Friday, October 29, 2010

NFL Week 8 Picks: Trick and/or Treat

Trick or treat, my damies, and welcome to the Halloween themed edition of Rooch Nation.  OK, maybe I wasn't able to properly formulate a Halloween theme for this week's picks, but rest assured it wasn't due to lack of effort.  I tinkered with a haunTED idea, and the always popular "slutty girls of Halloween", but I just couldn't get on board.  I even focus grouped an idea where I would rate the strength of my picks based on how many candy corns I gave each game, but that idea went over about as well as a Mel Gibson costume at a ripper in Jerusalem...

So here we are, theme free, but ready to roll.  I'm sure I'll throw in a Halloween reference from time to time, but for the most part the only "treat" you'll be receiving from me this week are my delicious picks.  The "trick" on the other hand, would be if I could somehow string two winning weeks together.  See?  See what I did there?  Halloween puns everywhere!  Ha!  You seen it...

Well OK, friends, enjoy the picks.  And here's to hopin' that the "treat" I proposed ends up more like a delicious king sized Reeses', and less like an apple with a razor blade in it...or ANY apple, for that matter.  You hand out fruit for Halloween, you're just asking for your house to be vandalized.  And if you eat fruit on Halloween, you deserve a razor blade in your mouth.  Hey, I don't make the rules.  That's just the way Halloween karma works.  And here's to hopin' that Halloween karma guides us all to some much needed week 8 success...

Now, without further dudes, The Great Picks Cometh...  

Week 8 Picks

New England Patriots (-5.5) vs Minnesota Vikings

It's a real Halloween treat this weekend in Foxboro, with smattering of plot lines converging as the Pats play host to the Vikings...

You have Brett Favre, his junk and his streak.  You have the Patriots and their hot start.  And of course you have Randy Moss, and his link between these two clubs shouldn't have to be stated.  Throw in the fact that it's Halloween, and that should make for one Hell of a circus.  Not literally, mind you, as New England fans tend to be as rowdy as an intensive care unit, but from a media standpoint...

That's one of the reasons I like the Patriots in this game, both to win and to cover the now 6 point spread.  Minnesota just has too much goin' on.  Between Randy's return and Brett Favre's...stuff, there's just too much going on both in front of and behind the scenes for anyone to expect this team to put forth it's best effort this week.  "Distractions" aren't the sole reason I'm picking against them, though.  A quick look shows the Pats are 3-0 at home and riding a 4 game win streak, while the Vikings are 0-3 on the road, and losers of 2 of their last 3.  As you can see, it's a pretty strong argument for the Pats, anyway, distractions be damned.  So that's why I have no trouble rolling with them this week. Not a LOCK OF THE WEEK, mind you, as that's on hiatus til I get my act back together, but I would definitely give this thing 4 out of a possible 5 candy corn rating.  See?  IT's a good system, the candy corns.  I don't care what Mel Gibson says...

Now make no mistake, Adrian Peterson could establish the run early and make this a slug fest from the word go, that's just not something I envision happening.  Not only has the New England defense been playing much better of late, but the Vikings just haven't seemed to be able to utilize Peterson as well this year as in years past.  Probably because even when he gets a good gain, Brett Favre ends up throwing the ball away.  But for whatever reason, he just hasn't been nearly as big of a game breaker, despite still ranking among the league's best rushers...

For a final score, I got Pats 27 Vikings 16.  Everybody hugs at the end...except for Brett Favre who will probably be crying in the locker room with Andrea Kramer...and everyone here in New England has a pleasant and satisfying Halloween.  Another demon slain, and now it's on to the next...

Washington Redskins (+3.5) @ Detroit Lions

I wrestled with this game for a while.  And while that's usually a sign that a game should NOT end up as one of my Top Picks, I eventually came to a strong enough conclusion that I felt the pick deserved it's proper spot...

What I was wrestling with, in particular, was that I wanted to take the Lions because they were coming off a bye, but I really felt like the Redskins were the better team.  A true gamblers conundrum, and in and of itself the reason why Vegas never loses.  That, and the slot machines are rigged, but that's a different story for a different time...

Ultimately, I scrapped the bye week advantage mostly due to the fact that this will be starting QB Matt Stafford's 1st game back since week 1.  There's bound to be some rust.  And while Washington's passing D ranks as one of the worst in the league, they also rank top 5 in takeaways.  A less than precise quarterback and an opportunistic defense make for a volatile combination, friends, and it's for this reason that I'm sticking with the Tedskins

And f karma really works out, maybe a well organized group of persons will simultaneously egg all of Donovan McNabb's homes while the Tedskins are taking this thing down.  I know it's a lot to ask, but it is Halloween...

San Fransisco 49ers (-1) vs Denver Broncos (London, England)

Wanna get away?

Were there two teams more excited to get out of the freakin' country than the Broncos and the Niners?  OK, maybe the Bills, but at least they can sneak into Canada every so often...

This is just a classic case of "If 2 garbage teams play a game in another country, will anyone five a flying F?"  And the answer, of course, is a resounding NO!  And that includes the always curiously confused British peeps in attendance.  Damn, no wonder they're not down for this sport over there...

New Orleans Saints (-1) vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Always a dangerous practice, but I'm throwin' logic out the door on this one and simply going with the team that needs the win.  Obviously, in this instance, that team is the New Orleans Saints...

It may not be a make or break in terms of their "season", but after a humbling...check that...embarrassing home loss last week to the Cleveland Browns, the 4-3 Saints are due for at least a momentary return to form this Sunday against Pittsburgh.  I know they're dinged up, and I know they're only 2-2 at home, but I just gotta figure they're focused and ready to defend their turf.  And unlike in New England, the Halloween atmosphere in New Orleans should actually provide quite the home field advantage.  Not that I think Big Ben is going to be distracted by a few scary masks draped with Mardi Gras beads, but I think we all know a raucous crowd never hurts the cause.  And I love how they work Mardi Gras beads into everything down in New Orleans.  Hey.  If it ain't broke, right?  And if it makes girls bare their breasts, well then that works, too...

I see some vintage Drew Brees, and the Saints handing the Steelers something the refs wouldn't hand them last week.  Their first road loss of the season...

Seattle Seahawks (+2.5) @ Oakland Raiders

Normally, this would look like a gimmie for me.  Seahawks on the road, Raiders playin' well.  But no!  The way I see it, this is just a classic trap game...

See, for Oakland, it's all about the running game.  Last week, when they demolished Denver and left everyone  wondering if their was something wrong with their Bottom Line, they did it by running the ball 52 times for a cool 328 yards.  That's 6.3 per carry, for those of you playing along at home.  Impressive, but not something I expect them to do against a Seattle team that's 2nd in the NFL against the rush...

So, you take away a stellar ground game, and what do you have left?  Jason Campbell against Matt Hasselbeck.  Well call me foolish, but I'll take the bald guy and the points.  And you will be able to call me foolish IF I lose, because I've been the one tellin' you all year to ALWAYS pick against the Seahawks on the road.  Then again, I say a lot of things.  Pretty sure I picked the Red Sox to win the World Series.  Or maybe it was the Rays...

Miami Dolphins (+2.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals

Final pick of the week brings us to the Dolphins, a team that's gotta be playing with a chip on their shoulder after the  excruciating way they lost last week.  And just a note on that.  I hate the Steelers more than I hate any other team in the NFL, and while they clearly benefited from the call pictured above, it was the right call.  Lacking any legitimate video evidence, there really wasn't anything else the officials could do than to give Pittsburgh the ball where they did.  Believe me, I was as unhappy with the outcome as the next guy not waving a yellow towel, but they made the right decision...

This week, Miami should have no such problems against a Cincy team that just looks ripe for the pickin'.  Now I'll admit that Miami hasn't quite lived up to my expectations this season, but being an unfortunate call away from 4-2, with their schedule, is still nothing to be ashamed of.  They'll move to 4-0 on the road this weekend in another game I'd make my LOCK OF THE WEEK if I weren't on self imposed probation...

Here's the rest of the slate, my trick-or-treating Teds.  Now reach on in and grab a fist full of goodness!  There are no syringes in there, I promise...

Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5) vs Buffalo Bills

New York Jets (-6) vs Green Bay Packers UNDER 43.5

St. Louis Rams (-3) vs Carolina Panthers

San Diego Chargers (-3) vs Tennessee Titans

Dallas Cowboys (-6.5) vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) @ Arizona Cardinals

Monday Night

Indianapolis Colts (-5-5) vs Houston Texans

Indy looks to even he season series with the Texans when they come to town on Monday Night, and as you can tell by the bold lettering above, I like them to do exactly that.  Despite the fact that Indy has seemingly gotten less healthy during their bye week, I still like their chances to hold serve at home against a dreadfully inconsistent Houston squad.  And not only is it a "Peyton Manning in Prime Time" gut feeling type situation, but I've got some stats to back me up.  Colts are 2-0 at home this year, and in both win's they covered as favorites.  So BAM!  Book it!  You'll be digging nougat from your teeth, and Peyton will be slinging his way to another Monday Night win.  Another LOCK OF THE WEEK, but we don't do that sort of thing around here...anymore...

Last Week: 8-7-0 (Top Picks: 4-4-0)

Overall: 45-48-3 (.484)

Top Picks: 24-28-2 (.463)

Lock of the Week: 4-5-0

*note: any LOCK OF THE WEEK picks that actually win will be counted as wins in next week's column 

In college, Halloween was really the best of times.  Not only did my fraternity throw an annually epic Halloween party, but just the idea of Halloween seemed to go over well with everybody.  Brought people together, if you will.  Or at least it brought together the girls that wanted to wear next to nothing for a costume with the frat guys.  Either way, peeps were pumped!  And while my penchant for all night Halloween benders has subsided with age, some things will never change.  Namely, my enjoyment of attractive girls in skimpy outfits, and my ability to pick winner's in college football.  Hopefully, in this section, you'll benefit from both.  Especially that Christina Aguilera shot.  DAMN I miss when she was a skank...

NCAA Top 25 Picks
(24) USC (+7) vs (1) Oregon

(2) Auburn (-7) @ Mississippi

(5) Michigan St. (+6.5) @ (18) Iowa

(7) Missouri (+7.5) @ (14) Nebraska

Air Force (+7) vs (8) Utah

(9) Oklahoma (-18) vs Colorado

(11) Ohio St. (-18) @ Minnesota

Washington (+7) vs (13) Stanford

(15) Arizona (-8) @ UCLA

(17) South Carolina (-13.5) vs Tennessee

(19) Arkansas (-21.5) vs Vanderbilt

Kansas St. (+6.5) vs (20) Oklahoma St.

Virginia (+14.5) vs (22) Miami

Kentucky (+8.5) @ (23) Mississippi St.

(25) Baylor (+7.5) @ Texas

Last Week: 7-3-0

Overall: 50-35-2 (.586)

So there you have it, friends.  Hope you all have a great weekend, and above all, remember to play it safe.  Halloween can be a dangerous holiday, and you never know when you're gonna bump into 21 year old me runnin' around like a crazy person.  Oh and if you so see 21 year old me, remind me that I need to find that replacement part for the flux capacitor, and feel free to scream at me "ROOCH! SOMETHING HAS GOTTA BE DONE ABOUT YOUR KIDS!"  Trust me, I'll get it.  And if I'm sober enough, I'll get a good chuckle out of it.  However, should my response happen to be that I punch you in the face and/or throw some sort of disgusting concoction at you, well then I'm truly sorry about that.  But hey, you were warned...

Happy Halloween, friends.  And I'll catch you on the flipman...




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