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The Black Cat's 128K Picks of 2018

Twitter: @BlackCatNfl

2006: 58%
2007: 58%
2008: 62%
2009: 49%
2010: 60%
2011: 53%
2012: 43%
2013: 52%
2014: 45%
2015: 60% Hilton Contest Winner w/ 65%
2016: 45%
2017: 48%

Week 1: 7-0-1 100% (Stars: 14-0 100%)
Week 2: 4-4 50% (Stars: 15.5-11.5 57%)

Hilton "Pick 5" Contest 3-2, Overall: 7.5 of 10 (75%)

Favorites: 4-3-0 (57%)
Underdogs: 7-1-1 (88%)
Overall: 11-4-1 73% (Stars: 29.5-11.5 72%)

Special thanks to NFLsavant for gathering some of the statistics used in this report....great free site, check it out!

Week 3

17. Tampa Bay +1 Pittsburgh (5 Stars)
Yes, I am staying on the Fitzpatrick train! One thing that jumps out at me is that while you may have seen highlights of Fitz hitting a deep TD, a lot of their yards are coming from high-percentage short throws turning into long gains. That sounds pretty reliable to me. The Steelers pass defense looks really concerning and they will struggle to run the ball here. Compound that with a beaten up Steelers O line and you begin to wonder why the Steelers are even favored in this game!
Bucs 31, Steelers 17

18. Detroit +7 New England (4.5 Stars)
Ok, yes I know I’m hanging my ass out bigtime here, but Week 3 is about playing against the betting trend that “the Patriots can’t lose two inn a row”. Nobody likes the lions but there was a real red flag waved this week when the Patriots picked up Josh Gordon, admitting they have a serious WR issue going on. Compound that with a very soft defense, don’t be surprised if the Lions bring it together and win this. Of course, it is the Patriots – maybe the Lions won’t be allowed to win and will get hit with a slew of penalties like week 2 – but don’t be shocked when this game goes down to the wire.
Lions 27, Patriots 20

19. N.Y. Jets +3 Cleveland (4 Stars)
Cleveland…is favored? This is the team that has lost 400,000 games straight right? And they enter this game with a slew of injuries? You must be joking.
Jets 20, Browns 12

20. Arizona +6 Chicago (3.5 Stars)
With a total of 6 points in 2 games, the Cardinals are a front-runner for the NFL’s worst team. But if you are holding David Johnson, don’t fret. As shown on the stat site NFLsavant , the targets in the Red Zone go to Johnson, who is still around the top 10 in the NFL for Red zone touches. So they will score and when they do, he’ll be the guy dancing. Chicago is on a short week and will have their hands full as the Cardinals find a win at home.
Cardinals 23, Bears 20

21. New Orleans +3 Atlanta (3 Stars)
When your Qb is Easy Breesy, no game is really out of reach. Expect Brees to light it up. It isn’t that Atlanta won’t play well, but they’ll be in a shootout with the Saints who are quite at home in a dome game.
Saints 28, Falcons 23

22. LA Chargers +7 LA Rams (2.5 Stars)
The Chargers won’t need to travel far for this one, but they are carrying a lot of injuries that are concerning. A healthy Chargers team might stick it to the Rams, but this team will likely fall short of that – Chargers style.
Chargers 24, Rams 24 (OT, Tied)

23. Dallas +2 Seattle (2.5 Stars)
It doesn’t take a genius to realize if the Cowboys can obliterate the Giants O-Line, what will they do to a Seahawks line with a banged up Center?
Cowboys 16, Seahawks 10

24. Washington +2.5 Green Bay (2 Stars)
The Redskins running game gets back on track and that could be a real problem for the Packers, who lack one even with their suspended RB likely suiting up. The Packers do have a banged up right corner, and that already hasn’t been an area of strength for them this season. It may sound a bit far-fetched, but the Redskins have a real chance to control this game and post a win at home.
Redskins 20, Packers 17

WEEK 2

This week, I am excited to introduce my new prediction algorithm – MONTY! Monty came together very recently when I had an inspiration on how to implement it. For years, this column has been called the “Black Cat’s 128k Picks” and now it is a reality – these picks were made from games simulated 128,000 times “Monte Carlo” style. Monty has the unenviable task of following last week’s 7-0 debut. Without further ado….get ready for the FULL MONTY!

9. Tampa Bay +3.5 Philadelphia (5 Stars) **WIN**
The Bucs offense fired on all cylinders against the Saints, and if you drafted the Saints defense in fantasy football, you are probably sweating. Does the Bucs offense really have teeth or did they peak in Week 1? It is worth noting they have a formidable stable of receivers, led by all-star Mike Evans. The Eagles limped into the season but managed to hold off the Falcons on the emotional opening night. But will reality sink in week 2? One thing that jumps out at me is this would have been a +3.5 point game last year. Now you have damaged eagles and a hot Bucs team and I just see lots of upside to the Bucs to make a statement that they are here to play in 2018.
Bucs 28, Eagles 12

10. Detroit +6 San Francisco (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
Monty had a couple weird picks this week. One was the Bengals and we already know how that turned out (perfectly). Detroit was another one. Monty thinks that Stafford is gonna rip through the 49ers like a Hurricane near Hatteras and wants me to pick up the Lions D in all my fantasy leagues, where oddly they are available. Now my sources tell me the Lions are a bit banged up and tired from an overly physical training camp, they are on a short week, and could be flat and over-matched here with the new coach. But don’t be surprised if the 49ers are just the fresh meat the Lions needed. +6 is at worse a fair line and – at best – an incredible bargain that nobody sees coming.
Lions 28, 49ers 19

11. LA Chargers -7 Buffalo (4 Stars) **WIN**
In case it wasn’t clear yet, the Ravens disappointing showing Thursday night was another indicator that the Bills just aren’t very good. This is a massive mismatch and expect the Chargers to simply dominate this matchup as they circle the wagons vs. the Buffalo Bills.
Chargers 27, Bills 9

12. Washington -6 Indianapolis (3.5 Stars) LOSS
The Redskins had a near perfect debut against the hapless Cardinals last week and it is a bit hard to imagine it going much better. The Colts showed a bit more teeth with Luck at the helm, but this is still a bad team that is like the Lions of Indianapolis. And the Lions always get crushed in Washington! I’m staying ON the Peterson train at least another week in a game the Redskins will definitely win if they play anywhere near the way they did in Week 1.
Redskins 24, Colts 8

13. NY Jets -2.5 Miami (3 Stars) LOSS
The Jets Defense is for reals and they will have their ears pinned back for this one. The Jets are going to win this game...I guarantee it!
Jets 32, Dolphins 20

14. New Orleans -8.5 Cleveland (2.5 Stars) LOSS
The Browns gave the Steelers a hard time in wet Cleveland, but when you get a half-dozen turnovers you can generally stay in a game. Easy Breesy should get a Tsunami of yardage in this one! 500?
Saints 34, Browns 17

15. NYG +3 Dallas (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Last week didn’t really differentiate much from 2017, but I believe this week will. The Cowboys would have mopped up the Giants and their medic unit last year easily but now it is the Cowboys that look hapless and punchless. The Giants traded punches with the Jaguars and that almost never looks good for anyone. But if the Cowboys look anywhere near as bad as they did last week, they are going to be in for a very very long season...
Giants 12, Cowboys 7

16. Tennessee PK Houston (2 Stars) **WIN**
Another Battle of the Houstons! The Titans had a miserable Sunday in Miami with two long breaks and their biggest rushing play of the day called back. They will happily restart the season at home in week 2. Houston looked miserable in New England, although they only lost by 7 and who doesn’t look miserable in New England, who has literally won something like 95% of their home division games. I still am hopeful for the Texans this season and we may see them breakout here, but they have a lot of rust to shakeoff before they recapture the early season glory of 2017. The PK seems to give the Texans a benefit of the doubt they have yet to earn and I’m not taking the leap of blind faith when I know I’ll get some solid running and defense from Tennessee. This is a pick'em and the Titans figure to have a 70%+ chance to win, so I like that.
Titans 19, Texans 12

WEEK 1

1. Cleveland +3.5 Pittsburgh (3 Stars) **WIN**
Pittsburgh always beats the Browns (who doesn't?) but it isn't always pretty. And you have to wonder how pretty it'll be in a monsoon without their Bell-cow RB. Roethlisberger hasn't played as a top 10 Qb in 19-of-20 road games so he certainly doesn't figure to rip it up this Sunday.
Steelers 8, Browns 6

2. Seattle +3 Denver (3 Stars) PUSH
Denver was pretty sad last year and would have been whacked by the Seahawks, even on the road. I think the Broncos will be better this year but given a home-field pick'em, I'm sticking with Russell and the Seahawks here. The Seahawks don't need to travel far in this one.
Seahawks 27, Broncos 24 (OT)

3. LA Rams -4 Oakland (3 Stars) **WIN**
This California matchup would have been a bargain last year, and I have no reason to think the Raiders will be any better this year. This reminds me of those Charger/Raider openers that never turned out well for the Raiders.
Rams 31, Raiders 24

4. NY Jets +6.5 Detroit (2 Stars) **WIN**
It is too early for the Jets to give up on this season. Detroit doesn't really distinguish themselves as that much better than the Jets, so I'll just take the points.
Jets 26, Lions 30

5. KC +3.5 LA Chargers (2 Stars) **WIN**
There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes, and the Chargers finding ways to lose close games in September.
Chiefs 24, Chargers 23

6. Washington +1 Arizona (2 Stars) **WIN**
I think Alex Smith is actually a really good Qb and give the Redskins an advantage on two teams looking to rebound after injury-plagued 2017 campaigns. You also have Peterson opening up fresh with that big line against his team last year, which you have to balance against the explosive return of David Johnson. No Cardinal coach has ever won their first game dating back to the late 70s.
Redskins 27, Arizona 26

7. Minnesota -6.5 SF (1 Star) **WIN**
Cousins had great stats last year working with absolute trash and now he takes over a team ready to win it all. It's hard to say for sure how this will play out, but I'm optimistic the Vikings look improved and will be a tough out for the 49ers first game.
Vikings 27, 49ers 20

8. New England -6.5 Houston (1 Star) **WIN**
I actually am very bullish on the Texans this year and think they could have an outstanding campaign. But I don't know how you look at this game and not think 6.5 is pretty darn cheap!
Patriots 31, Texans 24

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