NFL 2021 Week Seven Picks

October 21st, 2021 No comments

I’m not getting any better at this.

I went 10-4 straight up in week six. I can live with that. Against the spread? 2-12. That’s kind of horrifying.

I’m 55-39 (.585) straight up, 33-59-2 (.362) against the spread through the first six weeks of the season. I bet I can make it worse.

Here’s what not to expect in week seven.

Denver (+1.5) at Cleveland
I don’t know if one of these 3-3 is better than the other. I do know that neither of them is particularly good. And I know I’m taking the not good home team over the not good road team. Browns by three.

Washington (+7.5) at Green Bay
The worst defense in the league tries to stop Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. That story doesn’t end well for Brand X. Packers by 14.

Kansas City (-4.5) at Tennessee
Forget the outcome. Just bet the over. Titans by three.

Atlanta (-2.5) at Miami
I don’t know which team is awfuller. Miami probably. Falcons by a point.

NY Jets (+7) at New England
You can’t almost beat the Jets in your own building and walk away with any hope of salvaging your season. But, of course, you can’t not beat the Jets. Patriots by nine.

Carolina (-3) at NY Giants
Just finding enough semi-healthy guys to fill out the roster is a triumph for New Jersey at this point. Carolina by four.

Cincinnati (+6.5) at Baltimore
The Bengals could maybe beat the Ravens. In Cincinnati. Not here. Baltimore by three.

Philadelphia (+3) at Las Vegas
I guess distractions aren’t much of a detriment to the Raiders. Who knew? Las Vegas by a touchdown.

Detroit (+15) at LA Rams
Here we commence with the college football spreads section of the week seven schedule. I don’t know how to pick these games. The Rams are winning, obviously, but there’s no real guessing what the margin might be. Let’s just say it’s Los Angeles by 17.

Houston (+17.5) at Arizona
See above immediately above. Arizona by 16.

Chicago (+12.5) at Tampa Bay
Tom Brady has some demons to exorcise. Buccaneers by 27.

Indianapolis (+4) at San Francisco
These are not good football teams. 49ers by a field goal.

New Orleans (-4) at Seattle
The Seahawks are sunk. The Saints may be, too, before the season is over. But the Seahawks are there now. New Orleans by seven.

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NFL 2021 Week Six Picks

October 17th, 2021 No comments

OK, well, I guess I can live with 11-5 straight up. I mean, I have to, because that’s how I did in week five. And that’s at least, you know, not quite as bad as I’d been doing through week four.

Of course, neither was 7-8-1 against the spread. So … yo soy fiesta, I suppose.

For the season, I now stand at 45-35 (.563) straight up, 31-47-2 (.400) with the points. Still not so much with the fiesta.

And I’m 1-0, 0-1 so far this week.

Here’s what not to expect on Sunday and Monday.

Miami (-3) vs. Jacksonville
I imagine 0-0 ties happen on the pitch at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at least sometimes. But maybe that would be too delightful an outcome to hope for in this game. Dolphins by a point.

Green Bay (-6) at Chicago
The Bears are who we think they are. Solid enough against bad to average teams, not so solid against good ones. Still, division match and all. Let’s say Packers by four.

Cincinnati (-3.5) at Detroit
The Lions totally could win this game. I mean, they won’t. But they could. Bengals by three.

Houston (+10) at Indianapolis
There was a time when getting 10 from the Colts in Indianapolis wasn’t at all embarrassing. That time is not now. Colts by six.

LA Rams (-8) at NY Giants
I’m not sure the Giants at full health could compete with the Rams. And the Giants are not at full health. The Rams traveling across the country for the second of two straight road games may result in this one looking close into the third quarter, but that’s about it. Los Angeles by 10.

Kansas City (-6.5) at Washington
Yes, the Kansas City defense is awful. But the Washington defense is awfuler. KC by six.

Minnesota (-2.5) at Carolina
I don’t know the difference between these teams. Frankly, I’m not sure there is one. Below average home team by three.

LA Chargers (+2.5) at Baltimore
I’m fairly sure the Chargers are a better team than the Ravens. But not by quite enough to overcome the cross-country travel factor. Baltimore by a point.

Arizona (+3.5) at Cleveland
I think the Cardinals are better than the Browns by just enough. Arizona holds off a late Cleveland drive and comes out on top by two.

Las Vegas (+4) at Denver
I’m sure the Raiders are completely focussed on this game. I mean, why wouldn’t they be? Broncos by a touchdown.

Dallas (-3.5) at New England
I’ve seen exactly nothing from the 2021 Patriots that would lead me to conclude they’re in any way ready to compete with the Cowboys. But maybe they’ll find a way to keep it kind of close. Cowboys by three.

Seattle (+5) at Pittsburgh
Neither of these teams has much of an offense. The home team at least sort of has a defense some of the time. Pittsburgh by six.

Buffalo (-5.5) at Tennessee
Just five and a half? I’d give double that anyway. Buffalo by 14.

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NFL 2021 Week Six, Thursday Night Pick

October 14th, 2021 No comments

Tampa Bay (-7) at Philadelphia
The big problem for the Eagles heading into this job is that their defense can’t stop the run. Or the pass. That’s not a great place to be with the defending champs coming to town. Buccaneers by 10.

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NFL 2021 Week Five Picks

October 10th, 2021 Comments off

Things are not turning around for me.

Not much, anyhow. I managed to get 10 games right picking straight up in week four. And that’s at least slightly less awful than I’d done over the previous three weeks. But I was 6-10 against the spread, which I can’t cast as anything other than thoroughly embarrassing.

That lands me at 34-30 (.531) straight up, 24-39-1 (.383) with the points through week four. And I’m powering to this weekend 0-1 both ways.

Here’s what not to expect over the remainder of week five.

NY Jets (+2.5) at Atlanta
The Falcons can’t keep opponents off the scoreboard. Lucky for them, the Jets are pretty good at keeping themselves off the board. Atlanta by a point.

Green Bay (-3) at Cincinnati
Maybe by the time the game ends, I’ll be able to tell these teams apart. Bengals by a field goal.

Detroit (+10) at Minnesota
The Vikings aren’t good, but the Lions are horrible. Minnesota by 13.

Denver (-1) at Pittsburgh
Ben Roethlisberger is tracking 16 TDs, 16, interceptions and 40 sacks in the 2021 season. You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but, um, that’s not good. Broncos by four.

Miami (+10) at Tampa Bay
If the Dolphins had anything resembling an offense, they might’ve had a chance to keep this one closer than anyone expects. Buccaneers by 14.

New Orleans (-2.5) at Washington
Even with four games to look at, it’s hard to know what to make of the Saints. They struggle … when they struggle. I suspect they won’t struggle (or, you know, not much) against an opponent with no defense. New Orleans by six.

Philadelphia (+3) at Carolina
In this one the NFC East team with no defense is on the road. Carolina by 10.

Tennessee (-4.5) at Jacksonville
I’d say the only thing the Jaguars really need is a coach. Except that’s not true. Might be a start, though, if the organization ever decides it wants to start fixing things. Titans by seven.

New England (-8) at Houston
You know what you call a healthy person who remains unvaccinated at this point despite having easy access and obligations to his teammates in addition to his obligations to his family and community? A stupid, selfish asshole. That’s what. The Patriots are very lucky they’re facing the softest of soft opponents this week. And I still can’t give a touchdown plus in a road game in which they’re forced to field a pointlessly depleted offensive line. New England by three.

Chicago (+5.5) at Las Vegas
This matchup really should not present much of a challenge for the home team. And yet somehow it will. Raiders by four.

Cleveland (+2.5) at LA Chargers
The way to beat the Chargers is to keep the ball on the ground and avoid turnovers. I know the Browns should be able to accomplish the former. The latter might prove a problem. I think the home team edges this one out by way of a critical takeaway. Chargers by one.

NY Giants (+7) at Dallas
The Giants aren’t ready to compete with the Cowboys. Dallas by nine.

San Francisco (+5.5) at Arizona
The Cards sure have looked like the class of the NFC West so far. I don’t see that changing here. No much, anyhow. Arizona by three.

Buffalo (+3) at Kansas City
You can talk all you want about Kansas City being better than their slow start. Maybe. And maybe they show it here. But from my perspective, Buffalo simply has the more complete team. Or maybe it’s just the more prepared team. Whatever. Bills by four.

Indianapolis (+7) at Baltimore
There’s nothing that indicates to me that these two teams belong on the same field. Ravens by 14.

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NFL 2021 Week Five Thursday Night Pick

October 7th, 2021 Comments off

LA Rams (-2.5) at Seattle
Wow! An exciting game on a Thursday night. That’s a rare treat. I’m certain the Rams are the better team in this matchup. But division games are tough. And the Seahawks are at home. I expect to see Seattle win this one on the ground. Seahawks by three.

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NFL 2021 Week Four Picks

October 3rd, 2021 Comments off

I can only assume at this point that if there’s anyone here, it’s to find out how not to pick this week’s games.

I had yet another miserable showing in week three, wrapping up 9-7 straight up and 5-11 against the spread. I’m pretty sure I’m never climbing out of the hole I’ve dug this season. Through the first three weeks, I stand at 24-24 (.500) straight up and 18-29-1 (.385) with the points. And I’m heading into the weekend 1-0 and 0-1. So it looks like more of the same.

Here’s what not to expect through Monday night.

Washington (-1.5) at Atlanta
Wasn’t Brand X supposed to be headed in the right direction this season? The Falcons, at least, are pretty much what we thought they were. Not good. Washington by three.

Houston (+17.5) at Buffalo
The thing about huge spreads in the NFL is that there are just too many factors that can get in the way. The good team slows down the game. The bad one picks up meaningless points in garbage time. The Bills could probably win this game by 35 if they wanted to. But I’m not giving three scores. I’ll say Buffalo by 16.

Detroit (+3) at Chicago
I don’t think the Bears are one bit better than the Lions. But the Bears are at home. So I suppose there’s that. Chicago by a point.

Carolina (+4) at Dallas
I’m fairly confident the Panthers D can slow down the Cowboys offense. But stop them? In Dallas? Not so much. Cowboys by a field goal.

Indianapolis (+2.5) at Miami
Neither of these teams is going much of anywhere. But the Dolphins at least look like they’e prepared to play professional football some of the time. That’s got to be some kind of advantage. Miami by four.

Cleveland (-1) at Minnesota
I don’t know that there’s much of a difference between these two teams. So I’m taking the one that’s playing at home. Vikings by three.

NY Giants (+7) at New Orleans
I keep thinking the Giants have to be better than they look on paper. And then I keep having to ask myself why they hell I insist on thinking that while all evidence suggests the opposite. Saints by 10.

Tennessee (-6) at NY Jets
The Jets have scored 20 total points through three games. Titans by 14.

Kansas City (-6.6) at Philadelphia
Kansas City may struggle through the entire season. Or they may come around at some point. In either scenario, they should be able to win this game. KC by seven.

Arizona (+4) at LA Rams
If the Rams could make the Buccaneers offense one dimensional, they ought to be able to do the same to the Cardinals. Los Angeles by three.

Seattle (+2.5) at San Francisco
It might be time to stop believing the 2021 Seahawks are bound to find their groove. San Francisco by four.

Baltimore (-1) at Denver
The Broncos to date have played no one. Ravens by six.

Pittsburgh (-6) at Green Bay
More often than not, this is the way great NFL careers end. Packers by a touchdown.

Tampa Bay (-7) at New England
What you may have missed if you spent the week thinking about Brady vs. Belichick is that this game involves two complete football teams. The fact that the Patriots are better coached than the Buccaneers could be a factor, sure. The fact that the Bucs offense is led by the greatest quarterback of all time should be a factor. But the biggest factor is likely to be that the Patriots, as of week four, are not ready to challenge the defending Super Bowl champions. That’s the long and short of it. Buccaneers by six.

Las Vegas (+3) at LA Chargers
The Chargers are ever so slightly more impressive at 2-1 than the Raiders are at 3-0. Los Angeles by a point.

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NFL 2021 Week Four, Thursday Night Pick

September 30th, 2021 Comments off

I damned near forgot there was a game tonight. Probably because there kind of isn’t.

Jacksonville (+7.5) at Cincinnati
Bengals by 14.

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NFL 2021 Week Three Picks

September 26th, 2021 Comments off

I’m off to an even uglier than usual start picking football games this season. I followed my spectacular week one — 6-10 straight up, 8-8 against the spread — with a magnificent week two, 9-7 straight up, 5-10-1 with the points.

That works out to 15-17 (.469) straight up, 13-18-1 (.422) against the spread.

But I’m sure my 1-0 start across the board in week three means I’m on the verge of righting the ship. Probably.

Here’s what not to expect in the remainder of this week’s games.

Washington (+7.5) at Buffalo
This is what makes picking football games early in the season close to impossible. Thus far, neither of these teams appears to be what we expected. But every team is going to have an outlier game or two at some point in a season, and if they come early, they make a muddle of your perceptions. I suspect that if this game were being played in November, I wouldn’t hesitate to give the seven and a half. Right now? Bills by four.

Chicago (+7) at Cleveland
The Browns should not only win but cover with relative ease. So you know they won’t. Cleveland by a field goal.

Baltimore (-8) at Detroit
It’s reasonable to expect a bit of a letdown game for the Ravens. It’s not reasonable to think the Lions can capitalize. Baltimore by 10.

Indianapolis (+5) at Tennessee
I’m not at all sure what to make of the Titans. But I know the Colts are foundering. Tennessee by six.

LA Chargers (+6.5) at Kansas City
The Chiefs sure look to me like a team suffering from a hangover. But I don’t think they’re done fighting quite yet. Kansas City puts up the winning points late in what I expect to be a banger. Chiefs by a point.

New Orleans (+3) at New England
Two years ago, this matchup would have been played in primetime, and we’d have gone in expecting an airshow. this season it’s reasonable to expect a fairly low-scoring affair featuring enough missed opportunities to drive fans of both teams crazy. The home team tacks on a late field goal that makes its victory appear less narrow. New England by six.

Atlanta (+3) at NY Giants
There have been moments this season when both the Falcons and the Giants have looked kind of OK. Moments. New Jersey by four.

Cincinnati (+3) at Pittsburgh
This game doesn’t look like much, but its outcome could have meaningful implications for the 2022 draft. Steelers by six.

Arizona (-7.5) at Jacksonville
You may find this shocking, but the Jaguars are not very good. At all. Cardinals by nine.

NY Jets (+10.5) at Denver
You may find this shocking, but the Jets … . Oh, did I just use this line about the Jaguars? Crap! Broncos by 17.

Miami (+4) at Las Vegas
As the season goes on, fans in New England are going to become more and more unhappy about the Patriots’ week one gift to the visiting Dolphins. Raiders by seven.

Tampa Bay (-1.5) at LA Rams
It might be that the 2021 Rams feature a strong pass defense. And if that’s really the case, this could prove a difficult matchup for a Bucs offense that has been getting it done mostly through the air thus far this season. Or it might be that the Rams have yet to face a team with a productive passing attack. I suspect we’ll have a clear picture by halftime. Tampa by three.

Seattle (-1.5) at Minnesota
There’s a part of me that has already come to the conclusion that the Vikings are never turning this season around. It’s the part that’s writing this pick. Seattle by four.

Green Bay (+3.5) at San Francisco
Last week’s results may have raised hopes in Green Bay. But I don’t live in Green Bay. Niners by a touchdown.

Philadelphia (+4) at Dallas
Yeah, the Cowboys are probably the better team. And that will probably show in the final standings. But this is still a division game. And the Eagles are still in the fight. Dallas wins (late) by three.

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NFL 2021 Week Three Thursday Night Pick

September 23rd, 2021 Comments off

Carolina (-8) at Houston
I may have mentioned this once or twice before (or if I didn’t, someone else did and I internalized it), but, um, quarterback is kind of an important position in football. Not having one is not good. Not having one and having to play on short rest is bad. Panthers by 14.

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NFL 2021 Week Two Picks

September 19th, 2021 Comments off

Cincinnati (+2.5) at Chicago
The Bengals figured out that Andy Dalton isn’t an NFL QB. You have to imagine the Bears will get there, too, sooner than later. But not soon enough. Cincinnati by a touchdown.

Houston (+13) at Cleveland
The Browns can’t let another game slip away. The Texans should make achieving that goal fairly simple. Cleveland by 17.

LA Rams (-3.5) at Indianapolis
I don’t know. I think the Colts can keep this one competitive. For a quarter. Maybe a half. Rams by 10.

Buffalo (-3.5) at Miami
The Bills aren’t likely to commit the types of mental errors that cost the Patriots a win over the Dolphins in week one. Then again, division rivals, Miami in the heat of what is still the summer … . Dolphins by a point.

New England (-6) at NY Jets
The Patriots aren’t likely to give away a second straight game, particularly not to a team that’s considerably weaker than the one they lost to a week ago. But six seems like a lot to give in a divisional road game. I’m thinking New England by four.

San Francisco (-3) at Philadelphia
The Niners are probably the better team. But maybe not by enough to overcome the challenges that come with traveling across the country to play an early game. Eagles by a point.

Las Vegas (+6.5) at Pittsburgh
In Vegas, this game goes to the Raiders. In Pittsburgh, probably not. Steelers by three.

New Orleans (-3) at Carolina
When do we start having conversations about whether Drew Brees really was all that good? Asking for a bunch of friends in New England and Tampa. Saints by seven.

Denver (-6) at Jacksonville
Maybe the Jaguars will win a game or two late in the season. Maybe. Broncos by 14.

Minnesota (+3.5) at Arizona
I didn’t see anything from the Vikings last week to make me think they can keep this game as close as three and a half. Cardinals by 10.

Atlanta (+12.5) at Tampa Bay
This sure looks like the mismatch of the week to me. Buccaneers by 21.

Dallas (-3) at LA Chargers
The Cowboys didn’t impress me in the season opener. But I’m also not sold on the Chargers. Dallas by a point.

Tennessee (+6.5) at Seattle
Probably more like 9, I think. Seahawks.

Kansas City (-3.5) at Baltimore
By the time this game is over, the media will be ready to hand the Lombardi to Kansas City. Visitors by seven.

Detroit (+11.5) at Green Bay
One of these teams has frustrations to work out, demons to exorcise … whatever. The other is in serious trouble. Packers by 17.

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