We're creeping ever closer to the end of the season, and my picks are falling off as the weeks go on. A 1-2 week last week drops me to 17-12-1. Still 5 over .500, which is nice, but my goal was for at least 30 wins, and I need to start picking winners for that to happen.
Oakland -2.5 over Miami
Oakland is a hard team to trust, but with Tyler Thigpen at quarterback and flying all the way across the country, the Raiders are the pick here. Pittsburgh ran up the score on Oakland last week after Richard Seymour hit Ben Roethlisberger in the face. But the Raiders actually have the better quarterback and the better running game. Throw in the lack of Brandon Marshall in Miami, and the Dolphins just simply aren't as good as the Raiders. Give me the home team giving less than a field goal.
Raiders 24, Dolphins 16
Jacksonville +7.5 over New York Giants
The Jaguars are playing better football than you think. Somehow, they lead the AFC South at 6-4 and are on a three game winning streak. The Giants look more impressive on paper, despite their 6-4 record, which is why they are favored by so much, but the best playmaker in their offense, Hakeem Nicks, is out. Without Nicks and Steve Smith, the Giants' offense isn't that scary. Eli Manning has thrown a lot of passes off his receivers' hands for interceptions, and that could continue with unproven players like Derek Hagan and Duke Calhoun getting extensive playing time. Both teams will want to run the ball and control the clock. The Giants are better at the point of attack, but their offense won't be able to pull away.
Giants 19, Jaguars 14
Cleveland +10.5 over Carolina
The Browns are a solid football team. They've played hard under Eric Mangini. But they still aren't talented enough to give double digit points to anybody. Jake Delhomme is back at quarterback against his former team. He's more likely to turn the ball over against the Panthers than Colt McCoy would have been. Carolina's defense isn't that bad. It's the offense that is atrocious. But the running game has improved over the last couple of weeks. The Panthers were actually competitive last week for a while. Unlike Baltimore, Cleveland doesn't have the playmakers to pull away and make it a late blowout.
Browns 17, Panthers 10