Thursday, November 7, 2013

Week 10 Picks

Week nine recap:
8-5 straight up
5-8 against the spread
8-5 over/unders

90-43 straight up (67.6%)
68-60-5 against the spread (53.1%)
15-10-1 over/unders (60%) 

A brutal week against the spread.   Where to begin?  

The Bengals went from 49-9 winners to outright losers in Miami.  Dalton went from nearly flawless against the Jets to four turnovers and an overtime sack.  The Fins, who couldn't run the ball whatsoever in their first seven games, had their first 100 yard rusher with Lamar Miller on only 16 carries. (Can't overstate the detrimental loss of Geno Atkins, who went out in the 2nd quarter and is lost for the season with an ACL.  The Bengals just might lose their next five games and botch what appeared to be an easy division title.)  Also worth noting:  Miami finally was able to run the ball in their first game without Jonathan Martin.  Now they'll be without Richie Incognito for the rest of the year and forevermore.  

Speaking of Incognito ... what a weird, weird story.  I'm annoyed by the level of shock and outrage being displayed by all the talking heads.  Really, you're surprised that an NFL player uses inappropriate language? I've never been in an NFL locker room, but it doesn't take a genius to know that "racist slurs" and "homophobic slurs" are part of how these guys talk. I'm not defending Incognito - I'm sure he's a monumental asshole - but I also think this story is way out of control.  It's going to be the new "Bounty Gate" or "Spy Gate": making a huge deal out of something that probably happens on every team.  Maybe this was an extreme example, but that doesn't make me care about it.  Let's just start calling this "Bully Gate" and move on to more interesting stories. 

The Jets went from 9-49 losers to beating the mighty Saints and holding Drew Brees to only 20 points.  I picked that game correctly against the spread (NO by 6), but was still shocked by the result.  With losses by the Chargers and Ravens, I'd say the Jets are probably the most logical pick for the #6 seed right now.   Another game I picked correctly but was still stunned by was Philly beating Oakland.  The Raiders were a slight favorite at home.  I picked Philly 26-23; instead Philly won 49-20.  Nick Foles played one of the best statistical games in NFL history, with 7 TDs and near-perfect stats.  

Then there was Tom Brady, who waited until nine games into the season to finally play a decent game and totally obliterate the Steelers in old-school Patriots fashion.  As much as I begrudge Brady for screwing up my fantasy season, I did love seeing that.  Pittsburgh is 2-6.  Time to start rebuilding you morons.  Go eat a hoagie.   

The weirdest game of the week was Seattle barely eking out a win at home against winless Tampa.  That's the second week in a row that Seattle got totally outplayed and still won.  Don't know if that makes them resilient or vulnerable.  I guess both.  

Oh, also, Aaron Rodgers is out for 3 weeks.  GO LIONS!! 

Edit - Apparently this is the week to return from injuries.  Jay Cutler, Clay Matthews, Aldon Smith, Roddy White, EJ Manuel, and Andre Brown are all coming back.  

Here are the week 10 picks: 

Redskins (3-5) @ Vikings (1-7) - Thursday 
Predicted Line:  WAS by 3
Actual Line:  WAS by 2

Two bad defenses, two good running attacks.  But the easy choice is the superior quarterback.  Redskins 24-17.
(Under 50) 

Bills (3-6) @ Steelers (2-6)
Predicted Line: PIT by 2.5
Actual Line:  PIT by 2.5

Not surprisingly, the Bills are an underdog that the public loves, with 61% of the betting on their side.  How could anyone side with Pittsburgh after their wheels fell off against New England in a pathetic display of slowness and old age.  The Bills can run the ball, rush the passer, they have their starting QB back, and Pittsburgh looks like an absolute train wreck right now.  Easy money right?   But on the flip side... the home team has the better QB and the better coach. Plus I have a funny feeling that EJ Manuel is going to need more than one game to fully get caught back up to NFL speed. Pittsburgh 27-23.
(Over 44

Lions (5-3) @ Bears (5-3)
Predicted Line: CHI by 1.5
Actual Line:  Pick Em 

It's scary how much love there is for the Lions in the general public right now.  Writers, radio people, just about everyone is enamored with them following the incredible Cowboys comeback game.  Between that and the injury to Aaron Rodgers, let's just pencil Detroit into the playoffs.  


Not so fast.  

Yes, Stafford's last-minute comeback was arguably the best minute of his career, but it wasn't exactly a pristine game for him.  In fact, if you take Megatron off the offense, it's probably safe to say we would have lost 44-10 instead of winning 31-30.  But - there are a lot of things to be excited about.  Calvin, Suh, Bush, Levy all playing extremely well.  Stafford playing pretty well most of the time.  The offensive line holding its own.  The safeties are competent; the cornerbacks are below-average but not as awful as previous years.   What's lacking right now is a pass rush - Detroit has just 13 sacks in 8 games.  That's the fewest among teams that are actually competitive.  When you're spending all your first round draft picks on D-linemen, that's a bad stat.  Ziggy Ansah is not a bust, but he's sure not a top 5 pick.  

The big story in this game is Jay Cutler.  He's returning earlier than expected from the groin injury, and I'm almost a little bit glad.  Josh McCown looked plenty capable last week against the Packers.  We know what we can expect from Cutler - bad decisions, bad pocket presence, bad attitude.  Without Forte and Marshall, Cutler would be one of the worst five starting QBs in the league.  

Truth is, both of these teams are extremely flawed, and neither should be considered a strong contender to beat out Green Bay.  Remember, Detroit went 4-12 last year and still employs a terrible head coach. Chicago is without Lance Briggs, their defensive centerpiece, and has been giving up 130 rushing yards a game.  

I don't like the Lions on the road, I don't like the Lions outdoors, but I really don't like the Bears chances against Calvin Johnson, particularly in the 4th quarter.  This'll be one of those sloppy, back-and-forth, see-which-team-can-make-more-mistakes type of games, with the Lions winning on a late field goal, 33-31.  
(Over 52.5) 

Jaguars (0-8) @ Titans (4-4)
Predicted Line:  TEN by 11.5
Actual Line:  TEN by 13 

Commencing Jake Locker Overreaction Week, after he goes 22 for 28, for 290 yards and 3 TDs, with a fancy 40 yard touchdown scamper mixed in.  Titans 38-20.  
(Over 41) 

Eagles (4-4) @ Packers (5-3)
Predicted Line:  GB by 1

Actual Line:  GB by 1

It's not about betting against the Packers now that Rodgers is out.  It's just about believing that Nick Foles is legit.  Eagles 27-23. 
(Over 47)

Raiders (3-5) @ Giants (2-5)
Predicted Line: NYG by 4.5
Actual Line:  NYG by 7.5

Can't possibly trust the Giants for this many points after the way they began the season.  Plus Terrelle Pryor seems poised to steal the title of Backdoor Bandit from Cam Newton.  Giants 20-17.
(Under 44)

Rams (3-6) @ Colts (6-2)
Predicted Line: IND by 7.5
Actual Line:  IND by 10

Again, too many points.  Rams have found their running back, Colts have not figured out how to play defense. Indy in a comeback.  30-27.  
(Over 44)

Seahawks (8-1) @ Falcons (2-6)
Predicted Line:  SEA by 4.5

Actual Line: SEA by 6

Atlanta has been blown out in consecutive home games (both of which I picked them ATS), but I still feel this is too many points.  Matt Ryan is still good, now he's got Roddy White and Steven Jackson back, and Seattle is eking out ugly wins.  I'll say Seattle 21-20. 
(Under 45)

Bengals (6-3) @ Ravens (3-5)
Predicted Line:  BAL by 2.5
Actual Line:  CIN by 1

Geno Atkins and Leon Hall out for Cincy.  Baltimore's season on the line.  John Harbaugh has something like a 70% ATS winning percentage in home games.  Plus a million more reasons to take the Ravens.  Baltimore 27-22. 
(Over 44)

Panthers (5-3) @ 49ers (6-2)
Predicted Line:  SF by 5

Actual Line:  SF by 6

Carolina's playing too good right now not to take the points.  Niners 23-20.
(Under 43.5)

Texans (2-6) @ Cardinals (4-4)
Predicted Line: ARZ by 4
Actual Line:  ARZ by 3

Love the Texans this week - Case Keenum is very impressive to me, and Ben Tate finally gets a week with no Foster to show what he can do.  I've been drafting him in fantasy football for the past 3 seasons waiting for him to finally get the starting job.  Anything less than 160 yards would be a disappointment. Houston wins on the road and stays alive, 26-14.  
(Over 41.5)

Broncos (7-1) @ Chargers (4-4)
Predicted Line:  DEN by 6.5
Actual Line:  DEN by 7

I've picked seven underdogs in a row and here comes another one.  Broncos 31-27.  
(Under 58.5)

Cowboys (5-4) @ Saints (6-2)
Predicted Line:  NO by 7

Actual Line:  NO by 7

The underdog streak continues.  Tony Romo plays up to the level of other elite QBs, so long as he doesn't win the game.  Saints 34-30.    "Anytime you lose, it's disappointing. We just didn't get the job done today." [Know your Romo]
(Over 54)

Dolphins (4-4) @ Bucs (0-8)
Predicted Line:  MIA by 3

Actual Line:  MIA by 3

Make that nine underdog picks in a row, and going out with a bang, as the winless homedog Bucs notch their first victory and send Jaguar fans into jubilee as they celebrate the #1 pick in next April's draft.  Just kidding - there aren't any Jaguar fans.  Tampa runs all over Miami, and cruises 27-16. 
(Under 41) 


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