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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