The Reuters global sports blog
Well the Lineman hopes everyone is having a good holiday and would like to add to all the good cheer with a winning Week 16.
Happy Holidays and may all your picks be winning ones.
Record: 47-43. Last week 3-3. Pick of the Week: 8-7
PICK OF THE WEEK
Dallas Cowboys (9-5) at Washington Redskins (4-10) (Line Cowboys minus 6 1/2)
The Dallas Cowboys finally put an end to talk of a December swoon — for one week at least — after rolling into the Big Easy and taking down the unbeaten Saints last Sunday. After three tough contests against the Giants, Chargers and Saints, the Cowboys get a doormat for Christmas and it could be the perfect gift.
With the Giants and Packers also making moves and the NFC East crown still within reach, the Cowboys will have to keep their foot on the gas against the Deadskins, who were demolished 45-12 by G-Men in a Monday Night Massacre.
Cowboys against Redskins remains one of the NFL’s nastiest rivalries and Washington has won three of last four at home over the Cowboys. The Redskins could not provide disgruntled fans a better Christmas present than atoning for their Monday Night stinker by denting Cowboy playoff hopes.
Well, after a very solid Week 14 and a promising start to Week 15 — taking the Jacksonville Jaguars to cover against the Indy Colts — the Lineman is on a roll going 5-2 in the last seven picks.
But we still have a big weekend ahead, including Pick of the Week. Hopefully the Lineman can provide a little Holiday Cheer.
CBall takes the reins while your regular prognosticator, The Lineman, takes a few days off to celebrate his 6-0 record in Week Seven. While I realize it’s going to be hard to top perfection, stick with me for the one-week ride. The ‘C’ in CBall stands for Champion as you will undoubtedly see if you follow my picks.
Record: 24-18. Last week 6-0. Pick of the Week 4-3.
PICK OF THE WEEK
New York Giants (5-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) (Line Even);
The Giants are coming off a disappointing 24-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on national TV at Giants Stadium. After opening the season 5-0 against inferior competition, the New Yorkers have dropped two straight. But the losing stops this week for quarterback Eli Manning and the Giants, who are 22-5 against the spread in their last 27 road games.
Take the Giants over Philadelphia, who are hurt by the erratic play of Donovan McNabb and the uncertain status of Brian Westbrook. Also, look for the normally rowdy Eagles fans to be distracted by the World Series, which will be played in adjacent Citizens Bank Park later Sunday.
– - – -
Atlanta Falcons (4-2) at New Orleans Saints (6-0) on Monday night (Line Saints minus 10)
Drew Brees and the high-scoring Saints are showing no signs of slowing down and they will continue to march this week. They have put at least 45 points on the scoreboard four times this season and will have an easy time with the Falcons, an overrated squad still searching for their first win over a quality opponent in 2009.
Take the Saints and give the 10. You should be giving a lot more but 10 is all they’re making you surrender. Take it and run.
– - – -
Oakland Raiders (2-5) at San Diego Chargers (3-3) (Line Chargers minus 16 1/2)
The Raiders lost to the Chargers 24-20 in their season opener at home and are primed to cover the spread this week in Southern California. These teams are bitter rivals in the AFC West. Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell is no Philip Rivers. But he completed only 12 of 30 passes in the opener and the Raiders lost by just four.
Take the Raiders and the points. They won’t win the game but rest assured they’ll cover the spread.
– - – -
San Francisco 49ers (3-3) at Indianapolis Colts (6-0) (Line Colts minus 12 1/2)
Colts signal-caller Peyton Manning is simply playing too well to consider taking the Golden Gaters and the points. The Niners beat some mediocre teams early in the season and it made some folks believe they’ve turned it around. But they were blitzed by Atlanta 45-10 and lost to Houston 24-21 in their last two games and will be no match for the unbeaten Colts.
Take Indianapolis and give the 49ers the 12 1/2. It may be close at halftime but by the fourth quarter, you’ll be shaking your head at CBall’s genius.
– - – -
Miami Dolphins (2-4) at New York Jets (4-3) (Line Jets giving 3 1/2)
The Jets blew away the Oakland Raiders 38-0 last week to snap a three-game skid. Don’t expect to see the Jets in the Super Bowl this year but they will cover in Week Eight. After all, the Dolphins are 6-20-2 against the spread in the teams’ last 28 meetings.
Sit back, grab a brew, and watch the Jets pummel the Dolphins.
– - – -
Houston Texans (4-3) at Buffalo Bills (3-4) (Line Houston giving 3 1/2)
The Bills have won two straight while showing signs that they’re not as bad as they were during bad losses at Miami (38-10) and at home against Cleveland (6-3). They’re getting points against a team that’s tough to figure out. The Texans have won two straight, at Cincinnati and at home against the 49ers, but their luck runs out here.
Despite a 1-7 record against the spread in their last eight home games, take the Bills and the points.
PHOTO: New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of their NFL football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana Oct. 18, 2009. REUTERS/Sean Gardner
As we race by the regular season quarter pole we are a tick above .500 but look for better in a week that features some big spreads.
Ouch, the Lineman took a couple of hard hits last week but is still narrowly about 50-50 so still standing. A win by the Colts over the Phish on Monday saved the day but better to come this week – gulp.
Record: 7-5; Last week 3-3; Pick of the Week: 1-1
PICK OF THE WEEK: Chicago Bears (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1) (Line Bears minus-2) Fragile Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is out with a broken rib and Chicago QB Jay Cutler started to look comfortable leading da Bears to nice win over the Steelers last week. Bears are learning to live without linebacker and defensive leader Brian Urlacher while the Seahawks are are already looking beat up.
Most football experts will tell you that it takes three full years to evaluate an NFL draft class, but don’t tell that to the media, who are only too happy to provide the instant gratification of a thumbs up or down analysis after less than 72 hours.
Draft guru Mel Kiper of ESPN gave the Green Bay Packers his highest grade, an A, based primarily on their top two picks of defensive tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker Clay Matthews. While the Oakland Raiders, who selected the speedy, but unpolished wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bay with the seventh overall pick and the Dallas Cowboys, who didn’t have a pick until the third round after trading away earlier selections, both received the lowest mark of D.