Tagged with "Picks & Predictions"
NFL Week 2
Category: NFL
Tags: NFL Picks & Predictions

Good start to the season, odds are provided by bodog.net and are provided for comparison and entertainment purposes only. Im so broke I cant pay attention (look squirrel!) So if you bet the lines and lose, its on you.


 Thursday September 11th (We shall never forget…)

Steelers (1-0) @ Ravens (0-1)

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore 8:25 (CBS/NFLN)

Favorite Ravens by 3

Last Week Steelers defeated Browns 30-27, Ravens lost to Bengals 23-16

Fast Fact 9 of the last 10 meetings have been decided by three or fewer points

The Steelers lit out to a big lead and nearly gave it all away but hung on to beat the Browns, meanwhile the Ravens are a team in turmoil after the sorry mess that is the whole Ray Rice affair. Their punchless offense which was already hampered by the absence of the now disgraced running back is now trying to figure out how to keep the pressure of an already heavily beleaguered Joe Flacco. Bernard Pierce had a bad case of the dropsies and Justin Forsett really isn’t a long term answer. The Steelers aren’t a juggernaut but they are methodical and a rowdy home crowd might help the Ravens keep it close but they will not be able to keep pace



Sunday September 14

Patriots (0-1) @ Vikings (1-0)

TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Patriots by 3

Last Week Patriots lost to Dolphins 30-23, Vikings defeated

Fast Fact This is the Vikings first outdoor home September game since 1981, as they play the next two seasons at the home stadium of the University Of Minnesota while their new stadium is built on the old Metrodome Site.

The Patriots ran out of gas in the heat of South Florida, with Tom Brady taking an uncharacteristic beating by a withering Dolphins pass rush. Meanwhile the Vikings romped and stomped in St. Louis running roughshod on a Rams defense that was supposed to be a tough. The Patriots need to get their offensive line woes together and fast since keeping Brady upright and hale is paramount to their overall success. The Vikings seem to be developing a decent secondary offense behind the dynamic running of Adrian Peterson. Will another hostile crowd and Vikings pass rush be enough to wear the Pats down? I want badly to pick the Vikings for an upset, but logic tells me different…I just…aww what the heck…



Dolphins (1-0) @ Bills (1-0)

Ralph Wilson Stadium; Orchard Park, NY 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Dolphins by 1

Last Week Dolphins defeated Patriots 30-23, Bears

Fast Fact After giving up league high 93 sacks of QB Ryan Tannehill in 2013, the Dolphins offensive allowed only one sack against the Pats last week

Both teams are coming off stunning upset wins in week 1. The Bills and Dolphins utilized strong running games to secure their respective victories and get off to unexpected fast starts. Both teams used strong defensive rushes as well to keep the opposition signal caller on the run, this looks to be a tight taut defensive game, but I just don’t trust EJ Manuel yet as someone that can consistently produce wins, though he had a nice completion percentage in the win over the Bears. But I don’t trust Tannehill either. This is a tough one to pick, I think that the Dolphins run game and defense is slightly better.



Jaguars (0-1) @ Washington (0-1)

Fed Ex Field; Landover, MD 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Washington by 6

Last Week Jaguars lost to Eagles 34-17, Washington lost to Texans 17-6

Fast Fact Washington is mired in its longest losing streak since a 17 game skid covering the 1960 & 1961 seasons but have yet to ever lose to the Jaguars at home

These two teams continue their intraconference sked and both took fairly big losses. The Jags have had at least an offensive spark though their defense was worn down by the Eagles fast breaking offense. Washington is just a mess, their defense was passable but their offense seems to be mired in a bad slump and lack direction.  RGII seems to be regressing badly and the lack of punch in the running game is further hampering the offense. That being said I still think it a stretch to give the Jags the edge here. I’m likely going to regret this but…



Cowboys (0-1) @ Titans (1-0)

LP Field, Nashville 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Titans by 3½

Last Week Cowboys lost to 49ers 28-17, Titans defeated Chiefs 26-10

Fast Fact The Titans held the ball 37:44 against the Chiefs last week their highest time of possession in five years

Everyone was concerned about the Pokes defense, it turned out that was the least of their worries. Tony Romo looked absolutely horrid against the 49ers throwing like he had no clue and forcing the ball like a scared backup. It just seems wrong to pile on Romo at this point, but facing a ball hawking defense like the Titans is a bit unfair right now. The Titans methodically took apart the Chiefs in Arrowhead and if they can dominate time of possession like they did last week, Jason Garrett won’t have to worry about Romo throwing a bevy of picks if they aren’t on the field



Cardinals (1-0) @ Giants (0-1)

MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Cardinals by 1½

Last Week Cardinals defeated the Chargers 18-17, Giants lost to Lions 35-14

Fast Fact Giants have won three of the last four meetings, with the only loss being in Gotham in 2009

The G-Men looked bad on both sides of the ball in Motown last Monday, offensively inept and defensively clueless. Eli Manning looks like he would rather be somewhere other than a football field and when not dodging pass rushers is picking himself off the ground. The Cards rallied smartly to win the late Monday game and finally put their offense together to score twice late. Most of the time I’m not going to pick a western team going east in an early game especially off a Monday game. But the G-Men are a mess and the Cards defense even missing John Abraham will be formidable and give Eli more problems.



Saints (0-1) @ Browns (0-1)

FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Saints by 7

Last Week Saints lost to Falcons 37-34 in overtime, Browns lost to Steelers 30-27

Fast Fact The Browns have won 12 of 16 in the series but the Saints have won 2 of the last 3 meetings.

Both teams are coming off 3 point losses but they feel different, the Saints lost a surprising shootout with the Falcons in the ATL while the Browns fought back gamely from 24 down in Pittsburgh but fell late. The Saints will produce the points and offense and against a Browns defense that can be had you should see it. If the Browns fall behind again like they did against the Steelers, the Saints won’t let them off the mat and we might hear the Johnny Football catcalls in force from the home crowd.

Pick-New Orleans


Falcons (1-0) @ Bengals (1-0)

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Bengals by 5

Last Week Falcons defeated Saints 37-34 in overtime, Bengals defeated Ravens 23-16

Fast Fact Bengals have won 9 of their last 11 meetings with NFC opponents but have lost their last three meetings with the Falcons

The Falcons were off and winging with a shootout win against the Saints while the Bengals weebled wobbled but didn’t fall down against the Ravens. I still don’t trust the Falcons defense, but their offense has seemed to rebound to their halcyon days. The Bengals offense looks fairly crisp but has had trouble finishing drives off, if they can correct that it could be 28 point per game offense. This game looks like it could be a shootout with a pair of decent offenses but I like the Bengals better balance on both sides of the ball to win another close one



Lions (1-0) @ Panthers (1-0)

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Panthers by 3

Last Week Lions defeated Giants 35-14, Panthers defeated

Fast Fact Panthers have won the last three meetings in Charlotte

The Lions came out smoking on Monday night, and just destroyed the G-Men. The Panthers got a solid performance from Derek Anderson (Is he still in this league?) to beat the Bucs on the road. Though the Lions lit up the scoreboard their lack of a running game is troubling. I’m just not real sold on Carolina without Cam Newton, even as they beat the Bucs on the road. Another toss up game, I should know better than to trust the Lions like I do…



Rams (0-1) @ Buccaneers (0-1)

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa 4:05 (FOX)

Favorite Buccaneers by 7

Last Week Rams lost to Vikings 34-6, Buccaneers lost to Panthers 20-14

Fast Fact The Rams have won 5 of the last seven meetings

The Rams got housed by the Vikings and their QB situation got even murkier when Shaun Hill was ineffective in the first half. The Bucs held their own but with lackluster and borderline non-existent running game just couldn’t get it together. I think the Rams are a lot worse off than the wonks want to let on. With no offensive punch at QB they suddenly put their capable defense in for a lot more work

Pick-Tampa Bay


Seahawks (1-0) @ Chargers (0-1)

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego 4:05 (FOX)

Favorite Seahawks by 6 ½

Last Week Seahawks defeated Packers 36-16, Chargers lost to Cardinals 18-17

Fast Fact Four of the last five meetings were decided by a field goal

The Seahawks looked all the part of the defending champs with an opening night drubbing of the Pack before a deliriously happy home crowd. Meanwhile the Chargers looked decent for three quarters and then came apart in the rainy desert on Monday. Despite being at home I have a hard time trusting the Chargers anywhere past Philip Rivers and facing the Legion of Boom is not a fun task. I do suspect that Richard Sherman will get more work than he did in week 1.



Texans (1-0) @ Raiders (0-1)

O.co Coliseum, Oakland 4:25 (CBS)

Favorite Texans by 3

Last Week Texans defeated Washington 17-6, Raiders lost to Jets 19-14

Fast Fact Something has to give, the Texans have lost 7 straight road games and the Raiders have lost their last four home games.

The Texans looked a bit ragged but were finally on the positive side of the scoreboard for the first time in almost a year, meanwhile aint nuttin changed with the Raiders. They look lost and without a clear direction on either side of the ball. I think the Texans are a lot better than they were last year when Matt Schaub’s inept play seemed to drag down the whole team. But I think the Raiders are just hopeless, and until they show any kind of direction I won’t make too many picks for them.



NY Jets (1-0) @ Packers (0-1)

Lambeau Field, Green Bay 4:25 (CBS)

Favorite Packers by 9½

Last Week Jets defeated Raiders 19-14, Packers lost to Seahawks 36-16

Fast Fact Is it too early for a must win for the Pack? The last nine times that they lost their opener, the result of their 2nd game ultimately decided if they made the postseason.

The Pack got smashed in the season opener and now need to bounce back, the Jets are feeling froggy after winning a sluggish but effective win over the Raiders in Gotham but this is a bit higher than the pay grade that they are used to. The Pack return to their home confines upset and slightly embarrassed and there is nothing that the grinning jeering Rex Ryan will be able to do about it other than watch the Packers chase his young QB around and Aaron Rodgers abuse their weak secondary.

Pick-Green Bay


Chiefs (0-1) @ Broncos (1-0)

Sports Authority Field @ Mile High, Denver 4:25 (CBS)

Favorite Broncos by 13

Last Week Chiefs lost to Titans 26-10, Broncos defeated Colts 31-24

Fast Fact Peyton Manning has yet to lose to the Chiefs as Broncos QB

-Blurb This has all the makings of a grave mismatch, the Broncos came out firing on all cylinders as the raced out to a big lead against the Colts and held on tight to secure the win, meanwhile the Chiefs got poleaxed at home by a Titans squad who just didn’t seem intimidated by the Chiefs or their noisy home crowd. Manning is just on another level and seems to have not had any lingering effects from the Super Blowout from last February. I’m just not confident in the Chiefs ability to slow the Broncos offense. This game could get really ugly.

Pick-Denver (lock of the week)


Bears (0-1) @ 49ers (1-0)

Levi’s Stadium; Santa Clara, CA 8:30 (NBC)

Favorite 49ers by 7

Last Week Bears lost to Bills 23-20, 49ers defeated Cowboys 28-17

Fast Fact Levi’s Stadium the newest NFL venue forty miles south of their old home but right across the street from their team headquarters

The Bears took a stunning loss from the Bills who proved to be less than the pushover that they thought they would be. The Niners were the welcome recipient of the ineptitude of the Pokes and now open their new palatial park before a national primetime stage. The Niners while not looking exceptionally crisp looked better than the Bears who seemed diffident and bored waiting to turn it on and puzzled when it didn’t happen. I’m tired of excusing the lackadaisical play of Jay Cutler who is starting to fall to the scorn level I reserve for Tony Romo. I think the dogged pass rush of the Niners will give Cutler problems and they christen their new home nicely.



Monday September 12


Eagles (1-0) @ Colts (0-1)

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis 8:30 (ESPN)

Favorite Colts by 3

Last Week Eagles defeated Jaguars 34-17, Colts lost to Broncos 31-24

Fast Fact The Eagles are gunning for only their 3rd 2-0 start in 16 seasons while the Colts are trying to avoid only their 3rd 0-2 start in the same time frame

The weeks final game is a doozy, the Eagles looked ragged in the first half of their game against the Jags, but got off the mat and roared back for the win. The Colts spotted the Broncos a huge lead and nearly got it all back when their last drive fell short. The Eagles are such a headache to prepare for offensively but you have the feeling that the Andrew Luck can pilot the Colts to enough points to keep up. It’s a tough game to call, when in doubt go with the home team.



Last Week & Overall: 11-5 (Lock correct, Upset Incorrect)

Locks: 1-0

Upset: 0-1



NFL Week 1 (The Whole Thing!)
Category: NFL
Tags: NFL Picks & Predictions



Football nation Represent!!!                         The Hoodwood Citizens weep tears of joy....Bandits football picks are back!!!



Football is back! I know that preseason and college games have been floating around for the last month or so but until the NFL kicks off, it doesn’t feel like football season. The NFL gears up for it 95th season and its 49th journey to the Super Bowl. This time the roads are headed to the desert as the University of Phoenix Stadium is the goal for the 32 teams in the NFL and a shot a hoisting the most treasured trophy in pro football the Vince Lombardi Trophy. But that’s 5 months, 256 regular season and 10 playoff games down the road and is right now a mere speck on the horizon. So for the umpteenth season, I bring you my NFL picks, each game will have the specifics on where and when the game as well as a fast fact and my take on who will win.  Also included is the favorite which will be provided by a variety of sources. These lines are provided strictly for entertainment and comparison purposes, if you bet the lines provided and get hosed that’s your problem to deal with. I don’t pay bookies and don’t provide housing for those that get booted from their domicile because of betting losses. That said in the words of the classic from MC Hammer and echoed by the Black Eyed Peas:  “Let’s Get It Started!”


Week 1 (Final 2013 Regular Season Record)

Thursday September 4th

Packers (8-7-1) @ Seahawks (13-3)

CenturyLink Field, Seattle 8:30 (NBC)

Favorite Seahawks by 6

Fast Fact This marks the 11th time that the defending Super Bowl Champion will kick off the season, defending champs are 8-2 in the kickoff game.

The Champs lead the season off, and by and large return the same ball hawking, rough house big play defense that carried them to their first ever Super Bowl title. They get a true opening test with the high powered Pack offense fronted by perennial MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers. The defense and the ear-splitting, brain rattling noise provided by the perpetually delirious Seahawk fan base at CenturyLink Field is worth at least a 4 point swing. I’m seeing a taut tight game that may come down to a late defensive stand by the home team. It’s so hard to bank against the champs in their crib



Sunday September 7

Saints (11-5) @ Falcons (4-12)

Georgia Dome, Atlanta 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Saints by 3

Fast Fact Saints QB Drew Brees is the first QB to have multiple 5000 yard passing seasons

The Saints head into the Dirty Dirty to tangle with a team that has developed a chippy rivalry with. Both teams have the offensive punch to make this a high scoring slugfest, powered by big name QB’s in Drew “Cool” Brees and Matt “Ice” Ryan” but the Saints have the better defense and that should be the difference here. 

Pick-New Orleans


Bengals (11-5) @ Ravens (8-8)

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Ravens by 1½

Fast Fact The Bengals have lost in their last four visits to Baltimore

The Bengals are a team that many think are the chic pick to repeat as divisional champs and make an unprecedented 4th straight playoff berth. The Ravens are not the fearsome bird that they were 2 short years ago. The Bengals have a crisp efficient offense that the aging Ravens defense may have a hard time slowing down if not stopping.  As much as I want to fall back into the easy cliché saying the Bengals will fall flat in the face of high expectations. I can’t see it here, even on the road.  Though I’ll likely regret this but…



Bills (6-10) @ Bears (8-8)

Soldier Field, Chicago 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Bears by 7

Fast Fact The Bills have never won in Chicago (0-5)

The Bears are another team that are facing high expectations. Like the aforementioned Bengals, they have a high powered offense that can score points and have a pair of dynamic receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. If Jay Cutler can show half a pulse and stay healthy this team will win a bunch of games. The Bills are just so disorganized it’s a shame, since they have a lot of decent pieces. The Bears are the better squad and are a tough draw at home.



Titans (7-9) @ Chiefs (11-5)

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Chiefs by 4

Fast Fact The Chiefs were tied for the fewest points allowed in the AFC in 2013 (305-T1 with Bengals)

The Titans have more than a few question marks on both sides of the ball and that’s not a good prospect heading into madhouse in Arrowhead. The Chiefs have a dynamic running game with Jamaal Charles and a rock solid defense that is stingy on points allowed. Both QB’s have a ton of pressure on them, The Titans Jake Locker need to step up to the high draft status, while Alex Smith of the Chiefs needs to prove his worth in that huge contract he just signed. I have a hard time betting against the Chiefs at their crib. But this game will be closer than many think

Pick-Kansas City


Jaguars (4-12) @ Eagles (10-6)

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Eagles by 10

Fast Fact Eagles RB Shady McCoy set Eagles records with 1607 rushing yards and 2146 yards from scrimmage in 2013

The Jags showed a lot of growth down the stretch and Blake Bortles will push incumbent starter Chad Henne hard from the start. Henne gets no break to start the season heading into Philly and being forced to keep up with the Eagles fast breaking high octane offense. The Jags defense is young and inexperienced, a noxious combo on the road against a veteran team like the Eagles. Add to boot that Henne pilots a young offense himself and this game could get ugly fast.

Pick-Philadelphia (Lock of the Week)


Patriots (12-4) @ Dolphins (8-8)

SunLife Stadium; Miami Gardens, FL 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Patriots by 5½

Fast Fact Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill was sacked an NFL high 58 times in 2013

Long time and often bitter divisional rivals tangle in this matchup; Tom Brady keeps chugging along as a grizzled vet and leads an efficient cagey offense. The Dolphins are a tough team to get a read on, having survived the Martin-Incognito fiasco of a year ago, the Dolphins looked look to break even last year. Bolstered by new RB Knowshon Moreno the Dolphins are trying (again) to present a balanced offense. Though they show lots of promise, I don’t trust the Dolphins inconsistencies on both sides of the ball.

Pick-New England


Vikings (5-10-1) @ Rams (7-9)

Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Rams by 4

Fast Fact Vikings defense allowed an NFL worst 37 touchdown passes in 2013

The Vikings look like a team that has more confidence that it should expect, Matt Cassel is simply keeping the starters seat warm for Teddy Bridgewater. The running game is still top notch, but if the passing game doesn’t do its share it’ll be more 8 and 9 man fronts facing the All-Pro RB Adrian Peterson. The Rams have a decent defense but their offense, suspect at best with Sam Bradford is highly questionable under journeyman Shaun Hill. This isn’t an upset in the classic sense but the Rams are the home team and the Vikings are supposed to be a doormat



Raiders (4-12) @ NY Jets (8-8)

MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Jets by 5½

Fast Fact Jets WR Jeremy Kerley led the team in 2013 with 43 catches the fewest for any team leader since 2009

The Raiders are a hot mess; Matt Schaub was brought into be a veteran QB at the helm, but couldn’t even supplant Derek Carr as the starter. The grinning jeering Rex Ryan isn’t full of boasts yet, but he has a defense that is fairly decent. If the offense can hold its own they could win their fair share of games. My theory on west coast teams flying east for early games got disproved a few times last year, but I’m banking that the Raiders will hold to form. The Jets are better on both sides of the ball and will give Carr a rude welcome as an NFL starter.                                                       

Pick-New York Jets


Browns (4-12) @ Steelers (8-8)

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Steelers by 6½

Fast Fact Brian Hoyer is the 11th opening day starter at QB for the Browns since their 1999 return to the NFL

Brian Hoyer is in a bad spot, having earned the starting QB job he will have to look over his shoulder constantly as the media and some of the Browns faithful pine for Johnny Manziel. The Steelers aren’t the scary bunch of yesteryear defensively but they are still better than the Browns. Lacking a home run threat like Josh Gordon, the Browns will struggle on offense and though the Steelers offense is mediocre at best they still have enough to grind over the Browns capable defense that will be too tired late from being on the field too much                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



Washington (3-13) @ Texans (2-14)

Reliant Stadium, Houston 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Texans by 3

Fast Fact The Texans 14 game losing streak is the NFL’s longest current skid

*I will refer to the Washington football club by locale only

A pair of 2012 playoff teams that were mammoth disappointments in 2013 square off in the last of the early games. Washington has so many questions in their offenses game plan and their defense is atrocious. Houston was an offense that could have been so much better but was derailed by the implosion of Matt Schaub. Will Ryan Mallett be the answer? He’ll have a fairly soft start, against Washington butter booty soft defense. I think the Texans may get off to another good start of the season, now after the season turns from summer to fall…



Panthers (12-4) @ Buccaneers (4-12)

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa 4:25 (FOX)

Favorite Buccaneers by 2

Fast Fact New Bucs QB Josh McCown posted an impressive QB rating on 108.2 in his 5 starts in 2013

The Panthers were the surprise team last year as Cam Newton had a breakout season, while the Bucs imploded under the inept coaching of Greg Schiano. I see both these teams getting closer to the collective middle, Newton while capable has lost a solid safety blanket in Steve Smith while the Bucs have shown real growth under the guidance of new coach Lovie Smith. While still wildly unsettled at the QB position and the regression of RB Doug Martin, I still like that defense. Something just tells me that this is an upset waiting to happen

Pick-Tampa Bay (Upset of the week)


49ers (12-4) @ Cowboys (8-8)

AT&T Stadium; Arlington, TX 4:25 (FOX)

Favorite 49ers by 5

Fast Fact The Cowboys allowed 415.3 yards per game in 2013, the third worst figure since the 1970 merger

An old school rivalry is the other late afternoon game; the Niners are a team in a spot of turmoil with a couple players facing discipline issues. The Pokes are their usual middling self, a high powered offense weighed down by a porous defense that is further weakened by the loss of Sean Lee and the defection of DeMarcus Ware. While the Niners may not be a 12 win team again this year, I still think that they are better on both sides of the ball. Pokes coach Jason Garrett’s seat gets even warmer with every passing loss.

Pick-San Francisco


Colts (11-5) @ Broncos (13-3)

Sports Authority Field @ Mile High, Denver 8:30 (NBC)

Favorite Broncos by 7½

Fast Fact The Colts have won the last 6 meetings

The initial Sunday nighter is a doozy. The Colts were one of 4 teams last year to handle to high powered Broncos, but the rematch is in the thin air and ear-splitting expanse of Mile High and the Broncos are just about untouchable at home nowadays. In spite of the stunning loss of Wes Welker to a drug suspension, Peyton Manning still has an arsenal of offensive weapons. Andrew Luck is a highly capable signal caller, but I can’t go against the Broncos at home.




Monday September 8


NY Giants (7-9) @ Lions (7-9)

Ford Field, Detroit 7:10 (ESPN)

Favorite Lions by 5

Fast Fact The Giants have yet to lose at Ford Field, beating the Lions in 2007 and 2013, and beating the Vikings there in a rescheduled, relocated game in 2010.

A pair of disappointing teams from last year square off in the Monday opener, the Lions are a highly talented if undisciplined squad who could be so much better if they had their collective minds right. While the G-Men are a quickly aging crew that are creaking and groaning with each step. The Lions have the tools and talent and I just like their overall makeup. The Giants will find a way to stay in this game, but I feel like Eli Manning will find a way to mess it up.



Chargers (9-7) @ Cardinals (10-6)

University of Phoenix Stadium; Glendale, AZ 10:20 (ESPN)

Favorite Cardinals by 3

Fast Fact The Cardinals are coming off just their 2nd 10 win seasons in their 26 in Arizona (1998)

I’ve long be on the record saying that I love the Monday Night doubleheaders and think that these not the Thursday night games should be the standard. The late Monday game is an intriguing one as the Chargers who were a surprise playoff team take on a Cardinals squad who were left home watching despite a 10 win season. Will Carson Palmer continue to play the role of grizzled mature vet or will he regress to the wounded duck, pick magnet that made him the bane of fan bases in Cincy and Oakland. The Chargers defense is sneaky good and can play the role well. I’m gambling that a rowdy home crowd that doesn’t get the primetime love that they should (they don’t play in primetime again till December) will be the difference here in a tight well-played game



Last Year: Overall: 163-90-1

Locks 16-1

Upsets: 10-7

Musings From The Hoodwood 9-2 NFL Preview Pt.4
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL Picks & Predictions

Greetings from the Hoodwood where though football season is getting ready to start, your humble scribe is not ready to let the summer go.

The final part of the NFL preview heads west where the defending conference and Super Bowl Champs reside

AFC West

Denver Broncos

2013: 12-4 AFC Champs lost to Seattle in Super Bowl 48

Coach: John Fox 34-14 in 3 Seasons with Denver, 107-85 in 12 Seasons with Carolina & Denver; 115-91 overall

Man on the Hot Seat: Montee Ball, with the departure of Knowshon Moreno the onus will be on Ball to take more of the offensive load to keep defenses honest and away from Peyton Manning

Fast Facts: Broncos 606 points set an NFL record, no team has scored over 525 points in a season and won a Super Bowl (0-4)

Mile High Football: The Broncos were just about the most feared juggernaut in the NFL until they got hammer locked by the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Manning is back as the front man of the prolific offense and the defense is capable at slow opposing offenses enough to make keeping up a nightmare. Though the Broncos are in a division that had three playoff squads, the west is still suspect enough where the Broncos are still head of the class here, a repeat of the 13 win season is not a longshot.

Kansas City Chiefs

2013: 11-5, Lost to Indianapolis in Wild Card Round

Coach: Andy Reid 11-5 in 1 season with Kansas City, 141-98-1 in 15 seasons in Philadelphia and Kansas City, 151-108-1 overall

Man on the Hot Seat: Alex Smith, he now has a big money contract and unquestioned starter status but he needs to win ASAP

Fast Facts: The Chiefs 9 game turnaround was the biggest in the NFL last year

Arrowhead Madness: Reid turned the Chiefs around and fast, the problem is that team 610 miles to the west is still just as tough. With a solid running game and impeccable defense, the Chiefs are still a team to reckon with but I cant put them ahead of the Broncos


San Diego Chargers

2013: 9-7, lost to Denver in Divisional Round

Coach: Mike McCoy 9-7 in 1 Season in San Diego, 10-8 overall

Man on the Hot Seat: Ryan Mathews, he needs to have a better season to keep the full defensive pressure off Philip Rivers

Super Charged Football: A late run and stunning playoff upset was the highlight of this teams 2013 season, but I really cant see the Chargers putting the moves on another playoff run. Im just not really sold on Philip Rivers and that defense is way too skittish to count on.

Oakland Raiders

2013: 4-12 Missed playoffs

Coach: Dennis Allen  8-24 overall in 2 seasons with Oakland

Man on the Hot Seat: Allen, Another 4-12 season won’t fly especially with the Niners dominating the talk just across the Bay

Fast Facts: The Raiders have had 11 straight losing seasons

East Bay Football: The Raiders are a shell of their once formidable selves. Its hard to climb over three tough teams when they have no plan of attack. 5 wins will be a tough task for them.


NFC West

Seattle Seahawks

2013: 13-3, Defeated Denver to win Super Bowl 48

Coach: Pete Carroll 38-26 in 4 seasons with Seattle, 71-57 in 8 seasons in Seattle, New England and New York. 77-61 overall.

Man on the Hot Seat: Russell Wilson, yeah hes a Super Bowl winning QB. The trick now is repeating.

Fast Facts: Seahawks CB Richard Sherman is not only the latest Madden cover boy, he’s also on the Time 100 most influential list.

The Champions defense: The defending champs have all the pieces back including the locqaucious Sherman and the famously laconic Marshawn Lynch. The pieces are there but the schedule is brutal with 3 separate east coast trips, and a November-December run that has both their divisional games with Arizona and San Fran sandwiched around a tough trip to Arrowhead. Can they win 13 again? Maybe not, but they will still be a tough team to deal with

Arizona Cardnials

2013: 10-6 missed playoffs

Coach: Bruce Arians; 10-6 in 1 seasons in Arizona, also 10-3 as interim coach in Indianapolis in 2012

Man on the Hot Seat: Carson Palmer, he needs to have a big season to take the Cards to the next level

Fast Fact: 2013 was the first time that the Cardinals had ever won 10 games and missed the playoffs.

Desert Football: The Cards were the best team in the NFL that stayed home in January, and even though that will be missing a key cog in their defense in losing Darnell Dockett to a devastating knee injury, but the defense is still one of the best that you likely know nothing about. If Palmer can keep from being his usual brain lock self, the Cards could be a real sleeper team.

San Francisco 49ers

2013: 12-4, lost to Seattle in NFC championship

Coach: Jim Harbaugh 36-11-1 in 3 seasons with San Francisco, 41-14-1 overall

Man on the Hot Seat: Frank Gore, the Niners solid RB will be asked to shoulder more of the load of the offense as they try to be more run oriented

Fast Facts: Harbaugh’s 31 wins in his first three seasons are second to George Seifert in the same span 

Football by the bay: The Niners move into new digs but have a litany of problems that have descended on them, they will be missing Aldon Smith for nine games, Navarro Bowman is out and Ray McDonald could be facing a suspension of his own. All this puts more an onus on Patrick Willis and that may be too tough to overcome. I think this is the team that takes the step back.


St. Louis Rams

2013: 7-9, missed playoffs

Coach Jeff Fisher, 14-17-1 in 2 seasons with St. Louis, 156-137-1 in 19 seasons with Houston (Oilers), Tennessee and St. Louis. 161-143-1 overall

Man on the Hot Seat: Kellen Clemens, with the injury to Sam Bradford Clemens will be looked to be the leader of the offense

Fast Fact: Fischer is the most tenured coach in the NFL, having coached 19 seasons (only missing 2011 season)

Football under the arch: The Rams have a solid defense but a hampered offense could spell another bottom finish.

NFL Picks will start being posted on Thursday

Ill add more as the day goes. Until next post fellow sports fans…



Conference Championship Picks
Category: NFL
Tags: NFL Picks & Predictions

And then there were four. The NFL does what it can to gussy up what are essentially the league semifinals and call them Championship games but you better best believe that the players who come out with the win won't be as happy with this trophy being their only postseason hardware. But to get to Jersey you have to win on Championship weekend. The odds are provided by ESPN Scorecenter for comparison and entertainment purposes only. If you have to ask why by this juncture, you really don't need to be bothered with the odds.


Sunday, January 19


#2 New England Patriots (13-4, AFC East Champions) @#1 Denver Broncos (14-3, AFC West Champions)

Sports Authority Field @ Mile High, Denver 3:00 (CBS)

Favorite Broncos by 6

How they got here: Both Teams earned 1st round byes. Broncos defeated #6 seed Chargers 24-17, Patriots defeated #4 Seed Colts 43-22 in Divisional Round

Previous Playoff Meetings: This is the 4th meeting between the teams in the postseason with the Patriots beating the Broncos 45-10 in the 2010 Divisional round

Fast Facts: Home team has won each playoff meeting NE: Tom Brady starting his first road playoff game since 2006 AFC Championship game which was a loss to the Colts led by Peyton Manning DEN: Peyton Manning is 6-11 against Bill Belichick 2nd worst win percentage against one coach

With all the talk about the future hall of famers set to square off in another high stakes duel, the key to this game may very well be which team can establish its run game. New England pounded the Colts into submission with a devastating ground game that scored 6 times. Led by reclaimation project LaGarrette Blount the Pats suddenly have their best running attack since Corey Dillion at the tail end of his carrer. The Broncos have the increasingly dependable Knowshon Moreno in their backfield to give defenses pause. Both teams on defense have their flaws, the Pats give up tons of yards but few points while the Broncos defense just knows they don't have to be perfect but have the luxury of the Manning scoring machine to counter their lapses. The Pats have the big game experience but have a lackadaisical manner that often times look like that their waiting for a big game to pique their interest. Without the benefit of the forgiving Foxboro crowd im interested in seeing how the Pats play in a playoff atmosphere. I think the rugged running of Blount keeps the game score lower than the Broncos would like but the Rocky Mountain magic comes through and the Broncos make their first Super Bowl since the halcyon days of Elway and further cements Peyton Manning's legacy by being the 2nd Super Bowl winning QB to take another team to the Super Bowl (Kurt Warner, 1999 Rams 2008 Cardinals)




#5 San Francisco 49ers (13-4, #1 NFC Wild Card) @ #1 Seattle Seahawks (14-3, NFC West Champions)

CenturyLink Field, Seattle 6:30 (FOX)

Favorite Seahawks by 3

How they Got Here: 49ers defeated #4 seed Packers 23-20 in wild card round, defeated #2 seed Panthers 23-10 in the divisional round. Seahawks had a first round bye then defeated #6 seed Saints 23-15 in the divisional round.

First Playoff meeting

Fast Facts: This is the first all West Coast NFC championship since 1990 SF: 15th NFC Title game (most all-time) appearance (6-8) and 3rd straight, first team to make 3 straight NFC title game appearances since 2002-5 Philadelphia Eagles. SEA: 2nd NFC title game appearance, only team to have played in both AFC (1983 loss to LA Raiders) and NFC title games. One of three teams that have yet to lose in the NFC title game (NY Giants, Arizona)

The NFC title game is a bona fide grudge match. For two teams that have only been divisional rivals for 11 years, the animosity and disdain between the teams is palpable. Plain and simple these two teams don't like each other from the coaches (whose history of contempt goes back to when Niners coach Jim Harbaugh was at Stanford and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was coaching USC) to the players to the fans who have taken out billboard ads in the opposing city (49ers fans purchase billboard time in Seattle touting their Super Bowl Rings, Seahawk fans bought engraved fan bricks at the under construction Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara) Both teams are strikingly similar in offensive style being led by mobile QB's in Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson respectively. Both teams have hard hitting, ball-hawking roughneck defenses that create havoc and turnovers led by dynamic playmakers like Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis of the Niners and Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas of the Seahawks. Both have solid gamebreaking running backs in Marshawn Lynch of the Seahawks and and Frank Gore of the Niners. Statistically both teams are mirrors are of one another as well. So what is the difference? Though honks like Colin Cowherd maintain that the Niners are a couple points here and there from having a 14 game win streak , I still don't think that they have solved the riddle of Century Link Field and their notorious 12th man. They have had nightmarishly bad games in Seattle their last two times there and despite their bluff and bluster will have to take the crowd out of the game fast. If they start with a turnover or a three and out or the Seahawks march down the field on their first drive the Niners could be playing being a ten ton eight ball. I see a tight nasty slugfest, and with the weather not being a much a factor I can see all facets of the offensive game being in play. I give the slightest of edges to the Seahawks who I think at home are just a little more formidable.


Last Week: 4-0

Week 11 NFL Picks (The Rest of Them)
Category: NFL
Tags: NFL Picks & Predictions



Ive long gone on record as saying that I despise these Thursday Night games, if the NFL network wants a game to play why not an extra Monday Night game. A doubleheader of 7 and 10:15 would be good and West Coast teams would be getting plenty of primetime exposure with out having to start at 5 and 6pm their time. I loved the late Chargers-Raiders 11:35p EDT start and the first Monday doubleheader is just cool. Why not do that for the whole season. You avoid the short turnaround weeks that seem to be nothing but injuries waiting to happen. The only Thursday games should be Thanksgiving and that’s a tripleheader now, whats wrong with keeping that Thursday sacred in football mentality. OK I’m off the soapbox. Odds provided today by ESPN since I didn’t feel like looking it up on bodog.net and since its for entertainment and comparison purposes only, it shouldn’t be something you take to your bookie and bet with. We’re coming to the end of the bye weeks and its getting easier to tell who has had theirs already, this week only Dallas (5-5) and St. Louis (4-6) are off this week.


Sunday, November 17


Cardinals (5-4) @ Jaguars (1-8)

Everbank Field, Jacksonville 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Cardinals by 9

Last Week Cardinals defeated Texans 27-24, Jaguars defeated Titans 29-27

Fast Fact Jaguars have not scored a touchdown at Everbank Field since the first quarter of their 2012 home finale

Break up the Jags! Parrying every charge the Titans had they lead all the way to their first win of the 2013 campaign. But the Jags haven’t shown anything close to being competent offensively. The Cards are moving quietly along and have been playing decently over the past month, but Im concerned about a Western team heading east to play an early game. Could the Cards get zapped? I don’t trust Carson Palmer and his recent comments about Jacksonville’s lack of crowd support may awaken a dormant team. I want to call the upset here, and I should have called it last week in Tennessee but I cant bank on the Jags continuing their offensive profiecncy and the Cards defense is a lot better than the Titans are.



Falcons (2-7) @ Buccaneers (1-8)

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Falcons by 1½

Last Week Falcons lost to Seahawks 33-10. Buccaneers defeated Dolphins 22-19

Fast Fact Falcons have won nine of the last eleven meetings

These two bottom feeders are not impressing anyone with their play, the former got hammered at home while the latter just got their first win and struggled mightly to do that, I keep waiting for Matt Ryan to have a breakout performance and I think that he does it this week despite the lurking Darrelle Revis in the Bucs Secondary.




Ravens (4-5) @ Bears (5-4) 

Soldier Field, Chicago 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Bears by 3

Last Week Ravens defeated Bengals 20-17 in OT, Bears lost to Lions 21-19

Fast Fact The Ravens have never won in Chicago and have yet to score a touchdown in two previous visits

Both these teams are teetering dangerously on the playoff fringes though the Ravens still think that they are a legit playoff contender but with the sorry running game that they sport they’ll be headed home after new years if they continue in their present fashion. The Bears are a tough team to figure, the enigmatic Jay Cutler does just enough to hold his job yet just enough bad to think that putting in Josh McCown would be a better fit. In any case, I think the Bears are better on both sides of the ball and should win no matter who is under center.



Browns (4-5) @ Bengals (6-4)

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Bengals by 6

Last Week Browns were on a bye, Bengals lost to Ravens 20-17 in OT

Fast Fact Bengals are only the 16th team in NFL history to lose back to back OT games, this comes after they went 68 games without even playing an OT game.

The Bengals are a team that could drive a person to drink. After steaming through their first eight games happy that they were 6-2 and had survived a tough first half of their schedule, they drop a pair of winnable games in OT that could really haunt them come seasons end. They face a Browns squad that you are never sure in what you will get.  I liked an analogy I read about them recently. They have an 11-5 defense and a 5-11 offense. The 11-5 defense frustrated the Bengals in September but I think the 5-11 offense will be their downfall this time around. The Bengals will make it tough on themselves since they always do, but should eke out a badly needed win ahead of their bye.

Pick- Cincinnati


Detroit (6-3)  @ Steelers (3-6)

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Lions by 2½

Last Week Lions defeated Bears 21-19, Steelers defeated Bills 23-10

Fast Fact The Lions have not won in Pittsburgh since 1955 and have only won 2 of the last 13 meetings overall.

This is an intriguing matchup the Lions are a legit team to be certain but there are places that you have to go an earn wins to be viewed as legit. The Steelers are scaring no one and in spite of their rout of an equally bad Bills team are not that good. Im looking for Matthew Stafford to repeatedly strafe the weak Steeler secondary and for Megatron to have his way. The Lions rarely come to Pittsburgh but its mind boggling that they might break two epically long road losing streaks in the same season (They beat the Redskins in Washington for the very first time earlier this year)



NY Jets (5-4)  @ Bills (3-7)

Ralph Wilson Stadium; Orchard Park, NY 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Bills by 1

Last Week

Fast Fact The Jets have won seven of last eight meetings

The grinning and jeering by Rex Ryan has more been frequent with the Jets better than expected play, they have alternated wins and losses through their first nine games and Ryan clownishly stated that he was sure that they were going to lose to the bye week and pick up where they left off with another win this week. The buffoon may actually get his wish as the Bills are simply a hot mess. Their QB carousel spins faster and faster, and with no real punch on offense their talented yet beleaguered defense just gets worn out that much faster. I want to say that Ryan and his team will fall flat on the road but I just cant do it. The Jets are more cohesive and should grind out a win.

Pick-New York Jets


Raiders (3-6)  @ Texans (2-7) 

Reliant Stadium, Houston 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Texans by 7

Last Week Raiders were on a bye, Texans lost to Cardinals 27-24

Fast Fact The Texans have won five of seven meetings all-time

Both of these teams are not playing well but the Texans are the real shockingly bad team. With Arian Foster on the shelf with a bad back and capable backup Ben Tate nursing bad ribs the Texans have become one dimensional, but facing a Raiders team that needed a week off after getting bombed by Nick Foles and the Eagles might be the best tonic to stop a slide.



Redskins (3-6)  @ Eagles (5-5)

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Eagles by 4½

Last Week Redskins lost to Vikings 34-27, Eagles defeated Packers 27-13

Fast Fact Eagles QB Nick Foles is winless at home in his career as an Eagle, yet has a 113.8 QB rating and is 4-1 on the road. If I was an Eagle fan (perish the thought) I’d be very angry at this team. They play outstanding outside of their own crib and like Beagles inside. Had they at least split their home games, folks would be talking about how this team is a prime contender for a bye in the playoffs. Instead the team sits square at .500 but they are tied for first and amazingly with a win here would be in first place. As mentioned in the fast fact, Nick Foles is a stud outside the Commonnwealth, but has played like a commoner at home. The Redskins are just as an infuriating team wasting the supreme efforts of RGIII in supbar defensive efforts, they allowed the Vikings back into their Thursday night contest as they went to sleep in the 2nd half on both sides of the ball. The Eagles cant lose all their home games can they? Im gonna regret this, but Im thinking that they break out of their home slump and take control of the uber weak NFC East



Chargers (4-5) @ Dolphins (4-5)  

SunLife Stadium, Miami Gardens 4:05 (CBS)

Favorite Chargers by 1

Last Week Chargers lost to Broncos 28-20, Dolphins lost to Buccaneers 22-19

Fast Fact The Chargers have not won in Miami since the legendary 41-38 1981 AFC divisional playoff game. (0-6)

The Chargers put up good efforts but keep coming out on the wrong end. They parried the high powered Broncos to their lowest point total of the season, but lost. The Dolphins look like a team set to implode on itself in the wake of the Martin-Incognito mess as they played listlessly in a humiliating loss in Tampa Bay, the weak offensive line made weaker by the loss of Martin and Incognito is prime bait for a hard charging (forgive the pun) Chargers defense. More often than not Im ready to write off a West Coast team going east, but this is for a 4:00 game the Dolphins are not equipped even at home to play equal to the Chargers. The Chargers are way overdue to win here.

Pick-San Diego


Packers (5-4)  @ NY Giants (3-6)

MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ 4:25 (FOX)

Favorite Giants by 5

Last Week Packers lost to Eagles 27-13, Giants defeated Raiders 24-20

Fast Fact Game originally was slated for the Sunday Night slot but was flexed in favor of the Chiefs-Broncos

Can you blame NBC for ummm flexing their muscle and eschewing the the Rodgers less pack and the punchless Giants, but the G-Men have actually been playing better since their 0-6 start. Im not sold on the Packers running game being able to carry the load, and while the Packers defense is decent they may be on the field way too long and even Eli Manning should be able to pick them apart.

Pick-New York Giants


Vikings (2-7)  @ Seahawks (9-1) 

CenturyLink Field, Seattle 4:25 (FOX)

Favorite Seahawks by 12

Last Week Vikings defeated Redskins 34-27, Seahawks defeated Falcons 33-10

Fast Fact Seahawks have won 12 straight at home

The Vikings have had ten days to feel good about a rousing rally to beat the Redskins, they’ll need the feel good memories as they are making the condemned walk into the nightmare that is CenturyLink Field and the executioner attitude of the Seahawks. Point blank the Seahawks are not the type of team a fragile squad like the Vikings need to be facing. Hungry and loaded for bear this game smacks of a rout just waiting to happen. Matt Cassel will likely start with Christian Ponder out with a bum shoulder but he will have his hands full with the roughhouse big play Seahawk defense playing in front of their typical rowdy home crowd. As much as I wish I would be wrong, the Vikings are no match here and this could get ugly real fast. The Seahawks have no quarter for a speed bump trying to get to ten wins ahead of their bye and getting even closer to locking down their division

Pick-Seattle (Lock of the Week)


49ers (6-3) @ Saints (7-2)

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans 4:25 (FOX)

Favorite Saints by 3

Last Week 49ers lost to Panthers 10-9, Saints defeated Cowboys 49-17

Fast Fact The Saints scored the most points in week 10, the Niners second fewest

This is one of the better games of the week. The Niners are teetering on the brink of being pushed into that morass of mediocre teams in the playoff hunt. Their defense is solid but their offense has been quite underwhelming. That is never good when playing the high speed Saints in their fast track crib. The Niners had best hope that they can hit the Saints in the mouth and make this a grimy grinder game. They can not try to win a shootout, Drew Brees is playing like he means business and if they score 30 or more forget it. The Niners don’t have the horses.

Pick-New Orleans


Chiefs (9-0)  @ Broncos (8-1) 

Sports Authority Field @ Mile High, Denver 8:30 NBC

Favorite Broncos by 7½

Last Week Chiefs had a bye, Broncos defeated Chargers 28-20

Fast Fact Manning’s 33 touchdown passes are more touchdowns than any other team has scored so far this year

The primetime games are top notch this week, now this game was originally a 4:05 game but was premimently “flexed” to the primetime slot. I doubt that NBC wanted to have the Packers/Giants dud. This is a battle royale between two of the big dogs of the AFC who have been stalkling and circling one another like so much a ppair of old school outlaw gangs. Peyton Manning may be hobbled but do you really think he will miss such an important game. He will have his hands full with a tough Chiefs defense that looks for the big play and will test his resolve. The Chiefs offense is not as flashy as the Broncos, yet they are efficient, rugged and can grind out yards and points. I don’t know why but Im seeing another Colts game here, the Chiefs will get to Manning enough to force early mistakes and build a decent lead but Manning will pass them back into the game. But fall short again… How is an unbeaten team winning an upset? Going to Denver and win is an upset.

Pick-Kansas City (Upset of the Week)


Monday, November 18


Patriots (7-2) @ Panthers (6-3)

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte 8:30 (ESPN)

Favorite Panthers by 2½

Last Week Patriots were on a bye, Panthers defeated 49ers 10-9

Fast Fact These teams have only faced each other four times in the regular season splitting the meetings on each others field.

The finale of the week is a good one in itself. The well rested Pats face a surging Panthers squad fresh off a huge statement in San Francisco. The Panthers defense is full of no-names but they play rock solid and they make offenses earn every yard. The Pats are…well the Pats they don’t beat themselves and are rounding into their usual tough playoff tested self. I like the Panthers but have a hard time betting against the Pats who are no stranger to the big time games. I just think that the big time stage of prime time will cow the Panthers a bit and the Patriots will win easily in a hostile environment.

Pick-New England


Last Week: 8-6 (Lock and Upset correct)
Overall 91-55

Locks: 9-1

Upsets: 7-3




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