Pick 'em Friday

Morning, everyone. The coffee's brewed, the cats are fed, and the pumpkins we carved last week are puddles of goo on the back porch, so I know what I'll be doing this afternoon. I was 9-4 last week, which puts me at 71-32 for the season. That's a little above average for this sort of thing, but not superior, which means I won't be heading to Vegas to make my living any time soon. Anyway, here are this weeks picks, winners in caps. Maybe I'll have one of those magical weeks where everything goes right. I'll buy a lottery ticket just in case.

Cleveland at CHICAGO Chicago reminds me of the Saints last year--solid enough to beat the teams they're supposed to beat, but not quite sure enough of themselves as a team with a passing game to win against good teams. Cleveland is not a good team.

DENVER at Baltimore At some point, Denver will lose a game, and when they do, I'll stop picking them to win every week--I've picked against them twice now and they've proven me wrong. I'll go with them as winners until I have reason otherwise.

St. Louis at DETROIT Who cares?

San Francisco at INDIANAPOLIS The Alex Smith/Michael Crabtree era begins in earnest in San Francisco. The Niners almost pulled off an impressive comeback last week, but I think the Colts will handle them.

Seattle at DALLAS Dallas may be the least convincing 4-2 team I've seen this year, and I really think it's a case of the Cowboys not living up to the impossible hype thrown at them because of the new stadium Ozymandias Jerry Jones built in honor of his ego. The Cowboys should win this game pretty easily.

HOUSTON at Buffalo This is not a pick that shows confidence in Houston--it's a pick that shows no confidence in Buffalo.

MIAMI at New York Jets If you only looked at last week's scores, you'd think the Jets are going to win this in a walk, and they still might, but the Fins played the Saints tighter than the score said, while the Jets beat the snot out of the Raiders. The Fins are probably still a year away from true contention, but their second-half schedule sets up nicely for a run, and it starts with this game.

NEW YORK GIANTS at Philadelphia Put me down as one who thinks Eli Manning is a tremendously overrated quarterback. He's a league-average QB who has a great name, plays in the biggest market around, and who got hot at the right time a couple of years ago. But he's no Payton. He's not even a Donovan McNabb. But the Giants are a better team right now, and that will be enough this week.

JACKSONVILLE at Tennessee Vince Young is in at QB for the Titans, which I thought should have happened a couple of weeks ago when it became clear they weren't going to do anything this season. I don't think much will change for the team, though Jacksonville is just inconsistent enough that a Tennessee win here wouldn't be a huge upset.

Oakland at SAN DIEGO The line on this game is something like 16.5 points. I've never seen a line that big for division rivals who are only a game and a half apart in the standings.

Carolina at ARIZONA Can't work up the energy to snark at either team.

MINNESOTA at Green Bay At least this part of the Brett Favre storyline will end once this game is over, because it's unlikely that the two teams will meet again in the playoffs.

Atlanta at NEW ORLEANS I'm doing my best to remain subdued here, but it's killing me that this game is on Monday, because I don't want to wait for it. I'm going to have to grade my ass off to be done in time for kickoff, but it will happen.

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