NFL Picks: Week 10

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NFL Picks: Week 10

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

I realize how important these imaginary bets are everyweek, but every once in a long, long while, something will come aboutthat takes precedence. CelticsHeat: Round 2 is one of those rareevents.

So enjoy an abridged version of this week's NFL Picks, and pay no attention to last weeks record.

The Game: Baltimore at Atlanta (-1)

Thetwo teams aren't on the same level, but Roddy White is to the 2010Falcons, what Randy moss was to the 2007 Pats. Once Roddy officiallydecided to give it a go, I officially put my money on Atlanta.

The Pick: Falcons (-1)

The Game: Minnesota (-1.5) at Chicago

Ifeven one of your players tells reporters from another city that hehates his coach, then youve got a problem. If six do it? Well, you'vegot Brad Childress. Don't get me wrong; the Bears are a bad team. ButMinnesota isn't even a team anymore. It's a mutiny.

The Pick: Bears (1.5)

The Game: Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-7)

Bythe end of the season, Peyton Manning may be playing alongside a teamof third-stringers and practice-squad legends . . . and he'dstill be able to beat a team like the Bengals.

The Pick: Colts (-7)

The Game: Tennessee (-2) at Miami

Welcomeback, Randy! God, I've missed being able to gamble against whateverteam's crazy enough to open itself up to your terror. Seriously,thanks buddy. Look forward to having a lucrative final six weekstogether. Straight cash!

The Pick: Dolphins (2)

The Game: N.Y. Jets (-3) at Cleveland

IfCleveland pulls this one out and makes it three straight wins -- againstthe Saints, Pats and Jets -- dont we have to consider the Browns alegitimately dangerous and talented and maybe, playoff-bound team?

The worlds not ready for that.

The Pick: Jets (-3)

The Game: Houston at Jacksonville (-1.5)

It's official. The Texans have the worst defense in the NFL. And it's not even close.

The Pick: Jaguars (-1.5)

The Game: Carolina at Tampa Bay (-6.5)

The Team of the Millenium isn't even favored by a touchdown at home against Jimmy Clausen's Panthers? Show me the fake money!

The Pick: Bucs (-6.5)

The Game: Detroit at Buffalo (-3)

OK,Lions fans. I've got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?OK, well the bad news is that you just lost Matthew Stafford, again,for the season.

The good news? Just kidding. Theres not any. You're underdogs in a game against the 0-8 Bills.

The Pick: Bills (-3)

The Game: Kansas City (-1) at Denver

Man,Vegas is really testing my allegiance to the Chiefs. Honestly, if itwere any other average team going into Denver as one-point favoritesI'd jump on the Broncos faster than you can say "Fire McDaniels!" Butas you know, I'm just a huge sucker for KC.

The Pick: Chiefs (-1)

The Game: Seattle at Arizona (-3)

It'sa disgrace that these two bogus teams are still fighting for a divisiontitle. It's even more a disgrace that I have to put my faith in one ofthese teams to win this. Eh, whatever. I'll go with the home team.

The Pick: Cardinals (-3)

The Game: Dallas at N.Y. Giants (-14)

"Win one for Garrett!"

No?

OK, how about: "Lose by less than two touchdowns for Garrett!"

The Pick: Cowboys (14)

The Game: St. Louis at San Francisco (-6)

Idon't care if they're playing the Marshfield High School Rams, the49ers should never be favored by this much. There should be anautomatic six-point penalty for "Coach's Insanity."

The Pick: Rams

The Game: New England at Pittsburgh (-4.5)

This games decided by a field goal, either way. Remembers Shayne Graham is now the kicker, searches frantically for Klonopin.

The Pick: Patriots (4.5)

The Game: Philadelphia (-3) at Washington

MikeShanahan says Donovan McNabb's not in good enough shape to run thetwo-minute drill. I say Andy Reid's not in good enough shape to callplays in a two-minute drill.

The Pick: Redskins (3)

The Record:&8232;

Last Week: 4-8-1&8232;
Season: 62-62-5

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."

Stars, studs and duds: Lillard steps up in second half, overtime

Stars, studs and duds: Lillard steps up in second half, overtime

BOSTON – Saturday was yet another night when the opposing team – this time it was the Portland Trail Blazers – that up the Boston Celtics with an avalanche of points that ended in a 127-123 overtime loss.

And yet through the rubble of all those lay-ups and put-back baskets and mid-range jumpers, Stevens saw something he has not seen in a while – hope that better days defensively were coming sooner rather than later.

“As crazy as it sounds with them scoring (127) … I actually thought we were a lot closer to defending the way we want to defend," said Stevens. "I thought we were really locked into those guards, and I thought we tried to make it as tough as possible. Those guys are really good players, obviously, but I thought, I thought we did a lot of good things in that regard.”

For the most part, Boston and Portland played a relatively even game that wasn’t decided until the final minute of overtime.

“They just made more plays down the stretch,” said Boston’s Al Horford.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

He tends to get second billing to Damian Lillard, but he was a first rate problem for the Celtics. He led the Blazers with 35 points on 11-for-21 shooting.

Damian Lillard

After a foul-troubled first half, Lillard stepped up like the All-Star he is in the second half to finish with 28 points and seven assists which included seven of Portland’s 14 points in overtime.

Isaiah Thomas

It was another dynamic scoring night for Thomas, finishing with a game-high 41 points which included 21 in the fourth quarter and overtime.


STUDS

Terry Rozier

Making the most of his chance to play due to injuries and illnesses, Rozier came up with a number of big shots all night. He finished with 15 points which included a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds in the fourth that forced overtime.

Mason Plumlee

In addition to doing a solid job protecting the rim, Plumlee also tallied a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds while dishing out a game-high eight assists.

Meyers Leonard

Easily the big X-factor of the game, Leonard had 17 points off the bench on 6-for-7 shooting.

 

DUDS

Celtics Turnovers

This is the one area where the Celtics have been really good all season. Saturday? Not so much. Boston turned the ball over a season-high 21 times which accounted for 34 points for the Blazers.