October 14, 2011
I was going to take every possible Texas team I could this week, but I guess the San Antonio Gunslingers and Houston Gamblers are off. So it goes. Put on your 10-gallon hat and saddle up for another edition of Throwing Darts.
As always, I welcome you to make your own five selections and list them in the comments. Defend your picks if you can, and for the love of all things holy, if you're going to bash my picks, you gotta give a reason. Further the conversation, Sam Rothstein.
All lines are drawn from Yahoo! Pro Football Pick'em. If you're going to play along, please go there.
Cowboys +7 at Patriots: Obviously the "Romo throws away game" factor looms here, but Dallas will move up and down the field on the Pats, too (unlike the silly Jets, Dallas recognizes the weak New England secondary and will attack). When healthy, the Cowboys might have the best offensive skill players in the league. And the Cowboys defense presents problems as well, a nasty pass rush and a run-stuffing unit (for whatever that's worth in Pinball 2011). The last defensive coordinator to stop the Pats was Rob Ryan, back in November with the Browns. He's now calling the shots in Dallas. The Pokes have an upset chance here.
Browns +6.5 at Raiders: The junkyard dog Raiders have been good to us in 2011, but now it's time to play the "so underrated, they're overrated" card and take the value on the other end. Let's see Oakland's upset win at Houston for what it was — a great story, and a fluke-driven result. Oakland had just 11 first downs and 278 yards on the day, compared to 21 first downs and 473 yards for the Texans. I know the Browns are nothing special and they might be down cover ace Joe Haden(notes), but they're off the bye week and credible enough on defense to keep this game competitive. And yes, pick up Greg Little(notes) in deeper leagues (the new X-receiver, or isolation wideout, for the Browns).
Texans +7.5 at Ravens: It's a shame we can't ask Gary Kubiak to approach this match with a "just cover, baby" approach and forget about winning outright. If Baltimore is going to make the number, it probably needs to get turnovers and mayhem from its defense. But I can't feel good about the Ravens laying this heavy a line when Joe Flacco(notes) is still their quarterback. Being without Andre Johnson(notes) and Mario Williams(notes) hurts of course, but I think the Texans roster is deeper than many realize.
Eagles -1.5 at Redskins: I know, I know, I know. Shouldn't we reach a point where we accept that the Eagles are as crummy as their record? But here's the thing, it's not like Philly can't move the ball on offense. The problems have been the usual bugaboos: turnovers, and an inability to run the ball in short-yardage situations. This still is the fastest team in the NFC, and you still get to root against Rex Grossman(notes) with this pick. Desperation isn't a cure-all, but it's a hell of a motivator.
Niners +4.5 at Lions: Time to sell a little high on the Lions, who get a short week and are spotting an inflated number to a team that's been nearly as impressive as they are. It's nice to see Patrick Willis(notes) on a winner for once.
Love Ya' Blue image courtesy of SI Vault