NFL Week 12 Picks

OK, gotta get these out quick so Al has a chance.

Sunday 1:00
Bills @ Jacksonville(-8)
Lotta points. I think Jax sees Indy all banged up and they think they can take the division. With Garrard back, they might be right. They’ll cover this.

Texans @ Cleveland(-3.5)
Well, with Andre Johnson back, the Texans are now at least kind of respectable. However, I’m not yet ready to take them on the road against a team with a better record. Browns.

Vikings @ New Jersey Giants Stadium(-7.5)
OK, at first I thought this was a no-brainer for the Giants, but then I checked the injury sheet. Ward is doubtful and Jacobs is out–who’s running the ball for the Giants? Plax is nicked up but expected to play. I’m not sure how much the vaunted pass rush of the Giants will mean against a Vikings team that will hardly ever pass. Hmm. I think I’ll actually take the points here.

Saints @ Carolina(+2.5)
The Panthers are a train wreck. Even the crappy version of the Saints should cover this.

Raiders @ Kansas City(-5)
Gotta go with the Chefs here; the Raiders haven’t looked good of late and Arrowhead is always a tough place to play.

Seahawks @ St. Louis(+3)
I don’t especially like either of these teams, and the Rams are looking better, but seriously, you can’t expect the Rams to win this game, right? And with the spread only a field goal, I think this means I have to pick Seattle.

Titans @ Cincinnati(+1.5)
I’ve been pretty underwhelmed by Tennessee lately, but the Bengals have been back in Bungles form of late, too, so this is a tough pick. I have no good reason to go with this, but I think I’m going to take the points and take Cinci.

Redskins @ Tampa(-3)
Washington is, I think, still shell-shocked from that Pats game a while back. Well, no, they played Dallas tough for at least three quarters. Again, I have no strong reason to go with this, but I’m thinking Tampa here.

Sunday 4:10±5
Niners @ Arizona(-10)
Wow, San Francisco is a train wreck, but double digits to the Cardinals? That seems like a lot. Err, no, wait, I’ve seen the Niners in the last couple weeks, they’re hideous. Give the ten.

Broncos @ Chicago(-1.5)
I love getting points here. The Broncos are now leading their division and there is no way in hell that the Bears have any chance at catching the Packers. I don’t like teams with nothing to play for against those who do. Also, the Bears stink on ice. I’m taking Denver.

Ravens @ San Diego(-8.5)
Again, a team with something to play for against a team not only with nothing to play for, but which also stinks on ice. I’ll give the points.

Sunday NBC
Eagles @ New England(-24)
So, the real question is, how many points would it take for me to take the Eagles on the road? More than this, that’s for sure.

Dolphins @ Pittsburgh(-16)
OK, so the Dolphins are awful and the Steelers are amazing at home. Other than against the Pats, though, Miami has actually been pretty good against the spread. I say they lose this game by a mere 13.

Thanksgiving Picks

OK, so I’ll update Week 11 later. Not sure when I’ll get to Sunday’s picks… it might not be until Saturday night. But, gotta get in Thursday.

Packers @ Detroit(+3.5)
OK, the Lions had their day in the sun. It’s over Packers by a TD.

Jets @ Dallas(-14)
They get to be the Jets this week by virtue of their victory on Sunday. Anyway, this is a whole heck of a lot of points. However, despite the 4th-quarter surge last week, I’m not sure the Cowboys really have the goods to blow out the Jets. Err, wait, what am I saying? These are the Jets! Cowboys cover the big number.

Colts @ Atlanta(+12)
Even all banged up, the Colts are simply a lot better. I’m a little worried about the number of points here, but I think I have to give them.

In praise of… Windows?

Now there’s a headline that I never thought I’d write. Generally speaking, I have a pretty active dislike for Windows, mostly because the UI & QC are so poor. Don’t even get me started on things like adding a printer under Windows… Anyway, the idea here is not to try to ignite a Mac vs. PC hubub, because those generally end up being pretty stupid religious wars.

But, there is something that Windows does much better than a Mac. That thing is this: backward compatibility.

I have a new Intel Mac. It’s very nice, and it’s very fast, and Leopard is pretty cool, but I’m not running Leopard full-time because there’s software I need that isn’t Leopard-happy (SPSS, I’m looking mostly at you). Heck, I’m still struggling with the transition to Intel, which has orphaned other software I use regularly (that’d be MCL).

The real thing moving to an Intel Mac seriously orphaned, though, is Classic. Why? Well, I’m not much of a gamer, but there is one game which I enjoy and was really my only reason to run Classic: Civilization II. (Really, I’ll stop when I finish this next turn.) With the Intel Mac, no more Classic, so no more Civ2. Now, Civ4 runs really nicely in Mac OS X, and it’s a fine game–but I still miss Civ2. I had started looking into SheepShaver, but that was clearly going to require work and I hadn’t gotten to it.

Then, I was in a half-price bookstore, and on a software shelf, for a whole $3.98, was Civilization II for the PC. And then it hit me: I could play Civ by running Windows! Oh, but the game is dated 1996… would 11-year old software for Win95 really still run on XP. Answer: yes, perfectly, without a hitch. I just works. Heck, I don’t even need to boot Windows, it runs in emulation on VMWare just great. Runs faster than the Classic version did on my dual-2.7GHz G5, too.

Apple has done a great job transitioning across two OSs and three hardware architectures in the time I’ve been a Mac user (that’s 20 years now!)—I doubt Microsoft could have pulled it off nearly as well—but there’s a cost. There’s a lot of software that’s three or four years old that I can’t run on a new Mac. But 11 year old Windows software? No problem.

There’s some irony in there somewhere.

Sorry, got to go, the Sioux are attacking St. Louis again…

NFL Week 11

OK, so last week both Al and I went under .500, we went 6-8. That makes me 66-57-7 and Al is 66-56-8. Still above water for the season, but the waves are now lapping at our noses. Let’s see if we can get it going again this week! That probably depends on whether teams like the Broncos, Saints, and Lions can decide if they’re decent or not…

Sunday 1:00
Cardinals @ Cincinnati(-3)
Yeah, the Bungles beat the Ravens last week, but the Ravens are awful. I’m more than happy to get points here.

Panthers @ Green Bay(-9.5)
I think Terry Bradshaw’s dad will be suiting up for Carolina at QB—they’re a joke. Packers cover this big number without breaking a sweat.

Browns @ Baltimore(+2.5)
This is the same Ravens team which got spanked by the lifeless Bengals last week, right? Yeah, and the Browns didn’t win, but they at least put in a respectable effort vs. Pittsburgh last week. I think the Browns should cover this.

Chefs @ Indianapolis(-14.5)
I don’t doubt that the Colts will win this game, but that seems like a heck of a lot of points for such a banged-up Indy team. The only reason I’m not enthusiastic about this is that it’s clear that Vegas wants us to take KC… aww, screw it, I’m taking the pile of points.

Dolphins @ Philly(-9.5)
I dunno. The Iggles looked good last week, which this season has been a sure sign that they’d be awful in the following week. Plus, Miami has played both the Giants and the Bills closer than 9.5 the last couple weeks, and I think both of those teams are better than Philly. I’ll take the points.

Saints @ Houston(-1)
The Texans aren’t very good, but I guess there’s a small chance they’ll have Andre Johnson back this week. The Saints are the most amazingly schitzo team in the league. Horrible start, then looked great, then dropped one to the Rams (!). If the good Saints show up, they’ll cruise. If the bad Saints show up, then it’ll be close. I say the good Saints show up.

Raiders @ Vikings(-4.5)
I hear some retiree friend of my dad’s will be suiting up at QB for the Vikings so that the Panthers won’t be the only team starting guys ten years older than me. (OK, OK, five.) Anyway, these are two horrible teams. With Brooks at the helm for the Vikes and Peterson out, I say this comes down to a field goal.

Chargers @ Jacksonville(-3)
How do you barely manage to squeak out a win when you get six picks and run back a kick? Those wacky Bolts. I’m taking the Jags here.

Bucs @ Atlanta(+3)
The Falcons have looked better lately, but I can’t see that actually becoming a trend. Tampa.

Giants @ Detroit(+2.5)
This is a tough pick. I mean, the Lions got exposed last week, but I believe they’ve beaten the spread every week at home this year. Hmm. OK, Lions lose by a point, but cover the spread.

Sunday 4:10±5
Steelers @ New Jersey Meadowlands(+9.5)
I have seen nothing which indicates this will be anything but a blowout. Steelers.

Redskins @ Dallas(-11)
Man, that’s a lot of points. Here’s why: the Redskins are 2-6-2 against the spread in their last ten road games, and Dallas is 8-2 against the spread in their last ten games. I’m not gonna argue with those numbers and I’ll give the points.

Rams @ San Francisco(+3)
Wow, getting three points when at home vs. a 1-win team. You know how bad the Niners are? I think the spread is probably too small. Rams.

Bears @ Seattle(-5.5)
I keep blowing it when I pick against the Seabags. I’ve learned my lesson and I’ll give the points.

Sunday NBC
Patriots @ Buffalo(+16)
I keep hearing all this crap about how the Bills are resurgent, etc. Look, this is the Patriots with two weeks to prepare, now with the added bonus of the Shula “asterisk” comments. The Pats will light up the Bills like a Christmas tree. Pats all the way. (However, this will be a small thing compared to how badly the Pats are going to treat the Jets and Dolphins later.)

Titans @ Denver(-2)
Tennessee is two games better (6-3) than Denver (4-5) and the Broncos are favored? Really? OK, I’ll take the points.

NFL Week 10

I’ll update the standings next week. I mostly watched three games last week: Jags-Saints, Chargers-Vikings, and, of course, the big game. The Saints look like they’re completely back, at least on offense; Brees was a minor deity in that game. However, he looked like nothing compared to Peterson. That was amazing. You knew Peterson was going to get the ball, the Bolts had 9 (and sometimes 10) guys in the box, and still nothing stopping him. Yikes.

As for Pats-Colts, that was quite a game. Those are good teams, man. I have to think with Harrison playing at full strength, the Colts win that game. OTOH, without all those phantom interference calls, the Pats win by a lot more. Can’t wait to see the rematch in January. I also have to say, given the Shula comments, that I’ll take the Pats and give the 25 or whatever the spread is when the Pats play the Dolphins. They’ll win by 50. * that, dolphins.

Anyway, on to the games…

Sunday 1:00
Bills @ Miami(+2.5)
Speaking of the Dolphins, I think they lose this game by at least a field goal.

Browns @ Pittsburgh(-10)
Ten is a lot. I know the Stillers lit up the Ravens like a Christmas tree, but I think the Browns might be better; at least they have an offense. I’ll take the ten.

Broncos @ Kansas City(-3)
Denver is, I think, pretty much done for the season. Chefs.

Jaguars @ Tennessee(-4)
I was going to guess the spread was Titans by 5, so I guess I’ll give the points.

Vikings @ Green Bay(-6)
I dunno, Peterson is awesome, but I can’t think the Vikings can do that two weeks in a row. I’ll give the points at Lambeau.

Eagles @ Washington(-2.5)
I’m amazed this isn’t more than a field goal. The Iggles suck, give the points all the way.

Rams @ New Orleans(-11)
I would, however, take the Eagles over the Rams. I see no reason to think the Saints won’t blow them out of the building.

Falcons @ Carolina(-4)
I’m not sure if anybody is more of a train wreck than the Panthers’ QB situation. I’m actually going to take the points here.

Sunday 4:10±5
Bengals @ Baltimore(-4)
More horrible teams. I cannot figure out what the problem is with the Bengals; the Ravens problem is clear, they have no offense, in part because of horrible QB play and a refusal to acknowledge that. OK, I’ve talked myself into taking the points.

Bears @ Oakland(+3.5)
I like getting more than a field goal here; I’m not sure the Bears can move the ball much against the Raiders. Granted, the Raiders probably won’t be able to move the ball, either, so I’m thinking a field goal game, so take the points.

Cowboys @ New Jersey Giants Stadium(+1.5)
You know, the Giants D-line gets all this great press, but what did they do against the Dolphins? And the Cowboys can also run the ball, which tends to blunt the pass rush. I’m happy to be giving less than two points.

Lions @ Arizona(-1.5)
For the first time I can remember, the Lions seem to actually have figured something out on defense. That makes them the favorite here in my book.

Sunday NBC
Colts @ San Diego(+3.5)
Indy will have something to prove, and Norv “Duh” Turner will have no idea what to do about it. I’m giving the points.

Niners @ Seattle(-10)
The Seabags aren’t all that good, but the Niners are plain awful. Are they 10 full points more awful than Seattle. Nah, that’s too many points.

NFL Week 9

Amazingly enough, both Al and I went 8-5 last week. I’m 60-49-7 and Al is 60-48-6. Obviously, huge crash is coming. I wonder how long it’ll hold off…

Until looking at the spreads right now, I could have told you two of the matchups, the obvious one, and Eagles-Cowboys. Somehow, the big game has eclipsed almost the entire rest of the schedule. I think the only reason that I know about the Eagles game is because of Andy Reid’s highly successful parenting.

So, the question is, will having no idea hurt or help? We’ll see…

Sunday 1:00
Panthers @ Tennessee(-4)
OK, so it appears that Carr will be starting for Carolina. Titans.

Bungles @ Buffalo(+1)
I’m taking the Bills at home, at least until they’re actually favored at home.

Broncos @ Detroit(-3)
I’ll give the points; the Broncos have no idea how to score anything but field goals.

Packers @ Kansas City(-2)
The Chefs are vulnerable to the run, but the Packers can’t run, so I see this one going to KC.

Jaguars @ New Orleans(-3.5)
Gerrard is still out, I think, so I expect the Saints to see a serious dose of MJ-D. The Saints are the glamor pick here, so I’m going the other way–I think the Jags defense and ball control gives them the victory, or at least keeps it awfully close. (I’m liking that extra half-point here.)

Chargers @ Minnesota(+7)
The Vikings are horrible, no matter how good Peterson is. Bolts.

Niners @ Atlanta(-3.5)
Totally hideous, and I was thinking a tossup–I wonder why the Falcons are giving the extra half-point? They must know something I don’t; Falcons, I guess.

Redskins @ New Jersey Meadowlands(+3.5)
I see no reason to pick the Jest.

Cardinals @ Tampa(-3.5)
I like the Bucs here and I also, for some reason, want them to win, so obviously I should be picking Arizona. Cards it is.

Sunday 4:10±5
Seahawks @ Cleveland(-1)
Wow, look at the Browns, favored and everything. I’m even going to pick them.

Texans @ Oakland(-3)
Uhh, yeah. Are the Texans starting anybody on offense who started in week 1? Anyone? No? Raiders.

Patriots @ Indianapolis(+5.5)
The big game, the biggest regular-season game ever that didn’t have a playoff berth on the line. I get the sense these two teams really don’t like each other. These are two shockingly good football teams, there is no way I should have picked against the Colts two weeks ago (against the Jags). However, because the Colts have two key injuries–Marvin Harrison and their starting left tackle–and the Pats are basically healthy, I have to go with the Pats to cover. I’ll be in my Brady jersey, of course…

Sunday NBC
Cowboys @ Philadelphia(+3)
Man, the pundits all seem to be on the “Eagles will rally” bandwagon. What on earth have they shown this season which suggests the Eagles can rally? Cowboys.

Ravens @ Pittsburgh(-9)
This could easily be a push, with the Steelers kicking 3 FGs and the Ravens being shut out. Seems like too many points, though, doesn’t it? Yeah, I’ll take the points.