Thursday, December 19, 2013

Week 16 Picks

Week 15 recap:

9-7 straight up
10-5-1 against the spread
6-10 over/unders


145-77-1 straight up (65.1%)
116-98-1 against the spread (54.2%)
57-54-4 over/unders (51.3%) 

First, the good news.   Jim Schwartz is probably done after this season.  Barring an unlikely comeback and an even more unlikely playoff victory, Schwartz will be shown the door, along with Linehan and Cunningham.  This could be tremendous:  the new coach would likely be offensive-minded and could help Stafford develop his poor mechanics and bad decision making and actually turn that guy into a winner.  Maybe.  

Now, the bad news.   The Lions have lost 4 of 5, and let the NFC North slip through their fingers, despite the fact that Aaron Rodgers hasn't played in two months and those loses were all against teams we should have beat.  I could go on and on and on but frankly I'm tired of the Lions. 

Here are my week 16 picks:

Dolphins (8-6) @ Bills (5-9)
Predicted Line: MIA by 3
Actual Line:  MIA by 3 

Miami has something to play for and they're playing well right now.  Dolphins 26-17. 
(Under 43.5)

Giants (5-9) @ Lions (7-7)
Predicted Line:  DET by 6.5

Actual Line:  DET by 9 

No way the Lions can be favored by 9 with Schwartz's job hanging by a thread and Stafford playing like a complete fool and the secondary (which sucked in the first place) depleted.   I'm almost tempted to take the Giants straight-up, but they've completely quit on the year and Eli is giving games away and Cruz is out.  Lions 27-20. 
(Under 49)

Saints (10-4) @ Panthers (10-4)
Predicted Line:  NO by 2.5
Actual Line:  CAR by 3 

Don't get this line.  I haven't quite bought into Cam Newton as the equal counterpart to Drew Brees.  The Carolina D is good, but not this good.  Saints 24-22. 
(Under 47) 

Vikings (4-9) @ Bengals (9-5)
Predicted Line:  CIN by 9

Actual Line:  CIN by 8 

With AP questionable and leaning toward doubtful, I see no reason to believe the Vikes can score more than 17 points.  I like Cincy's chances;  13-24. 
(Under 48) 

Colts (9-5) @ Chiefs (11-3)
Predicted Line:  KC by 6.5
Actual Line: KC by 7 

The Colts have alternated wins and losses since their big win against Denver in October, and all their tough road games have resulted in blowout losses.  I'm thinking that trend continues as KC rolls, 28-17. 
(Under 45.5) 

Bucs (4-10) @ Rams (6-8)
Predicted Line:  STL by 4.5

Actual Line:  STL by 5 

Taking the points; Kellen Clemens shouldn't be trusted to cover 5 points.  Rams 24-20. 
(Over 43) 

Browns (4-10) @ Jets (6-8)
Predicted Line:  NYJ by 1

Actual Line:  NYJ by 2 

Neither team can run the ball, both QBs are bad, and they've lost 9 of their last 10 games between the two of them. Cleveland has been more competitive and has the slightly better QB and the better defense, but the Jets play for the pride and the Browns are probably thinking more about the offseason.  Who knows.  I'll say Cleveland 20-19. 
(Under 40.5) 

Cowboys (7-7) @ Redskins (3-11)
Predicted Line:  DAL by 7

Actual Line:  DAL by 3 

Hey I like Kirk Cousins as much as anybody, but Dallas has something to play for and a much better team.  The easy pick here is the over (set at 54) - I think the Cowboys can win by more than a field goal. Let's go Dallas 34-30. 
(Over 54) 

Titans (5-9) @ Jags (4-10)
Predicted Line:  TEN by 1.5

Actual Line:  TEN by 5 

I'll take the points with the homedog, I guess.  Titans 26-24. 
(Over 47) 

Broncos (11-3) @ Texans (2-12)
Predicted Line:  DEN by 13.5
Actual Line:  DEN by 10 

Kudos to whatever genius put big money on Denver to win this game back in August when the spread was HOU by 3.   Denver needs to pummel them to clinch homefield, and pummel them they will.  Broncos 40-16. 
(Over 53) 

Cardinals (9-5) @ Seahawks (12-2)
Predicted Line:  SEA by 10.5

Actual Line:  SEA by 10.5

This puts an end to the Cardinals' commendable Wildcard run.  Seahawks win but don't cover, 31-24. 
(Over 43.5) 

Steelers (6-8) @ Packers (7-6-1)
Predicted Line:  PIT by 3
Actual Line:  PIT by ? 

No spread yet, but with Rodgers definitely out, I'll set the spread at PIT by 2.5 and say the Pack win straight-up, even with Matt Flynn at the helm.  Pittsburgh simply stinks on the road, and the Pack have urgency.  If they win, then Rodgers suits up next week to beat the Bears and carry the Pack into the playoffs with only 9 wins.  The Steelers have no urgency, only uncertainty and inconsistency.  Pack 21-18. 
(Under ?) 

Raiders (4-10) @ Chargers (7-7)
Predicted Line:  SD by 7.5
Actual Line:  SD by 10 

That's too many points for me to feel comfortable with.  Chargers 27-23. 
(Under 50.5) 

Patriots (10-4) @ Ravens (8-6)
Predicted Line:  NE by 3
Actual Line:  BAL by 2 

If you look at the Pats game by game, and the endless lucky breaks they've had, you can see that from a talent-perspective, this could easily be a 3-11 team.  Brady has basically morphed into a hyper-competitive version of Ben Roethlisberger this year; dreadful for 3.5 quarters, deadly in the 2-minute drill.  Mix in a ridiculous amount of luck, and you have a first-round playoff bye.  

The difference between perennially making the playoffs and perennially missing the playoffs might just be having an ultra-competitive QB who wants to win more than anybody else.   Thus, I just explained the Stafford Era in one simple sentence.  

My guess is the Pats just keep on figuring out ways to win.  Baltimore's offense is anemic.  New England by a score of 27-26.  
(Over 45) 

Bears (8-6) @ Eagles (8-6)
Predicted Line:  PHI by 3
Actual Line:  PHI by 3 

I need to find a Nick Foles Recovery Support group before it's too late.  Eagles 43-31. 
(Over 56) 

Falcons (4-10) @ 49ers (10-4) 
Predicted Line:  SF by 11.5
Actual Line:  SF by 13 

Kaepernick is starting to play his best football of the season, and the Niners probably want their final home game of the year to be memorable, so what the heck, I'll lay those 13 points.  San Fran 36-17. 
(Over 45.5) 

Go Lions!!   ...and Steelers and Eagles!  

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