Sunday, December 30, 2012

Week 17 picks

Another very average week.  7-7-2 against the spread, 11-5 straight up.  That's pretty much automatic lately.

116-116-11 (50.0%)  ATS
149-90 (62.3%) straight up

This playoffs are set in the AFC, thanks to an unbelievably bad performance by the Steelers.  Somehow the Bengals have made the postseason two years in a row, despite the fact that I think the Lions could beat them 8 times out of 10.  Andy Dalton does not impress me at all; in fact I could see his career having a Sanchez-like plummet in a couple years.  Remember, Mark Sanchez won 4 playoff games in his first two seasons, and now he's considered barely a 3rd stringer.

In other news, Tebow is headed to Jacksonville this offseason, where he'll have a chance to compete for the starting job.  My prediction - he'll be named the starter early in training camp, the Jags will build an offense around him (new coach, new linemen, new everything), and between a good running game and good defense, the Jags will go 8-8 and flirt with the playoffs, while Justin Blackmon has a miserable time and asks for a trade.  If you thought Tebowmania peaked in Denver, wait til Jacksonville wins a few games and ESPN starts shooting off live fireworks on Sportscenter.

The Lions lost again, but really they won, as Calvin went for 225 and established one very incredible record.  It was clear the fans, coaches and players wanted the record more than they wanted the win.  And they got it.  It was more than just a silver lining on a bad season; it was a historic, monumental, unforgettable milestone in the career of a guy who will become one of the best players to ever play.  As Bears' Pro Bowl CB Charles Tillman said this week, "He's the LeBron of football."

It looks like AP is going to fall just short of Eric Dickerson's record, barring a 200 yard game, which probably means Peyton Manning will win MVP.  The D-MVP battle is a tight competition between three pass-rushers who were rookies last year: JJ Watt, Von Miller, and Aldon Smith.  Each guy has a reasonable chance to win it, as they rank 1, 2, and 3 in sacks.  In my opinion, Aldon is out because he's the 3rd or 4th best player on his own defense, and Von should win it over JJ because he's more important to his team; without Von, Denver's defense falls apart.  Without Watt, Houston still dominates.   At least that's my thinking.

Coach of the year could go in about 10 different directions.  Pretty much every single coach is either a candidate for this award, or a candidate to be fired.  There's almost no middle ground.  I think Chuck Pagano will win it for sentimental reasons, and it will be a cool story.  But I'd give it to either Kubiak, Jim Harbaugh, or Mike Smith.  Heck, Pete Carroll would also be deserving.  Yuck.

The NFC playoffs is down to one final spot, and it could go to Minnesota, Chicago, Washington, or the Giants.  Dallas can't win the wildcard, but they can win the division with a win over the Redskins, which puts the Redskins in the running for the wildcard, if they get loses from everybody else involved.

Chances are, the Vikings will lose to Green Bay (who has something to play for) and stupid Chicago will end  up in the playoffs, unless somehow Detroit musters up enough balls to actually play against them.

Here are the week 17 picks, and a few final predictions:

Bucs (6-9) @ Falcons (13-2)
Predicted Line:   ?

Actual Line:  None 

Not sure if Atlanta's starters will play or not, and thus there's no line posted.  My hunch is that Atlanta will treat this like a preseason game, and play Ryan and Co. for the first quarter.  I'll set my own line at ATL by 3, and I'll say the Falcons backups aren't able to stop the high-octane Bucs.   Tampa 27-23.

Bears (9-6) @ Lions (4-11)
Line: CHI by 3

Pick:  Lions by 13.

Jets (6-9) @ Bills (5-10)
Predicted Line: BUF by 3 

Actual Line: BUF by 3

How annoying is it that during week 17 when all sorts of playoff scenarios abound, the only thing they're talking about on ESPN radio is the Jets?  It's very annoying.  I don't care if Rex Ryan plays quarterback.  The Jets suck.

But, so do the Bills.  My guess is the Jets will have more fight left in them than Buffalo.  Let's say Jets 13-10.

Ravens (10-5) @ Bengals (9-6)
Predicted Line: BAL by 3

Actual Line: CIN by 3

Oops. Didn't realize both teams have virtually nothing to play for.  Baltimore can't get a first round bye, and Cincy can't win the division.   Both teams will be playing to avoid injuries.  Watching the Bengals/Steelers last week (with a houseful of knucklehead Steelers fans), I learned that Cincy absolutely sucks, especially on offense, and that they shouldn't be trusted against anybody.  Pittsburgh had about 50 chances to win that game and make the playoffs.   But don't think I'm not rejoicing in their demise.  

I like Baltimore by 6.

Jags (2-13 @ Titans (5-10)
Line: TEN by 4
Pick:  Jags by 3

Texans (12-3) @ Colts (10-5)
Line: HOU by 7

Pick:  Colts by 2

Panthers (6-9) @ Saints (7-8)
Line: NO by 5.5

Pick:  Saints by 4

Eagles (4-11) @ Giants (8-7)
Line: NYG by 7

Pick:  NYG by 13

Browns (5-10) @ Steelers (7-8)
Line: PIT by 11

Pick: PIT by 6

Chiefs (2-13) @ Broncos (12-3)
Line: DEN by 17
Pick:  Broncos by 20

Packers (11-4) @ Vikings (9-6)
Line: GB by 3.5

Pick:  Packers by 4

Dolphins (7-8) @ Pats (11-4)
Line: NE by 10

Pick:  NE by 35

Raiders (4-11) @ Chargers (6-9)
Line:  SD by 10

Pick:  OAK by 2

Cardinals (5-10) @ 49ers (10-4)
Line:  SF by 17

Pick:  SF by 23.

Rams (7-7-1) @ Seahawks (10-5)
Line: SEA by 11

Pick:  Seahawks by 6

Cowboys (8-7) @ Redskins (9-6)
Line: WAS by 3.5

Pick:  DAL by 3

Coaches fired on Monday: 
6  (Reid, Norv, Crennel, Shurmur, Gailey, Rivera)

Additional coaches fired by end of January:
3 (Rex Ryan, Ken Whisenhunt, Lovie Smith)

Super Bowl pick:
I still like my preseason pick: Patriots over Packers.

Go Lions!

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