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Dublin: 14 °C Friday 29 August, 2014

Pick 6: our writers stake their reputations on the weekend’s biggest games

In which six of our writers answer the questions that nobody has even asked.

HERE’S HOW IT works. Every week, we choose six of the weekend’s biggest sporting events. Then we ask six of’s finest minds to have their say. Come Monday, everybody looks and feels a little bit sillier than usual.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the Pick 6.

Meet this week’s pickers *drumroll*:

  • Patrick McCarry: lying to people through song.
  • Sean Farrell: brushing up on his Goosebumps knowledge.
  • Steven O’Rourke: still playing with Photoshop.
  • Adrian Russell: living off that “It’s not about the mic” headline.
  • Fintan O’Toole: loves his county.
  • Paul Fennessy: liveblog champion.

Heineken Cup: How many tries will Leinster score against Exeter?

PMC: Four tries. Wishful, biased, thinking from me but if Leinster score a try in the first 20 minutes I think they’ll get over the line. Still, I don’t think it will be enough to reach the 1/4 final.

SF: Three. Heart-wrenching drama.

SOR: Five tries. Total, blind, optimism rather than any sort of cold, professional, analysis but, with their backs against the wall and their whole season on the line, what have they got to lose by just going for it?

AR: Four. Don’t worry – they’ve got this. Sidenote – Exeter is a nice town.

FOT: Four. Last week they showed signs that they are starting to tap into a rich vein of form again.

PF: I’m going to go with four. Exeter are an awkward team to play against, as they showed in the teams’ last meeting, but Leinster have returned to form recently, so their confidence levels and the must-win nature of the fixture will inspire them to a convincing victory.

Golf: HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship

PMC: I’m going for Justin Rose as he’s become a solid performer (see: Ryder Cup victory over Phil Mickelson). More money in his Natwest Supersavers account.

SF: I had a (minute) wager on both Branden Grace and Jason Dufner before the tournament started. Both are still in decent shape, four shots off the lead at the half way point. I’ll stick by the South African.

SOR: Justin Rose is the obvious choice here but I think the value bet is Jamie Donaldson of Wales who is well placed to make a move over the weekend.

AR: Rory’s heading off to watch some tennis for the rest of the week no doubt in his new Nike clobber (magic shoes?), so back in the Middle East I’ll be lumping the gas money on Martin Kaymer.

FOT: Justin Rose is out in front at present. I’ll stick with him to finish the job off over the weekend.

PF: I’m going to go with the safest and most logical choice – Justin Rose.

Premier League: Chelsea v Arsenal

PMC: Chelsea to break their woeful, recent home run and edge out a flaky Arsenal side. The pensioners will be up for this one.

SF: Arsenal looked to have a little added resolve and steel about them in the win over Swansea and Chelsea’s home record is pretty abysmal. 2-2.

SOR: It seems like every time I’ve backed Arsenal this season, they’ve lost and every time I’ve written them off, they’ve won. However, Chelsea are a pale shadow of a professional football club at the moment so expect to hear the boos ring out for Rafa at full time as they drop two home points to the Gunners in a score draw.

AR: The Blues seem nervy at home in front of their baying mob of a crowd while Arsenal are reliably unreliable. Score draw for me, Jeff.

FOT: It’s hard to see Arsenal emulating last season’s achievement of scoring five at Stamford Bridge when Robin Van Persie notched a hat-trick. But Chelsea are not in great form themselves as evidenced by the midweek draw against Southampton. Honours even then. 1-1.

PF: Chelsea games have been hard to predict lately – at times they look extremely impressive, but they’ve also produced a few dodgy performances. Still though, Arsenal were so poor last week against City that I’m going to back Rafa Benitez’s men.

Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United

PMC: Revenge on the cards for United and they may even take the lead here but I’m predicting a (score) draw.

SF: Spurs are in good form, and United are looking a little creaky. But isn’t that always the case? There won’t be a Spurs double this season. United will, by fair means or foul, dig out a win.

SOR: United will go 1-0 down before turning it around and winning 3-1 with an RVP double and Wazzer tap-in. The really difficult call will be how much abuse Fenno gets on Twitter from Spurs fans afterwards.

AR: This has goals written all over it. Quite literally, as J Redknapp might add. United to win by the odd goal in five, let’s say.

FOT: Spurs are chasing a second win this season over United but given Ferguson’s side’s recent form, they should be good for a draw at least.

PF: Tottenham beat United earlier in the season, but aside from that game, they haven’t been convincing against the bigger sides. Although Alex Ferguson’s men have also been pretty mediocre in recent times too, so it’s a draw for me.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta Falcons

PMC: Ever since Steve Young flung TD connections, the plucky 49ers have been my guilty NFL pleasure. these I’ve made a good habit of sticking with the 49ers on Pick 6 this season and I shan’t be changing now. San Fran all the way.

SF: Falcons have gotten the monkey off their back (what an image that is) by finally winning in the play-offs That should relax them enough to squeak through. It will be very, very tight.

SOR: I think I may well be the only NFL analyst in the entire world picking the Atlanta Falcons but I said they were the dark horses in the NFC at the beginning of the year and, after finally getting that elusive first playoff win, I expect Matty Ice to do the business.

AR: God knows what will happen if last week’s games are anything to go by. I’ve been saying the 49ers would get to New Orleans for a while so I’ll stuck with them but it’ll be close.

FOT: The 49ers to build on the momentum of last week’s victory over the Green Bay Packers.

PF: The 49ers are the favourites here, and rightfully so.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots

PMC: The emotional rollercoaster continues for B’more but I’m expecting the Patriots to hoosh them off and head for the biggie.

SF: Don’t miss this game. Almost a direct match-up Ray Lewis v Tom Brady. As usual, I can’t see past the Patriots to eventually show their class (as classy as you can be with Bill Belichick on your side) — but if Lewis is thanking God late on Sunday night it wouldn’t surprise me.

SOR: You know there’s actually a R*y L*wis camera set up just to follow him and his bionic arm in this game? Well there’s not, but you’ll think there is when they show a million replays of him tackling Shane Vereen at the end of another 7-yard run. If you read the Redzone, you’ll know what I think. If not, Patriots by ten.

AR: So long, Ray. Expect this to be the end of the longest lap of honour since Bertie Ahern’s long goodbye. Lewis, his QB Joe Flacco and the Ravens always make it hard for their rivals, but Tom Brady and the Pats will get it done. Won’t they?

FOT: Hard to see past the Patriots with Tom Brady spearheading their challenge.

PF: The Patriots have the standout player in the form of Tom Brady, and I can see him being the difference between the two sides.

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