This week: 11-5 ATS (12-4 straight up)
Season: 100-85-7 ATS (128-64 straight up)
Also, for the first time since early in week 1, I think the Lions have less than a 50% chance of making the playoffs.
Thursday: Eagles (4-7) @ Seahawks (4-7)
Predicted Line: PHI by 2.5
Actual Line: None (Vick)
Has there ever been a bigger discrepancy in talent between two 4-7 teams? The Eagles have the talent of a 15-1 team while Seattle would be 1-15 if they played against any other division. And yet, here we are, week 13, and the freaking Eagles are tied with the Seahawks in the NFC Cellar. I never believed in Vick as a legit NFL winner, but how can a defense with Asomugha/Samuel/Rodgers-Cromartie/Babin/Cole/Jenkins be ranked 15th in yards and 19th in points? And how can that team, which also has the NFL's leading rusher, be a staggering 1-5 at home? It's one of the most bizarre things I've seen in a while. It would have been like the Miami Heat going 30-52 and missing the playoffs.
So as we say our goodbyes to the Eagles' playoff hopes, let's reflect on the epic season that never happened and ask ourselves, what have we learned from the 2011 Philly Eagles. Exactly two things:
1. Don't give a $100 million dollar contract to someone who used to torture animals;
2. Don't build a defense without any linebackers or safeties.
Now Philly heads to Seattle to face the banged-up and mostly-talentless Seahawks who are always tough to beat at home for some odd reason. Vick was ruled out today, so with Vince Young the line will probably be set at PHI by 1.5 or something. I should pick the Eagles for obvious reasons, but I have a feeling that Philly has collapsed and will no longer be trying. Their season is over barring a 5-game winning streak, and so I'm going against common sense and picking the Seahawks on Thursday night, 23-13. Yikes.
Titans (6-5) @ Bills (5-6)
Predicted Line: TEN by 1.5
Actual Line: BUF by 1.5
Both of these teams are hanging on to their playoff hopes by a thread. Buffalo has put 9 starters on IR and is coming off a crushing loss to the Jets in which their best receiver pretended to shoot himself in the leg. With that in mind, I like the Titans, who must have enjoyed watching the rest of the AFC South implode this week. To recap:
-Houston lost their 2nd string quarterback for the year and now turns to T.J. Yates, plus they signed Jake Delhomme;
-Indy fired their D-coordinator and promoted Dan Orlovsky to starting QB;
-Jacksonville fired Jack Del Rio, the owner sold the team to a guy named Shahid from Chicago, and Blaine Gabbert is still really bad.
So I like the Titans. 27-17.
Chiefs (4-7) @ Bears (7-4)
Predicted Line: CHI by 5.5
Actual Line: CHI by 7
Obviously a Chiefs win would be tremendous for the Lions, but having seen Tyler Palko play the last two weeks, I have absolute certainty that that will not happen. Granted, Caleb Hanie isn't much better, but the Bears have a couple guys the Chiefs don't have, namely Julius Peppers and Matt Forte. So as much as I don't like it, the Bears are going to win. But can I confidently pick Hanie to cover a 7 point spread? And then there's the possibility that Kyle Orton replaces Palko midway through the game (or starts?), and as bad as he was earlier this year, he's gotta be better than Palko. I hate these games where both quarterbacks are awful. I always get these wrong. But I'm pretty sure Matt Forte will see 30 carries and 150 yards and win this game single-handedly. So let's go Bears, 26-15.
Raiders (7-4) @ Dolphins (3-8)
Predicted Line: OAK by 1.5
Actual Line: MIA by 3
This is probably the 4th week in a row that I've guessed the line of the Miami line about 4 points too low. I guess I need to finally admit that Vegas loves the Dolphins. But I still look at them as the 0-7 losers with the terrible head coach. And while Matt Moore has an average QB rating of 100.5 over the past six games, I can't ignore the 55.6 QB rating he had last year on an equally-untalented Panthers team. Plus I'm pretty sold on the Raiders as a team that can win in the trenches against anybody and Palmer isn't quite as horrible as I thought he would be. Oakland takes this game rather easily, 24-20.
Bengals (7-4) @ Steelers (8-3)
Predicted Line: PIT by 6
Actual Line: PIT by 6.5
Both teams are missing their best defensive player (Leon Hall, Polamalu) and both defenses are stout against the run. So I expect lots of downfield passing and gaudy numbers for both QBs. AJ Green should have another Calvin-ish game: only a few catches, but they'll be spectacular, and one of them will be a huge TD. The Steelers will win because they have better veterans, better coaching, a better QB, and a fired up homecrowd ... but I'll say it's less than 7 mainly because Polamalu's out. Cincy covers with a late backdoor TD, 34-30.
Jets (6-5) @ Redskins (4-7)
Predicted Line: NYJ by 4.5
Actual Line: NYJ by 3
Rex Ryan against Rex Grossman. Oh the intrigue. Let's say Jets 23-21.
Just wrote picks for all the fricking games and lost all the freaking work when I tried to post it. I hate this stupid site.
Falcons @ Texans
Line - ATL by 3
Wrote a big long thing about how good the Texans D is even without Mario Williams. Basically went on to say Brooks Reed was the steal of the 2011 draft and Connor Barwin needs to become someone that people know about and Jonathon Joseph is the most underrated CB in the league and Houston has the best pair of inside MLBs of any 3-4 team, and blah blah blah I really hate this stupid website and Houston wins by 10.
Panthers @ Bucs
Line -TB by 3.5
Both defenses suck, both offenses about equal, I like Panthers to cover, Bucs win by 3.
Broncos @ Vikings
Line: MIN by 1.5
AP is out, Denver D is great right now, Minny gives up the 4th most sacks in the NFL, and Von Miller is not only the D-ROY but maybe a top 5 candidate for D-MVP. Denver's defense deserves more credit than Tebow for the 4 game winning streak; they keep it close, and then Tebow pulls off the miracle. Broncos again, 20-19.
Colts @ Pats
Line - NE by 20
I did all kinds of research on the biggest lines in NFL history and wrote some really great stuff but I'm so dang ticked right now I'm not doing all that again. To recap:
only 9 times since 1980 has a spread been 20 points or more, and 4 of those times were the 2007 Pats; biggest line ever was 23.5 points, 07 Pats against Eagles, and the Pats won by just 3; favories of 20+ points are 9-0 SU and 2-7 ATS; teams are 104-6 SU when favored by 15+.
But I'm going Colts to cover because how bad New England's D is. Pats 41-24.
Ravens @ Browns
Line - BAL by 6.5
Ravens are pumped after winning Harbaugh Bowl and now have 3 extra days to get ready for Colt McCoy. I think they've moved past their play-down-to-the-level-of-competition stage and will crush Cleveland here, 38-3.
Rams @ Niners
Line - SF by 13
Don't think the Rams get 100 yards of offense. Niners 23-0.
Cowboys @ Cardinals
Line - DAL by 4
Best thing about DeMarco Murray is that he slowed down the Tony Romo Hype Machine by turning them into a running team. He should have another great game here. Kolb is back for Arizona, and Beanie Wells is coming off a 200+ yard rushing game. Dallas 27-24, Cards cover.
Packers @ Giants
Line - GB by 7
Giants are playing for their playoff lives, but Green Bay is just too good. Pack 42-20.
Lions (7-4) @ Saints (8-3)
Line: NO by 9
Saints are great at home; Brees is unstoppable right now; Suh is suspended; Stafford is playing his worst football of the season; Saints D is underrated, especially against the pass; Detroit's secondary is without Delmas and Houston; Kevin Smith is questionable; just no reason to think this will be close, unless Stafford can hook up with Megatron early and often and keep this close. I doubt it. Saints 38-19.
Chargers @ Jags
Line - SD by 3
who gives a crap I hate this stupid website! SD by 4