Saturday, December 30, 2006

Week 17 Picks

It’s Week 17 of the NFL season. As much as I’d like to say that there is a lot of drama to the weekend, let’s look at it logically:

Three teams are in “win and you’re in” situations: The Jets, the Broncos, and the Giants (basically – they still need the Packers to lose or a bunch of other wins and losses to have the “strength of schedule” tiebreaker in their favor). The Giants play tonight, so the NFC could basically be determined before 15 of the 16 games on the even kickoff.

Of course, should the Giants remain true to form and cough up one more game, the whole conference is wide open.

That’s the way it’s been all year – why change anything now?

All lines from and accurate as of 1PM on 12/30/06. Home teams in CAPS.

Giants (-2) over REDSKINS: Wouldn’t it be great if the Giants were totally messing with us for the last eight weeks, and just plowed through the NFC playoffs to the Super Bowl? It wouldn’t? Oh, sorry.

Bills (+9) over RAVENS: The Ravens can theoretically move up to the #1 spot if the Chargers choke one away, at home, to the Cardinals. But does anybody realistically think that’s going to happen? Not to mention, the Bills are playing for a lot of pride right now; 8-8 sounds a hell of a lot better than 7-9 when they reflect on the season.

Packers (+3) over BEARS: Only because Chicago has nothing to gain or lose in this game, and the Packers could still be fighting for a playoff birth. Even if the Giants win, the Packers could sneak into the backdoor with a win in this game and a ridiculous series of events to give them the “strength of schedule” tiebreaker.

Steelers (+6) over BENGALS: The Steelers weren’t able to derail the Ravens’ drive to home-field advantage last week, but I think they’ll be extra motivated to end the Bengals’ season entirely with a win this week.

Lions (+13) over COWBOYS: You honestly think I’m giving up 13 points in any situation this season? Puhleeze…

TEXANS (-4) over Browns: Ugh. Talk about saving the worst for last…

COLTS (-9) over Dolphins: The Colts need a win real bad. Not for playoff seeding – think they’d rather be the #4 and play Denver (who they never lose to) rather than the #3 and play the Jets (who almost beat them). But more for their psyche – they need a statement win, and fast.

CHIEFS (-2) over Jaguars: I have no idea. I’m taking the home team that plays in the best home stadium in the NFL, and hoping that when the game is played, both teams still have a shot at the postseason.

Rams (-2.5) over VIKINGS: The Rams still have an outside playoff shot. And the Vikings look absolutely awful. Though I do see a nice game for Tavaris Jackson against that Rams secondary…

Panthers (-3) over SAINTS: So, explain this to me – the Packers have a legit playoff shot traveling to Chicago to play the team already locked in to the #1 seed in the NFC, but still Green Bay is a 3-point underdog. The Panthers have the third best chance in the conference to make the playoffs (needing losses from both the Giants & Packers), and they travel to New Orleans to face the team locked in to the #2 seed, yet somehow, they are 3-point favorites? Neither Chicago nor New Orleans has anything to play for, and the Packers have the better chance to make the playoffs with a win. See, this is why they keep building casinos in Vegas…

Raiders (+11.5) over JETS: Even though I know the Raiders have absolutely no incentive to win this game and screw up their shot at the #1 overall pick, I also know that Eric Mangini was brought up in the “Bill Belichick School of Winning With Class”. There’s no reason to blow the Raiders out of the water when a six-point win gets the Jets the sixth seed just as well as a twenty-point blowout.

EAGLES (-8) over Falcons: Hmmm… Mike Vick, in the cold, against a team with a very good defense and all the incentive in the world to sew up the #3 conference seed. I’m all about the Eagles this year. If I had to pick right now, I’d say that the Eagles or Saints are the favorites to make the Super Bowl.

Seahawks (+3) over BUCS: Talk about locked in – the Seahawks can’t move ahead of the Eagles for the #3 seed, and because of the NFC West title, they can’t fall behind their current ranking at #4. And even with all that, I just can’t shake the notion that the only reason the Bucs aren’t in the discussion with the Lions & Raiders for the worst teams in the league is because of a bogus Roughing the Passer call in the Cincy game and a near record-tying field goal to beat the Eagles.

Patriots (+3) over TITANS: Sure, Tom Brady will probably be pulled after the first quarter, if no the first series. But the Patriots need that #3 seed – I cannot imagine they want to have their Super Bowl road require a game against the Broncos, or a possible road trip to Indy (which isn’t nearly as scary). Besides, for as good a story as the Titans have been this season, they’re not quite a playoff team. Not yet.

49ers (+10.5) over BRONCOS: I’m just not giving up 10+ points. Period…

Cardinals (+14) over CHARGERS: ...But that doesn’t mean I have to feel good about it.

RECAP: Giants / Bills / Packers / Steelers / Lions / TEXANS / COLTS / CHIEFS / Rams / Panthers / Raiders / EAGLES / Seahawks / Patriots / 49ers / Cardinals

That’s it and that’s all for 2006 folks. See you next year!


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Week 17 Rants & Ranks

First things first – I’m still not fully recovered from the end of the Bengals/Broncos game. There’s at least a 50/50 shot that if I had to discuss it face to face with another human being, I could easily snap and rip off their nose or something like that. Let’s just say, that’s probably a topic to avoid bringing up in conversation with me right now.

Second, I’m giving myself credit for the Ravens/Steelers game from last week. Even though I picked the Steelers to cover the (-3.5) line, I changed my mind before game time and put money on the Ravens. For the record, I had originally picked Baltimore before talking myself out of it (as I detailed in the pick). Here’s the original paragraph I was prepared to post:

Ravens (+3.5) over STEELERS: Very simple here people – The Ravens are the best team nobody’s talking about. They’re still playing for home-field advantage. They’ve got the best defense in the league (shocking, I know). And although the Steelers are fighting for their playoff lives and have the revenge factor to work in their favor, they just don’t have the horses to hang with Baltimore.

So, with that pick, I was 9-7 in Week 16, putting me at 116-118-7. I can’t believe I’m saying this, considering where I was just a few weeks ago, but all I need is another 9-7 week to finish the season at .500. Sometimes the world is funny like that.

Onto the Week 17 Rants & Ranks (abridged version – I feel lousy and would like to sleep for more than two hours tonight):

1. San Diego (1): The most complete team heading into the playoffs since the 2003 Patriots. The only way they don’t win it all is if they stop themselves – i.e. if someone wakes up Marty Schottenheimer.

2. Baltimore (2): They’ve allowed the fewest number of points in the league, they’ve got a competent, if not very very good quarterback, and with one more win, they’ll have Home-Field Advantage for at least one game in the playoffs.

3. New England (6): I know – there are four teams below them that they’ve lost to this season. Miami & the Jets were fluke losses (I hope). Denver & Indy were early in the year when New England was a completely different team. But if I ha to pick today, I don’t think there’s a team in the league besides #’s 1 & 2 that could beat the Patriots.

4. New Orleans (5): Dominant win in the Meadowlands this week. The Giants never snapped the ball on offense in Saints’ territory. If the defense keeps playing like that, and with their running attack, they are a dangerous team.

5. Chicago (8): They get a bump mostly because everyone else looked awful this week. I can’t put the Eagles above the Bears yet, even though Philly is the hottest team in the NFL not led by Vince Young.

6. Tennessee (13): We keep doubting them, and they keep winning games. The Patriots can only move from #4 to #3 in the standings this week, so I wouldn’t be sad to see them roll over get an early rest and let Tennessee have a shot at the playoffs.

7. Philadelphia (9): That’s how you prove you’re for real – go on the road to the division leader and obliterate them. Jeff Garcia back in the playoffs… never thought I’d see that again.

8. Dallas (3): Somebody get this team a glass of water, because they’ve had a couple of serious hiccups over the past few weeks. Who had Week 16 in the “When will T.O. sabotage his team” pool? Even better, who else can’t wait for the Eagles to win the NFC East, then host the Cowboys in the playoffs? Philly fans get those batteries ready and start warming up in the bullpen…

9. Indianapolis (4): One and done. The only way they advance to the second round of the playoffs is if they draw Denver. They just don’t lose to Denver.

10. New York Jets (11): They present interesting match up problems for whichever team they face if they make the playoffs. They nearly beat the Colts, and they split the season series with the Patriots. Of course, they have to actually make the playoffs first…

11. Jacksonville (7): The Patriots owned the better part of that game. The Jags made it close at the end, but the outcome was never really in doubt. They’re not a playoff team yet, but MJD is my Rookie of the Year, narrowly edging out Vince Young & Marques Colston.

12. Denver (17): The only way they have a shot to advance in the playoffs is if they draw the Patriots. And even then, I don’t see it happening. By the way – HOW THE HELL DO YOU GIVE UP THAT GARBAGE TOUCHDOWN?!? Sorry. Still bitter.

13. Seattle (15): And they’re a division winner? Sometimes I wonder if the NFL shouldn’t setup their divisions like the EPL and drop the worst team to the “B” conference. Half the NFC could drop easily.

14. Pittsburgh (10): Funny – everyone has come to expect the Super Bowl runner-up to miss the playoffs. Nobody expected the Steelers to be on the outside looking in. Well, almost nobody

15. Cincinnati (12): They don’t deserve to be this high. I came very close to putting them at #32, out of spite alone. But there’s no way they lose to just about any team below them.

16. Kansas City (19): Too little, too late. They need a win and a loss from Cincy, Denver, and Tennessee. Don’t see it happening (especially with Denver playing…)

17. San Francisco (18): There’s a good chance they sit down some key players that have been battling injuries this week, even though they still have a very, very, very outside shot at making the playoffs. Funny thing – as of right now,’s playoff scenarios page doesn’t list the Niners as eliminated, but also doesn’t list the necessary wins and losses for them to make the playoffs. Must be a VERY outside shot…

18. Atlanta (14): Hmmm… they’ve completely overhauled the receiving corps, changed coaches, and are about to move from Warrick Dunn to Jerious Norwood in the backfield… yet their offense still sputters. Gee, is there some constant in that offense that could be holding them back?

19. New York Giants (16): In a game they absolutely had to win to all but guarantee a playoff spot, they put up seven points and never snap the ball across the 50-yard line. Inexcusable. If they make the playoffs after quitting about six weeks ago, but the Titans miss the postseason after playing their hearts out for a month and a half, there is something seriously wrong with the system.

20. St. Louis (22): I refer back to what I wrote last week: Somehow, they are not yet eliminated from playoff contention…

21. Green Bay (23): …Neither are the Packers…

22. Carolina (24): …Or the Panthers. The NFC is just plain sad. And yet, can’t you just see some team getting hot and wiping out the rest of the conference, then shocking whoever comes out of the AFC and taking home the Lombardi trophy? It won’t be the Panthers, but still…

23. Arizona (26): Without Matt Leinart, they should get destroyed next week. But they’ve shown a lot in the final six weeks of the year, going 4-2 after starting out 1-8. Six wins is, sadly, an improvement for this club. They’ve got some hope for the future, but they’re still at least two years away.

24. Buffalo (20): Even though they got bounced from the playoff picture this week, an 8-8 season is far beyond anyone’s expectations for this year. They should be proud, and set their sights on 2007. They’ve got a legitimate shot.

25. Minnesota (25): No offense against the 26th ranked team in points allowed last week in Green Bay. So, maybe Brad Johnson wasn’t the only problem?

26. Houston (30): Welcome back to the NFL, Ron Dayne! Enjoy your stay, at least until next season when Domanick Davis returns and the team decides four running backs are too much.

27. Miami (21): And so begins the Cleo Lemon era… Wasn’t Joey Harrington supposed to be the Savior of South Beach just a month ago?

28. Washington (28): Look, among the five teams remaining, someone’s got to be on top. And while Oakland actually has the best defense among the flotsam and jetsam, they also have the single most dysfunctional team in the league.

29. Tampa Bay (29): Do your fan base a favor – get Chris Simms signed to a one or two year deal, then draft a QB and groom him well. Because neither Simms, nor Bruce Gradkowski, and certainly not Tim Rattay is the long-term answer for this team. And don’t even mention Luke McCown…

30. Cleveland (28): Boy, there are a lot of teams in the market for a quarterback in 2007. Add Cleveland to the heap, although they have other problems to work out first (offensive line, defensive line, defensive secondary, running back…)

31. Oakland (32): They can’t even screw-up effectively. Unless the Lions somehow manage a miracle win against the Cowboys to end the season, Oakland will get the #2 overall pick in 2007 and Detroit will own the rights to be mocked for the next five years no matter what they do with the first pick. Wait, maybe that’s not such a bad thing for the Raiders…

32. Detroit (31): Hmmm… no running game, no passing game. No defense. Very little special teams. You know, it’s almost as if their front office management personnel were completely unqualified for the job or something…


Sunday, December 24, 2006

One more reason to hate the Bengals in 2006...

There are no words to describe my anger right now. None.

Allow me to paint a little picture for you, kind of set the scene. I wrote my weekly picks (minus the GB/MIN game) on Friday. On Friday night, I decided that since last week I had picked games so successfully, I should try actually putting real cash on the games one last time.

As I do every time, I had money scattered around about six different parlays, teasers, etc. There’s always the one “big” bet, and one “break-even” bet, with a few others mixed in. The big bet usually pays off 20+ times the total of all the other bets combined.

This week, my big bet was a seven-team parlay. Follow along with me if you will:

Titans (+4.5) Final Score: Tennessee 30, Buffalo 29

Saints (+3) – Final Score: New Orleans 30, New York Giants 7

Rams (-2) – Final Score: St. Louis 37, Washington 31

Ravens (+3) – Final Score: Baltimore 31, Pittsburgh 7 (More on this one later)

Bears (-4.5) – Final Score: Chicago 27, Detroit 21

Patriots (+3) – Final Score: New England 24, Jacksonville 21

So far, so good. By the way, this seven-team parlay paid off at a little over $2600. Keep in mind, I’m going to Vegas in three weeks, and a little extra cash never hurt for a Vegas trip.

Final game: BRONCOS (-3) over Bengals:

I spent the second half of this game at my cousin’s house for Christmas Eve. No TV while the family was talking. When I left my house, Denver was up a touchdown.

I decided to flip on a TV in the bedroom, just in time to see Denver punt the ball back to Cincy with about four minutes to go, still leading 24-17. Phew.

Then Cincy started driving.

Then Carson Palmer completed a ridiculous fourth and nine for 22 yards to the Broncos’ 24-yard line.

Then Cincy got inside the 10. My stomach started hurting.

Then TJ Houshmanzadeh made my head hurt by catching what seemed to be the game tying touchdown.

My cousin was sitting next to me at this point, and asked me why I was so pissed off.

“Because even if they go to overtime, Denver will probably only push the 3-points. Of course, with my luck, the Bengals will screw up the extra point and completely blow up my bet.”

No sooner had the words left my mouth, than Brad St. Louis, Kenny Larson and Shayne Graham proved me prophetic.

I nearly puked up my Christmas Eve dinner.

I’m going to bed.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Week 16 Picks

I have been such a slacker. There’s just something about the holiday season – I slow down even more than usual, moving at about the pace of a fuzzy caterpillar. This was supposed to be written yesterday, just as yesterday’s post was supposed to be written Tuesday.

At least I didn’t completely space on it and throw something together at noon on Saturday morning. Honestly, I don’t think I’d ever slip that far

One other thing I’ve been forgetting lately (yes, forgetting, that’s it. I’m not doing it intentionally, not at all…) I’ve neglected to include my record on picks for the previous week or overall in the season since about Week 12. Inexcusable. How else would you guys get any fodder to blast me with?

Not coincidentally, I “remembered” this after my best week of the year, going 11-5 last week and 0-1 so far this week to pull me almost back to .500 on the season at 107-111-7. I’ll settle for being perfectly average at the end of this year.

Onto the Week 16 picks:

All lines from and accurate as of 7:45PM on 12/22/06. Home team in CAPS.

Chiefs (-7) over RAIDERS: Not that it matters, but there are rumblings that Art Shell might *gasp!* be fired at year’s end! No! The humanity of it all! The guys’ done a decent enough job, hasn’t he? I mean, the Raiders have rolled over all season, screwed up the draft royally, have no legitimate QB, a weak running-back, and enough salary cap issues to keep them in this situation for the next five to eight years… I would have thought he’d be rewarded with an extension.

Titans (+4.5) over BILLS: This is probably the hardest game of the week for me to pick. Both teams are on hot streaks right now, both teams are a little overrated, and both teams are due for a collapse. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something along the lines of either a 10-9 nail-biter or a 38-35 shootout.

Saints (+3) over GIANTS: I must have hit the eggnog a little early, taking three straight road dogs to start things this week. But the Saints are the #2 team in the NFC for a reason, and I believe this line is a byproduct of their hiccup against the Skins last week. Of course, in a copycat league, the Giants could just follow Washington’s blueprint and shut the Saints down.

FALCONS (-6) over Panthers: I refer you back to my Falcons comment from two weeks ago. Not quite the same situation, but close enough.

RAMS (-2) over Redskins: Letdown game for the Skins. Not that they’re really all that good, but they just beat one of the top three teams in the conference. All St. Louis did was shutout a woeful Raiders squad – basically, they did what they were supposed to do.

Colts (-9.5) over TEXANS: Funny thing is, I originally typed this line and forgot the decimal point, making the Colts 95-point favorites, and I still had to pause for a second before deciding which side I’d take with that line.

STEELERS (-3.5) over Ravens: Let’s see… the Steelers still have an outside shot at the playoffs - the Ravens are basically playing for seeding. The Ravens’ starting QB is injured and may not be able to throw the ball effectively for this game - the Steelers’ starting QB, while still a complete idiot, can actually complete a pass now and then. The Ravens blew out the Steelers the last time they met about a month ago – the Steelers make a point of using revenge as a great motivator. I’ve flip-flopped on this pick three times, but after re-reading everything I just wrote, I feel confident about it.

BROWNS (-3) over Bucs: Not to do anything as crazy as rely on facts, but the Buccaneers don’t exactly have a stellar track record in Northern games in the winter. They don’t seem to be able to play effectively below 40 degrees. Cleveland gets awful cold in late December. Plus, the Bucs really suck, while the Browns only mildly suck.

Bears (-5.5) over LIONS: I’d feel more comfortable about this line if the Bears actually had something on the line here. Or if Rex Grossman hadn’t been playing out of his mind for the past two weeks – he’s due to implode.

Cardinals (+4) over 49ERS: Well, even if the Niners had any shot at the playoffs, it went out the window about three hours ago when #1 receiver Antonio Bryant got suspended for four games.

BRONCOS (-3) over Bengals: Can someone explain to me how they aren’t currently filming a movie about this Bengals’ season? Oh, wait. They already did. And there was a remake of it. Let’s just forget I ever opened my mouth, shall we?

Chargers (-4.5) over SEAHAWKS: I don’t care what the weather is like, or how jacked up the crowd is, or any of that crap. The Chargers are the best team in the league right now, and unless Mike Holmgren has found a serious kink in their armor, San Diego is not coughing this game up to a mediocre (at best) team.

Eagles (+7) over COWBOYS: The one weakness on this Dallas team is their pass defense. They can slow the run, and their offense seems to be clicking. But can’t you just see the Eagles throwing all day long, while T.O. sits on the sidelines and tries to figure out how he can take the spotlight in the playoffs?

Jets (+2) over DOLPHINS: This is amazing. New York is a borderline playoff team right now. Miami will be lucky to finish .500. Having a December game in Miami is not an advantage for the Dolphins the way it would be for the Jets in the Meadowlands. Sometimes these lines really confuse me.

The line on the Patriots/Jaguars game got pulled a couple ago – it had been hovering at JAGUARS (-3). I’ve got a bad feeling about this game for New England – when the season first started, I had them finishing at 12-4, with this game being the fourth loss. But I’m willing to take a chance, and take the Patriots (+3) and cross my fingers that the absence of Vince Wilfork up the middle doesn’t spell a 200+ yard rushing day for MJD.

RECAP: Chiefs / Titans / Saints / FALCONS / RAMS / Colts / STEELERS / BROWNS / Bears / Cardinals / BRONCOS / Chargers / Eagles / Jets / Patriots

Finally, since this will be the third year I’ve celebrated since I began this whole little expedition into the world of blogging, I would like to wish a Happy and a Healthy Holiday Season to everyone out there who has taken a few minutes out of their day to read my opinions on everything sports.

I started this page as nothing more than a way for me to vent my frustrations about anything that might have been happening at the time, and while it hasn’t exactly blossomed into much more than that (yet), it is exceedingly cathartic for me, and a great way for the rest of you to kill time. So it’s a win-win.

See you all next week.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Week 16 Rants & Ranks

I finally got around to watching "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" this week. Wow. I cannot express to you just how much my head hurt after watching that movie. It was funny, sure. But so many parts of it just left me with a "Wait - what the hell just happened?" kind of look on my face.

Kind of like the NFC right now...

Onto the Week 16 Rants & Ranks:

  1. San Diego (1): One week, I'm praising them for being the most complete team in the NFL, the next week, I'm ripping the system for allowing a proven cheater entry into the Pro Bowl. I already posted this in my comments on another blog, but here's the argument again: How is Shawne Merriman even eligible for the Pro Bowl? Shouldn't he have to forfeit the right to earn any type of individual honor for the year when he is caught using a banned substance? And I'm talking, like every individual award, from Player of the Week up to League MVP. The only thing that will get into these players' heads is a hit to the wallet, and losing out on individual honors usually equates to losing out on mega-bonus money in their contracts. That's my proposal - you get caught cheating, you lose your right to be honored for the rest of the year, and stripped of any previous honors from that season...
  2. Baltimore (2): The top two remain unchanged for the first time in a while. Of course, this is dependant on the health of Steve McNair, much like the Ravens' postseason chances.
  3. Dallas (4): Until they prove me wrong, I'm going to keep them up high in the ranks. They've beaten some tough competition, and although the pass defense seems to be a little suspect, I believe they can figure out the problem in time to fix it for the postseason.
  4. Indianapolis (7): They're still not a true Super Bowl contender, not until they figure out how to stop the run. But if Peyton Manning is as effective as he was against the Bengals last week, they might be able to outshoot anyone they run in to.
  5. New Orleans (3): Does last week's game qualify as a "hiccup", or just a standard trap game. They stomped Dallas in Week 14, got their lunch handed to them against The Redskins, of all teams, and not have to go into the Meadowlands with playoff seeding on the line against the Giants.
  6. New England (8): I'm not getting real excited about a 40-7 blowout of Houston, In New England, in December. The Texans are not exactly the class of the NFL. If they can beat the Jags this week, then come talk to me.
  7. Jacksonville (5): If either or both running backs are healthy, and Vince Wilfork is still missing from the Patriots defensive line, the Jags are going to run wild over the Patriots. Otherwise, it's a three-point game.
  8. Chicago (9): Love him or hate him, Rex Grossman has put together back-to-back solid games. And it looks like he's got another favorable match up against the Lions this week.
  9. Philadelphia (12): I can't believe I'm saying this, but 2006 is shaping up to be the second time in the past four years that a backup QB has led the Eagles to the playoffs after Donovan McNabb was lost to injury for a majority of the season. What's that say about McNabb?
  10. Pittsburgh (11): Since getting shut out in Baltimore a month ago, the Steelers have gone 3-0, outscoring their opponents 20-3, 27-7, and 37-3. Or by a combined 84-13. Admittedly, it was Tampa Bay, Cleveland and a banged-up Carolina team, but it's still impressive.
  11. New York Jets (13): I've completely run out of superlatives for this team. Let's just say that if they manage to break the top 10, this will officially go down as the weirdest NFL season in a long time.
  12. Cincinnati (6): I'd like to drop them further, but they're still better than any team below them.
  13. Tennessee (16): When the season started, did anybody honestly think that the Titans would have an easier road to the playoffs in Week 16 than the Steelers?
  14. Atlanta (14): I will never, ever, own Mike Vick on another fantasy football team. The mental strain isn't worth the possible payoff. (Yes, I benched him last week in favor of Steve McNair...)
  15. Seattle (10): Well, as long as they don't have to play San Francisco or Arizona anymore, they should be fine...
  16. New York Giants (17): Somehow, they're still the #6 seed in the NFC. If the playoffs started today, three NFC East teams would make it in. God I can't wait to bet on the playoffs this year...
  17. Denver (18): They won, so they move up. But they only beat Arizona, so they only go up one spot. A win this week against the Bengals will prove a lot more to me.
  18. San Francisco (24): The 49ers get the "one yard short" award for this season. They need to win out and catch some breaks to make the playoffs. This week is certainly a winnable game (Arizona). But next week against Denver will probably end the dream.
  19. Kansas City (19): I actually felt bad last week, after I took a shot at the griping of Lamar Hunt at the end of last season regarding not having enough teams in the NFL playoffs. Of course, I didn't know he was on death's door. Sometimes I'm glad no one reads this page.
  20. Buffalo (23): Cannot ignore the fact that they are 7-7 right now. I don't think anybody would have put the Bills anywhere near .500 this season - Hell, I had them at 5-11. Of course, I had the Jets at 3-13, and the Dolphins at 11-5. Ya know - I think I'll just stop talking now.
  21. Miami (15): They're officially eliminated from the playoffs. Finally. I was looking forward to being able to bet against Joey Harrington in the playoffs, but it look like I'll have to settle for Jay Cutler and Rex Grossman.
  22. St. Louis (20): They managed to drop two spots after a shutout win on the road. See - this is why ranking is an imperfect science. The Rams shutout the Raiders in Oakland, but I still don't believe they're better than any of the 21 teams above them. Even Miami would be a coin flip. By the way - the Rams are, somehow, still not eliminated from playoff contention...
  23. Green Bay (27): ...Neither are the Packers...
  24. Carolina (21): ...Or the Panthers...
  25. Minnesota (25): ... Or the Vikings. Maybe parity isn't such a good thing after all. Of course, this way, games in Week 16 still mean something for a lot of teams.
  26. Arizona (22): Luckily, the Cardinals (and everyone below them) are eliminated. Arizona is the "best of the rest" - they've got a bright future with Matt Leinart, Edgerrin James, and that receiving corps. All they need is an offensive line, and maybe a couple defensive playmakers. They're still two years away.
  27. Cleveland (26): They're going to end the season looking a lot better than they actually are, with games against Tampa Bay and Houston. But make no mistake - this team has a lot of work to do to even think about contending in that division.
  28. Washington (31): Nice win against the Saints last week. Here's a thought - with Ladell Betts running wild to end the season, do you think the Skins entertain offers for Clinton Portis this offseason?
  29. Tampa Bay (32): The only team of the four remaining that actually put up a fight last week. And they nearly knocked off the #1 seed in the conference. They played their asses off for the final fifteen minutes. Too bad they couldn't do it for all sixty.
  30. Houston (28): This is how bad the bottom of the barrel is - Houston was the only one of the bottom three teams to score a touchdown last week, and they lost 40-7. The Rams shut out Oakland, and Detroit managed only three field goals in Green Bay.
  31. Detroit (30): Can't put them last - at least they managed to score points against an abysmal defense...
  32. Oakland (29): The Raiders turned the ball over five times and put up zero points against one of the five worst defenses in the NFL. Welcome back to the basement - we've been waiting for you!

And, quickly, a pick for tonight's game:

PACKERS (-3.5) over VIKINGS: I had originally picked the Vikings to win this outright, but then I thought about it. Minnesota is starting a rookie QB, in Lambeau, in late December, in what could easily be Brett Favre's final home game as a Packer. I changed my mind awful fast.

I'll be back tomorrow with the rest of the picks for the weekend.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Week 15 Picks

Sorry for the late post everybody – I’ve had a lot of things happening in the last few days, and even more today.

Very, very quick picks for Week 15. 1-0 so far this week with the Niners’ upset in Seattle:

All lines from and accurate as of 11:45AM 12/16/06. Home teams in CAPS

Cowboys (-3.5) over FALCONS: Romo bounces back tonight.

Jets (+3) over VIKINGS: When in doubt, take the underdog.

Browns (+11.5) over RAVENS: Far too many points.

Texans (+11) over PATRIOTS: Ditto.

BILLS (-1) over Dolphins: Buffalo’s cold this time of year.

SAINTS (-9.5) over Redskins: Skins are really terrible right now.

BEARS (-13.5) over Bucs: But not nearly as bad as Tampa Bay.

TITANS (+3) over Jaguars: Letdown game for the Jags.

Eagles (+5) over GIANTS: Payback for the give away game earlier this year.

Lions (+5.5) over PACKERS: Green Bay shouldn’t be a favorite against anyone

Broncos (-3) over CARDINALS: This line is amazing. Wish I could write more.

CHARGERS (-8.5) over Chiefs: SD looks like world beaters right now.

Rams (+2.5) over RAIDERS: Art Shell vol. II is almost over…

Bengals (+3.5) over COLTS: Fantasy playoffs everywhere are decided in one game.

The Steelers/Panthers game has no line yet, presumably because there’s no decision on Carolina’s quarterback situation. The game’s in Carolina, so here my thinking:

If Jake Delhomme starts, the line is probably Pittsburgh (-3). If Chris Weinke starts, it probably jumps to Pittsburgh (-7.5). Honestly, I’m fine with taking the Steelers in either situation.

RECAP: Cowboys / Jets / Browns / Texans / BILLS / SAINTS / BEARS / TITANS / Eagles / Lions / Broncos / CHARGERS / Rams / Bengals / Steelers