Friday, December 17, 2010

NFL -- Week 15 Picks

Make that five straight weeks of winning picks after I went 2-1 once again in Week 14 to raise the season record to 23-18-2, again a fresh high for the season. Not many people I'm seeing out there are much over .500 at all, so it's been a very positive season so far for my picks by any measure, and yet the margin above even is small enough that any one bad week will basically take me right back down to the flat-line. That risk is very acute heading into this weekend too as we are looking at one of the best weeks of NFL matchups in recent memory, with several high-profile teams battling it out for divisional supremacy and/or playoff positioning. In fact I would argue that this is the most difficult week to pick the games yet in the 2010 regular season, and frankly with two of the games still not posted with lines here on Friday (Packers @ Patriots and Bears @ Vikings) this only increases the difficulty of finding games that look attractive to play.

With that in mind, there are only two games that jump out at me as good value plays this week, although I suspect that I might like to jump on the Vikings if they ever post a line there, as I think this Bears team is ripe for another beatdown after last week's humblement by the 2010 Superbowl Champion Patriots, especially at the hands of a pass rush-happy Minnesota squad out in the cold. So here are this week's two picks, which I will update over the weekend if they post a good line on Bears - Vikings at some point:

1. Philadelphia Eagles +3 at New York Giants. This will be my first time picking my hometown Eagles all season long, but on a slate full of very, very tough games, this one stands out as smelling like a bit of value here. The Giants have not looked all that great, even in winning their last few games, and they're not going to rush for 250 yards on the ground against the Philly defense like they did last week in destroying a broken down Vikings squad playing without their starting quarterback for the first time in his two years with the team. What's more, this week they had to put top wideout Steve Smith on injured reserve, further decreasing Eli Manning's weapons which he should need in spades in this key divisional matchup. Despite what you hear all over the media in New York City these days, this Giants team actually looks kind of down to me compared to the past few seasons, and while I think there is every chance that they find a way to squeak out a victory at home after already losing to the Eagles earlier this year in Philadelphia, it is hard to turn down the better team, getting three points, playing at a place where they've had some decent success over the past couple of years in what is almost always a crucial game for both teams. The winner here pretty much takes the NFC East -- in particular if it's Philly who will be a virtual lock with a victory -- while the loser could be in big trouble in terms of even making the 2010 NFL postseason. I'll hold my nose and take my boys and the points on the road.

2. New York Jets +6 at Pittsburgh Steelers. I don't know what it is with me and road dogs lately -- I guess I just enjoy killing the oddsmakers week in and week out or something -- but something about this game makes me think the Jets are going to make a real show of it. It's hard to predict an outright victory here for the Jets, especially with the way Sanchise has played the past couple of weeks, but if there's one thing I've seen out of Mark Sanchez in his short career, he tends to bounce back nicely after bad showings. Now I know that was not the case for him last week, but I'm expecting a decent performance out of Sanchise this weekend in Pittsburgh, in particular with word that defensive player of every year Troy Polamalu will sit this game out with a leg injury, a key piece of the puzzle in taking the Jets and the points here. The Steelers haven't exactly been lighting it up on offense these past several weeks, scoring just 16 and 13 points respectively in regualtion in Buffalo and Baltimore, followed up last week by 23 points in Cleveland but zero offensive touchdowns to get there. One thing I know for sure is that Rex Ryan will have his team all riled up to pile it on in particular on defense, and without Polamalu there to create offense from his defense, I predict the Steelers should have a hard time scoring enough to win this game by a full touchdown. I wouldn't want to take the Jets straight up, but with 6 points to boot I think this is clear value on the NYJ side.

Best of luck to those of you playing the games. Wish I hadn't talked myself into avoiding the fluffy 9-point line in Thursday night's Chargers - 49ers game -- Mike Singletary somehow still has a job despite three NFL coaches being fired this year in mid-season -- but there are so many huge games this weekend that almost anybody with a rooting interest is likely to be on the edge of their seat come 1pm ET on Sunday.

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Blogger Josie said...

Ut oh, I went with the Giants and the Steelers. I felt I couldn't take the Jets after their shitty performance last Sunday. After being in first all season, I'm now 8 points off of first, in 2nd (thank you green bay) so this is a critical week for me.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Either one of these games could go the other way of course. It's hard to find any games this week that look really good to be honest. I just think it's too many points in both cases and I can't help but see value on the other side.

But it's not like anybody including me will be surprised if the Giants beat the Eagles by 4 at home, or if the Steelers trounce the Jets at home with the way Sanchise has been playing lately.

Best of luck. I certainly hope you're wrong about the Giants though!

10:11 PM  
Blogger l.e.s.ter said...

Rex Grossman AND seven points in Dallas? How can you say no to that?

11:41 PM  
Blogger Schaubs said...

Pretty sure Josie doesn't pick ATS.

Her picks are straight up with confidence ratings...

1:03 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Well, then all the less to worry about -- I actually think there's a good chance of both the Giants and the Steelers winning their games straight-up this weekend. I just think the value is with the points in both games.

1:27 AM  
Blogger GnightMoon said...

Spot-on Eagles/Giants analysis. I think that line should be G-Men -1. Something to watch for in both your games: wind. If it's windy, expect the Pennsylvanians to take care of business. Eli Manning & Sanchez have traditionally struggled in the wind.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

Damn, you were right about both games. May have to check out your picks for week 16 before submitting mine. And yes, no spread in this league, winners straight up.

12:05 AM  
Blogger Josie said...

I ended up winning for the week by ONE POINT but would've smoked them had I gone with the steelers and the jets.

12:06 AM  

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