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Wildcard Sunday Open Thread

| January 8th, 2017

Miami +10 over PITTSBURGH

28-13 Steelers late. Matt Moore brings the Dolphins down the field for a solid backdoor cover.

Steelers 28, Dolphins 20

New York +4.5 over GREEN BAY

Three reasons:

  • Green Bay’s win out has been wildly overrated. They are a few weeks removed from blowing a 17 point lead to Matt Barkley. Packers are here because the NFC North was an unmitigated disaster in 2016.
  • Not sure people realize how good this Giants secondary is. There’s not a pass catching threat on the Pack that will give them problems, as long as they don’t allow Rodgers to run around and buy time.
  • It’s the tournament. You’ve seen what Eli does in these games, right?

Giants 17, Packers 13

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Five Thoughts on Another Bears Loss (From Paris, With Love)

| November 21st, 2016

Straight to it…

  • Defense is getting better and will be a force in 2017. But the Bears have SO MANY questions on offense to answer between now and the draft. Who is the quarterback? Where’s the answer at right end? Jeffery? For how much? Are they content at tackle? Big ticket items.
  • Never seen a team deal with injuries like the Bears have over the last calendar year. Whether there is a reason beyond bad luck is beyond me but the team played yesterday on offense in the second half without 3/5 of starting offensive line, both starting wide receivers (one non-injury) and the starting tight end. It’s just not enjoyable to sit through.
  • I wonder if the narrative would have changed again if Cutler pulled that game out at the death. I know I watched him differently yesterday, resigned to a life without 6 taking the snaps. I felt like I was watching a temperamental 85-year old actor do a farewell tour of The Cherry Orchard at Bucks County Playhouse. I am now watching Cutler with a twinge of nostalgia.
  • Bears can’t fire John Fox, despite my previous belief. These guys are playing hard. They just don’t have the heathy horses on offense.
  • Special thanks to The Grand Canadian in Paris. Big screen, hospitable and full of fans truly rooting on their TEAM and not their FANTASY team. Wish I could bring the spirit of that place back with me to the states.

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Match-Up That Matters: Bears at Giants

| November 17th, 2016

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The Giants are a bizarre team. Talented, poorly-coached, temperamental, exciting, boring and just overall perplexing. What’s the match-up that matters?

Entirety of the Bears Defense

vs.

Odell Beckham Jr.

Three thoughts:

  • Beckham is the most spectacular talent at the wide receiver position I’ve ever seen. But he has two supreme flaws. (1) He’s an emotional train wreck. Hit him a few times when he’s not expecting to be hit and he’ll probably start crying. Not metaphorically. He literally cries on the sideline. (2) He drops the ball quite a bit. While it doesn’t get covered by the national media, obsessed with his one-handed show stoppers, he’s less reliable with two hands. This is a game where the Bears need to stick a corner on Beckham early and tell Adrian Amos to separate him at the torso every time he tries to go over the middle of the field.
  • Giants offensive line is better than many believed it would be coming into the season – especially at home – but it’s still not a unit that should stonewall the surging Bears pass rush.
  • Eli Manning has had success getting the ball to Beckham on quick slants and slyly smiling as OBJ takes those three-yard completions for 70-yard touchdowns. As crazy as it sounds, the most important fundamental to beating the Giants is tackling. Tackle well on the outside and NYG will struggle to move the ball consistently down the field.

Stop Beckham, win. Do I expect the Bears to do either? Who cares, I’m in France.

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Money Mouth: Regular Season Finale Picks

| December 31st, 2015

money

Goal was ten over. I’m nine over. And the pressure is on.

Chicago Bears -1 over Detroit Lions

Explanation coming tomorrow but here’s the brief version: I think the Bears REALLY want to go out on a victory. I think the Lions know massive change is coming and won’t want to play in the Soldier Field conditions Sunday.

New York Jets -3 over Buffalo Bills

One team is playing for the postseason. The other team has quit on their coach. Buffalo will probably win – because that’s what the NFL is these days – but I’m going chalk.

New York Giants -3 over Philadelphia Eagles

Tom Coughlin’s finale home game? Yep, I will take him to go out with a win. And I think Odell Beckham Jr. plays a revenge game.

Season Record: 27-18-3

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Money Where My Mouth Is: Three Picks For Week 14

| December 10th, 2015

money

Let’s face it. Last week should have been an 0-3 week but Jim Caldwell conspired to get me on the board. Need a winning week to return that warm and fuzzy feeling to the old wallet. Let’s go.

PITTSBURGH & CINCINNATI OVER 49.5 PTS

Pittsburgh has the most exciting passing in the NFL and – arguably – one of the five worst secondaries. Maybe these teams will shock me and revert to the division’s previous form but I see both teams scoring and scoring at will. Steelers 31, Bengals 30

NEW ENGLAND -3 AT HOUSTON

The Patriots lost two weeks ago, right? They lost last week too, right? When’s the last time they lost three games in a row? I won’t do the research and will just assume Pete Carroll was the coach. Buffalo put together a game plan to neutralize J.J. Watt and exposed the backend of the Texans defense. Expect Tom Brady to put the Pats back into the win column, even if he might be the team’s best receiver. Patriots 27, Texans 14

NEW YORK GIANTS -1.5 AT MIAMI

The Giants stink. They also are going to win the Super Bowl. But in order to do that they must make the postseason. They’ll take the pole position in the NFC East after this week’s done. Giants 20, Dolphins 17

Season Record: 20-17-2

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Money Where My Mouth Is: Three Picks For Week Eight

| October 29th, 2015

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Three picks last week. Rams beat the Browns easily. Patriots barely scraped by the 28.5 number. Colts decided to spot the Saints about 70 points. Mediocre week but I knew it was coming. This week, I rebound.

GREEN BAY PACKERS UNDER 24 AT DENVER

Packers haven’t been convincing offensively in a month and the Broncos are one of the better defenses in the game. What scares me about this bet? I could very easily see Peyton Manning throwing points the other way. (I can’t believe that’s where we are with Manning.) I’m betting on Gary Kubiak committing to the run game, keeping Rodgers on the bench and still losing 20-17.

CHICAGO BEARS +1 OVER MINNESOTA

Hot hand.

The Bears have been a covering machine, even if I had an early line and pushed with them two weeks ago. Having seen enough of the Vikings I’m simply not that impressed. Love Cutler’s record against Minnesota, especially at home.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS OVER 27 VS. NYG

Giants last three opponents were quarterbacked by Colin Kaepernick, Sam Bradford and Matt Cassel and they surrendered 27-27-20 points. Drew Brees is hot right now and I don’t think the Giants defense can withstand this onslaught.

Season Record: 11-8-2

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Money Where My Mouth Is: Three Picks for Week Five

| October 8th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.01.04 PM That’s more like it. The Dolphins crashed and burned. The Bears were never going to be beaten by more than a field goal. Detroit was every bit the equal of Seahawks in Seattle. 3-0, over the hump and back in the saddle again.

Chicago Bears +10 over Kansas City

Didn’t understand the line when it was released. Don’t understand it now. Usually that means I’m lost but I just don’t see this game as particularly lopsided and that’s an awful lot of points. More to come tomorrow…

PACKERS UNDER 27.5 PTS HOME TO ST. LOUIS

Packers always score a boatload of points at home. But I like them at 27 or below for two reasons:

  • This Rams defensive front can be hell for Aaron Rodgers to deal with for four quarters, especially Aaron Donald in the middle. Rodgers won’t have any time to look down the field for big strike, quick point plays. No big plays means points will take longer to score.
  • Todd Gurley. That was a “wow” performance from Gurley a week ago and I expect him to get better week-to-week. Want to keep Rodgers off the field? Feed Gurley.

NEW YORK GIANTS -7 VS. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Niners are dead. They are the worst team in football. They have the worst quarterback in football. And they are going to play the eventual Super Bowl champion in primetime? No chance.

Record: 6-5-1 (+$40)

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