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.

NFL Free Picks Review: Week 8 2009

So, 7-6 isn’t the glorious same as 10-3 but it’s a winning week nonetheless – yet another winning week, and the season continues to be good. Week 8’s preview is short and sweet, but you’ll see 7 winners and 6 that didn’t go so well. Here goes…

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Atlanta Falcons (+12) @ New Orleans Saints: (WINNER)  “It’s Monday Night Football, these are two good football teams, it’s an NFC South rivalry game, the Saints are coming off a lucky comeback win, the Falcons are coming off a disappointing loss, 12 points is just too much on that stage with those circumstances.  I know the big favorites have dominated the season thus far, but games like this just don’t get 12 points – that’s way too many.” I hope everyone going with the Saints learned a valuable lesson, no matter how good you are, the value can easily fall with the challenger.

Minnesota Vikings (+3.5) @ Green Bay Packers: (WINNER) “Now it’s very hard to beat a good opponent twice in the same season, but I just don’t see these two teams as equals.” I think that’s what it came right down to. The Packers have some great pieces, but the Vikings have a better offense and a better defense, and they showed that by beating the Packers twice in as many tries.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans (-3): (WINNER) It’s awkward, but Vince Young wins. His numbers aren’t great, but with a rushing attack like the Titans have, and now teams have to pay attention to Vince, that just opens up the run game for the Titans. Vince didn’t run for tons of yards, but him being a threat gave Chris that little extra room he needed – either that or the Jaguars are just brutal defensively – either one, got this one right on.

Oakland Raiders (+17.5) @ San Diego Chargers: (WINNER) “The Chargers aren’t a great football team. They aren’t in the Patriots, Giants, Colts, Saints, Vikings, type group. That pretty much makes them a bad-value-bet as a double digit favorite. When that double digit favorite moves over 3 scores (a couple touchdowns and a field goal) they move even farther away from value and into a whole new category of auto-fade. Can the Chargers beat the Raiders by 3 touchdowns? You bet. It’s just not a great bet to happen.” Like I said, the Chargers aren’t one of the best teams in football, and are basically an auto fade as a HUGE dog like there were on Sunday.

Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals (-10): (LOSS) “Many sharp bettors see this game as great value for the Panthers. They have a rushing attack that should be able to get some yards against an Arizona front 7 that has basically eliminated rushing attacks all season long (ranking #1 in stopping the run) and Arizona is coming off a huge win, almost surely ready for down game. And this line, in my opinion, is too close to wager too much, but I like the Cardinals despite the inflated spread.” So, everything except that last part pretty much spot on. The Panthers did run on that vaunted Cardinals defensive front, but even more surprising was the fact that their defense suckered Warner into a half a million turnovers. If John Fox (or whomever is in charge of the Panthers offense) doesn’t get in the way of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, this team can do some damage going forward.

St. Louis Rams @ Detroit Lions (-3.5): (LOSS) The Lions, in my opinion, have hit a new low. Sure, you say they’ve won a game, and that’s true, but last year they didn’t lose to the worst team in football. This year they did, well, they lost to Steven Jackson, and Jax is the greatest player on the worst team in football. I watched a lot of this game, because I’m a little bit sick, it was just as painful as it seemed.

San Francisco 49ers (+13.5) @ Indianapolis Colts: (WINNER)  “I liked the 49ers at -12 to start the week, but this one has a chance of getting to 14 points. Oh, that would make me feel so good. Still, 13 is a good number to get past as well, that way a touchdown and a couple field goals up still keeps me in the money. An out right win would surprise me, but don’t put it past the 49ers, staying within 13 seems like a good bet to me.” The bottom line is, and this should be universal, you don’t give a good team nearly two touchdowns. Say what you want about the Niners, but I’m thinking that by years’ end, you’ll come around, you’ll label them a good team. They proved their worth while holding Peyton without a passing TD, but some key injuries might hurt them a little.

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets (-3): (LOSS) The Jets dominated this game offensively, but the Dolphins had Ted Ginn Jr.  – NOw lately that has been a bad thing to have, dropped passes, basically unreliable and almost a liability because defenses hardly have to get in his way because he’ll drop the passes all by themselves. But this week he was a kick returner, and on one return he was the sole reason for the touchdown. They say it’s the blocks and the lanes, but Ginn Jr. sat in one place, had 4 tackles go past, and went from 0-60 in about .5 seconds. It was dirty. Those special teams’ covers will kill a cover, just ask the Jets who played well both defensively and offensively.

New York Giants (+1) @ Philadelphia Eagles: (LOSS) Am I wrong about the Giants? I know Ellie is back in full force, but is this team really going to break my balls a fourth week in a row? I might just take them again. The Eagles have showed me some strength against a solid defense, they are really playing well, I’m sure that will come back to haunt me soon.

Denver Broncos (+3.5) @ Baltimore Ravens: (LOSS) The Broncos ran into a buzz saw Ravens defense that was tired of being labeled “losing their dominance” and they certainly got handled. It was a close game at half, but that kick off return TD reared it’s head again, and from then on the Ravens put it to the Broncos hard. I guess Josh McDaniels had to lose one sooner or later.

Houston Texans (-3) @ Buffalo Bills: (WINNER) It took a quarter or two, but the Texans just started handling the Bills. Buffalo is an absolute mess and Houston proved they can win running the ball as well, even if it’s with Ryan Moats. That’s right Moats blew up the Bills’ weak spot, run defense, while Matt Schaub took a back seat to get the W. Houston won easily.

Cleveland Browns (+14) @ Chicago Bears: (LOSS) The Browns have lost it, maybe even Raiders style. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, the Bears -14 seemed like suicide, but I have to realize going forward that some numbers look bad but some opponents look worse. Even Matt Forte ran well in this one – we’ll see how it goes next time out for Jay Cutler and the boys.

Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys (-9.5): (WINNER) “The Hawks have only played well against the league’s lesser teams, and while Dallas might not be Super Bowl bound, they are definitely a team fighting for a playoffs spot this season. All things considered, I just think Dallas’s pass rush will be too much.” That was a big difference in the game, the Hawks completion numbers were pretty high, but they had too many negative plays, and the Cowboys brought too much pressure for the Hawks to burn them deep. Matt just didn’t have enough time. Until the Hawks get healthy, pass rushing teams will eat them up.

Free NFL Picks Review Week 5

A .500 free football picks week never gets a smile out of me, especially when I had so many great calls. Bengals over Ravens? You bet, 49ers getting ousted by visiting Falcons, yes sir! Cleveland getting 6? Great bet! Giants over the Raiders despite the public love? Any day of the week… But there were some games that didn’t go my way, a half point loss, a complete run through at the hands of the Hawks, and many more. Here’s everything I had….

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Cincinnati Bengals (+9) @ Baltimore Ravens: (WINNER) “I think the Ravens and Bengals are eerily similar as far as team skill is concerned. So 9 points obviously seems like way too much for me. Many are forgetting that the Bengals are one hail-mary away from being 4-0 to start the season. They haven’t dominated their competition, but 3 wins (two against quality opponents like Green Bay and Pittsburgh) give me a lot to like. A lot of people like to say that spreads don’t mean much, that the team that wins covers 80% of the time – and that may be true, but I think this game has the makings of a down-to-the-wire contest, with either team needing a big play to get the win.” If you watched this game, you’d see that these teams are very similar, in both style and talent. Both use a very solid defense to stay close, both rely heavily on the rushing attack, and both make big plays to win games with they have to. The Bengals got the ball last, they got help from some stupid Raven penalties, and they got the win, outright, over the Ravens. You bet!

Cleveland Browns (+6) @ Buffalo Bills: (WINNER)  “I hate to do this, because seeing Eric Man-Jina trade away his star offensive receiver only to put together his first win of the season in the process kind of makes me sick to my stomach. But, as the cards begin to stack, I can see too much to like about Cleveland and the points. They proved last week that they can run the ball well against a good defense. That should go a long way to covering the spread against the Bills.” What’s gross about this game is the fact that the team that won had a quarterback that completed just 2 of 17 passes for 26 yards, while throwing an interception. But like I said, the Browns ability to run the ball would go a long way in terms of covering the spread, and it definitely did. The fact that Cleveland covered and Eric Mangini has to feel like he runs the worst offense in the league makes me feel a lot better about this whole thing.

Washington Redskins @ Carolina Panthers (-3.5): (LOSS)  Damn both these teams, all the way to the bottom of their divisions as far as I’m concerned. I know the Panthers will have to fight softly and carry a little twig to finish below the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but I can only hope. The Panthers were down 17-2 halfway through the 3rd quarter, and yet they still managed a way to win and not cover by a half point. I feel used that I lost this game by a half point, but I also feel lucky for it to have been so close after it was 17-2. Either way I lose, look bad or look good, a loss stings.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-10.5) @ Detroit Lions: (LOSS) I hate the Steelers play calling. I’m pretty sure that is what keeps them in close games this season. What didn’t they like about handing the ball to Rashard Mendenhall and getting 5 yards a carry throughout the first half? They should have eaten clock through the 3rd and 4th quarters, but even then I should have covered this game. It took a 25 yard touchdown pass late in the 4th for the Lions to get back in coverage zone. Puke. This is how those double digit spreads come back to haunt you. Still, while I’ll take the loss with open arms, you have to see a bad beat here. They Lions got a pick 6 and a long 4th quarter touchdown pass to get within 8, this game belonged to the Steelers.

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Dallas Cowboys (-8.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs: (LOSS) I don’t know how the Cowboys didn’t cover this spread. Maybe it was the fumbles, maybe just the poor defensive secondary play? Maybe it was the entire first half of being so careful that my grandma would have been begging me to change the channel for some more action. Regardless, the Cowboys needed an out of this world performance from Miles Austin to win the game at all, an OT thriller indeed. I believed in the Cowboys again, it hurt my heart again.

Oakland Raiders @ New York Giants (-15): (WINNER) Thanks for the money, Oakland. I’m not sure where I heard it, but it still has my in stitches, “Roger Goodell needs to stop worrying about fining players for every thing they do and start trying to find a way to unplug the battery that is keeping Al Davis alive.” The Giants killed the Raiders, what’s new?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+15) @ Philadelphia Eagles: (LOSS)  I don’t know what to say, there was a time when a 15 point dog that played some decent games was on hell of a bet. That was another time, another place, not today in the NFL. The Eagles wear big boy pants, the Bucs are that weird pirate guy dressed up in the corner of a Halloween party, the guy nobody knows but everyone’s too nice to kick out because he’s just sitting there looking lost and innocent as can be. It’s hard. That’s a buccaneer, these are the Buccaneers.

Minnesota Vikings (-10) @ St. Louis Rams: (WINNER) “My opinion, the Rams are the worst team in football. Another opinion, the Vikings are one of the best. I know this game is on the road in a dome after a short week, but I can’t over-think this match-up too much. It’s the Vikings and the Rams – and I have to think the Vikings are at least 10 points better than the worst team in football. A dissolved offensive line, a running game that will find no room, and a quarterback issue that has no answer on the team.” Not over-thinking helped me a lot in this one, I wish I could have done that in the Eagle game.

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Atlanta Falcons (+2.5) @ San Francisco 49ers: (WINNER) “I want to take the Niners here, before any research I liked the 49ers, especially just -2.5 at home. I think the 49ers are one of the better teams in football. Atlanta travels a long way to play an old foe, and the Falcons offense hasn’t been nearly as successful as they were last year. The running game has slowed down to a crawl, and Matt Ryan hasn’t thrown the ball all that much, taking very few chances. But I wonder what a week away will do to the Falcons, and I wonder what a week away from playing the JV team in St. Louis does for the 49ers. What I’ve found in my research with Atlanta is that they generally struggle against teams that throw the ball real well, not necessarily a strength of the 49ers. Over their last 14 games, they’ve only lost to the Eagles, Patriots, Cardinals, and Saints – what do all those teams have in common? Prolific passers, air attacks that do most of their offensive damage. Atlanta isn’t great against the run, but they seem to do okay if they can key in on that part of an offense. Shaun Hill has done a good job, but the Falcons will make him win the game for the 49ers. History says he won’t be able to, and that has me going with the small road dog.” Bingo! Yhatzee! Right on the Money! A lot of my buddies called me nuts for this selection, and despite my admiration for Mike Singletary, it feels really good to be right in those situations. Stupid buddies, smart Lucky!

Houston Texans @ Arizona Cardinals (-5.5): (WINNER) The Cardinals are painful to watch. Often, in the same game, they seem like one of the better teams in the league and one of the worst teams in the league. They throw the ball too much, rely heavily on timing throws, and often get into 3rd and long situations. But sometimes they march down the field, scoring with absolute ease. The first half they were that good team, and the second half they needed an awesome goal line stand and a pick six to get the win. I’ll take what I can get.

New England Patriots (-3) @ Denver Broncos: (LOSS) Mike Holmgren-like play calling sealed the Patriots fate, as far as I’m concerned. Draws on 2nd and 3rd down forced punts in the 2nd half, giving the Broncos just enough opportunity to get a huge win. I feel cheated in this one, because the Patriots had to only continue doing what they were doing to succeed. But the Broncos did what they’ve been doing all year, found a way to win and took full advantage.

Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) @ Seattle Seahawks: (LOSS) The Hawks were hurting, but it didn’t matter. The Jags came out soft, Jones-Drew couldn’t find room to run, Aaron Curry was a beast, and Matt Hasselbeck took full advantage of his wide open receivers. How wrong was I here? Try 44-0…. What can a guy do? Sometimes you swing and miss, sometimes you swing and fall down, but times like this, you swing and miss and fall down and hit yourself in the head on your follow through. Yeah, tough one.

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Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) @ Tennessee Titans: (WINNER)  This one was easier than I thought. The public loved it and I went for it. Glad I did as Peyton has the league on lock-down right now.

New York Jets (-2) @ Miami Dolphins: (LOSS) The Jets defense gave up a lot in this one. Miami ran the ball with power and that wildcat did lots of work. They needed a late touchdown to win it, but with 7 second left Ronnie Brown gave his Fins exactly that. The Jets had their chances to get it done, but Miami had the last laugh, and too full advantage. 7-7 in Week 5, not much there to fall in love with.

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…

NFL Free Picks REVIEW: Week 13

Well I didn’t kill it in Week 13, that’s for sure, but I did finish above a push, and that’s definitely the goal. I had a tough start to the week with 2 losses on Thanksgiving, but a Houston cover on Monday Night Football would get me 3 games over .500 with a nice 4-1 record with my best picks of the week – how’d it turn out in Houston? Well those Texans did alright… As for the entire week, I was 2 points away from two more wins, but you can’t win them all. Check it out! 

Thanks Giving Day Games

Tennessee Titans (-10.5) @ Detroit Lions: (WINNER) Absolute domination, the Titans are good – the Lions are bad, and that seemed to be the theme throughout. Ha. I won this one with flying colors. 

Seattle Seahawks (+13) @ Dallas Cowboys: (loss) I was fooled, or the Seahawks just played really bad. I know this, the Hawks looked like one of the worst teams in football. Matt Hasselbeck is erratic, the receivers drop balls, the running game is non-existent, and Holmgren is still calling a “play not to lose” game. Hello Mike, you are just about retired, your team has 2 wins through Week 13, and you are still play calling like a puss ball. Get your life together. Ah, was I wrong? You bet. 

Arizona Cardinals (+3) @ Philadelphia Eagles: (loss) “This one is actually very tough for me. Just letting you guys know, besides a few tweaks here and there, I basically pick teams based on what types of teams they are compared to what types of teams they struggle with. The Cardinals are a pass heavy team with a suspect rushing attack. They have a defense that can stop the run alright, but that generally struggles stopping the pass. The Eagles have a good defense, and a very talented secondary. From what I see, the Cardinals have yet to beat a team with a good secondary so far this season. But I’m still taking the Cardinals. I think they are even with the Eagles, as far as team strength goes, but Philly is in shambles a little bit, and that’s never seemed to work for Donovan or the rest of the National bird. Going against my own flow here, that’s not always a good thing, so be careful with this one.” I warned you and myself. Hopefully you listened to me (the smart analyzer) and ignored me (the go against my own game plan bettor). Silly me. The Eagles got it together and McNabb showed Andy Reid why benching him is a stupid move. The Eagles have two great players, McNabb and Westbrook. Their coach is a bit of a donkey these days. 

Sunday Games 

San Francisco 49ers (+7.5) @ Buffalo Bills: (WINNER) And the 49ers win outright. Haha! Mike is a good coach. He has toughness and his honesty will always get his guys to play hard. As a touchdown dog I like the Niners – especially against a crumbling Bills team. 

Baltimore Ravens (-7) @ Cincinnati Bengals: (WINNER) So much for the Books always winning. Everyone was on this one, including me, and the Ravens won big. You have to love a day when everyone gets a little richer and the books take a little bit of a hit. Don’t get too excited though, they’ll get you back next week! Ha. 

Indianapolis Colts (-4.5) @ Cleveland Browns: (Loss – by a point) I hate the Colts. 

Carolina Panthers (+3) @ Green Bay Packers: (WINNER) My contrasting thoughts were justified as this one came down to the wire. An amazing catch by Steve Smith and a 4th rushing touchdown by DeAngelo Williams put the Panthers up 5 and gave me a winner. Still, I felt like this one was up in the air the entire game. 

Denver Broncos (+9) @ New York Jets: (WINNER) “The Broncos are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Raiders. But I think they give the Jets trouble in Week 13. Jay Cutler is bound to play better after his terrible outing at home last week, and the Broncos have played better on the road than at home this season. 9 points is a lot, especially when one team is coming off their lowest low of the season and the other is coming off their highest high. The only play here is Denver.” The Broncos dominated this game from the get go, and besides two long runs, and one of them was a freakish roll non-tackle run, the Broncos shut down the Jets rushing attack, and sent Peyton Hillis into one of the best run defenses in the league and came out with 120 yards and a score. It’s amazing how good and then how bad Denver can be. Luckily I had them on a good night. 

Miami Dolphins @ St. Louis Rams: (No pick in this game, I didn’t get back to the site after Thanks Giving, and then forgot to come back in before Sunday’s game and pick this one – my bad for sure)

New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5): (Loss by a point) This was my second half point loss, and that always hurts. That’s how a 11-4 week turns into 9-6 – think about how much different those two records are. The Bucs had it at a 10 point game, but then went into run down the clock mode. That got them a tie, and they needed a couple Drew Brees interceptions to get a field goal to go ahead, and then to end the game. Just missed on this one. 

New York Giants (-3) @ Washington Redskins: (WINNER) The Redskins just can’t score the ball and the Giants shut down Clinton Portis. I was never worried about this one. 

Atlanta Falcons @ San Diego Chargers (-4.5): (Loss) The Falcons continue to surprise me, and the Chargers continue to disappoint me. Atlanta has a good coaching staff that gets their players to play tough every week. Michael Turner went for 120 rushing yards compared to LT’s 20 something… I’m sure MT loved that. 

Pittsburgh Steelers (+1.5) @ New England Patriots: (WINNER) “I don’t think the Pats defense can hold Pittsburgh under 24 points, and I don’t see Pittsburgh giving up more than a couple touchdowns. If you add those two things together, and I inevitably do, you have to be on the Steelers here.” 33-10 Steelers. This game went just like I thought it would go. 

Kansas City Chiefs (+3) @ Oakland Raiders: (WINNER) I love it when my dogs win outright. I expected Tyler Thigpen to have a big game leading the Chiefs to victory, but it was a familiar leader, Larry Johnson, that went old school on the Raiders and used his legs to split this season series. 

Chicago Bears (+3.5) @ Minnesota Vikings: (Loss) The Vikings seem to be figuring it out in the secondary, and that should keep them in first place in the NFC North. I missed on this one. 

Monday Night Game

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans (-3): (WINNER) It was really nice to get this one. From what I hear the “sharp” money and the public money had the Jaguars winning this one. It’s good to be the extreme minority, at least in this one case. This one more win made a tough week a little bit sweeter, giving me three more games in the green, and getting over the push for the first time in a while. I definitely enjoyed this beatdown.