The 2010 NFL Picks
Week Eight


Let’s go back to July. Close your eyes… take a slow, deep breath… and try to picture the start of training camp.

From that perspective, could you possibly imagine a scenario where… with the middle of the season creeping in… Kansas City would be a huge favorite over Jacksonville (and then cover)? How about one where in the same week New Orleans and Denver wouldn’t just be favored big, but would lose?

It’s the NFL folks… with its parity and crazy outcomes. Best wishes.

The favorites are running 38-59-7 on the year… and while I contend that divisional games account for much of that tilt, I can’t rely on it. Divisional contests were split evenly between the favorites and underdogs last week… and the favorites went 5-9 overall.

This week we have Kansas City again favored big… Oakland favored at home while playing a division leader… heck, St. Louis favored at home.

There’s alot to consider.

And it’s time for the New England rant.

A few years ago… and I do mean a few years ago, back when New England was winning Super Bowls… the Patriots were a funny team. See… you knew they were going to win. They would win virtually every week. You’d play that preseason win-loss game and just rattle them off… “win… win… win… win…”… until you ended up with a 12-4, 13-3, or 14-2 record. And while occasionally they’d shock you with a strange loss, 12 to 14 wins is exactly where’d they’d finish.

The problem was, they were so damn methodical about it you couldn’t make any money betting on them.

The games rarely felt close. At home they couldn’t be beaten. And there were enough romps to make you confident in selecting them. But there’d be a 27-19 finish… or 35-28 ending… to games they led by two scores or more. In other words, once the job was done, occasionally there was a foot coming off the gas pedal. And… if you picked them to cover the spread… there was crying to go along with it. Because they were so efficient and you knew they would win, the spreads as I recall were routinely 8 or more.

That approach is what New England seems to suddenly be showing again. There were whispers back in the summer and September that the locker room was looking to get back to basics. In the past two games it’s been visible. Defeated Baltimore… mark down the win and move on. Defeated San Diego… mark down the win and move on. Neither game was pretty. Neither game exhibited anything really worthy of note. The offense didn’t go crazy. They still gave up second half points. And yet… mark down the win and move on. Do what it takes to improve the record, and then forget it to focus on what’s next.

It’s an interesting feeling in New England right now. I’m not sure I’m completely sold on it. But in the next few weeks we are going to see a couple of games that will say a lot about the Patriots… because they’re going to be favored in most of them.

One last thing before we hit the games. Our group.

Mike, Terry and I turned in solid efforts during week 7. The trouble is… Molly was outstanding, leading the way with a 10-4 record and once again placing herself at the top of our standings.

This week there’s alot to be concerned by. There are several tempting games on the schedule, along with an amazing run of favored home teams. (In fact, only Pittsburgh over New Orleans represents a home team not favored.)

Going on a bit of a journey for this week’s film… Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story.

Denver at San Francisco (Pick)“Thanks, Tom. You know what really grinds my gears? Nobody’s come up with a new priest and a rabbi joke in like thirty years. Ya know? I mean, okay, ah, umm. Priest and a rabbi go, go into the supermarket, and, uh, the priest wants to buy a ham. And the rabbi says, ‘Ah, I can’t eat it. It’s forbidden.’ Couldn’t eat it. Not allowed, pigs are like superheroes to them. Is it perfect? No, but I, I don’t see you coming up with anything. And that people is what grinds my gears. Tom?” And right out of the gate we have a sucker punch game. If you’ll allow for the designation of Denver as west coast… here we get two west coast teams playing in London. Between them we have 3 wins and 11 losses, ridiculous levels of underachievement, and all sorts of quarterback questions. Troy Smith is in for the 49ers. Calls for Tebow in Denver. Let me explain why I’m taking Denver. First… once you get over last week’s disaster, you’ll find a team that has been ok offensively. The struggle has been on the defensive side of that ball… where Denver early in 2009 seemed good and then weakened. Injuries have been a part of it, but there have also been mistakes and other problems. This club turned in October or so of last season and has struggled defensively since. In this contest, defense for Denver shouldn’t be a huge problem. Second… can you tell me the record of AFC-NFC games this season? 17-12 in favor of the AFC. When you consider that San Francisco has looked like the weaker team each week… even in their victory, they weren’t good… I think the stronger conference in these types of game deserves a nod. And third… I honestly believe that Denver will be able to score in this game. With the quarterback change, I can’t say the same about San Francisco. (By the way… Frank Gore… basically the only ball carrier in San Francisco (135 carries for Gore, 12 for the number two guy… Alex Smith). And Gore is also the top receiver, with 37 receptions. They need some diversity. Soon.)
Bob: Denver
Terry: Denver
Mike: Denver
Mike Jr: Denver
Molly: Denver
Gus: Denver
Sam: Denver

Jacksonville at Dallas (6½)“Ah, he is so right on. Women are such teases. That’s why I went back to men.” Last week I mentioned that as the 49ers were defeating Oakland, one reporter was noting how at 16 for 32, Alex Smith had to be happy. He finished 16 for 33 and under 200-yards passing. As Jon Kitna gets ready to take over the Cowboys… he came in after Romo’s injury last week… plenty of people thought he looked rusty. After all, it’s been a while since he played in a game. Do I need to tell you? Ok, in relief he went 16 for 33 and 187-yards with two touchdowns. One reporter’s looking good is another reporter’s rusty. It’s all in the perception. Amazingly, for me, the injury isn’t the problem with the Cowboys. No. The problem with the Cowboys is the Cowboys. Consider… they were leading the Giants 20-7 at one point. Not too long after, they were trailing 38-20. Consider… Eli Manning and the Giants put 41 points on the board… and Eli threw three interceptions. So they sacrificed a big lead… allowed a team to run all over them, even while that team was turning the ball over… and this is a club that has had numerous penalties and other problems in recent weeks while losing games to Tennessee and Minnesota. In other words… the Cowboys are a complete mess. Enter the Jaguars. At 3-4 you might be tempted to arch your eyebrows and make some witty observation… something along the lines of how a 3 or 4 game streak could put the Jaguars in the AFC playoff hunt. Ignore that temptation. The Jaguars have given up 79 more points than they’ve scored. Allow me to repeat that in three different ways: (1) Jacksonville is the only club to have given up more than 200 points this season, and they’re at 209 so the bye-week stuff isn’t worthy of too much thought. That’s 30-points per week to the opposition. (2) The Jaguars are being outscored on average by 8-points per game, but even with Kansas City putting up 42 last week, every opponent has cleared 26 against them except Denver in the season opener. (3) The Jaguars are being outscored worse on the road… 106-69, or 35-23 per game. Those road games were against the behemoths of 2010… San Diego, Buffalo (a win) and Kansas City. You now see why a team like this Dallas club is such a heavy favorite. And against my better judgment, I’m going to take the Cowboys. For three reason. Number one… rusty quarterback or not, they will score more than 20 points this week. Number two… there are a few issues with the quarterback position of the Jaguars. It is not that farfetched to suggest that within four or five consecutive snaps they could lose their starter, number two, and emergency quarterback to injuries. All three are iffy heading in to this game. And number three… desperation. Ok… I know… that’s a risky reason. But did you only glance those concepts about the Jaguars and scoring points? Go read them again. Every loss has been by 22-points or more. They don’t travel well. And the Cowboys still have some offensive weapons.
Bob: Dallas
Terry: Dallas
Mike: Jacksonville
Mike Jr: Dallas
Molly: Dallas
Gus: Jacksonville
Sam: Jacksonville

Washington at Detroit (2½)“This is gonna be so fun!” “Hey! Zip it! Rule number one: No speaky until the man speaky to you.” Ok… you got me. I almost believe the Lions were favored by a field goal. Now, the real spread is… umm, ok… apparently the Lions are favored by 2½. Wow. Actually, I guess that’s not too amazing. The Lions have been close in some games and they are scoring points. Plus… the Redskins play really close games. Five of their seven games so far have been decided by 5-points or less. Of the other two, one was a 6-point win over Dallas in a low-scoring game. And… Washington is not likely to score more than 20… having accomplished that feat only twice. Add some of that up, put the Lions at home, and then start considering all the late passes (whether or not ruled a completion) and you can see where Detroit either winning comfortably or being able to pull something off late in the game becomes an appealing prediction. I’m taking the underdog only for the sake of taking the underdog. I’ve got no other reason. I wouldn’t feel too comfortable with this game if I was bringing money to the counter.
Bob: Washington
Terry: Washington
Mike: Washington
Mike Jr: Washington
Molly: Detroit
Gus: Detroit
Sam: Washington

Green Bay at New York (Jets) (5½)“How are you Betsy, welcome to the show. You are a lovely young woman… and I’ll just get my hand up there and feel that one… and that one. And we’re looking for something you shop for at the mall, three seconds.” In all three of their losses this season, the Packers trailed by 3-points. Green Bay has held most of their opponents to 20 or less. The Jets lost the game before the bye week and the two after in 2009. This year they looked bad against Denver in a game they easily could have lost two weeks ago. Realistically the question here is simple… can Green Bay score? And I mean touchdowns… not field goals… because they’ll lose if they can’t crack 20. I could see the Packers winning… I could see the Jets winning… I don’t see the Jets winning big.
Bob: Green Bay
Terry: New York
Mike: New York
Mike Jr: New York
Molly: New York
Gus: New York
Sam: New York

Carolina at St. Louis (3)“Peter. Peter. Get on.” A big thing to start out with… St. Louis is 3-1 at home, and Carolina hasn’t won on the road. Here’s another little tidbit for you… other than Detroit (on the road), no team has scored more than 18 against the Rams. That leads me to believe the defense is playing well overall. Last week it was four field goals that helped Tampa Bay to an 18-17 win over the Rams. What the Rams haven’t done is score. 30 against Washington and then never more than 20. So their numbers are really no better than average, and that means trouble… because while they haven’t been brilliant at it in 2010, the Panthers like to control the ball with a good running game. And if St. Louis isn’t going to run away and hide, the Panthers won’t be forced into changing their approach at all. One simple question though determines everything in this game… can the Panthers score? In six games so far, they’ve been held to 7 or less in half of them. It’s a fair question. And while saying I think they can get over 10-points, I do have a concern about how low they’ll be. It’s that St. Louis has jumped out to big leads the past two weeks only to slump in the second half and find both of them nail-biters. I have to take the Rams… the Panthers haven’t shown me enough yet not to. But this could be a close game decided late.
Bob: St. Louis
Terry: Carolina
Mike: St. Louis
Mike Jr: St. Louis
Molly: St. Louis
Gus: Carolina
Sam: St. Louis

Miami at Cincinnati (2½)“Here comes Peter on a clothesline, but his name’s not Peter it is Spiderman. Spiderman.” I see what’s going on here… no one likes Chad Henne. Fair enough. Bye week or no… no team in the AFC has scored less points. Frankly, the 3-3 record is a testament to how good almost everything is except the offense in Miami. So you want to favor the Bungals? Go ahead. Makes a bit of sense. Oh yeah… by the way… would you like to guess who the Dolphins have lost to? Try the Jets, Patriots and Steelers. The Dolphins haven’t had a difficult schedule… it’s been a killer. The big thing here though is simple… Cincy is going to try and control the pace of the game. They are going to run no huddle offensive sets, and they are going to try and put points on the board. I don’t know if Miami is able to compete if they’re successful at doing it. Amazingly though… often, they aren’t successful at it. This is not a potent, dangerous team the Bengals place on the field. And what I do know is that other than New England (and perhaps New York, if you want to consider them potent), the Dolphins have managed to keep some perceived-to-be-strong teams to 20 or less. And last week… Pittsburgh probably scored 3 more than they should have. Cincy is not winning big. The deciding factor for me? Miami is 3-0 on the road this year.
Bob: Miami
Terry: Miami
Mike: Miami
Mike Jr: Miami
Molly: Cincinnati
Gus: Miami
Sam: Miami

Buffalo at Kansas City (8)“You’re drunk!” “You’re sexy!” Yeah… not much to say here. The Bills haven’t looked bad every week… they’ve had a couple of close games… and some opponents have been lucky to get the win. Sorry though… Kansas City hasn’t lost yet at home, and I don’t see the Bills recovering from last week’s loss to Baltimore with another big effort.
Bob: Kansas City
Terry: Kansas City
Mike: Buffalo
Mike Jr: Buffalo
Molly: Kansas City
Gus: Buffalo
Sam: Kansas City

Tennessee at San Diego (3½)“Hey, Stewie. How about Daddy teaches you how to swim?” “Go... away... fat man. Dah! What do you think you’re doing? No means no!” The Patriots played horrendous football last week, and… at home… the Chargers lost against them. Enter one of the better offenses and better defenses in the league. The Tennessee Titans are 3-0 on the road, and a solid 5-2 club that has been dominating in almost every game, and counts the conference-leading Steelers as one of their losses.
Bob: Tennessee
Terry: Tennessee
Mike: San Diego
Mike Jr: San Diego
Molly: Tennessee
Gus: San Diego
Sam: Tennessee

Tampa Bay at Arizona (3)“Hey, is he 18?” “Horace, the drinking age is 21.” “Oh.” Both of these teams have struggled offensively… but Tampa wasn’t supposed to be fielding a top offense just yet. The really funny thing… and potentially big difference in this game… is how badly the Cardinals have looked in general and especially on defense. Still… last week the Cardinals were 12 of 33 for 132-yards of passing. This in a game where they were down 16-0 in the third quarter. I mean… yeah… yuck… on offense. Of course, Tampa has been belted around by clubs with a winning record, so make of their 4-2 record what you will. In this game, I think the outcome will rest on which of these comes true: (1) Can Tampa Bay have a balanced offensive attack, including a solid running game? (2) Max Hall struggled last week, and was knocked out of the game with a head injury. Will he be the 4 of 16 he was when Seattle knocked him out and play like a learning rookie, or, will he show flashes of brilliance against a Tampa defense that is in the bottom third of the league overall and will be missing starters on the defensive line? I’m going to take the Bucs and their learning how to run the ball.
Bob: Tampa Bay
Terry: Arizona
Mike: Tampa Bay
Mike Jr: Arizona
Molly: Arizona
Gus: Arizona
Sam: Tampa Bay

Seattle at Oakland (2½) “Hey Brian! Brian!” “What?” “Knock-knock!” “Oh, come on!” “Knock-knock!” “Who’s there?” “Your friend, Stewie. And he’s always gonna be there for you!” Hmm… which team believes in their success more? I mean, this is a match featuring two yawners of pretenders. And yet, the Seahawks are really emerging as the favorites to win the NFC West. And Oakland has won two straight and scored 23 or more in four straight games despite not having a quarterback on the roster. Normally I’d say Seattle on the road… tell you to pick Oakland… and be done with it. But I’m going to take the Seahawks here. And the reason is because they are shutting people down. Only the Jets and Steelers have given up less points for the year… and against a club that still hasn’t selected their starting quarterback, I think they’ll play well. Even on the road.
Bob: Seattle
Terry: Seattle
Mike: Seattle
Mike Jr: Oakland
Molly: Seattle
Gus: Oakland
Sam: Seattle

Minnesota at New England (5)“And you know what else grinds my gears? You America! F**k you! Diane?” What do you want me to say? The Patriots are 3-0 at home… defeated a strong Baltimore team by 3 while trampling Cincinnati and controlling Buffalo. The Vikings are spiraling out of control and the Patriots defense looks faster every week.
Bob: New England
Terry: New England
Mike: New England
Mike Jr: New England
Molly: Minnesota
Gus: New England
Sam: Minnesota

Pittsburgh (1) at New Orleans “I’ll have water, please.” “I’ll have water too, but with lemon, please.” “I’ll have a Sam Adams, please.” “It’s 9:30 in the morning!” “And don’t you have an outstanding DUI?” “Yeah, but I gotta get the taste of weed and hooker spit out of my mouth.” The Saints haven’t looked good often this year, and this week they will see the strongest defense they’ve faced. Yikes. They’ve also lost two of the last three, and both of the losses were to weak clubs that aren’t doing particularly well this season. (That would be Arizona and Cleveland.) It’s hard to gauge the Steelers, since they effectively have been getting stronger each week. They started the season without Roethlisberger, and haven’t played an easy schedule while racing out to a 5-1 start. In fact, you could argue that their only easy opponent was the club that clocked New Orleans last week. (Again, that’s Cleveland.) I’m taking the underdog… the Saints. The Steelers are banged up on defense… they lost lineman Aaron Smith and are facing a couple of injuries that could limit their starters (if not sideline them). I don’t expect Brees to have another stinker this week. And in picking games after what happened last week, that may be about as good as I can do in looking at this one.
Bob: New Orleans
Terry: New Orleans
Mike: New Orleans
Mike Jr: Pittsburgh
Molly: New Orleans
Gus: Pittsburgh
Sam: Pittsburgh

Houston at Indianapolis (5½)“When I heard... when I heard... that we were going to be in a movie, I was like, ‘F**k yeah!’” Crap. I don’t want to pick this one. The Texans have played well so far, are coming off a bye week, and really can’t be too disappointed with a 4-2 record. Sure, the loss to Dallas hurts, but it isn’t fatal just yet. Indianapolis is hurting… Dallas Clark is gone for the year. And even though they keep winning, the Colts haven’t looked good since facing Denver back in December. And yet… even though history suggests that the games between these clubs can be close… Houston has never won in Indianapolis. Gary Kubiak is 1-3 after the bye week with Houston. Peyton Manning is… yes, I know, he’s the quarterback, but let’s face facts about who the Colts really are… and Manning is 5-0 since 2005 after the bye week. (In 2004 they lost to Jacksonville after the bye.) I expect a high scoring game and something like a 38-30 or 34-28 win for the Colts.
Bob: Indianapolis
Terry: Houston
Mike: Indianapolis
Mike Jr: Houston
Molly: Houston
Gus: Houston
Sam: Houston

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Molly: Last week 10-4, currently 53-44-7
Terry: Last week 8-6, currently 51-46-7
Bob: Last week 9-5, currently 50-47-7
Mike: Last week 9-5, currently 48-49-7
Gus: Last week 5-9, currently 44-53-7
Mike Jr: Last week 7-7, currently 39-44-7
Sam: Last week 5-9, currently 39-58-7

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at