Archive for September, 2021

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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NFL 2021 Week Two, Thursday Night

September 16th, 2021 Comments off

NY Giants (+3.5) at Washington
There’s still an outside chance Brand X turns out to be a sort of decent football team. So let’s look for them to get the win. Washington by 3.

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NFL Week 0ne 2021 Picks (post opener)

September 12th, 2021 Comments off

Here’s the deal. It’s week one. I don’t know anything. You don’t know anything. No one really knows anything. Not anything real, I mean. We think we know stuff, because of last season and the preseason and all of that. But we don’t. We never do.

So here’s what not to expect. Or maybe it’s what to expect. Or something in between. I don’t know.

Philadelphia (+3) at Atlanta
At least from the outside, the 2021 Falcons look pretty similar to the slightly less than mediocre 2020 Falcons. Then again, while the Eagles look better this year than last, they could hardly look otherwise. I suspect the home team with no defense starts out with a win against a visiting team with no offense. But I’ll hedge and take Philly to keep it close. Falcons by a point.

Pittsburgh (+6.5) at Buffalo
The Steelers are probably just good enough to keep the AFC North competitive. Which should mean they’re just good enough to keep this game competitive. But they’re probably not good enough to win their division or their opening game. Bills by four.

Minnesota (-3) at Cincinnati
The Vikings may have improved some since last year. The Bengals, it appears, have not. Minnesota by six.

San Francisco (-8.5) at Detroit
The Lions are still the Lions. San Fran by seven.

Arizona (+3) at Tennessee
One or both of these teams may see its defense round into form as the season progresses. But almost no NFL defense ever starts the season fully ready to play its best football. Bet the over. Home team by six.

Seattle (-3) at Indianapolis
The Colts look like one of those teams that gets just enough right to make its struggles all the more painful. Seattle by a touchdown.

LA Chargers (+1.5) at Washington
The Chargers are probably (certainly?) the better team in this matchup. But not by enough to win in an opening weekend visit to a decent east coast team. Brand X by a field goal.

NY Jets (+3.5) at Carolina
This is a good matchup to get out of the way early. Home team by five.

Jacksonville (-3) at Houston
One of these teams has to not lose. I don’t know which it will be. But I know the Texans look extra awful. So I’ll guess Jacksonville ends up the non-loser. Let’s say by a point.

Cleveland (+5.5) at Kansas City
The consensus is that the Browns are good, but not quite good enough to keep up with a team like the C-suites. And that’s probably true on opening weekend. But I think it’s closer than most imagine. Kansas City by three.

Miami (+3) at New England
Watching the Dolphins-Patriots series bookend the teams’ seasons should be interesting. Come week 18, the emphasis may well have shifted to defense. But I’ll take the team with the stronger offense to win the opener. Patriots by six.

Green Bay (-3.5) vs. New Orleans at Jacksonville
It doesn’t really matter where this game is being played. The Saints have too much work to do. Green Bay by nine. (The media will be talking about the inevitability of a Packers Super Bowl championship by the time the day is out.)

Denver (-3) at NY Giants
The Giants may not be a great team, but this looks like one of those seasons when they turn out to be better than anyone expected. New Jersey by three.

Chicago (+8) at LA Rams
I’ve never been terribly impressed with Andy Dalton. I don’t expect that to change now. Rams by 14.

Baltimore (-4) at Las Vegas
The Ravens are clearly the better team here. Maybe it’s close through the first half. But it won’t be close down the stretch. Baltimore by 12.

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2021 NFL Opener Pick

September 9th, 2021 Comments off

Dallas (+9) at Tampa Bay
I have no excuse for not being ready to make my week one picks. I’ve had the entire offseason to prepare. And still … nope. Just not ready. Which makes me a lot like the Dallas Cowboys, who aren’t ready to take on the defending champs. The big difference is that I may still be ready to make the rest of my week one picks by Sunday, whereas the Cowboys might not be ready to for much of anything until the middle of the season. Oh, also, my lack of preparedness isn’t likely to hurt quite so much. Bucs by 12. (See what I did there?)

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