NFL Free Picks Review: Week 9 2009

Not a bad week at all, but it could have rocked! I was 8-3 heading into the last two games of the week, and I definitely liked my Eagles side. That didn’t work out, but the Broncos getting a field goal at home – I liked my chances for 9 wins in week 9, always fun to hit those week number totals when you get past Week 8. Here’s how my winning week 9 went down.

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Kansas City Chiefs (+6.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars: (WINNER) “First off, I don’t think the Jaguars have showed me enough consistency to be favored by 6.5 points against anybody in the league, even the Chiefs.”
That pretty much clears this one up. Despite being up, and probably getting to a point where they should have covered, the Jaguars just aren’t good enough to trust as touchdown favorites, or anything close to that. Any team can win by a touchdown or two (aside from obvious teams that can’t – you know who I’m talking about JaMarcus) but the chances of Jacksonville actually doing that is way to low to ever bet on. The Chiefs lost and covered, weird.

Washington Redskins @ Atlanta Falcons (-10): (WINNER) I was a little worried about this game because, well, I have no idea, but I was. It just seemed too easy. And when Washington scored early in the 4th to get within a touchdown, I finally realized why I was worried – because of the NFL, where magic covers happen. The Redskins just couldn’t seal the deal, giving up another long touchdown, this time to Michael Turner (whom rushed for over 150 yards against Albert Haynesworth and his crew of merry men) that got Atlanta the cover with is 58 yard touchdown run to basically end it. I had plenty to worry about, but the Falcons did just enough.

Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals: (LOSS) “But here’s the deal, and it’s a situation I take very much to heart when picking games over the second half of any given NFL season; Unless there is some sort of extreme mismatch between two good football teams, the chances of a split are pretty good.”

My uncle was right about this one, blast his old, fragile heart. I like the split between two good teams, but the Bengals were able to run on Baltimore again, and that was the story in this game. Benson went for over 100 yards again, and the Bengals made life tough for super sophomore QB, Joe Flacco.

Miami Dolphins (+11) @ New England Patriots: (WINNER) “Again, I just don’t think you can go against good football teams and double digit points. The Dolphins may be 3-4, but hey, they are a good football team. They can stuff the run, and if anything, they can really run the ball well offensively. They play sound football, get tough yardage, and use that dreaded and famed Wildcat offense to chew up the clock, shorten games, and keep elite offenses off the field. That’s a covering dream right there. Then you give them double digit points? Come on, this is too easy right?”

Okay, so the Dolphins didn’t run the ball that well, but you still can’t give them double digit points. This one was close, but I’m pretty sure everyone on Miami’s side got the win. The Dolphins played closer than the score indicated, but Tom Brady was on target in this one, and Laurence Maroney rushed 20 times for a little over 80 yards. Anytime that happens in New England, the patriots are going to win. But the Dolphins still covered, that’s good enough for me!

Arizona Cardinals (+3) @ Chicago Bears: (WINNER)  “I think Arizona’s the better team, but more-so I think Chicago is at the wrong side of a tough match-up in this one. The Bears struggle against accurate passers, they struggle against teams that stop the run. Now, I think this could be a close game, but Arizona’s chances of winning this thing are pretty good. The Bears don’t really eliminate anything Arizona does, so the Cardinals should dictate the flow of the game. That’s bad news for Bears fans.”

And the Cardinals made the Bears look like a Canadian Football team. Jay Cutler put up big numbers, but the Bears didn’t stand a chance. Basically everything I thought about this game came true. That’s always nice.

Tennessee Titans (+5.5) @ San Francisco 49ers: (WINNER) Now for some reason this game didn’t get published, some deal where it didn’t save and I didn’t pick that up until Monday, but if you got my newsletter, you’ll see that I certainly was on the Titans side in this one, and I’m going to go on ahead and take my credit. Vince Young is a winner, he always has been, and he’s been playing great football over the last couple weeks -using his legs to make some plays, and better yet open up spaces for Chris Johnson to use his wheels. And Vince has been accurate too. This game was close, definitely, either team could have gotten the win – but the value was on Tennessee and they came through.

Green Bay Packers (-9.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (LOSS) “I normally don’t even like thinking about Green Bay as a big favorite, they just don’t commit to running the ball enough to be a sure thing as a big favorite -but…”  Who cares about the bu, it obviously didn’t amount to much. I had a flag football game on Sunday, but when I got back to the NFL couch, I had to give a chuckle when I saw Green Bay getting tricked by the salmon uniforms. How gross can the Packers be? As gross as anyone in the league, that’s why “I normally don’t even like thinking about Green Bay as a big favorite”. What can you say, everyone needs to listen to themselves a little more (well, not everyone, JaMarcus Russell needs to ignore himself) and I am no different. Those damned Packers!

Carolina Panthers (+15) @ New Orleans Saints Free Pick: (WINNER) “The value here is with Carolina and it’s because they have an elite rushing attack and any time you give an elite rushing attack 15 points on Sunday, that bet has value. Why it took this long to keep the ball out of Jake Delhomme’s hands is beyond me, but proving to me that they will run the ball to win is good enough for me to take them as a 15 point underdog, even against this year’s “best team in football”.  62% still like the Saints – come on. The Carolina value is good enough for me.”

There you have it, the Panthers led for much of this game, but of course Drew and company came back to get the best of the Panthers. Still, there was too much to like about this one, as you all recognized when the game was all but a sure cover throughout. You can’t give a great rushing attack 15 points no matter who you are.

San Diego Chargers @ New York Giants (-3.5): (LOSS) “When this line came out I was very excited, somehow, somewhere, somebody decided the Chargers were a complete enough football team to compete with even a struggling Giants squad. Nope.”

Yep. Now, the Giants still should have covered. They were up 20-14 with 25 seconds left and the Chargers stuck on the 30 yard line needing a touchdown to win. How often does a team without Brett Favre win that game? 10% would be generous. But the Giants let Vincent Jackson get behind the defense, (or he imposed his mighty will and forced himself behind them without their blessing) and he scores with 20 seconds left to lift the Chargers over the Giants by a point. You cna’t win them all. This game was tight, and despite being up late, I think the Giants weren’t the better team in this one. They had terrible play calling to start with, I mean Brandon Jacobs only gets 11 carries for more than 60 yards in a close game. That’s a joke. And they couldn’t get those big stops that have made them great. Oh well, here it is, PAPA WEIMER had it right! In fact, he should have won all 4 of his underdog picks this week!

Houston Texans (+10) @ Indianapolis Colts: (WINNER) “10 points is too much for me, mainly because good teams shouldn’t get double digits, and Houston is a good team. I know, it sounds as weird to say out loud as it does to write it, as I’m sure it’s just as odd to read. But it’s true. Another thing, Houston seems to always play Indy tough. Indy’s won 9 of the last 10, but this game has been decided by a touchdown or less in 4 of the last 5 contests. The Texans might not be getting over the hump, but they’ve been pretty damn close. 10 points for a good team is just good value-betting.”

The value was there. Houston had chances to win this game. And a 40 yard field goal to send it into overtime missed just wide left. Just the Colts luck. But this one was an easy cover, you just can’t give a good team 10 points – the value is with the dog!

Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks (-9.5): (WINNER) “Ugh. This is a tough one for me. If you tune in weekly, you know I generally have some trouble picking Seahawk games, I think it’s because they are so erratic and I know so much about their team. Players wise, this team is very talented, offensively and defensively. They just have no confidence against good teams, and they can really stink it up. On the other hand, they can play awesome against terrible teams. The Lions are terrible, I mean, they just lost to the worst team in football, err Steven Jackson. The Hawks can throw the ball well, and the offensive line shouldn’t have as many problems this week when the Lions defensive front comes to Seattle. Still, this is tough because how can you take the Hawks as nearly a double digit favorite? The value isn’t there.”

One can see how I had trouble with this game. If you were unfortunate enough to be watching this game instead of, say, The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross, then you were privy to how dumbfounding the Hawks entire attack is. Down 17-0 to the Lions early, they fought back and took control of the game, but only to a certain point, then it was, “Slow down, stop being aggressive, stop doing what you did well to actually get back on top in this game, see if you can’t give the Lions another chance.” Well, the Hawks pulled that off, and it looked like a sure ATS loss until my lady says, “watch, they’ll throw an interception and the Hawks will take it back to the house.” It’s hot when she gets football lingo spot on, and this time she was right, not  4 plays later the Hawks, Josh Wilson took it back to the house. Spread covered, game over. Amazing. Tough to pick the Hawks as a double digit dog indeed, but as luck would have it, they got the W.

Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles (-2): (LOSS) This rivalry never seizes to amaze me. I still think the Eagles are a great -2 bet at home against Dallas, but this one just didn’t work out for me. Philly had a dropped 1st down pass turn into an interception. They had an arrant throw late in the game that could have changed the game if it had more air under it. They also had a 4th and short first down that was one of the worst spots of the weekend, and then upheld in the replay booth because of a lack of evidence. Please.  But the bottom line is, Dallas played better football and probably should have won. The Eagles didn’t run the ball enough, weird, and Donovan had some big drops and a couple poor throws. Close game, but Dallas got me!

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos (+3): The Broncos looked good early, absolutely shutting down the Steelers offense. But the final 20 minutes or so belonged to the Broncos. The big score will tell people that Pittsburgh killed Denver, but that wasn’t the case, a couple things late inflated the score – but the bottom line is, that Pittsburgh defense is explosive. Big plays galore. This may have shown that same little crack in the Broncos saddle that Baltimore exposed – without the deep pass to keep tough defenses honest, Denver might have a real tough time moving the ball consistently. We shall see. This loss brought me to 8-5, a great start, a tough finish, a decent record for the week.

Week 9 NCAA Football Picks Review

7-6: Just like my NFL record this week. Hopefully next week I can rocks some high winning percentages but a couple winners on a tough weekend, can’t be too upset about that. Here’s the review for how my Week 9 College Football Picks went down.

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Texans Longhorns (-8.5) @ Oklahoma State Cowboys: (WINNER) “I like the Cowboys, like their confidence and numbers, I just don’t think it’s real. Not against good teams anyway. The Cowboys are 6-1 but they’ve had to fight a very easy schedule for wins, Baylor, Texas A&M, Rice, and Grambling don’t strike fear into my heart, and you should consider that when you’re looking at those 6 wins. 6 wins, sure, looks nice, but against who? The Cowboys’ best win? I’d say a marginal Missouri team. Texas, on the other hand, they haven’t looked like a Top team in the nation this year either, but they have won, and they’ve had to go through Oklahoma, Texas Tech,  at Missouri, and a decent Colorado team. They are the better team here, no doubt in my mind, and with Dez Bryant suspended for the season, and more importantly this game, that game breaking presence isn’t going to help bail the Cowboys out. This game could be over quick, or it could take a little while, either way there will be a time when Oklahoma State has their spirits broken, and that’s a good sign for a Texas cover.”

As it turns out, this one was over quick, so option one. The Longhorns jumped all over the Cowboys, and it seemed like OK State’s spirits were broken earlier rather than later. It wasn’t much of a contest, the 41-14 score at the end doesn’t really do it justice. Up 41-7 in the 3rd, the Longhorns didn’t bring out the billy-club in the 4th and the Cowboys finally won a quarter. A little too late, indeed. Perfect for me, and the Longhorns for that matter.

West Virginia Mountaineers (-3) @ South Florida: (LOSS) The crazy Big East, South Florida came out and fed it to the Mountaineers from the get go. After going up with a field goal late in the first quarter, the Bulls never relinquished the lead. It was very close throughout, 20-19 in the 3rd quarter, but South Florida never folded, kept coming after the Mounties rushing attack and got the home win. And they needed it bad!

South Carolina Gamecocks (+6.5) @ Tennessee Volunteers: (LOSS)  “I know that I always take the unranked favorite over the ranked dog, but this one is going to be different.” Famous last words and I don’t know why in the nuts I go against my number one rule ever. I guess I don’t believe in absolutes, but apparently it can get you in a crushing vice if you know what I mean. The Gamecocks got kicked around by the unranked home favorites. Stupid me!

Washington State Cougars @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-27.5): (LOSS) A 26-point win by the Irish? I hate Notre Dame.

UCLA Bruins (+10.5) @ Oregon State Beavers: (WINNER) “I think these two teams are awfully close talent-wise, and despite losing 4 straight games (also 0-4 ATS in those games), the Bruins aren’t out of it. They have some solid players, and defensively they should be a little bit of a challenge for Oregon State’s run-game. I know the Beavers have played well lately, even going to the wire with USC, but the Bruins have had some tough luck and I feel like that’s about to change. Football karma definitely goes around. As a 10.5 point underdog, the value is pretty good. The Bruins have played pretty solid teams in their 4 straight Pac-10 losses, and I think they’ll be ready for this game because of those. The Beavers are solid, no doubt, but UCLA is being underrated here, the value is with them.”

It was a value bet for sure. I still like Oregon State going forward, and a win here should help them keep their confidence going into next week. These two teams were very even on Saturday, and I still think they are. Both could do some more damage in the Pac-10.

Kansas Jayhawks @ Texas Tech Red Raiders (-6): (WINNER) First of all, rarely do Texas Tech Red Raider games come down to 6 points, so if you think the Raiders are going to win, a 6 point spread shouldn’t worry you at all. And it doesn’t worry me. I know Kansas had a nice run to start the season, but you saw how out-matched they were last week when Oklahoma absolutely blew them out of the water. Texas Tech isn’t Oklahoma, but they do have the offensive ability to crush the Jayhawks. What makes me like the Red Raiders even more are the words from Mike Leach’s mouth about how the Raiders are playing like piss because of their fat little girl friends. Awesome. If that doesn’t get their attention, nothing will. After beating up on Nebraska, the Red Raiders fell to Texas A&M, and they fell hard. I think Leach’s antics and just being a better football team gets them back on track this week at home, then Jayhawks just happen to be the team in the way. Texas Tech has taken each of the last 3 meetings with Kansas, and 6 out of the last 7. Last year the Red Raiders smoked the Jayhawks, 63-21. They can put up some points, and since Kansas has yet to slow down any reasonable offense whatsoever, I can’t see them doing anything to slow one of the most dynamic offenses in college football.

Missouri Tigers @ Colorado Buffaloes (+4): (LOSS) It was 33-3 at half time – needless to say I wasn’t stoked about my chances to cover. But it was 33-17 after 3 and I got a glimmer of hope. Maybe it was a glimmer of poop, though, because the Buffs played the rest of the game as if they had Buffalo droppings for a snack prior to the 4th quarter beginning. This was a swing and a miss, and as always, I apologize for that!

California Golden Bears (-6.5) @ Arizona State Sun Devils: (LOSS) Oh Cal. The Bears really haven’t looked good against anybody worthwhile. I didn’t think ASU was, but they impressed me a little bit in this one. Well I don’t know if they impressed me as much as Cal disappointed me. The Bears are in for an interesting end to the season, I can tell you that much – a few more losses will trickle down to Cali.

Georgia Bulldogs @ Florida Gators (-15): (WINNER) “The Bulldogs have played some decent football at times this year, but overall I think they’re overrated. The Gators haven’t really moved the ball well or played mistake free football over the last three weeks, their defense has been winning them football games – so yeah, needless to say, a team that talented is due for a breakout offensive performance. I know the Gators have had a lot of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, and a lot of those guys are still questionable headed into Saturday’s SEC showdown with the 5-2 Bulldogs, I know that. But I also know that the back-ups on defense have been solid, that Georgia’s offense will have one hell of a hard time doing anything against the Gators back-ups, and that Tim Tebow and company shouldn’t find the same frustrations in moving the ball against that very giving Georgia defense. These teams are not equal, don’t get it twisted. Ignore the Gators recent struggles, this is a team that will turn it around soon, better to be ahead of that curve!”

I’m basically going to leave it to my crystal ball preview above. Not much I missed here. The only thing that surprised me was Georgia making it a game early in the 2nd quarter. After that it was “sonturi time”, or Tebow time in this grand country. There was no question which team as better, the Gators slapped it on thick with an interception return late.

North Carolina Tar Heels (+17) @ Virginia Tech Hokies: (WINNER) “I like the match-up problems Carolina’s stout run-defense has against a normally talented rushing game from Virginia Tech. I know UNC isn’t going to throw the ball a lot, they aren’t a passing team, but they have been known to grind out yards on the ground, and any team that can run and stop the run, is a nice value bet at +17. If you look at Virginia Tech’s losses, and games where they struggled – they got out-rushed. If the Heels can commit to stopping that Hokies run game, and put up some yardage on the ground themselves, an upset could happen. Either way, a cover seems likely.”

You bet! I hope you did anyway. The Tar Heels posed the exact problems I talked about in my preview/write up. It may have taken a last second field goal to get the win, but hey, they got 17 points in my book – this one was over early. The Heels out-rushed the Hokies, once again showing the weakness in Tech’s attack. North Carolina looked like the better team throughout. It’s always nice when they win outright!

Cincinnati Bearcats @ Syracuse Orange (-15): (LOSS) Well, it was 7-7 after the first quarter, but from then on out it just got methodically more painful to follow. After two it was 14-7. Still Covering. After three it was 21-7, still covering. But a few minutes into the 4th, the Bearcats got in the end-zone again, and it was a no-cover day for Lucky in Syracuse. The Orange had just 78 yards on 5 drives in the 2nd half – that’s not going to do it. This was very close, though, one big play gets a guy a cover. Shishkabob!

East Carolina Pirates (-4) @ Memphis Tigers Pick: (WINNER) The Panthers kicked the Tigers around to start my week off right. Those mid-week picks continue to help me out. East Carolina did what everyone expected them to do against Memphis, score early and often and generally make this game a blowout early in the 3rd quarter. Thanks for the free money Vegas!!!

NFL Free Football Picks Review: Week 6

After a little run of un-luck, if you will, the tables turned back around to give me a 9-5 Week 6. I’d take 9-5 the rest of the way, that’s for sure. There were a couple big one’s that didn’t go my way as Sunday saw the Eagles lose to the Raiders (even though Papa Weimer warned me), the Giants get trounced by the Saints, as well as Houston upsetting the Bengals in Cincinnati. But hey, you can’t win ’em all. But 9-5 is a win for Week 6, and that puts me 4 more games up over .500 for the season. Won this battle, still winning the war!!! Here’s the review:

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Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals (-4.5): (LOSS) The Texans through the ball all over the field, as they seem to be able to do against just about anyone. Matt Schaub can sling it, and Andre Johnson, Steve Slaton, Owen Daniels, Kevin Walter, and Jacoby Jones can catch it. They probably have more guys able to handle Schaub passes, but I can’t name them all. The bottom line is, the Texans set out to make sure Cinci wasn’t going to snipe the victory from their grasps at the end of the game, and going up two scores late finished off the cardiac cats. Houston’s dedication to stopping the run paid big dividends defensively, playing a big role in their win.

New York Giants (+3) @ New Orleans Saints: (LOSS) “The Saints have been solid, no doubt about it, but they have yet to show me they are the top team in the league, while New York has proven to be in that conversation over and over.” Consider the Saints proven. That doesn’t mean I’ll take them from here on out, but they have won me over. I’ve always been a hater of the way their head coach runs his squad. The way Reggie kept getting carries, or the way Colston had seemingly been frozen out of some games. But he’s figured it out this year, he’s giving the ball to the players that make wins happen, no matter what that guy’s name happens to be. This team in New Orleans is very good, not just offensively, but defensively they are stout all over the field. Consider me educated!

Kansas City Chiefs (+7) @ Washington Redskins: (WINNER) “This is a real excitement filled contest! For the fifth time this season (which makes that every single week so far) the Redskins are going up against an opponent without a win. Yes, despite being 2-3 on the season, 1-3-1 ATS, the Redskins opponents have been winless prior to meeting the Skins. Lucky for opposing teams, the Redskins have given opponents their first win of the season 3 times. They’ve managed to play close games, though, another reason to take the Chiefs this week in D.C. Another reason to take the Chiefs? They always cover against Washington, at least in the last 5 match-ups they have. What else? I like what I saw from Matt Cassel last week, and from the looks of it he’s getting a little more comfortable with his new offense. KC has played tough with some good teams this year, despite losing by double digits to both Baltimore and New York, they played solid football in both games. They’re winless so far, but if it’s up to the Redskins, that will change. KC’s secondary and run defense can be exposed, but there’s not much positive coming out of Washington these days, so I’ll just take the Chiefs and that free touchdown. This brings the question, should Washington be favored by a touchdown against anyone? I think not.” Can I just let this write up speak for itself? I mean, it was pretty accurate, thorough, and played out well. The Redskins favored by a touchdown, yes please opposing team!

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Carolina Panthers (-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (WINNER) John Fox and the Panthers tried to lose this one, but DeAngelo Williams and Jon Stewart wouldn’t be denied. Why the Panthers even allowed Jake Delhomme to throw a single pass is beyond me, bust out the freaking Wild Cat and if need be have a running back toss a deep one to Steve Smith. In the end, the Panthers took this battle of futile clubs – I don’t see many wins for either of these teams down the road, not unless the Panthers figure some stuff out. Yeah, that’s right Bucs fans, you’re already finished. At least there’s a couple big bad defensive lineman to be had at the top of next year’s draft.

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-14): (LOSS) “Taking the Steelers as a double digit favorite is always scary, and especially this season considering they haven’t beaten anybody by that kind of margin, even allowing a late touchdown last week to the Lions to win by just 8 – and yes, I’m still a little bitter about that. But this match-up begs me to take the Steel City, and I won’t fight it.” Should have fought it. Looking back on this game, I still don’t think the Browns cover two touchdowns half the times if these two played 10. But it is what it is, sometimes you miss a spread by a single point – this was one of those situations. The Steelers can’t buy a cover win these days, but hey, the only people effected by covers are us. One field goal away from 10-4…

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets (-9): (LOSS) “It’s very rare that when you look at tales of the tape and one side wins at every statistic – welcome to the Bills and Jets tale of the tape. Points, Yards Gained, Yards Allowed, Red Zone Efficiency, Time of Possession, Kicking, Penalties, Turnovers, hot wives, confidence – I mean shoot, the only thing these two teams are even close in is New receivers that were consistent problems for their former teams, and that’s a freaking tie, no winner there.” This is why numbers don’t really mean jack. One could say, this is why you play the game, or, you never know on any given Sunday – something in that virginity. All I’m saying is that the Bills came to play, and it might have taken a little luck to get the job done, but the bottom line is that they were the better team this Sunday. The took advantage of a rookie quarterback losing confidence, and they limited their mistakes. TO still dropped a few passes, but Lee Evans had a big play that put the Bills in the right spot. And Buffalo upsets the Jets in New York – very nice! Return of the underdogs!!!

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Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots (-9): (WINNER) “The Titans have been brutal, and I don’t think their secondary woes will get quelled when Tom Brady and the suddenly sputtering Patriots offense hosts them this Sunday. If anything, I expect Tom and company to beet down the 400 yard passing barrier, put up tons of points, and continue to play solid defense like they’ve done all season long. It may be a popular pick, and the Patriots may be a different offense than they were last year, but last year’s team would have ousted this year’s Titans 70-14. This year’s Patriots could do at least half that mark, and the defense can keep the Titans out of the end zone most of the day.” Amazingly enough, I think I underestimated the Patriots in this write-up. Apparently this year’s team could have outscored the Titans 70-14, but you got the picture I hope. Tom Brady grabbed hold of a record on Sunday, dealing out 5 TD passes in the 2nd quarter alone – I was watching and locked in, what a performance. It was as if the Titans were the only team playing in/on snow.

Arizona Cardinals (+3) @ Seattle Seahawks: (WINNER) “I don’t see the injured Hawks offensive line doing enough to slow that Cardinal pass rush. They have 3 back-ups on the O-line starting group, and that’s being generous with the word back-ups, some of these guys are back-up back-ups. And the Cardinals front four can bring it.” Lots of stuff happened in this game, but in my mind, that front four versus Seattle’s offensive line was the difference in the game. The RBs for the Hawks ran the ball for just around a yard per carry. Matt was constantly hurried, and that secondary which was one of the league’s worst barely had to pay any attention to throws of 12 yards or more. Locked in on short patterns, the Cardinals didn’t allow Seattle to do anything all day long. Called this one right on the button.

Philadelphia Eagles (-14) @ Oakland Raiders: (LOSS)  I still can’t believe the Eagles lost this game. But, that’s what the Eagles do. Sometimes they get way too pass happy and lose site of the things that would win them games like this in which they don’t play that well – like, um, running the damn ball. I should have listened to my crazy uncle, he picked the Raiders to cover, and their toughness shined on Sunday. I still think the Eagles lost this one instead of Oakland beating them, but Oakland definitely covered that big bad spread.

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Baltimore Ravens (+3) @ Minnesota Vikings: (WINNER) The Vikings magic continues. After playing better than the Ravens all day, Balitmore made some big plays, a couple much-needed stops, and Ray Rice took one to the house as Baltimore found themselves up 1 with just minutes left. Did I say just minutes, because any amount of time seems to be enough for Brett to get his team into a winning play. The Vikings did exactly that, moved down to field goal range with ease, and hit the game winner. But wait, it was too fast. Joe Flacco threw for more yards in this game than ever before, and the Ravens are in business to end the Vikings amazing start to the season – but wait – the powers that be pushed the Ravens’ kicker’s try wide left and the Vikings win by 2. Minnesota continues their winning ways, I cover and get the win, the only loser here was Baltimore. I can live with that.

St. Louis Rams (+10) @ Jacksonville Jaguars: (WINNER) “I’ve missed on the Jaguars a lot this year, but I still don’t think they deserved to be favored by 10 points against anybody. The Rams are getting healthy, as they should have the healthiest offense they’ve had all year. If they commit to the run, and I think they will, they have a chance to cover agaisnt the Jaguars.” The Rams had a chance to upset the Jags, and possibly get that single win they needed to not be this year’s Lions – but just as soon as Leonard Little returned an INT for a touchdown, the Jaguars marched down for the game tying field goal. Then it was overtime, and overtime meant an L for the Rams as Maurice Jones-Drew willed his team to victory, and Josh Scobey finished the Rams off with a game winning FG. The Rams covered easily, obviously, and luckily for me, the worst team in football remains victory-less in ’09.

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Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers (-13): (WINNER)  “The Packers coming off a bye week preparing for a Lions team that has a list of injured players you couldn’t count using just your fingers (who can count past their fingers these days anyway?) – It’s hard not to be all gung-ho about the Packers chances at winning by a couple touchdowns.” Well, the public wasn’t (favored the Packers), I wasn’t (picked the Packers) and hopefully after reading my picks, you weren’t (enter amount won picking the Packers here $____). The bottom line, the Lions weren’t healthy enough to compete with Green Bay’s big guns. I think they game will be closer next time around, but the Packers owned the day this time around.

Chicago Bears @ Atlanta Falcons (-3): (WINNER) I was confused about this line, I didn’t see the evenness of these two teams as the spread insisted. On that, I was wrong. The Bears and the Falcons are fairly similar teams. They are two squads that relied heavily on the run last season, but haven’t been able to get the ground game going full-speed thus far in 2009. Both passing games have won games, and the threat of the air attack will soon take pressure off the running game. Both defenses aren’t great, but they do hit hard, tackle well, and put pressure on opposing offenses. The Falcons are a little better, but the difference isn’t nearly as big as I thought it was. That being said, Atlanta covered. They needed some big plays on defense, some big turnovers, and a couple throws by Matt Ryan, but they covered.

Denver Broncos (+3.5) @ San Diego Chargers: (WINNER) I said that the Chargers are and have been overrated, and I still believe that to be true, but they played well on Monday Night. The offensive line couldn’t give Phillip enough time to really hurt them through the air, and the running game did some damage but San Diego’s final numbers weren’t much to be proud of. Denver got 2 special teams touchdowns from Eddie Royal, which they won’t get every night. But don’t be fooled, the better team was Denver, they played better, and they got the win. Nothing surprising here.

NFL Free Picks Review: Week 4

Well, I’m eating in to my early winning ways, that’s for sure. Luckily I was up 9 games going into Week 3, because, 3 and 4 weren’t good to me at all. After 4 more losses than wins in Week 3 I finished Week 4 only a little better, 6-8. I’m still up headed into Week 5, but that hot early start isn’t as dreamy as it once was. Here’s the haps…

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Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears (-10): (WINNER) This was a pretty weird game, the Lions kept it a game for most of the day, but ended up losing by 24. It wasn’t that quite like that, tied at 21 going into half, but I have to say I was still thinking I was going to cover this one going into the second frame. The Bears got some help from the big play on special teams and defense, not needing to do much yardage-wise, but Jay and Forte did plenty, and the Lions gave me a winner to start my day. Needless to say it went down hill from here.

Cincinnati Bengals (-5.5) @ Cleveland Browns: (LOSS) The Browns came to play, no doubt about that, and the Bengals just kind of snuck by in this one. The Books moved and moved, but even the Browns at +3.5 ended up being a good bet. Weird, those tricky books. Cleveland ran the ball really well, something I didn’t think they’d be able to do. That right there was enough to keep them right in the hunt against the Bengals. I thought that I, and the rest of the public, was walking into some free money after the Bengals went up 14-0 early in the 2nd quarter, but the Browns fought back to take the lead, 20-14. The Bengals seemingly iced all hopes for bettors by scoring what everyone thought would be the go-ahead touchdown, only the extra point they actually needed to “go ahead”. That gave me just an ounce of hope, as a Bengals TD would get me the cover. It wasn’t to be, a field goal in the final seconds of OT (that looked like it missed by the way) was good, and the Bengals do just enough to win without covering. This, not the first game, was a sign of my day to come.

Oakland Raiders (+9) @ Houston Texans: (LOSS) The Raiders can’t run or throw, I feel like a took box for taking these gong-show outcasts in any game with any spread. How bad can a pro-team be? Poor Richard Seymour, I feel bad for the guy. Darren McFadden… Really? Al Davis is poison.

Seattle Seahawks (+10.5) @ Indianapolis Colts: (LOSS) Seattle couldn’t run the ball, and their play-calling sucked, for the second straight week. Peyton Manning was at the top of his game, and I again feel like a dope for thinking the Hawks had good value here. Damn.

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Tennessee Titans (-3) @ Jacksonville Jaguars: (LOSS) “70% like Tennessee here. This is a very tough one for me, but in the end I’m with them. I would like to preface my selection with this: if the Titans weren’t 0-3 I would be taking the Jaguars here for sure. I think Jacksonville should find some openings in the Titan secondary, and MJD will probably have a decent day despite Tennessee’s stellar run defense. But the Titans can’t go 0-4.” Apparently they can. Like I said, this one was very tough for me, and I let the Titans “need” to get a win get in the way of me actual winning. Out-thought by myself again!

New York Giants @ Kansas City Chiefs (+9): (LOSS) “The Giants have beaten the Chiefs by 10 or more points every time these two teams have played since 1998. Now that doesn’t mean much to me, I’m just saying so you know. The Giants can really run the ball, the Chiefs can’t stop the run. The Giants take full advantage of the passes they do attempt, the Chiefs shoot themselves in the foot with penalties like it’s their job. The Chiefs struggle with pressure put on them by opposing defenses, the Giants can make life hell on most quarterbacks while rushing just four guys. Now, I wanted to let you know all that stuff before I told you this: I’m taking the Chiefs (+9). Call me nuts,” Hey, dude, you’re nuts! Out-thought by myself again! The Giants didn’t run real well, but the Chiefs don’t play to win and if it weren’t for two lousy touchdowns late this game would look even more pathetic than it does already.

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots (-1.5): (WINNER) This game was very tight, and I think the Ravens got screwed around a bit, plus a late dropped pass killed any chance they had. I still like the Patriots at home to win straight up against anyone. I always will, until Tom Brady hangs ’em up. He’s a winner, that’s what he does.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Washington Redskins (-7): (LOSS)  After Santana Moss’s touchdown catch, from the human turnover machine, Jason Campbell, I thought the Redskins were going to walk away with this one, despite missing an extra point that eliminated my push. But I gave clown Zorn (who I once thought would be a good coach) too much credit. He started playing not-to-lose and everyone knows that’s a terrible way to score points. He didn’t lose though, only I did. Damn the man!

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Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins (+2): (WINNER) The Dolphins kicked around the Bills, and I’m actually hoping that TO holds it together in Buffalo and doesn’t flip out because this coaching staff is really too cautious for them to win enough games to keep TO smiling. And honestly, I’ve seen enough of TO pissed off, fighting off idiot media bastards, and just being sad. Guy can be the saddest man in the world some times. I hope he just fights it, keeps plodding on, and has some good games going forward. But I’m sure glad they got kicked around this week by Ronnie Brown and the youngster, Chad Henne, because I needed a win something fierce!

New York Jets (+7) @ New Orleans Saints: (LOSS) I don’t know. The Saints defense has made a magical change from last year to this. Amazing. They are good. They don’t give you anything, running or passing, and they come after you. I’m impressed. But the Jets still should have covered this game. If Sanchez doesn’t make a couple huge rookie mistakes, the Saits aren’t given 14 points to play with early. But, Mark is a rookie, and I took his squad, knowing damn well there was a chance the rook could make some of those mis-reads. I’ll take this one on the chin.

Dallas Cowboys (-3) @ Denver Broncos: (LOSS) I loved getting this game wrong. Josh McDaniels has been one of my favorites since he had no problem trying to help special princess players off the team from the beginning. That’s how you make a team tough. Is his team tough? Hell yes, tougher than any Bronco team has been in a long time. I missed on this one, though Dallas had all the opportunity to keep this from being a game early. Tony Romo and company just can’t get the job done when it matters most. And Roy Williams, you are a sandy-crotched marshmallow. Get in the damn game to try and help your team. Your ribs hurt? Good lord. Dude is a princess.

St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers (-9.5): (WINNER) “The 49ers are as good as they’ve shown. They have a stout defense that brings it every play. They have elite players in the secondary, in the line backing crew, and on the defensive line. They have an offense that pounds it until opposing defenses can’t take it anymore. The only reason I’d take the Rams here is because they actually have a chance now that Marc Bulger is out. I think last week’s last second loss puts some piss and vinegar into the 49ers this week. They should be 3-0 if black magic didn’t strike them dead in Week 3. St. Louis is still the worst team in football, even with Bulger finally on the sidelines. This win would make San Francisco undefeated against the entire NFC West to start the season, and I know Mike Singletary will have made that an emphasis for this playoff bound 49ers squad. Now the 49ers aren’t going to win a lot of games by double digits, but they’re not going to play the Rams very often, either. Take them here, despite the high spread.” Even on the tough weeks, you have to hit some right on the nail – this was one of those.

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San Diego Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5): (WINNER)  “Even the Steelers can run the ball against San Diego’s defense. Now Pittsburgh has played pretty poorly to start the season, never being able to finish, and lucking out to have just one win thus far (they should have lost to the Titans). But they’ll play better in this one. THe Chargers aren’t good defensively, and I don’t think they run with any success in Pittsburgh. I don’t think the world of the Steelers but doubt they drop to 1-3 to start the season, not with all that open room to accrue yardage against the Chargers defense. How does San Diego’s 24-20 win over Oakland look right now? How about their 10 point win against Miami when they were down 6-3 after Chad Pennington went down? Listen, neither of these teams is as good as everyone thought heading into the season, but Pittsburgh is still the better team. I like the over here a lot as well, but since I only take sides, I’ll just say I’m leaning on the over. Many big plays in this one, Steelers by 10 at home on Sunday Night Football.” It took just about 3 full quarters for SD to get anything going, but then they made me look brilliant. The Steelers win and cover by 10, the over gets smashed, everyone has to agree with me about who is the better team, and basically everything I said was true. And I needed this one really bad.

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings (-3.5): (WINNER) It wasn’t how I thought it was going to be, the Vikings didn’t run all over the Packers – Green Bay obviously focused a lot on stopping AP, and they did that pretty well. But Brett killed them. The last thing the Packers must have wanted was for Brett to come out like a cowboy and just shoot them down with a smile. But that’s what happened. The game got close at the end, and I was a little worried with the Packers marching down 10 – but the Vikings held and covered for me.

NFL Free Picks REVIEW: Week 17

Not a terrible way to end the season, not a big winner, but a winner nonetheless! The playoffs are just around the corner, and I’ll certainly be getting my picks out for those games by mid-week as well. As for week 17, it was good for some, that’s for sure – but it was a heck of a lot worst for most of those teams with playoff dreams… This is how it went down.

Oakland Raiders (+14) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (WINNER) Well, the Raiders upended the Bucs playoff hopes, opening the door for the Eagles to run the Cowboys and take the 6 seed. Like I said, Oakland does their best work against smaller defense, not unlike the Bucs. 14 points was way too many, ha.

Detroit Lions (+10.5) @ Green Bay Packers: (WINNER) Well, they couldn’t pull off the win, allowing one or two too many big plays down the stretch, but this game was close, and the 10 points difference writes a different story. Either way, the Lions covered for me.

Dallas Cowboys (+2) @ Philadelphia Eagles: (Loss) I was dead wrong here. The Eagles came to play, and everything worked out for them to own the final playoff spot. Do they keep their go for it attitude and make a run at the NFC crown or will they parish into their play not to lose alternate personality? Good question, I know, but they kicked some Cowboys tail this Sunday! I lose.

New York Giants (+7) @ Minnesota Vikings: (WINNER) The Giants should have won this game, but they didn’t really go for the throat and they let the Vikings hang around. Either way both these teams were in the playoffs, with the same seed, but Minnesota might come out of this one with a little more hope. AP had a big day for the Vikings. But I still won this one easily.

Chicago Bears (+3) @ Houston Texans: (Loss) “I love the Texans. They play very tough at home, and I see them throwing the ball around against the Bears secondary – but how about the will to win? The Bears have that. I hate betting on teams that won last weak where I thought they should have lost. That’s the Bears to a T. But what about the will?” – Here’s my answer – the will isn’t strong enough to go against my betting rules. When I learn that I’ll win more.

Carolina Panthers (-3) @ New Orleans Saints: (Loss) Well, this one was close. The Panthers wanted a suer thing bye, but the Saints weren’t about to roll over for them. Drew Brees was on his game, finishing just shy of Marino’s single season yardage record. The Siants pulled it out, but by just enough to make me a loser, 2….

St. Louis Rams (+15.5) @ Atlanta Falcons: (WINNER) I had this one right on the button – I hope the Falcons keep finding ways to win with a big playoff game coming up next week. What a rushing attack in Week 17, Turner and Norwood did work.

Kansas City Chiefs (+3) @ Cincinnati Bengals: (Loss) The Bengals really learned to play some defense as the season moved forward. If they keep that up next year, they might be alright. The Chiefs didn’t impress me much, and as it turns out I may have expected a little too much out of a 2 win team.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Baltimore Ravens (-12): (WINNER) I was right on the button with this one too. The Ravens are a terrible match-up for the Jaguars, or at least this Jaguars team. Baltimore’s tough nosed, grind it out style, with the ability to get first downs through the air, was just too much for the Jags.

Tennessee Titans (-3) @ Indianapolis Colts: (Loss) Weird game. The Titans didn’t do much, and it looked like the Colts turned into the team I thought Tennessee was. Both teams had their 2nd teamers in there, but it was the Colts that dominated from the get go, and they rode their momentum all game long.

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-10): (WINNER) The Steelers lost Big Ben in a meaningless game, but hopefully he’ll be alright for the playoffs. They dominated the Browns, though, putting up 31 and shutting out Cleveland’s anemic offense. I needed this one.

Miami Dolphins (+3) @ New York Jets: (WINNER) “If the Jets’ play calling is stupid enough for them to lose at home to Denver, in San Francisco, and then in Seattle in 3 of their last 4 games, then it is probably bad enough to choke this one away too. I don’t know about the average football mind, but if I had an old quarterback that got respect on his deep passes, one that was having shoulder issues, I would probably run the ball more than I threw it. If the Jets did that, they’d have won against the Hawks last week. They would have beaten the 49ers as well. But Man-Jina loves to throw the ball, regardless of the auto five yards Thomas Jones is getting and the great back-up speedster they have in Leon Washington. All things being equal, that stupidity should get Miami into the playoffs.” As soon as the Jets are down at all, they immediately turn to throwing the ball every single down. Their play calling sucks. Miami was the better team by season’s end, and that’s because their coaching is much better. There you have it. Hooray Miami! Hooray me!

New England Patriots (-6) @ Buffalo Bills: (WINNER) It was windy, it was nuts – the Patriots held on to the ball as long as possible and made some great moves that kept Buffalo out of the end zone. They won a big game, finished 11-5, but still found themselves up and out of the playoffs.

Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals (-6): (WINNER) “I have to pick this game as if the last couple weeks didn’t happen to the Cardinals. The Cardinals are 6 points better than Seattle, especially at home, and especially after getting slammed each of the last two weeks. They have to get it together now or never, and I think their offensive firepower will be tough for the Hawks to handle. Big tough receivers aren’t the easiest on the little coverage guys in Seattle’s secondary.” There you have it. And it was Kurt and his crew of big receivers tormenting the Hawks secondary all day long, especially late. Larry Fitzgerald had a big day, catching two touchdowns in the process. Yhatzee!

Washington Redskins (+3) @ San Francisco 49ers: (PUSH) For the second straight week the 49ers found a way to win. They were down, but not out, and it might be Big Mike. I hope Singletary is exactly what the 49ers need to get back to respectability. Winning a bunch of games down the stretch probably helped them out a ton heading into next season. I didn’t win or lose, just pushed all the way to my money back on this one.

Denver Broncos (+9.5) @ San Diego Chargers: (Loss) This game was awesome – if you hate Denver. I thought the Broncos would put up more of a fight, but this was consistent with the entire season, I once again had trouble predicting the Broncos. That damn Splinter is always confusing me.

9-6-1 to finish – 23 games up on the season…