Just two weeks left in the NFL season, and I have to make up some time because, well, I've only been picking for two weeks this season. So, in hopes of ending strong, here we go with Week 16 (all info from FoxSports.com, NFL.com, ESPN.com, and AccuScore):
Pittsburgh vs. Jacksonville (8:15, NFL Network)
|Colts||Average Team Rankings||Jaguars|
|Total 1st Downs||280||8||270||11|
|3rd Down Efficiency||49.2%||2||39.4%||17|
|4th Down Efficiency||68.8%||4||59.1%||2|
|3 and Out Drives||18||1||33||12|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||8.4||17.3|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||317.2||11||319.1||15|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||269||23||249||12|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||47.9%||31||39.8%||16|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||33.3%||1||45.5%||11|
|Opp. Total TDs||21||4||33||21|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||38.7%||25||38.2%||23|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||25||31||39||12|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||453||32||586||23|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||19.1||18.9|
- Indy is 6-8 ATS, Jacksonville is 4-10 ATS
- When favored by 3.5 to 9.5, Indy is 1-4 ATS; when 'dogged by the same amount, Jacksonville is 2-1 ATS.
- Jacksonville is 2-9 ATS on grass; Indy is 3-3 ATS
- Indy is 4-3 ATS on the road; Jacksonville is 1-6 ATS at home.
- After a win, Indy is 4-5 ATS and Jacksonville is 0-4 ATS
- Final Score: Indianapolis 22, Jacksonville 19
- Manning: 237 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Rhodes/Addai: 23 rushes, 92 yards; Defense: 3 sacks, 2 TOs
- Garrard: 186 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Jones-Drew/Garrard: 25 rushes, 118 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- Peyton Manning has a 53% chance of throwing 2+ TDs.
- If Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai both have 40+ yards, the Colts are winning 84% of the time.
- If David Garrard throws no INTs, Jacksonville wins 50% of the time.
- If Maurice Jones-Drew rushes for 75+ yards and a score, Jacksonville wins 65% of the time by five points.
David Garrard had a great game last week, throwing 2 TDs and no picks. A key to the game will be to limit the amount of times Garrard throws the ball and instead, focus on handing it off to Maurice Jones-Drew. Jacksonville is winning the sims when he is getting the ball and Garrard is not turning the ball over. The Colts are going into this game on somewhat of a whirlwind tour of playing bad teams. Jacksonville has shown some improvements, especially when the albatross known as Fred Taylor has hit the IR. Is this almost like a Manny situation at this point? I know the whole "addition by subtration" concept makes absolutely no sense, but if it ever did, I think this situation may apply. They have new blood coming through for them on defense...I like it.
Baltimore vs. Dallas (8:15, NFL Network)
|Ravens||Average Team Rankings||Cowboys|
|Total 1st Downs||260||15||260||14|
|3rd Down Efficiency||41.4%||6||43.1%||10|
|4th Down Efficiency||60.0%||22||60.0%||18|
|3 and Out Drives||40||21||44||25|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||18.9||18.2|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||257.5||2||287.0||7|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||198||1||240||9|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||31.1%||1||34.8%||6|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||21.4%||4||53.8%||17|
|Opp. Total TDs||17||2||24||8|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||23.3%||2||35.2%||15|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||53||1||39||11|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||678||11||582||24|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||3.2||12.6|
- Last Meeting: 2004; Baltimore 30, Dallas 10
- Baltimore is 10-4 ATS; Dallas is 7-7 ATS.
- Baltimore is 5-2 ATS on the road; Dallas is 4-3 ATS at home.
- When the Over/Under is less than 40, Baltimore is 9-3 ATS; Dallas is 0-1 ATS.
- Baltimore is 6-4 ATS against teams who have a .500+ record in their last six games; Dallas is 3-5 ATS
- Dallas 22, Baltimore 18
- Flacco: 194 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; McClain: 14 rushes, 47 yards; Defense: 2 sacks, 3 TOs
- Romo: 249 yards 2 TDs, 2 INTs; Choice/Barber: 25 rushes, 72 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 4 sacks, 2 TOs
- If Baltimore allows less than three sacks, they are winning 41% of the time; 47% if they allow less than one
- If Tony Romo has no more than one INT, Dallas is winning 75% of the time
Baltimore is reeling from their devastating loss against Pittsburgh, while Dallas is looking better after a tumultuous week and a big division win over the Giants. Again, despite what everyone is saying, I think Dallas has no choice but to start Marion Barber again. They are, again, barely hanging on to a wild card spot, and need to put every able body on the field, especially in a game that looks as though it will be a struggle. If you have any doubts about this one, may I submit this to you: This is going to be the final game at Texas Stadium...unless things get real screwy, so it could be a fairly emotional night.
Cincinnati vs. Cleveland (1:00, CBS)
|Bengals||Average Team Rankings||Browns|
|Total 1st Downs||210||29||212||28|
|3rd Down Efficiency||33.0%||23||34.8%||26|
|4th Down Efficiency||53.8%||14||45.5%||23|
|3 and Out Drives||61||32||40||20|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||23.8||22.2|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||343.3||22||363.5||27|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||269||22||283||26|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||44.0%||28||44.8%||26|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||55.6%||7||64.7%||29|
|Opp. Total TDs||37||26||31||17|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||35.8%||17||32.5%||12|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||36||16||21||32|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||634||15||685||8|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||19.0||18.6|
- Last Meeting: Week 4; Cleveland 20, Cincy 12
- Cincy is 5-9 ATS; Cleveland is 7-7 ATS.
- Cincy is 2-5 ATS on the road; Cleveland is 3-4 ATS at home.
- Cincy is 5-6 ATS as an underdog; Cleveland is 0-3 ATS as a favorite.
- Cincy is 0-5 ATS vs. the AFC North; Cleveland is 2-2 ATS.
- Final Score: Cleveland 17, Cincinnati 16
- Fitzpatrick: 172 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Benson/Fitzpatrick: 28 rushes, 105 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 1 sack, 2 TOs
- Dorsey: 172 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs; Lewis: 24 rushes, 82 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 3 sacks, 2 TOs
- If Cedric Benson has 75+ yards, Cincy is winning 66% of the time
- If Jamal Lewis has 75+ yards, Cleveland is winning 65% of the time
- If both have 75+ yards, Cincy is winning 53% of the time
- If Ryan Fitzpatrick gets sacked 3+ times, Cleveland is winning 60% of the time
If you are putting money on this game, you have a problem. Seriously, like Google "gamblers anonymous" if you put anything on this game. This is just awful. Remember when these teams would combine for like 90-100 points? Those days seem to be gone, at least for now. The O/U on this one is 32. Plus, there is a 70% chance of snow...wow. Okay, well, I've bet against Ken Dorsey twice, they both came through...why mess up a good thing?
New Orleans vs. Detroit (1:00, FOX)
|Saints||Average Team Rankings||Lions|
|Total 1st Downs||300||4||200||31|
|3rd Down Efficiency||45.1%||8||27.8%||31|
|4th Down Efficiency||52.9%||7||42.9%||19|
|3 and Out Drives||27||8||49||29|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||8.5||24.9|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||335.6||20||389.6||31|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||261||17||298||32|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||39.0%||17||42.4%||21|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||61.5%||22||75.0%||12|
|Opp. Total TDs||32||19||46||32|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||40.4%||27||44.7%||32|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||38||13||32||23|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||572||25||681||9|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||21.0||23.7|
- Last Meeting: 2005; Detroit 13, New Orleans 12
- New Orleans is 9-4 ATS; Detroit is 6-8 ATS.
- New Orleans is 3-3 ATS on the road; Detroit is 1-6 ATS.
- New Orleans is 6-0 ATS after a road game; Detroit is 1-4 ATS .
- After allowing 25+ points, New Orleans is 6-1 ATS; Detroit is 4-7 ATS.
- Final Score: New Orleans 31, Detroit 20
- Brees: 310 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; Thomas: 20 rushes, 93 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- Orlovsky: 208 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Smith: 21 rushes, 105 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- If Pierre Thomas gets 75+ yards, New Orleans is winning 90% of the time
- Calvin Johnson has a 48% chance of catching a TD
- If Johnson has a TD, and Kevin Smith rushes for 100 yards, the Lions are losing by just one point in the sims
I'm going to use my "Coke Machine" theory that I adapted from Seinfeld on this game. Basically, Jerry's observation was that breaking up is like rocking a Coke machine...you can't do it one push, but you have to rock it back and forth, and eventually, it will go over. The odds are amazingly high against the Lions going winless this year. They should have beat Minnesota, and had Indy on the ropes last week. New Orleans has been eliminated from postseason play, they just lost Reggie Bush for the year...Detroit has way more to play for than the Saints.
Arizona vs. New England (1:00, FOX)
|Cardinals||Average Team Rankings||Patriots|
|Total 1st Downs||301||3||313||1|
|3rd Down Efficiency||42.8%||16||43.9%||4|
|4th Down Efficiency||53.3%||10||72.2%||1|
|3 and Out Drives||24||6||22||2|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||11.5||4.5|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||318.6||14||320.1||16|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||261||18||245||10|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||45.5%||27||45.1%||25|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||69.2%||28||28.6%||2|
|Opp. Total TDs||41||31||34||22|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||36.9%||22||34.2%||14|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||28||28||43||7|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||669||12||596||22|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||21.1||16.3|
- Last Meeting: 2004; New England 23, Arizona 12
- Arizona is 7-6 ATS; New England is 7-7 ATS.
- Arizona is 1-4 ATS as an underdog; New England is 6-6 ATS as a favorite.
- Arizona is 0-3 ATS as a road 'dog; New England is 2-5 ATS as a home favorite.
- After a loss, Arizona is 3-2 ATS; after a win, New England is 3-5 ATS.
- After allowing 25+ points, Arizona is 3-1 ATS; New England is 3-2 ATS.
- Final Score: New England 29, Arizona 19
- Warner: 260 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Arrington/Hightower: 17 rushes, 39 yards; Defense: 3 sacks, 2 TOs
- Cassel: 260 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Morris/Jordan/Faulk: 24 rushes, 114 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- In bad weather, Kurt Warner is completing less than 60% of his passes for 240 yards on average; Matt Cassel is averaging 245 yards and 2 TDs
This game has a ton of different factors. New England needs to keep winning to have any chance at getting in the postseason. Arizona should probably have gotten a tounge-lashing from Whisenhunt for the way they played on Sunday. I know that they have clinched the NFC West, but come on! 35-14 at home? That's inexcusable. The weather is going to be bad. Low 40s, rain, sleet...we're not in Glendale anymore. I hate to say that a team has given up, but Arizona is riding that thin line rather dangerously right now. Again, I think New England's secondary has one good game in them. Plus, New England's three-headed running attack was rocking and rolling last week. I'm really liking how balanced this team is right now. Plus, New England is like the anti-Dallas when it comes to games in December. They are red-hot in the 12th month, winning their last ten in December. Also, Arizona is 0-4 on the east coast this year...you know...just saying.
New England (-7.5)
Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee (1:00, CBS)
|Steelers||Average Team Rankings||Titans|
|Total 1st Downs||247||23||244||24|
|3rd Down Efficiency||39.7%||9||37.5%||20|
|4th Down Efficiency||25.0%||31||33.3%||29|
|3 and Out Drives||37||17||47||27|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||19.6||19.7|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||239.1||1||281.0||4|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||216||3||232||7|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||32.7%||8||32.7%||7|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||41.2%||18||44.4%||21|
|Opp. Total TDs||16||1||21||3|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||24.1%||3||22.1%||1|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||49||3||40||9|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||709||6||713||5|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||6.1||6.5|
- Last Meeting: 2005; Pittsburgh 34, Tennessee 7
- Pittsburgh is 8-6 ATS; Tennessee is 11-2 ATS.
- Pittsburgh is 6-6 ATS on grass; Tennessee is 9-2 ATS.
- Pittsburgh is 4-1 ATS when playing an opponent with a .500+ record; Tennessee is 2-1 ATS.
- Tennessee is 3-0 ATS vs. the AFC North; Pittsburgh is 2-1 ATS vs. the AFC South.
- Final Score: Pittsburgh 18, Tennessee 17
- Roethlisberger: 212 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Parker/Moore: 25 rushes, 98 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- Collins: 151 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Johnson/White: 27 rushes, 101 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 5 sacks, 2 TOs
- Kerry Collins is 47% to throw a pick; he is also 47% to throw at least one TD
- If Willie Parker rushes for 50+ yards, Pittsburgh is winning 66% of the time
- If Chris Johnson averages over five yards per carry, Tennessee is winning 60% of the sims by an average of three points
Look, I know I've gone against the Steelers the last two weeks, and ultimately, they found a way to win, but seriously, how many tough games can they play in a row without some kind of let down? The Steelers are a tremendously talented bunch on defense, but wouldn't this be the kind of team that can take advantage of their over-aggressiveness? Think about it...you have Harrison and Woodley coming from the outside to pressure the QB, but that would allow Johnson and White to get through the middle. The Steelers have James Farrior up the middle, but even so, if the Titans can chip away with the running game, they have a shot. The key to beating Pittsburgh is turnovers. This team thrives on forcing turnovers and then making you pay when they get the ball. The last two opponents had their respective games won, and then basically gave it away in the waining moments of the 4th. You can run on Pittsburgh. I know Vanden Bosch and Haynesworth will both be out for this one, but the Steelers' run game is weaker than it has been in recent memory. Look for Roethlisberger to start forcing balls into tight spots, and paying for it.
San Francisco vs. St. Louis (1:00, FOX)
|Average Team Rankings||Rams|
|Total 1st Downs||253||19||206||30|
|3rd Down Efficiency||37.9%||24||31.7%||28|
|4th Down Efficiency||40.0%||27||47.1%||9|
|3 and Out Drives||36||15||43||23|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||22.6||25.6|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||328.9||18||375.7||29|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||253||14||288||27|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||38.3%||20||41.0%||11|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||57.1%||23||60.0%||3|
|Opp. Total TDs||32||20||40||30|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||39.1%||26||43.4%||31|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||33||21||29||26|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||814||4||608||18|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||18.1||22.0|
- Last Meeting: Week 11; San Francisco 35, St. Louis 16
- San Francisco is 7-7 ATS; St. Louis is 4-10 ATS.
- St. Louis is 2-6 ATS in a dome; San Francisco is 1-1 ATS.
- San Francisco is 3-2 ATS vs. the NFC West; St. Louis is 0-5 ATS.
- San Francisco is 1-3 ATS playing teams under .500; St. Louis is 0-2 ATS.
- San Francisco is 2-1 ATS as a favorite; St. Louis is 4-10 ATS as an underdog.
- Final Score: San Francisco 23, St. Louis 18
- Hill: 199 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Gore/Foster: 27 rushes, 129 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- Bulger: 196 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Jackson: 22 rushes, 101 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- If Frank Gore rushes for less than 50 yards, San Francisco goes from winning 66% of the time to 38%
- If Steven Jackson rushes for 100+ yards, and Marc Bulger throws at most one INT, the Rams are winning 56% of the time; if Bulger throws more than one INT, the Niners are winning 75% of the time by an average of nine points
The health of Frank Gore will have huge implications on this game. If Gore can't go, it will come down to the Niners' D to attept to deny the Rams a chance to make it a close game. Gore has not practiced all week, and is officially listed as questionable. Singletary is leaning towards starting him on Sunday, which is a good sign for the Niners. I just don't know how well DeShaun Foster can handle the workload by himself, even though the Rams stink on defense. You could go a couple different ways on this one, especially with the uncertainty of Gore. Ultimately, I'll stick with Shaun Hill. He has yet to show me that he is not capable of making plays happen through the air.
San Francisco (-5)
Miami vs. Kansas City (1:00, CBS)
|Dolphins||Average Team Rankings||Chiefs|
|Total 1st Downs||264||12||236||25|
|3rd Down Efficiency||34.7%||29||39.3%||13|
|4th Down Efficiency||75.0%||6||38.5%||24|
|3 and Out Drives||38||19||47||28|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||15.1||19.5|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||317.2||12||397.1||32|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||257||15||295||31|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||37.1%||14||46.7%||30|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||60.0%||27||50.0%||13|
|Opp. Total TDs||23||6||40||29|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||35.9%||19||43.4%||30|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||29||27||27||30|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||533||27||530||28|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||17.4||25.5|
- Last Meeting: 2006; Miami 13, Kansas City 10
- Miami is 6-8 is ATS; Kansas City is 8-6 ATS.
- Miami is 0-4 ATS when being a 3.5-9.5 favorite; KC is 4-4 ATS when 'dogged by 3.5-9.5.
- Miami is 1-5 ATS when facing a sub .500 team; KC is 3-2 ATS when facing a .500+ team.
- Miami is 1-5 ATS as a favorite; KC is 8-5 ATS as an underdog.
- Final Score: Miami 22, Kansas City 16
- Pennington: 225 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Brown/Williams: 30 rushes, 135 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- Thigpen: 187 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Johnson/Thigpen: 24 rushes, 97 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 INTs
Not a whole lot of useful simulations offered, so I decided to omit them (it went along the lines of "if Pennington doesn't make mistakes, and Brown and Williams run for over 130 yards, Miami has a good chance of winning"...yeah, thanks). I think this is a trap game, and I'm not just saying that because I am openly rooting against both Miami and the Jets so the Pats can win the division...I am, but it says a lot about how Miami has been awful against bad teams this year in terms of covering spreads. They play to their competition. This is something they cannot do in KC in December. This is similar to what Arizona will be going through in Foxboro on Sunday. Forecast for Sunday: Sunny (that doesn't hurt Miami), 10 degrees (that does) with 40 MPH wind gusts (yikes).
Kansas City (+4)
San Diego vs. Tampa Bay (1:00, CBS)
|Chargers||Average Team Rankings||Buccaneers|
|Total 1st Downs||252||21||263||13|
|3rd Down Efficiency||44.1%||15||38.0%||12|
|4th Down Efficiency||66.7%||21||57.1%||11|
|3 and Out Drives||26||7||36||16|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||13.6||17.7|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||346.5||25||299.4||9|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||294||30||220||5|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||40.5%||23||36.2%||12|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||57.9%||30||38.5%||10|
|Opp. Total TDs||30||15||23||7|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||36.5%||21||28.4%||7|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||30||25||45||6|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||604||20||610||17|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||23.4||8.9|
- Last Meeting: 2004; San Diego 31, Tampa Bay 24
- San Diego is 6-8 ATS, Tampa Bay is 8-6 ATS.
- San Diego is 0-3 ATS vs. the NFC South; Tampa Bay is 1-1 ATS vs. the AFC West.
- San Diego is 2-0 ATS as an underdog; Tampa Bay is 5-3 ATS as a favorite.
- San Diego is 3-3 ATS on the road; Tampa Bay is 4-2 ATS at home.
- Final Score: San Diego 21, Tampa Bay 20
- Rivers: 235 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Tomlinson: 20 rushes, 59 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- Garcia: 222 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Dunn/Williams: 27 rushes, 95 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- If LaDainian Tomlinson rushes for 50+ yards, San Diego is winning 64% of the time
- If Brian Griese starts, Tampa goes from winning 48% of the time to 37%
I like the ambiguity of Jon Gruden's answer to who will start for the Bucs on Sunday at QB. Garcia is banged up, and was held out of last week's tilt. The thing is that Griese didn't look all that bad last week against Atlanta on the road. So I have a lot of confidence in the Bucs no matter who starts. Norv Turner pulled one out of his you know what last week, but the Chargers are succeptible to let downs, while Tampa is good at bouncing back the next week. Plus, if you need anything else...it's an NFC South team at home. You know how that goes.
Tampa Bay (-3.5)
Buffalo vs. Denver (4:00, CBS)
|Bills||Average Team Rankings||Broncos|
|Total 1st Downs||252||20||302||2|
|3rd Down Efficiency||38.6%||22||47.8%||5|
|4th Down Efficiency||50.0%||13||50.0%||28|
|3 and Out Drives||23||3||24||5|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||16.0||11.0|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||317.4||13||373.4||28|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||250||13||279||24|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||36.0%||4||43.1%||24|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||41.7%||6||50.0%||20|
|Opp. Total TDs||29||13||36||24|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||36.0%||20||43.2%||29|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||34||19||27||29|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||468||31||645||13|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||16.9||25.1|
- Last Meeting: 2007; Denver 15, Buffalo 14
- Buffalo is 6-8 ATS; Denver is 5-10 ATS.
- Denver is 0-6 ATS has a favorite between 3.5-9.5; Buffalo is 2-1 ATS as an underdog from 3.5-9.5.
- Buffalo is 3-1 ATS on the grass; Denver is 4-9 ATS.
- Denver is 1-8 ATS as a favorite; Buffalo is 3-3 ATS as an underdog.
- Denver is 0-7 ATS at home; Buffalo is 4-3 ATS on the road.
- Final Score: Denver 22, Buffalo 19
- Edwards: 215 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Lynch/Jackson: 25 rushes, 104 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- Cutler: 212 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Bell/Young/Pope: 24 rushes, 142 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- If Tatum Bell and Selvin Young rush for 40+ yards, Denver is winning 78% of the time; if both are held under 40, Buffalo is winning 72% of the time
- If Trent Edwards can throw for a TD and no INTs (45% of the time), Buffalo is winning 54% of the time
Look, Denver is the equivalent of Green Bay in the AFC. No one has a clue about what team will show up. They looked lousy in Carolina last week. Tatum Bell has proven that his days of being somewhat decent are long gone. Buffalo is a shifty team. They had the Jets beat last week, they play pretty well on the road. If you happened to catch that Denver/Carolina game last week, you would know that the Broncos are horrible against the run, which bodes well for Lynch and Jackson. Denver is horrendous ATS at home...I'm kind of liking this a lot actually.
New York Jets vs. Seattle (4:00, CBS)
|Jets||Average Team Rankings||Seahawks|
|Total 1st Downs||276||10||224||27|
|3rd Down Efficiency||41.3%||21||32.9%||30|
|4th Down Efficiency||60.0%||8||77.8%||16|
|3 and Out Drives||32||11||46||26|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||9.7||20.7|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||332.6||19||380.4||30|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||280||25||289||28|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||39.7%||22||42.9%||29|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||75.0%||32||66.7%||24|
|Opp. Total TDs||30||14||34||23|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||34.0%||13||41.5%||28|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||31||24||40||10|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||605||19||526||30|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||18.8||26.1|
- Last Meeting: New York 37, Seattle 14
- New York is 7-7 ATS; Seattle is 6-7 ATS.
- New York is 2-4 ATS against sub .500 teams; Seattle is 2-4 ATS against .500+ teams.
- New York is 2-1 ATS coming off a win against a division opponent; Seattle is 0-2 ATS.
- New York is 4-3 ATS on the road; Seattle is 2-4 ATS at home.
- Final Score: New York 22, Seattle 20
- Favre: 218 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Jones/Washington: 27 rushes, 131 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 3 sacks, 2 TOs
- Wallace: 197 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Morris/Jones: 20 rushes, 81 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- If Thomas Jones rushes for 75+ yards, the Jets are winning 72% of the time; if he goes under 75, Seattle is winning 59% of the time
- If Maurice Morris rushes for 50+ yards and one TD, Seattle is winning by an average of five points per sim
The Jets winning last week actually factored big time into my decision here. Had they lost to Buffalo, I wouldn't think there would be any way they would lose at Seattle, but because they won last week, this one is in doubt. The Jets have had three games on the west coast, and they went 0-3. Seattle, while not having a dominating defense, has looked good the last two weeks under Seneca Wallace's guidance. This will be Mike Holmgren's last game...he has to show up for this one right? I mean he phoned in the New England game, but he's got to show up for his last game at Qwest Field right? Plus, he is going against Favre as well...there's got to be some extra motivation on that end too.
Houston vs. Oakland (4:00, CBS)
|Texans||Average Team Rankings||Raiders|
|Total 1st Downs||298||5||190||32|
|3rd Down Efficiency||43.7%||11||25.7%||32|
|4th Down Efficiency||57.9%||3||45.0%||5|
|3 and Out Drives||23||4||51||31|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||11.1||27.1|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||337.8||21||362.2||26|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||262||19||293||29|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||39.6%||5||46.1%||32|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||81.8%||26||75.0%||14|
|Opp. Total TDs||37||25||39||28|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||38.3%||24||35.7%||16|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||32||22||33||20|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||635||14||535||26|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||19.7||23.5|
- Last Meeting: 2007; Houston 24, Oakland 17
- Houston is 8-6 ATS; Oakland is 5-9 ATS.
- Houston is 3-1 ATS after two or more consecutive wins; Oakland is 3-3 ATS after two or more consecutive losses.
- In the last three years, Oakland is 2-10 ATS in December; Houston is 9-4 ATS.
- Houston is 4-3 ATS on the road; Oakland is 1-6 ATS at home.
- Final Score: Houston 23, Oakland 18
- Schaub: 236 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Slaton: 23 rushes, 118 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- Russell: 154 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Fargas/McFadden: 27 rushes, 120 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- There is a 55% chance Houston has at least two sacks
- If Oakland has no more than one turnover, and JaMarcus Russell throws for 200+ yards and 2+ TDs, Oakland is winning 50% of the time.
I mean how do you not like Houston right now? Young QB, even younger RB, All-Pro WR, fast and furious defense...what's not to like? Even in the sim where basically, everything goes right for Oakland, they still aren't winning...it's a virtual deadlock. That speaks volumes...because it's not going to go perfect for the Raiders. What I kind of don't get is why they don't employ a straight two-back set like Tennessee or Carolina does? McFadden is basically limited to being a backup, and really had no impact last week until garbage time when the Pats were up big. That kid is wasting away right now. If we got to Russell like we did last week, imagine what a better pass rush will do...
Atlanta vs. Minnesota (4:15, FOX)
|Falcons||Average Team Rankings||Vikings|
|Total 1st Downs||278||9||253||18|
|3rd Down Efficiency||44.7%||1||38.0%||19|
|4th Down Efficiency||46.2%||17||53.8%||15|
|3 and Out Drives||29||10||35||14|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||7.9||17.1|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||343.4||23||292.9||8|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||263||20||218||4|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||37.8%||10||33.0%||2|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||53.8%||15||38.5%||8|
|Opp. Total TDs||32||18||22||5|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||32.1%||11||27.6%||5|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||40||8||35||18|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||825||3||883||1|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||13.8||7.3|
- Last Meeting: 2007; Minnesota 24, Atlanta 3
- Atlanta is 8-6 ATS; Minnesota is 6-8 ATS.
- Atlanta is 3-0 ATS vs. the NFC North; Minnesota is 2-1 ATS vs. the NFC South.
- Atlanta is 3-4 ATS on the road; Minnesota is 3-3 ATS at home.
- Atlanta is 5-4 ATS as an underdog; Minnesota is 3-3 ATS as a favorite.
- Final Score: Minnesota 23, Atlanta 18
- Ryan: 231 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Turner: 21 rushes, 59 yards; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- Jackson: 185 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Peterson: 25 rushes, 121 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- If Michael Turner rushes for 60+ yards, Atlanta is winning 51% of the time
- If Adrian Peterson rushes for less than 125 yards, Minnesota is winning 53% of the time; if he runs for less than 100, Atlanta is winning 54% of the time
I still think I was right about being cautious in trusting Tarvaris Jackson to run this offense. What I did not account for last week was that Arizona would be packing it in and not playing a lick of defense. Atlanta is still in the hunt for the wild card, while Minnesota can clinch the division with a win. As great as Matt Ryan has been this year, he needs Michael Turner to have a big game. Even without Pat Williams, Minnesota is still stout up front. It will be tough for Turner to get his this week. A funny observation I had when looking at the Falcons' schedule was that they haven't played in any place where there could even be a chance of inclement weather since the end of October when they lost at Philly. They played in Oakland and San Diego, and played indoors five times. Not surprisingly, they have gone 5-2 in that span. That could be something to keep in mind if the Falcons do make the postseason. There is something to be said about home teams in a dome...it seems like they come through every time. I think Minnesota needs to keep making their presence known on offense to better prepare themselves for the playoffs.
Philadelphia vs. Washington (4:15, FOX)
|Eagles||Average Team Rankings||Redskins|
|Total 1st Downs||287||7||259||17|
|3rd Down Efficiency||42.1%||7||35.1%||25|
|4th Down Efficiency||37.5%||30||57.1%||12|
|3 and Out Drives||43||24||37||18|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||13.6||18.9|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||274.4||3||284.8||5|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||216||2||225||6|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||31.8%||3||36.4%||9|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||30.8%||5||63.6%||19|
|Opp. Total TDs||25||10||25||11|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||26.9%||4||30.1%||9|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||49||2||49||4|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||527||29||604||21|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||9.6||13.1|
- Last Meeting: Week 5; Washington 23, Philadelphia 17
- Philly is 9-5 ATS; Washington is 5-8 ATS.
- Philly is 8-4 ATS on grass; Washington is 3-7 ATS.
- Philly is 2-2 ATS vs. the NFC East; Washington is 2-3.
- Philly is 7-4 ATS as a favorite and 2-0 ATS when favored by 3.5-7 points; Washington is 3-4 ATS as an underdog and 0-1 ATS when 'dogged by 3.5-7 points.
- Final Score: Philadelphia 21, Washington 19
- McNabb: 251 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Westbrook: 16 rushes, 61 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 3 sacks, 2 TOs
- Campbell: 217 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Portis: 21 rushes, 99 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- If Washington sacks Donovan McNabb at least three times and hold Brian Westbrook under 60 rushing yards, Washington is winning 58% of the time; if they cannot, Philadelphia is winning 72% of the time
Geesh, what a lost year it's been for Washington. After coming out on fire, and Jason Campbell finally looking like he was coming into his own, the injuries finally caught up to the 'Skins, and they have not looked so hot since, especially with Portis still ailing. However, allegedly, he is close to 100% now...again, allegedly. I think an interesting back story is the Mike Sellers and London Fletcher Pro Bowl snubs, especially Fletcher, who was ranting and raving earlier this week. Will that be enough to carry this defense? "I'm not so sure about that." I'm going with Philly, and here's why: Philly is 6-1 in their last seven at FedEx Field, and in terms of coming back to beat a team that has already beat them earlier in the year...they're really good (10-4 ATS in the last three years, 48-25 ATS since 1992). I'll still be pulling for the 'Skins, but there really is no compelling reason to take them here...sorry?
Carolina vs. New York Giants (8:15, NBC)
|Panthers||Average Team Rankings||Giants|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||315.9||10||285.8||6|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||249||11||237||8|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||37.4%||17||39.1%||15|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||42.1%||25||33.3%||9|
|Opp. Total TDs||25||12||25||9|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||28.2%||6||29.4%||8|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||38||14||37||15|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||678||10||832||2|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||13.0||8.5|
- Last Meeting: 2006; New York 27, Carolina 13
- Carolina is 8-5 ATS, New York is 10-4.
- Carolina is 4-5 ATS vs. the NFC; New York is 8-2 ATS.
- New York is 8-3 ATS as a favorite; Carolina is 2-2 ATS as an underdog.
- New York is 6-2 ATS playing teams with a .500+ record; Carolina is 3-3 ATS.
- New York is 5-2 ATS at home; Carolina is 3-3 ATS on the road.
- Final Score: Carolina 18, New York 18 (I know...real helpful there)
- Delhomme: 171 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Williams/Stewart: 28 rushes, 105 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- Manning: 180 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Jacobs/Ward: 25 rushes, 95 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- If Brandon Jacobs rushes for 75+ yards, the Giants are winning 72% of the time; if he's held under 75, they win 40% of the time
- If both Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart average over four yards a carry, Carolina is winning 68% of the time
Again, I could see the Giants coming unglued after the injury to Brandon Jacobs. They leaned on him so much throughout the year, and he always came through for them. Without Jacobs and Plaxico in the lineup, this team is completely different. Eli Manning is basically who I thought he was...lucky. Of course you do have to be lucky sometimes (see Super Bowl XLII), but there's only so long it can last. With Jacobs back (again, supposedly at 100%), the offense at least becomes respectable. I kind of look at this game like this: Is Carolina ready to step over the Giants and become the best team in the NFC? I'm going to have to say yes right now. Basically, you're looking at a Panthers team that is almost a mirror-image of the Super Bowl team from five years ago...they even have the Smith/Muhammad combination back in play. Plus, they desperately need home field throughout the playoffs, as they went from being one of the worst teams in the league playing at home to the best (you're welcome). This is a huge game for the Panthers, but the Giants need to at least have a little fight in this game at least to show their fans they aren't completely dead.
Green Bay vs. Chicago (8:30, ESPN)
|Packers||Average Team Rankings||Bears|
|Total 1st Downs||259||16||228||26|
|3rd Down Efficiency||44.1%||3||37.1%||18|
|4th Down Efficiency||42.9%||20||33.3%||26|
|3 and Out Drives||35||13||50||30|
|Avg Total Off. Rank||14.5||20.3|
|Opp. Total Yds/Game||344.5||24||326.8||17|
|Opp. Total 1st Downs||261||15||269||20|
|Opp. 3rd Down Efficiency||39.8%||18||33.7%||13|
|Opp. 4th Down Efficiency||70.6%||31||38.9%||16|
|Opp. Total TDs||37||27||31||16|
|Opp. Scoring Efficiency||35.9%||18||30.4%||10|
|Opp. 3 and Out Drives||36||17||48||5|
|Opp. Penalty Yds||626||17||707||7|
|Avg Total Def. Rank||19.5||11.4|
- Last Meeting: Week 11; Green Bay 37, Chicago 3
- Green Bay is 6-7 ATS; Chicago is 7-6 ATS.
- Green Bay is 4-0 ATS vs. the NFC North; Chicago is 2-3 ATS.
- Chicago is 4-3 ATS at home; Green Bay is 3-3 ATS on the road.
- Chicago is 0-2 ATS after 2+ consecutive wins; Green Bay is 2-3 ATS after 2+ consecutive losses.
- Final Score: Chicago 24, Green Bay 20
- Rodgers: 207 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Grant: 19 rushes, 63 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- Orton: 218 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Forte: 23 rushes, 95 yards, 1 TD; Defense: 2 sacks, 2 TOs
- If Aaron Rodgers throws more than one INT; Chicago is winning 70% of the time
- If Green Bay sacks Kyle Orton 3+ times and force 2+ TOs, Green Bay is winning 65% of the time
Green Bay has been in a total tailspin ever since the classic "field goal on 4th and Goal at the one" call against Carolina. Say what you will, but I think it's entirely possible that the fortunes of one team could totally be thrown off in one play. They have just been horrible lately. Taking a side in this one could definitely predicate on what happens in the Minnesota/Atlanta game on Sunday. If Minnesota can win, they would clinch the NFC North, meaning Chicago would be eliminated from the playoffs. Consider this: Chicago is outscoring opponents 99-44 this year in the first quarter. Also, Green Bay has a knack of choking late in games. Isn't that a perfect double-edged sword. Plus, throw in the "revenge" factor, and I'm sold.
Alright, another week in the books. I hope I have a little better go of it than last week. I'm churning out the bowl previews as we speak, because I have to review all the games anyway before I pass in my bowl sheet tomorrow. I know I just put this up on Facebook, and I was reading about this in Sports Guy's latest column, but if you have twenty bucks and a high-speed connection, do yourself a favor and get NFL Rewind on NFL.com. I'm seriously getting no money for saying this, but this has to be one of the more economically sound purchases to come down the pike in a while. 20 bucks, every single game in HD...the entire year! Plus, you can review games up until like the end of March. I am super stoked about this because we just got wireless at my house, and while it looks like I may be here a while, I can watch a ton of NFL games in the meantime to occupy my time (if you've ever been to Cape Cod in the winter, you can fully understand how difficult it is to find anything to do until tourist season starts up in May). I had no idea this was available until I read Bill's column today, and I think I may have beat him for time needed to sign up (I think he said 7.2 seconds for him...okay, put it this way, I almost broke my laptop because of how quick I jumped up to grab my wallet). Anyway, again, I hope this info is helping in terms of how I'm arriving at my picks, and basically, why I'm doing what I'm doing. Just one more week left in the NFL...so sad. Hopefully, we will have playoff football here in New England...or wherever so long as the Pats are in it. Have a great Week 16. Peace.