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  1. (this was posted/emailed yesterday)
    Welcome back to yet another season of mayhem, madness, and mendacity, as well as mediocrity.
     
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Carolina Panthers @ Denver Broncos (+3.5)
    From the most decorated, experienced, big-game QB in league history to a blank slate in Trevor Siemian? Up against a bloodthirsty defense in the Panthers? Still stewing from that surprise upset loss in the Super Bowl? However, the Broncos’ defense is still stout, and still built to stop powerful running teams like the Panthers. Their cornerbacks Talib & Harris don’t need help covering the Panthers’ receivers, allowing DC Phillips to stack the box.
    Denver by 3
     
    Game(s) of the Week
    New England Patriots @ Arizona Cardinals (-6)
    The most amazing skill Coach Belichick has is to determine what another team does well, and then neutralize it. Now, the Cardinals have a weak cornerback, so expect the Patriots to expose that. Their OL can protect interim QB Garoppolo, even from the powerful Cards’ defensive front. Luckily the Cardinals are at home.
    Cardinals by 2
     
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Washington Ethnic Slurs (+3.5)
    The Steelers have the greatest collection of talent at receiving since the Greatest Show on Turf in 2000. Even if your secondary stops them, the Steelers can just run the ball with either Bell or Williams. The Slurs, a solid team in its own right, will not be able to keep up, and they failed to develop a running game in the preseason.
    Pittsburgh by 6
     
    Tame of the Week
    Minnesota Vikings @ Tennessee Titans (+2)
    The Titans are strictly a running team, with inside bangers Murray and Henry, but the Vikings’ front seven, deep and talented, is designed to destroy lines and stop Rbs.
    Minnesota by 3
     
    San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-7)
    The Chargers seem to have located a running back in Gordon, but can they run on the deep and stout defense in the Chiefs? At Arrowhead, in week 1? Moreover, can the Chargers stop runners? The Chiefs are too well-rounded to stumble this Sunday.
    Kansas City by 10
     
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons (-3)
    In the preseason, QB Ryan seemed to have trouble throwing with accuracy or power. His confidence is gone. Worse yet, his old coach Mike Smith is the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator.
    Tampa Bay by 1
     
    Green Bay Packers @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+5.5)
    The Jaguars look like they’ve turned it around, but they still have to win the games that count. Worse yet, they are facing the best QB in the league with a stocked roster at his disposal. This should turn into a classic shootout.
    Green Bay by 3
     
    Chicago Bears @ Houston Texans (-6.5)
    It won’t matter if QB Osweiler is legitimate, cuz he’s facing a shitty secondary in the Bears. Plus their offense has been shitty all preseason, and now they are facing an angry JJ Watt and a great defense.
    Houston by 4
     
    Buffalo Bills @ Baltimore Ravens (-3)
    The Ravens are reviving – QB Flacco is healthy, deep threat WR Perriman is back, and WR Wallace looks like his old self. The Bills will not be able to slow down such a dynamic offense, not without their bellwethers in Williams and Dareus.
    Baltimore by 9
     
    Oakland Raiders @ New Orleans Saints (-1)
    The Raiders are a preseason favorite, given their depth and talent, but their inexperience will still be a problem. Especially going on the road and at the Superdome. They are facing an offensive genius in Coach Payton, who’s had plenty of time to scheme DE Mack and company with his platoon of weapons.
    New Orleans by 7
     
    Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets (+2.5)
    The Bengals are a strong team, based on a stout offensive line. But they will not be able to handle the Jets’ devastating DL (Williams, Wilkerson, and company). Moreover, their superstar CB will leave the Bengals’ WR Green on Revis Island.
    New York by 3
     
    Miami Dolphins @ Seattle Seahawks (-10.5)
    QB Wilson will run circles around the Dolphins’ defense, and exploit their coverage into touchdowns. It won’t be close.
    Seattle by 11
     
    New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys (+1)
    The Cowboys have a rookie-friendly offense for their new QB, Dak Prescott: if the safeties are stacking the box, make the right read and a quick toss. If they’re two deep, hand it off to superstar-in-the-making Elliott. The Giants are still figuring it out with a new coach and a new system, and $200 million makeover.
    Dallas by 2
     
    Detroit Lions @ Indianapolis Colts (-3.5)
    Even though Megatron is retired, the Lions will still be able to move the ball and score. Moreover, there’s nobody on the Colts’ defense capable of slowing them down.
    Detroit by 3
     
    Shame(s) of the Week
    Cleveland Browns @ Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)
    From top to bottom, the Eagles are more talented, but they lack experience in the most important position – QB is rookie Carson Wentz. The Browns aren’t much, but they’ll be more prepared with QB RGIII on a mission.
    Cleveland by 3
     
    Los Angeles Rams @ San Franciso Forty-Whiners (+2.5)
    Sweet. Fancy. MOSES! The NFL has decided to inflict their worst matchup on a national audience!
    Expect RB Gurley to dominate the 40 Whiners, after they remove his pre-season bubble wrap. The terrific Rams front will not let QB Gabbert any time to make any plays.
    Los Angeles by 2
     
    Last Week: 0-0
    Season to Date: 0-0
  2. A solid opening weekend for the playoffs where all the road teams won, sent the home teams and their crowds packing, swearing "Just Wait Till Next Year!" 
    Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots (-5)
    The Chiefs will not be pushovers, but getting a week off might be enough to get the Patriots' receiving corps healthy enough to bounce back from that late season slide. WR Edelman is expected to hit the ground running, and help take pressure off QB Brady and TE Gronk. Moreover, the Chiefs' top WR Maclin is hobbled, which will not help QB Smith take the top off of the Patriots' secondary. The Chiefs' unholy pass rushers Hali and Houston are banged up, but if healthy, they can shred that overrated Patriots' OL. Worse yet, Coach Belichick hasn't forgotten that ass-whipping they got in Kansas City not too long ago.  
    New England by 6

     
    Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals (-7)
    It looked like Rodgers is back to his old self, but that was against a shitty Washington defense. The powerful Cardinals will quickly dominate the overrated Packers' defense and control their offense, erasing all of Rodgers' options. The Cardinals' WR corps will run roughshold allover the Packers' greenhorns in the secondary. The Cardinals are already Vegas' favorite for the Super Bowl, and will not break a sweat before halftime.  
    Arizona by 13

     
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos (-7)
    Too bad the Steelers suffered a Pyrrhic victory over the Bengals because they'll be too injured to pose anything but a pasty for the bloodthirsty Denver defense, who's rested after a week off. QB Rothlisberger's busted shoulder won't be healthy enough to take and make deep throws, and his top target WR Brown isn't likely to return from that nasty concussion in time. As for QB Manning, he's healthy enough and experienced enough to play and win.  
    Denver by 11
     
    Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers (-3)
    Easily the most anticipated of the weekend, this matchup will be between evenly matched teams: both loaded with Super Bowl caliber defenses and clutch QBs at the helm. The biggest advantage the Panthers have is their great TE Olsen, who terrorized the Seahawks a couple of months back. However, it is unlikely that the Beast will even suit up for this game, having mumbled his way out of Seattle.   
    Carolina by 4
     
  3. Hopefully you all had a great New Year's holiday. I know I did, by hosting a party and inviting the elite of the elites. As for the NFL, I'm just happy there are no more Lame/Shame of the Weeks to waste time over.  
     
    Saturday
    Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans (+3.5)
    Two incredibly hot teams collide in Houston: Chiefs have won 10 in a row while the Texans have won 7 of their last 9, and have given up only 10 points per game during that period. They finished the season third in total defense, thanks to the incomparable DE J. J. Watt and DC Crennel. Basically this game will be a low scoring affair, so take the under no matter what. However, the Chiefs will exploit their decided advantage at QB and the Texans' lack of RB Foster. The Chiefs are the second most efficient team according to Football Outsiders' metric. For what it's worth, the Texans haven't had much success against top 10 defenses this season. Moreover, they've lost their left tackle Brown, and they're facing Justin Houston without their best pass blocker.  
    Kansas City by 3
     
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals (+3)
    The Steelers have had their way with the Bengals lately - beating them 4 out of their last 5 matchups. Worse yet, the Steelers have a vastly superior QB in Rothlisberger over playoff virgin AJ McCarron. While the Bengals have a decided advantage at almost every other position, the quarterback position might be the most important position, especially in the playoffs. The Steelers do have the most powerful passing attack in the league, besides the Cardinals, thanks to excellent pocket awareness and lethal speed and quickness at all four WR spots. If the Bengals force the Steelers into a one-dimensional offense, they can dictate the tempo and win the physical aspect of the game. Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams isn't likely to play after injuring his ankle last Sunday in Cleveland. After all, the Bengals aren't the only ones with a poor track record in the playoffs: the Steelers haven't won in the money season since 2011. But the advantages at key positions will be too much.   
    Pittsburgh by 4
     
    Sunday
    Seattle Seahawks @ Minnesota Vikings (+5.5)
    It'll be the Ice Bowl revisited, if the weather prognostication is correct. Yes, the Seahawks beat the Vikings 38-7 a few weeks ago. It's too hard to believe that the Vikings will have solved the Seahawks by now, even if they've picked up their play in the past month. QB Wilson has been on the hottest streak of his career over the last 7 games - hotter than any other QB over the past 30 years except Steve Young in 1994. Moreover, the Seahawks defense remains as stout as ever, finishing first in scoring defense for the fourth year in a row. However, the Rams have perfected the formula for beating the 'Hawks by taking the tempo away from them. They do have an excellent pass rush capable of exploiting the Seahawks' leaky offensive line, and the NFL rushing king in Peterson. But will that be enough against a veteran Super Bowl-caliber team?  
    Seattle by 7
     
    Green Bay Packers @ Washington Ethnic Slur (-1.5)
    The Packers have fallen ass-backwards into the playoffs, no thanks to a crappy offensive line and a shitty WR corps that can't get open. It is a miracle that QB Rodgers didn't end up in the ER unit after getting sacked 14 times in the last two weeks. His completion percentage and yards per attempt and passer rating are the worst of his career. The Ethnic Slurs actually do possess a solid pass rush, spearheaded by LB Kerrigan and DE Baker, which should exploit the Packers' godawful OL. Better yet, the Slurs' offense is clicking on all cylinders. They've won 5 of their last 6 games, thanks to a second-half awakening by QB Cousins. While the Slurs are new to the playoffs, their homefield advantage at FedEx Field will carry them through to the next round.  
    Washington by 6
  4. Post on 2015 NFL Week 17 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    This week promises very little in way of excitement and anticipation, due to a glut of 6-9 teams.
    Another season in the books, another round of playoffs to look forward to. As always, I enjoy writing about the NFL, even if I'm proven wrong, just like every other prognosticator out there. And as always, thanks for reading!

    Game of the Week
    Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals (-4.5)
    Despite clinching a first round bye, Coach Arians does not believe in resting his guys. No risk it, no biscuit. But I think the Seahawks have revenge on their minds, eager to redeem themselves for  that choke job earlier in Seattle. The Seahawks were healthy, playing in Seattle, and their defense scored a touchdown. It wasn't enough. And this Sunday? The 'Hawks lack a running game, and are playing in Arizona, and will not be as lucky to score a TD on a return. Unless RB Lynch suits up...
    Arizona by 3

    Rest of the Week
    Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers (-3.5)
    Even though both teams are already in the playoffs, there is nothing like a division title on the line during the last week of the season. Expect a good old fashioned brawl, a slobberknocker of yore. A steady diet of All Day Adrian Peterson, and checkdowns on third and short. While Rodgers is nearly invincible on the frozen tundra, in a division game, the Packers' offensive line is a joke.
    Minnesota by 3

    Lame of the Week
    New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills (+3)
    This matchup already writes itself: former Jets Coach Ryan plays spoiler, eager to knock his old team out of the playoffs. But are the Bills actually capable? After all, QB Fitzpatrick was the Bills' starting quarterback for 4 seasons before they dumped him. No matter what happens in the playoffs, this has been a great year for rookie Coach Bowles and the Jets.
    New York by 3
    New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins (+9)
    After blowing last week, the Patriots need this game to clinch the top seed throughout the AFC playoffs. Then again, perhaps they didn't exactly blow last week - it effectively eliminated a more dangerous foe in the Steelers.
    New England by 7
    New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons (-4)
    Having beating the hitherto unbeaten Panthers, the Falcons are still basking in the afterglow. But the Saints are rolling behind QB Brees' hot streak. Then again, we are talking about a great WR in Julio Jones going up against one of the worst secondaries in recorded history.
    Atlanta by 3
    Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears (-1)
    The Disappointing Bowl between two consistently inconsistent team, led by streaky quarterbacks. Due to a bunch of bad breaks, the Lions are better than their record. Then again, according to the immortal words of Bill Parcells, you are what your records says you are.
    Chicago by 1
    Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants (-3)
    The Eagles summarily fired Coach Kelly for being a tyrant, but it's too late for the team since he threw away 5 good players. The bigger question is whether if this is the final game in Coach Coughlin's illustrious career. I fully expect the Giants to actually show up collectively. After all, the loser gets London next year.
    New York by 3
    Washington Racial Slurs @ Dallas Cowboys (even)
    What a difference 12 months make. The Cowboys were hailed as the next great team, and now look at them. The Slurs were a laughingstock, and now every DC citizen worships at the feet of Coach Gruden and QB Cousins. HOW YOU LIKE THAT? Then again, this is a game that neither team really needs to win.
    Washington by 1
    Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts (-6.5)
    There's no reason to watch this game, stuck with mediocre backup QBs and coaches on their way out. Then again, Chuck Strong is notorious for regrouping his team against all odds. The Football Gods may be cruel enough to allow the most screwed up playoff berth in NFL history.

    Tennessee by 6

    Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5)
    Although the Bengals are playing after a short week, it's hard to believe that the incredibly short-handed Ravens will pose much of a challenge. Their QB is Ryan Mallett, for chrissakes! The Bengals are still kicking themselves for blowing a 14 point lead in the first quarter over the Broncos. It might have cost the Bengals a first round bye, forcing them to play against a dangerous opponent in the Chiefs, Steelers or the Jets.
    Cincinnati by 6
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns (+10)
    Even though the Steelers shat the bed last week, they will not have the slightest problem focusing against the Browns. After all, the Steelers have won 21 out of the last 24 matchups. I expect Big Ben to drop 400 plus yards and 4 to 5 touchdowns over the hapless Browns.
    Pittsburgh by 11
    Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans (-6.5)
    The Texans are one victory away from nailing the AFC South division title. Moreover, QB Hoyer will be available to lead the team to a shootout victory over the upstart Jaguars and their fleet of quick receivers.
    Houston by 4
    Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs (-7)
    While the Chiefs are incredibly hot, they actually perform inconsistently. After a close call last week, the Chiefs are due for a better performance.
    Kansas City by 6
    San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos (-8)
    Thanks to that incredible comeback Monday night, the Broncos are poised to seize the first seed in the AFC, assuming the Patriots stumble again. As for the Chargers, they're horribly decimated beyond all reason. I expect the Broncos to run the ball, and then exploit the Chargers with play-action passing.
    Denver by 11
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers (-10.5)
    The Panthers no longer have to worry about the undefeated season, thanks to the Falcons. Which means they can focus on the team in front of them, rather than some mythical goal that lies with the 1972 Dolphins and the 2007 Patriots. Totally bad news for the Buccaneers. I expect fresh roadkill.
    Carolina by 13
    Shame of the Week
    St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 40 Whiners (+4)
    Even though the Rams have won three in a row, they're still impossible to predict. However, the 40 Whiners stink to high heaven.
    St. Louis by 6

    Last Week: 11-5
    Season to Date: 150-89
  5. Post on 2015 NFL Week 16 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted

    There seems to be an inordinate amount of Lame games this week, what with the playoffs right around the corner. Even though the playoff picture remains unsettled, there's just too many teams dead in the water, polluting the schedule.
     
    Hopefully you all will have a great Holiday break this week.

     
    Game of the Week
    Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals (-4.5)
    Both teams have already qualified for the playoffs, but the Cards can nail down a bye week with a win. The Packers are still chasing the NFC North division. It's just too bad that the Cards' top defensive back, Mathieu won't be back until next season. And here comes QB Rodgers!
    Arizona by 3
     
    Thursday Game of the Week
    The Next Los Angeles Team @ the Retro Los Angeles Team (-5.5)
    Will anyone even show up for these teams, with their feet out the door, bags packed, etc.? However, the retro LA team has plenty of talent that promises to improve next season. The Next LA team rode a wave of nostalgia last week in their blowout win over the Dolphins in San Diego. Also, this will be the great Charles Woodson's final game at Oakland.  
    Retro Los Angeles team by
     
    Rest of the Week
    Washington Ethnic Taunt @ Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)
    With the NFC Easy title on the line, the Taunt need this game, while the Eagles need this and next week. After all the Taunt ran allover the Eagles back in week 4, and the defense got to QB Bradford easily. WR DeSean Jackson will be back to terrorize the Eagles' secondary. Advantage to the Taunt. Then again, they're back on the road, and QB Cousins is overdue for a letdown. Advantage to the Eagles.
    Washington by 3
     
     
    Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons (+7)
    What is nominally a Lame of the Week is actually a historic game: can the Falcons, who, shockingly, are still in the playoff race, play David to the Goliath of Carolina? Last week was a classic trap game for the Panthers, as they blew a 28 point lead to the Giants. But they survived. Now it is a matter of health vs momentum, whether the Panthers keep playing hard or play it safe and rest certain players. However, the Falcons are intimately familiar with the Panthers.
    UPSET POTENTIAL: Atlanta by 3
     
     
    New England Patriots @ New York Jets (+3.5)
    While the Patriots need this for the first seed, the Jets need to keep apace of the Chiefs and the Steelers for the wild card. It's just too bad that the Jets have won only twice in their last 9 games vs the Patriots.
    New England by 6
     
    Cincinnati Bengals @ Denver Broncos (-3.5)
    Backup QB McCarron didn't shit himself last week, but the Broncos defense will not be kind in the slightest. However, the Broncos' replacement QB, Osweiler, has had trouble scoring in the second halves of games for 3 weeks.
    Denver by 3
     
    Lame of the Week
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens (+10.5)
    What used to be the best and nastiest rivalry is now a standard Lame of the Week. If the Steelers could drop 34 points and 354 yards passing on the number one ranked pass defense, what records will be broken in this game? They're fielding a M.A.S.H. unit out there with third stringers and castoff against the most powerful passing attack in the league. It will get ugly real fast.

    Pittsburgh by 21
     
     
    Dallas Cowboys @ Buffalo Bills (-6)
    Backup to Backup QB Kellen Moore wasn't so bad last week, but the Bills are much better at home.

    Buffalo by 6
     
    Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
    While QB Winston is having a great rookie year (3000 yards passing and 20 touchdowns), the Buccaneers are too undisciplined (first in NFL with 134 penalties). Both teams are stuck in mediocrity - not quite good, but not quite terrible.
    Tampa Bay by 3
     
    Cleveland Browns @ Kansas City Chiefs (-12.5)
    As the first team in NFL history to blow their first 5, but win their next 8, the Chiefs are the team that nobody wants to play - or talk about, either. They still have a shot at the AFC West division, thanks to the backsliding Broncos, and will not lose focus. Not against a suckass team from Cleveland.  
    Kansas City by 10
     
    Indianapolis Colts @ Miami Dolphins (even)
    QB Luck can come back and help the Colts win the last two games for the playoffs. No matter who wins this game, both coaches will be fired.
    Indianapolis by 3
     
    The Current Houston team @ The Old Houston team (even)
    Both teams will be playing their backup quarterbacks in Weeden & Mettenberger. The current Houston team needs this game to stay ahead of the Colts in the AFC South. As for the Old Houston team, cursed with the incompetence of QB Mettenberger, they will not be able to do anything against that ferocious defense spearheaded by J. J. Watt.
    Current Houston by 7
     
    Jacksonville Jaguars @ New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
    No, the Jags haven't won in the Superdome, but this is a perfect opportunity: the Saints have blown 9 of their last 12 home games, and given up 40 points and near 450 yards a game in their last 4. Plus the Jags deploy a competent passing machine with Bortles and a fleet of receivers. Hey, is QB Brees even suiting up after a torn plantar fascia?
    Jacksonville by 6
     
    St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks (-13.5)
    After 7 wins in the last 8 games, the Legion of BOOM Seahawks are officially back, baby! With QB Wilson at MVP level, and owing the Rams payback for that upset back in week 1, the pick is easy. FYI, the Rams have checked out mentally. If I was forced to resort to Case Keenum at CenturyLink, I'd mentally check out too.
    Seattle by 17
     
     
    New York Giants @ Minnesota Vikings (-4.5)
    The Vikings can nail the NFC North by grabbing both final games. As for the Giants, they still have a shot at the NFC Easy division, but they'll have to go without ODB, Jr. Luckily, the Vikings don't have the tools to exploit the Giants' pathetic secondary. Then again, their passing attack is below average without the presence of ODB.
    Vikings by 4
     
    Shame of the Week
    San Francisco 40 Whiners @ Detroit Lions (-7.5)
    While the Lions are still kicking themselves over two clutch defeats to Seahawks and the Packers, the 40 Whiners have mailed it in.
    Detroit by 6
     
     
    Last Week: 12-4
    Season to Date: 139-84

  6. NFL Week 14 Picks
     
    10-6? Another tough week demands tough answers. And the tough get pickin'! If this season has been a rollercoasting, yo-yo'ing whiplash between great weeks and mediocre ones, then week 14 promises to be the opposite. Right? Right?
     
    Game of the Week
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5)
    The Steelers' offense have been nearly unstoppable this season, with QB Rothlisberger and his galaxy of receiving weapons averaging 36 points per game in the last 4 weeks. While QB Dalton hasn't been anything to scoff at, since he's 14-1-1 in 1pm games, I suspect this game will go to the last team with the ball.
    Cincinnati by 3
     
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals (-7.5)
    The closer we get to the money season, the stronger the best teams get, and is there anyone playing as well as the Cardinals? Plus the Vikings have been horribly exposed in the last few weeks, a weak 1-3 against teams over .500, and they're banged up on defense. Not a good time to face off a high-powered offense in the desert.
    Arizona by 7
     
     
    Rest of the Week
    Buffalo Bills @ Philadelphia Eagles (even)
    Was the Eagles' victory over the Patriots a fluke, or was it cuz QB Bradford that much better than QB Sanchez? Luckily they're facing a classic consistently inconsistent team in the Bills. Since they won last week, they should lose to the Eagles. Then again, Shady McCoy is coming to town to exact revenge on his old team.
    Buffalo by 3
     
    Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers (-7.5)
    While it is unlikely the Panthers will finish 16-0, it won't happen this weekend at home to a team who never recovered from that beating in the Superdome. Of course it'll be close, like any division game on the road, so take the points. But the Falcons are in complete freefall, mostly from self-sustained injuries.
    Carolina by 7
     
    New England Patriots @ Houston Texans (+3.5)
    While the Patriots are hobbled due to a bevy of injuries, it looks like QB Brady will not let this be a legitimate excuse. Not even against a resurgent Texans defense. But Brady has been hit like 36 times in the last 3 weeks, after being hit for only 4.6 times a game up till that point. Brady was getting off his passes quickly when WR Edelman, Lewis, Amendola, and TE Gronkowski were available. Now only Amendola is left. Plus Coach Belichick just said that J. J. Watt is as good as Lawrence Taylor ever was.
    New England by 3
     
     
    Lame of the Week
    Seattle Seahawks @ Baltimore Ravens (+5.5)
    Are the Seahawks back for good? That won't be answered this weekend cuz the Ravens are having the Season From Hell, and nothing they can do will slow down QB Wilson. Even QB Schaub will be forced to throw a pick-six to help out.
    Seattle by 7
     
    Detroit Lions @ St. Louis Rams (even)
    The Rams have fallen off the face of the earth no thanks to their failure at QB. The Lions OTOH are still treading water, and should eke out a win here. They have suffered some tough losses this year, but they haven't quit yet.
    Detroit by 6
     
    Tennessee Titans @ New Jersey Jets (-7.5)
    That was one hell of a QB run by Mariota last week. But it won't be as easy to run on the Jets defense. Plus QB Fitzpatrick and WR Marshall are overdue for the playoffs.
    New Jersey by 6
     
    Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars (even)
    The Colts don't have a healthy QB and they're facing Jaguars, who can score on anyone, and they'll score easily on the Colts defense. Expect QB Bortles to throw well. But the Colts have been in this situation before this year, and they came through.
    Indianapolis by 1
     
    San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5)
    Both teams were dead in the water a couple of months ago. Only one of them rose from the watery grave with a fierce defense and a QB that refuses to turn the ball over. They might be the dark horse in the AFC playoffs, if they do get in.
    Kansas City by 13
     
    Washington Racial Slur @ Chicago Bears (-2.5)
    The Bears are nothing but an inconsistent team that can look like world beaters one week and a lottery team the next. While the Bears are horrible at home, the Racial Slurs are even worse on the road. Plus they're playing on a VERY short week after that bad loss against the Cowboys.
    Chicago by 3
     
    New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5)
    The Saints have dominated the Bucs in the Payton era. That the Saints showed up last week against the Panthers is proof that they haven't rolled over and played dead yet. But the Buccaneers are still in the playoff hunt and QB Winston is getting better every week.
    Tampa Bay by 3
     
    Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos (-7.5)
    Ever since the Broncos switched to QB Osweiler, they've been unstoppable. Moreover, their bloodthirsty defense will shut down QB Carr like they did in Oakland a few months back. The Raiders have plenty of talent to keep the game close, but they're really playing for next season.
    Denver by 6
     
    Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers (-7.5)
    Injuries have decimated the Packers to the point that they're an average team - one that needed a Hail Mary to beat a weak team last week. Since the Cowboys are laughable without QB Romo, they won't even be in the game after halftime.
    Green Bay by 11
     
    New York Giants @ Miami Dolphins (even)
    Both teams are just playing out the string, but at least the Giants are still alive for the NFC Least division title. Whenever pressure is on, every team in the NFC Least rolls over and plays dead.
    New York by 3
     
     
    Shame of the Week
    San Francisco 40 Whiners @ Cleveland Browns (-1.5)
    The 40 Whiners were bad on offense, but the Browns are even shittier on defense (allowing 399 yards a game). And hey, QB Johnny Football is back. That spells another loss for the Browns.
    San Francisco by 3
     
    Last Week: 10-6
    Season to Date: 119-72
  7. With the playoffs right around the corner, the intensity ratchets up a few levels. And in the month of December, trends matter more than ever. The winning teams keep rollin' while the decimated teams keep slippin' and slidin' right out of contention. Yes, that does apply to my picks, having gone 11-5.
     
    Now that's more like it.
     
    Game of the Week
    Seattle Seahawks @ Minnesota Vikings (even)
    Expect nothing but a classic slobberknocker between two smashmouth football teams – both being top two rushing teams in the league. Last week, All Day Adrian made mincemeat out of the stout run defense of the Falcons. While the Vikings have the superior RB, the Seahawks are superior at every other position. But they're not the same team away from Century Link. After stumbling to a 2-4 start, the Seahawks have won 4 in 5 games, but only one of those was against a good team – Cardinals – and that was the lone loss.
    Minnesota by 3
     
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions (+3.5)
    Even though the trends are obvious, it's hard to pick the scintillating hot Lions over a suddenly desperate Packers team. After all, QB Rodgers is easy money when the stakes get high – especially when he's facing an inconsistent QB in Strafford. Even though the Lions beat the Packers at Lambeau a couple weeks ago. It is gut-check time.
    Green Bay by 4
     
    Rest of the Week
    New York Jets @ New York Giants (+2.5)
    The line is screwy, which means something is rotten in Newark. The results from last week shouldn't affect either team. If the Giants can run the ball, then they'll control the game, and QB Manning will make clutch throws. But they can't run on the Jets. And that'll be the end of the Giants.
    Gang Green by 3
     
    Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams (+5.5)
    All of sudden, the Rams and their quarterback problems have turned the team into a laughingstock and Coach Fisher, powerless to stop the free-fall, is on the hot seat. Then again, the Cardinals haven't been blowing out teams lately, so don't lay the points. They lost RB Johnson, the fourth leading rusher in the league. Luckily for the Cards, they've a reliable rookie in David Johnson and last year's starter, Ellington, returning from injury, as well as couple other options.
    Arizona by 3
     
    Houston Texans @ Buffalo Bills (-2.5)
    The Texans have turned it around, even without RB Foster. They have a fantastic WR in Hopkins, and a ferocious defense spearheaded by DE Watt. All of sudden, the Texans are the dreaded Team Nobody Wants to Face in the playoffs. As for the Bills, QB Taylor has developed nicely, but he's facing an indomitable defense that hasn't allowed more than two touchdowns in the last 18 quarters.

    Houston by 6
     
    Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns (+7.5)
    The Bengals are tied for second in the AFC with the Broncos, and their tilt in week 16 should determine who gets the first round bye. There isn't a shittier NFL team than the Browns. Nobody knows who their QB is, not even themselves. But never take the road favorite in a division game if the line is over 7 points.
    Cincinnati by 7
     
    Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers (+4.5)
    With that clutch victory over the hitherto undefeated Patriots, it looks like the Broncos are better off without the 39 year old QB Manning. And the Chargers are just TERRIBLE. The Broncos' defense will completely shut down the Chargers, no matter who's at QB.
    Denver by 7
     
    Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders (+2.5)
    The Chiefs survived a horrible start, and the loss of their star RB Charles, and keep winning decisively. As for the Raiders, they're still premature – at least another year away from legitimate playoff contention.
    UPSET PICK: Oakland by 3
     
    Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints (+7.5)
    It's almost impossible to pick against the almighty Panthers, the last undefeated team in the league... even in a division game versus the hated Saints. They have been gaining momentum recently, and won the past three games by 21. Plus their bloodthirsty defense will devour QB Brees alive and charge New Orleans for domestic violence for allowing such travesties to happen.
    Carolina by 10
     
    Philadelphia Eagles @ New England Patriots (-9.5)
    Even though QB Brady has run out of targets, he'll still throw for 300 plus and 3 strikes. Moreover, the Eagles don't have anyone on defense that's capable of slowing down the Patriots, who'll be even more fired up after blowing the game Sunday night in overtime.
    New England by 11
     
     
    Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5)
    Even if QB Roethlisberger wasn't suiting up, the Steelers should handle the Colts. After all, Big Ben has a bevy of excellent receivers to take the ball to the house against the Colts' 27th ranked pass defense. Unless the Colts' offense goes nuclear and gains 500 yards, they're not beating the Steelers.
    Pittsburgh by 5
     
    Lame of the Week
     
    Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5)
    The Buccaneers have turned it around, with 3 wins in their last four, plus an overtime victory over the Dirty Birds in week 8. While the Buccaneers are actually playing decent, the Falcons haven't figured out their slide down the slippery slope towards nowhereville. Pundits are even considering benching QB Ryan, since he has been responsible for the majority of turnovers that kills them. That would be a horrible idea, cuz nobody should allow a guy named Renfree to play quarterback.  
    Atlanta by 3
     
    Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins (-5.5)
    The Ravens proved that they don't need QB Flaccid to win games beyond all doubt, thanks to their coach, John Harbaugh. However, the Dolphins fired their offensive coordinator Lazor, on account of being too pass-happy. The Dolphins lead the league in passing on plays (68%), plus QB Tannehill isn't allowed to audible at the line. But since they're facing one of the worst passing defenses in the league in the Ravens...
    Miami by 4
     
    Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans (-2.5)
    Yes, the Jaguars stubbed their toe last week, but they're still headed in the right direction. The only reason to watch this game is to catch future star QBs in Bortles and Mariota.  
    Jacksonville by 3
     
    San Franciso 40 Whiners @ Chicago Bears (-6.5)
    Credit goes to GM Pace and Coach Fox for turning around the Bears after a horrid 2-5 start. They have the second best pass defense, and held QB Rodgers to a measly 202 yards on Thanksgiving. Just imagine what they'll do to the immortal QB Gabbert. Indeed, this means QB Cutler is for real. Until everybody believes in him – and then he shits the bed in royal fashion. You've been warned.
    Chicago by 9
     
    Shame of the Week
     
    Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Racial Slur (-3.5)
    One of these days, the Racial Slur will figure out how to win on the road. But they'll settle for a badly decimated Cowboys edition at FedEx Field this week.
    Washington by 3
  8. Post on 2015 NFL Week 12 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted

    With Thanksgiving right around the corner, there's nothing like sitting down with family and amazing food, while an NFL team is on the 70 inch HDTV in the background. After a couple of tough weeks, I hit .500. Slowly but surely, I'm climbing back to respectability.

     
    Game of the Week
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Seattle Seahawks (-4.5)
    Even though RB Lynch might be out for the season, the Seahawks have a great replacement in RB Rawls, who's been the better player so far this year. The Steelers are solid, but they are too decimated on offense to pose a serious problem for the Seahawks' defense.
    Seattle by 3
     
    Thanksgiving Game(s) of the Week
    Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions (even)
    Yes, those hapless Lions are on a rampage, having won two in a row. Also? They usually play well on Thanksgiving, having scored 105 games in the last 3 turkey day games. They're facing who? QB Sanchez?
    Detroit by 6
     
    Carolina Panthers @ Dallas Cowboys (+1.5)
    What seems the easiest pick this week, the Panthers are being severely underestimated by the Vegas oddmakers. Although QB Romo is back and the Cowboys should be better, the Panthers have won 14 regular season games in a row. No reason to suddenly jump ship. Even if QB Romo has won 7 games in a row. Even if his last 16 games is better than the Panthers...
    Carolina by 3
     
    Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (-9.5)
    The halftime retirement of Brett Favre will get the crowd properly lubricated. But more importantly, the real Packers finally woke up from their mid season swoon last week against the Vikings, and should keep things going against the Bears.
    Green Bay by 7
     
    Rest of the Week
    New Orleans Saints @ Houston Texans (-2.5)
    The Texans are rolling, especially on defense -- allowing 9.7 points a game in the last 5 weeks. Plus the Saints don't have anyone capable of covering WR Hopkins, who destroyed all-world cornerback Revis last week. As long the Saints keep a balanced offensive attack with RB Ingram and quick passing, QB Brees will outscore the Texans. But they won't be able to protect Brees from unholy terror J.J. Watt.
    Houston by 4
     
    St. Louis Rams @ Cincinnati Bengals (-9.5)
    The last two games, both losses for the Bengals, have exposed an old weakness: QB Dalton still does not handle the pass rush well. When he's getting protection, he's the best QB in the league. The Rams do have a fantastic front four, with DE Quinn and DT Donald, who will pose problems. Unfortunately? Nobody knows who's going to suit up at QB for the Rams.
    Cincinnati by 6
     
    Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons (-2.5)
    After opening the year with 5-0, the Falcons are in danger of free-falling out of the playoffs. They've begun their annual choke, having blown 14 point lead in the second half last week. Although the Vikings went belly-up against a fired up division rival, they should easily take this game.
    Minnesota by 4
     
    NY Giants @ Washington Racial Slur (+1.5)
    The Giants are in first place only because someone has to, not because they deserve it. If this game was at New York, QB Cousins would've pulled a Delhomme (throw 5 picks). Since the Skins haven't lost at home since week 1, expect Cousins to throw for 300 yards and 3 strikes. I predict the line will move to +3.5 by Sunday morning.
    New York by 3
     
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Indianapolis Colts (-3.5)
    The Bucs have looked good recently, but they've beaten exactly who? Sanchez? Cassel? Pssh. The Colts are still decent, thanks to QB Hasselbeck snatching victories out of the jaws of defeat. But there's no margin for error left.
    Indianapolis by 3
     
    Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5)
    All of sudden, the Chiefs look legitimate, and they might even run the table from now on, thanks to the generous number of cupcakes remaining. As for the Bills, they're going with QB Manuel in the loudest stadium in sports. And. That'll. Be. All. She. Wrote.
    Kansas City by 6
     
    Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans (+1.5)
    Yes, the Raiders are improved this year, but they still need some seasoning before they're ready for the playoffs. It doesn't look like the Raiders will catch either the Broncos or the Chiefs. They'll take this game, but the line looks like a trap.
    Oakland by 3
     
    (The Future Former) San Diego Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.5)
    Yes, the Chargers are getting 4 points versus the lowly Jaguars. That's how bad they've gotten, no thanks to a heavily decimated roster and some chemistry dysfunction on the sidelines.
    Jacksonville by 5
     
    Miami Dolphins @ NY Jets (-4.5)
    Jets have fallen back to the pack after a nice 4-1 start. Coach Bowles lit into the team this past week, hoping to spark a fire under them for the playoff run. The Dolphins are solid, if nothing spectacular under interim coach Campbell. Expect a low scoring affair.
    New York by 3
     
    Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 40 Whiners (+11.5)
    Even though the Cardinals have beaten the Seahawks and the Bengals in the last two weeks, their defense has slipped a bit. Luckily, their offense bails out the team with big plays - the cardinals lead the league with 6.5 yards per play, and 54 plays of 20 plus yards this season. The 40 Whiners are just playing out the string.
    Arizona by 14
     
    New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos (+5.5)
    What was originally slated as Game of the Year has fallen down a few categories once QB Manning was benched, having lost the battle every athlete will face: Father Time. The Patriots will still be fired up regardless, but the Broncos might steal this game on the strength of their defense, taking full advantage of the Patriots' decimated offense.
    New England by 1
     
    Shame of the Week
    Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns (-2.5)
    Welcome to the Season from Hell, Ravens, one that will bleed over to next season. QB Flacco and RB Forsett are not available, making the Browns the clear favorite. Even without Johnny Football. But why is this Shame of the Week on Monday Night?  
    Cleveland by 3
     
    Last Week: 7-7
    Season to Date: 98-61
  9. Post on 2015 NFL Week 11 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted

    Holy Frijolies. Another mediocre week in the books. 11 underdogs won last week, totally submarining my picks to smithereens. Hopefully this mid-season malaise is over, and we all can return to winning ways ASAP.
     
    Game of the Week
    Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings (even)
    What have we learned about the Packers in recent weeks? They've lost on the road, at home, their defense is exposed, and they cannot even beat the Lions. Nothing is working, everyone is in doldrums. As for the Vikings, RB Peterson will be licking his chops facing that 24th ranked run defense.
    Minnesota by 6
     
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5)
    Break out the Jags! Even the Jaguars can slip back into AFC South division with a win here. With 3 wins in their last 4 games, their playoff prospects are legitimate.
    Jacksonville by 3
     
    Rest of the Week
    Oakland Raiders @ Detroit Lions (+1.5)
    The Raiders are back to their losing ways, having backslid two games in a row. I expect QB Carr to utterly exploit that horrendous Lions secondary. Even though the Lions upset the Packers last week, they're still a bad team.
    Oakland by 4
     
    Indianapolis Colts @ Atlanta Falcons (-6.5)
    Both teams are rested after bye week, and even though QB Luck is out for 2 weeks plus, they have a great replacement in QB Hasselbeck. However, the Colts only have the 28th ranked passing defense to slow down QB Ryan. The Falcons need to prove that they're legitimate, despite a soft schedule.
    Atlanta by 6
     
    Cincinnati Bengals @ Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)
    Blowing last Monday Night's matchup with the Texans, the Bengals do have a few demons left to exorcise, and they might linger in Arizona. After all, the Cardinals do have a dynamic offense, and the ever-elusive "it" factor that makes them the most stacked in the NFC.
    Arizona by 3
     
    Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots (-7.5)
    Even though the Patriots are without WR Edelman, they'll still have the edge over the Bills at every position.
    New England by 4
     
    Lame of the Week
    St. Louis Rams @ Baltimore Ravens (-1.5)
    The Rams are hoping for a jumpstart by benching QB Foles for QB Keenum. But in a matchup with two shitty teams, stick with the home team. After all, the Rams don't have much beyond RB Gurley and the Ravens' run defense is actually solid. Then again, the Ravens are suffering a classic Season from Hell where everything goes wrong.
    St. Louis by 3
     
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5)
    QB Sanchez is starting, and he'll either throw 2 touchdowns or 2 picks, with one pick-six at the worst possible time. Then again? It is too early to start taking the Buccaneers on the road against a playoff-hopeful.
    Philadelphia by 5
     
    Denver Broncos @ Chicago Bears (-1.5)
    Classic trap game. Even though QB Manning is benched for backup Osweiler, that doesn't automatically make the Bears favorites to win this match-up. However, the Bears are 3-0 against the AFC West teams this year, and Coach Fox knows plenty about the 24 year old Osweiler, who has never started a game in his career.
    Chicago by 1
     
    New York Jets @ Houston Texans (+2.5)
    What was a hopeful 4-1 start has stumbled into 5-4, and the Jets must scrap to keep their playoff chances alive. They are solid on the road, and if they limit WR Hopkins, they'll beat the Texans easily. The Texans will not have QB Hoyer available, due to a concussion.
    New York by 6
     
    Washington Ethnic Slurs @ Carolina Panthers (-7.5)
    It's amazing that the Panthers have won 13 in a row during the regular season. Unfortunately for Washington, the Slurs are below average on the road.
    Carolina by 10
     
    Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers (+3.5)
    The Chiefs have managed to pick themselves up from a horrible start, and their defense is playing at a high level now. And the Chargers are heavily decimated on either side of the ball, and have blown the last 5 games, 7 of their last 8.
    Kansas City by 6
     
    San Francisco 40 Whiners @ Seattle Seahawks (-12.5)
    How far have the mighty fallen. Both teams were Super Bowl contenders only two years ago, and now they're stuck in mediocre mud. And yes, that spread is too high, even if it's against the immortal Blaine Gabbert.
    Seattle by 10
     
    Shame of the Week
    Dallas Cowboys @ Miami Dolphins (even)
    Romo is back, and all is right with Jerry World.
    Dallas by 3
     
    Last week: 5-9
    Season to Date: 92-49
  10. Post on 2015 NFL Week 10 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    Thanks to a number of upsets last week, my picks are finally regressing to the means after a torrid 65-18 start (78% accuracy) after the first two weeks. And the NFL is also regressing to the means: only 5 teams in the AFC have winning records, and two of them are undefeated.
     
    Game of the Week
    Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks (-3)
    The Cardinals did beat the Seahawks at CenturyLink in 2013, but that was without QB Palmer, who is having an MVP caliber season. Even though the Cardinals are the better team from top to bottom, it's too hard to pick against the Seahawks at home.
    Seattle by 1
     
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets (-3)
    Coach Ryan is up to his old antics - he named the knockout artist LB Enemkpali team captain. Regardless of such taunts, the Jets' defense will be too tough for QB Taylor and the Bills' offense. And it doesn't look like RB McCoy will be any factor.
    New York by 6
     
    Rest of the Week
    Minnesota Vikings @ Oakland Raiders (-3)
    If QB Bridgewater does not return from his concussion, the Raiders will steamroll the Vikings with a superior offense. The Purple People Eaters haven't won at Oakland in near two decades.
    Conditional: Oakland by 3 if Bridgewater is benched.
     
    New England Traitors @ New York Giants (+7.5)
    The injury to RB Lewis couldn't have come at a worse time, because the Patriots are facing one of their nemesis in the Giants. However, the Giants are deploying a 31st ranked pass defense against a hypercompetitive QB Brady. After all, they had a true pass rush in those Super Bowl upset victories.
    New England by 9
     
    Lame of the Week
    Carolina Panthers @ Tennessee Titans (+5.5)
    Las Vegas casinos have kept the Panthers line low all year long for unknown reasons. The Panthers' defense is totally legitimate, and they have a great QB just entering his prime, and is now in MVP talks. Expect them to beat the Titans by 10 or more.
    Carolina by 11
     
    Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers (-11.5)
    After two tough opponents, the Packers limp back home to the perfect remedy: a cupcake in the toothless Lions.
    Green Bay by 10
     
    Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5)
    Both teams are loaded with talent, yet both are scraping the bottom of the barrel.
    Tampa Bay by 1
     
    Chicago Bears @ St. Louis Rams (-7.5)
    The Rams have trouble converting third downs lately, but they're a lot tougher at home than on the road. And while the Bears have been in every game lately, 3 points in 5 straight weeks, they won't be able to slow down RB Gurley.
    St. Louis by 3
     
    New Orleans Saints @ Washington Racial Taunt (+2)
    The Saints lead the NFL in total offense, but rank near dead last in total defense. However, they still have the same problems they had during their 1-4 start: crappy pass protection. Luckily for them, the Washington Football Team is destined for another sub- .500 season. Again.
    New Orleans by 3
     
     
    Miami Dolphins @ Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5)
    The Eagles barely snuck by the Cowboys in overtime, but the Dolphins are quickly realizing that they were a bad team before and after Coach Philbin. After the Dolphins got rolled for 256 yards last week, expect RB Murray and Matthews to continue the embarrassment. Best of all, QB Bradford is getting used to the offense, by seeing the field and feeling the pocket better, taking care of the football and improving his accuracy.
    Philadelphia by 6
     
    Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5)
    QB Johnny Football certainly was electric in the first half last week against the Bengals. Too bad he stunk it up in the second and lost the game. And it won't matter who starts at QB for the Steelers, cuz they have sufficient talent and experience elsewhere to take care of the Browns. Hopefully backup RB Williams' injury won't be too serious.
    Pittsburgh by 4
     
    Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos (-6.5)
    Despite the stumble in Indianapolis, the Broncos still retain the most feared defense in the league. This game will be over early, and QB Manning will take two records from Brett Favre.
    Denver by 6
     
    Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals (-11)
    Even though the Bengals might be looking past the Texans to Week 11, they'll still win. Even though it'll be a night game, QB Dalton will win.
    Cincinnati by 9
     
    Shame of the Week
    Jacksonville Jaguars @ Baltimore Ravens (-6)
    Although the schedule turns easy for the Ravens, it might be too late in the year to recover just in time for the playoffs. Coach Harbaugh is claiming that they will be the first 2-6 team to do just that.
    Baltimore by 6
     
    Last week: 6-6
    Season to Date: 87-40
  11. Post on 2015 NFL Week 7 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted

    Despite a few gag jobs by a couple of favored teams, I finished last week with a solid if not spectacular 9-5. Let's hope this is not a regression to the means Unfortunately, this week promises a snoozefest with another bunch of crappy matchups  

    Game of the Week 
    New York Jets @ New England Patriots (-9)
    The Patriots are undefeated, but they're hurting at tackle. They're down to their fourth string right tackle, & their second string right tackle is now the left tackle. Although the Jets have a legitimate defense capable of slowing down the Patriots offense, their quarterback is Fitzpatrick. And that will be all she wrote. 
    New England by 3 

    Thursday Game of the Week 
    Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 40 whiners (+6)
    The good news for the Seahawks is that tho they're a dismal 2-4 they've finally figured out how to use Graham right. The bad news is that they no longer have a championship level defense, having proved vulnerable to tight ends over the middle. Although that won't be necessary in this game against an incompetent 40 whiners offense. 
    Seattle by 4
     
    Rest of the Week 

    Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers (-4.5)
    Since the Chargers are first in total offense and QB Carr is legitimate, expect an old fashioned wild AFC West shootout. Last team with the ball wins.  Also? The Chargers are entering a 5 game stretch against teams under .500, so if they want to get back into the playoffs, there's no time like the present.
    San Diego by 4

    Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants (-6)
    That was a classic face-plant last Monday night by the Giants, who blew a chance to seize control of the NFC Least. Moreover, they are still smarting over that bitter choke in week one vs these Cowboys, who've backslid for three straight games in a row. And here comes QB Cassel to save the day! 
    New York by 3

    Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers (-3)
    The Eagles are finally looking legitimate, but the Panthers are better than we thought.  They have won nine in a row, dating back to last year, and proved their mettle last week facing a 13 point hole in the fourth quarter at Century Link.
    Carolina by 6

    Lame of the Week

    Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+4.5)
    Even though the Bills are wracked with injuries (QB Taylor, WR Watkins, DT Williams, etc) they're still favored over the hapless Jags. After all their defense is a cheap date, offering zero resistance against the pass. Then again, the Jaguars are experienced with playing in London. It's home away from home.
    Buffalo by 5
     
    Tennessee Titans @ Atlanta Falcons (NL)
    After stabbing their toe last week, the Falcons face a team that's lost four straight and may not have QB Mariota at full health. Moreover the Titans have no ability to catch up once they fall behind. 
    Atlanta by 11

    New Orleans Saints @ Indianapolis Colts (-5.5) 
    Despite reviving themselves for a hated division rival in the Falcons, the Saints are getting no respect in this game. More importantly, QB Luck seems recovered from that early season malaise and should shred the horrendous Saints defense. But honestly? The only thing I really care about in this match up is whether Coach Pagano will try that What the Chuck play. 
    Indianapolis by 4
     
    Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions (+3)
    The Lions got off the Schneid last week by moving their offensive coordinator to the press box, and ran for the most yards and scored the most points this year. But that won't matter versus a confident team in the Vikings.
    Minnesota by 3
     
    Pittsburgh Squealers @ Kansas City Chiefs (NL)
    All of sudden, the Squealers look legitimate, despite losing Big Ben for a month. Even if he isn't ready to go, they have a better option than QB Vick in Landry. As for the Chiefs? No RB Charles, no OL? No wonder they've mailed in the season.
    Pittsburgh by 6
     
    Cleveland Browns @ St. Louis Rams (-5)
    What happens when the unstoppable RB faces the worst run defense in the league? Run, Todd, run.  
    St. Louis by 6

    Houston Texans @ Miami Dolphins (-4.5) 
    New coach Campbell has jump-started the Dolphins, and they should steamroll the Texans into the turf - no matter if Coach O'Brien grows a pair and sticks with QB Hoyer. 
    Miami by 7

    Baltimore Ravens @ Arizona Cardinals (-7.5)
    The Ravens have embarrassed themselves and everyone else so far. QB Flacco has stunk it up, but he doesn't have reliable targets of the yesteryear (No Bouldin, no Torrey Smith, and Steve Smith is unavailable). Moreover, the Ravens' defense cannot stop anyone, and now they face an angry Cardinals team still licking their wounds from last week's face plant vs the Squealers.
    Arizona by 10 

    Shame of the Week 

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Washington Ethnic Slur (-4)
    Two turnover machines at QB face off against top 10 defenses? Holy. Frijolies. I strongly recommend both teams to play in the wildcat formation for the entire game. 
    Tampa Bay by 1



    Last Week: 9-5
    Season to Date: 62-29
  12. Post on 2015 NFL Week 6 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    Holy. Frijolies.
    This week's slate of games isn't very promising, at least from an entertainment standpoint. Far too many crappy teams are playing one another, which will result in a craptacular crapfest.  
     
    Game of the Week
    Carolina Panthers @ Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)
    Since they've beaten nobody worth their salt, the Panthers have to prove themselves this Sunday. But the Seahawks have their backs against the wall. If they drop this, they'll fall 3 games behind the Cardinals for the NFC West division. The fact is, the Seahawks are no longer the same team they used to be. But luckily they're back home, and Carolina isn't an offensive powerhouse.
    Seattle by 4
     
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints (+4)
    Indeed, the Falcons are 5-0, but last week proved that their defense is still peopled by the same guys from last year. After all, it is ranked 21st in total defense, despite facing weak sisters. While the Falcons will continue to exploit their schedule, this weakness will come back in the end. But not against a truly horrible Saints team – crippled by poor draft choices, hobbled by bad contracts, and a Hall of Fame QB at the end of his career.
    Atlanta by 7
     
    Rest of the Week
    Arizona Cardinals @ Pittsburgh Squealers (+5.5)
    The Cardinals' huge edge in every category will guarantee a win, and mete some karmic retribution for that photofinish Super Bowl match 6 years ago.
    Arizona by 9
     
    Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills (+2.5)
    The Bengals are flying sky-high after that amazing comeback victory over the Seahawks last week. Unfortunately for the Bills, their QB Taylor is hobbled by a bad knee, and might not be able to go. Here comes QB Manuel and his potential for major suckage!  
    Cincinnati by 7
     
    Denver Broncos @ Cleveland Browns (+5)
    Indeed, while the Broncos are 5-0, their offense has been dogshit, spearheaded by a mortal Peyton Manning. But the secret to their offensive problems is the running game. If the OL finds rhythm in run blocking, the running backs will gain consistent yardage, and that will slow down the ferocious pass rush that 79 year old Manning sees every week. And here comes the Browns and their league-worst run defense, allowing 150 yards a game.
    Denver by 6
     
    San Diego Chargers @ Green Bay Packers (-10)
    Yes, although QB Rodgers wasn't invincible last week vs the Rams, throwing two picks at Lambeau Field, it's entirely possible that he is having a better year than his MVP season of 2014. Missing top WR in Nelson, and top deep target in Adams, stuck with less than 100% Cobb, rookie and a walk-on, Rodgers has been relentless. If the Chargers couldn't beat a washed-up Michael Vick at home... what can they do to Rodgers on the road?
    Green Bay by 11
     
    New England Patriots @ Indianapolis Colts (+9)
    While the Pats steamrolled the Colts 45-7 in the AFC title game, this game might be even more lopsided. After all, Coach Belichick has been preparing for this game for over eight months. The Patriots are rested, coming off a bye week, while the Colts' QB Luck might need another week to get his shoulder right.
    New England by 13
     
    Monday Night Game of the Week
    Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants (-3.5)
    Although the NFC Least has seriously regressed this year, this game remains important. Either team can seize control of the division by winning this game. Yes, the Eagles looked great last week, but that was against the worst defensive team in the league in the Saints. And the Giants are primed for a run in the next four weeks against cupcake opponents.
    New York by 6
     
    Lame of the Week
    Washington Ethnic Insult @ New York Jets (-5.5)
    QB Cousins has been nothing but an interception machine for 4 years, and proved that last week with a pick-six in overtime. Now he will be facing the best secondary in the league? Start your countdown to Colt McCoy, ladies and gentlemen.
    New York by 6
     
    Kansas City Chiefs @ Minnesota Vikings (-3.5)
    The Chiefs have crumbled after a nice start by choking away double digit leads: shitty pass defense, horrible offensive line, and now their top offensive talent RB Charles is out of the season with a torn ACL. Plus the Vikings are relatively healthy, and coming off a bye.
    Minnesota by 7
     
    Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions (-3)
    Two hapless teams, but the Lions desperately need to get off the schneid. Here's a feeling that QB Stafford bounces back from his ignominious benching last week.
    Detroit by 1
     
    Miami Dolphins @ Tennessee Titans (-2.5)
    The Dolphins cleaned house, got rid of the head coach Philbin and defensive coordinator Coyle. This usually eventuates in an emotional bump for the team, because players want to prove themselves to a new coach. And who better pasty to demonstrate that than the hapless Titans?
    Miami by 3
     
    Baltimore Ravens @ San Francisco 40 Whiners (+2.5)
    From the Super Bowl XLVII to the bottom of their respective divisions in three short years. QB Kaepernick has lost his game, confidence, and etcetera, while the Ravens have lost most of their leaders and talent on defense, giving up 27 plus points a game. Both teams are equally horrible, so I'm tempted to settle for a PICK.
    Baltimore by 1
     
    Shame of the Week
    Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+1.5)
    Both team suck and deserve to be contracted immediately.
    Houston by 1
     
    Last Week: 11-3
    Season to Date: 53-24
  13. 11-3 means another solid week is in the books, but remember, the Football Gods are always cruel.
     
     
    Game of the Week
    Seattle Seahawks @ Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5)
    This is the perfect game for the Bengals to showcase their complete balance on offense, and excellent pass rush that should exploit the Seahawks' inferior OL. QB Wilson will keep plays alive with his Tarkenton scrambling, but in the end, it'll be too much for one guy.  
    Cincinnati by 4
     
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans (no line)
    It is quite tempting to take the Texans here, because QB Luck has a bum shoulder, and they beat the Colts 3 of their last 5 games. It's too bad that the Texans' current QB Mallett is so bad (51.8% completion rate) that he beats his own team. 
    Indianapolis by 4
     
    Rest of the Week
    Chicago Bears @ Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5)
    Yes, the Bears were clutch last week in their upset victory over the Raiders. But they're still a craptastic team, and Bad Cutler is overdue for an appearance. As for the Chiefs? They should just forcefeed RB Charles the ball and spare QB Smith another 3 hours of piss-poor pass protection.  
    Kansas City by 6
     
    Washington Ethnic Slurs @ Atlanta Falcons (-8.5)
    Instead of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, Atlanta rolled to 42-0 over the Texans last week. Right now, at the quarter mark of the season, the Falcons are looking fantastic in all phases: the best WR in Jones, most TDs in RB Freeman, top red-zone offense (80%) and an opportunistic defense. Best of all? Their schedule is one of the weakest in the league. The Slurs may keep the score close by forcefeeding Morris and company the ball, but eventually reality sinks in. 
     
    Falcons by 9
     
    New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5)
    In the contest of horrible disappointment, it looks like the Eagles are worse off than the decaying Saints. After all, they're DEAD LAST in the NFC Least! Then again, it took the Saints OT and a blown coverage to beat the Romo-less, Bryant-less, etc.-less Cowboys.  
    Philadelphia by 3
     
    St. Louis Rams @ Green Bay Packers (-9.5)
    There's nothing as mysterious and frustrating for the prognosticator as the consistently inconsistent team that gets up for tough opponents but roll over for weak sisters. And the Rams are a classic example. However, they are facing the best team in the NFC in the Packers, who have fixed their shortcomings on defense and special teams. While the Rams do have a fierce pass rush, they don't have the horses to keep up with the Packers' indomitable offensive machine. And certainly not at Green Bay.  
    Green Bay by 7
     
    Buffalo Bills @ Tennessee Titans (+2.5)
    The Bills shit the bed last week vs the Giants, and they haven't gotten over it. Luckily they're facing a hopeless team in the Titans, who won't be able to take advantage of the Bills' distractions.  
    Buffalo by 4
     
    Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions (+2.5)
    After seeming invincible in the first three weeks, the Rams exposed the Cardinals last week. They were able to run on the Cards' defense with an average OL, and pass block well enough. That is because the Cards looked good against who? Luckily for them, they're facing a team with leaky OL and a declawed defense. 
    Arizona by 6
     
    New England Patriots @ Dallas Cowboys (+7.5)
    After losing their QB and star WR, the Cowboys lost RB Dunbar to ACL tear and top LB Lee to concussions. Now they're facing the top team in the AFC, the Patriots, rested off a bye week? At least the Cowboys remain tied for first place, and will get Dez Bryant after the bye week.
    New England by 10
     
    Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders (+6.5)
    The Broncos have flipped the script from their record breaking 2013 season by winning on defense: Unholy Terrors Von Miller and Ware lead the league in QB pressure, 11 players sacked the QB, the defense allows a league low 4.3 yards per play, and third down conversion allowed is a league low 25%. While the Raiders are better than they've been, they don't have a chance against that forsaken defense.  
    Broncos by 5
     
    San Francisco 40 Whiners @ New York Giants (-7.5)
    Nothing has gone right for the 40 Whiners after a nice opening victory over the Vikings. QB Kapernick has seriously regressed, and the once-proud franchise has lost its identity and direction. That is what happens when new owners think they can arrogantly step in and change the sport. Expect a few highlight-reel worthy performances by ODB. 
    Giants by 6
     
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Diego Chargers (-3.5)
    Both teams are a mediocre 2-2. While the Steelers are still waiting for QB Rothlisberger to recover from a knee sprain, the Chargers are getting their veteran TE Gates back. QB Rivers' life will be made easier by a few magnitudes.
    San Diego by 6
     
    Lame of the Week
     
    Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens (-6.5)
    Don't look, but that win last thursday means the Ravens could be back in business in a few weeks. Starting with the hapless Browns – as long if they run the ball. RB Forsett has to be fed, because the Ravens have no alternatives in the passing game (injuries). Better yet – the Browns have been dead last against the run for two years. 
    Baltimore by 6
     
    Shame of the Week
    Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)
    None of the professional teams in Florida are worthy wasting your time about.  
    Tampa Bay by 3
    Last week: 12-3
    Season to Date: 42-21
  14. Post on 2015 NFL Week 3 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    Dagnabbit and Fackaroley. After taking two steps forward with a solid opening week at 10-6, I fell ass-backwards and went tits up with 6-10.
    That clearly shows none of us can take anything for granted at any given Sunday. Super Bowl contender? You start 0-2 or worse. The capricious Goddess of Fortune must've laughed at my stubborn picking against the two greatest QBs of our generation in the same weekend.
    Regardless, onto Week 3!
    Thursday Game of the Week
    Washington Racial Insult @ New York Giants (-4.5)
    Twice already, the Giants have choked away double-digits leads in the fourth quarter. Luckily for them the NFC East is a godforsaken, downright shitty division that probably will slouch towards Gomorrah the rest of the season. While the Ethnic Slurs have been decent, and actually lead the NFL in total defense, the Giants are far more desperate.
    New York by 4
    Game of the Week
    Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
    There's nothing like a slobberknocker between two physical teams that hate each other. Yep, the Bengals did handily beat the same Raiders who turned around and stole the game from the Ravens in the next week. Moreover, the Bengals have owned the Ravens lately, 4 out of their last 5 matchups. However, the Bengals will be facing a desperate 0-2 team trying to get off the Schneid. It'll come down to the last play.
    Cincinnati by 2 
    Rest of the Week
    Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys (+2.5)
    Cowboys fans, this is what a Pyrrhic victory looks like - win the battle, but lose the war. After losing All-Pro WR Bryant in Week 1, the Cowboys lost QB Romo to yet another clavicle fracture. The same one he busted in 2010, but then again, this is a vastly different Cowboys team, with more depth and greater cohesion. It's entirely likely they'll keep their heads above sea level for the next two months, given that the NFC East is pathetic. That said, the Falcons, with QB Ryan and WR Julio Jones, will force the Cowboys into a high scoring shootout they cannot afford. 
    Atlanta by 4
    Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans (+5)
    Every Tom, Dick, and Harry picked the Colts to win the AFC this season. After all they did add veteran depth in WR Johnson, RB Gore, and LB Cole. But after gagging their way to 0-2, even Chuck Strong is throwing QB Luck under the bus. Luckily they're facing a shitty team in the Titans, whose rookie QB Mariota is fast realizing that he's in over his head.
    Indianapolis by 6
    Oakland Raiders @ Cleveland Browns (-4.5)
    Both teams won last weekend behind their QBs, who are beginning to earn believers. Yes, QB Carr might be for real. However, the Raiders are historically weak the farther east they travel from the West Coast. But it's just too bad that the Browns are going back to their freshly concussed 36 year old journeyman in McCown over the more resourceful Johnny Football. And that'll be All. She. Wrote.
    Oakland by 3
    Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots (-13.5)
    Next up on the Patriots' hit list is everybody's hapless doormat, the Jaguars. And the Patriots are in Fuck You mode? No analysis needed.
    New England by 11
    New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers (-3.5)
    It won't matter if QB Brees is healthy, because the Panthers' defense is quite stout. Moreover, there's nobody on the Saints' defense that can slow down Superman, aka QB Cam Newton, whatsoever, because they just proved that they couldn't stop rookie QB Winston. Despite all those offseason changes (trading away TE Graham and WR Stills to improve defense), that hasn't worked out. It's entirely possible that the Saints' season is over by October.
    Carolina by 6
    San Diego Chargers @ Minnesota Vikings (-2.5)
    If the Chargers were unable to stop RB Bernard last week, there's no way they'll be capable of stopping a rejuvenated RB Peterson. Expect QB Rivers to carve up that Vikings secondary and keep the game close, but QB Bridgewater will pull it out in the end.
    Minnesota by 3
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ St. Louis Rams (+1)
    Classic offense vs. defense. While the Steelers are number one in offense, the Rams' defensive linemen Donald and Quinn will make a long afternoon for QB Rothlisberger. RB Bell is back, and he must have noticed how the Foreskins ran allover the Rams last week. Moreover, WR Brown has become nigh unstoppable, but it'll come down to whether the Steelers' OL can block the savage Rams DL. And if rookie RB Gurley is as advertised...
    St. Louis by 3
    San Francisco 40 Whiners @ Arizona Cardinals (-6.5)
    Since both teams are physical, it'll be close, but QB Palmer truly makes the Cards a legitimate playoff contender. And with two OL starters back in the lineup, the Cards are peaking right now.
    Arizona by 6
    Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins (-2.5)
    Both teams were humbled last week after winning in Week 1. There's some disarray in Miami, because they're now discovering how much DT Suh likes to freelance. After facing Luck and Brady, the Bills will be happy to see QB Tannehill.
    Buffalo by 3
    Chicago Bears @ Seattle Seahawks (-14)
    The Bears are starting QB Clausen? At Century Link? And the Seahawks are 0-2? Plus Kam Chancellor is back from holdout? 

    Seattle by 17
    Denver Broncos @ Detroit Lions (+2.5)
    It is obviously true that QB Manning is no longer the Manning of Old (passer efficiency a lousy 74). He's been sacked 7 times already, but the Broncos are winning due to their opportunistic defense. They should feast on the Lions' turnovers and bail out Manning once again. QB Stafford is completely banged up, and will not last the season.
    Denver by 6
    Kansas City Chiefs @ Green Bay Packers (-6.5)
    After a tough loss to the Broncos, the Chiefs have to regroup and travel to Green Bay and face another Hall of Fame QB who almost never loses at home. Although RB Lacy might not be healthy in time, it won't make much of a difference.
    Green Bay by 6
    Monday Night Game of the Week
    Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Jets (even)
    The so-called genius Coach Kelly has overreached himself in trading away his best players for system guys. Yes, the Eagles were a machine in the pre-season, but then the regular season started, and it's been all downhill since then. In the NFL, the talent is far more important than some clever scheme. Always has been, always will. After dispatching the overrated Colts last Monday, the Jets are ready to embarrass another overrated team on Monday again. If QB Luck couldn't figure out that defense, neither will the immortal Sam Bradford.
    New York by 6
    Shame of the Week
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Houston Texans (-6.5)
    Yes, the Texans are struggling with the Hard Knocks curse, but there's no way the Buccaneers can block Unholy Terror J.J. Watt from cannibalizing rookie QB Winston.
    Houston by 4
     
    Last Week: 6-10
    Season to date: 16-16
  15. NFL Week 1 Picks
     
    After 6 months straight of Deflategate, I'm pretty sure that everyone's dead tired of it, and the biggest loser of that media created BS isn't the NFL. It's the Pittsburgh Steelers, since they get to face a pissed off Brady tomorrow night. After a solid but not great year of picks*, I fully expect a better year, if only because I posted a preview (5 teams left). Onto the Picks!
     
    Thursday Game of the Week
     
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots (-6.5)
    Although Pittsburgh will be missing their top WR and RB, as well as All-Pro Center Pouncey, I doubt it would've made a difference even at full strength. Moreover, they won't be able to handle a fully rested and healthy TE Gronkowski, rumbling through that laughably poor secondary. QB Tom Terrific will see nothing but a bunch of panciky Roger Goodell stumbling and fumbling on the field.
    Patriots by 14
     
    Game of the Week
     
    Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos (-4.5)
    QB Manning has made mincemeat of Baltimore since he joined Denver in 2012, because they have had success moving the ball. For some reason, Baltimore gets suckered into a shootout with him, which is almost always a bad idea.
    Broncos by 4
     
    Monday Night Game of the Week
     
    Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons (+3.5)
    After a crazy offseason overhauling the team, Philadelphia is a great unknown, although they were a complete buzzsaw in the preseason, encouraging pundits to back them for the playoffs. But it all depends on the ultra-fragile QB Bradford, who just cannot stay healthy. As for Atlanta, they are loaded on offense enough to stay competitive in high scoring shootouts. Because neither team has a legitimate defense, it might come down to whoever has the ball last.
    Eagles by 1
     
    Same of the Week
     
    Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears (+6.5)
    While Green Bay will be missing their top WR Nelson, the Bears' entire WR corps is decimated by injuries. Moreover, Chicago's paper-machie defense will not be able to slow down Green Bay's multidimensional offense in the slightest. Bottom line? It's QB Rodgers versus QB Cutler, and that's All. She. Wrote.
    Packers by 10
     
    Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans (even)
    Houston has confidence in QB Hoyer, that he'll hold down the fort until RB Foster gets over his injury. However, Kansas City seems improved on offense with WR Maclin. Then again, neither QB will have much room to work, because both of them will be running for their lives away from holy terrors in J.J. Watt and Justin Houston.
    Texans by 1
     
    Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills (+2.5)
    If Indianapolis cannot contain the ultraquick QB Taylor, they'll be in trouble. They might not be able to, since DE Jones is now on the injured reserve list. OTOH Buffalo has to slow down one of the best offensive machines in the league, but they do have the best defensive line, and a solid secondary to do the job. Take the points.
    Colts by 1
     
    Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams (+4.5)
    Yes, St. Louis shocked Seattle last year in Week 7, dropping them to 3-3. Then Seattle turned their season around and came a yard shy of back to back Super Bowl titles. Both St. Louis and Seattle have great defenses, going up against questionable offensive lines, which spells a low scoring game.
    Seahawks by 2
     
    New Orleans Saints @ Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)
    The Cards looked legitimate for most of the season, until they ran out of quarterbacks. Obviously, QB Palmer has to stay healthy, but his fragile offensive line isn't promising. At least they're facing a team on the decline in New Orleans, at home in front of a ferocious fanbase.
    Cardinals by 4
     
    Detroit Lions @ San Diego Chargers (-2.5)
    Difficult to pick between two consistently inconsistent teams in Detroit and San Diego, to say the least. Both are loaded with talent, with world-beating QBs, but neither of them has figured out the secret. Although Detroit was tough at home last year, they were average away from Ford Field. Lay the points.
    Chargers by 3
     
    Shame of the Week
     
    Cleveland Browns @ New York Jets (-2.5)
    After a solid offseason of upgrades to the offense and overhaul of defense, and a new intelligent coach in Bowles, there's hope in New York. Despite the loss of QB Geno Smith to a busted jaw, New York won't have much trouble against Cleveland, because they won't be disadvantaged at the QB spot. Moreover, Cleveland doesn't have strong receivers, allowing All-World CB Revis to wreak holy terror.
    Jets by 3
     
    Miami Dolphins @ Washington Racial Slur (+1.5)
    For the past few years, the circus at Washington has degenerated to farcical levels. The QB of the Future RGIII is still there, but he will likely never take another snap again. Fortunately, despite the cheesy carnival music and the elephant dung, starting Cousins at QB was a football decision. However, it makes zippo difference against a bloothirsty defense from Miami.
    Dolphins by 3
     
    Carolina Panthers @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5)
    Carolina is decimated at WR, meaning they'll have no choice but start WR Corey Brown and Ted Ginn Jr. Who? Exactly. But Jacksonville will not be able to take advantage in the slightest, because they are still a godforsaken, shitty team.
    Panthers by 6
     
    Cincinnati Bengals @ Oakland Raiders (+3.5)
    Despite making the playoffs for the last 4 years, Cincinnati have as many playoff wins as say, Oakland. Yup, zippo. Moreover, Cincinnati has one of the toughest schedules in the league, so they have to get every cupcake possible. Oakland's QBs aren't horrible, but they lack a running game to balance things and keep Cincinnati's defense honest.
    Bengals by 13
     
    New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys (-6.5)
    Yes, it's Super Bowl or Bust for the Cowboys. Just like any other year. Despite losing RB Murray, some pundits think the Cowboys might be better this year. New York has yet to recover from that Super Bowl hangover from 5 years ago.
    Cowboys by 6
     
    Lame of the Week
     
    Tenneessee Titans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)
    The battle of two crappy franchises with two QBs of the future in Mariota and Winston! QB Mariota was slightly better in the preseason, but avoid this game at all cost.
    Buccaneers by 1
     
    Minnesota Vikings @ San Francisco 40 Whiners (-2.5)
    QB Bridgewater is converting believers everywhere he goes, and he has All-Day Peterson back. Moreover, the young Minnesota defense is poised to destroy the league. As for San Francisco? They have lost half of their guys, their coach, their mojo, their everything. A biblical Exodus, except the 40 Whiners are the Egyptians.
    Vikings by 7
     
    *2014 Season Total: 174-92
  16. Going 7-3 in the playoffs is nice, but it means zippo if you get the biggest game of the year wrong.

    New England Patriots @ Seattle Seahawks (+1)

    This might be the closest Super Bowl game of all time – even Las Vegas casinos are clueless. The line opened at -2.5 for the Seahawks, and as of this writing, it swung to Patriots, -1.

    Patriots' strongest suit is their adaptability – they can run smash-mouth with RB Blount or dissect defenses with Brady's superior passing acumen. Moreover, the Patriots will be twice as fired up after all that deflation accusations from last week. The biggest Patriots weapon, TE Gronkowski is nearly unstoppable – after he gets the ball. The Seahawks secondary is built for that – ball denial. They have the players to challenge him on the release and play him straight up prior to the pass. Safeties Chancellor & Thomas will at least minimize the Gronk, and force Brady to look elsewhere at times. After all the Seahawks are working on a historic defense (finished first in three straight seasons). They must pressure Brady at the line, force him into coverage sacks. DE Avril and Bennett are capable of destroying the Patriots' OL, while the Legion of Boom will erase the Patriots' WR corps out of existence.

    The Seahawks will not survive an old-fashioned shootout with the Patriots, meaning they'll have to rely heavily on Beast Mode to control the game. The Patriots will be forced to bring their safeties closer into the box to stop RB Lynch. Although the Seahawks' WR corps are bland and nondescript, and will be completely blanketed by the superior Patriots secondary, QB Wilson will buy time scrambling until they get open or gallop for the first down, and force the Patriots' defense to sacrifice a linebacker as a spy. Best of all - Russell Wilson is equally as clutch as Brady has been.

    Adding all these up spells a Seahawks victory, first back to back Super Bowl titles in a decade.

    Seattle over New England, 21-20
  17. A solid opening weekend, but the only thing we will remember is that picked up penalty flag. If the referee blew it, we all would just be disappointed, but this gave conspiracy wonks free license to bang their drums 24/7. Cue the joke: “I went to an NFL game and suddenly an NBA game broke out!”

    Ah well, I will settle for 3-1.

    Ravens @ Patriots (-6.5)
    Patriots fans must be getting tired of getting the Ravens in the playoffs by now. This is the fourth time in the last six years, and the Ravens beat them twice at Foxboro. Should've been three if Cundiff hit that gimmie in 2011. The Pats are quite solid on defense, but the Ravens are actually versatile on offense – Flacco is the best deep ball QB in the league. WR Smith will fire up the Ravens just like Ray Lewis of old did. However, the Patriots' TE Gronkowski is nearly unstoppable, and CB Revis can shut down any WR. Right now I'm leaning towards the Patriots, but take the points.
    Baltimore +6.5

    Panthers @ Seahawks (-10.5)
    The Panthers totally stoned the Cards cold – on both offense and defense. It's just too bad that they're headed to the most overwhelming homefield in the NFL at the Century Link. Locals are setting up seismographs to record potential Beast Quakes. But that Vegas line is just way too high – take the points.
    Seattle by 6

    Cowboys @ Packers (-6.5)
    Yes, the Packers haven't lost at home, but neither have the Cowboys on the road this season. Moreover, they have the right antidote to the best QB in the NFL: a powerful running game that can bleed the clock dry and limit Rodgers' opportunities. He will shred the Cowboys' defense, but the Packers aren't as dominant as the Lions were at the line of scrimmage last week. QB Romo will pull out a clutch win – the Cowboys have been this lucky all year.
    Dallas by 3

    Colts @ Broncos (-7)
    Plenty of people are picking this as the upset game, but Broncos are even more invincible at home than either the Patriots or the Packers. The Colts are the proverbial good bad team – they can beat anyone worse than them, but they struggle against the true contenders. QB Luck is probably by now the superior QB to Manning, but he still needs seasoning. Moreover, that Broncos defense is superior to last year's version.
    Denver by 9
  18. Cardinals @ Panthers (-5.5)

    The Panthers, regardless of their record, are on a roll behind QB Newton and that two-headed beast at RB, and a rejuvenated defense. The Cardinals OTOH have slid ass-backwards into the playoffs, no thanks to an inferior third or fourth string QB. More important is how the Cardinals' defense has been shredded by mobile quarterbacks in recent weeks (Wilson and Kapernick).

    Panthers by 4

    Ravens @ Steelers (-2.5)

    Despite the absence of RB Bell, due to a knee injury, the Steelers should find it easy to pass on that absolutely horrible Ravens secondary. After all, QB Rothlisberger is at the heights of his powers, and WR Antonio Brown is probably the best in the game. The Ravens will keep the game close, cuz they still have a couple of leftovers from their great Super Bowl team in Ngata and Suggs, but QB Flacco isn't as brave in the pocket once he signed that 120 million dollar contract. He can pass on the shoddy Steelers' secondary, but he doesn't have enough weapons.

    Steelers by 6

    Bengals @ Colts (-3.5)

    Had the Bengals beaten the Steelers on Sunday night, they would've hosted a playoff game against a team they owned in the Ravens. Instead, they have to go on the road and play a team that dusted them 27-0 in Week 7. The Bengals will keep the score close behind the power running of RB Hill, but they won't be able to score enough to upset the Colts. WR Green won't be ready after that nasty concussion, and QB Gingerbread inspires zero confidence in the money season, unlike Andre the Giant (see 2014 playoffs). Moreover, the Bengals are incapable of pressurizing the quarterback. Expect a blowout.

    Colts by 11

    Lions @ Cowboys (-7.5)

    The Lions should contain the Cowboys' explosive offense, thanks to that #2 ranked defense, but they won't have all-world DT Suh available to clog the running lanes. The well-balanced Cowboys enter the playoffs at full strength and with chemistry at full yield, making them the NFC favorites. QB Stafford hasn't been performing well lately, and won't be able to keep up with the Romocoaster and WR Dez Bryant.

    Cowboys by 7

    Last week: 12-4
    Season total final: 167-88
  19. Post on NFL 2014 Week 17 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    At last, the wild 2014 season has come to a close. And here's the secret to picking games in the final week of the year: when the top teams have their backs to the wall, they'll win. And pick the ones that will care more in the remaining games.

    Last week, I went a mediocre 10-6, but any day above ground, or in this case, .500, is a good gambling day.


    Game(s) of the Week

    Lions @ Packers (-7.5)
    Should be a lock - the Packers at Lambeau Field against some team that had trouble vs a comatose team in Chicago? The Lions have been far more lucky than good this year, but luck can only take you so far, and especially against an all-time great in Rodgers at home.
    Packers by 9

    Panthers @ Falcons (-3.5)
    The Falcons have turned their season around since Thanksgiving, and have been invincible against the NFC South all year. Better yet, the NFC South champion has never repeated. Then again, if QB Cam Newton can survive that horrific car accident, perhaps we are better off picking the Panthers.
    Panthers by 4

    Bengals @ Steelers (Sunday Night Football) (-2.5)
    Homefield means zippo to the Steelers, and the Bengals have been decent on the road the past couple of months. But with the divisional title on the line, go with the better team.
    Steelers by 3

    Same of the Week
    Chargers @ Chiefs (-2.5)
    QB Rivers was absolutely clutch last Saturday. However, it's twice as tough to win on the road in hostile arenas two games in a row. The Chiefs still have a shot for the playoffs.
    Chiefs by 2

    Browns @ Ravens (-8.5)
    The Ravens still have a shot at the second season - as long the Chargers lose as well. It matters not who the Browns line up under center - Johnny Football is a fake, and Hoyer has a bad shoulder.
    Ravens by 9

    Bills @ Patriots (-10.5)
    The Patriots haven't lost at home in forever, but they already nailed homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, so there's nothing to play for. But Coach Belichick won't let his guys mail it in. But it's the Bills, a divisional rival with solid defense, so take the points regardless.
    Patriots by 3


    Raiders @ Broncos (-14)
    The Broncos are in danger of falling out of a first round bye. Lose, and the Bengals win, the Broncos will have to play during the wild card weekend. The Raiders OTOH have turned it around in the last 5 weeks, but when the chips are down, go with the superior team.
    Broncos by 11

    Cardinals @ 40 Whiners (-4)
    The Cardinals are a great team missing a legitimate quarterback. And the 40 Whiners are a great team missing chemistry. And that spells what? You tell me.
    40 Whiners by 3

    Rams @ Seahawks (-13.5)
    As long the Seahawks take this game, they'll have homefield throughout. For what it's worth, the Seahawks haven't forgotten the Rams' sheninagans from their previous matchup (fake punt, surprise kickoff, etc.) However, the line is just plain ridiculous.
    Seahawks by 9

    Lame of the Week

    Cowboys @ Foreskins (+6.5)
    Even though RGIII is back, the Skins have no chance against a Cowboys team that's firing on all cylinders & roaring full steam ahead to the playoffs.
    Cowboys by 6

    Colts @ Titans (+7.5)
    After falling flat on their faces in Dallas, the Colts are chomping at the bit to take it out on someone else. Even though the Titans are just horrible, it's never a good idea to take the road favorite in a divisional game.
    Colts by 6

    Eagles @ Giants (-2.5)
    The Giants are on a roll, although too late, whereas the Eagles have lost their collective will after shitting the bed last week. Gotham will be Catching it like Beckham!
    Giants by 3

    Jaguars @ Texans (-9.5)
    The Texans have an outside shot at the playoffs, and should be fired up no matter what, cuz JJ Watt will push them. In fact they've played over their heads with a practice squad QB and injuries to star players half the season. The Jaguars are just playing out the string - with zero incentive other than a high draft pick.
    Texans by 8

    Jets @ Dolphins (-5.5)
    It's Coach Rex Ryan's final game, will the Jets win one for the gipper? The Dolphins OTOH are solid and will try everything to finish the year with a winning record.
    Dolphins by 6

    Bears @ Vikings (-6.5)
    Really, nobody gives a shit. But the Vikings still do, unlike the Bears. Yes, that means QB Culter is back.

    Vikings by 7

    Shame of the Week
    Saints @ Buccaneers (+3.5)
    The Saints have zero incentive, other than just pride. The Buccaneers have played hard, but not with ability to compete. Go with the underdog.
    Buccaneers by 3

    Last Week: 10-6
    Season to Date: 155-84
  20. Post on NFL 2014 Week 16 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    When you win 14 of 16 games, you're allowed to brag. But only for a moment - we're ready for Week 16.

    But first.... How 'Bout them Cowboys?




    Game of the Week

    Colts @ Cowboys (-2.5)
    Two great QBs, but only one of them is still fighting for a division. It'll be a high scoring shootout, regardless. The Colts have trouble playing solid teams on the road so far this season.
    Cowboys by 4

    Broncos @ Bengals (+3.5)
    Mr. Peyton Manning, meet your perfect opposite in QB Dalton - a QB that shits himself when the lights get bright.
    Broncos by 7

    Same of the Week

    Falcons @ Saints (-6.5)
    Although the Superdome is no longer a serious homefield advantage, the Saints will find the Falcons' secondary friendly. Hey, somebody's gotta win the NFC South.
    Saints by 11

    Chiefs @ Steelers (-3.5)
    Both teams are still fighting tooth and nail for the playoffs. Will come down to pass protection - who can bother the quarterback the most? Steelers likely will control RB Charles and force QB Smith to beat them.
    Steelers by 3

    Ravens @ Texans (+4.5)
    The Ravens, facing a third string QB? On the road? Not a problem. They'll stack 9 guys up front, shut down RB Foster.
    Ravens by 14

    Seahawks @ Cardinals (Sunday Night Football) (+7.5)
    Fourth string QB Lindley vs the Legion of BOOM? Come back, Carson Palmer!
    Seahawks by 11

    Lame of the Week

    Eagles @ Foreskins (+8.5)
    Zod bless the Skins. Their substandard defense will help restore confidence to the Eagles' sputtering offense. Yes, that means taking QB Sanchez on the road. OTOH, RGIII finally looks like himself.
    Eagles by 7

    Chargers @ 40 Whiners (-2.5)
    After getting kicked out of playoff contention, the 40 Whiners will no longer have anything to play for. Coach Harbaugh has already checked out. Luckily for the Chargers, they still have a shot, and QB Rivers won't let them down.
    Chargers by 3

    Packers @ Buccaneers (+10.5)
    Wow, the Packers are completely mortal away from Lambeau Field, like the Saints of yore. But luckily, they're facing a team that can't win at home.
    Packers by 21

    Vikings @ Dolphins (-6.5)
    The Vikings look legit, at least for a mediocre team, and they're facing a quickly collapsing team in the Dolphins. But QB Tannehill is slightly better than rookie QB Bridgewater.
    Dolphins by 3

    Lions @ Bears (+4.5)
    The Bears have mailed it in, which means it'll be a walk in the park for the Lions. One hell of an underachieving team in Chicago.
    Lions by 17

    Browns @ Panthers (-3.5)
    Thank you. Merril Hodge, for calling a shitty spade a shitty spade. Johnny Football is just another Tim Tebow, and he's facing a team that's still fighting for a division title in the Panthers. Matters little whether QB Newton is healthy or not.
    Panthers by 7

    Patriots @ Jets (+10.5)
    No matter how shitty the Jets are, or how great the Pats are, whenever they play a game, anything goes. Too bad the Jets played the Pats in a competitive game already, meaning the Patriots will not underestimate them. Take the points regardless.
    Patriots by 6

    Giants @ Rams (-4.5)
    Neither team is in contention for the playoffs, but they both are finally playing well at the end of this season. Thanks to WR Beckham, the Giants' passing game is red hot, and will stay in the game, no thanks to their incompetent QB.
    Rams by 3

    Bills @ Raiders (+6.5)
    The Bills just shocked everyone last week, but they can't afford to look past the Raiders towards Week 17 when they play the Patriots. Raiders will keep the game close, but the Bills will do enough to escape Oakland with a win.
    Bills by 3

    Shame of the Week

    Titans @ Jaguars (Thursday Night Football) (-3)
    Whosoever wins, loses in the upcoming 2015 draft. So, both teams must try to out-lose each other, but too bad for the Jaguars, they have a more legitimate quarterback.
    Jaguars by 1

    Last Week: 14-2
    Season to Date: 145-78
  21. 10-6? Slouching towards respectability, indeed. No excuses for picking against the Seahawks for the third week in a row. No excuses for picking the Saints. Again.

    Game of the Week

    Cowboys @ Eagles (-3.5) (Sunday Night Football)
    Why would you pick Mark Sanchez in a big game? Well, the Eagles are good enough to win their division, but can they repeat their Thanksgiving victory over the Cowboys? After Romo and RB Murray have 10 days rest?
    Dallas by 3

    Same of the Week

    Cardinals @ Rams (-3.5) (Thursday Night Football)
    The Unknown vs the Unknowable? Giving hope to the hopeless? Bringing faith to the faithless? Doubt to the dogmatics?
    Arizona by 3

    Steelers @ Falcons (+1.5)
    Steelers are equally unpredictable on the road as they are at home. Then again, the Falcons just cannot beat anyone else besides the NFC South.
    Pittsburgh by 5

    Dolphins @ Patriots (-7.5)
    Week 1 was a hundred years ago, in NFL time. Coach Belichick will have his guys wired from the get go, and bury the Fish.
    New England by 9

    Texans @ Colts (-6.5)
    What incredible Luck. The Colts are never out of a game, even when they're blown out, thanks to their QB. The Texans will pressure Luck, thanks to MVP Watt, but they don't have enough horses on offense to keep up.
    Colts by 7

    Bengals @ Browns (even)
    Can anyone make sense of the AFC North? After the Browns blow out the Bengals by 21, the Bengals win 3 in a row before getting blown out by the Steelers at home. And here comes Johnny Football!
    Bengals by 1

    Packers @ Bills (+5.5)
    Yes, the Packers are the frontrunning favorites in the NFC, but they're not quite as potent on the road. Then again, the Bills haven't played well for two months versus .500 teams.
    Green Bay by 7

    Broncos @ Chargers (+4.5)
    Remember the Golden Rule about picking the road favorite in a division game? If it's Peyton Manning, then by all means. The Broncos are still fighting for homefield advantage. QB Rivers and the Chargers will fight tooth and nail, but it won't be enough.
    Denver by 3

    Forty-Whiners @ Seahawks (-10.5)
    What in the Sam Hill happened to the 40 Whiners? Team Meltdown is back to their old antics, and facing their hated rivals at the worst time. QB Kapernick has no confidence left, and the team has none in their coach. That spells another blowout loss.
    Seattle by 11

    Lame of the Week

    Raiders @ Chiefs (-10.5)
    Yes, the Raiders aren't that horrible. No, the Chiefs are not that overrated. And that spells another unpredictable game, but the Chiefs are nearly unbeatable at Arrowhead.
    Kansas City by 7

    Jaguars @ Ravens (-14.5)
    The Ravens finally woke up in time last week, but is it too late? The Jaguars are decent, if not necessarily respectable, and that Vegas spread is way too high. But the Ravens will still take it.
    Baltimore by 8

    Buccaneers @ Panthers (+6.5)
    QB Newton seems healthy again, but that won't be a guarantee victory. Remember, it's the NFC South. Anything goes!
    Carolina by 3

    Vikings @ Lions (-7.5)
    The Lions have had a creampuff schedule for 8 straight weeks. The Vikings are solid, but it's hard to take them over the Lions at Ford Field.
    Detroit by 3

    Saints @ Bears (+2.5) (Monday Night Football)
    When a team collectively takes a massive dump at midfield, they're properly embarrassed enough to refocus the next week. And luckily for the Aints, the Bears are missing their top WR in Marshall. QB Culter inspires zero confidence anyway.
    Saints by 1


    Shame of the Week

    Foreskins @ Giants (-6.5)
    Thanks to WR Beckham, the Giants are fun to watch. Thanks to Daniel "Snidas" Snyder, the Skins aren't.
    Giants by 7

    Jets @ Titans (even)
    Jets, favored on the road? LOL ROFL LMAO LMFAO
    Titans by LOL

    Last week: 10-6
    Season to date: 131-76
  22. My holidays went great – the food, the guests, the wine – except for my football picks. Another rough weekend (8-8) in the books. Back to the drawing board, but at least I'm picking better than Bill Simmons, who went 5-11.

    Game of the Week

    Seahawks @ Eagles (even)
    Strange Vegas line. A team that is in 2nd traveling cross country to play a division leader with 9 wins and they're the favorites? Anyway, the key matchup is between the Eagles' offense (5th in passing and 7th in rushing) and the Seahawks' defense (2nd in passing yards allowed and 5th in rushing yards allowed). The Eagles' WR Matthews has taken pressure off WR Maclin in recent weeks. The Seahawks must establish the run early to control the clock and keep the Eagles' offense on the sidelines. Since the Eagles are at home, they'll stop the Hawks early and get an early lead and cruise from there.
    Eagles by 1

    Same of the Week

    Steelers @ Bengals (-3.5)
    Team Inconsistent vs Team Paper Tigers? Nobody knows which Steelers team will show up, and nobody thinks the Bengals will choke at home after three road wins in a row. Then again, Steelers haven't lost twice in a row this year.
    Steelers by 1

    Ravens @ Dolphins (-2.5)
    Ravens' epic choke job was one of the ages. Means they're not playoff-ready. If the Dolphins want to sneak into the playoffs, they can't lose at home.
    Dolphins by 2

    Colts @ Browns (+3.5)
    Whether it's Hoyer or Johnny Football at quarterback, the Colts will keep on keepin' on. QB Luck will outlast the Browns' stout defense and whoever at QB will cough it up enough to seal the loss.
    Colts by 5

    Bills @ Broncos (-10.5)
    The Broncos have no margin for error – they must win out from now on. QB Manning has no desire to play in Foxboro for the playoffs. :snow:
    Broncos by 9

    Chiefs @ Cardinals (even)
    Zona ship be sinking? Well, they still have that incredible defense and the Coach of the Year. Plus the Chiefs are too plain vanilla to out-smart the Cardinals.
    Cards by 1

    Patriots @ Chargers (Sunday Night Football) (+3.5)
    The Patriots will resume their winning ways, cuz they don't choke twice in a row. As for the Chargers, caveat emptor. They've beaten only 1 team with a winning record all year long. Last week's miracle vs the Ravens.
    Patriots by 7


    Lame of the Week

    Cowboys @ Bears (Thursday Night Football) (+3.5)
    The Bears had trouble with RB Bell last week. Whatcha they gonna do vs a superior RB in Murray? Cowboys have their backs against the proverbial wall – they must get this game to keep up with the Eagles before the rematch next week. If the weather is inhospitable, lay the points.
    Cowboys by 7

    Rams @ Foreskins (+2.5)
    The Rams are among the most physical teams in the league. And the Foreskins? Among the least.
    Rams by 6

    Panthers @ Saints (-9.5)
    Which is it? Saints are invincible at home, vulnerable on the road, or vice versa? Then again, whoever heard of a 5-7 team giving anyone 10 points? Anyone? Anyone??
    Saints by 6

    Buccaneers @ Lions (-10.5)
    The Lions seem to have righted the ship with that resounding victory over the Bears, but it's probably too early to lay double digit points on them. Even if it's against the Buccaneers.
    Lions by 8

    Texans @ Jaguars (+4.5)
    The Jaguars seem to have grown up lately. Also, there's a golden rule of gambling about picking against a home dog in a division game. The Texans aren't just good enough to go against that golden rule.
    UPSET SPECIAL: Jaguars by 3

    40 Whiners @ Raiders (+7.5)
    The boys from Santa Clara will be stewing mad over that loss last Thursday. As for the Raiders, they've already packed it in after getting one win. See Exhibit A: last week's 0-52 loss to the mediocre Rams.
    49ers by 7

    Falcons @ Packers (Monday Night Football) (-11.5)
    A red-hot QB Rodgers versus a heavily decimated Falcons secondary? That's. All. She. Wrote.
    Packers by 14


    Shame of the Week

    Giants @ Titans (even)
    The Titans are the worst in the league at pass defense, so expect QB Manning the Younger to look like a legitimate QB. Finally.
    Giants by 1

    Jets @ Vikings (-4.5)
    The Vikings are the classic good bad team. They beat the crappy teams but lose to the decent ones. Heaven-sent for us handicappers. And the Jets? They're the classic bad bad team.
    Vikings by 6




    Last Week: 8-8
    Season to Date: 121-70
  23. Post on NFL 2014 Week 12 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    Holy. Fritjolies.

    That was one hell of a wild weekend – giant upsets, inexplicable blowouts, etc., etc – one that set me back to .500. Why? Cuz whenever it comes to the NFL, No one knows diddly-poo. Yes, we are all Billy Zima.

    You know my motto: NO EXCUSES.
    Bring on Week 12!

    Game of the Week
    Cardinals @ Seahawks (-6.5)
    Wow, the Seahawks have lost more games already than they've lost the entire season in 2013. They're 3 games behind the Cardinals, so it's a must-win. The Cardinals must ride RB Ellington to control the game & run on the Hawks' defense, but they are 30th ranked in rushing offense for a reason.
    Seattle by 3


    Same of the Week
    Lions @ Patriots (-7.5)
    Yes, they stumbled last week in Arizona, but the Lions are still one of the top teams in the league. Unfortunately they'll be prohibitive underdogs this Sunday at Foxboro, against a red-hot Patriots team that won 6 in a row after getting blown out in Kansas City. If the Lions can stop the run and pressure Brady, they'll slow down that offense, and give Megatron a chance in the endzone.
    New England by 10

    Bengals @ Texans (-1.5)
    Happy Happy, Joy Joy. Two consistently inconsistent teams. Which version of QB Dalton is gonna show up this week? He's had trouble in Houston in two straight playoff games, so that might be enough, but he will get WR AJ Green back. The Texans won't have any trouble running on the suddenly porous Bengals defense.
    Houston by 6

    Dolphins @ Broncos (-7.5)
    Wow, was that a mulligan last week? At least the Broncos are back home. The Dolphins have a great defense and a decent offense, meaning they won't be pushovers. But Manning will be twice as focused, which is his wont after losing.
    Denver by 11

    Cowboys @ Giants (+2.5)
    Is QB Manning on his way out? After a decent if not great season, he immediately shit the bed last week with 5 picks. The bye week was a timely reprieve for the 'Boys, but they must return to form and send the Giants back to the stone age.
    Dallas by 6

    Ravens @ Saints (-3.5) (Monday Night Football)
    The Saints are lucky that they're in the worst division of the NFL, meaning they're still in the race for the playoffs even at 4-6. And the Ravens? Who the Hell knows.
    New Orleans by 4

    Lame of the Week

    Chiefs @ Raiders (+7.5) (Thursday Game of the Week)
    Raiders aren't as horrible as their record, cuz they have lost by one score 5 times. Does that mean they're due? And since this is a division game? After all the Chiefs have beaten the defending Super Bowl champs and are feeling real good themselves... Then again, it's the friggin' Raiders.
    Kansas City by 5

    Browns @ Falcons (+3.5)
    The inconsistent Browns are at it again, but they got one of the top 5 WR back in Josh Gordon. He'll be way too much for the inferior Falcons defense. But the Browns are banged up on the front seven, making them susceptible to the Falcons' dangerous passing attack.
    Atlanta by 3

    Titans @ Eagles (-10.5)
    The Eagles fell back to Earth as QB Sanchez turned out to be who we all thought he was. But they'll right the ship against a completely inferior team in the Titans. All the Eagles have to do is get the ball to Shady McCoy and control the game.
    Eagles by 11

    Packers @ Vikings (+9.5)
    Yes, the Packers won't score 50 points again because they're not playing at Lambeau Field. But the Vikings don't have enough on offense to stay at arm's length with the red-hot QB Rodgers.
    Green Bay by 13

    Jaguars @ Colts (-13.5)
    The Colts didn't just get beated like a red-headed stepson last week. They also lost key guys in TE Allen and RB Bradshaw. But the talentless Jaguars won't be able to take advantage.
    Indianapolis by 14

    Jets @ Bills (-4.5)
    Even though QB Orton has stunk up the joint lately, the Bills still have a stout front 7 that will control the Jets' offense.
    Buffalo by 7

    Rams @ Chargers (-4.5)
    The Rams can beat anyone (Seahawks, 49ers, Broncos) and lose to anyone. Last week, the Chargers barely edged the inferior Raiders. If the Rams can apply the same pressure on a hobbled QB Rivers, they'll walk out of San Diego winners.
    St. Louis by 3

    Foreskins @ Forty-Whiners (-7.5)
    QB RGIII throwing his guys under the bus? Skins Coach Gruden burying his QB? WR Jackson going on Instagram? It's a full-on meltdown mode for the Skins. To think that was the Forty-Whiners a couple of weeks ago. They do have both the physical and the intellectual edge over the Skins, though.
    San Francisco by 13


    Shame of the Week
    Buccaneers @ Bears (-5.5)
    Both teams broke out of a season-long slump last week. All the Bears have to do to seal a win is keep throwing bombs to their two terrific WRS in Jeffery & Marshall against the Bucs' cover 2 defense.
    Chicago by 7


    Last week: 7-7
    Season to Date: 103-57
  24. Post on NFL 2014 Week 11 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    Another NFL weekend in the books. Then again... What does a 9-4 weekend spell?
    A return to normalcy

    Game of the Week
    Patriots @ Colts (+2.5)
    Classic showdown between the Hall of Famer and the Young Gun. Normally you go with the veteran, but betting against QB Luck is not a good idea. The Colts have covered 7 of 9 times this year. Yes, the Patriots are the best team the Colts face since the Broncos in week 1, but the Patriots aren't the same team on the road.
    Indianapolis by 5

    Thursday Game of the Week
    Bills @ Dolphins (-4.5)
    The Dolphins' defense will be key to this game - a low scoring barn burning type. The Bills' defensive front will feast on the Dolphins' shoddy OL, indeed, but the Dolphins will protect their homefield.
    Miami by 2

    Same of the Week
    Texans @ Browns (-3.5)
    The pleasantly surprising Browns are actually inconsistent - they're 28th against the run, giving up 134 yards a game. If RB Foster is ready to go, that might be enough for the Texans. But they're led by a rookie QB, on the road, against the Dawg Pound. The Browns are in first place of a heavily competitive division, after all.
    Cleveland by 3

    Bengals @ Saints (-7.5)
    The NFC South race to 8 wins will no doubt prove entertaining, if embarrassing to said fans of that division. Absolutely nobody has any confidence left in the Bengals, given the generous line spread. If QB Brees and the Saints draw QB Dalton into a shootout, they'll control the game. Key matchup is RB Ingram vs the Bengals' 31st ranked run defense. Lay the points.
    New Orleans by 10

    Broncos @ Rams (+9.5)
    Coach Fisher will have the Rams playing hard and competitive, and they'll mix pressure and coverage to slow down Manning. Playing at St. Louis has been a problem for heavy favorites, but nobody thinks QB Manning will buy what the Rams are selling. The Rams don't have enough on offense to keep up with the Broncos.
    Denver by 10

    Seahawks @ Chiefs (even)
    Something smells definitely rotten in Seattle. Nobody should take last week's victory over a shitty team in the Giants seriously. OTOH the Chiefs are solid with Coach Reid and QB Smith - hell, they have covered 7 of the last 8 weeks! Houston and Hali are ferocious off the edge, combine for 16 sacks. If the Seahawks dedicate to the ground game, take advantage of the Chiefs' weak run defense, the pass rushers will be neutralized.
    Kansas City by 4

    Lions @ Cardinals (+1.5)
    Had QB Palmer stayed healthy, this matchup would qualify for the Game of Week honors. Yes, QB Stanton is solid, and can thrive in Coach Arians' offense. But the Cards will struggle against the Lions' number one ranked defense, led by the ferocious Suh and Slay. Plus with WR Megatron back, that makes them the favorites, even against the best team in the NFC.
    Lions by 3

    Eagles @ Packers (-4.5)
    Another potential Game of the Week derailed by injury to QB. Yes, Sanchez looked good last week, and the Eagles may not need QB Foles. But that isn't enough to pick the Eagles in Lambeau, against snowy weather, temperatures in the low 20s, and a revived & explosive Packer team.
    Packers by 6

    Lame of the Week
    Vikings @ Bears (+3.5)
    Absolutely nobody should take the Bears, after they rolled over and gave up two 50-plus points in a row. Yes, they're desperate, backs against the wall, at the end of their ropes. Talent means diddly poo when you don't have the work ethic or character to survive adversity. QB Bridgewater and WR Patterson will take full advantage of the Bears' discombobulation.
    Minnesota by 2

    Falcons @ Panthers (-1.5)
    Yes, the Falcons are back in the NFC South race to bottom. Both teams have shitty offensive lines, but QB Ryan & his WR corps will take advantage of the crappy Panthers' secondary.
    Falcons by 6

    49ers @ Giants (+4.5)
    The 49ers may have recovered their old smashmouth identity. The Giants are just dogshit in every position and aspect.
    San Francisco by 9

    Raiders @ Chargers (-10.5)
    For the slumping Chargers this is a must-win game, whereas the Raiders are in contention for the first pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. Off a bye week, the Chargers should cover the spread.
    San Diego by 11

    Monday Game of the Week
    Steelers @ Titans (+5.5)
    Another lame game for MNF. If the consistently inconsistent Steelers were Dr. Jekyll last week's flop, then they will be Mr. Hyde come Monday.
    Steelers by 6

    Shame of the Week
    Buccaneers @ Deadskins (-7.5)
    RGIII being back doesn't mean the Skins are worse off. They certainly can easily handle the 29th ranked Buccaneers' defense, but since they haven't covered more than once in their last 6 games, nobody should lay the Skins more than a touchdown to anyone. Anywhere.
    Skins by 6

    Last week: 9-4
    Year to date: 96-50
  25. Post on NFL 2014 Week 8 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    Despite an upset-filled Sunday, and incredible comebacks in the last seconds, I escaped Week 7 with an 11-4 record.

    One of these days I'll lay out the basic fundamentals to picking NFL games... but let's get on to Week 8!

    Game of the Week

    Chargers @ Broncos
    It's rare that the Game of the Week falls on a Thursday, but there's not much else this weekend to qualify. The Broncos look more well-rounded than they did last year with that legitimate defense and a superior running game in Ball and Hillman. Chargers will be ready, but they might have been looking past the Chiefs last Sunday. It'll be close, but the Broncos will start to separate from the pack.
    Broncos by 3

    Eagles @ Cardinals
    An even bigger Game of the Week, the Cardinals will get the biggest test of the season to date vs a completely evenly matched team with an entirely different philosophy in the Eagles. Cards have been winning despite all the injuries, but it'll be hard versus a well-rested offensive machine with a genius coach in Kelly.
    Eagles by 3

    Same of the Week

    Seahawks @ Panthers
    The Seahawks' problems are due to a weaker defensive line that used to rotate fresh hungry sackmeisters. They were eight last year in sacks, but cratered this year, all the way down to 27th. Things aren't going to improve all of sudden, but perhaps the suddenly-toothless Panthers (gave up 37 or more points in 4 of 5 games) are what the doctor ordered.
    Seahawks by 3

    Ravens @ Bengals
    The Bengals have not been themselves the past 3 weeks, likely due to the disappearance of stud WR A.J. Green. If he's suited up, even as a decoy, the Ravens have to respect him, and that takes pressure off from embattled ginger QB Dalton. However, the Ravens have turned everything around and seem near unstoppable in recent weeks. Then again, they're not the same team on the road.
    UPSET PICK: Bengals by 3

    Bears @ Patriots
    The Patriots rose from the dead 3 weeks ago and resumed their old position as Lord of the Manor. Da Bears, have shit their bed for three straight weeks, and are going through internal strife with WR Marshall blowing up at everyone. It's possible that this will turn around things, but not at Gillette Stadium. The Bears have the talent to score with anyone, but their lack of discipline will be their Achilles' heel vs Belichik.
    Patriots by 9

    Colts @ Steelers
    The Colts are legitimate, having won five in a row after dropping the first two games and just destroyed the Bengals 27 to zip. The Steelers are a shadow of their former selves, and no magic will be enough versus QB Luck.
    Colts by 6

    Packers @ Saints
    Two superstar quarterbacks, two opposite directions. QB Rodgers has his team firing on all cylinders while QB Brees has been misfiring every cylinder. That gag job last week doesn't inspire much confidence, even though the Saints are back at home.
    Packers by 4

    Lame of the Week

    Lions @ Falcons
    Unfortunately, both teams will have to play at 9:30 ET in London, throwing out their biorhythms out of whack. However, the Lions are completely legitimate, even without WR Calvin Johnson. The Falcons, OTOH, are not, because they have the same problem from last year – no depth to offset all those injuries. No defense to speak of. Meaning WR Golden Tate will explode once again.
    Lions by 7

    Rams @ Chiefs
    Both teams are fresh off upset victories last week, but the Chiefs were actually a couple of plays away from being 4-1. The Rams were outgained by 200 yards, and thus their win was a fluke. As long the Chiefs benefit from a couple of turnovers, their offense will look much better than they really do, and best of all – they're at the Arrowhead.
    Chiefs by 6

    Texans @ Titans
    Two choke-artists trying to out-gag each other to their next loss. What a world.
    Texans by 3

    Dolphins @ Jaguars
    Despite getting off the Scneid last Sunday, the Jaguars are still a craptastic team – leading the league in interceptions thrown and giving up 29 sacks in 7 games. Too bad the Dolphins have an incredible defensive bookend in Cameron Wake and Oliver Vernon.
    Dolphins by 7

    Bills @ Jets
    The Bills may have suffered a Pyrrhic victory last week over the Vikings – they lost both Rbs in Jackson & Spiller to serious injuries. Unless the Bills have a secret backup plan, the Jets will easily control QB Orton and take full advantage.
    Jets by 3

    Raiders @ Browns
    It matters not that the Raiders are winless, because if QB Hoyer repeats that awful performance from last week vs the Jaguars, the Browns will lose again.
    Browns by 3

    Deadskins @ Cowboys
    The league's best team with the best RB face off against QB Colt McCoy. Gee, what a difficult decision. For encore, perhaps the Deadskins will start resurrecting dead quarterbacks.
    Cowboys by 14


    Shame of the Week

    Vikings @ Buccaneers
    Those young quarterbacks don't bode well for their franchises' future. The Buccaneers' inability to run will be enough for the Vikings to escape this Shame of the Week with a little face.
    Vikings by 3

    Last week: 11-4
    Season to date: 70-35