NFL 2022 Week Three Picks, Post Thursday Night

September 25th, 2022 No comments

I’m not getting better at this. In case you were wondering. I can’t. Yet. There’s not enough data. Well, that’s my excuse anyhow. Feels better than just admitting I’m clueless. Probably. Here’s what not to expect over the next couple of days.

Houston (+3) at Chicago
Neither of these teams is finished. And by “finished” I mean “ready,” not “done for the season.” They’re both probably done for the season. But the Bears are probably a step or two closer to being ready for 2023. Chicago by four.

Las Vegas (-2) at Tennessee
I don’t know why the Raiders are favored here. I mean, maybe they should be the better team. But are they the better team? Is “better” truly a word that can be applied to either of these squads right now? Tennessee by a point.

Kansas City (-5.5) at Indianapolis
This feels like the gimme of the week. Chiefs by 14.

Buffalo (-4.5) at Miami
Temperature at kickoff is expected to be close to 90 degrees. Still won’t quite bring the Bills down to the Dolphins’ level. Bills by a field goal.

Detroit (+6) at Minnesota
YepThe Vikings probably have the brighter immediate future, but this game is still fairly evenly matched. And it’s a divisional game. So I’m not inclined to give six. Three, maybe four. So let’s just say Minnesota by four.

Baltimore (-2.5) at New England
The Ravens are farther along. They should win this game. Which will be no consolation to Patriots fans. Baltimore by six.

Cincinnati (-6) at NY Jets
The Bengals may not be very good. The Jets may not be an actual football team. Cincinnati by seven.

Philadelphia (-6.5) at Washington
The Eagles so far appear to be on a mission. I think the Handmaid’s Tale Villains give their division rivals a game. But Washington won’t be able to hang for all 60. Philadelphia by four.

New Orleans (-2.5) at Carolina
The Saints are bit uneven. The Panthers are a bit bad. New Orleans by three.

Jacksonville (+3.5) at LA Chargers
Three and a half seems excessive. I think this is a game. Chargers by a point.

LA Rams (-3.5) at Arizona
There’s no real reason to believe in the defending champs right now. But there’s also no reason to believe in the Cardinals. I’m just taking the home team. Arizona by three.

Atlanta (+1) at Seattle
The Seahawks may be struggling, but they’re not struggling that much. Seattle by seven.

Green Bay (+1) at Tampa Bay
The Buccaneers are just better than the Packers. Right now. And probably for the whole of this season. Tampa by four.

San Francisco (-1.5) at Denver
I know the game’s in Denver and all, but this matchup doesn’t look nearly that close to me. Niners by six.

Dallas (+1) at NY Giants
Conventional wisdom says that regardless of their respective records, the Cowboys are better than the Giants. I’m not sold on that conventional wisdom. New Jersey by three.

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NFL 2022 Week Three, Thursday Night Pick

September 22nd, 2022 No comments

Pittsburgh (+4) at Cleveland
The good news for both of these teams is that their opponent this week isn’t from the AFC East. The bad news is, neither of them is particularly good. You know, at the football. Browns by a field goal.

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NFL 2022 Week Two Picks, Post Thursday Night

September 18th, 2022 Comments off

NY Jets (+6.5) at Cleveland
The Jets probably aren’t quite as bad as they looked against the Ravens in week one. But they might be. Browns by nine.

Washington (pick ’em) at Detroit
Washington’s probably the better team in this matchup. But not by much. I’ll take the Lions at home. By a field goal.

Tampa Bay (-2.5) at New Orleans
I know the deal is that the Saints “always beat the Bucs” (except, you know, in the postseason). And the safe bet, no matter what Vegas has to say about it, is for that streak to continue. But, eh, I’m gonna keep on picking Tom Brady’s teams to win, especially when they have defenses that look as good as the Tampa D did in week one. Buccaneers by a point.

Carolina (+2) at NY Giants
This matchup looks pretty damned even to me. So I’ll take the home team. Giants by four.

New England (-2.5) at Pittsburgh
It’s not surprising the Steelers at the popular pick in this game even though the Patriots are favored. Pittsburgh played tough and beat the defending conference champs on the road in week one while the Patriots looked uneven and uncertain in a loss to the Dolphins in Miami. Plus, two straight road games is never easy. Thing is, though, the Patriots never play their best football in Miami. And last week’s result wasn’t nearly so lopsided as it’s been made out to be. If New England plays slightly better than they did in the opener, they should be able to come away with at least a narrow victory here. Patriots by a point.

Indianapolis (-3) at Jacksonville
The Colts need to start doing a bit better than not losing to teams they should, um, not lose to. Indy by three.

Miami (+3.5) at Baltimore
The Dolphins season got off to a fine start a week ago. So they’ll always have that. Ravens by eight.

Atlanta (+10) at LA Rams
Not all hangovers are alike. Rams by a touchdown.

Seattle (+9) at San Francisco
Nine seems excessive in a divisional matchup. Niners by six.

Cincinnati (-7) at Dallas
You may not have heard this before, but quarterback is kind of an important position. Bengals by 10.

Houston (+10) at Denver
The Texans managed a tie in their home opener. That’s exciting. The Broncos should start slow-ish coming off a tough Monday night loss in Seattle. But they’ll get it figured out by the second half. Denver by nine.

Arizona (+5.5) at Las Vegas
The Raiders aren’t great. But they should look great against the Cardinals. Las Vegas by 14.

Chicago (+10) at Green Bay
The Packers might be just better than middle of the road this season. But that won’t show much here unless you’re paying very close attention. Green Bay by eight.

Tennessee (+10) at Buffalo
I don’t know what’s likely to slow the Bills down this season. But I know it’s not the Titans. Buffalo by 20.

Minnesota (+2.5) at Philadelphia
I flipped a coin and it came up Vikings. Let’s say by one.

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NFL 2022 Week Two, Thursday Night

September 15th, 2022 Comments off

LA Chargers (+4) at Kansas City
The Chargers are probably better than you think they are. I suspect they’ll be in play for the division through the season. But they’re not traveling on a short week and beating the Chiefs. Kansas City by a field goal.

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NFL 2022 Week Two Picks, Post Opener

September 11th, 2022 Comments off

I’ve decided not to dwell on the fact that my pick for the 2022 season opener was absolutely, spectacularly wrong. Because, you know, I pretty much always pick the Thursday night games wrong, so I’m still on par. Instead, I’m obsessing over the eight road teams giving points this week. Eight. And it was nine before Thursday. That’s an uncomfortable situation in any week. In week one when there’s nothing but offseason and preseason to draw from, it’s just impossible. So this is me throwing darts. And landing, as always, on what not to expect.

New Orleans (-5.5) at Atlanta
It looks like it’s going to be a long season for the Falcons. But it also looks like 2022 is going to prove more than a bit of a slog for the Saints as well. Still, the New Orleans D probably has enough going for it to deliver a win this week. Saints by four.

San Francisco (-6.5) at Chicago
I don’t want to keep picking road teams. But I also don’t want to pick the Bears to beat a good team on any field. Niners by three.

Pittsburgh (+7) at Cincinnati
This seems about right. Even if Cincinnati takes a step back rather than the step forward everyone is expecting this season, the several steps back Pittsburgh has taken should more than make up the difference. Still, a touchdown in a divisional game is a lot to give. Bengals by six.

Philadelphia (-5) at Detroit
I’m not sure I believe in the 2022 Eagles. But I know I don’t believe in the 2022 Lions. So here I go, picking another road favorite to win but not cover. Philly by a field goal.

New England (+3.5) at Miami
Visits to Miami are never easy for the Patriots. Playing there early in the season with the game time temperature predicted to be 90 doesn’t help. The Patriots are a better football team than the empty-headed loudmouths who dominate sports media in Boston want us to believe. But I wouldn’t count on this game shutting that crowd up. Dolphins by three.

Baltimore (-6.5) at NY Jets
The Ravens are going to hit a few bumps along the way this season. But the Jets, at most, are a speed bump. Baltimore by seven.

Jacksonville (+3) at Washington
I can’t say one thing about either of these teams with any degree of confidence. I guess I like Washington’s defense to carry the team here. Commanders (it’s a stupid name, but at least not an offensive one) by four.

Cleveland (pick ’em) at Carolina
Meh. Panthers by six.

Indianapolis (-7) at Houston
Do the Texans have an actual football team to field? Colts by four.

NY Giants (+5.5) at Tennessee
I think we’ll see the Giants show some flashes of hope through the season. And that’s fine. New Jersey may not be rebuilding, but they’re, you know, rebuilding. Still, the Titans are a better team than they’re getting credit for right now. That should show here. Tennessee by a touchdown.

Green Bay (pick ’em) at Minnesota
On the road against your toughest division rival with your aging quarterback lined up behind a depleted O line is not an idea way to start a season. Minnesota by four.

Kansas City (-6.5) at Arizona
I’m not sure it would even feel like football season without the media getting an excuse to declare the Chiefs certain Super Bowl champions after week one. Kansas City by 14.

Las Vegas (+3.5) at LA Chargers
This game could go either way, which means you pick the home team. Chargers by three.

Tampa Bay (-2.5) at Dallas
I’m not picking against Tom Brady’s Bucs, though I think there’s a decent chance I end up regretting that this week. Tampa by one.

Denver (-6.5) at Seattle
It sure looks like the Seahawks are in for a long season. And Denver’s new QB may be coming into this game looking to make a statement. Broncos by eight.

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Week One, Season Opener Pick

September 8th, 2022 Comments off

Buffalo (-2.5) at LA Rams
Everybody loves the 2022 Bills. And with good reason. They appear to have a hell of a football team yet again. Better than the defending champs? Yeah, maybe. I mean, probably. But better by enough to be able to fly across the country and win the opener in Los Angeles? I don’t know. Maybe. But I’m not betting on it. Rams by a point.

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Super Bowl LVI Pick

February 13th, 2022 Comments off

LA Rams (-4) vs. Cincinnati
The prevailing mode of thinking about this game is that the Bengals are the sentimental pick, but the Rams are the smart pick. And, sure, OK, there’s more than a little bit of truth to be found there. Certainly, the Bengals have that scrappy underdog quality that everyone likes. (I remember the Rams playing a Super Bowl against team that had that kind of energy some several years back. But I seem to recall that those Rams were much more heavily favored than the current squad.) And the Rams are probably the better team if you step back and compare point by point, matchup by matchup. There’s little question but that while both teams can put up points, the Rams come in with the more complete defense. That should be enough to get the job done. Thing is, though, it’s not that clear cut. Cincinnati actually can win this game. They’re in it for a reason. The Bengals have a tendency to play up to the level of their opponents. More important, they’ve played their best football in the postseason. That still doesn’t make the Bengals the better team here. The Rams still have the edge. But I don’t see this as the “probably close through the first half” affair most seem to be expecting. I mean, it could be a blowout. If the Cincinnati secondary doesn’t play its best football all evening long, things may fall apart for the Bengals well before halftime. But I suspect we’re looking at a competitive game right down to the finish. That would make it either team’s game. And there’s just something about this Cincy squad. So with nothing real at risk, I’ll go out on a limb and pick the Bengals to put up the winning score in the final minute of regulation. Cincinnati by a point.

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NFL 2021 Conference Championship Picks

January 29th, 2022 Comments off

Cincinnati (+7) at Kansas City
I’d love to see the Bengals win this game. And it’s not as if Cincinnati can’t beat Kansas City. But it was all Cincy could do to win at home four weeks ago. Winning a second straight road game in the postseason against a team that’s been playing its best football. It’s just hard to imagine. KC by four.

San Francisco (+3.5) at LA Rams
I don’t know that it’s impossible to beat a division rival three times in a season. But it sure ain’t easy. Rams by three.

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NFL 2021-22 Divisional Round Picks

January 22nd, 2022 Comments off

Cincinnati (+4) at Tennessee
If Derrick Henry is back to anything close to 100 percent, there’s a solid chance the well rested Titans just plain old dismantle the Bengals. And even with less than a completely healthy and ready Henry, I suspect the the home team (which has to be one of the most overlooked and underestimated one seeds ever) is at least a touchdown better than the visitors. So let’s just say that: Tennessee by seven.

San Francisco (+5.5) at Green Bay
The 49ers absolutely can win this game. I think they actually match up pretty well with the Packers. And if they can move the ball effectively on the ground (where the Green Bay defense is questionable), and keep the Packers from establishing the run (also a distinct possibility), San Francisco can make the game about Aaron Rodgers. And Rodgers has a habit of melting down in postseason games when he believes he has to win all by himself. In the end, I suspect injuries, consecutive road games, and traveling on short rest conspire to upend San Fran. But I like them to make it a game through at least three quarters. And I suspect five and a half is excessive. Green Bay by a field goal.

LA Rams (+3) at Tampa Bay
One could spend all day talking about the matchups here. But in the end, you still end up with the question of whether there’s anything to be gained picking against Tom Brady in the postseason. And there really isn’t. Buccaneers win it straight up; it’s a push with the points.

Buffalo (+1.5) at Kansas City
The Bills are the better team here. By enough to overcome home field? Maybe. I think it’s close game. And a close game can always go either way. But I have a hard time picking against a home team coming off a bye. So I guess I’ll look for Kansas City’s elimination from the tournament to wait until next week in Nashville. KC by one.

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NFL 2021 Postseason, Wild Card Round Picks

January 15th, 2022 Comments off

Las Vegas (+6) at Cincinnati
The Raiders can win this game. But they probably won’t. It’s not that the Bengals aren’t beatable. It’s just that in order to win, the Raiders will need to hold onto the ball on offense and stop the run on D. I imagine they can pull off either of those things, but I’m not convinced they can do both. Cincinnati by three.

New England (+5) at Buffalo
The Patriots aren’t going to win this game the way they won the last time they visited the Bills. I suspect they’ll still want to lean on the ground game, but they’re going to have to be able to run a more balanced offensive attack. If they can produce on the ground and through the air, and if the defense can force Josh Allen to make one or two critical mistakes, New England can pull off an upset. It’s a lot to ask, particularly with a rookie quarterback. But upsets happen in the wild card round. And I don’t see many opportunities for them to happen elsewhere. So I’ll look for the Patriots to win it by four.

Philadelphia (+8.5) at Tampa Bay
Sure, the Eagles are the NFC seven seed. And there are reasons they landed there. But Philly also may the NFC team best suited to beat the Buccaneers. If Philly can grind away on the ground, keeping Tom Brady and the Tampa offense off the field, and possibly forcing the Bucs O to be one dimensional when they do have the ball, they can grab a win here (and move on to certain defeat in Green Bay next weekend). But I think Brady’s got something to prove, and I think he’ll get about proving it here. Buccaneers by seven.

San Francisco (+3) at Dallas
Here’s another game in which an upset is an absolute possibility. Thing is, if the Niners are going to make it happen, they’re going to need Jimmy Garoppolo to play like he isn’t injured. And he is injured. Cowboys by a point.

Pittsburgh (+12.5) at Kansas City
The Steelers will probably end up being the only underdog to come out of this weekend with a victory. Because there’s absolutely no possible way Pittsburgh should be able to keep up with Kansas City, let alone win. And that’s how these things always manage to go. Still, Kansas City by 14.

Arizona (+4) at LA Rams
These teams are both weird and hard to get a handle on. I really thing this game is a coin toss. And since I can’t see a lot of upsets in this weekend, I’m just gonna hold my breath and pick one here. Cardinals by three.

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