NFL Week 7 Picks

Six weeks ago I was looking forward to Giants football as the Yankees’ season crawled to a painful end. I was hoping for the Giants (along with the Rangers) to take off a little of the edge left by the Yankees and carry me through the fall and holiday season and if I was lucky enough, carry me through the disgusting January weather and maybe even into February like they did in 2007 and 2011. Instead the Giants’ season ended along with the Yankees’ season at the end of the September and now it’s Week 7 and the Giants have 10 meaningless games left and it will be 10 1/2 months until they have anything other than spoiling another team’s season to play for.

Things have gotten gradually worse for the 2013 Giants since the six-turnover game to open the season and I should have just turned them off and never turned them back on after the first play of that game when Eli Manning threw an interception right to DeMarcus Ware. Like actually right to him. The phrase “right to” had never had as much meaning as it did then. But I didn’t turn them off. I watched Eli do the opposite of fourth-quarter magic in that game as if he were a magician asking their volunteer “Is this your card? No? OK. Is this your card? No? This one? This one? Umm … this one?” I kept watching when the team fell apart in the second half against the Broncos and when the offensive line underwent the embarrassment equivalent of being pantsed in the sixth-grade cafeteria. I watched the Chiefs defense have their way in Week 4 and watched Nick Vick (the lethal combination of Nick Foles and Michael Vick) do what the Seahawks’ Charvaris Whiteson (the combination of Charlie Whitehurst and Tavaris Jackson) did to the Giants two years ago. And then last Thursday I watched Eli throw an interception on his second and fifth throws of the game and then with a chance to redeem himself and possibly save the Giants’ season he threw a third pick trying to beat the two-minute warning for no reason in what was more failed fourth-quarter magic.

Six weeks and five losses ago, David Wilson said this about his own season: “I’m at the bottom now. Nowhere to go but up.” He was wrong about his game and if that quote were about the Giants, it would have also been wrong. The Giants have only gone down since the “Disaster in Dallas” and maybe this lost season is bottomless when it comes to possible ways of losing.

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My picks season has mirrored the Giants’ season through six weeks and maybe I will never see .500 this season the way they might never see the win column.

Week 7 … let’s go!

(Home team in caps)

Seattle -6.5 over ARIZONA
The only thing I know is that I can correctly pick the Thursday game.

New England -4.5 over NEW YORK JETS
The Saints learned that if you give Tom Brady the ball with 3:29 left and then with 2:24 left and then with 1:13 left, you will eventually lose. It doesn’t matter if he has no timeouts, no receivers or virtually no mathematical chance, he will make you pay.

The Jets lost to the winless Steelers at home in Week 6, leaving the Giants as the only winless team not from Jacksonville. But somewhere between being 3-3 and losing to the Patriots on the road in Week 2 and then losing to the Steelers at home, the Jets got their overconfident attitude back like the intolerable friend in your group that thinks he can get any girl. Here’s what Jets rookie defensive tackle had to say about Tom Brady as if he were part of the 2010 Jets:

“I’m not treating him like Superman. He’s Tom Brady; I’m Sheldon Richardson. He’s a name. He’s a figure, a franchise player. I’m trying to get after him, simple as that. No one really treats him like [Superman] around here. I think he’s the complete opposite of that.”

Brady is 18-4 against the Jets in his career (including five straight wins since the 2010 playoff game) and 1-0 against them with Richardson on the team. He’s 5-1 this season despite his leading receiver being Julian Edelman (real life) and led the Patriots to a nearly impossible game-winning drive against the undefeated Saints four days ago. Maybe he’s not Superman, since Clark Kent is Superman, but he’s more than a name and a figure.

San Diego -8 over JACKSONVILLE
The Jaguars were able to cover the four-touchdown spread againts the Broncos, but they still lost by 16 points and have yet to lose by less than double digits this season. That’s a trend I’m willing to follow even if it means needing Philip Rivers and the Chargers to continue it for me.

DETROIT -3 over Cincinnati
Last week the Bengals had to go to overtime to get by Thad Lewis and the Bills (possible band name like Jesse and the Rippers or Hot Daddy and the Monkey Puppets?) and they had to go to overtime because they let Thad Lewis lead a game-tying drive with 2:40 from the Buffalo 14 that ended with a 40-yard touchdown pass.

MIAMI -8 over Buffalo
The Dolphins were 3-0 and flying high before being trounced at the Superdome like every visiting team is and before losing a three-point game to the defending Super Bowl champs. The Dolphins are coming off their bye and looking to avoid losing further ground to the Patriots in the division and what better way to keep pace with the Patriots than to have Thad Lewis and the Bills in town?

WASHINGTON -1 over Chicago
A year ago the Redskins were all about RGIII and the pistol offense and the revival of football in the nation’s capital. Now the Redskins are all about RGIII’s sophomore slump and trying to avoid a team name change. It seems inevitable at this point that the Redskins are going to have to change their name with momentum heavily gaining against Dan Snyder and sports radio callers justifying “Redskins” as people with sun burns losing their battle.

I shouldn’t want the Redskins to win a game, but they’re 1-4 and the Giants are 0-6 and we need to clear out the bottom of the barrel in the league for Jadeveon Clowney. We need to narrow this thing down to the Giants and Jaguars and hope the Jaguars catch fire at some point. OK, maybe not fire and more like sparks or some semblance of heat and win a game or two or if we’re lucky three. OK, let’s keep it at one for now.

Dallas +2.5 over PHILADELPHIA
It’s disgusting to know that the NFC East winner is going to be the Cowboys or Eagles. (No, this isn’t a reverse jinx attempt to get the Giants back in the playoff picture. Or is it?) Either Tony Romo or Michael Vick or Nick Foles of Nick Vick will be playing in January while the Giants are reevaluating things and themselves like you would do after a drunken, sleep-deprived weekend that includes leaving your phone in a cab, your card at the bar and Dominos boxes all over your living room.

CAROLINA -6.5 over St. Louis
Somewhere someone who isn’t a Panthers fan or a Rams fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.

ATLANTA -7 over Tampa Bay
Somewhere someone who isn’t a Falcons fan or a Buccaneers fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.

San Francisco -5 over TENNESSEE
I initially picked the Titans to cover after they were able to keep it close and cover against the Seahawks at home last week. But then I realized when the 49ers win, they win by an average of 18.3 points and when they lose, they lose by an average of 15.3 points. So if I think they are going to win the game straight up, which I do, then math says they are going to win by more than five. And if I’m wrong, I have math to blame.

KANSAS CITY -6.5 over Houston
Last year, the Broncos had to worry about the Ravens and Patriots and Texans in the AFC. This year they definitely don’t have to worry about the Texans, don’t really have to worry about the Ravens and as of now, they don’t yet have to worry about the Patriots. The Broncos need to worry about the Kansas City Chiefs. The 6-0 Chiefs who have allowed a league-leading 65 points in six games and 93 less points than the Broncos have allowed. Yes, the Broncos have scored a league-leading 265 points and 113 more points than the Chiefs, but high-scoring offenses don’t win in the playoffs (just ask any of those first-round exit teams Peyton quarterbacked that we are going to get to momentarily) and we’ll get a taste of which team is really the best in the AFC in Weeks 11 and 13.

GREEN BAY -10 over Cleveland
Since their bye in Week 4, the Packers have destroyed the Lions in Lambeau and knocked off the Ravens in Baltimore. The Packers would appear to be putting it together and that coupled with the idea of needing Brandon Weeden to do enough to keep it close in Green Bay are why I’m willing to take the Packers to cover two possessions.

Baltimore +1.5 over PITTSBURGH
The Yankees-Red Sox of the NFL in that no matter what year it is, no matter what the rosters look like, these two teams will play close games and that’s why you’re always better off taking the points in these games. Let’s go back to when Joe Flacco became the starting quarterback of the Ravens in 2008 and see how these two-game season series have gone.

In 2012, the Ravens won 13-10 and the Steelers won 23-20. In 2011, the Ravens won 35-7 and 23-20. In 2010, the Ravens won 17-14 and the Steelers won 13-10. In 2009, the Ravens won 20-17 in overtime and the Steelers won 23-20. In 2008, the Steelers won 23-20 in overtime and  13-9.

That’s 10 games with eight of them being decided by three points, one being decided by four points and one being decided by 28 (the Steelers had seven turnovers, yes seven turnovers, in that loss). Forget picking the Ravens to cover, is there a prop bet that this game will be won by exactly three points?

Denver -7 over INDIANAPOLIS
Jim Irsay went and did what a Midwestern billionaire who owns an NFL team would do and opened his big mouth about not winning more than one Super Bowl in 11 postseason trips during Peyton Manning’s career with the Colts. Sure, it might have been a little out of line, but Irsay has a point, doesn’t he? The Colts went to two Super Bowls in 11 postseason trips with Peyton Manning, but lost their first playoff game seven times and were just 9-10 and also helped the Patriots build their early-2000s dynasty. (Thanks for that, Peyton!)

What if John Mara made the same statement about Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin one day? I think he would also have a case. Since 2005, the Giants have won two Super Bowls and are 8-3 in the playoffs, but they have three losses in their first playoff games (2005, 2006 and 2008) and have missed out on the playoffs in three of eight years and after this season they will have missed the playoffs in four of nine years. Don’t get me wrong, I am perfectly content with the two Super Bowl wins over the Patriots, but you can’t help but think what more the Giants could have done without the second-half collapses.

NEW YORK GIANTS -3.5 over Minnesota
The Giants are 0-6. The playoffs are out of the question and so is Jadeveon Clowney (I think). But this game might be one of the Giants’ only real chances at winning in 2013. At home against the 1-4 Vikings and Josh Freeman, who is trying to revitalize his career with a second chance in Minnesota. If the Giants can’t beat the Vikings at home then who are they going to beat? Here are their remaining games: Philadelphia, Oakland, Green Bay, Dallas, at Washington, at San Diego, Seattle, at Detroit and Washington. A loss to the Vikings will mean 0-7 and with each loss it will only get that much harder to win as players give up (well, those who haven’t already) and the pressure of winning a single game mounts.

Last week: 5-9-0
Season: 34-53-4

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