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2014 NFL Week 16 Bettor’s Guide

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2014 NFL Week 16 Bettor’s Guide
M.D. Wright
12.17.2014

We have entered the Saturday Special segment of the slate (alliteration win), so the bettor’s guide will come out a few hours earlier from here. Nearly picked a half dozen games exactly correct last week, and in a couple of cases, missed the spread by a point or two. Overall, a pretty average week.

Last Week:
SU: 10-6
ATS: 10-6

Season:
SU: 132-92
ATS: 115-107-2
__________________________________________________________________

Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
EverBank Field
Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville Jaguars 3

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: JAX -3
Over/Under: Under 40.5

Analysis:
Seriously? Does anyone care? The loser gets the #1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. They may both be intentionally trying to not score. Plus both of their QBs are beat up. Ugliest game we will have seen in ages. Stay away from this.

Call:
Tennessee                            9
Jacksonville                       13
FINAL
__________________________________________________________

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
FedEx Field
Landover, Maryland
Washington Redskins 3

SATURDAY FOOTBALL SPECIAL
My Call: PHI -7.5
Over/Under: Under 50

Analysis:
The Eagles are now in must-win mode. If they win out and have a Dallas loss, they win the NFC East. The Skins are in spoiler mode for both Dallas and Philadelphia and will throw everything including the kitchen sink at both. The Eagles are more prone to the big play offensively, which will save them (which the Skins are awful at defending). Dallas, however, in Week 17…

Call:
Philadelphia                       27
Washington                       19
FINAL
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San Diego Chargers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Levi’s Stadium
Santa Clara, California
Chicago Bears v San Francisco 49ers

SATURDAY FOOTBALL SPECIAL
My Call: SD +1
Over/Under: Under 41.5

Analysis:
The 49ers have quit on their head coach and QB, and the Bolts are desperate (a situation of their own making, mind you) just to back into the playoffs after squandering a chance to solidify at least control of a wild card in Week 15. The Bolts defense is every bit as good as SF’s and the Bolts can at least score, even if it will be without Keenan Allen, who was lost for the season with a collarbone injury.

Call:
San Diego                        23
San Francisco                 16
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Minnesota Vikings vs. Miami Dolphins
Sun Life Stadium
Miami Gardens, Florida
Miami Dolphins 12

My Call: MIN +6.5
Over/Under: Over 42.5

Analysis:
Two 7-7 teams, two teams almost mirror images of each other defensively, with two spotty QBs. Yes, stay away from this game.

Call:
Minnesota                    20
Miami                            23
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Green Bay Packers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Florida
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4

My Call: GB -10.5
Over/Under: Under 49

Analysis:
The Pack are not as explosive on the road, but the Bucs are not going to offer all that much in the way of resistance. Their best defensive player (Gerald McCoy) is down with a knee injury the rest of the way. The Bucs are just trying to remain in the Top 2 for the 2015 NFL Draft. Green Bay must win in order to set up Week 17 for a winner-take-all scenario in the NFL North.

Call:
Green Bay                               34
Tampa Bay                              13
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Cleveland Browns vs. Carolina Panthers
Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, North Carolina
Carolina Panthers 3

My Call: CLE +3.5
Over/Under: Under 39.5

Analysis:
Johnny Manziel couldn’t have been any worse in his NFL starter debut, but he does get to face a defense that has been horrid against the pass all season. However, the Panthers play a ton of zone, and that can confound rookies. Manziel’s improvisational skills will come into play. Expect Cam Newton to play in this game, barring any setback in practice this week.

Call:
Cleveland                                 20
Carolina                                   17
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears
Soldier Field
Chicago, Illinois
Chicago Bears 11

My Call: DET -7
Over/Under: Over 45.5

Analysis:
You already know how this will go, the Lions will get up 17 or 20-0, the Bears will continue looking inept, and then start padding their fantasy football stats in the second half to make it appear as if the game was close. Beware of the backdoor cover by the Bears late.

Call:
Detroit                                  30
Chicago                                22
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans Saints 4

My Call: ATL +6
Over/Under: Over 56

Analysis:
Expect Julio Jones to play. The Falcons must win to have any chance to win the division. The Saints would clinch the division with a win and a Panthers loss. The Falcons have been a bit more consistent on offense than the Saints have, and the Falcons appear to have the Saints’ number in general.

Call:
Atlanta                                34
New Orleans                      31
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
Giants Stadium
East Rutherford, New Jersey
New York Jets 4

My Call: NYJ +10
Over/Under: Under 47.5

Analysis:
The Jets always play the Patriots toughly, and this will be Rex Ryan’s last game against Bill Belichick at Giants Stadium as Jets’ head coach. Expect the Jets to play like it. However, the Jets simply do not have enough pellets in the gun to outduel the Patriots.

Call:
New England                                  23
NY Jets                                           17
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Heinz Field
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Steelers 4

My Call: PIT -3
Over/Under: Over 46.5

Analysis:
The Chiefs will underutilize Jamaal Charles yet again, and the Steelers will clinch a playoff berth in a relative must-win (to have a chance to win the AFC North in Week 17 vs. Cincinnati). Alex Smith sucks also, so there’s that.

Call:
Kansas City                          19
Pittsburgh                            30
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans
NRG Stadium
Houston, Texas
Houston Texans 12

My Call: BAL -5.5
Over/Under: Under 41

Analysis:
The Texans are on their backup’s backup’s backup now — Case Keenum, who they cut in the preseason — facing a ferocious Ravens pass rush. The Ravens have everything on the line as far as playoff positioning goes…

Call:
Baltimore                                23
Houston                                  10
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

New York Football Giants vs. St. Louis Rams
Edward Jones Dome
St. Louis, Missouri
Minnesota Vikings v St. Louis Rams

My Call: NYG +5
Over/Under: Under 43.5

Analysis:
The Giants have Odell Beckham. The Rams do not.

Call:
NY Giants                                20
St. Louis                                  10
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Buffalo Bills vs. Oakland Raiders
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Oakland, California
Oakland Raiders 3

My Call: BUF -6
Over/Under: Under 39.5

Analysis:
The Bills will be all over Derek Carr all game. The Raiders may get shut out. The Bills look to keep their faint playoff hopes alive, as they must defeat the Raiders AND the Patriots in Week 17 to have hopes at winning tiebreakers (lost to San Diego and Kansas City).

Call:
Buffalo                              17
Oakland                              3
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Indianapolis Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, Texas
Dallas Cowboys--Cowboys StadiumMy Call: IND +3
Over/Under: Over 55

Analysis:
T.Y. Hilton will play.
Dallas has not played well at home all season, and the Colts want to avoid falling into the #4 spot in the AFC playoffs. Chuck Pagano has insisted that the Colts will go out and try to win every game and not rest players. Whether DeMarco Murray plays is of little consequence. Dallas cannot stop the Colts’ offense without a pass rush (and they do not have one). Dallas will have to win in Washington (again) to avoid missing the playoffs (again).
Call:
Indianapolis                                   34
Dallas                                              27
FINAL
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Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, Arizona
Arizona Cardinals 20***SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL***
My Call: SEA -7.5
Over/Under: Under 36.5

Analysis:
A third-string QB against the best defense in the NFL, with the division on the line? Let’s not overthink this.
Call:
Seattle                               19
Arizona                                9
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________
Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati Bengals 14***MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL***
My Call: CIN +3
Over/Under: Under 47.5

Analysis:
Despite the Bengals burning bettors in every big time, primetime game in recent memory, this game is dripping with playoff implications. Denver needs it to maintain pace for a first round bye, as well as an outside shot (with help from the Jets and/or the Bills) for homefield throughout the AFC playoffs, and the Bengals seek to remain in the driver’s seat for the AFC North title, and a potential (If the Colts somehow lost to Dallas) move to the #3 seed. The Bengals will run the ball just as much as the Broncos, and probably just as effectively (as in, not all that much, as both teams are stout against the run). The Bengals are a bit leaky against the deep pass, but Peyton Manning does not have the arm to beat the Bengals deep. This game will be won in the box, and right now — emphasis on “now” — the Bengals have played better in the box on both sides of the football (excluding the second half vs. PIT a couple of weeks ago) than almost anyone. Will be close. Go with the gut. We say Cincinnati, although it could go either way late.
Call:
Denver                           20
Cincinnati                      24
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

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2014 NFL Week 16 Powre Rankings

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2014 NFL Week 16 Powre Rankings
M.D. Wright
12.16.2014

Now the stakes get higher, and playoff fates are starting to round into form. The cream tends to rise to the top annually in the NFL, while one sleeper from each conference can slide in like a scud missile and derail the hopes of the overwhelming favorites. There is one in both conferences. I’ll leave it to my readers to point out which of these teams are such.

Here are the rankings heading into Week 16:

1. Seattle Seahawks (10-4).
No one is beating Seattle. Not even New England.

2. New England Patriots (11-3).
The Patriots have clinched the AFC East, but they have to face and beat two tough defenses before clinching homefield throughout the AFC playoffs.

3. Denver Broncos (11-3).
Denver has that hard-to-achieve “balance” on offense, while their defense continues to get it done. John Elway’s vision has come to fruition. Can the B-Men do it throughout the playoffs? They can shore up a first round bye with a win in Cincinnati on Week 16.

4. Detroit Lions (10-4).
The Lions expect to win close games this year, last year, they expected to lose them all.

5. Indianapolis Colts (10-4).
The Colts still have yet to beat any good teams this year (other than outlasting the Ravens early in the season), and while Dallas is good (not great), they can solidify their #3 seed in the AFC playoffs with a win in Arlington.

6. Green Bay Packers (10-4).
No shame in losing to the 3rd best defense (arguably second best) in the NFL, new week in Tampa, and then a Week 17 showdown at Lambeau for all the NFC North marbles vs. Detroit.

7. Arizona Cardinals (11-3).
The Cards have done a fantastic job to this point given all of the major injuries to pivotal players that they have suffered this year (Dockett, Washington — suspension — Mathieu, who returns this week, Palmer, Stanton, Ellington, Fitzgerald for a time, etc.) but asking arguably the worst QB that any of us have ever seen, in Scott Lindley, to go to Seattle, against the best defense in the NFL (which is seeing the entire NFC’s blood in the water as they can achieve homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs), and expecting him to even last the entire game, much less win, is beyond preposterous. If the Cards can get Stanton back for the playoffs, they will be a tough out for the NFC East or South winner that they will face.

8. Dallas Cowboys (10-4).
Dallas is like TCU in the penultimate College Football Playoff, where the Horned Frogs were ranked #3 heading into the final week of the season (Dallas is in first place in the NFC East) but then the committee (Colts) happened. Dallas will have to win in Washington to avoid missing the playoffs. Again.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4-1).
The Bengals only need to win their remaining games to win the AFC North.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5).
So do the Steelers. Which one of them blinks Week 17? The Steelers will clinch a playoff berth with a win in Week 16, which buoys their hopes.

11. Baltimore Ravens (9-5).
The Ravens let the Jagwires hang around for most of the game, but handled their business. They will need help to win the AFC North (Bengals swept them). However, they are the one team that the Patriots DO NOT want to face in the playoffs.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (9-5).
The Eagles are not going anywhere with Mark Sanchez or Nick Foles at QB.

13. Kansas City Chiefs (8-6).
The Chiefs waited too long to get back to winning (still underutilized Charles), they need massive help to even secure a playoff spot at this point (although they would hold the conference record tiebreaker over the Ravens if both teams finished 10-6). They could do themselves huge favors by beating Pittsburgh and San Diego, which they must do to even have a chance at the playoffs. Such a scenario would eliminate the Bolts and hand the Chiefs the tiebreaker over the Ravens AND Bengals if the Steelers win the AFC North.

14. Buffalo Bills (8-6).
The Bills defense won them yet another game in which their offense did little to nothing. You could win in the playoffs in 2000 (the Ravens did it) with that formula, but offenses are ultimately too good in the playoffs. This is the Bills’ undoing. But a good year nevertheless. They could still eke into the playoffs, although they must — at the very least — beat New England in Week 17 to do so.

15. San Diego Chargers (8-6).
The Bolts are, for all intents and purposes, done. Keenan Allen broke his collarbone Sunday, which only further handicaps an offense that has spiraled the toilet for weeks as is. They must beat the reeling 49ers, who have quit on their head coach and QB, and the equally-desperate Chiefs in order to make the playoffs (with cooperation from the Ravens with at least one loss).

16. St. Louis Rams (6-8).
The Rams could be the one team that could ruin Seattle’s hopes of securing homefield throughout (although Seattle can beat anyone anywhere right now.)

17. Carolina Panthers (5-8-1).
The Panthers must win out and need a Saints loss to win the division. If you want to consider the Panthers to be “peaking” right now, this was the right time for it.

18. New Orleans (6-8).
The Saints don’t get points for beating the woeful Bears, but the wins count, and right now they are in first place in the NFC South with their destiny in their own hands. Win out and they win the division. A win and a Panthers loss in Week 16 gives them the division, as well.

19. Houston Texans (7-7).
The Texans mistakenly took a square piece (Jadeveon Clowney, a 4-3 DE) to fit into a round hole (a 3-4 defense, utilizing him as a Jack LB, instead of DE) instead of a QB and are now forced to start a guy who they jettisoned as dispensable, in Case Keenum, in Week 16. Now they won’t be able to draft any of the top two or three QBs in the 2015 Draft without trading up and further mortgaging their future. A brutal past 24 months for the Texans personnel-wise.

20. Minnesota Vikings (6-8).
The Vikes played hard all year without their best player, but the fairy tale ended after their choke job in Detroit.

21. Cleveland Browns (7-7).
Last week, we said that the Browns would either win out because of Manziel, or lose horribly while Manziel looked like a rookie. The latter indeed occurred (at least in Week 15).

22. New York Football Giants (5-9).
The Giants still have not beaten a team with a +.500 record all year. Perry Fewell’s defense has made a push to keep his job with 22 sacks in the past three games. And with Tom Coughlin staying for 2015, it is unlikely that Fewell leaves. With a healthy secondary unit (which lost Pro Bowl/All Pro-in-the-making Prince Amukamara, Walt Thurmond, Jon Beason, Robert Ayers and others to IR during the season) and additions at DE and LB, the Giants will be just fine defensively in 2015.

23. San Francisco 49ers (7-7).
We said here before the season began that SF would finish 8-8, and that their window was closed. And what happened? The record looks to be exactly correct, and their window is officially closed.

24. Atlanta Falcons (5-9).
The Falcons must beat both the Panthers and Saints in order to win the NFC South.

25. Miami Dolphins (7-7).
The Fins had a golden opportunity ahead of them after beating the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night a month ago. They have done nothing but squander every game since. Their second half goose egg (and giving up 27 unanswered) to the Patriots ended their season (and possibly Joe Philbin’s tenure with the team) with a resounding THUD. 

26. Chicago Bears (5-9).
The Bears are great if you have their players in fantasy football, as they pad their stats while trailing by multiple scores in the second halves of games. But if you are a fan of the actual team, you probably have to pop a few Xanax every week just to avoid offing yourself.

27. New York Jets (3-11).
The Jets can’t even tank properly.

28. Oakland Raiders (2-12).
The Raiders need NFL WRs. They do not have any. And an offensive line would help Derek Carr going forward, as well. The defense has mostly been fine, all things considered.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12).
There is no quit in this team, despite having the least amount of talent on offense in the NFL.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12).
Somehow, Lovie Smith will most likely survive this embarrassment of a season, but the Bucs need a whole lot more than a QB to right the ship.

31. Washington Redskins (3-11).
The Redskins are even more of a train wreck than they were last year, and we did not think that was humanly possible.

32. Tennessee Titans (2-12).
LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.

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2014 NFL Week 15 Bettor’s Guide

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2014 NFL Week 15 Bettor’s Guide
M.D. Wright
12.10.2014

Several backdoor covers, several surprises, and several surprise performances by favorites and a couple of dogs get the job done. The result: A BRUTAL WEEK FOR US.

Last Week:
SU: 8-8
ATS: 8-7-1

Season:
SU: 122-86
ATS: 105-101-2
__________________________________________________________________

Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams
Edward Jones Dome
St. Louis, Missouri
Minnesota Vikings v St. Louis Rams

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: STL -4.5
Over/Under: Over 40.5

Analysis:
No one wants to play the Rams right now. They feel as though they have an outside shot of making the playoffs, and they have notched consecutive shutouts on defense. The Cards are far from formidable offensively, and may have just suffered the final injury that they cannot overcome (RB Andre Ellington). They needed the officials to cover/win last week, but the officials won’t matter in this one. Home teams continue to dominate on TNF.

Call:
Arizona                                    13
St. Louis                                  31
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Arrowhead Stadium
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City Chiefs 13

My Call: OAK +10.5
Over/Under: Over 41.5

Analysis:
This reeks of sucker bet by Vegas. They have surely been watching the Raiders (excluding the loss at St. Louis; the Chiefs aren’t even CAPABLE of scoring 52 points) of late. They have surely been watching Andy Reid almost single-handedly lose three straight games because he failed to utilize Jamaal Charles in the second halves of games. If Charles gets his requisite 23-27 touches (run and pass), the Chiefs will win, with a Raiders’ backdoor cover. If he does not get those touches, the Raiders may very well beat the Chiefs.

Again.

Let’s just think that Reid realizes his team is almost certainly going to be eliminated from playoff contention with another loss and ride a hobbled Charles (knee/foot) to a win.

Call:
Oakland                              20
Kansas City                        24
FINAL
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Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Baltimore Ravens
M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore Ravens 17

My Call: JAX +14
Over/Under: Under 45

Analysis:
I don’t care how bad the Jags’ record is, you cannot trust the Ravens with two touchdowns against anyone. They’ll win handily, though.

Call:
Jacksonville                           13
Baltimore                               23
FINAL
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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Georgia Dome
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta Falcons 12

My Call: ATL +2.5
Over/Under: Over 54.5

Analysis:
The Steelers have a maddening trend this season; one that has cost many a bettor who continues to wager on them. They have lost or failed to cover against nearly every sub .500 team they have faced, and win whenever they are favorites against winning teams. The Falcons are, of course, 5-8 entering the game. However, Julio Jones’ status (hip; he’s playing, despite the gamesmanship by the Falcons this week, regarding practice schedules for Jones) is somewhat of a concern.

Call:
Pittsburgh                                 27
Atlanta                                      31
FINAL
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Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts
Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis Colts

My Call: IND -6.5
Over/Under: Over 49

Analysis:
These two played a shootout earlier in the season. The Colts, who can clinch the AFC South division championship, will continue to give the Texans problems with their matchups on the edges in the passing game. The Texans have Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Call:
Houston                                 20
Indianapolis                          30
FINAL
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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
FirstEnergy Stadium
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland Browns 3

My Call: CLE -1
Over/Under: Over 44

Analysis:
Jonathan Pigskin will either crash and burn miserably in his first NFL start, or confound the Bengals greatly. Nothing else really matters in this game, because they are virtually mirror images of each other on both sides of the football otherwise (hence the lines).

Call:
Cincinnati                                 23
Cleveland                                 26
FINAL – OT
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Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium
Foxborough, Massachusetts
New England Patriots 11

My Call: NE -7.5
Over/Under: Over 48.5

Analysis:
Bill Vinovich is officiating this game, he of “protect the NFL darling teams/QBs” notoriety. The Fins have 0% chance of winning this game. Wager accordingly.

Call:
Miami                                           17
New England                              34
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, North Carolina
Carolina Panthers 3

My Call: TB +3
Over/Under: Under 41.5

Analysis:
Cam Newton will  miss this game with two transverse process fractures after flipping his truck near the stadium in a crash on Tuesday. Derek Anderson will now start in his place. The Bucs nearly beat Anderson and the Panthers in Tampa, and will likely get him this time.

Call:
Tampa Bay                                 19
Carolina                                      16
FINAL
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Washington Redskins vs. New York Football Giants
Giants Stadium
East Rutherford, New Jersey
New York Football Giants 1634

My Call: NYG -6.5
Over/Under: Over 46.5

Analysis:
Washington is fighting in practice, in the media, their third-string quarterback-turned-starter is now injured and his backup is a guy that everyone in the locker room wants gone. The Giants have found something that works (namely, Odell Beckham 10+ targets per game) and have been playing defensively for personal contracts. It appears that Tom Coughlin (and, likely his two top coordinators) are safe for 2015.

Call:
Washington                                13
NY Giants                                    34
FINAL
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Green Bay Packers vs. Buffalo Bills
Ralph Wilson Stadium
Orchard Park, New York
Buffalo Bills 4

My Call: BUF +4
Over/Under: Under 50.5

Analysis:
The Packers are explosive and seemingly incapable of being stopped at home. They are not at home for this game, and they are facing the most ferocious pass rush in the NFL, along with a secondary that can cover every single receiver the Packers line up. The Packers need to win out to ensure homefield throughout the playoffs. With games remaining with Buffalo and the Lions (who the Packers managed just seven points against earlier this season), don’t be so sure that the Packers will be the same team that they are at home in Orchard Park. The Packers’ defensive deficiencies are often masked by their offense at home. Those deficiencies will be tried by the Bills, who will run the ball as much as humanly possible.

Call:
Green Bay                             20
Buffalo                                   23
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions
Ford Field
Detroit, Michigan
Detroit Lions 3

My Call: MIN +8
Over/Under: Under 43

Analysis:
Both teams really get after the QB, and it will be low-scoring, but the Vikes just do not have enough offense to beat the Lions.

Call:
Minnesota                                       13
Detroit                                             17
FINAL


New York Jets vs. Tennessee Titans
LP Field
Nashville, Tennessee
Tennessee Titans 4

My Call: NYJ -2
Over/Under: Under 42

Analysis:
This was going to be the only game the Jets would be favored to win the rest of the season after Week 1. Let’s see if they screw THAT up or not.

Call:
NY Jets                             16
Tennessee                         9
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers
Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego, California
San Diego Chargers 3

My Call: SD +4
Over/Under: Under 50.5

Analysis:
The Bolts know they must win to maintain pace, and have the run defense to slow down what the B-men have been doing on the ground of late. Denver’s passing attack has slowed down significantly in the past month, because they have been able to run the ball well. Denver also gets Julius Thomas back for this game (which should aid in their passing game). San Diego will seek to employ their typical game plan against Denver: run the ball and shorten the game, while being efficient in the passing game to get timely first downs and maximize possessions. Given the way both teams have been playing of late, the Bolts are in good position to at the very least cover in this match up.

Call:
Denver                                  20
San Diego                             24
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
CenturyLink Field
Seattle, Washington
Seattle Seahawks 1

AMERICA’S GAME OF THE WEEK
My Call: SEA -10
Over/Under: Under 38

Analysis:
The 49ers have all but quit on Jim Harbaugh and Colin Kaepernick. This game may mirror some of those 29-3, 42-13 games, although it is difficult to see how a stodgy San Francisco offense will score more than 10 points in this one. Seattle will get whatever they want offensively, although they will mostly run the football and wear down the San Francisco defense, while shortening the game.

Call:
San Francisco                         10
Seattle                                     26
FINAL
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Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Lincoln Financial Field
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Eagles 4

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: PHI -3
Over/Under: Over 55

Analysis:
Nothing has changed from Thanksgiving, although the final score was somewhat of an outlier. Philadelphia is active enough up front defensively to give Dallas’ run game headaches, while Tony Romo will be moved off his spot enough that he won’t be able to find Dez Bryant comfortably all game. Philadelphia will be able to do whatever they want offensively all game.

Call:
Dallas                                                23
Philadelphia                                     38
FINAL
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New Orleans Saints vs. Chicago Bears
Soldier Field
Chicago, Illinois
Chicago Bears 4

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: NO -3
Over/Under: Over 54

Analysis:
Does anyone care?

Call:
New Orleans                               41
Chicago                                        37
FINAL
__________________________________________________________________

Link

2014 NFL Week 15 Powre Rankings

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2014 NFL Week 15 Powre Rankings
M.D. Wright
12.9.2014

We are in the home stretch, and the playoff picture continues to get murkier with each passing week. However, first round byes are starting to be sorted out, as are the Top 5 draftee in the April 2015 NFL Draft.

1. Seattle Seahawks (9-4).
Seattle is not losing another game until sometime in the 2015 season. Even if it means going to Green Bay to get back to the Super Bowl.

2. Green Bay Packers (10-3).
Aaron Rodgers is clearly the best QB in the NFL, but the Packers have issues defensively, and Rodgers has not fared well against the two best defenses in the NFL. One they must beat to win the NFC North, the other they must beat to get to the Super Bowl. Good luck, even with Rodgers’ magic.

3. New England Patriots (10-3).
New England is clearly on their way back to the AFC Championship (unless they have to play the Baltimore Ravens along the way), but other than that, the only thing standing in their way of clinching the AFC East is a win over Miami in Week 15.

4. Denver Broncos (10-3).
Some people think Peyton Manning is struggling because his TD streak was broken and Denver isn’t scoring 40 points per game, but they are controlling the game with their rushing offense, and they will need to do that if they have any hopes of winning a Super Bowl this year.

5. Arizona Cardinals (10-3).
The Cards desperately needed a win on Sunday, but it could be the last one they get this season.

6. Indianapolis Colts (9-4).
The Colts have only won two games against teams with winning records, the second coming on Sunday, and not without tons of help from the officials late.

7. Detroit Lions (9-4).
The Lions went down to Tampa, handled business, and kept themselves in prime position to win the NFC North (and a sweep of the Green Bay would go a long way toward achieving such), and sit in the catbird seat with their destiny in their own hands from here.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5).
The Steelers are the biggest trolls among the AFC North, which is full of trolls (for bettors’ sakes). The Steelers are locks to lose against bad teams, and locks to win against teams that either lead divisions or have +.500 records.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1).
The Bengals still have the lead in the AFC North, but they must salvage a split with the Steelers in Week 17 or they may choke the division away yet again.

10. Baltimore Ravens (8-5).
The Ravens got a much-needed win in Miami, to secure another tiebreaker in the AFC Wild Card hunt. As Seattle is the only team that can go into Green Bay and beat the Packers, the Ravens are the only team that can go into Foxborough and beat the Patriots.

11. Dallas Cowboys (9-4).
Dallas likely notched their final win of the 2014 in Chicago on Thursday.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (9-4).
The Eagles are focused on beating Dallas at home Sunday, but both teams are openly rooting for the Seahawks (strangely) to overtake the Arizona Cardinals (who both teams lost to this year) in the NFC West, as the Cards appear to be running on fumes and breaking down like Fred Flintstone in his Company Race with Joe Rockhead; and would likely serve as the Wild Card matchup with the #6 seed for the #3 seed/winner of the NFC East.

13. San Diego Chargers (8-5).
The Bolts’ offense has been sorely lacking since the BYE, and Mike McCoy’s decision-making rivals that of Marty Schottenheimer (who got fired for going 14-2, no less) for some of the most conservative decisions an NFL head coach can make.

14. St. Louis Rams (6-7).
THE RAMS?!?! Yes, with lots of help (lost vs. Philadelphia, Dallas and Minnesota, who equally needs tons of help to back into a Wild Card) the Rams can actually make the playoffs if they win out. No one wants to play this team right now.

15. Kansas City Chiefs (7-6).
We are sure to hear Andy Reid’s weekly “apologies to the fans” for not utilizing Jamaal Charles more than 12 times in yet another loss in which Charles barely saw the ball, despite averaging 10 yards every time he touched the ball on Sunday, resulting in the Chiefs’ third straight loss while under-utilizing Charles.

16. Houston Texans (7-6).
Are the Texans looking to make the playoffs or secure a solid position in the Draft? They’re going to get the short end of the stick either way. Very difficult to end up in purgatory in the NFL, but the Texans have managed to pull it off.

17. Buffalo Bills (7-6).
The Bills’ anemic offense continues to do them in, while their ridiculously athletic defense continues to do enough to put them into position to win every week.

18. Miami Dolphins (7-6).
Miami fans are clamoring for Joe Philbin’s head, but the Fins’ issues are failure to execute, which are not things you blame coaches for (although coaches ultimately take the fall.)

19. Minnesota Vikings (6-7).
The Vikes haven’t beaten a winning team all season, but to win six games with a rookie QB, without their best player, and only average receivers is a testament to Mike Zimmer and his revamped defense, which seems to notch a score every week.

20. Cleveland Browns (7-6).
It is John Tackle Football time in Cleveland. The Browns will either rally and win out, or Manziel will look like a rookie in the process. There’s no in-between with Jonathan Pigskin. Never has been, never will be.

21. Carolina Panthers (4-8-1).
That the Panthers are in prime position to still win the division is an indictment on one of the worst divisions in the history of the NFL.

22. Atlanta Falcons (5-8).
The Falcons got a historic performance from Julio Jones (and needed every last one of his 259 yards receiving vs. Green Bay), but got little from any other WR, and Matt Ryan’s boneheaded telegraphed pick six ultimately was the difference in the game.

23. San Francisco 49ers (7-6).
SF was lucky to win four of their games this year, and with the way this team is going, they are thankful (or should be, with Colin Kaepernick’s galling regression and warning to NFL Scouts about Marcus Mariota) that they aren’t 3-10 or 4-9.

24. New Orleans Saints (5-8).

The Saints are just flat out brutal. Worse than constantly using Hurricane Katrina as sympathy (as if most of their paying fans actually lived in the areas hardest hit), is hoping that Cam Newton — whose team destroyed the Saints 41-10 on Sunday — was seriously injured in a car crash at press time. Saints fans are closing the gap with the Philadelphia Eagles as the worst fanbase in the NFL.

25. New York Football Giants (4-9).
The Giants are only worth watching for fantasy football purposes and to monitor the development of Odell Beckham, who should set the league on fire in 2015 with an actual team (hopefully) able to compete for playoff contention.

26. Oakland Raiders (2-11).
Other than the St. Louis game, the Raiders have actually been very competitive since firing Dennis Allen.

27. Chicago Bears (5-8).
The Bears looked like they were going to be competitive until their last two games. Not so much now.

28. New York Jets (2-11).
Bill Harvin with yet another season-ending injury. Is he aiming to become the highest paid player ever to spend at least one part of every season on IR?

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-11).
The Bucs had a golden opportunity to vie for the division title with six wins just three weeks ago, proceeded to throw all three games away (thanks to Josh McCown, who was nothing more than a system creation in Chicago in 2013), and could have still landed a Top 10 draft pick even if they had won the division and a home playoff berth. That is about as perfect of a scenario for a team that obviously wants to draft a QB highly in April, and they couldn’t even do THAT right, by blowing three straight winnable games.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11).
Blake Bortles better hope he has an offensive line next year, or he will be ruined going forward — Gus Bradley and the front office’s main reason for not starting him out of the gate this season.

31. Washington Redskins (3-10).
The Redskins are in complete disarray, but you can bet that they will be 100% focused on trying to ruin Dallas’ season Week 17.

32. Tennessee Titans (2-11).
Hasn’t Ken Whisenhunt proven that he isn’t a good coach? Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald made him look good. He hasn’t done anything since Warner retired. The Titans are utterly pathetic.

Link

My Current List of “Sons” in the NFL

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My Current List of “Sons” in the NFL
M.D. Wright
12.8.2014

So many people are clueless about slang nowadays. “Son” has a long history in the local tri-state New York area parlance. It can mean anything from the literal meaning, to best friend, to someone you mentor or showed the way to do things, or someone who you unflinchingly support as a father would do his son (which is where it comes into play in sports).

With that, my Top 10, non-Florida State Seminoles “sons” in the NFL (as I unconditionally support all FSU players) are as follows — in no particular order — because all bloggers love lists:

Richard Sherman.
Has been one of my sons since his last year at Stanford, and spent all of 2011 and 2012 trying to tell people he would be all-world. Wasn’t until 2013 that he became a household name though.

Justin Houston.
I have had him on my fantasy team every year that he has been in the NFL. He plays Jack linebacker at the highest level of anyone in the NFL, and that includes Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.

Jamaal Charles.
Been a supporter since he was at University of Texas, and always want to see him do well, as he is an outspoken Christian.

Earl Thomas.
He was all-world at Texas, and lived up to the hype (for someone who isn’t a Bevo fan, a lot of my favorite players in my 30 years of watching NFL have come from there) once he got to the NFL. Goes at 100% every play and lays the wood.

Kam Chancellor.
I really think “Bam Bam Kam” is out there trying to kill dudes on the field.  Not necessarily in the literal fashion, of course. But I love it.

Eric Weddle.
Weddle gets little to no pub on the East Coast, but has always been one of my sons. Then again, as someone who has followed the Bolts since 1989, they always have 3-4 guys who were sons (including Rodney Harrison, before he went to New England and became a complete jerkoff, which continues today on NBC; still bitter over Eli Manning beating him in Super Bowl XLII.)

Odell Beckham.
Watched him and Jarvis Landry constantly take the top off defenses last year, and make ridiculous, one-handed catches, so yes, I was extremely pleased that the Football Giants drafted him. Looking forward to watching him play for a very long time and hopefully injury-free for the entire time.

Robert Quinn.
A lot of people didn’t know who he was unless you watched ACC football or were a UNC fan. He missed a season due to the scandal that also involved former New York Giant Marvin Austin, but he was unblockable (FSU saw him) and is a terror in the NFL. This year was the first year that I didn’t have him in fantasy football, also. Someone drafted him in the 1st Round!

Bobby Wagner.
The fastest linebacker in the league, and since he’s been back off injury in 2014, Seattle has flat out shut down everyone they have faced.

Aaron Rodgers.
Unflinchingly drafted him 1st (3rd overall) in the 2008 Fantasy Football draft, and he rewarded me with 4,000 yards that season, and a fantasy championship game (my team choked in the championship). He is the best QB in the NFL, love watching him play — except against the Football Giants.


Soon-to-Become Sons:
Craig Robertson, Cleveland Browns. 

The guy is a PLAYER.

Will Hill, Baltimore Ravens.
Will Hill was already my son when he played for the Giants, and that’s saying a lot as a UF guy, but he could never stay out of trouble.

Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings.
People don’t know him, but the guy just MAKES. PLAYS.

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