By Neil Keefe
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This isn’t even fun anymore. Seriously. It was fun for about two weeks, maybe even three weeks, but the last two months have been an epic disaster. It seems like right around 3:15 every Sunday, I’m looking at going 66 percent or better for the 1:00 games. Then it’s 4:15, and I’m three games under .500 for the day, and the red zone tickers on my computer are lighting up one minute into the 4:00 games for teams I have picked against. It’s the same thing every week.
The picks season went south when I changed my picks from Thursday to Friday only a few weeks into the season. I had a .531 percentage at the time, which wasn’t anything special, but it was workable, and then I moved it to Friday, and I lost my rhythm and feel and I haven’t been able to get it back. What? That’s not a valid excuse? If starting pitchers can cite an extra day of rest between starts as their reason for failing then I can certainly use an extra day between picks as I reason for mine.
The league is so week to week that’s it’s nearly impossible to make judgments based on what you saw and learned in previous weeks, but if you don’t do use what you have seen, then what information do you have to make decisions? Take away spreads for a minute and just look at wins and losses, and what’s happened this year in the League of Parity.
Green Bay beat New Orleans
New Orleans beat Chicago
Chicago beat Atlanta.
Atlanta beat Philadelphia
Philadelphia beat Dallas
Dallas beat San Francisco
San Francisco beat Detroit
Detroit beat Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay beat Minnesota
Minnesota beat Carolina
Carolina beat Washington
Washington beat New York Giants
New York Giants beat Buffalo
Buffalo beat New England
New England beat Miami
Miami beat Kansas City
Kansas City beat Oakland
Oakland beat New York Jets
New York Jets beat San Diego
San Diego beat Denver
Denver beat Cincinnati
Cincinnati beat Jacksonville
Jacksonville beat Tennessee
Tennessee beat Baltimore
Baltimore beat Houston
Houston beat Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh beat Seattle
Seattle beat Arizona
Arizona beat St. Louis
St. Louis beat Cleveland
Cleveland beat Indianapolis
Indianapolis hasn’t won a game, and Green Bay hasn’t lost one.
I’m not sure if the Packers are going to lose a game either. They still have to go on the road to play the Lions on Thanksgiving and the Giants the week after, and they finish up at Lambeau against the Bears and Lions again, so there are opportunities for them to lose. But in the bigger picture with the Packers at home in Weeks 16 and 17 and then likely having a bye in the first round and home-field advantage throughout, who’s going to beat them? Once they return home from Kansas City on Dec. 18, they aren’t going to have to leave Green Bay again for a game unless they reach the Super Bowl.
After 10 weeks of football, all but seven teams in the league (Minnesota, Carolina, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Miami and Indianapolis) still have postseason aspirations. That leaves 25 teams entering Week 11 with a chance to make the playoffs.
Last week, seven of the 15 underdogs won straight up. (There were 16 games, but New Orleans-Atlanta was a pick’ em). The underdogs didn’t just cover … they won. Three underdogs that won were getting seven points or more (Oakland +7, Arizona +14 and Seattle +7), and if you parlayed the money lines of those three teams, you probably didn’t show up to work this past Monday because you’re sitting on your yacht laughing and using money as napkins, towels, tissues and toilet paper.
Week 11 … let’s go!
(Home team in caps)
DENVER +6.5 over New York Jets
This line opened at -4. I thought it would open at -7, and now it’s almost there. The problem is that the Jets were embarrassed at home on Sunday Night Football and the Broncos are living off a magnificent wave of Tim Tebow hype with three wins in their last four games.
Tebow attempted eight passes last week in a full NFL game. He completed two of them and the Broncos won 17-10. If the Jets lose the game in similar fashion with the Broncos running a high school offense against Rex Ryan’s “vaunted” defense then the Jets’ season will be over and Rex should refrain from talking to the media for the rest of the year.
And how about Darrelle Revis saying, “The biggest thing for the secondary is for us not to fall asleep. We can’t fall asleep back there in the secondary. It can get boring, especially if a team keeps on just running the ball, series after series, play after play.”
Yes, Revis is allowed to talk like that since he is the best at his position in the league. But to use “we” is a little odd since the Jets are 5-4 and when they were “awake” against the Patriots they let Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski do whatever they wanted to them.
The Jets had the division taken from on Sunday night at home, and 92 hours after losing to the Patriots, they will be playing nearly 1,800 miles from MetLife Stadium to keep their playoff chances alive.
Buffalo +2 over MIAMI
What if this game took place after Week 5? At the time the Bills were 4-1 and the Dolphins were 0-5. What would the line be? Definitely not what it is now.
I know I said the Bills are still the Bills and since then they have lost back-to-back games. And no, the Bills have only one once since Oct. 9 when they shut out the John Beck Redskins in Week 8, but this is the Dolphins we’re talking about.
The only thing I’m worried about is that now with two wins the Dolphins have stupidly taken themselves out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes and are playing like it’s the Super Bowl every week.
BALTIMORE -7 over Cincinnati
The Ravens have somehow managed to lose on the road to the Titans, Jaguars and Seahawks. That doesn’t bode well for them in the playoffs if they get there and if they’re not a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. But at home the Ravens are 4-0 and have won by an average of 15.8 points.
Surprisingly enough, the Bengals are 4-1 on the road with wins against the Browns and the three teams the Ravens couldn’t beat (Jaguars, Seahawks and Titans). The problem is the Bengals haven’t beaten a playoff team yet.
CLEVELAND 0 over Jacksonville
The “I Have To Pick This?” game of the week.
Oakland -1 over MINNESOTA
The Raiders have been good to me this year. The Vikings have been the complete opposite of that, and once again I’m not picking the Vikings no matter what. They could be 36-point underdogs next week, and I will pick against them. I don’t care.
DETROIT -7 over Carolina
The Thanksgiving matinee matchup has lost some of its luster. When the Lions and Packers were both 5-0, we were finally going to have a real early afternoon matchup, and I warned my brother that I wouldn’t be picking him up from the train from Boston in the middle of the game. But with three losses in their last four games, the Lions have come crashing back down to earth, and their postseason dreams are slipping.
At 6-3, they still have to play Green Bay twice, New Orleans, Oakland and San Diego (I know San Diego is the worst, but they will also be fighting for a playoff spot in Week 16). The Lions are in some trouble with their schedule, and that’s why they have to take care of business at home against the Panthers this week. And they will.
GREEN BAY -14 over Tampa Bay
The must trustworthy team in the league playing at home against a team that hasn’t done anything for me this year.
Dallas -7.5 over WASHINGTON
Rex Grossman lost his starting job to John Beck. Then John Beck lost the job back to Grossman. So, not only is Grossman starting again, it’s the Rex Grossman that lost his job to John Beck that’s starting against the Cowboys.
The Redskins need a franchise quarterback. You know who would be a really good fit as a franchise quarterback for the Redskins? Andrew Luck. The problem is the Redskins went into the season thinking they could compete with Rex Grossman and they took advantage of a banged-up Giants team trying out a new offensive line with a shortened training camp in Week 1. Then they beat the Cardinals in Week 2 and the Rams in Week 3. The Redskins were a deceiving 3-1 after four weeks (and could have been 4-0 if not for a Cowboys field goals with 1:44 left). The problem was the Redskins weren’t good all along.
How many times are we going to see that TV graphic that lists all of their starting quarterbacks in the last two decades? I went back and looked at all the starting quarterbacks the Redskins have had since 2000, but then I got better idea. Why not ask my friend Ray (the biggest Redskins fan I know) about his thoughts on the Redskins trying to win instead of tanking it and turning their franchise around? Here’s what he had to say.
“You never want to see your team lose. It goes against everything being a fan is about. However, after a decade of watching the likes of Brad Johnson, Jeff George, Tony Banks, Shane Matthews, Patrick Ramsey, Danny Wuerfell, Tim Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins, Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, and John Beck define suck, I have been ready to watch the Skins lose. Unfortunately, they haven’t done enough of it this year to end their quarterback carousel.
“Ten years from now when Andrew Luck is solidifying his place in Canton and the Redskins are still searching for the answer at quarterback, I won’t be telling my son about the glorious three wins of the Redskins’ 2011 season. No, I’ll be asking him to get Daddy another beer from the fridge as I cry.”
SAN FRANCISCO -9.5 over Arizona
What the Cardinals did in Philly last week might scare me if the Eagles were good, but they’re not, and the 49ers are. But nothing ever good comes from an NFC West matchup. Nothing.
ST. LOUIS -1.5 over Seattle
Another NFC West matchup. Except this one doesn’t feature an 8-1 team.
When I went to see what happened when these two teams played earlier in the year, I found out that they haven’t played each other yet. But what I did find out is that the second time they meet is in Week 12 … on Monday Night Football! I understand that the Seahawks were a playoff team last year (at 7-9) and beat the Saints in the first round, and that the Rams looked to be a team on the rise (also 7-9) behind Sam Bradford, but scheduling these two teams, who were a combined 14-18 in 2010, for a Monday Night Football game was never a good idea. Now America has to pay the price for this idea on Dec. 12 .
ATLANTA -6 over Tennessee
Out of the Titans’ nine games, seven of them have been decided by seven points or more, and six of those have been decided by 13 or more, and three of those have been decided by 21 or more. So, either the Titans get blown out or do the blowing out. And since they’re not playing the Browns, Colts or Panthers, I think they’re going to be on the wrong end of this blow out.
CHICAGO -3.5 over San Diego
Is anyone going to take the Chargers? Anyone? What have the Chargers done to merit someone actually picking them to play a tight game at Soldier Field?
NEW YORK GIANTS -5 over Philadelphia
This is it for the Eagles. THIS IS IT FOR THE EAGLES! I’m 99 percent certain this is it. Well, I’m more like 75 percent sure, but I’m putting up a front that I’m 99 percent sure.
NEW ENGLAND -15 over Kansas City
All it took was one win over the Jets on the road for Vegas to jump back on the Patriots bandwagon. Well, that and the fact that they are playing the Chiefs who lost last week to Tim Tebow’s eight pass attempts at home and the week before at home to the then-winless Dolphins. So, yeah 14.5 points seems right.
Last Week: 7-9-0
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