Greenberg’s Sports Book: NFL Pick ‘Em, Week 8
Don’t look now, but resident gambler Greg Kaplan posted his second winning week of the last three. There is still more than half a season of gambling to go, could this be a positive sign of things to come? God, we hope so. The poor kid has more bills coming up than he cares to think about…
To read previous Pick ‘Em posts, click here.
Last Week: 8-5
Season Total: 47-57
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings (-7.5)
Thursday night games have generally favored the home teams on short weeks. This is the Bucs’ first road game since Week 3. Even when the Vikings offense played as poorly as possible (seriously, Christain Ponder only threw for 55 yards), they managed to pool of a touchdown win. I said it on Tuesday’s podcast, but it is worth repeating. I truly feel this game is more about the Bucs playing poorly than the Vikings dominating the action. I don’t see Josh Freeman having a third-consecutive huge game against a very talented defense. I’m taking the home team on a Thursday, and praying Leslie Frazier hasn’t gone to the Jim Harbaugh School of Safties.
The Pick: Vikings
Carolina Panthers @ Chicago Bears (-7.5)
Cam Newton’s play this season has been nothing short of terrible. Fantasy owners that took him or Matthew Stafford in one of the first two rounds are miserable throughout the country. There is no light at the end of the tunnel this week, as the Panthers go up against one of the top three defenses in the entire league. I don’t see any scenario the Panthers not only cover the spread on the road in Chicago, but pull the upset. Newton’s long year is only going to get longer.
Side note: it isn’t all Cam Newton’s fault. He doesn’t have many pieces to work with on offense whatsoever. Their running back tandem has been one of the five worst in the league, and no other receiver has been able to do anything outside of Steve Smith. Don’t forget that they have significant injuries to the offensive line as well. And yes, I partially put this statement in here to keep Warren Moon off my back. Newton has played terribly, but he isn’t on the level of Vince Young like others have said. He can still be a very good quarterback. He will need help, though.
The Pick: Bears
San Diego Chargers (-2.5) @ Cleveland Browns
This game is significantly more important to the Chargers than it is the Browns. Now, I’m not trying to infer that the Browns are simply going to roll over in this one. But there are significantly more stakes on the Chargers. If San Diego wants to stay in the race for the super-noncompetitive AFC West, they have to win this game to keep pace with the Broncos. If the Chargers lose this game, there is a good chance Norv Turner doesn’t coach another game for the organization. Philip Rivers also needs to get the critics off his back somehow, all of which are saying that Rivers is past his prime and falling apart as a functional, playoff-caliber quaterback.
For the Browns, it just feels like another game. A game in which Trent Richardson probably won’t play in, limiting them even further on the offensive side of the ball. The game means more to San Diego. That’s why I’m taking them. They’re a better team on paper, and they have to play like the better team to save their season.
The Pick: Chargers
Seattle Seahawks @ Detroit Lions (-2.5)
Every week, there are a few spreads that don’t make any sense and makes you wonder if the odds makers have been watching as many games as we have. Then again, they must be considering how poorly the majority of the pick ‘em pool I’m in are doing.
However, right now the Detroit Lions are a one-dimensional offense, and that one dimension is not operating properly as of late. The Lions have no sustained running game at all, and as mentioned earlier, Matt Stafford has shown signs of regression that have to concern even the most optimistic of Detroit fans. On the other hand, you have the Seahawks and their defense, which has fueled their early season success so far. Seattle’s strength on the defensive end, mind you, is their secondary, which should be able to contain the likes of Calvin Johnson all while putting pressure on Stafford to make poor choices. I don’t know if there is a case someone could make to me that would talk me out of picking the Seahawks in this contest.
The Pick: Seahawks
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Green Bay Packers (-13.5)
If you had the misfortune of watching the Jaguars/Raiders game in full last week like I did, you would’ve slugged through the worst played football game from two teams anybody will see this year. Seriously. The quality of play was beyond poor that it actually became a job to watch the game and take anything positive away from it at all. The fact that it went to overtime and the Raiders couldn’t cover still doesn’t make any sense to me at all.
With all that said, even if the Jaguars defense plays well, I have so little faith in their offense putting even a single point on the board without Blaine Gabbert (who would’ve thought they’d be begging for him to be healthy this year) and MJD on the field that I cannot even spot them 14 points. Aaron Rodgers is scorching hot. If the Packers don’t win by the two touchdowns Vegas is giving them, I’ll lose faith in mankind.
The Pick: Packers
Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans (-3.5)
This is actually a tough, tough match-up. Who would’ve thought that one of these two teams could potentially be a playoff team? The AFC is weird this year, but this is the point we are at. In order to pick the Titans, there has to be a certain level of faith in the return to form of CJ2K, plus the continued success of Matt Hasselbeck against any team not named the Vikings.
I’m actually enamored with Andrew Luck. He’s a crafty quarterback already that knows how to get just enough out of his teammates when they aren’t having their best weeks to pull off victories. The Colts, to me, are the more complete team. I think they’ll take this important divisional match-up and inch closer to playoff contention.
The Pick: Colts
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets (-2.5)
Here’s another spread that’s a little funny. By all accounts, the Dolphins really should’ve won the first match-up between these two teams in Florida. While the Jets did score 13 4th quarter points against the Patriots to send that game to overtime (how that happened, we may never know), the Jets still don’t have enough offensive options for me to put a ton of faith in them. I will say that Jeremy Kerley is looking to be a real piece moving forward. But, the Dolphins trademark this season is their run defense, and if the Jets have Shonn Greene shut down and need to put faith in Mark Sanchez, I really don’t like their odds.
The Pick: Dolphins
Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)
And yet another very funny spread. The reasons to pick the Eagles: Andy Reid is 13-0 after bye weeks as head coach in Philadelphia. The reasons not to pick the Eagles: they haven’t won a game by more than 2 points, they’re still starting Michael Vick, the Falcons are 6-0 and are also coming off a bye. If you don’t think Arthur Blank hasn’t gone to his team and told them “I want you to beat Michael Vick”, you’re crazy.
The Pick: Falcons
Washington Redskins @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5)
While I’m sure the Steelers will win this game, I don’t think I will pick against Robert Griffin III if you’re spotting him more than five points before he even takes the field. The Redskins have been in every game they’ve played this year, and odds are Troy Polamalu will not play in this game either. RG3 is going to find ways to keep his team in the game, and for that I’m going to ride the Redskins for some time.
The Pick: Redskins
Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5)
How bad did the Raiders look last week? They’re somehow an underdog against Brady Quinn. Yeah.
The Chiefs, right now, are a very bad team. They haven’t held a lead in regulation at any point so far this season. Sadly, I don’t see that trend ending any time soon. The Dream-o of Geno will continue in KC. Darren McFadden is going to rebound in a big way, and Carson Palmer is leagues ahead of Quinn in the quarterback department.
The Pick: Raiders
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys (-1.5)
Has Vegas learned anything over time with the Giants? You cannot be giving them points on the road. They’re a road dynasty as far as betting goes. There is no way the Giants will settle for a season sweep at the hand of the Cowboys. They vividly remember that opening night game when Dallas embarrassed them in New York. This will be a revenge game for the G-Men. That, and Eli Manning is the best quarterback in NFL history during the month of October, and the Cowboys will be without their best linebacker, Sean Lee, for the rest of the season. Giants are going to Cruz (see what I did there?).
The Pick: Giants
New England Patriots (-6.5) @ St. Louis Rams
This game isn’t actually a home game for the Rams, as these two teams will be suiting up in London this week. Until the Patriots prove to me once and for all that their 4th quarter end of game problems are behind them, I can’t trust them to cover by more than a touchdown. I mean, come on. They gave up 13 4th quarter points to the Jets! The Rams are a better team than the Jets right now. There’s a chance St. Louis pulls a bit of an upset.
Side note: how poorly did the NFL promote this London game this year? 75% of people totally forgot this game was going to be traveling over the pond. Pick it up, NFL. You’re slacking these days. Seriously.
The Pick: Rams
New Orleans Saints @ Denver Broncos (-7.5)
The Saints defense cannot stop a leaky faucet right now. As much as Drew Brees will try to keep his squad in the game, Peyton Manning against a terrible defense in primetime is a better’s wet dream. Did we mention that he’ll also be playing at home?
The Pick: Broncos
San Francisco 49ers (-6.5) @ Arizona Cardinals
It feels like a very long time ago that the Cardinals got out to that 4-0 start. Each week we see this team play, the more they look like a 5-11 team than a 11-5 team. The 49ers defense will have no problem putting a blanket on the Cardinals, who now may be without John Skelton on top of Kevin Kolb. Their running game still doesn’t have an identity, and their offensive line is poor, at best. This should be an in-division romping by San Fran.
The Pick: 49ers…as long as they don’t need a late safety to seal the game