ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Week 17 Predictions

47 Chicago at Detroit 17

17 Jacksonville at Tennessee 31

22 Houston at Indianapolis 16

35 Carolina at New Orleans 44

17 Philadelphia at NY Giants 42

19 Cleveland at Pittsburgh 13

27 Tampa Bay at Atlanta 19

17 NY Jets at Buffalo 20

6 Baltimore at Cincinnati 13

0 Kansas City at Denver 31

7 Miami at New England 48

10 Oakland at San Diego 38

3 Arizona at San Francisco 45

3 St. Louis at Seattle 37

24 Green Bay at Minnesota 20

23 Dallas at Washington 31

Last Week: 11-5
Season 150-89

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Week 16 Predictions

I need to avenge myself after my atrocious Week 15 performance.. I got a little too cocky focusing on trying to nail a game to perfection.  I lost sight of my main focus; to pick the correct winner.  For that, I apologize.  Here goes nothing...

21 Atlanta at Detroit 17
Matty Ice get's no respect.  This win will clinch the #1 seed and home field throughout the playoffs.  Can't wait to watch Seattle at Atlanta in the divisonal round.  As for the Lions, the only interesting sub-plot is Calvin Johnson's attempt to break the single-season mark in receiving yards.  I hope he doesn't though because all of his yards come in garbage time when the Lions are down by double digits.  Not as impressive as you'd think.

17 New Orleans at Dallas 44
Romo will deliver a huge win for the Cowboys before he rips Cowboys' fans hearts out with a loss on the road in Washington D.C next week.  Romo: 24-32, 312 yds, 4 TD, 0 INT

29 Tennessee at Green Bay 31
Rodgers > Locker but I like the young Titans QB to give the Pack a run for their money.

20 Indianapolis at Kansas City 19

23 Buffalo at Miami 13
This is a toss-up.  I'll pick the Bills.

31 San Diego at NY Jets 27
McElroy will be a big upgrade from Sanchez but the Jets' ineptitude will continue at home.  Jets are headin' for 6-10.

28 Washington at Philadelphia 21
the Skins' win the NFC East if they win their last 2 games.  RG3 is not going to screw that up against the 4 win Eagles.

23 Cincinnati at Pittsburgh 32
Roethlisberger's gonna get this last playoff spot.  When in doubt choose the Steelers to come up in the clutch.

 36 St. Louis at Tampa Bay 34
Sam Bradford puts on a SHOW in Tampa.

3 Oakland at Carolina 35
Cam Newton > Carson Palmer.  Blow-out.

52 New England at Jacksonville 20
The Pats need 94 (47 ppg) more points this year to reach the historic 600 pt plateau.  Thus, they will go all out against the Jags.  Expect a 21-0 Pats lead after the 1st.  New England gets within 42 points of the 600 mark in Jacksonville led by Brady and his 6 TD.

24 Minnesota at Houston 38
I really want Adrian Peterson to break the rushing record.  I say All Day goes for another 200 in Houston leading to 17 of the Vikes points.  No, I don't think Christian Ponder will get the other 7; I'm thinking a defensive score.  The Texans will score at will on the Vikes though getting their 13th win of the year.  Minnesota would fall to 8-7 and basically out of the playoff race.

17 Cleveland at Denver 30
Denver is so methodical and predictable; this would be such a typical score.  But I like Peyton to get the job done.  He always does.

24 Chicago at Arizona 6
Dennis Green flips out at the thought of "crowning" the Bears before the game is even played.  So I will say although I can not guarantee a Bears victory, I will be stunned if the Cards score more than 7.  Don't worry, Dennis, the Cards won't even have a 20-0 lead to lose.  I think Hester still haunts his dreams.

17 NY Giants at Baltimore 10
When their backs are against the wall, the Giants always prevail.  Easy pick.

10 San Francisco at Seattle 17
Many experts are predicting a high score for this affair.  Kaepernick has been electric and Russell Wilson has led the Seahawks to 50 plus points in two straight weeks.  But on Sunday Night, I expect this game to be similar to the last time these 2 squads played (SF won 13-6 at home).  In Seattle, I expect the Hawks to get it done in a low scoring, control the pace type of game.  Both defenses will be able to contain their opponents' elusive quarterback.  Seahawk fans can't wait for this one.  They're gonna get rowdy.

Last Week: 5-11
Season: 139-84-1

2013 QB Predictions

Here are my predictions for all 32 teams starting quarterbacks next season...

New England- Tom Brady
Miami- Ryan Tannehill
Buffalo- Alex Smith
NY Jets- Matt Flynn

Baltimore- Joe Flacco
Cincinnati- Andy Dalton
Pittsburgh- Ben Roethlisberger
Cleveland- Brandon Weeden

Houston- Matt Schaub
Indianapolis- Andrew Luck
Tennessee- Jake Locker
Jacksonville- Tim Tebow

Denver- Peyton Manning
San Diego- Michael Vick
Oakland- Mark Sanchez
Kansas City- Geno Smith

Dallas- Tony Romo
Washington- Robert Griffin III
NY Giants- Eli Manning
Philadelphia- Nick Foles

Green Bay- Aaron Rodgers
Minnesota- Christian Ponder
Chicago- Jay Cutler
Detroit- Matthew Stafford

Atlanta- Matt Ryan
New Orleans- Drew Brees
Tampa Bay- Josh Freeman
Carolina- Cam Newton

San Francisco- Colin Kaepernick
Seattle- Russell Wilson
St. Louis- Sam Bradford
Arizona- Philip Rivers

indicates a new QB

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Week 15 Predictions

I've been doing pretty well with the picks so far this year, but 1 thing I've been lacking is a right-on-the-money pick where I correctly hit the score on both ends.  I've been so close recently... 3 weeks ago, I had SF 30-21 over NO; the score was 31-21 SF.  2 weeks ago, I had DEN 31-24 over TB; the score was 31-23 DEN. This week, I had NYJ 17-9 over JAC; the score was 17-10 NYJ.  1 point off in a game 3 weeks in a row.

I've also had a bunch of other close calls in the past 3 weeks (Mia/Sea 19-16; score was 24-21 Mia, Cle/Pit 23-17; score was 20-14 Cle, Jac/Ten 21-20; score was 24-19 Jac, Chi/Min 28-13; score was 28-10 Chi, Sf/Mia 27-10; score was 27-13 Sf, Ind/Ten 23-19; score was 27-23 Ind, and Ne/Hou 41-17; score was 42-14 Ne).

I'm hoping this week I can hit one on the head... to the picks...

31 Cincinnati at Philadelphia 17
I was between a double-digit Cincy win or an Eagle win by the skin of their teeth.  This is a very similar dilemma I had in picking CLE @ SD in week 8.  That week, I went with a Cleveland win by 1 and I nailed it (they won 7-6; I predicted 17-16).  This week, I'm going with the double-digit win.  A.J Green gets back on track with a 100 yds and a score.

24 NY Giants at Atlanta 26
The Falcons struggled on the road in New York last year losing in the playoffs 24-2 to the G-Men.  After getting of to an early 2-0 lead via a safety, Atlanta was embarrassed by the Giants.  This playoff debacle only added to the critics voice that the Falcons can't win big games.  Matt Ryan has something to prove; he will have a big game at home in the dome.  With 6 minutes to go in the game, Matt Bryant will hit a 53 yd fg to put Atl down 24-23.  After a Giants drive that ends in a punt, Ryan will drive his team down the field leading to a Bryant 46 yarder as time expires.  Huge win for Atlanta and a huge loss for the Giants who enter this game only 1 game ahead in the NFC East.

17 Minnesota at St. Louis 23
Two very surprising teams going head to head here.  Before the season, I thought Minny was a doormat and St. Louis was a frisky 5 or 6 win team.  I did not take into account that Adrian Peterson was super-human and would recover from his injury this quickly and effectively.  Final statline: Adrian Peterson 29 carries, 171 yds, TD but the Rams get the win as Christian Ponder mails in another dud performance.

7 Jacksonville at Miami 17
Chad Henne and Montell Ernest (shares my middle name) Owens take their talents to South Beach  Although the relatively unknown running back scampered for 91 and a score last week, I think the solid Dolphins rush D stifles the former Maine Black Bear.  Pretty boring game here; I don't think the Jags ruin their chance at the #1 pick in Miami.

14 Green Bay at Chicago 20
Pack are on the upswing; Bears are free-falling.  With a win on Sunday, the Packers would clinch the NFC North, but I'm predicting a bit of a suprise.  With their backs against the wall, the Bears will respond with a fantastic defensive performance.  Too many people are going for GB right now; it just makes sense that Chicago will come back with a win.

17 Washington at Cleveland 19
Kirk Cousins is starting so I'm changing this prediction to a Browns win.  The Browns are on a frisky 3 game win streak but the Redskins need this one to stay in the playoff hunt.  Since RG3 can't go, I think the Browns will best the skins improving to 6-8.  This Cleveland 4 game win streak would not be a true reflection of the Browns, however.  They would have beat a Skins team without Griffin, Kansas City (awful), Oakland (also awful) and a Steeler team led by Charlie Batch (still awful).

20 Denver at Baltimore 24
Denver is 0-3 against elite teams this year (their best wins came vs PIT and @ CIN).  I expect the trend to continue as the Ravens get a win with Ray Lewis back on the field.  Lewis will inspire Baltimore with his play.  I predict Denver ends up with the #3 seed and the Ravens end up with the #4 though as Baltimore will lose 1 or 2 of their last 2 games and Denver faces CLE and KC at home (two easy wins for Peyton).

15 Indianapolis at Houston 34
The Texans get themselves back into the Superbowl conversation with a blow-out win vs division rival Indianapolis.  Up 31-7 in the mid 4th, Luck throws a TD and runs it in for the 2 PC.  Houston tacks on a fg as Schaub and crew roll to their 12th win.  A big day for Foster: 25 rush, 133 yds, 2 TD

30 Tampa Bay at New Orleans 27
The Muscle Hamster goes crazy in New Orleans leading Tampa Bay back to 500.  Brees and the Saints are out of the playoff hunt; I see them losing 2 of their last 3 ending at 6-10.

36 Detroit at Arizona 14
The Lions have played some good games in the past few weeks but they have been unable to finish the job.  They've lost 5 straight but Arizona has lost 9 straight.  The Cards mailed in one of the most pathetic performances in NFL history last week losing 58-0 to a superior Seahawks squad.  When asked who the starting quarterback will be in week 15, coach Ken Whisenhunt jokingly asked the reporter if he could suit up.

13 Carolina at San Diego 16
Coming off a 287 passing yd, 116 rush yd and 3 total TD afternoon, Cam is posied for a bad game on the road against an underrated Charger D.  It's also worth mentioning that I am in the semi-finals of my fantasy league and my opponent has Cam Newton starting this week.  I'm feeling a shaky game on both sides with the Chargers escaping by 3.

20 Seattle at Buffalo 21
After a 58-0 bashing of the lowly Cardinals, I expect Seattle to fly cross country to Buffalo and be upset.  The Seahawks will be up 20-14 early in the 4th quarter.  They will have controlled most of the game but Fitzpatrick will mount a game-winning drive in the final few minutes.  This performance may be enough to keep his job next year.  If not, I'm sure the Harvard alum could find a nice backup gig for next year.  As for the Seahawks, they would drop to 8-6 with this loss but I still think they will make the playoffs.

34 Pittsburgh at Dallas 27
At home against the woeful Chargers, Pitt got beat bad; they were down 27-3 at one point.  People expected Big Ben to cruise to victory upon returning from injury, but he played like someone who had been out of action for a few weeks.  I think Roethlisberger bounces back big-time in Dallas as Pitt needs this one to keep pace with the Bengals.  For the Cowboys, this loss would effectively end their season causing Dez Bryant to get the hand surgery he really needs.  He is playing through the injury because Dallas has a chance at the playoffs.  I think the 'boys get off to an early lead, end the first half up 20-10, but Romo throws a couple picks in the second half to seal the teams fate.  This will be a fun one to watch.

21 Kansas City at Oakland 24
To quote the great Lil Wayne, "I said Yuck."  My exact response upon seeing this game on the NFL agenda this week.  These teams have a combined 5 wins.  Atlanta has more double the amount of wins on their own and people don't even believe in them.  Although Brady Quinn has shown to be at least an above-average human being, he hasn't shown that he can be a top 40 QB in this league.  That was not a typo.  Carson Palmer, on the other hand, hasn't won a game since October 28th.  Since Halloween, the Raiders have been abysmal giving up at least 34 points in 4 of their 6 losses.  (20 and 26 points allowed, respectively, in other 2 losses).  I'm predicting an overtime affair that ends in Sebastian Janikowski nailing a 56 yarder.

24 San Francisco at New England 28
New England did exactly what I thought they would last week; they pounced on the previously one loss Texans.  Now, Colin Kaepernick and the niners come to town in round 2 of the Pats deathly home-stand.  I expect a close one but in the end I trust Brady over the young Kaepernick.  I predict a couple mistakes down the stretch by the inexperienced niners QB costs em.

20 NY Jets at Tennessee 10
And on Monday Night Football we have the much-worse-than-their-record-indicates 6-7 Jets in Nashville to face the just-as-bad-as-their-record-indicates 4-9 Titans.  I'm picking the Jets for a few reasons...
1) I'm a Jet fan and I'm rooting for them as they still have a shot at the playoffs.  Somehow.
2) The Titans seem like such a classic 4-12 team so they will probably lose their last 3
3) I want to see how John Gruden will go about effusively praising the Jets.  If the Jets have the game locked up, Gruden will start talking about how they're 7-7 and only 1 game back in the playoff hunt.  He will feel the dire need to effusively praise someone on the Jets and I would love see how it plays out when he musters the words "Sanchez" and "winner" in the same sentence.  Will Mike Tirico get fed up and blow up? Will Gruden, out of disgust for himself. quit on the spot once he realizes he's praising Mark Sanchez?  Will he then accept a head coaching job at a low D1 school because he already rejected the Tennessee job and had nowhere else to go? So many questions.

Last Week: 11-5
Season: 134-73-1

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Week 14 Predictions

34 Denver at Oakland 24
Oakland has not won since October 28th and Denver has not lost since October 7th.  After starting 2-3, Denver has now clinched the division sporting a 9-3 record.  There's no question in my mind that Peyton will go to work on the paltry Raider secondary and get the Broncos their 10th win.  Peyton's got his mind set on the #2 seed in the AFC.

20 St. Louis at Buffalo 16
Both of these teams have 5 wins, but the Rams are just a better squad.  I think the stout Rams D will shut down the potent two-headed rush attack of Fred Jackson and C.J Spiller as the Rams get their 2nd win on the road.

31 Dallas at Cincinnati 24
Cincy's been riding a 4 game win streak putting them in the wild-card hunt in the AFC.  Dallas is 6-6 coming off a home win against the Nick Foles' led Eagles.  At first, I predicted Cincy to win this one but upon hearing the news of the tragedy involving Cowboys defense players Josh Brent and Jerry Brown, I am switching my pick to Dallas.  In October of 2011, the Raiders defeated the Texans a day after their legendary owner Al Davis passed away.  I predicted Houston to win but after the game, I realized I overlooked the fact that the Raiders would ban together as a team following a tragedy.  I vowed I would not miss another one of those picks again.  This year, I haven't missed 1 of those games yet as I am 2/2 on those picks (IND over GB after Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and KC over CAR last week following the Jovan Belcher tragedy).  Dallas will ban together and win this one.

10 Kansas City at Cleveland 19
Despite their heavy-hearts, the Chiefs banded together to focus on beating Carolina at home last week.  Brady Quinn actually had a solid game, throwing for 201 yards and 2 scores.  Quinn transformed from a terrible QB into a competent one on Sunday, in fact, he continued his performance into his post-game press conference.  However, I believe Quinn will revert back to his old ways this week, throwing a couple picks and less than 200 yards in Cleveland.  The Browns are poised to capture their 3rd win in a row.  Woah.

19 Tennessee at Indianapolis 23
I don't know what I was thinking last week when I went against #ChuckStrong in my predictions.  I apologize to the entire Indianapolis Colts organization.  The Titans have no chance.  #ChuckStrong

17 Chicago at Minnesota 13
Two weeks ago, Minny got blown out in Chicago but this week I think they put up more of a fight.  Adrian Peterson is on a mission as he has amassed 1,446 rushing yds thus far.  You better believe he has 2,000 in his sights.  He needs to average 138.5 rush yds per game to accomplish the feat. The Cashier will get the ball early and often in this one, but I like Chicago to barley scrape away with the win.

13 Philadelphia at Tampa Bay 31
The last time the Eagles won a game, the MLB was still in session.  Regular season, not post-season. This decimated Eagles squad (physically and mentally) is going to get hammered in Tampa by a Bucs team that is hungry for a wild-card berth.

13 Baltimore at Washington 35
The Ravens are the worst 9-3 team I have ever seen.  They've won around 4 or 5 games this year they really shouldn't have.  Opponents of Baltimore this year just have a knack for giving away the game at the most opportune times.  RG3 is going to go to town on this Ravens D that is going to be without the great Ray Lewis once again.  Ray is not eligible to return until next week vs Denver.  Blow-out in the nation's capital.

24 Atlanta at Carolina 17
Several Panther players felt disrespected after cameras caught Matt Ryan yelling for Carolina to get off his field.  They are using this insignificant moment as fuel to motivate them to beat Atlanta.  Last time these squads met, Cam had the game locked up but could not secure a first down to secure the victory.  Carolina punted; Atlanta started the drive at their own 1.  Then Matty Ice connected with Roddy White for a 60 yard reception which led to a Matt Bryant field goal to win the game.  Simply put, Atlanta knows how to win games and Carolina knows how to give them away.

17 NY Jets at Jacksonville 9
Tim Tebow SHOULD be starting this one in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida but Rex Ryan is starting Mark Sanchez instead.  The Jets still believe they have a chance at the playoffs because they have not been officially mathematically eliminated yet.  They will throw the kitchen sink at Jacksonville and will come away with the victory in a low-scoring affair.  At this point, it's in the Jags favor to keep losing in order to secure the #1 pick in April.

13 San Diego at Pittsburgh 24
Big Ben will make a smooth transition back to the grid-iron with a double-digit win at Heinz.  San Diego is terrible; I don't understand how anyone can pick them right now.

10 Miami at San Francisco 27
I predicted this exact score for a niners win over the Rams last week.  Unfortunately, I wasn't close as the Rams eeked out a 16-13 win in overtime.  I'm keeping this score for the niners this week; Reggie Bush has not had 20 carries or 100 yards rushing in a game since Week 2 when he hit both of those marks.  Expect the trend to continue as the niners D puts up another spectacular performance against an AFC East team.  San Francisco has allowed a total of 3 points to their 2 AFC East opponents thus far (Jets-0 in week 4 and Bills-3 in week 5)

3 Arizona at Seattle 16
Russell Wilson hushed critics last week after a huge comeback win on the road in Chicago.  With John Skelton in their sights (2 TD, 5 INT this year) and Ryan Lindley backing up (0 TD, 5 INT this year) the Seahawks D is salivating over this matchup.  They are thinking shut-out but I'll give the Cards a gentlemen's 3 spot.

37 New Orleans at NY Giants 31
This game is pretty important for both teams.  The Giants are now only a game up on Washington and Dallas in the NFC East.  On the other side, the Saints need to run the table to have a chance at a wild card berth.  I think that with their backs against the wall, the Saints will rise to the occassion.  Look for a fast start the G-Men (up 14-0 mid-way through the 1st quarter) only to see Brees and Co come back and eventually steal the lead late in the third.  WHO DAT nation is not going down without a fight.  Expect a high scoring back and forth affair that will capture the attention of the nation from 4-7 sunday as the other two 4 o clock games stink.  Why are there only 3 4 o clock games?

21 Detroit at Green Bay 38
The Lions have lost 4 in a row now, the last 2 being heart-breaking losses.  On Thanksgiving Day, Detroit HAD the game and gave it away to Houston.  Last Sunday, Detroit had a two TD lead erased by the Colts.  Detroit was up 33-21 in that game with as little as 2 and a half minutes to go.  That's a Tebow-esque sort of comeback by Luck and crew.  This week, I expect Detroit to get blown out in Lambeau.  This would be the first game Detroit gets blown-out in all year.  They haven't lost by more than 10 points in any game this year, yet they have incurred 8 losses.  This is simply a case of a team that can't finish.  

17 Houston at New England 41
New England is gonna kill Houston on Monday Night causing people to hurl themselves off the Texan bandwagon.  I still love Houston as a Super Bowl contender but I feel a statement win by the Pats coming.  Just a gut feeling.

Last Week: 8-8
Season: 123-68-1