|Extended Pigskin Picks|
|Saturday, November 16, 2013 12:00 AM|
You’d have thunk we copied from each other last week.
All five of us went 5-7, though it was in various ways.
I went 2-4 in the college ranks and 3-3 in the (John Facenda intonation here, please!) National Football League. That means that, overall, I am — I may vomit! — 67-53 (35-25, 32-28).
Regular Dave Boninsegna was 4-2 and 1-5 — overall 64-55 (34-25, 30-30) — and the other regular, Bob Weber, finished 3-3, 2-4 (74-46 — 42-18 and 32-28).
Guest Pickers Larry Heiing (3-3, 2-4) and Mike Wrasman (2-4, 3-3) moved that combination person to 120-94 (61-46, 59-48)
The GPs for this next 2-week stint are returnees Charlie Warnimont (Sports Editor of the Putnam County Sentinel) and former Van Wert Times Bulletin Sports Editor Brian Bassett.
God help us all!!
Here are the Games:
College: Michigan State at Nebraska; Texas Tech at Baylor; Oklahoma State at Texas; Stanford at USC; Purdue at Penn State; Michigan at Northwestern.
NFL: Kansas City at Denver; New England at Carolina (Monday); San Francisco at New Orleans; Cleveland at Cincinnati; Baltimore at Chicago; San Diego at Miami.
MICHIGAN STATE: The Buckeyes NEED MSU to win in Lincoln. The Spartan “D” makes this an easier pick, even though the Huskers come off a road win in Ann Arbor. Memorial Stadium isn’t the home-field advantage it used to be.
BAYLOR: The Bucks also need the Techsters to win. Well, one out of two ain’t bad! I really thought this would be a great game but with the Bears favored by 28 points, ugh!
OKLAHOMA STATE: Texas may have saved Mack Brown’s job with its recent hot streak. I just don’t think they can outscore Okies, even in Austin.
STANFORD: I came close to picking the rejuvenated Trojans, especially with the Cardinal off an emotional win over Oregon. Then I took a breath; the Cardinal had a couple extra days of rest/preparation and Trojans aren’t THAT rejuvenated, especially against a very motivated Cardinal.
PENN STATE: I should’ve picked Georgia and Auburn; mea culpa. No apologies to pick Nittany Lions; Boilers are ... bad. Nittany Lions aren’t great but they are enough in Happy Valley.
NORTHWESTERN: Wolverines keep turning the ball over; that doesn’t change overnight. Defense isn’t good enough to compensate, especially with the Wildcats desperate for a Big Ten win. On the hardwood, the Wolverines; on grass, go Northwestern.
DENVER: Don’t pay any attention to Peyton’s injuries. He wants to beat Chiefs so badly; Broncos will. Peyton’s offense has the tools to stretch even the best defense — the Chiefs have done some of their best work against backup and third-team QBs, by the way, and PM ain’t no backup! — and the Chiefs’ offense struggles to score against everybody.
NEW ENGLAND: Cam Newton has re-appeared as up-and-coming NFL QB after a so-so sophomore year and his running game is physical. Still, he still won’t beat The Master, especially off a bye and receivers that are finally either getting healthy or on the same page.
NEW ORLEANS: This isn’t the pick because of the 49ers’ splat against Panthers; this is because Drew Brees has too many weapons indoors and the defense is much improved. If 49ers do have a weakness (maybe??), it is in the secondary. Not good against a roaring Saints offense.
CINCINNATI: Could be a more offensive-minded battle than we are used to, especially with Bengals’ injuries. Andy Dalton — with something to prove after his hideous performance last week, despite the presence of A.J. Green — outduels Jason Campbell.
CHICAGO: Jay Cutler’s status notwithstanding, Josh McCown is a nice backup and helps a beat-up defense. Bears can still get turnovers and the Ravens’ offense really has no running game; apparently, Ray Rice is washed up.
SAN DIEGO: Dolphins are in deep doo-doo. I’m not talking Scooby Doo, either. They weren’t necessarily that great before this fiasco began.
Michigan State: Michigan State has never beat the Cornhuskers but this year much more is on the line than just a win; beat Nebraska and a spot in the Big Ten championship game is all but assured -- but the Cornhuskers have won all seven meetings between the schools. Good incentive; I am going to take Sparty to get it done.
Baylor: After a 7-0 start, Texas Tech has fallen apart with three straight losses. Baylor has come out of nowhere to be the number five team in the nation. Even though Tevin Reese is out, the Bears still get the win.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys and the Longhorns, along with Baylor, are the only teams still alive in the Big 12 race. And both teams come in red-hot. Since starting the year 1-2, Texas has won six straight. But the streak comes to an end this week.
Stanford: After knocking off the second-ranked team in the nation, the No. 5 Cardinal look to put themselves on the cusp of playing for a second straight conference title by beating the host Trojans for a fifth consecutive time Saturday night. Stanford has won the past four meetings with the Trojans and five of the past six. The Cardinal are coming off a big win over Oregon and ride that to a win over USC.
Penn State: Purdue has lost seven in a row and is just flat-out bad; Penn State wins going away.
Michigan: Northwestern has yet to win a Big Ten game this season; despite being at home, win number one won’t happen this week, either.
Denver: The 1972 Dolphins will be popping the bubbly this week as the Chiefs get their first loss of the season, despite Peyton Manning not being 100%.
New England: The Patriots will go on the road to face a Carolina Panthers team that has won five straight and flexed its defensive muscles by allowing the NFC’s fewest points. The Pats put up 55 on the Steelers in their last game; that won’t happen this week but NE gets the win anyway.
New Orleans: The last time the San Francisco 49ers took the field at the Superdome, they made a gutsy second-half comeback before falling short in the Super Bowl. New Orleans is very good at home; the challenge for the 49ers to come out ahead could be even tougher when they return to the Big Easy on Sunday to face the Saints. The Saints continue to be stellar in the Dome.
Cincinnati: After a heart-breaking loss last week after the Hail Mary catch, the Bengals look to even the score with the Browns after Cleveland won the first matchup by the lake. The Bengals beat the Browns in the Jungle.
Baltimore: With Jay Cutler out for the Bears, that will give a decisive advantage to the Ravens. I think that will be enough to give the Ravens the win.
San Diego: The Dolphins are a mess; with the off-the-field turmoil and giving up the first win to the NFL’s last winless team last week, the advantage and win goes to the Chargers.
MICHIGAN STATE – If the Cornhuskers had a mobile Taylor Martinez at QB, I would have swayed their way, but the Spartans defense and an extra week of preparation will allow Coach Dantonio to get his first win over Nebraska.
BAYLOR – The Bears keep rolling. The Red Raiders have given up 849 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in their last three games that they’ve all lost.
OKLAHOMA STATE – The Cowboys are playing great football right now. The Longhorns are also playing fairly well; however, too many injuries for the home squad.
STANFORD – Could be a “trap” game for the Cardinals if they look past the Trojans but Kevin Hogan and Tyler Gaffney will lead the Cardinals to another PAC-12 championship.
PENN STATE – Purdue is awful!!!!! The Boilermakers can look forward to the basketball season and watching a great talent in Dakota Mathias joining them next year on the hardwood.
NORTHWESTERN – Any chance I get to root against the team up north, I will. Hey Brady Hoke – are those shirts with the “M” on them getting a little tighter these days with 3 losses this year and also a loss of top recruit Da’Shawn Hand to Alabama?? (Editor’s Note: Unfortunately for Ohio State, they are finding out why Big Ten teams NEED to get top-flight talent to get in the title game and playoffs).
DENVER – Peyton Manning has a problem with his ankle; however, he can still lead his team with one leg. The Chiefs’ defense is outstanding but let’s face it, the Browns almost beat the Chiefs earlier this year.
CAROLINA – I can’t believe I’m going against Tom Brady and the Patriots but this game is on Monday night and I believe the Panthers’ defense and Cam Newton are going to pull off the upset.
NEW ORLEANS – This will be a great game. Talent galore on both sides of the ball, great coaches and I hope both teams light up the scoreboard. Go Saints!
CLEVELAND – What Andy Dalton will show up for this game? The score may end up being 9-6 or 6-3, but right now the Browns seem to be riding the wave with Jason Campbell and until the Bengals show me that they’re real contenders, I’m going with OMG!!! THE BROWNS – DON’T TELL MY STEELER WIFE (Editor’s Note: How much will you give me??).
CHICAGO – The Bears! I don’t know who will be at QB for the Bears but the Ravens look old, slow and have no running game – whatever happened to Ray Rice???
MIAMI – This week’s episode of “As the Dolphins Turn” or “All My Dolphins” (EN: Good ones!) will end in a positive note with them coming through with a much-needed win at home.
Michigan State - This is for first place in the Legends Division. Michigan State’s defense wins this one as they are they second-best defense in the nation allowing 11.6 ppg.
Baylor - The Bears keep their undefeated season going and an outside shot at a BCS bowl game.
Texas - Who would have thought back in September Texas would be undefeated in the Big 12. They have turned the early season miscues around and will win at home.
Stanford - Cardinal coming off a big win at home. They have nine days to prepare for this game and should not have a let down against an improving USC team.
Penn State - Penn State beat Michigan at home and Purdue was rocked at home by Ohio State. The game is in Happy Valley so go with the home team.
Michigan - Back when Northwestern was 4-0, I would have gone with the Wildcats at home. Since losing to Ohio State in prime time, they haven’t won a game. Go figure.
Denver - Kansas City’s defense has been winning games to keep the Chiefs undefeated. They are playing in Denver and against Peyton Manning. Even a banged up Manning should be good enough for the Broncos.
New England - Carolina went out to San Francisco and posted a big win. But this is November and Tom Brady has had two months to work with his new offensive mates. This is the time of year when New England starts to make its move.
New Orleans - Saints offense tolling and the 49ers struggling. Will be interesting to see if the Saints get another 40 first downs.
Cleveland - This is for first place in the AFC North. Cleveland surprised me with a win in game one but the Bengals are struggling.
Chicago - Taking the Bears only because they are at home.
Miami - Even though the Dolphins are in turmoil, they get the job done at home.
Michigan State - Obviously the Michigan State defense is very good and Nebraska is not that great of a football team despite a big win in the Big House a week ago.
Baylor - These team are on completely different trajectories after the past few weeks. Texas Tech is in free-fall mode after a few losses and I don’t expect that to turn around against the undefeated Bears.
Texas - Upset pick here but Mack Brown is still playing for his job and this win would be huge for his argument that he should stick around a little bit longer. Plus Oklahoma State is always up for the challenge of losing to a less talented team.
Stanford - As we all saw in the game against Oregon how good Stanford is, USC is significantly worse than Oregon, so you do the math (EN: Can I take my shoes off?).
Penn State - Both of these teams are awful but Purdue is just a little more awful, and they have the better of the freshman quarterbacks, so I’m going with Penn State.
Northwestern - I feel like Northwestern has to win a game eventually, I think, seems like this is the week to do it against the worst offensive line in the nation in Michigan’s.
Kansas City - The Broncos — and by Broncos I mean Peyton Manning — are hurt right now and the Chiefs have the best defense in the league. I expect an all-out assault on the depleted Broncos line, just enough to rattle Manning.
New England - Carolina is playing some really good football right now and are one of my favorite teams to watch, but the Patriots just flat-out win ballgames.
San Francisco - The 49ers are embarrassed from the loss at home to the Panthers last week and will be looking to take it out on the Saints. With one of the better secondaries in the league, I expect they will.
Cleveland - My Browns are on fire now that Jason Campbell is under center. This game will probably go to overtime; Marvin Lewis will pass up a makable field goal and the Bengals will find a way to lose the game.
Baltimore - Coin flip but I still don’t think Jay Cutler is fully health, and the Baltimore defense is getting better every week.
San Diego - I think the Charges will bully the Dolphins (see what I did there — EN: Nasty!) at the line of scrimmage. Seriously, though, the Dolphin offensive line is bad now that their best lineman is suspended; expect a huge pass rush from the Chargers.