Archive for December, 2012

Week 17 Predictions

Posted: 12/30/2012 by levcohen in Football

Time for the last predictions of the NFL year. As you saw in my last post, there are plenty of playoff implications today.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9, 9-5-1) at Atlanta Falcons (13-2, 9-5-1)*:
Spread: Falcons favored by 3
Over/under: 46
My prediction: Buccaneers- 26, Falcons- 17.. The Falcons are going to rest their starters in all likelihood, hence the small 3 point spread. I’ll take the Buccos in an upset.
Buccaneers cover
Under

New York Jets (6-9, 7-8) at Buffalo Bills (5-10, 6-9):
Spread: Bills favored by 3.5
Over/under: 41
My prediction: Bills- 20, Jets- 17… I don’t really see much reason to pick either team here, so I’ll take the Bills to win outright (Ryan Fitzpatrick should make fewer mistakes than Mark Sanchez and Bills RB C.J. Spiller should have a field day).
Jets cover
Under

Baltimore Ravens (10-5, 6-8-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-6, 8-6-1)*:
Spread: Bengals favored by 3
Over/under: 42.5
My prediction: Ravens- 21, Bengals- 20.. This is a very difficult game to pick, as neither team really has much to play for. The Bengals are locked into the 6th seed, and the Ravens have an outside shot at the 3, but it’s probably beneficial to stay in the 4, as they would probably play a worse team in Houston in round two. With that said, I’ll take the team I think is better.
Ravens cover
Under

Chicago Bears (9-6, 7-8) at Detroit Lions (4-11, 5-10):
Spread: Bears favored by 3
Over/under: 46
My prediction: Bears- 26, Lions- 21.. This game means a lot for the Bears, so I’m picking them against a team in the Lions who have less than nothing to play for (it would probably be beneficial for them to lose so they could get a better draft pick)
Bears cover
Over

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13, 7-8) at Tennessee Titans (5-10, 5-10):
Spread: Titans favored by 5.5
Over/under: 43
My prediction: Titans- 28, Jaguars- 24.. The Jaguars are 5-2 covering on the road, while the Titans are 3-4 covering at home. These teams are both bad, but the Jags have shown a tiny bit of life recently.
Jaguars cover
Over

Houston Texans (12-3, 9-6) at Indianapolis Colts (10-5, 10-5):
Spread: Texans favored by 6
Over/under: 47
My prediction: Texans- 31, Colts- 28.. The Texans have more to play for, as they need a win to lock up the #1 seed. The Colts are locked into the 5 spot, but have said they are going all out. This is coach Chuck Pagano’s return after missing most of the year, so I believe the Colts. Still, the Texans have more to play for so I believe they will win.
Colts cover
Over

Carolina Panthers (6-9, 8-7) at New Orleans Saints (7-8, 8-7):
Spread: Saints favored by 4
Over/under: 53.5
My prediction: Saints- 33, Panthers- 27.. Both teams are hot, but the Saints are home and they’ll probably want to get .500, if only for their fans.
Saints cover
Over

Philadelphia Eagles (4-11, 3-11-1) at New York Giants (8-7, 6-8-1)*:
Spread: Giants favored by 6.5
Over/under: 44
My prediction: Eagles- 27, Giants- 14.. Andy Reid’s last game as an Eagles head coach, and likely the same for QB Michael Vick. I’m feeling a big upset over a division rival.
Eagles cover
Under

Cleveland Browns (5-10, 8-6-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8, 5-9-1):
Spread: Steelers favored by 10.5
Over/under: 36.5
My prediction: Steelers- 21, Browns- 14.. The Browns are starting 3rd stringer Thaddeus Lewis at quarterback with Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy injured. Still, 10.5 is a lot.
Browns cover
Under

Kansas City Chiefs (2-13, 5-10) at Denver Broncos (12-3, 9-6):- Lock
Spread: Broncos favored by 17
Over/under: 41
My prediction: Broncos- 27, Chiefs- 16.. 17 points is a ton. The Broncos could use a win to possibly get a 1 seed, but they will probably rest starters after taking a double digit lead.
Chiefs cover
Over

Green Bay Packers (11-4, 9-6) at Minnesota Vikings (9-6, 7-7-1):
Spread: Packers favored by 3
Over/under: 45.5
My prediction: Packers- 27, Vikings- 20
Packers cover
Over

Miami Dolphins (7-8, 7-7-1) at New England Patriots (11-4, 8-6-1):
Spread: Patriots favored by 9.5
Over/under: 47
My prediction: Patriots- 26, Dolphins- 17
Dolphins cover
Under

Oakland Raiders (4-11, 4-11) at San Diego Chargers (6-9, 7-8):
Spread: Chargers favored by 8
Over/under: 41
My prediction: Chargers- 23, Raiders- 17
Raiders cover
Under

Arizona Cardinals (5-10, 6-8-1) at San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1, 9-6):
Spread: 49ers favored by 16.5
Over/under: 38.5
My prediction: 49ers- 27, Cardinals- 14
Cardinals cover
Over

St. Louis Rams (7-7-1, 10-5) at Seattle Seahawks (10-5, 11-4):
Spread: Seahawks favored by 12
Over/under: 41.5
My prediction: Seahawks- 31, Rams- 13
Seahawks cover
Over

Dallas Cowboys (8-7, 6-9) at Washington Redskins (9-6, 10-5)*:
Spread: Redskins favored by 3.5
Over/under: 49
My prediction: Cowboys- 27, Redskins- 24
Cowboys cover
Over

Upset picks:Buccaneers over Falcons
Cowboys over Redskins
Eagles over Giants
Ravens over Bengals

Lock of the week:
Broncos over Chiefs

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There is one week left in the NFL regular season, and while 10 teams have clinched the playoffs, there are still two spots open and playoff seeding to be determined. On to the matchups that mean the most:

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins: This is the clear matchup of the week. Every single division other than one has been decided. That one is the NFC East. The Redskins currently lead the division at 9-6 with the Cowboys right behind at 8-7. The winner of this Sunday Night matchup will clinch the division and the #4 seed in the playoffs, where they would likely face Seattle in the first round. With the Redskins home, they should feel pretty confident. Washington is riding a six game winning streak while Dallas is coming off an overtime loss. The key matchups in this game are clearly the QB’s against the secondaries. Both QB’s have had good years. Dallas QB Tony Romo has 4,685 yards on the season, and has an outside shot at 5,000 yards. He has been outstanding of late, with 17 TD’s and three interceptions in the last eight games. Romo is the main reason that the Cowboys are even in the hunt. For Washington, Robert Griffin III should be considered the frontunner for rookie of the year. He is on pace to shatter the rookie passer rating record, and is close to the rookie completion % record. In the secondary, the Cowboys have the edge over the Redskins based on name value, as they have the more known DB’s. According to Football Outsiders, however, the Skins have a better pass defense. Neither team is stellar at defending the pass, but the Skins are ranked 17th while Dallas is 25th.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings: This game has meaning for each team. The Packers need a win to clinch a first round bye, while the Vikings need a win to get into the playoffs. Even with the Vikings at home, the Pack have to be considered the superior team. Their game plan on offense is all about Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. They have been just average on the run, but according to Football Outsiders have the third best passing game in the NFL behind just Denver and New England. Minnesota is pretty much the polar opposite. They are a below average offense overall, mostly because of a passing offense floundering in the lower third of the league. They are, however, boosted by Adrian Peterson and their top third running game. Luckily for each team, both have good defenses. Expect to see almost no running game for the Packers and no passing game for the Vikings, as Green Bay ranks top 5 against the pass with Minnesota top 10 against the run. Each team should be able to rely on their normal strengths. GB’s rush defense is mediocre (in their first matchup, Peterson rushed for over 200 yards) as is Minnesota’s (Rodgers had a passer rating near 100 and a QBR near 90 against Minny). The key for Minnesota’s defense has to be putting pressure on the passer. Green Bay has had some trouble protecting Rodgers, who has been sacked 46 times. The Vikings defensive line could have a monster game, and they’ll need to if the Vikings want to keep the high octane Packers offense in check. The key for the Packers is stacking the box. They should consistently put eight or nine guys in the box to protect against the run, and they should dare Vikings QB Christian Ponder to try to beat them. If they do that, the game is theirs.

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions: The Bears need to win this game, and get some help from the Packers, to get into the playoffs. The 4-11 Lions just want to play spoiler. Consider me a critic of the Bears offense. I consider them to be one of the worst offenses in the league (and possibly the worst among playoff contenders) because they have just two threats in the offense, one of whom- running back Matt Forte- might me hobbled in this game. Brandon Marshall is a top tier WR, but it’s difficult to get much going when teams are constantly double covering you. QB Jay Cutler needs to find someone else to throw to. As for the Lions, they’ll have a tough time of scoring on this stingy Bears defense, ranked #1 in the league. They will need to get their run game going, and, much like the Bears, pass to a WR not nicknamed Megatron. If the Lions have any hope at all, it’ll be taking a quick lead, because the Bears will have a tough time scoring. A key matchup to watch here is actually the special teams battle. The Bears have a #4 ranking in special teams, led mostly by both Devin Hester and kick coverage. The Bears have a top 3 kick and punt coverage team. The Lions, on the other hand, are ranked 30th in special teams efficiency. They haven’t been getting much out of their kick and punt returning units, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Lions backed up inside their own 10 a couple of times. We could even see a safety.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants: Reread the first two sentences in the Bears-Lions snippet. The same applies here, just switch “Bears” with “Giants” and “Lions” with “Eagles”. Oh, and make the path a lot more difficult. Not only do the Giants have to win, they also need the Packers, Cowboys and Lions to win. The odds are not in their favor. For the Eagles, the interesting development is that Michael Vick is starting this week with Nick Foles out with a broken hand. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles come out strong and Vick plays out of his mind. The Giants have been awful of late, probably costing themselves a playoff spot. If everything plays out perfectly, they do have a chance. But it all starts with beating an Eagles team eager to play spoiler against a division rival.

Ravens+Texans+Broncos+Patriots games: Believe it or not, none of the top four spots have been decided. The Ravens are in fourth right now, but could move up to third with a win over the Bengals and a Patriots loss to the Dolphins. The Pats are in third, but could move up to second with a win and a Texans loss, and first in the unlikely event that the Chiefs beat the Broncos. The Broncos are in second but could easily move up to first. All they need to do is beat the Chiefs and hope that the Colts can upset the Texans. The Texans are currently in the drivers seat, but if they lose to Indianapolis they could fall to third. Right now, two of these teams are clearly ahead of the other two. I would be most scared to face the Broncos and Patriots, while the Texans and Ravens have fallen off lately.

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers were embarrassed by the Seahawks on Sunday night en route to falling out of first round bye position, but still control their own destiny for the #3 seed and the division win, and could move up to #2 and a first round bye. They will have a clear advantage over the Cardinals in almost every position and aspect of the game (possibly excluding special teams, where FO has Arizona at 11th and SF at 21st. Arizona is the top ranked team at covering punts, which they will need to do a lot of on Sunday.) Still, if Arizona takes an early lead it could be difficult for the 49ers to come back, as they lost two receivers- Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams- to season ending knee injuries, and tight end Vernon Davis might not play with a concussion. Still, you have to believe that San Fran will pull this off and win the division

Other games that could mean something in the playoff seeding:
St. Louis at Seattle- Seattle is currently the 5 seed but could win the division and the 3 seed if they win and the 49ers lose.

Bowl Predictions for the weekend:

Friday the 28th:

Ohio (8-4) vs. LA-Monroe (8-4)- Louisiana Monroe is favored by 7. I see them winning by double digits, as Ohio has lost of their last five. 30-19.

Rutgers (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)- With Virginia Tech favored by 3, I see Rutgers bouncing back from two straight losses and winning 23-22

Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)- Tech is the big favorite, by 13. They are much better than Minnesota, and they will win and cover 37-20.

Saturday the 29th:

Rice (6-6) vs. Air Force (6-6)- Air Force is favored by 3, and wins 41-28

West Virginia (7-5) vs. Syracuse (7-5)- West Virginia is favored by 3.5, and in a shootout I think they hold on 44-41

Navy (8-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5)- AZ State is favored by 14, and they’ll romp 38-13

Texas (8-4) vs. Oregon State (9-3)- Oregon State, favored by 3, will take this one 27-23 with a great rushing day for Storm Woods.

TCU (7-5) vs. Michigan State (6-6)- TCU is favored by 2.5, but neither team has a good offense. In a low scoring game, I see MSU winning 15-14

NFL Week 16 Review

Posted: 12/25/2012 by levcohen in Football

Now time to review week 16.

New Orleans Saints (6-8, 7-7 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (8-6, 6-8):
Spread: Cowboys favored by 1
Over/under: 52.5
My prediction: Cowboys- 27, Saints- 20.. The Cowboys need this win to stay in the playoff race, and I think they get it here. The Saints will rack up a ton of yards but turn the ball over a few key times and will get stalled in the red zone two times too many.Cowboys cover
Under

Results: Saints 34, Cowboys- 31 (OT).. An 0-3 here, but it really was close to a 2 out of 3.

Tennessee Titans (5-9, 5-9) vs. Green Bay Packers (10-4, 8-6):
Spread: Packers favored by 13
Over/under: 44
My prediction: Packers- 28, Titans- 17.. The Packers still have a first round bye to play for, so they should win easily. I can’t give them 13 points, though.
Titans cover
Over
Results: Packers- 55, Titans- 7.. Blowout. 2/3 with the spread pick wrong.

Indianapolis Colts (9-5, 9-5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (2-12, 5-9):
Spread: Colts favored by 6
Over/under: 41.5
My prediction: Colts- 27, Chiefs- 14.. The Colts will clinch a playoff spot here on the road, as the Chiefs have no offense and very little defense.
Colts cover
Under

Results: Colts- 20, Chiefs- 13.. 3/3.

Buffalo Bills (5-9, 6-8) vs. Miami Dolphins (6-8, 6-7-1):
Spread: Dolphins favored by 4
Over/under: 41.5
My prediction: Dolphins- 23, Bills- 20.. I don’t think the Dolphins are a great football team, but I do think they are better than a one man- CJ Spiller- Bills offense.
Bills cover
Over

Results: Dolphins- 24, Bills- 10..Just a 1/3 here.

San Diego Chargers (5-9, 6-8) vs. New York Jets (6-8, 7-7)*:
Spread: Jets favored by 1
Over/under: 37.5
My prediction: Chargers- 17, Jets- 13.. Just a random guess on this one. I have no idea why I’m picking the Chargers to win a game against a real NFL team, but then again, the Jets barely count.
Chargers cover
Under

Results: Chargers- 27, Jets- 17.. Mini offensive explosion here. 2/3 with over/under wrong. If I knew the Jets would score 17, I might have picked them to win.

Washington Redskins (8-6, 9-5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10, 3-10-1):
Spread: Redskins favored by 6
Over/under: 46
My prediction: Redskins- 31, Eagles- 20.. At least the whole country won’t be watching the Eagles get embarrassed again.
Redskins cover
Over

Results: Redskins- 27, Eagles- 20.. Eagles should have tied it, but didn’t. New game, same story. 3/3.

Cincinnati Bengals (8-6, 7-6-1) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7, 5-8-1)*:
Spread: Steelers favored by 3.5
Over/under: 41.5
My prediction: Bengals- 24, Steelers- 21.. Just a gut call here.
Bengals cover
Over

Results: Bengals- 13, Steelers- 10.. just over/under wrong.

St. Louis Rams (6-7-1, 9-5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8, 9-4-1):
Spread: Buccaneers favored by 3
Over/under: 44
My prediction: Buccaneers- 27, Rams- 20
Buccaneers cover
Over

Results: Rams- 28, Buccaneers- 13.. 0/3. I was wrong about the Buccaneers. I thought Josh Freeman would have a bounce back game and tear up the Rams. Obviously, I was wrong. I’m surprised the Rams scored 28 with only two catches and four yards from their top receiving threat, Danny Amendola.

Oakland Raiders (4-10, 4-10) vs. Carolina Panthers (5-9, 7-7):
Spread: Panthers favored by 9.5
Over/under: 46.5
My prediction: Panthers- 24, Raiders- 17
Raiders cover
Under

Results: Panthers- 17, Raiders- 6.. Spread wrong.

New England Patriots (10-4, 8-5-1) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12, 6-8):- LOCK
Spread: Patriots favored by 14
Over/under: 51
My prediction: Patriots- 41, Jaguars- 21.. The Patriots are going for the points record.. Watch out.Patriots cover
Over

Results: Patriots- 23, Jaguars- 16.. Patriots didn’t play very well. Just the pick right.

Minnesota Vikings (8-6, 6-7-1) vs. Houston Texans (12-2, 9-5):
Spread: Texans favored by 9.5
Over/under: 45
My prediction: Texans- 27, Vikings- 20
Vikings cover
Over

Results: Vikings- 23, Texans- 6.. just the spread right.

Cleveland Browns (5-9, 8-5-1) vs. Denver Broncos (11-3, 8-6):
Spread: Broncos favored by 12.5
Over/under: 43.5
My prediction: Broncos- 28, Browns- 17.. I’m really not comfortable with taking a team giving 12.5 points. Unless, of course, they are the Patriots coming off a loss going for the points record.
Browns cover
Over

Results: Broncos- 32, Browns- 14.. 2/3 with the spread wrong.

Chicago Bears (8-6, 6-8) vs. Arizona Cardinals (5-9, 6-7-1):
Spread: Bears favored by 5.5
Over/under: 36.5
My prediction: Bears- 23, Cardinals- 14.. I see the Bears sort of having a bounce back week against a dreadful Cardinals offense.
Bears cover
Over

Results: Bears- 28, Cardinals- 13.. 3/3

New York Giants (8-6, 6-7-1) vs. Baltimore Ravens (9-5, 5-8-1):
Spread: Giants favored by 1
Over/under: 47
My prediction: Giants- 27, Ravens- 21.. I think I jumped on the Giants a week too early. This is really the week with their backs against the wall, and I think they respond. The Ravens already clinched a playoff spot.
Giants cover
Over

Results: Ravens- 33, Giants- 14.. I was wrong here, again. The Giants really have nothing good going this year. 0-2-1 (over/under push).

San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1, 9-5) vs. Seattle Seahawks (9-5, 10-4)*:
Spread: 49ers favored by 1
Over/under: 40
My prediction: Seahawks- 31, 49ers- 24
Seahawks cover
Over

Results: Seahawks- 42, 49ers- 13.. Hawks are unbeatable at home right now.

12-4 on pick.. 146-93-1 total
7-9 on spread.. awful.. 122-118 total.. this is funny because I actually thought I did decently against the spread, when comparing to other websites. Nobody did well this week ATS so I’m ok with this.
7-8-1 on over/under.. 112-118-5 total

Upset picks:
Seahawks over 49ers- CORRECT
Bengals over Steelers- CORRECT
Chargers over Jets- CORRECT

27-33 total

Lock of the week:
Patriots over Jaguars- CORRECT

13-3 total

QB of the week: Tony Romo, Cowboys- Romo tore up the Saints secondary to the tune of over 400 yards (416), four touchdowns with zero interceptions. It wasn’t enough to life the Cowboys over the Saints, but it was of no fault of Romo. Their defense was carved up by Drew Brees.

Surprising QB Of the week: Joe Flacco, Ravens- Joe Flacco is not a good fantasy quarterback, but it seems that he has random explosive weeks. This was one of those weeks. Flacco threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing TD as the Ravens clinched the AFC North.

Disappointing QB of the week: Josh Freeman, Buccaneers- Freeman threw for a healthy number of yards: 372. He also added a touchdown. The problem area came with interceptions, of which he had four. Over their first thirteen games Freeman had eight interceptions. In the two games since, he has had eight.

RB of the week: Reggie Bush, Dolphins- Reggie had three touchdowns this week, one on the ground and two in the air, and added 107 total yards. His four catches helped in PPR leagues.

Surprising RB of the week: Ryan Grant, Packers- Grant had only 10 carries on the year going into this game, and just 50 yards rushing. He was given the starting job in week 16, and responded with 20 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns, adding a 34 yard catch.

Disappointing RB of the week: Arian Foster, Texans- Foster had a grand total of zero fantasy points this week, after putting up at least eight in every other week. This week, he was given the ball 10 times and rushed for just 15 yards, while adding 14 yards receiving. That would be two points, but he coughed those up- pardon the wording- with a fumble.

WR of the week: Dez Bryant, Cowboys: Dez had a pair of 58 yard touchdown catches en route to a nine catch, 224 yard game with those two TD’s. He should be a top three WR this week, and next year a top 10 one.

Surprising WR of the week: Take a look at the top ESPN WR scorers- each scored double digit fantasy points:

Dez Bryant, Dal WR  P
Roddy White, Atl WR  P
Calvin Johnson, Det WR
Mike Williams, TB WR
Eric Decker, Den WR
Jeremy Maclin, Phi WR
Doug Baldwin, Sea WR
James Jones, GB WR
Demaryius Thomas, Den WR
Marques Colston, NO WR
Antonio Brown, Pit WR
Reggie Wayne, Ind WR
Wes Welker, NE WR  P
Torrey Smith, Bal WR
Julio Jones, Atl WR
Justin Blackmon, Jac WR
Brandon Marshall, Chi WR
Danario Alexander, SD WR
Randall Cobb, GB WR  Q
Larry Fitzgerald, Ari WR
Greg Little, Cle WR
Steve Smith, Car WR
Vincent Jackson, TB WR
Greg Jennings, GB WR
Miles Austin, Dal WR
Kenny Britt, Ten WR  P

The name in bold is my surprising WR of the week. Of the other 25 names on the list, every one is well known, or should be well known. I’m not surprised that any put up big games. The exception is Doug Baldwin, #6 on this list. Baldwin had 29 points on the season before his 17 point game on Sunday. He caught four passes for 53 yards with two touchdowns.

Disappointing WR of the week: Mike Wallace, Steelers- In games which Ben Roethlisberger has started, Wallace has been great. Or had been, until this stinker against the Bengals, where he had just one catch for 13 yards. He was targeted five times, but couldn’t cash in on some deep bombs.

TE of the week: Lance Kendricks, Rams- Kendricks totaled 119 yards (most among TE’s) and a touchdown. The yardage should not be expected weekly, as before the game his season high in yards was 48.

Surprising TE of the week: Michael Palmer, Falcons- Palmer tied for 7th in TE points this week. He caught his sixth pass of the season, and it was just one yard. It was, however, a touchdown, and went for his first six fantasy points of the season. This is obviously not something to bank on every week.

Disappointing TE of the week: TIED between Tony Gonzalez, Falcons and Aaron Hernandez, Patriots- If you were to tell me that a Falcons tight end would get into the endzone, I would have been pretty sure it was Gonzalez, and not Palmer. Gonzalez had just one catch for nine yards against the porous Lions defense. Hernandez also played a bad defense, that of Jacksonville. He still only caught one pass for 13 yards. These two “reliable” tight ends (two of the top three in fantasy after Gronk went down) are testimony to how weak the position is.

In breaking news, Nick Swisher has signed a four year, 56 million dollar deal with the Indians. Bonuses could run the deal up to 70 million. Swisher was said the prefer playing for an LA or New York team, but none of them had much interest in the switch-hitter, as they all have pretty solid outfielders already (other than the Mets, who are rebuilding and don’t need Swisher). Swisher’s value was said to go down after the Yankees extended a qualifying offer to him. After that, a team needed to give up their first or second round pick to sign Swisher, which lessened the interest of teams like the Phillies, Red Sox and Rangers, more natural fits. The Indians signed Swisher as a replacement to the traded Chin Soo Choo. Over the past four years, Swisher was a constant threat in the 5 hole, posting a .268/.367/.483 line with 105 homers over that span. His on base percentage is his best asset.

NFL Week 16 Picks

Posted: 12/23/2012 by levcohen in Football
Tags: ,

*= upset pick..

New Orleans Saints (6-8, 7-7 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (8-6, 6-8):
Spread: Cowboys favored by 1
Over/under: 52.5
My prediction: Cowboys- 27, Saints- 20.. The Cowboys need this win to stay in the playoff race, and I think they get it here. The Saints will rack up a ton of yards but turn the ball over a few key times and will get stalled in the red zone two times too many.Cowboys cover
Under

Tennessee Titans (5-9, 5-9) vs. Green Bay Packers (10-4, 8-6):
Spread: Packers favored by 13
Over/under: 44
My prediction: Packers- 28, Titans- 17.. The Packers still have a first round bye to play for, so they should win easily. I can’t give them 13 points, though.
Titans cover
Over

Indianapolis Colts (9-5, 9-5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (2-12, 5-9):
Spread: Colts favored by 6
Over/under: 41.5
My prediction: Colts- 27, Chiefs- 14.. The Colts will clinch a playoff spot here on the road, as the Chiefs have no offense and very little defense.
Colts cover
Under

Buffalo Bills (5-9, 6-8) vs. Miami Dolphins (6-8, 6-7-1):
Spread: Dolphins favored by 4
Over/under: 41.5
My prediction: Dolphins- 23, Bills- 20.. I don’t think the Dolphins are a great football team, but I do think they are better than a one man- CJ Spiller- Bills offense.
Bills cover
Over

San Diego Chargers (5-9, 6-8) vs. New York Jets (6-8, 7-7)*:
Spread: Jets favored by 1
Over/under: 37.5
My prediction: Chargers- 17, Jets- 13.. Just a random guess on this one. I have no idea why I’m picking the Chargers to win a game against a real NFL team, but then again, the Jets barely count.
Chargers cover
Under

Washington Redskins (8-6, 9-5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10, 3-10-1):
Spread: Redskins favored by 6
Over/under: 46
My prediction: Redskins- 31, Eagles- 20.. At least the whole country won’t be watching the Eagles get embarrassed again.
Redskins cover
Over

Cincinnati Bengals (8-6, 7-6-1) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7, 5-8-1)*:
Spread: Steelers favored by 3.5
Over/under: 41.5
My prediction: Bengals- 24, Steelers- 21.. Just a gut call here.
Bengals cover
Over

St. Louis Rams (6-7-1, 9-5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8, 9-4-1):
Spread: Buccaneers favored by 3
Over/under: 44
My prediction: Buccaneers- 27, Rams- 20
Buccaneers cover
Over

Oakland Raiders (4-10, 4-10) vs. Carolina Panthers (5-9, 7-7):
Spread: Panthers favored by 9.5
Over/under: 46.5
My prediction: Panthers- 24, Raiders- 17
Raiders cover
Under

New England Patriots (10-4, 8-5-1) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12, 6-8):- LOCK
Spread: Patriots favored by 14
Over/under: 51
My prediction: Patriots- 41, Jaguars- 21.. The Patriots are going for the points record.. Watch out.Patriots cover
Over

Minnesota Vikings (8-6, 6-7-1) vs. Houston Texans (12-2, 9-5):
Spread: Texans favored by 9.5
Over/under: 45
My prediction: Texans- 27, Vikings- 20
Vikings cover
Over

Cleveland Browns (5-9, 8-5-1) vs. Denver Broncos (11-3, 8-6):
Spread: Broncos favored by 12.5
Over/under: 43.5
My prediction: Broncos- 28, Browns- 17.. I’m really not comfortable with taking a team giving 12.5 points. Unless, of course, they are the Patriots coming off a loss going for the points record.
Browns cover
Over

Chicago Bears (8-6, 6-8) vs. Arizona Cardinals (5-9, 6-7-1):
Spread: Bears favored by 5.5
Over/under: 36.5
My prediction: Bears- 23, Cardinals- 14.. I see the Bears sort of having a bounce back week against a dreadful Cardinals offense.
Bears cover
Over

New York Giants (8-6, 6-7-1) vs. Baltimore Ravens (9-5, 5-8-1):
Spread: Giants favored by 1
Over/under: 47
My prediction: Giants- 27, Ravens- 21.. I think I jumped on the Giants a week too early. This is really the week with their backs against the wall, and I think they respond. The Ravens already clinched a playoff spot.
Giants cover
Over

San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1, 9-5) vs. Seattle Seahawks (9-5, 10-4)*:
Spread: 49ers favored by 1
Over/under: 40
My prediction: Seahawks- 31, 49ers- 24
Seahawks cover
Over

Upset picks:
Seahawks over 49ers
Bengals over Steelers
Chargers over Jets

Lock of the week:
Patriots over Jaguars

Temple Upsets ‘Cuse

Posted: 12/22/2012 by Noah Maltzman in Broad Street Sports, NCAA

Earlier today, the unranked Temple Owls stunned the College Basketball world by upsetting #3 Syracuse. The victory came just a few days after the Owls suffered disappointing loss to Canisus and the ‘Cuse won Jim Boeheim his 900th game. The teams came in going opposite directions. The unranked Owls, heading into Madison Square Garden with their heads down… Well, all signs pointed to a blowout. Syracuse used their momentum to kick off the Gotham Classic and grabbed an early 24-14 lead. However, Temple fought back and got it within reach at halftime as the lead was down to 2 points, 40-38. In the second half, it was all Temple. They dominated on all areas of the game. The only thing that they could not do was pull away from their opponents. It was an extremely close affair. Syracuse’s largest lead was 10 points and Temple’s was 9. In the final 2 minutes Temple’s defense prevailed and their free throw accuracy sealed the upset. Syracuse had their first lost handed to them and quite frankly, they deserved it. Although they kept the game close, they did not look like the #3 ranked team in the nation. I think to be ranked that highly, you have to be consistent and in their first real challenge of the year, they failed miserably. They fell to 10-1 on the season. Temple improved their record to 9-2 and added key win to their resume. It was a much deserved, much needed win after their blown opportunity against top ranked Duke earlier in the year. Khalif Wyatt made a name for himself today. On a quiet day in the sports world, he led his Temple Owl squad to a major victory with his 33 point, 15/15 free throw performance. He quite possibly punched his team a ticket into March Madness and its only December. Sophmore forward Anthony Lee also had a terrific performance putting up 21 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks. C.J. Fair was the high scorer for the ‘Cuse. He ended with a total of 25 points as well as 7 rebounds. Final Score: Temple 83 – Syracuse 79

Notes:
– Coach Jim Boeheim is not the only coach that has had trouble getting win #901. All three coaches that have reached 900 wins have lost their next game. Mike Krzyzewski lost to Arizona after defeating Michigan to reach 900 wins. Bob Knight lost to Oklahoma after defeating Texas A&M to reach 900 wins. Now Boeheim joins them as he loses to Temple after defeating Detroit to reach 900 wins.

– Temple has upset a top 10 ranked team in each of the last 5 seasons. They are tied with Connecticut and St. John’s for most such wins since the 2008-2009 season.

Source: ESPN Stats & Information

Saturday Night Football Preview

Posted: 12/22/2012 by levcohen in Football

There is a Saturday night game this week, as ESPN moved their “Monday Night Football” game to Saturday because Monday is Christmas Eve. On to the game.

Atlanta Falcons (12-2, 8-5-1 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (4-10, 5-9)*:
Spread: Falcons favored by 3.5 points
Over/under: 50
My prediction: Falcons- 27, Lions- 24.. I think this line is inflated. The Falcons have nothing to play for so we might not see their A-Game a week after an emotional high in their shellacking of the Giants. The Lions, on the other hand, are coming off a huge loss. With all that said, I still can’t take the Lions straight up in this game, because they were just crushed by Arizona. I wouldn’t be surprised if Detroit won, because they play well in motor city.
Lions cover
Over