To put it bluntly, picking games this season has been a disaster. Losing close games is common, but it seems to be even more of a weekly occurrence this season. Twenty games under .500 is pretty terrible, especially since I finished 15 games above .500 last year in my first year actually writing out/documenting my NFL picks. Maybe things are just evening out, or maybe I'm just not that good at it to begin with (likely). But with four weeks of games left to go (and then playoff picks), my goal is to get to .500. It's improbable, and there's a better chance that my record steadily deteriorates instead, but hey, there's nothing wrong with looking for moral victories at a time like this. I'm not above that.
To the picks:
Colts (-3.5) over TITANS
Picked this one, incorrectly, on Thursday morning. Special thanks to the Titans for ruining this pick with a touchdown on the last play of the game. That was awesome.
Raiders (+4) over JAGUARS
The Colts' win really puts pressure on the Jaguars, who would like to stay a game ahead heading into next week's Jaguars-Colts showdown in Indianapolis. But the Raiders may actually be better than the Jaguars, regardless of what the Jags need to do.
Bengals (+9) over STEELERS
The Steelers will win, but nine points just seems like a lot for as many field goals as Pittsburgh has kicked the last two weeks.
Browns (PK) over BILLS
In Peyton Hillis we trust -- as long as Jake Delhomme doesn't blow it.
Giants (-3) over VIKINGS
With how gimpy Brett Favre is these days, the Giants may actually prefer that the turnover-prone quarterback played. Still, they're going to load up the box with defenders to stop Adrian Peterson, meaning that either Favre or Tarvaris Jackson is going to have to beat them. And with Percy Harvin likely to miss another game, that won't be such an easy task.
Packers (-7) over LIONS
Drew Stanton actually wasn't too bad last week against a solid Bears defense. Can he do that against one of the NFL's best defenses for the second straight week? I doubt it.
Falcons (-7.5) over PANTHERS
Isn't picking against the Panthers a given at this point?
Buccaneers (-3) over REDSKINS
Ditto for the Redskins (oh, plus injuries, no blocking, etc.).
SAINTS (-9) over Rams
The Rams get a wake-up call after a rather easy win over the Cardinals last week.
Seahawks (+5.5) over 49ERS
Alex Smith gets the start at quarterback this week for San Francisco. I don't really have anything else to add.
Patriots (-3) over BEARS
If there was a time for a let-down game for the Patriots, this game -- on the road, against a tough defense and a team that's won five straight games -- might be it. But the Patriots have won four straight of their own and have dominated teams the last few weeks. I'll side with Tom Brady over Jay Cutler.
JETS (-6) over Dolphins
The Jets were flat-out embarrassed last week against the Patriots. Rex Ryan will make sure that that kind of lackadaisical effort doesn't happen again.
Broncos (-4) over CARDINALS
It would be pretty simple to make a John Skelton joke, but the Cardinals are bad no matter who starts at quarterback. It's not your fault, Mr. Skelton.
CHARGERS (-7) over Chiefs
With Matt Cassel (23 TD, 4 INT) out this week, Brodie Croyle (career: 8 TD, 8 INT) gets the start under center for the Chiefs. Kansas City loves to run the ball, but not THAT much.
COWBOYS (+3.5) over Eagles
I don't know how it's possible, but it's Week 14 and the Cowboys and Eagles haven't played each other yet. What's that all about? Anyway, the Eagles will have their hands full against, ahem, a resurgent Cowboys team that has won three of its last four -- and could have won four straight if not for a Roy Williams fumble against the Saints. The Eagles appear to have the edge, but losing Asante Samuel and Winston Justice definitely hurts.
Ravens (-3) over TEXANS
It's a home game, but I'd be shocked if the Texans won this game -- especially since they aren't exactly adept at taking down very good teams this season. How's that for insight?
Wow, that's a lot of road picks. That can't possibly work, right?
Last week: 7-9