Friday, December 09, 2005

NFL week 14 predictions

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:

Coin Flip-----72-99-5

My picks


Coin Flip’s picks


1 comment:

DomHyo said...

are you as surprised as me that the lions are on sunday night football?anyways i cant see them winning in green bay even though the packers have been struggling worse than the lions this year.


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