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Sunday, October 10, 2004

Alive and Picking, Week Five

Is this thing still on?

Apologies, been busy of late--too many presidential debates and baseball playoff games are taking up my scarce free time, rather than blogging. Thanks for your concern, I'm OK.

Last week's picks, which were only a couple of blog posts ago, were somewhat of an anomaly, too. Somehow I did better betting the spread (8-5-1) than straight up (8-6). I thought the Giants would cover at Green Bay, but I didn't accurately foresee them actually winning the game. Denver-Tampa was a three-point line and, lo and behold, the Broncos won by three.

This week looks good since the Ravens and Redskins are actuallky playing each other in the Sunday night game, freeing up the DC Sunday afternoon TV schedule for other games. You know God hates me if the local CBS affiliate goes with Cleveland-Pittsburgh instead of the Patriots setting the all-time win-streak record against Miami. We'll see.

On to the picks. Don't really gamble on sports, OK?

Atlanta (-6.5) over Detroit

I'm still waiting for Michael Vick's stats to pick up, seeing as he's on my fantasy team.

New England (-12.5) over Miami

Does anyone have the Dolphins in this game?

New Orleans (-3) over Tampa Bay

Saints will be angry after the embarrassment in the desert last week, and they'll take out the frustration on new Bucs starting QB Chris Simms.

Pittsburgh (-6) over Cleveland

Did you see Troy Polamalu's interception return last week? That was awesome, so good in fact that I would deem it worthy of looking up his name's spelling, but I'm lazy. I didn't get the Steeler rookie QB's name right last week either. Meanwhile, the Browns beat the Redskins last week, yes, though it was a hideous excuse for a football game.

Houston (+4) over Minnesota to cover and win

What the hell, I pick the Texans every week. The Vikings have no viable running back available for the game today, thanks to injuries to Moe Williams and Michael Bennett and Onterrio Smith's drug suspension, so they're down to a rookie fourth-stringer in the backfield. I think the Texans may just be able to load up enough on the passing game to stop the league's top-ranked offense enough to win.

NY Giants (+3.5) over Dallas to cover and win

I'm getting better vibes from the Giants these days. Dallas barely knocked off Cleveland and Washington in its pair of non-impressive wins.

Indianapolis (-9) over Oakland

While I'm complaining about fantsay football, Mike Vanderjagt, whom I have as my kicker, is actually questionable for this game. The kicker! I shouldn't have to waste an extra roster spot on this, sheesh. Kerry Collins did miserably last week, so it's doubtful he'll take advantage of the Colts' weakness in the secondary. I do like how the Raiders pass game has been energized by former UNC point guard and QB Ron Curry, one of the better stories in the league this year.

NY Jets (-6.5) over Buffalo

There are two very good teams and two very bad teams in the AFC East, and this week will make that rather clear, with this matchup and New England-Miami, just as last week's divisional games showed.

Arizona (+1) over San Francisco to cover and win

I'm a little surprised the Cards are the underdog in this one just because they're playing on the road. The Niners have been pathetic the last few weeks, whereas Arizona followed up a few close losses to good teams with a blowout victory over New Orleans last Sunday.

Seattle (-7) over St. Louis

Seahawks at home are as sure a thing as there is.

Carolina (+5.5) over Denver to cover but lose

Defensive struggle ahead between two proud franchises that are struggling a little bit to score. I think a 5.5 spread is too wide, even though ultimately the Broncos should prevail at home.

Baltimore (-3.5) over Washington

I assume the ESPN scoreboard has a mistake in listing the Ravens as a 33.5-point favorite just now. If the Redskins lose this, they had better guard the bridges over the Potomac, that's all I'm saying after the week we've had locally. I'm not so comfortable with this choice, though, after seeing the incompetent Kyle Boller last Monday Night.

Green Bay (-3) over Tennessee

The real bet should be the over/under on references to the "toughness" of the two quarterbacks during the Monday Night broadcast.