Thursday, November 01, 2012

Pick Em Week 9

(For Pick Em Standings -- week-by-week and YTD -- click here.)

Once again, we had a solid week of picks last week (well, Forty and I did.  Keller was respectable) and Forty clung to his slim lead.  Depending on how his Crazy Ivans work out, that could change.  In fact, if he tanks, the rankings will skew in a totally awesome Weidman-like direction.

As the locks will show below, the big-name games are Green Bay/AZ and Houton/Buffalo.  Both should be blow-outs and either is a safe bet.

Unfortunately, we all felt the need to pick against the Steelers this week.  Assuming the game happens as scheduled (stupid Sandy), then it promises to be the marquee game this week.  It's one of the arguably best teams in the league against one of the most popular teams in the league.  The simple fact is, no matter how good the Steelers looked last week, they've sucked on the road this year.  Furthermore, the Giants will be playing for their city this week in post-crisis time.   Finally, the Giants are really, really good.


Oh, look - Forty Crazy Ivan'd the lock of the week as well.  It's a bold strategy. 

Lock of the Week (Keller): Green Bay (-11.5) over Arizona: 24-14, so take the points and the under: I damn near took the Texans over the Bills (same line, dominant home team playing against a reeling opponent), but there's something I don't trust about that game.  I am just suspicious enough with both those teams coming off a bye and not knowing what to expect out of Buffalo's offense.  I will take Aaron Rodgers at home and that defense -- especially now that they've had a week to adjust to the fact that Charles Woodson is out -- against the ineffective Cardinals.  If Arizona's defense made Alex Smith look like Joe Montana, how good are they going to make Rodgers look?  I mean, I still have this feeling that the Cardinals have just enough pride left that they'll fight to keep it close, but there's only so much that Arizona pride and Green Bay malaise can do to prevent the inevitable.  Either Jordy Nelson or Greg Jennings comes back this week and the offense starts to hum again.  They won't hum to the tune of 45 points or anything, but they'll hum well enough to get the job done.  That's what they did last week and I got the Lock Bonus and that's good enough for me.

Lock of the Week (Weidman):  Green Bay over Arizona.  Points and over.
You know all that stuff you've heard about Arizona this season, about how dangerous they are and how they're a sleeper pick to go all the way?  Yeah, me either.  You know how everyone's kinda forgotten about Brett and embraced this new Rodgers guy?  Yeah, me too.  Simple fact is, the Pack is going to be a contender as long as they have Rodgers leading the squad he's got, and the Cards are always going to be an "also ran" as long as they are content to be known as Steelers West and not The Arizona Cardinals.

Lock of the Week (Forty): Houston over Buffalo 28-17 (I'd be leery of the 11.5 point spread and the 47 point over.) There's a lot of games I feel pretty confident about this week and two certain locks. Green Bay vs. Arizona would seem like the safer pick, but they had their hands full with Jacksonville last week. Maybe they should have activated Don Majowski. Some people have shied away from Houston after their Sunday night loss against the Packers, but they righted the ship with a dominant performance against the reeling Ravens last week. Houston is a talented team, but young and might not be ready for prime time. A 1 p.m. game against a team in shambles like Buffalo they should have no problem with. Many predicted Buffalo to be the surprise team coming out of the AFC East in preseason, but that accolade seems to now be with the Miami Dolphins. The Bills were just edged by the Titans last week after beating Arizona the week before. However, the Bills are 27th in the NFP power rankings and have the worst defense in the NFL, a title they took away from Jacksonville who had it last week. Hmm...and Jacksonville did give Green Bay trouble like I said. Ah, forget it, go Texans!

Meet the "Experts":

Brad "QBERT" Keller is the inventor and sole proprietor of the QBERT (Quantitative BERT jones is awesome) system for rating quarterbacks. Using this innovative approach and working tirelessly part time breaking down film and finding angles inside the angles, he has mastered the art of picking and handicapping NFL games. With an expanded playing field this season, he's anxious to defend his title against a formidable group of experts that... hey, you know what? He can beat these two jokers, right? No problem. Because he has a foolproof system.

"Arena" Weidman's prime qualification for this contest is that he's spent more than a decade watching Steelers games with Keller while drinking. Because of this, most of his picks might seem like they were done while drunk, but that's just a facet of how he gets into "recall mode."  A devoted follower of the Arena Football League, Weidman's NFL world view is colored through this lens. Because of this, he possesses strong opinions on why more people should go to Power games and how the the Cardinals should really be using the Rattlers as a farm team.  Mainly, he just has trouble with the field being way too big.

Leonard "Forty" Hayhurst earned his nickname for his ability to grow the facial hair of a 40-year-old man at the age of 16, not his ability to pound 40s of King Cobra, but there's that too. He owns the largest collection of Drew Bledsoe memorabilia in the world (five items would be the largest, right?). He feels for Cleveland Browns fans because when he started rooting for a 2-14 club in the New England Patriots, they eventually won three Super Bowls. Then Steelers fans brag about how they have six Super Bowl wins, to which Leonard says they would have had eight if the Patriots hadn't beaten them twice in the AFC Championship game. They then mumble something about Franco Harris and walk away.

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