GREG GAMBLE’S 2008 PIGSKIN PICKS - 35-25 ATS...58%
NFL: 11-11 - NCAA: 13-8 - Teasers: 11-6 – ( NBA: 3-3 )
Considering Santonio was on vacation for unauthorized Glaucoma Medicine usage last week, my guess is you'll see a focused superstar on the Monday Night's stage as the Steelers pick apart the banged-up secondary of the Skins!
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (+2) @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS
As somewhat of a Steeler hater, I wanted to believe the quiet criticism that Big Ben is a drama queen who loves to be the banged-up hero, but unfortunately, considering nobody in the league stands in the pocket longer to make a play than the tall-azz cat, I actually admire his guts & believe he's one of the few QBs that can handle the drama. And unlike David Carr & Jon Kitna holding onto the ball when big black men are chasing them, Ben keeps his eyes downfield and can still throw with authority when lineman are wrapped around his legs.
While the Redskins D has been the solid all season, they don’t have much of a pass rush (ranked 29th in sacks, Jason Taylor-out) and have a banged-up secondary desperately looking towards their upcoming Bye Week (CB Shawn Springs-out, CB Carlos Rogers-quest., LaRon Landry-prob.). On the flipside, the Steelers had a chance to regroup three weeks ago on Bye, as well as, the return of WR Santonio Holmes (suspended for the whacky weed) and RB Fast Willie Parker from injury. While Parker’s not a 100%, with Mewelde Moore averaging ova 100 yards and 5.0 a carry in his last three games, expect Pitt to split carries tonight to keep the run game fresh. As for the deadly deep threat Mr. Holmes, from what I hear he’s ashamed of the incident and looking to prove he’s a focused professional…whether or not that’s true for the long-term, my guess is he’s Jerry Rice-focused tonight and the Steelers make a point to get him the ball.
As for what to expect when the Skins have the ball, Clinton Portis has been the Javon Ringer of the Big Ten easily leading the league in carries & yards, but like the secondary, he’s in desperate need of a weekend on the sofa (probable-ankle). And instead of getting the vacation time, he’ll be working against the #1 ranked defense and arguably the fiercest group of LBs in the league. While QB Jason Campbell has been remarkably efficient this season and shown all the tools to be a solid signal-caller for years to come, with teams forced to crowd the box to slow Portis, Campbell’s had favorable one-on-one match-ups for his little tikes on the outside (Moss & Randle El) and Cooley over the middle. Tonight, I expect the Steelers to play their standard D against the banged-up Redskin rushing attack, forcing Campbell to fit the pigskin in-between spots…something he’s been tentative to do in the past.
While some may think I’m overvaluing the Bye Week, especially with how flat the Bears looked this past Sunday, I actually think the Sunday off helps more two or three weeks down the line as health & a playing-rhythm start to intertwine. Especially, with the big-play weapon’s returning for Coach Omar Epps (Holmes & Parker), and Joe Gibbs’s ole boys eyeballing an upcoming weekend vacation, I expect the Steelers physicality to lead them to a victory tonight.
Final Score: STEELERS 23 REDSKINS 17
As for my NBA ATS PICK for tonight...
What better way to start the work week than some NFL & NBA ATS highlighted by a smooth-azz cocktail of love!
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (+3) @ DALLAS MAVERICKS
Considering King James & Co. have opened the season 1-2, what are the odds my pick to win the Eastern Conference start 1-3? Unlike no other sport, NBA teams with superstars & lofty expectations always seem to have the ability to dominate when necessary. After playing solid in New Orleans for three quarters Saturday, CP3 & Co. destroyed Cleveland in the final frame as Bron-Bron failed to carry the squad when they needed it most. As a result, look for the best player on the planet to play with a chip on his shoulder tonight and to absolutely abuse a Mavs squad that doesn’t have anybody with the strength to contain the wing forward. In addition, while everybody talks about PG Mo Williams ability to spread the D for LeBron, his lightning quick cross-ova and quick first-step will give the rapidly-aging Jason Kidd all kinds of problems.
On the Mavs side, while Dirk is always a threat to take-ova a game, look for the Coach Mike Brown to rotate everybody from James, Big Ben, to Side-Show Bob on the German, while nobody else besides Josh Howard is really an offensive threat…and if you’ve seen Howard’s play yet, you know he’s under a boatload of scrutiny and trying to improve his reputation with each possession. Unfortunately on the professional hardwood, when you’re playing for any other reason besides trying to make the best decision for the team on each trip, somehow the Association Gods seem to make sure you never end-up on the winning end. As a result…Cavs by 5-10 points