Blackcat NFL 2022

669
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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%
2018: 55%
2019: 47%
2020: 49% (57% dogs)
2021: 50% (54% dogs)

Week 2: 3-4 (Stars: 11.5 – 17.5)
Week 3: 2-3 (Stars: 9 – 9.5)
Week 4: 4-4-1 (Stars: 13.5 – 13)
Week 5: 3-5 (Stars: 9 – 18)
Week 6: 5-2  71.4% (Stars: 17 – 8  68%)
Week 7: 5-5 (14 – 18)
Week 8: 2-4 (7 – 18)
Week 9: 4-2-3 66% (14 – 5.5 72%)
Week 10: 3-3 (9 – 10.5)
Week 11: 2-5-1 (5 – 16.5)
Week 12: 5-4 55% (19 – 15 56%)

Overall: 38-41-5 (Stars: 106 – 139)
Favs: 11-12-2 (none last week)
Dogs: 27-29-3 (5-4 last week)

For posting notices…Twitter: @blackcatnfl

MNF (Week 12)

84. Pittsburgh +2.5 Indianapolis (3 Stars) **WIN**
Again I am banking on TJ Watt and Minkah to elevate this defense and pull out a W for Pittsburgh. The Colts O-line has been beleagured most of the year and I’m looking for the Steeler front to be absolutely dominant in this one against the sitting duck, Matt Ryan. Teams that fire their coach regularly do see about a 2-game bump – even if the replacement is Saturday? – but this is game 3. No dice! Scoop and score for Steeler D.
Steelers 20, Colts 19

REST OF WEEK 12

79. New Orleans +9.5 San Francisco (5 Stars) LOSS
SF is on of the top teams in the NFL, no argument. And New Orleans is one of the worst. But when I match up these squads, I don’t get to 9.5 points. Kamara has been sick but is expected to play, so we’ll assume he will. The Saints have some defense injuries where they aren’t good anyhow, but at least what is their offense will be intact, and that’s what you really worry about facing the 49ers still. 
Saints 22, 49ers 27

80. Chicago +6 N.Y. Jets (5 Stars) LOSS
Can you really lay 6 points on a team that can’t score 7? Both teams have major Qb issues and even though the Bears issue is more significant to them (Jets can only get better play there?), I can’t see this as a 6 point game just based on the Jets strong defense. The Bears also stop the run pretty well! I’m not expecting either team to do much in the air.
Bears 24, Jets 22

81. Cleveland +3.5 Tampa Bay (4 Stars) **WIN**
The Bucs running game struggles and their defense has gotten very leaky. They are up against the Browns lofty rushing attack and that’s a distinctive advantage for the Browns, unless Brady can make up the difference with his formidable scrambling skills. Tampa does have the air advantage but it isn’t enough to overcome the rushing disadvantage. This is a generous line in a pick ’em game. Tampa is a stingy defense but this is a bad matchup against the best and most committed rushing team, excluding Qb runners.
Browns 23, Bucs 26 OT

82.  Arizona +2.5 LA Chargers (3 Stars) **WIN**
Arizona has enough of a ground game to control this one, even though the Chargers will keep it very tight.
Cardinals 24, Chargers 23

83.  Atlanta +4 Washington (2 Stars) LOSS
4 points is pretty reasonable for this game but I like the matchup for the Falcons, particularly for the running game of the Falcons (including the Qb). Washington has the air advantage but not much on a yards-per-pass advantage or sacks.
Falcons 23, Commandos 24

THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving is pretty much the same every year. The lines are big as the public loads up on favorites, making underdogs the only play. Honestly, it doesn’t seem to work out that great most years as thanksgiving blowouts seem common. But value is value and I play value. So is it going to be 1, 2 or 3 underdogs this year? Yes…we’re playing all 3! I’m going to shake up my star system on a trial basis, as my stars have been significantly underperforming for a long time now. It’ll depend less on my expected margin vs the spread and more on the overall confidence of my NFL algorithm selections per algorithm. Generally, the more my algorithms agree, the stronger the pick. So we’ll see how this goes…

76. NY Giants +9.5 Dallas (5 Stars) **WIN**
After giving Barkley Sunday off to prepare for Thanksgiving, he should be ready to roll against one of the softer run defenses in the league. That’s good because the Cowboys are difficult to throw on and the Giants have no one left to throw to anyways! Dallas will also be tempted to keep it on the ground because the Giants may be the worst team not named the Chargers at stopping the run. The Giants also have a beaten up secondary, which could prove very problematic, but that’s partly why this line is so huge. While this might be a game I’d shy away from normally because of Giants injury woes, I’m going to trust the overall numbers which generally prove to be right most games.
Giants 17, Cowboys 23 

77. Detroit +9.5 Buffalo (4 Stars) **WIN**
One of the league’s hottest teams – Detroit? – plays a slightly frigid one in the Bills, who have been in a mild slump lately. To be honest, this shapes up as one of the most lopsided matchups of the week. But even seeing a pretty healthy advantage in the Bills rushing and passing yards-per-play vs Detroit, it still projects lower than a whopping 9.5 road points. So I see value here in the Lions, who score a lot and tend to hang around. As good as the Bills defense has been this season, it also seems to have slipped a bit in recent weeks.
Lions 30, Bills 36

78. New England +3 Minnesota (3 Stars) LOSS
I had New England hanging in this one even before the Cowboys spanked the Vikings and the Patriots held the Jets offense to 2 yards in a half. However accounting for this past weekend’s action, the Patriots snuck above the Vikings in my Power Rankings. Because of their stellar defensive play, I see a large yards-per-pass advantage for the PATRIOTS and total yardage shockingly even. Both teams should run the ball with considerable success.
Patriots 20, Vikings 21

WEEK 11

68. Philadelphia -6.5 Indianapolis (5 Stars) LOSS
I already released this on twitter earlier this week. The Colts beat a bad team but now they really need coaches that they don’t have, and there will be no hiding that offensive line from the Eagles. The Eagles know the Colts are going to try to run all day, and they brought in 2 quality free agents this week to shore that up after the Commanders exposed them. I already think the Eagles will outrush the Colts, although both will be productive. The Eagles may not throw for a lot of yards but – when they do – HUGE chunks. I see big plays, probably by AJ Brown. The nail in the coffin will be turnovers, of which I expect at least 2. They will also win the pressure battle, obviously. The Eagles blew last week but they will rebound in this one, no doubt. It’ll be big.
Eagles 34, Colts 22

69. Minnesota +1.5 Dallas (4.5 Stars) UGLY LOSS
This game is really even. Keep in mind, Dak has been a .500 player for the last year while Cousins is a winner! I checked and it still says the Vikings are at home, and home field has been doing pretty well lately. These are two teams that are about 5th in the entire league and it will be tight, but I’m taking home field. I don’t know what Dallas bettors are taking – probably just fandom. You like that? I also had good instincts on this one, posting it to tweetville on Monday. The computer validates it completely.
Vikings 24, Cowboys 21

70. Chicago +3 Atlanta (4 Stars) PUSH
I see massive rushing yards for both teams in this one. But after watching Mariotta’s disaster last week, I just have no confidence in the Falcons to win games and overall, the defense is the 2nd worst in the league! Meanwhile, Justin Fields is on an absolute tear and he can get whatever yards he wants, with Montgomery getting the rest. So things stack up pretty evenly but I’m riding Fields over Mariotta and not losing sleep tonight.
Bears 24, Falcons 23

71. LA Chargers +5 KC (3 Stars) **WIN**
I have the Chiefs ranked 7th, whereas the Chargers are something like 7th from the bottom. So on surface this line seems pretty reasonable. But I have this more as a +3 point game. Then, throw in the return of Williams AND Kenan Allen for the first time and you may have a recipe for an upset. There’s a lot of data not to like – for example, the running game – so I’m going to play this conservatively here but this could be a tough win for the Chiefs…or even a loss.
Chargers 23, Chiefs 26

72. Denver -2.5 Las Vegas (3 Stars) LOSS
Denver is among the best defenses in the league, particularly vs the pass. Their offense – however, is the worst. But the Raiders say “Hold Our Beer” – THEY have the worst DEFENSE! So you have a top defense against a worst defense in the same game, which points you to the Broncos. I do see them having a decent day in the air with far more chunk plays. And this is a passing league, after all. The computer says the Bronco ypp advantage is 2nd best of the weekend, behind the Eagles but ahead of the Bills and Bengals. So cringe but….
Broncos 27, Raiders 21

73. Pittsburgh +3.5 Cincinnati (2 Stars) LOSS
I like this line, I think it is about right. But now – I’m going to throw in TJ Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick playing together for the first time in months. How much is THAT worth on the line? I think this is going to make it one heck of a game. But the Bengals are also surging and have looked very good lately, so I’m going to temper this one and play it as Pittsburgh +1.5. Should be a fun one!
Steelers 22, Bengals 23

74. New Orleans -2.5 LA Rams (2 Stars) **WIN**
Giving a couple points for losing Kupp on the Rams. That’s hard to replace!
Saints 28, Rams 24

75. Arizona +8 San Francisco (2 Stars)  LOSS
I see no reason for this line to be this large. San Francisco right now is a bit more potential than reality. But as they are ascending with all their weapons and Arizona has some issues going into this game, I’ll keep it as a 2 star. The Monte Carlo likes this one and the Monte Carlo actually ran the table vs the spread this weekend completely. Did I listen? No – I didn’t like the picks and weighted other algorithms far more. All the algorithms agree:
49ers 21, Cardinals 19

Twitter Only: Tennessee over Green Bay (2 Stars) – Win [not counted]

WEEK 10

62. Jacksonville +9.5 KC (5 Stars) LOSS (1/2 point)
The gap between these teams is not as vast as you probably feel. KC has benefitted from a surprisingly easy schedule and doesn’t rank in the elites yet because of their defense being lackluster. Obviously you can expect another great day from ETN – against a Chiefs team that struggles to run – but I also think you’ll see some production from the Jags passing game too. I also think KC is a bit more of a turnover risk in this one, which could help keep it interesting. Mahomes-led teams generally do not blow out opponents, they just do enough to win in the end.
Jaguars 23, Chiefs 28

63. Pittsburgh +2 NO (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Steelers have to avoid getting scorched in the air, but they may see some decent production on the ground themselves and the air yards may not be terrible. Largely though, this one is on my board because of one player: TJ Watt. Even if he’s not 100%, his presence out there makes a massive difference. If this is a +2 game – which it largely is, TJ makes it a -1 game.
Sat Update: JJ is back but MINKAH is OUT. This makes this a no play. But I can not delete posts once posted so out of integrity, it remains here and I will score it.
Steelers 23, Saints 21

64. Cleveland +3.5 Miami (3 Stars) LOSS
I would love to just ride Tua, who wouldn’t? But taking value generally means taking the team you don’t want to take. That’s the reason there IS value. So that puts us in bed with the Browns. Will Tua have a great-to-massive day? Yes. But the Browns may not do too badly themselves in the passing game and the ground attack against the weak Miami run defense could have a truly outstanding day. Enough to make it interesting, which seems to be where Miami games are ending these days. The offense has to outscore the defense! And probably will.
Browns 30, Dolphins 31

65. Minnesota +6 Buffalo (3 Stars) **WIN**
Healthy, this is a solid line. But I’m playing against effects of Josh Allen injuries and also some reduction in the defense. The Bills play a lot of man – not good against JJ – and it appears the defense is down a corner, a safety and a defensive end! We don’t really like Cousins on the road and possibly under pressure, but I think these problems are worth 3 points and I am recommending it now (Saturday).
Vikings 20, Bills 23

66. NYG -4.5 Houston (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Giants really are struggling for healthy wideouts and the Texans best wideout seems pretty fed up. This won’t be a battle in the air though, this is purely about the RBs. I’m looking for 200 yards from the Giants ground game in a dominant performance. Pierce will be fine but the Giants are just a better team through and through and I do think that’ll be enough to cover here, even if the stats might point to a closer victory.
Giants 22, Texans 15

67. Denver +2.5 Tennessee (2.5 Stars) LOSS
We have the team that doesn’t pass against the team that doesn’t allow passes. I mean, does it get anymore weird than that? Denver DOES pass the ball, and they should do so very successfully even based on the rather low bar they have set this season. There is no doubt that the Titans will chew them up completely on the ground, but if the Broncos get 275 yards of offense and the Titans can barely break 100 yards passing, this one’s going to the judges!
Broncos 19, Titans 20

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WEEK 9

SNF Special!!!

My board is completely green today (despite a couple bad judgments on Dolphins – or was it – and Bills – too many points!) and because of this, I am adding the algorithm’s by far most popular pick of the weekend:

61. Titans +14 KC (5 Stars) *****MEGA WIN*****
I see it more as a FG game….when you account for total yards, they could be pretty close considering that the Titans should have 150 yards on the ground. At worst maybe 100 yards different, but that shouldn’t get you to +14. KC is probably a slightly higher turnover risk too.
Titans 22, Chiefs 26

To get notified when picks are posted and any updates, be sure to follow me on twitter at:
“blackcatnfl”. I don’t use twitter much but I’ll try to be better about it. Feel free to ask me any pick or fantasy question….

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I got suckered in a bunch of too-good-to-be-true underdog picks last week! I’d love to make up for them this week, but my board is small favorites and we play the hand we are dealt. Next week?

53. Seattle -2 Arizona (4.5 Stars) ***WIN***
This is a pick from my Monte Carlo simulator, which was very strong last week and tends to pick up around this time each year. This could be something of a shootout and a show, both in the air and on the ground. The status of James Conner could be a decisive factor, as ground yards are there to be had for both teams. Seattle is more likely to hit on the deep plays however, thanks to the return of Metcalf.
Seahawks 27, Cardinals 24

54. LA Chargers -3 Atlanta (3 Stars) PUSH
With the Chargers passing game limping into this matchup any way imaginable, it is easy to think Atlanta – who has no passing game anyway – has the upper hand. But this could just mean a heavy dose of Austin Ekeler against the returning Patterson and committee. Vegas has held on the Chargers despite the obvious issues and I think Atlanta IS A TRAP!
Chargers 24, Falcons 18

55. Jacksonville +2.5 Las Vegas (3 Stars) ***WIN***
This is a tricky one, with things like the running game being a total tossup. I see a little more pressure on Carr and this is enough of a toss-up that I’m just going to take the points. I think this will be one of the more successful Jags passing games against the hapless Raiders secondary.
Jaguars 26, Raiders 25

56. Buffalo -11.5 NY Jets (3 Stars) LOSS
I mean, you really don’t need to go much further than the Qb position and perhaps the defenses to know where this one is headed. I don’t think I’ve played a big favorite all year, but it is hard to resist this nightmare of a divisional matchup for the Jets against the NFL’s best team.
Bills 28, Jets 12

57. Tampa Bay -3 LA Rams (2.5 Stars) PUSH
The stat to circle here is sacks, which will be dominated by the Bucs. This is what typically has kept the Rams completely grounded this season and it won’t be getting better this week.
Bucs 20, Rams 14

58. Washington +3 Minnesota (2.5 Stars) PUSH
I don’t like taking Washington particularly at home – where they haven’t had a decent HF advantage in years. But the defense of the skinned potatoes is coming on strong and they can definitely pressure the Qb, which generally produces a very different Kirk Cousins than the one we banked on last week (successfully). Heineke will have to use his gumption, mobility and fearlessness to throw it to McClaurin to hang in this one but this could go down to the wire. Expect Cousins to look like the guy who used to play in Maryland! You like that?
Commandos 22, Vikings 23

59. Miami -4 Chicago (2.5 Stars) LOSS by 1
I would like to say the same thing I said last week. That Tua is a turnover risk as we saw two weeks in Pittsburgh, and the Bears are pretty damn good about turnovers. But it is hard to overlook that the Dolphins may have the #1 explosive passing game in the league and they have room to grow! The Bears pass defense is good – but definitely not good enough to take the points here.
Dolphins 25, Bears 19

60. Baltimore -2.5 New Orleans (2 Stars Game, 2 Star Over 47) WIN, LOSS on up
Baltimore brings their linebacker-boosted defense into primetime against the Saints, just in time to face a surging Alvin Kamara. The Saints are good enough to hang statistically, but just too many turnovers and sacks to think that’ll matter in today’s OVER special to give you some more fun on MNF!
Ravens 30, Saints 26, OVER 47

WEEK 8

This week, a bit heavier on the quality and less quantity.

47. Minnesota -3.5 Arizona (5 Stars)  **WIN**
About the last thing I should do is elevate a game because of my personal fact-based opinion. So yes, here is me elevating a game by about 3 stars because I really like think Kirk Cousins is going to rip apart the Cardinals defense. The Cardinals do not pressure the Qb and give up tons of yards, and I see this as an ideal matchup for Cousins. Are they really 5-1?
Vikings 26, Cardinals 17

48. NY Giants +3 Seattle (5 Stars) LOSS
While I like Geno, the computer does not. The Seahawks are not ranking as a good team in my computer’s model at all – and I have a pretty massive difference of opinion on this from Vegas. While that is something of a red flag vs. the banged up Giants, I’m riding with it. This is a battle of running backs – a battle that the Giants will win with the most ground yards of the day, including their more mobile Qb.
Giants 24, Seahawks 19

49. Detroit +3.5 Miami (4.5 Stars) LOSS
If you just look at this matchup, you probably think Miami will roll with their Tua back with his dangerous duo and 3.5 is a bargain in this possibly 56-40 game. But the Lions are getting healthy and may actually put up a fight. Heck, they could WIN this game! The Lions have actually been the better offense this year and while Tua could be a massive jolt for Miami, don’t forget he served up 5 interceptions last week that somehow weren’t caught by the Steelers D.
Lions 27, Dolphins 26

50. NY Jets +2.5 New England (4.5 Stars) LOSS
The Patriots are a bit of a mess. Losing Breece Hall is a blow but the team must be encouraged that they immediately brought in Robinson to help fill this void.
Jets 21, Patriots 19

51. Chicago +10 Dallas (4 Stars) LOSS
Dak wasn’t very impressive in his return, and he likely will be playing without his right-hand blocker, Zeke. It’s quite reasonable to expect Dak to have trouble against that ball-hawking Chicago secondary and turn this into a battle of running games. And while Pollard is explosive, the dual-threat Bears could have one of the better ground attacks of the weekend! Dallas better be careful, because they may realistically lose this game straight up.
Chicago 15, Dallas 21

52. Washington +3 Indianapolis (2 Stars) **WIN**
What I really like about this game is the under 40, in a game where both teams may take their chances punting on 1st down. But in a 9-6 type affair, 3 points is a lot. Washington can rush the passer, particularly against a seive of a line like the Colts. Heinken may be an upgrade if only for the reason that he’s not afraid to throw it to McClaurin.
Skins 19, Colts 20

 

 

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I have to put my thumb on the scale a bit to interpret computer projections against real world events, but unfortunately I have horrendous instincts. I forced the Packers pick (they still should have won really) and the Colts pick and those turned a good week into a bad one. It didn’t help that my strongest picks were complete flops too! I think Houston was at least overrated at 4.5 stars. Pittsburgh was a decent pick and could have won if their defense could catch. Atlanta was embarrassing. Seattle, Chicago and the Giants saved the day! On to Week 8 as I try to square my overall record to .500 by midseason (which I guess is technically week 9).

WEEK 7

Finally off a winning week! And I’m one tie from jumping all the way back to 500. Up, up and away…

The home teams are set to dominate week 7, but I’m not a believer in picking who you think will win. Points matter, and 6.5/7 points REALLY matter in a league breaking records for 1 score games this season. So this week, I have a lot of teams I think will lose but I’m taking the points anyway after my genuinely high and accurate standards for selecting underdogs. And we have a couple smaller dogs that I think will win too! Interesting, this is one of the few weeks where Vegas felt little need to put out semi-crazy lines trying to prevent loading a side or some other weirdness. And I like it!

37. San Francisco +3 KC (5 Stars) LOSS
The 49ers defense is amazing. Tops against the run, extremely high pressure on the Qb and very stout against the pass, yielding some of the fewest passing totals of any team. In fact as I’m typing this, I’m sweating starting Patrick! (He’ll be ok) Offensively, the 49ers don’t put up the same yardage but on an efficiency basis (ypp, ypr), they are nearly identical. So yes yes yes, take 3 fat points and realize the 49ers will probably win this game.
49ers 22, KC 20
38. Houston +7 Las Vegas (4.5 Stars) LOSS
The case for Houston is nothing flashy. It’s more that the difference between these two teams isn’t 7 points. Josh Jacobs will likely have a massive day but nothing else stands out. Even with anemic turnover rates and pressures by both teams, Houston may have a small edge in those critical areas. Houston is poor at passing the ball, but maybe they can have some success against the Raiders underwhelming pass defense.
Texans 19, Raiders 21
39. Pittsburgh +7 Miami (4 Stars) **WIN**
Tua could have a masssive game against the Steelers pass defense – which was particularly charred by the Buffalo Bills – but Miami certainly has their issues on pass defense too. Both teams are pretty stout against the run, so this could turn into a Qb shootout. Maybe this doesn’t favor the rookie, but there will be opportunities for him to have a big game.
Steelers 21, Dolphins 24
40. Atlanta +6.5 Cincinnati (3 Stars) LOSS
What if I told you Atlanta has a more efficient passing game than the Bengals? And while the Bengals struggle at pass protection and running the ball, the Falcons are extremely good at running the ball against a weak Bengals rush defense? What I’m saying is
there are some matchups that favor the Falcons they may exploit and keep this close, even if the Bengals are the better team.
Falcons 20, Bengals 24
41. Cleveland +6.5 Baltimore (3 Stars) **WIN**
Baltimore doesn’t seem to be able to put people away. I would say they can’t close games either, but I do think they will close this one. Both teams may rack up massive yardage on the ground, in what could be a memorable game for Lamar. Jackson does face a
weaker pass defense in this one, but I see this more as a ground battle and I don’t give 7 points in a ground battle.
Browns 21, Ravens 24
42. Green Bay -5 Washington (3 Stars) LOSS
Green Bay doesn’t give up passing yards, and Washington doesn’t run the ball particuarly well. Green Bay can run all day if they choose, and I expect it is just a matter of time before Rodgers finds away to pick this team apart, even if getting past 5 points mathematically is a hard case to make with what the Packers have done so far this season. In Commanders we trust!
Packers 28, Skins 20
43. Seattle +6.5 LA Chargers (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
Seattle actually has the better offense coming into the game, and they can run the ball well facing a pretty poor run defense. So there is a lot of reason to like the Seahawks to keep this one interesstin. I think there is fair speculation the Herbert is still nursing a serious injury and is relunctant to push the ball down the field. If he can’t push the ball deep against Seattle, there is no doubt he is physically compromised!
Seahawks 26, Chargers 31
44. Indianapolis +3 Tennessee (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Tennessee’s pass defense is the worst in the league, and they are drawing a team that just lit it up LAST week for nearly 400 yards! To top that off, Indy is stout against the run with Henry still struggling and they are getting their star RB returning to the lineup.
Colts 24, Titans 21 (OT)
45. Chicago +8 New England (2.5 Stars)
Chicago’s offense is terrible, but they CAN run the ball very effectively and the Patriots are surprisingly bad against the run. In my mind, this is enough to expect a cover by the Bears.
Bears 19, Patriots 25
46. NYG +3 Jacksonville (2 Stars) **WIN**
The Giants play the pass well enough to make this a running contest. While the Jags run defense is leagues better than the Giants, the Giants rushing game is still elite enough to outrush them in this contest. If true, that will keep this very close.
Giants 21, Jags 22

 

Week 6

Last week wasn’t as bad as it seemed, as Chargers probably covered for you with the line quickly dropping to -1.5 after posting. And Miami lost their 2nd Qb and still were in the game until the 4th quarter. Anyway, the projections overall weren’t impressive but I really like the way the data is now smoother over after 5 weeks – and I feel I will have the pulse going forward! A lot of picks this weekend.

30. Chicago PK Washington (3 Stars) LOSS
Chicago D may be a top 5 fantasy start this weekend vs Washington in a slew of close matchups. Washington continues to be a last-place trainwreck and Chicago is coming off a game where they completed a pass. This game will challenge last Thursday’s debacle for a “hold my beer, we can do worse!” award! I see about 43 points so it may actually go over.
Chicago 23, Washington 20

31. Jacksonville +2.5 Indianapolis (5 Stars) LOSS
Although I consider it a serious red flag that Indianapolis is favored, I can’t escape the reality that Jacksonville is facing that horrendous offensive line of the colts and we don’t even know where Jonathon Tayler is! There are some major concerns. It will be tough to run on Indy. Zay Jones may be too injured to play. But the Jags are a team that has Indy’s number and there’s no reason to really think the Colts can fix what we saw last week.
Jags 23, Colts 20

32. New England +3 Cleveland (4 Stars) **WIN**
With two backups playing, you really have to look at the running game and even though Cleveland has an all-star lineup, New England can hang here.
Patriots 24, Browns 22

33. Pittsburgh +9 Tampa Bay (4 Stars) **WIN**
While I am concerned the Bucs passing offense will explode in this one, the Bucs will struggle to run the ball on the Steelers and Pickett will let it fly. I think this one will end up pretty close, because the Bucs haven’t really shown an ability to put anyone away.
Steelers 20, Bucs 23

34. Minnesota -3 Miami (3 Stars) **WIN**
It looks like the 3rd stringer is starting and Miami doesn’t have the pass rush you need to disrput Cousins. This could be a laugher?
Minnesota 23, Miami 17

35. Denver +5 LA Chargers (3 Stars) **WIN**
While there is little doubt the Chargers are the better team, the Broncos can and should just run this into the ground against the horrible run defense of the Chargers. Gordon may not be healthy but I think the Boone can pick up the slack, if you need an RB sleeper. They won’t win but they could keep it boring and close. It is what Denver does!
Broncos 20, Chargers 23

36. NY Jets +7.5 GB (3 Stars) **WIN**
Honestly I think it’ll be a tough day for the Jets against this D. But GB hasn’t shown it can put anyone away and the Jets can bring a running game like the Giants did.
Jets 21, Packers 24

Week 5

Yes, I know last week’s writeup was legendary, even if the hardware gave me some lousy picks I narrowly survived. I don’t have much time and energy this week, so this will be short.

22. LA Rams -5.5 Dallas (5 Stars) LOSS
Who thought I could call a rebound game for the Rams over the Cowboys? Dallas defense is very good but a different challenge than the one they flailed against on MNF.

23. LA Chargers -2.5 Cleveland (4.5 Stars) LOSS [but covered -1.5, the prevailing line] Suspiciously cheap line, but I’ll continue to follow the Chargers as they start meeting expectations.

24. Tennessee -1.5 Washington (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
With Henry starting to be Henry, why would anyone pick Washington? One of these franchises goes to the playoffs annually, and the other is Washington.

25. Detroit +3 New England (3 Stars) LOSS
Top-scoring offense is getting points against a backup Qb? Sounds good.

26. Arizona +5 Philadelphia (3 Stars) **WIN**
Eagles have destroyed everything in their path. They pace in the NFL simply isn’t possible, so I think the Cardinals give them some trouble.

27. Miami -3 NY Jets (3 Stars) LOSS [but lost Qb immediately] I like everything about Miami. Their defense plays hard, the offense has weapons. Jets will play losing football. Maybe some sparks, but turnovers and mistakes should allow Miami to win. In Teddy we trust!

28. Carolina +6.5 SF (2.5 Stars) LOSS
I think this could be a fairly grounded game that’ll stay close.

29. Atlanta +10 Tampa Bay (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
10 is a lot against the struggling Bucs O. I think the Falcons have a good 1-2 punch to replace Patterson. Could be closer than expected…

Week 4

Disappointed in last week, I veered too much from the computer data when it actually spit out an incredibly strong week. I won’t make that mistake again! In more true black cat form, the underdogs went 66% while the favorites were 0-2. This week, I fearlessly post a slate of 9 games with 5 favorites! So I’ll win at least 4 underdog games….

13. Chicago +3 NY Giants (4 Stars) LOSS
After posting one of the most embarrassing losses in a string of embarrassing losses against the Cowboys, one might rightly think the Giants are poised to rebound against the lowly bears. But the stinging loss came with mounds of injuries, specifically every wide receiver on the team and every guy who covers the wide receivers on the other teams. It is so bad, many fantasy football experts are expecting Darnell Mooney to have a catch this week! This game is setup for the kind of 1950s-style ball that the Bears live for.
Bears 22, Giants 21

14. LA Chargers -5.5 Houston (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
This does qualify as a rebound play. Statistically, it is hard to get to 5.5 on the road against a Texans team based on what we’ve seen so far from the “please plug me in” chargers. Why is Mike Williams smiling? Because he stands to be the only receiver of up to 400 yards from returning superstar Justin Herbert.
Chargers 29, Texans 20

15. Seattle +3.5 Detroit (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
A good game to start everyone in fantasy football, as defense will be a non-factor. You wouldn’t expect fireworks with Gino vs. Goff but you’re gonna get them! And we’re on team GINO! If you aren’t sold on this game being a FF cheat code, consider that St. Brown will be praying from the sidelines.
Seahawks 28, Lions 27

16. San Francisco -1.5 LA Rams (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
Garropolo is a winner, I think he has the most wins in NFL history even if he’s probably less wanted around the NFL than the 49er Qb who kneeled. I’m looking at the running game here and even though the 49ers running game is powered by a backup and a WR, it still seems more explosive and stable than whatever the heck is going on with the Rams and that waste of a 3rd round RB pick I spent in August.
49ers 21, Rams 16

17. Washington +3 Dallas (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Now you know I’m sticking with the computer this week when I recommend this hot mess of a game! Dallas has won the last 472 games over Washington, mostly by running the likes of Pollard and that broken down other guy down their throat. Will that happen again? Probably. We actually have slightly more confidence in Washington producing some passing yards and CeeDee Lamb dropping a critical throw and – remember – this IS a certified Black Cat UNDERDOG pick and those things are like gold. For all the people all pumped up about Cooper Rush, forget it. Both he and this offense still SUCK!
Commanders 20, Cowboys 19

18. Baltimore +3 Buffalo (3 Stars) PUSH
This figures to be a very competitive game, with a ton of offense both through the air and on the ground. History does not favor the Bills in close games, they haven’t won a close game in many opportunities (see “Allen didn’t get to touch the ball”). Lamar is Mr. Win Close Games. So I not only like the Ravens covering this, they may pull it out!
Ravens 27, Bills 26

19. Indianapolis -3.5 Tennessee (3 Stars) LOSS
In a battle of two of the best RBs today, the Titans are really having trouble getting their running game off the ground while Taylor should have a strong day.
Colts 21, Titans 15

20. Las Vegas -2.5 Denver (3 Stars) **WIN**
While Denver’s offense should remain a bit of a puzzling hot mess, I think it is time for the Devonte Adams show to begin! If you are like me and start Derek Carr because you didn’t bother to draft anyone else, this may be your weekend. Finally the Raiders face an offense that even they can stop!
Raiders 26, Broncos 25

21. Pittsburgh -3.5 NY Jets (2.5 Stars) LOSS
FF Defense Rankings are drooling over the Steelers so much in this battle against Zach Wilson, I had to check if TJ Watt was back! He’s not, but the mistake-prone Jets should hand the ball over so readily even the Steelers O can’t screw this one up.
Steelers 25, Jets 19

Week 3

8. Denver +2 San Francisco (5 Stars) **WIN**
Everything went SF way last week – if everything is you lost your starting Qb! Now they enter primetime with their version of Kirk Cousins against what I think is THE BEST Qb in the NFL when he’s on his game, Russell Wilson. Denver is due to catch fire with their offense and SF will never really be a dynamic scoring team.
Broncos 20, 49ers 17 

9. Tennessee +2 Las Vegas (4 Stars) **WIN**
I take no pleasure picking against the Raiders but the Titans are a perennial playoff team on their backs and they will not go away into the night quietly. Maybe my predicted score is too low because the Raiders will be equally fiesty but I just see the Titans rebounding from their recent humiliation…
Titans 23, Raiders 21 

10. NYG -1 Dallas (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Yeah Dallas won, ok fine. It’s not like the Bengals are lighting it up with that line! Back to reality…the Cowboys are cowdung.
Giants 21, Cowboys 17

11. Washington +6.5 Philadelphia (3 Stars) LOSS
It is so easy to overrate SNF/MNF primetime routs, but the reality is they are rarities and don’t continue week-after-week. You really can’t rate Phily much higher and Washington much lower so I’ll just play that.
Commandos 24, Eagles 27

12. New Orleans -3 Carolina (3 Stars) LOSS
NO won’t give this game away too, and Carolina just doesn’t have much. A team mostly hoping for their oft-injured RB to go off. He’ll play, right?
Saints 26, Panthers 20


Week 2

I studied where these teams were last year, what happened last week, and how much Vegas has/hasn’t reacted – or perhaps, overreacted! And here is what fell out the most:

1. LA Chargers +4 Kansas City (3.5 Stars)  **WIN**
Note: although I’m listing this first, it is the 2nd lowest rated pick of the weekend (so far)!
While the Chiefs were a vastly better team in 2022 and this line would be a favorite play, the Chargers may have closed the gap considerable – and even exceeded the gap! I liked what I saw last weekend and if this were a neutral field, I would feel good about the Chargers chances to win. Expect these AFC West battles to be absolute life-on-the-line dog fights! Even though the Chiefs had an absolute laugher, the hardware came away more impressed with the Chargers.  The line shows some respect to the Chargers improving, but not enough based on early returns. The Chargers running game is much more bankable in my fantasies.

2. Minnesota +2.5 Philadelphia (5 Stars)  LOSS

Both teams had great debuts, but the computer sees a much improved team in the Vikings. Because of this, the feeling is the wrong team is favored by 2.5! The line shows some respect to the Vikings improvements, but not enough based on early returns. The Vikings come to the game with the #1 wideout in football, although AJ Brown didn’t seem shabby last weekend.

3. Washington +2 Detroit (5 Stars)  LOSS

I don’t trust the Washington team, but there’s not much argument that – while Qb1 remains upright for a couple more weeks – their passing game has seen a major upgrade from the 2021 edition. This feels like a 2021 line to me and the team that is more improved at the moment is Washington.

4. Pittsburgh +2.5 New England Patriots (4.5 Stars)  LOSS

Here’s another line that shows a bit of movement towards a stronger 2022 Steelers team, and overlooks a pretty shoddy start by the Patriots. Of course, the ridiculously strong opener by the Steelers pasting Cincinnati is tempered by their losing one of their two defensive all-stars! And I appropriately downgraded them because of this, but I think Vegas downgraded them even more than I did. I like any Steelers team getting points against a very young Qb!

5. Tampa Bay -2.5 NO Saints (4 Stars)   **WIN**

So here I’ll take a stab at a favorite, buyer beware! The Saints have garnered a few more points than they would have seen last year, but I don’t see that as having been earned. Tampa remote-controlled it into an easy win over the Cowboys. I’ll take the Bucs by at least a FG on the road!

6. Arizona +5.5 LA Raiders (4 Stars)   **WIN**

Here’s my favorite rebound play of the weekend. Arizona was steam-rolled by the Chiefs. Ok, fine. Many other teams will be too! I really like the Raiders in this game and they will probably win it, but I don’t expect the Cardinals to rollover and this will likely come down-to-the-wire in my expectations! I just don’t think Arizona is a very popular team and people see the Raiders as hanging on in the West.

7. Seattle +9.5 San Francisco (3 Stars) LOSS

This one is a bit of a head-scratcher. I loved everything I saw with Seattle. Both teams have lost veteran Qbs from last year. Who knows what the 49ers will get from under center. If they want a RB battle, I really liked what I saw Rashard Penny. I can’t get over a TD favorite on this game and it may be even closer than that!