Week ten, who would have thought it? Well into the 'business end' of the NFL season now, aren't we? Today's thought, on 'Veterans weekend', isn't it funny how, living in Dublin, Ireland, I can walk into a bookmaker and place a bet, whilst if you are reading this in Boston, Boise or Brooklyn, you can't. You have to have 'a guy', for that. Doesn't it make you wonder, every time an NFL broadcaster slams the whole 'fighting for your freedoms' cliché down your throat on Sunday night, exactly what freedoms are we talking about here?
Because some politician took hundreds of thousands of dollars from land based Vegas Casinos, and subsequently sneakily forced a bill through banning Internet and sports gambling, because of that the average hard working American has to go to illegal bookmakers to place their NFL bets this weekend, and that's freedom? Really?
It is all so frustrating, we may as well all just be Tebowing.
Running total - 68-61 ATS
Week by week links at foot of column
Essential NFL pick links
- The Sports Guy (Bill Simmons)
- CNNSI Peter King weekly picks
- USA Today - Jon Saraceno
- USA Today - All staff picks
- ESPN expert picks
Week ten New Orleans Saints (6-3) at Atlanta Falcons (5-3) +0.5
The game: The only reason this spread is close is the Falcons are home. The Saints are a more explosive team in all areas. Darren Sproles has been a key to the Saints and the Chargers seasons. His arrival in New Orleans has meant they finally have the player they always wished Reggie Bush would be. His departure in San Diego has left them floundering. This will be close, the Falcons are no schmucks, but Brees will find a way.
The score: New Orleans 27 Atlanta 24
The Pick: New Orleans -0.5
Dwight Howard Tebowing
Buffalo Bills (5-3) at Dallas Cowboys (4-4) -5.5
The game: Just as Dallas didn't turn into Superstars by beating Seattle, the Bills didn't turn into Pumpkins by losing to the Jets. I expect this to be more in line with the air-tight Bills @ Giants encounter (24-27) a couple of weeks ago, than this long line suggests.
The score: Buffalo 27 Dallas 30
The Pick: Buffalo +5.5
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) +3.5
The game: So, is everyone aware The Bungles are on a five game winning streak? No, seriously. Look it up. A genuine five game winning streak, including quality wins over Tennessee and Buffalo. Let's repeat that, The Bungles are on a five game winning streak!! Meanwhile, the Steelers come into this with a day less to recover, dazed and confused after losing to the previously reasonably inept Ravens. The shock of the week, Just remember you heard it here first!
The score: Pittsburgh 20 Cincinnati 24
The Pick: Cincinnati +3.5
Tebowing is art
St. Louis Rams (1-7) at Cleveland Browns (3-5) -2.5
The game: Stephen Jackson says ''I beat the Saints on my own, naturally I can do same against the incredibly awful Brownies!'' In the last four games Jackson has churned out a sterling 455 yards on the ground. Also, Sam Bradford is back for the Rams. This may not even be close.
The score: St Louis 27 Cleveland 17
The Pick: St Louis +2.5
Denver Broncos (3-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-4) -3.5
The game: There's enough intelligent thinking going on over on the Kansas sideline to come up with something to confuse 'The Second Coming' (or whatever inane nickname eventually sticks for you know who). Kansas are on and off, but at home, against their bitter rivals, you can't see anything but max effort. Matt Cassel may not be a showboating, Tebowing, politicising media act, but, he generally gets the job done.
The score: Denver 20 Kansas 28
The Pick: Kansas -3.5
Tebowing at its finest
Tennessee Titans (4-4) at Carolina Panthers (2-6) -2.5
The game: A tough one to pick, however the Panthers only two wins are against Jacksonville and Washington (Washington post Hightower, I might add) - and thus a slight edge appears for the Titans who have a couple of quality wins including a stunner over the Ravens. Should be a tight one, but the Titans still have a chance in '11, and have the more veteran squad all round.
The score: Tennessee 24 Carolina 20
The Pick: Tennessee +2.5
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) at Indianapolis Colts (0-9) +2.5
The game: Goodness gracious. Well, Maurice Jones Drew trumps anything on the other side of the line of scrimmage. That's about all you can say about this one.
The score: Jacksonville 27 Indianapolis 20
The Pick: Jacksonville -2.5
Washington Redskins (3-5) at Miami Dolphins (1-7) -3.5
The game: Two teams going in opposite directions, fast. The temptation is to jump on Miami. Hang on a second. The 'Skins four losses in a row look bad at first sight, however, all four were to good or very good teams, Carolina, Philly, Buffalo and the 49ers. Miami have one win, total, and that was against the very up-and-down Chiefs. Let's not anoint the Dolphins just yet.
The score: Washington 23 Miami 21
The Pick: Washington +3.5
Arizona Cardinals (2-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) -13.5
The game: When was the last time a 3-5 team gave 13.5 points? The spread scares me, with the Eagles on a short week. And having, you know, just lost, and all.
The score: Arizona 17 Philadelphia 24
The Pick: Arizona +13.5
Tebowing for our freedoms
Houston Texans (6-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) +3.5
The game: Tampa are fading fast, and are giving up too many yards on the ground. Houston comes into town featuring its running game, bad news for Tampa.
The score: Houston 30 Tampa 20
The Pick: Houston -3.5
Baltimore Ravens (6-2) at Seattle Seahawks (2-6) +7.5
The game: The only reason that line is so low is Seattle have a decent home crowd. Doesn't matter how vociferous they are, however, they are going to get stomped by a suddenly confident Ravens.
The score: Baltimore 30 Seattle 13
The Pick: Baltimore -7.5
Detroit Lions (6-2) at Chicago Bears (5-3) -2.5
The game: Just a hunch, and bear in mind, I respect the Bears, and believed they could beat the Eagles, but the ferocious Detroit D, with that aggressive, angry front seven, can take advantage of the Bears terrible, terrible offensive line. Jay Cutler could be in for a long day.
The score: Detroit 28 Chicago 24
The Pick: Detroit +2.5
New York Giants (6-2) at San Francisco 49ers (7-1) -3.5
The game: Beating Cleveland and Washington (As the 49ers have done) is not the same as beating New England and Buffalo (as the Giants have done). I would suggest this game is way more suited to the Giants, also. Way too many points.
The score: New York 28 San Francisco 24
The Pick: New York +3.5
New England Patriots (5-3) at New York Jets (5-3) -2
The game: Gut Check time for New England. Funny thing is, the Jets offence is not the type to scare New England, and the Patriots will be more than happy to slug it out in the trenches (rather than trying to defend the pass). Belichick and Brady are not suddenly turned to pumpkins after two tough losses to two tough teams. Not quite time to write the Patriots off.
The score: New England 28 New York Jets 26
The Pick: New England +2
Minnesota Vikings (2-6) at Green Bay Packers (8-0) -13.5
The game: It's a trap!! The Vikings, off a bye week and a big win the week before, well rested and ready, cruise into town to face a Packers team that yes, is winning, and winning easily, but to date they have beaten two teams by 14 points. The Vikings can stay in touch.
The score: Minnesota 24 Green Bay 30
The Pick: Minnesota +13.5
Office Tebowing II
Week one - 11-4
Week two - 12-4
Week three - 6-10
Week four - 10-6
Week five - 7-6
Week six - 4-9
Week seven 6-7
Week eight - 7-6
Week nine - 5-9