Week 16

December 25, 2009

5-10 last week, 108-114 on the year.  Here they are.  Merry Christmas.

TITANS (-3) over Chargers

Bills (+9) over FALCONS

Chiefs (+13.5) over BENGALS

Raiders  (+3.5) over BROWNS

PACKERS (-14) over Seahawks

DOLPHINS (-3) over Texans

PATRIOTS (-8) over Jaguars

SAINTS (-14) over Buccanneers

GIANTS (-7) over Carolina

STEELERS (-2) over Ravens

CARDINALS (-14) over Rams

49ERS (-12.5) over Lions

COLTS (-5.5) over Jets

EAGLES (-7) over Broncos

REDSKINS (+6.5) over Cowboys

Vikings (-7) over BEARS

Week 15

December 17, 2009

Quick picks this week.  8-8 last week, 103-104 on the year.  Home teams in CAPS.

JAGUARS (+3) over Colts

Testing the theory of “Favorite being gushed over, division rival, underdog at home, on national TV”.

SAINTS (-7) over Cowboys

Because the Saints are that good?  Or the Cowboys are that bad (in December)?  Take your pick.

Patriots (-7) over BILLS

The Pats will finish up this season and wrap up a playoff spot.  Will they get it together before the playoffs?  Well, it is what it is.

Cardinals (-12) over LIONS

The Lions are hurt all over the place.  If they weren’t?  Uh, I’d still take the Cards.

TITANS (PK) over Dolphins

Heavy wildcard implications here, Jet/Jaguar/Raven/Bronco fans will be rooting for the Titans.

CHIEFS (-1.5) over Browns

Anytime the Chiefs, Browns, Rams, Bucs, Pre-Sherman Redskins, and Jamarcus led Raiders play each other, just avoid the television.

Texans (PK) over RAMS

Texans journey to finish .500 looking good.

JETS (PK) over Falcons

Owners of Roddy White in fantasy football, beware.  Opponent’s top wideouts averaged 3 catches, a shade under 30 yards, and 0.2 touchdowns a game against Revis.  I’m a White owner, hurts me to bench him, but looks like I’ll have to.  (Thanks Paul for the numbers crank on this one)

49ers (+9) over EAGLES

It’s no surprise the Niners are 8-3-2 against the spread.  Why?  Because they get tangled up in close games, then cough ‘em away.

Bears (+10.5) over RAVENS

So I’m taking a team getting 10.5 points that’s led by an interception machine, against a potential playoff team at home with the top ball hawking safeties in the game.  Yep.

Raiders (+14) over BRONCOS

Yes!  No Jamarcus, no problem.

CHARGERS (-6.5) over Bengals

The funny thing about the Bengals this year is this:  Early on they had the no one believes in us inspiration, then when people finally started to believe them (this happened when they swept the division) they showed us a loss to Oakland, two underwhelming wins against the Browns and Lions, then were dominated by the Vikings.  How bad exactly are the Bengals?  Minus the 45-10 blowout of the Bears, and their +/- is a mediocre +7 on the year.  And they have 8 (leaving the Bears game off this stat to be fair) wins to show for it!!!!  +7 ON 8 WINS?!?!?!

STEELERS (-1.5) over Packers

Unusual game where the team with the most momentum, the Packers, meets a team that is crumbling.  The Steelers are not going to make the playoffs, but they aren’t going to mail it in.  They’re still one of the tougher teams to beat on their home turf.

SEAHAWKS (-7) over Buccanneers

Big fantasy implications here.  Pick up Forsett if you don’t have him; he should carve up the Bucs defense.

PANTHERS (+9) over Vikings

When the Vikings lost to the Cardinals two weeks ago, there were a lot of problems that needed to be addressed.  Needless to say, a lot was exposed about this team.  Their coaching especially.  The Panthers tend to surprise this year when going against the spread (6-7).  Remember it was on national television when the Vikes lost.  Not to say a loss is coming, but maybe a closer game than you’d expect.

Giants (-3) over REDSKINS

Despite all the blunders shown by the Giants last week, they were still alive late in the game.  They are turning the corner on this season and need to show some dominating performances against obviously weaker teams.

The Home Stretch

December 10, 2009

Virtually or already clinched:

  • Colts
  • Bengals
  • Chargers
  • Saints
  • Vikings
  • Cardinals

In the hunt:

  • Patriots
  • Dolphins
  • Jets
  • Ravens
  • Steelers
  • Jaguars
  • Broncos
  • Cowboys
  • Eagles
  • Giants
  • Packers
  • Falcons

Needs a miracle:

  • Bears
  • Panthers
  • 49ers
  • Seahawks

It’s the home stretch for NFL teams and fantasy owners alike.  Judging by the severity of schedules, the Dolphins, Jets, Steelers, Cowboys, Jaguars, Falcons are out.  Leaving the Patriots, Ravens, and Broncos (their schedule ends tough, but they hold a lead on the wildcard spot) in the AFC.  Giants, Eagles, Packers in the NFC.  You heard it here.  2-14 in a miserable week 13, and 95-96 on the year.  Homes teams in CAPs.

Steelers (-10) over BROWNS

Browns minus Rogers versus a desperate Steelers team.

Saints (-10.5) over FALCONS

They haven’t been great against the spread, and they’re a Suisham chip shot away from their first loss.  Needless to say they’ve got lady luck on their side and they’re gunning for 16-0.  Having only two playoff appearances in forty four years, you could say they were due for a season like this.  Geaux Saints.

Packers (-3) over BEARS

Good news for the Bears is that they won last week.  Bad news is it was the Rams.  Oh, and the Bears didn’t even cover.

COLTS (-7) over Broncos

Huge playoff implications here.  If the Broncos win, the Colts will go on cruise control the rest of the regular season to preserve their starters.  If the Colts win, expect the Jags’ and Jets’ playoff hopes dwindle.

Bills (PK) over CHIEFS

The home field advantage that was once known as Arrowhead doesn’t really exist anymore.  Not with the 2009 Chiefs.

Bengals (+6.5) over VIKINGS

Maybe Favre is finally slowing down.  Maybe the incompetence of Brad Childress is finally showing.  When you have Adrian Peterson in your backfield and one of the best left sides in football, you do one thing.  Run.  The.  Ball.  I don’t care how good your 40 year old quarterback is playing.  He’s 40 and you have Peterson.  Shame on Childress for trying to lose by a smaller margin instead of trying to win.

Panthers (+13.5) over PATRIOTS

Patriots will win this game, grind out the rest of the regular season, and get a chance to exorcise their demons in the playoffs.  This is when they’re best – under the radar.  As far as being 13.5 point favorites, I’ll pass.

Jets (-3) over BUCCANEERS

The 6-6 Jets (led by a rookie quarterback) visit the 1-11 Bucs (led by a rookie quarterback).  And the Jets giving only three?  Really?

JAGUARS (-2.5) over Dolphins

The loser misses the playoffs.  The winner?  Well, they might miss the playoffs too.  Neither team really strikes as a postseason contender.

Lions (+13) over RAVENS

The Ravens defense is a shell of it’s former self.  Poor showing by the defense (and the refs) in Lambeau, and we’re starting to really see Flacco is not ready to step into the elite class of NFL quarterbacks.

TEXANS (-6) over Seahawks

Getting a lead, no problem.  But holding a lead?  Well Houston we have a … never mind.

TITANS (-13) over Rams

Can the Rams stop the most explosive player in the NFL?  Maybe a better question is, can the Rams stop any player in the NFL?  Must be twice as painful watching Warner carve up the NFC West.

Redskins (-1) over RAIDERS

Let’s look on the bright side for both franchises.  The Skins are a Suisham no-goalie-penalty-kick away from beating a 12-0 team, and the Raiders took down the defending Super Bowl champions.  Gradkowski was long overdue, and really makes you wonder what would have happened with this franchise had Garcia been kept and given the reigns early on.

Chargers (+3) over COWBOYS

The Cowboy freefall began last week against the Giants; continues this week against the Chargers.  I can see the long winded headline now… “Dallas in December Discovers Detrimental Defeat”.

GIANTS (-1) over Eagles

Can the Giants survive their injuries and claw their way to the playoffs?  Do the Eagles (virtually) lock up the division with a win here?  No brainer for NFL schedulers before the season started to slot these two teams here on national television.  Obvious playoff implications.

49ERS (+3) over Cardinals

Here’s a statistic for you.  The 49ers are one of two teams that are below .500 are positive in their points for/points allowed.  They’ve just being finding new ways to lose games every week.  Cardinals can clinch the NFC West here.  Niners can keep their bleak playoff hopes alive if they move to 6-7 and a 2-0 head to head lead on the Cardinals.

A Cool Brees

December 3, 2009

Easy to gush over the Saints performance last Monday and why not?  We knew they were contenders, but we’ve seen them falter against the Dolphins, Falcons, and Rams.  It was hard to give credit to an undefeated team that we assume will not continue their undefeated streak much longer.  But Monday was different.  Monday we saw Drew Brees go 18-23 for 371 yards and 5 TDs.  For all you math buffs out there, that means he threw a touchdown on better than every four passes.

Take that in for a second.

A little longer…

Are you realizing how insane that is?!

This win was so insane, even Darnell Dinkins was pouring it on.  Darnell freakin’ Dinkins.  While the season is long, and the Pats still have a strong hold on that division, this game was very indicative of how dangerous the Saints can be versus a contender.  But despite the loss, I think the Pats come out firing this Sunday against the Fins and coast to take the division.  And I’m willing to bet that (still) no one wants to meet the Patriots in the postseason.

7-9 last week, 93-82 on the year.  Home team in CAPS.

BILLS (+3) over Jets

How many interceptions did Sanchez throw the last time they met?  Hm.  Also, Bills record with Fitzpatrick under center 1-1.  I’m willing to bet he shows some promise before tanking, like all the other Bills quarterbacks in the past.

FALCONS (+5.5) over Eagles

Eagles sans Desean Jackson, Falcons sans Matt Ryan.  Edge: Falcons.

BEARS (-9) over Rams

I have a hunch that Cutler silences critics for one week against a porous St. Louis defense.  Then collapses against the next decent defense he faces.

BENGALS (-13) over Lions

Betting on a Lions team with their two best players hurting is foolish.  I’ll go the other way with the better, home team.

Titans (+6.5) over COLTS

Titans beat the spread, Titans win the game.  Vince Young is a frightening player to play against when his confidence is high.

CHIEFS (+4.5) over Broncos

Everyone is waiting for the Bronco collapse, and their win versus the Giants last week was only delaying the inevitable.  Playing at Arrowhead is no easy task, especially for a division rival.

Patriots (-5.5) over DOLPHINS

Too bad for the Dolphins.  The Pats will take out their frustrations from their embarrassing Monday night loss here.

STEELERS (even) over Raiders

Plug anyone at quarterback here, the Steelers roll easy here.

Saints (-9.5) over REDSKINS

Even though the Skins probably beat the spread, hard to pick against the Saints here after their Monday night performance.

PANTHERS (-6) over Buccaneers

Matt Moore at the helm might not even be a downgrade.  Only time will tell.  Delhomme era is likely over.

TEXANS (even) over Jaguars

Because the Texans are perennially a .500 team, they need this one win.  The Jags formula needs to be run run run.  If Houston strikes first and fast, the Jags can’t recover.  They are not a come from behind type of team.

Chargers (-13) over BROWNS

How good are the Bolts?  6 straight wins and a whopping +105 in those wins.  How bad are the Browns?  Whatever your answer is, subtract their best defense player from that equation, and your 2009 Browns folks!

GIANTS (+2) over Cowboys

Jerry Jones wants the Pacquiao/Mayweather fight in his stadium.  Focus on your own sport Jerry.

49ers (even) over SEAHAWKS

Alex smith threw the ball 41 times last week and completed 27.  No interceptions.  Drink the haterade!  Drink up.

Vikings (even) over CARDINALS

May not have the hype of Patriots@Saints, but will definitely have the star power and playoff implications.  Love the schedulers for this one.

Ravens (+3) over PACKERS

The Ravens are better than their record suggests.  The Packers are worse than their record suggests.  Nonetheless, this should be a fantastic game as well.

Holiday Quick Picks

November 27, 2009

7-9 Last week, 86-76 on the year.

(1-2 yesterday as I had the Packers, Raiders, and Giants)

FALCONS (-12.5) over Buccaneers

Are the Falcons a playoff team?  So many question marks surround this team as well as a sobering sophomore season for Matty Ice.  They take care of the Bucs this week, but if they don’t do it in convincing fashion, I seriously question this team’s ability to get to the playoffs.

Dolphins (-3) over BILLS

It seems the Bills are using the wildcat pretty effectively with Fred Jackson in the backfield.  But the Fins are the father of the modern wildcat, and we’ll see it Sunday.

 

BENGALS (-14) over Browns

Bengals coming off a loss to the Raiders; and now host the punching bag Browns.  We will not see a repeat of their earlier meeting this season.

Seahawks (-3) over RAMS

The Rams are terrible.  So terrible that the terrible Seahawks are giving three points here.

Panthers (+3) over JETS

I can’t pick the Jets until they win a game.  Last win still Jamarcus-led Raiders.

EAGLES (-9) over Redskins

Eagles keep on rollin’.

Colts (-3.5) over TEXANS

Trap game.  Can’t feel good about picking the Colts here.  Confidence is low on this pick.  Typically undefeated teams stumble against powerful middle-of-the-pack teams.  I can see this going either way, but I’ll pick safe since historically, Colts own the Texans.

Chiefs (+13.5) over CHARGERS

Sure, I’ll take 13.5 especially after coming off an elated win over the Steelers.

49ERS (-3) over Jaguars

The 4-6 host team giving three points to the 6-4 visiting team.  Odd.

TITANS (even) over Cardinals

Both teams very dangerous right now.  I’ll take the team who’s backfield carries Chris Johnson.  Can’t stop gushing over this guy.  We need to start exploring the possibility that if Adrian Peterson is the best back in the league, than Chris Johnson is 1b.

VIKINGS (-10.5) over Bears

I hate that I have to pick the Vikes.  I hate hate hate it.  I’m still bitter at the week 3 last second heart-torn-out-of-every-Niner-fan moment.  But the Bears are awful.  Cutler’s only touchdown last week came when he under threw his receiver while getting hit.  Every other important pass was overthrown by a mile.

Steelers (even) over RAVENS

Both teams are going to come out hitting hard.  I can see this game being either a staunch, defensive grind, or a high powered offensive explosion.

RAVENS (even) over Steelers

With Ben being a recent scratch to play and Charlie being out, there’s no reason to pick against the Ravens at home.

Patriots (+3) over SAINTS

The Patriots are going to win this game.  You heard it from me.  It’s a good thing for the Saints though, they’ll learn more from a loss here, then they will from a win.  The experience of the Patriots will be the difference maker.  Expect playoff intensity from both night games.

Week 11 Ode to the Wildcat

November 19, 2009

What an unfair injury to all the fans of the NFL.  Contrary to how Tom Brady’s ACL injury had 95% of NFL fans thrilled (to see someone else win for once), the loss of Ronnie Brown is a gut punch to anyone who’s a fan of the NFL.  Without Brown, the wildcat package is without their primary shot caller.  Sure Ricky Williams might have a few cameo’s as their direct snap taker, and maybe we see more of Pat White, but don’t kid yourself, Brown turned the screws in this offense. Averaging 72 yards (on just over 16 carries a game, yielding a respectable 4.4 average) and a score (counting his passing td) per game, he will definitely be missed.  More importantly, the team most likely to be played in the popular video game Madden, is going to fall short in their long shot playoff push.  Here’s what I do like though.  Sparano had muddling, contradicting statements:

“Ricky has been back handling the snaps,” Sparano told reporters Monday. “There is going to be some other people if Ronnie isn’t able to be out there that would come into play.”

And more recently had this to say when asked about the wildcat:

“Who knows? May not even run it,” coach Tony Sparano said on Tuesday. “Never know.”

Despite the loss of their primary wildcat caller, the Panthers will still have to prepare for a wildcat that may never show up.  By making the package so effective while he was healthy, Ronnie Brown has opponents respecting the design of the wildcat.  So in a twisted indirect way, Brown’s still affective.  And he’s not even on the field!  It’s like, a “Phantom Wildcat” that has opponent’s heads spinning.  Love it.  Wildcat, we hardly knew ye.

Last week 11-4, 78-65 on the season.  Home teams in CAPS.

PANTHERS (-3) over Dolphins

I’m not going to gush over the wildcat anymore than I already did, so instead I just want to state that the 4-5 Panthers are very well alive in the NFC wildcard hunt.

COWBOYS (-11) over Redskins

If I pick the Skins two weeks in a row as underdogs I’d call myself crazy.  This is a traditional “favorite coming off a loss versus underdog coming off a win” scenario, goading gamblers to take the trendy underdog pick.  Don’t think it’s happening this week.  Keep in mind the context of each team’s week 10.  The Cowboys played at a hostile Lambeau, where it’s difficult for any (unfamiliar) visitor to play in.  And the Redskins played an Orton-less Broncos for the second half.  One interesting thing I’d like to point out:  Two years ago, would anyone have ever thought losing Orton would be a devastating blow to your chances at success?  Ridiculous.  Another (and also far more) interesting thing:  4th and 20 on the Bronco 45, Redskins bring out the field goal unit, then split Todd Yoder out wide INDICATING THAT THE PLAY WAS A FAKE.  And, really a net of 15 wouldn’t be worth it to punt.  Panicking on the sidelines because they only have ten men on the field, Jim Zorn calls timeout.  The only thing dumber than to send out the same play call at that point, would be to not expect it.  Shame on you Denver Broncos.  SHAME ON YOU.

LIONS (-3.5) over Browns

Last week we got the Chiefs @ Oakland.  This week we get the Browns @ Lions.  What a delight.

49ers (-6.5) over PACKERS

It’s the 2005 draft all over again.  Alex Smith visits Aaron Rodgers.  Much has been made of the Packer defense that limited the Cowboys offense to seven points last week, but no one’s saying anything about the 38 that the Bucs dropped on them the week before.  Quick are we to forget.

Steelers (-10) over CHIEFS

Why are the Steelers giving only ten points to a Bowe-less Chiefs?  Side note on Bowe.  Who was really surprised by this?  Dwayne Bowe comes into training camp overweight and out of shape, gets demoted from his #1 wideout role, and comes into the season scoring touchdowns in back to back weeks.  Suspicious?  I am.

Seahawks (+10.5) over VIKINGS

Still…waiting…for…Favre…to…implode…just…once…please…

GIANTS (-6.5) over Falcons

After their 5-0 start, 0-4 skid, the media is having a field day tearing at the Giants.  Good timing for their bye week.  But would we be singing a different tune if they’d beaten the Cards (lost by one score) and the Chargers (lost by one points)?  Sure they had crushing defeats to the Saints and Eagles, but take those with the context.  Saints were (and still are) an undefeated juggernaut who was priming (and have faced more woes recently) and the Eagles – well the Eagles just flat out have the Giants number.  Needless to say, we could easily be talking about a 7-2 team, instead of a 5-4 team.  With these things considered, add a struggling Falcons team to the mix, and I would say this is the closest thing to a lock this week.

Saints (-11.5) over BUCCANEERS

Call me a sucker.  The last time the Saints covered was week 7 against the Dolphins.  This, the match up where so many irregular variables needed to occur for that to happen.  I’m picking the undefeated team who couldn’t put the Rams away until the last play was over.  I’m a sucker.

JAGUARS (-9) over Bills

The Bills are paltry against the run.  Atrocious.  I’m going to need thesaurus help on this one.  Abhorrent, awful, bad, beastly, contemptible, cursed, despicable, disgusting, foul, grim, grody, gross, hateful, heinous, hellish, horrible, horrid, loathsome, lousy, nauseating, obnoxious, odious, offensive, repellent, reprehensible, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, rotten, sleazy, stinking, terrible, vile, wretched.  These are your Bills.  MJD’s chance to fantasy redeem himself plus a Bills (insert word synonymous with atrocious here) run defense.  Love it!

RAVENS (+1) over Colts

Last week should have been the week the Colts lost.  Instead, a 4th and 2 was left unconverted on the field.  Much has been said about this controversial decision by Belichick, and I’m not going to get too deep into it.  I just want to say one thing:  When Belichick was blasted for not having confidence in his defense, no one was saying “Belichick showed great confidence in his offense” instead.  It might not necessarily be a lack of confidence in his defense, it was just overconfidence in his offense.

RAMS (+9) over Cardinals

The Cardinals gave up 123 yards on 17 carries to some guy named Justin Forsett last week.  You don’t think Stephen Jackson can one up that?  The rams were competitive against the best team in the NFC last week.  I think we will see a more confident Rams team start to take the field in the second half this season.  They had the game TIED last week against the Saints only to have their chances deflated by a fluke-y kickoff return TD.  Minus that special teams score, we might have had more of a thrilling conclusion.  Just kidding, I’m trying real hard to sell the Rams.  Still, love em +9 this week.

Chargers (even) over BRONCOS

Because the writing is on the wall.

Bengals (-9.5) over the RAIDERS

Sad thing about this spread is that it probably improved for the Raiders ever since Jamarcus was benched.  Had he been starting, could this be around -12? 13.5?

PATRIOTS (-10.5) over Rex Ryan Tear Factory … I mean Jets

Ha ha ha that was low.  In all seriousness, the Pats this season have lost two games prior to the Colts.  Both bounce back games (against the Falcons and Titans) resulted in a 16 point win, and a 59 point win.  Meanwhile, the Jets are trying to piece together what remains of Jenkins and Washington’s legs for next season.  On the bright side, if the Jets can manufacture a win here, they’d be 5-5 and 2-0 against the would be 6-4 Patriots.  Meaning they’d be a game out of the lead of the AFC East.  With Miami virtually out of this, and the Bills always virtually out of it, the Jets could potentially win this division.  Unfortunately, the Jets are 1-5 after their sizzling 3-0 start, and their lone win coming on a platter served by Jamarcus Russell.

Eagles (-3) over BEARS

So Jay Cutler throws five interceptions and the Eagles are only a three point favorite.  I don’t care if the Eagles are on a two game slide (both to respectable teams) and Westbrook isn’t playing.  You don’t throw five interceptions and only get three points the following week.  This is wrong, morally wrong.  Who the hell made this line?  I deserve an explanation.  Someone out there is “earning” a paycheck creating this line.  They should provide a detailed explanation why the Cutler Interception Bonanza is only getting three points.  Man, I just made myself upset.

Titans (+4.5) over TEXANS

Three weeks ago, this MNF game looked like vomit in HD.  Now we might have a respectable game.  The Texans are smack dab average against the run while the Titans are among the NFL elite at running the ball.  Meanwhile, the Titans are dead last against the pass and the Texans are sitting pretty near the top.  The Titans aren’t the same team with Vince Young under center.  They literally look like a different team.  Unathletic, aging, pocket passing, white quarterback and 0-6 team versus super athletic, youthful, supremely mobile, black quarterback and 3-0.  Love the dynamic.  Chris Johnson would be a top MVP candidate if Tennessee were even floating around .500.

Week 10

November 13, 2009

Ah Thursday Night Football.  Welcome back.  Too bad we had to watch a puketastic Cutler performance.  I’m sick of hearing this guy is a “franchise quarterback”.  Oh Kyle Orton we miss you and your meager stat lines of 170 yards, 1 td, 0 int.  Sure as hell beats 300+ and 5 int.  Anyway, I had a terrible week last week going 4-9.  I want to highlight some of the losses.  New England failed to cover by .5, Green Bay got trounced by rookie debut Josh Freeman, Jacksonville couldn’t run up the score on Kansas City, New Orleans had to actually play from behind (again), Detroit was a final minute pick six away from beating the spread.  That’s five games.  Easily could have been a 9-4 week instead.  Such are the swings.  4-9 last week, and 68-61 on the year.  Let’s hope this week goes a bit more smoothly.  Home teams in CAPS.

49ERS (-3) over Bears

Okay, I know this is after the fact, but I swear I picked them anyway.  Don’t believe me, check every week before this.  I’m as bias as it gets.  You know.

TITANS (-6.5) over Bills

Titans are 2-0 after their 0-6 skid (skid doesn’t really tell the tale).  But one undervalued aspect of this team is their backfield.  Watching them run design quarterback draws and even the option pitch shows how dangerous that backfield can be.  Chris Johnson already demands a spy, add to that Vince and that backfield is committing eight in the box.  Meanwhile the Bills should pack it in.  I still think that week one loss to New England left them crippled.  The effects are still lingering.

Saints (-13.5) over RAMS

The spread isn’t higher because the Saints gave up a ton of rushing yards to Deangelo Williams last week.  Stephen Jackson is just as capable.  Where are all the people who praised the Saints defense a few weeks ago?  The identify of their team still rests on that offense and it always will.  But it is convenient that the Rams love giving up points.  I can’t believe Vegas only gives the Rams a two score handicap.  Watching this slaughtering will be like watching Elizabeth Lambert versus a team of 9 year old girls in ponytails.

DOLPHINS (-10) over Buccaneers

The Dolphins are 3-5 (all three wins coming from within the division), but I wouldn’t count them out yet.  We’re only halfway through the season and the remaining schedule for the Fins looks like this: Bucs, Panthers, Bills, Pats, Jags, Titans, Texans, and Steelers.  The Pats game is obviously pivotal but otherwise we have many beatable teams there.  A week 17 Steelers team might resign that week and be licking their wounds preparing for the postseason.  I don’t want to count out the Dolphins yet.  As far as the Bucs are concerned, I can’t expect them to block a punt and return it for a touch down every week.  Freeman looked great though, this change took too long.

Lions (+16.5) over VIKINGS

This is going to be one of those weird low scoring games, or the Lions will hang tight with the Vikes all game long.  We’re in three score territory with this spread.  Historically, Adrian Peterson averages a mortal (for him) 98 yards against the Lions in his five meetings.  Worse than that, he’s found the painted promised land only three times in those five meetings.  Oh and his ball security against the Lions?  He’s fumbled the ball five times in five meetings.  Okay, I promise, this will be the only time I ever badmouth the best running back in the NFL.  Oh, and if you have him in your fantasy league, don’t sit him, that would be foolish.  Needless to say, I bet we’re in for a funky game.

Jaguars (+7) over JETS

What is the Jags record, without checking?  Wait for it… wait for it… yeah!  They’re actually .500 at 4-4.  How crazy is that?  Which Jags team will show up this week?  More importantly, which Sanchez will?

Bengals (+7) over STEELERS

OKOK it’s about time I buy into the Bengals.  I thought the Ravens would be a maddening wake up call, but I was wrong.  I was wrong!  And still, I’m remiss to choose the Steelers here because they’re on a monster tear.  Pittsburgh started 1-0, then 0-2, then 5-0.  Oddly though, the Bengals are better on the road than they are at home.  This is going to be a close game, which justifies the Bengal pick.

REDSKINS (+3.5) over Broncos

If this was a confidence picking pool, this pick would be the least confident of them all.  But fact is, the Broncos are on a two game slide.  They are definitely beatable, and it’s only right that they hit their patented mid season “let the Chargers make this division interesting” run.

Falcons (-1.5) over PANTHERS

Not much to say here other than Matt Ryan going through a slump and the Panthers hitting their stride.  While that implies that I picked backwards, I can’t go against a Falcons team with this many weapons.  Roddy White had his first bad game last week, expect him to bounce back in a big way.

Chiefs (+1.5) over RAIDERS

Just stay away from the television when this game is on.  I mean, unless you want to see Janikowski versus Succop.

PACKERS (+3) over Cowboys

Here’s a traditional trap game.  Cowboys on a nice winning streak and the Packers coming off a few losses.  Packers offensive line will definitely have their hands full and all signs point to a Cowboys win.  Defenses won’t have much say in this game.  Shootout in Lambeau!  Over!  Over!  Over!

CARDINALS (-8.5) over Seahawks

As mentioned before, the Seahawks were a last minute pick six away from not covering the spread against the LIONS.  If the Seahawks win this game, that NFC West division is available for the taking for everyone not the Rams.

CHARGERS (-2) over Eagles

It’s ridiculous, two weeks ago when the Broncos were 6-0 and the Chargers were 3-3 that division was labeled “out of reach” by NFL experts.  Fast forward two weeks and the Chargers are 5-3 and two games back.  Now it’s a competitive division.  Shame on NFL experts who just go by which number is bigger.

Patriots (+3) over COLTS

Why the Pats will win:

  • Brady is finally confident in that knee.  He’s in full form.
  • The Colts are not invincible (as proven last week).
  • This game matters more to the Pats than it does to the Colts.

Ravens (-11) over BROWNS

Someone has to explain to me how the Browns are getting Monday Night Football.  Unreal and unfair for NFL fans, to put the Browns on national television.  This seems like a backhanded slap.  It’s not like we expected anything from them before the season started.

Week 9

November 5, 2009

4-9 last week and 63-52 on the year.  Terrible week last week.  Underdogs won out slightly by going 7-6, unfortunately not the ones I picked.  Some interesting things to note:

  • Last week was the first time the Saints did not cover the spread.  Does this mean I’ll be picking against them?  Unlikely.  But they’re certainly not an invincible team.
  • Neither are the Colts and Broncos.
  • Tedd Ginn did not catch a pass and still killed the Jets.
  • Tennessee won their first game after benching Kerry Collins.  I didn’t see it coming either.
  • Funniest play of the funniest game: James Butler intercepts a Stafford pass in the endzone, leaves the end zone, goes back into the endzone, tackled for a safety.  Imagine throwing an interception that earns (emphasis on earns) your team two points.  Needless to say, the Detroit fans were in ovation.

Here they are (home teams in caps):

FALCONS (-10) over Redskins

The Falcons were the first team to beat the spread against the Saints.  They’re only giving up ten, at home, against the Redskins?

BEARS (-3) over Cardinals

My Cutler hatred will have to wait another week, because the Cards are a team that doesn’t have an identity.  A different defense shows up week to week.  Remember the Cards that beat the Giants with a suffocating defense?  Well, the Panthers (yes the freaking Panthers) had a field day against that same defense.

Ravens (-3) over BENGALS

The Bengals can’t overachieve forever, and the Ravens are a better team than their record suggests.  They trounced the overachieving Broncos last week 30-6.  The Bengals will put up more of a fight, but still lose this game.  I suspect the Bengals get the short end of the stick in this division.  All three teams in this division can’t make the playoffs… can they?

COLTS (-9) over Texans

Sure the Texans offense is explosive, but they’re without Pro Bowl tight end Owen Daniels and Andre Johnson is ailing.  Not enough people are making noise as how ridiculous Andre Johnson’s injury is.  He has a bruised lung.  How is that not drawing any more attention?  This isn’t a sore hamstring or banged up ribs.  It’s an internal organ.  And it’s bruised.  Freemd.com describes a bruised lung as such:

A person with a pulmonary contusion has a bruise to the lung, which results in bleeding into the lung tissue. The collection of blood can prevent oxygen from passing from the lung, into the bloodstream. Pulmonary contusions are caused by severe chest injuries, such as multiple rib fractures or a sternum fracture.

Yeah you really shouldn’t even be leaving your bed let alone playing football.  Especially with Bob Sanders roaming the middle of the field.

PATRIOTS (-10.5) over Dolphins

The visiting Dolphins have hung tight against both undefeated teams early on this season.  They’re a good team, and they’re consistent.  Last week the wildcat was contained, and couldn’t bother Sanchez much, and still won the game.  Contrary to all of this, the Patriots are coming off a bye and are (in my opinion) the third best team in the league.  I’m not saying the Pats are a lock to cover the spread, BUT for all your gamblers out there I have a word of advice: Take the over.

Packers (-9.5) over BUCCANEERS

Much has been said about the faulty offensive line of the Pack.  Still Rodgers is posting the league best passer rating.  The kid’s pretty good.  In a few years he’ll be at the top of the league, just wait.

JAGUARS (-6.5) over Chiefs

Maurice Jones-Drew ran for how many yards last week?  On how many carries?  Seriously?

SAINTS (-13.5) over Panthers

As I mentioned before, last week was the first time this season the Saints failed to cover the spread.  Still, I’m not betting against them.

Lions (+10) over SEAHAWKS

This is one of three underdog picks this week.  Do I have faith in the Lions?  Definitely not.  But my belief in the Seahawks is not good either.  Without looking, what’s the Seahawks record?  Okay… now go check.  It’s lower than you thought right?  I’ll take the Lions getting ten.

Chargers (+4.5) over GIANTS

Does the Giants tailspin continue?  Is it time for the patented “usually too late in the season” Chargers run?

49ERS (-4.5) over Titans

The Niners continue to come close in defeat (in all except versus the Falcons), but I can’t see Tennessee winning a close game on the road.  Four and a half isn’t enough for the newly Vince Young led squad.

Cowboys (+3) over EAGLES

A very interesting game with heavy divisional implications.  I’ll take the Cowboys in this close one just because I’m trying to purge the bad taste of picking the Eagles in their loss against the Raiders.  Still… can’t… get… rid… of… that… taste.

Steelers (-3) over BRONCOS

Because the Broncos aren’t THAT good.

The Week of the Underdog

October 30, 2009

59-43 on the year.  8-4 last week.  Favorites have been huge this year, but this is the week of the underdog.  Home teams in CAPS.

BILLS (+3) over Texans

I have a strange feeling that the Bills beat the spread and the Texans.  Texans have struggled this year to pressure, and the Bills have generated a decent pass rush.

Browns (+9.5) over BEARS

Taking the Browns on the road?  I must be clinically insane.  Well that’s part of it, but the reality of the Cutler honeymoon is about to set in.  He is not a franchise quarterback.  Only a handful of those guys exist in a given era.  Right now in the NFL how many guys are franchise quarterbacks?  Fewer than you think.  The definition of a franchise quarterback (by my book) is a guy who can stink it up for game after game and still have his job.  How many of those guys are there in the NFL right now?  Let me tell you:  Brady, Manning, Brees, Roethlisberger, Rivers, Warner, and Delhomme.  That’s it.  It is remarkable how quickly franchises will pull the plug on a guy if he’s sucking.  The reality of the NFL is results.  You either live on the results you are producing, or the results you’ve produced in the past.

There are two anomalies to this discussion:  Jamarcus and Eli.  Jamarcus has kept his job despite awful performance after awful performance.  He is not producing now, nor has he ever.  Potential usually can only keep you afloat so long in the NFL, and he’s defied those odds and is surviving on pure potential longer than expected.  And Eli, despite his championship ring and playoff achievements, would get the plug pulled if he kept mailing it in.

The point is, Cutler is not a franchise quarterback.  Not yet at least.  He can’t have ugly performance after ugly performance and expect to have that job on lock down.

Seahawks (+9.5) over COWBOYS

The Cowboys are starting to look mighty fine on the offensive end, but don’t be fooled – this team is far from complete.  Miles Austin is a nice side story for the Cowboys, but after week 1 it’s best to rely on the fact that the Cowboys are inconsistent, even on offense.  Whether or not they win or lose is beyond me, but 9.5 is enough for me to take Seattle.

LIONS (even) over Rams

I know the Lions have a title, but the Rams might take it from them.  How are the Lions not a favorite at home on this one?  I’m picking against the Rams every week until they beat the spread.

49ers (+12) over COLTS

Every year the undefeated team stumbles against a middle tier team.  This could be it.  If not, 12 points is enough to give the dogs a good chance here.

Dolphins (+3) over JETS

I have to apologize for knocking on the wildcat earlier this season because it isn’t the same old smoke ‘n mirrors from last year.  This is a new and revised system.  This isn’t a gimmick, it’s nearly half of their snaps.  Whenever a different team uses it, it’s a gimmick.  The Fins playbook focuses on this.  This is a great system to use when you aren’t loaded on star players.  Love the Fins this year.

Giants (even) over EAGLES

Giants in a two game slide should bounce back in this one.  I still think they win that division with some breathing room.  Eagles will bring it this game, as they usually do in divisional games.  Interesting though that it went from zero, to +2, to +1, to zero again for the Giants.

RAVENS (-3.5) over Broncos

Vegas, and everyone else out there, believes this to be the ending point of the Broncos run.  Ravens win and cover.  Side note, Ray Rice might be the second most electric running back in the league right now.

Jaguars (+3) over TITANS

I’m going to pick against the Titans until they win a game.

Raiders (+16.5) over CHARGERS

The Raider line is starting to get where it needs to be.  Their first match up was surprisingly close.  The sense of urgency is high for this Bolts team as the Broncos won their head to head match up and have an iron grip on the division.  If they are going to make the playoffs they better start making moves.  .500 ball won’t cut it like it did last year.

PACKERS (-3) over Vikings

A lot of media hype here.  So I won’t write anything.

Panthers (+10) over CARDINALS

The Cardinals are looking like they did in last season’s postseason.  This will come to a halt this week.  I suspect a Warner injury in the coming weeks.

SAINTS (-10) over Falcons

I will pick the Saints every week until they lose.  They’re that good.  Not only did they come back to win last week against the Dolphins, but they covered the spread in dramatic fashion.  Ridiculously good team right now.

If this isn’t convincing, I don’t know what is.  Brees is not human.

7 Things That Bother Me

October 22, 2009

8-6 last week. 51-39 on the year. Some things to reflect on:

1) Cleveland unforgivingly beats the spread by .5.

2) Sobering moment – Picking the Lions, who inevitably get shut out by the hosting Packers 26-0.

3) Seriously Philly?  There’s no excuse for this.  Probably the biggest suicide pool killer of the year thus far.

4) Jacksonville needing overtime to beat St. Louis.  They might be the biggest enigma team of the year.  Every week a different Jags team shows up.

5) Michael Crabtree starting over Josh Morgan in his debut.  This bothers me, and at the same time I understand the thinking behind this.  Why this bothers me:  Josh Morgan was at training camp.  He paid his dues.  He earned his starting spot.  He is starting to hit his stride.  His downfield run blocking is actually quite good despite his thin, wiry frame.  BUT I understand the Niners for one reason.  Crabby gives the Niners the best chance of winning.  Do we compromise integrity and character to win?  Better yet, would it be integrity compromising to sell ourselves short of the best chance of winning?  I’m torn, but thankfully Singletary is not.

6) Tennessee giving up.  Yeah, those guys have quit on this season plain and simple.

7) Vikings and their luck.  Yes, Lady Luck must’ve gotten drunk and went home with Father Time.  Fear not NFL fans, there will be a sobering moment for old man Favre.

Packers (-9) over BROWNS

Awful lot of talk about the Packers terrible O-line, but remember what they were saying about Pittsburgh’s last year?

Chargers (-4.5) over CHIEFS

Rivers is playing like an MVP.  Too bad the rest of the team isn’t.

Colts (-13) over RAMS

This is the largest underdog margin for the Rams all season.  This number will hit higher marks before the season is over.  Lock the Colts in for an easy win.

STEELERS (-4) over Vikings

Countdown to Favre implosion… Uhh, we’re actually way overdue for this.

Patriots (-14.5) over BUCCANEERS

I don’t need to gush over Brady any more than the popular media already has.  Depleted secondary in Tampa, just like Tennessee.

49ers (+3) over TEXANS

A lot of questions will be answered on Crabtree’s debut week.  Is Houston doomed for another 8-8 year?  They’re right on pace.  Was Crabtree worth the headache?  How will the 49ers respond to a humiliating loss hosting the falcons?  The last time these two teams met, the Niners gift wrapped Mario Williams to the Texans on a Joe Nedney game-winning field goal.  You’re welcome Houston.

Jets (-6.5) over RAIDERS

Only the Raiders can be considered an underdog despite the following circumstances:  Against a team that just hosted a loss to Buffalo.  Against a team that threw six interceptions.  Against a team that just lost the heart of their defense Kris Jenkins.  The Raiders manage to still get 6.5 points in this.  Ridiculous.  Wait no, Jamarcus is the quarterback of that team.

PANTHERS (-7) over Bills

As quickly as people have written off the Panthers, could they be a veteran team that puts it together and makes a playoff push?  Uh, probably not, but I think they have enough mustard to beat the Bills.

Bears (+1.5) over BENGALS

The Bengals have been the feel good story the first quarter of the season.  I suspect a steep nose dive coming.  And still, I’m not big on either of these teams.

Falcons (+4) over COWBOYS

Something’s wrong with this line.  Someone is going to lose their job for this.

Saints (-6) over DOLPHINS

As much as I, and probably everyone else out there, am in love with the wildcat, I trust more in this finally complete Saints team.  Some are already comparing them to the greatest show on turf.  I’m not there yet, and these teams are not similar because the Saints have a one dimensional running game that complements their vertical passing game.  The early 2000 Rams team was an offense based on timing and precise route running as well as a dynamic, multi-faceted running game behind Marshall Faulk.  There is no Faulk on this Saints team.  Let’s not crown the Saints yet.  But we can give them the nod this week.

GIANTS (-7) over Cardinals

We can’t judge the Giants on their week 6 slaughtering by the Saints primarily because the Saints are championship caliber right now.  The Giants will be there in January.  They bounce back in a big way this week.

Eagles (-7) over REDSKINS

A lot of underlying stories here:

  • Vick’s under/misuse.
  • Redskins new play calling.
  • Eagles coming off a loss to the (vomit) Raiders.
  • Zorn’s future.
  • This game could qualify as the worst MNF game of the year.  I’d stay away if I were you.

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