It’s do-or-die time, dear readers! I went 1-3 vs. the spread last week, while rival Ron Rosenbaum went 2-2. There’s no denying it: Ron reached mediocrity before I did!
I need to catch up in a hurry, since there are only 3 more games after this weekend, so this week’s picks will take some daring. It’d be easy to go with the home favorite in all 4 games, but that’s just the sort of strategy Mr. “What do our interpretations of Long Island say about our views on Hitler?” would engage in. Or maybe not.
Without further ado:
RAVENS by 4 over Colts. The Colts were bad last week, but were out-terrible-d by Kansas City. The Ravens evidently have restored that monstrous defense they had when they won the Superbowl in 2000. Still, this is one of those X-factor instances, where everything in my head says that the Ravens are going to cripple the Colts, but my animosity toward Brian Billick makes it tough for me to clearly pick the game. It’s like that passage in The Western Canon where Harold Bloom concedes that he may be letting personal judgment get in the way:
Robert Lowell and Philip Larkin are here [on this list of modern canonical writers] because I seem to be the only critic alive who regards them as over-esteemed, and so I am probably wrong and must assume that I am blinded by extra-aesthetic considerations, which I abhor and try to avoid.
In that spirit, I’m going with the Ravens to wipe out the Colts and start the “re-evaluating Peyton Manning” vibe that leads to off-the-record comments about how his enormous contract is restricting the Colts from bringing in difference-makers. So it’s Ravens minus 4 points.
SAINTS by 5 over Eagles. My wife is a lifetime Saints “fan,” so she’s expecting the bottom to fall out on this miracle run. It was bad when the Saints played well and won their first few games, because she knew her family would start talking playoffs four weeks into the season. Since then, they earned a bye-week, which will help Reggie Bush and Marques Colston recover from nagging injuries. Plus, they get Hollis Thomas back, although his 4-week suspension may have affected his conditioning (ha-ha). Anyway, Amy’s still expecting Carney to honk a big field goal attempt, but I’m enough of an optimist to believe that the Saints will ride this miracle season for another week at least. Especially since the New Orleans factor (lots of alcohol and shellfish) could take its toll on the already depleted Eagles. Take the Saints minus 5 over Philly.
Bears by 8.5 over Seahawks. It’s either a testament to how shaky the Bears QB is or a testament to how little I’ve followed either team, but I actually dithered over this pick for 15 seconds. Sure, Rex Grossman is a terrible QB, but Seattle’s defense is godawful, and only one of the most embarrassing mistakes in the history of the NFL (combined with an amazing tackle) got the Seahawks into the second round. So I’m going to have to go with the Bears in a rout, although this could be a game where their defense and special teams scores more points than their offense. Take the Bears minus 8.5.
CHARGERS by 5 over Patriots. I’m not even going to discuss this game, except to say that I’ve finally learned my lesson: Don’t bet against Bill Belichick in the playoffs. Take the Patriots plus 5 points.