Re: the Niners having nothing at center, Daniel Kilgore was out most of the year recovering from an injury, but was very good pre-injury in 2014, and his return helped to stabilize the OL in 2015. He's not elite, but he's a solid starter. That said, both OG spots and one T spot are entirely up in the air.
My second Post-Super Bowl edition. Only one trade. I make picks using multiple big boards from different sites, and my own scouting. I try to fill needs as best as possible. This will change after the combine.
Chicago Bears (6-3) at Miami Dolphins (5-4) Line: Dolphins by 2. Total: 40. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 10): Dolphins -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 10): Dolphins -3.
Thursday, Nov. 18, 8:20 ET
The Game. Edge: None.
Last week, I complained about the fact that these Thursday night games began a week too early. Based on the announcers, how about a month too early?
Bob Papa kept screwing up names - he called Matt Ryan "Matt Bryant" and Harry Douglas "Harry Davis." Matt Millen repeatedly stated the obvious like "Quarterbacks struggle when they are pressured." Joe Theismann, meanwhile, continued his "I talked to so-and-so, and he said so-and-so, so it must be correct" style of announcing. Fortunately, I had a Subway meatball parm sandwich to comfort me; otherwise, I would have slipped into a coma.
If you were lucky enough to miss the Baltimore-Atlanta game, here's what these idiots sounded like:
Bob Papa: Josh Flacco throws a pass to Anquan Barkley. First down!
Matt Millen: You see that play? I want you to watch this. Joe Flacco had enough time to throw the ball because the offensive line kept the defenders out of the backfield.
Joe Theismann: I talked to John Harbaugh, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, and he told me that Joe Flacco eats Frosted Flakes every day. That's what makes Joe Flacco a great NFL quarterback.
Bob Papa: Willis McDonald with the carry... ball comes loose, and the Atlanta Braves recover!
Matt Millen: You see that play? I want you to watch this. Willis McGahee fumbled the football because the ball slipped out of his hands.
Joe Theismann: I talked to Cam Cameron, offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. He told me that Willis McGahee likes to paint pictures of naked men in his spare time. That's what makes Willis McGahee a great NFL running back.
Coma commencing in 3... 2... 1...
Anyway, it's the usual - my NFL Picks will be posted periodically throughout Tuesday afternoon and evening. You can follow me on Twitter @walterfootball to receive updates for when I post each selection.
MIAMI OFFENSE: Chad Pennington's out for the year. Chad Henne is hurt. So, Tyler Thigpen will start. To me, there's no reason this line should have dropped because of the quarterback situation. Henne wasn't playing well, and Thigpen can't be much worse.
Actually, Thigpen could be just what the doctor ordered for Miami. Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long is probably out, which means Vernon Carey will slide over to the blind side, creating a huge void at right tackle. Without adequate pass protection, Thigpen's scrambling ability will come in handy.
The Bears rank 11th against the run and first versus the pass - check the NFL Power Rankings page for these stats - so conventional wisdom says that the Dolphins won't score much. However, remember what Ray Lewis said - he complained about the fact that a short travel week makes it very difficult to prepare for the next opponent. Thursday night games are typically high-scoring because of this.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: For the second week in a row, Jay Cutler was surprisingly efficient. He made only one mistake against the Vikings, but was otherwise very careful with the football.
It's worth noting, however, that Cutler's solid outings have come against the Vikings and Bills, who have 12 and 13 sacks, respectively, this year. Neither team could take advantage of Chicago's anemic offensive line, as the two squads combined for only a pair of sacks the past couple of weeks.
The Dolphins have 23 sacks on the year, including six in their previous two contests. Cameron Wake, who suffered a hip injury on Sunday, practiced fully Monday and is expected to play. This is bad news for Cutler, who should once again be under heavy pressure, which will perhaps force him into multiple turnovers.
RECAP: Playing a Thursday night road game in front of a raucous, drunk crowd on a short travel week is extremely taxing. The Ravens struggled for most of the Atlanta contest, and I expect the Bears to have similar problems.
Also, if you've been following my NFL picks for a while, you know that I like the Dolphins for another reason. Good teams starting their backup quarterback usually cover the spread for two reasons: One, the opposition doesn't take them seriously. And two, the players know they have to give 110 percent to earn a victory.
The Psychology. Edge: Dolphins.
Playing on the road on a Thursday night is extremely difficult, as Baltimore found out last week. Plus, the Dolphins need this one more than Chicago.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Slight lean on the visitor early on; equal action to close out the week.
Percentage of money on Chicago: 58% (117,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
Bears are 21-14 ATS in November since 2001.
Jay Cutler is 19-40 ATS.
Dolphins are 3-7 ATS vs. NFC teams under Tony Sparano.
Tony Sparano is 0-4 ATS as a favorite coming off a SU win as an underdog.
Buffalo Bills (1-8) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-7) Line: Bengals by 6. Total: 41.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 10): Bengals -6.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 10): Bengals -6.
Sunday, Nov. 21, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Bills.
Week 10 Recap: I went just 6-7-1 overall, but won $780 because I hit four of my top six picks, including my November NFL Pick of the Month.
Unfortunately, the Giants lost and ruined my Survivor entries. I also received one piece of hate mail, which I'll post later on with detailed analysis.
As for Week 11, I love four or five games (have to check on some stats for the fifth), and really like several others. This is one of them.
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: If you're winning football games, it doesn't matter how many poor character guys you have on your team. But once you start losing, all hell breaks loose. Two weeks ago, Chad Ochocinco yelled at his quarterback. On Sunday, Terrell Owens put forth zero effort on several plays. Cedric Benson, meanwhile, looks fat and out of shape again.
The Bengals' offense has been garbage all year. The Bills stink as well; they have 13 sacks on the season, and rank 27th and 19th against the pass and the run, respectively. But we've seen Cincinnati struggle to put up points against poor defenses before; their 20-point effort against Carolina comes to mind.
With Carson Palmer limited by his declining arm strength, I don't see the Bengals scoring much. They may generate some back-door garbage touchdowns, but that will only happen if the Bills establish a huge lead...
BUFFALO OFFENSE: And the Bills might be able to do just that. Fred Jackson exploded for 133 yards on 25 carries against the Lions last week. Jackson should be able to pick up where he left off this Sunday, as the Bengals rank 25th versus the run, allowing 4.5 yards per attempt to opposing backs.
With Jackson running well, Ryan Fitzpatrick will have more time than he'll ever need in the pocket; Cincinnati pathetically has just nine sacks on the year.
Fitzpatrick will do the usual - convert third downs, scramble for some yardage, hit Lee Evans or Steve Johnson for an occasional deep pass, and ultimately make thousands of misinformed Buffalo fans believe that he's the long-term answer at the quarterback position.
RECAP: The Bills were the final team to win a game this year. Does that mean there will be any sort of a letdown? Not according to recent history. Teams that began 0-8 or worse since 2002 are 3-0 against the spread following their first victory. Since that's a small sample size, 0-6 and 0-7 squads that were able to achieve their first win are a decent 4-3 versus the number since 2002.
Aside from this - and the fact that the Bengals suck - there are three reasons why I love the Bills this week:
1. The Bengals are coming off an emotional loss to the Colts. With their seventh defeat, they know that their season is over. They won't try very hard against the one-win Bills.
2. Teams favored after two or more consecutive losses don't cover the spread very often. This is definitely true for Marvin Lewis' Bengals, who are just 1-6 against the number in this situation.
3. This spread isn't six, but it's close enough. Why is that number important? Since 2002, teams that have gone 6-10 or worse are just 19-49 against the spread when laying six or more points. Obviously, this is a difficult system to follow because it's hard to guess which teams will be 6-10, but I think we can be pretty sure that the Bengals aren't going to win at least seven games this season.
UPDATE: The line is now +6 at several sportsbooks. If you can get +6 right now, lock it in. Don't wait around.
The Psychology. Edge: Bills.
The Bengals' season is officially over after an emotional loss to the Colts.
The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
Slight lean on the Bengals.
Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 61% (103,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bills.
False Favorite: Marvin Lewis is 1-6 ATS as a favorite after losing 2+ consecutive games.
Teams that get their first win after an 0-8 start or worse are 3-0 ATS in their next game since 2002.
Bills are 16-9 ATS against losing teams since 2006.
Bengals are 6-19 ATS as a favorite since 2007.
Bengals are 2-11 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 or more since 2007.
Detroit Lions (2-7) at Dallas Cowboys (2-7) Line: Cowboys by 6. Total: 47.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 10): Cowboys -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 10): Cowboys -10.
Sunday, Nov. 21, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Cowboys.
Vegas Recap: Aside from two weeks this year, Vegas has destroyed the public. This includes Week 10, where a whopping seven of the 10 highly bet teams failed to cover. The only ones that did were the Jets, Buccaneers and Eagles. Vegas walked away with tons of money because the Bears, Bengals, Dolphins, Jaguars, Broncos, Seahawks and Rams all beat the number.
Kids, if your parents resort to giving you socks and tissue boxes for Christmas this year because they can't afford gifts, it's because they've lost tons of money betting on football.
DALLAS OFFENSE: The Cowboys deserve socks and tissue boxes for Christmas. What the hell was that? Seriously, couldn't they put forth that sort of effort in all of their other games? Why did they have to lull me into thinking they were so super crappy that I picked against them in Survivor? Ugh.
Well, now that Dallas is trying again, it should be able to score at will against the Lions. As mentioned in the previous game, Fred Jackson compiled 133 yards on 25 carries against this Detroit defense. Felix Jones generated 136 total yards on Sunday, so he'll have success against the Lions.
Having said that, the Cowboys will tally most of their yardage through the air. Dez Bryant is a beast, and Jon Kitna is finally starting to find Miles Austin-Jones. Detroit is 23rd versus the pass.
The only foreseeable problem for Dallas is pass protection. The Lions get after the quarterback, and the Cowboys' offensive line isn't very good. But with Jones picking up tons of yardage, Kitna shouldn't be in obvious passing downs very often.
DETROIT OFFENSE: Though the Cowboys looked great on Sunday, the Giants were still able to register 480 yards of offense. Eli Manning threw for 373 yards, but was betrayed by Hakeem Nicks, who stopped on a route, and allowed a Dallas defender to intercept the pass and take it back 101 yards for a score.
Shaun Hill has been pretty effective in terms of moving the chains and keeping the Lions close this year. He didn't look too good at Buffalo, but that was because Detroit was flat off an emotional loss. But Hill was still able to put together a backdoor push.
I still don't trust Dallas' secondary, so I think Hill could have a decent outing on Sunday. The weapons Hill has at his disposal will be too much for the Cowboys, and it kind of makes you wonder where the Lions would be if Matthew Stafford never injured his shoulder.
RECAP: I don't like either side. I can make a case for both teams:
We're getting tons of line value with Detroit. A week ago, this spread would have been Cowboys -3. The Lions usually keep games close; all but one of their losses have been decided by eight points or fewer.
The case for Dallas is a fade against the Lions. Remember when I noted that teams that were 0-8 or worse had success after their first victory? Well, the teams that allowed these wins to happen are 0-3 against the spread the following week. If you want to expand that to those 0-6 and 0-7 squad, it's a 3-4 ATS dynamic.
I'm riding the momentum with the Cowboys for zero units; I think I made a slightly better case to bet against the Lions.
The Psychology. Edge: Cowboys.
The Cowboys are playing much more inspired football under Jason Garrett.
The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
All aboard the Jason Garrett bandwagon!
Percentage of money on Dallas: 65% (145,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Cowboys.
Lions are 0-5 ATS before their Thanksgiving game since 2005.
Lions are 4-14 ATS against losing teams the previous 18 instances.
Oakland Raiders (5-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) Line: Steelers by 7.5. Total: 41. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 10): Steelers -9.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 10): Steelers -9.
Sunday, Nov. 21, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Raiders.
As mentioned, I received one piece of hate mail this week. I got it around 2:30 on Sunday during halftime of all the early afternoon games when all three of my 4-unit picks were losing:
SOLID multi unit picks at the half....LOLOLOL. Dude do yourself a favor and shut down your site asap, save yourself the embarrassment....
This is the same guy I talked about before - the one who always sends me hate mail if I get pick wrong, but never congratulates me for a winning week. I finished well, but I predictably didn't get any sort of mea culpa from him.
I'm beginning to think that his life is completely focused around my site. Here's his Sunday schedule:
12:30: Wakes up. "Oh man, what a rough night. I've gotta stop playing Everquest until 6 a.m."
12:45: Goes downstairs. "Mom can you make me waffles and bacon?"
12:46: Mom tells him she's out of bacon. "But maaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!"
1:10: Finishes breakfast. Mom asks him to vacuum the house. "But maahhhhh I vacuumed last week! I want to see if I can make fun of WalterFootball!"
1:15: Grabs the vacuum cleaner out of the closet after five minutes of arguing with his mom.
2:10: Finishes vacuuming. "Oh boy, now I can watch football. I hope WalterFootball.com's picks suck today so I can send him hate mail LOLOLOL!"
2:25: Loads up his computer. Takes a long time because of the Trojan viruses on his computer from the porn he downloaded.
2:30: "Yesss!! Walt is sucking today! LOLOLOL I'm going to send him hate mail to hurt his feelings!"
2:35: Sent hate mail. "Walt's definitely gonna shut down his Web site now. He sucks LOLOLOL!"
2:45: Starts up Everquest again. Mom comes into his room and asks him to dust the house. "But maaaaahhhhhhhhhh!"
3:30: Finishes dusting and plays Everquest.
10:00: "Oh crap, I forgot WalterFootball has his Pick of the Month going. I hope he's losing LOLOLOL!"
10:05: Sees the Patriots are winning. "Damn it. Oh well, WalterFootball's bound to have a losing week sometime, and when he does, I'm going to let him know how stupid he is LOLOLOL!"
10:10: Mom comes into his room again. "Poopy-kins, it's time for bed. You have school tomorrow."
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: The Steelers' offensive line is in shambles. They couldn't run the ball on New England (64 rushing yards) and they surrendered five sacks to a team that had only 13 sacks on the year going into the game.
With tackles Max Starks and Willie Colon out for the year, and left guard Chris Kemoeatu expected to miss yet another game, the problems will continue. The Raiders are actually tied for second in the NFL with 27 sacks, so like the Patriots, they're going to make life extremely difficult for Big Ben, who may not have Hines Ward because of a concussion.
Don't expect much from Mendenhall if Kemoeatu is out. After starting the year off very poorly, the Raiders have actually been great against the rush recently; they haven't allowed more than four yards per carry to an opponent since Week 6.
OAKLAND OFFENSE: Pittsburgh's defensive line isn't having much luck either. Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel will be out once again, meaning the Raiders will have success on the ground. If BenJarvus Green-Ellis and the Patriots can generate 100 rushing yards on 23 carries, just imagine what the explosive Darren McFadden will be capable of.
Assuming McFadden picks up chunks of yardage on most of his attempts, Jason Campbell will have the luxury of operating out of short-yardage situations, rendering Pittsburgh's prolific pass-rushers irrelevant.
The Steelers are having major problems in their secondary. All six of their previous opponents have compiled at least 248 passing yards - even Colt McCoy, who was making his first NFL start at the time.
RECAP: I disagree with this spread. Seven-and-a-half points is just way too much for a hobbled team not playing well at all right now.
Football games are won in the trenches, and given all of the injuries the Steelers have endured, you have to give the nod to the Raiders to cover and possibly win straight up.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
As odd as this sounds, this game could determine a first-round bye. Oakland could have the No. 2 seed by next Sunday night depending on what happens this weekend (OAK win; IND, BAL loss).
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Slight lean on the underdog.
Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 58% (125,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
Ben Roethlisberger is 72-30 as a starter (53-45 ATS).
Houston Texans (4-5) at New York Jets (7-2) Line: Jets by 7. Total: 46. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 10): Jets -6.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 10): Jets -7.
Sunday, Nov. 21, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Jets.
Some random NFL notes I can't put anywhere else:
1. The new and crappy NFL Primetime has reached a new low. They missed three game recaps (Buccaneers-Panthers, Broncos-Chiefs, Seahawks-Cardinals) because they got to their first highlight at 14 after the hour. Hey guys, you're a highlight show; not a news program or a "factor back" alert broadcast.
But that's not my major problem with NFL Primetime this week. Trey "I yell and try to say cool things" Wingo called Sunday's Rams-49ers game "the battle for first place in the NFC West."
As if being unbelievably annoying and doing the highlights out of order wasn't enough, Wingo can't even get his facts straight. Boomer and T.J., I miss you.
2. Was anyone sick of watching that David Garrard Hail Mary over and over again? Maybe it's just me because I had four units on the Texans.
Or maybe not. I actually received several e-mails and Facebook messages about it, including this from Facebook friend Colin M:
Are there 2 CBS feeds or did the fans in Houston have to listen to Gus Johnson cheer for Houston? oh my!!!! yeeeeeeees!!! yeeeereeees!!! Brutal.
As you can imagine, hearing Gus Johnson go "Yeeeeeessssss!!! Whooooaaaa!!! Touchdown Jaggsss!!!!!!!!!!" made my ears bleed.
But it wasn't just that. E-mailer Joseph B. pointed out some of the factual errors from Johnson and his broadcast partner:
When they were talking up the teams in pregame they called Arian Foster "Aaron Foster".
This was almost immediately followed that up with "David The Garrard."
"Tyson Alualu with the tackle!" This may not seem bad, but the person that actually made the tackle was a linebacker, and Alualu wasn't even on the field for the play.
And "MGD! With the touchdown!" Who is MGD?
Fortunately, I didn't hear this, or my ears would have completely disintegrated.
3. I mentioned earlier that I received some hate mail. The following Bobby C. is something completely different:
Walter my sister Ann loves f***ing Ann likes anus sex if your in to it and she loves a hairy chest and you can just about talking her into just about anything when it comes to sex
Is this guy trying to thank me for my picks this year by offering up his sister for sex? If so, awesome! Unless she looks like Rosie O'Donnell, of course.
HOUSTON OFFENSE: Can we say that Rex Ryan has this offense's number? The last two times Ryan faced the Texans (once with the Jets; once with the Ravens), he beat them by a combined score of 65-20. Matt Schaub missed the Baltimore game with an injury, but was just 18-of-33 for 166 yards, no touchdowns and an interception against New York last year.
Will history repeat itself? Possibly - but the Texans have a new wrinkle this time. They can actually run the ball.
Arian Foster, the NFL leader in rushing, is averaging 5.3 yards per carry this year. Backup Derrick Ward is gaining 6.3 yards per attempt. The Texans have become much more forceful up front, even gaining 129 yards on 21 rushes against a stout Kansas City 3-4 front.
I think the Texans will have some success moving the chains on the ground, which will make things a lot easier for Schaub this time - even if Ryan takes Andre Johnson out of the game.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: While the Texans are much tougher on offense, their defense completely sucks. Their secondary has surrendered at least 268 passing yards to all but one opponent this year. And ever since losing DeMeco Ryans back in Week 6, Houston's once-stout run defense has steadily fallen in the rankings (now 19th).
The Jets should be able to do as they please with their great offensive line and dual stud running backs. And if the improving Mark Sanchez ever has to convert a third-and-long, he'll have a clean pocket; the Texans have just 14 sacks on the year, and only five in their previous five games.
RECAP: Both offenses figure to be productive in this game, and the Jets should ultimately win. However, I love the Texans to cover the spread for five reasons, two of which I used last week:
1. The Texans have dropped five in a row against the spread. Teams that fail to cover in four or more consecutive games are 14-5 ATS as road underdogs of 1-7 points since 2002. Teams will eventually cover sometime, right?
2. Throughout the franchise's history, Houston is 28-14 against the spread off two or more straight losses. Gary Kubiak is 11-7 ATS in this situation, but 10-4 ATS as an underdog.
And three new reasons...
3. Kubiak is coaching his second-consecutive road game. Why is this important? Well, he's 9-1 against the spread in these situations. Betting underdogs in their second-straight away tilt is usually a 60-percent proposition anyway.
4. Speaking of road teams, another near-60-percent dynamic is betting on visiting squads that have lost at least three games in a row.
5. At 4-5, I think we can agree that the Texans are pretty much out of it, right? Well, that's usually the time when they get on a roll. Last year, everyone counted them out at 5-7, but they won their last four games. No one thinks they can win this contest, so that probably means that they'll play really well.
UPDATE: Matt Schaub has practiced and appears to be fine for this game.
The Psychology. Edge: Texans.
A must-win for the Texans.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Houston: 54% (123,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Texans.
Gary Kubiak is 9-1 ATS in his second consecutive road game.
Texans are 28-14 ATS after two or more consecutive losses.
Baltimore Ravens (6-3) at Carolina Panthers (1-8) Line: Ravens by 12. Total: 37. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 10): Ravens -7.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 10): Ravens -7.5.
Sunday, Nov. 21, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Ravens.
Some random college football notes:
1. The only full college football game I watched on Saturday was Oregon-California because I was out until 7. ESPN tried to build up some crappy South Carolina-Florida matchup in what they called the "SEC East Championship." Seriously, who the hell cares who wins the SEC East? Yes, you get to play in the SEC Championship, but what the hell does that get you? An invite to what they call a "good bowl" rather than an Austin Zoo Animal Crackers Bowl?
I'd actually rather go to the latter; I love animal crackers. I honestly could happily eat animal crackers three times a day for the rest of my life.
2. At any rate, the Cal-Oregon game was pretty good. It was the only contest Saturday night that actually meant something, and it was tight until the very end.
If you didn't watch it - it was on Versus, and no one even knows what number that is on the cable box - the Cal defensive players constantly faked injuries because Oregon was moving too quickly on offense. The announcers even found this shady, as they pointed out that every Cal player who faked an injury wasn't even listed on the depth chart.
Some will hate this. I thought it was awesome. The next step: Free convicts from prison, give them a uniform and have them attack members of the other team. Once that happens, you can just appease the NCAA by kicking them off the roster. It's a perfect plan.
3. I saw only a few minutes of the Penn State game. I watched them go up 7-3, and I heard they were leading by four in the second half as 18-point underdogs. Thinking they covered the spread, I came home to see that they lost by 22.
This college season has been the worst with bad beats, so it's a good thing I've decided not to bet on these acne-ridden kids anymore. I can't say the same thing for my e-mailers. One guy sent the following about a Michigan State-Northwestern bad beat a couple of weeks ago:
I am jumping off a bridge after this bulls***. I'm sure you'll be joining me.
Seriously, if you're crazy enough to bet on corrupt college football games (I wonder how much money renowned crook Jim Tressel made off covering the spread?), you might as well take whatever money you're gambling, wipe your a** with it and flush it down the toilet. You'll at least get some free "toilet paper" out of it rather than just handing over the money to your bookie.
CAROLINA OFFENSE: Going into the Tampa game, the Panthers had just lost stud linebacker Dan Connor and right tackle Jeff Otah for the year. They were also down to their backup quarterback and fourth-string running back. Things have gotten even worse.
Jimmy Clausen, who had a half-decent outing against the Buccaneers, suffered a concussion on the final play of the game that nearly gave the Panthers a backdoor push. Clausen's status for this contest is in doubt, meaning sixth-round rookie Tony Pike could start behind an offensive line that will probably be without left guard Travelle Wharton (turf toe).
If Pike starts, I have no idea how the Panthers are going to move the football. The Ravens are 10th versus the rush, so we won't have any Mike Goodson (or DeAngelo Williams) magic this week. And Baltimore's pass rush will be all over Pike; Carolina has allowed the third-most sacks in the NFL this year (26).
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: The Panthers were ninth against the run going into the Tampa game. Without Connor, they surrendered 153 rushing yards to LeGarrette Blount and the Buccaneers. They're now 18th in that category, and that ranking will continue to drop against Ray Rice and Willis McGahee.
Joe Flacco will capitalize off play-action and short-yardage opportunities, but it's not like he'll need much assistance. Josh Freeman just compiled 241 passing yards on only 24 attempts, and the Panthers don't bring any sort of pressure on the quarterback; they have 12 sacks this year, and only three in their previous three games.
RECAP: I made the mistake of taking the Panthers for four units last week. All the situational edges and trends said Carolina would cover, but I ignored the simple fact that the Panthers are epically bad.
The Ravens should be able to name the score here. I'm not betting this game, however, because I hate laying double digits - especially with a team coming off a loss.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No emotional edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Panthers.
No one is betting on Carolina anymore.
Percentage of money on Baltimore: 90% (129,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Ravens.
Ravens are 9-4 ATS vs. teams with losing records under John Harbaugh.
Ravens are 5-2 ATS as double-digit favorites under John Harbaugh.
Ravens are 26-17 ATS in November.
Panthers are 36-28 ATS as an underdog the previous 64 instances.
Cleveland Browns (3-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4) Line: Jaguars by 2. Total: 43. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 10): Jaguars -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 10): Jaguars -4.
Sunday, Nov. 21, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: None.
My e-mail address is published on this site, so I tend to get more spam and junk mail than the average person. Each week, I'm going to find a hilarious e-mail and post it for your entertainment.
This week's edition is a continuation from last week's. Last Tuesday, I posted a message from a Miss Kindness. I replied to her, introducing myself as Mister Compassion. Here was her response:
Thanks for being friendly, my real name is Miss Kindness Faye (25 years) single and never married (Single), presently I am residing in Dakar Senegal as a Refugee. This is as result of the calamity that befall on my home few years back.
My late Father Johnson Faye was Chairman Managing Director (JOHNSON INDUSTRIAL COMPANY LTD) in the capital City of my Country before the Rebels attacked our house one early morning and killed my beloved Dad and Mum in cold blood.
Please listen to this, I have my late father's statement of account and death certificate here with me which i will send to you later, because when he was alive he deposited some amount of money, outside my country which he used my name as the next of king, the amount in question is $4.5M(Four Million Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars).
If you can be of an assistance to me, i will offer you 12% of the total fund. while i have set aside 8% of the total fund for any expenses incuz by you during and after the process. I await your soon response through our private mailbox.
"Next of king?" Interesting.
Here was my reply to Miss Kindness:
Tis I, Mister Compassion again. I am sorry to hear about your mum and father being killed in cold blood. Fortunately, I am a Black Ops mercenary. I will venture to your home in Dakar, Senegal, and will find any fingerprints your parents' killers may have left behind. I will then hunt them down and kill them, one by one.
Of course, I will torture them first. I will skin them alive and pour salt on their wounds. Then, I'll make them watch episodes of the Big Bang Theory. In all of my years of torturing and killing, I do not know which one is worse.
No payment is necessary. You can keep all of your money. I rob banks, so I don't need any financial support.
I shall talk to you soon, my dear Miss Kindness,
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: David Garrard and Mike Thomas received all the acclaim for their Hail Mary against the Texans, but Maurice Jones-Drew was a big part of that victory. The Jaguars compiled 112 rushing yards, and on one nine-play touchdown drive, they ran the ball every single time.
The Jaguars won't have as much success on the ground this time. The Browns have really improved against ground attacks, ranking 12th in that department. They limited the Jets to 129 rushing yards on 38 attempts, and will prevent Jones-Drew from having a big game.
Cleveland's secondary isn't as good as the front seven, however. The Browns have allowed all but one opponent to throw for at least 224 yards since Week 3. Garrard has played really well since returning from injury, and I don't see Cleveland slowing him down.
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: Each week, I'm more and more impressed with Colt McCoy. He had a tremendous 2-minute drive at the end of regulation, marching his team right down the field against Rex Ryan's defense.
McCoy's four starts have been against Ryan, Dick LeBeau, Bill Belichick and Gregg Williams. He'll have a much easier time against the Jaguars, who can't get to the quarterback (especially with Aaron Kampman knocked out) and consequently rank dead last against aerial attacks as far as YPA is concerned.
Jacksonville's ability to stop the run is slightly better (23rd), but Peyton Hillis proved last week that he can run on anyone. Hillis rumbled for 82 yards on just 19 carries against the Jets' No. 2 rush defense.
RECAP: This is a really tough game to call. On one hand, the Browns are coming off an emotional loss against the Jets and may not be up for this game. On the other hand, the Jaguars may look past the Browns because they have the Giants and Titans coming up.
With a gun to my head, I'd take Cleveland; the line movement seems to indicate that the sharps like the Browns, though we won't know for sure until much later in the week (check back Saturday evening or Sunday morning.)
The Psychology. Edge: None.
Tough spot for both teams. The Browns are coming off an emotional overtime loss to the Jets. The Jaguars, meanwhile, will be looking ahead to playing the Giants and Titans.
The Vegas. Edge: Jaguars.
Slight action on the Browns.
Percentage of money on Cleveland: 62% (91,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Browns.
Jaguars are 7-19 ATS against non-divisional opponents since 2008.
Jaguars are 2-10 ATS as home favorites since 2008.
Washington Redskins (4-5) at Tennessee Titans (5-4) Line: Titans by 7. Total: 44.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 10): Titans -9.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 10): Titans -9.5.
Sunday, Nov. 21, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Titans.
The Video of the Week: Brett Favre, as you may know, has been accused of sending pictures of his wang to hot babe/money-hungry whore Jenn Sterger. Perhaps Ben Roethlisberger is doing the same thing to this SportsCenter anchor (wait to the 20-second mark). In all fairness though, Tedy Bruschi was talking about "getting down low," "getting penetration" and "inches."
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: Some will look at Randy Moss' stat line (one catch, 26 yards) and cite that he wasn't a factor in Sunday's loss at Miami. That wouldn't be true, however. Moss' presence on the field prevented the Dolphins from placing eight men in the box. Chris Johnson consequently rushed for 117 yards on just 17 carries.
Johnson only had those 17 attempts because the Titans were down early and had to throw often. If Tennessee can prevent that from happening, it's almost scary to imagine what Johnson will be capable of against the Redskins, who rank 30th against the run.
A healthier Vince Young will be able to capitalize off Johnson's huge gains; the Redskins, as you may have seen on Monday night, absolutely suck at defending the pass.
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: Remember that Lions game where Donovan McNabb was constantly under pressure and took five sacks? Something similar could happen in this contest; the Titans are tied for second in the NFL with 27 sacks. Daniel Snyder should be praying that his newly paid quarterback doesn't break in half.
If McNabb gets time in the pocket - that's a big "if" - he should have some success against a Tennessee secondary that struggled against the Dolphins on Sunday. The Titans have surrendered at least 305 passing yards to five of their previous seven opponents. That's an unbelievable number.
Unfortunately, McNabb probably won't have any support from his running game. The Titans rank ninth versus the rush.
RECAP: This is like the Browns-Jaguars game, where both teams have things going against them.
The Titans are in a major Breather Alert. Following this game against craptastic Washington, they play all three of their divisional foes. They won't be focused for the Redskins, who are coming off a spread loss of 25-plus points (usually a lucrative betting proposition).
Unfortunately, the Redskins aren't bettable either; teams that are blown out on Monday Night Football typically perform poorly the following week (see stat below).
The Psychology. Edge: TBA.
After this game against the Redskins, the Titans have three consecutive divisional battles.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Tennessee: 55% (117,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Titans.
Monday Night Misery: Teams coming off a loss of 17+ points on MNF are 15-32 ATS the following week since 1999.
Donovan McNabb is 26-14 ATS after a loss since 2001.
Donovan McNabb is 41-27 ATS on the road since 2001.
Arizona Cardinals (3-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-4) Line: Chiefs by 8. Total: 43.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 10): Chiefs -7.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 10): Chiefs -7.5.
Sunday, Nov. 21, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Chiefs.
Once again, I'm now in the same fantasy football league as Bo-Bo. If you don't know who Bo-Bo is, he's quite possibly the worst fantasy player in the history of the universe. Here was the team he drafted last year:
QB: Trent Edwards (6th-round pick); RB1: Michael Turner; RB2: Frank Gore; WR1: Terrell Owens; WR2: Kevin Curtis; WR3: Joey Galloway; TE: Chris Cooley; DEF: Minnesota; K: David Akers (12th-round pick).
Bo-Bo came soooo close to winning his first game. He took an 8-2 team down to the wire, but ultimately lost:
Now, you may say, "That doesn't count, Bo-Bo never changed his lineup for Stephen Gostkowski!" But that's not true - Bo-Bo had John Kuhn in his lineup last week, so he obviously made that change. Despite this, however, he never swapped out of his kicker, which cost him his first victory of the year. Poor Bo-Bo.
Bo-Bo is now three losses away from making history.
KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: The Chiefs have really been exposed in recent weeks. They function well if they can run the ball, and all Matt Cassel has to do is convert third-and-short situations. However, if Kansas City is behind, Cassel doesn't have the physical talent or the pass protection to lead the team back.
The good news for Cassel is that the Cardinals are horrific against the rush, surrendering 4.6 yards per carry to the opposition. Then again, the Broncos and Raiders were also pathetic versus the run, and they limited the Chiefs to a combined 133 rushing yards on 50 attempts.
The bad news for Cassel is that Arizona can get to the quarterback. The Cardinals have 20 sacks on the year, including 12 in their previous four games. Kansas City's offensive line has been porous lately, yielding 10 sacks to the opposition the past three weeks.
ARIZONA OFFENSE: Kansas City's defense was very good at the beginning of the year, but the team has been exposed recently.
The Chiefs have permitted the Broncos and Raiders to rush for 244 yards on 50 attempts the previous two weeks. Fortunately for Kansas City, the Cardinals suck at running the football. Chris Wells is expected back, but he's averaging just 3.3 yards per carry this year.
The Chiefs' secondary, meanwhile, has been a liability all season. Eric Berry has been a huge disappointment; he's been a bit better lately in coverage, but he's part of the reason why every single opponent of Kansas City's has totaled at least 222 passing yards this season.
Fortunately for the host, all of this doesn't matter if Derek Anderson takes one too many swigs from his magic flask.
RECAP: The Cardinals are one of my top five plays of the week for several reasons:
1. This line is too high for a struggling team like the Chiefs. They're not playing well at all, so how are they supposed to cover eight points?
2. Speaking of losing, teams that drop two consecutive road games and then are favored at home are 29-49 against the spread since 2002.
3. The stat I brought up in the Texans-Jets contest applies here as well: Betting on road teams that have dropped at least three games in a row is generally a 60-percent proposition (4-1 ATS this year).
4. Ken Whisenhunt is 5-1 against the spread after losing as a favorite.
I think this contest is very similar to the Minnesota-Arizona battle in Week 9. I had the Cardinals for a huge play in that game, and I'm coming back with them yet again.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Kansas City: 58% (104,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Cardinals.
Ken Whisenhunt is 5-1 ATS as an underdog after losing as a favorite.
Chiefs are 9-18 ATS at home since 2007 (3-1 in 2010).
FYI, next week is a short week because of Thanksgiving, so I'll have my weekly rankings up Wednesday morning for you.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: This is Brett Favre's last stand. If he loses this game, the Vikings will all but be eliminated. As Chris Berman said about 500 times over the weekend, it's remarkable that Favre's possible final start will be against the Packers.
If the Vikings want to keep their season alive, they need to give the ball to Adrian Peterson as much as possible. The Packers are seventh against the run, but surrendered 155 rushing yards on 33 carries to Minnesota in their Week 7 matchup.
However, that was with Randy Moss in the lineup. As we saw last week, Moss really opens things up for the running game, so Green Bay will have much more success against Peterson this time.
The Packers have 27 sacks on the year, but managed to bring Favre down only once in that Week 7 battle. I expect that number to be much higher this Sunday with Peterson somewhat less effective.
GREEN BAY OFFENSE: Unlike the Packers, Minnesota really struggles to get pressure on the quarterback. I don't know what happened in that fourth quarter and overtime against the Cardinals, but if you take away that Arizona game, the Vikings have just six sacks on the year. That's amazing.
Aaron Rodgers, who didn't take a sack in that previous matchup, should have all the time in the world to locate his receivers downfield. Rodgers torched the Vikings several weeks ago for 295 yards on just 34 attempts.
RECAP: Minnesota will give it one last tough effort, but the tank is running on empty. The Packers are just the better team, and they're going to drive the final nail into the Vikings' coffin this Sunday.
I have no situational angles for you, so this will be a one-unit selection.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
This is it for the Vikings. They need to win. But don't think for a second that the Packers plan on allowing that to happen. They want to TKO Brett Favre.
The Vegas. Edge: Vikings.
As you may guess, the public is pounding the Packers.
Percentage of money on Green Bay: 72% (122,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Packers.
History: Vikings have won 3 of the last 4 meetings.
Packers are 24-12 ATS on the road under Mike McCarthy.
Week 11 NFL Picks - Late Games Falcons at Rams, Seahawks at Saints, Buccaneers at 49ers, Colts at Patriots, Giants at Eagles, Broncos at Chargers
Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenver winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 21, 2015): 1-0 (+$200)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2015): 1-0 (+$200)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2015): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2015): 1-0 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21, 2015): -$580
2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$2,550) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,291-2,116-129, 52.0% (+$8,150) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 741-668-34 (52.6%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 305-267-13 (53.3%) Career Over-Under: 1,823-1,765-51 (50.8%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 33-22 (60.0%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.