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October 24, 2009

NFL Football Picks - Week 7

One thing sports lovers of all stripes and colours like to do is enter pools.  Hockey pools are quite prevalent at this time of year, with fans bemoaning when a star player they picked high in their pool goes down with an injury.  I'm not really a pool person, since often you have to buy into them, and hockey pools just go on too long.

Football pools?  Again, you often have to buy into them.  But I love the free pools where you might just win a prize.  And it makes following all of the NFL games every week just a little more interesting, something you couldn't say about a Bills-Browns match-up otherwise.

Sportsnet (one of Canada's all-sports networks) runs a football pool called "Pigskin Pick 'Em" that I do every year, and it's lots of fun.  This pool uses the gambling spread, so you have to pick the winner based on the spread.  For those of you who don't know how it works, if Pittsburgh is "-7.5" over Oakland (just an example), then Pittsburgh has to win by at least 8 points or Oakland is considered to have won the game as far as the pool goes.  It's like Oakland starts the game with 7.5 points.  See how it works?

I know it's week 7 already, but it just hit me that maybe I could post my picks here, with maybe a little commentary, and see what my friends who are sports fans think!  So, without further adieu....

Cincinnati (-1.5) vs Chicago

The Bengals were the toast of the AFC North division with Pittsburgh tanking the season to start with.  But then they had to go and lose to the Houston Texans (a team that many people thought were better than they really are) and now they're even at the top of the division.  Jay Cutler has been good, but in the Bears' two losses, he's been atrocious.  Hell, Kyle Orton is outplaying him!  Still, the Bears are a good team, but they're 1-2 on the road.  I just think the Bengals are better right now (and it makes this Steelers fan's mouth fill with ashes to actually say that), and this spread is pretty much a "pick 'em" spread, so go with:

Green Bay (-7.5) at Cleveland

Green Bay is turning into quite the powerhouse under Aaron Rodgers, aren't they?  Couple that with the Browns just being so bad that Cleveland sports writers have to continually look for new words to say "sucks" every week, and I think Green Bay easily covers this spread.  Hell, they toasted the Lions 26-0 last week, and Cleveland isn't much better.  Of course, the Packers have a home game against Brett Favre and the Vikings next week, so this could be a classic "trap" game.  But knowing Cleveland, they'd probably fall into their own pit of spikes while they were trying to set it up.
Green Bay

Houston (-3.5) vs San Francisco

The 49ers are coming off a Bye week and should be well-rested.  Still, while they're 3-2 overall, the only teams they've beaten are Arizona (not bad), Seattle (sad to say, but "ick"), and the Rams (who might have trouble beating my old Wilson Elementary School flag football team at this point).  Meanwhile, they were blown out by Atlanta and lost a close one to Minnesota, which, give them credit, they should have won if Brett Favre hadn't added an amendment to his deal with the devil to pull out another bag of tricks.  Meanwhile, Houston's Matt Schaub has thrown more TD passes than any other quarterback in the league so far and receiver Andre Johnson is having a stellar year.  I definitely like the Texans in this one.

San Diego (-4.5) at Kansas City
What is the deal with this spread?  One win over the lowly Redskins and suddenly they can keep pace with San Diego?  Ok, granted, the Chargers haven't had a good year so far, and their wins are a much too close one over the Raiders and a pounding of the Dolphins, and LT hasn't been used as much as we would all like this year.  But c'mon, this is the Chiefs!  A team with nothing going for it.  I guess one factor that KC has going for it is that SD coach Norv Turner usually finds a way to blow it, so he might this time too.  I don't think so, though.  Even Turner can't suck this bad.
San Diego

Pittsburgh (-4.5) vs Minnesota
This is the game I've been waiting for, one that will be really enjoyable to watch.  Brett Favre tries to bring his magic into Heinz Field against Ben Roethlesberger and the Steelers.  I think that Steeler defense will be all over Favre like a man who's been on a desert island for 20 years attacks a steak when he finally gets home. When Favre gets that kind of pressure, he starts trying to do everything and that's when the interceptions come.  I think Favre will be introduced rather rudely to Troy Polamalu.   However, I have been horrified to watch every week as I pick the Steelers to win and beat the spread, and even when they do win, they can't cover!   So, after 5 weeks of Steeler futility, I actually picked the Browns to cover last week (granted, it was a huge spread).  And what do you know?  The Steelers won the game handily, but didn't cover.  So I think Pittsburgh will win this one, but it will be by a field goal or less.

Indianapolis (-13.5) at St Louis
How bad are the Rams?  They've only been outscored by a total of 115 points in 6 games (that's 19 points a game for you non-math people).  They couldn't even beat the Redskins, who have given 2 teams their only win this year (though they did cover the spread on that one, I think).  I really dislike double-digit spreads because I always get worried.  That's a lot of points, y'know!!!  But when Peyton Manning's involved? I think that "19 points per game" average will just increase this week.

New England (-14.5) at Tampa Bay
The only way Tampa Bay covers this spread is if Tom Brady and all of his receivers come down with heat stroke from spending too much time on the beach without the proper SPF sunscreen.  And even then, they'll probably still lose.  I like Tampa Bay, but this year they've shown such ineptitude in almost every fashion that I think Brady will pick them apart.  I wonder if Jon Gruden is sitting up in his Monday Night Football booth and thanking his lucky stars he's out of there now.  They were on a downhill slide when he was finally let go, but they weren't this bad.  Still, I hope that new head coach Raheem Morris can turn this team around and produce a winner.  It just won't happen this week.  And hey, at least they're not the Rams.  Their point differential is only double-digits.
New England

Carolina (-7.5) vs Buffalo
How bad does Buffalo have to suck to be more than a touchdown underdogs against Carolina?  Yeah, that is a black hole in northern New York State, isn't it?  I haven't been paying attention, but is TO complaining yet?  Or is he making too much money off his reality show which probably should be retitled "I'm a Whiny-Ass Receiver Who Keeps Dropping Passes, Get Me Out of Here!"  Too long, you think?  I guess it wouldn't fit in the TV guide that easily, would it?  Yes, they beat the Jets last week, but I think that's a sign of how overrated the Jets are (or how full of their own press clippings they were after beating the Patriots and going 3-0 to start the season).  Still, Carolina's only wins this year are over atrocious teams (Redskins, Bucs).  So three in a row, right?

New York Jets (-6.5) at Oakland
Oakland didn't necessarily show that they're "for real" when they beat the Eagles last week, but they did show that they should not be taken lightly at home.  They just can't score, that's all.  Thankfully, the Jets have been having trouble scoring lately too.  Rookie phenom quarterback Matt Sanchez looked very human last week (6 interceptions?  to Buffalo?) and I don't think Oakland's going to be giving him any less of a welcome.  Oakland may very well lose this game.  But not by 7 points.

Dallas (-3.5) vs Atlanta
Another spread that I had to drop my jaw at.  Atlanta's 4-1, with only a bad loss to New England on their resume.  Meanwhile, Dallas is 3-2, but they've looked horrible in their losses, and not that good in their wins (they had to come back from a 10-point deficit to beat the Chiefs, and even then let them score in the last two minutes to tie the game!).  Their wins are against KC, Tampa, and Carolina, not exactly the league's elite (more the opposite of elite, in fact).  I think that Matt Ryan and the Falcons will shred this defense, and Dallas owner Jerry Jones will have another loss to decorate that fancy new stadium with.

New Orleans (-6.5) at Miami
I think this spread is way too low.  New Orleans is an offensive powerhouse, scoring 38.4 points per game.  The Dolphins aren't exactly a defensive powerhouse, either.  Not to mention that the Saints defense isn't too shabby either.  I predict a double-digit point margin in this game, considering the Saints average points differential is almost 20 points a game (99 points in 5 games).  Drew Brees will take the Dolphins defense over his knee and give them the spanking that they deserve.
New Orleans

New York Giants (-7.5) vs Arizona
I think the Giants will be pissed off after losing to New Orleans like that last week.  Also, while Kurt Warner and the Cardinals are good, I don't think they're good enough to beat the Giants at home.  Especially a hungry Giants team that just suffered its first loss.  The Giants are like a schoolyard bully who just got his ass whipped by a bigger bully.  And while he's sitting there licking his wounds, here comes the scrawny, bookish, 97-pound nerd onto the playground!  All alone!  With his lunch money hanging out of his pocket.  Yeah, this could get ugly.
New York

 Philadelphia (-7.5) at Washington
With a totally one-dimensional offensive attack (14 runs, 46 passes last week against Oakland), I have to wonder how the Eagles could even be 3-2.  The Raiders played them perfectly, knowing they were going to pass so they could tighten up on the receivers and blanket them with coverage.  They sacked McNabb 6 times last week.  If Redskin coach Jim Zorn is smart, he'll look at the game film and do the exact same thing.  The Eagles have been this one-dimensional for years, so it's not like coach Andy Reid is going to actually, you know, learn a lesson from last week's debacle.  He's going to come out the same way and let McNabb try and win it for them.  But with the way the Redskins have been playing this year so far, I don't think Zorn watches game film.  It keeps getting mistakenly put out on the team breakfast buffet table and getting eaten.  I predict McNabb will throw for 300+ this week.

Incidentally, so far I'm 50-40 this year, though I think a 14-2 week had something to do with that.  Hopefully that will continue.

Feel free to put your own picks in the comments field!


  1. You should join us picking games on the Amazon DB. Good luck with your selections.

  2. You mean people are still there? :) I haven't been back there in ages. Maybe I'll check it out, but I don't have the link anymore. Can you give it to me?


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