The Black Cat's 128K Picks of 2015
2015: 60% Hilton Contest Winner w/ 65%
Week 2: 3-4 (Stars: 9-14)
Week 3: 4-3 (Stars: 14-9)
Week 4: 5-2-1 (Stars: 14-9)
Week 5: 4-3-1 (Stars: 14-8)
Week 6: 3-4 (Stars: 10-15)
Week 7: 6-3 (Stars: 24-7 77%)
Week 8: 3-3-1 (Stars: 11-10)
Week 9: 5-2 (Stars: 18-5 78%)
Week 10: 4-5 (Stars: 15-12)
Week 11: 3-3-1 50% (Stars: 6-12)
Week 12: 7-3 70% (Stars: 22-7 76%)
Week 13: 4-6 40% (Stars: 13-18 42%)
Week 14: 4-4 50% (Stars: 16-10 62%)
Week 15: 5-2-1 71% (Stars: 20-5 80%)
Week 16: 7-3 70% (Stars: 23-10 70%)
Week 17: 3-3 50% (Stars: 11-10 52%)
Overall: 70-53-5 57% (Stars: 240-161 60%)
Favorites: 33-29-3 53%
Dogs: 37-24-2 60%
Hilton Contest: 54-29-2 65%
2015 Bettorsworld Hilton Contest Champion!
GOW Contest: 14-7 66%
ROUND 1: 2-1 66% (Stars: 7-2 78%)
ROUND 2: 1-1 50% (Stars: 4-5)
ROUND 3: 2-1 66% (Stars: 6-2 75%)
Superbowl: 1-0 (Stars 2-0)
PLAYOFFS OVERALL: 6-3 66% (Stars: 19-9 68%)
Denver +4 Carolina (2 Stars) **WIN**
Carolina playing at home would be about a 4 point favorite, so it seems they are being spotted a home field on a neutral field. They are clearly the better team with a more potent offense, although the Carolina defense is not quite as good as they've played in the playoffs. The pacing of this game seems obvious, with Carolina exploding out of the gate and Denver challenging late against one of the poorer 2nd half teams. You have to think the Broncos can not possibly do as badly this time as they did in the last one. The over/under seems about right but this could degenerate into a very defensive Superbowl. This is Superman vs Batman...
Carolina 24, Denver 22
Denver +3 New England (5 Stars GOW) **WIN**
New Englandís defense looks vulnerable, and fresh injuries may aggravate this problem in Mile High. Certainly the Patriots offense is more potent than the ďwe canít catch a ball to save our lifeĒ Broncos, but they donít have to play the Broncos defense. The Broncos defense was quite disappointing against the Steelers giving up big plays that made them look pretty stupid, but they held stout in the red zone and got the job done down the stretch. Manning could go out Elway style, unless he has to play the Cardinals or the Panthers in the Superbowl. But what are the odds of that?
Broncos 24, Patriots 21
Arizona +3 Carolina (2 Stars) LOSS and Over 47.5 (1 Star) **WIN**
The Cardinals are slightly better on offense and defense, but the home field makes this a dead even Cat v. Bird contest. The over looks very interesting, as the Cardinals have sworn to be more aggressive on offense this game and both defenses are a bit outside the top tier.
Panthers 27, Cardinals 26
This could be a very unusual divisional round of the NFL playoffs. First, all the road teams won last week and road teams in the playoffs are dangerous Ė after all, they already showed they can win a playoff game on the road and are rock-solid at the Qb position. Then, consider the home teams and the great degree that many of these teams have dropped off in the 2nd half. The result could be some really great games in this round, where any team could realistically win.
Kansas City +4.5 New England (5 Stars GOW) LOSS
I continue to be big on Kansas City as a very underrated team, considering theyíve only won their last 11. They have the best defense standing and an offense that is pretty serviceable. Who knows what they are playing against vs. the Patriots, who have slid into oblivion in recent weeks. Which Patriots team will we see? If they play anything like they did towards the end of the season, they may just get blown out. But even if they return to form Ė which will surprise no one Ė this has the makings of an extremely good game as the Chiefs are a team I wouldnít want to play right now and has the pass rush to put Brady on his back.
Chiefs 27, Patriots 25
Pittsburgh +7.5 Denver (4 Stars) **WIN**
This is a hard game to predict with all the injuries to Pittsburgh and Manningís return. I canít overlook just how lifeless Denver was in their playoff defeat last year. They failed to even register a pulse. Pittsburgh is never lifeless, but the offense is dealing with significant injuries that can stall the most potent offense in the league against this top-tier defense. I canít say how it turns out, but I have every reason to think itíll be a war and not a coronation for Denver.
Steelers 21, Broncos 23
Wild Card Weekend
Kansas City -3.5 Houston (5 Stars GOW) **WIN**
My #7 ranked team takes on the #10 ranked Texans. Arguably, these ranking are a bit off as the Chiefs had the best 2nd half of the season of any team in the NFL while the Texans are the beneficiaries of what looks like the absolute worst division in history. Aside from a 2 game stretch where the Texans beat the Bengals and the Jets, the Texans have done very little noteworthy. The defense of the Texans has been very good (but againÖlook who they play!), however the offense enters the playoffs in complete disarray. This is not an offense that should ever win a playoff game, and they face one of the top 5 defenses in all of the NFL. This is a colossal mismatch. On the other side of the ball, it is less uneven, but the Chiefs have been playing smart, aggressive, and creative offense that looks very playoff ready to me. It was my contention that the Chiefs welcomed this matchup and I expect the Chiefs defense to setup the offense all day and turn this into an absolute rout. I donít think anyone should look past the Chiefs, who are as dangerous to make a serious run as any team in the playoffs.
Chiefs 28, Texans 10
Cincinnati +2.5 Pittsburgh (2 Stars) **WIN**
The #4 team hosts the #3 team, with the Bengals sliding down without Andy Dalton that flips this situation. Nobody has played offense more explosively than the Steelers down the stretch, although that also has an asterick as Big Ben has thrown a slew of interceptions on the road, including the past 2 weeks. Thatís a bit disconcerting as the Bengals defense has been outstanding. The Steelers defense has been very good but is susceptible to big plays. Coming off the bench in their last meeting, AJ was extremely effective and passed for nearly 300 yards. The offense has not regressed very noticeably with him at the helm. This should be a very close game if the Bengals can contain the dangerous Steelers offense. Don't be shocked if the Steelers go for 2 in this game (they've done it often this season) and if that turns this into a game decided by 1 or 2 points.
Bengals 26, Steelers 27
Washington +1 Green Bay (2 Stars) LOSS
The #12 Redskins host the #13 Packers, rankings representing the rise of the Redskins and the decline of the Packers. The Packers have fallen due to injuries, totaling 17 midweek, a couple continuing to be key injuries. The Redskins offense has really begun to click with the re-emergence of Desean Jackson and the franchise play of Qb Kirk Cousins. However, as the offense has ascended, the defense is starting to leak more. Losing a LB to the stretcher last Sunday probably wonít help that. I think these teams stack up pretty even and it is just a question of the Redskins maintaining their offensive momentum against a Packer defense that can play quite well when healthy and a Packers offense that is led by the errant but still concerning Aaron Rodgers. I think there is enough here to think the Redskins pull it out at home against the beat-up Packers.
Redskins 24, Packers 23
123. Buffalo +3 NY Jets (5 Stars GOW) **WIN**
It seems that everyone has penned in the Jets to win this game and grab the playoff spot dangling before them, but it is hard to ignore the spoiler opportunity awaiting former Jets coach Rex Ryan. These two teams are too close to ignore their division rivalry and home field advantage and I expect a nail-biter. The Jets strike me as a team that is more than capable of choking with everything on the line and Ryan knows that personnel as well as anyone.
Bills 24, Jets 22
124. Kansas City -7 Oakland (4 Stars) LOSS
Kansas City will play the Texans Ė one of the worst playoff teams ever -- in the wild card round if they win, and who wouldnít want to do that? I think there is close to 0% chance of an upset here, so it is just a matter of playing well enough to cover the spread. Oakland will have a tough tie moving the ball in this one and could get blanketed.
Chiefs 28, Raiders 17
125. Carolina -10 Tampa Bay (4 Stars) **WIN**
Rebounding from last weekís shocking loss to their regional doormats, the Panthers should grab that top spot convincingly against the punchless Bucs.
Panthers 31, Bucs 17
126. Cincinnati -9.5 Baltimore (3 Stars) LOSS
Baltimore pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year last week, but they wonít repeat that effort this week. The only hesitation remains the issues at Qb for the Bengals but there should be enough defense here to carry the day. The game remains important as the Bengals need to season their backup, and the bye week is still in play.
Bengals 29, Ravens 17
127. NY Giants -6 Philadephia (3 Stars) LOSS
With the Eagles dysfunction in full display, itís hard to think many Eagles are going to think it is worth getting hurt over this game. The loser has to go play a home game in Europe next season, which should be enough incentive to get the Giants going in this one.
Giants 30, Eagles 21
128. Seattle +6 Arizona (2 Stars) **WIN**
By winning this game, the Seahawks guarantee they donít face the Packers in Green Bay in the first round, but instead get the .500 Redskins or a Vikings team in a comfy dome that they crushed just a couple weeks ago. The Cardinals have very little to play for, as the Panthers will have the seed locked up by kickoff. Still, the Cardinals are expected to give it their best shot, which might be good enough to send the Seahawks to a frozen football hell.
Seahawks 20, Cardinals 24
Week 16 - Sunday & Monday Night
115. Chicago +3.5 Tampa Bay (5 Stars GOW Ė Top 5 Pick) **WIN**
Tampaís offense is more flash than substance and their defense is still a porous mess. I think Chicago is a bit better on both sides of the ball and they are better at winning football games, so Iíll take 3 on the road.
Bears 24, Bucs 21
116. San Francisco +10 Detroit (4 Stars Ė Top 5 Pick) LOSS
It is no secret that the 49ers have the worst offense, but their defense is really pretty good. The Lions have a lot of name recognition on offense, but these guys havenít been productive all year outside of a couple primetime games. These teams are far closer than a 9.5 spread suggests.
San Francisco 19, Detroit 23
117. Kansas City -11 Cleveland (4 Stars) LOSS
Arguably one of the best defenses takes on the worst defense, and an extremely good offense takes on an extremely bad one. Now, last week I rode Cleveland in their ridiculous situation of having to take on the Seahawks, and it almost worked as a clear drop in the end zone by the Browns defense allowed the Seahawks to kick a spread-covering FG. But I think the Chiefs get another laugher and will rack up points with their defense and slice up the Browns offense. The Chiefs are lacking some pass rushers, but the Browns pass protectors are a very banged up group anyway. While I hate to lay huge points in a game, it is very reasonable to think the Browns offense wonít crack 10 points. Because it is a large line, it narrowly missed being selected as a top 5 pick.
Kansas City 32, Cleveland 17
118. Minnesota -6.5 NYG (3 Stars Ė Top 5 Pick) **WIN**
I thought this spread was oddly low BEFORE Odellís suspension. You have a playoff team playing in primetime for the world against a non-playoff game at home, which was a formula for domination last week. Now take Odell out of it, and you have a formula for crushing the Giants as heís about the only MVP wideout in the NFL outside of Antonio Brown. The surging Vikings offense should slice through the Big Easy defense of the New York Giants with no way for the Giants to answer.
Vikings 27, Giants 17
119. St. Louis +12 Seattle (3 Stars Ė Top 5 Pick) **WIN**
The Rams have been one of the biggest upset teams over the last couple years. They are stout on the lines and are never to be taken lightly. While their offense is punchless and figures to be dominated by the hot Seahawks defense, theyíll cause Russell Wilson some issues. After not seeing a large spread covered in a couple weeks, I think the Rams get it done.
Rams 17, Seahawks 27
120. Baltimore +10 Pittsburgh (3 Stars) **WIN**
Pittsburgh knows they are going to get the Ravens best shot and while Baltimore is outclassed, that doesnít mean itíll be easy for the Steelers. The Ravens offense is getting a bit better and the offense hasnít been completely hopeless, and the Steelers still give up a few too many big plays.
Ravens 19, Steelers 26
121. Cincinnati +3.5 Denver (3 Stars) **WIN**
It is a battle of two of the best defenses. This puts a lot of pressure on the offenses, both making do with backups. The Broncos Qb has had flashes, but heís been flaming out late in games and will likely do so again. There is very little to know about AJ, but he takes the wheels of a very potent offense. With the Vegas edge going to the Broncos, I see all the upside of this tilt pointing towards the Bengals.
Bengals 24, Broncos 21 (OT)
122. Carolina -6.5 Atlanta (2 Stars) LOSS
The line is very reasonable, as it is essentially a 7 point game which seems excessive on a statistical evaluation. However, the last two December meetings between these teams Ė including just a couple weeks ago Ė yielded a 72-3 total combined score in critical games. Not much else to talk about here, is there?
Carolina 27, Atlanta 17
Week 16 Ė Thursday & Saturday Night Football
113. San Diego +5 Oakland (3 StarsĖ Top 5 Pick) **WIN**
The Chargers have been struggling all year with offensive inexperience, but they are improving and not regressing in the stretch run. I have a hard time discerning much difference between these teams and think thereís good value here getting points to San Diego. It wasnít that long ago that Rivers absolutely dominated the Raiders team. I think too much stock is being put on this being the retirement game of the Raiders safety. Winner gets LA?
Chargers 24, Raiders 27
114. Washington +3 Philadelphia (3 Stars) **WIN**
I have been Ė and continue to be Ė reluctant to pull the trigger on the Skins. My issue is the numbers just donít bear out what my eyes and ears are telling me, which is the Redskins offense is seriously starting to click. DeSean Jackson is healthy and developing chemistry with Cousins, the TE is lighting it up, and Kurt is really starting to look like the real deal. The offensive coordinator is taking the handcuffs off and they are letting the ball fly and that will absolutely continue this week. The defense isnít too bad either. While I see the Redskins gelling as a team, I see the Eagles as a bunch of individuals as disgruntled as their castoffs, one playing against them Saturday night. Do the Eagles even want to have to play a free game in the playoffs for the Eagles? Take the cash and go home, Demarco Murray. They arenít gonna play you anyway. The Eagles also arenít a fabulous home team, losing 4 of 7 this year in annual mediocrity in Philadelphia. The Redskins are better than the Eagles statistically, even accounting for the improbable win over the Patriots. So Iím calling the Redskins to get the ďWĒ in a close dramatic overtime victory. You like that?
Redskins 26, Eagles 23 (OT)
Week 15 - Sunday and Monday Night
106. Arizona -3.5 Philadelphia (5 Stars GOW) **WIN**
The explosive cardinals are getting healthy on D and they hit the road to play the Eagles, who arenít great at home. This is one of the worst Yards-per-Pass matchups possible, as the Eagles are shockingly punchless through the air. While Bradford may be an upgrade on that from Sanchez, most of those stats were generated by Bradford throughout the season. Philadelphia is one of only a few teams to show signs of stepping backwards on defense as the season comes to a close, whereas Arizona still has room to improve and is heading in that direction. You can count on the Cardinals to be in this game at the end, but the Eagles are a bird that will lay many eggs.
Cardinals 29, Eagles 21
107. San Diego -1 Miami (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Chargers are playing what could be their final home game in San Diego, and they host the defenseless Dolphins. Both of these teams have porous defenses, but at least the Chargers show a pulse whereas the Dolphins were incapable of stopping a pass from Eli last weekend. The Chargers may not be much on offense, but the Dolphins are positively punchless. I have to like the Dolphins on the strength of having a Qb who knows what he is doing and wants to win his final game in SD. And just what do the Dolpins have left to play for on the road anyway?
Chargers 27, Dolphins 21
108. Detroit +3 New Orleans (4 Stars) **WIN**
Another evenly rated game, but the Saints field one of the worst defenses in NFL history. The Lions are showing improvement on both sides of the ball and played well in the national spotlight on MNF. I have to prefer that Lions offense against the porous Saints defense, which miraculously held the punchless 49ers to 17 points last week in a win that said more about the state of the 49ers than it did about the Saints. We saw Thursday night that the Rams can be tough on the lines, accounting for the Lions loss last week.
Lions 27, Saints 26
109. Houston +1.5 Indianapolis (3 Stars) **WIN**
Iíve never been a trend bettor, but the trend has Indianapolis winning something like 20 straight divisional games prior to last weekís Jacksonville debacle, including never having lost to Houston at home. Houstonís stock was up high for the Sunday night football contest but has collapsed for this one with more Qb issues. Qb is a major concern for Indianapolis, though, as Hasselbeck looked thoroughly injured last weekend and may not last long against the likes of JJ Watts in his fac.e This wasnít such a great Colts offense prior to their own Qb problems. In truth, neither of these offenses inspires confidence but the Texans defense is a huge notch better than the Colts so this kind of game should play into their inury-wrapped hands.
Texans 21, Colts 20
110. Cleveland +15 Seattle (3 Stars) LOSS
Lord help me, this pick is a purely value-based proposition. After all, in the NFL, 14.5 point spreads are a lot of points. And frankly, while one might think itíll be nearly impossible for Cleveland to stop the Seahawks from scoring or score themselves, it is possible either or both could happen. The Seahawk offense is hampered by a lack of running backs, which could matter even against the worst defense in the NFL. If that doesnít inspire confidence, the Browns offense is better than several other teams and the Seahawks defense hasnít been all that special this year. What Iím trying to say is this line has perfection baked in, and this matchup falls a tad short of perfection. Despite asking Ĺ a point more than New England vs. Tennessee, this matchup is at least 1-2 points closer.
Browns 20, Seahawks 32
111. Denver +7 Pittsburgh (2 Stars) PUSH
Confidence in Denver has collapsed as the offense sputtered for Denver late last week, whereas Pittsburgh is in grove and rolling. Both teams enter the game with top defenses so points should be at a premium. I feel the bookmakers are offering too many points to Pittsburgh to ignore, even though I like the Steelers to win in this matchup.
Steelers 23, Broncos 18
112. Tennessee +13.5 New England (2 Stars) LOSS
Again, a very big spread and the Patriots donít seem to be peaking heading into this contest, with Brady and company missing some practice this week and the Patriots defense heading in the wrong direction. Still, the Titans offense is horrendous so not like I expect anything grand here. I prefer the Patriots on the spread with their backs against the wall, not gliding down a steep hill.
Titans 17, Patriots 29
Week 15 - Thursday Night Football
105. St. Louis -2.5 Tampa Bay (4 Stars) **WIN**
The betting public hates the Rams, as evidenced by how badly their victory over the Lions was missed universally. The line moved from a PK to -3.5 by kickoff. The Bucs are a bit more popular thanks to a good rookie campaign this season. But their loss to the Saints was a bit shocking -- they only racked up 17 points against arguably the worst run defense in football, and clearly one of the worst defenses overall. Now they entering as a road team against a tough defensive line, but truthfully this is a duel of ineffective offenses. But the injuries on the Bucs side to an already poor defense raise eyebrows. This is a spot the Rams should win.
Rams 24, Bucs 18
97. New England -3 Houston (5 Stars GOW) **WIN**
ITíS A TRAP! OrÖmaybe not. I donít believe for a second that the Patriots are going to lose a 3rd straight game on national TV to the Houston Texans.
Patriots 31, Texans 23
98. Green Bay -7 Dallas (4 Stars) **WIN**
Dallas finally won a game without Romo, but they didnít exactly light the world on fire, often struggling to gain a yard in a virtually scoreless game. The Packers defense is surging and Dallas is likely to have to operate in Packers weather. The Cowboys will probably hand the Packers most of their points.
Packers 24, Cowboys 13
99. Minnesota +8.5 Arizona (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Vikings packed it in early and gave Peterson the rest of the night off, likely to rest him for this game despite all of his moaning. Arizona presents a run defense almost yard-for-yard with the Seahawks in run defense, but they give up a lot more on a yards-per-carry basis. The Cardinals also look ripe for an off game after weeks of domination, ranking #1 on my power ranking scale. The Cardinals defense is easier to score on than the Vikings, even if the Cardinals rank better in most defensive categories.
Vikings 21, Cardinals 26
100. Carolina -7.5 Atlanta (3 Stars) **WIN**
When you turn over the ball like the Falcons are doing on a weekly basis, that plays right into the hands of the Panthers. The Panthers survived a horrible game last week, highlighted by losing 2 points on an extra point try and the defense getting uncharacteristically shredded. But the Falcons really arenít that potent on offense, and the Panthers are a grind-it-out scoring machine that will keep their defense off the field.
Panthers 30, Falcons 20
101. Chicago -3 Washington (3 Stars) LOSS
In what could be ugly Chicago weather, the Redskins lack of running game, linebacker injury, and Chicagoís explosive running game could run amuk. Kurt and the Redskins arenít the same on the road.
Bears 23, Redskins 17
102. San Francisco +2 Cleveland (3 Stars) LOSS
San Francisco can play defense, but the Browns canít. It is technically a home game in Cleveland, but the seats will be empty. Bad weather will play more to the 49ers favor, as it seems unlikely that Manziel is ready for a brutal weather game against a tough defense.
49ers 24, Browns 23
103. Cincinnati -2.5 Pittsburgh (2 Stars) LOSS
The Steelers will bring their A game Ė which is formidable Ė but at least on paper, there is simply too much offense and defense in Cincinnati to overcome. Bad weather could play to the Bengals advantage.
Bengals 27, Steelers 22
104. Buffalo -1.5 Philadelphia (2 Stars) LOSS
McCoy returns to Philadelphia, and while the Cowboys have one of the most expensive and poorly used running back stables for a team that could care less about time of possession, McCoy and the Bills explosive running attack faces one of the worst run defenses in the league. The Eagles may have soared over the Patriots, but special teams figured to be the decisive factor. And they simply had to be better without Sanchez. The Eagles are already slight underdogs in this matchup and theyíve never played very well at home.
Bills 24, Eagles 20
87. Minnesota +2 Seattle (5 Stars GOW) LOSS
The Seahawks are not the same on the road and face a Vikings team with a defense that has eclipsed their own. While the Seahawks are more potent offensively than the Vikings, the ball will always move when Peterson is driving it, fresh off another dominant performance. The Seahawks are withough Dobbs and Hill and will start a free agent defensive tackle for his first game in a Seahawks uniform to stop AP. Marshawn Lynch is out and while his backup has been clone-like, he is not Marshawn Lynch. Russell Wilson is 1-10 in games where his opponent scores 25 points or more. The Vikings will score exactly 25 points. It is hard to say the Seahawks will lose this game and fall into the playoff bubble, but that does appear to be the likely outcome as long as the Vikings get a fair shake. The Vikings are pretty healthy, with just a couple defenders being out but the offense at full strength against a banged up Seahawks front, indicating they may be able to control possession in this game.
Vikings 25, Seahawks 20
88. Baltimore +3.5 Miami (4 Stars) **WIN**
The favored Dolphins (how often do you get to say that?) are a bit banged up as they take on the Ravens. Miami is one of the worst teams in football, already being impotent on offense and terrible on defense. Baltimore continues its momentum and extends their win streak to 3, while sending the Dolphins home with their 3rd straight loss.
Ravens 25, Dolphins 24
89. New York +2.5 New York (4 Stars) LOSS
The Jets travel into the far depths of their stadium this week, where theyíll find a Giants team licking their wounds from an embarrassment in Maryland. However, the Giants are getting healthy with 2 starters returning to the offensive line. The returners are significant as the line struggled without them last week. It isnít such good news for the Jets, who are decimated in a secondary without Revis Island to contain Jr. Eli Manning should have time to pick them apart. Fitzpatrick played well against Miami (who doesnít?), but he has a thumb injury heís dealing with. While the Giants are out of first place, that they will still make the playoffs as division winners is still very much on the table and theyíll need this win to keep pace with the Redskins.
Giants 26, Jets 24
90. Atlanta +1 Tampa Bay (3 Stars) LOSS
With Tampa Bay nursing multiple defensive injuries on an already pourous defense, the potentially high-powered Falcons come in to take advantage. Veteran kicker Shayne Graham steps in but hopefully that wonít be a factor against the Falcons.
Falcons 27, Bucs 25
91. Steelers -7.5 Indianapolis (3 Stars) **WIN**
My computer still loves the Steelers defense despite giving up some big plays last week. They may not have to worry about that this week as the Colts bring a banged up offensive line to hold back their already sputtering offense. The Steelers generally play well at home under the lights and there is no reason to think this critical game will be any exception.
Steelers 28, Colts 17
92. Buffalo -3.5 Houston (3 Stars) **WIN**
The Bills lost LB Nigel Bradham last week and if the Texans had a running back, that might almost matter. JJ Watt is also hampered with a bad groin, which could be a concern seeing that heís JJ WATT. Buffalo has more going this year than Houston and it is hard to see the Texans surging to 7-5.
Bills 25, Texans 19
93. Cincinnati -9 Cleveland (3 Stars) **WIN**
In another of the biggest mismatches possible, the top-ranked Bengal offense should feast on a bad browns defense, once again running low on cornerbacks. It looks just as bad on the other side of the ball, with the Browns starting a Qb who was cut by the Rams this season against arguably one of the best defenses in the league. Cincinnati 33, Cleveland 21
94. Chicago -6.5 San Francisco (2 Stars) LOSS
The emergence of the dual-threat RBs of Langford and the returning contract-seeking Forte gives the Bears an edge against the 49ers, who have neither Hyde or their former Qb running the ball any more. The 49ers defense is not to be taken lightly, but the 49er offense is likely to undermine them. Chicagoís defense has already been improving rapidly and the 49ers wonít present anything to change that.
Bears 26, 49ers 17
95. Carolina -6.5 New Orleans (2 Stars) LOSS
One of the best offenses in the NFL takes on the worst defense in the NFL, compounded by the fact that the defense is banged up. This is not a game you really want to cling to points in. It has been a long time since the Saints home field could be viewed as an advantage.
Panthers 32, Saints 23
96. Oakland +3 Kansas City (2 Stars) LOSS
Without Justin Houstin and Ė perhaps more importantly Ė trouble at center to spearhead their powerful running game, this may be the Raiders lucky day. The Raiders have similar injuries but my sense is they will be less impactful to the Raiders.
Oakland 23, Kansas City 23 OT
Week 12 : Gobble Gobble
77. Carolina +1.5 Dallas (5 Stars GW) **WIN**
Romo won last week, but he didnít exactly set the world on fire. If the Cowboys canít run the ball much better than the Redskins complete failure, Romo is going to be in for a long day.
Panthers 26, Cowboys 23
78. Green Bay -8.5 Chicago (3 Stars) LOSS
Every Thanksgiving I take value points in a lopsided game just to see the team getting points get killed. Iím not falling for it this year!
Packers 34, Bears 23
79. Detroit -2.5 Philadelphia (3 Stars) **WIN**
Against Captain Butt Fumble in their annual Thanksgiving spectacle, I expect the Lions to win a winnable game despite value lacking in the line.
Lions 28, Eagles 22 (OT)
80. Baltimore +1.5 Cleveland (3 Stars) **WIN**
While Qb looms as a big issue for both teams, that Cleveland defense is a feast for any Qb.
Ravens 26, Browns 25
81. San Francisco +10.5 Arizona (3 Stars) **WIN**
It is possibly the worst NFL offense against one of the better defenses, and the Cardinal offense is clicking, but Iím going to ride the 49ers to cover once again. The Cardinal defense has been showing some chinks lately, enough to make me think it might not be a total blowout even if the odds of the 49ers winning seem remote at best..
Cardinals 27, SF 20
82. NY Jets -3.5 Miami (3 Stars) **WIN**
It is hard to underestimate the Dolphins. ..
Jet 27, Dolphins 20
83. Minnesota PK Atlanta (3 Stars) **WIN**
In a battle of RBs, Peterson has a much easier path to victory than facing the Vikings staunch defense.
Minnesota 23, Atlanta 20
84. Cincinnati -7 St Louis (2 Stars) **WIN**
Now out of prime time, the real Bengals return against a Rams team slouthing through distractions.
Bengals 26, Rams 17
85. New England +3 Denver (2 Stars) LOSS
It is a fair line, but a fair line wonít scare me off taking the Patriots against the Broncos without Manning.
Broncos 19, Patriots 24
86. Pittsburgh +3.5 Seattle (2 Stars) LOSS
Looks like this one could go down to the wire, as it looks really close.
Steelers 21, Seahawks 24 (OT)
70. San Francisco +13.5 Seattle (5 Stars) LOSS
The 49ers may have the worst offense in football, but THAT just means they have nowhere to go but up. The Hawks are extraordinarily average to be laying that many points and have been declining, not improving. Yet they still command an outsized line? With Kaepernick finished, the door is open for Blaine Gabbert to compete for the position.
49ers 19, Hawks 25
71. Minnesota -1 Green Bay (5 Stars) LOSS
The public feeling is that the Packers are going to win a game sooner or later, but the Vikings are the better team and project to win this critical divisional game. The excuses are also piling up for the Packers, as Rodgers enters the game ailring.
Vikings 25, Packers 19
72. Cincinnati +4.5 Arizona (3 Stars) **WIN**
Carson Palmer was already drooling about the opportunity to stick it to his former team on national TV, but I have to wonder how easy thatíll be with the Bengals already laying an egg against Houston last week. They are too good to lay an egg again this week, arenít they?
Bengals 23, Cardinals 25
73. New England -7 Buffalo (3 Stars) PUSH
This is a very fair line statistically, but you got to give me an unfair line to go against the Patriots this year, particularly on national TV against the hated Rex Ryan.
Patriots 33, Bills 23
74. Carolina -7 Washington (2 Stars) **WIN**
I simply do not believe in the Redskins against a quality team. If they beat Carolina? Yeah, I WOULD like that, but it isnít going to happen.
Panthers 29, Redskins 20
75. Chicago +1 Denver (2 Stars) LOSS
Chicago has it rolling, may get their best RB returning this week, and Denver is starting who again for Peyton? Thatís got to hurt a little, even if Peyton wasnít playing well.
Chicago 22, Denver 19
76. Kansas City -3 San Diego (1 Star) **WIN**
KC has it rolling now and sees blood on the dance floor with the Broncos troubles.
Chiefs 29, Chargers 25
61. Arizona +3 Seattle (5 Stars GOW) **WIN**
A -3 line rates teams as even and these teams are not even, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. This is an easy call and obvious value.
Cardinals 24, Seahawks 22
62. NY Giants +7.5 New England (4 Stars) **WIN**
Superman has kryptonite, and the Patriots have Eli Manning. While it might take magic to keep the Giants from slicing and dicing the Giants non-defenseÖteams have covered against the Patriots this season.
Patriots 29, Giants 26
63. Pittsburgh -6.5 Cleveland (3 Stars) **WIN**
Obviously there are serious Qb issues that can impact the game, but the Steelers have been battling serious injuries all season and as long as the best receiver in the NFL is out there, someone will get him the ball. Also note the defense has been getting quietly healthy and the Steelers have been the Browns something like 26 of the past 30 meetings.
Steelers 28, Cleveland 18
64. Cincinnati -11 Houston (3 Stars) LOSS
Bengals 30, Texans 16
65. Washington -1 New Orleans (3 Stars) **WIN**
The Saints defense is horrible, and they win as often in Washington as Obamacare repeal bills.
Redskins 26, Saints 24
66. Philadelphia -6 Miami (3 Stars) LOSS
The most expensive running team will face the most expensive defensive lineman. My money is on the running backs.
Eagles 28, Dolphins 18
67. Baltimore -4.5 Jacksonville (3 Stars) LOSS
Flacco will slice and dice this easy defense, which is why this guy is overpaid.
Ravens 29, Jaguars 22
68. Green Bay -10.5 Detroit (2 Stars) LOSS
Facing perhaps the worst defense in the league, the Packers should win easily.
Packers 32 Lions 20
69. Oakland -3 Minnesota (1 Star) LOSS
The Vikings play poorly on the West Coast and there are Qb concerns. The Raiders offense figures to be a real test for the top-tier Vikings defense.
Oakland 24, Vikings 20
54. Carolina +2.5 Green Bay GOW (5 Stars) **WIN**
The Packers passing struggles are for real, and so are the Panthers.
Panthers 26, Packers 22
55. San Francisco +7 Falcons (4 Stars) **WIN**
One must consider that the 49ers have gotten stronger at the Qb position without Kap.
49ers 24, Falcons 22
56. Buffalo -3 Miami (4 Stars) **WIN**
On Sirius NFL Radio, it has been said the Dolphins would respond to the coaching change with a couple big winsÖand then they would return to being the Dolphins. The words have proven prophetic.
Bills 27, Dolphins 20
57. Minnesota -1.5 St. Louis (3 Stars) **WIN**
In the battle of the RBs, the veteran will assert himself after a relatively quiet few games.
Vikings 22, Rams 17
58. Denver -5 Indianapolis (3 Stars) LOSS
A strong running game vs. the Colts. The Colts fire their offensive coordinator after an overtime gameÖwhy? The Colts are a very poor team and Denver is at the top.
Broncos 27, Colts 19
59. Tampa Bay +1.5 NY Giants (2 Stars) LOSS
This could be another close one. Even the rookie might like playing this Giants defense.
Bucs 28, Giants 27
60. Philadelphia -3 Dallas (2 Stars) **WIN**
The Cowboys continue to tread water, and now they start to drownÖ
Philadelphia 24, Cowboys 20
Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear.
47. Tampa Bay +7 Atlanta (5 Stars) **WIN**
Donít expect too much defense in this one.
Tampa Bay 30, Atlanta 31
48. Cleveland +6 Arizona (5 Stars) LOSS
Cleveland will exploit Carson Palmerís weakness: he will have a hard time deciding who to throw to with everyone on the field wide open!
Cleveland 24, Cardinals 27
49. Oakland +3 NY Jets (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Raiders are starting to look very mediocre, which is high praise.
Raiders 23, Jets 24
50. Chicago +1 Minnesota (3 Stars) LOSS
The Bears RB has more fantasy points this season than Peterson, and their QB better be able to outplay his opposition today if he wants to start in the NFL.
Bears 23, Vikings 20
51. New Orleans -3 NY Giants (2 Stars) PUSH
Both teams have massive issues, but this game means more to the Saints.
Saints 30, Giants 26
52. Indianapolis +6.5 Carolina (2 Stars) **WIN**
The Colts run the trick play againÖ.and it goes for a TD!
Colts 25, Carolina 29
53. Tennessee +4 Houston (2 Stars) LOSS
As banged up as Tennessee is, Houstonís issues run far deeper.
Tennessee 21, Houston 23
37. Tampa Bay +3 Washington (GOW 5 Stars) **WIN**
Could be rock bottom for the Redskins if the Bucs find some D.
Buccaneers 20, Redskins 22
38. Kansas City Chiefs -3 Pittsburgh (5 Stars) **WIN**
Not sure Landry Jones will find that magic twice.
Chiefs 22, Steelers 17
40. Tennessee +6 Atlanta (4 Stars) **WIN**
Atlantaís defense not quite PRIMETIME, so Iím taking the points.
Falcons 27, Titans 24
41. Carolina -3 Philadelphia (4 Stars) **WIN**
Think the Panthers are fat & happy with their statement win? Not so fast. They are still better than the Eagles!
Panthers 22, Eagles 15
42. Jacksonville +4 Buffalo (3 Stars) **WIN**
Too many injuries in Buffalo, Iíll take the healthier team.
Jaguars 20, Bills 24
43. Baltimore +8.5 Arizona (3 Stars) **WIN**
Itís a rare primetime moment for Arizona, but expect Baltimore to at least board the bus.
Ravens 23, Cardinals 31
44. Indianapolis -4.5 New Orleans (3 Stars) LOSS
Expect the Colts to respond to their SNF humiliation with a cover.
Colts 30, Saints 23
45. Detroit +1 Minnesota (2 Stars) LOSS
Iíll take the team that can complete a pass.
Detroit 27, Vikings 24
46. Patriots -7.5 Jets (2 Stars) LOSS
The Patriots have at least one more week in them to punish the hated Jets.
Patriots 33, Jets 25
31. New England -9 Indianapolis (GOW 5 Stars) LOSS
Inidanapolisí defense is still terrible and they face Tom Brady on the warpath for revenge. Iím not sure how many points it would take to scare me off this one, but more than 8 for sure.
Patriots 41, Colts 20
32. Minnesota -3.5 Kansas City (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Chiefs may have to pass now. That could get ugly!
Vikings 30, Chiefs 22
33. Denver -3.5 Cleveland (4 Stars) LOSS
Apparently Clevelandís defense moved to Denver. Manning may look like Manning against them too.
Broncos 27, Browns 21
34. Tennessee -2 Miami (3 Stars) LOSS
While firing the coach is frequently the cure of all that ills for a little while, the Dolphins Suh-backed defense is bad and I donít see that changing. Tennessee has been respectable and being rated slightly below the Dolphins in this matchup seems pessimistic.
Titans 28, Dolphins 20
35. NY Giants +5.5 Philadelphia (3 Stars) LOSS
The Eagles have never been a great home team especially when the Giants are involved, and this figures to be a very tight ballgame.
Giants 25, Eagles 27
36. Chicago +3.5 Detroit (3 Stars) **WIN**
Detroit is terrible, worse than Chicago on both sides of the ball. Iím not sure what kind of a crowd they can draw. With the Lions with their backs to the wall and Chicago being Chicago, the value isnít enogh to load up in my opinion.
Bears 21, Lions 22
37. Cincinnati -3 Buffalo (3 Stars) **WIN**
Buffalo is extremely beatup and this was obvious last week. It hasnít gotten better so I think the Bengals get another one.
Bengals 28, Bills 22
23. NE -8.5 Dallas (5 Stars GOW) **WIN**
Dallas has been outstanding at hanging in games with their depleted team, but the Patriots have made it clear they will destroy everything in their way for these 4 games Brady won the right to play in. This being the last of the series, I think this falls in ďvery rare opportunityĒ status as the Patriots complete the completely dominant sweep against a team destined to lay an egg soon. And off a bye week too?
Patriots 41, Cowboys 30
24. Cincinnati -3 Seattle (4 Stars) PUSH
The Bengals have obviously been better than the Seahawks to this point in the season, it isnít even close. Iím not even prepared to say the Seahawks have the better defense in this game. Given a pickíem line, it is an easy choice if you are basing the selection on performance to date.
Bengals 27, Seahawks 15
25. Pittsburgh +3 San Diego (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Steeler defense is maturing fast, whereas the Chargers defense is a hot mess. Maybe even Vick will look good against San Diego? Pittsburgh hasnít had their best offense out there all season, so how much of a curve do you really need to allow for Roethlisberger? It is the Steelers. It is MNF!
Steelers 26, Charger 24
26. Arizona -3 Detroit (3 Stars) **WIN**
The 0-4 Lions are still just trying to win a game after being robbed in Seattle. The Cardinals do not appear to be sympathetic to their plight.
Cardinals 27, Lions 23
27. Baltimore -6 Cleveland (3 Stars) LOSS
After escaping Pittsburgh with their season intact, the Ravens take another step into contention against a Browns defense that has regressed.
Ravens 31, Browns 20
28. Jacksonville +3 Tampa Bay (3 Stars) LOSS
No reason to think Jacksonville canít hang with the punchless Bucs.
Jacksonville 21, TB 18 (OT)
29. St. Louis +9 Green Bay (2 Stars) LOSS
The Rams make a good 9 point dog against anyone, as they bring the heat like a Blazing Hot Wing.
Rams 21, Packers 26
30. Denver -4 Oakland (2 Stars) **WIN**
The Denver D will make this a long day for the Raiders and thereís always a chance for Peyton to light it up.
Broncos 24, Raiders 15
16. Houston +5.5 Atlanta (GOW 5 Stars) LOSS
Atlanta is firing at a Superbowl level, which canít continue. And while their defensive numbers appear solid, they looked like they a paper sieve against the Cowboys for much of the game. The number from Vegas reveals a similar opinion that Atlanta isnít a couple levels above the Texans. The value here seems fair to me but I feel the Texans bring a little more to this contest and matchup well.
17. New Orleans -3 Dallas (4 Stars) **WIN**
Dallas has done an admirable job playing without talent thanks to that beast of a line, but they simply donít have enough to make me think theyíll beat a top-tier Qb, regardless of how poorly the Saints have started. It is another chance for defensive coordinator Ryan to get revenge for his firing 2 years ago. At some point the Saints defense needs to stop being a stain on humanity and if they canít do it against the talentless Cowboys, itíll never happen. The line says they are even yet only 1 team has a Qb.
18. Miami +2 Jets (4 Stars) LOSS
Another pendulum game as the Dolphins simply need to show up and play a game or go home. The Jets offense will cool down.
19. Cleveland +7 San Diego (3 Stars) **WIN**
Cleveland simply doesnít get respect and San Diegoís defense is lacking. Iím not convinced the chargers should be favored as the better team.
20. Minnesota +6.5 Denver (3 Stars) **WIN**
This could be a brutally low scoring game, so Iíll take the points.
21. Washington +3 Philadelphia (2 Stars) **WIN**
Could be a rainy slugfest but the Eagles donít understand time of possession. The Redskins have to make a few plays eventually, and the Eagles will allow some plays, so this is a pendulum game too. I think both Qbs have issues right now.
22. NY Giants +5.5 Buffalo (2 Stars) **WIN**
As well as Buffalo has been playing, this matches up very even and should come down to the wire inside the points.
WEEK 4: THURSDAY NIGHT SPECIAL!
15. Steelers +3 Ravens (3 Stars)
Can the Ravens go 0-4? Well, if they lose this game. On the road in hostile Pittsburgh, short week, with little time to game plan for what Vick might present, the situation does not favor them. After an ugly first week, the Steelers defense has rebounded and has eclipsed what the Ravens have presented this year. So home field and defense favors the Steelers. The Steeler O has made due with missing parts all season but they don't have to play their own defense, only the Ravens defense.
Steelers 23, Ravens 20
8. Falcons -1.5 Cowboys (5 Stars - GOW) **WIN**
Nobody to throw, nobody to catch, and nobody to run.
9. Steelers +1 Rams (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Rams upset of the Seahawks is starting to look skittish after the Seahawks fell flat again and we wonder how they lost to the Redskins. And now with LaVar Bell back?
10. Jets -1.5 Eagles (4 Stars) LOSS
The Jets look pretty solid, and the Eagles are suddenly reeling. We'll see how Bradford holds up against a rush.
11. Bills +2.5 Dolphins (3 Stars) **WIN**
I'm not sure why the Dolphins are favored, with the Bills looking like they can go toe-to-toe with anyone.
12. Chiefs +6.5 Packers (3 Stars) LOSS
Don't be shocked if this is a high scoring shootout.
13. Cardinals -6.5 49ers (2 Stars) **WIN**
The 49ers are who we thought they were: A pretty sucky 2015 team.
14. Colts -3.5 Titans (2 Stars) LOSS
Good 'get right' game for the Colts.
1. Rams -3 Redskins (GOW 5 Stars) LOSS
The Rams defensive line should eat up the skins and devour the Skins QB Cousins, who has won few starts. The Redskins do not come from behind late in the game.
2. Packers -3.5 Seahawks (4 Stars) **WIN**
This game figures big for the Packers and the Seahawks defense has a hole in the back of it.
3. Eagles -4.5 Cowboys (4 Stars) LOSS
Revenge will be served against a Cowboys team running out of bullets.
4. 49ers +6.5 Steelers (3 Stars) LOSS
The Steelers D looked very disorganized now that Dick LeBeau has moved on, and they still are hampered by the suspension of Bell.
5. Browns +1.5 Titans (3 Stars) **WIN**
While not a fan of Johnny Football, the Browns defense would have destroyed the Titans a year ago. While I fear the LeBeau factor to some degree, I think the Browns rebound and the Titans face some rookie reality.
6. Ravens -6 Raiders (2 Stars) LOSS
I think the Ravens win by double-digits, rebounding from their disappointing defeat last week.
7. Patriots PK Bills (2 Stars) **WIN**
I get the Bills make a popular upset, with that mammoth defensive line and Ryan's success against the Patriots. But offered no points, I still feel the Patriots have a >50% chance to get the W.