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The Black Cat's 128K Picks of 2016
2015: 60% Hilton Contest Winner w/ 65%
Week 1: 4-4 50% (Stars: 13-11 54%)
Week 2: 5-3 62% (Stars: 13.5-13.5 50%)
Week 3: 3-5 38% (Stars: 9-17 35%)
Week 4: 4-4 50% (Stars: 15-13.5 52.5%)
Week 5: 2-5 28% (Stars: 6.5-18 26%)
Week 6: 1-5-1 17% (Stars: 2-14 13%)
Week 7: 4-2-1 66% (Stars: 16-7.5 68%)
Week 8: 2-6 25% (Stars: 8.5-16.5 34%)
MIDWAY: 25-34-2 (Stars: 83.5-111 43%)
Week 9: 3-2-1 60% (Stars: 11.5-7.5 61%)
Week 10: 6-1 86% (Stars: 26-2 93%)
Week 11: 3-2 60% (Stars: 10-6.5 61%)
Week 12: 2-6-1 25% (Stars: 6.5-20.5)
Week 13: 3-2 60% (Stars: 8.5-4 66%)
Week 14: 1-3-1 25% (Stars: 3-15.5)
Week 15: 3-7 30% (Stars: 5.5-18.5)
Week 16: 6-5 55% (Stars: 13.5-10 57% )
Week 17: 3-5 (Stars: 8-20)
WILDCARD: 2-0 (Stars: 7.5-0)
DIVISIONAL: 2-2 (Stars: 6.5-7.5)
CHAMPIONSHIP: 1-1 (Stars: 5-2)
PLAYOFFS: 5-3 (Stars: 19-9.5)
Overall: 55-68-5 45% (Stars: 176-215.5) 45%
Hilton: 1-4 (20%) Last week for Total of 35-49-1
New England -3 Atlanta (5 Stars)
Defense wins Superbowls, and not only do the Patriots have the better defense but it is one of the better Patriots defense in years to reach the big game. This raises a curious point because the Patriots have NEVER won a Superbowl outside of the final minute. Isn't that amazing? Do the Patriots Superfail again, or is this the game they finally dominate in?
Patriots 29, Falcons 21
I'm just TWO games away from reaching .500 on my GOW! How exciting...
THE STATE FARMLAND GAME OF THE WEEK!!!
Atlanta -5.5 Green Bay **WIN** (5 Stars)
On paper, the teams grade out similar but there is simply no answer to the Falcons dynamic offense and the Packers should have run out of gas several weeks ago. I think this is simply too much to ask, but Rodgers will forever be in our gratitude for punking the Cowboys last week!
Falcons 33, Packers 23
Pittsburgh +6 New England (2 Stars) LOSS
The Patriots finally play someone who can hang on the field with them and this shouldn't be the laugher the Patriots usually enjoy. In fact, the Steelers may even win this. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots deal with Le'veon Bell. Is he unstoppable or will the Patriots expose to the rest of the league how to handle this monster? The Patriots were terrible last week and STILL won by 16 points, so you have to expect them to pull out the win. Technically, the Patriots offense and defense are both slightly better but neither is a given this Sunday.
Steelers 22, Patriots 26
New England -15.5 Houston (5 Stars) **WIN**
You can rarely go wrong in the NFL playoffs taking the better defense. Which, sadly enough, is still the Patriots in this case. While the numbers don't really add up mathematically, anyone who has watched much of the Patriots over the last decade would be wise to think the odds of them crushing the Texans is pretty damn high.
Patriots 32, Texans 8
Seattle +4.5 Atlanta (4.5 Stars) LOSS
It wouldn't be the NFL playoffs without an offensive juggernaut flaming out in their first playoff game, and who better than the high-flying falcons playing the one team that cheats on pass defense better than any in NFL history? They are good to keep this one close enough to slip into overtime and you just got to think they'll find away to be standing when that's done. Seattle hasn't been a great road team this season but I don't find regular season history to be as relevant come playoff time.
Seahawks 26, Falcons 23 (OT)
Dallas -4.5 Green Bay (3 Stars) LOSS
The Cowboys are good enough to match up offensively with the Packers without their leading receiver, and they are significantly better on defense, so this stands out as a pretty good value playing at home.
Cowboys 28, Packers 20
Pittsburgh +1.5 KC (1.5 Stars) **WIN**
These teams matchup well and I think this goes down to the wire on a cold night in Kansas City. KC's defense is slightly better but they are defending against a juggernaut of weapons.
Steelers 23, Chiefs 20 (OT)
Houston -3.5 Oakland (4 Stars) **WIN**
It wasn't good last week when the backup Qbs took over anywhere in the NFL and certainly wasn't pretty for these two squads. Houston has been limping along with bad Qb play all season, but Oakland is just doing a complete flameout. I'll look at the defenses, where the Texans have a couple point edge and have an excellent chance to overwhelm whatever is left to start for the Raiders in a home game.
Houston 22, Oakland 15
Seattle -8 Detroit (NO PICK)
A rare game where both teams are relatively intact. This line is very unusually high. It is rare to have more than a TD favorite in a wildcard game. The lions were disappointing against the Packers secondary and they will have far more trouble in Seattle. They seem too conservative to me and I simply do not trust them to cover.
Seattle 24, Detroit 16
Pittsburgh -10 Miami (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
Certainly not a good place for the Dolphins to be having Qb tryouts. Again, large spreads like this are rare and generally well justified. The Dolphins do not even have an edge at the RB position, which is the only place they excel.
Steelers 28, Dolphins 14
NYG +4.5 Green Bay (NO PICK)
The Giants defense is real and should give the Packers a bunch of trouble. It is hard to trust that Packers secondary and I see upside to the Giants behind playoff vet Eli Manning there. The Pack figure to win & cover, but this would could be close and an outright upset really wouldn't surprise me here.
Giants 20, Packers 24
121. Detroit +3.5 Green Bay (5 Stars) LOSS
A war for a playoff spot will take place on Sunday night, but as good as Aaron Rodgers is playing...the Lions have the benefit of playing against the vulnerable Packers pass defense.
Lions 28, Packers 27
122. Buffalo -3.5 N.Y. Jets (4.5 Stars) LOSS
The Jets are just a mess, even playing against the Bills with a coaching change. McCoy will mess them up! Coach firings seem to spur wins anyway.
Bills 28, Jets 20
123. Minnesota -6.5 Chicago (4 Stars) **WIN**
After watching the Redskins rack up a zillion interceptions against the Bears, the mind boggles at what the Vikings defense might do in this game.
Vikings 24, Bears 14
124. Oakland +1.5 Denver (4 Stars) LOSS
The Raiders face collapse without their Qb and everyone knows that, but the Broncos offense collapsed many weeks ago...
Raiders 25, Broncos 22
125. Miami +9.5 New England (3.5 Stars) LOSS
I find teams really don't play that much harder for home field advantage even though everyone thinks they do. This is a lot of points to be asking the Patriots to cover in what is a borderline meaningless game.
Dolphins 20, Patriots 26
126. Tampa Bay -3.5 Carolina (3 Stars) LOSS
Carolina is ready to move on to next year, while the Bucs are still pushing to finish the season strong.
Bucs 26, Panthers 20
127. Cincinnati +1.5 Baltimore (2 Stars) **WIN**
This one is pretty close so I'll ride the home field advantage.
Bengals 21, Ravens 20
128. Green Bay/Detroit Over 49.5 (2 Stars) **WIN**
I've never posted an over/under here in a decade, so I just had to put this one up. Detroit throwing against the Packers secondary...Aaron Rodgers playing better than any Qb in the league, this has over written all over it!
Lions 28, Packers 27
110. Cleveland +4 San Diego (5 Stars) **WIN**
After losing 6 games in a row by double-digits and facing their last good chance to win a game, expect the kitchen sink against the Chargers in this one.
Browns 28, Chargers 23
111. Carolina +3 Atlanta (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Suddenly, the Panthers D doesn't look so bad and they will play for pride down the stretch.
Panthers 27, Falcons 26
112. Green Bay -7 Minnesota (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
With a revamped offense and a rejuvenated defense, nobody wants to play the Packers now. Petersons return is a bust that can't save the Norv-less offense.
Packers 30, Vikings 20
113. Detroit +7 Dallas (2 Stars) LOSS
With things all clinched up for Dallas, you have to like the Lions chances to hang in this one.
Lions 21, Dallas 26
114. Kansas City -3.5 Denver (2 Stars) **WIN**
There isn't much left in the offense for Denver anymore, certainly nothing the Chiefs can not handle.
Chiefs 23, Broncos 18
115. Chicago +3 Washington (1.5 Stars) LOSS
The Redskins figure to win this game, but they don't blow out anyone.
Bears 23, Redskins 24
116. Indianapolis +3.5 Oakland (1.5 Stars) LOSS
Luck is going to finish December with some pretty stellar numbers and beating him will not be easy.
Colts 28, Raiders 30
117. Seattle -7.5 Arizona (1.5 Stars) LOSS
The Cardinals have lost their magic as the receivers need some serious stick'em, and this is a bad spot on the road.
Seahawks 26, Cardinals 17
118. Miami +4.5 Buffalo (1 Star) **WIN**
The Bills D can be a bit soft and the Dolphins should find some ways to exploit that. Dolphins 25, Bills 28
119. Houston -1 Cincinnati (1 Star) **WIN**
Now with a real backup Qb at the helm, the Texans give their defense a chance to win games.
Texans 21, Bengals 18
120. Baltimore +4.5 Pittsburgh (1 Star) **WIN**
C'mon, you know this one's coming down to a late game FG, and the Steelers FG kicker is on a roll.
Steelers 24, Ravens 21
Week 15 Comment:
Disappointing week for me, falling apart when I need to put together a strong finish. Line chewed me up badly. I'll see if I can find any solid ground in the remaining weeks....
100. Baltimore -5.5 Philadelphia (5 Stars) LOSS
It would be hard to name a team that has fallen off more than the Eagles. The offense is barely functional and losses Sproles this week, and the defense falls short of exceptional. The Ravens are defensively some badass mofos and have a pretty good offense, so they win the battle of the birds easily.
Ravens 27, Eagles 15
101. Houston -3.5 Jacksonville (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Houston's offense will be incredibly dysfunctional, but they have a defense that can win games against the likes of Jacksonville. Laying only 1/2 point above HF, they are still the better team considerably.
Texans 23, Jaguars 15
102. Atlanta -13.5 San Francisco (3 Stars) **WIN**
The league's best offense takes on a defense that plays like they use only 9 players and can only run the ball, giving them a massive ypp advantage. Even without Jones, this looks ugly.
Falcons 34, 49ers 19
103. Detroit +4.5 NYG (3 Stars) LOSS
Detroit has the better Qb and the better team. I'll take the points here.
Lions 18, Giants 20
104. Minnesota -5 Indianapolis (2 Stars) LOSS
The Vikings defense figures big in this one against the struggling Colts O-Line. And did you hear Peterson is back? I think that could be worth a whole lot!
Viking 27, Colts 20
105. Denver +3 New England (1.5 Star) LOSS
It ain't pretty but Denver is still getting things done with that defense and they can contain Brady. Expect this to be a good game as the Champs won't go quietly into the night.
Broncos 23, Patriots 25
106. Tennessee +6 KC (1.5 Star) **WIN**
In what figures to be a slugfest against a Titans team that can play pretty well, 6 points seems like a lot.
Titans 19, Chiefs 24
107. Buffalo -10 Cleveland (1 Star) **WIN**
Bill should run hogwild over the Browns.
Bills 29, Browns 19
108. Green Bay -4.5 Chicago (1 Star) LOSS
With the return of the Packers secondary, they look like a brand new team. And the Bears...look like the Bears.
Packers 26, Bears 22
109. Washington -6.5 Carolina (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Not sure what the line will be so check back tomorrow night. But I'm down with the Redskins cleaning up on Carolina, with or without Newton.
Redskins 29, Panthers 20
94. Buffalo +2.5 Pittsburgh (4.5 Stars) LOSS
Pittsburgh hasn't played well on the road all year. This could be quite a show of RBs!
Bills 25, Steelers 22
95. Detroit -7.5 Chicago (4 Stars) LOSS
Chicago's pathetic offense goes up against a pretty tough lions team that has been rolling lately.
Lions 25, Bears 16
96. Philadelphia +2 Washington (4 Stars) LOSS
Philadelphia hasn't played a good game in months but getting their wideout Mathews back will help and they will find some room to operate against the Redskins defense. Desean Jackson has been gaining steam lately and he'll be interesting against his former team with Cousins playing well. The Eagles have been much better at home this season.
Eagles 27, Redskins 23
97. New England -7 Baltimore (3.5 Stars) PUSH
The Ravens defense has been outstanding, but the offense will leave Brady on the field far too long and they are still the best team in football.
Patriots 24, Ravens 16
98. LA +6 Atlanta (3 Stars) LOSS
Every once in a while the Rams show up and surprise someone. I have a feeling this game could be closer than it appears.
Rams 23, Falcons 25
99. Miami +2 Arizona (3 Stars) **WIN**
The Cardinals disappointing season continues with a lackluster effort against the limp fish.
Dolphins 24, Cardinals 23
Not a lot of strong plays, but it looks like the home teams are a bit overrated across the board this week.
89. Kansas City +6 Atlanta (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Chiefs always come to play ball, and you have to prefer defense over offense in a December battle.
Chiefs 23, Falcons 26
90. Denver +3.5 Jacksonville (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
Losing the QB doesn't concern me in a matchup that looks like the defense can dominate.
Broncos 24, Jags 19
91. Philadelphia +1.5 Cincinnati (2.5 Stars) LOSS
The Eagles have really fallen off, but there isn't much on in the Bengals offense that scares you.
Eagles 21, Bengals 20
92. Detroit +6.5 New Orleans (1.5 Stars) **WIN**
You would think Stafford can move the ball pretty well against the Saints, and their defense could slow down the Brees.
Lions 23, Saints 28
93. San Francisco +2 Chicago (1.5 Star) LOSS
The 49ers seem to be getting things going just as the Bears are falling completely apart. Even the 49ers invisible defense might be ok in this one.
49ers 24, Bears 21
Week 12 Comment: What a disappointing time to lay a stinker after getting on a strong mini-roll. While most of these losses were lower graded selections, missing the cover on Buffalo and the Eagles bbq on MNF hurt a lot, while Chicago was lucky just to get the push.
83. Buffalo -7.5 Jacksonville (5 Stars) LOSS
When McCoy -- or even whoever that guy who backs up McCoy is -- plays, the Bills are a vastly superior team to the struggling Jags.
Bills 30, Jags 17
84. Tampa Bay +6 Seattle (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
Tampa is a pretty decent team to lay 6 points at home.
Bucs 22, Seahawks 23
85. Chicago +6 Tennessee (4.5 Stars) PUSH
It's not like the Bears offense is any good WITH Jay Cutler, so the floor here isn't far.
Bears 20, Titan 21
86. Philadelphia -4 Green Bay (4 Stars) LOSS
Green Bay's secondary is the worst in NFL history.
Eagles 28, Packers 20
87. Houston +2.5 San Diego (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Even Houston can score when they play the Chargers.
Texans 25, Chargers 24
88. Cleveland +7 NY Giants (3 Stars) LOSS
Sure, the Browns are the worst team in football, but the Giants aren't that good themselves with a very lackluster offense.
Browns 21, Giants 25
80. Minnesota +2.5 Detroit (2.5 Stars) LOSS
I don't have much for your turkey day but you may want to "gobble" this up. The Vikings take their explosive defense to Detroit, and will the Lions be ready for it?
Vikings 24, Lions 21 OT
81. Dallas -5.5 Washington (2.5 Stars) LOSS
A short week and a porous run defense make this a tough call for the Redskin offense. Cousins is a guy who will take what the defense gives you, but the Cowboys may not give much. He left a lot on the field last game, however.
Cowboys 29, Washington 21
82. Pittsburgh -7.5 Indianapolis (2 Stars) **WIN**
I really like this game as long as it is under 8, as the Steelers go for 2. No Luck for the Colts tonight against that defense which just swarmed Cleveland and now face another terrible O-line.
Steelers 28, Colts 19
Week 11 Comment: The Eagles were consumed by injuries and the Giants fell a couple points short, but still going strong in the 2nd half....
75. Buffalo +2.5 Cincinnati (5 Stars) **WIN**
If McCoy plays and is able to play well, you can bank this one.
Bills 25, Bengals 23
76. Philadelphia +6.5 Seattle (4 Stars) LOSS
Tough place to play for the rook, but the Eagles defense will likely be ok against the clawless Seahawks to cover this one.
Eagles 20, Seahawks 23
77. Detroit -6 Jacksonville (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
Seems almost too much like a no-brainer.
Detroit 27, Jacksonville 18
78. Washington -2.5 Green Bay (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Redskins keep it rolling against the one-dimensional Packers, who can't exploit the weak run defense of the Redskins.
Redskins 28, Packers 23
79. NY Giants -7.5 Chicago (2.5 Stars) LOSS
The Giants have quietly assembled a winning season so far this year, and they are playing da Bears. You should get a bit of juice on this one too, bumping it from a borderline pick.
Giants 24, Bears 15
Week 10 Comment: Like 2015, I seem to be catching fire down the stretch!
68. Tampa Bay +2.5 Chicago (5 Stars) **WIN**
The bye week came at a bad time for the Bears. Jay Cutler has never been the answer before, and probably won't suddenly be now. We know the Bucs offense will click!
Bucs 25, Bears 18
69. NY Giants +1 Cincinnati (5 Stars) **WIN**
The Giants should continue to gell under their new leadership, while the Bengals seem to be tuning out the coaches this season.
Giants 25, Bengals 18
70. Philadelphia +1 Atlanta (5 Stars) **WIN**
Can the rookie right the ship? He's playing a soft defense but an explosive offense guaranteed to put up points. When birds play birds, take the points.
Eagles 31, Falcons 25
71. Dallas +2.5 Pittsburgh (4 Stars) **WIN**
I look at this and think "How can the most powerful experienced triplets in football lose to the rookie Cowboy offense at home?" Pittsburgh may bring Dak down to earth, but the numbers this season tell a different story. I play the numbers.
Cowboys 23, Steelers 22
72. Tennessee +2.5 Green Bay (4 Stars) **WIN**
One of these teams has a running game.
Titans 25, Packers 23
73. SF +14 Arizona (3 Stars) **WIN**
Arizona hasn't done anything this season that makes you think they should lay 14 points, but they do have a mammoth advantage against the 49ers offense.
Cardinals 28, 49ers 18
74. New England -7.5 Seattle (2 Stars) LOSS
Seattle has no offense this year, and the game is in New England.
Patriots 25, Seahawks 16
Week 9 Comment: Looked better...at least the Cheathawks didn't steal the cover along with the win.
62. Bills +6.5 Seahawks (5 Stars) **WIN**
LeSean McCoy is backÖand nobody circles the wagon like the Buffalo Bills! The Seahawks offense has never looked worse and will have fits against the Bills D-Line.
Seahawks 20, Bills 19
63. Philadelphia +3 NY Giants (5 Stars) LOSS
Yes the Eagles stock is down, but their defense will certainly handle the Giants.
Eagles 22, Giants 20
64. Miami -4 NY Jets (3.5 Stars) PUSH
Still not much to love about the Jets, even against the middling Dolphins.
Dolphins 29, Jets 21
65. San Diego -4 Tennessee (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
Iíll take Rivers all day in this Qb matchup.
Chargers 29, Titans 21
66. Dallas -7.5 Cleveland (3 Stars) **WIN**
Dallas is hard to run against, and thatís about all the Browns have with one of the worst defenses in the league to complement an offense that struggles to field 11 players.
Cowboys 30, Browns 20
67. Kansas City -7.5 Jacksonville (2.5 Stars) LOSS
It really doesnít matter who starts for KC against Jacksonville.
Chiefs 23, Jags 14
Week 8 Comment: Wow, that was brutal. I can't recall ever doing so poorly on underdogs...ever! It takes as much skill to fail on the spread as to excel on it.
55. Minnesota -4.5 Chicago (4 Stars) LOSS
The Purple People eaters won't go hungry against Chicago.
Vikings 24, Bears 16
56. Washington +3 Cincinnati (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
These two teams are pretty even playing on a neutral field and the Redskins are playing winning football, so take the points here.
Redskins 21, Bengals 21 OT
57. Arizona +3 Carolina (3 Stars) LOSS
Arizona continues as one of the best defenses in football and they have a top running game. But the Panthers won't go down easy...unless they do.
Cardinals 23, Panthers 23 OT
58. Cleveland +2.5 NY Jets (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Cleveland doesn't have much, but at least they play hard. The QB mess in New York leaves them vulnerable.
Browns 26, Jets 25
59. Tampa Bay +1 Oakland (2.5 Stars) LOSS
This looks like one the Bucs could win. Their offense could have a big day against the Raiders D and their own D has been better than you would expect.
Bucs 26, Raiders 24
60. Buffalo +6.5 New England (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Nobody likes the Bills especially with their only player doubtful, but what would I do without a weekly spread loss to the Patriots? Gonna play points again...
Bills 19, Patriots 23
61. Philadelphia +5 Dallas (2 Stars) LOSS
These two look very even right now and I have more faith in the Eagles D, so I'm riding against the extra points towards Dallas.
Cowboys 24, Eagles 21
Week 8 TNF
54. Tennessee -3 Jacksonville (5 Stars) **WIN**
With as little as the Jags have shown us this season offensively, it would be hard to have any confidence in them against anyone laying even money.
Titans 28, Jags 20
Week 7 Comment: Nice rebound with a 66% score...more to come!
47. Baltimore +2.5 NY Jets (5 Stars) LOSS
Why on earth would you bet on the Jets, especially since it looks like Flacco will play?
Ravens 24, Jets 20
48. Philadelphia +3 Minnesota (5 Stars) **WIN**
The dynamic of this game is certainly interesting enough, but the Eagles should know how to defend their own Qb. I think the Vikings amazing streak against the spread comes to an end this weekend.
Eagles 22, Vikings 19
49. Oakland +2 Jacksonville (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Raiders are better than Jacksonville, and that's not much of a home field advantage in an empty stadium.
Raiders 26, Jags 24
50. Miami +2.5 Buffalo (4 Stars) **WIN**
With McCoy ailing, I don't like the Bills here against their division rival.
Dolphins 21, Bills 20
51. San Diego +5.5 Atlanta (3 Stars) **WIN**
Rivers and The Chargers keep it close every game and this should be no different.
Chargers 27, Falcons 30
52. Cleveland +10 Cincinnati (2.5 Stars) LOSS
The Bengals just don't look that good this year, so this is a lot for them to be spotting their Ohio rival.
Bengals 27, Browns 20
53. New Orleans +6 Kansas City (2.5 Stars) PUSH
Drew Brees is just too hot to stop, and this is the defense that gave up 5 TDs to Roethlisberger he is facing.
Saints 22, Chiefs 26
Week 6 Comment: Not the start of 2016 I hoped for, but as a data-driven prognosticator...it'll turn around soon.
40. Chicago -1.5 Jacksonville (4.5 Stars GOW) LOSS
The Bears defense is good enough to win this one.
Bears 26, Jaguars 20
41. Oakland +2 KC (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Kansas City's offense continues to sputter but at least the Raiders won't offer up much resistance.
Raiders 24, Chiefs 23
42. Green Bay -5 Dallas (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Don't think they'll win a passing battle with Aaron Rodgers.
Packers 26, Cowboys 18
43. Pittsburgh -7 Miami (2.5 Stars) LOSS
A massive mismatch.
Steelers 28, Dolphins 19
44. Lions -3 Rams (2.5 Stars) PUSH
The Rams are massively overachieving, but not this week.
Lions 24, Rams 19
45. Cincinnati +7.5 New England (2 Stars) LOSS
The Bengals are massively underachieving, but not this week. But they need to find a way to cover the Patriots TE if they are to have any hope of covering.
Bengals 20, Patriots 25
46. Arizona -7.5 NY Jets (2 Stars) **WIN**
This matchup is even worse than Steelers/Dolphins...and its at home on MNF. The Jets are terrible.
Cardinals 29, Jets 20
Week 5 Comment: I can't recall ever being so wretched on Dogs, this on what has largely been a good dog year. Of the 10 most obviously wretched picks I've put out there, I'm 0-10. Maybe they are huge underdogs for a reason?
34. Denver -4 Atlanta (5 Stars GOW) LOSS
Wow, it is so nice to go from the 49ers as my weekly failed GOW to the BRONCOS. If there has been one trend this year, it has been not to sweat the Qb in a matchup, and keep an eye on the defense. Atlanta may be running up the scoreboard, but the defense still sucks and it wonít change their odds when they play the arguably best defense in the NFL this weekend.
Broncos 28, Falcons 16
35. Carolina -4 Tampa Bay (5 Stars) LOSS
Stay classy, bettors! Hey, I know it hasnít been pretty for the Panthers so far, but playing that Bucs defense can go a look way to heal your woozy head. If there is one thing weíve learned this season, it is that Qbs donít matter Ė unless you are the 49ers and your Qb throws like a blind squirrel. I think Anderson will light it up on Monday night! See if heís on that waiver wireÖ
Panthers 31, Bucs 19
36. Minnesota -7 Houston (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
Remember when people thought the Texans had the best defense in the NFL? Well, they arenít bad but the offense is again, and the Vikings will feast on them as well.
Vikings 24, Texans 14
37. Chicago +4.5 Indianapolis (3.5 Stars) LOSS
The immovable offense meets the invisible defense in this one as the Bears attempt to get first downs vs the Colts horrendous defense of 2016. And do you REALLY care if Cutler is under center? Most Bears fans donít.
Bears 23, Colts 25
38. Cleveland +10.5 New England (3 Stars) LOSS
Tom Brady must be a bit pissed off they brought him back from vacation to play in CLEVELAND. Seriously? With his Hall of Fame hopes in tatters now that itís clear Chuckie the Clown can Qb for the Patriots and still win, at least he can practice throwing a properly inflated ball this weekend. Ok, Iím shamelessly taking the huge pile of points here at home, a spread worthy of only the 49ers!
Browns 21, Patriots 28
39. Pittsburgh -8.5 NY Jets (3 Stars) **WIN**
Speaking of teams running up the scoreboard, what will happen when the Steelers play arguably the worst defense in the NFL? Thatís right: worst. And there is no Revis Island, you will have to rename it Antonio Brown island after this beatingÖ.Fitzpatrick followed one of his best games with 2 of the worst ever, with a historic number of interceptions. Some bettors are focused on the massive injuries to the Steeler line but with their dynamic weapons and one of the hardest Qbs to sack in the NFL, they will be ok.
Steelers 29, Jets 18
33. San Francisco +4 Arizona (1.5 Stars) LOSS
Guess what? I won't be picking the 49ers as a GOW this week! The pricks put the Cowboys 14 points down with a rookie Qb and still manage to blow it again without covering. But even in losing, they still appear on paper better than the Cardinals this season. Arizona continues to struggle, with things getting worse having a short week and a concussion-struck Qb. The very nature of these struggling squads on a short week makes it look like a marginal win for the Cardinals.
49ers 23, AZ 24
Week 4 Comment: Despite losing a couple games down the stretch that seemed to be going well, the week evened out. But the NFL continues to zig-and-zag like crazy from week to week with often contrarian results.
25. Minnesota -4 NYG (5 Stars) **WIN**
The Vikings top ranked defense should smash the Giants line and neutralize the Giants to midgets.
Vikings 27, Giants 17
26. SF +1 Dallas (4.5 Stars, GOW at +2) LOSS
Before you get too excited about the Cowboys, they just won 2 straight games against the Bears and Redskins, arguably two of the other worst teams in the NFL. They still have a raw Qb, a raw RB, and lost their best receiver with the backdrop of a shaky D. Iím not sure the 49ers can underachieve any more and they have the better offense in this game.
49ers 24, Cowboys 20
27. Denver -3 Tampa Bay (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
Donít expect the Bucs to do a whole lot against the Broncos D and the Bucs defense is still helpless.
Broncos 27, Bucs 19
28. Chicago +3 Detroit (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
Chicago is terrible, but they might generate a bit of offense against the Lions to make this one interesting after 2 straight flops.
Bears 25, Lions 24
29. Cleveland +7.5 Washington (3.5 Stars) LOSS
The Redskins defense continues to be one of the worst in the NFL, and the Browns have been scrappy this season. The Redskins do not play well at home anyway.
Browns 24, Redskins 28
30. San Diego -3.5 New Orleans (3.5 Stars) LOSS
If you have Philip Rivers on your fantasy football team, this is probably the best week of the season to play him. But will the Chargers D fade again under the relentless pressure of Brees?
Chargers 30, Saints 23
31. Kansas City +4 Pittsburgh (2 Stars) LOSS
The Steelers are likely to rebound after last weekís debacle and now have Bell back, but the Chiefs are no easy mark in what figures to be a tough one.
Chiefs 21, Steelers 23
32. Houston -4.5 Tennessee (2 Stars) **WIN**
Now that the Texanís bus is a bit banged up, they may put a decent game together against one of the leagueís worst offenses.
Texans 23, Titans 17
18. San Francisco +10.5 Seattle (5 Stars GOW) LOSS
The Seahawks once again look anemic on offense and will be without the services of Rowles this weekend. The 49ers may not have much offense but their defense has been impressive so far, at least impressive enough to ponder 9.5 points. Last week they scored a ton of points but failed to stop anything all day, but that was against the NFC champs. With the 49ers showing life on defense and then offense against a struggling Seattle offense, this is a good value here.
49ers 21, Seahawks 19
19. Baltimore -2.5 Jacksonville (4 Stars) LOSS
Baltimore already looks a whole lot better than a year ago, and the Jags are still growing. If the Ravens want to keep pace with the Steelers, they need to win here. Last season, the Jags were about on par with the depleted Ravens and they look stronger this year with Flacco back. The 2-0 Ravens do need to defang a desperate Jaguars team but when arenít the Jags desperate?
Ravens 22, Jags 16
20. LA +3.5 TB (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Rams Ė surprising winners at home after laying an egg in the opener Ė play home again against the resurgent Bucs. But while the Bucs are popular with gamblers right now, they didnít do much last week to earn confidence. While the Rams are nowhere near as good, expect them to ride the emotion of last weekís victory. With both teams having been up and down, I think the best guide is the Rams being about a point better last season.
Rams 21, Bucs 20
21. N.Y. Giants -3 Washington (3.5 Stars) LOSS
The Redskins are arguably the worst team in the NFL after 2 weeks, apologies to the Bears who are certainly deserving as well. The Giants are the worst team to be 2-0 after 2 games and are due for some reality themselves. So you might think the Redskins bring an A game and get this done. But at this value, I simply canít condone taking a Skins team that has done nothing. I took away a ½ star because there is some juice at 3.
Giants 24, Redskins 17
22. Pittsburgh -4 Philadelphia (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Speaking of new Qbs, the Eagles are due for a serious reality check when they go up against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are clicking on all cylinders and now get their #2 WR back on the field. Probably no team in the NFLís history has had more success on the road against raw Qbs.
Steelers 26, Eagles 20
23. Dallas -6.5 Chicago (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
If the Cowboys get to play against Brian Hoyer mostly Sunday night, they are going to have a laugher for certain against the weakest team in the NFL.
Cowboys 30, Bears 21
24. New Orleans -3 Atlanta (2 Stars) LOSS
New Orleans canít stop a nosebleed, but Atlanta does a pretty good job of stopping themselves. I think the Saints are on the rise and Atlanta hasnít convinced me they are any more than the same old-same old. Iím riding Drew Brees on this one!
Saints 28, Falcons 23
17. New England +1.5 Houston (3 Stars) **WIN**
New England has no Qb, but neither does Houston still.
Patriots 19, Texans 17
Week 2: The Revenge of Mr. September
9. SF +13.5 Carolina (5 Stars GOW) LOSS
Last year Ė a year the Panthers went to the Superbowl and the 49ers were an embarrassment to humanity Ė Iíd have played this matchup as a 10 point line. So Iím already about 3.5 points ahead of the game. So thereís nothing but upside and downside here and one is coming off a loss to a QB-less Patriots team and one won an NFL game (technically) 28-0.
Panthers 28, 49ers 20
10. KC +2.5 Houston (4.5 Stars) LOSS
Anyone taking Houston must be looking at their one game last week and going ďWow!Ē this team can contend. But seriously, one game Ė and who did they play? No really, whoíd they play againÖ.I already forgot that game. Even if we pretend Houston didnít even have a Qb and this guy was the 2nd coming of Elway, it wouldnít justify this spread in my data against the perennially contending Chiefs.
Chiefs 23, Texans 21
11. Cleveland +6.5 Baltimore (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
So Cleveland is now back to where they were last year essentially, which isnít a great place to be. However, they were about the same as the Ravens last year. How much better have the Ravens improved in one year? Probably not this much better. In fact, the Browns may be better in other areas than a year ago.
Browns 19, Ravens 21
12. Buffalo +1.5 NY Jets (4 Stars) LOSS
Iím a data guy so Iím not picking this on any emotion of yet-another Rex Ryan revenge game. After seeing the Redskins humiliate the Bills backups in preseason, I have questions about their defense. But these two teams were pretty even last year, the Bills were a bit better last week, so I see no reason to ride the Jets here whatsoever.
Bills 23, Jets 21
13. Minnesota +2 Green Bay (3 Stars) **WIN**
Iím not sure what to make of the Vikings Qb situation, with their 1st round pick getting up to speed. Not sure if thatís a big deduction or actually a plus for the Vikings. What I do know is they still have a great defense and they figure to give the Packers as much fit as anyone on their schedule, especially at home. I would not assume the Packers will win this game.
Vikings 24, Packers 23
14. Arizona -7 TB (2 Stars) **WIN**
I play the data but if I were picking personally, this one might be my game of the week. All I saw last week was a scary-good Arizona team with an offense that has almost too many weapons and one of the best defenses in the NFL. So again, I donít really care how good the Bucs looked last week. Am I gonna take them? Hell no!
Cardinals 30, Bucs 21
15. San Diego -3 Jacksonville (2 Stars) **WIN**
This could be the highest scoring game of the week and if I played over/unders, Iíd think long and hard about this one. Rivers is gonna do what Rivers does, which is generally put up points. The Chargers D is probably not as bad as they looked but the Jags have an offense too. This could be a surprisingly good game to watch but I still think the Chargers are a better team than Jacksonville. When you ignore the collapse last week, the Chargers had the playoff-caliber Chiefs down at home 21-3 in the opener, which isnít nothing.
Chargers 29, Jags 24
16. Denver -6 Indianapolis (2 Stars) **WIN**
I just donít know how Indianapolis hangs in this game if CJ Anderson looks anything like he did last week on 10 days rest banging up the middle of the Colts defense. Theyíll need a lot of Luck to hang.
Broncos 28, Colts 20
1. Minnesota -1.5 Tennessee (5 Stars) **WIN**
In 2015, this would have been a massive mismatch in favor of the Vikings. The Vikings may have lost their Qb, but he wasnít exactly Aaron Rodgers to begin with. Hereís a hint: they can still hand it off to AP. The Titans had an eye-popping preseason with a smash mouth team, but they face a fresh defense that will be up to that challenge. The Titans may be a better team in 2016 Ė thatís not saying much Ė but it wonít help them win this week.
Vikings 23, Titans 17
2. Cleveland +4 Philadelphia (4 Stars) LOSS
The table seems set to me for a dynamic debut of RG-3.0 against the draft-ready Eagles.
Browns 24, Eagles 24
3. Oakland +1.5 New Orleans (4 Stars) **WIN**
The recently-respectable Raiders should be clicking against the defenseless Saints in what figures to be a high-scoring game. The Raiders could have won this game handily last season and figure to be more improved heading into 2016.
Raiders 28, Saints 26
4. Denver +3 Carolina (3 Stars) **WIN**
A few months ago, Iíd probably figure for the Broncos to win this game, but now they will replace a barely functioning Qb with an untested leader. How much will that set them back? While replacing a legend, it was a legend that played more soundly than spectacularly last season, so I still feel they have an edge over a potentially declining Panthers team. This Thursday night opener has proven to be a tough one for road teams to win.
Broncos 21, Panthers 21
5. Chicago +6 Houston (3 Stars) LOSS
Houston may be improved but they overachieved on a soft schedule last year. The team may not seem to make as much progress against that backdrop even if the Qb is a spectacular upgrade, which he may not be.
Bears 21, Texans 24
6. Seattle -10.5 Miami (2 Stars) LOSS
Last year, this game would have been so lopsided that the Seahawks could have sent out the Washington State squad to play the 2nd half. I donít see much reason to think this will be any different.
Seahawks 29, Dolphins 16
7. Washington +3 Pittsburgh (2 Stars) LOSS
Even the resurgent Redskins would have been whitewashed last year by the Steelers, but they do get a break with Bell being out of this game as well as a wideout of the Steelers being suspended this year. Then, they acquired Josh to cover the best receiver in football Ė which may not help, but it wonít hurt making the corner matchups a bit less awful. So while the Redskins will be hard-pressed to win this debut against a superior team, maybe they can put up a fight given the clear value on this line against a less-than-fully-loaded Steeler squad.
Steelers 22, Redskins 21
8. NY Giants PK Dallas (Lone Star) **WIN**
This may not be my statistically finest selection and the preseason momentum points to the Cowboys, but my gut says to ignore the preseason and focus on a veteran Qb-Wr combo of the Giants against a rookie Qb with a rookie Rb that may continue to struggle to lead a franchise that has rarely won a game without Romo in the lineup.
NY Giants 26, Dallas 24