Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

Picks for NFL Week 14

- December 13th, 2014

The lines are from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPs.

Arizona +4.5 over ST. LOUIS

Thursday night was not entertaining football – unless you love defence. Either way, even if you were buying in on St. Louis’ outstanding defence, giving that many points to a 10-win team is just nuts.

Oakland +10 over KANSAS CITY

The Raiders beat the Chiefs a couple weeks back and probably won’t do it again. But can’t an improving young Raiders team at least keep it respectable?

Jacksonville +14 over BALTIMORE

The Ravens are a great team at home, but they’re secretly lacking in pass defence. Winning by two TDs is a bit dicey.

Pittsburgh -2 over ATLANTA

With Julio Jones banged up, the Steelers might get off lightly here. But it must be remembered they’re the only AFC North to lose to the NFC South this season – and they have twice.

Houston +6.5 over INDIANAPOLIS

A tough division rivalry and there’s a lot at stake for the Texans – including J.J. Watt’s MVP candidacy.

Cincinnati +1 over CLEVELAND

As much as I love Johnny Football, I think the Bengals are the better team here.

NEW ENGLAND -7.5 over Miami

A little revenge game for the Pats, who are home after two long weeks on the road. IT’s hard to like the Dolphins playing in the cold, too.

Tampa Bay +3 over CAROLINA

While Cam Newton’s car wreck is more of a metaphor for the Bucs’ season, the QB’s injury should be enough of a setback for the NFC South contenders this week.

NEW YORK GIANTS -6.5 over Washington

The Giants are making a late-season push to help their coach keep his job while I’m not sure any Washington player is going to do the same.

BUFFALO +4.5 over Green Bay

If there’s one thing the Bills do, it’s play opponents really tight and really tough. The Packers will have some trouble on the road, but I like the points here.

Minnesota +7.5 over DETROIT

Basically, I have to cheer for the Vikings because as a Cowboys fan I need the Lions to lose. Of course, this probably won’t work because Dallas is destined to miss the playoffs.

TENNESSEE +3 over New York Jets

What did the Jets do to be favoured on the road against anyone? The Titans are bad, but the Jets are too.

Denver -4 over SAN DIEGO

Many fantasy owners are upset about Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas having awful games last week, but with the Broncos running game really getting into gear, this team is going to be even scarier in the playoffs.

San Francisco +10 over SEATTLE

The Seahawks are on fire right now and a force on defence. The 49ers are falling apart at the seams. So of course, something weird will happen and San Francisco will somehow pull off a miracle and at least cover.

PHILADELPHIA -3 over Dallas

We just watched the Eagles run over the Cowboys two weeks ago in Dallas. Why would anyone think it won’t happen again?

New Orleans -3 over CHICAGO

Two teams that have seen everything go wrong this season. At least the Saints somehow have playoff hopes remaining and should be out there playing harder than the no-luck Bears.

Last week: 8-7-1

This season: 110-94-3

Responding to Grey Cup commenters + Week 14 NFL picks

- December 6th, 2014

I don’t really get into responding to comments on this blog, but since my post about why I didn’t want to watch the Grey Cup last week generated so much interest, I thought I would address some today.

- I do not have a “little man complex,” as one commenter suggested. I am actually of average height and weight.

-I have never given the NFL a free pass. I feel that Roger Goodell isn’t very good at his job and should probably be removed from power over the many scandals (the domestic abuse issue being the latest) that have occurred under his supervision.

-I would love to see the study that ranked MLS the 88th-best soccer league in the world. It’s surely in the top 50.

-I have, in fact, played sports (football, soccer, baseball and ice hockey), but none professionally.

-One commenter said the he wishes the CFL had a franchise in the U.S. and “maybe one day they can have a U.S. division. I’m surprised fellow commenters didn’t supply a history lesson.

-The Bills in T.O. Series being cancelled reflected more on how poorly the series was run and priced more than the overall interest in the NFL in Canada.

-To those who bring up the power failure in New Orleans at the Super Bowl, doesn’t anybody realize that it was Beyonce’s way of motivating the 49ers?

-Finally, I’ve been called many terrible things on Twitter (@danbilicki) and in comments, but none is worse than being labelled a Manchester United fan. How dare you! Blackburn Rovers for life.

As for this week’s picks, the lines are from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPs.

CHICAGO +3.5 over Dallas

How weird is it that these two teams played two Thursdays in a row? How badly could that mess up a team’s rhythm? I’m as surprised as anyone that the Cowboys are undefeated on the road this season, but next week in Philly should be a huge test of that record. Of course, everything’s gravy for the Cowboys now that they can’t possibly go 8-8 again.

MIAMI -2.5 over Baltimore

The Jets were able to run the ball on Miami, but that involved a lot of reverses and a lot of volume. The Ravens just lost Haloti Ngata and their pass defence is secretly not good.

Indianapolis -3.5 over CLEVELAND

This should have been Johnny Football’s big hurrah. Instead, it’s a blowout loss for the Browns and another week of Manziel-Hoyer drama.

Houston -5 over JACKSONVILLE

Ryan Fitzpatrick may not throw six more TDs this season. It doesn’t matter though, as J.J. Watt eats mediocre QBs for breakfast and Arian Foster will run wild.

New York Giants (PK) over TENNESSEE

The Titans might be the worst team in the league while the Giants can’t keep on blowing winnable games. A loss here more than seals Tom Coughlin’s fate.

NEW ORLEANS -9.5 over Carolina

The Saints have already beaten the Panthers by a big margin and that was in Carolina. Drew Brees and Co. has to avenge their three-game losing streak at home.

Tampa Bay +9.5 over DETROIT

Big letdown opportunity for the Lions here, as Detroit hasn’t won a game in October for two years.

WASHINGTON +3 over St. Louis

Lots of value here taking a home dog that might not be terrible over a team that’s fresh off a big win against a truly awful squad.

MINNESOTA -6 over New York Jets

The Vikings aren’t as bad as their record and coach Mike Zimmer is really building something there. It’s easy to see the Vikes in the playoff hunt next season.

Buffalo +10 over DENVER

The Bills defence should hold the team in this game. The Broncos have an average record against the spread this season too.

ARIZONA -1 over Kansas City

The Cardinals have one of the league’s best home-field advantages, so how are they only getting a point against a team that’s in an equal slump?

OAKLAND +8 over San Francisco

This game is a blood feud and you can’t trust the 49ers offence right now.

Seattle +1 over PHILADELPHIA

The Seahawks defence has jumped back into its daunting form with some key players coming back. With Mark Sanchez under centre, I don’t like Philly’s chances.

New England -3.5 over SAN DIEGO

While some would worry about the long flight from New England to San Diego, the Pats stayed out west this week. The Chargers are a great December team, but it’s not like the Patriots aren’t too.

GREEN BAY -12.5 over Atlanta

The only risk here is a letdown game for the Pack, but you can’t bet against Aaron Rodgers at home right now. They’ll undoubtedly put up at least 40 points against the uber-soft Falcons.

Last week: 8-8

This season: 102-87-2

Why I am not watching the Grey Cup + Week 13 NFL picks

- November 29th, 2014

I am not a fan of the CFL. That has been well-documented.

So, naturally, I will not be watching the Grey Cup on Sunday and here are my reasons why.

-I’m not being forced to watch it. The only reason I have watched this minor league championship in the past is because I have had to work on the sports desk and my colleagues need to watch it to do their jobs.

-There are much better NFL games on. Are you telling me if you’re a fan of the sport of football, you’d rather watch Hamilton-Calgary over the epic battle between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers or the Broncos and Chiefs in prime time? Because those are the two games that are on at the same time as the Grey Cup.

-There’s not even a good halftime show. Imagine Dragons is playing the Grey Cup. Their album is two years old and it’s not like Kendrick Lamar is going to come out and make “Radioactive” actually listenable.

-Even CFL fans didn’t tune in for the division title games. Ratings were down 20% from last year. I guess that’s what happens when the Saskatchewan Roughriders – whose fans really are propping up this league – aren’t involved.

Anyway, if I were to guess, I’d say the Calgary Stampeders take the Grey Cup easily. Jon Cornish will run wild over the Ticats defence and Zach Collaros can be too inconsistent at times and can’t be relied upon.

As for the real games on Sunday…

The lines are from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPs.

INDIANAPOLIS -9.5 over Washington

The Colts beat up on lesser teams and Washington sure fits in that category. Starting Colt McCoy over Robert Griffin III is just another sign of how much tumult this team is in.

HOUSTON -6.5 over Tennessee

With Arian Foster back, I like the Texans’ chances against the struggling Titans – even with Ryan Fitzpatrick involved in the offence again.

BUFFALO -2.5 over Cleveland

The Browns have won a lot of games with smoke and mirrors. Brian Hoyer has been terrible for weeks now and the Bills defence will be able to take advantage of him.

BALTIMORE -5.5 over San Diego

The Chargers playing an early game on the east coast is never a good thing. If this game was played on Monday night, Philip Rivers and Co. could have started their annual December run, but we’re still in November.

New York Giants -2.5 over JACKSONVILLE

Are you ready for Odell mania? After last week’s amazing catch, we’re just wondering what the Giants rookie can do against the poor Jags.

Cincinnati -3.5 over TAMPA BAY

The Bucs play teams tough, but the Bengals are getting healthy on offence and could light up Tampa Bay.

Oakland +7 over ST. LOUIS

As bad as the Raiders are, I don’t want to be giving a touchdown when Shaun Hill is my QB. This should be the ugly game of the day.

PITTSBURGH -4.5 over New Orleans

It just isn’t the Saints season. After losing three in a row at home, they’re now on the road – where they typically struggle – and face a well-rested Steelers team coming off a bye.

Carolina +3 over MINNESOTA

Cam Newton is running out of time to turn this season around. Coming off a bye and facing an equally weak Vikings team could be the recipe for success.

Arizona -2.5 over ATLANTA

If this was an early game, I might pick differently. The Falcons are somehow in the division lead, but that’s not saying much with the NFC South. The Cardinals defence could pitch a shutout on the Falcons running game in this one.

New England +3 over GREEN BAY

Two of the hottest offences in the league meet at Lambeau, but I trust the Patriots defence just slightly more. Getting points with Tom Brady is always a bonus too.

Denver -2 over KANSAS CITY

A lot of people are going with the Chiefs in this one, but I just don’t see it. A loss here for the Broncos would actually put their playoff hopes in jeopardy – somewhat unthinkable, right?

NEW YORK JETS +6.5 over Miami

The Dolphins are a pretty strong team, but the Jets seem to get up for games at weird times. In a prime-time division matchup, we’ll take the points – even with Geno Smith involved.

This week: 2-1

Last week: 9-5-1

This season: 94-79-2

Thanksgiving NFL picks

- November 27th, 2014

While I usually just include my Thursday pick with my post on either Friday or Saturday and hope you trust me to not change it after the game, it’s a bit lazy to not write about the three Thanksgiving Thursday games. So, without further ado, here’s what should happen while everyone lines up for Black Friday deals in the U.S. and we Canadians continue on with a normal work day.

The lines are from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPs.

LIONS -7 over Chicago

The Bears have won straight, but against some bad opposition. The Lions have lost two straight, but against good teams. What does that mean? Nothing much. Detroit should finally get its passing game working again against this Swiss cheese Bears pass defence and could possibly have Reggie Bush back. Jay Cutler are going to be in for a long afternoon as Detroit’s outstanding defence will get back on track.

Philadelphia +3.5 over DALLAS

I’m a Cowboys fan and, being just that, I fear for the worst with my team. They’re on an even shorter week than Philly, having played on Sunday night and had to fly home from New York. LeSean McCoy is hitting his stride and could have a huge game. The Eagles defence and special teams have been great at creating and scoring off of turnovers, something that could plague Tony Romo and the somewhat fumble-prone DeMarco Murray. While the thought of Mark Sanchez doing Mark Sanchez things and losing this game has occurred, I’d still rather take the points.

SAN FRANCISCO -1 over Seattle

The Seahawks may have beaten the Cardinals last week, but Seattle’s offence isn’t exactly looking great. They lack playmakers in the passing game and the Niners should be able to contain Russell Wilson’s scrambles. This game should essentially be a stalemate and a tight contest all the way. I’ll take the Niners to extend their streak of beating their biggest rivals at home.

Last week: 9-5-1

This season: 94-79-2

NFL Week 12 picks

- November 22nd, 2014

The lines are from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPs.

Kansas City -7 over OAKLAND

I really should have known better than to make this my survivor pool pick. The Raiders win for the first time in more than a year, breaking a 16-game losing streak, Matt Schaub’s 24-game losing streak and even score the first rushing TD of the season against the Chiefs. Goddamnit, Andy Reid.

Cleveland +3 over ATLANTA

This line actually seems low considering the return of Josh Gordon to the Browns lineup.

Tennessee +12.5 over PHILADELPHIA

Do you really want to be giving this many points with Mark Sanchez at QB? Of course, Philly’s defence will probably score 21 points in this one.

NEW ENGLAND -7.5 over Detroit

When the Pats are hot, they get real hot. I’ll ride them until I have a reason not to.

MINNESOTA +10 over Green Bay

Simply, the Packers are a much better team at home and you can’t give this many points to a home dog in a division game.

INDIANAPOLIS -15 over Jacksonville

Why wouldn’t the Colts be able to rough up the Jags again? They did it on the road already this season.

Cincinnati +1 over HOUSTON

If Arian Foster plays, flip this pick. I don’t think the Bengals could stop him, even he is limited.

CHICAGO -6 over TampaBay

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears go on a hot streak to end the season and just barely miss the playoffs.

Arizona +7.5 over SEATTLE

We know the Seahawks will snap to life at some point, but can you really give the best team in the league more than a TD?

SAN DIEGO -5 over St. Louis

Just because the Rams upset the Broncos last week, doesn’t mean they’ll turn it on again. Especially on the road against another top QB.

Miami +7.5 over DENVER

The Broncos’ long list of injuries could be a problem against Miami’s strong defence.

Washington +10 over SAN FRANCISCO

Can you really trust the 49ers with this many points? They haven’t impressed at home this season either.

NEW YORK GIANTS +3 over Dallas

The Giants always find a way to spoil things for the Cowboys.

BUFFALO -2.5 over New York Jets

The Bills are the home team in name only, hosting the Jets in Buffalo. Kyle Orton may have fallen off a cliff, but he and Buffalo have already beaten the Jets badly this season.

NEW ORLEANS -3 over Baltimore

If the Saints put up three stinkers at home in a row, it might be time to start discussing Sean Payton’s job security and Drew Brees’ future prospects.

Last week: 7-7

This season: 85-74-1