Friday, December 23, 2011

Week 16 Christmas Picks

Another in a series of Sad Fitz photos

Merry Christmas, y'all. I'm writing this one from the heart of Dolphins country, South Florida. The weather's nice, and the team is better than the Bills. Buffalo really is cursed. Once again, missed the Thursday Night Pick. Would've gone Texans win, Colts cover, so at least I got an ATS win. As for the last two weeks (I forgot to tally up the Week 14 picks), 13-3 Overall and 7-9 ATS for Week 14; 9-7 overall and 6-9-1 ATS for Week 15. Yikes against the spread, folks, but at least I can pick winners.

Oakland at  Kansas City (-2.5)
Oakland's gone through a horrible slide and their bet that they could make the playoffs with Carson Palmer is looking like a huge mistake. Good thing this team won't have a number one pick for the next two years to get any better! As for the Chiefs, they just beat the Packers and have some serious momentum under Romeo Crennel (yes, I was very wrong about him last week. The Chiefs definitely hated Todd Haley). The AFC West is basically a crapshoot, so, of course, the Chiefs will take this one to further muddle the picture.
Pick: Kansas City wins, covers

Denver (-2.5) at Buffalo
Do you really think Tim Tebow is going to lose on the eve of the birth of his savior? Do you really think the Bills can compete against the Broncos' great running game and defense? Absolutely not. It might not be pretty, but the Broncos should win pretty easily. The only way this would not happen is if the Bills pulled a classic 'Bills' move and won out and got a worse draft pick because of it. (*long, exasperated sigh on behalf of all Bills fans). Still, losing seems more likely.
Pick: Broncos win, cover

Jacksonville at Tennessee (-7.5)
The Titans just lost to the Colts last week and they're getting seven over a just as good Jaguars team? Sorry, can't trust the Titans to comfortably win this one. The Jacksonville defense is good enough to hamper a middling Titans offense for long enough in the game to keep it close. The Jaguars just won't be able to win because of Blaine Gabbert's bad quarterbacking, throwing to the worst corps of receivers in the league.
Pick: Titans win, Jaguars cover

Arizona at Cincinnati (-4.5)
The Bengals have faded a bit since their hot start, as their schedule has become increasingly difficult. The Cardinals have gone on a mini run to get back into longshot playoff contention behind proto-Tebow John Skelton. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they're away from home, and the Bengals are fighting for their playoff lives and are overall a better team. It'll stay close, but I like the Bengals.
Pick: Bengals win, Cardinals cover

Miami at New England (-9.5)
New England's been great this season, what with their fancy two tight end offense that masks their terrible defense. But I love the Dolphins- Reggie Bush is finally living up to his potential, Matt Moore has a weird connection with Brandon Marshall, and the defense is very good. I like the Patriots to take this by sheer dint of their offense, but I think the Dolphins will make it pretty interesting.
Pick: New England wins, Miami covers

Cleveland at Baltimore (-12.5)
The Ravens have a chance to clinch their division this week, and the Browns are still the Browns: nothing to see here. The Ravens have had a terrible habit of playing down to opponents, but were able to smack down the Browns last time they played, so I'm hesitantly picking the Ravens to cover as well as win.
Pick: Ravens win, cover

NY Giants "at" NY Jets (-3)
I hate both these teams, picks wise, because they are maddeningly inconsistent. I guess I'll pick based on either team's best possible performance; and in that case, I like the offense of the Giants and their pass rushing defense better than the Jet's ground and pound offense and not-as-good-as-the-hype defense.
Pick: Giants win, cover

Minnesota at Washington (-7)
The Redskins have made something of their previously doomed season behind the resurgence of Rex Grossman and a slightly better running game. The Vikings have Adrian Peterson back, though, and the Redskins aren't great on defense, so I see the Redskins victimizing the Viking's poor pass defense and the Vikings making a game out of it before ultimately losing.
Pick: Redskins win, Vikings cover

Tampa Bay at Carolina (-7.5)
While Tampa Bay has been pretty bad this season, the Panthers haven't been nearly good enough for me to trust them with 7.5 points. It should be a close battle between these two NFC South also-rans, and I like Cam Newton and the Panthers to win, but the Bucs will stick around.
Pick: Panthers win, Buccaneers cover

St. Louis at Pittsburgh (-12.5)
Charlie Batch always comes in and plays decently for the Steelers, and that should be quite enough against the Rams, who have been the most disappointing team of the season. Remember when we all thought the Rams would take the NFC West? Ha!
Pick: Steelers win, cover

San Diego at Detroit (-2)
I wish I wasn't getting tricked into another Chargers late season run, but here they are, and here I am, picking them to beat a Lions team that only has a playoff chance because Matt Forte and Jay Culter got injured. Feel like I might hate this pick, but here goes: Chargers win.
Pick: Chargers win, cover

San Francisco (-1) at Seattle 
If the spread wasn't just a point, I would pick the Seahawks to cover, because they're at home and have been playing increasingly well. The 49ers shocked me in dismantling the Steelers last week (albeit without a healthy Ben Roethlisberger), but I don't think they'll find this game quite easy. Still, they should win, probably on a Akers field goal or something.
Pick: 49ers win, cover

Philadelphia at Dallas (-1)
The Eagles have finally stopped making the dumb mistakes that led them to their horrible start. The Cowboys seem long overdue for another Romo-led collapse. Plus, the Eagles have been playing lights out recently. Dallas' defense is horrible against the pass, got beat by a worse version of this Eagles team already, and the offense is still sometimes wonky thanks to Romo. Like the Eagles here, even if the game becomes meaningless for them with a Giants win.
Pick: Eagles win, cover

Chicago at Green Bay (-11.5)
Green Bay may have lost last week, but they're still far and away the best offense in the league. The Bears are starting Cade Josh McNown at quarterback, so even with all the motivation in the world to beat the hated Packers, I don't see them being able to keep up.
Pick: Packers win, Bears cover

Atlanta at New Orleans (-7)
Anyone watching Drew Brees lately should know that this doesn't even seem fair. The Saints offense has been ridiculous lately, and as much as the Falcons wish they had the same kind of firepower, Matt Ryan is no Drew Brees. Both defenses aren't that good, so it'll come down to the offense, and the Saints have a clear advantage.
Pick: Saints cover, win 

Season: 148-76 overall, 110-109-5 ATS

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Week 15 NFL Picks- the Return of Losman!

J.P Losman makes his triumphant return to Buffalo!

Hi Folks. Sorry to have missed the Thursday and Saturday Night games, but, on the mystical honor code once again, I would've gone 2-0 overall and against the spread. It's not that impressive a feat, considering both those games were huge mismatches. Let's quickly get into Week 15. I can't really muster any excitement for the season anymore with this Bills losing streak. Getting up on Sundays is a chore. Let's go on ahead.

Washington at NY Giants (-6.5)
The Giants finally got off the schneid and won a close game with the Cowboys, giving the Giants control of the NFC East. The Giants are prone to disappointing performances coming off big wins, and the Redskins have hung around in their games lately, but I don't see the Giants letting up now that the division title is within their grasp.
Pick: Giants win, cover

Green Bay (-14.5) at Kansas City
Kansas City just fired their coach, and now the venerable Romeo Crennel steps in just in time to face off against the juggernaut that is the 2011 Packers. No amount of new coach motivation will be able to lift the Chiefs above their mediocrity to even keep up with the Packers.
Pick: Packers win, cover

New Orleans (-7.5) at Minnesota
The Saints are rolling right now, with Drew Brees on pace to destroy Dan Marino's single season passing yards record and an offense explosive enough to hide their poor defense. The Vikings have the worst pass defense in the league, Adrian Peterson is only just returning from injury, and Christian Ponder is still the quarterback. It should be pretty easy for the Saints in this one. 
Pick: Saints win, cover

Seattle at Chicago (-3.5)
Is Caleb Hanie still starting for the Bears? Yes? Well I certainly can't pick them. The offense without Jay Cutler and Matt Forte is effectively dead. No matter how good the defense is, the offense can't put up enough to win every week; the Seahawks are on a mini-run and have Marshawn Lynch in beast mode right now, and should be able to get enough points to beat the decrepit Bears offense.
Pick: Seahawks win, cover

Miami at Buffalo (-1.5)
Maybe I'm still too hopeful about the Bills, but I still think they should be able to beat J.P. Losman. A loss here would be the final blow on my psyche. The Bills offense is very hit or miss, and could hit, and the Dolphins offense should struggle under Losman (I've seen enough Losman games to predict this- watch for a backbreaking interception or three!)
Pick: Bills win, cover

Carolina at Houston (-6)
Houston's found a way to grind out victories against any opponent without Matt Schaub or Andre Johnson behind a great defense and running game. The Panthers have Cam Newton and a terrible defense. It won't be the most exciting win, but the Texans will take this one handily, even if the highlights are focused on Newton's exploits.
Pick: Texans win, cover

Tennessee (-6.5) at Indianapolis 
The Titans aren't even that good, but the Colts are very bad. I'm still hedging my bets here, because it's hard to go 0-16 in this league, and if the Colts were going to win any game, this might well be it. These winless teams always come out and shock one team a year... and why not the Titans? I'm not betting on it, but I could see it.
Pick: Titans win, Colts cover

Cincinnati (-7) at St.Louis
The Rams have been atrocious all season, despite their one shining moment win over the Saints. The Bengals have struggled against quality opponents this year, but they finally get a break here. The Bengals are in the thick of the playoff race, need this win, and will take care of business of the hapless Rams.
Pick: Bengals win, cover

Detroit (-1) at Oakland
Both these teams are poorly coached, ceding way too many penalties per game in an effort to be 'tough' or 'nasty.' It's only intimidating until it costs you points, or a game, which has happened to both of these teams. Based on their recent runs, I'll go with the Lions, because the Raiders have been atrocious lately. Plus, Ndamukong Suh is back to stomp on more people!
Pick: Lions win, cover

New England (-7.5) at Denver 
Tim Tebow has gotten his seven wins against teams with decent to bad offenses. The Patriots have one of the best offenses in the league, although their defense lets teams hang around too long. While Tebow should be able to keep the Broncos close, the Patriots offense will be too much for the Broncos defense (the real key to Tebow's success), limiting any more 'miracles' from Tebow. Finally.
Pick: Patriots win, Broncos cover

NY Jets (-3) at Philadelphia 
The Jets have managed to become playoff contenders behind a strong running game and their typically tough defense; still, I don't see them as a really good team as long as Mark Sanchez is still at QB. The Eagles have underachieved all season, are still hanging by a thread in the NFC East race, and have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. I might be once again going down with this infuriating team, but I like the Eagles here.
Pick: Eagles win, cover

Cleveland at Arizona (-6.5)
John Skelton is even more Tebow-y than Tebow, in that he just wins game and he doesn't even have Tebow's run ability. The Cardinals are also inexplicably very good at home. Once again, I can't come up with anything about the Browns, who remain steadfast in losing ugly. Cleveland! Feel the excitement!
Pick: Cardinals win, cover

Baltimore (-2.5) at San Diego
San Diego has rattled off two straight wins against crappy opponents; now they're up against the Ravens, who have a real defense and an efficient offense. The Chargers haven't shown they can win against a good team yet, and Baltimore will be able to grind out a win here.
Pick: Ravens win, cover

Pittsburgh at San Francisco (-3)
While the 49ers are built in the same vein as the Ravens, a team that has beat the Steelers twice this season, I thought the 49ers-Ravens game exposed the 49ers fatal flaw- they're too safe on offense. On 3rd and long, they were running draw plays, trying to prevent turnovers. The Steelers have a good enough offense to score points on the 49ers defense (probably through the air), and the defense should be able to shut down the extremely conservative 49ers offense- field goals will not be enough for the 49ers, and that means a rare 49ers loss.
Pick: Steelers win, cover

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Week 14 NFL Picks: The Wave of Apathy

Sad Fitz sums up the season thus far
Welcome to Week 14, folks, where good games go to die. There's only one game this week between teams that could be considered good- Cowboys vs Giants- and that's about it. The rest is either big mismatches or horrible teams having to play one another. Even better, the Bills continue in their five game losing streak, which is really brightening up my holiday season. So, to this week, I give a big ol' "meh." On to the picks. Last week I was 12-4 Overall and 9-7 ATS, which continues the trend of good overall, decent against the spread. Hey, it's not my money you're hypothetically spending.

Indianapolis at Baltimore (-16.5)

Here's one of the 'massive mismatch' games of the week, as the winless Colts take on the occasionally transcendent Ravens. I would usually take the Ravens to cover, but given their propensity to play down to their opponents, and the Colts spirited backdoor cover of the Patriots last week, I can't put my full weight behind the Ravens coming out and winning by at least 17. The Ravens love to make things interesting, no matter who the opponent is. Side note: With the way things are going now, I can't wait to see NFL Films Season Recap film for the 2011 Colts. The pinnacle of the season is a seven point loss to the Patriots, with swelling orchestra music behind it.
Pick: Ravens win, Colts cover

Houston at Cincinnati (-3)

Houston, without QB/WR duo Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, have managed to win football games the old fashioned way- run the ball and play great defense. Heck, even TJ Yates looked half decent last week. The Bengals have faltered a little bit now that they've started playing good teams; the offense has been exposed as limited and the defense, without CB Leon Hall, has struggled to completely contain offenses. With that in mind, I like the Texans to take this one with a steady diet of Arian Foster and a stifling D that should shut down the Bengals "Huck it to AJ Green" offense.
Pick:Texans win, cover

Oakland at Green Bay (-12)

Oakland is still without Darren McFadden, the running back that made the offense explosive, and the defense let the Dolphins destroy them last week. The Packers faced their hardest test remaining last week in a close game with the Giants, still managing to win despite Aaron Rodgers only playing merely "well" instead of his usual "ridiculous." The Raiders don't have the weapons on either side of the ball to really challenge the Packers, which means another week of effortless perfection by the Packers. They make it look so easy, don't they?
Pick: Packers win, cover

Kansas City at NY Jets (-10.5)

Tyler Palko was bad enough to get benched last week, but finagled his way back in after Kyle Orton hurt his finger. His only touchdown so far was a goofy Hail Mary last week. The rest of it has set back the art of quarterbacking 50 years or so. The Jets have their own terrible quarterback, but he has a solid running game and a good defense surrounding him, so they get by just fine.
Pick: Jets win, cover

Minnesota at Detroit (-9.5)

The Lions have barely fared better than the Bills have after their hot start, going 2-5 after a 5-0 start. Their offense has no running game at this point, and teams can shift coverage onto Calvin Johnson and effectively shut down the passing offense. On defense, the Lions are still without Ndamukong Suh (suspension) and are otherwise unimpressive on defense (Nick Fairley's made a huge difference, huh?) The Vikings aren't any better, of course, and they're still without Adrian Peterson, but all I'm saying is, I don't get the ten point spread here-the Lions aren't that good. The Lions should still win, but it will hardly be dominating.
Pick: Lions win, Vikings cover

New Orleans (-3.5) at Tennessee

The Saints have had some trouble on the road this season, especially against inferior opponents, but they seem to be on a roll right now. Drew Brees is playing absurdly well right now, the running game has kind of shown up, and the defense isn't bad enough to get them in trouble. After watching the Titans last week, I'm less than impressed- the defense isn't especially good, and the offense will have trouble keeping up with the Saints, especially if Chris Johnson can't get it going. The Saints should be able to end their road woes here, and perhaps hurt the Titans' chances at a wild card or the AFC South.
Pick: Saints win, cover

Philadelphia at Miami (-3)

Even with Michael Vick back under center for the Eagles, can you really trust the Bizarro Eagles? All season they've completely underwhelmed expectations at every turn, exposing a horrible defense (turns out hiring an offensive coordinator for the defensive coordinator job doesn't work) and an offense that seems like the playcaller doesn't want the team to score. LeSean McCoy, perhaps the best running back in the NFL this season, spends pockets of the game ignored while the offense runs another deep pass to DeSean Jackson, who doesn't even look back for the ball before it's picked off. The Dolphins, on the other hand, have spend the last four weeks just winning football games behind a solid defense and a weirdly explosive offense. I'll take that any day over the failed potential of the Eagles.
Pick: Dolphins win, cover

New England (-8) at Washington

New England keeps taking care of business: another three touchdowns for Tom Brady (all thrown to Rob Gronkowski) and a defense that's found a way to bend but not break. The Redskins are running business as usual, but only in the Bluth Company sense- completely dysfunctional. Top tight end Fred Davis, for instance, was just suspended four games for an offseason drug test that came up positive, giving a whole new meaning to the label "Offseason Champs" that the Redskins usually get. The ruthless efficiency of the Patriots should be more than enough to take down the Rex Grossman led, falling apart Redskins.
Pick: Patriots win, cover

Atlanta (-3) at Carolina

The Falcons continue to be the best boring team in the NFL, while the Panthers manage to be the worst exciting team in the league. Unfortunately for Cam Newton and all his exciting plays, the defense is basically non existent. The Falcons should be able to plod their way down the field enough times to pull out the victory here, while the Panthers will win in style points alone.
Pick: Falcons win, cover

Tampa Bay (-3) at Jacksonville

Oh God, this is not a fun game to even think about. The Jaguars have a pretty good defense that has been eroded by defense, and Blaine Gabbert seems to be regressing from week to week, probably because he doesn't have any receivers to throw to; they might as well put Air Bud out there. Tampa has a terrible defense, but the offense can be decent, provided that Josh Freeman plays. And, lucky for them, the Jaguars don't have enough on offense to challenge them (sorry, just Maurice Jones Drew is not enough). In the battle of "Not South Florida," I'll go with Tampa, but I hope I don't have to watch a second of it. (Though I would watch if the Bucs kept wearing their Creamsicle Orange jerseys)
Pick: Buccaneers win, cover

San Francisco (-4) at Arizona 

Arizona is only getting four points here because of their home field advantage, but, unlike the Cowboys, the 49ers don't have some sort of jinx in Arizona. The 49ers will do their usual 49ers thing- great defense, run the ball, and kick field goals. Arizona will counter with "Kevin Kolb just wings it for 60 minutes, hope the other team ices their own kicker, and randomly win in OT," but that's not a blueprint for long term success. Just like acquiring Kevin Kolb as your quarterback of the future.
Pick: 49ers win, cover

Chicago at Denver (-3.5)

Last week I said that Caleb Hanie was a lot better than Donovan McNabb. Oops! Caleb Hanie is awful, and the Bears have lost Matt Forte for the next couple of weeks. This leaves Chicago without an offense, basically. Now they have to face a suddenly nasty Denver Broncos defense, which won't help matters. On the other side of the ball, the Broncos have this quarterback you might've heard about, and he plays well at the end of football games, and wins most of them. The Bears still have a great defense and wicked special teams, but their lack of offense will not be enough to keep up with whatever Tim Tebow is able to pull out at the end of this one.
Pick: Broncos win, cover

Buffalo at San Diego (-7)

Sigh. Last week, I ranted about how much I hated the Chargers and how they were basically the AFC version of the Eagles, and then they go out and trounce the Jaguars. The Bills continued to show their 2010 form in another "close but no cigar" loss last week to the Titans. The Chargers have far from a great defense, meaning the Bills could theoretically stick around, but the Chargers weapons on offense should be more than enough to beat a Swiss Cheese Bills defense. It feels like it will be a classic "Bills stick around and then lose in the end" game, which should mean another great Sunday for me. Hoo-ray. It's not too early to think of draft position, is it?
Pick: Chargers win, Bills cover

NY Giants at Dallas (-4)

The Giants just gave the Packers the hardest game they've played in months, while Dallas just choked away a game against the lowly Cardinals. And yet this is the spread? I'll happily take the Giants to win, then- they have a better offense and an at least equal defense to the Cowboys, and Tony Romo has infected the rest of the Cowbiys with a case of the choke-sies- even their coach. It's hard to believe, but Eli Manning has put together a top 10 (or even top 5) season this year, and that should continue against a vulnerable Cowboys defense.
Pick: Giants win, cover

St. Louis at Seattle (-10)

Remember when these two teams played for the division last season? Ha! While the Seahawks stick around in the playoff race (improbably), the Rams have fallen off a cliff this season. Now they're starting their third string quarterback, who I won't even make the effort of looking up. To add to that, they have a historically bad run defense, meaning Marshawn Lynch should be able to get all BEAST MODE against them. Oh yeah, the Seahawks are at home as well, where they have an obscene advantage. So yeah, the Seahawks should take this one pretty easily.
Picks: Seahawks win, cover

Also, I swear, at one point, I will weigh in on Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, The Bulls, Albert Pujols, the Cubs, and OH YEAH the Sabres. Once I have time.

Season:126-66 Overall, 97-91-4 ATS

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Week 14 Thursday Night Pick

Pretty simple: (Won't get into any details of how I did last weekend. Without thinking, pretty good? More on Sunday.)

Cleveland at Pittsburgh (-14)

It's Cleveland. They have no weapons on offense besides a barely-invested Peyton Hillis. Their defense has been decent-to-good all season, enough to make most of their games extremely boring- their offense doesn't score, and they prevent the opponent from scoring too much. Fortunately, the Steelers have enough fire power to beat the Browns defense, and the Steelers D shouldn't be challenged all too much. All that makes me think it'll be smooth sailing for the Steelers. Another great game on the NFL Network! (They get the last choice every week!)
Pick: Steelers win, cover

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Week 13 NFL Picks, Just in Time

Stevie Johnson, When it Counts.

Happy Sunday everyone! I'll get through this semi-quickly, since I'm running out of time. Last week, I went 11-5 Overall and 8-8 ATS, which is for all accounts pretty decent. (And I nailed the Thursday Night pick this week!) I don't even want to talk that much about the Bills; I'll get to that in the picks. Sorry, no huge theme for the column. Just picks. It's final exams time.

Tennessee at Buffalo (-1)

Last week was a pretty classic sucker punch Bills loss. The team came out and actually played well against the Jets, seemingly saying, "Oh, you thought we were going to just get blown out? No! We're going to play well and make this loss even more infuriating!" Just when you think it's done, they pull you back in. (As a side note: I thought Stevie Johnson's TD celebration was hilarious, going to the ground and drawing a flag was not, along with Dave Rayner's inability to kick off correctly. And Stevie's drop in the clutch? Well, no one likes that, and if he wants #1 receiver money, he has to perform in the clutch.) Anyway, I'm not getting suckered into picking the Bills again. The Titans have a division title to play for now that TJ Yates is starting at QB for the Texans, and the Bills still have no defense and a streaky offense. It might be close, but not seeing the Bills winning this one; they've destroyed my homerism this season.
Pick: Titans win, cover

Kansas City at Chicago (-7.5)

Donovan McNabb could be starting for the Bears and I'd still pick them. Tyler Palko is that bad as the Chiefs' QB. The Bears have the defense and special teams to get it done; Caleb Hanie needs to just hand off to Matt Forte and limit mistakes, and it should be smooth sailing for the Bears. Also, Bears fans hoping to sign Donovan McNabb- really? Why would you want that ever? McNabb, at this point, is leagues away from Hanie. Not worth it.
Pick: Bears win, cover

Oakland at Miami (-3.5)

Miami is actually pretty good. Matt Moore is inexplicably playing well, and the defense, which was very good last year, has returned to that form. Oakland won mostly on field goals last week against a weakened Bears team; and they're coming on a cross country flight. I'll take the Fins to win and further shake up the AFC West division race.
Pick: Dolphins win, cover

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-6.5)

Cinci just barely scraped by the Browns last week, and now come into Pittsburgh. The Bengals still have a good shot at the playoffs, but I can't see them beating an elite team like the Steelers. Steelers have too many weapons on offense and a better defense than the Bengals. The Bengals will stick around, but eventually, the cream rises to the top.
Pick: Steelers win, Bengals cover

Baltimore (-7) at Cleveland

The Ravens just came off a big win against the 49ers; and here comes the inevitable letdown against a crappy opponent that has characterized the Ravens this season. The Browns remain the most uninteresting team in the NFL; literally nothing jumps out at me to talk about. The Ravens have to break out of this play-down-to-their-opponent funk sometime (their coach has been preaching it this week), and I guess I'll go with this week as the one. Although I could definitely be cursing this when it's 13-3 Browns in the 4th quarter.
Pick: Ravens win, Browns cover

NY Jets (-3) at Washington

The Jets are still not that good; Mark Sanchez had the worst 4-TD quarterback performance I've ever seen, and the defense is not impenetrable anymore. Good for the Jets, the Redskins are still pretty bad, despite Rex Grossman's good play the last three weeks. Can't see Rex doing much better than Fitz did last week against the Jets, and the Redskins have a defense that's as good as the Bills- which all leads to another Jets win. As much as it pains me to say.
Pick: Jets win, cover

Atlanta (-1.5) at Houston

Welcome to the T.J Yates era in Houston! Can't think of anyone successful who goes by the name "T.J"in the adult world- so that's never a good sign. The Falcons should be able to stack the box and prevent the Texans run game from taking over the game, forcing Yates to throw. On offense, the Falcons offense goes against the newly tough Houston defense. In the end, I think the Falcons offense will be able to have more success against the Texans defense than vice-versa. Which leads to a Falcons win, but I doubt it will be that easy.
Pick: Falcons win, cover

Carolina (-1.5) at Tampa Bay

Since I'm writing this an hour before the games begin, I get the benefit of knowing that Josh Freeman is out for this game. Which means that an already stagnant Bucs offense will be worse off. The Panthers have no defense, but against Josh Johnson, it won't matter as much. Cam Newton will be able to get it done against a mediocre Tampa defense, and we've got ourselves a fourth Carolina win. Oh yeah, Josh Freeman injured himself because he went to a firing range with an injured thumb on his throwing hand and decided to shoot with a DESERT EAGLE. This story should be much bigger.
Pick: Panthers win, cover

Detroit at New Orleans (-9)

The Lions are without Sir-Foot-Stomper Suh, and their defense already wasn't that good with him on the field. A week after being lit up by Aaron Rodgers, well, Drew Brees comes into town, and it won't be much prettier. Brees is well on his way to breaking Marino's season-passing-yards record, and the Lions won't be a hiccup in that chase. The Lions are still woefully one dimensional on offense (chuck it to Calvin Johnson!), and they will not be able to keep up with Brees and the Saints.
Pick: Saints win, cover

Denver (-1) at Minnesota

Denver is without Von Miller (another benefit to writing so late!), meaning the defense that has kept Tim Tebow is every game will not be quite as good. Lucky for them, Adrian Peterson is still out for the Vikings, and Christian Ponder isn't quite lighting up the stat sheet these days. Once again, Tebow should be able to pull this one out; one they play a good offense without Von Miller, this might be a different story.
Pick: Broncos win, cover

St. Louis at San Francisco (-14)

Yep. St. Louis is that bad, San Francisco has a chance to clinch the division. The NFC West: Clinched by Week 13! And it's not even close!
Pick: 49ers win, cover

Dallas (-4.5) at Arizona 

Dallas, for some reason, sucks at Arizona, but Kevin Kolb is returning for the Cardinals, and yes, it's a bad thing when he returns as starting QB. He's taken the crown of "ill advised back foot throws" from Jay Cutler. Dallas will probably win this game; they have more talent all over the field; but I'll take the Cardinals to cover, just in case Dallas continues to struggle in Arizona.
Pick: Cowboys win, Cardinals cover

Green Bay (-6.5) at NY Giants

Remember what Drew Brees did to the Giants last week? Aaron Rodgers has been better than Brees this season; this should be a cakewalk for Rodgers and the Packers' extremely efficient offense. The Giants are not as bad as previous Giants team that swooned in December; I still see them grabbing the division or a wild card. This week, though, will not be pretty.
Pick: Packers win, cover

Indianapolis at New England (-20.5)

Peyton Manning for MVP! There's the effect of not having Manning this year- the Patriots are twenty point favorites, and I'm very willing to take that spread, especially now that Dan Orlovsky is under center for the Colts. They might as well just put their punter at QB; it would be just as apparent that they have no interest in winning games this year.
Pick: Patriots win, cover

San Diego (-3) at Jacksonville

Screw the Chargers. I'm done believing in the talent this team as long as Norv Turner is still the coach. Jacksonville should be energized under their new coach and still have a great defense. Enough for me to believe that they can pull out a win over the underachieving, listless Chargers.
Pick: Jaguars win, cover

Season:114-62 Overall, 88-84-4 ATS (not including Thursday's results)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Battle of the Birds Thursday Night Pick

Thursday Night Football comes off a great Thanksgiving Night game to give us...this. Eagles-Seahawks. Yet again, how could any TV executive think this is a good game before the season started? Does the NFL Network get like the 8th pick for its' games? Well, anyway,

Philadelphia (-3) at Seattle

I know Seattle's pretty bad, but they do have a pretty hefty home field advantage, and they run the ball consistently, if not always well. The defense is pretty good against the run, with a crappy pass defense. The Eagles have been underperforming all season, looking less than impressive in most games. With Vince Young under center instead of Mike Vick, they've hardly looked any better. The short week should aid the Seahawks (the underdogs have performed better in the Thursday Night games so far), and they have a good enough run defense to limit LeSean McCoy, the most productive Eagle. The Eagles have a bad run defense, and the Seahawks should be successfully pounding the ball with Marshawn Lynch. While I have trouble trusting either team, I'm going out on a limb and predicting a Seahawks win, further torpedoing the Eagles season.
Pick: Seahawks win, cover