Google Analytics

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