This week is probably the most important week of the Challenge so far this year. If I have another bad week like last week, my goal of reaching +.500 for the season pretty much goes up in flames. The Coin Flip decided to copy off of my picks this week since we shared 9 of 16 picks. Judging from how the Coin Flip has done this season, I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing to share that many picks. I’m not very confident with my picks this week. Once again, Cleveland, Baltimore, New Orleans, St. Louis and Miami leave me with no idea how their games will turn out. My fate lies in their hands. If I can solve the mystery, I could be in for a good week. Happy Thanksgiving!
atl -3 DET
The “Lions always play tough on Thanksgiving”-slogan probably needs to be retired for the near future. The Lions don’t play well on any day and last year’s drubbing by Indianapolis should be proof. On the other hand, Atlanta is precisely the kind of team that Detroit could beat. In fact, the Lions match up pretty well with any team from the NFC North. Remember, the Lions lost by one to Carolina and barely lost on a controversial call to Tampa Bay. Atlanta is a ball control team. They won’t put up too many points. If I had any faith, whatsoever, in the Detroit Lions, I would take them to cover. But I don’t and I won’t. I’m taking Atlanta.
den -2.5 DAL
These team teams are mirror images not only in how they match-up this season, but also how they match-up over the course of their franchise histories. Denver’s All-Time NFL record is 326-234-6 (.580 winning %) with six Super Bowl appearances. Dallas’ All-Time NFL record is 415-307-6 (.574 winning %) with eight Super Bowl appearances. Both teams have questionable quarterbacks that have played well above their means this year. They both have successful veteran coaches who rely on the running game. And most importantly, both teams start with the letter “D”. Denver has been playing way too well as of late and it almost seems like they’re do for an “off” game. Dallas should be well-motivated playing their annual Thanksgiving game at home. I’ll take Dallas with not very much confidence.
KC -3 ne
The Chiefs have been on a roller coaster ride all season long. They stole a game at home on a gutsy last second call to beat Oakland. Then they got blown out against a poor Buffalo team. They bounced back by torching Houston on the road. I don’t know how a team that got blown out so badly by the Bills can all of a sudden be a -3 favorite over New England. My gut tells me that New England will show up and keep this game close. Since they’re liable to pull off the win, I’ll go with New England.
CIN -9 bal
As I mentioned earlier in the week, I can’t pick a Ravens game for the life of me. Some weeks they show up and other weeks they roll over like my dog when presented with a Scooby Snack. The Bengals should be sufficiently ticked off after blowing their chance at beating the Indianapolis Colts. The Ravens couldn’t score if they were in the same room with Jennifer Lopez the day after a divorce. I doubt they’ll start this week. I’ll take Cincinnati to lay a whoopin’ on the Baltimore Brian Billicks.
car -4.5 BUF
Carolina got punk’d in Chicago last week. I got a chance to watch the whole game and the Panthers should be embarrassed. They were dominated by the Bears in every phase of the game. Jake Delhomme looked like Demetrius Brown against MSU. The running game was non-existent and the defense looked like they were on ice skates against Kyle Orton. Judging from last week, there’s no way Carolina covers this spread. Judging from the rest of the season, they should be a good bet. Buffalo followed up their impressive win against the Chiefs two weeks ago with an abysmal performance against the San Diego Chargers. There is one caveat to all of this though. The Chiefs game was at home and the Chargers game was on the road. This game is at home so Buffalo should make some noise. I’ll take Buffalo to keep it close.
TB -3 chi
This Bears team is almost an exact carbon copy of the 2001 Bears team that came out of nowhere to win 12 games. That team was quite possibly the worst 12-win team in NFL history. This year’s version is easily the worst seven-win team in the league. I just don’t believe the Bears are that good. On the other hand, Tampa Bay has beaten Washington and Atlanta to weeks in a row. Combine that with Kyle Orton playing on the road and I have to go with Tampa Bay.
sd -3 WAS
I am very wary of the San Diego Chargers on the road. This is exactly the kind of game that looks like a no-brainer on paper until the game starts. You can tell immediately that the road team is flat and the home team is going to have a strong afternoon. As much as I feel like I should go with Washington, how on Earth can the Redskin offense keep up with San Diego? It shouldn’t be possible. I’ll take San Diego and regret it on Sunday.
MIN -4.0 cle
Minnesota has won three games in a row since Brad Johnson took over. Apparently that hasn’t earned them much respect in Las Vegas. They find themselves only 3.5 point favorites over the Cleveland Browns at home. I can’t stand the Browns. I can’t get the Browns right no matter how I reason my pick. Minnesota hasn’t been very impressive on offense despite their win streak. That makes me nervous about taking them as 4.0 point favorites. On the other hand, Cleveland is horrible on the road. I’ll take Minnesota in a game I will almost certainly lose.
TEN -8.0 sf
Tennessee is another team that I can’t stand. I’m 3-6 picking Titans games this season. I have no idea when they’re going to show up or when they’re going to “mail it in”. San Francisco has been playing teams tough lately including this past week against Seattle. I will most surely live to regret this pick but I’ll take San Francisco to keep this game close.
stl -3.5 HOU
My first inclination is to just take the loss for this game. It doesn’t matter which team I pick, the other team will cover. I would bet on it. I’m not even sure I want to comment on this game since it’ll be a waste of time. Instead, I’ll use this space to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Also, don’t eat too much. It’s not what you eat that’s the problem, rather how much you eat. If you need to unfasten your belt, you’ve gone too far. I’ll take St. Louis.
jax -3.0 ARI
The Arizona Cardinals were the direct recipients of a gift-wrapped victory courtesy of the St. Louis Rams. Kurt Warner is putting up some impressive numbers. Now that Anquan Boldin is back, the Cardinals should continue to be respectable. The Jags on the other hand are hanging on by the flab of Byron Leftwich’s gut against very poor teams. They should be dominating teams like Tennessee but every week they squeak by. I expect them to continue that trend this week against Arizona. As much as I’d like to take Arizona to show up, the Jags have to put a complete game together one of these weeks. I’ll take Jacksonville.
OAK -7 mia
Miami lost 22-0 to Cleveland last week. Oakland is slightly better than Cleveland. So, Oakland should be at least 22 point favorites this week. Miami is terrible. They should be embarrassed by their performance on Sunday. I don’t have a whole lot of confidence in Oakland but I have even less confidence in Miami on the road. I’ll take Oakland.
SEA -4.0 nyg
This game could really go either way. Seattle should’ve dominated San Francisco so that is a cause for concern. The Giants should’ve crushed the Eagles. Philadelphia gave them every opportunity to run away with that game and they couldn’t. The Giants have been a totally different team on the road. Seattle should put up some points at home. I’ll take Seattle.
PHI -5.0 gb
Las Vegas seems to have a lot of confidence in Mike McMahon. He looked OK at times against the Giants. However, the quarterback dual pits Brett Favre vs. Mike McMahon and Brett Favre is getting 5 points. When you look at it that way, it seems like a bad line. I’ll take Green Bay to keep this game close.
no -1.5 NYJ
Does this game really need to be played? Could the NFL fans be spared this pending disaster? Maybe these teams could agree on a tie before the game. That way, nobody loses. The Saints are ridiculous. The Jets are terrible. The Jets have actually lost respectably at home this year while the Saints have lost terribly on the road. I’ll take the NY Jets with zero confidence.
IND -8 pit
If Tommy Maddox were the quarterback for the Steelers this week, I’d take Indy -10. Early indications say that Big Ben will be back. The Steelers have a good defense and a ball control offense. That should be enough to keep Pittsburgh within eight points. I’ll take Pittsburgh to keep it close.
Coin Flip’s picks