Super Bowl LVII Pick

February 11th, 2023 Comments off

Kansas City (+1.5) vs. Philadelphia, Glendale, Arizona
I’ll keep it short. Because I don’t care enough about either of these teams to do anything else. Kansas City has a talented if entirely overrated quarterback. Philadelphia has a whole (as in complete) team. Eagles by six.

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NFL 2022 Conference Championship Picks

January 28th, 2023 Comments off

San Francisco (+2.5) at Philadelphia
YepI should be picking the visitors here. I’ve been talking about a Super Bowl XVI/XXIII rematch since before the postseason started. And both San Francisco and Cincinnati go into conference championship weekend with a great chance to make it happen. And maybe if the Niners were hosting, I wouldn’t be second guessing myself. But the Eagles are hosting. And, great as the 49ers defense may be — and resilient as San Fran’s offense may be — the Eagles are one of the most complete and well balanced teams we’ve seen in recent years. It’s hard to overcome a team like that in any arena, let alone their own. I’m expecting a close, low-scoring game the outcome of which is in question right up to the final seconds. And I’m expecting the Eagles to come out ahead by a point.

Cincinnati (+1.5) at Kansas City
Sure, let’s all focus on how Patrick Mahomes’ injured leg affects what the Kansas City offense can accomplish in this game (or doesn’t affect it, depending on your point of view). That seems like much more fun than simply acknowledging that the Bengals, once again, are the more balanced — which is to say better — football team. Cincinnati by four.

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NFL 2022 Divisional Round Picks

January 21st, 2023 Comments off

Jacksonville (+9) at Kansas City
The Jaguars are not the same team that lost by 10 points in Kansas City back in mid November. So I wouldn’t be entirely shocked to see an upset here, especially if Jacksonville catches the hosts napping early and builds a two-score lead. But I’m not predicting that. Kansas City simply has too much going for it on offense to lose to a Jacksonville squad that’s probably still a season away from being a real threat in the postseason. I’m just looking for the Jaguars to keep it competitive. Kansas City by three.

NY Giants (+7.5) at Philadelphia
This is the third meeting between these division rivals in over the course of just six weeks. And it presents the Eagles with the difficult task of beating a team for the third time in a season. The Giants, who have a history of playing tough in the role of postseason underdogs, won’t make it easy. In the end, I think we see a high scoring game in which Philadelphia’s offense is able to outpace New Jersey’s — but not by much. Eagles put up three in the closing seconds to come away with a one-point win.

Cincinnati (+5.5) at Buffalo
The league’s “solution” to the unfinished game between these two teams in week 17 thoroughly put the screws to the Bengals. Cincinnati was in control of that match when play was stopped and should be hosting this game. (Make no mistake here. There was no continuing that game. But there were better options for resolving the matter than punishing a Cincinnati team that did nothing wrong.) That isn’t to say that I believe emotion makes the difference here. I don’t. I think the fact that the Bengals are a better football team than the Bills is what makes the difference. Cincinnati by four.

Dallas (+4) at San Francisco
I don’t see the Cowboys overcoming the 49ers defense. I could say more, but that’s all that really matters. San Francisco by three.

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NFL 2022 Wild Card Round Picks

January 14th, 2023 Comments off

Seattle (+9.5) at San Francisco
I expect to see the 49ers D control this game from start to finish. San Francisco by 12.

LA Chargers (-1.5) at Jacksonville
It’s kind of disappointing that this game between two of the more exciting — if difficult to peg — teams in the tournament has to happen in the first round. But so it goes. I won’t be surprised by any outcome. Nor would any outcome disappoint me. But I think we’ll see Jacksonville control the pace of the game and come away with a narrow win. Jaguars by three.

Miami (+13.5) at Buffalo
Almost every year there’s some team in the postseason that everyone knows doesn’t really belong there. This year that team is the Dolphins. Familiarity may help Miami keep this one close through three quarters, but the Bills will put it away in the fourth. Buffalo by 10.

NY Giants (+3) at Minnesota
The Vikings could potentially find a way to lose this game. And the Giants are good enough to take advantage if the hosts give them that chance. But it’s a bit hard to envision. Minnesota by a point.

Baltimore (+8.5) at Cincinnati
If I believe the Bengals are headed for the Super Bowl (and I do), I’ve kinda got to take them here, right? Cincinnati by five.

Dallas (-2.5) at Tampa Bay
If ever there comes a day when I’m willing to pick against Tom Brady in the postseason, I’ll be sure to let you know. Tampa puts up a TD in the final minute of regulation that ultimately lifts them to a four-point margin of victory.

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NFL 2023 Week Eighteen Picks

January 7th, 2023 Comments off

Kansas City (-9) at Las Vegas
Kansas City should have been able to clinch home field through the playoffs with a win in this game. But the league’s decision to upend the seeding rules to favor Buffalo means Kansas City gets punished for something it had nothing to do with. Oh, well. The billionaire team owner can take the financial hit. And the Kansas City fans are mostly assholes anyhow. Plus, odds are the team chokes in the divisional round anyhow. KC still secures the one seed and a first-round bye with a win. And they’ll get one. By six.

Tennessee (+6.5) at Jacksonville
Neither of these teams truly deserves to be a division champion. But at least the Jaguars have been playing like they want the title. Jacksonville by four.

Tampa Bay (+4) at Atlanta
YepI’m not sure it’s wise for the Buccaneers to take this week off. There’s reason to take it. They’ve got nothing to gain from a win, and there’s something to be said for heading into the postseason knowing you’ve got a brutal wild-card round matchup with Dallas or Philadelphia coming at you. But the uneven Bucs are a team that could stand to hold on to the momentum it’s picked up down the stretch. Even still, it’s hard to imagine we’ll see all of Tampa starters on the field much past the end of the first quarter. Falcons by a touchdown.

New England (+7) at Buffalo
The only way the Patriots were ever going to have a chance at winning this game was if the Bills went in with nothing to play for. It didn’t work out that way. Buffalo by 10.

Minnesota (-7.5) at Chicago
The Bears aren’t even pretending not to be focused on 2023. And, really, who can blame them? Vikings by 13.

Baltimore (+7) at Cincinnati
I still haven’t been able to figure out why the solution to the Buffalo situation needed to involve changing the rules in a way that potentially screws the Bengals. But I’ll admit I haven’t tried much. Cincinnati’s winning this game anyhow. And probably the rematch next weekend as well. Bengals by 10.

Houston (+2.5) at Indianapolis
The Texans are one loss away from clinching the first pick in the 2023 draft. They’ll get it even if it means running the ball backward through their own end zone multiple times. Colts by four.

NY Jets (+2) at Miami
Given the near certainty of a Patriots loss to the Bills, the Dolphins appear only to need a home win to earn the opportunity to be destroyed by in Buffalo next weekend. The Jets are just assholes enough to find a way to destroy the Dolphins’ dreams. New Jersey by three.

Carolina (+3.5) at New Orleans
Who cares? Home team by three.

Cleveland (+2.5) at Pittsburgh
In which the Steelers officially back into the AFC seven seed. That’ll have everyone in Pittsburgh feeling great. For a week. Pittsburgh by four.

LA Chargers (+2.5) at Denver
The Chargers will be thinking about next weekend’s matchup with the Jaguars. And resting starters. The Broncos get the gift of a three-point win.

NY Giants (+14) at Philadelphia
I think under other circumstances, the Giants would have played hard and forced the Eagles to battle their way to the division title, conference one seed, and first-round bye. But the Giants have nothing to gain from a win, and a wild card matchup with the Vikings to get ready for. Eagles by 17.

Arizona (+14) at San Francisco
The Niners have a solid chance of taking this thing all the way. The Cardinals gave up on this season a long time ago. San Francisco by 10.

LA Rams (+6) at Seattle
The Seahawks are trying to play their way into the tournament. The Rams are still trying to get over their Super Bowl hangover. Seattle by four.

Dallas (-7) at Washington
There’s no reason to believe the Cowboys will have anything to play for by the time this game kicks off. So I’m thinking maybe they only win by three.

Detroit (+4.5) at Green Bay
The Lions will have been eliminated before kickoff. If that weren’t the case, I might actually have picked them. The Packers will get the win here that enables them to lose in San Francisco next weekend. Green Bay by six.

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NFL 2022 Week Seventeen Picks

December 29th, 2022 Comments off

Dallas (-12.5) at Tennessee
The Titans are still in a race for a division title. The Cowboys almost certainly won’t be able to improve their seeding in the NFC to better than five (the top wild card spot). And yet … Dallas by 14.

Arizona (+3.5) at Atlanta
The only possible prize for winning this game is a lower slot in the 2023 draft order. That always adds up to an exciting afternoon of football. Falcons by six.

Chicago (+6) at Detroit
The Lions are still in the hunt. Technically speaking. They also appear to be interested in building toward a strong 2023. So they at least have something to play for. Detroit by three.

Denver (+12.5) at Kansas City
The Chiefs are battling for home field and a bye. The Broncos are just trying to get to the offseason. Kansas City by 17.

Miami (+3) at New England
Both of these teams are limping toward the finish line. Just as it’s always safe to assume the Dolphins will find a way to beat the Patriots in Miami, it’s always safe to assume the Patriots will find a way to beat the Dolphins in Foxborough. New England by a point.

Indianapolis (+6) at NY Giants
This will not be the greatest game ever played. But I’m sure the Giants will be happy to get a win just the same. New Jersey by seven.

New Orleans (+5.5) at Philadelphia
With a win here, the Eagles will position themselves to start preparing for their divisional round opponent. Philadelphia by nine.

Carolina (+3) at Tampa Bay
Tom Brady has never led a team as bad as the 2022 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And he’s leading this one right into the playoffs. Exciting, isn’t it? Tampa by six.

Cleveland (+2) at Washington
YepSure does look like the entire NFC East is headed for the postseason. All the way down to the Handmaid’s Tale Villains. Washington by four.

Jacksonville (-4.5) at Houston
The Jaguars will be trying to stay healthy for their division-deciding matchup with Tennessee in week 18. The Texans should be trying to hold onto the first overall pick in the 2023 draft. And those things should combine to make for some truly exceptional football. Jaguars by three.

San Francisco (-10) at Las Vegas
I guess the Raiders at least don’t need to worry about blowing a big lead in this game. That’s … well, it’s a thing. Right? San Francisco by 14.

NY Jets (-1.5) at Seattle
The Jets ought to be able to handle the Seahawks. And the Seahawks ought to be able to make it at least somewhat interesting. New Jersey by a point.

Minnesota (+3.5) at Green Bay
The Packers’ late season surge ends here. Vikings by a field goal

LA Rams (+6.5) at LA Chargers
The Chargers are trying to earn a trip to Jacksonville (or Nashville) in the wild card round. The Rams are trying to get out of this crushing hangover season. Chargers by seven.

Pittsburgh (+2.5) at Baltimore
The Ravens also would like to qualify for that easy wildcard round trip to Jacksonville or Nashville. Baltimore by three.

Buffalo (-1) at Cincinnati
There’s an excellent chance these teams meet again in three weeks. Bengals by two. This time.

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NFL 2022 Week Sixteen Picks

December 24th, 2022 Comments off

Jacksonville (+1.5) at NY Jets
The Jets are done, though I’m not sure they know it. The Jaguars are very much alive, though I’m not sure that means very much in the terrible AFC South. I’ll take the delusional home team over the illusionary road team. Jets by a field goal.

Buffalo (-8) at Chicago
If the Bills weren’t in a tight race for the AFC one seed, I’d say eight feels like a lot to give in a road game. But the Bills are in a tight race for the seed. And I just don’t see them giving the Bears even the most remote opportunity to get between them and a first-round bye. Buffalo by 14.

New Orleans (+3) at Cleveland
Yeah, I don’t know. Neither of these teams is very good. I guess the Browns at least appear to be trying. Cleveland by four.

Houston (+3) at Tennessee
The best possible outcome of this season for the Titans appears to be a home loss to the Ravens, Chargers, or Dolphins in the wild card round. And even that requires that they hold off the Jaguars these final three weeks of the regular season. That’s not a given. But a home win over the Texans should be. Tennessee by a point.

Seattle (+10) at Kansas City
The Seahawks are probably going to slip into the tournament with a 9-8 record. But they’re not going much of anywhere in the postseason. And they’re getting that eighth loss this weekend. Kansas City by 13.

NY Giants (+4) at Minnesota
The Vikings should have just enough offense to log a win and hold the onto their slim lead for the NFC two seed. Minnesota by three.

Cincinnati (-3) at New England
The Patriots appear to have forgotten how to win football games. Perhaps they’ll work it out over the the fast-approaching offseason. Bengals by four.

Detroit (-2.5) at Carolina
Are the Lions really for real? It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? And yet … . Detroit by six.

Atlanta (+6.5) at Baltimore
The Ravens have been struggling a bit of late. But let’s not be silly. Baltimore by 10.

Washington (+6.5) at San Francisco
Not a lot to wonder about here. The home team has the visitor outclassed by a considerable margin on both sides of the ball. San Francisco by 14.

Philadelphia (+4.5) at Dallas
There’s no such thing as a good moment for losing your starting QB. But, uh, this is more of a not good moment than most. The good news for the Eagles is that they probably still end up as the NFC one seed, which will serve them well if there’s an eventual rematch in the postseason. But that’s a story for another day. For now, it’s Cowboys by three.

Las Vegas (+2) at Pittsburgh
This week’s opponents are rather unlikely to hand the Raiders a free win. So that’ll be different. Steelers by a field goal.

Green Bay (+3.5) at Miami
The Packers should be able to achieve some offensive production. But not enough. Dolphins by three.

Denver (-3) at LA Rams
This should be a great game to nap through. Broncos by some number of points. Let’s call it three just so we don’t have to think about it anymore.

Tampa Bay (-7.5) at Arizona
Another perfect game for not watching on Christmas. Buccaneers by 12.

LA Chargers (-4) at Indianapolis
The Chargers continue their push to the postseason. Los Angeles by a touchdown.

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NFL 2022 Week Fifteen, Post Thursday Night Picks

December 18th, 2022 Comments off

Indianapolis (+4) at Minnesota
I’m not sure what one might expect from the Colts coming out of their bye other than than that they’ll resume losing games and looking ahead to 2023. The Vikings, on the other hand, can sew up their division by logging their eleventh win. That’s usually a pretty good motivator. Minnesota by a touchdown.

Baltimore (+3) at Cleveland
YepIt would be foolish, I know, to expect much of anything out of the Ravens offense. But it’s also hard to imagine the Browns getting much done against the Ravens defense. I’m thinking Baltimore 13-9.

Miami (+7) at Buffalo
The Dolphins rarely fare well when they have to travel north in December. Visiting a Bills team that would have them outmatched in any stadium, that bodes particularly ill for Miami. Still, division matchups have a way of being closer than they should be. Buffalo by six.

Philadelphia (-7.5) at Chicago
It seems like the only thing that can possibly keep this thing from getting real ugly real fast is location. And I’m not even sure that will get the job done. Eagles by 17.

Atlanta (+4) at New Orleans
Both of these teams are oriented toward 2023. The Falcons have the strange advantage of starting a quarterback of whom there is no NFL tape to study. Atlanta by a point.

Detroit (+1) at NY Jets
The Lions late surge will be over the minute I start believing it’s for real. So not quite yet. Jets by a field goal.

Pittsburgh (+3) at Carolina
The Steelers’ 5-8 is a more respectable 5-8 than the Panthers’ 5-8. If that makes any sense. And, you know, even if it doesn’t. Pittsburgh by three.

Dallas (-4) at Jacksonville
The Jags at best are on again, off again. And it’s an off week. Cowboys by seven.

Kansas City (-14.5) at Houston
The Texans played what one has to imagine will remain their best game of the reason a week ago. And they still managed to lose. Kansas City by 14.

Arizona (+1.5) at Denver
Bet the under. Broncos by three.

New England (+1) at Las Vegas
The Patriots defense ought to be able to carry this one. New England by four.

Tennessee (+3) at LA Chargers
YepI don’t think the Chargers are better than the Titans by a lot. But they’re better than the Titans by enough to be able to beat them at home. Los Angeles by six.

Cincinnati (-3.5) at Tampa Bay
The only thing keeping the Buccaneers in the hunt right now is the weakness of the NFC South. Bengals by seven.

NY Giants (+4.5) at Washington
The Giants could only manage a tie when these two teams met in New Jersey two weeks ago. It’s hard to imagine they get a win here. Handmaid’s Tale villains by four.

LA Rams (+7) at Green Bay
Shrug. I’d rather be at a random office holiday party. Packers by three.

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NFL 2022 Week Fifteen Thursday Night Pick

December 15th, 2022 Comments off

San Francisco (-3) at Seattle
I don’t know if Brock Purdy will be able to continue to perform at the unexpectedly high level we’ve seen thus far as the weeks go on and opponents get tape to review. But I’m not sure that question matters here, since the Niners may never actually need to call a pass play. San Francisco by seven.

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NFL 2022 Week Fourteen Post Thursday Night Picks

December 11th, 2022 Comments off

NY Jets (+10) at Buffalo
It’s tough to imagine the Bills getting swept in the season series by the Jets. Not impossible, mind you. Just tough. Buffalo by four.

Cleveland (+5.5) at Cincinnati
The Bengals are doing what championship teams do, playing their best football as the regular season pushes into its final weeks. If the Browns haven’t already shifted their focus to the draft and the 2023 season, they’ll get there soon. Still, division games rarely prove to be as easy as the matchups suggest they should be. Cincinnati by four.

Houston (+17.5) at Dallas
This is like one of those college football games where the home team pays the visiting team millions of dollars to come in and get the stuffing beat out of them. Only a true sucker actually bets a game like this, of course. The outcome is predetermined, but the margin of victory depends on whether and when the Cowboys take their foot off the gas. I’m thinking the difference is likely around 20, but who the hell knows?

Minnesota (+2.5) at Detroit
I know I’m supposed to be impressed by how “well” the Lions have been playing of late. But I’m not sure I’ve seen real evidence yet that Detroit can run with good teams. Vikings by four.

Jacksonville (+3) at Tennessee
Three? Not sure what I’m missing here. Three might make sense four weeks from now in Jacksonville. But it doesn’t fit here. Titans by a touchdown.

Philadelphia (-7) at NY Giants
The Giants may yet right the ship in time to sneak into the tournament. But not this week. Eagles by six.

Baltimore (+1.5) at Pittsburgh
The 2022 Steelers are a hard team to figure. But there’s no question about whether they’ll be up for the opportunity to hand a costly loss to the hobbled Ravens. Pittsburgh by three.

Kansas City (-8.5) at Denver
This is not going to be pretty. Kansas City by 21.

Tampa Bay (+3.5) at San Francisco
Yeah, that Niners’ defense is killer. But not having a quarterback is going to be a problem for the home team. Buccaneers by three — at the buzzer.

Carolina (+3.5) at Seattle
Assuming the Seahawks are for real, they should put this one away early. Seahawks by 13.

Miami (-3) at LA Chargers
The Dolphins really aren’t that much better than the Chargers. But the Dolphins have a knack for finding ways to win, while the Chargers have a knack for exactly the opposite. Miami by a point.

New England (-1.5) at Arizona
The 6-6 Patriots will have to win out if they’re to have any hope of making the postseason. That’s probably not happening. And if they can’t get their offense untracked against the defense-deficient Cardinals, you can change that “probably” to definitely. New England by nine.

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