Football Picks Bound To Go Wrong
by Chris Clement
So, we decide 3-2 isn’t good enough…and we move on up to 5-3. Even with some difficult picks, I like it! Sadly, I called the Skins victory outright all damn weekend, and I have at least a dozen witnesses and a free dinner to attest. Not to mention, picking San Fran against a ten-point spread was a no-brainer.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda at 7-3 for the week. My tally is now 21-36 for the season. Know what that means? Well, I’ll tell you. It means we aren’t double in the loss column over those victories anymore. I figure with two more weeks of the regular season, I can take 12-14 picks and perhaps see 30 victories to less than 45 defeats. We’re now officially no longer the Detroit Lions of pick ’ems -- more like the Texans. Wait a second…
We’ll also be throwing in college picks for bowl games, major and minor. The NFL Playoffs won’t be absent either. I’ll pick them all once the seeds are finalized after Week 17, and then tackle the actual games when they occur.
Note: I’d like to note here, thus the note, that I make these picks far before Saturday (editor’s note: see horrific Carolina pick from last week before Delhomme was declared out) when most gamblers fork over the cash. What an excuse to have after that record was posted.
Kansas City [-6.5] vs. Oakland
The real line should be how many times will Bryant Gumbel screw up during his miserable play-by-play. Anyone who makes me miss CBS football is just terrible. As for the game, KC and Herm have plenty of pride and the Raiders are downright terrible these days on “offense”, as they try and call it. Kansas City cruises and awaits its spoiler role hosting Cincy in Week 17.
Pick: Kansas City (cover)
New Orleans vs. NY Giants [-2.5]
How quickly can we all jump off of the Saints bandwagon? While I called that Skins loss, this is a team far better than the Giants. New York isn’t a very tough place to play at this year (especially in recent weeks with 4th quarter dominance from Romo & Garcia). The Giants are not a good team and will be dealt a crippling playoff blow with a loss to the no longer ‘Aints.
Pick: New Orleans (outright)
Washington vs. St. Louis [-2.5]
Damn, I’m back to picking all those road dogs. Or am I? Action Jackson will see more catches than carries this week (0 to 31 last week), but Tye Hill will struggle with a healthier Santana as the Skins pull out the useless W.
Pick: Washington (outright)
Cincinnati vs. Denver [-2.5]
Forced to flip threw it a few times, one thing really stood out to me in the Arizona/Denver game. It should’ve been 16-13 Denver late in the 2nd if not for an idiotic 3rd down call from Dennis Green and Rackers’ 40-yarder taken away from a trivial holding call. I don’t trust Cutler, and the Broncos’ homefield advantage was taken away rather easily by powerful offenses before [see Indy & San Diego]. Cincy will get back to passing as Housh and CJ lead the Bengals to a major road victory.
Pick: Cincinnati (outright)
New England vs. Jacksonville [-2.5]
Here we go again. Five straight road teams (at least, its KC to cover). With Taylor & Jones-Drew ailing, I see the Pats grueling their way to a hard fought 20-17 victory. If Maroney is back, he’ll be the difference. If not, it’ll be that Brady guy.
Pick: New England (outright)
Okay, let’s sneak in one extra NFL game, ok maybe two. We need home covers.
Extra Serving #1: Holiday Jeers for TO
Philadelphia vs. Dallas [-6.5]
Is this the week that the wheels fall off for the Eagles Express (with new driver Jeff Garcia]? Yes and no. I’m going out on a BIG limb calling Dallas to win a close, yet 7 point game. I suppose I’m drinking their Kool-Aid (I do support Romo). No spitting jokes needed. Cowboys wrap up the NFC East. Eagles will know what the Giants and Falcons have done already. That’s both good and bad.
Pick: Dallas (cover)
Extra Serving #2: A NFC South Showdown that’s NOT
Carolina vs. Atlanta [-5.5]
Never underestimate the spoiler role. But also don’t overestimate the Panthers. I will scratch this game if Delhomme plays, but I assume the season is more than over in Carolina and the Falcons won’t choke this one away. I’ll take two Morten Anderson FGs padding a 23-16 victory, and thus, another home cover.
Pick: Atlanta (cover)
Bowl Games galore: [we’re picking pre-Christmas]
Las Vegas Bowl
Oregon vs. BYU [-3]
Good to see a pre-Christmas Bowl game when one team isn’t in the title of the friggin’ bowl (see below). While Oregon’s shoddy win over Oklahoma makes me realize the talent, BYU has a shot at finishing in the top 15. I think that’s just enough trivial reasoning for me to take them to win and cover, barely, in a shootout.
Pick: BYU (cover)
PapaJohns.com Bowl [ahhh the pageantry]
South Florida [-4.5] vs. East Carolina
Somebody break out the ratings charts, this one has the entire southeast, nay nation, enthralled. Okay, enough. South Florida is quietly becoming a mid-tier Big East foe. While many might say they’ll slip after that late-season upset over the Mountaineers…I won’t. I’ll take the Bulls and the points.
Pick: South Florida (cover)
Hawaii [-6.5] vs. Arizona State
Talk about a mismatch. You have the game in Hawaii and it’s called the friggin’ Hawaii Bowl. I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. I’ll take the Rainbow Warriors to win and cover.
Pick: Hawaii (cover)
New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico [-3.5] vs. San Jose State
Yet another weird Bowl Game with one team having the damn Bowl named after them. Let’s call it a trend. Take the Wolfpack, even without Danny Granger, to trounce their way to a home victory.
Pick: New Mexico (cover)
Motor City Bowl [more NFL-talent than you think in the MAC], Holiday Bowl (gotta watch this one every year), Texas Bowl [Rutgers getting shafted], and the Alamo Bowl [a good spot for many of today’s NFL QBs to shine in the past]. It’s going be two weeks for the big guns to be loved [cough, BCS].
PS: Gotta go see Rocky Balboa this week. I’ll have a one-paragraph review for everyone during next week's picks. I promise.