Sometimes picking football games feels a lot like throwing darts. You see two teams, cant’ decide, and come up with some random reason that one will win. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve used uniform preferences for my selections, but there are times that I go with “a feeling.” Sometimes that makes me look like a genius, and other times I take Tennessee to beat Chicago.
There is no perfect system. That’s something I’ve come to learn. I think I know more about the NFL that the average fan, actually that I’m sure of, but to say I’m as knowledgeable as someone like Bill Barnwell, or even my friend Chris Price, would be laughable. I don’t, I’m okay with that.
I have several “rules” that I pick my games with, and sometimes they’re thrown out the window. At the end of the day, the most important one, I find, is to go with your gut. When you see Team A against Team B, usually your first thought is the way to go. At least if you have a good feeling for the league. Otherwise, you might as well go with uniform colors, team nicknames or Roshambo.
The system worked out okay last week, except for two things that kept me from having an extraordinary week. One, the aforementioned underestimation of the supernatural force that is the Bears defense, and two, not factoring into my picks just how porous the Philadelphia offensive line is. Still, your buddy at the Sports Desk went 10-4, which aint too shabby. Ol’ Eagle one did even better, going 11-3. Good for him.
Rich: 88-43 (.672); Matt 79-52 (.603)
Indianapolis at Jacksonville: I’ve come to terms with the fact that the Thursday night slate is less than stellar. That’s okay, I’m good with it. The way I figure, I get home from work usually around 10 or 10:30 PM this time of year on a Thursday, and I’ve got most of the third quarter and all of the fourth to watch. Even if it’s a bad game, that keeps me entertained for most of evening as I eat a late dinner. This week, while I nibble on cold hamburgers and french fries, I’ll be watching Rookie of the Year Andrew Luck pick apart the awful Jacksonville defense. Luck is one of my favorite stories of the year, he’s been awesome. Fingers crossed that Indy makes the playoffs and draws Denver in round one, that would be a blast.
- Rich’s Pick: Colts
- Matt’s Pick: Colts
NY Giants at Cincinnati: The G-men were horrible last week, there’s no other way to say it. That’s par for the course for them. I’ve said it before, they usually show up in games where they feel a statement has to be made, but in contests that they don’t have their collective hearts in, we get a showing like last week. Knowing Tom Coughlan was probably eight shades of red this week, I have to believe that the good Giants show up against a Cincy team that seems to have just two plays in its playbook, deep to AJ Green and run straight ahead into four waiting tacklers.
- Rich’s Pick: Giants
- Matt’s Pick: Giants
Tennessee at Miami: Truthfully, I give up with this Titans team. They rope me back in, and then they spit at me. Chris Johnson has been better, but I don’t have a good feeling about this one (remember, the gut). Miami is battling for that last playoff spot in the AFC. I don’t think that they’ll get it, but they’re better than most people expected, and Reggie Bush has been awesome. Miami at home takes it.
- Rich’s Pick: Dolphins
- Matt’s Pick: Dolphins
Detroit at Minnesota: While the Titans have been Kryptonite for me this year, I’d have to say that for the most part that Detroit has been Matt’s. They’re a team that just frustrates, but they may be turning it around. I mean, they’re in the running for a playoff spot, they’re going up against a team that can’t throw the ball, and has its best receiver on the pine for this one, and Matt Stafford has to find Calvin Johnson for a TD at some point this year. Doesn’t he?
- Rich’s Pick: Lions
- Matt’s Pick: Lions
Buffalo at New England: The Patriots will make Ryan Fitzpatrick look better than he is, but they’ll also put up far too many points for the BIlls to keep up with. The Pats aren’t a great team, but they’re still good, and they’re much better than the Bills.
- Rich’s Pick: Patriots
- Matt’s Pick: Patriots
Atlanta at New Orleans: Let’s not get too excited about what the Saints defense did last week. Falmouth High School’s D-line would have had at least four sacks and a pick against Philly last week. Atlanta has yet to lose, and we will continue to ride that train as long as it lasts.
- Rich’s Pick: Falcons
- Matt’s Pick: Saints
San Diego at Tampa Bay: Doug Martin will see your bet and raise you two touchdowns and 100-yards. The guy has put up back-to-back superhuman games, and the Chargers are a bad football team. Yes, they won last week, but that was Kansas City, and the Bucs are not the Chiefs. If you need one more reason to pick Tampa, this is a West Coast team going East for a 1 PM game, so that’s worth a TD right there in my estimation.
- Rich’s Pick: Buccaneers
- Matt’s Pick: Buccaneers
Denver at Carolina: SuperCam did it last week against the Redskins, and handed me a loss. Will he do it two weeks in a row? I doubt it. Denver s playing very well. Eric Decker catches touchdowns week in and week out and Peyton Manning’s resurgence will continue.
- Rich’s Pick: Broncos
- Matt’s Pick: Broncos
Oakland at Baltimore: Another west coast team going east for an early game. The Raiders hung tough with the Bucs last week, but they’re not much of a road team (1-3 away from the Black Hole). I think that this Ravens team is doing it with mirrors, but they’ll be the worst 7-2 team in the league after this week.
- Rich’s Pick: Ravens
- Matt’s Pick: Ravens
NY Jets at Seattle: If the playoffs started this week, the Seahawks are in. They’re fighting, they’re getting better, and they’ve got a bad quarterback coming to face a good defense at one of the places with an above average home field advantage. Easy pickings, give me the Seahawks.
- Rich’s Pick: Seahawks
- Matt’s Pick: Seahawks
Dallas at Philadelphia: Those “experts” calling for the head of Michael Vick in Philly need to chill. Yes, Vick has had a down year. There’s no question about that. I ask you, how would any top tier QB be doing with that offensive line? Better? Maybe. Much better? Probably not. I saw Vick take a three-step drop against New Orleans and get hit before his left arm came up to throw. Dallas’ D will enjoy putting pressure on Vick, and find a way to win on the road, believe it or not.
- Rich’s Pick: Cowboys
- Matt’s Pick: Eagles
St. Louis at San Francisco: The 49ers enjoyed a bye week last weekend, and now they have the Rams. Two weeks for that defense to prep for Sam Bradford and his receiver corps of UFL castoffs, I think the 49ers are the safe play.
- Rich’s Pick: 49ers
- Matt’s Pick: 49ers
Houston at Chicago: GAME OF THE WEEK. Sunday Night Football has got a gem this week. The Bears live and die with that awesome defense, but here’s the thing, the Texans don’t make a lot of mistakes. They control the ball, and aren’t afraid to play punt back-and-forth football and wait for a big play to break. Jay Cutler is more likely to make the mistakes than Matt Shaub in this one, I think. I guess it’s a mild upset, since they’re the road team, but I’m rolling with the Texans.
- Rich’s Pick: Texans
- Matt’s Pick: Bears
Kansas City at Pittsburgh: While SNF got a beauty this week, the MNF crew got stuck with beast, and not in the cool Marshawn Lynch kind of way. This game will be U-G-L-Y. The Steelers are pretty good, and the Chiefs are all kinds of bad. Easy pick here, Pittsburgh in a rout.
- Rich’s Pick: Steelers
- Matt’s Pick: Steelers
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.