The 2010 NFL Picks
Week Thirteen


I am… an idiot.

Let’s start this one off simply.

It’s Sunday morning, and I’m driving home at about 8am after dropping Terry off at her annual craft fair. I’ve got the radio on, and I’m listening to some people talk about the day’s games. As they make their way along the schedule, eventually they come to the Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers.

Colt McCoy isn’t playing.

What? What?

How the heck did I miss that?

(Ok… here’s the thing. Between the craft fair, the holiday, three early games and all sorts of other excuses… I know exactly how I missed that. No deep research on the game. But as I heard the announcer toss that little piece of information out there… and just sort of casually, almost as if it were an insignificant aside toss it out there… I began to wonder about things. Like… maybe I should look over my picks and send a quick e-mail around updating them. After all… still five hours to the start of the early games… I could adjust it. But I didn’t. I went with it. And with the games on in the background, I cringed at all of the stuff I missed…)

It started with the Browns hosting the Panthers. What the hell? A 10-point spread and I pick them? This wasn’t Carolina traveling to New Orleans… Atlanta… Pittsburgh… Baltimore… or some other tough defense, or good offense, or division leading opponent. It was Cleveland. A club that could win by 10 or more… because any team really can win by 10 or more… but had no right being favored by it.

And how about Atlanta? Literally, my last words to you last week before hitting the schedule: “And that usually means you shouldn’t get too fancy and elaborate in considering things.” And I go out and pick against a quarterback that has won 95% of his home games as a professional. Whatever you think about Matt Ryan, this much is simple… until teams start winning over the Falcons in Atlanta, don’t pick against the home team there. That should have been a “you shouldn’t get too fancy and elaborate” make the pick and move on game for me.

So there’s two that I got wrong that I should have had right. It gets worse. Not with things I should have known… but with things and how they played out.

Not only does Chad Henne eventually wind up in the game, he casually tosses for over 300-yards as Miami stomps Oakland. You know, only continuing what may be the greatest road show of the year.

The Cincinnati Bungals? Oh… my… god! On the kick returned for the touchdown, I got to watch an absolute comedy. Not only was it taken all the way, but around midfield the return went between two Cincinnati players. One of them… untouched… not blocked… overran the pursuit, was facing the wrong way, and missed the runner by about five yards.

Allow me to repeat that.

Brad Smith is returning a kick. Around the time he hit the 50-yard line, there are two Bungals with a shot at him. He makes a very quick cut. It wasn’t an amazing cut. It was a quick cut to move between the two Cincy players. This cut allows one of the Bungals to get picked up by what I recall as a fairly soft block… just enough to keep him out of the play. But the second one… untouched… ends up yards out of it with his back to Smith.

I want to pause here for a moment.

And I want you to think about this.

It’s one thing to be facing the wrong way on a play. Things happen. A player is covering a wide receiver, the ball carrier is going in a different direction. Perhaps an interception. The idea is, misdirection is part of the game.

However… on a kick return, when the focus on a single player has been well established, this was just a simply amazing thing to see. He was facing the wrong way. The runner he was chasing was behind him.

But what should I expect from a club that gets a turnover and a blocked punt… a New York punt that was partially blocked by a New York player no less… and from great field position both times turns it into 3 whole points?

Cincinnati sucks. Absolute disaster and the worst team in the NFL.

And on top of that… one of the games I got right… Minnesota over a blah Washington… has everyone writing about how Favre won’t be leaving without a fight. Oh yeah… he;s back. (Hello. People. This was the Redskins that the Vikings played. Let’s not get all happy. Ok? You tried that with him before.)

In our picks, Mike sailed past me with a huge week. Even more interesting to me… Gus and Molly are back. Gus trimmed another game off the lead and now trails by 8. Molly is 9 out and making a move on an even record overall. Mike gets a huge congratulations on a stellar week. Five weeks left to go folks.

No need to stay with Star Wars theme after what just happened. I need a comedy. And it’s Christmas. Yup… Bad Santa. (And I have to keep the really good quotes out of this.)

Houston at Philadelphia (8)“It won’t happen again. I can promise you that. Willie here has low blood sugar. That’s all.” “That’s right. I forgot to take my pill.” Everything I see says to look for a game with a final score around 31-24, with Philly on top. That’s not much room for error when the spread is 8 and it’s possible you are debating whether or not Houston could win. But I have a secret for you. Look at what I pick in this game and bet the opposite. Here’s what I expect: At some point in the fourth quarter… could be early, could be late… the score will be 28-24, Philly winning. I’m figuring that as the game moves on, there will only be one more score… a field goal for Philly is my guess. Alas, since Houston always screws me, Philadelphia will score a touchdown and win 35-24. Yes, the result being winning and covering. Trouble is, in that classic I-know-you-know-I-know-but-do-you-know-I-know-you-know-I-know comedy, Houston always seems to somehow know what I expect them to do and manages to twist my expectations in painful ways. So, if I take the Eagles, then the Texans will score a touchdown on that 28-24 situation and win it, or, the Eagles will only kick a field goal to take the game by 7. In short, it doesn’t matter one bit who I pick in this game. Not at all. Because Houston will figure out a way to screw me over. I guarantee it.
Bob: Houston
Terry: Houston
Mike: Philadelphia
Mike Jr: Philadelphia
Molly: Philadelphia
Gus: Houston
Sam: Houston

Buffalo at Minnesota (6)“I said, ‘Next,’ goddamn it! This is not the DMV!” We know the story lines here… Buffalo is a scrappy team and Minnesota has underachieved. So rather than trying to investigate stories and trends, who’s playing and who may or may not have already retired, let’s try approaching this from a basic viewpoint by looking at two things… Buffalo on the road and Minnesota at home. The Bills are 1-4 when they travel in 2010, with the lone victory coming at the expense of the Bungals. That said, the Bills have been amazingly close in many road games. Prior to Cincinnati they lost to Baltimore and Kansas City… two teams at the tops of their divisions with a combined 2010 home record of 10-0… and in each game they lost by only 3 points. And while the scoring hasn’t been fluid… see 10 against Kansas City… they did put up 30 on New England, 34 on Baltimore and 49 on Cincinnati. The Vikings? They’re 3-2 at home, have never scored more than 27 in a home game (which was against Arizona and also happens to be their highest output of the season).
Bob: Buffalo
Terry: Buffalo
Mike: Buffalo
Mike Jr: Buffalo
Molly: Buffalo
Gus: Minnesota
Sam: Minnesota

Cleveland at Miami (4)“Leave Santa alone!” “Little boy, don’t interfere. I am doing this for all of us.” Just for giggles… let me start with this… Miami is 1-4 at home, and Cleveland is 1-4 on the road. So… you know… take away the very real possibility of a tie, and one of these teams is going to do something that hasn’t been easy for them. Now… more importantly… let’s get to the quarterbacks. Everything points to Delhomme starting again for Cleveland, with McCoy nursing a bad ankle. Strike one for the Borwns. Miami was a mess under Thigpen against the Bears (saw that coming), but then they went back to the wildcat (could have predicted that, after not using it against Chicago) and everything I caught from a vague look around says that Henne will play. Strike two for Cleveland. Basically, when you tell me McCoy is out, Henne is in, and the Dolphins figured out the offense should be in the hands of the running game, I end up with a clear choice of the team to win. Strike three for Cleveland.
Bob: Miami
Terry: Miami
Mike: Miami
Mike Jr: Cleveland
Molly: Cleveland
Gus: Miami
Sam: Miami

Jacksonville at Tennessee (10)“I’ve always had a thing for Santa Claus. In case you didn’t notice. It’s like some deep-seeded childhood thing.” Sorry… I got suckered in last week picking a team that had no right being favored by this much. Since playing in a 42-20 loss against Kansas City, the Jaguars have scored 35, 31, 24 and 20. That’s about 26 a game over the last four. That’s a significant improvement over their season average of 22 per game… and actually a reason for it rising. They went 3-1 over that stretch.
Bob: Jacksonville
Terry: Jacksonville
Mike: Jacksonville
Mike Jr: Jacksonville
Molly: Jacksonville
Gus: Jacksonville
Sam: Tennessee

Denver at Kansas City (7½)“I saw you at another mall.” “Well, I’m happy for you.” “If you really are Santa, you could do magic.” “Wanna see some magic? OK, let’s watch you disappear!” Kansas City hasn’t lost at home, and Denver has only won once on the road. Only one victory for the Chiefs at home was by less than 7, and they’ve done ok in setting up a good offense and decent defense.
Bob: Kansas City
Terry: Denver
Mike: Kansas City
Mike Jr: Kansas City
Molly: Denver
Gus: Denver
Sam: Denver

Washington at New York (Giants) (7½)“Candy corn?” “Well they all can’t be winners.” Here’s something you may not know… the Redskins have a winning record when they travel. And if you didn’t know that, you probably don’t know who they defeated on the road… Philadelphia, Chicago, and Tennessee. They also have a winning record in the division right now. The trouble is, they are a team that scores less than 20 a game, and that just isn’t going to get it done.
Bob: New York
Terry: Washington
Mike: Washington
Mike Jr: Washington
Molly: New York
Gus: Washington
Sam: New York

Chicago (3½) at Detroit“If I call you next December… if I call you next December… you’re gonna be so happy to hear from me, you’re gonna do a goddamn back flip.” I’m taking the upset here. Even with Chicago having some success on the road this year, I’m just feeling too much respect headed their way in recent days. Want to know how they’re doing it? A surging defense that is part of a team giving up just over 15 a game. As much as they deserve credit for taking care of business and getting to 8-3, one also needs to recognize that they’ve been fortunate (not lucky… it was earned… but definitely fortunate) that when they only scored 19, the defense held Detroit in the season opener to 14… when they scored 16, the defense pitched a shutout against Miami.
Bob: Detroit
Terry: Chicago
Mike: Chicago
Mike Jr: Chicago
Molly: Chicago
Gus: Chicago
Sam: Chicago

San Francisco at Green Bay (9½)“How many times I gotta tell you, get out from behind my bar! Put the drink down right now. Put the drink down right now!” Here we go… (1) Green Bay has won three times since Halloween. Over the Jets (on the road), destroying Dallas, and then traveling to slap around Minnesota. Their loss was on the road against Atlanta. No shame there. (2) Green Bay will score 28 or more at home (they have in 4 out of 5 home games so far). (3) San Francisco is horrible on the road… horrible against conference opponents… and let’s face it, are just horrible. Sure, I know you want to say they’ve won 3 of 4. But… ahem… Denver, St. Louis (at home) and Arizona. Those were the victories. Against a team with a winning record? Blanked 21-0 by the Bucs.
Bob: Green Bay
Terry: San Francisco
Mike: Green Bay
Mike Jr: San Francisco
Molly: San Francisco
Gus: San Francisco
Sam: San Francisco

New Orleans (6½) at Cincinnati“Okay, 30%. That’s three of us. 30%. That’s fair.” “Half.” “I meant 33%.” “I meant half.” “And 1/3.” “Half.” “35%.” “Half.” “40%.” “Half.” “42%?” “Half.” “Um... 45%.” “Half.” “48%?” “Half.” “49%?” “Half.” Did I mention that the Bungals suck?
Bob: New Orleans
Terry: Cincinnati
Mike: New Orleans
Mike Jr: New Orleans
Molly: New Orleans
Gus: New Orleans
Sam: Cincinnati

Atlanta (2½) at Tampa Bay“Oh, my. What a darling photo. Are you certain you only want this single? Additional photos come in handy as gifts for grandma and grandpa, or as a wonderful remembrance for friends.” While I could make the argument that Atlanta’s weakness is traveling, that’s too easy giving their record at home. So instead, let’s point out that I’m impressed with how the offense has played at different times in recent weeks. Under pressure… when it mattered… they were efficient and effective. They’ve won 5 in a row and are playing well on both sides of the ball. Tampa’s run has been nice, but in a division with Atlanta and New Orleans, a club that is currently scoring less than their opponents (219 scored to 223 given up), that eventually wears thin.
Bob: Atlanta
Terry: Tampa Bay
Mike: Atlanta
Mike Jr: Atlanta
Molly: Tampa Bay
Gus: Tampa Bay
Sam: Tampa Bay

Oakland at San Diego (12½)“I wished for a purple elephant, but now I want a pink elephant!” Here’s how much fun the Raiders are to watch… they are undefeated in the division, and yet they’ve lost every other AFC game. I grant you… the Raiders won the last game… but over his career, Rivers has owned Oakland. Almost every victory has been by 7 or more. Jason Campbell is back. Since the last time Oakland won in San Diego involve Rich Gannon and Jerry Rice… I have to take it simple here and go with the club I see winning.
Bob: San Diego
Terry: Oakland
Mike: San Diego
Mike Jr: Oakland
Molly: San Diego
Gus: Oakland
Sam: San Diego

Carolina at Seattle (6½)“I beat the s**t out of some kids today. But it was for a purpose. It made me feel good about myself. It was like I did something constructive with my life or something. I dunno, like I accomplished something.” “You need many years of therapy.” Would you believe the Panthers average 16 on the road? Considering their average per game at home is under 10 points, that’s quite the accomplishment. Once you get out of the NFC West, Seattle isn’t that great a team. Sure, their losing record is leading the West… but they are 1-2 outside of the West in NFC games. (Ok… yeah… I know… Atlanta, New Orleans and Tampa Bay were the opponents. Still… worth noting. Because this Seahawks team is a club getting outscored by 6 per game.) Thing is… only the Giants and Chiefs have won in Seattle. The other three opponents got smoke… the 49ers by 25, the Chargers by 7, and the Cardinals by 12. And if Seattle is going to score more than 20m, they’ll win and cover.
Bob: Seattle
Terry: Seattle
Mike: Seattle
Mike Jr: Seattle
Molly: Carolina
Gus: Carolina
Sam: Seattle

Dallas at Indianapolis (5)“Look who’s here! It’s Santa! Tell Santa what you want for Christmas!” This Indianapolis team just isn’t the Colts we’ve grown used to watching. Sure… recent opponents have included New England and San Diego. More often than not… at least when San Diego is not playing in September… both of those clubs can make you look bad. But something else is going on. Injuries… manning truly trying to do everything without help… and it’s mounting. I can see Indy still winning the division. I can see Indy winning this game with ease. But right now, from what I have seen… and not what I could see… the Colts are fighting for everything.
Bob: Dallas
Terry: Dallas
Mike: Indianapolis
Mike Jr: Indianapolis
Molly: Indianapolis
Gus: Indianapolis
Sam: Dallas

St. Louis (3) at Arizona “Should I fix you some sandwiches?” The Rams are improving. The Cardinals need help.
Bob: St. Louis
Terry: Arizona
Mike: Arizona
Mike Jr: St. Louis
Molly: Arizona
Gus: Arizona
Sam: St. Louis

Pittsburgh at Baltimore (3)“Good night, Santa. Good night, Mrs. Santa’s sister.” Would you believe these clubs are identical in virtually every way? Understanding that they played already… Ravens winning in Pittsburgh… they have the same record, same divisional record, and same conference record. They both score about 23 a game and give up about 16. An interesting twist… Ravens perfect at home, and the Steelers solid on the road. The thing is… the Steelers haven’t looked the same since the Miami game. Yeah… they won that one. But you may recall it was that end of the game newsmaker finish. Since then New Orleans and New England have defeated them, and both Buffalo and Cincinnati came closer than they should have to scoring upsets. (The Bills especially.) In comparison, over the past month the Ravens lost in Atlanta (no penalties for a loss to the Falcons, especially in Atlanta), and they’ve defeated… pretty much comfortably… Miami, Carolina and Tampa. They also fought New England very tough and clocked Denver if you’d like to go back a bit further. Long story short… Ravens a playing well 8-3, and the Steelers a questionable 8-3.
Bob: Baltimore
Terry: Baltimore
Mike: Pittsburgh
Mike Jr: Baltimore
Molly: Baltimore
Gus: Baltimore
Sam: Pittsburgh

New York (Jets) at New England (3)“You know what I see when I look at you? America’s got a sad future ahead of it.” I’m going to keep this analysis simple. Tom Brady wins at home.
Bob: New England
Terry: New England
Mike: New England
Mike Jr: New England
Molly: New York
Gus: New England
Sam: New York

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mike: Last week 11-4-1, currently 91-76-9
Bob: Last week 5-10-1, currently 87-80-9
Gus: Last week 10-5-1, currently 83-84-9
Molly: Last week 9-6-1, currently 82-85-9
Terry: Last week 8-7-1, currently 78-89-9
Mike Jr: Last week 9-6-1, currently 72-81-9
Sam: Last week 7-8-1, currently 64-103-9

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