PATRICK LOVE: NFL Pick'em a Challenging Conundrum
So one of the perks to being sports editor at The Pilot is running the NFL-based football picks contest. Great.
I'm picking high school games at nearly 80 percent this season and college games at nearly 70 percent. But the NFL, let's just say it's not my forte. It's actually more of a nemesis to me, and to pick'ems in general.
Nemesis is a word that's defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary as "one that inflicts retribution or vengeance; a formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent." I'd say the NFL fits the bill. With its soon-to-be-defunct salary cap and precious parity, NFL might as well stand for No Favorites League. They're all professionals, they're all good and there's really no way to predict what's going to happen.
That's what makes a contest like this both fun and maddening at the same time.
Even a JV team like the Browns can take a 3-1 Bengals team to overtime, while a Broncos team that everybody thought was going to be horrible beat a Cowboys team that actually is horrible.
My body of work this season is surpisingly hanging around 75 percent on espn.com's Pigskin Pick'em contest, with a 15-1 opening week working in my favor.
A pair of Pilot pickers one-upped me last week by picking all 16 games correctly -- Billy Boone of Robbins and Kathy Latham of Vass. Those are heights that will never be reached by many an armchair prognosticator. Well done.
Boone takes the $50 first-place prize on the tiebreaker -- he called 32 of the 35 total points scored in the St. Louis-San Francisco game while Latham called for 41. She'll take second-place and a moral victory, while Holly Hill of Pinehurst finished third with 14 points.
For my picks this week, I'll take all the low-hanging fruit. Give me the Vikings over the Rams, the Giants hosting Oakland, the Eagles hosting the Bucs and the Steelers at Detroit. And even though they're horrible, give me the Cowboys at Kansas City.
I expect the Cardinals to score 50 on the Texans, the Falcons to win a nailbiter at San Francisco and the Patriots to beat Bill Belichick protege Josh McDaniels and the Broncos. I'll also take the Bills at home versus the Browns, the Seahawks at home versus the Jaguars and the Ravens to win a sloberknocker hosting the Bengals.
And begrudgingly, I'll take the Panthers to get off the snide hosting the most undeserving 2-2 team in league history, the Redskins.
For upsets, I'm liking the Dolphins at home versus the Jets and, since I'm a glutton for punishment, give me the Titans at home versus the Colts.
In the college games, I'll take Florida to pack LSU's lunch and N.C. State to play down to Duke's level, which is actually much higher this season than in year's past.
The official entry form is located on the back page of The Pilot's sports section every Sunday. Remember to submit it by 5 p.m. on Fridays to be eligible for the prize money.
We're a few weeks behind on updating yearly standings. I'm looking to get that done and in the paper next Wednesday.
Patrick Love can be reached at 693-2477 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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