Super Bowl XLIX

Yeah, I know, it’s the Super Bowl on Sunday. How exciting, right? Except, this time I really do not feel that enthusiastic about it.  Why is that? Let me see…

Seahawks 28, Packers 22 (OT)

To be fair, if Brandon Bostick hadn't gone for the ball, Jordy Nelson only had AN EASY BLOODY CATCH
To be fair, if Brandon Bostick hadn’t gone for the ball, Jordy Nelson only had AN EASY BLOODY CATCH

AKA, the biggest collapse you can imagine in an NFL game, as Green Bay managed to throw away a 19-7 lead, WITH THE BALL, and only five minutes remaining.  How did they do it? Well firstly an interception where, for some reason, Morgan Burnett just decided to slide before midfield when he had AN OPEN FIELD IN FRONT OF HIM AND HE COULD HAVE ENDED THE GAME; then a bad series, with a 3 and out; a collapsing defense gives up two touchdowns in one drive (one called back because Marshawn Lynch was an inch out of bounds); a fucked up (sorry for the swear, but what other word could you use) onside-kick recovery; another collapsing defense; and then worst of all, Aaron Rodgers calls TAILS…oh because “Tails never fails”, Aaron? Shall I tell you who would have called Heads, British Aaron Rodgers, and he’d have insisted it was the Queen’s Head on an English Pound Coin.  (Just kidding, I still want to get rid of the monarchy).  Oh and we had the ball at the one yard line twice in the first half, yet only got a total of six points from those two drives.  GAHHH.  Needless to say, when I’ve been wearing Packers gear around in the last two weeks, I’ve got many comments, mostly disbelief in the result and that I’m still displaying my fandom.

Anyway, Seattle are the reigning champions, very unlikeable for the above victory, Pete Carroll being Pete Carroll, Marshawn Lynch acting like he’s better than talking to the media; the number of their players who have been suspended for performance enhancing drugs over the last three years; their overrated home crowd who were basically silent before the fake field goal touchdown (which I did not even mention above, because it should have been a footnote to the victory); and a million other reasons. So, let’s hope their opponents are someone worth rooting for…

Patriots 45, Colts 7

New England deflated Indianapolis’ chances by airing out the football, as Tom Brady threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns.  The Patriots ensured there was not too much pressure on them by racing into an early lead, then inflating their score in the second half.

Yes, the Patriots cheated (STOP THE PRESSES!!!!!) and had their balls too low.  I mean the pressure in their footballs was too low. Or a little bit. And it might have been deliberate.  Either way, they could have played perfectly, honorably and with great panache, I still would not want a Boston team to become champions in any sport, so this was not a deciding factor.

Actually, it was because I now want New England to win the Super Bowl, because even if they do, it will still be somewhat tainted, just like the Red Sox 2004 World Series win is by the number of players from that squad who have been implicated in PEDs since then.  So, enjoy Patriots fans, I’m putting a big asterisk next to this Super Bowl victory.

Prediction:

*P*a*t*r*i*o*t*s* -1* over Seahawks

Conference Round, 2-0; Playoffs 8-2

 

NFL Conference Round

I do not really want to talk about this weekend’s NFL games.  It’s become too important suddenly.  The Packers are a game away from a return to the Super Bowl, which would be just their fourth since I have been a fan (I started following them and the sport in the early 1990s) and second since I’ve been living in the United States.  Potential success is so close, yet there is such a big obstacle in the way: I do not want to listen to previews, I do not really want to write about it – I just want time to pass as quickly as possible so that the kick off can happen and I can sit there for three and a half hours, watching from behind my hands.  I really do not want to talk about it, because I think that Green Bay are going to win and I do not want to dare type that out loud.  Not because I believe in jinxes (I do not) or that I could have any affect on the game, but just I really want to be right about this.  Still, let’s look at what happened last weekend, starting with the Packers.

Nearly...
Nearly…

Green Bay 26-21 Dallas Cowboys

The game was basically clinched when Dez Bryant dropped a throw from Tony Romo on the one yard line with four minutes to play…what? Okay so it was probably a catch, despite what the letter of the law said, but a couple of points that were not forthcoming in the furore over the reversed call:

  • With more than 3.5 minutes remaining, Aaron Rodgers would definitely have gotten the Packers into at least field goal range and the way he was playing that second half, would have gotten a touchdown to win it in all likelihood.
  • Because of that first point, it was a ridiculous play call from the Cowboys, who should have run on 4th and 2 not least to limit the amount of time Rodgers would have had to respond. They did not need that big play at that time, regardless of it looked like a catch to anyone not in a zebra suit.
  • Dan Bailey’s missed field goal towards the end of the first half was just as important to the Cowboys loss.  If he makes it, Dallas goes in 17-7 up at the half (they would have kicked off and the Packers would not have had such good field position to start), instead it was 14-10.
  • People did not mention enough about how well Green Bay played because of that call: Rodgers was superb in the second half – ON ONE LEG!; Julius Peppers – who many dismissed as overrated when he signed as a free agent from Chicago – made a great play to force a fumble from DeMarco Murray; and Davante Adams made a superb catch and run for a touchdown, completely bamboozling the Cowboys defensive back.
  • In 2012, the Packers lost in Seattle thanks to a ridiculous catch call that was made by the replacement refs, which was the start of the Seahawks incredible home-field performance.  This time, the Bryant non-catch was correctly ruled incomplete (per the rules of the game) and now Green Bay gets to go into Seattle and end their NFC dominance in front of the 12th man. Boy, I’m pumped up for this game, let’s move on to the other contests from last week.

Continue reading

NFL Divisional Round Preview

There are just eight teams left in the race to be crowned Super Bowl champions in Arizona next month.  Before looking at this weekend’s divisional round, here’s what happened in the opening four playoff games:

  • The Cardinals will not become the first team to win the Super Bowl at home, as they managed just 78 yards of offense and were beaten 27-16 by the Panthers.  The victory meant that Carolina joined Seattle – whom they face this Saturday – as the only teams to win a playoff contest after finishing the regular season with a losing record.
  • Flacco led the Ravens to an upset victory in Pittsburgh over the Steelers
    Flacco led the Ravens to an upset victory in Pittsburgh over the Steelers

    Baltimore shocked the Steelers in Pittsburgh, as Joe Flacco once again upped his game in the postseason and led the Ravens to a 30-17 victory.

  • For the fourth consecutive year, the Bengals made the playoffs but lost their opening game, as they were defeated by the Colts, 26-10 in Indianapolis.  Cincinnati were without their best wide receiver, AJ Green, as well as their tight-end, Jermaine Gresham, but Andy Dalton was simply outplayed by Andrew Luck, who threw for 376 yards and a touchdown.
  • Dallas came from 20-7 back to beat the Lions 24-20 and advanced to the Divisional Round.  Much was made of a picked up flag with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter that reversed a pass interference call that would have kept a Detroit drive alive.  However, the lack of discipline of the Lions’ defense was what cost them: in the game-winning touchdown drive for the Cowboys, they committed penalties on third down that kept the chains moving.

Divisional Round Predictions

Last week, 4-0; Playoffs, 4-0

Home teams in bold

Ravens +7 over Patriots

I fully recognize this could be a huge blowout for New England and the Ravens looked far from convincing over the last month of the season.  However, they played a fantastic game against Pittsburgh last week and they have a history of performing well both in the playoffs and specifically against the Patriots.  Also, it is nearly a month since New England played a good game: they were lucky to edge past the Jets in Week 16 when they were still playing for the number one seed; rested starters and lost to Buffalo in Week 17, then had a bye week.  That is a long time to have gone since playing particularly well and it could result in Brady and company being somewhat rusty in the first half of this contest.

Seahawks -11 over Panthers

Not sure how high they would have to make this line for me to take Carolina in Seattle.  Part of me, as a Packers fan, wants the Panthers to cause an upset, but I also want Aaron Rodgers to be able to prove himself against the best, which would mean going through the Seahawks.  Regardless of my preference, the Panthers are only .500 for the season thanks to the win over the Cardinals and their third string quarterback in the Wild Card round – this will be a very one-sided contest.

Packers -5.5 over Cowboys

Yes, Dallas are 8-0 on the road. Yes, Aaron Rodgers might be hoping around on one leg. Yes, I’m terrified of seeing Matt Flynn warming up on the sidelines.  No, I’m not taking the Cowboys under any circumstances.  Go Pack Go!

Broncos -7 over Colts

Peyton Manning against his old team; Andrew Luck versus the man he took over from at quarterback for the Colts.  The truth is, Manning did not look the same in the second half of the season, but he just got to rest for the first time since Denver had their bye in week 4.  I really wanted to find a way to pick Indianapolis in this contest, but I do not think they will be good enough to beat the Broncos on their own turf.

 

 

 

 

NFL Wild Card Weekend

This weekend sees the start of the NFL playoffs, as we have reached the point where there are just eleven games left to play in the 2014 season.  Before getting onto my predictions for each of those games, here’s a quick rundown of the main action from Week 17:

  • Baltimore labored to victory over the Browns, but their eventual success was enough to earn them the 6th seed in the AFC, as the Chargers were beaten by the Chiefs.  The win for the Ravens meant that both Kansas City and Houston were eliminated, despite having victories in their final contests of the season.
  • The last thing Packers wanted to see last Sunday, but Rodgers now has a week of rest
    The last thing Packers wanted to see last Sunday, but Rodgers now has a week of rest

    Seattle clinched the number 1 seed in the NFC, despite struggling in the first half of their game with the Rams.  Green Bay earned the other bye in the conference, as Aaron Rodgers overcame a leg injury to lead the Packers to yet another home victory over the Lions.

  • Carolina won in Atlanta to claim the NFC South with an unimpressive record of 7-8-1.  However, they get to host the flailing Cardinals in the opening round of the playoffs, so a sub-500 team could once again win a postseason game, just like the Seahawks did in 2010.
  • Tampa Bay rallied from a 20-7 fourth-quarter lead over the Saints to lose 23-20 and guarantee for themselves the first pick in the this year’s draft.  It was a particularly impressive defeat as it required New Orleans to: a) score 9 points inside the final 2 minutes; and b) not tank themselves so as to avoid having to face quarterback – and likely number 1 pick – Marcus Mariota twice a season for the next decade.
  • I ended the regular season with a 7-9 week picking against the spread, to bring my final total to 133-123.

Wild Card Weekend Predictions

Home teams in bold

Panthers -4.5 over Cardinals

Although Carolina ended the season with a losing record, compared with Arizona’s 11-5 mark, the two teams have been on opposite trajectories over the last month.  The Cardinals will be forced to start Ryan Lindley in this playoff game and, despite the strength of their defense, I do not think they will be able to score enough points to beat the Panthers.

Ravens +3.5 over Steelers

In week 9, Pittsburgh beat the Ravens by 20 points and Ben Roethlisberger threw for six touchdown passes.  However, the weather in western Pennsylvania calls for snow and ice on Saturday night, plus the Steelers will be without their star running back, Le’Veon Bell, due to injury.  Also, Joe Flacco has a proven track record on the road in playoff games and I think that Baltimore will pull off an upset.

Colts -6 over Bengals

Not only is AJ Green a doubt for this game with a concussion, but to pick Cincinnati, you would have to believe that Andy Dalton can win in the postseason, on the road no less.  I will take Indianapolis and Andrew Luck over the Bengals, especially since they beat them 27-0 earlier in the season.

Lions +8 over Cowboys

My upset special for the opening weekend: I think that not only will Detroit cover in this game, but they will win outright and progress to face Seattle in the divisional round.  Maybe it is just that, as a Packers fan, I would rather face the Cardinals or Panthers next week than the Cowboys, but I think that the Lions’ defense will cause issues for Dallas.  Add to that the fact that most people were tipping the Cowboys to be one of the worst teams in football before the season began, so everything is gravy from here-on out; Tony Romo’s ability to capitulate, despite his strong showing in December; and the fact that DeMarco Murray has already carried the ball 392 times in 2014, I think Detroit has a great shot this Sunday.  Of course, it will mean that Matt Stafford will have to beat a winning team on the road for the first team in his career (0-16 to this point).

 

NFL 2014 Week 17 Picks

The Falcons celebrate being not quite as bad as the Saints in 2014
The Falcons celebrate being not quite as bad as the Saints in 2014

It is the final weekend of the regular season in the NFL, which means that after Sunday, there are only 11 more meaningful football games until next September.  With that in mind, here are the main things that are up for grabs heading into the final weekend of the campaign.

  • The NFC South title – the only one of the six playoff berths not decided in the NFC, either Carolina or Atlanta will end up hosting a postseason game, despite the fact that neither can finish with any more than 7 wins.
  • The five NFC teams who have already booked their place in the playoffs are all jockeying for position.  Seattle, Arizona and Green Bay can all still realistically end up with the first seed, with the Seahawks having the inside track to home field advantage throughout January.  The Packers will be at least the 2 seed if they beat the Lions, but if they lose they could drop to the 6 seed and face a visit to the Cowboys – who will almost certainly be the 3 seed – for Wild Card weekend.
  • Five AFC teams have also already claimed a spot in the postseason, with New England guaranteed the 1 seed and Denver able to claim a first week bye if they can beat the Raiders at home.  Should the Broncos slip up, the Bengals can grab the second seed in the Conference by winning in Pittsburgh, but a loss would put the Steelers as the 3 seed and force Cincinnati to play their opening game of the playoffs on the road.
  • The final available Wild Card spot can still be won by any one of four teams: the Chargers, Chiefs, Ravens and Texans.  For Kansas City to make it, they need to beat San Diego then hope Baltimore and Houston both lose their contests.  If the Chargers win they are in, the Ravens need help from the Chiefs and to beat the Browns, while the Texans need to beat the Jaguars, then root for Cleveland and Kansas City.
  • The top spot in the draft will also be decided this weekend, with the Buccaneers facing the tough prospect of needing to lose to the woeful Saints to clinch the worst record in the league.  There could be a lot of coaches finding themselves out of a work come Monday, a day notorious for firings in the NFL.
  • I also have the opportunity to finish with an above .500 record picking against the spread for the fourth season out of four I have been making predictions.  Current record is 126-114, so only a 2-14 week or worse would prevent me from finishing with a winning record.  That being said…

Predictions

Last week, 9-7; Season, 126-114

Home teams in bold

Patriots -3.5 over Bills

Bears +6.5 over Vikings

Ravens -8.5 over Browns

Washington +6.5 over Cowboys

Colts -7.5 over Titans

Chargers +2.5 over Chiefs

Dolphins -5.5 over Jets

Saints -3.5 over Buccaneers

Giants -2.5 over Eagles

Texans -9.5 over Jaguars

Falcons -3.5 over Panthers

Broncos -14.5 over Raiders

Packers -7.5 over Lions

Seahawks -12.5 over Rams

49ers -5.5 over Cardinals

Steelers -2.5 over Bengals

 

NFL 2014 Week 16 Picks

The Bills overcame the Packers to keep their playoff hopes alive
The Bills overcame the Packers to keep their playoff hopes alive

We are down to the last two weeks in the 2014 regular season and, in the NFC, five teams are playing for four available playoff places, with three teams still in contention for the South division; while in the AFC, three teams have already clinched their place in the postseason, with nine teams playing for the other three bets, but only six of those have a realistic shot.  Here is a few of the highlights of Week 15, before getting to this weekend’s picks.

  • Buffalo’s defense proved their worth as they held the Packers to just 13 points and intercepted Aaron Rodgers twice, as the Bills overcame Green Bay to keep their playoff hopes alive.
  • Arizona clinched their playoff spot with a 12-6 Thursday night victory over the Rams in St. Louis.  Despite being reduced to their fourth string quarterback with an injury to Drew Stanton, the Cardinals defense looks like a unit that could keep any team in check and gives them a chance to beat anyone, especially at home.
  • Dallas beat the Eagles 38-27 on Sunday night, but if they lose at home to the Colts this weekend, they could still enter Week 17 with their own playoff chances out of their own hands.
  • Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears have been so bad this season that a defeat at home to the New Orleans Saints means that the highly paid quarterback has been benched for this weekend’s game against the Lions and is unlikely to start under center for the team ever again.
  • Detroit sit atop the NFC North at 10-4, but four of their wins have been by four points or fewer.  In all likelihood, to win their division the Lions will need to win in Green Bay in Week 17, something they have not done since 1992.
  • In the AFC, Indianapolis, Denver and New England have all now clinched their divisions, while the remaining three playoff spots could be taken by AFC North teams, as the Bengals, Ravens and Steelers could all still be playing January football.  Cleveland look done, despite not being mathematically eliminated, as Johnny Manziel put up a big fat zero on the scoreboard and threw three interceptions in his first start for the Browns last Sunday.
  • The Thursday night matchup this week is between the Jaguars and the Titans – combined record: 4-24.  Think we can miss that one this time.

Predictions

Last week, 7-9; Season, 117-107

Home teams in bold

Jaguars -3.5 over Tiatans

Washington +8.5 over Eagles

Chargers +2.5 over 49ers

Falcons +6.5 over Saints

Lions -6.5 over Bears

Browns +4.5 over Panthers

Packers -10.5 over Buccaneers

Steelers -3.5 over Chiefs

Dolphins -6.5 over Vikings

Patriots -10.5 over Jets

Ravens -4.5 over Texans

Rams -5.5 over Giants

Bills -5.5 over Raiders

Cowboys -2.5 over Colts

Cardinals +7.5 over Seahawks

Bengals +3.5 over Broncos

 

 

 

 

NFL 2014 Week 15 Picks

Rodgers throws a touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson on Monday night as the Packers stayed perfect at home in 2014
Rodgers throws a touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson on Monday night as the Packers stayed perfect at home in 2014

The first of the Week 15 games kicks off in just over half an hour, so a quick look at the current playoff chances for each team by conference, before getting to the weekly picks.

AFC:

Out – Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars

Almost certainly in – New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos (all three can clinch berth this weekend)

Dueling out for the North – Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens (latter have to win all three of remaining games and hope neither Steelers nor Bengals do the same).

Wild Card Race – Most likely: Bengals/Steelers/Ravens (the two that do not win the division); San Diego Chargers. Outside chance: Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns.

NFC:

Out – Washington; New York Giants; Chicago Bears; Minnesota Vikings; Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Almost certainly out – San Francisco 49ers, who must win in Seattle this Sunday to have any chance remaining of making the playoffs.

Almost certainly in – Green Bay Packers (can clinch place with win over Bills); Detroit Lions (two easy games prior to Packers matchup in Week 17).

Battle for the North – Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles – winner this weekend in first place, but Cowboys face Colts next week.

Battle for the West – It would take a cataclysmic collapse for the Cardinals to miss out as they sit at 10-3 and 11-5 should be enough to clinch a wildcard at least.  The Seahawks are looking like the team that rode a strong defense to the Super Bowl last February however, and the two meet next weekend in Arizona.

Stumbling to the South – Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers (latter least likely as Cam Newton is out following a car accident this week).

Wild Card Race – Whoever is second in the NFC North between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers should get one berth.  The other is between the losers of the division races in the East and West, with Dallas most at risk to miss out altogether.

Week 15 Picks

Last week, 7-9; Season, 110-98

Home teams in bold

Rams -3.5 over Cardinals

Steelers -2.5 over Falcons

Bills +5.5 over Packers

Browns +0.5 over Bengals

Colts -6.5 over Texans

Chiefs -10.5 over Raiders

Patriots -7.5 over Dolphins

Washington +6.5 over Giants

Buccaneers +5.5 over Panthers

Ravens -13.5 over Jaguars

Chargers +3.5 over Broncos

Titans +1.5 over Jets

Lions -7.5 over Vikings

49ers +9.5 over Seahawks

Cowboys +3.5 over Eagles

Bears +2.5 over Saints

 

 

 

NFL 2014 Week 14 Picks

Calvin Johnson now has the record for touchdown catches on Thanksgiving
Calvin Johnson now has the record for touchdown catches on Thanksgiving

There is just a quarter of the regular season remaining and so the race for the 2014 NFL playoffs is heating up.  Here are some of the highlights from the Week 13 action:

  • After losing nine consecutive Thanksgiving Day contests, the Lions won their home contest for a second year in a row, beating the Bears 34-17.
  • There was no such home success for either the Cowboys or 49ers on Turkey Day; Dallas lost 33-10 to the Eagles, losing pace in the NFC East and keeping them in with a chance of finishing 8-8 for the fourth straight year; while San Francisco were beaten 19-3 by Seattle, who had won by the same scoreline the week before against Arizona.
  • Here’s the game I really want to talk about of course, the Packers beat the Patriots 26-21, in a contest many were projecting as a preview to the Super Bowl.  Aaron Rodgers played superbly, as did the Green Bay defense, causing Tom Brady to go on two separate sideline rants. Or, according to Bill Simmons on his weekly podcast with Cousin Sal, the Patriots stayed vanilla to avoid showing the Packers anything ahead of a rematch in February.  That’s why Brady wasn’t too upset I guess…
  • Two points significantly swung the AFC North: Cincinnati hung on to beat the Buccaneers 14-13, surviving thanks to Tampa Bay having 12 men on the field on a play that would have set up a potential game-winning field goal; then the Chargers came from behind to beat the Ravens 34-33 in Baltimore.  With the Steelers losing at home to the Saints and Browns being beaten in Buffalo, the Bengals are now in pole position to win the most competitive division in the NFL this year.
  • The NFC is starting to shape up, with only nine teams still in realistic contention for a playoff place. One out of the Falcons and Saints will make the playoffs from the South,  then there are seven teams battling for five spots in the other three divisions: Green Bay, Detroit, Seattle, Arizona, San Francisco, Dallas and Philadelphia.  Because so many of the contenders face each other, both the Packers and Lions can put themselves in a very strong position prior to their Week 17 meeting.  At 7-5, the 49ers are favorites to be one of the two teams to miss out, but since they play Seattle and Arizona in the final four weeks, they still have their destiny somewhat in their own hands.
  • By comparison, the AFC is congested and the 6-6 Texans are just a game back of six teams tied on 7-5 for the second wild card spot.  The only four AFC teams who are out of playoff contention have won either 1 or 2 games each.  With 12 teams going for the postseason, there are of course many match ups over the next four weeks between two teams trying to make the playoffs.  Over recent weeks, the Patriots have been drafted in as one of the two potential top seeds in the AFC, but if they were to lose in San Diego this weekend (where the Chargers are 5-1 in 2014), and the Dolphins beat the Ravens at home, then next week’s contest between New England and Miami would be for the lead in the AFC East.  I still think the Patriots will win that matchup and the division, but there is still plenty of opportunity for the seedings to shift significantly.

Week 14 Picks

Last week, 8-8; Season, 103-89

Home teams in bold

Bears +3.5 over Cowboys

Steelers +3.5 over Bengals

Colts -3.5 over Browns

Lions -9.5 over Buccaneers

Titans +0.5 over Giants

Rams -2.5 over Washington

Dolphins -2.5 over Ravens

Jets +5.5 over Vikings

Panthers +9.5 over Saints

Texans -4.5 over Jaguars

Broncos -9.5 over Bills

Cardinals -0.5 over Chiefs

49ers -7.5 over Raiders

Seahawks -1.5 over Eagles

Chargers +3.5 over Patriots

Packers -11.5 over Falcons

 

 

 

 

 

NFL 2014 Week 13 Picks

Bend it like Beckham
Bend it like Beckham

It’s Thanksgiving tomorrow, so let’s not mess around here! A couple of quick points about last week’s games before I make my picks for the weekend, then go and brine the turkey.

  • Oakland won a game. Against the Chiefs who were coming off a victory over the reigning Super Bowl Champions.  But mostly, the Raiders won a game.
  • Cleveland beat Atlanta to move to 7-4, while the Falcons fell to 4-7.  However, the Browns are bottom of the AFC North and Atlanta are top of the NFC South.
  • Eli Manning overthrew a receiver – not for the first time – but Odell Beckham was able to catch the ball anyway, yet the touchdown did not help the Giants who lost to the Cowboys in New Jersey.
  • That might be the most understated sentence you will find about that catch on the whole of the internet.
  • Green Bay and New England continued to look like the strongest contenders in each of their divisions and the two meet at Lambeau Field this Sunday.
  • The Jets vs Bills game in Buffalo had to be moved to Detroit on Monday night, which has resulted in my favorite stat of the year: the Bills have the same number of wins in Detroit (2) so far this season, as they do in Buffalo.
  • That turkey will not prepare itself so onto the picks.

Week 13 Picks

Last week, 8-7; Season, 95-81

Home teams in bold

Bears +7.5 over Lions

Cowboys -2.5 over Eagles

Seahawks +0.5 over 49ers

Bills -1.5 over Browns

Bengals -3.5 over Buccaneers

Texans -6.5 over Titans

Colts -9.5 over Washington

Raiders +7.5 over Rams

Panthers +2.5 over Vikings

Steelers -3.5 over Saints

Jaguars +2.5 over Giants

Ravens -5.5 over Chargers

Falcons +2.5 over Cardinals

Packers -3.5 over Patriots

Broncos -1.5 over Chiefs

Dolphins -5.5 over Jets

 

 

NFL 2014 Week 11 Picks

Fast becoming a legend for Green Bay, Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler
Fast becoming a legend for Green Bay, Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler

Some quick notes on last week’s action before my picks for this weekend’s NFL games:

  • Aaron Rodgers tied the record for touchdown passes in a half as he threw six in the first thirty minutes of the Packers’ thrashing of the Bears, while he also set a new mark for most career TD passes over 70+ yards in NFL history with his 16th.  By contrast, Chicago’s quarterback, Jay Cutler, is now 1-10 in his career against Green Bay and has thrown 22 interceptions in those contests.
  • Tony Romo returned from his back injury – despite having to sit on an eight hour plane journey to London – to lead the Cowboys to victory over the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.  They remain a game back of the Eagles in the NFC East, as Philadelphia had a comfortable win over the Panthers on Monday night, with Mark Sanchez making his first start for them under center.
  • San Francisco kept their season alive with an overtime victory in New Orleans, leaving the Saints with a 4-5 record, but still top of the mediocre NFC South and seemingly heading to host a playoff game.
  • With less than three minutes to go in the first half, the Raiders led the Broncos 10-6 in Oakland.  With a minute to go of the third quarter, Peyton Manning had thrown for five touchdowns in just over 16 minutes of game time and Denver had a 41-10 lead.
  • I officially cannot figure out the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Following a poor start that saw them heavily beaten by the Ravens and Browns, plus being the only team to lose to the Buccaneers (not to mention struggling to a win over Jacksonville; they then put up 124 points in three weeks and had big victories over the Ravens and Colts.  Then last Sunday, they lost to the Jets, who had not won since the opening week of the season.
  • Arizona still have the best record in the NFL as they moved to 8-1 with a victory over the Rams, but they also lost their starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, for the season with a torn ACL.  They will now throw the keys to Drew Stanton and they have a tough test this weekend as they host the 7-2 Lions.

Week 11 Picks

Last week, 5-8; Season, 77-70

Home teams in bold

Dolphins -5-5 over Bills

Falcons +1.5 over Panthers

Bears -3.5 over Vikings

Bengals +6.5 over Saints

Texans +3.5 over Browns

Broncos -9.5 over Rams

Chiefs -0.5 over Seahawks

Giants +4.5 over 49ers

Buccaneers +6.5 over Washington

Raiders +10.5 over Chargers (Shock of the week: Oakland’s first victory of the year)

Lions -1.5 over Cardinals

Packers -5.5 over Eagles

Patriots +2.5 over Colts

Steelers -5.5 over Titans (Pittsburgh will win by 30 points or lose by 4. I have no clue which)