NFL Free Picks Review: Week 11 2009

I built a nice, shiny, user-friendly record early going 7-3 before the afternoon games start, the same afternoon games that I usually kill. But, the usual doesn’t always happen, and I faltered a bit, going 1-3 with a tough Jets loss (thought I had that one as the Patriots stumbled and the Jets were down just 10), a tough Cardinals loss where Kurt Warner went down in the 2nd quarter, and the Cardinals early 21-3 lead didn’t hold the cover and they won by just 8, and of course that Bengals debacle in Oakland (at least that helped me win my survivor pool, though, silver lining is overrated, but it’s something). The Sunday Night game was tough one to watch, but a win put me to 9-6 going into Monday Night – another guaranteed winner! Believe it! Who else gives you all 16 games against the spread and wins week in and week out? Here’s how it went down this time around…

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Miami Dolphins (+3.5) @ Carolina Panthers: (WINNER) The Dolphins proved that if your #1 running back goes down and you have a good rushing attack, you’re not going to all of a sudden struggle to run the football. A lot goes into a good rushing attack, and while Ronnie Brown’s vision, speed, power, and overall running ability surely helps the Dolphins do work, that offensive line makes the holes. Ricky ran through them all the way to victory.

Cleveland Browns @ Detroit Lions (-2.5): (Loss) What can you say about this game, but wow. It was all amazing. I’m not sure I believe it happened, but the Lions got a win, it was on an un-timed down from the 1 yard-line, and a QB with a separated shoulder was the guy that tossed the rock. I lost, sure, but in awesome fashion. How does one predict a Browns/Lions game anyway? And whomever did predict it probably didn’t think the two QBs would throw for nearly 800 yards together. Yahtzee!

Buffalo Bills (+9) @ Jacksonville Jaguars: (WINNER) Like I said in the write-up, the Jaguars will probably win but they don’t deserve to be 9 point favorites against anyone. The Bills had plenty of chances to put this game out of reach and didn’t. If you were watching, you knew the Jaguars were going to come back and win. It was never a worry as far as covering was concerned, TO took care of that all by himself.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) @ Kansas City Chiefs: (Loss) Well, what can I say, I didn’t know the AFC North was going to come out and poop away victories like it was the divisional motto for the week. Everyone loses, that’s not too crazy, but the fact that the Steelers lost to KC while the Bengals lost to the Raiders – good lord – what a crazy week on the road for the North.

Indianapolis Colts (+1) @ Baltimore Ravens: (WINNER) The Colts were better than the Ravens, just by a hair. They had this Peyton Manning guy, the guy that always does just enough to win. I think I might take the Colts anytime they are an underdog ever. Not guarantees, but I’m pretty sure that’s how I feel about it.

Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants (-6): (Loss) All the Giants had to do was stop a Falcons offense sans Michael Turner – but they stunk it up on one last game-tying drive by the Falcons, and pretty much pissed away any chance of me winning. My dream of a win was crushed as the game entered overtime, and a 7 point win became impossible. And the Giants won. It’s my worst nightmare!

San Francisco 49ers (+7) @ Green Bay Packers: (WINNER) The 49ers did what they’ve done most of the year, made a game close, but didn’t finish the job. The packers were just a little too much, and coincidentally it was their commitment to teh rushing attack and Ryan Grant’s efficiency that finished off the Niners. Still, San Fran lost by just 6 – good enough for me!

Seattle Seahawks @ Minnesota Vikings (-10.5): (WINNER) The Hawks stink. I was a little worried about this one early, into the 2nd quarter it was still scoreless, and 10.5 was looking like a daunting number to topple – suddenly, Brett went ballistic, threw 4 TDs, and the Hawks wilted like a flower in their crappy winter weather. On the bright side, with the way the Broncos are going, and the way they have played all year, two Top 15 1st round draft picks is coming closer to fruition.

Washington Redskins (+12) @ Dallas Cowboys: (WINNER) I saw great value in this game from the get-go, and I wasn’t the only one. The way the line moved and the way people ran from the big favorite despite the Redskins’ terrible start to the season proved just how ridiculous this line was. Dallas found a way to get a win, but the cover obviously was never an issue.

New Orleans Saints (-11) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (WINNER) “The Saints haven’t played well over the last few weeks, the Buccaneers have been pretty solid considering how pathetic they were to start the season. Those two things have to even out, I mean, the Saints are really good and the Bucs aren’t.” It probably wasn’t that simple, but it might have been. Listen, sports have a funny way of evening out. I know the Saints were a little banged up, but they were due to play well.

Arizona Cardinals (-8.5) @ St. Louis Rams: (Loss) Kurt got hurt in the 2nd quarter, and the Cardinals were up 21-3. With the USC guy in there, the Cardinals didn’t score another point and won by just 8. I was right about this one, injury problems cramped my style by a point. What can a guy do?

New York Jets (+11) @ New England Patriots: (Loss) I still think the Jets are a solid team, and I still think you don’t give a good team double digits. The Patriots were obviously very motivated in this one, but it was still the Jets’ cover to lose. They were down 10 and driving more than once. Those turnovers are a killer – no doubt -but I’d go the way of the Jets again in a heartbeat.

Cincinnati Bengals (-9) @ Oakland Raiders: (Loss) “Lets make something clear, in 7 wins this season, the Bengals have won by more than 10 just once. They’ve won by 7 or less 6 times, a field goal three times. They play close games. Even against Cleveland, the Bengals needed overtime to get the job done – and they needed every second of overtime, too. Not only that, but the Bengals are going to be playing without the most consistent piece of their offense, Cedric Benson…” I warned you and myself, but I didn’t listen. I said I’d be stunned if the Raiders put up more than 10 points, and that 3 Bengals TDs would have gotten the cover. I am stunned, but if the Bengals don’t turn a couple scores over, I think they put this game out of reach. The Raiders won because they deserved to after Cinci played not to lose. Garbage. Amazing. 

San Diego Chargers (-4) @ Denver Broncos: (WINNER) This line didn’t show up until Saturday night, and it actually wasn’t as much of a beat down as the score shows. Sure, at some point it became a beat down, but the Broncos moved the ball well, had some tough things go the other way, and had Young Simms killing them early. It will be interesting to see how the Broncos respond to their recent tumble. The Chargers are playing some solid football.

Philadelphia Eagles (-2) @ Chicago Bears: (WINNER) Well, the Eagles didn’t play as well as I expected, but Jay Cutler was right about what I figured he’d be. He should have gotten two more balls picked off in this one, but he just throws the ball too damn hard for a lot of defensive players to handle. Lucky him. The Eagles got some offense together in the 1st and 4th quarters, and that was enough to take out the Bears. This game was UGLY!

Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans (-4): (Loss) The Texans has this one. But they let it slip away. Kris Brown missed another game tying field goal with mere seconds left on the clock – what’s new. He might find himself having lunch with Steven Hauchdksajfslk, the kicker from the Ravens – or shall I say former kicker? The Titans won outright, but a cover here was going to be tough sledding, no doubt. I took my Monday Night lump and finished the week 9-7.

NFL Week 2 Expert Picks Review: Football Handicapping

It would be easy to say that I should have won 11 for my Week 2 football picks for week too, because, honestly, I have to feel I picked that Monday Night game right on the button. But that’s just looking at what went wrong. If I was doing the what if business, or the should have business, I would have to admit the Giants probably shouldn’t have won on Sunday Night either… But I won 10 more games this week, starting out with double digit douzies in each of the first two weeks. Can’t ask for much more than that. This is how the cookie crumbled…

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Carolina Panthers (+6) @ Atlanta Falcons: (LOSS) This game was very close. I’m not saying I should have won, but I’m not saying I look like a dope for making this pick either. The Panthers had their chances, that’s for sure, and were driving the ball late in this game, going for a tie. Two times in the red-zone with no points ended things for Carolina, a team that I think should be a nice underdog going forward.

St. Louis Rams @ Washington Redskins (-9.5): (LOSS)  “At first glance this one is tough for me to stomach. Take the Rams, a team I have claimed to be the worst in football, or the Redskins, a team favored by 10 that has shown very little ability to put the ball in the end zone with Jason Campbell at the point.” I followed this by saying some things that I wish I wouldn’t have. Things I may never say again like, “I believe in the Redskins’ offense”. Washington won, sure, but they didn’t even score enough to cover if they had shut out the Rams. The play calling in Washington is very dull, lacks any sort of creativity, and basically gives Jason Campbell no chance to succeed. I don’t know why coaches insist on doing this for quarterbacks that are struggling. Making a QB easier to defend is no way to help him out, to help him improve. Both of these teams were pathetic on Sunday, but the Rams are still the worst team in football.

Houston Texans (+8) @ Tennessee Titans: (WINNER) “From what I saw from the Titans last week, they have a very good run defense. But they have holes in that secondary if the offensive line withstands that immediate surge. I think the Texans were terrible last week, but not a terrible football team. So things have to even out. The Titans should have won against Pittsburgh, but some missed field goals kept the Steelers in the game. The Titans are solid, and should run the ball well against Houston, but the Texans are closer to the Titans than 8 points. This is a divisional game, and both teams should come in with a lot to prove. That usually keeps the outcome closer, I’ll take the points.” I’m glad I got this one. Lots of points early, and Chris Johnson’s very own highlight film had me on the ropes. But just like I expected, Houston’s offense came to play, and this game was tied late. With a certain cover in the cards, I loved seeing Houston come out and upset Tennessee at home. I think Houston has this kind of offense, and will continue to give good teams trouble all season long.

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles (-1): (LOSS) “I don’t think this is a safe bet, but I’m taking the Eagles.” Hopefully you took my warning to heart, unlike myself, and didn’t wager on this game. I liked the Eagles, thought they’d be tougher defensively for Drew, but the 6 foot wonder kid torched his second straight opponent. It’s going to take a down game from Brees for his Saints to lose, and I’m not sure how easy that’s going to be to predict. The Eagles secondary is pretty solid, but Brees made them look like junior varsity most improved players… The Eagles put up lots of yards, but the Saints D made some big plays putting this one on the top shelf early.

New England Patriots @ New York Jets (+5): (WINNER)  “I don’t like taking a team that played poorly, should have lost, and won last week. So I’m not going to do it. The Jets do lots of little things right, and their defense is stout. I’m not sure the Patriots will be able to stop the run with Seymour stuffing the line of scrimmage in Oakland and Jarrod Mayo out for a few weeks. The Jets have a very solid offensive line, and I think they’ll be coming into this game with a chip on their shoulder.” You could see the chip on the Jets’ shoulders all game long. New York is too good defensively to be a 5 point dog, and their offensive line is too good for that as well. They do the little things right, they should have won this game, and they did.

Oakland Raiders (+4) @ Kansas City Chiefs: (WINNER) Well, JaMarcus Russell was brutal, the Raiders didn’t run all that well, but KC’s offense couldn’t put up points either, and the Raiders pulled out a win in KC. I liked the Raiders to win this one, and they did just enough to make that happen. I wouldn’t say the beat up on the Chiefs, but as a four point dog against a bad offense, you don’t need to kill to be an easy cover. I thought the Raiders were exactly that.

Arizona Cardinals @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-3): (LOSS)  Kurt Warner was amazingly accurate, and the Cardinals, never a good team playing on the East Coast, got to 1-1 on the season by smashing a Jaguars team that doesn’t look that good. Jacksonville needs something, and I’m not sure it’s players… Just saying.

Cincinnati Bengals (+9) @ Green Bay Packers: (WINNER)  “I hate to do this, because I think the Packers are a lot better than they played last week, but I can’t take a team that played poorly last week, pulled out a win anyway, and is now favored by 9 over a defense that looks much improved. I think the Bengals offense will improve every week, and from Week 1 to Week 2 will be no difference. People will look at this game and say, the Bengals suck, they lost to the terrible Broncos, but I don’t see it that way. I don’t think the Broncos are bad, they just aren’t great. And it took a pretty big fluke for the Bengals to get ousted in Week 1. Nine is a lot of points, and an improved Bengals defense should keep it closer than that. A couple big plays from Palmer and Chad, and this could be a big upset in Week 1. Survivor players, steer clear!” Please tell me you listened up and didn’t go with the Packers in your survivor games… I know I stayed away, and for good reason. That first part of what I said, never take a team that played poorly and just slipped by and is now a big favorite – write that down, put it in a safe, and look in that safe every week before making your picks.

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Minnesota Vikings (-10) @ Detroit Lions: (WINNER) Like everyone else, I liked the Vikings here. For all the obvious reasons that made them one of the more popular picks in Week 2 – so I don’t need to go into much detail. All I know is that Stafford still isn’t ready as his two more interceptions in Week 2 show. If the Lions want to win, Culpepper is their guy.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5) @ Buffalo Bills: (LOSS) This was a tough one. Buffalo jumped out early, and honestly if it weren’t for some big dropped passes by TO, this game would have been an even bigger blowout. I really expected good things from the Bucs run game in this one, but like many running teams, if you start off way behind it’s tough to get the run game started. A swing and a miss no doubt.

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers (-1.5): (WINNER)  “I think the 49ers just play a tougher brand of football that makes a tough match-up for the Hawks. Frank Gore’s running style seems to eat up the smallish Hawks front 7, and especially with Leroy Hill out, Seattle should have trouble preventing Gore from averaging less than 5 yards a carry. I think San Fran will feed the man the ball, and that should be enough to pull a home win in Week 2.” My buddy, and fantasy writer on my site, Red Red Ryan, told me that I was nuts for taking the 49ers here, and when I told him that Frank Gore would dominate the Hawks, he asked me when the last time he had 100 yards against the Hawks was…. Well, needless to say, when I got a text midway through the 1st quarter, I was happy to see a reply saying: “Well that didn’t take long.” Sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re right and your friend is wrong. Like my buddy Josh says, anything worth playing is worth beating your friends at.

Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos (-3) : (WINNER) I liked the Broncos at home, but I didn’t expect them to blow Cleveland out. Now it was just 13-6 going into the 4th quarter, but Denver really ran this game. I liked them a lot more than most people did, coming into the season, but their defensive prowess has been even better than I expected.

Baltimore Ravens (+4) @ San Diego Chargers: (WINNER) This game was pretty interesting. A couple huge plays defensively got Baltimore the win, but contrary to what I expected, it was offense that dominated this box score, but it wasn’t the offensive numbers that won the game. Phillip Rivers put up 436 passing yards against the Ravens, that’s nuts. But SD couldn’t run the ball at all, and the Ravens ended up eating up the clock and being more physical up front. Willis McGahee had a big day, but it was Ray Lewis that shut the Chargers down on 4th down in the 4th quarter, ending the game. The Ravens were going to cover either way, but the win felt nice.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Chicago Bears (+3): (WINNER) “The Steelers’ offensive line is pretty bad, just ask Willie Parker and his 19 yards on 13 carries last week… They played a poor game and should have lost last week against the Titans, but Tennessee kept pooping the bed every time they got into the red-zone area. …Cutler also has the ability to make some big plays too, and a couple big plays could be enough points to beat the Steel City. There’s no doubt in my mind that Cutler will be better in his second outing, and while the Steelers are very tough defensively, their offense isn’t strong enough to blow a solid team out. Chicago is a good team. I think this one is close, but I’m going against the defending champs here.” There you go. The Steelers’ O-line wasn’t good enough to beat up the Bears defense as Pitt’s run game never got on track. Ben threw the ball all over the field again, but like I said, that’s no way to get a sure win. Chicago took advantage, hung in, and used some big throws to get the win in a game nobody thought they had a chance in. I like to win, don’t get me wrong, but I love to win when I have readers writing in and telling me how wrong I am about said pick. Guys, I’m not mailing you back and telling you I told you so, because you know what’s up.

New York Giants (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys: (WINNER) So, when I pick a game wrong I admit it. And I’ve always been one to tell you if I pick a game wrong, win or lose. This is one of those cases. If I had to do it again, I’d probably go with the Cowboys in this situation. They played better. They were the better team, and they smashed the Giants around. New York needed some freak stuff to happen and a terrible game from Mr. Romo to win this game – and that’s what they got. In most instances, Tony doesn’t throw the ball around like Ryan Leaf, but thank goodness for me, and all those other Giant backers, that’s exactly what he did on Sunday Night. Don’t worry though, I took some Karma on Monday Night.

Indianapolis Colts @ Miami Dolphins (+3): (LOSS) “I think they’ll run the ball very effectively, and upset Indy. The Colts had a lot of big numbers last week, but just barely snuck by the Jaguars. Now, that’s what the Colts do from time to time, but I think it’s because Indy just isn’t as powerful as they once were. Basically, I expect the same Colts I saw last week and a much better Dolphins team than the one that lost a pushover to the Falcons.” What more can I say? Did I or did I not have this game right on the freaking button? The Dolphins ran the show on Monday Night, and all signs point to them winning the game. However, some pretty poor coaching, some terrible calls on their last field goal drive and on the final drive of the game, Ted Ginn Jr. dropping the game winner in the end zone, and this guy name Peyton Manning and his Colts barely sneaking by just happened to do me in by a single point. You win most of these, you lose some. That’s just the way it goes.

When all is edited and rephrased, I took ten this week. I’ll take 10 Wins every week for the rest of my life and smile from ear to ear. Until next week!