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Pudge’s Picks – Thursday Night Week 14

December 5th, 2013 Comments off

It wasn’t a good week for my picks, as I went 6-10 against the spread. After doing better in the month of November, I turned into Tony Romo the minute December was looming. I did better straight up, picking 10 games correctly last week.

But I’m desperately trying to get back to .500 against the spread by year’s end, and with a 92-100 year-to-date record against the spread, that means I’ll have to go at least 9-7 every week for the last month of the season.

I’m doing much better straight up, with a year-to-date record of 121-71. I’m disappointed with that record as well, since it means I’m averaging about 9.3 correct picks per week, and I think that number should be at least 10. But relative to my picks against the spread, I won’t complain too much.

Houston Texans (2-10) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9)
Thursday, December 5 at 8:25 pm ET on NFL Network

Line: Jaguars (+2.5)

When Jacksonville squared off with the Oakland Raiders in Week 2, I think most were expecting that to be this year’s version of the “Toilet Bowl” featuring the two worst teams in the NFL. Well, we were sorely mistaken.

This week’s matchup between the Jaguars and Texans will certainly earn that mantle.

The Jags have won three of their last four, including a win over the Texans in Week 12 in Houston. Now they will be returning home, where they have yet to win a game. The Texans have lost ten straight games and are reeling looking for a win. They did seemingly get a boost from Gary Kubiak’s return to the sideline on Sunday, losing a close one to the Patriots at home. If the Texans play like that again this week, they shouldn’t have too much trouble beating the Jaguars.

Spread Pick: Texans
Straight Pick: Texans

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Pudge’s Picks – Week 13

December 1st, 2013 Comments off

I only got one of the Thursday games right against the spread, but got all three correct picking straight up.

Atlanta Falcons (2-9) at Buffalo Bills (4-7)
Sunday, December 1 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX

Line: Bills (-3.5)

I don’t like the matchup with the Bills defensive line against the Falcons offensive line. The Falcons have also struggled on the road this year. Now, playing in Toronto won’t be like normal road games, since it’s marginally a home game for the Bills.

Spread Pick: Bills
Straight Pick: Bills

Chicago Bears (6-5) at Minnesota Vikings (2-8-1)
Sunday, December 1 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Vikings (-0.5)

I’m taking the Bears, because Josh McCown manages to find ways to play well enough to win games.

Spread Pick: Bears
Straight Pick: Bears

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Pudge’s Picks – Thanksgiving Week 13

November 28th, 2013 Comments off

It’s going to be a wondrous Thanksgiving at least for me as I gorge myself on food and football.

It wasn’t quite as good for my picks last week, although I did manage to go 8-6 both against the spread and picking games straight up. While my spread picks have improved over the past few weeks, as I’ve finished above .500 in three of the past five weeks, I’ve also managed to have worse picks on straight picks in two of the past three weeks. There’s really no excuse to not be able to pick games straight up rather easily. I should be getting at least ten of those games right every week.

My year-to-date totals are: 86-90 against the spread, and 111-65 straight up.

Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) at Detroit Lions (6-5)
Thursday, November 26 at 12:30 pm ET on FOX

Line: Lions (-5.5)

The Lions are traditionally bad on Thanksgiving day, as they haven’t won a game since 2003. That is their lone win over their past 13 Thanksgiving day games, happening to come against the Green Bay Packers. But the problem is that they are 1-4 against the Packers on Thanksgiving over those 13 years. So it’s interesting that they are favored, which tells you a lot about the confidence in the Packers, now that Matt Flynn is starting and they are fresh off a tie with the lowly Minnesota Vikings. Matt Flynn has a history of looking competent against the Lions defense, with his famous six-touchdown game at the end of the 2011 season. The key for the Packers is slowing down Megatron, although their pass defense has been atrocious in recent weeks. They also need to get a big day from Eddie Lacy and the boys (doesn’t that sound like a ’50s rock band?) to prevail over the Lions. I don’t see it happening, although I do think these games are traditionally close.

Spread Pick: Packers
Straight Pick: Lions

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Pudge’s Picks – Week 12

November 24th, 2013 2 comments

I changed the way I picked games against the spread this week, which I think more closely mirrors how I picked games successfully in the past. Why it took me this long to do that, who knows? But if it results in a better week, then that’s how I’ll try to pick down the stretch so that I can try and finish this season above .500 against the spread.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

I’m expecting a big day for Alshon Jeffery for the Bears and my fantasy team this week

Chicago Bears (6-4) at St. Louis Rams (4-6)
Sunday, November 24 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Rams (-1.5)

It’s rather simple, I have more confidence in Josh McCown than Kellen Clemens. Plus an injury to Cortland Finnegan (who is doubtful) makes me believe that Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are in for big days as they face Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson. The only thing that gives me some pause is the Rams edge pass rush, as I have little confidence that Jermon Bushrod and Jordan Mills will handle themselves well against Robert Quinn and Chris Long, respectively. But I think McCown finds a way in the end.

Spread Pick: Bears
Straight Pick: Bears

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-6)
Sunday, November 24 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Browns (-2.5)

The “real” Jason Campbell showed up last week, with his penchant for checkdowns and not throwing deep. If Campbell continues to play that well, and I expect he will, then I just don’t see how the Browns can be expected to beat a decent Steeler team at home.

Spread Pick: Steelers
Straight Pick: Steelers

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Pudge’s Picks – Thursday Night Week 12: Falcons vs. Saints

November 21st, 2013 1 comment

Last week, once again I hovered around .500 with my picks. But just slightly below as I went 7-8 against the spread. Thanks once again to the Lions not being a very good road team, the surprisingly competent performance of Matt McGloin, Seattle looking like Seattle again, and Jason Campbell being Jason Campbell.

Straight up, my picks were slightly better at 10-5. Carolina beating New England was a mild surprise, although a controversial call at the end sealed the win. Looked to me like a missed call, but it was compounded by the referees cowardly fleeing the stadium. I hate when that happens, and there’s a call at the end of the game, and the refs appear afraid to go against the home crowd. It’s always evidenced by their desire to get out of the stadium as quickly as possible, which they proceeded to do in Charlotte.

New Orleans Saints (8-2) at Atlanta Falcons (2-8)
Thursday, November 21 at 8:25 pm ET on NFL Network

Line: Falcons (+8.5)

Based off how the Falcons have played in recent weeks, this line should be a lot higher. My expectation is that the Falcons get beat by at least three scores in this game, so there’s really no reason to even think about picking the Falcons.

My only hope as a fan of the Falcons is that this is the week they are energized by the rivalry aspect, with the Saints somewhat beat up, they are able to keep it close. But if the Falcons were poised to be that team tonight, I think we would’ve seen some flashes of that in the past few games. The main hope for the Falcons is that Mike Nolan has some schemes up his sleeve that can confuse Drew Brees like he did a year ago, and Roddy White is for the first time this season, the Roddy of old and ready to abuse Corey White and Keenan Lewis.

Stranger things have happened in the NFL, and who knows the Falcons could pull the upset and win. If they do, it will go up on the pantheon of greatest wins ever by this team.

Spread Pick: Saints
Straight Pick: Saints

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Pudge’s Picks – Week 11

November 16th, 2013 Comments off
Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Sean Weatherspoon returns in Week 11

I’m starting to do a bit better on my picks as of late. I hope that continues this week, shooting to get to 8 or 9 wins against the spread.

Atlanta Falcons (2-7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8)
Sunday, November 17 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Bucs (+1.5)

I’m hopeful that Sean Weatherspoon’s return to the lineup this week will give the Falcons the defensive boost they will need to get stops and turnovers since I have little confidence that the offense will be able to move the ball, given the injury to Tony Gonzalez limiting him. I suspect Revis will be able to put the clamps on Roddy White, and we’ll see another week of bad Falcons offense.

Spread Pick: Bucs
Straight Pick: Bucs

New York Jets (5-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-7)
Sunday, November 17 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Bills (-1.5)

Santonio Holmes will be back for the first time since Week 4, and had a big game against hte Bills in Week 3. But that was a game where the Bills were without Stephon Gilmore and Jairus Byrd. I suspect teh Bills defense will be ready to step up and slow down the Jets offense. The question is whether E.J. Manuel will play well enough to put up enough points make the Bills successful at home.

Spread Pick: Bills
Straight Pick: Bills

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Pudge’s Picks – Thursday Night Week 11

November 14th, 2013 Comments off

I did better last week with my picks than I have done throughout the year, particularly when it came to picking against the spread. I finished 8-6 last week, which I believe is the best week I’ve had since Week 1. I did not fare quite as well straight up, finishing 7-7.

I’m going to blame injuries to quarterbacks as the main reason my straight picks were so bad. Jay Cutler wasn’t 100-percent, Seneca Wallace got injured, and Jake Locker got hurt. Also Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick both laid complete eggs.

My year-to-date totals are: 71-76 (against the spread) and 93-54 (straight up).

Indianapolis Colts (6-3) at Tennessee Titans (4-5)
Thursday, November 14 at 8:25 pm ET on NFL Network

Line: Titans (+3.5)

The Colts got crushed by the Rams last week, a team the Titans beat the preceding week. But Ryan Fitzpatrick did not play in that game, and that’s the big factor in the favor of the Colts.

I do think similarly to the Rams, the Titans defense will give the Colts offense a lot of trouble. I think Indy’s offense will be better than they were last week, but not by a huge degree. The big concern however is whether the Colts defense, which has been good for the most part this year, is going to be able to keep a lid on Chris Johnson and the Titans offense. I think they will, and when you get crushed by 30 points like they did against the Rams, you should be playing a lot harder this week.

I think I’m going to regret picking the Titans to cover because of the Fitzpatrick factor, but I think the Colts will win a close game.

Spread Pick: Titans
Straight Pick: Colts

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Pudge’s Picks – Week 10

November 9th, 2013 Comments off
ICON SMI

Not sure Roddy White will make a difference this week for Falcons

I’m picking a number of under dogs this week to cover. Seven in total. Part of it is due to the fact that I like the match ups. The other part is that I have been so bad at picking games this year, what do I really have to lose?

Seattle Seahawks (8-1) at Atlanta Falcons (2-6)
Sunday, November 10 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Falcons (+6.5)

This is going to be an interesting game as the Falcons will be getting Roddy White back and thus we should see a shot in the arm for the passing attack. But the problem for the Falcons is that White will be facing his old nemesis in Richard Sherman for a majority of the game. And while White did score a touchdown against Sherman in last year’s playoffs, it really was thanks to a bad play by the safety, not Sherman. And that was when White was closer to 100-percent, which won’t be the case this weekend. So while White should provide a boost, I don’t think it’s going to be enough to get the Falcons to win this game, not unless their defensive line can step up and take advantage of all the injuries the Seahawks have on their offensive line. And considering the Falcons didn’t do much against Arizona and their terrible offensive line, I don’t have a lot of hope.

Spread Pick: Seahawks
Straight Pick: Seahawks

Buffalo Bills (3-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6)
Sunday, November 10 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Steelers (-3.5)

E.J. Manuel is returning to the lineup this week, but I’m not sure the Steelers defense is who you want to face in a game where you’re trying to shake off some rust after missing a month. The key for Buffalo, like it was last week, is establishing the run and letting C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson carry the offense. They will have that chance going up against the one of the league’s worst run defenses. And with both Steelers starting tackles being fairly beat up, I don’t like what Mario Williams and that Bills defensive line could do to Roethlisberger.

Spread Pick: Bills
Straight Pick: Steelers

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Pudge’s Picks – Thursday Night Week 10

November 7th, 2013 Comments off
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

I expect a couple of big plays from RG3

Last week I went 6-7 against the spread on my picks and 9-4 straight up. That brings the season totals up 63-70 against the spread and 86-47 straight up.

The performances of the Falcons, Seahawks, and Raiders were the most disappointing aspects. My backdoor cover action in the Falcons-Panthers was obliterated when Matt Ryan threw that pick six. Had that wound up being a touchdown drive for the Falcons, I would have won that game. The Seahawks were very lackluster at home no less and had to come back from a 17-point deficit midway through the third quarter to win in overtime. And a week after jumping off their bandwagon, the Eagles dismantled the Raiders by 29 points on the road. Apparently, I should know better than to bet against the Eagles on the road.

Washington Redskins (3-5) at Minnesota Vikings (1-7)
Thursday, November 7 at 8:25 pm ET on NFL Network

Line: Vikings (+2.5)

This matchup will feature two of the more porous defenses in the league, particularly when it comes to defending the pass. With Christian Ponder starting for the Vikings, and their offense at its best when Adrian Peterson is getting a lot of carries, that appears the advantage is in the favor of the Redskins.

But the problem is that the Redskins offense hasn’t been able to generate a ton of big passing plays like they were able to do last year when all their run-action opened up downfield plays for RG3. But they have started to get more big plays in recent weeks vs. Chicago and San Diego.

The other issue for hte Vikings is the injuries. Kyle Rudolph, who is in fact Minnesota’s most reliable receiving option, along with Phil Loadholt and Charlie Johnson are out. That means starts for J’Marcus Webb at right tackle, and backup center Joe Berger will man the left guard spot. I’m not sure that that is going to help the Vikings create more holes for Peterson.

The key for Minnesota is that they need to get off to a fast start. That way Peterson gets more carries. On the short week, you would think the home team would then have the advantage. But what is interesting is that in many of the Thursday night games thus far this year, the road team has been able to get out to the quickest lead.

If Washington is going to try and make this NFC East title run, they need to start rattling off some wins. They have four very winnable games in their next six, including one against the second place Eagles, before they face the Cowboys in Week 16. How well they play tonight could go a long way to determine if they’re ready to repeat last year’s second-half success.

Spread Pick: Redskins
Straight Pick: Redskins

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Pudge’s Picks – Week 9

November 2nd, 2013 Comments off

I thoroughly enjoyed Thursday’s contest, even though my pick of the Bengals was off. Andy Dalton had the egg-laying performance I suspected he was poised to have. And the Dolphins defense was the only reason why they won the game as they scored 9 points. Their offense only scored 3 points off the other 3 Bengals turnovers. And they also needed a late-game game-tying drive from Ryan Tannehill, when they got a bit of a gift call on a Brian Hartline catch on the sideline. The point I’m trying to make is that it really was Cincinnati losing the game than Miami winning the game. But the fact that it resulted in a “walk-off” safety in overtime completely whitewashes the previous 68 minutes. What was even more amazing is that is the third time that’s happened in NFL history, and all were in my lifetime. That’s the sort of crazy ending that you’d think you could go 40 years between seeing. But it happened in the past decade.

Here are my picks for Sunday and Monday’s games:

Atlanta Falcons (2-5) at Carolina Panthers (4-3)
Sunday, November 3 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Panthers (-7.5)

Coming off a very poor performance against Arizona, I expect the Falcons to bounce back…some. But they are playing a better team in Carolina, and I suspect the Falcons flaws: their offensive line and defense will continue to plague them. But I expect that the Falcons might get a backdoor cover.

Spread Pick: Falcons
Straight Pick: Panthers

Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) at Buffalo Bills (3-5)
Sunday, November 3 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Bills (+3.5)

Because Kansas City is not an explosive offense, I think Buffalo could find a way to make this interesting even without Thad Lewis starting. If the Chiefs don’t come out scoring, then Buffalo can continue to play to their strength and run the ball with both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller at their healthiest since September. And I like the matchup of the Bills defensive line against an unspectacular Chiefs offensive line that features liabilities in Jeff Allen and Eric Fisher. The key for the Bills is keeping Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs offense in check, because offensively they are not going to be score any points with either Jeff Tuel or Matt Flynn starting.

Spread Pick: Bills
Straight Pick: Chiefs

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