Thursday, September 01, 2005

The coin-flip challenge

I’m going to attempt to pick the NFL games against the spread starting this week. I’ll probably do this every Friday and revisit the results on Monday. Picking against the spread in the NFL makes me nervous so I’m going to face my fears and give it a try. I’ll pit my picks against picks made simply by flipping a coin. If this were college football, I would be supremely confident. However, the NFL is a whole different monster. I honestly think there’s a 50/50 chance that the coin-flip picks will take me down. To make this interesting for my droves of readers, if the coin flip beats me, I’ll give away my Denver Nuggets Jalen Rose jersey to a lucky son-of-a-gun. It’s only been worn about 500 times and you can still make out a few of the letters. I don’t mess around. I’ll put my NFL expertise on the line anytime, anyplace.


You could be wearing this at the beach next summer!


Coin Flip Challenge Week 1



I just finished the ridiculous task of flipping the coin. Why was this ridiculous you ask? Because 12 of the 16 picks are identical. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Time after time Coin Flip McGee came up with the same pick as me. That means that the first week pretty much comes down to four picks. Coin Flip McGee likes Oakland, Seattle, Cincy and Chicago. I like KC, Atlanta, Minnesota, and Detroit. The good news is that those are probably the four picks that I felt most confident with. The bad news is that instead of a best of 16, this comes down to a best of four. I like my odds in a best of 16 much better. I think there’s a good chance I’ll lose to the coin-flip in week 1. I guess I can take solace in the fact that the most I can be down after week 1 is four picks.

The Lines:

Balt. -3.5 TENN
Pitts. -6 HOU
INDY -9 Jax
Det. -2 CHI
CINCY. -3 Minn.
PHILLY -13 SF
TB -2.5 Buff
NE -3 CAR
SEA. -1 Atl
ARI. -1 Stl.
NYJ -6 Miami
GB -6.5 Cle
DEN -3 SD
KC -1.5 OAK
DALLAS -6 Wash
NYG -3 NO


Jake's picks:

Balt
Pitts
Jax
Det
Minn
SF
TB
NE
Atl
Stl.
Miami
GB
SD
KC
Dallas
NO


Coin Flip McGee's Picks:

Balt.
Pitts.
Jax.
Chi.
Cincy
SF
TB
NE
SEA
Stl.
Miami
GB
SD
OAK
Dallas
NO


Coin Flip Challenge Week 1 Results

As I feared and pretty much predicted, I got smoked by the coin flip in week one of the Coin-Flip Challenge. Aside from being victorious over the much ballyhooed and highly overrated coin flip, I have a personal goal of finishing above .500 for the season. Judging from week one, it seems like my best bet might be if the coin mysteriously disappears. However, I come away from the week one nightmare more determined than ever before. I will not let a coin steal my manhood. I’m predicting glorious victory in week two.

As for week one, I finished a pathetic 5-10-1. The coin flip played the Bears to my Lions with a 7-8-1 record. I took some heat for some of my picks but all I can say is that this is the first time that I’ve picked NFL games against the spread (ATS). Just like anything else, it takes some time to get used to trends and what not. I now see how ridiculous it was to take San Francisco +13 at Philly. Likewise, I now see how ridiculous it was to even come up with this absurd challenge anyway since I’m unjustifiably horrible at picking ATS. But, I made my bed, so I have to sleep in it. Maybe I can stop making my bed or better yet, maybe my bed will mysteriously disappear. Anyhow, I predict great and wonderful things for week two. The coin better watch out because I’m on to his/her strategy.


Coin Flip Challenge Week 2 Picks

I’ve spent the last five days in my sports cave tirelessly researching the ebb and flows of NFL history. I’m more prepared than ever before to wage war on the coin flip. With my newfound knowledge, I predict a slow and painful demise for the coin. Here is how I see this week unfolding in the NFL:

NYJ -2.5 jax

Jets games are notoriously tough to predict. I’m a little nervous going against them on the road but I don’t think the Jets are that good. Pennington’s poor velocity and Curtis Martin’s injury will be exposed against a very good Jaguar defense. My confidence level here is pretty low but if I have to choose, I’ll go with Jacksonville.

STL. -6.5 tenn

These two teams are almost mirror images. They both have offensive firepower and they both have terrible defenses. St. Louis plays like a different team at home but I will surely have nightmares picking a team coached by Mike Martz. I don’t know what to do. Tennessee was impressive beating Baltimore last week. Nonetheless, I have to go with the Rams at home.

PHILLY -8 oak

I was thinking about going with Oakland here but then a siren went off in my head accompanied by the phrase, “Kerry Collins on the road” over and over again. Thus, I’m going with Philly.

cincy -3 CHI

I might be naïve here but there are a lot of NFL fans in America that think the Bears are good. As a Lion fan, I know the real deal. Cincy wins by a lot.

MINNY -4 no

These two teams are the exact same. They both play in domes. They both turn the ball over as much as Joey Harrington. They both have big issues. I think this game will be close so I have to take New Orleans.

car -3 MIAMI

Going against Nick Saban at home could prove to be a huge mistake but then again going with Gus Frerotte against Carolina’s defense could be an even bigger mistake. I like the Panthers.

INDY -13.5 clev

I learned a lesson last week in the philly/sf game. The lesson was basically that a really good offensive team can score a lot of points against a really bad defensive team in 60 minutes, especially at home.

BUFF -2.5 atl

This was a tough game to call which is probably why Vegas had this game “called off” for most of the week. I think these teams are very similar so it comes down to Michael Vick vs. J.P. Losman. Count this as a vote against Losman. I’m going with Atlanta.

tb -3.5 GB

I remember how much trouble Tampa Bay has had in cold weather in Green Bay. However, the Lions beat the Packers 17-3 and the Lions are, well, the Lions. Plus, it probably won't be that cold in Green Bay this early in the season. Tampa Bay is playing well on both sides of the ball. I can’t go with Green Bay.

SEA -6 arizona

There are two glaring reasons why I’m going with Seattle; 1). Shuan Alexander against Arizona’s defense and 2). Kurt Warner on the road.

PITTS -3 ne

Pittsburgh smoked New England at home in the regular season last year. The Steelers have been the best team in the NFL over the first two weeks. New England has been in a funk. I can’t go against the Steelers at home.

dall -6.5 SF

I don’t necessarily like picking Dallas in a big spread game because they aren’t very good on offense and Parcells is a pretty conservative coach. The fact that this game is in San Francisco makes me even more nervous but San Francisco is terrible. This is a tough one. Drew Bledsoe on the road makes me nervous. I would think that Dallas would bounce back after the big let down against Washington on Monday night. I guess the bottom line is, do I think Dallas is a touchdown better than San Francisco? And, the answer is yes.

SD -5.5 nyg

As I predicted, the Giants have started off the season strong. However, they will fade faster than the Tigers in June. San Diego should score a lot of points. Eli Manning on the road could be a recipe for disaster.

DEN -3 kc

Kansas City has had problems winning in Denver. I am very weary about Trent Green possibly turning in a Joey Harrington type performance on the road in Denver. However, the Chiefs have such a good running game and a formidable defense. Denver hasn’t looked too good yet. I’ll stick with the Chiefs.


My picks:

Jax
Stl.
Philly
Cincy
NO
Carolina
Indy
Atlanta
TB
seattle
Pitts
Dallas
SD
KC

Coin Flip picks:

NYJ
Tenn
Philly
Cincy
NO
Miami
Indy
Atlanta
GB
Arizona
Pitts
Dallas
NYG
KC

Once again, the Coin Flip has me cornered by picking the same pick in eight out of 14 games. If I get smoked again this week, then I will make my picks next week and then just go with the opposite on every game. I’m nervous.

Coin Flip Challenge Week 2 Results

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I improved over the previous week. The bad news is that I might be the worst ATS picker in the known Universe. I’m being dominated by a coin flip. I thought the whole point of the spread was that it is essentially a 50/50 decision. Aside from tie games (where Vegas makes its money), there should really be no reason for anyone to fare significantly worse, or better than 50%. Well, I’m at 10-19-1 on the season which comes to a winning percentage of 35%. I’m embarrassed. However, I remain resolute in my determination to unseat the coin flip and climb above 50% on the season. According to the two statistic courses that I took in college, the numbers will even out the longer this competition goes. The fact that for the most part, picking ATS is a 50/50 proposition, there is a good chance that I will bounce back with a fury this week. The coin flip isn’t exactly tearing it up either. He/She is 12-17-1 on the season. In fact, the competition has not produced one score above 50% in four chances. That should change this week. We’re both angry and ready to go for week three of this meaningless challenge.


Coin Flip Challenge Week 3 Picks

If I'm going to stop the bleeding, this needs to be the week to do it. I can't afford to fall any worse than nine games below .500. Amazingly, every game but one has the home team favored this week. The Coin Flip only has seven picks (out of 14) that I have which means there are seven games up for grabs. This is a big week, indeed.

Lines:


NE -5.5 sd

I think New England will win this game since they seem to have gotten back on track after last week's impressive win in Pittsburgh. However, San Diego can score with anyone so giving 5.5 points to San Diego is a lot. I think the Chargers will keep it close enough to cover the spread.


JAX -4 den

I'm surprised by this line. Denver looked horrendous against Miami in week one but two impressive wins over San Diego and Kansas City have put the Broncos in line for a good season. The imported Cleveland Browns defensive line has been better than anyone expected. Jacksonville is inept on offense at best. This should be a defensive battle. I would be surprised if Denver lost by more than four. I'm going with the Broncos. Although, Jake Plummer can do mean things to you if you bet on him on the road.

Cincy -10 hou

This is a difficult game to predict (as are all games judging from my abysmal season record). On one hand, you have the Bengals who have become an offensive machine under the rapid maturation of Carson Palmer. On the other hand, you have a Texan team that can't do anything right. Normally, I'd think Cincy would cover here but I'm starting to think that the "any given Sunday" rule might apply for this game. Remember, I went with SF as a 14 point underdog at Philly and lost. Then I went with Indy as a 15 point favorite at home against Cleveland and lost that one too! Which way do I go? I have to pick someone so I'm reluctantly picking Cincinnati to cover.

indy -7 TENN

Tennessee proved something last week in their loss at St. Louis. That could've been a blow out but the Titans fought back every time St. Louis extended the lead. I think Tennessee might be a gambler's nightmare because they won't win many games but they'll stay close with Norm Chow and Steve McNair in charge of the offense. Manning has been marginal at best this season but this game reminds me a little of the Indianapolis/Green Bay game last season. It is not wise to get in a score-fest with the Colts when you don't have a defense. I'm taking Indy.

KC -2.5 philly

I think KC clearly has the edge in this game in terms of motivation. They were humiliated at Denver on Monday night and now have a chance to make amends in front of their home crowd. Philly might be in trouble if they can't meet KC's intensity. I think this game is about 50/50 so I'll take Philly with 2.5 points.

TB -6.5 det

Joey Harrington on the road against the league's top defense. Tampa Bay covers.

NYG -3.0 stl

In all honesty, I think the Rams would be better off if Marc Bulger was their head coach. The Giants got blown out against the Chargers last week. It seems like the odds makers are still holding St. Louis' opening day loss to SF against them. I think that the Rams are better than the Giants so I'm taking St. Louis on the road. I will regret making this pick.

NO PK buff

J.P. Losman stinks and so do the Saints. Minnesota broke out in a big way last week against the Saints. One of these weeks the Saints will break out too. I think this could be the week. I'm going with the Saints.

WASH -2 sea

Washington has a very good defense. Shaun Alexander could have a tough time finding running room on Sunday. However, the Redskins are terrible on offense. This will be excruciating to watch. I would think that the Seahawks will pull this one out since they are the better team. I'll take Seattle.

BALT -7 nyj

Brooks Bollinger on the road against a humiliated Ravens defense? I have to take Baltimore.

ATL -6 minn

Apparently the odds makers think that Minnesota's offensive outburst against the Saints last week was a fluke. I think they might be right. However, Vick was noticeably hobbled last week which should stifle Atlanta's already average offense. I expect Atlanta to win but Minnesota should keep it close. I'll take the Vikings to cover.

OAK -3 dallas

Oakland was impressive in their loss at Philly last week. In fact, they've been impressive in pretty much every game they've played (all losses by the way
). Dallas struggled against San Francisco and lost to Washington. Those are two below average teams. I'll take Oakland at home.

ARI -2.5 sf

Anquan Boldin said that, sometime soon, the Cardinals would break out in a big way on offense. The good news for the Cardinals is that they still have 13 games left. I fear going with the Cardinals over anyone but they have more talent than San Francisco so they should win. I'm taking the Cardinals. (Did I just say that?)

CAR -7.5 gb

Green Bay stinks right now but are they really going to get blown out on Monday Night Football to the Panthers? Favre and co. hung tough with a very good Tampa Bay team last week. I would be shocked if Green Bay got blown out. I think Carolina will take the game but only by a touchdown or less.

As a result of the first two weeks, I am convinced that every game I pick will be wrong. I have Chad Henne confidence right now. I feel like the Michigan defense against Michigan St. in the first half last year. Every play call they made was the wrong one. They were so mixed up that they had no idea what to do. I feel the same way. I don't know left from right anymore. Just like any self respecting athlete who's in a major slump, my only recourse is to keep picking games and hope better days are ahead. So, I will. I can only hope I fare better than Chuck Knoblauch did.

My picks:

SD
Den
Cincy
Indy
Philly
TB
St. Louis
New Orleans
Seattle
Balt.
Minn.
Oakland
Arizona
GB

Coin Flip picks:

NE
Den
Hou
Tenn
Philly
TB
St. Louis
NO
Wash
Balt.
ATL
OAK
SF
CAR



Coin Flip Challenge Week 3 results

I predicted that week 3 of the Coin Flip Challenge would be a crucial turning point since there 50% of my picks differed from the coin flip. It was, indeed, a turning point in my favor. I came away with an impressive (and unbelievable) 9-5 week. If anything, it proved to me that it is possible to be above .500 in a week. The Coin Flip turned in his/her best performance as well by going 7-7. This brings the yearly totals to:

Jake-------19-24-1
Coin Flip--19-24-1

After two miserable perfomances, I bounced back to force a tie. I really couldn't ask for a better result considering how bad I was in the first two weeks. I hope to build on the momentum next week but I fear a relapse. I mentioned before the challenge started that it would take me some time to get the hang of picking NFL games. There are certain trends within a season (or even across seasons) that don't become apparent for a few weeks. I think I'm better now than I was during the first week. I intend to show you all just how much I love my Jalen Rose jersey.

Coin Flip Challenge Week 4 Picks

I’ve said all along that the more my picks differ from the coin flip, the better chance I’ll have at winning this ridiculous challenge. Last week marked the first time that there was a significant difference in opinion and it showed in the results. I took the coin flip to the cleaners and ran him through the wash-cycle over and over again. This week marks the second week in a row with major differences. Out of 14 games, I differ from the coin flip on six of them. I’d prefer to differ on every game but I’ll take six. I honestly don’t expect to duplicate my 9-5 record again for the rest of the year. It’s hard to do that well even if you know what you’re doing. However, I’d like to avoid the 5-9 and 5-10 weeks. This is a big week. I took momentum from the coin flip last week, and now it’s time to build on it.

GB -3 no

This is pretty much a “coin flip” game since both of these teams are not good. I suspect that if Green Bay ran their “2-minute” offense the entire game, they would probably win a few games. Favre is still good and he showed it against Carolina last Monday night. The odds are that Green Bay will win eventually and I can’t think of a better scenario for that to happen than playing at home against New Orleans. I’m going with Favre.

CLE -3 chi

I’m surprised that Cleveland is favored in this game. Chicago stinks. There’s no question about that but Cleveland stinks worse. Thomas Jones has run the ball very well and the Bears defense has been pretty good. This might be a trap but I’m going with the Bears on the road.

tb -3 NYJ

This is another game that I’m surprised about. It looks like the odds-makers think more highly of Vinny Testaverde than they do of Brooks Bollinger. I like Vinny but as far as winning games with this depleted Jets offense, I don’t think Testaverde or Bollinger has an advantage. I’m taking Tampa Bay to duplicate what Baltimore did to the Jets last week.

STL -3 sea

This game could go either way but I’m taking St. Louis for two reasons; 1). They’re at home and 2). They beat Seattle three times last year. In fact, I’ll even include a bonus reason; 3). Mike Martz will not be coaching.

ATL -3 ne

New England is certainly not as good as they have been in years past. The losses of Rodney Harrison and Teddy Bruschi are really showing up on the defensive side of the ball. The offense hasn’t been as efficient as usual either. However, I’ll go with New England anytime they’re three point underdogs.

BUFF -3 mia

The J.P. Losman show ended earlier than I even thought it would and I didn’t think it would last very long. Buffalo is headed for a very bad season. Miami has a solid running game, a strong defense, and a good coach. I think those three things add up to covering the spread in Buffalo.

DET -1.5 bal

Are the Lions really favored in this game? I mean, really? I’ll take Baltimore.

HOU -3 ten

This has the makings of a 35-31 type game. Neither team has a defense but one team has David Carr and the other team has Steve McNair. I’ll take Tennessee on the road to beat Houston.

indy -15 SF

I hate picking these big spread games with Indianapolis and Philadelphia because I’m never right. The way I see it, Peyton Manning hasn’t exploded yet this season. It’s about time the Colts put up forty points over some helpless secondary. San Francisco has just the secondary that I’m talking about. I’ll take Manning and Harrison to scorch SF.

car -2.5 ARI

Man, I’m really surprised with some of these spreads. I would think that Carolina would be a bigger favorite playing against Arizona. Who cares if it’s in Arizona? Anyhow, I have to take Carolina. They’re a very good football team and, quite frankly, the Cardinals are not.

phi -3 DAL

I don’t think most people realize how impressive Philadelphia’s win at Kansas City last week was. The Chiefs are nearly unbeatable at home. Plus, the Chiefs have a potent running game and an improved defense. Philly is as good as they’ve ever been. I think they’ll blow out Dallas.

DEN -7 was

Since Washington has a pretty good defense, I cringe at picking against them as seven point underdogs. However, the Skins have an anemic offense and it will be even more anemic playing on the road in Denver. I’ll take the Broncos to win by at least a touchdown. Of all the games this week, I’m most nervous about this one and Green Bay/New Orleans.

JAX -3 cincy

Jacksonville is a very good team. Any team that can continually play the Colts tight is a team to be afraid of. However, I don’t know if the Jags have the offense to keep up with Carson Palmer’s aerial show. I don’t expect the Bengals to be as good on the road against a good defense as they’ve been at home but it’s hard to pick against them as three point underdogs. I’ll take Cincy.

SD -3 pitts

This is a tough one. San Diego is starting to play like the 2004 Chargers. They have one of the toughest schedules in the league so their record might not show how good they are when it’s all said and done. I don’t know who’s going to win this game. It’s basically 50/50. Anytime I think a game is 50/50 and one team is a three point underdog, I’m taking them. I’ll go with Big Ben on the road.



My picks:

GB
Chicago
TB
Stl.
NE
Miami
Balt.
Tenn.
Indy
Carolina
Philly
Denver
Cincy
Pitts


Coin Flip picks:

GB
Chicago
NYJ
Sea
ATL.
Mia
Balt.
Tenn.
SF
Ari
Philly
Den
Cincy
SD

Coin Flip Challenge Week 4 Results

The Coin Flip Challenge is quickly going the way of the NL West. I just hope I can be the Padres and the coin can be the Giants. The winner of this thing might very well finish considerably below .500. Right now, I hold a two game lead with a scorching 43% accuracy level. I climbed into first place this week despite only picking 6 of 14 games correctly. Luckily for me, the Coin Flip only picked 4 of 14 games correctly. The good news is that I’m 15-12-1 over the last two weeks. Here is how things stand entering the fifth week of the challenge:

Jake--------25-31-2
Coin Flip--23-33-2


I’m a bit confused by the results of this challenge so far. If I’m not mistaken, the odds of picking an NFL game correctly should be about 50% with the exception of a push. There have only been two pushes in the four weeks of this challenge. So, based on the odds of picking games that are 50/50, half of the weeks should be above 50% and half should be below 50% (not counting pushes). However, out of the eight weeks of picks (four for me and four for the coin) there has been exactly one week over 50%. One out of eight! I’m confused. We have picked 50 games correctly out of 116. It just seems that my picks (and the coin) have been unreasonably bad. It seems that both of us should be experiencing a progression to the mean in the future. If that doesn’t happen, then I will denounce math as a viable discipline.

Coin Flip Challenge Week 5 Picks

It took four weeks, but I’m finally in first place. In all honesty, a coin flip with any talent whatsoever would be able to predict games with close to 50% accuracy. I am lucky that this particular coin flip has underachieved at 41%. As any math major or statistician will tell you, the coin flip will certainly undergo a progression to the mean the longer this preposterous challenge continues. The coin will undoubtedly climb towards the 50% correct level which means I need to be better than what I’ve been to win this thing. For better or worse, there are 9 of 14 games that differ this week. This is by far the biggest week in terms of pick differences. I’ve always said that the more picks that differ, the merrier. We’ll see. In fact, there has only been 22 differences in the first four weeks. Now, there are nine in week five alone. This is essentially two weeks wrapped in one. Can you feel the excitement?


DAL -3.5 ngy

I am not sold on Eli Manning or the New York Giants. The Giants have been abysmal over the last few years after making better than expected starts. I don’t see why this season would be any different. However, the odds of Drew Bledsoe having two magnificent games in a row seem worse than the odds of the NYG keeping this game close. So, I’m reluctantly taking Eli Manning on the road.


DET -1 car

Last week, in this same spot, I expressed disbelief that the Lions were favored over the Ravens. Apparently I didn’t realize that the Ravens were homicidal maniacs and terrible to boot. As far as I know, the Panthers are not homicidal maniacs and they are definitely not terrible. Remember how awful the Lions offense was when C-Rogers went down in his rookie year leaving Bill Schroeder and Az Akeem as the loan playmakers?
Joey Harrington + no receiving corps = disaster.


atl -5.5 NO

To my surprise, I nailed the GB/NO game right on last week. The Packers finally broke out against the hapless Saints. To make things worse for New Orleans, Deuce McCallister is out for the season. I really can’t imagine a worse season for an NFL franchise. 1). Their home stadium got destroyed by a hurricane. 2). Instead of playing all of their home games at LSU where they would be in front of Saints fans, they have to play home games in such places as New York and San Antonio. 3). They got lambasted by the Packers 52-3. 4). Their franchise running back tore his ACL and is out for the season. The odds-makers say that this line moves down to -3 if Vick doesn’t play. The way Matt Schaub looked last week against New England, I would still take Atlanta at -5.5 even if Vick doesn’t play. After last week’s performance, I can’t pick New Orleans.


CHI -3 minn

Chicago got smoked by Cleveland. The Vikings got smoked by.......(use your imagination). I don’t care how bad the Vikings have played; there is no way I’m picking a team that got blown out by Cleveland. Also, if the Vikings find themselves trailing in the second half, Fred Smoot could just pay some strippers to distract the Browns. I’ll take Minnesota.

KC -6 was

I took Denver at -7 over Washington last week and I would’ve won if it weren’t for some last second shenanigans by the Redskins. The fact of the matter is that Washington has a good defense which keeps them close. I don’t want to make the same mistake again but playing in KC can be a hostile environment. I don’t see the ‘Skins keeping up with KC’s potent offense. I’ll take KC but if Washington covers, I’m never picking against them in a big line again.


cin -3 TENN

Believe it or not, I think Tennessee might actually be turning into a decent team. The offense is moving along very well under first year offensive coordinator Norm Chow. These teams are almost mirror images of each other. The Bengals are just a year or two ahead of the Titans in terms of player development on the defensive side of the ball. I cringe at picking against the Titans because I know they can put points on the board but the Bengals defense will resist much more than the Titans defense thus I’m taking the Bengals to cover.

PITTS -3 jax

The Steelers will likely have to start Charlie Batch at quarterback against Jacksonville. Here’s a question, would you rather have Joey Harrington or Charlie Batch? The fact that I even need to ask that question shows just how terrible things are with the Lions offense. I might regret this pick because the Steelers are a good team from top to bottom, but I’m going with the Jags to keep this close. If Big Ben wasn’t hurt, I’d go with the Steelers.

BALT -5.5 cle

The NFL should put metal detectors on the sidelines and force the Ravens to go through them each time they enter the field. If the Ravens were that upset over getting blown out by the Lions, just imagine how livid they’d be if Cleveland beat them! Luckily for us, we should get to see it happen because Cleveland has a good chance of keeping this game close. I’ll take the Browns to score more points and the Ravens to beat up more refs.

TB -4.5 miami

I really don’t know what to say about this game. Tampa Bay inexplicably lost to the Vinny-led New York Jets last week. Cadillac Williams was on the sidelines which helps explain the loss at least somewhat. The Dolphins get Ricky Williams back which may or may not have a big impact. I don’t see Tampa Bay putting up big numbers on Miami so I’m taking the Dolphins.

DEN -3 ne

I said last week that I would never pick against New England as three point underdogs or more. That rule paid off against the Falcons last week and I hope it pays off against the Broncos this week.

BUFF -3 nyj

This should be a terrible game. Both of these teams stink. I have no idea who’s going to win. It’s Kelly Holcombe vs. Vinny. It’s Curtis Martin vs. Willis McGahee. It’s Ty Law vs. Lawyer Milloy. It’s a toss up wherever I look. In that case, I have to take the home team. I’m unenthusiastically taking the Bills at home.

sd -2 OAK

Oakland is a dangerous team. They’ve played close games against good teams. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they play in the strongest division in the NFL. This should be a great game to watch. I’ll take the Chargers to beat the Raiders by three points. One of these weeks, the Raiders will put it all together. I just hope it’s not this week.

SEA -9.5 hou

Seattle surprised me last week by taking down St. Louis on the road. However, the odds were that Seattle would beat the Rams sooner or later. I should’ve been wise to that. Houston has issues protecting the quarterback but they aren’t helpless. They covered the spread against Cincy earlier this year when I thought that they would get blown out. Picking Seattle to win by ten points is a lot to ask for so I’ll take Carr to get sacked ten times but lose by less than ten points.

INDY -13.5 stl.

I can’t believe the spread on this game is two touchdowns. That’s just ridiculous. St. Louis can score. Mike Martz will miss the next 4-6 weeks which could help the Rams if their interim coach has any affection for the running game. The Rams should run S. Jackson and M. Faulk 15-20 times each. I might be crazy but I have to take St. Louis. Fourteen points is a lot.



My picks:

NYG
Car
Atl
Minn
KC
Cincy
Jax
Cle
Miami
NE
Buff
SD
Hou
St.

Coin Flip Picks:

NYG
Det
NO
Chi
KC
Cincy
Pitts
Balt
Miami
Den
NYJ
Oak
Hou
Indy


Coin Flip Challenge Week 5 Results

It wasn’t an all together bad showing since both the Coin Flip and I finished at, or above, .500 for the week. However, I think I was robbed by the St. Louis/Indy game. That game was tight throughout until the very end. I still don’t know how the Rams could play so well for three quarters and still get blown out. That game proved the be the difference in the week since it game the Coin Flip an 8-6 record and game me a 7-7 record. That moved the Coin Flip within one game of the lead in this waste of time challenge. Hopefully, I can bounce back next week and extend my lead.

Here is how the challenge standings look entering week 5:

Jake--------32-38-2
Coin Flip---31-39-2


Coin Flip Challenge Wee 6 Picks

This should be an excited week in the ever boring Coin Flip Challenge. There are 8 of 14 picks that differ this week which means there could be a momentum changing swing in the standings. I still hold on to a slim one-game lead. I’m 22-19-1 over the last three weeks which is a marked improvement from the abysmal 10-19-1 start that I had. Sadly, out of the five weeks of this challenge, I’ve only been over .500 one time. The same can be said for the Coin Flip. We have a combined two weeks over .500 out of ten chances. No matter how you look at it, that’s dreadful, and embarrassing.



MIA -1 kc

Miami looked terrible last week against Tampa Bay even after Griese went down. The Dolphins haven’t changed at all from the last ten years. They have a pretty good defense and an undependable offense. Ricky Williams will need at least a year before he becomes effective again. There are no playmakers on offense. Miami doesn’t even have a good running game with Ricky and Ronnie Brown. Nick Saban is a good coach but even he will need more playmakers to make the Dolphins contenders. Kansas City, on the other hand, took down the Redskins who happen to be a little better than Miami. I’m very surprised by this line. I’ll take the Chiefs.

STL -3 no

I’m still miffed about the St. Louis/Indy game. The line was Indianapolis by 14. St. Louis led for a large part of this game even deep into the second half. Yet, they still managed to lose by 17 points. I took St. Louis to cover and it was the right decision. Unfortunately, all I have is a “loss” to show for it. New Orleans seemed lifeless after losing 52-3 to Green Bay but somehow they bounced back last week to cover the spread and almost beat Atlanta. Here is my dilemma. Whenever I pick against New Orleans, they cover. Whenever, I pick New Orleans, they don’t cover. It would be surprising to see New Orleans hang with St. Louis on the road. I have no idea how the loss of Marc Bulger will effect the Rams. They moved the ball pretty well against a very good Colts defense. If I pick New Orleans, I’ll second guess myself all weekend. The pick here is St. Louis.

gb -1.5 MINN

These games are just not getting any easier. Which underachieving, train wreck of a team do I think will win this game? This would be much easier if it were at Green Bay. Everyone knows how problematic dome stadiums have been for Favre. But, any stadium has been problematic for the Vikings. Green Bay’s last performance was a 52-3 thumping of New Orleans. One win is a hot streak for these to teams. That means Green Bay is the hot team. I’ll take Favre.

indy -15 HOU

I hate picking against Houston in large spread games because Carr/Davis/Johnson are as good of a threesome as any in the league. They’re going to breakout in one of these games. Add in the fact that this game is at Houston and I’m nauseous thinking about picking against Houston. However, David Carr gets sacked 142 times per game and the Texans just go blown out by Seattle who isn’t anywhere near Indy in terms of being a complete team. I’ll take Indy.

CIN -1 pitts

Did anyone watch the overtime between Jax/Pitts last week? It was quite possibly the worst played overtime in NFL history. Tommy Maddox was the man—in a bad way. The Steelers got the ball first and immediately drove the ball down to the Jags 25 yard line in two plays. The next play Pittsburgh’s running back fumbled but recovered his own fumble for a -5 loss. The next play Maddox fumbled and Jacksonville recovered! Jacksonville went nowhere and had to punt. Maddox immediately threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown to end the game. Big Ben is expected to be back and the Steelers are at home so I have to pick Pittsburgh.

PHILLY -3.5 sd

I am not comfortable picking against San Diego in a spread as big as -3.5 They went to New England under the same circumstances just a few weeks ago and they whipped the Patriots. I was wise to San Diego then and I’ll be wise to them this week too. I’ll take San Diego to keep this baby close.

CLE -3 det

I think Vegas has gone haywire over the Lions. Last week they were favored against Carolina? This week they’re underdogs to Cleveland? I don’t want to waste any more time talking about the Lions so I’ll just make my pick and move on to the next game. Detroit.

WASH -13 sf

Who would’ve thought that the Redskins would ever be favored by 13 points over anyone? The surprising thing is that I don’t necessarily disagree. Mark Brunell and Santana Moss have completely rejuvenated the Redskins offense. They surprised me big time by hanging with Kansas City on the road last week. When I initially saw the spread for this game, there’s no way that I was going to take San Francisco. But, I’ve convinced myself over the last five minutes that Washington is good enough to dominate San Fran at home.

SEA -3 dal

These two teams are mirror images of each other. Dallas was very disappointing against the Giants last week. The Cowboys were mired in a 7-6 battle of futility until late in the fourth quarter. Granted, Julius Jones was out but the juggernaut that attacked the Eagles was nowhere to be seen. I’ll take Seattle.

OAK -3 buff

I can understand this line if Randy Moss was playing but since he’s not, I’m flabbergasted by the Raiders being 3 point favorites. Buffalo isn’t great but they’re good enough to beat Oakland without Randy Moss. I’ll take Buffalo.

CHI -1 balt.

I would pay money to NOT have to watch this game. It’s going to be brutal. I’m warning you now, if this game is on wherever you live, make other arrangements. I do believe the Ravens defense is upset which means they will either kill the refs or kill Kyle Orton. I’m predicting that the refs are safe this week so I’m taking Baltimore. Plus, the Ravens get the touted return of the magnificent Kyle Boller.

ARI -3 tenn

I like games like this. Arizona is the home team and they’re favored. However, I think Tennessee is the better team. It’s an easy pick for me. If I get this game wrong, there will be no second guessing. Tennessee covers.

NYG -2 den

As good as Denver has been, this is an obvious indictment as to how awful Vegas thinks Jake Plummer is. The Broncos have won four in a row including a dismantling of the Patriots, yet, they are underdogs on the road against the Giants! Picking Jake Plummer on the road is like passing the car in front of you around a bend where you can’t see oncoming traffic. It’s possible that there’s not another car coming in the other direction for miles. Likewise, it’s possible that there’s a semi-truck immediately around the bend. If I were driving, I would definitely not pass in this situation. But, I’m not driving thus the consequences of being wrong won’t be certain death. So, I’ll take the better team and go with the Broncos.

ATL -7 nyj

This line sucks. The Jets have been playing very well on defense which makes me nervous. But, I like pain so I’m taking Atlanta to cover.


My picks:


KC
Stl.
GB
Indy
Pitts
SD
Det
Was
Sea
Buff
Balt
Tenn
Den
Atl


Coin Flip picks:


Mia
NO
GB
Indy
Cin
SD
Cle
SF
Sea
OAK
Balt.
Tenn
NYG
NYJ

Coin Flip Challenge Week 6 Results

Week six turned out to be a big turning point in the Coin Flip Challenge. In the same week, one contestant had the best record of any week so far and the other contestant had the worst record of any week so far. Luckily for me, I was not the latter. I managed to pull off (don’t ask how because I don’t know) a 9-4-1 week. I feel confident and unsure about every pick I make so it never surprises me one way or another. But, to finally be rewarded with a good week feels pretty swell.

As good as my showing was, I was disappointed because I really should’ve done better. Green Bay was up 17-0 over Minnesota before losing on a 56 yard field goal. And, if you remember, I chose Buffalo to cover over Oakland simply because Randy Moss was not playing. However, Moss did play. Instead of basking in the 9-4-1 performance, I’m thinking of what could’ve been an unfathomable 11-2-1 performance. But, I won’t complain anymore. I’m content. I’ll tell you someone who’s not content and that’s the Coin Flip. He/she got mauled this week. My first two weeks (very bad) were put to shame by the Coin Flip’s 3-10-1 laugher. Here is how the standings look after the eventful week six:

Jake----------41-42-3
Coin Flip-----34-49-3

After falling as far as nine games below .500, I’m only one game away from glory. Remember, my goal for the season was, not only to stomp on the coin but, to finish above .500. I realize that’s asking a lot but after the first two weeks, I never thought I’d be this close to the .500 marker again. Over the last four weeks, I’m 31-23-2. Hopefully, I can keep it going this week.

Coin Flip Challenge Week 7 picks

I am going to enjoy last week’s miracle 9-4-1 performance right up until the 1pm kickoffs on Sunday. I’ll probably never see a week that good again. Judging from the spreads for this week’s games, I could be in trouble. This has been, by far, the toughest group of games to pick. Out of the fourteen games, I really have no idea what to expect in ten of them—not that I know what’s going to happen in the other four but at least I have some sort of reference point in those games. This week could get ugly. It would be a miracle if I could finish at .500. What scares me even worse is that my picks differ from the Coin Flip’s on ten of fourteen games. That makes this the most important week to date. Even more frightening is that I like the Coin Flip’s picks better than mine! That’s not good. What follows is an unorganized/grasping at straws/totally in the dark analysis of the games this week.


NYG -2.5 was

The Giants impressed me last week by beating the Broncos. Granted, they needed a last second Eli Manning to Amani Toomer touchdown to pull it out but the Giants are a good team. Their annual collapse may not be so annual anymore. There’s really no reason to think these guys can’t make a run for the Wild Card or even the division title. On the other side, Washington scored more points than they’ve scored since Mark Rypien was in the league. Joe Gibbs has the ‘Skins playing at a very high level. Mark Brunell has been rejuvenated. The running game is working. The defense is strong. Basically what I’m saying is that I have no idea who’s going to win this game. I would normally go with the home team in this scenario, but, I came across a statistic that troubles me. Washington averages 65 MORE yards per game on offense than the Giants and gives up 146 LESS yards per game on defense. That’s a big discrepancy. I’ll take Washington.

CIN -9 gb

The Packers started the season with potentially the best QB/RB/WR threesome in the NFC. Now, it’s just Favre. Javon Walker and Ahman Green are both out for the season which is bad news for a team that only had three better than average players entering the season to begin with. Throw in the fact that Najeh Davenport and Robert Ferguson are also out and you have to wonder who’s actually going to play for the Pack. I don’t think the loss of Green will be that big of a deal for the Packers. Green was averaging a couple feet per carry anyway so their running game really can’t get any worse. I think Tony Fisher is good for a couple feet. I don’t think I would ever pick against Favre in a line as big as nine points. Just this season alone, the Packers have lost by 2, 1, 3, and 3. I might learn to regret that stance but I’m taking Green Bay to score two meaningless fourth quarter touchdowns to cover.

DET -3 chi

If the Lions had Dre Bly, Charles Rogers, and Roy Williams for this game, I would take Detroit. Instead, the Lions have R.W. McQuarterpounder, Mike “not Roy” Williams, and Scotty “Too Hotty” Vines. The Lions were dreadful on offense against the Browns. This is going to be a low scoring snoozer. In that case, I’ll take Chicago to keep it close.

CAR -7.5 min

Out of the five Minnesota games I’ve picked this year, I’ve been right exactly zero times. That’s right. I’m 0-5. But, I found a pattern from my failures. The Vikings always cover at home and never cover on the road. This game is on the road. I don’t need to know anything else. I’ll take Carolina.

oak -1 TEN

I don’t know what to do for this game. Oakland on the road scares me. Randy Moss has not been the deep threat that we’re used to seeing. On the other hand, Tennessee got blown out by Arizona last week. McNair will be playing instead of Volek but I don’t think that means too much. I just have a feeling that Oakland is going to win this game. Thus, I’ll take the Raiders.

DAL -8.5 ari

There’s no question in my mind that Dallas is going to win this game. The question becomes, will it be a close game, or a blowout? Arizona isn’t a good team anywhere but I can only imagine that they are even a worse team on the road. On the other hand, Drew Bledsoe is terrible on the road but plays OK at home. Dallas needs a win bad. I’ll take Dallas to dominate this game.

HOU -2 cle

Let me get this straight; Houston hasn’t won a game yet and probably will be without their starting QB and their starting RB, and they’re favored? I understand that Cleveland is terrible but this game should be a PK at the very least. I’ll take Super Bowl winning quarterback Trent Dilfer to cover.

NO -2 mia

These games are brutal. I suspect that New Orleans will be psyched to play a game in the state of Louisiana. That makes me think that the Saints might actually play inspired football. Although, New Orleans could not beat the Rams last week who were missing Marc Bulger, Tory Holt, Issac Bruce and their head coach. Miami has issues scoring which combined with the inspired Saints might mean a rare good performance by Jim Haslett and Co. So, I guess I’ll go with New Orleans.

jax -3 STL

If I picked St. Louis to win this game, I would have nightmares every night until Sunday. As tempting as that sounds, I’d prefer to sleep soundly so I’ll take Jacksonville to overwhelm the undermanned Rams.


SD -6 kc

I am a bit surprised by this line. Kansas City is a legitimate contender to make the playoffs and they have a prolific offense. San Diego is very much like Kansas City. If this game were being played in KC, I suspect that the Chiefs would be favored by two. So, that means Vegas thinks playing on the road is an eight point disadvantage for KC. That’s quite a bit. I’ll take KC.

tb -11 SF

I don’t think anybody really knows what kind of team Tampa Bay will field with Chris Simms at quarterback. Part of the reason that they have been so good this season was the play of Brian Griese. Simms is no Griese. The only problem I have picking TB is that they aren’t a prolific scoring team no matter who is at QB. Still, after last week’s disaster, I don’t think I could take SF against a defense as good as Tampa’s. I’m reluctantly taking the Bucs to cover.

DEN -3.5 philly

Two weeks ago Denver was favored by three over New England and I followed my rule of never picking against New England in a spread of three or more. I lost, but I remained undeterred. I have a similar rule for the Eagles. Philly has already beaten Kansas City and San Diego. I think those teams are every bit as good as Denver. I’ll take Philly to cover on the road.

NE -9 buff

This is a pretty big line for the Pats. They’ve struggled lately in getting pounded by Denver and San Diego. Buffalo wasn’t any better against Oakland last week. I would probably take New England with a line of -5 but -9 is just too high. I’ll take the Bills.

PITT -10 balt

Pittsburgh is a complete team and Baltimore is a disaster. Pittsburgh is at home and Baltimore is on the road. Pittsburgh is completely healthy and Baltimore is without Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. I think this line is too small to be honest. I’m taking the Steelers.


My picks:

was
gb
chi
Car
Oak
Dal
Cle
NO
Jax
KC
TB
philly
Buff
Pitt

Coin Flip’s picks:

NYG
Cin
Det
Car
Ten
Ari
Hou
NO
stl
SD
TB
Den
NE
Pitt


Coin Flip Challenge Week 7 Results

I was scared heading in to last week’s games. I didn't have a good feel for any of the 14 games on the schedule. I was just hoping for a .500 record. Surprisingly, I entered the Monday night game at 6-7 with a chance to finish at .500 and dodge a big bullet. Unfortunately, the Steelers decided to bring their “D” game against the overmatched Ravens. As a result, I finished at 6-8. I’ve had worse weeks but if I’m to meet my goal of a +.500 season, I can’t have weeks like that. The good news would be that a). I minimized the damage by coming close to .500 and b). The Coin Flip had an equally unimpressive 6-8 record. As a result, there were no changes in the standings. I’m still up by seven games. Over the last six weeks, I am 37-31-2.

Here are the yearly totals:

Jake-------47-50-3
Coin Flip---40-57-3


Coin Flip Challenge Week 8 Picks

Of course, after I write an article stating that 80% of all Las Vegas lines this year have favored the home team, this week there are eight (!!!!) road teams that are favored. What are the odds of that? Even still, I’m much happier with this week’s lines than I was with last week’s nightmare. I was nervous about last week’s games and my nervousness proved to have merit as I sputtered to a 6-8 record. I don’t ever expect to win a game with the crazy things that happen in the NFL but I think there are some good picks this week. Hopefully I can put together a better than .500 week. If I’m going to do it, this is the week to get it done. After a few important weeks with big differences, this week doesn’t stand as big with nine similar picks. I guess if there’s good news, it’s that even if I get every pick wrong this week, I’m still guaranteed to be in the lead. Let’s hope (unless you hate me) that doesn’t happen.



det PK MIN

Now this line just isn’t fair. Detroit and Minnesota are two of the most pathetic football teams in the NFL. Neither team can do anything right except underachieve. They’re both very good at that. This might be the only coaching match-up of the year that Steve Mariucci has the advantage in. Charles Rogers and Roy Williams will likely return but it won’t matter since Mariucci and Ted Tollner are as conservative as the love child of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. The first team to three points wins. I think I’ll take Minnesota at home.

sd -6.5 NYJ

San Diego pummeled the New York Giants earlier this year and the Giants are twice as good as the Jets. A better way to look at it is a three-man tag team match featuring Drew Brees-Ladainian Tomlinson-Antonio Gates vs. Vinny Testaverde-Curtis Martin-Chris Baker. The Chargers should dominate this match-up and win by at least a touchdown. Picking Marty-ball on the road might come back to haunt me but the Chargers are the choice.

CLE -3 ten

I am surprised by this line. On one hand, you have a bad team that can’t score (the Browns). On the other hand, you have a bad team that can score (the Titans). The Browns just gave the Houston Texans their first win of the season last week. I’ll take the team that can score. The Titans should cover.

KC -4.5 oak

I’m beginning to despise Kansas City lines. KC could pretty much lose or win any game by ten points which makes it incredibly difficult to forecast the outcome. The Raiders are good enough to keep this game close but the Chiefs haven’t had a strong performance in a few weeks. I have a feeling that they’ll be on their game at home in a must-win game. I’ll take the Chiefs to win by six.

chi -3 NO

This game is just as brutal as the Cleveland/Tennessee game. New Orleans is terrible but whenever I think they have no chance, they end up winning. The only thing Aaron Brooks is good for is to anger millions of gamblers in America. He never has a good game until the 4th qtr, if that. I thought the Saints would come out strong against an offensively challenged Miami team last week since they were playing their first game in the state of Louisiana this year. Instead, they embarrassed themselves. My other choice is to take Kyle Orton on the road. He won in Detroit on the road last week which is akin to the Red Wings winning on the road against Alaska-Fairbanks. I’ll take the Bears. I just know whatever team I pick will implode.

cin -3 BAL

The Steelers made the Ravens look so much better than they actually are last week. The Ravens were without a). Ray Lewis, b). Ed Reed, and c). an offense. Yet, they still almost beat the Steelers on the road. However, the Steelers have struggled at home this year which makes the Ravens look a little less intimidating. I’ll take the Bengals to do what the Steelers should’ve done last week.

car -1.5 TB

Ok, I have to question Vegas on this one. Tampa Bay goes on the road against San Francisco (which has been 10+ point underdog four different times this year) and promptly loses and that earns them a miniscule + 1.5 line against an impressive Carolina team? Anything can happen in the NFL but this is the most favorable line I’ve seen all year. If I was a gambling man (and I’m not), I would ante up on this one. Carolina should easily cover. Unless, of course, you believe in Chris Simms.

JAX -13.5 hou

This is another line that seems a little awkward based on last week’s performances. The Jaguars went to St. Louis (who was without Bulger, Holt, and Bruce) and laid an egg. As a reward, Vegas gives the Jags a -13.5 spread over Houston? I don’t get it. The Jags have enough offensive troubles of their own. I’ll take the Texans to cover.

atl -2.5 MIA

I understand that road games are a whole different monster for NFL teams but if Atlanta isn’t 2.5 points better than Miami, then I don’t know anything anymore. I mentioned in my article NFL Road Rage that too many NFL teams roll over in road games simply because they don’t want to match the home team's energy. Well, I also added that road teams that know they’re better than the home team generally show up. In this case, I think Atlanta knows they’re better than Miami. So, I’ll take Atlanta.


nyg -11 SF

This is a tough game to call simply because the 49ers covered in a similar spread against Tampa Bay last week. However, I think that had more to do with Tampa Bay choosing to play the game without a quarterback. The 49ers are still terrible. The Giants aren’t the same team on the road but they’ve won four games this year by 17+ points. That tells me that the Giants drop the hammer on inferior teams. I’ll take the Giants.

sea -4 ARI

These two teams played already this year and Seattle won 37-12. So, yeah, -4 sounds reasonable. Vegas is dropping the ball on this game. Unless the Cardinals just signed the Fearsome Foursome circa 1970, they won’t be able to stop Shaun Alexander. Throw in the fact that you have Kurt Warner starting for the Cardinals without the services of Anquan Boldin and you have to wonder why this line isn’t -20. I’ll take the Seahawks.

pit -4.5 GB

The Steelers have been winning close games all year. They barely escaped by the hair on their chinny-chin-chins last week against a pathetic collection of serial killer (Ravens). The only way I would take the Steelers in a line of -4.5 is if the opponent was missing it’s pro-bowl wide receiver, pro-bowl running back, and back up running back while not having a defense. Oddly enough, the Packers are just that. But, it has come to my attention that the Steelers will be starting Charlie Batch at quarterback. While I think that the Steelers are a considerably better team than the Packers, I don’t think I have enough faith in Eastern Michigan University to take Batch on the road at Lambeau Field. I’ll take Green Bay.

WAS -3 PHI

Great. I wrote an article about how embarrassing Washington and Philly’s performances were for themselves and for the league and now these bozos square off against each other. Washington gave the worst performance I’ve ever seen in the NFL last week. They quit when Wellington Mara’s granddaughter was still singing the National Anthem. Maybe this week they’ll make it to halftime before quitting. On the other hand, the Eagles didn’t even starting playing until the 3rd qtr last week when they were getting destroyed in Denver. Throw in the fact that Philly might be without McNabb and TO is hobbled and you have to wonder if this game will end in a 0-0 tie. All I know is that this is a MUST win for Philly. I would like to think there is at least an ounce of professionalism on that team so I’ll take Philly to win and keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

ind -3 NE

The Colts really have no reason to win this game other than to prove to themselves that they can beat New England in Foxboro. The fact of the matter is that winning in Foxboro (and winning this game) really means nothing to the Colts. They’ll finish the season with the best record in the AFC and thus play all their playoff games in the friendly confines of the VCR Dome. It would not surprise me to see the Colts sluggish in this game. The only motivation they have is if they really believe they have a shot at finishing undefeated this year. With the teams left on the schedule, I think they do have a shot. I’m taking a leap of faith here but I think the Colts might play hard to maintain the perfect record and come away with the win.



My Picks:

Min
SD
Ten
KC
Chi
Cin
Car
Hou
Atl
NYG
Sea
GB
Phi
Ind


Coin Flip’s Picks:

Det
SD
Ten
KC
Chi
Cin
TB
Jax
Mia
SF
Ari
GB
Phi
NE


Coin Flip Challenge Week 8 Results

Week 8 of the Coin Flip Challenge was truly remarkable. Never in my wildest imaginations did I think that what occurred this week was possible. Out of fourteen picks, the Coin Flip managed to garner one correct selection. You read that right! The Coin Flip got 1 out of 14. I’m sure there are some math people out there that can give the actual odds of picking one out of fourteen correctly but I have to imagine that it’s at least 1,000 to 1. Since the Coin Flip doesn’t differentiate between the match-ups, the coin has a 50/50 chance of picking a game correctly. So, the Coin Flip’s feat is the same as flipping a coin fourteen times and getting heads 13 times and tails once. I don’t know exactly how to figure this out but I can give a ballpark figure. Since the Coin did get one pick correct, we’ll give him/her 1 out of 2 which is what the odds should be on any given flip. If we take 1 out of 2 picks away from 1 out of 14, that leaves us with 0 out of 12. So, I’m guessing that the Coin Flip’s fate is somewhere in the ballpark of the odds of flipping 12 straight heads which I think is 1 out of 4096. I’m confident that the actual odds are different (and probably a little less) than that but it has to be somewhat close. My math skills leave a lot to be desired so don’t trust anything I say. I do feel comfortable saying that the odds were astronomically low of picking 1 out of 14 games correctly.

Regardless, the Coin Flip truly defied the odds this week in achieving the worst pick selection I’ve ever seen in my life. In fact, I would doubt that there are too many people out there that have seen a group of picks that were this poor. If there’s someone out there that can pass along the odds of picking one correct game out of 14 selections, I’d appreciate it. To be fair, the coin did get a push in one of the games so it’s more like one out of 13.

Overshadowed by the Coin’s record setting week was my 8-5-1 week which I desperately needed. That was good enough to put me at .500 for the season which is an accomplishment in itself considering how terrible my first two weeks were. Over the last seven weeks, I am 45-36-3. Aside from my 10-19-1 debacle in the first two weeks, I’ve actually managed to put together a respectable season. In just three weeks, I went from a one game lead to a fourteen game lead thanks, in large part, to some very bad luck by my worthy opponent.

Here are the totals to date:


Jake--------55-55-4
Coin Flip---41-69-4


Coin Flip Challenge week 9 Picks


This week should provide a bit of a rest after an action packed couple of weeks. There are only five differences out of the 14 games so there shouldn’t be too much movement in the standings. However, this week takes on particular importance for me as it gives me a chance to climb above .500 for the first time all season. It’s amazing how big of a whole you can put yourself in just from two bad weeks (week 1 and 2). It’s taken me seven weeks just to get back to .500. Hopefully, I can break on through to the other side. I’m a little nervous about taking all fourteen road teams. That was not planned. I generally subscribe to the investment theory that it’s best to diversify. My picks are certainly not diversified this week. May the force be with me (and you too).


BUF -2.5 kc

The Kansas City Chiefs saved their season last week against Oakland with a gutsy last second call from the one yard line. They were without Priest Holmes but Larry Johnson filled in admirably as the Chiefs barely hung on. There is no question in my mind that KC is a better team than Buffalo. The only question is whether or not KC comes to play on the road. The bottom line is that if the Chiefs are going to make the playoffs, they can’t afford to fall any further behind the Broncos. I think Kansas City takes care of business this week.


was -1 TB

On one hand, you have a team that got destroyed 36-0 in their last road game. On the other hand, you have a team that’s on a two game losing streak having lost to San Francisco and Carolina since Chris Simms took over at QB. Tampa Bay was dominated at home by the Panthers last week. The question becomes, what’s more of a liability, the fact that Washington is on the road, or that Chris Simms is TB’s quarterback? I took the ‘Skins in their road game against the Giants and it was over in two minutes. I don’t want to give them another chance to burn me. But, until Simms proves he can win a game in the NFL, I’ll have to take Washington.

ne -3 MIA

There is no question that New England is hurting without Rodney Harrison. However, it’s important to remember that the team that beat New England last week was the best team in the NFL. Miami can’t hold a candle to Indianapolis. If New England has any chance to make the playoffs, they have to beat Miami and the rest of the teams in their division. I’ll take New England, and more importantly Tom Brady, to bounce back and cover the spread.

CHI -13.5 sf

There are six games this week with a spread of -8 or more. The bad news for me is that most of the teams with the large spreads are offensively challenged starting with the Bears. The Bears should never be a 13 point favorite over anyone. The Bears aren’t even a guarantee to score 13 points the whole game. As much as I hate to do it, I’ll take San Francisco to keep this within ten points.

NYG -10 min

If Daunte Culpepper were still Minnesota’s quarterback, I would take the Giants in a second. However, I think Brad Johnson gives the Vikes a better chance of winning. He’s a veteran with a good understanding of the offense. He has decent wide receivers to throw to and an average running game. With the NFC North being so bad, Minnesota has a reason to show up on Sunday. They’re still alive to make the playoffs. My guess is that this game will be closer than ten points. The last time I thought that about the Giants, they won 36-0. Hopefully, a repeat of that is not in store. I'm skeptically taking Minnesota.

DET -4 ari

Do the Lions really deserve to be four point favorites over anyone in the league? Granted, Arizona stinks but the Lions are spiraling out of control. They have no offense to speak of and the defense is missing some key starters. Four points is too much to give to a team that can score. I’ll take Arizona.

JAX -7 balt

Jacksonville got a big spread last week against Houston and anybody who follows the NFL knows that was way too much. Now, the Jags play a stout defense in Baltimore. Jacksonville might break out in one of these games but I can’t rationalize taking them in a spread as big as 7 over the Ravens until they prove they can score. Baltimore isn’t going to make the playoffs but they at least have the roster to keep things close against an offensively challenged team. I’m going with Baltimore.

IND -18 hou

Part of me thinks it’s crazy to take any team in an -18 point spread. There are so many things that can go wrong in a game. If Peyton Mannings gets hurt, there’s virtually no chance of the Colts covering. If Houston scores a few meaningless points against Indy’s second stringers in the 4th quarter, there’s a good chance that they game will be closer than 18 points. Then there’s the possibility that Houston could actually win. However, the Colts will be playing at home against a very bad team. Houston can’t score and they can’t stop anyone. The Colts can score a lot and they have a very aggressive defense. I’m torn on this game. I’ll take Houston to score a meaningless fourth quarter touchdown to cover.

CAR -9 nyj

The Jets had no business of covering against San Diego last week. Marty-ball cost me the game against a bad Jets team. I like Carolina a lot but the Jets have some good players that won’t give up on the season. I’ll take the Jets to come out with a strong effort and keep the game close.

den -3 OAK

I don’t trust Jake Plummer on the road. Having said that, Denver has just the remedy for Randy Moss and it’s Champ Bailey. Denver’s running game should give them enough to win the game and cover the spread. Oakland has played very well this season despite a less than appealing record. I may regret this pick but I’ll take Denver to keep rolling.

SEA -7 stl

Mike Martz, or the lack thereof, turned out to be the key to the Rams season. Not surprisingly, the Rams have turned their season around since losing their pass happy head coach. The new guy apparently understands that it’s unwise to NOT run the ball when you have one of the best 1-2 combo’s at running back in the league. Steven Jackson is a beast. Marshall Faulk apparently never got the memo that he was outdated and on the decline. With a weak schedule, the Rams could make a push for the playoffs. I’ll take St. Louis to cover this week.

ATL -9.5 gb

These Green Bay spreads are just ridiculous. Week after week, Green Bay is a big underdog. I inevitably have to decide how many points Brett Favre is worth. Green Bay has been hanging tough with very good teams lately. Atlanta wins games by controlling the game clock which will put a cap on how many points they’ll score. Green Bay should keep this game close. I’ll take Green Bay to stay within ten points.

PIT -8 cle

Pittsburgh has been terrible at home this year. They barely, and I mean barely, beat an undermanned Baltimore team at home two weeks ago. The Steelers should’ve crushed the Ravens. Throw in the fact that the Steelers will have Charlie Batch at quarterback and I think an 8 point spread is a little much. I’ll take the Browns to lose by 7.

PHI -3 dal

The Eagles might be happier without T.O. but they certainly aren’t better. There is no question in my mind that Philly would’ve beaten Washington last week with T.O. Dallas crushed Philly earlier this year with T.O. They should be able to handle a struggling Philly team without T.O. I’ll take Dallas to blow out Philly’s torch. The tribe has spoken.


My pick’s:

KC
Was
NE
SF
MIN
ARI
Balt.
Hou
NYJ
Den
Stl
GB
Cle
Dal


Coin Flip’s picks:

KC
TB
NE
Chi
Min
Ari
Balt.
Indy
Car
Den
Stl
GB
Pit
Dal


Coin Flip Challenge week 9 Results

I had high hopes going into last week’s games. Although I managed a respectable 7-7 week, I would’ve liked to break the .500 plateau in a week that I thought was one of the easier weeks of the season. The Coin Flip took advantage of the easy week to garner an 8-6 record and climb within 13 games of first place in the challenge. The only thing standing in my way of an above .500 record is the Jon Gruden two-point conversion call to beat Washington. It wasn’t meant to be so I have to regroup and come out swinging this week. Despite not being overly impressive this past week, I am still nine games over .500 over the last nine weeks at 52-43-3.

Here are the standings entering this week:

Jake--------62-62-4
Coin Flip---49-74-4


Coin Flip Challenge week 10 Picks

The Coin Flip challenge should really start to pick up now that there’s an extra game each week. We had been picking 14 games per week but that gets bumped up with the bye weeks out of the way. This week there are more differences than similarities which usually means it’s a pretty big week. We have eight different picks. There are a lot of big spreads this week which makes me a bit nervous. I have managed to get above .500 on three different occasions this year (all in the last three weeks) midway through Sunday. Each time the evening games didn’t fall my way and I fell below the marker when the day was over. Hopefully I can get a break or two this week and get above the .500 marker for a whole week.



car -3 CHI

The Bears have been almost as unimpressive as the Lions in their six victories this season. They have a good shot at becoming the worst playoff team in NFL history. Kyle Orton is a brutal quarterback. I would be surprised if the Bears hold off Minnesota for the NFC North Title. The Panthers, on the other hand, are killing teams. Steve Smith is making 40% of the Panthers receptions which is just ludicrous. I don’t see how the Bears can stick with Carolina. The pick here is Carolina.

jax -4 TEN

The Jags play an outclassed Titans team this week. Jacksonville has been in a similar situation two times in the past couple weeks. They totally blew a game against the Rams who were fielding a group of no-name backups. Then, last week, they dominated the Ravens. This game could really go either way. The Jags play to the level of the competition at times which makes them a gambler’s nightmare. However, Tennessee has been struggling recently. I’m reluctantly going with Jacksonville.

ind -6 CIN

I think it’s safe to say that Las Vegas loves the Colts. They are six point road favorites over a 7-2 team. I have a feeling that the Colts will have some Foxboro flashbacks this weekend. They probably feel pretty good about themselves for dismantling the Patriots at home. But, the Patriots are clearly not the same teams of years past. Cincinnati will be cold and very reminiscent of the environment that plagued the Colts at New England the last few years. Six points is a lot of points to give up to a team that can score like the Bengals. I think a field goal decides this game so I’m taking Cincinnati.

NE -10 no

I’m not sure how New England earned a ten point spread against New Orleans. The Patriots have either lost, or won close in virtually every game this year. They have one win by more than seven points. The Saints are abysmal no doubt. This is one of those games that I know whatever team I pick, the other team will inevitably cover. This is definitely the most difficult game I’ve picked all year. I’ve gone back and forth in my head for the last hour trying to decide who I want to pick. I have no idea how this game will play out. Will the Saints give up before the snap or will Aaron Brooks throw for 400 yards and keep it close? Aaron Brooks and Joe Horn are just stubborn enough to show up and lose by nine this week in Foxboro. But, if I take New Orleans and they don’t cover, I’m going to be kicking myself. So, the pick is New England.

STL -10 ari

Having their whole cast of characters healthy last week against the Seahawks didn’t seem to do the Rams a bit of good. They just don’t have a great team. A lot of their problems come from the defense but the offense has been disappointing as well. Whereas I don’t trust the Rams against any team with a pulse, I think they are the kind of team that will rout a bottom-feeder like Arizona. Plus, St. Louis is at home which could make this game ugly. I’ll take St. Louis.

ATL -6 tb

Before last week, I would not be surprised by this line. However, Tampa Bay and Chris Simms beat a pretty good Redskins team last week. They put up over 30 points against the ‘Skins powerful defense. I said last week that I wouldn’t pick Chris Simms until he proved he could win a game. He did that and more last week. Six points seems a little high to me so I’ll take Tampa Bay to keep this close.

WAS -6 oak

I’m definitely surprised by this line. The Raiders have been a tough out this year. The Redskins have had split personalities. I just don’t see how Vegas thinks Washington is a six point favorite. The Raiders can score and should keep it close. I’ll take Oakland.

DAL -8 det

This line is surprising considering that Detroit is finally healthy. I don’t expect the Lions to win this game but I would be surprised if they were blown out. Roy Williams has brought some respectability to the offense would should, in turn, open up the running game a little bit. The Lions have a tough defense which should also keep this game close. I’m taking Detroit.

NYG -7.5 phi

Are the Giants, at home, 7.5 points better than the Eagles without Donovan McNabb and T.O.? I think they are. My only apprehensions are that the Eagles still have a good defense and this is a divisional game. However, the Eagles are Filet Mignon right now and Mike McMahon isn’t going to change that. The Giants have been extremely impressive at home this season so I’ll take the NY Giants.

CLE -2.5 mia

I think Miami is a better team than Cleveland. I’ve been awful in Browns games this season. My record is an embarrassing 1-7. Whatever I’m doing in the Browns games is clearly wrong. The last time I was this bad picking one team was the Minnesota Vikings. I took a look at the Vikings trends and I covered two weeks in a row. So I’ll try to do the same with the Browns. Never mind that I think Miami is going to win this game, the Browns were in a similar situation with the Detroit Lions. They had a -3 point spread playing at home against Detroit. I thought the Lions would win straight up and I was right. Detroit and Miami are comparable teams. I have a similar feeling in this game so I’ll take Miami to cover.

SEA -13.5 sf

If this game were -14.5 I would have big time issues taking Seattle. It’s hard to win by more than two touchdowns in the NFL. All it takes are an off day from a quarterback or a hot fourth quarter by the opposing team for the underdog to cover. But, since two touchdowns would allow Seattle to cover, they seem like a good pick. Shaun Alexander has dominated the Cardinals twice this season and the 49ers having nothing on the Cardinals. Seattle should come out smoking at home against an overmatched defense. I’ll take Seattle and, more importantly, Shaun Alexander to cover.

SD -11 buf

My eyes just about popped out of my head when I saw this spread. I know San Diego is the better team and I know J.P. Losman sucks but Buffalo has a decent defense and a strong running game. I thought Buffalo would get a little more respect. There was a similar game just two weeks ago when San Diego was a heavy favorite over the Jets. There was every reason in the world for San Diego to cover and only one reason for them not to cover. That one reason is Marty-ball. It is for that reason that I have to take Buffalo.

DEN -13 nyj

I think this week has the biggest spreads of the season. There are five games with spreads of ten or more. The Jets have been an elusive correct pick for me this year. Whenever I think they’ll get blown out, they show up, whenever I think they’ll play hard, they get blown out. The Broncos dominated the Raiders last week at Oakland. That opponent was much tougher than the Jets will be this week. The Broncos play like Super Bowl champs at home so I’ll take Denver to bring down the hammer on the Jets.

pit -3.5 BAL

The happiest place in the world this week may just be the Ravens locker room. If nothing else, they get to beat the living daylights out of Tommy Maddox. The Ravens played the Steelers tough just a few weeks ago at Pittsburgh. Tommy Maddox’s only extended playing time this season was his overtime debacle against the Jags earlier in the season. I have a dilemma here. There’s no way I can pick Tommy Maddox on the road against a good defense. Conversely, there’s no way I can pick the Ravens in this game. So, I have to make a pick that I can’t do. That’s never a good sign. I’m going to pretend that Tommy Maddox isn’t the quarterback this week and pick the Steelers to cover.

kc -6.5 HOU

The wheels have fallen off KC’s wagon. Not only has their defense been a bit disappointing, but their offense has been even more disappointing. They can’t score through the air or on the ground. They’re just a disaster right now. Houston, on the other, hand, has been fairly competitive lately. They have covered three straight spreads. This is a tough one because KC will break out offensively if only for one game. If it’s this game, then they’ll cover for sure. The Chiefs are still a respectable 5-4 on the season. They still have slim hopes for the playoffs. If there’s any professionalism on the KC team at all, they will show up and take care of business against a terrible Houston team. I’ll take Kansas City to cover.

Coin Flip Challenge week 10 Results

I almost opted to bypass the “results” for the Coin Flip Challenge for this past week since I’m embarrassed at my performance. I had to go 3-1 in the last four games just to get to 6-10. I fear that I missed on my one chance to get over .500 for the season. There’s really only one way to put it and it’s that I blew it. The Coin Flip wasn’t too impressive either at 7-9. I have to say that there are a few teams that make me sick just thinking about them. I lose every week on any games that involve Cleveland, Baltimore, Miami, New Orleans and St. Louis. I am a combined 11-33-1 in games involving those teams. I almost want to just take the “loss” so I don’t have to play the guessing game since I know I’m going to get it wrong. If it weren’t for those five teams, I would be 18 games over .500! Five teams are the difference between me being four games under .500 and 18 games over. I have no idea why I can’t get a handle on those teams. It’s ridiculous. I have no excuse other than that I’m clueless. Do I start picking opposite of what my initial thoughts are since my initial thoughts have been wrong 75% of the time, or do I keep going with my initial thoughts with the thinking that the odds are that I'll eventually turn it around and start picking some correct games with these teams? I’m hopeful that I can still achieve one of my goals by beating the Coin Flip. I still have a 12 game advantage but my heart is with getting above .500. Hopefully I can bounce back next week.

On to the season totals:

Jake:----------68-72-4
Coin Flip:-----56-84-4


Coin Flip Challenge week 11 Picks

This week is probably the most important week of the Challenge so far this year. If I have another bad week like last week, my goal of reaching +.500 for the season pretty much goes up in flames. The Coin Flip decided to copy off of my picks this week since we shared 9 of 16 picks. Judging from how the Coin Flip has done this season, I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing to share that many picks. I’m not very confident with my picks this week. Once again, Cleveland, Baltimore, New Orleans, St. Louis and Miami leave me with no idea how their games will turn out. My fate lies in their hands. If I can solve the mystery, I could be in for a good week. Happy Thanksgiving!



atl -3 DET

The “Lions always play tough on Thanksgiving”-slogan probably needs to be retired for the near future. The Lions don’t play well on any day and last year’s drubbing by Indianapolis should be proof. On the other hand, Atlanta is precisely the kind of team that Detroit could beat. In fact, the Lions match up pretty well with any team from the NFC North. Remember, the Lions lost by one to Carolina and barely lost on a controversial call to Tampa Bay. Atlanta is a ball control team. They won’t put up too many points. If I had any faith, whatsoever, in the Detroit Lions, I would take them to cover. But I don’t and I won’t. I’m taking Atlanta.

den -2.5 DAL

These team teams are mirror images not only in how they match-up this season, but also how they match-up over the course of their franchise histories. Denver’s All-Time NFL record is 326-234-6 (.580 winning %) with six Super Bowl appearances. Dallas’ All-Time NFL record is 415-307-6 (.574 winning %) with eight Super Bowl appearances. Both teams have questionable quarterbacks that have played well above their means this year. They both have successful veteran coaches who rely on the running game. And most importantly, both teams start with the letter “D”. Denver has been playing way too well as of late and it almost seems like they’re do for an “off” game. Dallas should be well-motivated playing their annual Thanksgiving game at home. I’ll take Dallas with not very much confidence.


KC -3 ne

The Chiefs have been on a roller coaster ride all season long. They stole a game at home on a gutsy last second call to beat Oakland. Then they got blown out against a poor Buffalo team. They bounced back by torching Houston on the road. I don’t know how a team that got blown out so badly by the Bills can all of a sudden be a -3 favorite over New England. My gut tells me that New England will show up and keep this game close. Since they’re liable to pull off the win, I’ll go with New England.

CIN -9 bal

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I can’t pick a Ravens game for the life of me. Some weeks they show up and other weeks they roll over like my dog when presented with a Scooby Snack. The Bengals should be sufficiently ticked off after blowing their chance at beating the Indianapolis Colts. The Ravens couldn’t score if they were in the same room with Jennifer Lopez the day after a divorce. I doubt they’ll start this week. I’ll take Cincinnati to lay a whoopin’ on the Baltimore Brian Billicks.

car -4.5 BUF

Carolina got punk’d in Chicago last week. I got a chance to watch the whole game and the Panthers should be embarrassed. They were dominated by the Bears in every phase of the game. Jake Delhomme looked like Demetrius Brown against MSU. The running game was non-existent and the defense looked like they were on ice skates against Kyle Orton. Judging from last week, there’s no way Carolina covers this spread. Judging from the rest of the season, they should be a good bet. Buffalo followed up their impressive win against the Chiefs two weeks ago with an abysmal performance against the San Diego Chargers. There is one caveat to all of this though. The Chiefs game was at home and the Chargers game was on the road. This game is at home so Buffalo should make some noise. I’ll take Buffalo to keep it close.

TB -3 chi

This Bears team is almost an exact carbon copy of the 2001 Bears team that came out of nowhere to win 12 games. That team was quite possibly the worst 12-win team in NFL history. This year’s version is easily the worst seven-win team in the league. I just don’t believe the Bears are that good. On the other hand, Tampa Bay has beaten Washington and Atlanta to weeks in a row. Combine that with Kyle Orton playing on the road and I have to go with Tampa Bay.

sd -3 WAS

I am very wary of the San Diego Chargers on the road. This is exactly the kind of game that looks like a no-brainer on paper until the game starts. You can tell immediately that the road team is flat and the home team is going to have a strong afternoon. As much as I feel like I should go with Washington, how on Earth can the Redskin offense keep up with San Diego? It shouldn’t be possible. I’ll take San Diego and regret it on Sunday.

MIN -4.0 cle

Minnesota has won three games in a row since Brad Johnson took over. Apparently that hasn’t earned them much respect in Las Vegas. They find themselves only 3.5 point favorites over the Cleveland Browns at home. I can’t stand the Browns. I can’t get the Browns right no matter how I reason my pick. Minnesota hasn’t been very impressive on offense despite their win streak. That makes me nervous about taking them as 4.0 point favorites. On the other hand, Cleveland is horrible on the road. I’ll take Minnesota in a game I will almost certainly lose.

TEN -8.0 sf

Tennessee is another team that I can’t stand. I’m 3-6 picking Titans games this season. I have no idea when they’re going to show up or when they’re going to “mail it in”. San Francisco has been playing teams tough lately including this past week against Seattle. I will most surely live to regret this pick but I’ll take San Francisco to keep this game close.

stl -3.5 HOU

My first inclination is to just take the loss for this game. It doesn’t matter which team I pick, the other team will cover. I would bet on it. I’m not even sure I want to comment on this game since it’ll be a waste of time. Instead, I’ll use this space to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Also, don’t eat too much. It’s not what you eat that’s the problem, rather how much you eat. If you need to unfasten your belt, you’ve gone too far. I’ll take St. Louis.

jax -3.0 ARI

The Arizona Cardinals were the direct recipients of a gift-wrapped victory courtesy of the St. Louis Rams. Kurt Warner is putting up some impressive numbers. Now that Anquan Boldin is back, the Cardinals should continue to be respectable. The Jags on the other hand are hanging on by the flab of Byron Leftwich’s gut against very poor teams. They should be dominating teams like Tennessee but every week they squeak by. I expect them to continue that trend this week against Arizona. As much as I’d like to take Arizona to show up, the Jags have to put a complete game together one of these weeks. I’ll take Jacksonville.

OAK -7 mia

Miami lost 22-0 to Cleveland last week. Oakland is slightly better than Cleveland. So, Oakland should be at least 22 point favorites this week. Miami is terrible. They should be embarrassed by their performance on Sunday. I don’t have a whole lot of confidence in Oakland but I have even less confidence in Miami on the road. I’ll take Oakland.

SEA -4.0 nyg

This game could really go either way. Seattle should’ve dominated San Francisco so that is a cause for concern. The Giants should’ve crushed the Eagles. Philadelphia gave them every opportunity to run away with that game and they couldn’t. The Giants have been a totally different team on the road. Seattle should put up some points at home. I’ll take Seattle.

PHI -5.0 gb

Las Vegas seems to have a lot of confidence in Mike McMahon. He looked OK at times against the Giants. However, the quarterback dual pits Brett Favre vs. Mike McMahon and Brett Favre is getting 5 points. When you look at it that way, it seems like a bad line. I’ll take Green Bay to keep this game close.

no -1.5 NYJ

Does this game really need to be played? Could the NFL fans be spared this pending disaster? Maybe these teams could agree on a tie before the game. That way, nobody loses. The Saints are ridiculous. The Jets are terrible. The Jets have actually lost respectably at home this year while the Saints have lost terribly on the road. I’ll take the NY Jets with zero confidence.

IND -8 pit

If Tommy Maddox were the quarterback for the Steelers this week, I’d take Indy -10. Early indications say that Big Ben will be back. The Steelers have a good defense and a ball control offense. That should be enough to keep Pittsburgh within eight points. I’ll take Pittsburgh to keep it close.


My pick’s

atl
DAL
ne
CIN
BUF
TB
sd
MIN
sf
stl
jax
OAK
SEA
gb
NYJ
Pit



Coin Flip’s picks

atl
den
KC
bal
BUF
chi
sd
cle
sf
HOU
jax
OAK
SEA
phi
NYJ
pit


Coin Flip Challenge week 12 picks

MIA -4.5 buf

I can’t pick Miami games for the life of me. I lost another one last week to bring my record to 3-7 on the season. It’s safe to say that I don’t have a clue when picking a Dolphin game. They shouldn’t beat Buffalo by more than four points no matter where the game is played. The Bills, on the other hand, have been abysmal on the road this year. The Dolphins looked good against Oakland last week (which apparently isn’t saying much) and I’m not sure if it’s because Oakland is terrible or if Nick Saban lit a fire under Miami’s rear-ends. On a different note, can any news source in the world match ESPN’s ability to make the news? Saban said he was more focused on getting the Dolphins better rather than being concerned with their record. What a novel concept for a team out of the playoff race looking towards next year. Yet, ESPN spent hours covering the comments as if they were taken straight from the Devil’s mouth. As for my pick, Buffalo can’t score on the road. Miami seemed to get things going last week. I’ll take Miami.


PIT -3.5 cin

If I judge this game on how each team has performed against the Colts year, then I’d have to take Cincinnati. These two teams played at Cincy earlier this year with Cincy having all of the momentum. Pittsburgh came out and busted the Bengals in the mouth. Pittsburgh will be looking to make amends for its performance in Indy last week. But, it is not crazy to think the Bengals could win this game. Throw in the fact that Big Ben is hurt and you don’t have to think too hard to imagine the Bengals covering the spread. I’ll take Cincinnati.

BAL -8.5 hou

If I took Baltimore with a line this big, I would be downing jars of Pepto-Bismal just to get to bed on Saturday night. I know the Texans are bad but 8.5 points? That seems a little bit over the top to me. As for Lions fans, we really want Baltimore to win this game. I’ll take Houston to keep it close.

IND -15 ten

This game definitely requires a leap of faith. It’s a leap that I’m willing to take. I’ll go with the Indianapolis to dominate Tennessee at home. As for the Colts and going undefeated, I think it’s going to happen. Then again, I thought Minnesota was going to do it in 1998. The Colts have three tough games left in; Jacksonville, San Diego and Seattle. Indy should win all of those games with the toughest one (SD) being at home. There has been a lot of discussion about whether Tony Dungy should play his starters in the final game of the season against Arizona if the Colts are 15-0. This is a no-brainer to me. In my opinion, going undefeated in the regular season is very, very close to winning the Super Bowl. In most cases, nobody cares how a team does in the regular season but no team has ever gone 16-0 in the NFL regular season. The Colts would be remembered by history many times over in the same manner that the ’72 Dolphins are. If you’re that close to NFL immortality, you have to take the chance even if it means risking a unnecessary injury. Plus, the Colts should be able to dominate the Cardinals in the first half leaving the second half to the second-stringers.

jax -3 CLE

It’s been a fad lately to pick against the Jags to make the playoffs. I don’t know where this started but clearly whoever started it didn’t look at their remaining schedule. The Jags get to beat up on Cleveland, San Francisco, Houston and Tennessee. The Jags should win all four games giving them a 12-4 record. Even if they lose one game, they’ll be at 11-5. There is no doubt that Jacksonville is going to the playoffs. It's unfortuante that strength of schedule has played such an important role in the NFL this year. In my opinion, the six best teams in the AFC are Indy, Denver, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Kansas City. However, NewEngland will get in because they play in the worst division in football and Jacksonville will get in because there schedule is the inverse of KC and SD's. At any rate, the Jags should pound Cleveland this week. I’ll take Jacksonville to cover.

NYG -3 dal

Normally I would go with Dallas without hesitation. The problem I have with picking Dallas is that the Giants have been so good at home this year and Drew Bledsoe is a ticking time bomb on the road. This game should be relatively close but I think the Giants will get the running game going and take care of business in one of the most important games in the NFC this year.



CHI -7 gb

I don’t know where this line came from. Out of GB’s nine losses, two have come by more than seven points. Brett Favre has kept the Pack in games all year. Just as a side-note, Green Bay, despite only being 2-9, has outscored its opponents. Has that ever happened before? Chicago’s defense is great but the offense has only scored more than 20 points one time in the last seven weeks and only twice all season. Chicago might win by more than seven but the odds are against it. I’ll take Favre to be a pain in Chicago’s side.

min -2 DET

So, Dre Bly and Jeff Garcia think that Steve Mariucci would still be around if Garcia hadn’t broken his leg? That’s like saying that Bob Huggins would still be coaching the Cincinnati Bearcats if nobody ever invented beer. Garcia’s injury had minimal impact on the season. The problem with the Lions offense was with Steve Mariucci and his partner in crime, Ted Tollner’s pre-historic offense. I feel sorry for Bly that he left St. Louis to live in obscurity with the Lions but that doesn’t give him the license to make ridiculous statements. Garcia obviously loves himself at the quarterback position. However, anyone who has been paying attention realizes that Garcia has brought a big pile of nothing to this team. I’ll take Minnesota to keep winning.

CAR -3 atl

Carolina is at home which is good news considering what happened to them the last two weeks on the road. The Panthers were embarrassed by the Bears in Soldier field two weeks ago and barely escaped with a win at Buffalo. Just three weeks ago Carolina was the darling of the NFC. It’s amazing how fast a two game road trip can change everything. Here’s the deal with Atlanta, they’ve played 11 games this year and they’ve only lost ONE game all season by more than three points. I could take this one of two ways; a). they’re due for a loss of more than three points or b). it’s not a fluke but a trend. Unfortunately for me, I think it’s both. This game could go either way but I’ll take Atlanta because they have Vick, they play close games, and they might actually win the game.

tb -3 NO

New Orleans could very well pull an upset in this game. Crazier things have happened. However, this line is ridiculous. Tampa Bay should (and I emphasize “should”) put the hammer to New Orleans with its suffocating defense. Chris Simms has been up and down but he should be steady enough to not screw up this game for Tampa Bay. I’ll take Tampa Bay to win by 3.1 points.

ari -3 SF

This is another line that is surprising. These two teams have already played once and Arizona won by 17 points. I thought that would happen then and I think something similar will happen now. In fact, San Francisco has been at least a nine point underdog in every game since the last time these two teams played. Arizona was favored by 2.5 when they played on October 2. Apparently that 17 point blowout didn’t register with Vegas. Arizona has a fairly potent offense. Kurt Warner has been putting up big time numbers lately with one of the better receiving corps in the NFL. San Francisco is just terrible. I’ll take Arizona to take advantage of this rare occasion to dominate a team.

was -3 STL

I still have nightmares about picking Washington -3 on the road against the Giants earlier in the year. I am very confident that the Rams are nothing close to the Giants so hopefully there won’t be a repeat. This is a toss-up game with both teams being extremely unpredictable throughout the season. The wildcard in this game might be Rams rookie QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. All he did was lead the Rams to victory after falling behind by 21 points. He also threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Complicating matters is the fact that I don’t even know if Fitzpatrick is the Rams starter. I can see the Rams throwing Jamie Martin back in the mix for no good reason. The Rams are just too good on offense to get blown out and the Redskins debacle against the Giants is still weighing heavily on my mind almost two months later. I’ll take St. Louis.

NE -10 nyj

The Patriots are definitely ten points better than the Jets. The question is whether or not they care to be ten points better. The Pats seem to be content on doing just enough to beat teams. They aren’t dropping the hammer like they used to. It seems like they’re in “rope a dope” mode just to get through the regular and get everyone healthy for the playoffs. On the other side, the Jets haven’t lost by less than ten points to any team on the road this year. They’ve lost by; 20, 10, 10, 13, 27 and 27. It would be only fitting if I went with the trend by taking New England only to have the Jets show up on the road for the first time all year. I’m going to risk and take New England.

den -1.5 KC

I was on the Kansas City bandwagon to start the season. This team has players all over the field. They have good units on offense, defense and special teams. Then, something happened. The Chiefs were dominated by the Buffalo Bills. Nothing spells disaster more accurately than a drubbing by the Bills. I still have that nasty taste in my mouth. Buffalo was a 2.5 favorite in that game which was ridiculous. The Chiefs should’ve been favored by at least 4 points. They should’ve blown on the Bills. I really think I’ve developed some sort of Post Traumatic Chiefs Disorder (PTCD) after that Bills game. Then last week came. With the Bills game fresh on my mind, I thought for sure that the Chiefs would get tested and possibly beaten by the Patriots. Instead, they put together one of the more impressive showings by any team in the league this year. Where was that in Buffalo? This is exactly what I was talking about in my NFL Road Rage post. I’ll take the Chiefs in an attempt to face my PTCD head on. I respect Dr. Leo Marvin and all but no “Baby Steps” for me.

SD -10.5 oak

The Chargers will be 9-4 after victories in the next two weeks. At that time, they’ll have three huge games left to make the playoffs; at Indianapolis, at Kansas City and Denver. The Chargers have to win at least one of those games and they’ll probably have to win two. I just don’t see it happening. The Chargers are clearly one of the better teams in the NFL but I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs. What a bummer. Anyhow, Oakland is a disaster. They were dominated by Miami (yes, Miami) in Oakland last week. My first inclination is that this line is too big. But, who do the Raiders actually have on defense? Warren Sapp and Charles Woodson are out for the season. That’s not good against the Chargers. I’ll take San Diego.

sea -3.5 PHI

Seattle is funky. The one thing they’ve done consistently this year is win. There has been nothing consistent about how much they’ve won by. They’ve won four games by three points or less and they’ve won four games by 14 points or more. I still have a lot of respect for the Eagles’ defense. They have a lot of veterans that are still playing hard despite being out of the playoff race for the first time in years. The difference in this game should be Seattle’s aggressive defense against former Lion great, Mike McMahon. I’ll take Seattle to cover.


Coin Flip’s picks

buf
PIT
BAL
IND
CLE
NYG
CHI
min
atl
NO
SF
was
NE
den
SD
Sea

My picks

MIA
cin
hou
IND
jax
NYG
gb
min
atl
tb
ari
STL
NE
KC
SD
sea


Coin Flip Challenge Standings:

Jake --------75-80-5
Coin Flip—--63-92-5

Coin Flip Challenge Week 13 picks


For one week, I figured out the secrets of the NFL. In what can only be described as a miracle (or luck), I went 12-4 last week. I fully expect to be penalized by the gambling Gods this week for doing so well. So, while my success might be short lived, I would be remised if I did not celebrate like I was voted The Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine. So, pardon me for a second, WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOO! Ok, back to reality. The playoff races are getting good in the NFL. Kansas City and San Diego are making last second pushes to get into the playoffs. The NFC East is a Giant mess. The Vikings look to complete the most improbable of turnarounds. The Colts are chasing immortality. Things are exciting in the NFL. With that, I leave you with my destined-to-be-wrong picks for week 14.


CAR 5.5 tb

Jon Gruden may have been impressed with Tampa Bay’s win over New Orleans last week but I definitely was not. The Bucs beat the Saints 10-3. If Tampa can’t score more than ten points against New Orleans on the road, then I doubt they’ll manage to score enough points at Carolina. These two teams played earlier in the year at Tampa Bay. Carolina dominated both sides of the ball in routing the Bucs. I expect a similar game this time around. This is the biggest game of the season for Tampa. They are one game behind Carolina in the standings. A win would pull the Bucs even in the standings and avoid going 0-2 against the Panthers on the season. A loss virtually eliminates Tampa from winning the division. A loss would also put Tampa in a tie with Atlanta should Atlanta beat New Orleans. Carolina showed last week against Atlanta how much better they play at home. Carolina should win this game and stay in the hunt for the #1 seed in the NFC.


ne -3 BUF

The Patriots aren’t as good as they’ve been in the past. As a result, they are getting no respect, whatsoever, from the odds makers. I can understand Buffalo getting some credit for playing at home but New England plays its home games under the exact same conditions. Buffalo has been abysmal as of late. They blew a 21-0 first quarter lead last week against Miami. This game has zero impact on the playoffs. New England is going unchallenged in the AFC East and Buffalo is just going through the motions to finish out the season. The Bills may play better on the road but New England should dominate this game.

MIN -7 stl

I don’t like this spread already. Any game that involves St. Louis is not a good game to bet on. Also, any game that has Minnesota more than a four point favorite is also not a good game to bet on. I took St. Louis at home last week to keep things close against the Redskins. That didn’t work out too well. So, I have a dilemma. Do I go with Minnesota as a heavy favorite, or St. Louis is a heavy underdog? The Vikings are not only in the playoff race via the NFC North but they are also in the running for a Wild Card spot. That seemed impossible to imagine just six weeks ago. There is a very good chance that two teams from the NFC North will make the playoffs. Just six weeks ago, it seemed likely that the winner of the division might finish below .500. Crazy. I must be honest, I will get the pick wrong no matter which way I go so I’ll be stubborn and take St. Louis to score a meaningless touchdown with one second left.

PIT -6 chi

Chicago’s luck is about to run out. Only two teams in the NFL (Tampa Bay and Indianapolis) have had an easier schedule this season. The combined winning percentage of Chicago’s opponents is a paltry .431. I applaud the Bears for taking advantage of the opportunity but that doesn’t change the fact that they might be the worst 9-3 team in league history. I’ll give them credit for having a decent defense but I think that is mostly a function of playing Detroit (2), Baltimore, New Orleans, San Francisco, Cleveland, and Green Bay among others. Pittsburgh is finally healthy and playing at home. This should finally be the week that the Bears get smacked around. Hopefully, after this week, we can all stop hearing the comparisons to the ’85 Bears. Also, don’t be surprised if the Bears don’t make the playoffs. There’s a very good chance that the Bears could go 1-3 in their last four games (if not worse) and lose the division to Minnesota. Pittsburgh should roll.

oak -3 NYJ

How does Marques Tuisasosopo garner a three point spread on the road? It could only happen against the New York Jets. Even though the Jets are terrible, I have to question the spread considering that the Raiders are without their starting quarterback and two All-Pro defenders. Plus, the Raiders were blown out at home by Miami two weeks ago. Miami isn’t that much better than the Jets. In all honesty, this game could go either way but when in doubt, go with the home team and go against an inexperienced quarterback on the road. I’ll take the NY Jets to beat the Raiders.


ind -8 JAX

One thing I’ve come to realize in picking NFL games against the spread is that my first inclination is usually correct. It’s when I start over analyzing that I get myself into trouble. My first thought on this game is that Indy will cover. I know that Jacksonville plays the Colts tough etc. but I’ve seen the Jags play quite a few times this year and I’ve not been impressed once. The Colts are going to make life miserable for David Garrard. The Jags don’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Colts. I’ll take Indianapolis to finally demolish Jacksonville and get that much closer to an undefeated season. Jacksonville doesn’t need to win this game with gimmes against Houston, San Francisco, and Tennessee left on the schedule. The Jags will be in the playoffs leaving San Diego, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City fighting for the last spot.


TEN -7 hou

Houston has covered the spread as an underdog in four of the past five weeks. This week should be no different. The Texans should be able to score against a weak Titans defense and keep this game close. The Titans have had a miserable season and need to figure out what they want to do with the quarterback position. If Steve McNair doesn’t retire after this season, Congress might have to pass a law forcing him to retire. Billy Volek has shown flashes of brilliance (especially for my fantasy team last year) but you have to be able to throw the ball to someone other than Drew Bennett to make it in the NFL. If the Titans aren’t sold on Volek, they might look to take a quarterback in the first round. If that’s the case, they would be better off losing this game. However, I think Tennessee they’ll pull out a squeaker against the Texans.

CIN -12.5 cle

If Cincinnati doesn’t show up this week, Cleveland will give them a game. However, the Browns have only covered the spread as an underdog in one game this season. Cincinnati has been on a roll lately having scored at least 37 points in three straight games. Throw in the fact that Cincy beat Cleveland by two touchdowns already this year and you have all the makings for a blowout. I’ll take Cincy to keep rolling with a dominating win over the Braylon-less Browns.


was -3.5 ARI

I put Washington on probation for five weeks after that embarrassing 36-0 loss to the NY Giants. Slowly, but surely, Washington has regained my confidence. They physically dominated St. Louis last week on the road. Arizona is very similar to St. Louis. They’re a soft team with no defense. Washington preys on teams like that. Kurt Warner has been putting up 300+ yards on a routine basis ever since Anquan Boldin came back. Washington needs to win this game to have any chance at making the playoffs. The Redskins should climb back into the playoff race with a big win over Arizona.

nyg -8 PHI

If there’s one thing that Lions fans have going for them, it’s that Mike McMahon is not the quarterback in Detroit. Unfortunately for Philly fans, they cannot say the same. Nobody could’ve predicted before the season started that the Eagles would lose their three premier offensive players. Replacing Donovan McNabb, T.O., and Bryan Westbrook are the glorious threesome of McMahon, Greg Lewis and Lamar Gordon. The only thing Philly has on its side is that this is a home game against a team that doesn’t play its best football on the road. I might regret this pick but the Giants might have too much offensive firepower for Philly to keep this game close. I’ll take the NY Giants to run away with this thing early. On a side note, ESPN’s Trey Wingo was just going over “bad” losses that might keep teams from making the playoffs. They included San Diego’s loss at Philadelphia among the bad losses. Never mind the fact that Philly was 4-2 at the time and still had McNabb, Westbrook and T.O.

SEA -15.5 sf

These same two teams played just a few weeks ago with Seattle as a 12 point favorite. I took the Seahawks with confidence and was shocked to see San Francisco almost win. A sixteen point spread should only be reserved for the Indianapolis Colts. I really have no idea which way to go here. Seattle should play with confidence at home and blow out SF but you can blow out a team in the NFL and not win by 16 points. San Francisco has done a good job of not getting blown out recently but I think that’s just a product of who they’ve played. Chicago, Tennessee, and Arizona are not exactly NFL powerhouses. I’m going to take a leap of faith here and go with Seattle to score at least forty points. Barring an upset, Seattle should hold of Carolina for the #1 seed in the NFC. They should easily go 3-1 in their last four games to finish 13-3.

SD -13 mia

I can already tell that this is going to be a bad week for my picks. The spreads this week are ridiculous. There’s no way that I can reasonably predict whether a team is going to win by 14 points. This is where picking against the spread really becomes a craps shoot. A trend that I’ve noticed this year is that home teams usually blow out inferior teams. Miami is certainly an inferior team. I’ll take the leap of faith once again and take San Diego to dominate Miami. As far as San Diego’s playoff chances, there is one spot left. That spot will go to either SD, Kansas City or Pittsburgh. The Steelers have, by far, the easiest schedule of the three teams. They should have no problem going 4-0. That would mean that SD and KC would both have to go 3-1 at a minimum which is not going to happen. Pittsburgh will sneak into the playoffs.


DEN -14.5 bal

When I think of Baltimore playing as an underdog on the road, I think of its week 10 performance at Jacksonville. The Ravens lost 30-3. Denver is better than Jacksonville in every phase of the game. But, I also think of Baltimore’s near victory over Pittsburgh in week 8 as a 12 point underdog. The Ravens have been a little bit better on offense recently. Combine that with a tenacious defense and you have a recipe for a closer-than-expected game. I’ll take Baltimore to stay within two touchdowns. I do not feel good about this pick.

DAL -3 kc

Kansas City was impressive last week against Denver but it’s important to remember that they were playing at Arrowhead. The Chiefs are the biggest culprit in the NFL in terms of how they play at home compared to the road. The Cowboys are a decent team but they aren’t good enough to blow away a team like Kansas City even when they’re playing in Dallas. The Cowboys need a win but not as bad as the Chiefs do. If KC has any chance of making the playoffs, they have to win this game. I’ll take KC to keep this game close and possibly win.

GB -6 det

I would pay $20 out of my own pocket to guarantee a Lions loss in this game. Unfortunately, I think the odds are closer to 50/50 as to who wins. The Lions have been terrible but Green Bay has the ultimate one man show. Green Bay has basically turned its game-plan into snapping it to Favre and throw deep on every play. I feel for Favre because he obviously still has the talent to play. His refusal to play for any other team pretty much spells the end to his career. Nobody sticks around to lose. Green Bay won’t be winning anytime soon so Favre’s career is basically done. As a Lion fans, it pisses me off to see a guy that good retiring. He could take 80% of the teams in the NFL to the playoffs. Unfortunately for him, he’s stuck on one of the few teams that nobody could take to the playoffs. I’ll take Detroit to do something stupid and keep this game close.

ATL -10.5 no

Atlanta hasn’t beaten New Orleans by more than seven points in their past ten meetings. My guess is that Michael Vick’s ball control offense keeps Atlanta from opening up big leads. New Orleans has a comeback quarterback in Aaron Brooks. Brooks only plays well in the fourth quarter which stinks for Saints fans and gamblers alike. The Saints almost always make games closer than they are by scoring late in blowouts. My guess is they’ll do the same here. New Orleans should lose by ten points or less and cover.


Standings to date:

Jake---------87-84-5
Coin Flip-----72-99-5




My picks

CAR
ne
stl
PIT
NYJ
ind
hou
CIN
was
nyg
SEA
SD
bal
kc
det
no

Coin Flip’s picks

tb
BUF
MIN
chi
NYJ
ind
hou
CIN
ARI
nyg
SEA
SD
DEN
kc
GB
no


Note: This post has gotten so long that it takes me 15 minutes just to copy and paste each week into this post. So, the last four weeks won't be in this post. If you're interested in reading the posts for those weeks, you can find them in my archives.

The Coin Flip Challenge Final Tally


I have returned from the land of Queens and Pasties. Oddly, I find myself not having too much to say so I’ll do something I forgot to do last week as well as write a little bit about the NFL playoffs. First, I neglected to pass along the final tally of the Coin Flip Challenge. The final standings looked like this:

Jake--------118-113-9
Coin Flip---100-131-9

I clearly dominated the Coin Flip in the challenge but was my success enough to make money? Not quite. Assuming that all bets were $110 to win $100 (the $10 goes as commission to the bookmaker), I would’ve lost $630 on the season had I wagered on every game. The break even point would have been 121-110-9. I missed that by three games.

The Coin Flip, on the other hand, would have lost $4,410.

1 comment:

Lombaowski said...

Is that why they call you "Big Stakes Jake" out in LV? Man I can't believe you'd put the Rose jersey up for grabs.

 

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