Big Lead Sports Bar


Picking This Weekend's Winners

Last week was bad - for me and for you. I felt like this poor, pathetic Bengal being hated on by Hines. The Steelers, Wolverines, and Mountaineers cost us in a big way, so we've got to bounce back this week. On the menu: Steelers-Bengals, Penn State-Northwestern, Utah-TCU, Eagles-Colts, and Ravens-Dolphins. Let's roll...

Pittsburgh Steelers (-5) at Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, 8:35 PM

My pick: I still can't believe the Bengals swept the Steelers last year, and I'll bet if you polled the Pittsburgh locker room, you'd get a similar reaction. That storyline will loom large for the men involved in those losses last season.

Regardless of their coach or their players, the Steelers have traditionally been fantastic on Monday nights and I'd expect nothing less in their second consecutive prime-time game. They'd like to get that nasty New Orleans aftertaste out of their mouths, and fast. Me too.

On the injury front, the Steelers should be getting Brett Keisel back, Flozell Adams is practicing, and outside of Aaron Smith, they come into the game mostly healthy. The Bengals' outlook isn't quite as rosy. DE Jonathan Fanene will miss the game, DT Tank Johnson and DL Roddrick Muckleroy aren’t practicing, and LB Keith Rivers and DE Frostree Rucker were limited in practice.  However, they will be getting back CB Johnathan Joseph (ankle) and safety Roy Williams (knee).

In short, the Bengals won't be able to run, Carson Palmer will get his yards, Rashard Mendenhall will have a big day, and the Steelers will come back  from Cincinnati (a place where Big Ben is 6-1 all-time) with the most important thing: a win.  Steelers 24, Bengals 16

Your pick:

Northwestern at Penn State (-6), Saturday, 3:30 PM

My pick: PSU's burned me all year; I pick them to win, they lose. I pick them to lose, they win. At least to me, they're a complete mystery. They'll be facing a Northwestern team that's piled up a lot of wins against crap opponents, including Vandy, Illinois State, Rice, Central Michigan, Minnesota, and Indiana. Color me very unimpressed.

Although the Nittany Lions really haven't beaten anyone of note either outside of a 5-3 Michigan team, they have a cause to win this game, trying to get #400 for JoePa. Penn State has a bit of a conundrum at the quarterback position, but nonetheless, I see them getting the milestone win, becoming bowl-eligible, and ruining the homecoming of Northwestern QB Dan Persa, who grew up going to Penn State games. Penn State 30, Northwestern 17

Your pick:

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5), Sunday, 1 PM

My pick: The Ravens aren't exactly blowing teams out every week; four of their wins have come by a touchdown or less, and they've gone to overtime in each of their past two games, winning one and losing one. I think they're ripe for an upset, and if anyone's going to do it, it's the Dolphins, 0-3 at home at 4-0 on the road this season.

The Ravens' pass defense is yielding an average of 318.7 yards through the air in its past three contests, and if Chad Henne can take advantage like his predecessors did, it could be a good-news day for Steeler fans. Dolphins 23, Ravens 20

Your pick:

Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles (-3), Sunday, 4:15 PM

My pick: Indy's very banged up, but Peyton Manning keeps finding new targets to throw to and the Colts keep winning football games. However, this one will be a bit tougher as they travel to one of the most hostile stadiums in the world for a meeting with Philadelphia. To boot, the Eagles are getting Michael Vick back, which is apparently a good thing again (it seems to change from year to year), as well as concussed WR DeSean Jackson, who sounds like he still has one:

"Anytime you get a concussion, obviously it's not that good," Jackson said. "I'll be right back to where I need to be, just going out there and still being able to play and stuff like that."

Well said, DeSean. Concussions are not that good. Now play well...and stuff like that.  Eagles 27, Colts 24

Your pick:

TCU (-4.5) at Utah, Saturday, 3:30 PM

My pick: TCU outscores their opponents by an average final of 41-9; Utah outscores their opponents 45-14. Translation? These are two very good teams who haven't been challenged much this year. Outside of their respective bowl games, this will be the most difficult game on both teams' schedules this season, and will eliminate one of them from any BCS-related fun. So it's safe to say that the stakes are pretty high. 

TCU rolled the Utes, 55-28, last season in Fort Worth, and revenge is on the Utah cafeteria menu this week. Conversely, TCU has never won in Utah, losing 13-10 in their last trip in 2008. 

Both teams have good offenses and good defenses, but the TCU D may be the best unit of all, giving up just 16 total points over the last five games. In the little I've seen of Utah this season, I believe that they're a beatable team when facing a tough opponent, but history will repeat itself as they pull a minor upset and knock the Horned Frogs from the ranks of the unbeatens. Call it a probably-wrong hunch. Utah 21, TCU 17

Your pick:


My picks: 2-3 last week, 23-17 season (.575)

Your picks (via polls): 2-3 last week, 26-14 season (.650)

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc:


Spatula said...

I'm always amused at the 27 percent who believe (hope) Penn State will lose every week. If they played Clarion (my wife's alma mater), 27 percent would vote for Clarion. Such hate.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Well, given the fact that most of the people who frequent this site are Pitt fans, I think it says a lot that 73% vote in their favor every week.

I am also sure that losing badly at home to Illinois has nothing to do with people thinking the godly Nittany Lions could ever lose to Northwestern. You know, let's not have the facts getting in the way of our drivel, though.....

Adam said...

27% is a pretty big number when even Don is picking Penn State.

The point was never that Penn State is some how invincible this weekend, but merely that a bunch of jealous Pitt fans who saw their national championship/Heisman season hype derailed by silly things like football games will pick against Penn State regardless of whether there's any logic in it or not, thus making these little polls kinda a joke.


Adam said...

And just to be clear, I'm not taking a swipe at Pitt, or even most Pitt fans, just the ones that frequent this site.

The Abiding Dude said...

"the ones that frequent this site"...really? And that is because PSU fans are so much more rational than those "ones"? Hysterical.

Happy Friday at The House...

Adam said...

Count me among the irrational. I said Dion would get 1,500 yards.

Spatula said...

I like to see Pitt win as much as I like to see Penn State win. I was just remarking on a certain level of consistency.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

These jealous Pitt fans aren't the ones who started bitching beacuse only 70%+ of people who read a sports blog picked them to beat Northwestern.........

BURGH08 said...

Not sure why Penn State fans feel slighted about more than 7 out of 10 feeling they would win here.

Oh wait, of course I do.

Being a six point favorite at home with a young QB against another average Big Ten team is the reason. Not the hatred.

/cue the "We beat Michigan" response.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I have no time for this argument.

I'm too busy doing the college football math that would lead us to Pitt and Penn State playing in the Papa John's Pinstripe Tire Tread Bowl one day...

Adam said...

Michigan is an abject failure,and might I add, proof that Rich Rodriguez never played real football in the Big East.

BURGH08 said...

It's probably good that he left for the Big Ten while Bill Stewart beat the number three team in the country in the BCS bowl.

Or did Rich Rod get that talent to beat Oklahoma, much like he did Georgia not long before?

Keep chasing your tail junior.

Adam said...

Haha o man, they could use you at MGo.

BURGH08 said...

Only one member of the Gameday crew picked Penn State to win today, and it was Corso.

Penn State was also picked by the public to win at 55%

The horror!

Maura said...

is anyone else scared to play the teams the browns keep shockingly annihilating? browns crush saints, we lose to saints the following week. browns crush pats... we play the pats next week.

Steve said...

Seems like over the past couple of seasons it's becoming trendy for any decent team that needs to get itself out of a funk to count on the Steelers to lend them a hand. I hope the Pats aren't going to be missing Brady or a few other key players next weekend (it's bad enough we'll be playing them at home), then it would be a lock they'll win. What's've got a depleted secondary?, well we can make you look real good...a rookie QB? problem, got a cure for that too.

Seriously, I'm just hoping the Steelers can kick the crap out of the Bengals like everyone else pretty much has this season without the Black and Gold welfare office showing up and handing out checks.