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Final Thoughts on the 2017 NFL Season

| February 12th, 2018

The season has been over more than a week so I thought I’d throw a bunch of thoughts on the entire league into one semi-coherent post.


(1) It was a bad season for the NFL and it all stems from mismanagement at the top. The fallout from injuries/head trauma, player protests, rules issues…etc. were manageable and fixable. But Roger Goodell once again showed himself to be the most flaccidly ineffective commissioner in the history of professional sports.


(2) The “catch rule” has been the mostly thoroughly debated issue in the NFL and the Super Bowl seemed to be a turning point for its legislation, with two touchdowns actually being ruled touchdowns. (This despite the utter confusion of the commentary box, where Michaels and Collinsworth acted like they were asked to call a three-day test cricket match on forty minutes notice.) Possession. Two feet down. That’s it. If you have possession of the ball and two feet on the ground, you have caught the ball. For the first time in a long time, it feels the NFL is headed back in that direction.


(3) Ryan Pace took over the GM job in Chicago prior to the 2014 season.

  • His first year? Low expectations.
  • His second year? Three quarterbacks played, one of whom was benched for C.J. Beathard in 2017 and another didn’t approach an active roster.
  • Year three featured the drafting a quarterback with the second pick and nobody should put win/loss expectation on a rookie quarterback.

Now we enter year four. Pace has his coach. Pace has his QB. And if the latter stays healthy, the Bears should be expected to win games in 2018.

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Divisional Round Game Predictions

| January 12th, 2018

Went 2-2 ATS last week and would have been 3-1 if I’d remembered never to lay 9 points on an Andy Reid-coached team under any circumstances. Still, 2-2 is a good start. Need a 3-1 week to keep the dream of topping 7-4 alive. I’m confident.

All spreads from BETUS, Thursday evening.


Atlanta at Philadelphia

Saturday – 3:20 pm CT

Pick: Falcons -3

This is the hardest game to analyze on the weekend because it’s impossible to know what to expect from Nick Foles. But if the Falcons defense plays as fast and angry as it did against the Rams, how could anyone expect Foles to get anything done through the air? A few interceptions are likely as the Falcons continue their journey to Super Bowl redemption…maybe. Falcons 20, Eagles 14.


Tennessee at New England

Saturday – 7:15 pm CT

Pick: Patriots -13

This Titans crap has gone on long enough. Patriots 27, Titans 10.


Jacksonville at Pittsburgh

Sunday – 12:05 pm CT

Pick: Steelers -7

Here’s my hot take for the column: the Jaguars defense is overrated. Jimmy G tore them to ribbons on Christmas Eve. Since then they’ve faced the offensive juggernauts of Tennessee and Buffalo and could easily have lost to both. (Tyrod Taylor had plenty of opportunities.)

I can’t imagine a scenario where Ben Roethlisberger repeats his mid-season “maybe I don’t have it anymore” nightmare. I can imagine a scenario where Chad Henne finds his way onto the field to replace Blake Bortles. Steelers 30, Jags 10


New Orleans at Minnesota

Sunday – 3:40 pm CT

Pick: Saints +5

Last week I didn’t trust Goff. This week I don’t trust Keenum. Both had wonderful regular season but the playoffs are an entirely different animal. Every single throw carries the weight of the entire season. Is Keenum ready for that pressure?

New Orleans has the corners to limit what the Vikings receivers can do outside, allowing their front to harass the Minnesota signal caller into mistakes. Then the game falls on the arm of Drew Brees and, well, he’s just fine with that. Saints 20, Vikings 17

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Wildcard Weekend Game Predictions

| January 4th, 2018

There are 11 playoff games. My best record against the spread was 7-4 in 2014. This year I will take that record to the woodshed.


Tennessee at Kansas City

Saturday – 3:20 pm CT 

Pick: Chiefs -9.

For some reason I’ve been watching a bunch of Titans games lately, mostly to look at Mariota, and something is very clear: the Titans are terrible. Kansas City was 6-2 at home this season and are quietly coming into the postseason on a four-game winning streak. (The Matt Nagy bump?) This profiles as the weekend’s only blowout. Lay the points! 37-16 Chiefs.


Atlanta at Los Angeles

Saturday – 7:15 pm CT

Pick: Atlanta +6.5.

I don’t know why I think this but I think there’s a big effort somewhere in this Falcons team. I’m not sure they can win this game on the road because they don’t have a consistent bone in their collective bodies but I still need Jared Goff to win a playoff game before I can get fully on the Ramwagon. 27-21 Rams.


Buffalo at Jacksonville

Sunday – 12:05 pm CT

Pick: Bills +9.

I’m just banking on this game being unwatchably low-scoring. 16-9 Jags.


Carolina at New Orleans

Sunday – 3:40 pm CT

Pick: Saints -7.

These teams played twice this season. Saints won both. Total score: 65-34. If this game were in Carolina I think a Panthers upset would be in-play but I’m having a hard time seeing it in the dome. I’ll be rooting for Chico and the boys but that egg they laid in Week 17 against the Falcons is tough to shake from my mind. 30-17 Saints.

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Week 8: Bears at Saints Game Preview

| October 26th, 2017

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. And they’re going for three straight and .500 at the bye! What’s not to like?


Hey Bears, Play Offense on Sunday

John Fox and Dowell Loggains need to walk into the Superdome Sunday assuming the Saints are going to score in the 20s. Why? Because the Saints always score in the 20s. We’re talking about a team, playing at home, that is:

  • 4th in points and yards per game.
  • 10th in rushing yards per game.
  • 3rd in passing yards per game.
  • Least sacked team in the entire NFL, allowing only 5, and they’ve played the Minnesota (ranked 4th), Carolina (ranked 3rd) and Miami (ranked 10th) defenses this season.

If Fox/Loggains operate the same offensive mathematical equation…

(Run for 2 + Run for 1) x [3rd-and-7 Throw Under Obvious Pressure] = Success?

…they’ll find themselves chasing the game. And the Bears are NOT built to chase any game.


Tweet of the Week


Three Reasons the Bears Win

  • Saints have one of the most balanced offenses in the league but the Bears can render an opponent one-dimensional with their suffocating run defense. There isn’t a pair of interior defensive linemen in the league playing to the standard of Hicks and Goldman and Sunday the Bears held Carolina backs to 21 carries, 58 yards – a staggering 2.76 yards per. If Bears can force Brees to drop back every down, they’ll get to him.
  • On the flip side, the Bears should be able to line up and run the ball on a New Orleans defense allowing 4.9 yards per carry. Green Bay QB Brett Hundley couldn’t play Sunday – it was obvious to anyone watching – and Dennis Allen’s Saints defense still allowed Aaron Jones to go 17-131-1. This kept the game competitive into the fourth quarter. So just because they know you wanna run it doesn’t mean they can stop you.

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Money Mouth: Three Picks for Week Fifteen

| December 17th, 2015

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Three. And. Oh. Much needed.

Ravens Under 17 pts vs. Chiefs

Chiefs are a good defensive team. And here is an amazing excerpt from an ESPN piece about the Baltimore Ravens:

Quarterback Jimmy Clausen didn’t get the win Sunday. He didn’t lead a touchdown drive.

But he did enough in the 35-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks to earn a second start with the Baltimore Ravens.

If James Clausen beats you, you get beat.

Bears +5.5 at Vikings

Bears margins of victory/defeat since Jay Cutler returned from injury: 2, 1, 3, 3, 3, 24, 2, 6, 3. Is there really any reason to believe this game won’t come down to the final few moments and be decided by a field goal or so? Taking the points with the Bears seems the astute move.

Lions & Saints Over 50.5 pts

Lions v. Rams hit 35 points on Sunday. And the Rams have a terrific defense and putrid offense. The Saints, by comparison, have a potentially prolific offense and putrid defense. And both teams have nothing to play for so this could be one of those, “What the hell, let’s go for it on all the fourth downs!” games.

Season Record: 23-17-2

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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 Seven

| October 22nd, 2015

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2-0-1 this week because I was apparently the only person on earth who had the Bears +3 instead of the 4.5 they went off at by kickoff. 7-1-1 over my last nine picks.

No joke. I hate the games this week. Hate the games. Hate the lines. So it’s going to take some luck.

COLTS -4.5 OVER SAINTS

While the football world was declaring the Pats would beat the Colts Sunday night by 100 points as some kind of deflation retribution, Luck kept the Colts neck-and-neck until his moron head coach decided to run one of the stupidest plays every devised for the game of football. Even Chuck Pagano, a terrible head coach, won’t be able to prevent Luck from shredding the Saints defense at home. Indianapolis 34, New Orleans 20.

PATRIOTS UNDER 28.5 VS. NEW YORK JETS

The Jets are the best defense in football and if Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t go through a six-week run of interceptions – as is his history – they are going to be a beast to deal with in the postseason. (A Jets v. Broncos wild card game could go to penalty field goals.) New England is the better team here but I like needing them to score more than four touchdowns. New England 20, New York 17.

RAMS -5.5 OVER BROWNS

Rams are good. Browns are not good. Rams defense is terrific. The last time Josh McCown went into St. Louis as a starting quarterback he was thoroughly embarrassed. Rams have Todd Gurley. Browns have the league’s worst rush defense. I don’t see how this game is close. St. Louis 27, Cleveland 6.

Season Record: 10-6-2

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Money Where My Mouth Is: Three Picks for Week Six

| October 15th, 2015

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2-1 last week, only losing because the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants had to do it their way Sunday and make the end of the game exciting. 5-1 over my last six and I’m a believer in gambling momentum.

Chicago Bears +3 at Detroit Lions

Hot hand. Two straight covers. And I think the Bears are simply better than the Lions right now. (More on this tomorrow.)

Atlanta Falcons & New Orleans Saints Over 51 Pts

First off, I love rooting for overs. It means lots of scoring. Secondly, I’m not sure either of these teams is any good on the defensive side of the ball. I see a 34-24 type game, smoothly sailing past the number.

Carolina Panthers +7 at Seattle Seahawks

I don’t think the Seahawks are any good. They have two wins on the year. One against James Clausen and they needed all four quarters to win that. One against a Detroit team that was half a yard from beating them in Seattle. It sometimes takes folks time to move beyond reputation and analyze what’s happening on the field. On the field, Seattle stinks. Their offensive line is putrid. Their secondary collapses in the fourth quarter. Their quarterback is limited in the pocket. (If you don’t follow Pete Prisco’s work on this, you should.)

Ron Rivera is salivating when he watches tape of this OL group. Add Luke Kuechly to the mix and I’m comfortable taking the points.

Season Record: 8-6-1 

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