Last week’s dedication to Winnie Cooper and the luck she gave, only propelled me to 3-5 with my free picks, and 5-3 in my elite selections – but I did pull off enough wins to keep me even, and hopefully this week she can shed a little light on the luck of Week 14 and take me to the promise land. Here are my free picks for Week 14 – only 4 more weeks to go!
Chicago Bears (+3) @ Washington Redskins:
(Line: Monday, 1:40am EST: Bookmaker)
Both these teams have been less than impressive as of late, but I have to take the Bears, if only because the Redskins have been through too much over the last week or so, and that wears on a team more so in the 2nd game than the first. The Redskins are tough, and I imagine they’ll be back to football this week, but the Bears aren’t the pushover they were early in the season, and Rex Grossman is actually playing solid at the QB post. Clinton Portis might be limited in this game, and while the Bears defense has been a shell of their former selves, they seem to be getting back to basics and attacking the line of scrimmage. I also like the dynamic that Adrian Peterson brings to the Bears’ offense. He catches the ball very well, which opens up a lot of plays that weren’t there with Benson in the game. It forces opposing defenses to account for Peterson’s receiving ability, and that’s always a good thing.
Dallas Cowboys @ Detroit Lions (+10.5):
(Line: Monday, 1:40am EST: TheGreek)
No running game in Detroit = big loss to the visiting Cowboys. Dallas shuts down the rush enough as it is, but without any hint of a decent rushing attack, the Lions, and more reasonably Jon Kitna, will be bait in the water for Wade Phillips’ shark attack defense. I would expect sacks and turnovers galore for Dallas’s D – and any extra chances will surely amount to points for Tony Romo and the Cowboys’ passing game, because the Lions secondary is one of the weakest in the League. Detroit’s rush defense was exposed last week as well, and Roy Williams will be out for this game, and most likely the rest of the season. How the sky has fallen for Jon Kitna-Little and his big expectations for the Lions. To salvage their season, they’ll need a huge upset over the best team in the NFC.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills (-7):
(Line: Monday, 1:40am EST: TheGreek)
My brain had me believing that this was the one for Miami – and then I realized, they aren’t going to win a single football game. They don’t have the maturity, and now injuries are really starting to grab this team by the jugular. The only thing they have on their opponents, is if they continue to lose, they could be considered the worst team of all time. Nobody with a set wants to have that title, and I’m sure the Dolphins will come out gung ho about getting off the snide. The only thing is, Trent Edwards is an accurate smart passer, and I don’t think he’ll make enough mistakes for the Dolphins to find a way to win. Also, Miami can’t stop the run, and the Bills have a pretty solid rushing attack. I’m not a huge fan of either side on this game, as I think the value is minimal. But in a crunch, I’d take the Bills – they are better, and Buffalo is always a tough place to play, you know, because it’s painfully cold and pretty much brutal all around.
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5):
(Line: Wednesday, 11:40am EST: Belmont)
I like the Eagles to rebound this week against the Giants. They lost to the Hawks last week, but that was mainly due to 4 interceptions by the interception king, A.J. Feeley. Yes, the guy everyone was crowning last week after the Patriot game has 7 picks in 2 games – in a 16 game season, he’s on pace to throw just around, I don’t know, 56 interceptions (in my head quick math, not caring enough to double check). McNabb is apparently in for this week, and while we shouldn’t forget what happened to McNabb last time these two teams met, I’m guessing the Eagles will play better and actually consider blocking for their quarterback this time around. The bottom line is, I don’t think the Giants are good, at all, and while they’ve used a little luck to sneak by more than their fair share of teams this year, it will come a crashing halt sometime soon, and I think it all starts in Philly. Westbrook is magic – don’t forget that one truth.
Cleveland Browns @ New York Jets (+3.5):
(Line: Monday, 1:40am EST: TheGreek)
I know the Jets have killed me a few times this season, but the Browns seem to play to the level of their opponents, and the Jets can trick you good. See, they have a terrible record, and have played abysmal football in week’s past, but they also have a maturing offensive line, and a coach that is starting to understand the importance of a rushing attack. The Browns have a terrible defense (just about as bad as the Jets – except New York has done a little to impress me over the last few weeks) and their offense won’t be able to cover road games in which they are favored by more than a field goal. Look for the Jets to get yet another win, and bring the Browns back down to earth a little bit.
Arizona Cardinals (+8) @ Seattle Seahawks:
(Line: Wednesday, 11:40am EST: 5Dimes)
I don’t do well with Seahawk games, so take this one, as always, at your own leisure. Shaunna Alexander actually ran hard in the second half of last week’s game against the Eagles, but I’m not sure if that was just a one time thing for the former touchdown machine. I’m guessing it is, and that he’ll be back to folding like a lawn chair as soon as he sees contact this week in front of the home town fans. The Cardinals may be hurting at receiver a little bit, but they are deep at the position, and I don’t think Boldin’s absence will be that much of a kick in the butt. Getting 8 points from 5Dimes on Wednesday, I had to move to the direction of the Cardinals. If Ken Whisenhunt has shown me one thing, it’s that, the more he gets to know a team, the better he prepares his team to beat that squad. Well, this is the second meeting with the Hawks, and while it’s tough to beat a good team twice in a season, I don’t think it will be hard to keep the game close. Take all those points and the Cardinals.
Monday Night Football Game
New Orleans Saints (-4) @ Atlanta Falcons:
(Line: Wednesday, 11:40am EST: 5Dimes 4)
I don’t think Mark Redman will be the answer the Falcons have been searching for since Vick went wacko and did the deeds that got him where he is today. Bobby Patrino continues to give the ball to Warrick Dunn, despite horrid numbers, even though the ever explosive Jerious Norwood wears Falcons’ garb to every Atlanta game. The only way I can make sense of it is, Atlanta knows they are an abysmal pile of oozy cow pie, and they don’t want Norwood to get hurt when he doesn’t need to. It’s either that or Patrino has been drinking heavily before games, and forgets that his best player isn’t on the field for 85% of their offensive snaps. Either way, this is an interesting mess the Falcons have gotten in, and I’m not so sure they’re going to get out of it any time soon. New Orleans isn’t good, but they aren’t too bad on the road in recent years, and Atlanta will be stoked to see stars like Bush, Brees, and Colston, so they aren’t going to be hostile, more thankful than anything else. This is a big Monday Night game for the wingless Falcons, but in the end, when all is said and done, at the end of the day, when the good has been sifted from the bad, it just won’t matter, even with a bunch of poorly used clichés.