Archive for October, 2011

The Crystal Ball - Week 8

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Week seven was barely over average coming in with a 7 – 6 record straight up; which takes the season record to 71 – 32. Picking against the spread went 4 – 8 – 1, which makes the season record there 46 – 53 – 4. It has been a tough year picking, we are almost halfway through the season feels like it is still pretty unsettled and the large number of injuries has had a major impact on continuity. The level of play has been pretty awful at times, last week saw three games that seem to rank among the worst of the decade. Inconsistency for the most part has been the only consistency, except of course for when it has not been.

The standard disclaimer goes like this; these picks are for amusement value only. They are not to be confused with the recommended picks of the site. I participate in a pick ‘em league and these represent my picks for that league though I may modify my picks there as injury news updates come in later in the week. My versus the spread results are against the line at the time I made the pick, usually the Tuesday before the games are played; I try to get these posted no later than Wednesday evening after reviewing practice reports.

Week 8

Arizona at Baltimore – Arizona has problems with their defensive secondary and lack of a consistent pass rush; the offensive line is average against a strong defensive front. Baltimore plays well at home, their defense can take a game over but expect the offense to play much better, Ravens win 31 – 14.

Minnesota at Carolina – The Vikings offense certainly looks better with Ponder at quarterback but he is still only in his second game and the defense is still an issue. Carolina has Newton who has proven to be difficult to defend against; the run defense will have to step up, Panthers win 28 – 21.

Jacksonville at Houston – Jacksonville is traveling on a short week, the defense has played well last week but they are not deep and the offense is limited. Houston does not have a limited offense and Johnson may be back, the defense should not be challenged, Texans win 28 – 17.

New Orleans at St. Louis – The Rams injury situation is dire; the defensive secondary has none of their original starters facing one of the most effective passing attacks in the league. New Orleans has ample offensive weapons the defense can be erratic, Saints win 34 – 17.

Miami at NY Giants – Miami has limited prospects offensively, they have no offensive identity and not much in the way of offensive tools available. New York has been inconsistent and they have had a variety of defensive injuries to contend with, the bye week was needed, Giants win 24 – 10.

Indianapolis at Tennessee – The Colts are in bad shape injuries on the offensive line and on defense have left them with little depth and late in games when it matters they fade. Tennessee has some talent but has been inconsistent of late, good week to get well at home Titans win 24 – 17.

Washington at Buffalo – Washington has been hammered by injuries and is not a team with much depth; the defense is good the offense pedestrian at best. Buffalo is coming off of their bye and needed got healthier; it is a team that plays better than the sum of the parts, Bills win 28 – 20.

Detroit at Denver – The Broncos have little offensively, Tebow can be exciting but he is wildly inaccurate as a passer, the defense will be challenged. Detroit has fallen off a bit as teams have taken advantage of the defensive aggressiveness of the line; the offense needs to step up, Lions win 28 – 17.

New England at Pittsburgh – New England is coming off of the bye, the question to be answered has to do with defensive improvement; the offense is good enough. Pittsburg has defensive issues but the big play passing offense matches up well this week, Steelers win 28 – 24.

Cleveland at San Francisco – The Browns are offensively challenged, their receivers are limited and the running game has been inconsistent. San Francisco has a good defense, the offense is limited and they have no real explosive threat but not an issue this week, Forty-niners win 24 – 14.

Cincinnati at Seattle – Seattle has been about as inconsistent as possible this season, the offense is nicked up and not great when healthy. Cincinnati has been playing solid on defense; the offense has been inconsistent but improving even with Benson out this week Bengals win 21 – 14.

Dallas at Philadelphia – The Cowboys seem to follow big wins with puzzling losses and this is the down week, they should be able to run effectively and need to be patient. Philadelphia can control the Cowboys passing game but will need to improve their tackling, Eagles win 28 – 24.

San Diego at Kansas City – Kansas City is not as good as their record, the secondary has issues that can be exploited the offensive line is marginal. San Diego has a solid defense and a varied offensive attack that can overwhelm a limited defense, Chargers win 28 – 17.

The Crystal Ball - Week 7

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Week six repeated the week five record with another 9 – 4 record straight up; which makes the season record a respectable 64 – 26.  Picking against the spread was however a rather ugly 4 – 8 – 1, which drives the season record down to 42 – 45 – 3.

The standard disclaimer goes like this; these picks are for amusement value only.  They are not to be confused with the recommended picks of the site.  I participate in a pick ‘em league and these represent my picks for that league though I may modify my picks there as injury news updates come in later in the week.  My versus the spread results are against the line at the time I made the pick, usually the Tuesday before the games are played; I try to get these posted no later than Wednesday evening after reviewing practice reports.

Week 7

Washington at Carolina – Washington has been playing solid defense and running the ball well but this style cannot tolerate turnovers or giving up big plays.  Carolina has been very dynamic on offense though error prone, the defense has been inconsistent but they are learning, Panthers win 27 – 21.

Seattle at Cleveland – The Browns are limited offensively in that they lack big play capability and defensively they have breakdowns at inopportune times.  Seattle has limited talent but has come up with game plans that have been effective, coming off the bye week, Seahawks win 21 – 17.

Atlanta at Detroit – Atlanta has a good offense based off their running game and a general ball control philosophy, the defensive secondary is a concern.  Detroit has big play capability on offense and a defensive front that matches up particularly well this week, Lions win 28 – 21.

Denver at Miami – The Dolphins have been having offensive issues both in the passing and running game, the defense while talented is inconsistent.  Denver is starting Tebow after their bye, he is wildly inconsistent as a passer but still a threat; the defense needs to step up, Broncos win 21 – 17.

San Diego at NY Jets – New York has built around the defense but has been inconsistent against good opponents and the offense is not scaring anyone.  San Diego is coming off their bye week and may be healthy; the defense is adequate; the offense has sufficient weapons Chargers win 24 – 21.

Chicago at Tampa Bay – The Buccaneer offense is limited in terms of weapons and big play potential; their defense has been inconsistent at times.  Chicago has given up uncharacteristic big plays defensively; the offensive line is poor but has been effective, Bears win 24 – 21.

Houston at Tennessee – If Houston gets Andre Johnson back it would energize their offense; the defense will need a solid effort.  Tennessee has played well this far into the season and the defense is solid; they need to get Chris Johnson on track offensively, Titans win 24 – 20.

Pittsburgh at Arizona – The Cardinals have some weapons although they are inconsistent offensively but the defense has been a greater problem.  Pittsburgh has been inconsistent but has big play ability that can exploit the weaknesses available this week, the Steelers win 24 – 17.

Kansas City at Oakland – Kansas City is coming off of their bye week and before that their best offensive game of the season, but the defense is suspect.  Oakland will be starting a different quarterback but the handoff is the most critical skill, the defense is adequate, Raiders win 24 – 17.

St. Louis at Dallas – The Rams defensive secondary was not good to begin with and has been decimated by injuries and the offense has been ineffective.  Dallas has found some odd ways to lose, they have plenty of offense and the defense has made plays, Cowboys win 28 – 17.

Green Bay at Minnesota – Minnesota has been inept offensively despite having the arguably the best running back in the NFL, the passing game has been terrible.  Green Bay is an offensive juggernaut with seemingly unlimited weapons at their disposal, Packers win 28 – 17.

Indianapolis at New Orleans – As the Colts get better on offense the defense gets more injuries; they fade on defense as the game progresses.  The New Orleans defense has been a bit of a disappointment but the offense certainly is as effective as ever, Saints win 31 – 20.

Baltimore at Jacksonville – Jacksonville is very limited on offense though the defense has been much improved it has not mattered much in the win column.  Baltimore has been inconsistent on offense, the line play has been poor, and the defensive secondary has issues, Ravens win 24 – 17.

The Crystal Ball - Week 6

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Week five went reasonably at 9 – 4 bringing the season record to 55 – 22. Picking against the spread was an above average 7 – 5 – 1, which brought the season record above average by an even thinnest margin possible 38 – 37 – 2.

The standard disclaimer follows. These picks are for amusement value only; not to be confused with the recommended picks of the site. I participate in a pick ‘em league and these represent my picks for that league though I occasionally modify my picks there as injury news becomes clearer later in the week. My versus the spread results are against the line at the time I made the pick, usually the Tuesday before the games are played; I try to get these posted no later than Wednesday after seeing the practice reports.

Week 6

Carolina at Atlanta – Carolina is playing an exciting sort of football but have too many breakdowns, which should change as Newton gains experience. Atlanta has not been playing consistently; they are typically strong playing at home and have plenty of weapons, Falcons win 31 – 24.

Indianapolis at Cincinnati – The Colts are probably somewhat better than their record but injuries are wearing them down defensively and the offense is inconsistent. Cincinnati is also inconsistent offensively as Dalton learns his trade but their defense is capable, Bengals win 21 – 17.

San Francisco at Detroit – San Francisco is playing well, the offense is somewhat limited but improving and the defense has been solid throughout. Detroit is good on offense and the defensive line is frighteningly good, the secondary is limited but not often exposed, Lions win 28 – 20.

St. Louis at Green Bay – The Rams have had the bye week to prepare for this game; but it probably is not going to be enough to come up with a win. Green Bay is playing offense at a very high level; the defensive secondary has some exploitable issues still Packers win 31 – 20.

Buffalo at NY Giants – New York has been inconsistent, while injuries are certainly an issue they don’t seem to show up to play for every game. Buffalo does not have a lot of star power but they produce solid effort week in and week out, Bills win 24 – 21.

Jacksonville at Pittsburgh – The Jaguars are inept and one-dimensional offensively, they have a rookie quarterback and a weak receiving corps. Pittsburgh has some critical offensive line issues and the defense has been inconsistent; they make and give up big plays, Steelers win 28 – 10.

Philadelphia at Washington – Philadelphia is not so much a dream team as a nightmare, the defense is fundamentally unsound and the offense explosive but inconsistent. Washington is coming off their bye, the defense has been very good and the offense productive, Redskins win 21 – 20.

Houston at Baltimore – The Texans lost Williams for the season which weakens their pass rush and exposes their thin secondary. Baltimore can defend the run and have had the bye week to work on the offensive line and will run to establish the pass, Ravens win 27 – 17.

Cleveland at Oakland – Cleveland is coming off of their bye week to travel to the west coast, the offense is predictable and somewhat limited. Oakland has a good running attack and has speed at receiver which they can set up for an occasional big play, Raiders win 28 – 20.

Dallas at New England – The Cowboys are coming off of their bye and getting healthier, their offense matches up well this week though the defense will be challenged. The Patriots offense continues at a high level, the secondary will be tested in what figures to be a shoot-out, Patriots win 35 – 28.

New Orleans at Tampa – Tampa Bay has been inconsistent, the offense has been very limited, and the defense has given up too many plays. New Orleans has a variety of offensive weapons and they can score seemingly at will but the defense has been victimized at times, Saints win 28 – 20.

Minnesota at Chicago – The Vikings are another one-dimensional team but Peterson has made that aspect very effective but the passing game has been ugly. Chicago is coming off of a short week to play another division opponent, they have been sloppy but should recover here, Bears win 24 – 17.

Miami at NY Jets – Miami is working with a backup quarterback and a limited offensive plan that leaves the defense on the field too long. The Jets are coming off of three losses, the offense is limited but the defense is likely to be wound up at this point, Jets win 28 – 14.

The Crystal Ball - Week 5

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Week four went reasonably here the straight up went 13 – 3 making the season record 46 – 18 which is pretty good. Picking against the spread also picked up, not enough to get back to even but close going 11 – 5 on the week bringing the record to 31 – 32 – 1. We are starting the bye weeks so double digits are going to be harder to come by. Perhaps some of the confusion created by the short preseason and lockout is starting to settle but the injuries continue and lineups shift from week to week.

The standard disclaimer follows. These picks are for amusement value only; not to be confused with the recommended picks of the site. I participate in a pick ‘em league and these represent my picks for that league though I occasionally modify my picks there as injury news becomes clearer later in the week. My versus the spread results are against the line at the time I made the pick, usually the Tuesday before the games are played; I try to get these posted no later than Wednesday after seeing the practice reports.

Week 5

Arizona at Minnesota – Arizona has a limited offense; while the defense has been generally poor they have come up with plays on occasion. Minnesota has been able to lose in new and exciting ways every week so far, still they are the better team this week, Vikings win 24 – 20.

Cincinnati at Jacksonville – The Jaguars are breaking in a rookie quarterback with the issues one would expect, the offense is predictable and very limited in scope. Cincinnati is actually a very similar team at this point with slightly better overall talent and more versatility, Bengals win 21 – 20.

Kansas City at Indianapolis – Kansas City has significant injury issues losing their best offensive player and one of their best defenders along with sloppy offensive line play. Stop me if you have heard this but yes just repeat the previous line, they play well at home, Colts win 20 – 14.

New Orleans at Carolina – The Panthers are coming along as a team but they have plenty of exploitable weaknesses, the defense has its work cut out this week. New Orleans has still not quite reached their potential; the defense is showing improvement, Saints win 24 – 14.

Oakland at Houston – Oakland is a one-dimensional team offensively, the offensive line is better than expected, the defensive secondary is not. Houston may be without Johnson but still have plenty of offensive weapons and a defense that is play well, Texans win 28 – 20.

Philadelphia at Buffalo – The Eagles defense is demonstrating that football is a team sport; great players do not translate to even a good defense. Buffalo is a modestly talented team playing well, the running game should be very productive though the defense will need to make plays Bills win 28 – 24.

Seattle at NY Giants – Seattle has a long history of not traveling well, this season they have more of an excuse in terms of talent level. New York seems to be willing to play down to the level of their competition, or perhaps the inconsistency has to do with their injuries, Giants win 28 – 17.

Tennessee at Pittsburgh – The Steelers offensive line play has been terrible and it has limited what they can do defensively as well when they play from behind. The Tennessee defense is playing well; the surprise has been the offensive play, their line is underappreciated, Titans win 20 – 17.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco – Tampa Bay has to fly across country on a short week; the defense is capable the offense has been somewhat uneven. The San Francisco offense is the definition of uneven and the defense is the strength of this team as well, Forty-niners win 21 – 17.

NY Jets at New England – The Jets offensive line has not played well and Mangold being out has not helped but their timing is really off. The New England defense is terrible, but they can seemingly score at will offensively and defy opponents to be able to keep up, Patriots win 31 – 21.

San Diego at Denver – Denver is struggling with their running game which is supposed to be their strength; the defense is inconsistent, ball control offense could help. San Diego has been dealing with injuries in their offensive skill positions; their depth is being tested, Chargers win 24 – 17.

Green Bay at Atlanta – The Falcons are a good team but not particularly explosive on offense; the defense is vulnerable to the big play. Offensively, Green Bay is playing about as well as possible, the defense is vulnerable in the secondary but can still make big plays, Packers win 31 – 21.

Chicago at Detroit – Chicago has a good defense and special teams but the offense is not very dynamic, they are not well equipped to come from behind or to play in a shootout. Detroit has an explosive offense; the defensive is good up front but is vulnerable over the top, Lions win 28 – 21.