Poor Prognostication: Still not terrible!
Things tapered off from the near perfect picks from two weeks ago, going 6-3 last week. Auburn finally got blown out, Nebraska rallied but failed to blow out, and someone reminded Pittsburgh about defense and the forward pass which resulted in my three wrong picks. For the year, I doubled my losses for an overall record of 21-6. Since I’ve set the bar pretty high for myself right out of the gate, it puts a lot of pressure to maintain that .778 winning percentage I have going, but I push on towards that eventual fall off a cliff. Jay Cutler is dismissive about it, but I’m still pretty stoked, so my picks are in bold after the jump.
Michigan (+2.5) @ Michigan State
Rivalry games are always fun and Michigan State has really been made this one competitive over the last couple of years, winning the last three contests, but this isn’t Rich-Rod’s Wolverines. Michigan is 6-0 and Denard Robinson is responsible for nearly 1,900 yards in their six games. Michigan State is coming off their first win over Ohio State in Columbus since 1998, so they’re feeling quite good about themselves and they are very excited about trying to get their first four game sweep against Michigan since 1959-62 to shake off the “little brother” image of the Spartans to the Wolverines. East Lansing will be rocking, but in the end too much Denard dooms Sparty. Michigan by 4.
Florida @ Auburn (+2)
Yes, Auburn burned me last week by getting blown out by Arkansas, but they return home this week to host a Florida team that has been blown out in back to back weeks by Alabama and LSU. The Gators will be without their starting quarterback John Brantley once again and they haven’t shown a great deal of offensive power without him. Auburn may have looked poor last week on the road, but they still have talent on both side of the ball and they will rebound at home this weekend. Auburn by 10.
Arizona State @ Oregon (-14.5)
You can go ahead and give Arizona State all the points you have, but it isn’t going to help them. Oregon’s offense has found its groove, ranking fifth in the country gaining over 500 yards a game. Even if Heisman candidate LaMichael James is not able to play due to his elbow injury, his backup averaged over 8 yards per carry last week against Cal and his backup’s backup is averaging over 7 per carry for the season. The Ducks are riding a 21-game winning streak at home and a 6-game win streak against Arizona State. Ducks win big at Autzen Stadium on Saturday night. Oregon by 21.
Ohio State @ Illinois (-3)
The Buckeyes are struggling this season. Their three wins have come against cupcake opponents Akron, Toledo, and Colorado while losing to their quality opponents Miami, Michigan State and Nebraska. The Nebraska loss last week was especially embarrassing because Ohio State had built a 27-6 lead before giving up 28 unanswered points in the second half to lose in Lincoln. Now they travel to Champagne to face an Illini team that is 6-0 and looking to snap an 8 game home losing streak to the Buckeyes, who have bullied Illinois around in the Big Ten for years. Illinois comes out strong and sends the buckeyes home on a three game losing streak. Illinois by 10.
Buffalo (+3) @ New York Giants
Buffalo is sitting atop the AFC East after turning Michael Vick and the Eagles over 5 times, including 4 interceptions. Eli Manning is coming off a 3 interception game against the Seahawks. I see the Giants offense continuing to make mistakes with the football turning the ball over several times and their defense will not be able to hold up. The Bills ability to run and throw will keep the Giants off balance and the Bills win by 4 in a shootout.
Dallas @ New England (-6.5)
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a bye week in which they got to answer questions about Tony Romo giving games away and trying to figure out a way to slow down the Patriots offense. I don’t think they came up with answers to either. While the Patriots defense is at the bottom of the league in pass defense, they’re still able to catch the ball when it’s thrown to them. Romo will make just enough mistakes to give the Patriots a few extra opportunities on offense where Brady and Belichick will go for the throat, putting distance between the Cowboys and Patriots. Pats win by 17.
San Francisco @ Detroit (-4)
The 49ers have put together a great start to the season, far beyond any expectations people had for them. Alex Smith looks like an NFL-caliber quarterback! In fact, if it weren’t for the Lions, San Francisco would probably be the feel-good story of the season. But the Lions are undefeated and playing really good football right now. The offense is explosive, breaking two plays of over 70-yards against Chicago on Monday night and the defense, led by the menacing defensive line, has kept offenses on their heels. I think San Francisco knows what division they play in and know they have a little room for error without falling behind Seattle or Arizona or St. Louis (3-11 combined). Detroit, meanwhile, is in a footrace with fellow unbeaten Green Bay. The Lions will come out sharper and continue their perfect start, and the 49ers will go home still holding a 2 game lead in the division. Detroit by 11.
Minnesota (+3) @ Chicago
This is my upset pick of the week. Chicago has had all kinds of trouble protecting Jay Cutler, and the beating he’s taken in his 2+ seasons as a Bear are starting to wear on him. He came out this week saying that he’s unsure of his offensive line and is always thinking about getting hit when he drops back to pass. Enter Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, who already has 8.5 sacks through 5 games and is on pace to break the single season sack record. That is a recipe for cooked Cutler and a sputtering Bears offense. Their lack of receivers is starting to hurt them more consistently (Roy Williams, really?) and their defense has been torched so bad they’ve gone to their backup safeties. Adrian Peterson will run wild, Donovan will complete enough passes, and the Vikings pull off the upset. Minnesota by 10.
Miami @ New York Jets (-7)
The Jets are on a 3-game losing streak and their offense has been absent and their defense suspect. They’ll get a chance to figure some things out this week against the win-less Dolphins who bring in a bottom of the league defense to go with backup quarterback Matt Moore leading a listless offense. They haven’t been able to run the ball and now with their number one receiver Brandon Marshall promising to get himself kicked out before halftime, they might as well kneel three times and punt the ball away. The Jets offense will find some rhythm and make everyone believe they’ve got it figured out going forward until they have to play a team that’s not the Miami Dolphins. Jets by 13.