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December 26, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 17 Predictions

I scratch and claw my way all season, finally compiling a record that I could be somewhat impressed by, and then just watched it crumble down these last couple weeks. I'm not exactly sure what's happened here. Maybe with my time off of work, my brain has just shut off? That can't be it since it was never really on to begin with. I'm still getting the winners correct, as I'm hanging on in my confidence pool, but against spreads, my picks have just gone south.

Fortunately, I'm fairly certain there's nobody reading this blog, much less basing wagers on my suggestions, so I can take solace in the fact that nobody will be coming after me with an aluminum bat.

Looking back, I've noticed that the weather has definitely played a role in several of the games I've gotten wrong, keeping matchups closer than I would have expected. Or in the Bears' case last week, the Packers complete inability to cleanly punt the ball came back to haunt me, although I enjoyed watching it.

Another factor that I've noticed is the picking of games on Wednesdays. I did okay the first week or so when the schedule changed, but not so hot of late. Of course, since I'm flying out to Pasadena to see my Illini play in the Rose Bowl, I can't exactly wait until Saturday for this week either, so here we go again, as I try to stay over .500 for the season in the least predictable week there is... Week 17.

New England (-14.5) at New York Giants - The Giants will most likely be sitting their starters, as they've secured the #5 seed in the NFC. I would think that the Patriots would rest their starters at some point as well, but not before Tom Brady gets at least two touchdown passes to claim the season record. And knowing Bill Belichick, I'm guessing he'll get Brady at least three, just for the hell of it...

Buffalo (+7.5) at Philadelphia - The Eagles have been playing solid football of late, I'll give them that. But I still feel the Bills are a team that will compete until the end, and ultimately give themselves the worst possible draft pick without having actually made the playoffs. I've seen it too many times before with Dick Jauron.

Tampa Bay (+2.5) vs Carolina - I hate these games, and not just because the Panthers are involved. Will the Bucs just roll over in this one, knowing their playoff spot is secure? Will they want to recover from last week's loss to the 49ers to head into the playoffs on a high note? I'm guessing they don't want to back in on a losing streak so they'll hold off the Panthers at home and whoever ends up quarterbacking for Carolina.

Cincinnati (-3) at Miami - Carson Palmer has a lot of work to do next year to return to the status of elite quarterback. And here I thought I got a bargain in the 3rd round of one of my fantasy drafts. But in the end, the talent on offense for the Bengals is far and away better than that of the Dolphins. I think after winning against Baltimore and then fighting division rival New England, the 'Fins are pretty much spent on this season.

Washington (-8.5) vs Dallas - Here's another play-or-sit games. I would assume that the Cowboys would rest up, but with a bye week next week anyways, shouldn't the starters go for a little bit just to keep sharp? And wouldn't you want to get Terry Glenn some snaps with Tony Romo before the playoffs? I'm thinking this one will be close until the 3rd quarter, when the Cowboy starters sit and Todd Collins takes control of the game... If the Redskins make the playoffs, does that mean we have to stop making fun of Joe Gibbs?

Green Bay (-3.5) vs Detroit - How far has Detroit fallen after their solid start to the season? Well, they're an underdog to a team with nothing to play for... and I'm picking against them. The Packers were embarrassed last week and will try, at least for a half, to kick start themselves before playoff time. That'll be enough time for the Packers to take control of this game. Mike Martz will go pass-happy playing catchup, and the Packers' lead will just increase...

Jacksonville (+6.5) at Houston - I gave the Texans a chance last week, but they pretty much just mailed in that game, which makes me think that they've mailed in the season, which makes me think that even the Jaguar backups will be able to handle this Houston team. The Texans showed plenty of life against the Broncos a couple weeks ago, but I think that's more of a reflection on Denver than anything Houston is doing.

Chicago (+2.5) vs New Orleans - When this game was first put on the schedule, people were thinking it would help determine home-field advantage in the NFC. Wow, was that way off... I'm still sticking with the Bears and Kyle Orton, mostly because this will be played outdoors in the cold and hopefully they can get a repeat performance of last week. I like Drew Brees but I think that the rest of the team will just be looking to go home for the offseason.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Baltimore - Willie Parker is lost for the season, which brings on Najeh Davenport into the full-time picture. Willis McGahee is also out, which brings... who exactly? The Ravens are in absolute ruins while the Steelers look to keep sharp going into the playoffs. Here's another game where I don't expect to see the Pittsburgh starters in the second half, but the Ravens offense is so inept, it won't matter.

Seattle (+2.5) at Atlanta - The Falcons showed they won't go down without a fight, as they took the Cardinals to overtime last week. But looking deeper into that matchup, it was the Cardinals... The Arizona Cardinals... That is nothing to brag about. I mean, I did pick the Cardinals to cover, but that's because I'm dumb. Seattle takes care of this one, even with nothing to play for. Atlanta stumbles into what will be a very interesting offseason.

San Francisco (+10) at Cleveland - No matter what Cleveland does in this game won't matter as the Titans-Colts matchup will basically determine if the Browns make the playoffs or not. A few weeks ago when I said I didn't trust the Browns, even though they'll still probably back into the playoffs... Yeah, I may not have been right about a lot these last few weeks, but I was dead on on that one...

Tennessee (-6) at Indianapolis - Vince Young in the playoffs... It's been an interesting way to get there, but with a win over a team that's used to resting starters at this point in the season, that's exactly where VY and his Titans will be. Personally, I don't think they really belong in the playoffs, and their stay is going to be short, but with the Colts resting up for a likely trip to New England, the Titans path is rather clear.

Minnesota (-3) at Denver - I thought about this one for quite a while. The Broncos, despite their awful season, definitely play better at home. And the Vikings may already be eliminated by the time they play this game. But the Broncos had high expectations coming into the season, the Vikings had no expectations. I'm thinking the last game would be a lot easier to get up for when you think you're building to next year rather than questioning what the hell just happened.

San Diego (-8) at Oakland - I've been picking a lot of road teams these last few weeks, which might have something to do with my horrible record in December, but I can't change that philosophy in this matchup. I wanted to pick the Raiders, as the Chargers will most likely only play their starters for a half, if that. But they took care of the Broncos last week doing just that, and JaMarcus Russell will be making the start... It's not going to be pretty for the Raiders this week, but at least they're getting him some playing time.

St. Louis (+6.5) at Arizona - Barely scraping by the Falcons at home is not a good way to close out the season. It doesn't get any easier in the final week for the Cardinals, as the Rams, who have nothing to play for and have already gotten past their "what just happened" portion of the season look to build towards next year. With everybody healthy, this is a better team than the Cardinals, and they'll show it this week.

New York Jets (-6) vs Kansas City - This is the last regular season game I'm going to predict? Really? Well, that's depressing. Um, this is probably the end of the line for Chad Pennington. Um, Larry Johnson is still out. Uh... that's all I got. Is anybody going to watch this one anyways? I could make up a final score Sunday night and nobody would challenge me on it. Oh well, it is what is it...

Last Week: 5-10-1
Overall: 116-112-12

December 19, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 16 Predictions

Well, that wasn't pretty. I'd been fair good about avoiding the awful weeks that just destroy an overall record, but with weather playing a role, I wasn't able to withstand an entire season of the law of averages, with Week 15 definitely bringing me much closer to .500 than I would have hoped to be at this point.

Regardless, here I am again picking Sunday games on Wednesday, which I'm sure doesn't help matters. But those are just excuses. I'm here to make picks, and that's what I'm going to do!

As always, spreads are found here.

Pittsburgh (-8.5) at St. Louis - Yes, the Steelers are struggling, and yes, if Fred Taylor can run all over them, what will Steven Jackson do? But it's still the Steelers, who are now fighting for the division, against the Rams, who are just playing out the string. The Steelers are a better team, and they tend to perform when in the national spotlight, even when that spotlight is only seen by a handful of people on the NFL Network.

Dallas (-11) at Carolina - I was struggling with this one because of Tony Romo's thumb. Does anybody even know who the backup on Dallas is? Anybody? I had to look it up myself... It's Brad Johnson. Now if he sees the field, this pick can't be taken seriously, but if Romo's good to go, then they should take care of Carolina. I'll blame last week more on Jessica Simpson than anything. It's fun to blame her for stuff...

Cincinnati (+2.5) vs Cleveland - The Bengals pretty much ruined my spoiler label when they laid an egg against the 49ers last week. Not that they were spoiling anything in San Francisco, but damn, how do you lose to that team? Well, they're back at home this week playing their division rivals who are still battling for the division. I'm still not sold on the second half of the season from these Browns though. Jamal Lewis has shown more life than I expected, but I just don't trust them at this point.

Green Bay (-9) at Chicago - With home field advantage on the line, the Packers will show no mercy against the only team to beat Green Bay on their home field this season. The Bears are woeful, and that's being kind. Kyle Orton vs. Brett Favre. Wow...

Houston (+7.5) at Indianapolis - The Texans come in rested and rolling after their Thursday victory against the Broncos. I don't think they'll win this game, but the Colts have been doing just enough to get by, playing a lot of games closer than I would have expected. Their record against the spread isn't lights out, so I think the Texans keep it close.

Kansas City (+5) at Detroit - This just feels like a field goal game to me. Whatever the score ends up to be, however, I have no intention of watching this contest. Both teams had promising starts only to see themselves self-destruct into the atrocious teams we'll see on Sunday...

New England (-22.5) vs Miami - The Patriots haven't been covering much these last few weeks since the spreads have gone to NCAA-levels, but at some point, the Patriots are going to reassert themselves. I'm thinking it'll be here, where the Dolphins no longer have anything to play for, now that their date with history has been called off.

Buffalo (+3) vs New York Giants - I may give Dick Jauron a hard time, but he always has his players ready to play, even when there's nothing left to play for. The Giants are reeling, as they tend to do when the temperature drops, and playing their upstate neighbor, if you assume the Giants are actually from New York, isn't going to stop the decent.

Jacksonville (-13) vs Oakland - Oakland's only weapon, Justin Fargas, is out for the rest of the year. That's not a good thing. The Jaguars are coming off a big victory but I don't see a letdown for these guys, as they're closing in on the top wild card spot. Am I starting to believe in the Jaguars? What is the world coming to?!

New Orleans (-3) vs Philadelphia - Gutsy game by the Eagles against the Cowboys last week. I should have seen that coming as the Eagles typically play Dallas tough. And great decision by Brian Westbrook, even if it may have cost some fantasy players a playoff victory. But now going against the Saints, who still have some playoff aspirations, I can't see the Eagles holding the New Orleans offense down like it did Dallas', unless of course, Drew Brees starts dating Ashlee Simpson...

Minnesota (-6.5) vs Washington - I'm still riding the Vikings bandwagon all the way to the playoffs. The Redskins took care of the sliding Giants last week, but now in the dome up in Minnesota, I don't see Todd Collins faring as well, and the Vikings defense is strong enough to contain Clinton Portis.

Arizona (-10) vs Atlanta - These next two games both show up as "no-line" and I'm not entirely sure why. I'll check back later in the week, but no matter what the spread is, I think both of these games are going to be blowouts in favor of the home teams... Boy, was I wrong about the Falcons. They just pretty much folded up shop for the season against the Bucs, didn't they. I see no reason why that won't happen again this week.

Seattle (-10.5) vs Baltimore - The Ravens loss was another one I should have seen coming. I mean, everybody knew that was Miami's best chance at a victory. It just seemed too easy, didn't it? Ugh, that's the hardest thing I've had to deal with while making all these picks this season. The obvious pick... I seem to talk myself out of it more often than not.

(I just updated the spreads for the last two games. Don't feel like writing new descriptions though.)

Tennessee (-9) vs New York Jets - The Jets pretty much just completed their season by not getting absolutely embarrassed by the Patriots last week. What more do they have to play for? Nothing? Sounds about right... The Titans haven't been impressing me lately, but against the lifeless Jets, they'll win handily at home.

Tampa Bay (-7) at San Francisco - No way the 49ers win two in a row. It just can't happen. I don't care that it's already happened this season, it's just not happening. The Bucs continue to play solid football, which is something not often seem in San Francisco of late. They'll handle the 49ers easily as they fine tune before the probable rest of some players before the playoffs.

San Diego (-8) vs Denver - Another "obvious" game I should have picked differently last week was the Broncos game. I've known all year that they play well at home, awful on the road. How hard is that to figure out? Well, I missed it, and they got crushed by the Texans. Not making the same mistake this week, as the Chargers are starting to find their groove before the playoffs kick in. Their quest, get in Indy's half of the bracket...

Last Week: 5-11
Overall: 111-102-11

December 12, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 15 Predictions

I love how NFL football will be taking place 4 days a week from here to the end of the season, but it's rather difficult trying to make all the selections on a Wednesday night when there are still plenty of stories to be had before the majority of teams take the field. Of course, you, as a reader, don't really care, primarily because you don't exist, but that's a different story...

Anyways, we're a game into the last quarter of the season and you'd think by this point, you'd have a pretty good idea of what was going to happen with these teams, but that's obviously not the case. Other than the Patriots winning and the Dolphins losing, it's still pretty much a crap shoot. Let's see how I do this week...

Spreads for the week can be found here.

Denver (+1) at Houston - These two franchises are tightly bound together, due to the coaching relationship and, of course, Ron Dayne... Denver seems to play well at home and offer a glimmer of hope before letting their fan base again and again, but I'm going with them this week because I don't think Houston will be able to stop the Bronco rushing attack, while I'm still not sure who'll be running the ball for Houston.

Cincinnati (-8) at San Francisco - When your team loses Trent Dilfer and you honestly think "what do we do now?!", you know you're in trouble. There isn't much left for the 49ers this season, as it's been a waste of a season ever since they started 2-0. The Bengals aren't going anywhere either, but at least they've shown some life. And I'm counting on Rudi Johnson in this one, so don't let me down...

New Orleans (-3.5) vs Arizona - I'm thinking that when they don't have to worry about how they're going to get the ball to Reggie Bush, the Saints will do a better job of spreading the ball around, as they did on Monday night against the Falcons. Kurt Warner also spreads the ball around. Unfortunately, it's too often to the other team. Saints take care of the reeling Cardinals at home.

Atlanta (+12) at Tampa Bay - Yes, the Falcons are without a coach. Yes, Jeff Garcia is back for the Bucs. But I just get a feeling here that the Falcons will want to give their former coach a giant "F-you" as a parting gift. Sadly, it seems that Bobby Petrino did a better job at motivating his team by leaving than anything he did while on the job.

Baltimore (-3) at Miami - This game just made me throw up in my mouth, and that's without actually watching any of it yet. I want to go with the Dolphins, I really do... But the way they're playing, the injuries they've faced... Willis McGahee should run all over them this week.

Buffalo (-5.5) at Cleveland - I wasn't sure about the Browns early, then there was a short period where I thought they were solid, but I'm back to not knowing. Have they had an impressive victory in the last 2 months? They barely held off the Jets. Baltimore took them to OT. I'm officially concerned for the Browns. I think they've come back to earth. They play better at home, but Buffalo, when not playing New England, has been taking care of business lately.

Green Bay (-9.5) at St. Louis - Brett Favre in a dome is always a risky proposition, even if he's been shaking that label lately, but with their new-found running game, the Packers will want to continue to reassert their dominance, as they did last week against the Raiders.

Jacksonville (+4) at Pittsburgh - I only have one home team covering at this point. That has me a little worried, but I think I'm finally starting to buy into the Jaguars. Typically, that means they'll collapse in this game, but I'm going with them anyways. The Steelers will get caught trying to do too much. The Jaguars will just go about their business, knowing that they don't have much to lose.

New England (-24.5) vs New York Jets - I was wondering what this line was going to be since like Week 9. I think you could have made it 45 and I still would have gone with the Patriots. Is there any way that the Patriots let up off the gas in this game? In a way, wouldn't that be even more embarrassing to Mangini, if the Pats started taking knees in the 3rd quarter?

Seattle (-7) at Carolina - The Panthers stink at home. The Panthers also just stink. They've essentially mailed it in for the season while the Seahawks are still fighting for playoff positioning. Really, that's all I've got for this one... How much could I possibly say about Vinny Testeverde anyways? Uh, he's still old.

Tennessee (-4) at Kansas City - Here's another team that appears to have either given up or just lost so much of their team that they can't compete with anybody anymore. The Chiefs look done, which is what one of my fantasy teams is after Larry Johnson first sucked, then just went down completely. I knew that was going to happen... why didn't I just take Joseph Addai like I wanted to?

Indianapolis (-10.5) at Oakland - Seriously, why am I going with all the road teams? Well, I'm not changing that strategy here, with the Colts just getting into their late-season groove like last year and simply running over everybody. The Raiders are in rebuilding mode... not a good strategy when facing the world champs.

San Diego (-9.5) vs Detroit - I called the Ravens letdown against the Colts last week. I don't see this game being any different than that. Detroit let one slip away last week, all but ending their playoff hopes. The Chargers, lucky to get out of Week 14 with a win, won't let it get that close this week, as the Lions are emotionally done for the rest of this season.

Dallas (-10) vs Philadelphia - This game concerns me a bit, the divisional matchup is always tricky in the NFC East and you never know when Brian Westbrook is just going to go off. But the Cowboys crushed the Eagles in Philly and I don't see how either of these teams has changed much since that time.

New York Giants (-4) vs Washington - Both these teams have beaten the Bears in the last few weeks, but that's really not something to brag about. Although the Giants are two up on the Vikings for the #5 seed, the Vikings hold the tie-breaker and the Giants have that Patriots game looming, so a win here is key to try to lock up the better seed. The Redskins have a shot at the playoffs, but it's Todd Collins leading the charge... TODD COLLINS!

Minnesota (-9.5) vs Chicago - Kyle Orton, Garrett Wolfe... feel the excitement! This is what it's come down to for the Bears, as they're just playing out the string to see what they have for next season. The Vikings have their 2-runningback attack going up against a defense with no defensive tackles healthy enough to play. Um, that's not good. It's going to be a long Monday night for us Bears fans...

Last Week: 9-7
Overall: 106-91-11

December 05, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 14 Predictions

Didn't have the opportunity to get to all the picks yet so I'm just going to go with the Thursday day at this point and come back to fill in the rest. It's a little different technique from last week, but after looking at those results, it's probably not a bad idea...

Chicago (+3) at Washington - The Bears' defense has been awful, but the Redskins offense hasn't exactly lit it up lately. On the flip side, the Redskins defense has been decent, and surprisingly, so has the Bears' offense... sorta... maybe? Okay, I still can't stand Ron Turner, but in the battle of two teams that are pretending to still be in the playoff race, Chicago manages to force Jason Campbell into a couple turnovers to pull out the win.

The remaining picks will be appended at the end of this post later this week.
Well, that didn't go how I was hoping. On the bright side, Thursday's game may have just ushered in the Kyle Orton era, so at least that's something to look forward to... Dear God, I can't believe it's come to that. I'm excited about the potential of the Orton era. Before I make myself sick, let's see if I can keep my record from going the direction of Rex Grossman's knee... backwards...

Jacksonville (-10.5) vs Carolina - I keep going against the Jaguars and I keep being wrong. I also keep going against the Panthers and keep being right. Combine those two factors and I'm thinking I go with the Jaguars this week. Carolina is an absolute mess and even though they've played better on the road, the Jaguars are looking to bounce back after their loss last week.

Dallas (-10) vs Detroit - The Cowboys have had 10 days to prepare for the imploding Lions. If it were possible to have negative carries in a game, I think Mike Martz would somehow integrate that into the offense. That doesn't make for a good offensive strategy against the Cowboys defense. I don't see anybody in the NFC holding the Cowboys back until they clinch home field. Unfortunately for the Lions, they haven't done that yet.

Buffalo (-7) vs Miami - Starting off with three big favorites, but really, after being absolutely embarrassed by the Jets - the JETS! - last week, is there any hope for Dolphins fans? This is a fan base that waited anxiously to see if Ricky Williams could help their team this year, and were even let down with that. They're not good, but the Bills sorta are, in a Dick Jauron, respectable way.

New York Giants (+3) at Philadelphia - I went with the Eagles in my confidence pool so not sure why I'm getting a different feeling about this game now. It's not like any team is any more dysfunctional than the other. They both have QBs that seem to have some mental issues to overcome. Both have solid RBs that seem to get dinged up. I guess I'm thinking the Giants defensive line will cause enough trouble for the Eagles this week.

Oakland (+11) at Green Bay - It looks like Brett Favre will play this week, and my fantasy team thanks him, but I'm thinking there will be a lot of running and grinding out the clock on both sides of the ball. Oakland seems to be scrappy late in the season, so I'm thinking that this is too many points in what will probably be a low scoring game.

New England (-11) vs Pittsburgh - Ah, the game of the century until the next game of the century... With all the talk about the Patriots all of a sudden appearing vulnerable, don't you think they're going to use that as motivation, especially in front of their home fans? I don't think they'll be looking ahead to the Jets or Dolphins this week, so I'm predicting the Patriots get back on track, especially since everybody seems to be jumping off their bandwagon right now.

Tennessee (PK) vs San Diego - Here's another game I'm switching since filling out my confidence picks yesterday. I don't think I fully appreciated Philip Rivers on the road before right now. This is a dangerous game for him, especially if Albert Haynesworth and Co. can slow down Tomlinson. Well, I'm going to be right on one of my two predictions... Hey, look, I'm like a professional prognosticator!

Cincinnati (-6.5) vs St. Louis - Third-string quarterback on the road with a questionable offense line? Really? The Bengals defense can't possibly be that bad to lose this game, can they? I'm still liking Carson Palmer to finish the season strong (come on, fantasy team!), while the Rams... I'm not sure what they're going to be doing for the rest of the season. I'm guessing Steven Jackson is going to fall short of his 2,500 total yard prediction...

Tampa Bay (-2.5) vs Houston - A part of me still refuses to believe that Tampa Bay is leading their division and will almost certainly see the post season. Man, the NFC is bad. But not as bad as Sage Rosenfels! Actually, Houston has gone 2-1 against the NFC, but they haven't faced the Bucca... oh, I can't even say it...

Seattle (-6.5) vs Arizona - Both these teams have been solid against the spread and I've been going against them more often than not. Now I've got to pick one of them, so despite the divisional matchup, I'm giving the points, as Seattle's playing at home with a chance to clinch the division. With Boldin possibly out, it's too much to ask Fitzgerald to carry this team alone.

Minnesota (-8) at San Francisco - I never thought I'd be giving this many points with Tarvaris Jackson on the road, but somehow, here we are... The Vikings are the trendy pick to make some noise here at the end of the season, and while I often like to go against general opinion, I'd have to agree in this case. They're running over everybody, with both backs now healthy and rested. Boy, I can't wait until Purple Jesus plays the Bears at home next weekend...

New York Jets (+3.5) vs Cleveland - Anybody else feeling less and less fuzzy about the Browns every week? They had a nice start with some solid wins, but they've got me worried right now, and I don't even care about this team. They may still make the playoffs, but I think they're going to back into them.

Kansas City (+6.5) at Denver - Well, here are two teams that have sufficiently imploded. Earlier in the season, they lost to the Packers back-to-back, which isn't too bad. Then they just went down back-to-back to the Raiders. That's not good... Denver won handily in Kansas City earlier in the season, but neither team has been playing well lately, so I'm guessing this comes down to a field goal.

Indianapolis (-9.5) at Baltimore - If this isn't a letdown game for the Ravens, then I don't know what is. Going against the Colts, who have quietly progressed through another stellar season, the Ravens wouldn't find themselves in the same position as last week, and that's probably good for all involved.

New Orleans (-4.5) at Atlanta - Here's a game that looked a lot more intriguing when the schedules first came out. Now? Uh, not so much. Is there really anything to say about this game? Reggie Bush might be out, so there's that. Um... I think I'm just going to root for former-Illini Pierre Thomas. Not sure what's going to keep your attention though...

Last Week: 6-8
Overall: 97-84-11

November 28, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 13 Predictions

We're in the home stretch now, with just five weeks to go. Last week, I rode a successful Thanksgiving into a 10-6 week, which will hopefully keep me above .500 for the remainder of the season. The Rams inability to score from 1st and Goal on the 4 and the weather in Pittsburgh didn't help, but I managed nonetheless.

The spreads go back to relatively normal levels this week, with only the Patriots giving double-digit points. I'm not sure that helps me, but let's find out, shall we?

Spreads again are taken from here.

Green Bay (+7) at Dallas - It's Favre vs. Romo! It's the NFL vs. Cable TV! However you want to spin it, in the end, it's a battle for home-field advantage in the NFC. Both offenses can put up points. I think Dallas will win the game, but giving 7 to a 10-1 team averaging nearly 34 points in its last 4 games? That seems a little excessive.

St. Louis (NL) vs Atlanta - I'm taking the no-line and treating it like a pick 'em. I'll check out the spreads later in the week to see if they've changed, but until then, this is my selection. While I'm still mad at St. Louis costing me the weekly high in my confidence pool last week, I'm still seeing them as a late-season spoiler. Not that Atlanta needs to be spoiled, but you get the point.

Buffalo (+6) at Washington - I have no idea how to judge this game. Everything with Sean Taylor is really just too much to try to wrap football logic around. So let's just go with this.

Minnesota (-3) vs Detroit - And now begins the slide to mediocrity for the Lions. It was a nice run, but this week, say hello to .500. Next week, say hello to the bottom of the NFC North. With Purple Jesus possibly returning, and Chester Taylor filling in anyways, the Vikings control the clock and hold Detroit's offense in check.

Houston (+4) at Tennessee - Well then... the Vince Young magic seems to have faded quickly, hasn't it? The Titans played every facet of the game poorly last week. Not sure what exactly has changed in a week. The Texans are slowly coming back around to the success they found at the beginning of the season. I'm sure Andre Johnson has played a part in that.

Indianapolis (-7) vs Jacksonville - Every year, the Jaguars seem to find themselves with an opportunity to lay claim to the division, and every year, Peyton and Co. just knock them back down. I don't see this season being any different. Playing at home after a long break, they'll have the Jaguars' number once again.

New York Jets (+1) at Miami - Dear God... I thought the Rams-Falcons matchup was depressing. This may be the best chance for Miami to win a game this year, but even here, I don't see it. Do the Dolphins have any healthy running backs? Two first year quarterbacks going at it? Ugh... go with the under...

San Diego (-5) at Kansas City - The Chargers put a smackdown on the Ravens last week, which probably isn't all that hard to do, but was impressive nonetheless. The Chiefs couldn't hold their own against the Raiders, which can't be a good sign. With Norv Turner and Herm Edwards manning the sidelines, you can't base this one on coaching, so let's just go with talent...

Philadelphia (-3) vs Seattle - I was thinking of going with the letdown game for the Eagles, but I still don't trust the Seahawks, even with their record. And now Alexander may be back? Is that supposed to make me feel better about their team? I liked them better when he was out.

San Francisco (+2.5) at Carolina - Sweet Jesus... Rams-Falcons, Dolphins-Jets... Now 49ers-Panthers? This is not going to be a pretty week of football. This matchup has one player that brings anything to the table... Frank Gore. For that, and that reason alone, I'm going with the 49ers.

New Orleans (-3) vs Tampa Bay - I still don't get the Saints. But you still have to fear their potential. Tampa Bay looked awful in their win against the Redskins last week, which isn't exactly a compliment. If Jeff Garcia is still dinged up, this isn't even close. Even if he plays, the Saints cover at home.

Cleveland (PK) at Arizona - Did you see how many points the 49ers just put up against the Cardinals? And now the Browns are coming to town? Which offense do you think is more impressive? Yeah, that's what I thought. Granted, the Cardinals offense is going up against the Browns defense, but you can always count on Warner for a few mistakes, and that'll end up costing them yet again.

Denver (-3.5) at Oakland - Outside of the Devin Hester disaster for the Broncos, Denver controlled the game against the Bears for a good 54 minutes. I don't see a Devin Hester on Oakland, although I am rooting for Justin Fargas for fantasy reasons. Nevertheless, Denver has too many weapons for the Raiders and they're starting to come around, even if it is too late.

New York Giants (-2) at Chicago - Well, thanks to the aforementioned Broncos, Devin Hester may never see a kick again. Now while a kick out of bounds may help most teams, it does little for the Bears. Eli can't possibly play as bad as he did last week, can he? I'm expecting a healthy dose of whatever running back is healthy for the Giants, which should be enough against the Bears banged up defense.

Cincinnati (+7.5) at Pittsburgh - The Bengals finally came through for me last week. I think they're finally coming together and will play the role of spoiler admirably for the rest of the season. They may not win this game, but this many points within the division? I'm sticking to my formula on that one.

New England (-20) at Baltimore - What's the difference between the Ravens and the Eagles? The Eagles can actually score. So yeah... you might know how to slow down the Patriots, but you can't stop them, and you'll need to score some points of your own. Baltimore can't do both of those things.

Last Week: 10-6
Overall: 91-74-11

November 21, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 12 Predictions

I was debating whether to do all the games at once or just the Thanksgiving games tonight and then wait to see if the spreads changed in the next couple days. I'm just going with all the games because 1) I have time right now, and 2) I can change them later if I want.

An amazing 8 teams are favored by at least a touchdown, which seems a little out of the ordinary for me, but perhaps there just is that much disparity between the top and bottom of the leagues right now. Hopefully I can sift through and improve on my .500 record last week, thanks in large part to the Browns' FG that wasn't then was.

So as I wait to see where my Illini, and potentially I, will be going for New Years, here are the picks for the week. As always, spreads can be found here.

Green Bay (-3.5) at Detroit - The Lions lost to the Cardinals then lost again at home to the Giants, and that was supposed to be the relatively easy portion of the second half schedule. With two games against the Packers, plus the Cowboys, Vikings, Chargers, and Chiefs, the Lions may not win again this season. And going against Favre on national TV... This stretch isn't going to start well for the Lions.

Dallas (-14) vs New York Jets - I actually started writing this paragraph with the Jets covering, but going with my national television logic, T.O. is apt to explode once again in this game. He's been a force these last several weeks, and after a close game against the Redskins, I'm thinking the entire Cowboys offense will want to flex their muscles.

Indianapolis (-11.5) at Atlanta - Okay, this will be the week that the Colts get back on track, right? I mean, we went through this little stretch last year too, but the Colts always snap out of it. Byron Leftwich can't possibly keep up with the Colts, can he? I say no.

Chicago (-2.5) vs Denver - I'm afraid that I might be picking this one more with my heart than head. But I'm trying to convince myself of the road game after a Monday night game syndrome. The Bears don't make me feel confident in any area of the game, but I'll stick with them this week just out of sheer hope. One more loss and we may see the Kyle Orton era emerge, and then I can start picking against this team without fear...

Cincinnati (+1.5) vs Tennessee - Yes, I'm going with the Bengals again. I don't entirely know why, but it's not like the Titans lit it up last week. Vince Young looked solid for the first time in ages, but it's still Justin Gage at the other end of those passes and I think we know how that story goes. Carson Palmer can't have another 4-pick day, right?

Buffalo (+7.5) at Jacksonville - Perhaps not last week, but typically, the Bills play games pretty close, so I'm not ready to give them a touchdown head start in this matchup. The Jaguars could put up 40 points. They could score 14. I wouldn't be surprised either way, but I'm thinking that they'll end up doing just enough to win or perhaps looking ahead to the Colts next week.

Oakland (+6) at Kansas City - And welcome to the Kolby Smith era! Can you feel the excitement? Yeah, me neither. But that's what it's come down to as Priest Holmes is retiring and Larry Johnson is still on the shelf. After playing the Colts tough last week, I see the Chiefs coming back to earth a bit. They'll still probably win, but Justin Fargas and company keep it close in this divisional matchup.

Cleveland (-3.5) vs Houston - I've watched the Browns in the 4th quarter the last couple weeks and Derek Anderson has me worried. Meanwhile, the Texans seem to be getting their early season groove back. Having Andre Johnson back probably doesn't hurt. But things just seem to be going the Browns' way this season. I'd need one more stinker to jump off the bandwagon while Houston needs one more solid win before I jump on theirs.

St. Louis (+3) vs Seattle - The Seahawks play much better at home, but they won't have that luxury this week as the visit the Rams, who seem to finally be coming around these last couple weeks. Bulger is more comfortable and Steven Jackson appears healthy. If Cedric Benson can pop off for 60+ yards on two carries (nevermind the fact the Bears got away from him the rest of the game...), I can only imagine what Jackson could do in this game.

New York Giants (-7) vs Minnesota - The Giants barely got by the Lions while Chester Taylor has a huge day, helping the Vikings beat the Raiders. But the Vikings still only barely managed to beat the Raiders at home, while the Giants, despite not putting up the points, held the Lions to barely any rushing yards. Now back home, I see the Giants taking advantage of whatever quarterback suits up for the Vikings this week.

New Orleans (-2) at Carolina - The Panthers showed some life last week when the outcome was already decided. And the Saints... well, they just have blown the last two games after fighting their way back to .500 on the season. If Steve Smith doesn't go again, then this pick is even easier, but either way, the Saints firepower should be too much for the Panthers.

Tampa Bay (-3.5) vs Washington - Jason Campbell is finally finding his WRs, hooking up for numerous touchdown passes these last couple weeks, and hey look... a Santana Moss sighting! But before I'm convinced, let's see them do it against the Bucs, who have continued their solid play much longer than I anticipated. Earnest Graham has shouldered the load while Jeff Garcia is doing what Jeff Garcia does (non-Detroit version...).

Arizona (-10.5) vs San Francisco - I don't know what's scarier... that the Cardinals are favored by this much or that I'm thinking this could be a lock of a game. Both definitely send shivers
down my spine, but that's the world we live in, as the Cardinals have put up points and played great defense while the 49ers have struggled in all facets of the game, even in their 2 victories on the season.

San Diego (-9.5) vs Baltimore - Norv Turner is worse than I expected, which is saying something since I didn't expect much from him anyways. But the Chargers do play better at home and the Ravens are a prime candidate for emotional letdown after what happened at the end of the Browns game. I will most likely spend most of this game looking at my preseason predictions for these two teams and slowly shaking my head for three hours.

New England (-21) vs Philadelphia - It's like Vegas is thinking "two touchdowns aren't enough for you to go the other way... how about three?!" Seriously, this looks like a college spread. But as I've been doing since Week 2, it's Patriots coming out on top, especially if McNabb is out of this game.

Pittsburgh (-16) vs Miami - I apparently think it's going to be a boring week of football as I just realized that I went with 7 of the 8 touchdown favorites. But after their loss to the Jets, I don't think the Steelers will show any mercy as they try to get back on track and keep up with the division leaders of the AFC. And the Steelers always do well on MNF.

Last Week 7-7-2
Overall: 81-68-11

November 17, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 11 Predictions

I had to take advantage of enjoying my Illini defeat then-#1 Ohio State last weekend, because I had a feeling I wouldn't get the opportunity to enjoy my picks the next day. And I was correct, which is something I couldn't say much last Sunday. I suffered a bit of a setback last week.

But now that we're back to a full slate of games, with bye weeks finally done, now is my chance to either create some distance between me and .500 or begin my inevitable decent back to statistical normalcy. So there's that to look forward too...

So while I watch my aforementioned Illini try to clinch a tie for 2nd in the Big Ten, here are my picks for the week. As always, spreads can be found here.

San Diego (+3.5) at Jacksonville - I don't get either of these teams. I should go with Jacksonville, but I've been screwed by them enough times. But the Chargers have not looked pretty lately, even in victory. I went with San Diego in confidence, so I guess I'll stick with them here.

Indianapolis (-14.5) vs Kansas City - After two straight losses, is there any doubt that the Colts are going to pull out all the stops to get back on track? I'm not a believer in Priest Holmes to control the clock and giving Peyton opportunities, he's not going to duplicate his performance from last week.

Minnesota (-5.5) vs Oakland - The Raiders lost at home. To the Bears. To Rex Grossman. I don't have much confidence with them heading to Minnesota, even without Purple Jesus. Chester Taylor is a solid back and I don't think Daunte Culpepper will handle his return to the Metrodome well.

Cleveland (-3) at Baltimore - This could be a letdown game for the Browns, after their emotional loss to the Steelers last week. But I have to think they'll still take care of the Ravens, who barely managed to score against the Cincy defense last week. And the Browns are good enough to turn what were FGs for Cincy into TDs for the Cleveland.

Pittsburgh (-9) at New York Jets - I don't like all of these large spreads but I haven't come across one yet that I can pick against. The Jets have been awful this season while the Steelers have been one of the best teams in all the NFL. Even coming off a bye, the Jets are still operating with a raw QB against a solid defense.

Tampa Bay (-3) at Atlanta - I was tempted to pick the Falcons here until I heard that Byron Leftwich was going to be involved in this game. That changes things. I don't necessarily like either of these teams, but I can't believe Warrick Dunn will continue his hot streak, leaving the offense in Leftwich's hands. That's not a good thing.

Cincinnati (-3) vs Arizona - I've been sticking with the Bengals this season and they showed some sort of life last week, although they couldn't find the endzone. The Cardinals are coming off a solid win against the Lions, and are capable of putting up points against this Bengals defense. But I'll take the Bengals at home. I'd also take the over...

Philadelphia (-10) vs Miami - I wouldn't pick the Eagles to beat anybody by double digits... except the winless Dolphins with a new quarterback and Ricky Williams drama. That's not a good combination for the 'Fins. The Eagles can just right Brian Westbrook all game... wait, Westbrook might not play? Well, I'll stick with my pick and hope Westbrook takes the field.

New England (-15.5) at Buffalo - The Patriots most likely used their bye week to determine what happened against the Colts, only managing to win by 4. Coming off their only loss against the spread, I feel the Patriots will go back to their high scoring ways. Without Marshawn Lynch, the Bills won't be able to keep up.

Washington (+11) at Dallas - Of all the double digit spreads, I'm going with this one to go against. The Redskins actually showed some semblance of a passing game last week against the Eagles and Clinton Portis has been solid of late. The Cowboys still win this game, but I'm seeing it by about a touchdown.

New Orleans (PK) at Houston - I'm looking at the Saints loss last week as a bump in the road, not a sign of things to come, even though it did eliminate me from every survivor pool I was in... The Texans get Andre Johnson back, but they still don't have a healthy running back and Schaub and Johnson have some rust to work off.

Green Bay (-10) vs Carolina - Brett Favre is feeling it, and my fantasy team is thankful. That's about the only thing my fantasy team is thankful for, but that's a different story altogether... Carolina is all sorts of messed up, and although they play better on the road, the Packers are rolling and will continue to do so.

New York Giants (-2.5) at Detroit - Neither of these teams, despite their records, really has a signature victory on the season. Mike Martz went pass-happy last week, and if they plan on doing that again, the Giants' defensive line is going to make it a long day for Jon Kitna.

St. Louis (-3) at San Francisco - I knew the Rams would break out at some point. Again, I'm disappointed it was against the Saints last week, but regardless, they have too much offensive firepower to suffer through the season they've had. The 49ers, however, have no offensive firepower. None. You usually don't win like that.

Chicago (+5) at Seattle - I've noticed that I'm picking a lot of road teams this week, which has me a bit worried. But I can't pick this Seahawks team to cover when they've been, shall we say, a mess so far this season. The Bears have Sexy Rexy back, which may or may not be a good thing. I'm hopeful that he'll be alright this week. As for the rest of the season...

Tennessee (+2.5) at Denver - Another road team here... I'm thinking that between Vince Young and Jay Cutler, Vince is the more likely to shine on national television. We saw Cutler stumble through that final drive against the Packers a few weeks ago. Anybody think he's magically gotten better these last few games?

Last Week: 5-8-1
Overall: 74-61-9

November 10, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 10 Predictions

At the pseudo-halfway point of the season, I've maintained a decent record, hitting just over 56% of games to this point. Not great, but not awful. If I were actually betting, I'd take the profit.

In actual football news, the Patriots finally lost, but only versus the spread, which may be the only thing that can stop New England at this point. Purple Jesus also has me officially scared for my Bears for the next decade, so that's fantastic. If the Vikings ever figure out their quarterback situation, watch out. And to repeat a phrase I've spoken quite a bit these last few years, I hate fantasy football... But that's its own separate post.

So on to the picks... As always, spreads can be found here.

Tennessee (-4.5) vs Jacksonville - The Titans have been playing solid football all season, and that's had very little to do with Vince Young. If he can get it going, the Titans will take a big step towards making the playoffs this season. If not, LenDale White will still find room in the Marcus Stroud-less Jaguars defense. And of course, there's still the Quinn Gray on the road factor.

Kansas City (-3) vs Denver - There's no Larry Johnson, but against the Broncos, I'm not sure it matters at this point. They were embarrassed in Detroit last week, and while the Chiefs might not have the firepower of the Lions (there's a sentence I never thought I'd say...), they'll find enough to get by the free-falling Broncos.

Buffalo (-3) at Miami - Okay, okay... the Bills are a solid team. I get it. I still think they'll hit a tailspin at the end of the season, but against the Dolphins, they'll be fine. Miami, playing without Zach Thomas, will become all too familiar with Marshawn Lynch this week. And J.P. Losman could earn his job back with another solid performance.

Cleveland (+9.5) at Pittsburgh - I went with the Steelers giving tons of points against the Ravens last week, but that was a Monday night game and the Ravens have no offense. Coming off a short week, I think Pittsburgh plays it a little slower, and the Browns will put up some points. Plus, it's a divisional game, so I'm going back to my taking the points technique.

New Orleans (-11.5) vs St. Louis - The Saints are developing that swagger they had all of last year. Meanwhile, that's not a swagger on the Rams' side, that's a limp. Injuries still plague this team, even though Bulger appears to be back to throwing it down the field. But the Saints defense has been solid and I don't see the Rams changing that.

Atlanta (+4) at Carolina - When I was filling out my confidence pool for the week, I uncomfortably went with the Panthers. Then I heard that Testeverde might be out for this one, which sadly, actually could affect the outcome of this game. The Falcons may not be lighting it up, but they've holding their own against the spread. And Carolina has had troubles at home.

Washington (-3) vs Philadelphia - Neither team has been impressive against the spread this season. So looking purely at the teams, the Redskins have been playing somewhat better than the Eagles to this point, near loss to the Jets last week not included... Playing at home, Clinton Portis will again carry the load for Washington. The Eagles will continues to try to figure out where it all went wrong this season.

Minnesota (+6.5) at Green Bay - Another game that conflicts with my confidence pool, I think the Packers will win, but these two always play it close, and Adrian Peterson will continue to grind out yards to keep the game close. This is too many points to give when the teams are so familiar with either other.

Cincinnati (+4) at Baltimore - Two teams I had at the top of their division before the season began, both teams have severely disappointed. I'm still keeping a little faith in the Bengals to at least be respectable, thanks mostly to the potential of their offense. The Ravens... no confidence there. Their strength should be their defense, and as they showed Monday night, strength it is not.

Oakland (+3) vs Chicago - The Bears are coming off of a bye week, but things haven't really changed too much. The defense still needs to prove itself. The offense still needs to find a running back that doesn't just fall down the first sign of trouble. The Raiders claim that they'll kick it to Devin Hester, so at least there's that. But you can't depend on special teams to win on the road.

Dallas (-1) at New York Giants - The Giants are the surprise team in the NFC East, especially after their start to the season. However, the Cowboys are still the most potent, especially if Plaxico Burress can't go for the Giants on Sunday. Dallas has a chance to give themselves some space within the division, and I think they take advantage.

Detroit (+1) at Arizona - The Lions, gulp, have a chance to go 7-2 on the year. The Lions. Matt Millen's Lions. Excuse me while I start harding canned good for the impending end of days. But that's the world we're living in right now, as the Cardinals had trouble containing the Bucs offense, and don't look ready to win these potentially high-scoring games.

San Diego (+3.5) vs Indianapolis - The Chargers were embarrassed last week, which should only motivate them more. The Colts were disappointed, which raises the concern of a mental hangover. I can't really imagine the Colts losing two in a row, but even in their Super Bowl season last year, they let down in the middle of the season. And the Chargers play much better at home than on the road.

San Francisco (+9.5) at Seattle - The NFC West is on a combined 18-game losing streak. I don't know how anybody in this division can be favored by 9.5, no matter how bad everybody may be. I think I'll pass on watching this one on Monday night.

Last Week: 7-7
Overall: 69-53-8

November 03, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 9 Predictions

With the Bears on bye this week, I'm not sure what I'm going to watch. If there was only some other game worth watching this week... any other game that would prove at least somewhat interesting...

What's that, you say? The Patriots are playing the Colts this week in a battle of undefeateds? Wow, I'm surprised I haven't heard anything about that game. I mean, not a single thing... Well, at least not in the last 5 minutes. Of course, there are 13 other games going this week, so let's try to address those as well before The Game to End All Games Until The Next Game To Do So takes place.

I'm coming off my personal best week of the season, going 11-2, but just glancing at the spreads while filling out my confidence pool, I'm not really thinking about repeating that feat this week. As always, you can find spreads here.

Washington (-3.5) at New York Jets - The Redskins were the latest team to get embarrassed by the Patriots, but I'm thinking it's easier to shake off a ridiculous blowout loss than to have kept it close and lost it at the end. The Jets, however, have just been embarrassing themselves, and now turn to Kellen Clemens to change their fortunes. Maybe by the end of the season, but not in his first start...

Kansas City (-2) vs Green Bay - The Packers squeaked out a narrow victory on the road on MNF, and now must travel on a short week to a Chiefs team that's been better than the Broncos. Selvin Young did a fine job running around the Packers, so I can only imagine what Larry Johnson coming off a bye week will do.

Arizona (+3.5) at Tampa Bay - The Bucs gave up 24 points to Quinn Gray at home. Quinn Gray. And now they're going against Warner, Fitzgerald, Boldin, and James, who are all rested after their bye week? The Cardinals, even with their record, have been keeping games close. I think this will be another close one.

Tennessee (-4.5) vs Carolina - I can never seem to get the Titans figured out, as I've only been right on them once this season. I'm thinking that Vince Young will rebound from a sub par game last week. But I've been wrong on him before. Meanwhile, the Panthers again look to turn to David Carr, and I again will pick against him.

Atlanta (-3) vs San Francisco - Now here's a game that will bring in the viewers! Offensive football may regress 50 years in this game, or perhaps just completely disappear altogether. How are the Falcons and Joey Harrington favored? Oh, playing against the 49ers without Frank Gore might do it. If Jerious Norwood doesn't bust out in this game, I may just have to give up on him.

New Orleans (-3.5) vs Jacksonville - Okay, Quinn Gray... you got me last week. Nice performance... Now let's see you do it on the road again. The Saints have started coming around (see how that works, Bears?) and playing in the dome, they should keep the ball rolling. Their defense has been impressive as well, and if the Jaguars' running game is held in check, well, you know...

Detroit (-3) vs Denver - The Broncos just gave up over 100 yards to a Packers running back, something yet to have happened this season. And now they're going against Kevin Jones and the rest of the Lions. Plus, they're traveling on a short week. Jones should be able to control the clock while a fully-clothed Kitna will match anything Cutler manages to do.

Cincinnati (-1) at Buffalo - The Bills have performed well the last several weeks, and I've benefited, as I knew Dick Jauron would have them playing hard. So why am I going with the underachieving Bengals this week? Because Dick Jauron is still the Bills coach, and his team is getting way too close to respectability.

San Diego (-7) at Minnesota - It appears that the Chargers are figuring out that if you give the ball to Tomlinson, good things happen. On the other side of the ball, if you kep the ball out of Adrian Peterson's hands, bad things tend to happen to the Vikings. When an 87-year old Jeff George thinks he'd be an upgrade at quarterback for your team, you know things are, shall we say, messy.

Cleveland (-2) vs Seattle - The Browns have been one of the surprise teams this year, while the Seahawks have been rather disappointing, even if they do lead their division. Shaun Alexander hasn't gotten going and the Seahawks still have injury concerns at the WR position. Braylon Edwards and Derek Anderson have found a nice rhythm that should continue at home.

New England (-5) at Indianapolis - I said I would stick with them until they proved otherwise so no reason to change now. The Colts are undefeated. They're the defending champions. They're at home. But the Patriots have been winning by an average of 25.5 points. An upgrade of competition will affect the overall difference, but are the Colts over 20 points better than what the Patriots have seen thus far? I say no.

Oakland (-3) vs Houston - Is anybody going to be watching this game? I mean, the Browns and Seahawks are at least winning teams. These two teams are a combined 5-10. Oakland residents are probably hoping for a blackout of the broadcast so they can get the Pats-Colts game instead. In the game itself, the Texans are down a QB and possibly three running backs. That can't be a good sign. I don't trust any of the Raiders quarterbacks either, but at least they're running game has shown some life.

Dallas (-3) at Philadelphia - Do Andy Reid's family troubles cause a distraction or do they galvanize the team into a focus yet to be seen by the Eagles this season? I'm going with the former. Whether or not he wants to admit it, it has to be on his mind. The Eagles have played the Cowboys tough lately, but I think the tide will begin to shift in the other direction. Coming off a bye week, the Cowboys should be ready to go.

Pittsburgh (-9) vs Baltimore - I originally had this going the other way, as 9 points for a division rival is a bit much for me, as I've discovered through the course of picking these games this season. Of course, if there's one thing that could counteract the divisional matchup, it's the bright lights of MNF. The Ravens have been awful against the spread this season, and if you look at their wins, they've come over the Jets (by 7), Cardinals (by 3), 49ers (by 2) and the Rams (by 19). All except the 49ers were at home. I don't care who's quarterbacking. That's not good.

Last Week: 11-2
Overall: 62-46-8

October 27, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 8 Predictions

I was a Titans field goal away from racking up 10 correct picks last week, but I was also a Texans miraculous comeback from even worrying about that... Or, I could have just picked my home team to win and that would have helped me reach double digits as well. In either case, it was a respectable week, as I climbed ever so slightly higher with my overall picks.

I'm going to need the extra motivation this week, as this may be the only opportunity for me to shine, due in large part to a fantasy backfield of Jesse Chatman and Ahman Green. So a big thanks to Rudi Johnson and Ronnie Brown for that...

Anyways, that's a topic for a separate post that I don't seem to be writing yet. Until then, here are the picks for this week, with spread that can be found here.

Browns (-3) at St. Louis - So Marc Bulger is back, and there's talk that Steven Jackson will handle the ball as well. And who's going to block for these two? Yeah, that's what I thought. While everybody talks about the Patriots being undefeated against the spread, the Rams remain winless. In much the same, but completely opposite, manner, I'm going against the Rams until proven otherwise.

Detroit (+5) at Chicago - Three weeks ago, the Bears turned around their season with a win in Green Bay. Then, their season was finished, getting torched by the Vikings. Then, season is looking up with a last-second win against the Eagles. So much for consistency. I'm still hoping for a win, but giving 5 points with this team is a risky gamble. Detroit keeps it close.

Indianapolis (-6.5) at Carolina - And we're back to Vinny Testeverde... It may have worked against the Cardinals, but I don't see it working against the world champs. Peyton Manning won't be looking past the Panthers to next weeks' meeting with the Patriots, and the Colts win this by at least a touchdown.

Miami (+9.5) vs New York Giants - So the first home team I pick is playing in London. This doesn't exactly strike me as a good sign. But I see this game staying close, just based on the unfamiliarity both teams must face with their travels and routines.

Tennessee (-7) vs Oakland - The Raiders begin their slow decent back into the Raiders, while the Titans come off a big win last week and get their emotional leader back for the game. With the Jaguars falling last week, the Titans can take control of second place in the division, which places it in the driver's seat for a playoff spot.

Philadelphia (-1) at Minnesota - Adrian Peterson is on his home turf, and on turf in general. But quarterback questions still abound. And the Eagles have too much talent to just fall off the map like they have. The Bears game must have woken them up, and I picked them in my confidence pool, so maybe this is wishful thinking prevailing.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Cincinnati - The Steelers have a chance to put the Bengals away this season with a victory, and the way the Bengals have played thus far, I don't see them putting up much of a fight, except maybe with each other... or possibly the law. Steelers control the clock against the Cincy defense and keep the Bengals offense off the field.

Buffalo (+3) at New York Jets - All these road teams are making me nervous, but the Jets have played absolutely terribly this season, while the Bills are holding on to the Dick Jauron philosophy of "Don't make the playoffs, don't get good draft position". That may help them this week, but yeah, good luck with that long term...

San Diego (-9.5) vs Houston - Does anybody else think the Chargers are just going to romp on whoever they play this week, just to offer a little relief from the fires for their fans? And the odds that the Texans can replicate what they did in the 4th quarter last week against this Chargers' defense are essentially zero.

Tampa Bay (-4) vs Jacksonville - Here come the home teams... it doesn't hurt that the Jags will be playing their back-up quarterback on the road against a surprisingly solid, but still old, defense. My only fear here is that the Jags end up running the ball about 67 times, which might be required for them to win. I think the Bucs can capitalize on a few turnovers to force the Jags to keep throwing.

New Orleans (-2.5) at San Francisco - Now here's a matchup of two teams I could go without watching. Two teams expected to be much better than they are, both have had trouble putting up points, although the Saints have shown flashes in the past few weeks, thanks in part to Illini-grad Pierre Thomas. Alex Smith comes back for the 49ers, but they weren't exactly lighting it up before he went out either.

New England (-16) vs Washington - Once again, until they lose against the spread, I'm sticking with them. Watch as Tom Brady goes for 7 touchdown passes this week...

Green Bay (+3.5) at Denver - Might as well finish off the week with another road team. The Packers have had the bye week to rest up and slap Brett Favre back into the conservative role he was playing so well before he went interception-happy the last couple games. Denver managed a solid win last week, temporarily saving their season, but Javon Walker isn't coming back for a while, and who knows how healthy or non-suspended Travis Henry will stay for the rest of the season... The end is coming for the Broncos.

Last week: 9-5
Overall: 51-44-8

October 19, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 7 Predictions

Since I will be heading down to Champaign today to watch my Illini take on Michigan, I won't have a chance to write a well-written, thought-out post. Instead, it's just picks and quick hit comments. I'm assuming you won't mind...

Washington (-8.5) vs Arizona - Tim Rattay. On the road. And I have a feeling Santana Moss will make up for last week as well.

Atlanta (+8.5) at New Orleans - I don't trust Byron Leftwich, but this is too great a spread, especially when going with my intra-divisional theory.

Buffalo (+3) vs Baltimore - If the Dick Jauron era holds, now that there's little to play for, the Bills will fight back to mediocrity, ensuring a middle-of-the-round pick...

Dallas (-9.5) vs Minnesota - Yes, yes, I know all about Adrian Peterson. But the Cowboys look to rebound from last week and I feel will force Tavaris Jackson to make more plays than the Bears did.

New England (-16) at Miami - Again, prove me wrong...

New York Giants (-9) vs San Francisco - The Giants appear legit, while the 49ers will throw out Trent Dilfer for another week. Considering I went with the Giants in my Survivor pool, this may be more hopeful than anything.

Detroit (-2) vs Tampa Bay - Torn on this one, but I think the Lions will have enough at home to squeak by on a field goal.

Houston (+1.5) vs Tennessee - If Vince Young has any limited mobility, this one could get away from the Titans. With Matt Schaub's weapons slowly coming back, Texans take this one.

Kansas City (+2.5) at Oakland - Larry Johnson controls the pace for the victory, if for no other reason than to make sure Priest Holmes never sees the field again.

Cincinnati (-6) vs New York Jets - Both teams fighting for their seasons. I still believe the Bengals have too much talent to fall yet again. At home, they should (should) cruise...

Philadelphia (-6) vs Chicago - I hate to do it, but after Adrian Peterson's performance, I can only imagine what shifty Brian Westbrook has in store... Hey Bears, watch out for that screen pass...

St. Louis (+8.5) at Seattle - The Rams have yet to cover this season, but that's just how little faith I have in the Seahawks.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Denver - Does anybody in Denver care about the Broncos right now or is it all transitioned to the Rockies? For those still paying attention, you might want to avert your eyes this week.

Indianapolis (-3) at Jacksonville - Peyton Manning on MNF. That's good enough for me, even if it's against a team that's handled the Colts in recent meetings.

Last Week: 5-6-2
Overall: 42-39-8

October 12, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 6 Predictions

Naturally, the week after I say I haven't been under .500 for any week this season, I come in under the even mark. I should have known better than to jinx myself like that. I'm going to chalk that up to a tough week, even though I have no basis for that assumption.

This week, however, I think is a difficult week before even picking the games. With only 13 games, it should be easier, but when figuring out my confidence pool picks, I wanted to put down one 13 and twelve 1s. Not exactly high confidence there.

Regardless, I'm still interested in how well I do at this, even if nobody else is. So here are the selections for Week 6. Again, spreads can be found here.

Cincinnati (-3) at Kansas City - This is a critical game for the Bengals, as another loss would increase already high tensions for a team with playoff expectations. They go up against the Chiefs, who I actually semi-praised last week, and then watched them run for a total of 10 yards and not score until the final moments of the 4th quarter. I'm going with desperate over bad.

Houston (+6.5) at Jacksonville - Everybody is starting to hop back on the Jaguars bandwagon, so this is when I go the other way. The Texans owned the Jaguars last year and sticking with my intra-divisional theory, it's the underdog with a lot of points.

Cleveland (-4.5) vs Miami - Cleo Lemon? On the road? Really? They may not be lighting it up, but the Browns should be able to take care of the Dolphins this week at home. I'm not necessarily comfortable going with the Browns and giving points, but do I have to repeat it? Cleo Lemon. On the Road.

Minnesota (+5) at Chicago - The Bears finally broke through against the Packers last week, but to all of a sudden claim the problems are solved? That's a little much. I'm going to wait and see if they can do it again before I start giving 5 points. I expect a healthy dose of Adrian Peterson to keep this one close.

Philadelphia (-3) at New York Jets - Neither team has been impressive thus far, but I'm going with the Eagles for one reason... Brian Westbrook. When he plays, it's a completely different Eagles team. Unfortunately for the Jets, they don't have a player like that, as Thomas Jones has proven on my fantasy team all season...

St. Louis (+9.5) vs Baltimore - Let me get this straight... A team that scored 9 points against the struggling 49ers is now favored by 9.5? I've picked against the Ravens every week this season and I've been proven correct every time. Let's stick with that plan.

Tennessee (+3) at Tampa Bay - I don't understand why, but I'm just buying whatever the Titans are selling. And 3-1 record in the AFC South seems a lot more legit than a 3-2 record in the NFC South. The Bucs need to solve their running back issues before I pick them to win.

Green Bay (-3) vs Washington - There's no reason the Packers shouldn't be undefeated after they dominated the Bears in the first half last week. Washington, coming of a bye, should be well rested, but Jason Campbell heading to Lambeau, I'm thinking the Packers straighten out their second half woes and handle the Redskins.

Arizona (-4.5) vs Carolina - The Cardinals have yet to lose against the spread (although there have been two ties) and now that their quarterback issues have resolved themselves with Matt Leinart's injury, they should dominate the Panthers and whoever ends up setting up behind center.

New England (-5) at Dallas - As mentioned last week, it's the Patriots until proven otherwise...

Oakland (+10) at San Diego - Here's another game where the spread is based on last week alone. Does anybody realize that the Raiders are leading the division? I think the Chargers will win, as shown in my survivor pool selection, but another divisional game, another underdog with the points.

Seattle (-6.5) vs New Orleans - I've been burned by the Saints in all four of their games this season. For that reason alone, this will probably be the week they get it together, especially against a team that I still don't get warm fuzzies about. But I'll take that chance. They have to show me something first.

New York Giants (-3.5) at Atlanta - It's true, Atlanta hasn't been awful. But the Giants have proven to be somewhat good... Uh, take that, Tiki! On MNF, I'm going with the Giants to roll, with Harrington and/or Leftwich proving why they've been cut.

Last Week: 5-8-1
Overall: 37-33-6

October 06, 2007

NFL Scorecard - Week 5 Predictions

So far, so good, as I came through with another winning week last week, going 8-6 in the process. While I'm not putting up those 10-win weeks, slow and steady is just fine for me. These results were much better than those of my confidence pool, as everybody got crushed in that. So I'll take winning records whenever I can.

I've also noticed some trends in my picking, with some teams consistently matching my expectations, and others still confounding me. Philly, I'm looking in your direction...

This week, home teams reclaimed the betting line, as 10 of the 14 home teams are favored this week. Of course, this is the NFL, so we'll see how this plays out. With that, here are my picks for a week in which I hope my Bears don't fall to 1-4. At least I still have my Illini... And as always, you can find the spreads here.

New Orleans (-3) vs Carolina - The Saints have had a week to regroup and prepare for this battle against David Carr and the Panthers. Really, I should just stop right there. As long as David Carr is determining the outcome, I'm going the other way. Of course, I've been wrong on the Saints all three times this season so...

Kansas City (+2.5) vs Jacksonville - Maybe the Chiefs aren't as bad as we all expected. I'm still waiting for Larry Johnson to get on track, but with some solid play from the defense and spectacular play from rookie Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs will ride the home crowd over the well-rested-but-still-unreliable Jaguars.

Redskins (-3.5) vs Detroit - Sadly, beating the Bears at home is not as awe-inspiring as it once was. For 3 quarters, Detroit looked awful, with only a couple Brian Griese interceptions keeping them close. Now on the road, things get even tougher. The Redskins might not have Santana Moss, but Clinton Portis is definitely a step up over Cedric Benson.

Tennessee (-8) vs Atlanta - The Titans have covered all three times this season, although I've picked them just once. Until they prove otherwise, I'm going to back them going forward. I believe, Vince Young, I believe. Joey Harrington? You've been solid, but no, I still don't believe... Prove it on the road and then we'll talk.

Texans (-5.5) vs Miami - Ronnie Brown seems to finally be getting it, and my fantasy team couldn't be happier, but despite the two impressive performances the past couple weeks, Miami has still struggled as a team. Coming off a disappointing loss to the Falcons last week, the Texans return home, still without several key players, but enough to hold off the Dolphins.

Seattle (+6) at Pittsburgh - So the Seahawks beat the 49ers on the road, who knocked off Arizona to start the season, who has defeated both Seattle and Pittsburgh. Okay, my head hurts. I was tempted to pick the Steelers here, but I haven't given the Seahawks enough credit this year. I'll take a flyer on them this week.

New England (-16.5) vs Cleveland - Until they prove otherwise, I'm taking the Patriots and giving the points...

Arizona (-3) at St. Louis - I can't even bash the Rams this week. I think everybody else has beaten me to it. And really, they're starting Gus Frerotte at QB. They know the position they're in. The Cardinals may not know who their quarterback is, but they're still better off than the Rams.

New York Giants (-3) vs New York Jets - How can this be described as a home game for the Giants? Well, that shouldn't really matter either way as the Jets are considerably worse than I expected. Losing to Trent Edwards and the Bills last week? The Giants may not be good, but at least they put up a fight.

Tampa Bay (+10) at Indianapolis - Joseph Addai may be out. Marvin Harrison may be out. The Bucs have shown a lot of life this season. True, they've lost their RB for the season, but Michael Pittman has been around for a while and will fill in just fine. Colts still win, but the Bucs keep it close.

San Diego (+1.5) at Denver - The good news is that somebody has to cover the spread this week, which will double the total amount of wins vs. the spread these two teams have combined for thus far. It's hard to judge which of these teams has more issues at this point, so let's just go with the one whose RB will actually be around for the remainder of the season. Speaking of which, thank you Travis Henry for getting caught AFTER I had cut Selvin Young from both my fantasy teams. Note: This pick may be out of spite...

San Francisco (+3.5) vs Baltimore - Similar to the Patriots, but in the completely opposite direction, I'll wait for the Ravens to actually cover a spread before I consider picking them again. The 49ers may not be great, and Trent Dilfer may be involved, but... wait, Trent Dilfer is involved? And it's not 2001, right? I could go back and forth on this for a while, but the Illinois-Wisconsin game has started so I have to keep this moving. Let's stick with my initial pick.

Green Bay (-3.5) vs Chicago - The Packers have covered each week. The Bears have yet to cover. The game's in Green Bay. And Madden gets to talk about Brett Favre for 3+ hours this Sunday night. Oh, this should be a fantastic game from my perspective...

Dallas (-10) at Buffalo - Even though they're on the road, the talent disparity between these two teams is too great to overcome. Trent Edwards looks to make the start again, on national television. That's not a good thing. I'll take the team that undefeated against the spread this season.

Last week: 8-6
Overall: 32-25-5