nashville, the Jags actually had a chance at the buzzer, but a curious decision to try the 56 yarder for the win with 12 seconds left on the clock didn't work out, and they are still 0 for 2014. The Browns come in high on life after finally bashing the Steeler Menace, and I don't think they are old and wise enough to handle prosperity. QB Blake Bortles finally gets a win.

Jaguars 24, Browns 23

Cincinnati at INDIANAPOLIS (-3)


Has the annual playoff bummer trip come to the Bengals early? It sure looks like that, after a period in which the Patriots got well against them, then the Panthers somehow pulled out a 37-all tie on the road when they got literally out-kicked. The Colts look well enough after early stumbles, and with the Bengals still missing WR AJ Green, I don't think they've got enough fire power to keep up.

Colts 34, Bengals 27

Minnesota at BUFFALO (-5.5)


After getting their savior rookie QB treated like a chew toy by Detroit, it's on to Buffalo, which is kind of like a mini Detroit on the front line. The number is a bit strong for a team with QB Kyle Orton at the helm, but it's not as if the Vikings have playmakers on defense.

Bills 26, Vikings 17

Miami at CHICAGO (-3.5)


QB Jay Cutler is the new Jeff George. Bear Fan knows it, you and I know it, and the only thing that's keeping everyone from chanting it like a mantra is that no one wants to remember Jeff George that much. I'd like the Fish a lot more this week if they didn't botch a perfectly acceptable home win against Green Bay last week; the possibility that they just can't get over the hangover is strong. And they really look like they have trouble with TEs, which is so not the way you want to be against Chicago, which is like playing against 3 TEs as WRs on every snap.

Bears 26, Dolphins 20

New Orleans at DETROIT (-2.5)


Ready to see Saints QB Drew Brees get the Teddy Bridgewater treatment? Lions Fan certainly is, and that's going to be all kinds of necessary in a game where they aren't going to have WR Calvin Johnson to make QB Matthew Stafford look unexposed. If the Saints were ever going to come through with a big road win, this is the week -- dome, manageable opponent offense, backs against the wall -- but Brees just might not be up to it anymore. He is 35, after all, and hasn't been good away from home in a real long time.

Lions 23, Saints 20

Carolina at GREEN BAY (-7)


Late word is that Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin suffered a partial concussion in last week's tie, which explains why he didn't know ties could happen in the pros, and why his catch percentage was so low. I liked the Cats to cover before he went down, but without him, the Pack's greatest defensive weakness isn't so glaring, and the Panther defense just isn't scaring anyone anymore. This will get a little runaway-ish.

Packers 34, Panthers 20

KANSAS CITY (+4) at San Diego


Time to roll out one of the great gambling chestnuts of the century: Andy Reid after a bye week! For years in Philly, we took faith that this showed us Cap'n Andy was really a great coach, because when both teams had extra time, he still out-schemed 'em. Until the end of the era, when his teams got bum rushed no matter what the circumstance. And doesn't a good record after the bye just mean that you aren't working hard enough on the weeks where you don't have one? Don't answer that, as I'm taking the Chiefs to cover. Freaking Reid.

Chargers 31, Chiefs 28

ARIZONA (-3.5) at Oakland


Not getting the lack of love shown to the Cardinals, who are on path to an NFC West title and playoff bye despite a rash of injuries. They got back QB Carson Palmer last week and kept him in one piece, and this week he gets to carve up the Raiders for overpaying to get him, then not keeping him. More points than you might expect, but in the end, Black turnovers, too.

Cardinals 34, Raiders 27

NY GIANTS (+6.5) at Dallas


Can the Cowboys handle prosperity? They never have in the last century of the Jones Era, so it's hard to see how they turn into pure pros now. Give me Blue to bounce back with an actual effort, Dallas to have RB issues between starter DeMarco Murray getting worn down and back-up Joseph Randle getting distracted with petty crimes, and Blue QB Eli Manning to have enough time, from a week of shame from his OL, to show the world that the Dallas secondary is not all better. Besides, these games are always tight. It's just a shame that Cowboys K Dan Bailey keeps hitting everything.

Cowboys 27, Giants 23

San Francisco at DENVER (-7)


Have you heard? The Broncos are the new America's Team, which is just as well, because I'm developing all kinds of hate for them. It's mostly a RB problem, in that I went all-in on Montee Ball last year, gritted my teeth and held on beyond all patience and endurance, and hoped to have it pay off with an actual RB1 this year. Ball stunk for a half dozen games, then got hurt, just in time for RB Ronnie Hillman to go for 100 (I had him last year, when he got cuckolded by RB Knowshon Moreno, but not now). So freaking annoying.

Oh, the actual game? The Niners can be exposed on defense now, and at home at altitude, that's just what Denver will do. I also wouldn't be too surprised if the Denver D or ST scores in this, too: the back end of the Niner roster is not encouraging.

Broncos 34, Niners 26

HOUSTON (+3) at Pittsburgh


By recent MNF standards, this is high quality, in that neither team will be on the clock and tanking games by the end of the year. Give me the road guys to grind out a tough win, because Pittsburgh's not good enough up front to protect the QB early, and as the Browns showed, you can run all damn day on this defense. Give the Texans this: they don't lost patience in the run game. Not that you need that much against this Steeler squad right now.

Texans 26, Pittsburgh 24

Last week: 6-8-1

Year to date: 41-47-2

Career: 529-547-41

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