December 24, 2010

Not-so-Merry Christmas and NFL picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

Have you ever had to work on Christmas? I have, and while the overtime is amazing and complimentary dinner is nice here at the Sun, it’s a far cry from being at home with loved ones eating turkey and telling stories of the past year.

So, if the common person doesn’t like working on the holiday, why do sports schedule makers think pro athletes will appreciate going into work on Dec. 25?

This year, the Dallas Cowboys have had to play both Thanksgiving – which I’m sure they’re used to – and Christmas day. Their game Saturday evening is on the road, no less, in Arizona. I’m sure they don’t appreciate that.

And what about Kobe Bryant? Who has had to play on Christmas day every year since he has been drafted?  We know he’s a great player who draws audiences and he’s on the Lakers, who are one of the two most historically popular teams in the league, but can’t he get a stat holiday?

The NBA has five games going this Christmas day, accounting for wall-to-wall basketball on your TV from Noon until about 1 a.m. – unless you tune into the Cowboys game, of course. That’s five games with 10 teams in action. Or, roughly, 120 players who won’t be home for the holiday.

I know athletes get paid an incredible amount to do what they do, but isn’t it time they got a break for the holidays?
 
The lines are straight from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPS
 
Dallas -7 over ARIZONA
The Cowboys almost have a home-field advantage in Arizona and you don’t want to bet on John Skelton

Detroit +3.5 over MIAMI
The Dolphins are terrible at home and the Lions snapped their road losing streak.

PHILADELPHIA -14.5 over Minnesota
The Vikes quietly lost all-pro guard Steve Hutchison this week amongst the weather and Brett Favre fiascos.

Washington +7 over JACKSONVILLE
Is it wrong that the Redskins seem better with Rex Grossman at the helm than Donovan McNabb?

ST. LOUIS -2.5 over San Francisco
This is essentially a playoff game and the 49ers are rotating QBs – not a good sign.

Seattle +6 over TAMPA BAY
The battle of Mike Williamses. The Bucs are too banged up to hold their own here and cover.

BUFFALO +8.5 over New England
The Bills are capable of giving the Pats a tough time, even if they’re trying out there.

New York Jets +1 over CHICAGO
This one will be a great matchup for those loving defensive brawls and running attacks. I like the Jets ability to get to Jay Cutler here.

Baltimore -3.5 over CLEVELAND
The Ravens need to show that they can do away with inferior teams before the playoffs start.

KANSAS CITY -5 over Tennessee
Another rushing battle. Chris Johnson has been disappointing this season and the Chiefs are looking to sew up the AFC West.

Indianapolis -3 over OAKLAND
This is a must-win regular season game for the Colts. Translated: Don’t bet against Peyton Manning here. In a playoff game, that’s a different story.

Houston -3 over DENVER
This one should be a shootout with two teams that are terrible at defending.

GREEN BAY -3 over New York Giants
What a great game for Aaron Rodgers to back – against a team that’s injured several QBs this season. I don’t think the Giants can recover from last week’s collapse.

San Diego -7.5 over CINCINNATI

New Orleans +2.5 over ATLANTA
The Falcons have to stumble some time, right? I mean, they couldn’t possibly finish 14-2, right?
 
This week: 1-0
Last week: 10-6
This season: 120-97-5

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