September 26, 2008

Week 4 picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

How about that NFC East? Or even the entire NFC now? It may still be early in the season but the balance of power looks like it has shifted to the National Football Conference. For the past few seasons it’s been pure AFC dominance with the Patriots, Colts, Chargers, Steelers and even Jaguars playing the role of juggernauts while the NFC would have one or two top-rung teams like Philadelphia (when McNabb was healthy) or the Seahawks (with their easy schedule) or the Cowboys (and their post-season choke jobs). Now, the NFC is 10-2 combined with those two losses being within the division (Washington to New York and Philly at Dallas). While it’s unrealistic to think that an entire division could run the table, wouldn’t that be an interesting story if the 12-4 Redskins missed out on the playoffs because Philly and the Giants were the wildcards while Seattle or Arizona took the NFC West with a 9-7 or 8-8 record?

As always, the home teams are in caps and the lines are straight from our guy in Vegas.

Denver (-9.5) over KANSAS CITY
The Broncos run will not end in K.C. When one of the best teams in the league faces one of the worst teams, well that’s a recipe for disaster. I know the Chiefs are in rebuilding mode but they look pathetic this season. Denver will roll right over them.

Cleveland (+3.5) over CINCINNATI
The battle of Ohio is a pathetic one this time around. I’ll look for a lot of sloppy play, some key drops and maybe an eye gouge or two from a Browns defender. I would hope Brady Quinn gets his shot here finally but that would actually require coach Romeo Crennel to make a smart decision during a football game — not exactly his strong suit.

Houston (+7.5) over JACKSONVILLE
The Texans always do well against the Jags, no matter where or when they’re playing. That history alone is why I’ll take Houston and the points.

NEW YORK JETS (-1.5) over Arizona
This line is a lot smaller than I think it should be and makes this an easy pick. The Jets aren’t that bad and Arizona aren’t a good road team. Figure in that this weekend’s weather isn’t looking too good and the Cardinals’ vertical game could be washed away. I think the Jets will win it on a late field goal.

NEW ORLEANS (-5.5) over San Francisco
J.T. O’Sullivan may have walked out of Seattle with a close win, but he won’t walk out of the Superdome with one. Injuries are seriously decimating the Saints with Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey both out, but how come nobody is talking about their pounding running-back Pierre Thomas? He has three touchdowns so far and is a safe bet to take all of the goal-line carries since Reggie Bush can’t run between the tackles.

CAROLINA (-7) over Atlanta
I’m not ready to trust the Falcons and Matt Ryan on the road yet. They can beat the bad teams at home but that’s not exactly confidence inspiring. They are pretty decent for a lower rung team though which makes them intriguing as a spoiler when the playoffs come around.

TENNESSEE (-3) over Minnesota
What a slobber-knocker this one will be. Two teams that rely on pure toughness and grit on defence face off here and both are rocking backup quarterbacks. The difference is that Tennessee is far better coached, have home-field advantage and a slight edge in the passing game. I never would’ve thought that the Titans would be 4-0 to start out, did you?

Green Bay (+1) over TAMPA BAY
I’m thinking that if the Packers had won their game against the Cowboys on Sunday night, they’d be favoured — on the road — by at least 5 points. Dallas didn’t really expose anything against Green Bay while Tampa needed an extraordinary performance from Brian Griese to beat the Bears in OT. The Pack will pick up where they left off before the Dallas game.

Buffalo (-8) over ST. LOUIS
The Rams are just compounding their problems now. First, benching Marc Bulger in favour of Trent Green is just plain stupid. Second, they released on of their starting cornerbacks and signed a scrub to replace him. Both of these moves will not help at all in solving their defence’s woes.

San Diego (-7.5) over OAKLAND
The Chargers have to start proving they’re still the contenders everyone picked them to be and they will look that role playing against the inexperienced Raiders. Darren McFadden has been having a fine rookie campaign but JaMarcus Russell is looking lost and the speed of the pro game is seemingly killing him.

DALLAS (-11) vs. Washington
This line is way to high for a rivalry game like this. Dallas has been playing like the deserve to be the called the best team in the NFL, but that’s when they usually falter — when expectations are highest. Look at what happened the past two post-seasons and you’ll remember that. Santana Moss also loves playing the Cowboys and it’s hard to see this game not being close.

CHICAGO (+3) over Philadelphia
I think Philly is at worst a top-5 team in the entire league. The problem is Brian Westbrook’s injury. Their pass rush is also being over-rated now after a superb weekend of attacking a sub-par Steelers O-line.

Baltimore (-5) over PITTSBURGH
Big Ben is more than likely going to get rattled again in the pocket by this aggressive Ravens defence. Throw in that Willie Parker and Casey Hampton are missing this game hurts as well. I’m not so hot about picking Joe Flacco on the road but the Steelers negatives outweigh everything here. It would’ve been really beneficial to actually have given Rashard Mendenhall some carries before throwing him into the fire Monday night.

Last week: 6-9.
This season: 22-22.

1 Comment

  1. It is destined to be the packers year. To start with the division championship. Home field advantage through the playoffs.

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