Those picks we talked about in this column last week went 4-1. We only lost one! And even that could’ve been avoided if I hadn’t bitten off more than I could chew with the Bears playing on Thanksgiving. We are in the home stretch of the season now. I have only 20 picks left this regular season to prove my worth. I currently stand at 31-34 on the year, much improved from a few weeks ago but still far from a profitable year. While we are too far out of the money to make a run in the SuperContest, we are in striking distance of a winning percentage of 53%, which is what you need in order to make money in Vegas.
For some of our favorite NFL teams though, there is a lot that can change over the next four weeks. This is one of my favorite points in the season, as there is a short enough amount of time left that you can start theorizing about how things may play out, while still enough games left for crazy shit to happen. This week’s column will be dedicated to those crazy theories that can only exist in Weeks 13, 14, and 15 of the NFL regular season. Also, JJ Watt.
Here’s the Week 14 slate, home team gets the asterisk.
This season, Ray and I began expanding our Sunday pregame viewership beyond that of ESPN’s NFL Countdown, in favor of discovering new and better insight into the games of the day. The greatest treasure we have discovered is NFL Gameday Morning on the NFL Network. The show ishosted by Rich Eisen and features Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Warren Sapp, Michael Irvin and Steve Mariucci. The show is not perfect. But there is one part of it that is.
NFL Gameday Morning has the best “Bold Predictions” segments currently being produced.
Every network has their own version of “Bold Predictions” in some shape or form. On ESPN and Fox we are supposed smile and nod as Chris Berman and company claim that taking the Seahawks (+1) this week somehow constitutes an “underdog” pick. This is some bullshit. This is not the type of bold prediction you would hear on NFL Gameday Morning. Gameday gets bold. In Week 11 Kurt Warner predicted that the Lions and Cardinals would rush for less than 45 yards combined. That same week Steve Mariucci’s pick was that Andrew Luck and Tom Brady would put up 900+ pass yards, 10 TDs, and 0 interceptions on Sunday Night Football. This is what bold predicting is all about.
This inspired some bold predictions (and picks) of our own.
Chiefs (PK) over Cardinals*
Last week, I announced to Ray that the Cardinals would lose out the rest of the regular season and miss the playoffs, with Seattle winning the division and the Niners backing into a wild card spot. This prediction is rooted in the odd tendency of the Cardinals to go on long streaks of regression from either direction to the mean. In 2011, the Cards started off 1-6 behind the arm of Kevin Kolb, then finished the season with Fordham’s own John Skelton going 7-2, to finish 8-8 and outside the playoff picture. In 2012, Arizona started off 4-0, making the whole football world say, “Hey! The Cards are 11-2 in their last 13 games! They came on strong in the stretch last season, and may be a force this year.” The Cardinals then went on a 9 game losing streak and finished the season 5-11. In 2013, they started off 3-4 before tearing off a 7-2 run to finish the season 10-6, jumping back on to the radar of football fans and barely miss the playoffs. This year, the Cards started off 9-1 and got those same talking heads that were saying words on your television in 2012 to go, “Hey! The Cards are 16-3 in their last 19 games! They came on strong in the stretch last season, and are near the top of this week’s power ranking.”
The Cardinals have now lost two straight, but still hold the number one spot in the NFC.
We are smart creatures, us humans. We can see patterns. I ask you dear readers, recognize this pattern. Do you know how the Cards finish their season this year? This week at home against the Chiefs, and then games at the Rams, against Seattle, and at the Niners. We have four weeks left to make money off of the Cardinals. Let’s make the most of it.
Lions* (-9.5) over Buccaneers
Falcons (+12.5) over Packers*
This brings us to Ray’s bold prediction. It was inspired partially from my fear of the Eagles having to go back to Lambeau field in the playoffs.
This could totally happen! The Packers are going to make the playoffs, but they have to stay ahead of the Lions in order to keep their hold on a first round bye. In order for the Lions to pass the Pack, they will probably need to win out against the Bucs, Vikings, and Bears (totally doable) and then beat the Packers at Lambeau in Week 17. The Packers would have to drop a game to the Falcons, Bills, or Bucs (less doable but still doable) and then drop their final game at home.
Super fun stuff. Two picks to go.
Dolphins* (-2.5) over Ravens
I don’t know why, but I have disliked the Ravens all year. This is a “win to stay in” game for both teams. They both currently stand at 7-5 and second in their respective divisions. In an AFC overcrowded with 7-5 teams, a win here would put either team in prime position to make the playoffs, a loss might mean the end of your season. I want the Dolphins to make the playoffs. I’m in on Ryan Tannehill. I don’t know why.
Rams (-2.5) over Redskins*
The Rams are dope. I don’t care how many losses they have, they are one of the twelve best teams in football, at least. The Redskins are garbage. Screw home dogs. Go Rams.
Last Week: 4-1