Friday, December 10, 2010

NFL -- Week 14 Picks

Another week of the NFL, another 2-1 performance from me here in the second half, and my season record against the spread sits at its high for the year of 21-17-2. It's still nothing all that impressive, but from my perspective, to be up above .500 at all in this league where (1) the oddsmakers know all the nooks and crannies of setting these spreads better than anyone, and better than they do in any other sport in the world (2) the referees basically decide who wins most of the games, either by purposeful decisions or just by missing obvious blown calls and then turning a blind eye to their mistakes on replay, and (3) most of all, where parity reigns supreme unlike anything else in professional sports today, I'll take 4 games over .500 through three-quarters of the season. Hopefully I can retain that record, and even improve it a bit here with four weeks left in the regular season.

Although only four games over .500 at this point in the season, one thing I've done exceedingly well this year has been to avoid the games where something in my head tells me the line doesn't like quite right. This Thursday night's Colts - Titans game is a perfect example. I considered posting yesterday and picking the Colts, after two straight weeks of picking against the Titans and winning, but when I looked at the line, something about needing to give four points from a .500 team on a downswing and on the road in the Colts just seemed wrong. The Titans are generally a tough opponent, and while I fully expected the Colts to win, given that the team was 1-4 in the last five games and that Peyton had thrown 11 picks in his last three games, it just didn't smell right that they would have to give more than a field goal, going on the road to play a tough divisional matchup, even against a hapless Titans squad that has more or less given up on the season. And lo and behold, Bo Scaife punches one in as time expires in the game to bring the final score to 30-28, and more importantly, to cover on the day. I'm sure people all around America were cussing in disgust at around 11:40pm ET on Thursday night as the Titans scored the meaningless touchdown game-wise in the final seconds and yet totally blew what was an easy win against the spread for the Colts otherwise, but not me. I can't tell you how many times I've written down six or seven games that looked good to me, and when I've culled it down to my three picks, those three ended up going 2-1 on the week while my other three options went 1-2 or 0-3. So I've been doing a great job this year so far of avoiding the bad spreads, and I'll try to continue that this week heading into Week 14, as the league moves into the home stretch where every game counts, and where the good teams shift from trying to get into the playoffs to instead jockeying for playoff position and trying to nab one of the two choice spots atop the division and the corresponding bye weeks for the Wildcard round.

Here are this week's picks, in no particular order as always:

1. Seattle Seahawks +6 at San Francisco 49ers. Obviously Seattle is not much to get excited about this year, but to be getting 6 points to play at one of the NFL's worst teams -- with its single worst head coach, in particular now that Josh McDaniels is gone -- is just too much to pass up. Mike Singletary's latest brilliant idea is to choose a new (shitty) starting quarterback every week, with this week seeing a switch back from Troy Smith to Alex Smith, but I just can't see how the value is not on Seattle here plus almost a touchdown against a truly bad 49ers squad with a horribad coach, laughable quarterback and their top runningback recently put in IR for the season.

2. San Diego Chargers -7 vs Kansas City Chiefs. This game would have been a lot more interesting if Matt Cassel -- quietly one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this season -- did not have his appendix removed on Wednesday night, but although Cassel won't rule himself out yet, I just don't see how he is going to play an NFL game just four days after being under the knife like that. In his place is likely to be Chiefs' backup qb Brodie Croyle, who is 0-9 in his career as a starter, but who took most of the snaps in midweek practices this week for KC, and with that this is just not looking like a good matchup for the Chiefs to me. Not only is San Diego far better at home than on the road, but this a crucial game for the team as they look to keep their hopes of winning the AFC West alive and must have a win here in order to do that. What's more, the Chiefs' weakest link is their pass defense (21st in the NFL), while they will face Phillip Rivers and the #2 passing offense in the league this Sunday afternoon. Another apsect of the matchup that cuts against the Chiefs is that their greatest strength by far is their running game, which already was #1 in the NFL before this coming weekend and which will take on added importance due to Cassel's injury, but the Chargers will bring in the league's #2 rush defense into this key divisional game. I don't love the thought of any Norv Turner-coached team having to give a touchdown to anybody, but this is not the same Chiefs team with Brodie Croyle at the helm, and a double-digit win is I think likely for the Bolts this weekend.

3. Atlanta Falcons -8 at Carolina Panthers. This one may be a bit of a stretch, but the Panthers are right up there with the worst teams in the NFL this season, and at home they have been utterly abysmal whenever they've faced off against a team heading for the playoffs here in 2010. They lost by 13 to the Buccaneers at home in Week 2, and then by 17 at home to the Bears three weeks later. In Week 9 they lost by 31 points at home to the Saints, and then the Ravens beat down on them by 24 points in Week 11, rounding out the Panthers' 4-for-4 stretch of losing by well into double digits against playoff teams at home so far this season. Given that, and how well the Falcons, Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez have been playing, I'll take the NFC's leading team and lay the points, and assume this one will cover some time in the second half as the Panthers players are already looking towards the offseason.

Best of luck to everyone playing the games this weekend. Keep an eye on the Packers, Eagles, Giants and Buccaneers who all go on the road this weekend in crucial matchups against teams that are supposed to be inferior but who will all be looking to play the role of spoiler in what continues to be a very bunched-up NFC playoff picture here with just a quarter of the season left to play.

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Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I like how you suck then you justify. Very nice.

11:17 PM  
Blogger TraumaPoker said...

Thanks for your comment that followed 32 spammers who spam in many foreign languages on my pretty much long lost blog. Thanks for breaking up the spam with a comment that came with the smell of a fresh fart during Sunday morning service. Your ability to somehow stumble upon a 9 month old post that has a hand history with no relevant information as to the dynamic of the game and determine that I played it wrong on every street has opened my eyes to an entirely new world. Without a doubt I have been doing many things wrong not only in PLO but in life, my knowledge is but a pebble compared to your ocean of all knowing, all seeing, all being mind. I will at some point in my life think I have reached my pinnacle and I stand at the highest point with HammerPlayer only to realize that you have gone another 100 steps ahead of me. The times I spend trying to achieve what you have in the end will be lost in a time line that is filled with the haze of burnt bridges and the all too familiar stench of great failure. When will I realize that I can’t reach your highest of high points and come to my senses? When I go to jail? When I start to have to register as a sex offender when I move? When I can fly with my own jetpack? These questions I do not know, the only thing I do know is something Albert Einstein once said…..”There is nothing divine about morality; it is a purely human affair”

5:21 AM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

Now I wish I could find post Trauma is referring too, but I am in a hurry and simple click on profile failed.

Can't wait for this year's hatah rankings!

6:00 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

That was not me.

But since you mentioned it, you really did butcher that hand, Trauma. Do you even know what are proper starting hands to play in PLO? Even Bayne the suckout king would not play those Omaha hands.

9:24 AM  

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