NFL Free Picks 04-05 Week 17

Lucky was too generous for Christmas going 5-10-1 which brings the season record to 116-111-7. This is a very tricky week with so many meaningless games. Stay tuned for Playoff Winners next week. Here goes crazy week seventeen. 

Cincinnati ( -3.5 ) at Philadelphia – The Bengals should easily trump the Eagles who played third stringers most of last weeks loss to the St. Louis Rams. Damn them! Lost me money. Wouldn’t it be funny if the Rams made the playoffs, snuck out a win in the first week, and then upset Philly at home in week 2? Just a thought. Karma’s a son of a bitch, Andy Reid. Okay, so maybe I’m being a little harsh. Andy is obviously more confident in his offense minus Terrell Owens than I am, but that’s why he eats like I do but still gets paid about 1000 times what I do. Livin’ larger in week 17, the Eagles will relax and let the Bengals play themselves into a lower draft pick.
Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET

Cleveland at Houston(-10.5) – The Texans should win and get to 8-8 to finish the year against the horrendous Browns. Unfortunately, this will do nothing for their team. I take that back, it gives them something to build on, a step in the right direction, and those are two good things for a team that was brand spanking new just three years ago. David Carr has some off-season improvement strides to make, though he did show some promise earlier in the year. The Browns, well, they have a lot to think about. Cleveland has a positive in Lee Suggs, and might look to unload William Green. This game should be a good old fashion lashing, leaving the Browns wincing in pain from another season spent at the bottom of the barrel.
Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET

Detroit at Tennessee(+3) – Billy Volek should rediscover the tricks that made him a fantasy stud for all those risk takers out there. He had a tough time of it against a possessed Denver defense, but should find open “Billy Volek” style pastures against the (yawn) Lions Roaring Defensive Unit. Look for Detroit to head into the off season limping, questioning their quarterback situation, and praying that Charles Rogers can make it a year without a broken collar bone. At least the Lions have found a running back worth keeping around, in Kevin Jones. Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET

Green Bay(+3) at Chicago – Green Bay should beat the hapless Bears in Chicago. With the playoffs only a week a way, look for Green Bay to get back to what they do best, feed Ahman Green, and this week Najeh Davenport, the ball. Brett Favre will start, then give way to his back up who has played well this year. The Packers will be too much for a Bears team that has been flipped, powdered, and whooped every which way this year. The Packers are +3, and though this might seem like a useless game for the Pack, they won’t be excited about going into a big game after a loss to the Bears. Look for the Pack to win here. Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET

Miami at Baltimore(-10) – The Dolphins have been an admirable foe of late, but will find a tough go at a ticked off Baltimore defense. AJ Feely will have his problems, and the Dolphins’ running game won’t do anything to help his cause. The Ravens will need some help from some AFC teams even if they win, a feat they should take care of easily against the visiting Dolphins. Let the Nick Saban coaching carousel begin. Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET

Minnesota ( -3.5 ) at Washington – Minnesota should be able to corral another over priced, under productive Redskins bunch that still reflects the failure that was Steve Spurrier. This win is important to the Vikings, which could be a bad thing, if you remember last years last second debacle to the Cardinals. This year I see the finale being a little different for the Vikings, who could cause waves in the weak NFC playoff race. Minnesota will come out with guns blazing against a good Redskins D. The Vikings D will be able to slow a pathetic Redskin offense without Clinton Portis, and take this game with ease.
Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET

New Orleans at Carolina(-8) – Carolina takes this game, because it means something to the Saints. Unfortunately for New Orleans, that doesn’t bode well for their chances. Sure, the Saints have pulled off some wins lately, when they were all but dead. And now, at 7-8, a win could very well get them in. So that settles it. The Saints need to win so they won’t. Plus, there is no way their defense, which is horrible, could halt anything the Panthers will throw at them. Mushin Muhammed has done well for himself in this contract year, and I imagine he alone will put an end to New Orleans playoff hopes, in turn lighting the way for the once 1-6 Panthers. Amazing!
Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET

N.Y. Jets(-3) at St. Louis – The Rams have only won 3 games this year by more than a touchdown. That includes last weeks 20-7 win against the Eagles B-Team. While they managed a much-needed W against the Eagles last week, that possibility seems highly unlikely in the last week of the regular season. Mike Martz found last week that if he gives the ball to one of his two stud running backs, or both of them, he can win a game. This week he will be back to his old stubborn self, directing futile bombs downfield. It’s also crucial that the Jets need to win this game to assure their spot in the playoffs. The Jets win this one easily, ending a year that might mark the end of Martz’s coaching era in St. Louis. Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET

Pittsburgh (+9) at Buffalo – I think the Steelers will start Tommy Maddox, and he’ll be looking to make something happen. Unlike Philadelphia and Atlanta, the Steelers’ backup quarterback could start for at least 10 teams; Buffalo being one of those teams. The Bills have gotten so far and it would be a shame to see them lose to a Steelers team that has nothing more to play for. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The Steelers have a lot of talented guys on their team, and should put up a good fight against a Bills team that will be doing everything they can to win. On a positive note for the Bills, Drew Bledsoe showed off those young legs last week with a 7-yard trot down field. I almost choked on my bratwurst. Speaking of choke, plan on watching Bledsoe do a lot of it in his last game as starter for the Bills. Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET

San Francisco(+14) at New England – I’m going to take San Francisco here. My only explanation is, why should New England play anybody worth a donkey’s ass? As the game has made clear, any injury can happen at any time, and why would a brilliant football mind like Bill Belichick make the mistake of playing anyone important to his title hopes? I believe the Patriots will win. But in a game where 14 points could easily win the game, I don’t see the Pats winning by 14. I hate picking a team that will share snaps between Cody Pickett and Ken Dorsey, but that’s my bet. Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET

Atlanta at Seattle (-6 ) – Seattle should take care of the Falcons. I read that Vick would start but only play a couple of series against the Hawks. The article said; they just wanted Vick sharp for the playoffs. Okay. They need to do a hell of a lot more to than give him a couple series to do that. He hasn’t been sharp for two games in a row, this year. I’m a huge Vick fan, but he’s got some serious consistency issues. I also think his contract might be a little ridiculous, and think there are at least 5 better quarterbacks than him. (Culpepper, Manning, McNabb, Favre, Brady, and Drew Bledsoe) Okay just kidding about the last one. And I know, I’ve heard it all, Vick is more than just a quarterback, “he’s a playmaker”. Sure he is, and he’s a damn good one, but he needs to be a little more “quarterback” a little more often. Take the Hawks here, they haven’t mailed it in yet, they still have a lot to improve on before next week.
Game Date: 01/02/05 16:05 ET

Tampa Bay at Arizona(-3) – I like the Cardinals this last weekend. They’ve been learning the game under one of the game’s great coaches, and he knows how important it is to end the season on a good note. Gruden, a younger less experienced coach, just likes to make some good faces on the last day. Tampa Bay came up short the last few weeks, and will do it again in Arizona. Boldin’s getting yards and Fitzgerald is catching touchdowns, a combination that should flourish in the next few years. Green has coached a feisty team all year, I can’t wait to see them improve in the off season. Take the Cards in Arizona against a team that folded it up a week ago.
Game Date: 01/02/05 16:05 ET

Indianapolis(+9) at Denver – Look for mighty Joe Hamilton, or whoever plays for the Colts to light it up against Denver. Though Denver is fighting for their playoff lives, the prospect of them getting beat by a Colts team that has nothing to play for is too good to pass up. Give Peyton a solid 50 TDs, that’s a good number to finish the season on. The Colts have good back ups at all positions on offense, from Dominic Rhodes to a young wide receiver crew. Tony D isn’t one who appreciates ending the season on a loss to someone they might face in week one of the playoffs. Look for the Colts to jump out quick and then hold on by capitalizing on one of Jake Plummer’s 20+ interceptions. Game Date: 01/02/05 16:15 ET

Jacksonville ( no line ) at Oakland – The Jags showed their first signs of how young they are last week, when they had a diarrhea attack against Houston. Houston has played tough all year, but had nothing to play for, so c’mon Jag’s you’ve got to put in a better effort if you want to go to the playoffs. The Raiders are done, and looking for another high pick for the second year in a row. Al Davis can’t be excited about that. Don’t expect them to have the same problems next year. As for Sunday, expect Jacksonville to give the playoffs their best shot. They need help, but could get it, and they own some important tiebreakers. Fred Taylor needs to have a day for Jacksonville, and I believe he will. Game Date: 01/02/05 16:15 ET

Kansas City(-3) at San Diego – With the Chargers jumping on the “let your team rest” band wagon, properly led by the Eagles and Falcons a week ago, the Chiefs should pull this one off. I’d love to believe that the Chargers will keep their starters in all game, but LT has already been rumored to sit the second half off, if not more. Brees and Gates, and others will get the same treatment, and Larry Johnson will take advantage of the Charger second teamers on defense. Kansas City beats the spread, and ends a mediocre year. Watch out for them next year. Game Date: 01/02/05 16:15 ET

Dallas at N.Y. Giants(-3) – The Manning era has begun in NY, and he has done better lately. Everyone says he’s going to be great, and I can’t argue with that. Good genes will win out anyway. Tiki Barbar, will be looking to finish his great season off with a bang, and should get plenty of chances to do so against a weak Cowboy defense. Look for him to get involved in the passing game as well. The Giants gave their season away to train their future, and it might have paid off. The Giants will look to be back in the race next year, and it all starts with beating the Cowboys in week 17. Their first round pick goes to San Diego anyway, so there’s nothing to lose there. For the Cowboys, the question looms, will Bill Parcels pull his head out of his ass and start Drew Henson? Either way, the Boys end with another L.
Game Date: 01/02/05 20:35 ET

NFL Free Picks 04-05 Week 16

I followed up my best week of the year with a buck wild 8-7-1 performance last week. As usual, some games boggled my mind, (For example; Miami upsetting a New England team that still had something to play for) but I managed to add to my winning ways pulling off an 8-7-1 record and moved my season record to 111-101-7. Who would’ve known TO would go down in Philly and Eli Manning would have a good day against the Steel Show? Not me. But to my credit, I predicted another fine performance by Billy Volek, also saying that Big Ben would do good things against New York. Both things happened while my bets went to the house. My wife didn’t send me back to the sofa bed though. Don’t know if that had more to do with it being cold at night or not but either way… Lester remains lucky, heh heh heh. Lucky’s money picks, Jacksonville over Green Bay, Larry Johnson over Denver, and New Orleans over Tampa Bay; went down as smooth as white rice. I’ve got two weeks to bolster my fine year, so let’s let it ride!Green Bay (+3) at Minnesota – Green Bay lost to Jacksonville last week, but so what? The Jag’s have been playing better than either of these two teams. The Vikings should have lost to the Lions a week ago, but pulled out a “W”. Randy Moss should be as healthy as he’s been all year, but even in a dome the Packer “O” should easily penetrate the gaping Viking defense. Ahman Green and company will get some much-deserved respect on the ground, and Brett will terrorize a secondary that finds itself at the bottom of the NFL food chain. Minnesota will always find a way to put up a fight, but I expect the Pack to win this game. Game Date: 12/24/04 15:00 ET

Oakland at Kansas City (-8) – The Chiefs are riding one of the hottest players in football, Larry Johnson. I must say I’ve loved the kid’s ability since his 2000 plus yard season back at Penn State. After gaining 104 yards rushing on just 7 carries two weeks ago against Tennessee, Vermeil decided it would be best to feed him the ball all day against Denver. He was right. Johnson carried the pig 30 big times for 151 yards. Big time. Johnson will get his share of yards against a poor run defense in Oakland. The spread is quite high, but the Chiefs have the offense to get it done.
Game Date: 12/24/04 17:00 ET

Denver at Tennessee (+4) – Denver has given fans reason to throw up. That’s right, the Broncos have done their best to fall right out of playoff contention losing 3 of their last 4. I love this stuff. I like to think Shanahan is doing his damnedest to test Bronco ownership. Jake Plummer has thrown a numbing 19 interceptions, most in crucial situations, and most leaving Shanahan’s face as red as a radish. His ability to ruin a completely productive rushing attack has me wondering why Mike doesn’t have Jake hand off more often. Did I mention their 1 win in the last 4 games came against Miami. Yikes! I’d love to see Billy Volek throw the ball around the “improved” Denver defense this weekend. Something tells me I might just get my wish. Either way, I can’t put money, or advise you to put money down on a team that has lost 3 of 4, and only beaten the Dolphins… by 3 measily points. Seems ridiculous right? Take the new version of the Run N’ Shoot, with emphasis on SHOOT!
Game Date: 12/25/04 20:30 ET

Atlanta (+4.5) at New Orleans – Atlanta doesn’t have much to play for, but should they be an underdog against the Saints? Oh no! The Falcons pulled out an overtime victory over a tough Panthers team last week. They won’t be risking the health of their players to long in this one, but long enough to pull out a victory against a New Orleans team that is done. Even though they seem to play their best when the season is over, I can’t find enough reason to take them as 5-point favorites. That’s just ludicrous.
Game Date: 12/26/04 13:00 ET

Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-5) – Pittsburgh won’t let up now that they have the best record in the AFC. They aren’t a let up kind of team. They did manage to play a close one with the Giants, who have been pathetic since their fast start. That’s a good reason for them to get back out on the field and remember how to dominate. They have a chance to put a big dent, if not an end to Baltimore’s playoff hopes by beating them this weekend. Ray Lewis and company always seem to find a way when their season is on the brink of extinction, but the Steel Show might be too much to handle. Big Ben played a good game last week, minus a couple of picks. On that note, he will be back to his old tricks, handing the ball off to Bettis and or Staley this Sunday. Look for Pittsburgh to win a war at home.
Game Date: 12/26/04 13:00 ET

Chicago at Detroit (-6) – What happened to Joey Harrington last week? After throwing for a total of 300 yards in his last three games, he almost single handily beat the Vikings last week with 361 yards. Though, often injured, Roy Williams is getting utilized again, and Joey is showing he might not be as terrible as he’s shown the last few weeks. They still lost though, so buyers beware. I’m taking Detroit here, not only because of their inspiring offensive performance a week ago, but also because of the pathetic team the Bears have turned out to be. I don’t care what they did to amaze me this year, they are still pathetic. Krenzel, Hutchinson, Jeff George, I don’t care who they put back there. All three of those guys don’t belong starting on Sundays. Detroit might very well win by default.
Game Date: 12/26/04 13:00 ET

Houston at Jacksonville (-7) – I like to bet on Houston because they are tough. They have a solid offense, especially when David Carr shows up, and a resilient defense, that gets better and every day their young guys get older. But, it’s not their year, and not their week. The Jags showed me a lot by beating the Packers last week. I see their goal, and Houston won’t stop the Jags from reaching the playoffs. Jacksonville has a born leader at QB as well as a stud running back who is playing his best football of the year. Their run D, which was mediocre last year, has returned with the health of Marcus Stroud. The feisty Texan team will find it tough to produce when their horse, Dominic Davis, can’t get free. This game is too important for the Jaguars to lose. Game Date: 12/26/04 13:00 ET

N.Y. Giants at Cincinnati (-6.5) – Eli Manning played pretty well against a Steeler D that has proven to be one of the tops in the league. But, like many rookies, Eli won’t be consistent week after week. In fact, I see him struggling against an improved Bengal team. Eli doesn’t have a defense to rely on, and it will show against a Cincy squad with some weapons. Game Date: 12/26/04 13:00 ET

San Diego (+7) at Indianapolis – I’m starting to realize why Eli Manning didn’t want to come to San Diego. He didn’t want to be stuck behind a Pro-Bowler. Drew Brees got voted in by fans and peers this last week, and he gets my congratulations. He’s not only a lock for most improved, but should finish in the top 5 for MVP voting. The MVP, of course, will be Peyton Manning. What a match-up this week. Both these teams would like to continue their winning streaks on into the playoffs, and if they meet in the AFC championship, this game could very well decide who plays at home and who travels across the US. Is that something to play for? Indeed. Though Peyton has burned my predictions, I can’t bet against the Chargers and 7 points. Their defense is better than an improved Colts D, and their offense is almost as good. Ladainian Tomlinson showed what he could do last week. The Chargers also showed they know how to win, throwing only 6 times last week, when running would get the job done. I like these Chargers. Game Date: 12/26/04 13:00 ET

Buffalo (-11.5) at San Francisco – The Bills are trying to sneak into the playoffs behind Willis McGahee. To bad he’s out this week, and probably next. Good thing they play the worst team in the NFL this week. I read an article this week that claimed Ken Dorsey and Tim Rattay should get a combat star for playing behind their pathetic offensive line. Sure, but the rest of the team should get some friendly fire protection for playing with those two guys at quarterback. Honestly, the more I look at the 49ers the more I believe USC could take them. Buffalo, even with Drew Bledsoe as their primary option, should be able to produce enough points to beat the horrendous Niners by 2 touchdowns. They might even slip it in the playoff backdoor, and if they do, ha, take that Cowboys!
Game Date: 12/26/04 16:05 ET

New England at N.Y. Jets(+2) – The Jet’s are underdogs at home… they must be playing New England. Last time the Patriots took advantage of costly Jet mistakes, but not this time. New York has found Chad Pennington, who has in turn rediscovered Santana Moss. I warned everyone earlier this year that, “If Pennington can find a way to get Santana into the offense, watch out.” Well, watch out! Consider Moss found. Moss doubled his touchdown receptions on the year, and collected 5 passes for 80 yards. Curtis Martin is still Curtis Martin, which means he’s dangerous. The Jets D remains stingy. Look for the Jets to give the Patriots their first losing streak in a long time. Game Date: 12/26/04 16:05 ET

Arizona at Seattle (-7) – Oh boy, Seattle, what can I do with you? Last weeks collision with a much better Jets squad leaves the Seahawks reeling through the playoff race. Fortunately, they could very well lose two of two and get in. But that won’t happen. The Hawks will have everyone back next week, including the return of Koren Robinson. If anything, that gives Matt more options. The Hawks might even make it to the Super Bowl. The Eagles are without the man (TO) who gave their passing game credibility, and everyone else is just average. If the Hawks can pick up a little confidence on their way in to the post season, they might just be able to pull it off. Everyone sees the talent except them. It’s time to realize what they are, and start playing like it. Game Date: 12/26/04 16:15 ET

Carolina (+3) at Tampa Bay – Carolina is good. They barely lost to the Falcons, who have already clinched a first round bye. They could still find themselves in the playoffs with two wins in the final two weeks. After their turnaround, I’ve got to admit, anything is possible, especially for them, even more so in the NFC. If they don’t make the playoffs, it won’t be because they aren’t one of the better teams in the NFC, it will be because of the injuries that killed them in the beginning of the season. Stick with a team with a chance here, not to mention a much better team in Carolina. Brian Griese has fallen back to earth, as expected, and so have the hopes of Gruden’s Buccaneer squad. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Phil Simms sometime in this one. Game Date: 12/26/04 16:15 ET

Washington(-2) at Dallas – The Skins are better than Dallas, although I’d love the Cowboys to win in hopes that their draft pick selection would get worse, I can’t ever really root for them. I definitely can’t bet on them. Yeah, one could argue that they put up a good fight against Philly last week, but let’s be honest; Philly was never worried about losing that game. They knew all along, all they had to do was walk down the field and dive in the end zone. That’s what they did. Washington has played better of late. The Cowboys struggle when they can’t run. If the Redskins have one thing, it’s a defense that is tough as nails. Now if they could just get a quarterback to show he’s worth something. The Skins will give the ball to a revitalized Clinton Portis this Sunday, who will in turn crush a defense that has been sorry all year.
Game Date: 12/26/04 16:15 ET

Cleveland at Miami (-7.5) – Talk about a pathetic game. If this game got canceled, I don’t think anyone would argue. The Browns have only looked more pathetic win since Butch Davis did the right thing by resigning. The Dolphins have only gotten better, but still have much to ask this year for Christmas. The Dolphins beat the Patriots on Monday Night, which, unfortunately, was their brightest moment of the year. While this game pits the two teams that have lost their coaches to frustration, the Dolphins have been better since the move, while the Browns have been horrendous. Look for Miami to dominate for the first time this year.
Game Date: 12/26/04 20:35 ET

Philadelphia (+3) at St. Louis – Even if TO is out, McNabb plays 2 quarters, Westbrook gets 7 carries, and the defense plays half their backups, the Eagles still shouldn’t be underdogs. The Rams are horrible. Hasn’t anyone realized this? Let’s look at their last five games…. Oh yes, there it is, 1-4 with their only win being against a real tough 49er team. Now do you see? The Rams aren’t worth a bet, ever. They got beat 31-7 by the Cardinals last week, for God’s sake. My prediction; Philly plays like a team that is looking for offense with their stud receiver out. They whip St. Louis early and often. Then their second string comes in and adds to the destruction. Underdogs? You’ve got to be kidding me. Game Date: 12/27/04 21:05 ET

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Lucky Lester

NFL Free Picks 04-05 Week 15

Fold up the hide-a-bed, and buy the wife a pearl necklace; it’s time to move back into the Master bedroom. I went 11-5 last week. If you’ve followed my Luck at all this year, you noticed that my 11 wins in week 14 are the most thus far and pushes my season record to
103-94-6. It’s convenient that my best week followed my worst, but hey, that’s the way the pigskin bounces. Not only did I end up 11-5, I bet big on some big games. I took the Hawks to win in Minnesota at +250, the Saints to win in Dallas at +260, and the terrible Niners to beat Arizona for a huge payoff. So, with the little money I had left, I got a little redemption from my week 13 debacle. Heads up, because I’m firing up another go at a big week starting this Sunday. It’s getting down to the nitty gritty, and I’m going to take advantage of who’s tough and who’s Eli Manning, I mean… who’s not! If you listen carefully you might just come out on top, giving yourself an early return on your wife’s Christmas present.Pittsburgh (-10) at N.Y. Giants – You know I’ve got to go with the Steel City in this Saturday game where 12-1 collides with 5-8. The boys in Pittsburgh have kept up their tough play since the upsets of both New England and Philadelphia. The Giants finally get to see what they could’ve gotten without giving up next years first round pick, in the Steeler’s Ben Roethlisberger. This rookie has had his ups and downs, but the downs haven’t resulted in a single loss. This is not the week that changes. Unfortunately for Eli, his defense won’t feast on Big Ben like the Steelers will do on him. The Steelers defense is underrated, even though they are rated high. They take advantage of the ground it out running game that Bill Cower runs, and fly around the field when they aren’t watching Duce Staley and Jerome Bettis get first down after first down. The Steelers will dominate on Saturday, because that’s what they do to bad teams.
Game Date: 12/18/04 13:30 ET

Washington (-5) at San Francisco – I hate taking Washington ever, but like I’ve been saying the Niners are the most pathetic team in the league. Sure, they won a game last week, but that will be the last time that happens this year, I can almost guarantee you that. The Skins have started to realize how much they need Clinton Portis to touch the ball if they want to win games. He was throwing and receiving, as well as rushing the ball last week in Philly. Portis is the whole offense until Gibbs picks up a capable quarterback to lead his team. Luckily, the Niners couldn’t stop Drew Bledsoe quarterbacking The Replacements. Here’s to 2-12 Coach Dennis Erickson, Cheers! Game Date: 12/18/04 17:00 ET

Carolina at Atlanta (-3) – What has gotten into Mushin Muhammad and the Carolina Panthers. They’ve stopped looking like the pussycats that had been playing the first half of the year. For a team that has been decimated by injuries, they are putting on quite a show. Unfortunately, it’s going to end up all for not. Though one can argue that they are getting mounds of experience, all they are really doing is climbing down the draft order. Even though they have fought themselves into a playoff race, they have now moved behind 10 teams in the NFC alone when draft day comes around. I’d love to see them end with 8 straight wins and make the playoffs, but I don’t see it happening. With two sub par teams after Atlanta, they could make the playoffs even losing on Saturday. This week in Atlanta, the Falcons will show up for what will seem like the first time in weeks. Mike Vick should run around a defense that is still suffering from injuries, and the Falcon defense should do enough to get Atlanta the win on their home field. My heart says Panthers, my money says Falcons. Game Date: 12/18/04 20:30 ET

Buffalo (E) at Cincinnati – I’ve got to take the Buff in Cincinnati. Get this; the Bills haven’t scored less than 37 points in any game of their 4 game win streak. This is with the handicap of having Drew Bledsoe start at quarterback. In the stomping of the Browns, Drew managed to complete just 12-27 passing for 100 yards, a pick, and a TD. Luckily for Drew, his offense produced 215 yards rushing, 105 from Mr. Willis McGahee. With or without Drew, the Bills have been red hot, and are likely to shut down an offensive attack from the Bengals minus their rising star, Carson Palmer. While Kitna is a great back-up, he hasn’t played at all this year, and will struggle against a defense that allowed 14 net yards last week. Yes, 14!
Game Date: 12/19/04 13:00 ET

Dallas at Philadelphia (-12.5) – I have yet to bet on the Cowboys this year, and it’s really paid off. In fact, last week they improved my living situation all by themselves. Thanks for losing to a pitiful Saints team, Dallas. This week they won’t have to play like dog crap to lose, because they not only face Philly, a team that is known to destroy Dallas, but Terrell Owens as well, who makes his mark on the Cowboy secondary whenever he damn well pleases. Dallas can’t hang with the Eagles, regardless of a spread that nears two touchdowns. It’s good to see the Cowboys evaporating from the pathetic NFC playoff race. Game Date: 12/19/04 13:00 ET

Denver at Kansas City (+1.5) – Kansas City has ridden their running game, even without their holy man, Priest Holmes. Larry Johnson was phenomenal last week while only carrying the ball 7 times. The one-two punch of Blaylock and Johnson is turning in to a nine-punch combination. These two back-ups have shown us just how good Priest Holmes is to demand the touches he gets when healthy. The Chiefs are out of the playoff picture, but that doesn’t make them any less willing to sink the Broncos a little lower than their Shetland Pony status of late. Denver slipped past Miami last week by 3 measly points. I love the pathetic feeling I get when watching Denver. Plummer has been terrible, and their “much improved defense” has anything but. Shannahan looks to be on his way out, that’s too bad. Not! Game Date: 12/19/04 13:00 ET

Houston (+1) at Chicago – Houston gave it their all against Indianapolis last week, but fell short to the wrecking ball that is the Colts offense. David Carr has fallen from the horse he was riding earlier in the year, but should still lead his team past an offensively challenged Chicago squad. Chi-Town has been down right ugly this year, besides the game against the Vikings two weeks ago. As I predicted, they took a tumble in week 14, and will manage the same this Sunday. Dominic Davis has been astounding with the ball in his hands the last 5 or 6 weeks, and I see no reason for that to halt. Game Date: 12/19/04 13:00 ET

Minnesota (-3) at Detroit – I don’t care if Randy, Daunte, and Mike Tice have been questionable lately, there is no reason Joey Harrington should lead his team to victory over the Vikings on Sunday. Regardless of what critics think, they are still the same team they were earlier in the year when eyebrows were raised. Can they get back to that level and make some waves in the playoffs? I don’t know. But can they beat the crap out of the Lions in Detroit? You betcha! Moss will get on track with a couple touchdowns and Harrington will get benched for somebody, anybody, to stop Steve Marriucci from poking his own eyes out in disgust.
Game Date: 12/19/04 13:00 ET

San Diego (-10) at Cleveland – The Browns have been horrendous since Butch Davis stepped down as head coach. The Chargers have gotten better and better as the season has progressed. If you are still waiting for Drew Brees to slip back to his old numbers, you need to snap out of it. Drew has been damn good, enough so, that I voted for him to go to Honolulu. Brees has lifted his team and done everything he could to make them a good ball club. They have reacted. The Brees to Antonio Gates combination has impressed everyone, and it seems unstoppable. I don’t see Cleveland stopping much of anything. I don’t see them starting anything either. For a team that lost 37-7 last week to Buffalo, the 10 points against a superb Charger team seems like nothing.
Game Date: 12/19/04 13:00 ET

Seattle (+6) at N.Y. Jets – The Hawks stole one in Minnesota last Sunday, much to my big fat grin, and a nice pocket full of cash. Matt Hasselbeck has finally found his slinger, which is good to see if you happen to be a Seattle fan like me. The Hawks are a lot more dangerous if teams have to start worrying about 334 yards and 3 touchdowns coming from Matt’s arm. Shaun Alexander will play a big role against a good Jet team, but the Hawks are back, and are fixing to be what everyone thought they would be all year, NFC Champs!
Game Date: 12/19/04 13:00 ET

New Orleans (+8) at Tampa Bay – The Saints aren’t very good, but what they did to the Cowboys last week is good enough to make me a believer. It’s time for them to win anyway. They are far from playoff contention, even in the weak NFC, and have nothing to do but climb down the draft latter. They are good at showing up when the games no longer count. Tampa Bay is also fighting for a shot at a lower draft pick, so this game should be interesting. I don’t know how I’m taking the Saints when Deuce McCallister gained only 80 yards on 30 carries last week. Ugh! Let’s just call it a hunch. The 8 points helps too. Game Date: 12/19/04 16:05 ET

St. Louis at Arizona (+3) – My brain tells me to take St. Louis here, but they seem to be doing everything they can to remove themselves from post-season eligibility. That’s tough in the NFC, but they are managing it. I’m betting on another star-choking performance this week in Arizona. I think Dennis Green always likes to win ball games, and his team will beat the odds and take out a Ram team that has lost all confidence. What will happen in St. Louis this off-season? All I know is, right now, they stink, and it will show on Sunday when they fall to a ‘Zona squad that let Ken Dorsey beat them a week ago. Yes, that Ken Dorsey! Game Date: 12/19/04 16:05 ET

Jacksonville (+3.5) at Green Bay – I haven’t done that well betting the Packers this year. Brett Favre has either stepped up and threw touchdowns in my face, or thrown more picks than touchdowns when my money was riding his arm. Either way, when they’ve won, I’ve lost, and when they’ve lost I’ve lost. So, I’m taking Jacksonville here. Byron Leftwich is a leader. His team thrives around his poise, and they need a win this weekend. While both teams need a win, a loss all but eliminates the Jaguars from a tough playoff race in the AFC. I don’t think their young leader will allow that to happen. I’m going against my Green Bay roots, and taking Jacksonville in Green Bay.
Game Date: 12/19/04 16:15 ET

Tennessee (E) at Oakland – Do I think Billy Volek will post the numbers he did last week against Kansas City? No. But I do think he will toss the ball around the field against the Raiders. Billy has shown a little flare in his recent action, leading a brilliant performance on Monday Night. Drew Bennett, your average white quarterback turned NFL receiver had 233 yards receiving last week, enough to lead the league in a single game this year. Not bad. Oakland took a step back last week getting fingered by the Falcons 35-10. If anything, I’d like Oakland to lose just to see what Al Davis does with another high pick. It piques off-season interest. Game Date: 12/19/04 16:15 ET

Baltimore (+7.5) at Indianapolis – I’m betting against the Colts again this week. They couldn’t make the spread against a feisty Houston team, and the Ravens defense is up for the Manning challenge this Sunday. I think the spread is too high, given that the Colts D won’t do much to stop the average offensive attack the Ravens have. Boller isn’t a great quarterback, heck, he’s barely average, but the Colts secondary is way below average. Jamal Lewis will be back, and his return will mark the first time Jonathan Ogden and Lewis have been healthy together for some time. I’m predicting a lot of pounding from the rushing attack of the Ravens, limiting Manning’s time on the field, and keeping their defense fresh. Baltimore will surprise this week against a team that has already clinched their division. Game Date: 12/19/04 21:35 ET

New England (-10) at Miami – Miami almost pulled one out against a fading Bronco team, but will stand no chance against a Patriot team that’s eying a 15-1 season. New England pulled out a victory last week over a Bengal team that stayed in the game even without starter Carson Palmer. Belichick won’t let that happen against a much inferior Miami team in week 15. Monday night could be a boring night to watch football, as the game should be over by half time. Miami has no chance in this game, I don’t care how crazy and unpredictable this season has been. They have no chance at all!
Game Date: 12/20/04 21:05 ET

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Lucky Lester

NFL Free Picks 04-05 Week 14

Oh, the horror! The horror of going 5-9 in week thirteen. Lucky is clinging to a positive mark for the season at 92-89-6. Week fourteen looks impossible to predict so it will probably be a monster of a winner! The NFL is nuts! ESPN’s Tom Jackson claims this is the most unpredictable season he has ever witnessed and I would concur!Bengals @ Patriots(-11) – Coach Belichick will have Corey Dillon in handcuffs on Sunday. He likes to do ridiculous things like that. Dillon could run all over his former team, but Belichick likes to show everyone he doesn’t need any player to win ball games. Dillon will see a limited number of carries, but the Patriot’s Tom Brady will be up for the challenge. I see something like week 1 against the Colts. Brady will come out with Dillon on the bench, running some run and Shoot offense, no huddle, and they will stomp a less talented Bengals team. Carson Palmer will cool off this week. His interceptions will match if not exceed his TD passes. The Patriots by 11 is tough because they play to close to many opponents. But if they play anywhere near 75% of how they could, the game should be a sleeper by quarter 3. The Pats show the NFL who’s defending champ in week 14. I will be watching. Okay, I’ll at least stay posted. I’ll watch Boomer during his 2 minute drill, how about that? Game Date: 12/12/04 13:00 ET

Giants @ Ravens(-10) – The Giants got pistol whipped by the Redskins last week. That’s enough for me to take the Ravens. The Redskins are horrible. The Ravens aren’t horrible, even if Chester Taylor is running the ball. Boller is bad, but not bad enough not to throw a couple touchdown passes against a team that allowed Patrick Ramsey, of all people, to throw 2 in a single game. Ouch! Not that it should matter much. I predict the Ravens D will score more points than the Eli Manning led Giant offense. Ravens have to win this game, while the Giants gave up weeks ago.
Game Date: 12/12/04 13:00 ET

Lions @ Packers(-9.5) – Looks like Brett Favre really showed the Eagles who was boss. Okay, so I missed that one, we all make mistakes from time to time. Yeah, yeah, I made a bunch of mistakes last week. This week will be different. I kind of, really believe, and promise a little that my picks will be better. This week is tough, there are only 2 games where teams are less than 6-point underdogs and this isn’t one of them. Last week, the Packers really showed the odds makers that they deserved to be 9.5-point favorites. They are crazy, but I’m with them on this one. Follow me into crazy odds maker world, and see if we can both make some dough. Brett Favre was horrible last week. In fact, Donovan McNabb threw more touchdowns in the first half (5) then Favre completed passes in the second half (3). But this is the thinking: Brett can’t possible play that terribly two weeks in a row, his chest hair won’t let him. Brett is a competitor and he’s got to be a little ticked about his big game performance, or lack there of. He, undoubtedly, let his facial hair grow all week, anticipating a must win in Lambeu. Must win might be a stretch, but Brett will play as though it is. The Packers will rally behind their fearless leader and destroy a Lion team that gained a little confidence last week. Packers by two TD’s in this one, no problem.
Game Date: 12/12/04 16:15 ET

Seahawks (+6) @ Vikings – Both these teams had me pissing and moaning last weekend. The Hawks lost to Dallas, which hurt like an ingrown toenail. Parcells is looking good on waiting for Julius Jones and picking up a number 1 pick in next year’s draft. The Hawks have been piss poor lately, but should have won on Monday. Amazingly, they are still in first place in their division. Lucky for them. Hasselbeck was back last week, and he will be even better against the Vikings in week 14. I like the Hawks to win here, setting the Vikings up for a repeat performance of last years amazing escape from the playoffs. Arizona made like Houdini, pulling a Viking out of a post season before it started, amazing. The Vikings are trying to fit into the same category as the Saints. Moss is back, or is he? He’s fine, he’s hurt. Culpepper has come down to earth, but should put up big numbers against the Hawks, who let just about anybody cash in for 300 yards passing. The Hawks might go 8-8 and get into the playoffs. The NFC is a joke this year. Either way, both of these teams lost to B-teams last week, so the 6 the Hawks are getting, makes me feel a little easier.
Game Date: 12/12/04 13:00 ET

Raiders (+7.5) @ Atlanta – The Raiders have been playing tough lately. They beat a Bronco team in the snow in Denver, and then lost by a TD to the Chiefs last week. Atlanta got shut out by a diligent Bucs squad a week ago. The way the season has been flowing, I should predict the Falcons to win by 20 points, but I just can’t do it. I like the “grip it” and “rip it” passing attack the Raiders have been sporting on offense. Their defense still struggles, but now the offense puts up enough points to be in ball games. The Falcons pass defense is atrocious, so Kerry Collins might be set for a big weekend. When all is said and done, the spread is too big. A touchdown, maybe, but that half point looms large. Game Date: 12/12/04 13:00 ET

Chicago @ Jacksonville(-7.5) – After the quarterback circus the Bears had been running since starter Rex Grossman went out with a bum knee, they did the unthinkable and signed long time loser Jeff George. His absence from the league had reached a number that makes you use the plural version of year. But it was all a big trick. All along, through Jonathan Quinn medicine boy, Craig QB rating Krenzel, and Jeff “Who Knows George, the Bears had someone who could produce a QB rating over 65 all along. What” were they waiting for the last 7 weeks? I’m pretty sure they have my column tapped. They saw that I had risked it all on the Vikings, and that’s what set them off. Newly signed George didn’t play a snap; instead, Cowboy refugee camp Hutchinson led the tricky Bears to victory, by 10 no less. Now they are really trying to trick me, but I won’t be had. I’ll take the Jaguars in this one, not because they’re better, but they are. Not because they need the win more, but they do. It’s because the Bears showed me last week that they can win, and if anything, they were just trying to trick me. The Jags will call the Bears on their bluff, beating them by 3 touchdowns in a Jacksonville swamping.
Game Date: 12/12/04 13:00 ET

New Orleans (+7) @ Dallas – I can’t believe the Julius Jones show is off to a thrill ride in Dallas. The Seahawks can’t stop anyone, but neither can the Saints. He should be close to 150 again, and it’s gonna make me sick. Luckily, the Cowboy defense is so terrible, even the inconsistent Aaron Brooks should make mince meat of their once daunting secondary. The Cowboys have won two straight and are pushing for a late season run that could have me in tears if they make the playoffs. But that won’t happen. The Saints, who have already underachieved enough to write off their own season, will snap the towel at the Cowboys. Deuce should run easily against Dallas, but then again, he’s ran well once or twice all year. Joe Horn, the one bright spot for the Saints will have another big game against a Dallas team that helped Matt Hasselbeck get back on track a week ago. Their D looks like they are playing with 9 guys out there; wide-open spaces have a whole new meaning. Saints to upset Dallas.
Game Date: 12/12/04 13:00 ET

Colts @ Texans (+10.5) – The Texans will win on Sunday. Mark my words, Houston has underachieved lately, and will surprise Manning and his boys with a tough game. That’s not it though. Manning will throw an interception near the end of the game in what would have been the game winning drive. Okay, it’s true. I’ve been so off lately that I thought I’d go for it all with this one. Think… if that stuff actually happens you’ll all be mystified. Well, I’m sticking with it. The Texans will stun the world! Or at least Sunday warriors everywhere. David Carr will be on in Texas, but Manning will get within one of the touchdown record. It wont be enough though, 10 points will be too hard to cover away from home. Game Date: 12/12/04 13:00 ET

Jets (+6) @ Pittsburgh – The Jets will upset Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. New York is a good team, and although they’ve come up short against the likes of the New England Patriots, they will be singing in the streets of New York on Sunday. A streak even more amazing then the Patriots consecutive wins mark will be broken. Big Ben will lose his first game. The Jets are too good and fast on defense, and Chad Pennington is back at the helm for New York. Curtis Martin will run for tough yards against a good D. In the end, the game will be closer than the 6-point spread. The Jets will win outright.
Game Date: 12/12/04 16:05 ET

Dolphins @ Broncos(-11.5) – The Broncos are bad lately, but bad enough to lose to the Dolphins? No! The Dolphins would be worse off winning, with only a good draft pick to lose. The Broncos still look like they will make the playoffs, and should come back to form against a depleted Miami team. Miami did put up good numbers against a good Bills D last week, but the Dolphins D did something inconceivable. They gave up a 7-yard run to Drew Bledsoe. In one-10 second trot 7 yards down field, Drew Bledsoe doubled his seasons rushing totals. I didn’t see it, but I heard the person he ran by was seen slamming his head against the locker after the game. Bledsoe was quoted saying he felt like a track star during his run. In further statistical searching’s, I found that Drew’s yards per carry where right up at .5 yards per carry this season. Not bad for someone who could hike the ball, fall forward and gain 2 yards. This being said, Jake Plummer should find room to snake around in Denver on Sunday. So will the rest of the Broncos. This should be just as bad as the spread insists.
Game Date: 12/12/04 16:05 ET

Rams (+6.5) @ Panthers – This is funny. The Rams are bad, but not 6.5 points worse than the lowly Panthers. I know the Panthers have won a couple games lately, but that doesn’t change what they’ve done for most of the year, lose. Nick Goings will rush for fewer yardages than Stephen Jackson, and Chris Chandler will throw up deep Hail Mary’s that will be caught by the solid receiver combo of Tory Holt and Isaac Bruce. Taking the Rams to win here should pay around 2-1, if not more, so don’t waste time on the 6.5 points. Bet big or go home. And then if you lose, go home to your box, like me.
Game Date: 12/12/04 16:15 ET

49ers (+7) @ Cardinals – I was going to take the Niners here, but then I remembered how absolutely pathetic they are. Kevan Barlow, the guy who had signed up to be their lone bright spot, has been worse than disappointing. Unfortunately, his team is even more pathetic than he has been. The Cardinals shouldn’t ever be 7.5-point favorites, but that doesn’t take into account a game against San Francisco. McCown is back this week, and Dennis Green should get to show Arizona fans a little glimpse of the future. Boldin, Fitzgerald, and a tough defense should rub this one out without any interruptions.
Game Date: 12/12/04 16:15 ET

Eagles (-9.5) @ Redskins – The Redskins put up big numbers against the Giants, but once again they are overrated against a superior Eagles team. Portis should be limited to 10-15 touches again in this one, because the Skins will be out of this game by half-time. Good thing for them, they can turn to the passing prowess of one Patrick Ramsey. He threw for more touchdowns than picks last week, which is a big deal for him. Ramsey won’t make that stat a streak this week. TO should catch a couple passes, score a couple touchdowns, and mock the Redskins in some hilarious and disrespectful manner. I see TO dancing into the end zone. Game Date: 12/12/04 20:35 ET

Cleveland @ Buffalo(-11) – I hate thinking about watching this game. I hate taking Buffalo and giving 11 points. However, the Bills have won five of their last six and the Browns have dumped six in a roll. Expect the Bills at home to jump all over rookie QB Luke McCown. Willis McGahee should have a monster day against a pathetic Brown run defense. Game Date: 12/12/04 13:00 ET

Bucs @ Chargers (-5 ) – This game looks much tougher to handicap after Tampa Bays dismantling of Atlanta last week. I expect the Bucs to come back to earth against a Charger squad that has played inspired football all year. McCardell will burn his old mates deep and tight end Antonio Gates is just plain unstoppable.
Game Date: 12/12/04 16:15 ET

Chiefs ( +1.5 ) @ Titans – The Chiefs are finally getting production from recent first round draft pick Larry Johnson. Johnson should find room to roll against the badly dinged Titan defense. Billy Volek should find plenty to smile about looking at the pitiful Chief secondary. Take the Chiefs in a track meet. Game Date: 12/13/04 21:05 ET

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Good Luck with your NFL Football Wagering!
Lucky Lester

NFL Free Picks 04-05 Week 13

Lucky enjoyed another winning week going 9-7 against the spread and moved to 87-80-6 for the NFL season. Let us jump right in with the picks, which should prove lucky even in Week Thirteen!Bengals(+6.5) @ Ravens -The Bengals, of all teams, were the last straw for Butch Davis. After his team gave up 58 points to Carson Palmer and his Cincy squad, Butch called it quits. This makes the Bengals the first team this year to force a coach to quit, and they will respond in week 13. I guess giving up 58 points to the Bengals is pretty amazing. The Bengals D shouldn’t find life too difficult against a raw Baltimore offense that continues to hurt their defense with turnovers deep in their own territory. The stories all over the league before last Sunday stated that Kyle Boller was coming of age, and he’s not just a guy handing the ball off anymore, blah, blah, blah… Right! He didn’t just hand the ball off against the Cowboys, so what. Last week his coach wished handing the ball off was an option. Boller isn’t an impressive QB, don’t know if he ever will be. Jamal Lewis hasn’t been great this year, but the Ravens have been even worse without him. With Lewis being a game time decision, I have to give the nod to the Bengals and the 6 points they are getting. Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Cardinals @ Lions(-6) -The Cardinals are an up and down team this year, unfortunately there have been too many downs. The Lions have the same symptoms, losing to Washington and then barely getting beat by a tough Jaguar team in OT. Then a tough Viking team barely snuck past them in week 11. Last week they gave up 6 touchdowns to Peyton Manning alone, in three quarters. To put that into perspective, Mike Vick has 11 TD’s and he hasn’t missed a snap in 11 games. But all stats aside, the Cards are starting an un-drafted rookie at running back, and John Navarre at QB. Combined they have 43 yards of career offense, all coming from Larry Croom. If you don’t recognize that name, it’s okay; he’s the aforementioned rookie running back. The Lions still have Joey Harrington, Roy Williams, Kevin Jones, and a defense that has done all right, except for last week. I expect a better performance from a turbulent Lion team in week 13. Winning by 6 should be doable. Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Titans(+10.5) @ Colts – This one might get me medically tested by my employers, but first let me explain. The Colts kicked the Lions to the curb last week; getting 6 touchdown passes from their fearless leader Peyton Manning. The Titans let a good lead slip away against the Texans, losing against the team they use to be. (Oilers, Warren Moon, Run N Shoot… remember?) But that was without Chris Brown, and McNair is just getting healthy. Steve played pretty well, and I think he will dip into his old bag of MVP tricks against a good Colts team. The Tennessee defense is underrated. I don’t know if their corners can hang with the trio Manning tosses the pigskin to, but they aren’t a pushover like the Lions were on Thanks Giving. 10.5 is a ton, and at a huge underdog to pull the upset, (+450) I might even take the Titans to defeat pretty horses.
Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Vikings(-7) @ Bears – This game is a no-brainer, and I’ve already put big money down, just in case the odds makers come to their senses. I know the Bears just hired one of the best QB’s of all time, Joe Montana. But even with his amazing football skill and knowledge, the man is old, and he can’t win games on his own at his age. Wait. What am I saying? Just in… the Bears just signed Jeff George, not Montana. Jeff George hasn’t been a winner anywhere, and has been out of the league just about as long as Joe Namath. In fact, I’d rather have Namath. This is how bad it’s gotten in Chicago. What is going on? They aren’t going to the playoffs or anything, and I know damn well Jeff isn’t a long-term answer. So why not start a young fellow and try to teach him something? This is absurd. The Bears will get crushed by the Vikings who are back to full strength with Mr. Moss. Like I said, I’ve already taken a lot of action on this odds makers blunder, I advise you do the same. Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Bills(-3.5) @ Dolphins – The Bills just destroyed the Hawks last week in Seattle. I’ve given Drew Bledsoe a lot of crap this year. I don’t see that “slowing down” any time soon. His methodical style only got him sacked one time last week, but in a 38-9 shellacking of the Hawks, Drew managed a 68 quarterback rating, with 3 interceptions to his one touchdown. What are the Bills doing? They are 5-6 and aren’t nearly as good as the playoff teams in the AFC. Drew Bledsoe has been terrible, yet JP Losman sits on the bench and watches. Maybe I should run a football team. I would know well enough to stick my future QB in when the season is lost for my team, and all that’s left is how good my draft pick will be. Sure, 9-7 is nice, but not when 7-9 moves you up 4 spots in the draft. Either way, with or without our world-class sprinter, Drew Bledsoe, the Bills should handle the most pathetic team in the NFL. The Dolphins only hope in winning is a court case against deserter Ricky Williams, and that’s not looking so good either. In a season that has forced the resignation of Dave Wandstedt, seen a top off-season pick up injured in the preseason, (David Boston, out for the year) and lost their only pro bowl offensive player (Williams), I can’t see a win coming even against the Bledsoe led Bills. And it hurts to say that. Drew might even pad his career rushing stats. Who knows? Let him loose!
Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Falcons(+1.5) @ Buccaneers – What has changed in three weeks that makes this game any different than it was in week 10? Oh I see, Atlanta has gone undefeated and the Bucs just lost to Carolina. That makes sense…. unbelievable. I want some of the stuff the odds makers were on this week. The game is in Tampa Bay, but does that really make anyone think the Bucs should be favored? Atlanta is a playoff team, in the weak NFC yes, but the Bucs aren’t a playoff team in any league. Their running game will be shut down again, and Griese won’t be able to beat the Falcons by himself. It’s games like this that make me think that somebody is playing a trick on me, like this week in Tampa the opposing center has to play QB for the first half. The way I see it, even then, Vick will play in the second half, still giving the upper hand to Atlanta. Tampa shouldn’t play with Atlanta, regardless of how erratic the Falcons are.
Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

49ers @ Rams(-10.5) – The Rams have been terrible. Recently they have only beaten the Hawks, who gave the Rams the game. Bulger has racked up the most passing yards in the league, but then again blind deep passes have to be completed sometimes. When will Mike Martz realize that he has to run the ball to be successful. He’s been doing this stuff since he won his first Super Bowl with the Rams. He has a great tandem with Faulk and rookie Stephen Jackson at his disposal, yet he continues to let his quarterback launch the ball aimlessly down field. Fortunately for the Rams, they are playing the 49ers this week, which can’t even slow down a Bledsoe to Bledsoe air attack. I take back that the Dolphins are the most pathetic team in the league. At least they have an excuse, if not a few. The Niners decided to start the season with Ken Dorsey as their backup. They also lost to Miami last week. Enough said. Even the Rams should beat the Niners by a couple touchdowns. Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Panthers @ Saints(-1) – The Saints have played a couple halves of decent ball of late. They hung with the Falcons a week ago, and three weeks ago, they beat Kansas City. But, the Broncos did kill them in week 11. Who knows what the Saints will play like in week 13. Not Jim Haslett, that’s for sure. That’s the thing though; a Sunday couch warrior like me has the same shot as God does in a New Orleans prediction. The Panthers managed to beat Tampa Bay last week behind another good game from Nick Goings. These defenses suck, and both the offenses come and go like Oprah”s cheeks. Honestly, I think the Saints will jump all over the Panthers this week, finish the season strong, but not strong enough to earn a playoff spot. The end of the season will show promise for a team that has been “young” for the last 5 years, and all the sports geniuses will pick them to win more games in 2005. But that’s just my prediction. Either way, I see a Saints win in New Orleans on Sunday. Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

Broncos @ Chargers(-3) – The Chargers fought off a tough effort from a never say die Kansas City team in week 12. The Broncos lost to a dead Raiders team. I’ll take the Chargers giving only 3 at home. The Broncos have been bad on the road, and San Diego has been good everywhere. The sensational Antonio Gates should have another big week. Also look for my main man Ladainian Tomlinson to reel off a big game. Lets not forget the crucial ingredient in this game, Drew Brees. Yeah, it took me a while to actually believe he was for real, but I have to trust his game now. He hasn’t had the benefit of an awesome season everyone expected from LT. He has had to make throws to win games, and he has done that. He’ll do it again against Denver who let Kerry Collins throw for 339 yards and 4 touchdowns, in the snow, in Denver. Not Peyton Manning, Kerry Collins. Game Date: 12/05/04 16:05 ET

Giants(+2) @ Redskins – The Giants shouldn’t be able to win many games while starting Eli Manning at QB. But this week will be the exception. The Redskins are terrible. Their best player, by far, had 6 carries for 17 yards last week. Clinton Portis was on the bench for a good part of the game because the Redskins were behind so early, that running was out of the question. Tiki Barbar will get his share of carries, and should break the 100-yard mark against a good Washington defense. I’m foreseeing 2 or 3 turnovers from the Redskins, and that’s wishful thinking for Joe Gibbs. Patrick Ramsey doesn’t have NFL talent, and will soon be written off as just another screw up by Steve Spurrier. For a team costing their owner a pretty penny, the Redskins are downright horrid. Odds makers must know something I don’t.
Game Date: 12/05/04 16:15 ET

Packers(+6) @ Eagles – The Eagles look really good lately. But, they played Eli Manning last week, and took advantage of his rookie mistakes. That won’t happen with Brett Favre playing the way he is. Brett has been playing like the champion he is since his slow start. Javon Walker has shown off the talent that made him a high pick in the first place. Ahman Green should be back, but if he isn’t Nejah Davenport can obviously get things done. Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb has been a lethal combo, but will slip this week. McNabb has been too accurate lately, so I expect a drop off. I’d love to take the Packers to win in this one for a big pay off, but the 6 points are a nice diaper in case this is a nail biter, which I imagine it will be.
Game Date: 12/05/04 16:15 ET

Steelers(-3) @ Jaguars – The Steelers continue to be snubbed by the odds makers. The Jaguars are a tough team, but they just lost to the Vikings by 11 and I think the Steelers are better than Minnesota. That’s bad thinking for betting, but this isn’t. The Jaguars haven’t been as stout against the run this year, and the Steelers have the best rushing attack in the league. Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t had to make plays to win, but I believe he can. He’s got a rocket arm, and is poised enough to make it happen against a Jacksonville secondary that can be picked on. Duce Staley is back this week, and with Bettis backing him up and getting a bunch of carries, the Steelers should always have fresh legs on the field. Pittsburgh also has a D that is just too good to bet against. Game Date: 12/05/04 20:35 ET

Cowboys @ Seahawks(-7) – Where have all the Seahawks gone? In a season that was destined for greatness the Hawks managed to lose by 29 points to the Bills, and my favorite, Drew Bledsoe. Matt Hasselbeck looks horrible, and even the walrus look alike on the sideline has been huffing and puffing. Something is wrong in Seattle. There’s no doubt in my mind that this goes deeper than everyone thinks. I’ve been burned by the Hawks since my 3-0 start with them. This week should be different. Hasselbeck has to realize at some point that he is way better than he is playing. Holmgren should decide to just let Matt play ball, without any dumbing down, and without giving an absurd amount of carries to Shaun Alexander. The Cowboys are just flat out bad on both sides of the ball. Julius Jones won’t find as much yardage as he did against Chicago. The Hawks have a lot of injuries, but they will come to play against Dallas. With everything that has blown up in their faces since they lost to the Rams in week 4, the Hawks still have a good bunch of players that could just come together in adversity, and realize they still control their own playoff destiny. The Hawks will beat Dallas, and if they all come to play, they should really shut them down in Seattle. Game Date: 12/06/04 21:05 ET

Houston @ Jets (-7 ) – Chad Pennington is back, and his team is still headed for the playoffs. Houston is a mere roadblock in New York’s plans. With Chad back behind center, defenses won’t be able to load up on the run, making life easier for Curtis Martin to do what he was doing earlier in the season. Since Pennington’s injury something good has happened in Jetland, Santana Moss has come alive. If this continues, the Jets become a favorite to move on. Moss has been disappointing for the most part, but might pull a presto chango like he did last year. Either way the Jets should win easily at home against Houston. Game Date: 12/05/04 13:00 ET

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Good Luck with your NFL Football Wagering!
Lucky Lester

NFL Free Picks 04-05 Week 12

Lucky got it rolling again last week with a sparking 10-5-1 record. This brings me to 78-73-6 for the season. I expect this week’s picks to be easy to digest… well easier then Grandma’s turkey anyway!Colts(-9.5) @ Lions – I’ve got to take the colts against a week Lions D. And when it comes down to winning by 10 points, you can only look at it one way. That’s like 7 minutes of Peyton Manning throwing the ball. Peyton’s putting up one of, if not the biggest year a quarterback has ever had. His touchdown pace is ahead of Dan Marino’s record of 48. I don’t see that slowing down this week. Thanksgiving will give a good portion of a turkey to Edgerrin James as well. Edge comes off a 200+ yard performance last week. The Lions aren’t good enough to keep up with the Colts offensively. The defenses might be equally as bad, but no offense in the NFL compares to the Indianapolis powerhouse set of backs and receivers. After playing a tough game against a broken down Viking team, the Lions will be looking for a big win. But it ain’t happening this week.
Game Date: 11/25/04 12:37 ET

Bears(+3.5) @ Dallas – At this point I’m almost rooting for the Cowboys. But I’ve got to chose who I think has the better shot. The Bears at +3.5 in a game where 3 might win it seems like a pretty good bet. Here’s my reasoning. I don’t know what everybody else saw with Drew Henson, but he didn’t show me much. He was playing the toughest defense in the league, but all this hype is ridiculous. He is facing Craig Krenzel who, and thank God, finally lost a game after 3 straight wins. Last week I said the Cowboy D could even make Kyle Boller look like a good quarterback. This week, ummm, well Craig led his college team to a National Title. Craig Krenzel’s quarterback rating is skimming the bottom of the league, but this week I’m guessing it doubles. Now, 60 isn’t much better then 30, but it’s worth 3.5 points, especially against a pathetic Cowboy team starting a guy who was batting .200 and playing a third base for a minor league team a year ago. Game Date: 11/25/04 16:15 ET

Ravens @ Patriots(-7) – The Patriots are just flat out better than The Ravens. Chris McAllister comes back this week, but the Patriots should still put up enough points to beat a Raven team minus Jamal Lewis. I would just put Ray Lewis at running back and watch him destroy fellow linebackers, but The Ravens never listen to my requests. Chester Taylor won’t keep 8 Patriots in the box, so Boller’s life suddenly gets more difficult. He’s no Joe Montana with single coverage all day either. A tough Pat zone should limit his effectiveness from a week ago. In an important game for The Ravens, New England will do what they’ve done 24 times out of their last 25 attempts, and win. Winning by a touchdown seems like the best bet here. Game Date: 11/28/04 16:15 ET

Eagles(-7) @ Giants – Once again we have a rookie QB who came in and did all right last week. Now everyone has been saying how much promise Eli showed against the Falcons. No one seems to pay attention to Jack around here I guess. The Falcons have the worst pass defense in the league. Eli threw for a 162 yards on 17-37 passing, with one TD and two picks. I guess Ryan Leaf showed promise too. Don’t get me wrong, but Eli isn’t ready to make a difference yet. The Eagles, who cause turnovers with the best of them, will pick Eli multiple times, sack him often. This will be a laugher by the 3rd. The Giants D won’t slow the Green Machine. Donovan and bunch will have an easy time facing a D without their leader.
Game Date: 11/28/04 13:00 ET

Redskins @ Steelers(-10.5) – For the first time this year, a Redskin spread looks reasonable. But am I going to take them? No chance in hell. The Steelers don’t put up big numbers, but their defense is stout. The Redskins offense is blinding. I’m not talking their speed either. My eyes seriously hurt watching Patrick Ramsey run a team. The Redskins have managed to make Clinton Portis look bad, which hasn’t happened since… well ever. Pittsburgh has a good thing going here, and if the Redskins put an end to that I will be stunned. I’m not talking The Chargers in playoff contention stunned, I’m talking Drew Bledsoe returning a punt, breaking seven tackles while sprinting 100 yards for a touchdown stunned. Game Date: 11/28/04 13:00 ET

Browns(+6) @ Bengals – The Bengals put up a good game against what I’d say is the most complete team in the league. But, they haven’t beaten anybody, besides Denver. The Browns can pretty much say the same, but they’ve been robbed time and time again. It just seems like Butch Davis walked under a bridge of ladders before he started coaching the expansion Browns. Every draft pick has been injured for extended periods. That includes Kellen Winslow Jr this year. They are tough though. The Jets only beat them by 3. The Eagles went to OT to beat them. All year they’ve been in games. The Browns beat the Bengals 34-17 in week 6 in Cincinnati. The Bengals have been a little better of late, but 6 point favorites? I don’t think so.
Game Date: 11/28/04 13:00 ET

Jaguars @ Vikings(-6) – This game marks the return of two important players, one for each team. Randy Moss makes his return for the Vikings, which should do everything to boost their confidence. But, Byron Leftwich comes back early for the Jaguars as well. I’m not sure who’s more important for their respective teams. I guess we’ll see Sunday. The Jaguars play close football every week. They should have a tough time stopping Culpepper with his main weapon back in action. I’ve got to take a Vikings team that looked unstoppable with Randy in the lineup earlier this year.
Game Date: 11/28/04 13:00 ET

Buccaneers(-2.5) @ Panthers – The Panthers looked great last week. But they were just playing Arizona. Nick Goings, yes that’s right, Nick Goings ran all over the field, mostly forward, scoring three times. I’m guessing this won’t happen against Tampa Bay. Brian Griese should continue his impressive quarterbacking for the Bucs though. He’s going up against a defense that has been shredded by injuries. In fact the offense has felt it as well. I mean, Nick Goings scored three times for God’s sake. Neither of these teams is impressive, but the Bucs will use a solid rushing attack led by Michael Pittman.
Game Date: 11/28/04 13:00 ET

Chargers(+3) @ Kansas City – The Chiefs continue to be rated as if their team is as good as it was last year. They aren’t. The Chargers on the other hand have beaten the spread so much this year; betters everywhere are paying the price. (I know all about it) Lately I’ve ridden the Drew Brees bandwagon. He’s been good, but that’s not the only reason. I’m real sick of “Big” football writers dropping articles about how Brees is going to be traded next year. What a dumb idea. I mean, don’t put it past the Chargers organization, but how stupid can they be? Brees has turned into more than they had hoped, but now they want to start all over with Phillip Rivers. I hope they do. It’s too nice in San Diego anyway. On Sunday Brees will run his team up and down the field against The Chiefs. LT, who is back, looked dominating against The Raiders last week. This week will be no different. The main thing is, The Chargers have a solid D. It isn’t the Charger D from a year ago. I’ll take the Chargers to win here; I can’t see them needing the 3 points. Game Date: 11/28/04 13:00 ET

Titans @ Texans(+1.5) – Houston let a big win slip out of their grasp last week against Green Bay. David Carr needs to step it up as he did earlier in the year. He isn’t a rookie anymore, someone needs to tell him that. He’s got big weapons in Andr√© Johnson and Dominic Davis. Carr is fast, has a big arm, and is accurate. The Titans team, who virtually has nothing to play for, beat The Jags last week. The Texans, an underdog at home, should prove to be more than Tennessee can handle. Carr will get back on track this week against a solid Titan D. Game Date: 11/28/04 13:00 ET

Saints @ Falcons(-9.5) – Joe Horn made it clear two weeks ago that the Saints weren’t dead yet. Thanks for clearing that up last week guys. All I needed was a 34-13 beating in New Orleans to make things a little more visible. Regardless, Aaron Brooks has gotten the short end of the stick against his cousin. Vick has outplayed, and more importantly beaten Aaron on a number of occasions. Vick, T. J. Ducket, and Warrick Dunn should run all over the Saints, everyone else does. Brooks and crew, who find it more convenient to step up when things no longer matter, will be tempted to play well in Atlanta. But temptation is one thing, actually stepping up and beating a much better Falcon team is another. Deuce McAllister, who has been average or less all year, will find little room to roam against a tough Atlanta rush defense. The Saints are unpredictable, but bad enough for a lopsided defeat against Atlanta.
Game Date: 11/28/04 16:05 ET

Jets(-3) @ Arizona – The Jets are a good team, with or without Chad Pennington. The Cards lost to The Panthers 35-10, which means they aren’t as competitive as earlier in the year. The Jets will feed Curtis Martin the ball. Curtis skipped past the 1000-yard mark last week. What a ball player! This spread baffles me, it really does. With a stubborn, good defense, and a solid offense, the Jets should win without trouble. Game Date: 11/28/04 16:15 ET

Bills @ Seahawks(-5) – The Hawks have been playing lackadaisical football. The Bills have won two of their last three, no slouches either. They beat the Jets three weeks ago, and the Rams last week. The Hawks just slipped by Miami, and have looked nothing like the Super Bowl contender I thought they would be this year. But, times change. This is the weekend the Hawks pick it up. Jerry Rice is starting, which is always great. Hasselbeck should be back this week. I’m thinking the week off helped him a little. Shaun Alexander continues to lead the league in rushing. Props to Drew though. I give him a hard time; mainly because he’s the slowest man on the face of the earth, but he put up 3 TD’s last week in a big win (every time they win, Dallas’ draft pick gets worse and worse). This week shouldn’t end up with a W in the win column for Buffalo. The Hawks will be back! Game Date: 11/28/04 16:15 ET

Raiders @ Denver(-11) – The Raiders had a big performance last week, but lost again. Denver slaughtered the Saints by giving the ball to Reuben Droughns time and time again. The Raiders are a terrible run-stopping unit. Look for Droughns to get upwards of 200 yards against Oakland. Anytime running comes easy, Denver glides to victory, especially in Denver. Oakland has little chance to do anything worthwhile in this one. Denver’s D was tough last week. They will be good here too. Game Date: 11/28/04 20:35 ET

Rams @ Packers(-6) – The Pack snuck past a resilient Texan team last week. But they got the Victory. The Rams… well Drew Bledsoe played a hand in their defeat. I don’t know if it had anything to do with his 3 rushes for -2 yards, but I’m willing to guess the Rams game planned against his swift feet. The Rams will get beat again this week playing too far from home. Green Bay is no turf field. The Rams are a tough bunch to figure out. They’ve lost to Buffalo and Miami. (You were wondering who gave Miami a win weren’t you?) But, they’ve beat good teams as well. This week, they’ll lose. I’m thinking big. Brett is at the top of his game, which is great to see. His receivers have been fantastic. The Packer D is starting to play well, which bodes well for their playoff hopes. Green Bay, no problem.
Game Date: 11/29/04 21:05 ET

Miami @ San Francisco – Pick em! This one comes down to a coin toss and I’ll take tails… 49ers it is! Game Date: 11/28/04 16:15 ET

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Good Luck with your NFL Football Wagering!
Lucky Lester

NFL Free Picks 04-05 Week 11

As you well know, I was 6-8 last week putting me dead even at
68-68-5 for the season. I made some good bets, and some bets that didn’t turn out so well. Another week, another set of predictions. This boat continues to sail. We’re back to a league without bye weeks, which means… More games to win!SUPER DUPER PICKS Week 11
Chargers(-4) @ Raiders – This is my game of the week. That doesn’t always mean good things, but this one looks like a no-brainer. The Chargers have looked like a contender week in and week out. The Raiders have looked like a team without a go-to-guy, and without leadership. Drew Brees has been awesome, and there’s no reason that should stop this week against one of the leagues worst defenses. Brees has been on fire, and with the health of Ladainian Tomlinson getting better and better, he should have tons of open field to work with. Tomlinson should be big, but Brees will shred the Raider D. Four points is nothing in this one. Game Date: 11/21/04 16:05 ET

Falcons(-2.5) @ Giants – The Giants are without Michael Strahand, and are starting rookie Eli Manning. That should be enough to take the 7-2 Falcons right there. But, there is more. Aside from the game against The Chiefs in week 7, the Falcons D has stymied opposing rushers. If all The Giants have going for them is Tiki Barbar, what should happen this week? Obviously, with the benching of Warner, The Giants have decided that Eli is the future, and if the now has to suffer, then so be it. It’s either that, or they are real jealous of what Big Ben has done for his team in Pittsburgh, and want to give their rookie a shot to do the same. Eli should have trouble against Atlanta. The NY D should have trouble against Vick. This is also a no-brainer.
Game Date: 11/21/04 16:15 ET

Steelers(-4) @ Bengals – The Steelers are much better than the Bengals. They have an offense that can beat you in multiple ways, and a defense that can shut any team down. Big Ben has gone 7-0 in his first 7 starts. He hasn’t been perfect, but he is in an offense where he doesn’t have to throw 30 times to win. He just gets the job done week after week and has proven to be a leader. I expect Roethlisberger to air it out against the Bengals who will try to load up against the run. Then watch Bettis pound his way through a sub par run defense anyway. The Bengals have done all right of late, winning two in a row. But, the Cowboys and the Redskins aren’t the Steelers, lets make that clear right now. Game Date: 11/21/04 13:00 ET

Packers(-3) @ Texans – I’ve been taking The Texans all year. I don’t know if they’ve convinced me to go with someone else, lately, or if Brett Favre is just playing too good. Either way, I’m taking the Packers. Brett and Ahman have looked like a couple of Super Heroes in recent weeks, and David Carr has looked a lot like the rookie he was three years ago. There is always a chance for an upset here, but three points is too close not to take the Packers. The Pack broke my balls last week, but a win this week will at least pay for the doctor bills. Game Date: 11/21/04 20:35 ET

Patriots(-3) @ Chiefs – The Patriots defense isn’t The Saints defense. Derrick Blaylock will find that out this Sunday. The Chiefs will also realize that Derrick Blaylock is no Priest Holmes. He was damn good last week, but like I said, those were The Saints. Even against The Saints, and with over 200 yards of offense from Blaylock, the Chiefs still couldn’t win. I don’t know what makes anybody think they’ll stay in a game with a championship team like The Pats. I sure don’t. Take the Patriots here. They should obliterate an inferior defense.
Game Date: 11/22/04 21:05 ET

Lucky Lester’s Picks For Week Eleven

Redskins @ Eagles(-10.5) – The Redskins against anybody right now would look good if you took the anybody. I’ve got to be honest, if the Eagles were favored by 20 in this one, I would have a hell of a time going with The Skins. They are horrible offensively. Although they play tough on the other side of the ball, their offense gives up too much to ever give the D a chance. The Eagles are too good and The Redskins are too bad to go any other way with this game. 10.5 points is a lot, but the game is in Philly. They are at least that much better then the Redskins. Game Date: 11/21/04 16:15 ET

Rams(-1.5) @ Bills – The Rams took the W against the Seahawks last week. Although they are bad away from the fast turf in St. Louis, and have been known to be off and on, they are still much better than The Bills. Buffalo was shown up by The Patriots last week, when Cory Dillon rushed for 144 yards against them. Drew Bledsoe got the hook late, but this week it could be early. I’m rooting for The Bills here, not because I like them, but because they are giving their #1 draft pick to the Cowboys next year. With that said, I don’t give them an honest chance this weekend. They are bad, and The Rams are decent, at least. I predict a Rams victory. I also predict a JP Losman sighting early. I also predict Losman will gain more rushing yards than Bledsoe has in his career. I’m not sure how many yards that is, but if it’s more than 40 I’d be flabbergasted!
Game Date: 11/21/04 13:00 ET

Cowboys@ Ravens(- 8) – We all know how I feel about The Cowboys, but I’m not sure The Ravens can handle the 8 point spread. Then I realize that even Kyle Boller will have a field day against the Cowboy’s beleaguered secondary. Couple that with an angry Jamal Lewis and, hey, the Ravens should actually move the ball this week. Even more lopsided is the prospect of Vinnie Testaverde and Eddie George coping with the lethal Raven defense in Baltimore. Bill Parcells has aged visibly trying to coach this “stupid” Cowboy team. Don’t expect them to get smart this week against the Ravens.
Game Date: 11/21/04 13:00 ET

Jets(even) @ Browns – The Jets showed that they can perform last week against a tough Ravens team. Their D was tight, holding Jamal Lewis to 70 yards on 30 rushes. They also held Kyle Boller to low numbers… okay, okay, who cares about that last one, but they were tough. Quincy Carter let it be known that he is no slouch. He can handle the Jets while Pennington is out, especially with Curtis Martin in the backfield. Curtis ran for 110 yards last week against the Ravens. He’s a stud! The Browns should help the Jets end their slide. NY is the better team here. Game Date: 11/21/04 13:00 ET

Lions @ Vikings(-7.5) – The Vikings have had trouble winning ball games lately, but they’ve been in every one besides the Giants game in week 8. The Lions had a terrible game last week, and if it weren’t for punt returns they wouldn’t have produced a touchdown. They also lost to the Redskins two weeks ago, and the Cowboys the week before that. I can’t see them playing tight with a Vikings team that has something to prove this week. The Lions are still a year away, and the Vikings should demonstrate that to them on Sunday. Culpepper will win without Moss this week, and it should be by a large margin. Game Date: 11/21/04 13:00 ET

Colts(-7.5) @ Bears – The Colts stuck it to The Texans last week. But where has Marvin Harrison gone? He had 22 yards last week, for God’s sake. Those aren’t numbers a number one receiver gets, (unless you’re David Terrell), and especially not receivers who have been the best in the league for the last three years. Look for Peyton to utilize Marvin a little more against The Bears this week. I’d bet he posts more touchdowns than the Bears manage as a team. The Bears can’t ride Craig Krenzel another week. They will lose this week, and I’m guessing the game is a laugher. If The Bears win this game, I will be tempted to scream at Grandma! Game Date: 11/21/04 13:00 ET

49ers @ Buccaneers(-8) – I’ve said the Buccaneers aren’t good enough to be 7 point favorites against anybody… but I forgot about the Niners. The Bucs should shred a defense that has only gotten worse as the season has progressed. Neither Tim Rattay nor Ken Dorsey (especially not Ken Dorsey) should be able to do jack against the Bucs D that still brings it on Sunday. The Bucs got beat by a good Falcons team last week, but should find life easier in week 11. Pittman will be back to gaining big yards, and Griese (yes Brian Griese) will be tossing the pigskin to rookie Mark Clayton.
Game Date: 11/21/04 13:00 ET

Broncos(-4) @ Saints – The Broncos beat the crap out of Houston before their bye week. Although they have been inconsistent at times this season, Denver should be able to take advantage of quite possibly the worst defense in football. (That counts college) The Saints gave up 225 yards of offense to a backup running back last week. Reuben Droughns should rush for upwards of 175 yards in week 11. Jake Plummer will finally have a good game on the road. The Saints, well, my guess is they underachieve, disappoint fans, and make plans to do the same thing again next year. But hey… I’m only going by their history. Game Date: 11/21/04 13:00 ET

Dolphins @ Seahawks(-10) – Last week, The Seahawks looked as bad as they have looked in years. Hasselbeck brought me back to the days when I was asking why Holmgren brought him to Seattle in the first place. Last year he was great near the end, and almost beat a good Green Bay team in the playoffs. He was oozing with confidence, and leading his team. This year, at least lately, has been a little different. He has looked pathetic. My thinking is, he can only go up from here. He’s a competitor, and he’s playing against the definition of a lost team. Miami’s defense is horrid against the run, which will allow the leagues leading rusher, Shaun Alexander, to be the man on Sunday. This will only help Matt and The Hawks. Look for a winning streak to start on Sunday. Game Date: 11/21/04 16:05 ET

Tennessee @ Jacksonville (no line) – Last week against The Bears, Tennessee gave up virtually nothing as far as yardage is concerned. Keith Bullock said himself, “The defense only gave up 3 points.” That wasn’t all. They held Craig Krenzel to a 17 quarterback rating. They also limited The Bears to only 160 yards of total offense. But, they still found a way to lose. (An overtime safety… ouch) So, with this in mind, and the fact that Jacksonville always seems to find a way to win, I have to take The Jags. Fred Taylor looked awesome last week, and David Garrard looked good as well. The Titans have found ways to lose all season; I see that trend continuing on Sunday.
Game Date: 11/21/04 13:00 ET

Arizona (no line) @ Carolina – Carolina finally got a win last week. It was against a pathetic 49er squad, but it was a win. I guess someone has to win those games. Arizona has played pretty well all season. By giving the ball to “The Emmitt Smith” they have gotten some W’s and with a late season surge could stumble into the playoffs. Anquan Boldin is back, and things are looking pretty good. They are 4-5, and look tough under Dennis Green. Carolina has no running back, their top receiver is out, their o-line is depleted, and their defense is only a splinter of the solid unit they were a year ago. Look for Arizona to squeak this one out. Game Date: 11/21/04 13:00 ET
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Good Luck with your NFL Football Wagering!
Lucky Lester

NFL Free Picks 04-05 Week 10

Lucky went 7-7 last week with his picks in as chaotic an NFL season as I have ever seen. My record for the year so far is 62-60-5. This week is winning time and I plan on putting up big numbers to set the proper trend for the second half of the season.Lucky Lester’s Week 10 Picks
Baltimore(-1.5) @ Jets – The Ravens have looked solid in recent losses and wins. Jamal Lewis is back, showing his importance last week by scoring a decisive touchdown in the 4th. Chad Pennington is out for at least one week. That doesn’t make life easier against the toughest defense in the land. Quincy Carter, not known for his accuracy, will find quite the challenge ahead of him this week against Baltimore. The Jets will rely heavily on Curtis Martin. The Ravens will force Quincy Carter to win the game for the Jets. As much as I love to see Ex-Cowboys succeed, I don’t see it happening for Quincy in week 10. Game Date: 11/14/04 13:00 ET

Detroit(+3) @ Jacksonville – Byron Leftwhich is out with an injury. He leaves his Jaguar team in the hands of David Gerrard. Truly, the games outcome lies at the feet of Fred Taylor. Detroit will keep all of their attention on Fred. Gerrard isn’t the passing threat Byron is by any means. Joey Harrington will do his best to find Roy Williams against the average secondary in Jacksonville. The Jaguar D-Line will shutdown the Lion’s pathetic rushing attack, but will struggle against Harrington. For the first time since week three last year, Byron Leftwhich will sit. This doesn’t bode well for a Jaguar team that finds themselves smack dab in the middle of a tough playoff race.
Game Date: 11/14/04 13:00 ET

Kansas City (-5) @ New Orleans – I’ll take the Chiefs regardless of the spread, with or without their holy man. Priest is doubtful, so let’s assume he doesn’t play. The Saints continue to be a disappointment, no matter who plays for them. They have a stud running back in Deuce McAllister, but he has only stumbled to 100 yards in one game this year. (102 yards vs Bucs week 5) He is only averaging a Ron Daynish 3.5 yards per carry, with a long run of, brace yourself… 16 yards! Aaron Brooks continues to hold the ball too long and continually make poor decisions. Donte Stallworth hasn’t shown near the promise of his rookie campaign, and the defense is still horrible. Kansas City may be without the leagues most feared offensive player, but Derrick Blaylock has shown he can get the job done (see Atlanta game log two weeks ago). Not t hat it matters. The Saints couldn’t stop Drew Bledsoe in an old school Nebraskan option attack.
Game Date: 11/14/04 13:00 ET

Seattle (even) @ St. Louis – Seattle is the better team. They will come to play in Saint Louis, which will hopefully be a good sign for Seahawk fans. The Rams are much better at home, but will stumble this week against Seattle. The Rams are in the perfect image of Dr. Jekyl and Miss Hyde. One week they beat the Seahawks in Seattle, and the next week they get kicked around by the powerful Dolphins. The Miami Dolphins! They are never exciting to bet for, often leaving you wondering what the hell happened. Take Seattle here, Shaun Alexander will continue his superb season, rushing all over an average St. Louis Defense. Hasselbeck will step up as well.
Game Date: 11/14/04 13:00 ET

Cincinnati(+3) @ Washington – Portis should shellac the Bengals rush defense, but Brunell and the Skin’s horrendous passing game will end Washington’s chances in a hurry. Since Gibbs came in, the Redskins have been overrated every week. Each time I see the Redskins spread, I am stunned. Maybe, I miss all the good things the Redskins do, but they seem just as bad as their record, if not worse. The Bengals have looked better of late, feeding the ball to Rudi Johnson and letting Carson Palmer catch defenses of guard with the long ball. If they do that against the Skins, they will win outright.
Game Date: 11/14/04 16:05 ET

Minnesota @ Green Bay(-4) – Green Bay always has a hell of a time stopping Randy Moss. Ask any Packer Die Hard, and they will tell you how much they hate number 84. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Randy has been ruled out for this Sunday’s game. Brett Favre should feast on the Mossless Vikings by leading his Packers to an old fashioned dominate performance in Lambeu. Daunte Culpepper has had a tough time without his partner in crime. Expect more of the same against an average but maturing Packer secondary. Ahman Green will get the ball plenty, which is a good sign for Packer fans, and me. I’m taking Green Bay. Game Date: 11/14/04 16:15 ET

Buffalo(+8)@ New England – 8 points is to many for a game that will match two of the top defenses in the league. The Patriots get more credit, because their team is flat out better. But don’t ignore Buffalo. Their young D has been up to the challenge this year, doing their best to make up for their poor offense. New England should win this game, but Buffalo will make it close. It doesn’t hurt that the Patriots often seem to play to the level of their opponents. Buffalo running back Willis McGahee has rushed for at least a C-note in every game he has started. Game Date: 11/14/04 20:35 ET

Chicago @ Tennessee(even) – Yikes. I’ve got to take, Chica… nope can’t do it! Krenzel can’t win three straight, it’s just not possible. But can I take the Titans lead by William Volek? Okay, I guess I have to make sacrifices. I don’t want to even hear about this game come Sunday. But if I have to pick, I’ll take Chris Brown’s team. Brown has rushed for over 100 yards in 5 games this year. (145+ in 3) Brown is averaging an eyelash below 5 yards a carry, doing his best work against poor run defenses… like The Bears. I can only hope this game marks the return of Steve McNair, but it’s not looking so good. Take the Titans at home in a game you pray is not carried in your area!
Game Date: 11/14/04 13:00 ET

Houston(+9) @ Indianapolis – Two good offenses, one bad defense. Indianapolis will have a grand spread to dig out of. Although Houston looked pretty bad against the real Denver Broncos last week, I think they have a good chance to win against the Colts. Indianapolis hasn’t played like a 9-point favorite in the last 5 weeks. Last week, Peyton threw 5 touchdowns, Edgerrin James rushed for over 120 yards, and The Colts still barely snuck by a struggling Vikings squad. David Carr will find holes the size of Texas against a terrible Colt Defense. Carr also has the option to just hand the ball to his running back Davis. Either way, the Texans have a decent defense to match their good offense, making them my upset pick of the week.
Game Date: 11/14/04 13:00 ET

Pittsburgh(-3.5) @ Cleveland – Wouldn’t it be too perfect if the Steelers, after ruining two perfect seasons, lost to the Browns? It could happen. But I won’t pick it. Steeler D is too good to bet against, and the Browns? They are up and down with the best of them. When it comes down to it, I just think the Steelers are flat out better than either the Patriots or the Eagles. Everyone can say what they want about flukes, and David vs. Goliath and all that business. But Pitt has a very good defense and a rushing attack that is second to none. I’ll take Big Ben to continue his phenomenal rookie season, leading his team, and beating the Browns in Cleveland.
Game Date: 11/14/04 13:00 ET

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta(-3.5) – Atlanta should have no problem. The Bucs won’t be able to run this week against the stout run defense in Atlanta. They won’t be able to throw either. In fact, they won’t be able to do any of the things they did against the Chiefs D last week. Mike Vick, who looked real good a week ago, looks to continue his growth in the West Coast Offense. With two weeks to prepare, the Falcons are my hands down favorite against the Bucs.
Game Date: 11/14/04 13:00 ET

Carolina(even) @ San Francisco – Carolina. They’re bound to win one sooner or later, so why not against the Niners, who should not win one ever again. Kevan Barlow could be the biggest disappointment this year for fantasy buffs. I don’t blame him; he’s got defenses breathing down his throat every snap. With Tim Rattay and Ken Dorsey running the show, he’s been hard pressed to find any room to roam. Carolina is bad, but they still have guys who remember how to win, giving them a big advantage in San Francisco.
Game Date: 11/14/04 16:05 ET

NY Giants(-2) @ Arizona – The Giants should snap out of their slump a week after a loss to Chicago. Arizona hasn’t been horrible, but the Giants have a solid playoff chance, something the Cardinals threw out the window when Anquan Boldin went down in the preseason. Tiki Barbar has been amazing, holding on to the ball, and sprinting to daylight at every opportunity. He should continue his great season with a couple touchdowns in Arizona. (I’m secretly wishing for Emmitt Smith to rush for 300 yards in this one. Couldn’t Dallas use him right now! Ha Ha) Game Date: 11/14/04 16:15 ET

Philadelphia(-6.5) @ Dallas – The Eagles should trounce a Dallas team that is finally playing down to it’s talent level. (3-5) The Eagles looked like a skeleton of their dominating selves last week against The Steelers. They will get back to their roots against a rueful Dallas Defense, and a generous Offense. On Monday Night Football, I can see a vision… Dallas looks terrible again; I have a smile that stretches as far as that stupid gap in The Cowboy’s roof. Bill Parcels is caught crying on the sidelines… with Jerry Jones giving him a hug… But in the end, the Cowboys draft pick just gets better and better. Hopefully they pick a lemon or two. Game Date: 11/15/04 21:05 ET
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Lucky Lester

NFL Free Picks 04-05 Week 9

Some terrible things happened since last Saturday. I won’t even begin to mention the non-football related stuff, as I am sure you don’t want to hear about Grandma again! As far as football is concerned, well it was a tough week to say the least with unLucky Lester going 4-8.Like the Packers start to this year; I too am in a slump that I never thought possible! But hopefully, like The Pack, I can pull myself up from the curb and jump-start my season with a Super Sunday for the first week of November. Here’s to the hopes of a predictable Sunday. Time to suck it up and bolster my now 55-53-5 record for the season.

Week 9 SUPER PICKS
Texans(+6.5) @ Broncos – The Texans have only proven they can play with the best teams in the NFL, nearly beating the Vikings, and spanking the Jaguars a week ago. The Broncos have taken two losses in a row, and have only managed to cover a couple times this year. With these two things ringing in my ears, I can’t even imagine why Denver is favored by nearly a touchdown. What is it? The air in Mile High makes it impossible for away teams? Or maybe all the close games the Texans have played, plus their winning record are just flukes? I think not. David Carr has done exactly what I predicted this year, and shown why he was a number one draft pick. Andre Johnson has been fantastic as Carr’s number one guy, and Dominic Davis is healthy for the first time in weeks. I’ve been wrong lately, and maybe the Broncos will find a way to pull this one off, but lets get real, 6.5-point favorites? That’s absurd. Game Date: 11/07/04 16:15 ET

Patriots(-2) @ Rams – The Rams showed two weeks ago that they don’t belong on the field with top teams. They lost to the Dolphins for God’s sake. The inconsistency and inexcusable mistakes that seem to embody the Rams team make it impossible for me to take them here. The Patriots are still one of the best teams in the league. They still have a quarterback that is a proven leader and an amazingly accurate passer. They also have one of the best coaches, if not the best coach in football. Belichick won’t let the end of his teams winning streak affect their play against an inferior Rams team this Sunday. The Rams are coming off a bye week, having two weeks to prepare for New England, but I don’t see that deciding the fate of the Patriots. Game Date: 11/07/04 16:15 ET

Jets(-3) @ Bills – Okay, so the Bills finally scored more than a single offensive touchdown against a team that wasn’t Miami. So what? The Bills only beat the Cardinals. Sure, sure, I was wrong about that game. But I am saying right now, like a much more renowned person before me, that I guarantee a Jet victory on Sunday. Yes, yes, you’ve heard it before, but there is no way the Bills… the terrible Bills, should cover a measly three point spread against the powerful Jets. Curtis Martin has been better than anyone thought, and the dismantling of a strong Miami defense last Monday Night is enough to convince me that this Jets squad is for real. The Bills stand as merely a speed bump in New York’s road to the post-season. Don’t let one week fool you, the Bills are just as good as their record.
Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Chiefs(+1) @ Buccaneers – Priest Holmes is playing the best I’ve seen him play, and he’s been the best running back in the league for the last two or three years. Even Ray Lewis has been quoted saying there isn’t a running back like Priest. If Ray is throwing out compliments to an offensive player, you know he’s got to be great. The Buc’s haven’t done anything special, only managing to beat sub par teams. The Chiefs are back in the playoff hunt, and I just don’t see them taking a step back against a much lesser Tampa Bay team that has played better of late. Their defense is always strong, but I don’t see Tampa Bay making it past 7 wins this season. The Chiefs are back on track and it’s going to take more that an average Tampa Bay team to derail the Kansas City Train.
Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Lucky Lester’s Picks For Week Nine

Eagles @ Steelers(even) – I have to go with the Steelers here. They finally made my prediction of the end of New England’s win streak come true, and I can only bet they’ll do the same thing to an undefeated Eagles team. The Steeler D is much better than advertised, just ask Tom Brady. Joey Porter is back to his old self, sacking Brady three times in week 8, while causing two fumbles. Duce Staley will do his best to thump an Eagle team that showed no appreciation for his abilities this off-season, as well as last year. Duce has done a lot for a Pittsburgh team that has as much firepower on offense as they’ve ever had. Hines Ward is a great receiver, and the strong arm of rookie Ben Roethlisberger has energized super talented Plexico Burress. With Duce in the backfield and Jerome Bettis behind him, the Steelers should sock it to an Eagle defensive line that has trouble stopping the run. The Eagles are good, but with Roethlisberger getting a chance to end two different undefeated records in consecutive weeks as a rookie, it only seems proper to take the Steelers. Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Redskins @ Lions(-3) – I’ve decided that +3 is something odds makers give to an away team that in their minds, is equal to the home team. In this case, they either are crazy or, they know something I don’t. The Lions for starters, are better at home and maybe even more importantly, are better than the Redskins straight-up. The Redskins have one thing going for them on offense and that’s Clinton Portis. The problem is even he can’t do well because the rest of the offense is so bad. The Lions might not be able to stop Portis from scoring, but what they can do is stop the rest of the Redskins. Roy Williams is supposedly suiting up for this game. If he does the Lions chances get a lot better. I can’t take the Redskins until they prove to me they can move the ball in other ways then hoping Portis breaks one. Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Raiders(+7) @ Panthers – While both of these teams have managed to disappoint, I can’t imagine the Panthers playing a team poor enough to warrant them giving 7 points. The Raiders are bad, don’t get me wrong, but the Panthers are equally pathetic. They gave up nearly 200 yards to Shaun Alexander last week, and that was after Mike Holmgren announced that Alexander was going to carry the ball often. He told them what they were going to do and the Panthers still couldn’t slow Alexander down. Taking the Raiders has made me realize how far the Panthers have fallen from their Super Bowl runner up performance less than a year ago. Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Cardinals(+3) @ Miami – The Dolphins are pretty bad. That’s it. They lost another key player to injury. I can’t imagine their confidence has grown in the wake of Junior Seau’s season ending injury. With Ricky Williams trying his damnedest to work out some way that he doesn’t have to pay the Dolphins back all the money he owes them, the only thing the Dolphins should be favored to win is a court case. If you’re a Miami fan look at the bright side, at least the Dolphins will guarantee a number 1,2 or 3 draft pick. The Cardinals slipped last week, but look to get back to playing tough defense against one of the worst offenses the NFL has to offer.
Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Bears @ Giants(-9) – The Giants dismantled a decent Lions team last week, and the Bears skipped past possibly the leagues worst team, the 49ers. The Giants are much better than a Bears team led by Craig Krenzel. Just look at the spread and you could figure that out. What you might not know is that Tiki Barber has been amazing this year, running all over any opponent the Giants have faced. Another small fact you might not know, the Bears gave up 170+ yards to Clinton Portis earlier this year. Tiki will plow his way into the end zone with ease. The Bears will be forced to scramble, throwing too much , especially with Krenzel at the helm. It will be to easy for the Giants to run, and when Tiki has been given the green light this year, good things have happened for New York.
Game Date: 11/07/04 16:05 ET

Seahawks(-7) @ 49ers – Ken Dorsey is behind the helm again for a Niners team that should be begging for Jeff Garcia to come back. The Niners offense hasn’t looked this bad since… since… well since the West Coast was invented. Dennis Erickson was offered this job as a joke to see how bad the 49er front office could make him look. He’s tried valiantly but lets be honest, this is a lose, lose situation. They lose all the time, and it looks like it’s at least a little bit his fault. The Seahawks haven’t been the team I thought they’d be, but even at their slumping stage, a touchdown should be easy to make up against a porous Niner D. Game Date: 11/07/04 16:05 ET

Saints @ Chargers(-6.5) – If I was told that I would have been taking this bet before the season started, I would have laughed in whoever’s crazy face those ridiculous words had spilled from. But, the NFL is a crazy place and this game contains two of the most unbelievable teams the league has. The Chargers are 4-3 and actually looking pretty good under the leadership of Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson. Keenan McCardell brings a much-needed lift at the receiver position instantly taking pressure off the sensational Antonio Gates. The Saints, on the other hand, have only amazed me week after week with how inept they are. They aren’t the worse team in the league but with their talent level I’d think they’d be near the top of their league. Yet they manage to lose week after week. Like I said, both teams surprise me equally. The Saints have shown they can compete offensively with any team. The Chargers have shown they can just flat out compete with anybody, on both sides of the ball. At -6.5 it’s a tough bet, but it looks better than the Saints at +6.5.
Game Date: 11/07/04 16:05 ET

Cowboys @ Bengals(even) – I like the Bengals at home giving no points to a Cowboy squad that is searching to find an identity. On offense, the Cowboys cannot effectively run the ball and has been decimated by injuries at wide receiver. Defensively, they are a far cry from last years top rated unit. The Bengals are inconsistent but should prevail against this depleted Cowboy bunch.
Game Date: 11/07/04 13:00 ET

Browns @ Ravens(-6) – The Ravens got their asses handed to them in week one when they wondered into Cleveland expecting to dominate the Browns. But the Browns proved to be more than the Ravens had expected. Jamal Lewis, who rushed for 500 yards in two games last year, got stymied by a defense that was ready for him. Well, the way I see it, Jamal has a lot of yards to gain to get 500. I imagine he’ll get a big chunk of them in week nine, as he comes off his 2 game suspension. The Ravens missed their offensive leader and he will look to make it up to them in a big performance at home on Sunday. The Browns are coming off a bye week after barely getting beat by the Eagles two weeks ago. The Ravens got beat 15-10 by the Eagles last week. Jamal Lewis will prove to be the difference in this game, augmented by the Ravens playing at home. My bet is with Ray Lewis this week. Game Date: 11/07/04 20:35 ET

Vikings @ Colts(-6) – I’d take the over in this game. But, if I had to take a winner I’d take Peyton and his Colts. The Vikings have struggled without Randy Moss and it looks like Moss might sit this week. Even if he doesn’t, the Colts have more to lose if they fail to beat Minnesota this Monday Night. The Colts find themselves in third place in their division after a week 8 loss to the Chiefs where their defense looked horrendous. Tony Dungy should really get after his defensive squad this week, after they flat out embarrassed him last week. Dungy, known for his defensive brilliance, has found it tough to build a defensive stopper in Indianapolis. This week the Colts will do the unthinkable and hold Daunte Culpepper and his Vikings below season averages, while their offense scores at will against a pretty poor defense in their own right. Take the Colts here because they have more to lose. Game Date: 11/08/04 21:05 ET
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Lucky Lester

NFL Free Picks 04-05 Week 8

Lucky Lester here, hoping to hold true to my name this week. The last few weeks have been a little questionable, but my overall record remains strong, especially for picking every game, every week. Last week Lucky went 5-8-1 bring his record for the year to 51-45-5. This week is full of tough match-ups, big spreads, and make it or break it games. But I’m bound to improve my fate in a rather interesting week eight.It’s time to lay my best picks out on the line once again so they’re back…

Week 8 SUPER PICKS
Packers(-2) @ Redskins – I’ve got to take Brett Favre and his Packers for the second week in a row. Although Brett’s mind might be on his wife’s health, he seems to do best when his emotions are high. Brett is one of my favorite players ever. His poise, his ability to have fun on the field, to seemingly effortlessly lead a team to victory; all these admirable qualities make it impossible not to respect the guy. Brett is back on his game; he has led his team to two straight easy victories, and will continue against a Redskins team that barely beat a Bear’s team quarterbacked by Jonathan Quinn. Clinton Portis should have a good night, and keep his team in the game, but the Packers need to make up for early losses at home and take a few on the road. This game in Washington is a perfect time to get one back. Ahman Green looked like his old self against Dallas last week, and will test a pretty good Redskins defense. Take the Packers and the best signal caller for the past ten years. Game Date: 10/31/04 13:00 ET

Cardinals(+3) @ Bills – The Cardinals did one of two things last week. They either beat a pretty damn good Seahawks team that is struggling, or beat a much-overrated Seahawk team that had just been ranked too high from the get go. Lucky’s got to go for the first one. The Cardinals have been a feisty crew all year long, and surprisingly their defense has been stellar. Emmitt Smith has looked pretty good, especially for a washed up, should’ve retired years ago, left for dead by the Cowboys and Bill Parcels, running back that led his team to victory last week. I love seeing former Cowboys do good for other teams, and this guy who was the Star in the Dallas logo for so many years, has me jumping for joy, no matter how much he’s making me lose (see last weeks pick). Anquan Boldin looks like he’s returning this week, but that shouldn’t matter. Buffalo is a poor team, and didn’t even look good in their only win of the season. The kicker, well the Cardinals are getting three points. Here’s to Dennis Green and his fine return to coaching… Cheers!
Game Date: 10/31/04 13:00 ET

49ers(+1.5) @ Bears – The Bears aren’t good, not at all. They can’t be satisfied with Craig Krenzel leading their already struggling offensive unit. Sure, Thomas Jones has been a pleasant surprise, but I don’t think he can run for big yards against nine guys in the box. The 49ers will play single coverage all day against Chicago, challenging Krenzel to beat them through the air. Although Craig would love to oblige, he just doesn’t have that ability yet. The Niners should look to give the ball to Kevan Barlow early and often. His numbers haven’t been what they were projected to be, but, he’ll improve this week. Tim Rattay is a much better option at quarterback, so now everything points to the Niners. I think they are, for the first time this year, a damn good bet. Game Date: 10/31/04 20:35 ET

Jaguars(+1) @ Texans – I mean, I like the Texans as much as the next guy, probably more, since they take fans away from the Cowboys, but (-1) against a 5-2 Jaguars team that just beat the Colts in Indianapolis, are you kidding me? Byron Leftwhich will continue his 300 plus yard game streak in this one, and although David Carr will give the Texans a chance, Leftwhich will prevail. The Jags are just a more complete team. Their defense is tough as nails, their offense has really come together over the last few weeks, and they’re 5-2. I usually take the Texans, but not this week, not against a team as confident as the Jaguars. Look for running back Fred Taylor to finally break out of his slump this week. He just had 100 plus yards against the Colts, but I see a couple touchdowns in his immediate future. Game Date: 10/31/04 13:00 ET

Lions(+3) @ Cowboys – Can’t hate the Boys if they’re winning me money on a weekly basis right? Wrong! These Cowboys are making me love watching them play. Between my new least favorite player Keyshawn Johnson’s bickering and Bill Parcels ridiculous facial expressions, I can’t figure out what I like watching more, the actual game or the sidelines. And there’s always those Cowboy cheerleaders. The Cowboys have been just what I predicted, a team that was very overrated, and a team that obviously overachieved last year. You can say what you want about the Quincy Carter incident or the Antonio Bryant stuff, but all in all, the Cowboys aren’t that good, or even good at all. They struggle every week and now their defense is getting picked on… oh yes, it’s all coming together quite nicely. Well, all that said, the upstart 4-2 Lions come to town this week, and Roy Williams will be back in his old stomping grounds for the first time as a pro. Think he’ll be excited? I’m willing to bet on it. In fact, I might just take the Lions to win this one. All or nothing as I always say.
Game Date: 10/31/04 13:00 ET

Lucky Lester’s Picks For Week Eight

Giants @ Vikings(-6.5) – The way I see it, if the Vikings are favored by less than a touchdown you should always take them against a lesser team. And the Giants are a lesser team. Amazing Tiki Barber continued his offensive rampage last week in a big loss to the Detroit Lions, but it wasn’t enough. Last week Kurt Warner looked more like the guy who played behind Marc Bulger than the guy who started this year. I’m not saying Kurt’s washed up, but he’s not better than Daunte Culpepper, and really isn’t even close. The defenses are about equal, and although the Giants have an edge in the running game, Rookie Mewelde Moore has been a godsend for the Vikings. This will be a close one, high scoring and as offensive as your average Vikings game, but take the Vikings to win by at least 7.
Game Date: 10/31/04 13:00 ET

Bengals(+3) @ Titans – The Bengals showed that they are better than the 1-4 record they had before handing it to the Broncos last week. I’m not imagining for a second that they are going to consistently kick the backsides of teams like Denver every week, but the Titans are not a team like Denver, especially with a questionable Steve McNair. The entire Titan team seems to be on the questionable list every week, and even if the players do play, they’re not 100%. Rudi Johnson and Chad Johnson looked like they got the idea last week, and I only see them continuing the show against a banged up Tennessee squad. Carson Palmer might be getting a little too much credit for his performance against the Broncos, but his confidence to go at Champ Bailey says a lot to me about his game. Take the Bengals. Game Date: 10/31/04 13:00 ET

Colts(-1) @ Chiefs – Last week I said I was betting on the Chiefs as if they were a mirror replica of last years 13-3 team. Well, they turned out to be exactly that, if not better against a decent Falcon team. Mike Vick couldn’t do jack against the Chiefs D which even I couldn’t have imagined. But all this said, the Chiefs aren’t the same team they were last year. They aren’t as consistent and will show that this week against one of the most consistent players in the game, Peyton Manning, and Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison for that matter. Sure, the Colts defense could challenge the Chiefs defense to see who’s more questionable, but the Colts are just a better team. I don’t like Indianapolis being favored in this game, but one point is one point, and in situations like this you have to take the team you think will win the battle. Manning will find it easy to toss touchdowns to Mr. Harrison this weak, and win a big time game in Kansas City. Game Date: 10/31/04 13:00 ET

Falcons(+6.5) @ Denver – This games got me vexed. I don’t know which way to go; I don’t even know where to begin. So, I’ll start where football starts, defense. I know the Falcons have just recently been whipped, but they have a solid defense. Denver also just got pummeled by a 1-4 Bengals team, but they also have a good defense. I have to give Denver a slight advantage here, but not as big as people might think. Offensively both teams looked stagnant at best, with Vick and the Falcons being a little worse. They could only manage 10 points against the Chiefs. But, the Broncos couldn’t do anything against the leagues worst rushing defense. I’ll have to give the Broncos another, very slight, advantage. Now the intangibles, the little things, and the stuff I call Swagger. Vick always has swagger, and a little thing I like to call cushioning… also known as (+6.5). Denver also has a large amount of close victories. So, the intangibles have to go to the Falcons. Denver seems to squeak out their victories for the most part, and if they do win in Mile High, I don’t see it being by much. I always rank intangibles very high, realizing that the mental part of the game is larger. Translation: take the team with the points in this one. Game Date: 10/31/04 16:05 ET

Panthers @ Seahawks(-8) – Eight is a bunch for a team that just went down at the hands of an Arizona team that is feisty at best . But the Panthers really haven’t been anything greater then bottom feeders either. For two slumping teams, the Seahawks are definitely the better of the two. Matt Hasselbeck will actually come to play this week, pull his head out of his backside, and find his stellar offensive teammates for a bunch of scores against a defense that can only imagine what they use to be. Shaun Alexander should run for three times the yards he had last week, and if Hasselbeck throws half as many touchdowns as he did interceptions against Arizona, the Hawks should win easily at home. I’m still a strong believer in the Hawks and their playoff and Super Bowl aspirations, but they need to step up and blow out an injured Panther team. This, I believe, they will do on Sunday. Game Date: 10/31/04 16:05 ET

Ravens @ Eagles(+7.5) – It’s real hard for me to take a team favored by more than a touchdown against a defense led by Ray Lewis. But that same defense has to be off the field while the Baltimore offense has the ball. That offense is anything but productive especially with Jamal Lewis suspended for one more game. Chester Taylor looked okay last week, but Boller still didn’t even break 100 yards… and he played the whole game. The Eagles didn’t look so dominant either, but were still good enough to be one of the two undefeated teams going into week 8. McNabb has been wonderful since Terrell Owens made himself an Eagle. Brian Westbrook is most likely out this week as well, so it seems the odds are stacking against an Eagle victory. But, Philadelphia will find a way this week, and smother a lackluster Raven offense.
Game Date: 10/31/04 13:00 ET

Patriots @ Steelers(+3) – My more sensible half tells me to take the undefeated, 20 plus game win streaking, best team in the league, Patriots. But, who likes to listen to him, when a chance to call a huge upset is on the line. Don’t get me wrong, taking the Patriots looks like a good bet. They are only favored by 3 and against a Steeler team that hasn’t got the respect they’ve deserved yet this year. But, mark my words; the Steelers and rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are for real. One might think that Belichick would have his way with the rookie, but I think this makes the Coach’s job a little tougher. Big Ben hasn’t had to many games to show the Patriots his tendencies, and on that note, his rookie status will help Pittsburgh. The Patriots always seem to play to the level of their opponents and that’s bound to bite them in the butt sooner or later. I’m just betting that it happens in week 8. I hate to listen to my crazy and cocky side but… wait a second; I love listening to that side, what am I thinking? I’ve got to take The Steel Crew in this game, showing that New England is in fact mortal. Game Date: 10/31/04 16:15 ET

Raiders @ Chargers(-6) – Drew Brees has to get some respect from me. He has done so well and until this point all I’ve been doing is taking him to fail. I forgot he was a great field general in college, and he’s still growing as a football player. The Raiders are terrible, and even lost to the Saints at home. Their offense looked better last week, but whose offense doesn’t seem powerful against New Orleans? The Chargers are doing well listening to Marty Schottenheimer. This Monday LaDainian Tomlinson said he is as healthy as he’s felt in three weeks. So, things look good for a decent Chargers team against a poor Raiders team. Even with Sapp and Ted Washington, the Raiders can’t stop a running back. Keenan McCardell gives the Chargers a much-needed boost at receiver, and in his second week he’ll be looking to hook up with Brees for a TD or two. The underrated Chargers secondary should put a stop to the idea that the Raiders are an explosive offense. Game Date: 10/31/04 16:15 ET

Miami @ Jets(-6.5) – I’ll take this bet in the blink of an eye. The Dolphins win one game and now they aren’t even 7-point underdogs in New York against one of the best teams in football? Wow! The Jets showed me last week that they could play with any team in this league, especially the one-week wonder Miami squad. Jay Fiedler isn’t consistent; in fact he actually is consistent, consistently bad! He had one decent week and still it wasn’t all that good. Coach Herm Edwards won’t let his Jets overlook the Dolphins or get down about a loss to the Patriots last week. He’ll have them fired up and ready to improve their record. The Jets still could walk away from this one tied for the best record in the NFL. Give the ball to Curtis, the Phins can’t stop him. Game Date: 11/01/04 21:05 ET
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Lucky Lester