Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles Sunday Night Free Football Pick: I don’t know what I’m up to, continuing to buy into the Eagles as some sort of Super Team – for there is no reason to do so. Then again, I guess I don’t buy them as a super team at all, nope, never have, but I do view them as a playoff team and they’re going to have to win this game, and a load more, to sneak into the playoffs. At home coming off a bye, where Andy Reid has always done well, I don’t see the Eagles losing.
I do see this being a tough game for them to win, the Cowboys playing well, finding a rushing attack just in time for the lackluster Eagles front 7, Tony Romo not having to do it all on his own, receivers getting healthy – it seems as though the Cowboys might be coming into their own at the wrong time for Philly.
It hasn’t been a great year for Philly – the Phillies had the best pitching in baseball and a big time offense – only they lost in the first round of the playoffs after putting together the best record in baseball. The Eagles have certainly struggled out of the gates, as Mike Vick has become turnover prone yet again, and a powerful rushing attack remains something Andy Reid can’t put together. The 76ers are also the lone reason for the lockout…
Okay, the last one is a lie, but it hasn’t been a good year for Philly. It has to turn around, right, the city of Brotherly Love!!! Okay, it’s just a football thing here. For the first time in a while I think the Eagles beat the Cowboys in a must win game. The Eagles are better than they’ve been playing – maybe a bye week puts that together.
Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) @ Seattle Seahawks
Tough for me to go with the Hawks, even in Seattle, after a performance like they put together last week against a decent but not great Browns defense. I mean, it was disgusting. I think Tarvaris Jackson coming back will help the Hawks a lot, but as good as I think he is (I’ve always liked him, look at the history if you want), I don’t know if he’s good enough to turn this Hawks offense into a productive one against a very good Bengals defense.
Also, the Bengals have a young signal caller with shiny read hair that is playing pretty good football of late, keeping mistakes to a minimum, and making reliable throws to keep defenses honest. A big key for his progress are his receiving options who are all big and fast cats. You look at AJ Green and tell me he’s not going to be great. He’s already doing great things. His size and speed and overall goodness is going to give the Hawks’ corners trouble. Jermaine Gresham is also very good and big and talented and again, going to make life tough on the Hawks. Simpson is also big. The Hawks struggle against big receivers. It’ll be close, but the Bengals by a field goal wouldn’t stun me.
Cleveland Browns (+9.5) @ San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are coming off some highs, no doubt, and they are playing good football under new head coach Jim Harbaugh. They’ll be good for a long time, that guy knows what he’s doing for sure. That being said, I think the Browns are a little better than advertised, and this line is the way it is because they are advertised as pretty bad football team. It’ll be close. Anytime perception is wrong, lines should be skewed. Write that down.
New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Free Pick: The Steelers have climbed out of the cellar they fell into after getting smashed by the Ravens to open the season, and now they’re playing better football, running it a couple weeks ago, and throwing the ball all over the Cardinals last week – maybe they are back in Superman gear?
Either that or they’ve just been playing lesser teams. I know the Cardinals fit into that category, and I’m pretty sure the Jaguars (despite their defensive beatdown of the Ravens) and the Tennessee Titans (before their ridiculously good start) also fit into that category. Houston’s the only good team they’ve played since the Ravens slapped them around in Week 1, and what do you know, the Texans beat the Steelers.
I’m not saying it’s a guarantee or anything, I mean, the Steelers still know how to play good football and win games, but they aren’t the same team they’ve been in the past, and even if they were, Tom Brady has beaten them 4 out of the last 4 times he’s suited up against them. Guess what, Tom’s suiting up against them this week.
Also, and I don’t want to add fuel to my fire, because it looks like most of the public is rocking the Patriots this week in Pittsburgh, but New England was on a bye last week and that’s two weeks for Tom Magnificent to sit in a film room and figure out ways to destroy a shaky secondary. Yeah, I like the Patriots’ chances.
Washington Redskins (+6) @ Buffalo Bills
The Redskins seem like a sure thing bet-against candidate here, but they aren’t as bad as people make them out to be. I’m almost completely sure of it. On the chance that I’m wrong, I’m also happy, because lets be honest, there’s no way Mike Shanhan is a fun guy to be around, and I just can’t root for him. He loses, I lose, it’s a wash!
Still, I think he’s a pretty good coach, and even with this Beck kid, I think the Redskins have a good chance of coming into Buffalo and putting up points on a defense that has been lucky (errr opportunistic) so far this season. That’s another word for lucky, and usually they become in-opportunistic as the season goes forward. Basically, it all evens out, and despite Buffalo’s offense being levels above the Redskins, I still think this one stays close.
Detroit Lions (-2.5) @ Denver Broncos
This seems like a no-brainer, take the Lions, the Broncos and magical Tim Tebow couldn’t possibly outwit the new super Lions, right? Actually, yeah, I’m thinking that’s pretty right on the nail. Flat out, sometimes you just have to go with what seems right. I know Vegas likes to trick us by putting numbers like this out there for us to bet the house on, but sometimes, every once in a while, on hour of one day, Vegas takes a hit. I’m thinking this will be the day. The line’s too good to pass up – don’t freak out and do something magic, take the Lions or don’t play this one. Tebow vs Suh is not advantage Tebow.
New Orleans Saints (-13.5) @ St. Louis Rams
The Rams can’t seem to do anything right, and to add to their troubles, injuries abound. The Saints come in ready to kick the door down after putting up 60 some odd points the other night against some poor foe. The Rams have some pieces, no doubt, and the Saints have shown that they can play with anyone, for better or worse. I don’t think it can get to this kind of worse, but hey, I’ve been fooled before. I just don’t see a team that can’t stop the run, can’t stop the pass, can’t rush the passer, and can’t produce points on their own beating the Saints. If the Ravens hadn’t killed my survivor pool last week, I’d totally be rocking the Saints this time around. I think they win by at least two touchdowns.
Miami Dolphins @ New York Giants (-10)
The Dolphins are in a similar boat as the Rams. There was very little pre-season hype, and injuries have only smothered them more. At least the Rams have their quarterback coming back, the Dolphins lost their guy for the season. The Giants aren’t exciting and they are even better than New Orleans at playing bad against bad teams – but a lost before the bye to the Seahawks should have sobered them up enough to come out and shut down Matt Moore and company. We’ll see, 10 points with the G-men is a scary beast, but I have to do it.
Arizona Cardinals (+13) @ Baltimore Ravens
This may be a hate pick. As mentioned above, the Ravens hideous performance against the Jaguars on Monday Night kicked me right out of my survivor pool. Still, the Cardinals are going to start playing better. Kolb’s not great, but he’s not terrible either, and he can get to the Ravens secondary a little. The Ravens have a pretty sorry offense, but the Cardinals could make Joe look good. Hmm…. I’m torn. I’ll have to take the points because it seems like too many to give the Ravens’ offense.
Stanford Cardinal @ USC Trojans Week 9 NCAA 2011 Free Pick: Not very many fans know this, but I’m currently getting a masters at USC. For the first time in my life, I’m some kind of mascot that people actually recognize, yes, I’m a Trojan. So maybe that’s the reason why I’m always picking against my educational establishment, they are sucking money out of me like a vacuum! Still, it’s not a love thing, never is, or I’d take the Trojans for sure – I’m in one hell of a program!
What it comes down to, in this little game, is a football thing. The Trojans can’t stop good offenses and there might not be a more efficient offense in the country than what Stanford brings into L.A. un Saturday night. Andrew Luck is the real deal. The Cardinal might not have the fastest running back on the field or the talent at receiver that gets NFL scouts drooling. They don’t have the linebackers with the measurables of NFL first day draft picks – and their secondary doesn’t scare anyone either – but they win. They come out and kick you butt and they win.
I watched the Huskies stick with them for a quarter and a half or so, I saw the Cardinal get run over by Chris Polk a time or two (though that kid’s a stud for the Huskies) but it didn’t seem to bother them one bit. The scary thing about Stanford is…. They know. They know they are going to win. They know they are going to outlast you. They know they are going to stop you eventually and when it comes to live or die against their quarterback, the opponent is going to die. It’s all about knowing you’re going to win.
Stanford Cardinal (-7.5) @ USC Trojans
Baylor Bears (+14.5) @ Oklahoma State Cowboys
Baylor and Oklahoma State are pretty similar in that they have huge holes defensively and put up big points on offense. Both these teams like to put up crazy amounts of points and guaranteed both teams will spend time celebrating in the end zone on Saturday – but I think Oklahoma State is just getting too much credit here. People are letting that ranking get to their spread, and that’s never any good. They might be a little more talented than Baylor, but the Bears have the better quarterback and an offense that can put up great numbers. An upset here wouldn’t stun me a bit.
Oklahoma Sooners @ Kansas State Wildcats (+14)
Kansas State is closer in ability to Missouri, and the Sooners could only beat the Tigers by 10. I think this one stays close. Oklahoma gets a lot of publicity for being a great team and tricking some defenses that aren’t sound. Well, the Wildcats play smart football, don’t’ take unnecessary risks and won’t give the Sooners anything they don’t earn. I think Oklahoma has a tough time walking down the field in small chunks to acquire scores. They aren’t that patient.
Kansas State is undefeated for a reason, and that reason isn’t because of a powder puff schedule. Oklahoma will be the best team they face all season long, they’re probably the best team anybody will face all season talent-wise – but Kansas State can tough up and give them a run for their money.
Michigan State Spartans @ Nebraska Cornhuskers Free Pick & Preview: This is a big game for both programs. There’s no doubt that there’s more riding on this game for the Spartans, but Nebraska would like to put a little stamp on their first season in the Big 10, and a good way to do that would be by upsetting the newly crowned top dog in the conference. With Sparty’s win over Wisconsin last weekend, Michigan State jumped ahead of everybody else in the Big 10, possibly earning themselves a Title shot if things go wild, but definitely a BCS big boy bowl if things don’t. All they have to do is walk through the rest of the Big 10, something that doesn’t seem so difficult with mighty Wisconsin out of the way…
But that’s what I’m worried about – I mean everybody knows that, after a big emotional crazy win, teams let up a little bit, or they at least lose a little bit of that edge that go them that win in the first place. A hail mary for the win? Are you kidding me? It doesn’t get much higher than that – and college football teams struggle with that kind of emotion.
In walks Nebraska, the last dang tough team the Spartans will play in Big 10 conference ball, and I’m saying the Cornhuskers are gonna stun some folks this weekend. They’re a lower ranked favorite, can’t forget that – fits my scheme and everything!
Michigan State Spartans @ Nebraska Cornhuskers (-3.5)
Purdue Boilermakers (+14) @ Michigan Wolverines
I just really like Purdue here, I mean they play mistake free football and as good as Michigan can be, they’ll keep lesser talented teams in the game with their mental errors – that’s a fact. When you add to that little tidbit that Purdue has been playing decent football, you got yourself an upset in the making.
Wisconsin Badgers (-7) @ Ohio State Buckeyes
I know that the Buckeyes will have most of their cats back and they obviously are a talented football team with their entire season riding on upsetting the mighty Badgers – but hey, the Spartans took that glory last week, making the Buckeyes’ plans a little second fiddle(ish). The Badgers probably just come out and kill it for a few quarters and ride it out to victory.
Arizona Wildcats @ Washington Huskies (-4.5)
The Huskies are still good, despite their late struggles against Stanford. People forget that they were marching down the field offensively against the Cardinal, but it did get out of hand. Still, with suspensions on an already soft defense, the Wildcats might take a step back in Seattle.
Clemson Tigers (-3.5) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
People keep expecting the Tigers to drop a game, and I can see why. You look at them and you see the same thing you see from a lot of teams that put up points like it’s their job – defense just isn’t a part of the equation. I get why the Jackets aren’t that big of a dog in this one, I mean they run the ball right down your throat, hold onto the ball for long periods of time, and don’t do things to give their opponents extra opportunities. While that’s all fine and dandy, and maybe the smart play here is taking the Techies, I just can’t look past that mountain of offense coming at them when Clemson comes to town on Saturday. Taj Boyd is legit and there are just too many weapons there to team up on any one guy.
BYU Cougars @ TCU Horned Frogs Friday Night Football Free Pick: I’ve never been a big fan of the Cougars, but this year more than any other year I thought they came in way overrated. They lost their first two against good teams and have won all the rest, but I still don’t buy it. Maybe it’s because they just don’t play good teams that often. I mean, we’re talking about a team that has played Central Florida, Utah State, San Jose State, Oregon State, and Idaho State – that’s a lot of damn “State” schools if you ask me, way too many to be considered a good schedule. They did play Texas and Utah after beating Mississippi so it’s not like they don’t play good teams – but they just aren’t as good as their record says. Tough games against Utah State and San Jose State and Oregon State say a lot about their team, even if they did win every single one of those.
BYU has been out-gained three times this year, once when they lost to Texas, once when they were destroyed by Utah, and a third time when they won a kind of flukey game against Central Florida. They’ve been out-rushed three times, once when they lost to Texas, once when Utah killed them, and once when lowly Utah State just fell short by a field goal in their upset bid.
BYU isn’t historically very good on the road, and you can bet that a Friday Night game at TCU is going to be wild. I think the Horned Frogs had a tough start to the season, but one of the best coaches in the land has them playing good football – good enough to slap the Cougars around, I reckon.
BYU Cougars @ TCU Horned Frogs (-13.5) (Fri)