MARCH MADNESS SPECIALS - KEY RELEASES PLUS SCORE PREDICTIONS THRU THE FINAL 4. DETAILS HERE
The Black Cat's 128K Picks of 2013
Week 2: 6-3 (66%) +$245.52
Week 3: 5-3-1 (63%) +154.55
Week 4: 6-3 (66%) +$245.52
Week 5: 4-5 (44%) -$136.36
Week 6: 3-6 (33%) -$327.27
Week 7: 4-4 (50%) -$36.36
Week 8: 3-2 (60%) +$72.73
Week 9: 5-4 (55%) +$54.55
(Halftime Summary) 36-30-1
Week 10: 3-4, Net +4 Stars (43%) -$127.27
Week 11: 5-3, Net +2.5 Stars(62%) +$154.55
Week 12: 1-5, Net -13 Stars (17%) -$409.09
Week 13: 2-3, Net -4.5 Stars (40%) -$118.18
Week 14: 4-7, Net -10.5 Stars (36%) -$336.36
Week 15: 5-4-1, Net +3.5 Stars (55%), +$54.55
Week 16: 6-1, Net +18 Stars (86%) +$445.46
Week 17: 3-4, Net +0 Stars (43%) -$127.27
(2nd Half Summary) 29-31, Net +0 Stars
Wildcard: 4-0, Net +14.5 Stars, +$363.64
Divisional: 0-2-1, Net -7.5 Stars, -$200.00
Championship: 1-1, Net +2.5 stars, -$9.09
Playoffs Total: 5-3-1, Net +9.5 Stars, +$154.55
Season $100 Bet Net: -$117.30
Favorites: 33-23-1 (59%)
Underdogs: 32-38-1 (46%)
Overall: 65-61-2 (52%), +0 Stars
BW GOW: 8-10
BW Hilton: 46-38-1 55% (Last Week: 4-1)
SUPERBOWLAND THE WINNER OF THE SUPERBOWL IS....
It definitely stacks up as a close one. With an outdoor game, everything historically would point you to the NFC and the Seattle Seahawks. The historically dominant pass offense of the Broncos against the outstanding Seahawks secondary is a very fair way to bill this game. Turnovers are a critical issue, as the Seahawks create them and could kill the Broncos with them. You also have to wonder how the weather may tilt things to the Seahawks favor, given their obvious advantage defensively. To forecast this game, I felt it was necessary to filter out the obvious home field advantage both teams enjoy and estimate this as a battle of two teams on the road. When I did this, the line moved about 1.5 points in favor of the winning team. Ultimately, we are looking at a game that should go to the wire and score in the range of 51 to 54 points total. A likely final score would be about 28 to 24. And the winner of that game will be....
THE DENVER BRONCOS
CHAMPIONSHIPMirror mirror on the wall, which of these clone teams is gonna fall?
Denver -4.5 New England (5 Stars)
The Patriots must take advantage of turnover opportunities or they will get run through by the superior Broncos offense. The Patriots massive inexperience in the passing game will rear its ugly head, as the Broncos looked good against the run last week and shouldn't run through too easily. It wasn't long ago that the Patriots lost a championship game when their rookies couldn't catch, and that seems likely to repeat. Don't expect the game to be too big for the Broncos. Manning's penchant for preperation will pay off in this rematch, with Brady busy soaking up the sun. Recent history has the two teams splitting, although all the games have been spread wins. The odds seem stacked against the cover, especially in light of the choke job on the spread vs. the Chargers. But I'll roll with the odds...
Broncos 34, Patriots 27
SF +3.5 Seattle (2.5 Stars)
The gorillas of the galaxy slug it out in another running game battle with Gore in one corner and Beast in the other. The 49ers pass rush woke up for the Panthers, leading them to victory with 5 sacks. Wilson isn't immune to pressure either. This is gonna be a knockout dragdown fight and points will be a premium between two tremendous defenses.
49ers 20, Seahawks 23
I hit the homerun last week, nailing the weekend. While pundits bemoan the loss of home field advantage, there is a simpler explanation: the road teams were better. That's not true this week and with the bye factor, don't expect the road teams to run the table. However, I do feel the best round 2 teams -- historically -- are the ones that win on the road in round 1. And there are 3 of those. So the home teams should have their hands full as the opponents are not dramatically overmatched at all.
On the point spreads, if you want the home team on a bye week, you are going to pay for it. Obviously. Needless to say, the value is squarely on the side of the road teams. Now, I know they won't all cover, and its possible none of them will even win. But you play the home team, you are rolling the dice a bit and the odds aren't really in your favor.
Don't rule out the possibility that its a passer league, and that means the two people who might be in New York are Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. Brees is without peer in his remaining conference, and Manning is heads above the competition with no real defense in sight...
Carolina +1.5 San Francisco (5 Stars)
This is the game to play. The Panthers have been installed as a home dog. I have to think playing in that freezing cold weather took a toll on the 49ers. It had to. The NFL has outlawed the forward pass in this game. The projection is pathetic. Both teams can run. The Panthers have the better defense, though, and the Panthers own one key stat category outright: sacks. In their last matchup, they cold-cocked Captain Kap and can do that again.
Carolina 21, SF 19
Indianapolis +7 New England (2.5 Stars)
I don't love this game. The Colts pass defense is terrible (yes, as bad as the Patriots). The Pats play great in the cold (historically). The Patriots are certain to be standing at the end (safe bet). And I don't like home wildcard winners (they can't win on the road). But the numbers undeniably show this as a dead even matchup of mirror teams and 7 is value, and I play value.
Colts 24, Patriots 30
New Orleans +8 Seattle (2.5 Stars)
The worst road team in the history of football plays the best home team ever. Well, that's how we're billing this anyway, yes? That immediately makes me think the Saints find a way to win this one. But I have a couple major concerns. First, turnovers. This is a battle the Saints figure to lose huge and if that happens, the Saints will lose huge. Second, their secondary depth. The Seahawks spread the ball around quite a bit, and we learned last week the Saints only have one corner. Fortunately, that corner is healthy and the Saints can play some serious defense but its a concern. I don't see the Saints winning this game for these reasons, but the matchup suggests 8 points is too much. For the Saints to win, Brees will have to put on a dazzling show, although we know he can!
Seahawks 23, Saints 19
Probably the best value (by the numbers) on a home favorite this week is Denver, at least as long as the line stays in single digits. Denver lost on a short week, but they also lost on a short week to Indy and the Broncos may respond well to extra preparation time. The computer thinks the Broncos can throw for 600 yards in this game, and I'm not sure that's a miscalculation. But I'm not playing it....
I did say I disliked all the underdogs last week. Who knew they would all actually payout like that? Unfortunately, a couple gambles on long shots Buffalo and St. Louis failed as everyone covered (I assumed someone wouldn't and Eagles -7 on the road doesn't count -- all we got was Carolina failing!)
Anyway, the cyber machine is actually redhot and I should finish as strong as I started this season and we can forget all that messy stuff in between!
San Francisco -2.5 Green Bay (5 Stars)
Rodgers returned and gave the Packers a bump, but they look overmatched in this one. The Packers need to hold on to that football, as it is devastating not to in the playoffs. The 49ers rushing attack will have a huge day.
Game Day Comment: With the weather being crazy cold, its noteworthy that the run/defense advantage is solidly in the 49ers favor.
49ers 31, Packers 19
New Orleans +2.5 Philadelphia (4.5 Stars)
The Eagles, a team with a terrible home field advantage having lost all of their home games except for a couple recent outings, play host to the Saints. A passing war could ensue and Foles is taking a knife to a gun fight, facing a fierce pass rush that puts him at a huge disadvantage. Sure, the Eagles can run to daylight against the Saints but that simply isn't enough. The winner of this game could be a tossup, but the value on this spread is the Saints and I think they pull this one out.
Game Day Comment: The Eagles mammoth run advantage could prove decisive in the lousy weather, but its hard to ignore the tremendous passing advantage Brees enjoys even outside the dome.
Saints 24, Eagles 23
San Diego +7 Cincinnati (4 Stars)
Which Chargers team? The one that embarrassed themselves nationally last week...or the only team to beat the Broncos on the road? I don't give the Chargers much hope to win this one, but they figure to be in the game.
Game Day Comment: The Chargers, who lost by 7 in the previous meeting, have gotten a lot healthier since that game with many faces returning to the lineup. They now have a slight edge in the running game and can go toe-to-toe through the air.
Chargers 20, Bengals 24
KC Chiefs +2.5 Indianapolis (1 Star)
The Chiefs impressed last week, nearly upsetting the Chargers with two hands tied behind their back. Rested, they face a Colts team that'll have its hands full and better not lose the ball if they hope to advance. The cyber numbers did not really add up for a good wager on this one, but I like the Chiefs and it leaned the Chiefs.
Game Day Comment: The line is drifting to the Chiefs favor, although not in a compelling way to make the Colts more attractive. This could be a tale of two halves, as the Chiefs tend to start fast and the Colts rally in the 2nd.
Chiefs 33, Colts 20
WEEK 17That's more like it! Better late than never, I suppose.
Hard selections this week, its tough not to like all of the favorites this week with few exceptions. But as we know things are never quite that easy, I stretched a bit to look at things outside of the box, where I could anyway...
122. Detroit +2.5 Minnesota (5 Stars) **WIN**
The Vikings just have such an atrocious defense, this looks like a serious light-them-up opportunity for Stafford to end the season. Stafford could go for 500 yards in this one. And the dome lions are in a dome.
Lions 36, Vikings 28
123. New Orleans -11.5 Tampa Bay (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
Could there be a worse passing game matchup than the Saints at home playing the Bucs? With playoffs on the line? I mean, this is the kind of matchup you dream of laying double-digit home points. The Saints have one of the top defensive units in the league and the Bucs do not figure to test it.
Saints 31, Bucs 16
124. Denver -10.5 Oakland (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
Manning tries to close out a record regular season in style and a guy like that only knows to play one way when he is on the field. This matchup is just as hideous as the Lions one, with less points value, and home field at stake. Houston has some pretty good corners who have held up all season, and Manning just obliterated them last week.
Broncos 42, Raiders 21
125. Carolina -6 Atlanta (4 Stars) LOSS
And again, can you ask for a worse matchup than the Panthers running game vs. the Atlanta running game and the Panthers run D? Hideous, playoffs on the line, what more could you want here?
Panthers 38, Falcons 9
126. Miami -6 New York Jets (3.5 Stars) LOSS
I expect the Dolphins to rebound from their unbelievably ad performance last week and the Jets to be unable to play perfectly clean for a 2nd straight week -- in fact, nowhere near it.
Dolphins 26, Jets 14
127. Buffalo +7.5 New England (3.5 Stars) LOSS
When I look at the domination in these other matchups, I just don't see it in this one. Despite last week where things just went there way, the Patriots play it close to the vest and struggle with a lack of true talent, so don't expect another cakewalk.
Bills 21, Patriots 24
128. St Louis +11.5 Seattle (3 Stars) LOSS
While this sniffs like Seattle just obliterating the Rams for home-field throughout the playoffs, things just don't matchup in a truly dominating way for the Seahawks. I think this could be a messier game than expected, although surely the Hawks figure to win.
Rams 17, Seahawks 26
WEEK 16The computer was hot last week. Unfortunately, the few losses it picked were high profile ones and I think I skewed a pick for NE that led to more mediocre results, but I prefer to pick from a hot deck. With strong recommendations from algorithms that topped 2/3rds last week, wins should come down the stretch!
115. Dallas -3 Washington (5 Stars) LOSS
The computer is well aware that the Cowboys have the most atrocious pass defense in the league and one of the worst in several years of NFL play, but it still loved the Cowboys this week to win this game. Inexplicably, the Redskins fondness for turnovers and bad special teams overshadowed what should be impressive fantasy football numbers for Captain Kirk. But with Dallas playing with playoff desperation, don't expect a miracle. Still, one wonders if the NFL would sacrifice Sunday night's game for an Eagle/Cowboy showdown next weekend?
Cowboys 31, Redskins 27
116. Philadelphia -3 Chicago (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
This game has some dependencies with Redskin/Cowboys, namely that the Eagles only "need" to win should the Cowboys lose, which most likely they won't. However, I still expect the Eagles to play to win in this home game, where they've treated the fans to only 1 victory in a dozen tries or so. I'm unsupportive of the return of Jay Cutler and feel there is opportunity to exploit there. The Eagles can run to daylight against the Bears all night long!
Eagles 45, Bears 29
117. NY Giants +10 Detroit (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Giants 0-burgered last week, but that's what you can expect when they go against shutdown corners. Against Detroit, things should look a bit more favorable. Detroit figures to win this game, but the Giants don't figure to roll over and die.
Giants 20, Lions 26
118. NY Jets -1 Cleveland (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Jets will need to run the ball and contain the Browns receiver - - thus crushing someone's fantasy hopes I'm sure -- but they can do this.
Jets 24, Browns 21
119. St. Louis -3.5 Tampa Bay (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
The surprising Rams now have to do it as favorites and it wouldn't shock anyone if they lay an egg here. But there ability to get after the Qb gives them the edge in a pick 'em contest.
Rams 24, Bucs 20
120. New England +1.5 Baltimore (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
Two of the referee darling teams go at it. The Ravens attempt to be the 472nd team to win a Superbowl and limp to a wild card spot the following year. The Patriots can clich the division with a win but could be in a lot of danger if they don't pull this one out. Big stakes, and it could be a photo finish again. But all the intangibles seem to lean the Patriots way and the NFL can't tolerate their darling team missing the playoffs so...
Patriots 22, Ravens 14
121. Arizona +10 Seattle (3 Stars) **WIN**
I know the focus is on Seattle clinching the Superbowl with a home field birth, but the Cardinals have a good team with 9 wins this season. Don't take them lightly, the Cardinals are brutally hard to run on and Marshawn Lynch could join Peyton Manning with "Bad Matchup Syndrome" this Sunday. The Seahawks statistical matchup advantage is small, especially if the Cardinals don't fork the ball over multiple times.
Cardinals 19, Seahawks 26
Last week, I played a pure value slate, often hoping teams that lost would cover the points. This is generally a bad place to be, as losing teams cover the points only a couple times a week. But the numbers said what they said and with bad weather, I felt points would be at a premium. And then...we had...the most points in a weekend...EVER. In horrible cold weather. Maybe not even in spite of the weather, but possibly because of it? It was the worst possible time for me to pull a massive faceplant, and it was exacerbated by a couple primetime debacles that extended into Thursday night when the Chargers shutdown the Broncos on the road during a short week.
I was frustrated, however, that in several cases I had projections like Chicago throwing for 400 yards -- correct projects -- and then I found reasons to pick against them anyways. There was a time when 400 yards may mean something little more than trying to catch up from behind, and that still happens, but the 2013 NFL seems to feature more teams *WINNING* because of 400 yard days, not losing and I'm reflecting that better going forward.
This week, the top teams come off a series of head-to-head matchups to take on the rest of the NFL. And at this point of the season, teams generally are who we thought they were and we know which teams are gearing up for playoff runs at this point, and a Bronco-style letdown is not expected. I do not find values particularly compelling in many of these matchups so I'm mostly playing statistical matchups for the winning team. Weather, a big factor last week, will be contained in a week of warm weather climates and domes. I have many favorites this week, which is uncreative and generally bad. However, I've been particularly good when picking favorites this season and perhaps that trend will continue?
106. Carolina -10 NY Jets (5 Stars) PUSH
The Jets are in the bottom 5 and the Panthers are in the top 5 and the outcome of this game won't change that. When Carolina has a large advantage in the passing game, they are a pretty good bet. Add in big advantages in sacks and turnovers and Carolina should win big in this home game as they typically do. It there's any weather, that won't help the Jets.
Panthers 29, Jets 7
107. Seattle -7 NY Giants (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Giants need big plays from their wideouts to be competitive, and that simply won't happen against the Seahawks. Add in the biggest turnover differential of the weekend and you have a strong selection, even if the Hawks are on the road. Seattle is my #1 ranked team right now. If there's any weather that won't help the Giants either.
Seahawks 30, NY Giants 12
108. New England +1 Miami (4 Stars) LOSS
Yeah yeah, sure...the Dolphins are going to beat the Patriots. Miami is respectable and the Patriots are overrated, but only a fool would think that the Patriots won't find holes and exploit them. The fish could be up 20 points with 2.5 minutes to go, and the Patriots would magically win by a score of...say...
Patriots 23, Dolphins 20
109. KC -5 Oakland (4 Stars) **WIN**
One of the top 5 defenses in the league plays the bottom-dwelling Raiders, who rank in the bottom 5 overall. The Chiefs have fallen to 6th place in my rankings but this figures to be a sackfest for them anytime the Raiders have to pass.
Chiefs 29, Raiders 15
110. Cincinnati -2 Pittsburgh (3.5 Stars) LOSS
I love Bell, but the Steelers figure to have a whole lot of trouble running the ball in this one, whereas the Bengals won't. If weather is a factor in this late night matchup, the running advantage becomes even more important.
Bengals 27, Steelers 11
111. SF -5 Tampa Bay (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
Tampa is going to have one hell of a time passing the ball on San Francisco, which tilts the advantage to the favor of the Qb-challenged 49ers. And I wouldn't expect a lights-out performance from their new Rb either.
49ers 16, Bucs 7
112. Arizona -2.5 Tennessee (3 Stars) **WIN**
Arizona has proven to be far better than expected, with an offense and defense that are above-average. The Titan struggle and clearly are not good, although they aren't terrible. However, Arizona has them across the board in every category.
Cardinals 24, Titans 13
113. New Orleans -6 St. Louis (3 Stars) LOSS
In a dome? Good luck with that. The Saints have a MASSIVE pass advantage in this one.
Saints 35, Rams 15
114. Washington +6 Atlanta (3 Stars) **WIN**
The Redskins have a massive statistical edge against the Falcons defense in the running game and Alfred Morris figures to be a hero to many fantasy football teams. This is only exacerbated by the debut of the Blond Bandit of Bombs...Kirk Cousins!
Redskins 31, Falcons 24
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL105. Denver -10 San Diego (4 Stars) LOSS
As I struggle mightily in primetime and the Broncos have killed me this season, why not combine the two? This game doesn't look like it should surprise much. Two offensively dominated teams in a shootout and trying to keep pace with the Broncos is pretty much suicide. You could have 1000 yards in this game with the lack of defense on the field. (Hint: Fantasy football players) One good point? I'm still batting 58% on favorites and the Broncos are favored, last I checked!
Broncos 44, Chargers 31
The time is *NOW*! We strike not with the confidence of utter devastating victory, but with the drip-drip of narrow losses and backdoor covers taking advantage of an overreaching line. The week has the potential of being one of the most exciting and competitive and intriguing slate of the season, and hopefully - also a highly profitable one. This is the kind of spread nitpicking only a computer could love.
94. Kansas City -3 Washington (5 Stars) **WIN**
The sliding Chiefs still have one of the better defenses in the league and an above average offense to exploit the porous skinny defense. If you can't halt your slide to oblivion here, the only hope is that they schedule the Texans. This game will swing on defensive and special teams splash plays and the Chiefs have the advantage there, for sure.
Chiefs 30, Redskins 21
95. Carolina +3.5 New Orleans (5 Stars) LOSS
One team can move the ball through the air. The other is more of a throwback, prefering the run and defensive splash plays. The end result should be a very close game as the Saints seek redemption from last week's sacrifice. Can Carolina's slight defensive edge outweigh the Saints advantage home in the dome?
Panthers 23, Saints 24
96. Indianapolis +7 Cincinnati (4.5 Stars) LOSS
The Bengals may have the prettier numbers, but at the end of the day, yards don't guarantee victories. This is a very close contest of two almost-there teams that doesn't warrant a fat 7 point spread despite the Colts D needing a bit more girth.
Colts 20, Bengals 24
97. Tennessee +11.5 Denver (4 Stars) LOSS
The Titans offense has managed to remain respectable, enough to make one think they could hang around for a while in this one.
Titans 22, Broncos 31
98. Minnesota +6.5 Baltimore (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Ravens define mediocrity and need Flaco to have a huge day to really seperate themselves. Thanks to a guy named Peterson, the Vikings also have not been nearly as incompetant offensively as one might expect. Will Flaco look like 2012 vs. the Vikings D? Eh, probably not.
Vikings 21, Ravens 26
99. Seattle +2.5 San Francisco (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
In another playoff caliber match (NO/Carolina would be the first) we have two extremely even teams going at it in SF. Much like the Saints game many bettors think the very location is about all you need to know to handicap the game. That point aside, I favor the Seahawks in a reversal where the home team is the one that can't throw the ball well but has the slight nod between two tough defenses. Will home field define these two games? Will the ability to pass? Or will defense & running propel Sf and Carolina? Or do we simply take the points in two cataclysmic matchups? I'll take the last one.
Seahawks 21, 49ers 23
100. Dallas +1 Chicago (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Chicago may light up the Cowboys, but not put the lights out. Expect the Cowboys to find a way to hang in and eventually win. This could be the moment Romo has dreamed of, when he finally is on the right end of a shootout.
Cowboys 30, Bears 27 (OT)
101. Oakland +3 NY Jets (3 Stars) LOSS
Its a game only a punter's mother could love. Evenly matched teams although Oakland seems to have more of a winning formula, so they may pull this ho-hummer out.
Raiders 21, Jets 23
102. Tampa Bay -2.5 Buffalo (3 Stars) **WIN**
I think the Bucs are better than the Bills, although not by much but they have home field on this day. Still, its like watching snails race and betting on the faster snail.
Bucs 24, Bills 20
103. St. Louis +5.5 Arizona (3 Stars) LOSS
Two teams that are both surprisingly better than anyone might expect them to be are facing off, and its even enough that I'm not spotting the Cardinals a couple extra points because I don't see much distinction.
Rams 20, Cardinals 24
104. Green Bay -3 Atlanta LOSS
With the tundra being a tundra, this game could reduce to who can run the ball better. And that's not even a point worth debating, and surely an advantage to the Rodgerless bunch.
Green Bay 21, Atlanta 10
My brother questioned why I go to all this trouble when often the percentages don't break in my favor. First, many times I've crushed the spread both for short and long periods of time. Second, while at times I make some poor choices and things don't break my way, there is no opinion on the outcome of an NFL game I trust better than my own.
89. Kansas City +6 Denver (5 Stars) LOSS
When does a nearly undefeated team ever get 6 at home?
Chiefs 28, Denver 27
90. New Orleans +5.5 Seattle (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Drew Brees as an underdog? Versus Russell Wilson or Owen Wilson?
Saints 27, Seattle 28
91. Carolina -7 Tampa Bay (4 Stars) **WIN**
Its not like you expected the Bucs to go undefeated the rest of the year. Panthers 23, Bucs 8
92. Cincinati +1 San Diego (3 Stars) **WIN**
You never can go wrong picking the Chargers to lose by a point.
Bengals 29, Chargers 21
93. Washington -1 NY Giants (3 Stars) **LOSS**
Yes, the Giants really *are* this bad.
Redskins 28, Giants 23
**Sorry, no Thanksgiving Picks as the lines are not appealing to me**
84. Kansas City -3.5 San Diego (5 Stars) LOSS
If not for the turnover advantage that points to the Chiefs, this would figure to be a very close game. The better defense prevails! Lots of injuries on the chiefs has brought this line down a lot, but both teams have issues.
Chiefs 24, Chargers 14
85. Dallas +2.5 NYG (5 Stars) **WIN**
The Giants may outgain the Cowboys, but more weeks than not their own mistakes will be something they can not overcome.
Cowboys 27, Giants 23
86. Carolina -4.5 Miami (4 Stars) LOSS
The Dolphins offensive line should get creamed in this one. The Panthers ground attack should make a win here close to automatic.
Panthers 28, Dolphins 17
87. Chicago +1.5 St. Louis (3 Stars) LOSS
Chicago's ability to complete passes gives them an unfair advantage.
Bears 33, Rams 26
88. Green Bay -4.5 Minnesota (3 Stars) LOSS
When the Packers figure to outrush Adrian Peterson, this does not bode well for the Vikings! Even a backup Qb can have success against this squad.
Packers 31, Vikings 21
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL83. New Orleans -9.5 Atlanta (3 Stars) LOSS
Last week, the Falcons took a licking on the ground. This week, the attack will come by air. The Falcons defense is MIA and the offense has little chance to compensate. Thanksgiving comes a week early as this turkey is cooked!
Saints 35, Falcons 17
76. KC +7.5 Denver (5 Stars) LOSS
The best offense faces off against possibly the best defense in this matchup - and no I don't mean Alex Smith vs. Champ Bailey. If the Broncos aren't careful with the ball and don't protect Manning, they could find themselves in a lot of trouble in this game. If the Broncos dial it down too much, their offensive advantage will be insignificant for spread purposes.
Chiefs 29, Brokens 31
77. Oakland +9 Houston (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
Both teams circle the drain week-to-week. The Texans have a massive advantage in the passing game but will face substantial pressure trying to execute with an inexperienced Qb.
Raiders 15, Rascals 21
78. Green Bay +4 NY Giants (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Its the ineffective vs. the unproductive in this one. As per usual, the Giants are at a substantial disadvantage in ball security and sacks, and Manning does not have the benefit of a huge ground game to lean on whereas the Pack Qb does.
Packers 30, Midgets 21
79. Philadelphia -4.5 Washington (3 Stars) **WIN**
The last time the Redskins defense faced the Eagles offense, they were flash-fried and confused. Will a couple months and lots of game tape make a difference? Considering how bad they were last time...how could it not? Washington's pass defense figures to get torched again and it'll be a rough ride for RG3. The fantasy yardage odometer in this one could break.
Eagles 37, Potatos 27
80. Carolina -2.5 New England (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
With little offensive advantage for the Patriots, one can not help but to notice that Carolina's defense is the superior force on the field. The Patriots exploded last week but the Panthers defense should be a better litmus test. Expect the air show to be grounded and the ground game to tilt this one for the Panthers.
Panthers 24, Pasted 19
81. Buffalo +1.5 NY Jets (1.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Bills grade out pretty even with the Jets in this one yet enjoy a 4 point move from center. The Bills will need to tackle better and, if they do, its a snoozer.
Bills 24, Jets 23
82. Tampa Bay -1 Atlanta (1.5 Stars) **WIN**
Tampa must be licking their chops watching game tape of the Falcons defense. With the Falcons entirely dependant on airing it out to their ailing birds, the Bucs ability to run explosively figures prominently.
Bucs 20, Falcons 17
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL75. Tennessee +2.5 Indianapolis (2 Stars) LOSS
I had a great writeup last week of Rams vs. Colts. I talked about the Rams awesome sack pressuring. I said the Colts would be "lucky" to escape this game, and that it wasn't a trap game -- just a hard game. But the game slipped down my ranking list and the prediction was dropped. Now, the Lockerless Titans try to get it done as the Colts look to rebound. The Titans pressure isn't as good, and the Qb situation is ugly. But it isn't like Locker has been lighting it up nor is this the first game they have played without him. I have confidence they can matchup well and get it done in primetime!
Titans 23, Colts 21