TheDC sports columnist Andy Hayes: Week 7 NFL picks
Another poor week last week – 6 wins 8 losses. Not good. Now 45-45 overall.
- Buff @ Balt (-13.5). Chances of Balt winning here are as good as the chances that you will see the word “Spooktacular” within 10 minutes of reading this. Balt 43, Buff 17.
- Cincy @ Atlanta (-3.5). I find it very interesting that the two most overrated players in the NFL presently, as voted by the players themselves, are two of the most productive players in NFL history: Terrell Owens and Tony Romo. Owens just had a 200+ yard receiving game a few weeks ago, is top 10 in receiving yards this year (at age 38) and is #2 all time in receiving yards. But Romo is the one I don’t understand. Tony Romo, is #5 all time in QB rating (behind Steve Young, Phillip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers). Statistically, Romo just plain gets the job done. I know he has chunked a few big games, but with the exception of the Seattle playoff game, I’m not sure the chunking was all his fault in those games…you try playing for Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett. So to call him one of the most overrated seems to me to be inaccurate. Atl 31, Cincy 20.
- SF @ Car (+3.5). I like Matt Moore starting again – I think he’s good and Jimmy Clausen is clearly not ready. But this Car team is sorry. If you’re in a confidence pool, for this game, put very low numbers on it. SF is the better team but their struggles this year are well documented and if nothing else, they’ve proven to be totally unreliable. SF 21, Car 17.
- Wash @ Chic (-2.5). If it were legal, Mike Martz wouldn’t use offensive linemen. Chic 19, Wash 16.
- Jax @ KC (-4.5). What is Jax? They are an odd team. They have very solid victories over Denver and Indy at home and an OK win at Buff. But then they have 3 blowout losses – by 25 points to SD, 25 points to Philly and 27 points to Tenn. Worst part for Jax is that they’ve played 4 of their first 6 in Jax. Don’t see them recovering this year. KC 30, Jax 19.
- Phil @ Tenn (-2.5). Interesting that more hasn’t been made of the fact that Jeff Fisher has kept his job for 17 years despite making it to the playoffs just 6 times. Not sure exactly what the expectations are for coaches w/respect to getting to the playoffs, but you’d think a 35% playoff-making rate just wouldn’t cut it eventually. I know he’s been in a tough division now for many years with Manning etc – but still. What’s especially interesting is that Fisher didn’t have a winning record in his first 5 seasons (and no playoff appearances), yet he kept his job. That said, this year anyway, this is a good team and they could take down a fairly hot Philly team. Tenn 27, Phil 17.
- StL @ TB (-2.5). How Indy punter Pat McAfee ended up with a 1 game suspension (handed down by his team) for just having a few too many drinks (and then swimming in a canal) is beyond me. From the accounts I’ve read – McAfee was just being a relatively harmless, 23 year old drunk. Unless he threatened or harmed someone else, this suspension is ridiculous. Besides being of partying age, McAfee looks a bit like Jeff Spicoli – so I’m not sure he can avoid partying. What Indy should have done is handle this like my dad did the first time I came home after having many too many. He simply said (with a sort of wicked smile): “we’ll talk about more (re: punishment) in the morning”. HE never did a thing – but I felt the punishment he was talking about for 2 days. And, from this experience I ended up learning a valuable lesson: trying to get through a hangover without ibuprofen is not smart. What does all this have to do with this game? Nothing. TB 27, StL 23.
- Cleve @ NO (-13.5). So before the season started, who could have predicted that this game would feature a big-time RB showdown between Peyton Hillis and Chris Ivory? NO 27, Cleve 13.
- Pitt @ Miami (+3.5). After tearing up the Packers last week, Chad Henne may think he’s not that bad. Unfortunately for Henne, he’ll soon realize that passing last week against the pass-rush-less Packers was something Tony Sporano could have done before he lost 150 pounds. With Pitt, the pass rush situation is significantly scarier (as is the catching-the-ball-anywhere-near-James-Harrison situation). Miami will be uncomfortable in this game. Pitt 30, Mia 17.
- AZ @ Sea (-5.5). Huge spread here. A bit too big. Seattle played a nice game last week in Chicago and snatched one from the Bears. Half of the reason they were able to do that was because Chicago had to respect Seattle’s improved rushing attack. Seattle went from having a sort of non running game to one that opponents have to respect. Overnight, they added credibility to their offense by picking up Marshawn Lynch – even if he didn’t do a ton last week. My guess is that the big benefit for Seattle from this trade – besides some great games from Lynch – may be the psychological edge they’ve gained by simply enhancing their offensive credibility. (Yes, I’m very angry that the Packers didn’t trade for Marshawn Lynch because the Packers’ running game, meanwhile, still has no credibility.) Sea 23, AZ 20.
- Oak @ Den (-6.5). Denver has had some tough luck so far. To lose in the fashion they did last Sunday is brutal. I was positive Denver would pull off that upset and was starting to think I was a genius when I checked NFL.com and saw they were up 3 with just a couple minutes left. Amazing how quickly one can go from feeling like Nostradamus to feeling like Notalentassclown. Denver 27, Oak 20.
- NE @ SD (-2.5). Want to see something absolutely astounding for a 2-4 team? Click here. This shows that SD leads the NFL in offensive yards and is #1 defensively in fewest yards allowed. So what could possibly be the problem? How could they be 2-4? Special teams. Read here for a post detailing just how bad SD’s special teams unit is. To give you just a small sampling from this piece (which, shamelessly, is my piece from my Packer website), punter Mike Scifres’ gross punting average is 49.5, yet his net average is 25.9. Sometimes stats tell the whole story. NE 29, SD 24.
- MN @ GB (-2.5). I don’t think I’m the only one thinking this: I want Favre to get crushed Sunday night by Clay Matthews. GB 31, MN 17.
- NYG @ Dal (-3.5). The #2 most overrated player (again, Romo) against the #5 most overrated player (Eli Manning). I’ve already addressed my dispute with Romo’s overration (if you will, new word now). Now, for Manning, it’s a bit trickier. I’m already on record sharing that I’m not a fan of Eli Manning and that I think of him as the whiney younger brother who tells on his older brother for drinking straight out of the orange juice pitcher. So my take on him is slanted some. But it gets more confusing for me after a quick review of his career stats. On the one hand, he’s won a Super Bowl (against a massively worthy opponent in undefeated New England) and including this year, he’s never had a losing record as the starting QB – impressive. On the other hand, Manning has a career QB rating of 79.7. While I take QB rating with a grain of salt because I think it gives disproportionate weight to completion percentage – 79.7 isn’t a very good rating no matter how you look at it. So, in the end, my verdict is: Manning is simply rated (not overrated or underrated). Dal 34, NYG 23.