Friday, October 12, 2007

Pittsburgh Sports Weekend

Just because there isn't a Steelers game doesn't mean we won't be covering the picks this week. By the way, if you have not already, make sure to read Pat's article below. He captures the meaning of last weeks poll a lot better than I ever could.

Since the Steelers are on a bye this week we'll be covering the Penguins game against Toronto in this post to go along with the picks. The goal, eventually, is to make this post the definitive weekend post covering everything the weekend in Pittsburgh might bring.

Denzel's buddy Marc Anthony in the post below claimed a 9-4 record last week. I counted a 7-7 record. Then the 'Stache proved his worth to the blog, and found we were both wrong and it was right in the middle at 8-6. The table is now fixed below with the correct records. If I had to wager at this point in the season, my money would be on the Dreamcast.

On to the picks:

The 'Stache Says

Cincinnati (-3) over KANSAS CITY

The Bengals are coming off a bye week and should be well rested. Marvin Lewis had a lot to say to his team after they got whipped by the Patriots, so I’m guessing that carried over through the bye week and the team is sufficiently motivated. The Chiefs play tough at home, but the Bengals defense has found an offense they just might be able to stop.

Houston (+6.5) over JACKSONVILLE

I underestimated this Jaguars team last week. Slowly but surely they are creeping up in most power rankings, and their defense is becoming more formidable each week. Houston is coming off an inspiring win last week over Miami, and while I’m not sure they’ll win the game, they’ll keep it close.

Miami (+4.5) over CLEVELAND

I don’t think I’ve picked the Browns once this year. It hasn’t been by design. I’m not really sure what it is. I’m don’t know if Trent Green starts this game after he got his brain scrambled again last week. If he doesn’t, Cleo Lemon gets the nod, and I’d actually feel better about this game if Lemon does indeed start. The Dolphins are hungry for their first win, so I’m going to go with the points.

CHICAGO (-5.5) over Minnesota

If Brian Griese can play every week like he did last week, then the Bears still have a chance to save their season. If they can get mediocre play out of the quarterback spot, they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak NFC conference. Tarvaris Jackson is back, and if you think I’m taking Tarvaris Jackson on the road at Soldier Field, you’re crazy.

NEW YORK JETS (+3) over Philadelphia

Many fans in Jet land want Chad Pennington benched in favor of Kellen Clemens. This could make for an uneasy day for Pennington at home. But the Jets have the talent to make a run. They just keep shooting themselves in the foot. A stupid Pennington interception in Bills territory prevented them from tying the game two weeks ago, and then three turnovers by Pennington last week caused a loss to the Giants. I feel a bounce back game from the former Marshall University star.

St. Louis (+9.5) over BALTIMORE

See what happens when you stick to it? Good things happen. The Rams finally rewarded me with a win, albeit barely so on a successful two point conversion in the closing minutes. I just can’t go with that Baltimore offense and lay 9.5 points. They scored 9 points total last week, and that wouldn’t even be enough to cover the spread this week.

TAMPA BAY (-2.5) over Tennessee

Jeff Garcia has thrown zero interceptions this year. Impressive. He’s had success in places where a west coast offense is employed (49ers, Eagles, Buccaneers) and failed where there wasn’t (Lions, Browns). So he’s a good fit for Tampa Bay, and his quality play is one of the main reasons I’m taking the Buccaneers. That, and the Titans have been turning the ball over too much lately. The Buccaneers defense should take advantage of that this week. You can turnover the ball 5 times and beat the Falcons. You can’t turnover the ball 5 times and beat the Buccaneers.

Washington (+3) over GREEN BAY

Jason Campbell is slowly making a believer out of me. I didn’t like him much coming out of Auburn, but he seems to have a firm grasp of the Redskins offense. I think the Redskins have a shot to go pretty far. They can run the ball with Portis and Betts, play good defense, and stretch the field vertically with a pretty good receiving corps (Moss, Randle El, Cooley). I never really bought into the Green Bay hype. They can’t run the football, and you don’t go far in the NFL when you can’t run the ball.

ARIZONA (-4) over Carolina

Recently signed QB Vinny Testaverde could end up starting this game for the Panthers. He is approximately 147 years old. If David Carr is healthy, he gets the nod. Either way, it’s a losing proposition against a decent Cardinals defense. If confirmation comes on Saturday that Vinny is starting, this line might jump to –100.

New England (-6) over DALLAS

Like I said last week, until the Patriots lose a game against the spread I’m going to continue picking them. I absolutely loathe Belichick and Brady, but placing money on them is one of the safest bets you can make. I don’t expect the Cowboys to play as poorly as they did Monday night. Actually, that performance will probably inspire them to play better ball on Sunday. Won’t matter though.

Oakland (+10) over SAN DIEGO

It’s a rule to live by. Never bet on a Norv Turner coached team while laying double-digit points. It’s a recipe for disaster. Sure, every now and then the Chargers might blow out their opponent 41-3 and you’ll win your bet, but more often than not Norv’s teams disappoint. I don’t think Vegas is giving Oakland nearly enough credit. It’s like night and day between this year’s Raiders and last year’s. Kind of paints a picture as to how bad of a coach Art Shell was.

New Orleans (+6.5) over SEATTLE

Is the Saints offense really this bad? How can you go from being one of the best offenses in the league one year to being one of the worst the next? Does losing Joe Horn really make that much of a difference? I know they lost Deuce, but it’s not like they played well on offense the first few games they had his services either. Eventually, they’ll get out of their funk and I was less than impressed with the Seahawks last week. They’ll be without Deion Branch, so I don’t know if they’ll have the personnel to attack the Saints weak secondary. New Orleans keeps it close.

New York Giants (-3.5) over ATLANTA

The Falcons are a mess. Nice sleeper pick Mark Anthony. Does it really matter if they start Joey Harrington or Byron Leftwich? The Giants have reeled off three straight, and don’t show signs of stopping anytime soon.

Just Chillin' Competition: Penguins vs Maple Leafs

This Week's Matchup: Center

Matt Stajan


Max Talbot

Stajan has the girls, but if Max was anywhere in the area you know who they would be with. Plus, although Stajan was more highly regarded, he's been mostly a bust, failing to score more than 20 goals in any of his three full seasons. If you can't score 20 goals you better have been in at least 1 fight in your career, and Stajan has no major penalties to his credit. Max had 5 last year. What does this matter to the pictures? Stajan is more concerned with staying pretty for the ladies, Max is more worried about dominating in everything imaginable, including poker. I'll take the poker playing badass over the guy just parlaying his profession into womanizing.

Winner: Penguins

3 Indirectly Related Things to Know About the Toronto Maple Leafs:

1.) Areas of Canada, and particularly Toronto, do not particularly like Sid. A lot of that feeling comes from Don Cherry, who has taken it upon himself to scold him for pretty much everything, like going down after getting speared in the ribs.

2.) Toronto boasts the World's biggest phallic object, the CN Tower, standing at 553 meters tall. Other than the observation deck, the thing looks fairly useless.

3.) One of the Leafs' top bloggers, according to ballhype, is Raking Leafs. I have never read the blog before this week, so I'm not going to pass judgment on the quality, but their reaction post to Jason Blake having cancer appeared to be a bit cold, being more concerned with how it would affect the team and speculating that Blake may have known he had cancer but signed with the Leafs anyway. Makes you appreciate some of the better run hockey blogs.

Enjoy the weekend and the Pens game.

end of Post


Dave Wannstache said...

Hmm, I counted 8-6 for Mark Anthony, 5-9 for Pat, 7-7 for myself, and 6-8 for Sam.

I think you missed a game somewhere. I'd count em up and double check, but I'm pretty sure I got the right numbers.

Anonymous said...

I pick on Wednesdays so my spreads might be a little different from yours, but I'm at 40-30-6 so far this year and riding a wave of hubris into Week 6. Here's what I got:

KC +3
JAX -6.5
mia +4.5
CHI -5.5
phi -3
stl +9.5
ten +3
was +3
car +4
ne -4.5
SD -10
SEA -6.5
ATL +3.5

Anonymous said...

PS - Stache, the Bungles under Lewis are 1-3 ATS off the bye. Philly's a strong team after a bye (6-1 ATS). You're right about San Diego; Norv is 1-11 ATS when favored by more than 5 vs. a division opponent. I'm still too skeptical of Daunte to get excited about the Raiders defense.

Anonymous said...

err, offense.

Dave Wannstache said...

Josh, thanks for the info.

I don't know why but I usually don't base my picks off of past stats. I usually just go off what I've seen thus far, although with the way I'm picking this year maybe I do need to factor in more statistical analysis.