The 2010 NFL Picks
Week Seven


Late last Sunday afternoon, I was running a couple of errands. Nothing fancy… gas for the car… debating picking up something like hot chocolate.

I had the radio on, and was listening to an update of the 4pm games. Someone at the titanic battle between San Francisco and Oakland made the following observation (not a direct quote): “Alex Smith has to be happy, since he’s playing well and is 16 for 32 for about 180-yards.”

Umm… what?

16 for 32 and he had to be happy?

Hey… I’m all for winning meaning everything. Quarterback plays like crap, team wins, locker room is a good place to be. But the 49ers have struggled at times just to be awful so far, and they weren’t exactly thrashing the Raiders at that point. (Or… ahem… at any point.) Silly me, I know… but I’m thinking Smith was anything but happy at the time, including a guess that he was wondering if he was going to get yanked from the game.

(He wound up 16 for 33 and under 200-yards. Yeah… a win is great. Got to think he wasn’t amazed by those stats and the team not cracking 20-points for the game.)

And that folks, is a really good look at my week. From my perspective, very little made sense and nothing went as expected. And even the comments I heard about every game just managed to tick me off even more.

Calvin Johnson caught a ball for the last score in a game where the Giants easily handled the Lions… but that score beat the spread.

The Broncos get Sanchez to cough up the ball a couple of times… doesn’t matter and they lose at home.

The Chargers… well… I’m not wasting space here on Norv Turner and that group.

The bright spot was watching New Orleans win big… watching New England get a victory. Things that had nothing to do with selections for the week and just simply having some fun watching the games. That was good.

We have now completed enough of the season to know the reality is simple… there are very few teams in the NFL worth even considering solid… forget calling them good. Those that are good are likely all in the AFC. (Pittsburgh, New England, New York (Jets), Baltimore, and Indianapolis. The good NFC teams all have been question marks this year.) More than ever, any team is capable of a great week… any team is capable of horrendous play… and you shouldn’t laugh at the suggestion that each and every team can win any week.

On the divisional front, games featuring such a contest ended up with a 2-1 record last week. There are four such games on this slate… featuring the ever popular Denver against Oakland, Green Bay and Minnesota, and New York versus Dallas. (No one really looks at Seattle and Arizona on that level… ever popular… right?)

Thought we’d take a look at Little Miss Sunshine for this week’s quotes. (I love this movie. And most of the very best quotes… from Grandpa… didn’t make it. I couldn’t cross out all the swearing.)

Pittsburgh (3) at Miami“I couldn’t help noticing Dwayne has stopped speaking.” “Oh, yeah, he’s taken a vow of silence.” One of the most interesting games on the schedule. The Dolphins are 3-2 and solidly nestled in as the third team in the AFC East. It’s a tough place to be… and after just five games, even with games to go against the Patriots and Jets, they wouldn’t be wrong to start wondering about their wild card positioning. Enter the Steelers… right now the favorites in the AFC North, but more simply a playoff threat… and this game has all sorts of tie-breaker implications built in. A couple of fun facts to start your thinking about this one: (1) The Dolphins are 0-2 at home. Yup. All road wins. (2) The Dolphins… even with a winning record… have been outscored by 23 points. The average score per game has been 22 (opponent) – 18 (Miami). Ok… I think we’ve got the flavor of this game. Ready for the opinion? This should be a defensive battle… and, I suppose surprisingly since I don’t expect a ton of scoring… that favors Pittsburgh. The Dolphins are going to get to Roethlisberger. They’ll probably sack him 2 or 3 times. The problem is… the Steelers are best defending the run. In my mind, if Miami can’t run the ball that means Pittsburgh is likely to control time of possession… giving Roethlisberger more attempts to change the flow of the game regardless of how often he winds up on the ground… and you see where this is going.
Bob: Pittsburgh
Terry: Miami
Mike: Pittsburgh
Mike Jr: Miami
Molly: Pittsburgh
Gus: Pittsburgh
Sam: Pittsburgh

Cincinnati at Atlanta (3½)“Good night Dwayne.” “(written) Don’t kill yourself tonight.” “Not on your watch Dwayne. I wouldn’t do that to you.” “(written) Welcome to hell.” “Thanks Dwayne. Coming from you that means a lot.” I should find this game more intriguing than I do. For example, a win would work wonders for the Bengals… getting them to 3-3 and back into discussions of teams with a shot in the AFC. Problem is… Cincy stinks, and Atlanta is coming off of a rough loss. I can’t get a read on either team. What I can tell you is this… Atlanta generally plays well at home, and Cincinnati hasn’t been much on the road.
Bob: Atlanta
Terry: Cincinnati
Mike: Atlanta
Mike Jr: Atlanta
Molly: Atlanta
Gus: Cincinnati
Sam: Cincinnati

Jacksonville at Kansas City (9)“Can I get the, uh, waffles? And, um, what does ‘a la mode-y’ mean?” “Oh that means it comes with ice cream!” “Ok. A la mode-y then.” This game is getting alot more attention than anyone would have predicted back in July or August. Both clubs are even or better and within shouting distance of the top of their division. (If not… as KC is… actually winning their division.) Thing is… even record or not… no one in the NFL, even Buffalo, gives up points like Jacksonville. Ok… ok… hardly fair… they’ve played one more game than the Bills. Still… allowing 28 points per game is hard to recover from, and Indianapolis, Buffalo, and Tennessee all scored right around that mark against Jacksonville. The trick here is simple… can Kansas City keep Jacksonville off the board? Let’s see… Jacksonville doesn’t know what is going on with their quarterback… only Houston (last week, with Kansas City on the road) has put up more than 20 on the Chiefs. I can’t believe I’m doing this. But yeah… Chiefs by 9… and I like them.
Bob: Kansas City
Terry: Jacksonville
Mike: Kansas City
Mike Jr: Kansas City
Molly: Jacksonville
Gus: Jacksonville
Sam: Jacksonville

Philadelphia at Tennessee (3)“Olive, Richard is an idiot. I like a woman with meat on her bones.” And here we have quite possibly the best game no one is going to watch. In fact, you could watch a Sunday night recap of games… catch the scores for every game… and chances are you would be in the minority of those watching the highlights if you even remember the Titans and Eagles played this week, forget remembering they were playing each other. And yet… here they are… both 4-2… both threatening in their division… both looking potentially good for the postseason. The Titans enter this game having dismantled Jacksonville, and arguably looking like the team many expected for the first time all season. If I were Philadelphia, I’d actually be concerned that Collins could start at quarterback. And sticking on the Philly side of the world… Kolb looked very good against Atlanta, and the Eagles in general were quite impressive last week. The thing that tips this decision for me is the loss of DeSean Jackson.
Bob: Tennessee
Terry: Tennessee
Mike: Philadelphia
Mike Jr: Philadelphia
Molly: Tennessee
Gus: Tennessee
Sam: Tennessee

Washington at Chicago (3)“I can’t slow down. I can’t slow down.” “Come on, Olive.” “Come on, sweetie, jump. Jump in the car.” Ever feel like you couldn’t catch a break? Take a look at this one. Chicago is playing exceptional defense… about 16 points a game against them. Washington isn’t playing badly, just not perfectly or great… at over 19 points per. Amazingly, the offenses are playing… well… in a word, yawn. Giving up 19 a game? The Redskins are scoring just 18. And… umm… that’s more than the Bears put up for all the talk they were generating. Funny, funny research in this one. It’s looking too close to call. Except for this. See… the Redskins haven’t done anything spectacular. They have two running backs that… for lack of any reason to debate it… are delivering identical performances. Their quarterback has been ok, with McNabb tossing 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Nothing amazing… just slow and steady… right? Ok… keep that in mind. See, when everything else appears so close, it sure seems like something unexpected will tilt the scales. Say… like… a turnover. Cutler has been good this season so far, but in losing 2 of the last 3 the Bears have looked beatable even at home, and far from consistent. In fact, this week their offensive line is looking at quite possibly its fifth different combination of the year, including two players that combined have less than a year of experience.
Bob: Washington
Terry: Chicago
Mike: Washington
Mike Jr: Chicago
Molly: Washington
Gus: Chicago
Sam: Chicago

Cleveland at New Orleans (13)“Everybody just pretend to be normal.” New Orleans finally looked good last week, while the Browns began to play more closely to what has been expected of them.
Bob: New Orleans
Terry: Cleveland
Mike: Cleveland
Mike Jr: New Orleans
Molly: Cleveland
Gus: New Orleans
Sam: New Orleans

Buffalo at Baltimore (13)“That young stuff is the best stuff in the whole world.” “Hey! Hey! Dad! That’s enough! Stop it!” “Will you kindly not interrupt me, Richard! See, right now you’re jailbait, they’re jailbait. It’s perfect. I mean, you hit 18, man, you’re talkin’ about three to five.” Ordinarily I’d tell you this game was a difficult one. I mean, after all, two touchdowns is tough to accomplish as separation and Baltimore isn’t exactly blowing out scoreboards every week. But I have a feeling the Bills are going to find a very ticked off Ravens squad taking the field on Sunday. And I don’t envy them for it.
Bob: Baltimore
Terry: Baltimore
Mike: Baltimore
Mike Jr: Baltimore
Molly: Buffalo
Gus: Buffalo
Sam: Buffalo

San Francisco (3) at Carolina“Your packet has tickets in it, and there’s your badge number.” “Okay.” “Is there anything else?” “Uh, yeah. Is there a funeral home around here?” Carolina is struggling to score 10 points a game. (I wish I was kidding. I’m not.) 52 points in five games. No other club has scored less than 80… meaning their 10 per game is well behind Cleveland’s 14-plus per game. The Raiders… and remember, the 49ers arguably decked the Raiders last week in a horrible game… have scored twice as many points as the Panthers. Judging by the season so far, look for the 49ers to win this one by a score of 17-7.
Bob: San Francisco
Terry: Carolina
Mike: San Francisco
Mike Jr: San Francisco
Molly: San Francisco
Gus: San Francisco
Sam: Carolina

St. Louis at Tampa Bay (3)“We were driving for five or six hours... and we thought he was napping...” So far, I’ve taken seven favorites in eight games… and three of those were large favorites. And I’d probably be concerned if not for four things. (1) For some amazing reason, the Chargers are favored this week. (2) I haven’t hit the four divisional games yet. (3) These things have a way of balancing out. And, (4) The Bucs are a favorite in this game. Hey… I like Tampa. I’m a fan of the team. But when you have a 3-2 record while being outscored on average by 6-points a game, something doesn’t pass the sniff test. Kansas City isn’t being outscored… I could see them holding out for a little bit longer in the AFC West. Willing to at least suspend disbelief for them. But like Jacksonville, I think the reality is that it’s only a matter of actually playing the full 16 games before Tampa’s record really shows what is going on. It’s got potential for the future here… but not this season. We’ll go with the club playing better overall, and of late.
Bob: St. Louis
Terry: St. Louis
Mike: St. Louis
Mike Jr: St. Louis
Molly: St. Louis
Gus: St. Louis
Sam: St. Louis

Arizona at Seattle (6)“Okay, you’re out. On the condition that you never enter your daughter in a beauty pageant in the state of California, ever again. Ever.” “I think we can live with that.” The first of our divisional games for the week. Let’s see what we’ve got. Seattle is at home… normally good news for them, though they turned in quite possibly their best game of the year last week on the road in Chicago. But let’s look a bit deeper. First, the other Seattle wins on the year were home games against San Francisco and San Diego. We considered those impressive before. Right now? The 49ers and the Chargers? Not so much. So what we need in order to truly believe in them is a team arriving for that game that is so ridiculous in how they are playing, we wouldn’t believe they could defeat Tampa Bay. And just look, here we have division-leading Arizona… and sit down, because they are being outscored by 10-points a game. I know… I know. This week I decided to check out some of the scoring and standings while looking over games. See what teams were doing, and what they had to offer. Oh look… Jacksonville is getting creamed and giving up 30-per. And how about Carolina? The most likely way for the Panthers to score on offense is by giving up a safety. And then there’s Arizona… giving up 28 each week while scoring 17. Neat. But… hold on… not that easy. See… the Cardinals got trounced… slammed… wiped out… by San Diego and Atlanta. And there’s the entire scoring difference. They’ve only played one divisional game… and they won it. They also have a winning record in the conference. Now… remember I said Seattle may have played their best game last week? Hasselbeck went 25 for 40 and delivered an absolutely average game. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that. Play average ball and don’t turn it over… the team will love you. But something tells me that Arizona is the truly better team here. They are coming in to it healthy and rested. And, they have made the transition to quarterback Max Hall… sink or swim for the year.
Bob: Arizona
Terry: Seattle
Mike: Seattle
Mike Jr: Arizona
Molly: Seattle
Gus: Arizona
Sam: Arizona

New England at San Diego (3)“There’s two kinds of people in this world. There’s winners and there’s losers. Okay, you know what the difference is? Winners don’t give up.” I… you… I… umm… you know… still… I… how the hell is San Diego favored here? No. Really. How? I’m going to save my observations for later that the Patriots are beginning to look like the old team that would a take care of business, one week at a time, chalk up the victory and move along. Let’s just pick this one and move on.
Bob: New England
Terry: San Diego
Mike: New England
Mike Jr: New England
Molly: New England
Gus: New England
Sam: San Diego

Oakland at Denver (8)“Hey, I will pull this truck over, right now!” “So, pull the truck over! You’re not gonna shut me up! F**K you! I can say what I want!” These two teams are strikingly similar this season. Both are 2-4… expected of Oakland, but not of Denver. Both have delivered solid wins… and embarrassing losses. The trick is… Denver just doesn’t score early on in games, and that makes it very difficult to believe in them for the big win. For the Broncos… injures have been a problem… the offensive line has been a problem… putting the ball in the end zone has been a problem… stop me when you see something on this list that says big win to you… because amazingly, Kyle Orton has having a strong season. They even have a decent passing attack that could throttle Oakland. Seriously… the club is 2-4, and he’s thrown 9 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. They simply can’t put the ball in the end zone. And… that said… get ready. Would you believe Oakland has won the last two in Denver? Yup… that’s true. Would you believe they’ve split with Denver over the past three seasons? Again… true. And… would you believe that last year’s victory was led by, I kid you not, JaMarcus Russell? Folks… divisional game. I’m taking the underdog.
Bob: Oakland
Terry: Oakland
Mike: Oakland
Mike Jr: Oakland
Molly: Oakland
Gus: Oakland
Sam: Denver

Minnesota at Green Bay (2½)“I’d like to dedicate this to my grandpa, who showed me these moves.” “Aww, that is so sweet.” “Is he here? Where’s your grandpa right now?” “In the trunk of our car.” Ok… update… so far I’m now at 7-5 for the favorites and 0-2 for picking them in divisional games. Things evened out after all. But the underdog run ends here. I don’t know what everyone else was watching last week, but having seen good chunks of the Dallas and Minnesota contest, to me it looked like the Cowboys lost. It did not look like the Vikings won. Yeah… sure… little things matter, and Minnesota did those little things better last week. More to the point… I didn’t see anything that told me they were a dangerous team that had turned things around. I grant you, the Packers have been inconsistent and not even close to the conference threat I expected to see. This is definitely a game Favre thrives in… regular season, big audience and some sort of fancy subplot, high stakes… and doesn’t turn the ball over to end it. But I sense more desperation for Green Bay here. They have the Jets, Cowboys and Vikings again lined up to follow this game. This is a turning point situation. And, reality check… even with their win over Dallas, Minnesota isn’t moving the ball well.
Bob: Green Bay
Terry: Green Bay
Mike: Minnesota
Mike Jr: Minnesota
Molly: Minnesota
Gus: Minnesota
Sam: Green Bay

New York (Giants) at Dallas (3)“I wish I could just sleep until I was eighteen and skip all this crap - high school and everything - just skip it.” “Do you know who Marcel Proust is?” “He’s the guy you teach.” “Yeah. French writer. Total loser. Never had a real job. Unrequited love affairs. Gay. Spent 20 years writing a book almost no one reads. But he’s also probably the greatest writer since Shakespeare. Anyway, he uh... he gets down to the end of his life, and he looks back and decides that all those years he suffered, those were the best years of his life, ‘cause they made him who he was. All those years he was happy? You know, total waste. Didn’t learn a thing. So, if you sleep until you’re 18... ah, think of the suffering you're gonna miss. I mean high school? High school - those are your prime suffering years. You don’t get better suffering than that.” Last week I told you that the Giants have managed to win 5-straight for several seasons in a row now. I think that’s going to continue here. For three weeks in a row the defense has looked solid. That’s bad news for a Dallas club that has been shooting itself in the foot all year. The Giants have never been afraid of playing the Cowboys on the road… especially at the new stadium.
Bob: New York
Terry: Dallas
Mike: New York
Mike Jr: New York
Molly: New York
Gus: Dallas
Sam: Dallas

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Molly: Last week 5-7-2, currently 43-40-7
Terry: Last week 6-6-2, currently 43-40-7
Bob: Last week 3-9-2, currently 41-42-7
Gus: Last week 7-5-2 currently 39-44-7
Mike: Last week 8-4-2, currently 39-44-7
Sam: Last week 5-7-2, currently 34-49-7
Mike Jr: Last week 5-7-2, currently 32-37-7

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