Friday, October 19, 2007

Week 7 Picks - The Sox Ain't Done Yet!

(Exhale) Well, now that my Sox have guaranteed themselves a game 6, and yet another day of playoff survival, I can finally focus and get down to the real matter at hand this week, and no, I don't mean the Yankees "contract offer" to Joe Torre. Of course, I'm talking about the NFL. Tempers may have flared in the Sox game last night, and everyone outside of the North East wants to talk about how lazy Manny is, but I'm sorry, for today it's just not at the fore front of my mind. The Sox survived, Beckett was the man, they live to play another day, end of story. Don't get it twisted, I know the Red Dudes current run is the best thing goin' right now in Boston sports, and totally the most "important," but excuse me if it hasn't totally distracted me from what guarantees to be yet another week of exciting football action...

So it's on to week 7. I finally got my act together last week, with a 4-1-1 mark, but I almost feel with this week's picks, I'm trying to use up all the karma I just gained, in one fell swoop. You be the judge...

As usual, the first pick of the week is the Pats, and the points. I know New England tends to struggle in Miami, but even that isn't a good enough reason to pick against them at this point. Until there's a spread out there that actually resembles the same number of points the Pats have been beating people by (average margin of victory is 23 points a game), I'm gonna ride them out. Who am I kidding, I'm taking them every week of the season unless someone shoots, and actually kills, Tom Brady. The Dolphins are a mess. Who knows who they are gonna trot out there at QB, they just traded their best receiver in Chris Chambers, and their once feared defense is giving up over 30 points a game. As long as Trent Green Green doesn't manage to get a concussion while watching on the sidelines, Dolphin fans should consider this one a resounding success. Seven down, 12 more to go baby...

In my next game, I like the team the Pats dusted last week, to bounce back in a big way. I know Adrian Peterson has really given Minnesota a shot in the arm offensively (he leads the NFL in rushing with 607 yards, yet is still listed as their #2 RB), but I still don't see them hanging with the Cowboys on the road. The one thing Dallas can actually do defensively, is stop the run and pressure the quarterback. It's a little bigger of a number than I'd like, at 9.5, but you have to figure Romo and crew are gonna be eager to run up the score after last week's home flop fest. Until further notice, the Cowboys are still by far the team to beat in the NFC, so take them as often as you can, especially at home...

And while we're taking NFC East teams favored by 9+ at home, you might as well chalk the G-Men down as a near lock this week. Their playing extremely well on both sides of the ball, they're at home, and they're playing a team that has issues surrounding their QB situation. Even if Alex Smith is healthy, and does play, will it be enough to counteract the newest QB-WR sensation to hit the league in Manning to Burress? (8 TD connections) The Niners just aren't good enough to take on the road right now. Frank Gore might be able to make this a game if he can help San Fran control the ball on the ground, but I see the Giants running out to a multiple score lead, totally negating the running game. Seems like forever ago that the Giants were 0-2, and everyone wanted to kill Tom Coughlin, doesn't it? After this week, they should be 5-2, and right in the thick of the NFC playoff race...

This next team doesn't seem destined to make the playoffs, but before the season started, many people (including yours truly), predicted big things for them. That, of course, is the Denver Broncos. Now, this is what I was talking about earlier when I said I was using up all my good will, or "karma." I really have no good reason, or statistics for that matter, to tell me that the Broncos are gonna win, but I'm going with my gut. Matter of fact, the stats will actually tell me that the Steelers have allowed the fewest points in the league (47) and the Bronco offense is one of the most anemic on football, scoring only 15 points per game. Maybe it's because they're at home, and getting points. Or maybe I just really don't like the Steelers. Either way, I feel a statement game coming here for Shanahan and his boys. If they lose this week, they can pretty much mail in any legit play off hopes, but if they win, they're right back in the mix for the AFC West crown. Crazy stuff, I know, but that's what tends to happen when everyone limps out of the gate. Anyway, football aside, you have to like the fire that's been ignited right now in Denver by the Rockies. I figure, at the very least, some of that will rub off, and inspire the Broncos to pull off the out right win...

Finally, I'm really taking what most would look at as a leap of faith, by picking the Buffalo Bills against the Baltimore Ravens. Now, don't worry, I don't still have a hard on for the Bills because of what they almost did on Monday night, it's more like I just don't trust the Ravens. They're defense is still good (ranked 4th overall), but not as good as it has been, and they're offense is still allergic to the end zone (6 offensive TDs in 6 games). Trent Edwards has a real shot to cement himself as the Buffalo starter if he can pull out a win here, and I think his simple approach to the game might be just what it takes. You have to figure, even if the Ravens do pull out a win, they aren't gonna score, so taking the home team and the points is the way to go...

Week 7 Picks
New England Patriots (-16.5) @ Miami Dolphins
Dallas Cowboys (-9.5) vs Minnesota Vikings
New York Giants (-9) vs San Fransisco 49ers
Denver Broncos (+4) vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Buffalo Bills (+3.5) vs Baltimore Ravens

Monday Night
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) vs Indianapolis Colts

*I'm gonna be honest with ya, this is the way I broke this one down. Indy, unlike New England, isn't gonna go undefeated this season. Therefore, they gotta lose sometime, right? No better week than this, if you ask me. The Jags should be able to control the clock running the ball, and seeing as David Gerrard doesn't turn it over (0 interceptions all year long), it's really gonna limit the opportunities for Peyton Manning and his cast of thousands. The crowd will be pumped up, and the Jags will be ready to announce their arrival to a National TV audience, much like they were able to do about mid way through last season.

Last Week: 4-1-1

Overall: 18-16-3 (.527)

NCAA Top 25 Picks
(1) Ohio St. (-17) vs Michigan St.

(4) Oklahoma (-29) @ Iowa St.

(5) LSU (-11.5) vs (18) Auburn

(6) South Carolina (-13) vs Vanderbilt

(7) Oregon (-11) @ Washington

(8) Kentucky (+6.5) vs (14) Florida

(9) West Virginia (-24.5) vs Mississippi St.

(10) California (pick) vs UCLA

(15) Missouri (-2.5) vs (22) Texas Tech

Colorado (+3.5) vs (15) Kansas

(19) Texas (-24.5) @ Baylor

Alabama (pick) vs (20) Tennessee

(23) Cincinnati (-9.5) @ Pittsburgh

Illinois (+2.5) vs (24) Michigan

(25) Kansas St. (+3) @ Oklahoma St.

*I managed to keep my head above water last week...barely, so this week is basically do or die. Or...ya know...barely keep my head above water again. Either way, I tried to keep it really simple this week. While I never like rooting against the Florida Gators, I picked Kentucky, just like I went with some other home underdogs (Illinois, Colorado). Hey, if I think a game is going to be close, like I think all of those are, then I'm goin' with the home team that's getting the points everyday, and twice on Thursday...

Last Week: 10-9-1

Overall: 75-60-3 (.554)


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