November 21, 2008

The cowardly Bengals

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

Last night’s game absolutely infuriated me. It made me want to punch Marvin Lewis right in the face for being such a coward and an awful coach. Let me set the scene: Trailing 20-7 with under seven minutes remaining, the Bungles were within the Steelers 10-yard line and faced a fourth down decision. Well, let’s put it this way, if they had tried to score a TD, I wouldn’t be upset. No, the Bengals decided to kick a field goal, make the difference 10 points and still need two scores to possibly win or tie the game.

And then, to top things off of this shameful display, the Bengals didn’t even try an onside kick; they boomed it deep and watched the Steelers march while grinding down the clock to victory.

The lines are from Vegas and the home teams are in BOLD.

Houston (+3) over CLEVELAND
Brady Quinn has a broken finger and he’s no Tony Romo. Playing through the game as an inexperienced youngster will be detrimental to the team. As much as it hurts to say, the Browns have a better chance of winning with a healthy Derek Anderson under centre. Throw in that Kellen Winslow is injured again and the Texans look like a good pick.

Buffalo (-3) over KANSAS CITY
The Bills have to get off this slide sometime and there’s no better team to do that against (other than the Lions) than the Chiefs. Buffalo need this road win because their game next week is a “home” tilt in Toronto. Also, Lee Evans should avenge his 0-catch game in against a week KC defensive backfield.

TENNESSEE (-5) over New York Jets
Not only are the Titans undefeated, they haven’t lost against the spread either with a record of 9-0-1. This should be the game of the week since there isn’t too much else going on matchup-wise. It would be great to see the Titans win here if only to set up a winless-undefeated Thanksgiving macthup — which I’m picking (see below).

MIAMI (-1) over New England
Let’s all remember Matt Cassel’s record against Miami, 0-1. That’s just including his only start against them which was earlier this season but when you figure in how badly he stunk up the joint last season in Miami in relief of Brady, I’m figuring to bet against him.

San Francisco (-10) at DALLAS
Sad news for the Cowboys hearing that Felix Jones is now out for the season. That leaves the remarkably unremarkable Tashard Choice as Marion Barber’s backup. I’m really hoping I don’t see Choice in the game too much, unless it’s in garbage time to spell Barber. If Marion the Barbarian is out of the game for any length of time, the Cowboys playoff chances dim severely.

DETROIT (+8) over Tampa Bay
Let’s all just remember now that Tampa Bay on the road and at home are two completely different teams. Also, the Lions do have a pesky habit of scoring those garbage time points to cover the huge spreads they’re given. There is very little doubt that the Lions will still be winless when facing the (potentially) undefeated Titans on Thanksgiving next Thursday.

BALTIMORE (-1) over Philadelphia
I have another question about ties: What happens if you took the Eagles (or Bengals) in a survivor pool? Technically, they didn’t lose and are still alive but you could also argue they didn’t win so they don’t advance. Last week was pretty tricky for people in the gambling world, eh? And wait, so the Eagles couldn’t beat Cincinnati and now they’re favoured against a legitimately good team? What sense does that make?

Chicago (-8.5) over ST. LOUIS
Even Rex Grossman can look good against the Rams so that means Kyle Orton can do even better. If you’re a Rams fan, you’re just hoping this season will end so the misery will be over. Without Steven Jackson and two key offensive linemen, will St. Louis have any running game at all?

JACKSONVILLE (-2.5) over Minnesota
This one should be a rough-and-tough slobber-knocker. It would be entirely appropriate if this game was played in pouring rain and muck which is disappointing since the forecast only calls for a “few showers.” The Jaguars should be able to handle the Vikes.

Carolina (+1) over ATLANTA
Matt Ryan and the Falcons have been great at home and while the Panthers are sitting at 8-2, they don’t seem to hitting on all cylinders. This should be a great game to watch if you love rushing battles but it’s easy to see Steve Smith break a long reception for the eventual win.

DENVER (-9.5) over Oakland
It’s usually hard to give up this many points in a rivalry game but is it really a rivalry when one team owns the other quite routinely? The Broncos shouldn’t have any problem dealing with the sad, sad Raiders. Do you think Al Davis missed Mike Shanahan now?

SEATTLE (+3) over Washington
Clinton Portis sure looked good for a guy who was supposedly playing hurt on Monday night. Maybe playing in Seattle will help rejuvenate Shaun Alexander, but probably not since he’ll be stapled to the bench unless this gets out of hand. It won’t though and Seattle will use their tremendous home-field advantage to keep this one close.

New York Giants (-3) over ARIZONA
A battle of division titans out in the desert. Kurt Warner won’t look like an MVP against this defence. Brandon Jacobs might have been held out of the late parts of last week’s game but he’s been fine in practice so look for him to run over the Cardinals’ front seven.

Indianapolis (+2.5) over SAN DIEGO
Other than the fact that the game is in San Diego, I don’t see why they’d be favoured. Indianapolis is putting it together week after week while the Chargers are finding ways to lose as evidenced in Pittsburgh.

This week: 0-1
Last week: 9-5
This season: 74-59-2


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  2. Marion Barber stretches across the goal line Sunday in front of the Redskins’ Rocky McIntosh for a second-quarter touchdown that tied the score 7-7. Star-Telegram/Ron T. Ennis LANDOVER, Md. — We finally have a Mr. Fix It at

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