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The Black Cat's 128K Picks of 2014

2006: 58%
2007: 58%
2008: 62%
2009: 49%
2010: 60%
2011: 53%
2012: 43%
2013: 52%

WEEK 1: 2-6 ($100 Bet Net: -$418.18, $25 Stars: $-355.68)
WEEK 2: 3-5 ($100 Bet Net: -$227.27, $25 Stars: $-282.95)
WEEK 3: 3-5 ($100 Bet Net: -$227.27, $25 Stars: $-154.54)
WEEK 4: 3-4 ($100 Bet Net: -$127.24, $25 Stars: +$45.46)
WEEK 5: 3-4 ($100 Bet Net: -$127.24, $25 Stars: -211.36)
WEEK 6: 4-4 ($100 Bet Net: -$36.36, $25 Stars: $53.41)
WEEK 7: 3-5 ($100 Bet Net: -$227.27, $25 Stars: $-184.09)
WEEK 8: 3-3 ($100 Bet Net: -$27.27, $25 Stars: -$2.27
WEEK 9: 5-4 ($100 Bet Net: +$54.55, $25 Stars: +$129.54
WEEK 10: 3-6 ($100 Bet Net: -$327.27, $25 Stars: -$300
WEEK 11: 3-4 ($100 Bet Net: -$127.27, $25 Stars: -$162.50
WEEK 12: 2-3 ($100 Bet Net: -$118.18, $25 Stars: -$155.68
WEEK 13: 3-7 (Does it really matter?)

WEEK 14: 8-2 ($100 Bet Net: +$527.28, $25 Stars: +$345.45)
WEEk 15: 6-3 ($100 Bet Net: +245.46, $25 Stars: $145.46)

Favorites: 26-36
Dogs: 29-29
Overall: 54-65

WEEK 15 SUMMARY: WIN STREAK CONTINUES!

66% week on 6-of-9 follows last Sunday's 8-of-9 as the Black Cat finally heats up heading into the playoffs!

112. SD +5 Denver *****WIN*****

Q: How have they played this season?
While Denver is playing closer games now, they have been extremely consistent as the league's top offense and a very good defense. SD is good but hasn't been able to step up to beat the best teams.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
San Diego's offense is struggling a bit more now, and Denver isn't blowing people out anymore.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Denver's stifling run defense against the weak running game of the Chargers. The inability of the Chargers to pressure Peyton Manning.

Q: Who should I bet on?
Given the matchup comments, its easy to see this is a difficult game for the Chargers. The Chargers have played Denver well and the defense put up a good fight last week, but there's just not a whole lot here to hold your hat on.

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Denver WIN

Q: Final verdict?

Denver -5: Broncos 23, Chargers 12 WIN

Confidence: 5 Stars

WRAP-UP

The Broncos won and covered 22 to 10, reflecting the predicted score. The Chargers could not run the ball and the spread was protected by two late interception of Rivers. Manning was a bit bruised and ill today as he wasn't particularly sharp, but did enough to complement a great rushing attack led by Anderson, who had several nifty runs. Peyton was sacked once as both Qbs posted a mundane 233 yards.

113. Cleveland -1 Cincinnati LOSS

Q: How have they played this season?
Like Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Embarrassed their cities.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Cincinnati hopes to gain form against the passing defense that dominated Indianapolis last week, and that doesn't bode well. She-zel is taking over at Qb and while I don't have high hopes for her, there's not a lot riding on a Qb replacing a guy who managed 150 yards last week as the highlight of his stat line. Both teams are porous against the run but stingy in the air.

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Computer really likes Cleveland a lot, and I haven't broken the news to it about She-zel taking over. Even if that's a bad thing, probably not enough to sway that.

Q: Who should I bet on?
I hate to take She-zel, I really do, but the numbers are compelling on this one. The Bengals are really easy to run on and that figures to really fit into what She-zel can do.

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Cleveland LOSS

Q: Final verdict?

Cleveland -1: Browns 24, Bengals 18 LOSS

Confidence: 4 Stars

WRAP-UP

This week's "WTF was I thinking?" as The Bengals stomped 30-0. She-zel answered the question of "How much worse can you do than 150 yards and 2 INTs?" by racking up 80 yards and 2 INTs for a total of 54 net passing yards. The Bengals could not take advantage of the Browns passing defense, only racking up 103 yards themselves, but that mattered little as the Bengals rushed for 244 yards. She-zel was good for 13 yards on the day rushing and his teammates were not much better.

114. Carolina -3.5 TB LOSS

Q: How have they played this season?
Both of these teams have been absolute car wrecks!

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Play even worse.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Carolina should be able to handle the dormant running attack of Tampa Bay.

Q: Who should I bet on?
Derek Anderson looked great in their week 1 matchup and doesn't have too much to live up to replacing the 2014 edition of Cam Newton.

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Carolina. WIN

Q: Final verdict?

Carolina -3.5: Panthers 26, Bucs 19 LOSS

Confidence: 3.5 Stars

WRAP-UP

Carolina won but screwed the cover 19-17 as Anderson outpassed McClown 269-136, won a lively turnover battle, got and gave lots of rushing yards (most on 1 play to Martin), but couldn't get separation in the final score.

115. Baltimore -13.5 Jackonville LOSS

Q: How have they played this season?
Baltimore is at #8 with a solid offense and defense. Jacksonville has a poor defense and the most toothless offense in the NFL.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Baltimore's defense has struggled.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Baltimore's running game should have another huge day, while the Jags don't have a running game. Baltimore won't light it up but when they do throw, the yardage will be big. The pass rush of the Ravens against the Jags will be one of the fiercest of the day.

Q: Who should I bet on?
To lay this many points, you better have some major advantages and the Ravens do. They will crush Jacksonville in the running game and be all over the Qb if he dares to drop back to pass.

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Baltimore. WIN

Q: Final verdict?

Baltimore -13.5: Ravens 30, Jaguars 13 LOSS

Confidence: 3.5 Stars

WRAP-UP

The Ravens outlasted the Jags but failed to cover 20-12, as two FGs were missed that could have covered the spread to compound a surprisingly difficult day running the ball, particularly for Forsett who ran for 3 yards a carry for 48 yards. The Ravens jumped out to a quick lead with a defensive score and sacked Bortles 8 times while yielding no sacks themselves.

116. Chicago +1.5 New Orleans /*** WIN ***\

Q: How have they played this season?
Poorly.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Gotten even worse!

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Two of the league's worst pass defenses collide against somewhat dangerous Qbs.

Q: Who should I bet on?
Brees has played better on the road this season and figures to rack up huge numbers. Cutler is without his main weapon and -- already a guy hard to motivate -- seems to have every reason to toss his offensive coordinator underneath the bus with a sour performance this week. He's under contract, it isn't his job at stake! Truthfully, it is close enough that it could swing either way but the Bears seem to be fighting themselves now.

Q: Who will win straight-up?
The Saints. WIN

Q: Final verdict?

New Orleans -1.5: Saints 26, Bears 21

Confidence: 3.5 Stars

WRAP-UP

The game ended 31 to 15 although it wasn't that close as the teams exchanged touchdowns in the final two minutes. Brees had 375 yards and 3 TDs while Cutler didn't break the 200 yards punctuated with 7 sacks and 3 interceptions. The outcome was never in doubt.

117. Buffalo -4 Green Bay **WIN**

Q: How have they played this season?
Green Bay is ranked #4. Buffalo is hanging in as #12 thanks to their defense.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Both teams are playing exceptionally well down the stretch. No team has played better than Green Bay considering that Green Bay recently beat New England, and Buffalo's defense is getting even better.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Buffalo's defense will be a great test for the Packers. They are stingy against the pass and pressure the Qb better than any other team, and you can't run on them either.

Q: Who should I bet on?
I'll take the points in this one. Buffalo is a tough draw for any offense.

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Green Bay will win. LOSS

Q: Final verdict?

Buffalo +4: Bills 21, Packers 23 WIN

Confidence: 2 Stars

WRAP-UP

The Bills got the 21 predicted points but the Packers can only muster 13 points as they get UPSET by the Bills 21-13 to win and cover the spread! The Bills humbled Rodgers allowing for less than 50% completion, an interception, a fumble safety and a special teams unit that dominated with a big return.

118. Atlanta +3 Pittsburgh **WIN**

Q: How have they played this season?
Like mirror images -- great offenses, lousy defenses.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Atlanta's offense has been exploding but without Julio Jones, that should revert back to mediocrity.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Atlanta struggles to run the ball. Ben projects to have a bigger day than any other Qb, and he's had some very very big days this season!

Q: Who should I bet on?
Without Julio Jones, the Falcons are in a gun fight with a knife.

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Pittsburgh. WIN

Q: Final verdict?

Pittsburgh -3: Steelers 26, Falcons 21 WIN

Confidence: 2 Stars

WRAP-UP

A win and cover as the Steelers offense rolled to a 27-20 victory as Big Ben racked up 353, outlasting a Falcons team that passed for 310. Douglas and Hester filled the void admirably for injured Julio Jones but they couldn't overcome another sensational day by the Steelers three-headed offensive monster.

119. Tennessee +3 NY Jets **WIN**

Q: How have they played this season?
Tennessee is the league's worst team and least likely to win a game. The Jets are only marginally better.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Jets are running the ball extremely well and playing better defense as a result.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Neither team passes the ball well, so its mostly about the ground game here and the Jets are strong on both sides of the ball while the Titans are extremely weak.

Q: Who should I bet on?
Given the lopsided nature of the running attacks and the poor passing attacks, I think the choice is obvious.

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Jets WIN

Q: Final verdict?

Jets -3: Jets 24, Titans 19 WIN

Confidence: 2 Stars

WRAP-UP

The Jets won and covered 16 to 11 exactly meeting the projected spread of 5. Both teams struggled to throw the ball although the Jets did have an Eric Decker sighting. Decker had 100 yards despite stepping out on one big play and clear out dropping another. While the Jets outran the Titans, it wasn't exactly eye-popping so they had to gut out the win and were helped by ineffective Qb play from the Titan's Locker and Whitehurst while Gino Smith again had bouts of competant play.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

111. StL Rams -4.5 Arizona **WIN**

Q: Who will win straight-up?
The Arizona Cardinals by a nose.

Q: How have they played this season?
Arizona is currently clinging to the 13th spot and have a leading run defense to complement their jacked up running game and jacked up Qb situation. St Louis has been very productive on offense somehow but their defense is a bit more vulnerable than their past two games indicate.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Despite the hype, Arizona's offense hasn't totally collapsed but more substantially, the defense is arguably #1 right now. The Rams have gotten red hot against some of the league's most god awful teams, making their defense seem a bit better than it really is.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Both teams have jacked up Qb situations. They are both fantastic against the run although the nod goes to Arizona. However, Arizona can't run the ball even though they did find some yardage against the porous run defense of KC. The net-net of all that is very close and it'll be an absolute war in the trenches.

Q: Who should I bet on?
This game is super super close statistically, but I'll give a slight edge to the Cardinals on turnovers and sacks. Both teams are playing very well although the Cardinals have been the better team this season and won their earlier matchup by a lot, a game in which the backup played and threw 3-5 for 80 yards (for whatever that's worth). Arizona is also getting some good points love for a close match that'll save you if they lose by a FG. After a couple back-to-back blowouts, don't be shocked if the Rams find themselves in a game that goes to the wire this short week. If the Cardinals defense is really #1, they should be able to dominate the Rams again and win this game.

Q: Final verdict?

Arizona +4.5: Arizona 21, Rams 20 WIN

Confidence: 4 Stars

WRAP-UP

The Cardinals outlasted the Rams 12-6 as the Arizona defense dominated the Rams and controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides. Overcoming a late injury to their 2nd Qb, the Cardinals found room to run the ball again with Williams for the 2nd straight week. The Rams may have given up their only chance to win when they failed to go for it on 4th and goal from the 2 midway through the 4th quarter.

Week 14: THE FULL MONTY

It is desperate times so I'm going with all-out wall-to-wall coverage on EVERY SINGLE GAME this week!

Note: the spread selection is at the END of the section not the heading as I've always done previously. The heading is just listing the line for the home team. I apologize for any confusion!

102. San Diego +3.5 New England **WIN**

Q: Who will win straight-up?
New England WIN

Q: How have they played this season?
The Patriots are the best team in the league with a top 5 offense and an above-average defense. The Chargers are ranked 10th with an above-average offense and a struggling defense. San Diego struggles to force turnovers and pressure the Qb.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
The best have only gotten better in New England. The offense is now clicking better than anyone else in the league and the defense is looking like it's 2001 again. The Chargers are regressing on both sides of the ball despite a gutty win last week.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
San Diego has the 3rd best passing offense in the league on a ypp basis but are 3rd worst at running the ball. That lack of balance against the Patriots smells like trouble.

Q: Who should I bet on?
San Diego doesn't pressure Brady, doesn't force turnovers, can't control the clock...there's simply not a whole lot to fear here. One gets the feeling the Patriots are loving their trip out to the West Coast.

Q: The final verdict?
Patriots -3.5: Patriots 31, Chargers 20
Confidence: 5 Stars

WRAP-UP

Patriots outlasted the Chargers 23-14 as the Chargers brought a lot more defense than one would have expected. The Patriots gave up a big TD early with a turnover. Early in the 3rd, the Patriots ran 12 plays on 4 possessions without a first down and Brady once again made a bonehead throw to end a half. It was more difficult than I expected, but the result was essentially the same. Ryan Mathews and company only managed about 50 yards on the grounds, Rivers never broke 200 in the air, and Brady had over 300 yards thanks to Edelman bursting through a tackler for a long TD to cover all spreads.

103. Tennessee +1 NY Giants LOSS

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Very slight edge to the Titans. LOSS

Q: How have they played this season?
Like confused drunken monkeys. The Titans are ranked #32 and falling, the Giants only look good if you haven't actually watched them play.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
The Giants have gone from bad to fucking awful. They'll have a chance to sink even lower as they square off against arguably the worst team in the league.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
The Giants are trotting out the league's most incompetant rush defense and the pass defense isn't much better. Did I mention the Titans like to sack the Qb too? The Giants can't throw the ball well, can't run the ball well, and like to turnover the ball at a league high pace.

Q: Who should I bet on?
Probably no one given the quality on the field. But the Giants are in the tank and the Qb figures to be killed in this one. The Titans offense may look reasonably decent against this scout team of a defense and the Giants need to draft a new Qb because their current one is defective.

Q: The final verdict?
Titans +1: Titans 28, Giants 23
Confidence: 5 Stars

WRAP-UP

This kind of game of dregs tends to blowout one way or the other, and it blew out the other way with the Giants rolling to an easy 36-7 win. The Giants proved definitively that they are NOT the worst team in the NFL. You could argue I shouldn't have had a game this sloppy ranked so high. You'd probably be right.

104. Arizona +1 KC **WIN**

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Arizona should win an even matchup having a sizable home field advantage. WIN

Q: How have they played this season?
Arizona has an average offense and an outstanding defense. The Chiefs are the #2 team on my rankings with a better than average offense and one of the best defenses in the league. The Chiefs excel in pass defense and the Cardinals excel in run defense. But the Chiefs run defense is terrible!

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Both offenses are starting to struggle but its more prominent for the Chiefs. Arizona's defense is only getting better.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Its one of the top 5 rushing attacks in the NFL against one of the top 5 run defenses in the NFL! On the flip side, you have one of the worst rushing attacks of the Cardinals against one of the worst running defenses in the Chiefs. My projected net-net on all this is the running games could be very close and the same is true for the passing games. KC does not have much of a pass attack to stretch the field so they will have to go at the teeth of the Cardinals strength: run defense. With the yardage being so close, this one could come down to turnovers, a stat which favors Arizona.

Q: Who should I bet on?
Arizona's losses have come to teams with great rush defenses. These included Detroit, Seattle, and Denver. They have played a couple teams with awful run defenses like KC and won both of these games (Giants 25, Cowboys 28) by double-digits. KC hasn't topped 24 points since week 4. When they have played top run defenses, they've done ok. Denver beat them twice, holding them to 17 and 16 points. Seattle and the Jets held them to 24 in losses and Buffalo lost but held them to 17 points.
This is a very close matchup that probably will come down to who wins a turnover battle that appears to favor Arizona. After 8 weeks of scoring 20 points or more, Arizona hasn't cracked 20 points in 3 straight weeks with the Qb change. But they've gotten almost nothing from Ellington since they played the Dallas Cowboys. If Stepfan Taylor can get going against the Chiefs -- and I can't think of a single reason why he won't rush for 100 yards considering his 3.2 ypc average and 198 career yards -- I like their chances.

Q: The final verdict?
Cardinals +1, Cardinals 20, Chiefs 17
Confidence: 4 Stars

WRAP-UP

A spot-on Black Cat Call as Arizona gutted out the game by exactly 3 with a 17 to 14 score! It was Williams not Taylor who carried the mail and racked up 100 yards against the Chiefs suspect run defense as the Cardinals outgained the Chiefs 141-121 on the ground. The Cardinals top-ranked run defense held Jamal Charles in check except for one big play. However, the real difference was the turnover game, which was won by the Cardinals 2-0 as predicted and sealed the game from going to OT.

105. Jacksonville +5 Houston **WIN**

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Houston by a lot WIN

Q: How have they played this season?
Not all that well. Jacksonville's offense is frequently MIA and neither defense is great, although they aren't far off the average mark.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Houston is getting better, with mild improvements on both sides of the ball. Jacksonville's defense looks worse than ever and the offense is the same -- which is to say, still pretty terrible.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Houston's defense is the #1 turnover machine against a very turnover happy Jacksonville squad. Jacksonville will get to the quarterback at a surprisingly frequent pace.

Q: Who should I bet on?
Houston will roll up the yardage on these guys and force turnovers. The Texan passing game is nothing to wake up the sleeping dead, but they can hook up for a few good throws a game.

Q: The final verdict?
Texans -5: Texans 27, Jags 19
Confidence: 3 Stars

WRAP-UP

I said the Texans would get 27 points and they got...27 points! The actual score was 27-13 so the Texans covered and rolled up yards on the ground on a nice day for Foster.

106. Detroit -10 Tampa Bay **WIN**

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Detroit, duh WIN

Q: How have they played this season?
Both offenses have been shockingly horrible, although Detroit only because they were expected to be great and Tampa was expected to be at least decent. Detroit's defense has been terrific and leads the league in my rush defense ranking on a ypc basis.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
With the return of Megatron, Detroit's offense is showing life and their defense is playing as well as anyone in the league. Tampa Bay's defense is playing better but the schedule has been weak.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Detroit's top ranked rush defense takes on an anemic Buc running attack. If you like to watch teams run for 2 yards a pop, that is. And passing the ball won't be much easier.

Q: Who should I bet on?
The Lions. No seriously, take the Lions. They are ascending with a great defense and off of a long week rest.

Q: The final verdict?
Lions -10, Lions 23, Bucs 10
Confidence: 3 Stars

WRAP-UP

Lions WIN 34-17 covering the spread, as the Bucs ran 14 times for 26 yards, the predicted 2 yards per rush attempt. The defense dominated and the offense rolled up over 300 passing yards so this game went as expected.

107. Oakland +8.5 San Francisco **WIN**

Q: Who will win straight-up?
San Francisco LOSS

Q: How have they played this season?
Like 11 guys right after a big frat party. The only thing really distinguishing these two teams is that the 49ers still can kick some ass on defense.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Apologized for embarrassing performances repeatedly.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
San Francisco can still play pass defense although its debatable if they should give their secondary the week off.

Q: Who should I bet on?
The 49ers offense is in the toilet, but its not clear the Raiders can score on the 49ers defense. Probably the smartest bet would be the under!

Q: The final verdict?
Raiders +8.5: Raiders 12, 49ers 17
Confidence: 3 Stars

WRAP-UP

Dereck Carr sliced up the 49ers vaunted pass defense to roll to a 24-13, as he completed 22 of 28 passes for 254 yards! The struggling 49ers offense continued to struggle and could not keep up and never looked like an 8.5 point favorite.

108. Denver -9 Buffalo **WIN**

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Denver WIN

Q: How have they played this season?
Denver is a top 5 team with the best offense and a very good defense. Buffalo rank around 11 with a sub-par offense and a very good defense. In a recent 3 game road trip, the Broncos dropped 2 of 3 beating only the Raiders.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Denver is slipping a bit on both offense and defense. The Bills are red hot and are playing fantastic defense that is helping their offense look pretty good. I don't suggest the Broncos take this one lightly.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Buffalo leads the league in sacks but Denver is the hardest team to sack in the league. Both teams excel against the run and pass, with Denver having the 2nd best pass defense in the league and the 2nd best rush defense in the league on a ypp basis. The Bills are 2nd in the league at defensive turnovers. The Broncos can also rush the passer. This is a defensive battle!

Q: Who should I bet on?
The Broncos have crushed at home but they did struggle against the Seahawks and Dolphins, two comparable teams to the Bills. They haven't looked dominant lately and a double-digit win at home is not a foregone conclusion. While they figure to win, the points are tempting as I feel confident the Broncos will get fewer than 28 points and the Bills will get 17 or more.

Q: The final verdict?
Bills +9: Broncos 24, Bills 17
Confidence: 2 Stars

WRAP-UP

The game ended EXACTLY Broncos 24, Bills 17! Of course, a late 4th and 20-something play to keep a end-of-game-meaningless TD alive helped considerably. The Bills did manage to hold Manning in check as he struggled to 173 yards on just 20 throws and 2 interceptions. The Bills could not run the ball but found some success in the air, also tossing 2 picks. In the end, the Bills were lucky to cover with 2 late scores but the defense did just enough to keep this one in reach!

109. Cleveland +3.5 Indianapolis **WIN**

Q: Who will win straight-up?
The computer rates it a "Pick 'em".

Q: How have they played this season?
Indianapolis is rated #6 overall and Cleveland is rated #21. The Colts have a good offense but don't have a "great" rating (more on this later). The defense is average. Cleveland's offense is slightly below par and their defense is average overall.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
This gets a bit interesting. The computer gives this one a McKayla Maroney "NOT impressed!" face for the Colts. The ranking is down, the offense is down, the defense is yielding more points. What the hell is going on here? Why would my computer not be heads-over-heals in love with the Colts, scoring 49, 23, 20, 40, and 34 points in recent weeks? The answer is competition. The Redskins, Giants, Jaguars, and Steelers are 4 of the worst pass defenses in the entire league. When they played the Patriots, who aren't even in my top pass defenses, they only got 20 points -- still decent but less amazing. On the Browns, the offense is rated "steady" despite media attention that they are in rapid decline. Frankly, the Browns have struggled for a couple months ever since they lost their center (but we'll just blame the Qb).

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
I think we need to start with that passing offense of the Colts. I have them rated #1 in total yards and #2 in yards per pass. They are playing the #2 ypp defense in Cleveland, so this is a very key matchup. The Colts will still have tremendous success, but probably in a 7 yards per pass range that isn't much different from what the Browns can produce. That is a strength on strength matchup. In the running game, the teams offensively are equal despite the Browns suckering the Colts recently with that RB stiff, but the Colts rush defense is one of the worst in the league. Two other notable statistics include the Colts being rather good at sacking the Qb, not a strength of the Browns despite an overall stiff pass defense. On forcing turnovers, the Browns are in the top 10 in the league. That's a notable fact as the Colts are pretty generous in the turnover category. Overall, the matchups favor the Browns.

Q: Who should I bet on?
Let's look at the Colts this season again. I want to know how they've done against elite pass defenses. The best one they've played so far is Cincinnati and that was a 27 to 0 game at home they won. They also played Denver in the first game of the season and that resulted in 24 points. They have only been held down to 20 points this season, which was against NE and Baltimore at home. On the road, they have scored 24, 44, 33, 34, and 40 points. I think we are basically looking at 24 points for the Colts in this matchup, their toughest matchup on the road to date.
Cleveland has scored 26, 21, 31, 23, 22, and 7 points. They've done very well when playing teams with poor run defenses: Pittsburgh and New Orleans. 27, 26, and 31 points. The 21 point game was against Baltimore, a team that is excellent at stopping the run. I think there is a very compelling case that the Browns will score about 23 points.
Based on recent play, my predicted spreads greatly favor Cleveland. Based on the season, it looks close and only one of my breakdowns has the Colts covering the spread with a 7 point win and this is largely based on the explosiveness of their victories over weak passing defenses.

Q: The final verdict?
Browns +3.5, Browns 23, Colts 24
Confidence: 2 Stars

WRAP-UP

Colts comeback to win 25-24 as this prediction also went exactly as called. The Browns pass defense was fantastic and harassed Luck into his worst game of the season and got turnovers, but somehow it just wasn't enough. The two-point conversion could have screwed some bettors getting just 3 had it been successful. It wasn't.

110. Philadelphia -1.5 Seattle **WIN**

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Seattle WIN

Q: How have they played this season?
Seattle has managed to hold on to 7th place with a mediocre offense and a top 10 defense. The Eagles are right behind them with a top offense and a mediocre defense.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Seattle has looked a bit weaker and the Eagles have improved slightly even with Sanchez at the helm, but mostly the same.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Seattle still has a formidable defense, ranking near the top for pass and rush defense on a ypp basis. They also have the best running game, but that'll go up against a top 10 run defense of the Eagles. The Eagles can roll up the passing yardage on most NFL defenses so that'll be a great test for Seattle.

Q: Who should I bet on?
The top rushing team in the NFL with a great defense sounds like a really bad matchup for an Eagles team used to playing the sorry defenses in the NFC East. The Eagles are not a great home team and they still have Sanchize at Qb, something that is a risk every week in my book.

Q: The final verdict?
Seahawks +1.5: Seahawks 24, Eagles 23
Confidence: 2 Stars

WRAP-UP

Seattle's defense dominated the Eagles high-flying offense to win 24-14. Sanchize lived down to expectations completing only 10 of 20 throws for less than 100 yards and a pick. The Eagles strong run defense did ok against the traditional running game of the Seahawks, but were sliced up by Qb runs and cross-field screens as the Seahawks rolled to victory!

Minnesota -5 NYJ LOSS

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Minnesota by a home field edge WIN

Q: How have they played this season?
Awful.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
If you've actually suffered through one of their games, mostly tormented you. The Vikings have been looking respectable. The Jets can't complete a 5 yard pass on a pop warner team.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
The Jets are great at stopping the run while the Vikings are awful at it. Considering the Jets are the 2nd best rushing team in the league and coming off a game where they embarrassed the Dolphins on the ground, this is the matchup concern. Without AP, the Jets have very little to stop. Minnesota is great at rushing the Qb, but that doesn't figure too large considering the Jets already give up 1 sack per pass attempt on average.

Q: Who should I bet on?
The Vikings are a better overall team for sure but this is a lousy matchup for them. Their passing game can not overcome the simple fact that they should get throttled in the running game and have trouble possessing the ball. When passing yards are at a premium, I think points are too.

Q: The final verdict?
Jets +5: Jets 17, Vikings 21
Confidence: 1 Star

WRAP-UP

At one point, this game was actually 21-17. It tied up 24-24 and the Vikings screwed bettors with an overtime TD. The Jets did outgain the Vikings by a sizable 168-114, and augmented that with a surprisingly good day by Gino Smith and a lot of yards for Percy Harvin. They should have covered this game.

Miami -3 Baltimore LOSS

Q: Who will win straight-up?
The computer rates it a "Pick 'em".

Q: How have they played this season?
Miami ranks 5th with a good offense and a very good defense. The Ravens are 9th and are slightly behind the Dolphins in both categories. Miami has THE BEST pass defense in the league.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Baltimore has been regressing and their arrow is pointed down. The Dolphins have been great, but Monday night left a lot of people wondering if there isn't a massive hole on their defense, where they rank near the bottom 10 on run defense and getting worse. Baltimore has been establishing themselves as a dangerous running team. The Dolphins haven't won a ton of games lately, but its been a very tough schedule and they are competing extremely well.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
The top 10 rush attack of the Ravens against the bottom 10th and struggling rush defense of the Dolphins. An overhyped Dolphins offense. The #3 rushing attack in the league on a ypr basis against a top 5 run defense of the Ravens.

Q: Who should I bet on?
I think this game comes down to the running game and I favor the Ravens on this point. If the Dolphins have to panic to try to slow down the Ravens like they did against the Jets, expect Flacco to eat their #1 passer rating alive. The computer loves the Dolphins except on the statistical matchup, where I think a different story may unfold on Sunday that favors Baltimore. The passing game of the Dolphins is not as strong as you might believe and losing the running battle could be very decisive for this Dolphins team.
Baltimore has not fared well against teams with good pass defenses like the Dolphins, losing both games against the Bengals but edging Cleveland by 2 on the road. Bad run defenses hasn't been an automatic either. They couldn't get the running game going against Pittsburgh or Indianapolis in other road losses. Miami has played several good run defenses and done well, but they were road games and they lost to very good teams (Denver, Detroit). They played Buffalo at home recently and smoked them. The Ravens rarely score under 20 points but the Dolphins are more like a box of chocolates.

Q: The final verdict?
Dolphins -3: Dolphins 24, Ravens 20
Confidence: 1 Star

WRAP-UP

The Ravens won 28-13 as the running game caught life in the 2nd half and Flacco ended up with a really solid day against the Dolphins leading pass defense. This game has me kicking myself a bit as this is what you would think might happen based on how the Dolphins looked on Monday night. But that's why it was a 1 star selection...

Washington +3 St. Louis LOSS

Q: Who will win straight-up?
St. Louis...by a hair WIN

Q: How have they played this season?
The Rams have been shockingly respectable. The Redskins...not so much...underperforming on both sides of the ball.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
It seems like the Rams must be 12-0 by now but it hasn't been that good. How the Redskins have won a game this year is a bit of a mystery.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
I recommend Cincinnati/Pittsburgh. Oh you mean this game? Probably the god awful Redskins pass defense against any team that can complete a forward pass.

Q: Who should I bet on?
The Redskins secondary is terrible but the Rams may not have the ability to exploit that. With Colt McCoy at the helm, the Redskins offense is competant even if their defense underwhelms. The Skins have more big play ability than the Colts, although the loss of Desean Jackson may even that out.

Q: The final verdict?
Redskins +3, Redskins 24, Rams 26
Confidence: 1 Star

WRAP-UP

A humiliating effort for the Redskins offense as they get shutout 24-0. Alfred Morris carries 8 times for 6 yards and the line offered little protection for McCoy, who was dumped 7 times. This one also goes into the 1 star "WTF was I thinking?" pile.

New Orleans -9.5 Carolina **WIN**

Q: Who will win straight-up?
New Orleans by home field advantage. LOSS

Q: How have they played this season?
Very disappointing. The Saints defense is terrible again and the Panthers everything is terrible.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Carolina's offense has completely shutdown.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
The Saints still have one of the most prolific offenses in the game and their running game is top 5. But the defense is simply terrible and they have to hope Carolina doesn't wake up this week.

Q: Who should I bet on?
Brees figures to have a great day but the Saints defense should make the Panthers offense seem respectable. It's hard to expect them to beat this number.

Q: The final verdict?
Panthers +9.5, Saints 30, Panthers 21
Confidence: Not Much

WRAP-UP

Not only did the Panthers offense wake-up, they exploded all over the Saints terrible defense to rout them at home 41-10. I don't know if a defense can play much worse than this one. The Panthers had 200 rushing yards at halftime!

Cincinnati -3.5 Pittsburgh LOSS

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Bengals by a small edge. LOSS

Q: How have they played this season?
One word: irratically. Both are rated outside the middle of the pack with slightly-better than average offenses and struggling defenses. The Steelers in particular are really bad, struggling in every area of defense this year. Cincinnati has a strong pass defense but can't get after the Qb, which can be trouble against Big Ben.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
Not too much change for either team as the season has progressed. The Bengals defense has gotten slightly better but the offense struggles to be average. The Steelers can move the ball but the defense is disappointing.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
Pittsburgh is in the top 5 of passing offense and they are up against a top 5 pass defense in the Bengals. The Bengals offense is very average but the Pittsburgh defense should make them drool.

Q: Who should I bet on?
This is the first of two games between these two teams. The last time the Steelers played a good pass defense on the road in Ohio, they lost to Cleveland 31-10. They won 30-27 earlier in the season against Cleveland, which is at best even play at home.
The Bengals are coming off a 3 game road swing and won all 3 games. They've won (or tied) every home game this year also, except for a recent Browns game -- and the Browns have a stiff pass defense. But on the negative side, the teams they've beaten at home by more than 3 points were terrible teams and the spread looms large here. It does look like the Bengals should win even though the Steelers rank as the better team, and with the Steelers defense being very suspect and the Bengals on a mini-roll, how much confidence can you have in a tight 3 point game?

Q: The final verdict?
Bengals -3.5: Bengals 27, Steelers 23
Confidence: Not Much

WRAP-UP

The Bengals had a 4 point lead at halftime and into the 3rd quarter, but the Steelers offense steamrolled them late to pull away 42-21 in the 4th quarter. Both offenses clicked but the Steelers played a little bit of defense and outgained them on the ground 193-86 as Levon Bell had another mammoth day.

Green Bay -12.5 Atlanta

Q: Who will win straight-up?
Green Bay WIN

Q: How have they played this season?
Green Bay is ranked #3 overall and Atlanta isn't. Atlanta's offense isn't as good as you think and Green Bay's defense is better than you think.

Q: What have they done for me lately?
It doesn't take a whole lot in the NFL, but the Falcons have really improved. The defense is clicking a bit better and the offense is clicking a bit better and they have begun to play some winning football and climb out of the basement. The Packers moved to #2 as the defense is playing great football to complement a Top 5 offense. Both teams are great at forcing turnovers.

Q: What are the key matchups to watch?
This is literally the best passing offense against the absolute worst passing defense which -- btw -- doesn't have a pass rush either. I'm not sure you need to look much further than that!

Q: Who should I bet on?
The numbers point to the Falcons but the mismatch in the passing game is so great, I can't recommend this especially on prime time.

Q: The final verdict?
No Pick: Packers 30, Falcons 17

WRAP-UP

I won't apologize for not calling the Falcons. Rodgers sliced them up, tossing 3 TDs and 300 yards. But it was a tale of two teams for the Falcons, who looked like they have most of the season early (bad) and they looked like they have played the last few weeks late (good), coming back from a 31-17 deficit (see score posted) to cover the spread late 43-37. They clung to a cover made on late scores by a mere 5 yards when the Packers burst to a game-clinching long run.

(THURSDAY NIGHT)

101. Chicago +3.5 Dallas


This is an interesting game from a handicapper's perspective. Dallas has struggled and their arrow is pointing down. The passing yardage stacks up similar although Dallas gets much better yards per pass as the Bears use the passing game to augment the run with a lot of screen-type plays. Chicago should still run it about 23 times for 100 yards, so that's healthy. About 2 turnovers each, about 2 sacks each. Its all pretty even. The stats point to a Dallas win, but not by much. Let's face it: Thursday nights at home are pretty cushy. Even the RAIDERS won a Thursday night game at home. Against the Chiefs! Now, that was a short week and this isn't a short week, but I got numbers here that point to a double-digit advantage for the Bears best case and a small Cowboys victory worst case. So I'm going to have to take those 3.5 points. But with Romo and Cutler, I think you have a game of Russian Romolette here anyway.
Chicago +3.5: Chicago 26, Cowboys 24 **LOSS**

Confidence: None (They lost already!)

WEEK 13 (CONT)

94. Arizona -2 -102 Atlanta (5 Stars) LOSS
Arizona was unable to overcome a surging Seattle team last week, but its not like they didn't have their opportunities. Now they come down a couple notches to the Falcons and everything I have to consider says they should be more than a 3 point favorite in Hot-Lanta vs the Hotmess Falcons. And...Fitzgerald is back btw.
Cardinals 24, Falcons 19

95. Carolina +2.5 Minnesota (5 Stars) LOSS
This is a bit of a contrarian selection for me. The way these teams have played, the Vikings are positioned to be one of the best values of the weekend. If that meant the Vikings were going to cover, I'd be a rich man this season. I still prefer Newton over Bridgewater and I think the turnover and sack battle may favor the Panthers this weekend. Statistically, they match up pretty even.
Panthers 21, Vikings 23

96. Washington +8.5 Indianapolis (5 Stars) LOSS
If the insider leaks (or your own eyes) are to be believed, RG3 was playing about as badly as the Qb position can be played. With the running game finally catching fire and more competency from the Qb position, the Redskins may surprise even if this line value is not overwhelming. McCoy beat Romo and that's something Qbs only as good as Mark Sanchez can claim.
Redskins 21, Colts 27

97. NY Giants -2.5 Jacksonville (4 Stars) LOSS
Certainly with the Giants playing so poorly lately and Jacksonville not being anywhere near as bad as earlier in the season, the Jags have some hope. But if the Giants don't need to light it up, Manning can't be nearly as horrible as he usually is. So I think the Giants can dial things down and manage a win in this game.
Giants 23, Jags 20

98. New Orleans +4 Pittsburgh (4 Stars) **WIN**
I'm taking points in a possibly losing battle in this one as well as these two mirror teams take each other on. While Pittsburgh has been better of late with the Saints recent crash-and-burn stand at home, the Saints have been better overall this season. This could be a very close battle of two offenses lacking defenses and it could go either way.
Saints 27, Steelers 28

99. Denver -1.5 KC (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Chiefs strike me as the kind of team the Broncos struggle against. They run the ball well, they play great defense, Seattle anyone? So this game is no joke. There's a strong argument for the Chiefs here, but when I look at the statistical matchup and who likely will win this game, the Broncos own every major stat category. And based on line value picking on the Broncos, my record for and against them is abysmal so I'm not going to sweat the line value.
Broncos 20, Chiefs 17

100. SD +6.5 Baltimore (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Chargers disappointed a lot of bettors last week, but they did win the game. The Ravens are much hotter but when I take the broader view, the Chargers are simply too big of an underdog in this game. They are the better passing team by far and will pressure Flacco. The Ravens rushing attack isn't likely to produce the way it did last week either, although the Chargers running game will likely be screens. I have to like a spread giving up nearly a TD even with the underdog having a legitimate chance to win.
Chargers 20, Ravens 24

THANKSGIVING

91. Chicago +7 Detroit (3 Stars) LOSS
You couldn't ask for a better matchup of devout chokers in a primetime game! Detroit has the better Qb and even the better defense, if not also a better record of choking in big spots. While I don't doubt the Lions will win the game, I just can't lay 7 points here.
Bears 17, Lions 23

92. Dallas -3 Philadelphia (3 Stars) LOSS
The line seems pretty fair, but I just know that Mark Meltdown is coming!
Cowboys 28, Eagles 24

93. SF -1 Seattle (3 Stars) LOSS
This one is difficult to handicap but do I think the 49ers will win this game? Yes I do!
SF 20, Seahawks 17

WEEK 12

Back to basics for me! This week, I made my lines, looked at the NFL lines, and took the value. While my lines fell within a point or so for most of the spreads, a few interesting games fell out. I think I am looking at these games wisely and this could be a very solid week...finally! Week 12 is historically an awful week for home teams and my projections follow this trend.

86. Cleveland +3 Atlanta (5 Stars) **WIN**
I'm not going to overanalyze a couple of defensive injuries. I've gone against teams with corners that were 3 days in the NFL and 5 feet tall unsuccessfully this week, so I'm going to look at the big picture here. And the big picture is a really crappy Falcons team with a couple wins against a couple other crappy teams is playing one of the big surprises in the NFL, a team with an efficient passing game, decent run productions, and better in the turnover and sack battle. The Falcons being favored in this game is an atrocity, much like their offense and defense for most of the past 2 years.
Browns 24, Falcons 21

87. Arizona +6.5 Seattle (5 Stars) LOSS
Early in the season with the Seahawks opening hot and the Cardinals with a young Qb, I could see this game being 6.5. But since then, the better team BY FAR has been the Cardinals, who could justify being large road favorites against these squibs. I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle and a slight nod to the Seahawks pulling this one out. The most interesting matchup will be the running game of the Seahawks against the stout run defense of the Cardinals. This projects as a huge advantage for Seattle but that's offset somewhat by the sacks and turnover power of Arizona. This one gets the "Bengals at Saints" award and we know how dey and dat turned out!
Cardinals 19, Seattle 21

88. Jacksonville +14 Indianapolis (4.5 Stars) LOSS
Jacksonville can RUN the ball against the stiff Colts, and the Colts are saddled with a Browns castoff who can't get it done. So its actually predictable that the Jags will own time of possession, limit opportunities, and be in this game. Hell, they might even win it. If, of course, said hell freezes over...
Jags 19, Colts 29

89. Tennessee +11 Philadelphia (4 Stars) LOSS
You want to lay 11 points on MARK SANCHEZ? In the most hostile home stadium in the NFL. 11 points?? REALLY?
Titans 21, Eagles 27

90. Chicago -5.5 Tampa Bay (3 Stars) **WIN**
I think the Bears win this game and given that, the spread really shouldn't be an issue for the hot or cold bears. I say "hot" this week.
Bears 26, Bucs 17

WEEK 11


I'm not going to surprise anyone with my picks this week. This lack of originality likely isn't a good thing but we'll see...

79. New Orleans -7 Cincinnati (5 Stars) LOSS
The Saints bring an offense at the top of its game at home against the reeling Bengals defense, not to mention the struggles of the Bengal offense. It'd be hard to select two teams that have been moving in more opposite directions and the Saints simply aren't going to drop a 2nd home game this week.
Saints 35, Bengals 21

80. Washington -7.5 Tampa Bay (4.5 Stars) LOSS
If you look at the Redskins big play capability and pressure on the punchless Bucs, this one could be a surprising mismatch.
Redskins 30, Bucs 17

81. SF -4 New York Giants (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Giants defense may be the absolute worst in the league right now, and the offense is punchless.
49ers 26, Giants 17

82. Pittsburgh -6.5 Tennessee (4 Stars) LOSS
The Steelers defense always finds the fountain of youth in primetime, and that isn't good for the Titans fielding an offense that makes the Jacksonville Jaguars look "explosive". And we know the Steeler offense can be dangerous.
Steelers 27, Titans 13

83. Denver -9.5 StL (3.5 Stars) LOSS
While the Rams are giant-killers this season, this time they'll get squashed like bugs. The mismatch of the passing game and passing pressure is ginormous, as will be the final spread.
Broncos 31, Rams 20

84. KC -1.5 Seattle (3 Stars) **WIN**
I'm banking on the best defense in the league, and it sure as hell isn't the Seahawks anymore!
Chiefs 27, Seahawks 17

85. NE +3 Indianapolis (3 Stars) **WIN**
Is this a joke? While a trap this may be, I can't overlook the league's hottest offense against "Peyton-lite".
Patriots 30, Colts 26

WEEK 10

Racking up my top 4 highest rated picks (actually 5, didn't get the Thursday night selection up) and picking against the Steelers with the caveat that Ben doesn't throw 6 TDs again...I am dangerously close to good selections again. My game-of-the-week is somehow 7-2 now. Now just to do better on the other 60 picks!

70. Cleveland +6.5 Cincinnati (4 Stars) **WIN**
Despite the fact that Cincinnati feels like they are getting hot, I can't find much to separate these teams statistically.
Bengals 24, Browns 21

Historically, week 10 is not a great week for home teams. However, the ones I like, I do like so many of them made their way on to the betting board this week.

71. Tampa +3 Atlanta (5 Stars) LOSS
This is by far the play of the week. Forget the fact that the previous meeting was a landslide of epic proportions. It was week 2, a Thursday night, and a game that slipped out of hand from the kickoff. That was a long time ago! At worst, these two teams stack up dead even and you got home field. But a deeper look shows a Falcons team that is just playing the absolute worst ball in the NFL. Look for Tampa to avenge their week 2 disaster and WIN the game!
Buccaneers 28, Falcons 17

72. Jacksonville +7 Dallas (4.5 Star) LOSS
Romo's BACK (get it?) but is he the same Romo? Can I finish the game? And will it even matter against a Jags team that is playing better than the Cowboys right now? In a game the Jags could potentially win, you gotta like the 7.
Jags 20, Cowboys 17 (OT)

73. New Orleans -5 San Francisco (4 Stars) LOSS
The Saints offense is back in form and playing at home. That spells trouble for the 49ers who aren't playing great offense right now. -5 is cheap for a team that hasn't lost at home in a season of games!
Saints 26, 49ers 19

74. Green Bay -7 Chicago (4 Stars) **WIN**
Chicago's defense just isn't getting it done, and won't get it done against the Packers top-flight O. The turnovers just can't keep happening if the Bears are going to compete.
Packers 34, Bears 20

75. Miami +3 Detroit (3.5 Stars) LOSS
The blazing hot Dolphins are playing a Lions offense that just hasn't been very good. Yes, I realize they are getting healthy but can a couple players fill a chasm this wide? I'm not sold.
Dolphins 23, Lions 16

76. Pittsburgh -3.5 NY Jets (3 Stars) LOSS
I'm playing corner for the Jets this week against Big Ben, who only has 12 TDs in 2 games. Are you kidding me?
Steelers 23, Jets 19

77. Arizona -6.5 StL (3 Stars) **WIN**
The Rams have won more games than anyone could even dare dream, and the Cardinals on the road is just asking too much right now with that Rams defense and a young Qb against the hyper-aggressive defense of the Cardinals.
Cardinals 24, Rams 17

78. Buffalo +1 KC (2 Stars) LOSS
KC looks too good to be true, so I'll roll on the Bills as this week's "Miami vs. San Diego" opportunity.
Bills 23, Chiefs 20

WEEK 9

As long as the teams I pick scores 50+ points, they usually win! While last week didn't rack up good stats, it extended my GOW record to 6-2 so even in this disaster of a season, there's something good there. There is no doubt that the 2nd half of the season will be better than the 40% win rate I had in the 1st!

61. Jacksonville +10.5 Cincinnati (5 Stars) **WIN**
The conventional wisdom is coming off a huge victory, getting AJ Green back, and playing one of the worst teams will yield a double-digit victory for the Bengals. But the focus on the Bengals is misplaced. They have serious defensive issues and the defense of the Jaguars is playing pretty well now. While the Jags continue to blow on offense, they could find the Bengals to their liking. The Jags need to run the ball and avoid the turnovers and this one could be interesting!
Bengals 21, Jags 17

62. KC -9 NY Jets (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
While I may have missed a real bargain last week when the Jets melted down, this won't be a get right game for the Jets against the team playing the best defense in the NFL. The Chiefs have a 2 yards per pass attempt advantage, which is ridiculously huge.
Chiefs 30, Jets 10

63. Oakland +14 Seattle (4 Stars) **WIN**
You might see this as a 'get right game' for the Seahawks and it may be that. But you don't get pumped up for the Raiders. The Seahawks are playing like a very ordinary team and ordinary teams don't get 15 points.
Seahawks 23, Raiders 17

64. Miami -2.5 San Diego (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
This isn't about San Diego. The Chargers are playing great and are in need of this win, but Miami is playing great too.
Dolphins 30, Chargers 27

65. Houston +1.5 Philadelphia (3.5 Stars) LOSS
I like the Texans when the other team puts their Qb in harm's way repeatedly. I think the Eagles are declining and are starting to feel the loss of DeSean Jackson.
Texans 28, Eagles 23

66. Denver -3 New England (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Both teams have been playing great, but the Broncos can just rack up more big plays in the passing game and its really hard to run on the Broncos. The Patriots defense is relatively poor and the offense has been covering this up.
Broncos 31, Patriots 23

67. SF -9.5 StL (3 Stars) LOSS
The 49ers are playing too well and while the Rams have been a huge surprise on offense, they can't keep overcoming their injuries and the 49ers are playing outstanding on both sides of the ball.
49ers 33, Rams 20

68. Baltimore -2 Pittsburgh (3 Stars) LOSS
Both offenses are playing outstanding but the Pittsburgh defense just isn't there this year. Unless Roethlisberger can put up 50 points again, they don't figure to win this one.
Ravens 24, Steelers 20

69. Arizona +2.5 Dallas (3 Stars) **WIN**
The Cowboys couldn't handle the skins version of the aggressive 0 defense and the Cardinals run it a hell of a lot better than the Redskins do. The Cardinals are also great against the run. This is a bad matchup for the Cowboys and an especially bad one on the heels of the MNF game with Romo hurting.
Cowboys 25, Cardinals 24

WEEK 8

I'm willing to concede the 49ers over the Broncos was a ridiculously horrible pick. I take some consolation that there were actually other people who thought the 49ers were worth +6.5 in that situation...I'm pretty sure that was rock bottom so its all up up and a win from here!

55. New Orleans -1.5 Green Bay (5 Stars -- BET THE FARM) **WIN**
It is not a big surprise to me that the homeless saints have gotten off to a rotten start. But there's no place like domes, right? Everybody is expecting the Saints to light it up and while the Packers won't be a patsy, the Saints must and will find a way to pull this one out. They will outrun AND outpass the Packers on their way to a kickass...win!
Saints 24, Packers 21

56. NY Jets -3 Buffalo (4 Stars) LOSS
The Bills have lost their running backs, their quarterbacks, I'm not even sure they can even field a complete team. So I don't see them having much luck if they get near the end zone. Stat to note: the Bills offense is as sucky as the Jets offense, and that was before their offense went down like it was bitten by an Ebola worm.
Jets 19, Bills 15

57. Pittsburgh +3 Indianapolis (4 Stars) **WIN**
Ben Roethlisberger is attempting to win his 100th game in 150 starts and last time a Qb played for some sort of a record, he beat the 49ers by 80 points and made my pick look like chump cheese. And Shazier is back, which gives hope the Steelers may stop the Colts. Eventually. Congrats to Big Ben on #100, even if L-Bell leads the way.
Steelers 30, Colts 26

58. Tampa Bay -2.5 Minnesota (4 Stars) LOSS
Tampa Bay last played a game like 3 years ago or something. Are they still in the NFL? Two of the league's most implosive offenses offend each other in this stinkbomb match. At least the Bucs seem to be getting healthy at the running back position, and it isn't like the offensive line could play worse.
Bucs 19, Vikings 14

59. Cincinnati +1 Baltimore (3 Stars) **WIN**
The offense is in a league-leading free fall, their best receiver on cripple-reserve, and the defense sputtering like an old Steel Curtain, the Bengals face a Qb so hot he could turn the pope gay. BUT, if the Bengals...I mean if...uhmmm....did I mention the Ravens may be as much as the 4th best team in the entire league right now? Maybe its a trap game?
Bengals 23, Ravens 21

60. St Louis +6.5 KC (3 Stars) LOSS
The Rams were dumb lucky last week and conventional wisdom is they won't win another one until December. However, they have the best offense any really horrible team has ever had, in my recollection. Seriously, these guys are like the Saints of the NFC West and that sure as hell isn't Drew Brees at Qb. Ok, their defense is a wretched mess but here's a hint guys: its a RUN. KC might be the perfect opponent for the Rams who will shock the world by playing 2 good games back-to-back. And it's not like this game means a whole lot for the Chiefs.
Rams 17, Chiefs 21

WEEK 7

Every week has gotten slightly less horrible than the previous week. If this keeps up, a clearcut winning week is bound to happen!

47. Tennessee +5.5 Washington (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
I may be a week late to throw in the towel on the Redskins. While they may get some passing yards, the turnovers just will not allow for success and the Redskins are not a strong home team and the defense is bad. This is a bad team slugfest, so take the points!
Redskins 23, Titans 22

48. San Francisco +7 Denver (4 Stars) LOSS
The Broncos are past their post-bye mile high. We know the Broncos don't play great against the NFC West defenses.
49ers 20, Broncos 23

49. Detroit -1.5 New Orleans (4 Stars) LOSS
Don't look at the offenses, look at the defenses.
Lions 26, Saints 20

50. Houston +3.5 Pittsburgh (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Pittsburgh's defense just isn't that good. And Roethlisberger will find it difficult to extend plays against Watt.
Texans 23, Steelers 23 (OT)

51. NY Giants +6.5 Dallas (2.5 Stars) LOSS
While there's not much to argue about who has the hot hand, overall these teams grade out similar.
Giants 23, Cowboys 27

52. Baltimore -6.5 Atlanta (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
Coming off one of his best regular season performances ever, Flaco faces a wretched defense. But the running game is the real secret sauce of this one!
Ravens 30, Falcons 21

53. Arizona -3.5 Oakland (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
Completely unable to run the ball, the Raiders have little chance of success with a young Qb.
Cardinals 23, Raiders 17

54. Buffalo -5 Minnesota (2 Stars) LOSS
BUffalo's defense was overmatched last week, but not in this one.
Bills 24, Vikings 17

WEEK 6

I continue to look for my first winning week in what has been my most awful year ever. Last week, I bit the cheese going after a few of the too-good-to- be-true lines and there were several of those this week. I wasn't biting...

39. Chicago +3.5 Atlanta (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Bears had it going for me last week -- even matching my predicted score -- until they imploded late. It's a close matchup, but Atlanta's defense just isn't very good to warrant these points.
Bears 26, Falcons 27

40. NY Giants +3 Philadelphia (4.5 Stars) LOSS
With the Giants offense back in the right direction, I have to give the nod against the Eagles lackluster running game and porous defense, and recognition that the Eagles are not a great home team. However, with all the smack talk from the Giants, they jinxed themselves and will choke the game.
Giants 28, Eagles 29

41. Cleveland -1 Pittsburgh (4 Stars) **WIN**
Despite the fact the Steelers offense is clicking, the Browns are doing even better and they get to play a Steeler defense still missing rookie Shazier. Cleveland will force more turnovers and get the sacks!
Browns 28, Steelers 24

42. Baltimore -3.5 Tampa Bay (4 Stars) **WIN**
While the Ravens offense is struggling, they get to play the Bucs and should own the ground game in this matchup, and kick many field goals.
Ravens 22, Bucs 15

43. Cincinnati -7 Carolina (3 Stars) LOSS
The Bengals laid an egg last week, but they'll be all over Cam. Carolina's defense is ranking "overrated" this season due to a porous run defense.
Bengals 27, Panthers 17

44. Detroit -2.5 Minnesota (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
While not have Megatron might even these offenses, the Lions are light years ahead of the Vikings on defense still.
Lions 21, Vikings 15

45. Denver -9.5 NY Jets (2 Stars) LOSS
The Broncos are still fresh from the bye and looked like champions last week, and they are playing the lowly Jets.
Broncos 31, Jets 20

46. Buffalo +3 New England (2 Stars) LOSS
I lived to regret playing the numbers against the Patriots last week, but I'm not ready to crown them yet. They face one of the best defenses in the NFL this week and Brady is a bit gimpy. The Patriots also can't be nearly as geeked up as they were last week and they are on the road.
Bills 26, Patriots 17

WEEK 5

With 4 weeks of data, its back to basics for me with traditional value-based computational anaylsis...

32. Cincinnati -1 New England (5 Stars) LOSS
With quite a premium for the Patriots history of domination, its easy to overlook the fact that Brady has trouble passing the ball to the line of scrimmage now. The Bengals may be more Broncos than the Broncos and the Patriots are playing like an also-ran.
Bengals 27, Patriots 13

33. Arizona +7 Denver (5 Stars) LOSS
Arizonaís stellar league-leading defense makes a statement on the runless Broncos. Pressure Manning and he looks more like Brady.
Cardinals 21, Broncos 20

34. San Diego -6.5 NY Jets (4 Stars) **WIN**
Itís time we started paying attention to the Chargers, although itíll be hard while they beat up lifeless dregs like the Jets.
Chargers 35, Jets 13

35. Philadelphia -6.5 St Louis (4 Stars) LOSS
The Eagles offense against the Rams defense? Ouch. But pressure on the Rams 4th stringer by the Eagles figures to be the difference.
Eagles 36, Rams 21

36. Chicago +2.5 Carolina (4 Stars) LOSS
Carolinaís defense isnít looking too hot, and the aggressive Bears are getting it done.
Bears 24, Panthers 21

37. Buffalo +6.5 Detroit (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
Not much separates these two squads other than the 7 points. Lions can pass circles around the Bills, but the mistakes will keep it close.
Bills 14, Lions 17

38. Houston +6.5 Dallas (3 Stars) **WIN**
Houstonís defense is still better, and their offense isnít far behind. Romo wonít look as good with a lot of Watt in his face.
Texans 21, Cowboys 23

WEEK 4: FINAL EDITION of MR. SEPTEMBER 2014

25. Green Bay -1.5 Chicago (5 Stars) **WIN**
Chicago has enjoyed some big games, but they are running on fumes and facing a Packers team ready to bust out. Bears have had surprising success playing attacking defense, but Rodgers is gonna pump them left and burn them right. Cutler's crew is gimpy.
Packers 20, Bears 15

26. Houston -3 Buffalo (4 Stars) **WIN**
As Buffalo continues crashing to earth, they'll have a Watt to think about this weekend. I'll take the Qb not getting his ass kicked every snap.
Texans 22, Bills 14

27. Tampa Bay +7.5 Pittsburgh (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Steelers crushed on primetime while the Buccaneers imploded. I will be a bit shocked if the Buccs don't rebound a bit from last week's phenomenal disaster and the Steelers don't show some of their vulnerabilities once.
Buccaneers 14, Steelers 20

28. Carolina +3.5 Baltimore (3 Stars) LOSS
With RB situations poor on both sides, the ability to complete the forward pass favor the Panthers. The Ravens only deep weapon is former Panther Steve Smith the Ancient, and he will not go unnoticed.
Panthers 17, Ravens 12

29. New England -3.5 Kansas City (3 Stars) LOSS
The Chiefs home field advantage is overrated and Brady is being underestimated. The Chiefs defense is still an emergency room squad.
Patriots 17, Chiefs 9

30. Tennessee +7.5 Indianapolis (2 Stars) LOSS
Indianapolis has not differentiated itself from the Titans...but who outside the experts realize the gift that is 7.5?
Titans 24, Colts 27

31. Atlanta -3 Minnesota (2 Stars) LOSS
While not the sure thing its been the past 2 weeks, riding against the Peterson-less Vikings still seems like a worthy play.
Falcons 27, Vikings 21

Week 2 featured another bloodbath for the home teams and home is off to one of its worse starts in probably a decade. Usually the home field advantage abates for week 3 but we'll have to see how it plays out given the bizarre start. I also noticed that passing yardage was way down in week 2, but -- surprisingly -- I don't see this being offset by an increase in penalty yardage. Pass defenses were actually more effective than usual last week. Perhaps the lack of games coming down to frantic fourth quarter comebacks played a role. I know many sharps have joined me with weak starts this season but we have a long long way to go and I'm in for the longhaul.

WEEK 3: MR. SEPTEMBER #2

This week, I'm looking at some teams putting their act together finally, so there's not much to say besides that...

17. New Orleans -10 Minnesota (5 Stars) **WIN**
While I won't get any points for originality here, the Saints play their first home game down 0-2 and playing a Peterson-less Vikings team.
Saints 31, Viking 12

18. New York Jets -2.5 Chicago (4.5 Stars) LOSS
The Jets get to try their new toys against one of the worst defenses in the NFL.
Jets 27, Chicago 20

19. Kansas City +3.5 Miami (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Chiefs are down, but not out.
Chiefs 22, Dolphins 21

20. San Diego +2.5 Buffalo (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Chargers are hot, and the Bills luck has just run out!
Chargers 24, Bills 23

21. Green Bay +2.5 Detroit (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Rodgers has career games against Detroit, and he's money as an underdog. He still hasn't had a full game yet either.
Packers 27, Lions 26

22. Tennessee +6.5 Cincinnati (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Locker locked up last week, but he should return to 2014 for the Bengals.
Titans 20, Bengals 23 (OT)

23. Carolina -3.5 Pittsburgh (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Get ready for the Cam Newton show!
Panthers 34, Steelers 27

24. Houston +2 NY Giants (3 Stars) LOSS
And you thought the Skins had trouble with Watts.
Texans 34, Giants 33

____________________________________________________________

Hereís how my top 6 games went last week:

17-10 (line -5.5) Up 1.5 points
6-3 (line -3) EVEN
17-7 (line +6.5) Up 16.5 points
27-3 (line -7) Up 17 points
17-0 (line +10.5) Up 27.5 points
24-7 (line -7.5) Up 9.5 points

Thus...
Straight up: 6-0
Spread: 5-0-1 (Up 72 points on the spread)

Unfortunately, that was HALFTIME! It was all downhill from there. I ended up 2-4 on these games. Thatís right, I blew a 72 point lead, including losing the 27.5 pointer (Phily) and the 17 pointer (Cleveland). To add insult to injury, #7 and #8 were simply bad picks. Next season, if I refuse to pick week 1 like I typically do, you will know why!

WEEK 2: MR. SEPTEMBER #1

9. Tennessee -3.5 Dallas (5 Stars) LOSS
Back in July, the Titans and Rams seemed to be on parallel paths. Both had oft-injured Qbs that they were expecting to breakthrough this season. We know what happened with the Rams. For the Titans, there are signs that things might go the opposite way. The Titans pulled off a dominant win over the Chiefs last week, always a good sign that your team is at least decent. They are pitted against the Cowboys, another team that flopped at home. The Cowboys may possess one of the worst defenses in football and their offense seems gimpy at best. While the Cowboys Pass D didn't give up a lot of yards, they were torched for over 9 yards per attempt, 4th worst for the weekend. Last season, the Titans would have run and passed all over the Cowboys and still might. They figure to be in the top 10 in rushing yardage and should have a productive passing game. Even if the yardage ends up similar, the Cowboys are a very high-turnover risk judging from last week while the Titans took care of the ball.
Titans 29, Cowboys 20

10. San Francisco -7 Chicago (4.5 Stars) LOSS
Last week, the 49ers gashed the Cowboys for 9+ yards per attempt and they face a Bears Pass D that isn't much better. While Kap won't outpass Jay Cutler in yardage, it figures to be an efficient day. More concerning is the run game, where SF would have obliterated the Bears last season. Even projecting from last weekend, they figure to have a sizeable edge as the Bears struggled to run the ball. The Bears were terrible against the Zone Read last week - and that was against the Bills! Jay Cutler will get yardage but should commit turnovers in the process. This should lead to at least a one TD edge and more if the 49ers run rapshod.
49ers 24, Bears 13

11. Green Bay -7.5 NYJ (4.5 Stars) LOSS
Green Bay is coming off a disaster after drawing the road game in Seattle, something not to be read too much into. Their passing game was anemic and the running game was worse, with Lacy leaving the game early. The Jets, meanwhile, are coming off an absolute laugher vs. Oakland where the Raiders barely showed up offensively. Still, the Jets didn't even cover the spread! I don't think we can conclude much from either game, so lets look at last year. An Aaron Rodgers-led team would have gotten 371 yards breaking 10 yards per pass, while holding the Jets to 150 yards. Last week, the Jets showed no improvement in their passing game. GB should win by double-digits as Aaron Rodgers returns to form.
Packers 31, Jets 19

12. San Diego +5.5 Seattle (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
Seattle finally breaks their run of high profile games with a lackluster road trip against an AFC team. Last year, the Chargers would have matched up for at worst 5.5 points statistically and likely would have kept the game closer that that as they play well at home. Despite the Seahawks dominating their opener and the Chargers falling short, the numbers still stack up as a tight game with the Seahawks yielding significant value against the spread.
Chargers 21, Seahawks 23

13. Tampa Bay -5.5 St. Louis (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Tampa struggled mightily against the Panthers defense even though the Qb situation for the Panthers was poor. I expect the Bucs to play much better in this one.
Bucs 29, Rams 20

14. New England -5.5 Minnesota (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Vikings lapped up on the hapless Rams but don't expect that to carry over this week. The Vikings had a great edge in the running game coming in, but don't expect Jet Sweeps to make up for Adrian Peterson being out. The Patriots were decent containing the pass and that'll be easier without a substantial run threat. Brady will play substantially better in this one. Last year, this was a 9 point matchup and I'd expect something similar without Peterson.
Patriots 30, Vikings 21

15. Washington -6 Jacksonville (2 Stars) **WIN**
The Redskins got destroyed on the offensive line last week and RG3 likely led the league in yards per sack. The Skins defense did ok, particularly in the running game. A year ago, the Redskins offense could have obliterated Jacksonville and new weapons like DeSean Jackson should make an impact this weekend. With the offensive line not overwhelmed, the Redskins should look substantially better.
Redskins 24, Jags 16

16. Oakland +3 Houston (2 Stars) LOSS
Kind of hard to feel too good about this one. The Raiders offense was just terrible last week and now a young Qb will face an onslaught of pressure. But Houston is hardly a juggernaut either so perhaps they hang in.
Texans 17, Raiders 16

WEEK 1

1. Seattle -5.5 Green Bay (4 Stars) **WIN**
Welcome back! I've never been much for week 1 as the data is a bit non-existent, but I'll make some educated swings of the bat. Looking at the Packers, getting 5.5 points on Aaron Rodgers has to make one drool a bit. Since his 40th game, you'd be hard pressed to find a game that the Packers lost by more than 5 points. Rodgers had a streak of 20 road games in a row without losing by more than 5 points not too long ago and he's basically done this something like 46 out of the last 49 game. He's also played lights out on opening night, throwing for over 300 yards in the last 2 outings against stellar defenses. And yes...there's a "but" coming. The "but" is that in the past two openers -- despite throwing for 300+ yards, Rodgers lost by 6 and 8 points to the 49ers, who are about as close to the Seahawks as one can find. Rating the Packers on the games Rodgers played last season and projecting them against the Seahawks of 2013, this opens as a 7 point game. If the Seahawks are showing chinks in their armor, I haven't seen it. Possibly the best hope for the Packer backers is the preseason showing of their defense looked vastly improved. Add to the consideration that the defending champions have done extremely well at home in this annual kickoff game, and the Seahawks strong home field advantage and their college bowl-type approach to big games makes one think "slaughter". In fact, on average last season I projected the Seahawks in home games by around 5 points -- and they won those games by an average of 14! So I'm going to take the hawkbirds and say its a pretty strong pick.
Seahawks 27, Packers 20

2. Arizona -3 San Diego (5 Stars) LOSS
This could be the best game for the Cardinals since Rod Tidwell yelled, ďShow me the money!" Arizona would be a large favorite in this game in 2013 and Iím not sure what has changed to make people think this game will be different. Arizona plays well in their new stadium.
Cardinals 30, Chargers 20

3. Buffalo +6.5 Chicago (4 Stars) **WIN**
People expect great things out of the Bears offense this year, but that defense may be even worse than the woeful 2013 edition. They led the league is getting their ass kicked this preseason and the Bills always seem to produce more offense than one has any reason to expect.
Bills 24, Bears 28

4. Pittsburgh -7 Cleveland (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Clevelandís offense looked positively woeful in August and Pittsburgh found the fountain of youth in rookie Ryan Shazier. Pittsburgh has gotten off to slow starts that have killed their season and they understand getting this win will be critical for 2014.
Steelers 27, Browns 10

5. Jacksonville +10.5 Philadelphia (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Large home favorites havenít fared well in opening week and the Eagles look like the poster child of a large home favorite that wonít fare well in opening week. They may be worse this year, they face a bad team that can do nothing but get substantially better than last season, and they donít even play that well at home. The line would be fare last year, but I smell substantial opportunity here in 2014.
Jags 19, Eagles 26

6. Denver -7.5 Indianapolis (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Last year, Manning played awful in Indianapolis on a short week. Now, with a month to prepare and at the comfort of home, heíll do much better. While I donít expect much from Indyís defense, theyíll face a rebuilt Bronco defense thatíll be the story of the game. Kicker is a concern for Denver, but it shouldnít factor in this one. Iíll give the Colts 20 points but expect 10 to come too little, too late.
Broncos 34, Colts 20

7. Washington +3 Houston (3 Stars) LOSS
A year ago, this would be a tossup so the question is, ďWho has improved more?' I donít see how you donít answer that in Washingtonís favor. The offense is absolutely stacked with weapons. The defense looks improved (could it be worse?) and while much attention was drawn to RG3Ďs mediocre preseason, did you miss how great the defense did?
Redskins 23, Texans 20 (OT)

8. Baltimore -2 Cincinnati (3 Stars) LOSS
While the Bengals had the edge last year, I think the Ravens have reloaded and will come out significantly stronger this season. With the Bengals having lost their offensive coordinator, signs of the defense sliding back, and their Pro Bowl QB being on thin ice with the fans following the playoff debacle, I feel good about the Ravens starting things off right.
Baltimore 24, Bengals 19

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