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He's riding a winning streak into this week

November 28, 2008|Sam Farmer | Farmer is a Times staff writer.

Tough luck for Coach Dale Widolff last week. Not only was his Occidental College football team knocked out of the NCAA Division III playoffs, but he lost in a head-to-head picks showdown with me.

In the Sunday and Monday games, I was 11-4; he was 7-8.

Good thing for him he can win actual games.

On to this weekend's picks:

San Francisco at Buffalo: Since 2003, the 49ers are 3-27 in games played in the Eastern time zone. Buffalo's Trent Edwards looked better last week after eight turnovers in the previous three games. Pick: Buffalo.

Baltimore at Cincinnati: The Bengals have beaten Baltimore three consecutive times in Cincinnati. That streak will end Sunday, as the Ravens' ball-control offense will keep its tough defense fresh. Pick: Baltimore.

Miami at St. Louis: Seeing as the Dolphins have the Wildcat offense, the Rams should try a trick of their own and put 11 players on defense to stop the run. Worth a try. Pick: Miami.

Indianapolis at Cleveland: Opponents have run for almost twice as many yards against the Colts, and the Browns will lean heavily on grinder Jamal Lewis. But Derek Anderson won't keep up with the Indianapolis scoring machine. Pick: Indianapolis.

Carolina at Green Bay: The Packers are coming off a short week, which sets them back, but they've been great at Lambeau lately. If they can contain Carolina's ground game, they should be able to escape with the victory. Pick: Green Bay.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay: In his first matchup with the Buccaneers this season, Drew Brees threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns in a 24-20 victory. Now, the Saints head to Tampa, where the home team has yet to lose. Pick: Tampa Bay.

Denver at New York Jets: The Jets are riding a four-game home winning streak in which they have averaged 39.3 points. Are these the Broncos who beat Atlanta two weeks ago, or the ones stomped by the Raiders last Sunday? Pick: New York Jets.

New York Giants at Washington: The Redskins are far more in sync than they were when these teams met in the NFL opener. Still, the Giants are a better team, especially with workhorse Brandon Jacobs rested and ready. Pick: New York Giants.

Pittsburgh at New England: The Patriots will have to establish some semblance of a running game to open the passing lanes for red-hot Matt Cassel. The Steelers won't make that easy. Being at home really helps New England. Pick: New England.

Atlanta at San Diego: Atlanta's Michael Turner will want to show the Chargers what they're missing, and Matt Ryan can take advantage of a defense that has been carved up by the pass lately. The Chargers need to prove they can win these kinds of games. Pick: Atlanta.

Kansas City at Oakland: A bad team loses winnable games and, occasionally, wins losable games. These are both bad teams, so maybe we'll see the season's second tie. Oakland's performance last Sunday notwithstanding, the Chiefs have better scoring capability. Pick: Kansas City.

Chicago at Minnesota: Since their bye, the Vikings have won three of four and won convincingly at Jacksonville last Sunday. In its last division game, Chicago was crushed by the Packers. Pick: Minnesota.

Jacksonville at Houston: With both teams out of the playoff picture, this game will come down to which team has more professional pride. Give the advantage to Houston because the Texans are home and playing in their first-ever Monday night game. Pick: Houston.

Season record: 103-71-1


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