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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 13, 2009 8:25 PM. The previous post in this blog was Paulson soccer deal looks worse by the day. The next post in this blog is Do sushi bars do celebrity endorsements?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I double-dog dare ya

Last week, I made another excellent prediction in the pro football underdog pool in which I play. I said, "I think there are going be four or five upsets this weekend." And I was right -- there were five! (They were Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Atlanta, and Miami.)

Unfortunately, I didn't pick one of the winning underdog teams. I went with Houston, who dug themselves a huge hole and couldn't quite pull themselves out. I'll spare you the lurid details. For me, that's five whiffs out of five picks so far this season. Ouch!

Several readers recommended the Ohio teams, both of which would have paid off handily. I thought pretty hard about Cleveland, but never would have been convinced that Cincy was going to come through. Thanks anyway for trying to steer me straight, folks.

Well, another week of heavy concentration is upon us already. This week's slate of games has been released -- see an underdog (in caps) in the list below that can win its game outright, without help from the point spread? The points listed matter only in that they determine how many points I get if I pick a winning 'dog.

If you've enjoyed our weekly festivities with the pool and would like to get involved yourself, here's your chance. As announced yesterday afternoon, we're starting our own version of the underdog pool, with each player putting up $20 and all proceeds going to charity. The player with the most points at the end of the playoffs gets to designate a charity that will receive the pool of entry fees. That, and enjoy serious bragging rights, of course. Please consider signing up. It's for a good cause -- maybe your favorite cause!

We're still rounding up players in our own pool -- seven expressions of interest and five entry fees paid so far -- and so this week is just a warmup. Our pool picks start in earnest next week. Meanwhile, given the awful straits I'm in in the other pool, I need all the advice I can get right now. And so readers, please start your sports expert engines:

14 OAKLAND vs. Philadelphia
14 CLEVELAND at Pittsburgh
13 DETROIT at Green Bay
10 ST. LOUIS at Jacksonville
10 BUFFALO at NY Jets
9.5 TENNESSEE at New England
6.5 KANSAS CITY at Washington
4.5 HOUSTON at Cincinnati
4 DENVER at San Diego
3 BALTIMORE at Minnesota
3 NY GIANTS at New Orleans
3 TAMPA BAY vs. Carolina
3 ARIZONA at Seattle
3 CHICAGO at Atlanta

Comments (25)

I apologize for the Raiders pick over the Giants. That's why they call them long shots. I thought Eli was hurt much worse than he appeared. The announcer even said those who saw the injury as it happened feared he blew his achilles tendon. It looked bad.
Oh well. I'm over pulling for teams I don't believe in.
Go, Eagles.
You were much closer with your hunch that KC would beat Dallas. At least they took it to overtime before losing.

I'm going to have to give Dallas a break and admit that they are sure not to lose this weekend.

On the "hair of the dog that bit you" theory, I still like KC. Washington is even worse than the Dallas team they held to a draw in regulation; I don't understand the 6.5 points spread here.

I think that's maybe the best pick on the board.

However, if six and a half isn't enough and you really want to go for the gusto, I think that would be Cleveland.

George, are you in on the charity pool?

I will be by the close of entries.

Great. Thank you.

You've got no choice, you've gotta go with Detroit. You need to hit a home run and Detroit it the only team on the top half of that board with any chance in hell of winning.

KC is the next best bet. Sure they suck, but Washington is just as bad (every team Washington has played since their opening day loss to the Giants, has zero wins aside from the two wins by the teams who beat the 'skins) and KC played a mediocre but better Dallas team pretty tight.

You could go with Denver or some of the other closer calls, but you need more points than that.

What do you think of Buffalo and the Jets?

The classic better's mistake is to think that because you're down, you need a grand slam to catch back up. A few short wins will do just as good, and it's much easier to do.

I think Denver's a good pick for this one, especially after the show they put on with the Patriots last week.

Take KC and Denver, easily the best bets.
I'm not sure why San Diego gets favored, they're not exceptional on either side of the ball. Washington is just plain awful.

I knew Atlanta was better than they had been showing, but I remain surprised by Denver over New England. It's such an emotional game. That one fluke play against Cincinnati might have put them in the mother groove. Of course Cincy has turned out to be good so maybe Denver was doing great to be in position to win against them. I love football.

As a Redksins fan, who's already given up on this season (maybe this WON'T be the year...), I find it hard to believe that the 'Skins are not considered the underdog. There's no way they're going to win that game, sad to say....

Don't panic - you have a lot of games to pick still. Long shots are desperate measures, and you're not there yet.

Denver is an obvious 4 point pick. To put it mildly, they are playing very well. Even factoring in home field advantage, I can't believe that 5-0 Denver is the underdog against a singularly unspectacular .500 team that trails the Broncos by 2 1/2 games in the AFC West.

Picking the Giants over the Saints gets you 3 points. This is a huge game and I root hard for Big Blue, but objectively, they are still a better team. The Saints' defense has improved a lot and Brees is due for some more TD fireworks, but the Giants defense will pressure him hard. If Eli plays the whole game, the Giants can move the ball well on the ground and in the air. Look for them to grind out a BIG road win at the Superdome.

If you need more payoff for your pick, I like Kansas City for 6.5 points. Matt Cassel has some moxie and they played well against the Cowboys, who are a better team than the Redskins. Yes, the Chiefs are 0-5, but they are going to beat someone this season. Why shouldn't it be Washington?

"What do you think of Buffalo and the Jets?"

That it is a really lousy waste of your pick for this week. Sanchez may have been luckier than good his first three games, but New York is the (much) better team, even without factoring in WR Braylon Edwards, who put on a nifty show Monday night. The Bills would have to do a lot to beat them on the road.

To me, clearly KC is the pick of the week. Washington is thoroughly inept. They will be the first NFL team EVER to play 6 straight winless teams, and they're only 2-3 against them. No better pick out there for the points than that. Giants are a great pick to win, but at 3 points, meh. Really, I think all of the teams from the KC game down to the Arizona game are potential (and likely) winners. I think Detroit covers the spread, but I can't see them winning outright. Ditto Tennessee, whom I think are at this point playing for a top draft pick. This year's gone for them, and they know it.

In order:

STL and JAX are both pretty capable of losing, so I'd think for big points I'd take that game:

10 ST. LOUIS at Jacksonville
4 DENVER at San Diego
3 ARIZONA at Seattle
6.5 KANSAS CITY at Washington
3 CHICAGO at Atlanta
3 NY GIANTS at New Orleans

Give me those KC Chiefs to beat the Washington Snyders.

I'd pick KC and Denver.

RE: Detroit - Stafford QB and Williams WR are both out this week.

The KC & Denver crowd make good points, though I actually don't think the 'skins will lose THIS home game.

If I were in your position, I would choose StL or Buffalo.

Ugh...just lost 45 minutes of work because I didn't type in my name when I tried to submit the last time. So, I'm not writing it all over again, especially since my picks are 3 of 4 and you haven't listened yet ;-) So, here is the short version:

1: KC--forget it and forget the Dallas game. Dallas controlled the ball and KC had the lead only because of Dallas mistakes, not because KC can play football. KC lost to Oakland and we saw Oakland play last week. Give Cassel a week or two to get completely healthy and let KC prove it can win a game before beating on them. I mean, why would anyone bet on a team that is 0-5?

2: There are no real prospects until you get to Denver at a low 4 points. Should Denver be 5-0 and would I expect them to be 6-0? No. But, SD is a slower offense this year. LT has one TD after 5 games. No real WR threats. Rivers can spark a game to life, but really the team is right where it should be: .500. Denver also only allowed 42 points over 5 games, as compared to SD defense allowing over 100. But, SD has an adequate defense and adequate is all you need against Orton. If it turns into a shoot-out, Rivers gets the best of it.

3: Balimore should not lose 3 games in a row. They are going to be inspired and Baltimore will pressure Favre so expect some INTs this game. This defense can contain Peterson. Nobody will completely shut him down, but he can be contained...see Minnesota v. Green Bay. At three points, this don't get you much.

4: Arizona should beat Seattle. As this is my third pick, I'm not really getting into the reasons.

"Ugh...just lost 45 minutes of work because I didn't type in my name when I tried to submit the last time. So, I'm not writing it all over again, especially since my picks are 3 of 4 and you haven't listened yet ;-)"

The smile means you're in the Charity Underdog Pool?

1) Denver (+4), or 2) Baltimore (+3).

SD can't really deal with defense of the Broncos, esp. the pass rush (off. line banged up), and Denver is balanced on offense. Ravens will not lose 3 in a row, esp. to a run-based team, on an indoor fast track, to boot. Ed Reed & Co. will eat Favre's over-confident pray-passes up for dinner. Wouldn't want to be a slot receiver for the Vikes this Sunday. They're already got two WRs on injury list for sore shoulders. Better have that helmet at the proper inflation, too. Smash! Crunch!

I'm going with Buffalo.

I wish the pool started this week.

Ok, mea culpa if you picked the G-men. Not to take anything away from Drew Brees, but that was a truly bad game for NY. Their defense barely laid a hand on him and too frequent zone coverage made it that much easier for Brees to move the ball. BY's offense wasn't much to watch either.

At least I gave you Kansas.

Um, that would be "NY's offense".


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