There was some good news from last week and some bad news from last week: The good news is that almost all of my reasoning played out correctly and most of the games ended like I predicted they would. The bad news is that I picked opposite of all of my reasoning on purpose to see if it was my reasoning that was wrong, or if I was just getting unlucky. Well, it turns out a lot of it was just me getting unlucky. Unfortunately, I did go 3-11 last week after going against my gut, which puts me at 9-31-1 (29%) over the last 3 weeks. I’m optimistic though - my reasoning went 11-3! It took 9 entire weeks of the NFL season, but I finally feel like I’m heating up. I still wouldn’t recommend putting any amount of money (or even a meal, handshake…anything, really) on what I pick, but I’ve got some confidence back and am officially calling my shot: I will get back to .500 by the end of week 17! We’ll see how confident I am after this week, but for now I’m going to ride this imaginary momentum all the way to the imaginary Super Bowl.
Byes: Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay, Washington
Colts (-3) at Jaguars - The Colts are fighting for either a 5 or 6 seed in the AFC playoffs while the Jaguars are fighting just to stay in Jacksonville. These Thursday night games are ridiculous - the matchups are terrible and the teams are still tired from their Sunday game. The Colts are a much better team and should win this by more than 3, but the one thing that scares me is that the Colts travel to Foxborough in week 11 to play the Patriots. This is a trap game if there ever was one, but I’m trusting Andrew Luck to take it one game at a time and get the W.
Bills (+11) at Patriots – The AFC East is the Patriots division to lose (and I don’t think they will) but the Bills are a competent team that can hang around with the big boys. I think they’ll keep it close, or at least score some garbage-time points to cover.
Giants (-4) at Bengals – The Giants are notoriously good on the road, and I think that after losing at home to the Steelers last week, coach Coughlin will have them ready to play.
Chargers at Buccaneers (-3) – On top of the time change making it tough for a west coast team to travel all the way to the east coast to play a 1:00 game, Josh Freeman is finally starting to perform. I think he has another huge game and the Chargers continue to play like the Chargers and underperform.
Lions at Vikings (+2) – Even though the Lions have won their last 2 games and the Vikings have lost their last 2, I love this pick. An undisciplined Lions team playing on the road against a frisky Vikings team hungry for a win? I’ll take the home team getting 2 points everyday.
Broncos at Panthers (+4) – Can the Broncos contain Cam Newton and the Panthers? Maybe a little bit, but I think that the Panthers will still put up a lot of points and win this game. The Broncos have been a solid team this year but their competition in the AFC West has been anything but tough so it’s a little hard to judge how good they actually are.
Titans (+6) at Dolphins – If Chris Johnson shows up for the Titans, they can keep it close. If he doesn’t, the Dolphins are going to get blown out. I think he’ll show up and play like the Chris Johnson of old.
Raiders at Ravens (-7.5) – The Raiders are just an abomination to the National Football League. They can’t score on offense and they can’t stop other teams from scoring on defense. If the Ravens don’t win this game by 7.5, they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.
Falcons at Saints (+2.5) – The Saints defense actually looked pretty good against the Eagles on Monday night, and they did it by constantly blitzing and pressuring Vick. I think that they’ll try to do the same thing against the Falcons and hand Atlanta their first loss.
Jets at Seahawks (-6.5) – Vegas usually gives 2 or 3 points for home-field advantage, and I think that number might be closer to 4 in Seattle. If this game is at a neutral site, the line would be something like Seattle by 2.5 which I would definitely jump all over. Seattle is a better team and I’ll take them to cover at home.
Cowboys (+1.5) at Eagles – The Cowboys keep playing games close but can never close out. I think that this is the week that they finally manage to hang on and get a win over the division rival Eagles.
Rams at 49ers (-11.5) – At first I thought that this line was way too high, but after thinking about it for a few minutes, it makes sense – the Rams won’t be able to score. I’m going to take the 49ers to cover even though I usually take the points on big lines.
Texans at Bears (-1.5) – This is the best matchup of the week. The Bears defense has been forcing turnovers and scoring touchdowns at an incredible pace, and that’s what this game is going to come down to: turnovers. Whichever team has fewer turnovers will win this game. I’m going with the Bears just because they have forced more so far this year, but either way this one will be really fun to watch.
Chiefs (+12.5) at Steelers – The Chiefs are awful. Plain and simple. But 12.5 is a ton of points, especially for a Monday night game, so even though I don’t want to, I’m going with Kansas City on the road.
Last Week: 3-11