Friday, December 16, 2005

NFL Week 15 Picks

I would like to apologize for last week's terrible picks record. I was struck down by the Gambling Gods for getting too arrogant. I ended up 5-10-1, and was bailed out by having the Cowboys best point spread. That is a huge lesson to learn, do not just use one source for your point spreads. Look around at different websites for the best spread for your wager. Same goes for when cruising through Vegas sports books. If you're going to place a futures bet, why bet $25 on the Panthers to win the Super Bowl at 20-1 at the Bellagio when you can get it for 25-1 elsewhere.

Last week was a disturbing week in the NFL. There was one bona fide great game, Dallas vs. KC, and a variety of terrible match ups & horribly played games. I think we learned a lesson that some teams will do anything to get the number 1 pick, the Texans, and others will forget that they are in the hunt for the best running back to come out of college since Marshall Faulk, the Jets. Some would say Ricky Williams was "can't miss", but I feel he became a much better back once he got to the pros and lost weight to gain foot speed. Oh yeah, I stopped linking each name unless I want you to see someone's stats. You all know where to go for stats.

This week's picks will have a Van Halen song tagged to them to tie in with my post from earlier in the week.

RAVENS (-3) over Packers
Last week the Pack got bailed out by the refs blowing the call of holding in the end zone. I don't get how they called it non-endzone holding when the lineman tackled the defensive guy on the giant yellow A in the endzone. In Lambeau, the Packers could barely beat a struggling Lions team (dome team) with an idiot coach playing on the road. It's the 80s all over again. I don’t get the clock management at the end of the game. The Lions had time outs but didn’t use them after holding the Pack to punt with 1:30 left. They have fast WRs and the punting conditions were terrible. It was possible for them to get the ball at the 35 and work the sidelines and some fly patterns to get a FG. I like how Favre threw a pick to end regulation to keep his INT streak alive.

Van Halen tag: "Loss of Control" - "I'm only wastin' time. I think I'd better go." Please retire, no. 4.

BEARS (-3) over Falcons
Bears at home are much much better than Bears on the road. The Falcons remind me of the Patriots. They are mopping up terrible teams and not beating quality opponents. Mike Vick is also hurting, and when he can't run free, defenses don't have to waste a spy linebacker on him. The Falcons receivers are terrible, and this is going to play into the Bears hands. They will keep the Falcons one dimensional and contain them. It's going to be an ugly game, too. Maybe 17-9.

Van Halen tag: "Dreams" - Ohhhhhh baby dryyyyyy your eyes, save all the tears you've cried, cau-uuuuse that's... what... dreams are made offffff" - Bears fans have to suck it up and keep on believing.

Eagles (+3.5) over RAMS
I'm going to go with the Rutgers QB over the Harvard QB. The Eagles have been playing with the TO thing over their heads so long, that it has run its course….regardless of birthday parties. The Rams are at war with themselves, and will not put up many points on the Eagles. The Eagles played the Giants extremely tough (at home), while the Rams got beaten all over the field by the Vikings. I think it comes down to the Eagles getting something out of their running game. They ran last week against the Giants, who have been stuffing teams, and the Rams cannot hold any run game in check. If they can run, it will take pressure off of their passing game and give their defense rest. Is Mike McMahon playing well enough to get a decent contract or become trade bait? Remember when A.J. Feely parlayed the 2-3 game stint with the Eagles into a good contract with the Dolphins.

Van Halen tag: "D.O.A." - "Broken down and dirty, dressed in rags" These Eagles are just fighting and clinging on tot he season for pride.

Browns (+3) over RAIDERS
What a waste of Randy Moss in his prime. With Moss, I think I would just keep chucking 30-50 yard bombs downfield every other series. He'd love it, and who could cover him? I have the arm, maybe I should try out for the Raiders. The Browns are too well prepared of a team to no be ready for everything the Raiders throw at them, and with Norv Turner's boys turning on him, it's going to be an ugly finish to the season. Turner is gone at the end of the season, and the Raiders will make a run at some other terrible assistant.

Van Halen tag: "House of Pain" - "Say you're gonna leave me cause I only tie you up. I always love you tender but you only like it rough. why you're leaving me again."

Bengals (-8) over LIONS
The Bengals had their hiccup game last week, which was a division rivalry game. I still can't believe I did not see that cover coming. Interdivision rivalry and 10+ points being thrown around. I think the Bengals come back this week and destroy the Lions. Marvin Lewis knows that home field advantage is within his reach. A week to rest Rudi Johnson will help too now that they lost his back up/sub and he gets 25-30 carries a game.

Van Halen tag: "Best of Both Worlds" - "You don't have to die to go to heaven Or hang around to be born again Just tune into what this place has got to offer Cause we may never be here again." - Bengals fans have to enjoy this moment, because it could be the start of something great or one flash in the pan.

Cowboys (+3) over REDSKINS
This game makes me nervous, but now that I look back on the schedule, not so much. The Redskins just beat up two bad teams, and the Cowboys went 1-1 against two teams with records of a combined 17-9. Both teams are banged up, but I think the Redskins luck from earlier this season has run out. They are 7-6, but if you consider their 3-0 start, they are 4-6 in their last 10 games while playing weaker opponents (they started 3-0 by nipping the Bears, Cowboys, & Seahawks). I just keep going back to all of the missed FGs by the Cowboys and dream about them sitting at 11-2.

Van Halen tag: "Ballot or the Bullet" - "are you prepared for your very last breath, don't you dare start what you cannot finish" (hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, sorry, bad lyrics, bad song) One of these teams have to finish the good start they had.

Panthers (-9) over SAINTS
This will be played in front of 20,000 people. No home field advantage except for the travel. The Panthers also need this game to stay in the hunt for the division, and will need to rebound after last week's loss. I can see them going nuts on the Saints and taking anger out on them. If you are the Saints, you have to love how Matt Leinart will probably drop to you in the draft. He can step in and have all of that talent around him. The problem with their QB situation has been poor decisions. Leinart is known for making good decisions, and I'd take a chimpanzee trained in sign language over Aaron Brooks.

Van Halen tag: When the band got rid of Sammy, that's the closest I can get to Benson telling Nawlins, Haslett, Brooks to flip off.

DOLPHINS (-9) over Jets
I believe in Nick Saban's team. They are a decent Qb away from making a playoff run in the NFC and being an 8-8, 9-7 team in the AFC. Imagine if they had Brad Johnson to use instead of their carousel of terrible QBs. I seriously hope that the Dolphins consider trading for Rivers from the Chargers. He could step in and get them a couple of wins getting the ball to their talented receivers. They should have a decent enough pick that when coupled with a 2nd rounder or a 3rd rounder, they could tempt the Chargers.

Van Halen tag: "Runaround" - "here we go round n round n round" - Sorry Jets fans.

Cards (-1.5) over TEXANS
This line should be taken off the board after last week's performance. The missed FG was awful. A 31 yard chip shot was shanked wide wide wide left and looked like a kick by the Dr. Pepper Big 12 FG challenge contestant. I would seriously consider trading down the number 1 pick if I were the Texans. They could add 3 quality picks with the right suitor and maybe the number 1 for next year from a team (J-E-T-S, Jets Jets Jets).

Van Halen tag: "One I Want" - No. 1 pick is targeted.

Seahawks (-7) over TITANS
For all of the jokes on the Colts easy Schedule, what about the Seahawks? They play their toughest non-division foes at home (Colts, Cowboys, Giants, Falcons). They played a discombobulated and depleted Eagles team. They have a weak division, and got a late bye week to help rest their team midway through the season. No road games against the Patriots, Steelers, or Chargers on their schedule. The 'Hawks will run over the Titans though, and if they have trouble putting them away, this will be a sign of worry for the 'Hawks playoff chances.

Van Halen tag: "Top of the World" - The Seahawks have to feel it with homefield advantage for the weak conference within reach.

JAGS (-15.5) over 49ers
I hate picking 49ers games because the spreads are so ridiculous. I feel like I am picking USC games. You know how they can blow out a Top 25 opponent by 30 points or forget to bring their "A" game and let an inferior opponent stay in it? Betting on the 49ers is like betting on a USC foe. I just hope they give Alex Smith more time. The last week of carping about his small hands ("carnies, circus folk, small hands, smell like cabbage" - A. Powers) and calling for his release is ridiculous. Didn't anyone learn anything from Drew Brees? Some guys need 2-3 years to develop. For all the talk about Eli Manning, he's still making bad throws (off his back foot, yikes) and getting bailed out by the phenomenal running game they have.

Van Halen tag: "Finish What ya Started" - Jags fans must be asking for a good finish and not another flame out.

COLTS (-7.5) over Chargers
I am a believer. I also feel that the Boston Sports Guy is hyping the Colts up while the Pats go 11-5 so that he can still pick the Pats to beat the Colts. The Colts will have homefield advantage, a week off, and tons of confidence going into the playoffs. There is no stopping them. They have thrashed the Steelers, Jags and Pats. Who is going to stop them?

Van Halen tag: "Man on a Mission" - Either team can claim this one.

Steelers (-3) over VIKINGS
I know the Vikings are a good story, but let's stop the lovefest with them. Who have they beaten on this magical run? Outside of the Giants game, which was a freak return TD game, the Vikings have beaten 0 teams with winning records. I went against Pittsburgh last week, stupidly, and I will not do it this week with their backs against the wall.

Van Halen tag: "Everybody Wants Some" - The Vikings are always looking for a new score.

Broncos (-8.5) over BILLS
Somehow, my faith in the Broncos has evaporated. What the heck has happened to them? They received a gift from the Ravens last week, who had several drives inside the Broncos 30 end in 0 points. They might have peaked too soon, and I think the Cowboys game really expose them. It was a win, but a Pyrrhic victory. They can kill a team like the Bills, but it isn't going to cut the mustard vs. the AFC's contenders.

Van Halen tag: "Jamie's Cryin'" - My cousin Jamie is crying knowing that Jake Plummer has reverted to his old self.

GIANTS (-2.5) over Chiefs
Eli will bounce back from last week's terrible performance because the Chiefs have a terrible secondary. You can throw deep on them, and the Giants have the horses to do just that. The Giants also need to win to keep pace with the Boys and Skins. If they lose this game and then lose vs. the Skins, they're going to have to rely on tiebreakers to get into the playoffs. Coughlin knows that you control your own destiny if you just win and he will have them focused on stopping the Chiefs running attack and banking the win. As a Dallas fan, I loved last week's win over the Chiefs, and the final drive was fantastic. Still, I feel a pang of jealousy when I see Eli get under center in the 4th quarter. He looks so comfortable in the 4th. Much has been made of his accuracy, which does concern me, but if his blonde, idiot tight end would catch the gimme passes, his completion percentage would be a couple points higher. Shockey catches 55% of throws to him. Some can be blamed on Manning, but a majority are those easy ones where Shockey forgets to catch the ball first.

Van Halen tag: "Could this be Magic?" - Can Eli keep the magic going against another quality team?

Bucs (+5) over PATS
I hate going against New England in December at home, but the Bucs are over .500 and rolling. The Pats this year are 2-5 versus teams over .500 and 6-0 against teams below .500. They are a good team at beating teams they should beat, but they have trouble with talented teams. The Bucs need to get their ground game going though, because throwing a young QB at Belicheck is a bad idea. I hate this pick. Each week, there is a game I just feel awful about. Last week, it was the Saints/Falcons game (I even said "I hate this"). The week before was the Ravens/Texans game, darn inept Ravens offense. This week, it is taking the rolling Bucs against the Pats as the Pats are building some momentum against bad teams.

Van Halen tag: This season for the Pats has to be similar to when they got Dave and Sammy back to do the combo best of album. They got Bruschi back, the injured guys are coming back, but I don't think they they will hang with the heavyweights.

Good luck and have a great weekend.

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