Each week Stefan Tornquist and Brooke Costello bet on the NFL.
It took a large load on Minny to save our bacon on Sunday, but at least bacon was saved. Picks-wise over the last two weeks, I went 25-15, and Brooke went 22-23, as always picking fewer teases and more games. Onward to victory.
Eagles at Giants (-7, 43.5)
ST: One of these weeks the Giants will relax I suppose and let us down in spread town. This ain’t the week. These teams don’t like each other and the Giants are such an all-round team that I like the G-men to cover, especially if you make it easy on them by teasing the points with the Ravens, my other ATS crush.
B: Justice dictates that the Giants will breeze through the playoffs and then play a highly overmatched foe that they beat in the regular season in the Super Bowl. That foe will be hyper focused and incredibly well prepared and pull off the most recent upset of the century. This team will probably be the Steelers. But until that February game the Giants will not lose a game that counts, which should mean that they start resting guys after the night game next week in Dallas, but through a quirk in the schedule the Gints play the NFC Central leading Vikes and the NFC South leading Panthers the last two weeks of the regular season. I don’t think anybody in the Gints organization wants to hand a future playoff foe a cheap win. All of this is a long winded way of saying take the Gints and the Under separately.
Falcons at NO (-3,51)
ST: Both of these teams are going to get their points. Nobody stops Breese cold and nobody gets stopped cold (or even just warm) by the NO defense. Take the Over straight and tease the Falcons with the Under (yeah, seriously).
B: I have a warm spot in my heart for the NFC South. The four teams have three Super Bowl appearances between them and only one win. NO had their fun run to the playoffs two years ago and this year it’s Atlanta’s turn. Enjoy Falc Fans it’s sort of your year. Falcs and the Over separately.
Minny at Lions (+9,45.5)
ST: Strangely enough, this might be the Lions’ best shot at a win. Upcoming games are at Indy, NO at home and the season ender in GB. Meanwhile Minny just beat the Bears and are headed to Arizona next week. It’s a trap game and…especially with the Vikes happy to have got the pharma twins back. All that said, it’s just too much fun to see the Lions playing at a historically bad pace. They did better than they should have in Minnesota a few weeks ago. I like the blowout this time. Stay away from the points and just ride AP to victory. Tease it if you must.
B: By next year I will have some hard data dealing with extra time between games and what that means for a teams chance at victory. These stats will include bye weeks and Thursday games. I will also pay very close attention to games involving teams with extra time off against teams on short weeks. Detroit played on Thursday, and that should work to their advantage, but the Lions are 0-12 and a lot of that has to do with coaching and by that logic more time off means more time for the coaches to mess things up. Minny ATS.
Browns at Titans (-13.5, 37.5)
ST: The Titans ain’t beating anybody by 19.5 points (Detroit doesn’t count as anybody), that’s just not their thing. Give the Browns and the Under six apiece or mix the Browns with the Ravens.
B: The Browns are starting Ken Dorsey at QB and Josh Cribbs is his back up. We may see the option offense not as a gimmick but as a necessity before this game is done. Load me up! Titans and the Over tease and the Titans ATS.
Fins at Bills (-1, 42.5)
ST: I’m afraid that after last week, I’ve got to go with Miami. They’re mediocre, but consistently so. The Bills would happily serve up the proverbial sinister nut to be consistently mediocre. Sure, Toronto will amount to playing at home for the Bills, but I think the Fins are pretty happy with the weather forecast. Oh, Miami.
B: Bills fans are hoping for the following palindrome to finish writing itself (4114114). I’ll decipher now: 4 wins 1 loss 1 win 4 losses 1 win 1 loss 4 wins. The only part of this phrase that has yet etched into the stone tablets of NFL history is the 4 wins at the end. A further reason for Bills fans to hope for mirrors is 3 of the last 4 games are against AFC East foes. The Bills were swept 0-3 by the Pats, Mia, and NYJ and how sweet would it be to return the favor. Will it happen? Hmm, probably not, but I do think we beat the Fish. Bills and the Under separately.
Cowboys at Steelers (-3, 40)
This ought to be fun. This is a must win for the Cowboys, who will be bringing the heat on the leaning tower of Pittsburgh and going at that D full steam. Because my previous mild dislike for the Steelers has been blown into a red hot loathing by their mauling of my Pats, I’d take this with a grain of salt, but I like Dallas ATS. I also like a tease of the Over with the Boys, pending a weather report.
B: Keeping on with the theme of symmetry, can you think of two players who are more perfectly different than Troy Polamalu and TO? I do not claim to know Troy but from what I can gather about his character from the games I have seen him play in I feel he is just dying to put a licking on 81, and that the whole Pitt D will be working extra hard to keep him out of the end-zone and to protect the children and women of Pittsburg from witnessing any of his celebratory antics. Give me the Steelers ATS and I like the over as a TO hedge.
Skins at Ravens (-5, 35.5)
ST: This week, my heart bleeds purple. The Skins are fading while the Ravens are reveling in having an offense for the first time since ever. Love the Ravens. Love the tease of the Ravens and the Over in case it’s a game (17-14 gets you there).
B: Baltimore has Pitt at home next week, and that game should wrap up the AFC Central title for one of those two teams. It is possible that the Ravens will be looking ahead, but the great thing about Washington is they score points so slowly (43 total in their last 4 games) that even if the ravens are looking away for a half they should still be able to come back and cover. Balt ATS.
Bucs at Panthers (-3,38)
Let’s say the Panthers score 27 points more than they did last time these two played, while the Bucs score stays the same. That’s a push. I’ll take the Bucs, who allowed under 50 yards rushing and kept Drew Brees in check last week. Jake Delholme is no Drew Brees. Bucs and if you like, Bucs teased with the Over.
B: Stats can lie, but some stats tell such a stark tale that to ignore them is folly. The NFC South is a combined 21-2 at home this year. Atlanta may squeak one out in NO but by the end of this week’s games the division will be 22-3 at home. Panthers and Panthers and the Over as a tease.
Bengals at Colts (-13.5, 41.5)
ST: T Bengals/Under
B: Indy ATS
Tex at GB (-6,47)
ST: T of GB/Over
Jags at Chicago (-6.5,40)
ST: Chicago, Under
B: Chicago, Under
Jets at 49ers (+4, 44.5)
B: Niners, Tease Niners w/ Under
Pats at Seahawks (+5, 43)
ST: T of Pats/Over
B: Pats, Over
Chiefs at Broncos (-9,48.5)
ST: T of Broncos/Under
Rams at Cards (-14, 48.5)
ST: T of Cards/Under