NFL Week Sixteen, Christmas Day

December 25th, 2020 Comments off

Minnesota (+7) at New Orleans

“You’ll want all day to-morrow, I suppose?” said Scrooge.

“If quite convenient, sir.”

“It’s not convenient,” said Scrooge, “and it’s not fair. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it, you’d think yourself ill-used, I’ll be bound?”

The clerk smiled faintly.

“And yet,” said Scrooge, “you don’t think me ill-used, when I pay a day’s wages for no work.”

The clerk observed that it was only once a year.

“A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!” said Scrooge, buttoning his great-coat to the chin.

Now, what was I saying?

Oh, right. Um, Saints by 10.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

NFL Week Fifteen Picks

December 19th, 2020 Comments off

This week is off to a typically unspectacular start thanks to my foolish belief that Raiders season wasn’t quite in the tank yet. Works out it is.

So for a second consecutive week, I’m 0-1 straight up and against the spread heading into the weekend.

Last week’s bad start gave way to an 8-8 finish, both straight up and with the points. (And what’s weird is that there were no splits. I either got a game right or got it wrong both ways.) That put me at 133-73-1 (.645) and 92-110-5 (.457) respectively through week fourteen.

Let’s see how much worse things can get. Here’s what not to expect over the next three days.

Buffalo (-6) at Denver
Buffalo will wrap up their first AFC East title in 25 years with a win here. The Bills are going to take the division even if they figure out a way to lose this one. But there’s very little risk of that. Bills by a touchdown.

Carolina (+8.5) at Green Bay
I feel like the Panthers could have a shot at an upset here if they could just, you know, become a football team sometime before kickoff. That would be a surprise development. But you never know. Packers by 17.

Tampa Bay (-6) at Atlanta
The Buccaneers look like a team that’s likely to hit a brick wall pretty early in the postseason. Until then, it should be fairly clear sailing. Tampa by four.

San Francisco (-3) at Dallas
Does it matter? I guess the Niners might have a defense, at least comparatively speaking. I’m not convinced they have an offense, though, which can present problems. Still, let’s say San Fran. By a point.

Detroit (+10.5) at Tennessee
Something tells me the Lions’ complete lack of a run defense is likely to be a factor here. Titans by 20.

Houston (+7.5) at Indianapolis
The Texans are toast. Colts by 13.

New England (+2) at Miami
The Patriots have a tendency to struggle in Miami even in the best of seasons. This is not the best of seasons. Dolphins by a field goal.

Chicago (+3) at Minnesota
Both of these teams are done. The visitors are just a little bit doner. Vikings by four.

Seattle (-5.5) at Washington
The Seahawks are the better team. But they’re not nearly consistent enough to be giving more than a field goal on the road. Seattle by three.

Jacksonville (+13) at Baltimore
This is gonna be ugly. Ravens take their foot off the gas in the second half and still come out ahead by 14.

NY Jets (+17.5) at LA Rams
This is gonna be uglier. Rams don’t take their foot off the gas. They win by 28.

Philadelphia (+6.5) at Arizona
The Cardinals are a hard team to figure. The Eagles are just bad. Arizona by six.

Kansas City (-3) at New Orleans
I don’t know which of these teams wins on a neutral field (say the one in Tampa). On a not neutral field, I’m taking whichever team is at home. Saints by a point.

Cleveland (-5) at NY Giants
The Giants are getting better as the season wears on. But I don’t think they’ve quite caught up with the Browns. Cleveland by three.

Pittsburgh (-12.5) at Cincinnati
The fire vs. wood matchup in my solstice bonfire likely will prove more competitive than this game. Steelers by 14.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

NFL Week Fifteen Thursday Night

December 17th, 2020 Comments off

LA Chargers (+3.5) at Las Vegas
The Raiders have developed a real talent for losing football games over the past four weeks. They’re gonna miss the postseason as a result. But even they shouldn’t be able to find a way to win a home game against a very weak opponent playing on short rest. Right? Las Vegas by six.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

NFL Week Fourteen Picks

December 13th, 2020 Comments off

If I’d listened to the halfway reasonable part of my brain, I’d have started this week 1-0 straight up, 0-1 against the spread. But I didn’t. So I’m off to a 0-1 week across the board as a result of the Rams dismantling of the Patriots on Thursday night.

It’ll be fun to see just how much more damage this weekend can do. Though in all honesty neither my week thirteen results — 11-4 straight up, 8-7 with the points — nor my season so far — 125-65-1 (.657); 84-102-5 (.453) — are anything anyone could get excited about.

Still and all, here’s what not to expect between now and whenever the week fourteen action wraps up.

Houston (-1.5) at Chicago
Neither of these teams does much of anything right. And the matchup helpfully pits weakness against weakness. I’m just taking the home team and having done with it. Bears by a point.

Dallas (-3) at Cincinnati
Can the Bengals actually be this bad? Cowboys by four.

Kansas City (-7) at Miami
If the Dolphins are for real, they’ll win this game. Chiefs by six.

Arizona (-3) at NY Giants
The Giants actually appear to be putting something together. I don’t think it’s enough to carry them deep into January, but it should continue to serve them well enough in a mid-December home game. New Jersey by a field goal.

Minnesota (+7) at Tampa Bay
You can’t really run the ball against the Tampa Bay defense. And that strikes me as problematic for Minnesota. Buccaneers by 10.

Denver (+3.5) at Carolina
The Panthers are making slow but steady progress in the right direction. The Broncos have no direction. Carolina by a touchdown.

Tennessee (-7.5) at Jacksonville
I feel neither a desire nor any real need to think about this game. Titans by 14.

Indianapolis (-3) at Las Vegas
The 2020 Raiders have played their best football against the toughest competition. And if they can move the ball on the ground in this game, they should be able to continue that trend. I’m not sure they can pull it off against a strong Colts D, but I’m inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to the home team. Vegas by three.

NY Jets (+15) at Seattle
The Seahawks have struggled of late. And still it’s hard to understand why the Jets bothered to leave New Jersey this week. Seattle by 21.

Green Bay (-8.5) at Detroit
Sooner or later, the Lions always go back to being the Lions. Packers by seven.

New Orleans (-7.5) at Philadelphia
I’m not sure it matters who starts at quarterback. For either team. Saints by nine.

Atlanta (pick ’em) at LA Chargers
I’m not convinced there’s a meaningful difference between these teams. But the matchups look to favor the home team if only ever so slightly. Chargers by a point.

Washington (+3) at San Francisco
Do I pick the crap team in a divisional race or the crap team playing out the string? I think I’ll just take the crap home team and call it a day. Niners by four.

Pittsburgh (+2) at Buffalo
Both offenses are overrated. The Steelers defense may be for real. Pittsburgh by three.

Baltimore (-3) at Cleveland
The Ravens are cooked if they can’t come up with a win here. The Ravens are cooked. Browns by three.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

NFL Week Fourteen, Thursday Night Pick

December 10th, 2020 Comments off

New England (+4.5) at LA Rams
I honestly have no idea what to make of the 2020 Patriots. Every time I think I know what kind of team they are, they find a new way to prove me wrong. I do know that playing a second straight road game is always tough. And so is playing twice in five days. Plus, you know, the Rams are a pretty good team that’s trying to wrap up a division title. I think if I were smart, I’d probably take the Rams straight up, even if I liked the Patriots to keep it close. But, whatevs, I’m stupid. New England by a field goal.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

NFL Week Thirteen Picks

December 6th, 2020 Comments off

The good news for me (I think … I guess) is that I probably can’t do any worse picking against the spread in week thirteen than I did in week twelve.

When the Covid Bowl featuring Ravens-Steelers finally wrapped up at 3 a.m. on Friday (or, you know, something like that), I was a respectable 11-4 picking straight up for the week, and an absolutely dreadful 3-12 with the points.

For the season, that puts me at 114-61-1 (.651) picking them straight, 76-95-5 against the spread.

Let’s see what horrors await in week thirteen. Here’s what not to expect.

New Orleans (-3) at Atlanta
The Saints didn’t have much trouble with the Falcons in New Orleans two weeks ago. And I don’t know what’s changed other than location. So let’s figure the home team finds a way to keep it semi-respectable and say Saints by four.

Detroit (+3) at Chicago
Sometimes it turns out that an organization really did just need a new coach. And sometimes it turns out that an organization needs a new organization. Bears by a touchdown.

Cleveland (+5) at Tennessee
The Browns have made a case for being taken seriously. The Titans have given no one any choice but to take them seriously. It may be a fine distinction, but it’s a distinction all the same. Tennessee by a field goal.

Cincinnati (+10.5) at Miami
The Dolphins are trying to catch the Bills. The Bengals are cruising toward a top five pick in the 2021 draft. Miami by two touchdowns.

Jacksonville (+10) at Minnesota
The Vikings are going nowhere. The Jaguars are going in reverse. Minnesota by 13.

Las Vegas (-7.5) at NY Jets
Sometimes it seems like the Raiders just don’t care whether they win or lose. And sometimes (this time) they face an opponent so bad they don’t need to care. Las Vegas by 10.

Indianapolis (-3) at Houston
Division game. In Houston. Yeah, the Texans should probably be able to keep this one one close-ish. (It’ll be a different story in Indy two weeks from now.) Colts win it straight up; it’s a push with the points.

LA Rams (-3) at Arizona
With their chances at a wild card berth diminishing with each loss, and a division rival in town, I expect the hot-and-cold Cardinals to run hot the week. Arizona by a field goal.

NY Giants (+11) at Seattle
It’s possible to cast this game as a matchup between division leading teams. Because the Giants play in the worst division ever. The Seahawks’ lack of a defense shouldn’t prove too much of an obstacle to victory this week. Seattle by 14.

Philadelphia (+8.5) at Green Bay
Except that they’re still in the running for the NFC East title (at 3-7-1), there’s very little reason for the Eagles even to board the plane. Packers by 17.

New England (+1.5) at LA Chargers
The Patriots at least seem to be trying to rise above their mediocrity. The Chargers appear to have settled in to theirs. New England controls the game on the ground and comes out ahead by a point.

Denver (+13.5) at Kansas City
So the thinking here is what? That the Broncos, having lost to the Chiefs by 27 points in their own building just a few short weeks back, will find a way to cut that margin in half in Kansas City? Nope. Just don’t see it. Chiefs by 27 again.

Washington (-7.5) at Pittsburgh
The Steelers will be playing on five days rest, and with an ailing quarterback. Lucky for them they don’t have to face an actual professional football team. Pittsburgh by seven.

Buffalo (+1) at San Francisco
The Bills should be able to win this game, which probably means they’ll lose it. But I’m still picking Buffalo by a field goal.

Dallas (+7.5) at Baltimore
The Ravens are fading. The Cowboys have faded. Baltimore by 10.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

NFL Week Twelve Picks

November 26th, 2020 Comments off

Hey, look, it’s only Thursday and I’ve made all my picks.

Numbers first. I finished week 11 with a record of 8-6 picking straight up, 9-5 against the spread. For the season, that puts me at 103-57-1 (.643) straight up 73-83-5 (.469).

Here’s what not to expect in week twelve.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Houston (-3) at Detroit
I can’t begin to figure the identity of either of these teams. Thing is, neither can they. I’m going to guess that short-term trends turn out to be slightly more of a factor than short-week travel. Texans by two.

Washington (+3) at Dallas
I plan to nap off and on through this game. I’ll wake up just in time to the final turnover (of what I imagine will be a combined five or six) that seals the home team’s four-point win.

Las Vegas (-3) at Atlanta
These teams really aren’t all that different. Except that more often than not the Raiders find ways to win whereas the Falcons find ways to lose. Las Vegas by a touchdown.

LA Chargers (+5.5) at Buffalo
The Chargers are better than most think. The Bills aren’t as good as most want to believe. The home team should still win, but I expect the visitors to give them a pretty good scare. Buffalo by a (last-second) field goal.

NY Giants (-6) at Cincinnati
The Bengals now have absolutely nothing going for them. The Giants, at 3-7, are in position to take the NFC East title. Somehow. New Jersey by seven.

Tennessee (+3) at Indianapolis
Having lost to the Colts in their own building two weeks ago, the Titans absolutely need a win here to stay alive in the AFC South race. Which is unfortunate for Tennessee, because the Titans are losing this game. Colts by four.

Carolina (+3.5) at Minnesota
The Vikings should be able to control the game on the ground, set the tempo, and find a way to win. Not that any of it matters. Minnesota by three.

Arizona (-2.5) at New England
The Patriots are good enough to win some game, but not good enough to win enough of them. That may also be true of the Cardinals, but only because the NFC West is a tough division. Arizona takes this game by six.

Miami (-7) at NY Jets
Let’s figure a starting quarterback with a thumb injury is a problem and look for the Dolphins to win this one by only six.

Cleveland (-7) at Jacksonville
Just seven? Seriously? Because? Browns by 17.

Baltimore (+4.5) at Pittsburgh
The Ravens had started to circle the bowl even before Covid hit their locker room. I’m gonna guess an extra three days doesn’t change a whole lot about either team or this matchup. Assuming the game is actually played, look for the Steelers to complete the season sweep and move one step closer to locking up the NFC North. Pittsburgh by six.

New Orleans (-6) at Denver
The Saints get yet another game in which whom they line up behind center doesn’t much matter. New Orleans by four.

San Francisco (+6.5) at LA Rams
This should just about do it for the Niners. Rams by four.

Kansas City (-3.5) at Tampa Bay
You’ll hear mostly about quarterback play, and for good reason, but this game really comes down to which is the more complete team. Hint: It’s Kansas City. Chiefs by nine.

Chicago (+8.5) at Green Bay
The Bears aren’t simply going to hand the Packers the NFC North. Thing is, though, the Bears ultimately don’t have the firepower to keep up. Green Bay by seven.

Seattle (-5) at Philadelphia
Yeah, these teams are both division leaders. But only one of them plays in a real division. Seahawks by six.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

NFL Week Eleven Picks

November 22nd, 2020 Comments off

I suppose I could have done worse in week 10. Well, I could have picking straight up, anyhow. Against the spread? I’d have fared better throwing darts.

I was 10-4 straight up, 4-9-1 with the points. Ugh.

That puts me at 95-51-1 (.650) straight up, 64-78-5 (.452) against the spread.

So far this week, I’m 1-0, 0-1 respectively.

Here’s what not to expect through the remainder of the week.

Philadelphia (+2.5) at Cleveland
In a lot of ways, the Browns are as solidly mediocre a football team as the Eagles. Cleveland has a much better win-loss record than Philadelphia largely because the Browns offense is able to control the ground game and, more important, hold on to the ball. That’s the difference this season, and the difference in t his game. Cleveland by a touchdown.

Atlanta (+3.5) at New Orleans
Yes, it does seem like the Falcons are bad enough that they should be getting more than the standard three from a division rival that just lost its starting quarterback. Also, the Saints have a strong D. New Orleans by six.

Cincinnati (+1.5) at Washington
If one of these teams can move the ball on the ground, they’ll get the win. I’m not sure either can. So I’m taking the home team and thinking the margin’s a field goal.

Detroit (-2) at Carolina
Neither of these teams can be counted on to win. But one of them has to lose. And the home team does a better job of hanging on to the ball. So let’s go with them. Carolina by a point.

Tennessee (+6) at Baltimore
I’m not sure the Ravens should be giving six to anybody at this point. Baltimore by three.

Pittsburgh (-10.5) at Jacksonville
Under most circumstances, a road team giving more than two scores should give one pause. But not under these circumstances. The Jaguars are terrible. Steelers by 14.

New England (-2.5) at Houston
The league’s second most productive rushing offense takes on its worst run D. I’m not sure there’s much more that needs saying. New England by 10.

Miami (-3.5) at Denver
Here are two teams moving in opposite directions. Miami by seven.

NY Jets (+9.5) at LA Chargers
The Jets continue their aggressive run at 0-16. Chargers by 13.

Green Bay (+1.5) at Indianapolis
Neither of these teams lacks for offense. The home team also has a D. And balance wins in the NFL. Colts by four.

Dallas (+7) at Minnesota
This looked like a pretty good matchup back in the … well, you know, the mid-’70s. Neither of these team is good. One of them is terrible. Vikings by 10.

Kansas City (-7.5) at Las Vegas
The Chiefs only loss of the season came at the hands of the Raiders. In Kansas City. Maybe the Chiefs avenge that loss here. But if Kansas City wins, it won’t be by more than a touchdown in a road game against a strong division rival. And maybe it won’t be at all. Raiders by a point.

LA Rams (+4) at Tampa Bay
This is probably the best game of the week with strength matching up with strength in virtually every aspect of the game. Which makes it almost impossible to predict. So I’ll just go home team by three and look forward to seeing how it plays out.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

NFL Week Eleven, Thursday Night

November 19th, 2020 Comments off

Let’s just get right to what almost certainly won’t happen, shall we?

Arizona (+3) at Seattle
YepThe Seahawks have stumbled of late. They can’t afford to continue that trend here. A second loss to the Cardinals would land them two games back in the division race with only six games left in the season. That’s not a position they can afford to be in. Is knowing that enough? Not hardly. But hosting on Thursday night is a nice advantage. And I expect Seattle to make it pay. Seahawks by a point.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

NFL Week Ten Picks

November 15th, 2020 Comments off

Well, this week’s off to a smashing start. Thanks to my gross overestimation of the Titans, I’m headed into Sunday’s game at an 0-1 deficit both straight up and against the spread. That’s fun.

Week nine was no great shakes for me either. I finished 9-5 straight up, 8-6 with the points to land at season records of 76-47-1 (.643) and 60-69-4 (.466) respectively.

Not sure there’s much more to be said at this point, except here’s what not to expect today and tomorrow.

Houston (+4) at Cleveland
I don’t know that the Browns are quite there yet, but they’re at least solidly average (and probably a bit better than that). The Texans are clearly awful. Cleveland by seven.

Washington (+3) at Detroit
What happens when you don’t have a defense and your opponent suddenly develops an offense? That’s right, you lose. Brand X by a field goal.

Jacksonville (+13.5) at Green Bay
Try not to look too closely at this one. Packers by 17.

Philadelphia (-4) at NY Giants
We’re halfway through the season and a win here would land the 2-7 Giants just behind the 3-4-1 Eagles for the NFC East title. So, yeah, it’s one of those. If New Jersey can keep it close enough to lean on their ground game, they can win this. And they kept it close in Philly a few weeks back. So I’m thinking Giants by three.

Tampa Bay (-6.5) at Carolina
The Bucs need to get right. The Panthers won’t make it as easy as some might expect, but the visitors should still manage a win. Tampa by four.

Denver (+3.5) at Las Vegas
I’m not entirely convinced that the Raiders have developed a defense. But that shouldn’t present too much of a problem this week since the Broncos don’t have an offense. Las Vegas by six.

LA Chargers (+1.5) at Miami
There’s a possibility that the Dolphins are turning into an actual football team. If they could only figure out how to stop the run they might be semi-dangerous. Miami by a point.

Buffalo (+2.5) at Arizona
When these teams are good, they’re very good. I think the Cards are bit more consistent. Arizona by a field goal.

Seattle (+2.5) at LA Rams
The Seahawks more than likely are the better team here. But not by all that much. And they’re playing a second straight road game. Rams by four.

San Francisco (+9.5) at New Orleans
There’s no mystery here. The Niners are in no condition to keep up with the Saints. New Orleans by 14.

Cincinnati (+7.5) at Pittsburgh
The Steelers have their quarterback. That’s about what you need to know. Pittsburgh by 10.

Baltimore (-7) at New England
The Ravens are a challenge for the Patriots when the Patriots are good. And the Patriots aren’t good. Baltimore by 13.

Minnesota (-3) at Chicago
This game almost looks like it matters even though it doesn’t. Bears by six.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: