Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 15 Picks

Week 14 recap:

11-5 straight up
11-5 against the spread
8-7 over/unders


136-70-1 straight up (66.2%)
106-93-8 against the spread (53.4%)
51-44-4 over/unders (54.1%)

Too depressed to talk about the stupid Lions.  Unbelievable.  

The rest of the week was highly entertaining.  Crazy finishes, tons of playoff positioning (21 teams still alive with just three weeks left - that's incredible)  and Draft positioning on the other side of the spectrum, as four playoffs teams from 2012 (Houston, Atlanta, Minnesota, Washington) appear to be the likely top 4 picks.  Tampa and Jacksonville are determined to miss out on the franchise QBs.  Cleveland, Buffalo and Oakland are falling fast into the bottom 8.  

As Case Keenum has fallen apart, Houston appears the likely landing spot for Teddy Bridgewater, which means he and Luck would be in the same division for about a decade, which would be fantastic.  Clowney is likely heading to Atlanta with the #2 or #3 pick, and that leaves Manziel, Carr and Hundley (and maybe Boyd?) as the franchise QBs to be split between Cleveland, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Tampa, Oakland, St. Louis, and maybe the Jets, Titans and Bucs.   That's a lot of teams vying for just a few quarterbacks in April.  It'll be interesting. 

But the playoffs are the more important matter, and a few teams made huge strides on Sunday.  New England and Cincy essentially clinched their divisions (Patriots got insanely lucky once again), while the Colts won the AFC South by losing.  They've now been outscored by a total of 3 points on the season, and yet lead their division by three games.  None of these teams should be considered viable contenders in the AFC;  Cincy and Indy have suspect defenses, especially Indy, and the Pats just lost Gronk for good.  They'll revert back to the lifeless offense they were early in the season.  

So that leaves three legit contenders in the AFC:  Denver (the obvious favorite), KC (built-for-the-playoffs), and a Wildcard team to be decided amongst no less than six squads.   Baltimore and Miami have slim leads, but not safe leads.  Of the many Wildcard contenders, the ones with a chance of actually winning a game or two are the Chargers, Ravens, and Steelers.  

But at this point, it's about 3:1 odds that Denver makes the Super Bowl. 

The NFC is much more precarious.  

Seattle and the Saints are in, but neither has a first-round bye locked up. Both teams are strong contenders to win the NFC, for obvious reasons.    

San Fran, Carolina, and Arizona are fighting for the two Wildcards.  The Niners and Panthers have the edge and are both very legit Super Bowl contenders as well.  

The other two playoff teams will be decided over the next three weeks.  Detroit is doing everything they can to lose the NFC North, even as Cutler and Rodgers haven't played in a month.  Philly and Dallas are going to go down to the wire with a week 17 matchup that likely determines the division champ.  Aaron Rodgers is set to return, which means the entire NFC should be afraid, not just the Lions.  And then there's the Bears, who aren't out of it at all. 

Of these teams, the only one with no chance at the Super Bowl is Chicago.  Their defense is too horrible.  But Green Bay, Detroit, Dallas, and Philly all should be taken seriously.  Especially if Rodgers is 100%.  

Basically, we have an 8-team melee in the NFC all battling for the chance to play Denver in the Super Bowl.   

With that in mind, here are the Week 15 picks: 

Chargers (6-7) @ Broncos (11-2)
Predicted Line:  DEN by 9.5
Actual Line:  DEN by 10.5 

Unfortunately for the Bolts, their playoff hopes end here.  
Denver 41-34. 
( Over 54)

Redskins (3-10) @ Falcons (3-10)
Predicted Line:  ATL by 4
Actual Line:  ATL by 6 

Pretty sure Jadeveon Clowney will be watching this game.  
Atlanta 17-16. 
(Under 51) 

49ers (9-4) @ Bucs (4-9)
Predicted Line:  SF by 5.5
Actual Line:  SF by 5

Best coach in the NFL vs. worst coach in the NFL.  
Niners 30-10. 
(Under 41.5) 

Seahawks (11-2) @ Giants (5-8)
Predicted Line:  SEA by 6

Actual Line:  SEA by 7 

Thanks in advance to Seattle for demoralizing the Giants right before they head to Detroit. 
Hawks 27-10. 
(Under 41.5) 

Bears (7-6) @ Browns (4-9)
Predicted Line:  CHI by 3

Actual Line:  CHI by 3 

With 774 receiving yards in his last four games, Josh Gordon just broke the record for most receiving yards in a four-game span. That record was set less than one month ago, by ... you guessed it, Calvin Johnson. 

Some say Gordon's achievement is even more impressive, because his QBs are so subpar.  I agree with that. Some are even arguing that Gordon, not Calvin, is currently the best WR in the league.  Hold on a second.  Aside from the brutally obvious factors, consider that Gordon is a second-year player who has already been suspended 4 games for violating the league's drug policy and been ensnared in ugly trade-rumors and coach-drama.  Let's give him a few years to grow up before we anoint his head with oil.   

Bears 24-13.
(Under 45) 

Texans (2-11) @ Colts (8-5)
Predicted Line:  IND by 9

Actual Line:  IND by 6 

Case Keenum and Wade Phillips now have a three-week audition to keep their jobs in 2014.  They have much more to play for than the Colts, who are backing into the playoffs in despicable fashion.   I am going on a limb and taking the Texans 26-23. 
(Over 45.5) 

Patriots (10-3) @ Dolphins (7-6)
Predicted Line:  NE by 3.5
Actual Line:  NE by 3 

I haven't trusted the Patriots all season, especially since the injuries to Wilfork and Mayo, and they keep lucking into ridiculous wins.  Miami is the better team, and the homedog.  Dolphins 26-22.  
(Over 45.5) 

Eagles (8-5) @ Vikings (3-9-1)
Predicted Line:  PHI by 3

Actual Line:  PHI by 5

Lots of garbage yards and points for Cordarrelle Patterson and Toby Gerhard, but Philly has too much firepower. 
Eagles 41-27. 
(Over 51) 

Bills (4-9) @ Jags (4-9)
Predicted Line:  Pick Em 

Actual Line:  BUF by 2  

Bills 17-16. 
(Under 43) 

Chiefs (10-3) @ Raiders (4-9)
Predicted Line:  KC by 7
Actual Line:  KC by 4.5 

Not overthinking it.  Chiefs 26-14. 
(Under 41)
Jets (6-7) @ Panthers (9-4)
Predicted Line:  CAR by 9.5

Actual Line:  CAR by 11 

Panthers 30-13. 
(Under 40.5) 

Packers (6-6-1) @ Cowboys (7-6)
Predicted Line:  DAL by 8.5
Actual Line:  DAL by 7 

Rodgers not playing. Cowboys have struggled to blow anybody out because of their defense.  
Dallas 31-27. 
(Over 49) 

Cardinals (8-5) @ Titans (5-8)
Predicted Line:  ARZ by 3

Actual Line:  ARZ by 3 

The Cardinals have been really bad on the road.  I'll take the Titans 17-14. 
(Under 41.5) 

Saints (10-3) @ Rams (5-8)
Predicted Line:  NO by 8

Actual Line:  NO by 6 

This is our ninth road favorite, and fifth that's favored by more than a field goal. I've taken all those big road favorites except the Pats.  This seems to be the time of year for blowouts.  Saints 31-16. 
(Over 47) 

Bengals (9-4) @ Steelers (5-8)
Predicted Line:  CIN by 2.5
Actual Line:  CIN by 3 

Rumors are starting to float about firing Mike Tomlin.  I don't think the Rooneys are that stupid, but if they are, I hope the Lions snatch him up in about 30 seconds.  
Steelers 27-24. 
(Over 40.5) 

Ravens (7-6) @ Lions (7-6)
Predicted Line:  DET by 3

Actual Line:  DET by 6 

I don't even feel remotely good about the Lions winning this game, so I'd be idiotic to take them -6.  

Let's say Lions 23-20 in OT.  
(Under 48)   

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