I got to watch the last four minutes of the 49ers/Lions game with my dad, who stopped by with my stepmom on Sunday before taking a flight to the east coast early Monday morning. After we saw the game-winning touchdown and Detroit’s last gasp at a comeback, we fixated on Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz’s handshake fight like everyone else.
We were euphoric. The Niner pride was overflowing. We watched pretty much every minute of every game together from 1984 until I left for college in 1998, but living five hours apart watching games together has become an all-too-rare occurrence. Still, it was amazingly easy to settle back into cheering for a winning team — even though it’s been so long.
So I wasn’t exactly upset when I brought up my startling lack of success picking games during Week 6. I was something like 2-8 at the time, and I laughed it off. Then my dad laughed, but not in the same way. He laughed AT me. I don’t think he mockingly referred to me as “Jimmy The Greek” under his breath, but he may have.
I protested, bringing up how most TV talking heads take the easy way out and pick winners and losers, while I do my picks against the spread and still had managed to hover around .500.
“Well, .500’s pretty bad, isn’t it,” my dad said matter-of-factly.
Yeah, I guess it is. And if the Niners weren’t undefeated against the spread this year, my record would be even worse. I almost decided to stop doing NFL picks the moment my dad put me in my place, but for some reason I’m continuing with this charade. Got to prove pops wrong … like that time back in 1987 when the Niners were down 20-7 at halftime to the Bengals and my dad’s response was to angrily march upstairs and take a nap. Waking him up after Joe Montana threw that last-second TD to Jerry Rice to win the game, followed by Bill Walsh skipping off the field, is definitely in my childhood memories top 10. It took me a full minute to convince my dad that I wasn’t lying about the Niners win, which came due to a vintage Montana comeback with a little help from Sam Wyche’s clock-management blunder.
Onto the Week 7 picks, with odds courtesy of 5dimes.com from around noon today (10/20/11):
Texans @ Titans (-3)
No Andre Johnson. The Texans are 1-2 on the road. Titans are 2-0 at home. Can you tell I’m trying to keep things simple here?
Bears @ Buccaneers (PK)
Jay Cutler’s probably not the only quarterback to ever say “f— him” about Mike Martz. Just ask Alex Smith.
Falcons @ Lions (-3.5)
Jahvid Best suffered another concussion in the fourth quarter against the Niners, so the Lions tried to trade for Ronnie Brown, only the trade was voided because the RB they tried to deal, Jerome Harrison, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. So they effectively have no run game, and the 49ers exposed their run defense on Sunday. The Falcons, who are likely without Julio Jones for this one, have no excuse if they don’t give the ball to Michael Turner at least 20 times.
Broncos @ Dolphins (PK)
Miami is truly terrible, and this will be a de facto home game for Denver with Tim Tebow starting.
Redskins @ Panthers (-1)
Lost in all this Cam Newton craziness: Carolina has allowed 163 points (worst in the NFL, tied with the Colts) and they’re 1-5. But they’re a fun 1-5!
Seahawks @ Browns (-2.5)
Seattle was thought of as one of the teams vying for Andrew Luck’s services (as long as his dad approves), and then they messed around and won a couple games. If they lose, the Niners enter Week 8 at least 3 games ahead of everyone in the NFC West. It can’t possibly be that easy this season, can it?
* Reverse jinx
Chargers (-1) @ Jets
The Chargers’ record is 4-1. Pretty impressive. Their four wins were against the Vikings, Chiefs, Dolphins and Broncos … by a combined 25 points. Not quite as impressive.
Steelers (-3.5) @ Cardinals
This line shows how far Pittsburgh has fallen this year. Arizona’s defense is terrible, though.
Rams @ Cowboys (-14.5)
A.J. Feeley’s going to start, because Sam Bradford has a high ankle sprain (or maybe he’s in full suck-for-Luck mode in hopes that he’ll get traded after the season). You know, it’s too bad the Rams aren’t playing the Cardinals. It would be the battle-of-all-battles between former backup quarterbacks for the Eagles.
Packers (-10) @ Vikings
The only reason this line isn’t higher is because the Vikings recently became the third team in three years to realize Donovan McNabb isn’t a starting QB anymore.
Colts @ Saints (-15.5)
This Sunday night game is like the NFL’s early Christmas present to MLB. “Enjoy the slight bump in ratings for your cute little World Series, guys!”
Ravens (-9) @ Jaguars
Bet the under. Or don’t, it doesn’t really matter. Maybe Ron Jaworski will curse again and make this game interesting.
Chiefs @ Raiders (-4)
The Raiders definitely aren’t impressing the oddsmakers yet. They traded for Carson Palmer, who hasn’t played a down this season, and made him the starter immediately. An emotional letdown for the might not be around the corner, but nobody would blame them if that ended up occurring.
However, the Chiefs are an absolutely fraudulent 2-3. They lost their first two games to the Bills and Lions by a combined score of 89-10. Then they lost by 3 to San Diego before beating the Vikings and Colts. K.C. isn’t on the rise, and even in lean years the Coliseum crowd gets a bit louder when the Chiefs are in town. They’ll have plenty to cheer about on Sunday.
Pick: Raiders (in a rout)
Last week: 4-8-1