Sports

TheDC sports columnist Andy Hayes: Week 4 NFL picks

Last week, I was a bit off with a 5-11 record (28-20 now overall). Didn’t feel great about the week and it showed. Feeling better about this week.

• Det @ GB (-14.5). Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy thinks his incredibly unproductive running backs are “productive”. He also thinks “the US economy is booming” and that Michael Bolton is a “cool guy, fantastic singer” . GB 37, Det 17.

NYJ @ Buff (+5.5). I continue to pick against the Jets simply because I’m not a fan of their coach. I did it last year and it hurt me and I’m doing it again this year and it’s hurting me. I’ll do it until I’m right and then gloat like Rex Ryan. On Buff’s side, not sure why they wouldn’t just trade Marshawn Lynch now while he still has value. NYJ 21, Buff 17.

• Car @ NO (-13.5). Last week, before the Atlanta/NO game, I wrote this: “I like Garrett Hartley – seems like a nice guy. But I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a player less prepared mentally to carry out a task than Hartley was lining up for the game- winning field goal against SF on Monday night. He looked TERRIFIED. He made that field goal in spite of himself.” Last week vs Atlanta he missed a potential game-winning 29 yard chip shot ultimately costing NO the game. Now the Saints have re-signed 46 year-old kicker John Carney (yes, 46 years old). Nice. NO 35, Car 14.

•SF @ Atl (-6.5). This is it for SF – they lay another egg here like they did at KC last weekend and it’s over. Atl 31, SF 23.

• Sea @ StL (+.5). Seattle may actually suffer from a unique condition I call home-field-advantage-is-so-strong-that-it-makes-playing-well-in-away-games- impossible. Or, you might know it by the acronym HFAISSTIMPWIAG. They are so out of their element without their 12th man – kind of like the cool, cynical guy at the company retreat being asked by an eccentric lady with several huge necklaces and giant hoop earrings to more actively participate in the “icebreakers” session. StL 24, Sea 22.

• Cincy @ Cleve (+3.5). For some reason whenever I see highlights of the ripped Peyton Hillis, I’m reminded of the ripped Lavar Arrington. Then I’m reminded of a joke one of my friends once made about the ripped Lavar Arrington and the ripped Serena Williams when they were dating: if they would have had a child together, it would have been a muscle. This Hillis guy is for real and the Cleve’s effort last weekend in Balt should inspire those hesitant to pick Cleve here. Cleve 30, Cincy 16.

• Den @ Tenn (-6.5). Tenn’s victory last weekend at the NYG surprised me. I don’t think the Giants are very good, but I also didn’t think Tenn would roll them like that. The Giants had plenty of opportunities, but Tenn just took advantage of every mistake. Just can’t see Den stopping CJ here (though I also don’t know if the out-of-nowhere sublime passing game of the Broncos can be stopped). Tenn 27, Den 23.

• Balt @ Pitt (-1.5). This just seems like the kind of game that demands rain. A hard driving rain. Lots of running and slipping in the slop. And a last minute Jeff Reed field goal that looks bad initially but then somehow goes through. Pitt 20, Balt 17.

Indy @ Jax (+7.5). Seems like an odd spread considering one team just took down an emotional Denver team on the road in cold-blooded fashion while the other team was busy feeling canine in the presence of Michael Vick. Jack Del Rio may finally be on his way out (hard to believe it’s taken so long). Spread should be +13.5. Indy 31, Jax 17.

Wash @ Phil (-6.5). This may be the last time I pick against the talented Vick. Something keeps telling me that he can’t keep playing at this level and that he’s due for a letdown. How about this week when McNabb returns to Philly for the first time? It will be very interesting to see how Eagle fans react to McNabb. It could be the one time/place you’ll see people booing affectionately. Wash 23, Phil 20.

Hou @ Oak (+3.5). Al Davis re-signed kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the off-season to a new $9 million contract for the next 4 years – making him the highest paid kicker in NFL history. Janikowski missed 3 field goals last week, the last of which was from 32 yards. His 2010 FG percentage is 61% right now. I wish I could get paid $2.25 million a year to be effective just 60% of the time. Hou 31, Oak 24.

• AZ @ SD (-8.5). I wouldn’t be surprised to see AZ take a surprising approach to this game and abandon the pass. Seriously – run, run, run and keep the SD offense off the field. It might work for a while until they start falling behind in the second half. SD 31, AZ 21.

• Chic @ NYG (-3.5). How can the Bears be ‘dogs’ here? Last week, the Giants puked all over themselves while the Bears and their officials beat a Super Bowl contender in Green Bay? I was angry after that Packer loss Monday night. I felt sick – I hadn’t felt that bad since that last Ronald Reagan film. NYG 29, Chic 16.

• NE @ Miami (-.5). I’m not sure having consecutive high profile primetime games sits well with the quiet Dolphin team – they would probably prefer to play on a Tuesday morning, at 10 or so. Nobody is talking about NE’s weak defense – could be a factor in this game and for the season. Weak. Miami 26, NE 24.