Another good week for ChuckingRocks NFL Picks.
Buffalo beat Houston in a puzzler (not that Buffalo won, but that they did so handily, scoring 30 on a Texans’ D that had given up just 39 total in their last four games)–but otherwise, Arizona, Pittsburgh, and the Jets all won and covered.
That brings the years’ record to 25-22—not bad, but I’d love to be a little further north of .500 by the end of week 17. Beyond, stay tuned: I’ll be making picks through the playoffs as well.
If you missed last week’s playoff predictions, check ‘em out—not sure if my low hanging fruit will turn into clusterfucks, but I want to wait at least another two weeks before I bail; who knows, maybe I’ll prove my self a Svengali after all.
Alright, enough pontification… onto the picks!
DALLAS (+7.5) at Green Bay
This is probably the dumbest pick I’ve ever made, but I’m going with the red head.
That may come as a surprise, because as I’ve made quite clear the past few weeks, I think Jason Garrett is a bad coach.
Look no further than last week, when the Cowboys barely beat Washington with a last second field goal. After a huge fail by DeSean Jackson (psyching up the crowd before a punt return, then reversing field to lose 15 yards before fumbling), the Pokes have the ball on Washington’s 18 yard line, with about 1:25 on the clock. Washington has two timeouts left. The Cowboys, as they should, run it, but like an idiot, Darren McFadden runs out of bounds. Now there’s 1:19 left, 2nd and 1. They run it again, but this time, McFadden goes right through the defense and dives across the goal-line, leaving Washington with two timeouts and more than a minute left to tie… which of course they do, Jackson atoning for his sins as Cousins hits him on a fade route into the corner of the end-zone.
Here’s what should have happened: McFadden stays in bounds on the first play, forcing Washington to use a timeout. 1:19 left, 2nd and short. During the timeout, Garrett reminds McFadden that the goal is to get a first down, stay in bounds, and DON’T SCORE A TOUCHDOWN. Now they run it again and McFadden gets the first down, forcing Washington to use their final timeout. Now, with say 1:12 on the clock, the Cowboys kneel down, run the clock to three seconds left, and win the game with a walk off field goal from the five yard line courtesy of Dan Bailey, one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL.
As it turned out, the Cowboys got lucky and were able to move the ball in the few seconds that remained after the Washington score to get within field goal range and win anyway, but it never should’ve come to that. It was horrible, horrible coaching by Garrett, who’s managed to lose nearly every close game Dallas has played in. They’re 2-5 in games decided by seven points or less, and by all accounts they should be 1-6 if not for Tom Coughlin and the Giants pissing all the bed in week one.
Think about this: if the Cowboys had won just one more of those close games, they’d be tied for the lead in the NFC East. Win two and they’re atop the division. But because of Garrett’s incompetence, their chances to make the playoffs are slim, and that they have postseason hopes at all is only due to the fact that their division is a fucking dumpster fire.
So, dear reader, make no mistake, I don’t think Dallas is going to beat Green Bay. By all rights, they should have a hell of a chance—their defense is 5th overall in yards per game, and the Packers have been dreadful on offense ever since losing that first game at Denver.
But my guess is Dallas loses a close one Sunday, close enough to drive their already tortured fans crazy.
And close enough to cover the 7.5.
Green Bay wins 23-16.
SAN DIEGO (+10.5) at Kansas City
The spread’s just too big. Like throwing a hot dog down a hallway, and I just don’t know how Andy Reid, Alex Smith, Charcandrick and company fill’er up?
In terms of total yardage on offense, the Chiefs are ranked only 23rd; in terms of scoring offense, they’re actually 5th, but that’s probably because they’re +13 in turnover ratio. Now look, that indicates a good defense, but +13 is a huge outlier—and that makes me suspicious. It means that Kansas City has gotten a little lucky in the turnover battle, which means their scoring offense is somewhat inflated.
Again, do I expect San Diego to win? Hell no, but the chances the Chiefs, a team that thrives on defense and running the ball, beat them by 11 to cover seems unlikely—especially given the magic of garbage time and the arm of Phillip Rivers.
Chiefs win 26-19.
New Orleans at TAMPA (-3.5)
The Saints have been up and down this year, but lately trending down. Now, after last week’s loss to Carolina, it seems they’ve given up, with running back Mark Ingram suddenly placed on IR because of a shoulder injury he had been playing through to this point. The real key here, however, is that New Orleans has the worst defense in the league (both in yards given up and scoring), which makes it damn hard to win—especially on the road.
Meanwhile, Tampa’s playing well, 4-2 in their last six games. The key has been the running game with Doug Martin, who’s scampered for 427 yards in their last three games. Meanwhile, heralded rookie Jameis Winston is playing well, showing poise in the pocket and throwing the ball with velocity and accuracy, and on the outside, Mike Evans, who’s been a beast at receiver.
The coup de grace is that while the Saints are Dungy (Tony), the Bucs are actually in the playoff hunt and have every reason to come out with high energy and enthusiasm. Minnesota’s loss Thursday night only bolsters their chances. If the Vikings, Packers, or Seahawks slip up, Tampa could squeak into the playoffs if they can finish 3-1 or better.
Bucs win 34-28.
Indianapolis at JACKSONVILLE (-1.5)
I know, I know. First, picking the Bucs, and now the Jags (don’t forget the Cowboys, douche)? Really?
Really. Look, I know Jacksonville isn’t ready for primetime, but Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson are legit. Both are top ten at their position, and Indy’s D is bad. Like 26th in scoring, 30th in yards per game.
So Jacksonville’s going to score some points—the question is whether they can contain Indy’s offense, and I think they can. Hasselbeck wasn’t good last week, finally getting knocked out of the game after coughing up the ball. Remember, this is a copycat league, meaning Pittsburgh—by no means a good defense this year—just handed the Bucs the keys to hold the Colts’ offense in check.
And let’s remember just who that offense is: a line that’s no good, a quarterback in Hasselbeck who’s 40, and weapons on offense that are old (Gore) or overrated (TY Hilton). Seriously, who else they got? No one I can remember, and I’m a fantasy football slut.
Jags win 38-30.
NEW ENGLAND (-3.5) at Houston
Who thinks New England’s going to lose three games in a row? Not this guy.
Seriously, that’s all I got: there’s no scientific or analytical reasoning behind it. I just don’t think Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will lose three in a row, especially not the Texans. And if the Patriots win, my guess is they cover 3.5.
Pats win 31-24.
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