2013 NFL Playoffs Divisional Round

Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos

I am writing this from my phone because at the moment I do not have a computer. 
The only chance Baltimore has of winning is if they hand the ball of to Ray Rice far more times than Joe Flacco gets to throw it.  They have a great defense but any defense can be made to look mediocre by Peyton Manning. 

I think Denver wins this one by a lot mostly due to Peyton Manning but also the help of his young receivers and Denver’s new starting running back Knowshon Moreno.  Final score prediction of 34-13. 

Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers

Green Bay had the benefit of playing an easier schedule to make it into the playoffs and now they’ll be truly tested by a team they lost to the first week of the season. 

What will decide this game is the health of Green Bay’s receivers and how well San Francisco’s defense does covering them.  Although I do not like the Packers I think they will win this game in a close one.  Final score of 27-24. 

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons

The Russell Wilson show goes on tour to Atlanta in the battle of the birds on Sunday.  He and Marshawn Lynch should be able to run roughshod over a defense that has struggled at times this season with lesser offenses than what Seattle is operating at. 

Atlanta might have a better offensive attack than Seattle, but the Seahawks have been crushing on defense at times.  I think Seattle will win this game with a score of 20-17. 

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots
Not much to say here, we saw how the last meeting between these teams went and not much has changed since.  If Houston does a better job of confusing Tom Brady this time the game may be closer.

My call, Patriots over Texans 31-20.

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NFL Wildcard Round Predictions

Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans

The Bengals have had somewhat of a rocky season.  They’ve looked like a team that will be contending for the Superbowl in the AFC in some games, but have also looked as if they should probably be picking in the top half of the draft against lesser competition.  As many other teams have dealt with injuries or for other reasons taken steps back in toward the end of the season they have been flourishing.

The Houston Texans have looked amazing against horrible teams.  They have played some decent teams close and have been trounced against some of the top competition.  They are one of the teams that have been fading down the stretch, winning close games against much lesser competition and losing most games against solid opponents.

This rematch of last year’s playoff opener should be a good game to watch.  I feel that Cincinnati’s strong defensive line will be able to help neutralize the pass game while the rest of the team does enough to help the Bengals overtake the Texans.  I feel as if the game will be much closer than the score, but will be 27-13 in the Bengals favor.

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

Minnesota has been surprising teams and football fans all season long.  They played well enough and beat the right teams to earn their first berth in the playoffs since Brett Favre’s last full season.

The Packers have dealt with a plethora of injuries this season and have come out as champions of the NFC North.  Due to their loss to the Vikings in Week 17 of the regular season (and a play that will forever stand in infamy as the “Intertoucheption”) they have been relegated to the #3 seed in their respective conference and must play in the wildcard round.

This game is going to be a hard hitting match between bitter rivals.  Green Bay would seem to have the edge being that they are at home, but the weather is expected to be below freezing and that usually lends the edge to the team with the better run game.  This advantage clearly goes to Minnesota.  That being said, I do not think the Packers will lose to the Vikings twice in two weeks, Packers on top 31-20.

Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens

Clearly the best turn around in the league this season, the Andrew Luck led Colts are a team that will continue to get better.  The lack of a powerful running game definitely hurt them this season, but the poise and precision of Luck has helped the team overcome this disadvantage.

The Ravens are recently one of the most disappointing teams in the entire NFL.  They have a horrible habit of playing well in the regular season (or at least well enough to make the playoffs) and then faltering against teams it seems they should have a great chance of defeating.  This is one of the teams that has been faltering down the stretch.

The Colts defense is not very good, Ray Rice should have a monster game.  If Joe Flacco is at all accurate this could turn into a blowout.  Andrew Luck will make some plays, along with Reggie Wayne, but the Ravens should topple the Colts.  I am going to say it is a high-scoring and close game with a final score of 37-31.

Seattle Seahawks @ Washington Redskins

I think many would agree with me when I say that Seattle has been a surprise team this season.  Russell Wilson has been phenomenal when it comes to rookie quarterback standards and Marshawn Lynch is quietly continuing his run as one of the most effective running backs in the league.  The real story has been the defense, which has played incredible all season and will be at full strength now that Brandon Browner is back from a PED suspension.

The Redskins have their own stud rookie quarterback and a surprise 6th round stud running back in Alfred Morris.  The addition of Pierre Garcon in the offseason was a stroke of genius, making their wide receiver corps arguably as solid as any left in the playoffs.  Even better news for this team is because of the threat of their run game many times their receivers create separation with ease.

The biggest issue in this game will be the battle between Seattle’s DBs and Washington’s WRs.  If they can bottle up the pass catchers as well as they have most of the season they should coast to a win.  In my opinion, they are not completely shut out but Seattle earns the win in a close game.  Final score of 24-20.

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Week 14 NFL Picks

Once again my work load at school is taking a larger toll on my time than normal.  Also the washer at my house as bit the dust, so I need to head to a laundromat soon.  Because of this I will just say that I got only 9 straight up picks right and 7 against the spread, and I am moving down in the ESPN rankings.

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Week 13 NFL Picks

Not much to say about this week, a few close games that went the wrong way (for me at least).  The playoff picture is pretty well set, only a few teams with a real chance to get in as a wildcard in both the AFC and the NFC.  Below are my picks for the previous week’s football games.  Straight up picks are in bold and picks made against the spread are italicized.

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons -3.5

I figured that the only team able to defeat the Falcons so far this year would take them down again to strengthen their chances of making the playoffs after their horrific 0-4 start.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Buffalo Bills -6.5

Buffalo has greatly underperformed their expectations for the season and Chad Henne has done a good job of taking over at quarterback for the Jaguars.  With that said, the Jaguars are still a very bad team.

Seattle Seahawks @ Chicago Bears -4.5

Seattle is a team on the rise, but they are a very different team away from their home field.  Chicago’s defense has not performed nearly as well as of late as they did in the first half of the season, but their experience should help against a young offense led by a rookie quarterback.

Indianapolis Colts @ Detroit Lions -4.5

The Lions desperately need a win to keep a realistic shot at the playoffs alive.  Their passing game (meaning Stafford to Megatron) should be too much for Indianapolis to handle, Andrew Luck should be able to keep it close though.

Houston Texans@ Tennessee Titans +5.5

Tennessee is a bad team, across the board.  Houston has been the trendy pick to represent the Superbowl in the AFC for most of the season and for good reason.  Should be a massacre.

Carolina Panthers @ Kansas City Chiefs +3.5

I had Carolina picked all week until the Belcher tragedy happened.  Switched it solely for that reason.  I do not know where Jovan is now, or if he can see what happened, but hopefully if his spirit still exists he can take some solace in knowing the effect he has had on the people around him.

San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams +7.5

The Rams are at home, and a solid team that makes few mistakes.  San Francisco has a better team, but it is a divisional game.  49ers should win this one and the Rams are right on their heels the entire game.

New England Patriots@ Miami Dolphins +7.5

New England has a very high powered offense, the Dolphins do not.  The loss of Rob Grownkowski has definitely taken a toll on the Patriots, but they should blow Miami away.

Arizona Cardinals@ New York Jets -4.5

Arizona hasn’t won since week 4.  The Jets are equally bad.  This one will come down to whoever makes the least mistakes.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Denver Broncos -6.5

Both teams are playing very well at this point in the season, but one side has Peyton Manning.  Doug Martin has been the best rookie running back in the league this season, and his production should help them cover the spread, but not beat the Broncos.

Cleveland Browns@ Oakland Raiders -0.5

Both teams have struggled to find wins all season.  Oakland is an aging team in shambles while Cleveland is a young team that is starting to come together.  Their defense almost always performs well and their offense is maturing.

Cincinnati Bengals@ San Diego Chargers +1.5

Cincinnati is simply a better team right now.  They need this win to stay make the playoffs, without it they probably have no chance of securing a wildcard berth.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens -6.5

The last one was close, but I feel that Charlie Batch cannot lead a team against the strong Ravens defense.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys -9.5

The Eagles are bad, really bad, but the Cowboys aren’t exactly world-beaters.  Dallas should win, but not by double digits.

New York Giants @ Washington Redskins+2.5

Robert Griffin III has his eye on the playoffs, to get there they will probably need to win the NFC East.  There is no better way to make that happen then to take down the division leaders.  It is of my opinion that the mediocre Giants show up this week.

For the week I had 10 straight up picks correct, putting me at the 85.5 percentile and ranked 82,166 on ESPN while against the spread I picked 9 games correctly putting me at the 88.8 percentile and ranked 16,937 on ESPN.  I’m a long way from the top in both and doubt I can even break the top 1,000.  Here’s me hoping the people at the top somehow crash and burn this last fourth of the season.

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NFL Power Rankings – 4th Quarter Edition

The 2012 season is nearly over, each team has four games to be played.  Because I do not have much to fill my time with I collaborated yet again with Anthony Crowell to put together a set of power rankings before the 4th quarter of the season.  His power rankings can be found here.  Hopefully we make some sense to someone other than ourselves.

1. Houston Texans – The loss of Brian Cushing looked to be devastating to the Houston Texans defense (I think we all remember the shellacking by Green Bay).  In recent weeks it looks as if they may be doing fine without him. – sjm

2. Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons find ways to win games, period. Their team has talent across the board and the defensive schemes seem to be shutting down most all of the opposing quarterbacks. – arc

3. Denver Broncos – Peyton Manning has shaken off the rust and is making all the throws he needs to put the Broncos into great po. sition to win every week.  The loss of Willis McGahee may hurt, but Manning has won games with a poor running game in the past. – sjm

4. New England Patriots – The offensive skill players are dropping like flies around QB Tom Brady. Yet the train still keeps rolling along.  The defensive unit has played better in recent weeks, especially rookie CB Alfonzo Dennard. – arc

5. Green Bay Packers – The Green Bay Packers despite injuries all over the defense continue to win games.  They are not pretty but they are winning them. QB Aaron Rodgers has been sacked the most times in the NFL this season. – arc

6. San Francisco 49ers – If not for Colin Kaepernick’s promotion they may be ranked lower here.  He is basically a faster, younger and more accurate Alex Smith.  He also sees openings (and hits them) that I have never seen Smith go for. – sjm

7. New York Giants – This team seems to play well when they need to.  At least during two of the last five seasons.  Are they going to turn it on these last four weeks and win their division or will they succumb to the Washington RGIII’s? – sjm

8. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens defense is not quite as good as it once was. The loss of MLB Ray Lewis and shutdown CB Lardarius Webb has been something that is difficult to overcome in games.  QB Joe Flacco is not very good on the road and if they don’t win the easy games on their schedule will not advance deep into the playoffs. – arc

9. Chicago Bears – A defense that seemed to be one of the best in recent history is slowly falling apart.  The sad thing is that’s not the worst news, their already poor offensive line has been shuffled due to injury; the bright side about this is that I don’t see a way it could have possibly gotten worse. – sjm

10. Seattle Seahawks – A gigantic win against the Bears on the road last week. They own the tiebreaker against both the Packers and the Bears if it comes down to it when all is said and done. – arc

11. Washington Redskins – Before I saw Robert Griffin III play in the National Football League I had reservations about the pre-draft trade.  I now believe the trade greatly benefited both sides and depending on who the St. Louis Rams choose with their picks it is hard to call a winner.  For now it is the Redskins. – sjm

12. Indianapolis – QB Andrew Luck may not have the completion percentage that RG3 has but the plays he is forced to make with a subpar group around him is quite spectacular.  The throws he makes to get his receivers open are remarkable. – arc

13. Cincinnati Bengals – If their defense can play up to the same level their offense has been they will be in the post-season for the second straight season.  The quarterback pressure has been phenomenal, hopefully that holds up against their upcoming mobile opponents. – sjm

14. Pittsburgh Steelers – The ageless one QB Charlie Batch gets a road win over the Baltimore Ravens. No one saw that one coming.  That keeps their wild card playoff dreams alive. The schedule the rest of the season is very favorable. – arc

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The slight ineptitude of Josh Freeman has been covered by the emergence of Doug Martin.  Their defense has played well enough to win lately and they are on the verge of pushing into a wildcard spot. – sjm

16. New Orleans Saints – Too bad the Saints struggled to start the year or else the playoff race would look even more jumbled than it already is in the NFC. – arc

17. Dallas Cowboys – Jerry Jones has got to go. This team is loaded with amazing individual talents; the problem is trying to meld them together to form a winning unit. – sjm

18. San Diego Chargers – The Chargers had the Ravens on the ropes a couple of weeks ago. They should have won that game and probably a few more this season. Head Coach Norv Turner has seen his time all but run out and QB Philip Rivers needs a new coach to keep him reigned in.  The defense has been a pleasant surprise.- arc

19. Detroit Lions – The Lions are all but out of the playoff race.  Good news is Calvin Johnson has either broken or disproved the Madden curse (depending on your stance on the issue.) – sjm

20. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins do have a solid team for how awful they looked in the preseason and during the television series Hard Knocks.  They could upgrade at the RB and WR position. – arc

21. Minnesota Vikings – Their fast start came to a fast sizzle.  They won a couple of games they shouldn’t have and lost a couple of games they probably should have.  In the end they are probably out of the wildcard race, largely thanks to the injury to Percy Harvin and the poor play of Christian Ponder.  On a side note, Adrian Peterson is doing his best to show he is still the best running back in the NFL. – sjm

22. St. Louis Rams – I apparently like the Rams more than other people I talk to.  This is not because they have the 49ers number. They are a well-disciplined team under Head Coach Jeff Fisher and will end the season on a high note. – arc

23. Cleveland Browns – Not much to say here except they may have found what they have been looking for at the skill positions on offense.  Josh Gordon could turn out to be the best Supplemental Draft pick ever. – sjm

24. Buffalo Bills – The defense has continued to let this team down. There were high expectations at the start of the season. Instead they will be looking to draft in the top half of the first round. – arc

25. Carolina Panthers – This self-anointed Super Bowl team has had trouble living up to their own expectations.  Did anyone believe them?  Apparently Cam Newton didn’t. – sjm

26. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Chad Henne has been throwing extremely well in the absence of QB Blaine Gabbert.  Henne’s play has allowed for the growth of young WR’s Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts. The defense is not that bad but will be upgraded in the offseason. – arc

27. Oakland Raiders – RB/FB Marcel Reese has been a great fill-in for RB Darren McFadden, too bad QB Carson Palmer still throws interceptions like children throwing candy on parade floats. – arc

28. Philadelphia Eagles – Michael Vick is out and soon to be fired Nick Foles will be leading the charge the rest of the season.  Bryce Brown has caused a stir the last couple of weeks in LeSean McCoy’s absence and there could be a trade in the works, possibly for a better quarterback?  Who will be coaching the Eagles next season? – sjm

29. Tennessee Titans – The team will be playing for draft positioning the rest of the way. I do not know what area of the team they will choose to improve in the early rounds of the draft because they could upgrade any position except Running Back. – arc

30. New York Jets – Rex Ryan has finally admitted what everyone else has known for the last couple of years, Mark Sanchez is not the guy for the job in New York, or possibly anywhere.  Neither is Tim Tebow, and Greg McElroy is yet to be determined. – sjm

31. Kansas City Chiefs – The murder-suicide that has rocked the organization can only be described as tragic.  Not much else to say. – sjm

32. Arizona Cardinals – Where’s Kurt Warner? Glad he is not playing, the offense has given up 47 sacks leaving the three QB’s on the ground more than upright. – arc

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Week 12 NFL Picks

Was another busy week for me, but I wanted to make sure and put up how I did this past week.  I picked 13 of the games right while picking the Seattle, Tampa Bay and New Orleans games wrong.  Against the spread I picked 10 correctly, I picked Houston, Oakland, Denver, Seattle, Tampa Bay and New Orleans wrong.  Overall not a bad week for me, bonus that Green Bay got trounced.

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Week 11 NFL Picks

So this week because of the holiday and the recent acquisition of a couple of new FPS games and my having to do homework I am going to get very lazy for this week’s post.  Straight up I got 10 games right, with Miami, St. Louis, Cleveland and Chicago letting me down.  That puts me at the 78.0 percentile and ranked 132,565 on ESPN.  With 8 games right and Miami, Houston, St. Louis, Denver, Indianapolis and Chicago not covering the spread I am not placed at the 80.0 percentile and ranked 30,083 on ESPN.  Here’s hoping the odd week with 3 games on Thursday brings me some sort of luck.

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