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Week Fourteen…

Matty Ice almost made me look bad Thursday Night with those 3 picks in 4 pass attempts in the middle of the game but thankfully he righted the ship enough by the end.  On to the rest:

Minnesota (-2.5) at Carolina

It actually doesn’t even make sense to me that I believe in the Panthers more than the Vikings.  The teams are a combined 18-6, which doesn’t make sense in and of itself.  I keep coming back to one thing though:  Case Keenum.  It seems the Vikes are looking for that crack to bench him for a now apparently healthy Teddy Bridgewater.  Is this the game?

Carolina 21, Minnesota 20.

Chicago at Cincinnati (-6.5)

On the flip side, I don’t believe in either of these teams.  Both kind of playing out the string…ok, technically the Bengals are still alive, but really…anyway, Cincy should have beaten the Steelers this past Monday Night, but choked away that one.  They’ve got enough decent players still…even if the coach is atrocious.  They are at home.  And…the Bears are awful.  I don’t feel that comfortable here, but…

Cincinnati 23, Chicago 14.

Green Bay (-3.5) at Cleveland 

Brett Hundley only has to play/win one more game before Aaron Rodgers returns.  Packers fans are rejoicing.  And thankfully, the game is against the Browns.  Can he do it?  He’d better.

Green Bay 24, Cleveland 13.

San Francisco at Houston (-2.5) 

Jimmy Football didn’t get the Niners into the end zone against the lowly Bears last week.  But they still won.  Houston still has some weapons despite all the injuries and they are at home.  Just a hunch on this one.

Houston 17, San Francisco 16.

Dallas (-4.5) at New York Giants

Dallas has been middling, but did they get back on track with their pasting of the ‘Skins last week?  And yes we all know the G-Men are in turmoil.  Canned their GM and coach (finally) this past week.  They are going back to Eli after one game of the Geno Smith Experiment.  Some people think this all may provide a kick in the pants and boost the Giants to victory at home on Sunday.  Not me.

Dallas 31, New York Giants 10.

Detroit at Tampa Bay (-1.5)

I’m betting Matthew Stafford will play, but will it matter?  And how well will he play anyway?  Apparently, the Lions have other key injuries as well.  And Jimmy Caldwell is still their coach.  Although Dirk Koetter is no prize either.  Neither team excites me.  But the Bucs are 3-2 at home.  Good enough.

Tampa Bay 24, Detroit 21.

Oakland at Kansas City (-3.5) 

Oakland shocked KC earlier this year on a Thursday Night and the Chiefs are 1-4 since.  The Raiders are only 3-2 since, with the wins being underwhelming close ones against the Dolphins, Broncos and Giants.  So it’s not like the Raiders were spurred on by that victory against the Chiefs.  And the Chiefs demise has most assuredly more to do with other things than that particular loss.  So, all things being equal, you would expect KC to take this matchup at home, no?  No Marcus Peters won’t help.  And that loss to the Jets was absolutely putrid.  So I am not counting on it.

Oakland 38, Kansas City 34.

Indianapolis at Buffalo (-3.5) 

The word is the immortal Nathan Peterman will get the start against the Colts.  5 interceptions in a half in your NFL debut is hard to get over.  Though Nate didn’t look so bad in garbage time against the Pats last Sunday.  That all being said, Sean McDermott or Alex Van Pelt could likely QB this team past the Colts this weekend.

Buffalo 20, Indianapolis 7.

New York Jets (-0.5) at Denver

I’ve said it before and will say it again:  I have to take one of these teams??  It would appear that the Broncos still have plenty of talent on paper.  But no QB.  On top of that, it would also appear that the Broncs have quit on their coach and season.  On the other hand, the J-E-T-S are still playing hard.  I know the Chiefs are reeling, but it was a nice win against them last week…especially after getting down 14-0 right out of the gate.  There were people out there that thought this Jets team would go 0-16 this year.  If they win this one they will be 6-7.  It pains me, but either way they deserve some credit.

New York Jets 27, Denver 13

Tennessee (-2.5) at Arizona

I’m not sold on this 8-4 Titans team.  But the 5-7 Cards ain’t so hot themselves.  I have nothing else to add here.

Tennessee 23, Arizona 17.  

Washington at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5) 

If the Chargers had a decent kicker, they’d be at least 8-4.  By most accounts, they are now surprisingly viewed as the favorites in the AFC West.  How did that happen?  Not sure.  But the ‘Skins are clearly heading in the opposite direction, losing 3 of 4 and 5 of 7.

Los Angeles Chargers 27, Washington 20.

Seattle at Jacksonville (-3.5)

The Jags’ defense has given up only 178 points this year.  No one else is under 200.  Every time I looked around at the last Seahawk game against the Eagles, Russell Wilson was running for his life because the ‘Hawk O-Line is a sieve.  So Jags in this one, right?  Nope.  One, Jax is not ready for that next step now, I don’t care if people say they are…and if they are at home in this one.  Two?  Wilson can actually run for his life, so never discount that.

Seattle 24, Jacksonville 14.  

Philadelphia at Los Angeles Rams (-1.5) 

Another tough road tilt for the Eagles, after their loss last week at Seattle.  Though the Rams have unquestionably had a great year, I don’t believe they are on the same level as the Seahawks.  Methinks Philly rebounds here.  And though both defenses are pretty capable, this one smells like a shootout.

Philadelphia 38, Los Angeles Rams 31.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-5.5)

“AFC North Football”, as Big Ben likes to call it.  Maybe players on both teams will try to injure each other in this one too.  The Steelers won big in Baltimore earlier this year, but that was way back in Week 4.  The Ravens have been playing better and the Steelers play down to their competition.  I’m sure the NFL will want both Pittsburgh and New England to both be 11-2 for next week’s matchup, so that leads me to believe Pitt will win a close one in the end.

Pittsburgh 20, Baltimore 17.

New England (-11.5) at Miami

The Pats always seem to struggle in Miami.  No Gronk.  Many other injuries as well.  Also some illness going through the locker room it appears, as a few players are on the injury report all of a sudden because of it.  Blah blah blah…despite the Dolphins being a horrible football team, this spread seems a little high.  Plus, you can’t dismiss the fact that a few Miami players love taking cheap shots.  Like I said above though, no way the Pats or Steelers will not have the same record for their tilt next week.  Though the possibility does exist they both lose and they will still be in the same position anyway…

New England 30, Miami 24.

Week (against the spread):  1-0

Week (straight up):  1-0

Season (against the spread):  103-90

Season (straight up):  129-64

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Outside Looking In…

…that’s your defending NFC (and ALMOST Super Bowl) Champion Atlanta Falcons, that is.  With a mere 4 weeks to go until the playoffs start.

Oh wait, this first:

New Orleans (-1.5) at Atlanta

The Thursday Night Football game may actually be one of the few good ones…if the right Atlanta team shows up.  I’m not even sure the right New Orleans team shows up though either.  The Saints are a surprising 9-3.  Their defense has improved throughout the year…talk about surprising.  The offense has morphed a little, featuring not only one running back that can play, but two.  So they are passing less, but still putting up a good amount of points.

If you look deeper at the Saints’ nine wins, that may tell a different story however.  Yes, they have beaten the 8-4 Carolina Panthers twice, the other seven wins are a collection of cream puffs, in reality.  Take nothing away from the Saints improving as a football team overall.  But the 9-3 record may be a smidge inflated.  That Alvin Kamara kid can play though, eh?

Then we have the Falcons.  Yup, they probably should have won the Super Bowl last year.  But realistically, they were kind of lucky to be in there in the first place.  Should the “Super Bowl Hangover” really apply to a team like that?

Taking a look at their season, who the hell knows what’s going on?  They have had some good wins.  But also some bad losses.  Their vaunted offense hasn’t been all that “vaunted”.  Nine points last week…albeit against a good Vikings team.  Still…

The Falcons have had two 3 game winning streaks this season and one 3 game losing streak.  The Blowhard has counted them out more than once.  Just a hard team to figure.  Currently, they sit a game out of the playoffs, behind the aforementioned Panthers and Seattle Seahawks and their 8-4 records for the final NFC Wild Card spot.

So what happens Thursday Night?  Good question.  Does Mark Ingram play?  He hasn’t practiced this week and apparently has a bad toe.  Kamara has been great and Drew Brees is still Drew Brees.  But moving to just the one back may have some effect.  Again, no idea what to expect on a week to week basis with Atlanta.  My gut tells me they show up at home and keep the NFC playoff race (and NFC South division) tight and interesting.

Then two weeks from now, the Saints and Falcons do it again…this time in N’awlins.  We’ll see…

Atlanta 31, New Orleans 27.

Week (against the spread):  10-6

Week (straight up):  12-4

Season (against the spread):  102-90

Season (straight up):  128-64

Week Thirteen…

…off to yet another bad start, what with the ‘Skins getting their arse handed to them on the most recent edition of Thursday Night Football.  But Sunday is another day…

San Francisco at Chicago (-3.5)

JIMMY FOOTBALL!!  Finally!!  Not sure what the Niners were waiting for.  Playbook?  Please.  Seattle?  Please.  Get him in there.  Get it done.  And?

San Francisco 24, Chicago 13.

Minnesota at Atlanta (-2.5)

This is a tough one.  Atlanta is rejuvenated.  The Vikings seem to be waiting for Case Keenum to crumble.  This may be the week.  Let’s face it…it’s Case F’ng Keenum!!

Atlanta 31, Minnesota 21.

Houston at Tennessee (-7.5) 

I’m honestly not sure the Titans should be favored by this much over anyone…well, except Cleveland.  But Tom Savage really is terrible.

Tennesse 27, Houston 17.

Tampa Bay (-1.5) at Green Bay

Tampa is really favored AT Green Bay?  Seriously?  Brett Hundley notwithstanding, seems like a stupid idea.

Green Bay 23, Tampa Bay 21.

Denver at Miami (-0.5)

Brutal.  How does anyone pick this game?  Shot in the dark here.

Denver 20, Miami 14.

New England (-8.5) at Buffalo 

I shouldn’t do it, but I’m going to.  Pats on the road.  Divisional foe.  Bills hanging on to playoff hopes.  Pats banged up.  Blah, Blah, Blah.  But I am doing it…

New England 38, Buffalo 17.

Detroit at Baltimore (-2.5) 

The Ravens seem rejuvenated as well.  Yes, I already used this word to describe the Falcons.  So be it.  Either way, can’t trust the Lions.

Baltimore 24, Detroit 21.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville (-9.5) 

Jacksonville lost to the Arizona Cardinals last week.  Let that sink in for a while.  And yet, I’m doing it against my better judgement this week with the Jags.

Jacksonville 31, Indianapolis 17.

Kansas City (-3.5) at New York Jets

KC has plummeted since their Opening Day win over the Pats.  Good for them.  Then they lost at home to a mediocre Bills team last week.  This week?  At least the Jets won’t be the New York team starting Geno Smith this weekend.

Kansas City 23, New York Jets 13.

Cleveland at Los Angeles Chargers (-13.5)

Josh Gordon is back!  I guess you can still make it back to the NFL after ingesting all kinds of drugs for several years.  If Aaron Hernandez was still alive, maybe he would have a chance to get back.  Wait, he (allegedly) murdered several people as well, so maybe not…

Los Angeles Chargers 34, Cleveland 20.  

New York Giants at Oakland (-6.5) 

Oakland is miraculously only a game out now in the AFC West.  The G-Men just turned to…Geno Smith.  I hate Eli Manning of course.  But Smith simply cannot play in the NFL.  And the way the team handled the whole benching was absolutely atrocious.  Realistically, I could have just said “GEEEEEEEENNNNNNN-OOOOOOOOOOO” here and that would have been all that needed to be said.

Oakland 23, New York Giants 7.

Los Angeles Rams (-6.5) at Arizona

Still not in on the Rams?  Not sure I am either.  BUT…I think I am this week.

Los Angeles Rams 38, Arizona 20.  

Carolina at New Orleans (-3.5) 

Matchup between a pair of 8-3 teams.  Who saw this one coming?  No one.  Yup.  No one.

New Orleans 30, Carolina 23.

Philadelphia (-5.5) at Seattle

I say it every week, Philly is on a roll.  The Seahawks are believe it or not a pedestrian 3-2 at home.  Plus they are ravaged by injuries.  But you know what?  Seattle is getting it done this week.  Another hunch.  But a legit one this time, I will promise you.

Seattle 33, Philadelphia 30.

Pittsburgh (-5.5) at Cincinnati

Speaking of hunches, I am going against myself this time.  The Steelers play down to their competition.  Seems like 5.5 is too high, especially on the road.  Even against the Bungles.  So, we shall see…

Pittsburgh 27, Cincinnati 20.

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  0-1

Season (against the spread):  92-85

Season (straight up):  116-61

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