Welcome back to one man's attempt to thoroughly embarrass himself picking football games. I'm back for another week of the Westgate SuperContest, scuffling along with another blah week. I put together a 2-3 performance last week, dropping me to 32-33. This is the first time I have been under .500 since early in the season.
This week, I decided to grab the San Francisco 49ers with one of my five SuperContest picks. The line has climbed to 8.5-points and higher on some sports books, but I get the 49ers at -7.5 because the line was locked in on Wednesday. The 49ers have been a strong road team under Jim Harbaugh, going 11-3-2 in their last 16 road games.
They face an Oakland Raiders squad that got blown out by the St. Louis Rams last week, but is not nearly that bad. They are not a good football team, but in the weeks leading up to the Rams game, the Raiders had numerous moments where they looked like a team with a future. The 49ers should be able to cover the spread in this game, but it would not surprise me in the least if it was a fairly close game for the first half, and San Francisco pulled away late for a cover that is not overly impressive. I do think Colin Kaepernick will look better in the game, in large part because the Raiders defensive is nothing like that of the Seattle Seahawks. If Kap can recover from his Week 13 performance, maybe, just maybe the 49ers figure out a way to win a game comfortably. Fingers crossed!
Just a reminder, the folks at our partner site, OddsShark have staked me in a pick 'em contest in Las Vegas. I pick five games each week against the spread, taking on over 1,400 people. The top 30 win money. Going into this I simply wanted to finish closer to the top than the bottom. I've slipped to the bottom of the standings, so we'll see if I can improve this week.
Here are my other four picks for Week 14, with home teams in caps.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-9.5) over Carolina Panthers: Normally, the Saints at home are an easy pick. Of course, normally the Saints have not just dropped three straight home games. But this year's Saints have done that, and are a tough one to figure out. They are coming off a big road upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but is that enough to get things going at home? They remain right in the thick of an ugly NFC South race, and Carolina has been pretty awful this year. I think the Saints bounce back at home.
Kansas City Chiefs (PK) over ARIZONA CARDINALS: I suppose I should have given Arizona the stink by picking them, but the piling up of injuries might be enough to end their divisional hopes. Andre Ellington and Tyrann Mathieu will both miss this game, with Mathieu expected to miss at least one more after that. They have stumbled without Carson Palmer at the helm, and even though their two recent losses were on the road, I am skeptical that they can bounce back. This is a very winnable game for the Chiefs, but with a pick 'em, I gotta go with the fightin' Alex Smiths.
DENVER BRONCOS (-10) over Buffalo Bills: The Bills are inconsistent enough that I am plenty fine taking the Broncos in this one. The Broncos could not get the double digit cover at home against the Chiefs earlier this year, but I don't see the Bills hanging around this one come the fourth quarter. I could see a fairly close game through the first half, but I think we see the Broncos pull away late and win what proves to be a laugher.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-1) over Seattle Seahawks: I suppose this is another that should get the stink, but I'll stick with picking against Seattle. The Seahawks looked good on the road last week, but we know the 49ers offense is not very good right now. The Eagles offense is significantly better than the 49ers, ranked No. 4 in points scored. The Seahawks have a good defense, but I don't trust them on the road against good teams, or at least good offenses.
BEARS vs. Cowboys (-3.5) - Cowboys
DOLPHINS vs. Ravens (+2.5) - Dolphins
BENGALS vs. Steelers (+3) - Steelers
BROWNS vs. Colts (-3.5) - Browns
JAGUARS vs. Texans (-5.5) - Texans
TITANS vs. Giants (PK) - Titans
SAINTS vs. Panthers (+9.5) - Saints
LIONS vs. Buccaneers (+9.5) - Lions
WASHINGTON vs. Rams (-2.5) - Rams
VIKINGS vs. Jets (+6) - Vikings
BRONCOS vs. Bills (+10) - Broncos
CARDINALS vs. Chiefs (PK) - Chiefs
RAIDERS vs. 49ers (-7.5) - 49ers
EAGLES vs. Seahawks (+1) - Eagles
CHARGERS vs. Patriots (-3.5) - Chargers
PACKERS vs. Falcons (+12.5) - Packers