2016 Presidential Election Prediction

After I covered the election four years ago so extensively, this time around I’ve not written a single word about the campaign (at least not the real life one, and in main part because my favored candidate lost in the Primaries, but you can read my novel about a fictional Presidential campaign, available here). There has been so much that could have been said, but at this point, the only thing left is to figure out who will win. Somehow, it’s close, but who is going to get the 270 electoral college votes needed to become the next President of the United States.Clinton, Trump pick up big wins

Let’s start with the states that are definitely going to vote for someone who made a mistake with an e-mail server; has remained loyally married to a philanderer; and who is fiscally center-right:

Definite Clinton Wins (If she loses any of these, you can turn off the coverage early):

Electoral College vote total in brackets

California (55); Oregon (7); Washington (12); Illinois (20); New York (29); Vermont (3); Massachusetts (11); Rhode Island (4); Connecticut (7); New Jersey (14); Maryland (10); DC (3); Hawai’i (4); Delaware (3) (Total ECVs – 182)

Now onto those that are definitely going to vote for the misogynistic, racist, kn0w-nothing, bullying, sex predator:

Definite Trump Wins (If he loses any of these, you can break open a bottle of champagne):

South Carolina (9); Georgia (16); Alabama (9); Mississippi (6); Arkansas (6); Louisiana (8); Texas (38); Oklahoma (7); Kansas (6); Missouri (10); Idaho (4); Montana (3); Alaska (3); Arizona (11 – don’t believe the hype, this is staying red); Utah (6 – nor about Utah, the third party affect will diminish on election day); North Dakota (3); South Dakota (3); Wyoming (3); West Virginia (5); Kentucky (8); Tennessee (11); Indiana (11); Nebraska (5) ((Total ECVs – 191)

That’s a lot of states for someone who, and I cannot emphasize this enough, knows literally nothing about politics and expresses no interest in learning. It’s a lot of electoral college votes for someone who cannot finish a sentence, other than saying “it’s going to be great, it’s going to be amazing, it’s so great, bigly, bigly, bigly.”

So, in the definite states, Trump leads 191 to 182 in the Electoral College. Let’s move on (I should point out, I have not worked out my prediction to the finish yet so I don’t know who I’m going to end up prognosticating as the winner).

States I’m Pretty Confident of the Outcome, but not 100% Certain

Maine – Split Clinton 3, Trump 1; 

Clinton – New Mexico (5); Colorado (9); Minnesota (10); Wisconsin (11); Michigan (16); Virginia (13)

Trump – Iowa (6); Ohio (18); New Hampshire (4)

Add all of those to where we were before and the race looks like this:

Trump 220 – Clinton 248

With four states to go…Nevada, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Now obviously, if Nevada and North Carolina went to Clinton and the other two went to Trump, we would end up with a tie in the electoral college. However, I do not think Clinton will win either of those two, and I actually think the only one she might win of the four is Pennsylvania. However, even that is in jeopardy, despite her lead in the polls, since a transit strike in Philadelphia could significantly affect turnout. However, lets say Clinton does win that one and the other three go to Trump – this is how the electoral college votes would stand:

Clinton – 268; Trump 270.

I hope I’m wrong, I genuinely do – perhaps the early voter reports from Nevada suggesting large numbers of Hispanic people are showing up to cast their votes will help Clinton win the Silver State. We shall see. If I am right and Trump does become elected the next President, there will of course be serious consequences, but one thing that must be accepted is that conventional wisdom around elections is no longer valid. In the UK, in 2015, there was supposed to be no clear winner of the general election, yet the Conservatives gained significant ground and now enjoy an outright majority. Plus in June, most people expected “Remain” to win in the Brexit referendum, yet leave triumphed by quite a healthy margin in the end.

The one thing you can do to affect the outcome: if you have a vote, use it.

 

 

 

 

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Premier League Roundup and Preview – City beat Chelsea

Last Sunday, Manchester City recorded their second 3-0 victory in as many games to start the season and propelled themselves to the top of the early table.  What made this win all the sweeter for City was the fact that the opponents they vanquished were the reigning champions, Chelsea.

Aguero scores City's first in their commanding win over Chelsea
Aguero scores City’s first in their commanding win over Chelsea
City controlled from the outset and Sergio Aguero missed three early chances, two of which were well saved by Asmir Begovic, playing in goal for the Blues in place of the suspended Thibaut Courtois. Just after the half hour mark, Aguero did finally break the deadlock and gave his team the lead with a well taken goal.  Jose Mourinho opted to remove John Terry from his back line, the first time he had substituted the club captain in a league match in either of his spells in charge at Chelsea.  In the end, the change made no difference and two late goals from Vincent Kompany and a cracker from Fernandinho made the scoreline as convincing as the performance had felt throughout.

Or, if you believe Chelsea’s website and Mourinho, City were very fortunate to come away with a victory and the turning point was a Ramires’ goal being incorrectly ruled out for offside. Maybe I was watching a different game, but I thought that Manuel Pelligrini’s men were impressive, while Chelsea put in their third (including the irrelevant Community Shield) consecutive weary looking performance of the young campaign and really need to improve if they are to have any chance of repeating their success from last season. To help their chances, they  have added Pedro to their attacking ranks, as he signed from Barcelona in midweek, choosing the London club over Manchester United, who had previously shown interest in signing the Spaniard.  One final note, the best moment of the game for me was when Chelsea’s replacement medical staff – in for the sidelined Doctor and physio who Mourinho vilified for daring to enter the pitch in the opening week when Eden Hazard was feigning injury – came on to treat a player and the City fans sang that they would be “sacked in the morning”.

Adnan Januzaj celebrates his goal and that there is a shrimp sale at the Crab Shack
Adnan Januzaj celebrates his goal and that there is a shrimp sale at the Crab Shack
Louis van Gaal and the Red Devils need not be too disappointed on missing out on Pedro, as they have started the season with six points from two games, even if they are yet to play well.  Last Friday, they defeated Aston Villa 1-0 in Birmingham, with Belgian youngster Adnan Syed Januzaj scoring the only goal in his first start since February.  The Manchester clubs are joined at the top of the table by two other clubs who have 100% records thus far: Liverpool, who beat Bournemouth 1-0 thanks to a Christian Benteke goal that should have been disallowed as Philippe Coutinho attempted to play the ball from an offside position; and Leicester, who stunned West Ham by winning 2-1 at Upton Park. Continue reading

Premier League Roundup and Preview – Man City vs Chelsea

With the first round of fixtures in the 2015/16 Premier League season officially in the books, it is time to make snap judgements based on the 90 minutes of action we have seen of each club.  Here’s what we already know for sure and definitely will not change our mind about by next Monday, let alone in May:

  • Arsenal aren’t going to win the league after all, they’re rubbish!

    Cech does Mourinho's bidding in his first match for Arsenal
    Cech does Mourinho’s bidding in his first match for Arsenal
  • Petr Cech is not going to be the missing piece of the puzzle for the Gunners, he is a secret spy from Chelsea, still working for Jose Mourinho!
  • Leicester are brilliant under Claudio Ranieri and any relegation danger that was predicted for them was far too short-sighted!
  • Chelsea cannot defend and their medical staff are so bad at their job, they even try to treat Eden Hazard when he is clearly play-acting and trying to con the referee.
  • Spurs are shit!

Okay, so the last one I actually agree with.  Tottenham started off their campaign in a very familiar pattern: they dominated the opening exchanges away at Manchester united; should have taken the lead when Christian Eriksen was played through by Harry Kane; then gave away a soft goal that could have been avoided if Nabil Bentaleb could pass and Kyle Walker had cleared the ball, rather than scuffing into his own net.  Spurs then did nothing of note until the 88th minute, when they seemed to remember they needed to attack in order to get something out of the match, but the effort was too little, too late and they lost 1-0.  I am going to end up sounding like a broken record on this, so until it happens, I’ll just copy and paste this next sentence into every football post I write:

Tom Carroll should be starting in central midfield for Tottenham.

There were other, far more exciting games as well last weekend, but Stoke’s 1-0 home defeat to Liverpool was not one of them.  Save for Philippe Coutinho’s magnificent solo strike to win the match for the Reds five minutes from time, it was a drab affair, though Brendan Rodgers will be happy to lay to rest the ghost of his team’s 6-1 defeat on the same ground on the final day of last season.

As alluded to in the massive overreactions from the opening week, Arsenal were upset at home in their opening match by West Ham, who won 2-0 at the Emirates.  It was an impressive performance by the Hammers in Slaven Bilic’s first Premier League match as manager and 16 year-old Reece Oxford has been singled out for his showing in the center of midfield.  However, it should also be remembered that West Ham have been playing competitive matches since the beginning of July, thanks to their involvement in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League.  This could explain why they were in better early form than the Gunners and I expect Bilic’s side to drop off after Christmas as players start to fatigue from a long campaign.  As for Petr Cech’s mistakes, they were not what you would expect from a  top class goalkeeper, but everyone has their off days and he was not helped by poor marking from the defenders for the opening goal.

Why did the Chelsea medical staff go onto the pitch to help a player who is lying down with a hand over his face?!
Why did the Chelsea medical staff go onto the pitch to help a player who is lying down with a hand over his face?!

Another team that showed an uncharacteristically poor defensive performance in their opening game was Chelsea, who conceded twice and were lucky to escape with a 2-2 draw at home to Swansea, especially after Thibaut Courtois was sent off with half an hour to go for a professional foul on Bafetimbi Gomis.  With the Belgian keeper now suspended for the clash with Manchester City, who started their season with a convincing 3-0 win away at West Brom, it could spell an early crisis for Jose Mourinho’s side.  However, if the Blues’ manager’s track record is anything to go by, it is perfectly possible that not only will they be able to keep City at bay on Sunday, they may not concede another goal anytime soon.  One thing is for sure, Mourinho’s criticism of the club doctor and physio for going onto the field to treat Hazard, meaning that the midfielder had to leave the pitch for a moment afterwards, was completely out of order and I would expect him to apologize.

None of the newly promoted clubs managed to start their Premier League tenures with a victory, though Watford came closest as they led twice against Everton, but were pegged back twice and had to settle for a 2-2 draw.  Bournemouth were beaten 1-0 at home by a new look Aston Villa side, which featured six players making their debut for the club.  Norwich were unlucky not to get a point in their home encounter with Crystal Palace, as Cameron Jerome had an overhead kick ruled out for a high boot, an effort that would have made the scoreline 2-2.  However, new Premier League referee Simon Hooper disallowed it and Yohan Cabaye gave the Eagles a 3-1 victory with an injury time strike.  The other match of the weekend saw Leicester continue their impressive form from the end of last season, as they took advantage of poor Sunderland defending – particularly from former Tottenham player, Younes Kaboul – to rack up a 4-2 victory.

This weekend, there is a clash between two of the top four, as West Ham host Leicester City, as well as the aforementioned battle between the sides that finished first and second in May, as Manchester City take on Chelsea.  Crystal Palace will be hoping to inflict more London derby pain on Arsenal; Spurs take on a Stoke side who did the double of over them last year and have just added Xherdan Shaqiri to their squad; while Bournemouth travel to Liverpool.  Southampton face Everton in the early kick off on Saturday; Watford host West Brom; Newcastle are in South Wales to play Swansea; and Sunderland entertain Norwich.

Before all of that, on Friday Manchester United are in Birmingham to take on Aston Villa, a fixture that they have gone unbeaten in the last 19 seasons.  The match was moved from Saturday at the request of the police because of a planned march in Walsall by the far-right group English Defence League, who want the national team to focus on a more cautious approach to their game are a far-right group who firmly proclaim that they are non-violent and non-racist and protest against Islam outside of Mosques.

Predictions

Last week 3-7 (some things don’t change!); Season, 3-7

Home team listed first

Aston Villa vs Manchester United – Away win

Southampton vs Everton – Home win

Sunderland vs Norwich – Draw

Swansea vs Newcastle – Draw

Tottenham vs Stoke – Away win

Watford vs West Brom – Home win

West Ham vs Leicester – Home win

Crystal Palace vs Arsenal – Away win

Manchester City vs Chelsea – Draw

Liverpool vs Bournemouth – Home win

Premier League Festive Season Begins

How de Grinch stole points from Liverpool
How de Grinch stole points from Liverpool

Anybody who advocates a winter break in the Premier League is basically trying to ruin the best time of year to be a fan of English football. Between now and January 6th, there are four rounds of league fixtures, plus the third round of the F.A. Cup.  It is the time of year where maybe you do not win the title – that comes between March and May, which Sir Alex Ferguson so eloquently referred to as “squeaky-bum time” – but you can definitely lose it.  Seasons can be made by hitting a good run of form: teams can propel themselves into a top four race; move away from relegation trouble; or, conversely with a string of poor results, ambitions can be brought down before the Christmas decorations.

Since it is the season, the roundup of last week’s games will be brought to you in the style of Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

Every team across England liked playing Tottenham a lot.

But the Swans, who came from South Wales, did not.

Swansea hated playing Spurs, they lost every season,

It didn’t matter how well they played, it seemed to forgo reason.

It could be perhaps that they missed too many chances,

Or spent too much time pinging around passes.

But I think the most likely reason of all,

Is that they did not stop Eriksen shooting the ball.

But whatever the reason, the passes or misses,

They lost two to one, to fulfill Pochettino’s wishes.

 

While over at Old Trafford, Rodgers had a sour frown

As he watched United send his team three nothing down.

And Rodgers knew every Red in the stands up above,

Unlike last year, were showing him no love.

“We made poor mistakes” he said in a post-match chat

“We won’t get anywhere playing like that.”

Rodgers snarled as he looked at the Premier League table

And realized his side was unlikely to be able,

To finish fourth, the thought made him laugh.

For Liverpool were sitting out of the top half.

 

At Stoke, a weak earlier after a loss,

Arsenal fans expressed feelings, without any gloss.

And they did something Wenger liked least of all,

They booed him at the station, for allowing a fall,

Of his team out of reach of the Champions League places,

Which made Gunners supporters show him their angry faces.

But on Saturday he made them stand up and shout,

As Arsenal beat Newcastle, without any doubt.

They sang! And they sang!

And they SANG! SANG! SANG! SANG!

And the more Wenger thought of the Arsenal fans happy-sing

The more he thought “I must stop this whole thing.

For if they are cheering and standing to clap,

How will they eat their fennel and quinoa wrap?

Why we beat them four-one, they should be more quiet,

I don’t want them ending their rich Emirates diet.”

 

At the Bridge, Jose got an awful idea,

Mourinho go a wonderful awful idea.

“I know just what to do” the boss laughed in his throat

“I’ll claim we don’t cheat, that will rock their boat”

And he chuckled and smiled as Cahill took a dive

That should have left Chelsea with only ten on their side.

“All we need is two goals, from Eden and Costa,

Then Bruce will be mad, as his side will have lost…ah!”

 

While over at Leicester, a Blues legend of yore

Popped up to give Man City a crucial score.

Frank Lampard’s strike was the match’s only goal,

Leaving City in second, and the Foxes in a hole.

Then the Eagles and Potters, Hammers and Black Cats

All scored a goal each, for two draws in two matches.

 

Now don’t asked what happened, to old Aston Villa,

Their 1-0 defeat at West Brom was hardly a thriller,

While the Saints also lost by that very same score,

That they were playing lowly Burnley, made it extra sore.

And Queens Park Rangers are no good away,

For which Everton made them pay.

Eight matches away from Loftus Road of which they’ve won none,

A trend that was continued, as the Toffees triumphed three-one.

 

This weekend, the most exciting looking fixtures are both being played on Sunday, as there is the Tyne-Wear derby between Newcastle and Sunderland; followed by Arsenal’s trip to the north-west to face Liverpool, a match that ended 5-1 last season.  On Saturday, the action starts with Manchester City hosting Crystal Palace; then Manchester United travel to Aston Villa, a fixture they have not lost since 1995; Southampton try to return to winning ways as they play Everton at St. Mary’s; QPR will need to continue their impressive home form as they take on West Brom; and Swansea are at Hull.  Also that day, Tottenham and West Ham both have home games against struggling opponents, as they host Burnley and Leicester respectively; while the league leaders Chelsea do not play until Monday, when they are away at Stoke.

Predictions

Last week’s jinx special, 3-7 (so 7 fixtures went they way I had hoped, I’m doing that again!); Season, 67-93

Home teams listed first, all predictions opposite outcome of what I want, draws mean I do not care.

Manchester City vs Crystal Palace – Away win

Aston Villa vs Manchester United – Away win

Hull vs Swansea – Away win

QPR vs West Brom – Draw

Southampton vs Everton – Home win (I would like a draw)

Tottenham vs Burnley – Away win

West Ham vs Leicester – Home win

Newcastle vs Sunderland – Home win

Liverpool vs Arsenal – Away win

Stoke vs Chelsea – Away win

 

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 12 Picks

In a throwback uniform, Aaron Rodgers had a throwback performance to…Week 10
In a throwback uniform, Aaron Rodgers had a throwback performance to…Week 10

With just six weeks of the regular season to go, the final two teams (Pittsburgh and Carolina) have their byes this week, before the race for the playoffs heats up from Thanksgiving to the New Year.  A few notes on the Week 11 action before getting to this week’s picks:

  • Green Bay scored more than 50 points for the second consecutive week and were again out of sight by half-time in their victory over the Eagles.  They have to go on the road this weekend, but in Minnesota against a Vikings team without Adrian Peterson, who has been suspended by the NFL for the remainder of the season.
  • Arizona may have lost Carson Palmer, but their defense stepped up and held the Lions to just 6 points as the Cardinals moved to a league-best 9-1.  They have a three game lead in the NFC West ahead of the Seahawks, who were defeated 24-20 in Kansas City, and the 49ers, who picked off Eli Manning five times in their 16-10 win over the Giants.
  • It was not a good weekend for Peyton either, who threw two interceptions in Denver’s 22-7 loss in St. Louis, meaning that for once, Cooper Manning had the best stats line of any of the three brothers last Sunday.
  • The Patriots had a record day from their third string running back, Jonas Grey, who rushed for 199 yards and four touchdowns in their 42-20 win over the Colts in Indianapolis.  My guess: by the playoffs that performance will be a distant memory and he will not be getting any significant carries for New England.
  • New Orleans had not lost at home with Sean Payton as coach since 2010 prior to their loss to San Francisco in Week 10. They contrived to lose two consecutive games, falling to a Bengals team who had been soundly beaten at home by Cleveland in their previous contest.
  • That loss for the Saints meant that the Falcons moved to the top of the NFC South by narrowly beating the Panthers 19-17, thanks to a late missed field goal by Carolina.  Atlanta’s record right now is 4-6, but the are on course to hose a playoff game in the Wild Card round.  Except they won’t, because their next four games are against the Browns, Cardinals, Packers and Steelers – combined record: 29-12.
  • San Diego scored a touchdown within the first minute of their contest with the Raiders, then failed to add anything more than a couple of field goals in a dire 13-6 victory over winless Oakland.
  • There is a good chance the game between the Jets and Bills in Buffalo will not be played on Sunday as scheduled, as the city in upstate New York has been buried by huge snowfalls.

Week 12 Picks

Last week, 10-4; Season, 87-74

Home teams in bold

Raiders +7.5 over Chiefs

Browns +3.5 over Falcons

Jets +4.5 over Bills

Bears -5.5 over Buccaneers

Texans -1.5 over Bengals

Lions +6.5 over Patriots

Packers -9.5 over Vikings

Eagles -11.5 over Titans

Colts -13.5 over Jaguars

Rams +5.5 over Chargers

Seahawks -6.5 over Cardinals

Broncos -7.5 over Dolphins

49ers -8.5 over Washington

Cowboys -3.5 over Giants

Ravens +3.5 over Saints

 

NFL 2014 Week 9 Picks

Fox used English Football style logos for the Wembley game
Fox used English Football style logos for the Wembley game

This week marks the midway point of the NFL season, so this is the time when we roughly know which teams are looking most likely to go deep in the playoffs, while one or two teams might put together a run in the second half that propels them into January with the sort of momentum that led the Ravens and Giants (twice) to recent Super bowl wins. Here’s a look at the main talking points from Week 8:

  • In the first game of 15 almost continuous NFL action last Sunday, Detroit came from 21-0 down at half time to beat the Falcons 22-21 at Wembley Stadium in London.  The winning field goal as time expired was fortuitous for the Lions, who missed the original kick but were called for a delay of game and kicker Matt Prater made his second effort from five yards further away.
  • It was not so much the fact that Green Bay lost to the Saints that bothered me – New Orleans has a fantastic home record and they are hard to beat in the Super Dome – but the fact that during a first half drive, on a second and goal play the Packers put in defensive linesman Julius Peppers as a wide receiver, then Aaron Rodgers threw to him and the former Bears man could not catch a ball that hit his chest. Green Bay ended up getting just a field goal from that drive and did not score another touchdown until the contest was well beyond them.
  • Washington not only beat the Cowboys in Dallas, but also knocked Tony Romo out of the game for much of the second half with a back injury.  Romo was able to come back to try to lead a drive at the end of regulation and in overtime, but Washington’s defense was fantastic all night and helped Colt McCoy enjoy a victory in his first start at quarterback in the NFL since 2011.
  • After their lopsided week 4 loss to the Chiefs, many were writing off the Patriots as a spent force; their 51 point tally against the Bears last week brought their total to 158 in the last four games, during which time they are 4-0.  This weekend, it is Brady vs Manning XVI as the Broncos head to Foxborough to take on New England.
  • The Colts were considered to have one of the best defenses in the league, then gave up 53 points to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.  Cincinnati overcame Baltimore and Cleveland defeated Oakland, so all four AFC North teams currently have a winning record.
  • In the battle of Missouri, the Chiefs beat the Rams in St. Louis, though the week continue so well for Kansas City, as the Royals lost in game 7 of the World Series to the Giants last night.  Since I’m not going to write a separate MLB post, let me just say: Madison Bumgarner.  Wow.

Week 9 Picks

Last week, 8-7; Season, 66-55

Home teams in bold

Panthers +2.5 over Saints

Bengals -11.5 over Jaguars

Buccaneers +6.5 over Browns

Cardinals +4.5 over Cowboys

Chiefs -9.5 over Jets

Chargers +1.5 over Dolphins

Washington +1.5 over Vikings

Eagles -2.5 over Texans

49ers -9.5 over Rams

Patriots +3.5 over Broncos

Seahawks -14.5 over Raiders

Ravens +0.5 over Steelers

Colts -3.5 over Giants

This week in: American Football – Week 9

Judging by my predictions last week, the NFL this season has been somewhat unpredictable.  A few highlights from my week 8 picks:

Colts +9.5 over Titans

What I said: Hard to take Indianapolis after they were crushed by the Saints

What happened: I took them, and they lost by 17

Giants -9.5 over Dolphins

What I said: Last time I took the Giants when they were heavily favoured at home, they failed to cover…

What happened: They failed to cover, I failed to learn my lesson

Saints -10.5 over Rams

The Rams sacked Saints QB Drew Brees 6 times on Sunday

What I said:   I’m not sure how high they would have had to make this line for me to take the Rams – maybe -20.5.

What happened: The Rams lost their starting Quarterback, Sam Bradford for the game, but beat the Saints by 10

In other games: the Cardinals had a big lead over the Ravens in Baltimore, but failed to hold on and lost by a field goal; the Bills won for the first time in five tries playing in Toronto, keeping the injury plagued Redskins off the scoreboard in a 23-0 win; Tim Tebow had another bad game but without the fourth quarter heroics – the Lions beating the Broncos 45-10, moving Detroit to 6-2 for the season; the Steelers dominated the Patriots, whose secondary could not contain any of Pittsburgh’s receivers in a 25-17 loss for New England; and the Eagles put in the kind of performance that shows why many predicted them as Superbowl favourites before the season, as they beat their divisional rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, 34-7.  On Monday night, the Chiefs won their fourth straight game, having lost their first three, and now sit atop the AFC West with the team they beat, the San Diego Chargers.

This week sees several good divisional matchups across the league: AFC East contenders the Bills and Jets meet in Buffalo; the Steelers look for revenge for their week 1 loss against the Ravens in Pittsburgh; the New Orleans Saints hope to recover from their shock loss to the Rams, at home to the Buccaneers, who had a bye last week after their trip to London the previous Sunday; and in a battle of the Bad Quarterbacks, Tim Tebow’s Broncos face off with Carson Palmer’s Raiders in Oakland.  There is also a rematch of Superbowl 42, when the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots to spoil their perfect season; the Packers will look to continue their unbeaten season when they play the Chargers in San Diego – though Sports Illustrated jinxed Green Bay this week by putting them on their cover with a headline of “The Perfect Pack”; the 6-1 49ers come to the East Coast to play the Washington Redskins; and the Rams try to improve on last week’s surprise win over the Saints when they travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals.

Predictions:

Last week 6-7, somehow – having gone 1-5 in the early games; Season 61-55

Home teams in bold

Falcons -7.5 over Colts

Bills -1.5 over Jets

Texans -10.5 over Browns

Seahawks +12.5 over Cowboys

Chiefs –6.5 over Dolphins

Saints -7.5 over Buccaneers

49ers -3.5 over Redskins

Bengals +2.5 over Titans

Raiders -7.5 over Broncos

Chargers +5.5 over Packers (SI might jinx the Packers, I’m definitely not going to)

Rams +4.5 over Cardinals

Giants +8.5 over Patriots

Steelers -3.5 over Ravens

Eagles -6.5 over Bears