Saturday, February 4, 2017

Super Bowl LI

Super Bowl Sunday is just about here at long last, and it should be a fun one with the highest Over/Under in Super Bowl history at 59. I would lean towards the score not hitting that final total with both teams having the extra week to prepare and usual early nerves in the big game, but Atlanta and New England do rank 1st and 2nd, respectively, in Football Outsiders' offensive DVOA. While the Patriots defense only ranks 16th in defensive DVOA due to the weight of a soft schedule, they do hold the title of the #1 scoring defense on the season, and historically, the teams with the fewest points allowed are 6-1 against the top scoring teams in Super Bowl meetings. In recent history, Mike Lombardi notes that the 2009 Saints are the only #1 offense to have won it all since 2000 while the top scoring defense has won it five times in that span. Throw in the fact that the Falcons only rank 27th in both defensive DVOA and scoring defense, and you can see why the Pats are favored by 3 in Houston.
Super Bowl XXXVI is the first one I remember, and it's hard to believe what it would kick off.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

2016 NFL Championship Game Picks

From the best weekend in football to the best Sunday with two games of the highest caliber usually being played.

Packers +4.5 at Falcons

At this point, you almost just expect Aaron Rodgers to do whatever it takes to win. That last play to set up Mason Crosby's incredible second 50+ yard field goal in the final two minutes somehow topped Rodgers' earlier sideline throw and catch to Randall Cobb that already had my jaw on the floor. Now, Matt Ryan and the falcons are playing great ball themselves and rightfully favored, but I don't know how you can feel comfortable laying any points against the best player on the field. The cause for concern is the status of his banged up receiving core and their continued inconsistencies in the secondary, but Julio Jones is still dealing with a nagging foot injury, as well. I think it will come down to a last minute field goal again, so give me the points.
I mean, HOW

Saturday, January 14, 2017

2016 NFL Divisional Round Picks

Every year I say that this is the best weekend in football because you have eight of the best teams in the league going at it on back to back days, and this year has produced some more juicy matchups.

Falcons -5 versus Seahawks

That Week 6 game between these clubs in Seattle was a weird one with the different scoring runs, but a key takeaway is that Atlanta could move the ball well against this defense even on the road. Now they're at home, and their defensive improvement has been incredible despite being without their best defensive back in Desmond Trufant. The second year emergence of Vic Beasley and his 15.5 sacks has a lot to do with it, and I think he could wreck the Seahawks game plan with their league worst offensive line, especially with head coach Dan Quinn coming from Seattle.
Shanahan has schemed up good way to attack this now Earl Thomas-less defense in the past.
Side note: It's a kind of crazy that Seahawks offfensive line coach Tom Cable is under head coaching consideration with the way his unit has performed, and it's even crazier that so many teams have rushed to hire head coaches instead of waiting for the playoff teams to finish. You know, the well-coached teams that are still in contention for the ultimate prize. I understand that there is a bit of an arms race trying to fill out a coaching staff, which fascinates me with how coaches are connected, but Kyle Shanahan and Josh McDaniels have clearly been the top candidates in my eyes. Now due to them being so good at their jobs to contribute to their teams' success, the 49ers position is the only spot still available for just one of them.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 NFL Wild Card Picks

Texans -3.5 versus Raiders

The Raiders might be the better team at full strength, but not having Derek Carr at quarterback changes everything for them. Now fourth round rookie Connor Cook is making his first start in a road playoff game and will be without left tackle Donald Penn against Jadeveon Clowney. That's enough for me even if Brock Osweiler is being pressed back into action at quarterback after getting benched. With Lamar Miller expected back healthy enough to be a workhorse runner, the Bill O'Brien should get his first playoff win at home.
JD Clowney has shown why he was a #1 pick now that he's healthy.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 NFL Week 17 Picks

Week 17 is always a wacky one, and by my count, there are only two early games with any playoff implications, with Tampa barely clinging to even that claim. I'll get back to more detailed picks with the playoffs, but in the mean time, have a safe and happy New Year!

Ravens -2 at Bengals

Cardinals -6.5 at Rams

Chiefs -4 at Chargers

Broncos -1.5 versus Raiders

Packers -3.5 at Lions

Last week: 4-1
Season total: 48-40-3

Friday, December 23, 2016

2016 NFL Week 16 Picks

Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Redskins -3 at Bears

Jaguars +5 versus Titans

Chargers -4 at Browns

Texans -1 versus Bengals

Chiefs -3.5 versus Broncos

Last week: 2-3
Season total: 44-39-3

Saturday, December 17, 2016

2016 NFL Week 15 Picks

Another December weekend, another whirlwind of events for me after my graduation from the USF Sport Management Master's program yesterday, so this will be another short one.

Ravens -6 versus Eagles

Packers -4.5 at Bears

Chiefs -6 versus Titans

Raiders -2.5 at Chargers

Patriots -3 at Broncos

Last week: 4-1
Season total: 42-36-1