Great week last week: 10-4 ATS and 11-3 straight up.
68-62-5 ATS on the season and 78-54 straight up. Finally above .500.
Also, the Lions played their best game of the season by far, granted against a horrendous opponent. But a blowout win on the road is a blowout win on the road, and coupled with losses by Minnesota, Arizona and the entire NFC East, I'll take it. The Wildcard is within striking distance -- however, we pretty much need to beat the Packers twice to have any hope for the playoffs. That, or the Bears need to lose about 5 in a row.
Here are my week 10 picks:
Colts (5-3) @ Jaguars (1-7) - Thursday night
Predicted Line: IND by 2
Actual Line: IND by 3.5
With Jones-Drew out, the Jags are pretty much an NCAA team, especially on offense. Why does Justin Blackmon suck so much? Receivers taken in the top 10 are supposed to be gamechangers, not pedestrians.
They still have a solid defense against the run (not last week, but usually), but as we saw last week, Indy doesn't need to run. They are currently tied for 4th in the NFL in passing attempts. If they stick to the same gameplan they used against Miami (24 runs, 48 passes), they'll win this game big. Andrew Luck just set the record for most passing yards in a game by a rookie (433), so he should have some momentum going.
There are some pretty decent trends that would lead me to choose Jacksonville ... homedogs rarely lose ATS two weeks in a row, and home teams tend to cover on Thursdays, and there's a good chance I'm going to want those 3 points given the fact that every Thursday game has been nothing but field goals. However, I'm going with Andrew Luck once again, and saying the Colts win their 4th straight game, 27-16.
*In fact, as a testament to my faith in Luck, I just dropped Phillip Rivers, leaving Luck as my only fantasy QB. Which probably doesn't matter, considering my team is 1-8. But still.
Giants (6-3) @ Bengals (3-5)
Predicted Line: NYG by 4
Actual Line: NYG by 4.5
Remember when Cincy was 3-1 with an easy schedule coming up? Now they're about to be 3-6. Yikes. Giants, the best road team in the league, win by 14. Eli Manning, by the way, has a mere 8 fantasy points in his last two games. I'm thinking he'll top that within 5 minutes of this game, and end up scoring 30+ for all the goofballs who bench him.
Titans (3-6) @ Dolphins (4-4)
Predicted Line: MIA by 3.5
Actual Line: MIA by 6
Don't like laying 6 points with Ryan Tannehill and a bunch of bad receivers, but I don't see the Titans scoring more than 10 or 13 against Miami's tough defense. Maybe a big game for Reggie Bush. Fins 23-6.
*EDIT: I'm thinking Jake Locker's return might provide a boost for the Titans. If nothing else, he can keep plays alive with his feet. I still want Miami, but not I'll say the Titans cover and keep it close.
Lions (4-4) @ Vikings (5-4)
Predicted Line: MIN by 2.5
Actual Line: DET by 1
I'm pretty impressed with the Lions two game winning streak. The Vikings, on the other hand, have lost two straight, neither of which were to great teams. While Adrian Peterson is rushing for 8.3 yards per carry over his past 3 games (!!!), Christian Ponder has very surprisingly declined, and declined at an alarming rate.
Here are Ponder's QB ratings in order this season: 105, 114, 94, 71, 87, 83, 35, 74, 37.
His completion percentage has plummeted, he threw for less than 70 yards in two of his last three games, and Vikings fans are starting to beg for Joe Webb.
I can't decide if the Lions are catching the Vikings at the perfect time, or if Ponder is just in a mini-slump and Detroit will go into the game overly confident and end up playing like crap on both sides of the ball, kind of like they did the first 4 weeks of the season.
Chances are, with the way AP is running the ball, Detroit won't have a repeat of last week where they go up early and never feel threatened. Most likely, Minnesota goes up 14-3 early thanks to Detroit's lack of urgency on offense and overpursuit on defense plus a special teams TD, then it's 17-10 at halftime, and Detroit spends the whole 3rd quarter trying to get Leshoure going to no avail, before finally going to Calvin in the 4th and pulling out an improbable 27-24 win with 5 seconds left. That seems to be the Schwartz and Linehan gameplan. Blowing this game could cost be troublesome for Ponder and Frazier, in terms of keeping their jobs. It'll also give Detroit some serious hopes at reclaiming their shot at the playoffs. Go Lions!
*EDIT: Percy Harvin is out. My pick stays the same, but I feel a lot more confident now that Christian Ponder has nobody to throw to. Let's put 10 in the box!
Bills (3-5) @ Patriots (5-3)
Predicted Line: NE by 13
Actual Line: NE by 11
Last time they played, the Bills allowed 45 points. In the second half.
I expect more of the same, especially with the Pats coming off a bye. New England 34-14. I may have missed my prediction on 19-0, but I still like the Pats as my Super Bowl pick. Especially after they just heisted Aqib Talib from the Bucs.
Anytime you can add one of the best shutdown cornerbacks in the league to a terrible secondary and it only costs you a 4th round pick, you have to consider that a win. It's no surprise the Bucs were looking to rid themselves of Talib, who has been suspended multiple times and barely missed a jail sentence for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. But his suspension ends next week, and Bill Belichick may be the only guy who could turn this fool around. If it pans out, they just landed a cornerback who can lockdown Demaryius Thomas or Andre Johnson in the playoffs.
Falcons (8-0) @ Saints (3-5)
Predicted Line: ATL by 5
Actual Line: ATL by 3
A lot of people are trying to be cute with this pick, but the Saints are too much of a mess on D, and Matt Ryan has simply outplayed Drew Brees all season. Also, Darren Sproles is out, which significantly changes the Saints' offensive identity. Falcons 35-23.
Chargers (4-4) @ Bucs (4-4)
Predicted Line: TB by 2
Actual Line: TB by 3
Does anyone else remember the NFL Draft, when Doug Martin and David Wilson were considered nearly identical prospects? Same size, same speed, same college stats. I could never remember which was which. Martin was picked 31st by Tampa Bay, Wilson went 32nd to the Giants.
Fast forward 8 months, and David Wilson has 17 carries, 1 catch, 91 total yards, 1 TD, and 1 fumble in his NFL career. He's been demoted to 3rd string.
Martin put up 25 carries, 4 catches, 272 total yards, and 4 TDs last week alone, in one of the single greatest games ever by a running back. He's over 1,000 total yards this season, he's become an elite fantasy back, he hasn't fumbled once in 174 touches, and he would be Rookie of the Year if not for those pesky quarterbacks...
So in other words, it looks like Tampa made the right pick at #31.
Sidenote: Martin's nickname is The Muscle Hamster, which might be the dumbest nickname I've ever seen. Even Martin hates it. But I'm taking the Bucs and the Hamster Momentum. Plus, the Chargers are falling apart, and I hate Phillip Rivers. Tampa 21-16.
Broncos (5-3) @ Panthers (2-6)
Predicted Line: DEN by 3
Actual Line: DEN by 4
Denver is on a roll, but I actually like the points. They call him Backdoor Cam for a reason. Broncos 33-31.
Raiders (3-5) @ Ravens (6-2)
Predicted Line: BAL by 12
Actual Line: BAL by 9
No McFadden in this game, and Oakland stinks on the East Coast. I still don't love the Ravens with Webb and Lewis out, but they should be able to cover. Baltimore 27-14.
Jets (3-5) @ Seahawks (5-4)
Predicted Line: SEA by 4.5
Actual Line: SEA by 6
The Jets are almost as unpredictable as they are annoying. 6 points seems too many for a rookie QB, although this could easily be a shutout. I have no idea. Let's say Seahawks by 3.
Cowboys (3-5) @ Eagles (3-5)
Predicted Line: PHI by 2
Actual Line: DAL by 1.5
This might be the most hype and media attention ever given to a game between 3-5 teams. I think the Cowboys are less of a mess right now, and the Eagles don't have an answer to DeMarcus Ware. But this is definitely in the coin flip category. I'll take the home team to be safe. Philly by a field goal.
Rams (3-5) @ 49ers (6-2)
Predicted Line: SF by 11.5
Actual Line: SF by 11.5
Despite the 3-5 record, I actually think Jeff Fisher would be my choice for Coach of the Year through 9 weeks. The Rams should have beat the Lions and should have beat Miami, and they nearly beat Green Bay. They could easily be 5-3. And from a talent standpoint, they should be 0-8. Fisher has done more with less than any other coach. Except for the beatdown in London against the Pats, St. Louis has been competitive in every game. Also, they get Danny Amendola back in this game. So all that to say, I'll take the points. Niners 26-18.
Texans (7-1) @ Bears (7-1)
Predicted Line: HOU by 2
Actual Line: CHI by 1
After this beatdown, people are going to be saying "How the heck were the Bears 7-1?"
The answer: a super easy schedule, a lucky-ass win against Carolina, a game against Detroit in which Detroit didn't show up, and a whole bunch of defensive touchdowns.
I like Houston 34-3. Let's hope either Cutler or Forte gets hurt so the Bears can miss the playoffs again.
Chiefs (1-7) @ Steelers (5-3)
Predicted Line: PIT by 13.5
Actual Line: PIT by 12.5
No Antonio Brown, no Mendenhall/Dwyer, no Polamalu. Does it matter? Brown has underachieved, Isaac Redman is running the ball just fine, and for the first time ever, the Steelers secondary is thriving without the furry Polynesian. Roethlisberger is playing his best football in a long time and the offensive line has gone from terrible to very solid, while the defense has quietly been the best in the league, despite playing against some pretty good offenses. So does that mean I'm laying the points? Against Matt Cassel, who leads the NFL in turnovers? I sure am. Steelers 27-10.
Mehmet Okur retired today. 10 years in the NBA. Turkish Tornado. What a guy.