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The Lineman took a few hard hits early last week but recovered with a couple of late scores to win my last two picks and finish with a sort of respectable 2-4. The word of the week for Week Six is “desperation” for me and several teams.
Record: 14-16; Last week: 2-4; Pick of the Week: 4-1
PICK OF THE WEEK
St. Louis Rams (0-4) at Green Bay Packers (5-0)
(Lines Packers minus-14.5)
The NFL’s best team against probably the league’s worst team (we say probably only because the Miami Dolphins have also yet to win a game).
St. Louis has had a bye week to think about their visit to Lambeau but the Rams could have had a year to prepare and it would be the same result – a blowout.
With a razor-sharp Aaron Rodgers at the controls the Packers are averaging a league best 34 points while the Rams are at the bottom of the heap averaging just 11.5.
The Packers still have a few areas they could improve on, such as pass defence after giving up an average of 299 yards per game – third worst in the league.
But Charles Woodson and Morgan Burnett are tied for the lead in interceptions with three each while Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has thrown just three touchdowns.
Danario Alexander is the Rams’ top pass catcher with a measly 196 yards.
Rodgers has thrown for 1,721 yards and a league-best 14 touchdowns and will likely add to both those numbers against a Rams secondary that has lost its two top cornerbacks to injury.
Even when they were winning last season, the Rams were crummy on the road. The Pack are great at home.
Giving up more than two touchdowns always leaves me jittery and there is always a chance the Packers could be in a generous mood and let up on their overwhelmed opponents.
But I still expect to see plenty of Lambeau Leaps this Sunday.
Take the leap. Give up the 14.5 and take the Packers.
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Philadelphia Eagles (1-4) at Washington Redskins (3-1)
(Line Eagles plus .5)
I could just cut and paste my reasons for taking the Eagles again because they are the same reasons I picked Philadelphia over the Bills a week ago (a wrong pick).
The only difference from last Sunday is that the Eagles are even more desperate for a win.
After four straight losses the “Dream Team” tag has been removed from the Eagles but is Philadelphia as bad as their 1-4 record? I think not.
The Eagles offence ranks third, averaging 445 yards per game and first in rushing but quarterback Michael Vick has been prone to the big mistake, tossing a league-high seven interceptions including four against the Bills.
Philadelphia’s more significant issues are on defence where they rank near the bottom of the league against the run, surrendering an average of 26.4 points and 140 yards on the ground.
Defence has been the Redskins strength, Washington allowing just 15.8 points per game (third best behind Baltimore and San Francisco) and leads the NFL in sacks – not good news for an
already banged up Vick.
Great defence, coming off a bye week and playing at home everything would seem to be in the Redskins’ favour.
But the Eagles are in desperation mode and so am I.
Take the Eagles and the half point.
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Carolina Panthers (1-4) at Atlanta Falcons (2-3)
(Line Falcons minus-4.5)
The Eagles and Falcons are birds of a feather – both failing miserably to live up to pre-season expectations.
The Falcons tailspin has not been nearly as dramatic as the Eagles but this is another team that needs to get things figured out in hurry (like this Sunday) or risk falling to the bottom of the NFC South.
First-year quarterback Cam Newton may not quite be ready for the Hall of Fame as some would have you believe by the lavish praise but he is a lock for rookie of the year taking command of a Panthers offence that ranks fifth in total yards and passing.
Newton has passed for seven touchdowns, run for five more and developed a special chemistry with wide receiver Steve Smith, who ranks second in pass catching with 609 yards.
Atlanta has just been out of sync on both sides of the ball.
The Falcons are a tough out at the Georgia Dome and this is the week when things finally start to click in Atlanta.
Newton is also due for a wonky game and I think this is it.
Take the Falcons and give up the 4.5.
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Houston Texans (3-2) at Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
(Line Ravens minus-7.5)
No All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson and no pass rushing maestro Mario Williams, means no chance for the banged up Texans against a well-rested Ravens team playing at home and coming off a bye week.
It is hard to give up more than a touchdown against a team that has played as well as the Texans but, with their two biggest playmakers sidelined with injuries, it is hard to see Houston having any chance here.
The Ravens defence, led by Ray Lewis (this guy still scares me), is the league’s stingiest allowing just 14.3 points a game while Joe Flacco and the Baltimore offence are starting to find their stride averaging 35 points in their three wins.
M&T Bank Stadium has been a house of pain for visitors, the Ravens going 12-1 in their last 13 home games.
The Texans have never beaten the Ravens and it won’t happen this week.
Houston we have a problem.
Take the Ravens and give up the 7.5.
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New Orleans Saints (4-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)
(Line Saints minus-4.5)
New Orleans let me down last week when they failed to cover against the Panthers but I am giving them another shot this Sunday because 4.5 points seems to a little light against a Saints offence that is starting to fire on all cylinders.
Drew Brees is the NFL’s second ranked quarterback tossing 1,789-yards and 12 touchdowns and is at the controls of a Saints attack that sits second in total yards (452 yards per game) and passing yards (336).
Last week the Buccaneers were spanked 48-3 by the San Francisco 49ers, matching their worst loss in club history.
Both defences have struggled giving up an average of 25 points a game but it is hard to see Tampa Bat quarterback Josh Freeman keeping pace with Brees.
The Saints quarterback has an arsenal of weapons to choose from while the Bucs lost one of their biggest threats last Sunday when running back LeGarrette Blount went down with a knee injury.
New Orleans should also be very motivated this week with a win allowing them to open up a two-game cushion on their NFC South rivals at the top of the division standings.
Bucs stopped here.
Take the Saints and give up the 4.5.
- – - -
Miami Dolphins (0-4) at New York Jets (2.3)
(Line Jets minus-7.5)
For me, a week off in Miami would never seem like a bad thing.
Not sure, however, the winless Dolphins enjoyed their bye week as much I would have.
So it’s back to work for the Fish and a visit to the Big Apple for the Monday Nighter against a Jets team that finally appears ready to take flight.
Dolphins have a new look coming out of the break but it is a scary one, with backup Matt Moore in at quarterback for injured Chad Henne.
Miami ranked near the bottom of the league averaging just 17 points a game with Henne calling plays so it is difficult to see Moore as any kind of upgrade – especially going against a Jets defence that ranks fifth against the pass.
New York quarterback Mark Sanchez continues to come under scrutiny but expect him to silence his critics, for one day at least, with a big day against the NFL’s second worst pass defence.
Both teams are desperate (see, I told you that was word of the week) for wins.
Miami coach Tony Sparano likely needs one to keep his job while the Jets need a victory to stay in touch with the 4-1 New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.
The Dolphins have a history of playing the Jets tough, but give me the improving Jets against Matt Moore in the Monday Night prime time spotlight.
Jets cleared for takeoff.
Take the Jets and give up the 7.5
OK, it is not exactly the big week I was looking for but 3-3 at least has the Lineman heading back in the right direction. But catch a look at the Pick of the Week 3-1 (soon to be 4-1).
Good tipping to all.
Record: 12-12. Last week 3-3
Pick of the Week: 3-1
PICK OF THE WEEK
San Diego Chargers (3-1) at Denver Broncos (1-3)
Maybe I am one of those guys who keeps banging his head against the wall but for the second time in three weeks I am backing the Chargers as my sure thing.
Record: 7-5. Last week 2-4; Pick of the Week: 2-0
PICK OF THE WEEK
Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) at San Diego Chargers (1-1)
(Line: Chargers minus-14.5)
Just like the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers it was a decent if unspectacular start to a new season for the Lineman, who was a respectable 4-2 in Week One.
But still room for improvement so here we go with another Six-Pack for Week Two.
The Lineman is back for another season of Pick Six that will end with the Green Bay Packers winning the Super Bowl. Yes, the Lineman likes the Pack baby. In fact so does Ms. Lineman and some out of work Octopus.
So, let’s have some fun. Here we go Week One.
PICK OF THE WEEK:
San Diego Chargers (0-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) (Line Chargers minus-4.5): The Chargers have been slow out of the blocks under coach Norv Turner but that will not happen this season.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is a top-notch player who holds many franchise records, but talk that his future with the team could be in jeopardy unless he leads them to a Super Bowl victory next month is heating up.
McNabb’s first road block to the elusive Super Bowl win is Saturday’s matchup versus the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, where the Eagles were shutout 24-0 last week in a game McNabb threw for 223 yards and had two fumbles.
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
The Lineman had been in a bit of slump the last three weeks. After a very solid start to the season he has picked just six winners the last three weeks.We were hit hard by upsets last week (give me a break Raiders and Bills both picking up wins). But we are still ..500 on the season and Pick of the Week is back at .500.
Record: 18-18. Last week 2-4. Pick of the Week: 3-3
PICK OF THE WEEK:
New Orleans Saints (5-0) at Miami Dolphins (2-3) (Line Saints minus 6 1/2): OK, am I missing something? The Saints have won every game by more than 14 points, last week they torched the unbeaten New York Giants 48-27 and quarterback Drew Brees has put on an air-tossing 13 touchdowns including four against the New Yorkers, who came into the Big Easy with the NFL’s top ranked defence.
During his brief stint as a commentator on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown pre-game show back in 2003, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh was forced to resign after making this controversial comment about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
“I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team,” Limbaugh said at the time.