Tag Archives: picks

Josh’s NFL Picks Week 10: Fail Gif

I don’t want to talk about last week’s picks1Stop it.. Ever2No. Stop.. Don’t even bother3Jesus. Leave me alone. I sucked..

via GIPHY

It’s Uncle Drew time, Cavs fans. Chapter four would have been better without a knee injury, but you don’t need to run to get buckets.

There are actual in game things happening, too. Mainly, that the Cavs are great.

The Cavs are rolling 11 deep so far this season. Sure, small sample size arguments stack up here, but it’s pretty difficult to look at the per-36 stat box below and not get excited. Then, think about where Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert will squeeze in there4Holy shit.

Oh. Browns.

I’m talking about this piece on the OBR. It’s a subscription only article, so allow me to lift a few quotes from Waiting For Next Year, who lifted them from the original5Web thievery is no problem, until the cease and desist shows up.. The OBR is fantastic, so make sure to give them your money and go read this in full.

“There are many in this building that believe the [head coach] gets too personal, too invested in his beliefs and immediacy to take necessary steps with some younger talent which may not be what he wants.

“Pettine never wanted [Johnny] Manziel from [Day 1]. He certainly didn’t want him, did not want to deal with bringing him along after Manziel’s issues in his first season. Pettine was directly involved in [Justin] Gilbert being here, but was turned-off rather quickly, didn’t like how immature the young man was and he’s never been too receptive in seeing the young man through. You see this type of issue throughout the ‘playing’ roster.

“Pettine plays who he wants, when he wants and how he wants, which is within his rights — some within these walls believe that may not be what is in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns as an organization overall. Some in this building believe Pettine has made some playing decisions to spite Farmer.”

There’s also the whole Johnny Manziel thing floating around. If I were running the team, I would start Manziel. Not because I think he’s going to be head and shoulders about McCown6We all know Johnny isn’t taller than anybody besides his wide receivers., but because the franchise can’t afford another rinse and repeat on an offseason of talking Johnny vs whomever in a quarterback battle.

None of that really matters, though, if the aforementioned OBR article holds any water. Pettine will be out of here, and Farmer will probably get a chance to work with a coach he’s going to hand pick to cooperate. Maybe Bernie Kosar will be around, too.

But probably not.

Picks Notes:

Seriously, did you see my picks last week? What makes you think I should have any sort of explanations for any of these probably terrible picks.

Kansas City, Detroit, Cleveland, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Washington, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Tennessee, San Diego, Kansas City, and San Francisco are done. They’re out. Cross them off. That’s 14 teams with no chance just over halfway through the season. Let’s all jump on the Oakland Raiders bandwagon. Not because we want to, but because hanging out with the crazies is the best way to stay safe when they’re loose.

 

Bills @Jets
Lions @Packers
Cowboys @Buccaneers
Panthers @Titans
Bears @Rams
Saints @Redskins
Dolphins @Eagles
Browns @Steelers
Jaguars @Ravens
Vikings @Raiders
Patriots @Giants
Chiefs @Broncos
Cardinals @Seahawks
Texans @Bengals

 

References
1 Stop it.
2 No. Stop.
3 Jesus. Leave me alone. I sucked.
4 Holy shit
5 Web thievery is no problem, until the cease and desist shows up.
6 We all know Johnny isn’t taller than anybody besides his wide receivers.

Josh’s NFL Picks Week Nine: Two Browns Losses for the Price of One

After a nine win week eight, I’m pretty depressed. I never feel good when I have to start off the picks column with a number so low; I have to spell it out instead of use the numerals1Bet you degenerates didn’t think you’d get a grammar lesson today.. I’m off to a (depressingly) strong start this week after picking the Bengals to beat the Browns on Thursday night. Ho hum. My favorite football team is terrible again. I’ll just have to drown my sorrows in Cavaliers basketball.

Don’t bet on the Cavs2I’m listening to Odelay as I write this. I forgot how cool Beck was. Don’t get me wrong, Cleveland’s swashbuckling heroes are going to win a lot of games3my preseason bet was less than 56.5, but 55 is still a lot., but betting on the Cavs to cover point spreads is a risky proposition. Slow starts and managing minutes is going to leave bettors feeling differently than fans.

I know LeBron James downplayed the moment he tore the sleeves off the awful Adidas uniforms the Cavs wore against the Knicks, but I suspect LeBron is being a little less than honest in that Uninterrupted video. Not that I blame him; losing your cool at a tee shirt isn’t always the best look. Speaking of bad looks; those uniforms are the worst look. They’re tee shirts that teams should give away to fans before a playoff game. They’re not basketball uniforms.

I wish there were fantastic Indians news to share, but there isn’t. Alas, it’s not all fire and brimstone at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. How could it be, if the folks over at Tribe Time Now are still recording podcasts? Take a trip over there and sit down with episode 35: Ryan Raburn: Key to World Series Victory.

We have two Browns games to lament since my last column. Mike Pettine said the Cardinals game was “a tale of two halves… frustrating because we’re capable of being better for longer.”

I don’t buy that at all, especially since the Thursday night game in Cincinnati was no different. Moreover; the Browns weren’t that good in the first half of either game, anyway.

In the Cardinals game the Browns secondary was abused as much in the first half as they were in the second, but was bailed out by Karlos Dansby and K’Waun Williams forcing key turnovers. At best, the Browns defense could be called “Big Play,” considering their four forced turnovers. But, in reality, they’re just a high risk unit. Specifically, it’s risky for the Browns that this is the unit.

Against the Bengals, the only thing preventing an uglier defensive output was two seemingly miraculous scoring drives that combined to eat up 10:58 seconds of game clock. Not including Carson Palmer taking knees to end the first half and the game, the Browns defense only forced one three and out Thursday. Guys; the defense is the problem.

Not playing Duke Johnson in the second half against Arizona because that’s how the game flowed is the biggest load of garbage I’ve seen since the Voyage of the Mobro 40004There’s a new “Most watched load of garbage in town,” Mobro.

I would love to harp on Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell only combining for 13 carries Thursday night, but the Browns got in such a huge hole so early in the second half, they had to start throwing the ball around like a Madden game. I’m sure Duke would rather run pass routes than keep up that torrid Thursday pace of 0.0 yards per carry.

I don’t know what Jimmy Haslam wants. I don’t know what Mike Pettine wants. If it were my money, I’d have to stop paying Jim O’Neil.

Picks Notes:

I’m not breaking down anyone’s doors to wager roses this week. My favorite is a big favorite, the Patriots covering against the Redskins.

I’m comfortable admitting I was wrong about not liking Teddy Bridgewater. Honestly, being so right about not liking Colin Kaepernick really eases that sting. Quarterbacks make the world go round, and they shall continue in their two matchups. The Vikings will win easily, and the 49ers will lose ugly.

I had the hardest time with the matchup between the Raiders and Steelers. I’m taking the upset. It feels right.

Happy picking!

Browns @Bengals
Packers @Panthers
Redskins @Patriots
Titans @Saints
Dolphins @Bills
Rams @Vikings
Jaguars @Jets
Raiders @Steelers
Giants @Buccaneers
Falcons @49ers
Broncos @Colts
Eagles @Cowboys
Bears @Chargers

 

 

 

 

Follow me on Twitter @RailbirdJ for more senseless sports talk and occasional conversations about being a new dad. Tweet about this using #MTAFPicks and #NomPickem to talk trash to me, the rest of the MTAF NFL crew, and all of the sad sacks who got suckered into @Sportsnom‘s shady pick’em league

References
1 Bet you degenerates didn’t think you’d get a grammar lesson today.
2 I’m listening to Odelay as I write this. I forgot how cool Beck was
3 my preseason bet was less than 56.5, but 55 is still a lot.
4 There’s a new “Most watched load of garbage in town,” Mobro

Josh’s NFL Picks Week Eight: Sort Of

Congratulations on clicking on an experiment here at More Than a Fan. Before you flip out because you unknowingly clicked on some sort of internet test, don’t worry. We’re not the Stanford Psychology Department. We don’t do crazy things like follow the scientific method or set up control groups to test variables. We yell into the internet until enough of you listen. That’s how we set the volume around here, and we’re in the middle of finding the right level.

If you came for my NFL picks, they’re still here! Somewhere. Probably way down at the bottom, which means you have to read the rest of this stuff. The rest of the stuff here that you’re probably not used to yet is some Friday morning riffing on Cleveland sports. I haven’t quite decided on the best format for doing this on a weekly basis, but I’m sure I’ll be on solid ground by the time football season is over and there aren’t any more picks to make.

I’ll probably change the title structure of these columns, too, but too much change at once might break the internet.

The Cavs are good. Like, really good. David Blatt’s crew is merely 1-1 at this point, after a close loss to open the season in Chicago and a trip to Memphis to crush the Grizzlies, but this Cavs team is different from any other team we’ve seen here in Cleveland. Even different than last seasons’ second first season with LeBron.

You won’t hear any Mike Miller or Shawn Marion hate here1Okay, you MIGHT. But not right now., but Richard Jefferson and Mo Williams bring depth to the Cavs roster that didn’t exist last season, even during the 34-9 run that turned around a sub-.500 start.

An early season word of caution to Cavs fans: we’re not going to see the Cavs trouncing through the regular season, eviscerating teams and winning 65 games. Or 60 games. Or 56.5 games2Cavs over/under for 2015-16. David Blatt’s first priority is keeping LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving healthy and rested. Williams, Jefferson, Tristan Thompson, and the rest of the bench are going to allow Blatt to go to the bench early and often during this season. So, don’t lose your mind over losses. There will probably always be fair criticism after bad games, but 16 wins in May and June matter far more than playing the starters heavy minutes against the Knicks in December. Let Carmelo try out for the Celtics3Carmelo should get traded this season. Not as hard as Boogie Cousins should get traded, but it’s close.

Allowing Mark Shapiro to go to Toronto may have actually been a savvy move by the Cleveland Indians ownership, as the first big thing to happen under his watch is the resignation of 2015 GM of the Year Alex Anthopoulos. You heard that right. The man who JUST WON GM OF THE YEAR saw Mark Shapiro coming and bailed, without even having another GM job in his sights. It looks like the Blue Jays needed to go cheap, and Shapiro is the perfect man for the job.

Francisco Lindor got jobbed. Not snubbed, but jobbed. Major League Baseball’s Gold Glove eligibility rules are… I don’t know. Unexplainable? Confusing?

HIS DELAYED CALLUP!

via GIPHY

Don’t make me talk about the Browns. Just get to the picks already. I don’t have anything nice to say about the Browns. Except, I’m apparently the only person in Cleveland who doesn’t hate the 2015 uniforms.

Some Picks Notes: The proof of my Thursday night picks are always on Twitter. If you don’t follow me there, you’re missing out.

One of the Tie-breakers in the #NomPickem League is which team will score the most and fewest points. I chose Seahawks for most and Cowboys for fewest. I really think this one will blow the roof off of Jerry World.

The Packers will be the team that finally exposes Peyton Manning‘s noodle arm, and the fact that Gary Kubiak is making a mistake trying to shoehorn an offensive system onto the golden years of the most cerebral quarterback who’s ever played the game. Manning is still more Peyton than Eli, but only when he’s running the place.

Cam Newton will continue to be an MVP candidate against the Colts. I just can’t wait to see what this week’s Andrew Luck “Dearest Martha” memes will be like.

Dolphins @Patriots
Lions @Chiefs
Buccaneers @Falcons
Cardinals @Browns
49ers @Rams
Giants @Saints
Vikings @Bears
Chargers @Ravens
Bengals @Steelers
Titans @Texans
Jets @Raiders
Seahawks @Cowboys
Packers @Broncos
Colts @Panthers

Follow me on Twitter @RailbirdJ for more senseless sports talk and occasional conversations about being a new dad. Tweet about this using #MTAFPicks and #NomPickem to talk trash to me, the rest of the MTAF NFL crew, and all of the sad sacks who got suckered into @Sportsnom‘s shady pick’em league

References
1 Okay, you MIGHT. But not right now.
2 Cavs over/under for 2015-16
3 Carmelo should get traded this season. Not as hard as Boogie Cousins should get traded, but it’s close.

Josh’s NFL Picks Week Six: More Bad Picks

I’m averaging 9.75 wins per week so far this season, and that’s just terrible. I’m almost to the point where I’m going to start a Dear Abby style advice column and just put the picks at the end.

Falcons @Saints Thursday 8:25 PM ET

Saints score on the first drive of the game, then Matt Ryan fumbles on 4th and 1 on the second drive. Early returns look like I will continue to be bad.

UPDATE: Looks like I’m starting from behind again this week. How was I supposed to know the Saints would channel 2006 and block that punt for a TD against the Falcons?

Redskins @Jets Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Cardinals @Steelers Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Chiefs @Vikings Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Bengals @Bills Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Bears @Lions Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Broncos @Browns Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Texans @Jaguars Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Dolphins @Titans Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Panthers @Seahawks Sunday 4:05 PM ET 
Chargers @Packers Sunday 4:25 PM ET 
Ravens @49ers Sunday 4:25 PM ET 
Patriots @Colts Sunday 8:30 PM ET 
Giants @Eagles Monday 8:30 PM ET 

 

Follow me on Twitter @RailbirdJ for more senseless sports talk and occasional conversations about being a new dad. Tweet about this using #MTAFPicks and #NomPickem to talk trash to me, the rest of the MTAF NFL crew, and all of the sad sacks who got suckered into @Sportsnom‘s shady pick’em league

Josh’s NFL Picks Week Five: Day Late and Dollar Short

The day late portion of this week’s title is easy to figure out; I usually publish on Friday morning, but here I am on Saturday tapping away at this keyboard. The dollar short ending is something I can’t quite figure out. For some reason, I’m bad this year. I’m barely averaging 10 wins per week straight up, and that’s a little maddening.

Some writers would blame both parts of this title on having the best one year old daughter in the history of the world and using all that football brain on her, and, well, I’m doing the same damn thing. Anyway, here’s my abbreviated picks column for week five.

Colts @Texans Thursday 8:25 PM ET

The Colts are a reason for my mediocrity this season. How can they possibly be SO bad and still be sitting at 3-2 after two weeks without Andrew Luck? Indianapolis is a product of the AFC South, and that fact alone will propel them to the playoffs.

Bears @Chiefs Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Seahawks @Bengals Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Redskins @Falcons Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Jaguars @Buccaneers Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Saints @Eagles Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Browns @Ravens Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Rams @Packers Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Bills @Titans Sunday 1:00 PM ET 
Cardinals @Lions Sunday 4:05 PM ET 
Patriots @Cowboys Sunday 4:25 PM ET 
Broncos @Raiders Sunday 4:25 PM ET 
49ers @Giants Sunday 8:30 PM ET 
Steelers @Chargers Monday 8:30 PM ET

Follow me on Twitter @RailbirdJ for more senseless sports talk and occasional conversations about being a new dad. Tweet about this using #MTAFPicks and #NomPickem to talk trash to me, the rest of the MTAF NFL crew, and all of the sad sacks who got suckered into @Sportsnom‘s shady pick’em league

Josh’s NFL Picks Week Three: A Sobering Format Change

Last week was a bloodbath for my picks. Think of your favorite historical battle, I was the losing general in week two of the NFL season. If you picked worse than me, I’m not even sure you should be reading this. Take up knitting, maybe. Football might not be for you.

I’m switching from the table I used for the first two weeks, to a more traditional format. I found that I couldn’t make the tables fit well on mobile screens. I know there’s plenty of fancy mumbo-jumbo someone will tell me about responsive coding, but I’ve become lazy since I hung up my boss hat. You get a new format, without tables, whether you like it or not.

Also, I didn’t drink any Cleveland Whiskey before my picks this week. You should drink some while you’re reading, though. Unless you’re driving.

Redskins

@Giants

Thursday

8:25 PM ET

This tweet embed is so meta.

Falcons

@Cowboys

Sunday

1:00 PM ET

“This quarterback Weeden can drive the ball down field. He’s a thing of beauty on throwing a football. His passing motion and his arm, frankly, you won’t see a more gifted passer, power, accuracy, the entire aspect of it. If he can basically prepare, be the starting quarterback, come in and execute and keep his head right, then I feel good about Weeden.” ~ Jerry Jones on 105.3 The Fan

Jerry Jones is insane. I’m not sure what else there is to say about a Dallas team without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. I was high on the Cowboys before the season, but not as high as Jerry Jones is right now.

I’ve liked the Falcons, too. Atlanta is much more flawed than Dallas was to start the year, but any team with Matt Ryan throwing to Julio Jones is a team to be reckoned with. The Falcons are -2.5 on the road, and I expect them to run their record ATS to a perfect 3-0 this week.

Colts

@Titans

Sunday

1:00 PM ET

Indianapolis has scored an NFL low 21 points this season, and Andrew Luck has thrown four interceptions against the blitz after only two games. This is bad for Colts fans.

I don’t love Tennessee this season, but I can’t see the Titans getting unlucky enough to beat the Colts. Weak schedule be damned, the Titans should be able to move the ball behind Marcus Mariota on the Colts below average defense enough to control the pace of the game.

Indianapolis is -3.5 on the road after an 0-2 start, and are the consensus pick according to SportsInsights. I don’t get it. Upset City will be the newest burg in The Volunteer State on Sunday.

Raiders

@Browns

Sunday

1:00 PM ET

Cleveland -3.5 makes me feel a little queasy. I went with crazy hometown optimism with my first two week picks for the Browns, but being a home favorite is a spot that I haven’t trusted the Browns in for a long time. Not that I’ve ever really trusted the Browns, but I like it even less when they’re favored.

There are a couple pretty good conversations in the replies to that tweet about Josh McCown being named starting quarterback over Johnny Manziel. I believe Travis Benjamin stays a game breaker no matter who is throwing the ball, and if the Browns defense can keep up their 4.5 sacks per game pace, I think Cleveland has a good shot at winning this game. (They’re 0-2 ATS this season, though. I wouldn’t bet on that changing.)

Derek Carr is a solid quarterback, but he’s still struggling under pressure. Cleveland is third in the league in sacks and eighth in defensive completion percentage. The Browns weakness has been giving up the big play through the air, but pressure on Carr will make it hard for him to hit Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree deep.

There’s also the fact that the Raiders have given up 33 points in both of their games this season. If McCown and the Browns don’t score against this defense at home, I’ve got a knitting link to send them.

Bengals

@Ravens

Sunday

1:00 PM ET

I’d like to pick both of these teams to lose.

Baltimore is -3 at home. I’m hooked on the road underdog.

There’s a lot of evidence that Baltimore COULD have beaten the Broncos in week one and pull out last week’s last minute loss against the Raiders. MAYBE the Ravens were just unlucky in those games. Joe Flacco could very well be elite.

Andy Dalton, Giovani Bernard, and Tyler Eifert are on tear this season, and that doesn’t even take into account the inevitability that is A.J. Green‘s breakout games to take over the season in Cincinnati.

The Bengals and Ravens are trending in different directions right now, and I don’t expect Marvin Lewis to let his team collapse until the playoffs.

Jaguars

@Patriots

Sunday

1:00 PM ET

This is going to be ugly. New England is -13.5, and while I think they’ll cover, the Jacksonville money line at +736 could be worth a few bones, if you have more bones than you know what to do with.

Saints

@Panthers

Sunday

1:00 PM ET

This hurts. Not as bad as Drew Brees‘ rotator cuff hurts, but it hurts me still.

Brees hasn’t been himself this season, the Saints haven’t been good overall, and Carolina should get LB Luke Kuechly back from his concussion in week one.

Eagles

@Jets

Sunday

1:00 PM ET

Turns out Chip Kelly is better at denying being a racist than he is at running a football team. Who knew?

I didn’t. I thought he would be good, but the more he shapes this team in his vision, the worse they become. His moves just don’t seem to work.

Also, the Jets defense is pretty fantastic.

Buccaneers

@Texans

Sunday

1:00 PM ET

The home team will come out on top in this week’s I Don’t Care Bowl, but I don’t expect them to cover the -6.5.

Chargers

@Vikings

Sunday

1:00 PM ET

I like San Diego and the under based on the strength of the Philip Rivers led offense.

I want to take a moment to clear the air. I was not a Teddy Bridgewater fan when he came out of college, but he did a really good of proving me wrong during his rookie year. I’m not buying tickets to the Bridgewater bandwagon at this point, but there’s no sense in pretending like I’m never wrong. Anyway, Teddy is good and Adrian Peterson will get stronger all season, but that Chargers offense should keep chugging in Minnesota.

Steelers

@Rams

Sunday

1:00 PM ET

Speaking of offenses…

Pittsburgh should be the best offense in the NFL this season. Now that Le’Veon Bell is back from his suspension (weed is still banned by the NFL CBA  ¯_(ツ)_/¯), I can’t imagine a scenario in which the Steelers don’t run through the Rams like a video game.

49ers

@Cardinals

Sunday

4:05 PM ET

Arizona -6.5 has the makings of an upset ATS, but I’m comfortable picking the Cardinals outright.

Stat of the Day (From ESPN):

Carson Palmer (14 TD: 3 Int) AND the Cardinals pass defense (12 TD: 20 Int) have the best 4th quarter TD-to-Int differential in the NFL since 2013. Colin Kaepernick‘s 4th-quarter TD-to-Int rate is tied for the worst (4 TD: 8 Int) over that span among qualified passers.

Bills

@Dolphins

Sunday

4:25 PM ET

I’m picking Buffalo because of their defensive prowess and to irritate Jeff.

Bears

@Seahawks

Sunday

4:25 PM ET

Bears fans should just skip this Sunday. Do literally anything but watch this game. Maybe knit.

Broncos

@Lions

Sunday

8:30 PM ET

Read this.

Peyton’s Place: Why the Broncos Quarterback Should Retire

Chiefs

@Packers

Monday

8:30 PM ET

First person to make me a meme of Aaron Rodgers as a superhero will get published here.

 

Follow me on Twitter @RailbirdJ for more senseless sports talk and occasional conversations about being a new dad. Tweet about this using #MTAFPicks and #NomPickem to talk trash to me, the rest of the MTAF NFL crew, and all of the sad sacks who got suckered into @Sportsnom‘s shady pick’em league.

Josh’s NFL Picks Week Two: The Bills Annoy Me

Here comes week two of the NFL season. I went 10-6 during week one, which was honestly a little disappointing. I had a bit too much Cleveland Whiskey before this writing, so make sure to find them on facebook and tell them they really screwed me over if I end up wrong.

*Remember to drink responsibly. And never make any important NFL picks while drunk.

Broncos @Chiefs Thursday 8:25 PM ET
Chiefs Over BroncosIt’s completely possible that I blew this pick. Shrug.(GOOD LORD. I misspelled the #NomPickem in this hashtag. I blame Brent.)

**UPDATE: Holy Mother of Pearl, Kansas City. What a colossal let down this game was for Chiefs fans. And players, I guess. I’m sure Jamaal Charles is more angry about his fumble than I am, but I also hope there are some fingers pointing everywhere else on that team. KC led by 14 in the second quarter, but the Chiefs defense allowed a TD at 2:31 left in the half. Then, the offense couldn’t salt away the clock, giving Peyton Manning the opportunity to tie the game with less than a minute left. He did.

We all know what happened to finish things. Is there anything still standing in Kansas City?

Texans @Panthers Sunday 1:00 PM ET
Carolina is -3.5 at home in this matchup, and I’ll take it.All the J.J. Watt defensive snaps in the world can’t help the fact that the Houston offense features Ryan Mallet, backup running back Alfred Blue, and … well, that’s pretty much it.It ought to be fun to watch Panthers QB Cam Newton square off against Watt. While J.J. may win a few of the battles, Cam will win this war.
49ers @Steelers Sunday 1:00 PM ET
It’s a little weird that Pittsburgh is -6 coming off of a loss, while this San Francisco team won a game pretty decisively, but there’s always a TON of public juice backing the Steelers.I don’t have a ton of confidence in Pittsburgh against contenders this season – it’s that bad defense that’s turning me off – but I don’t see the 49ers as contenders. If San Fransisco can manage to give up 395 yards to a Vikings team that only scored three points, I can’t imagine what Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are going to do to that defense.
Buccaneers @Saints Sunday 1:00 PM ET
Eventually Jameis Winston isn’t going to suck, and truthfully, this week might be the start of that positive trend for the Tampa Bay rookie. New Orleans’ defense gave up a whopping 427 yards and 31 points to the Arizona Cardinals in week one, so look for plenty of chances for Winston to put up some numbers.Make no mistake, the Saints are going to make me sad a lot this season, but not against an inexperienced quarterback leading one of the worst teams in football.
Lions @Vikings Sunday 1:00 PM ET
I took a lot of flack for not liking Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater coming out of college. He played well last season, and was poised to lead Minnesota to the brink of the playoffs this season… Then he posted zero touchdowns against a pretty bad 49ers squad in week one.I’m not playing I Told You So about Bridgewater – there’s still PLENTY of proof that I was wrong about him – but he needs to improve drastically against a Lions squad that’s still learning how to manage on defense without Ndamukong Suh.Detroit faced a much tougher test in week one against the Chargers in their loss than the Vikings did in theirs. Look for Matthew Stafford, Golden Tate, and Calvin Johnson to break out.
Cardinals @Bears Sunday 1:00 PM ET
Carson Palmer returning to Arizona after a torn ACL is a great story, and I really like coach Bruce Arians in the desert, but Jay Cutler and Matt Forte is going to be too much for the Cardinals to overcome in the Windy City.
Patriots @Bills Sunday 1:00 PM ET
The Bills annoy me. Tom Brady will vote for Donald Trump. Robert Kraft rules the world.

Really, the only reason to pick Buffalo here is because the so many people are picking New England. The Patriots are favored by a point on the road and are being picked by 71% of bettors, according to SportsInsights. I will be very surprised if Tyrod Taylor stays as good as he was in the Bills week one victory over Indianapolis.

Chargers @Bengals Sunday 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati is -3.5, and there’s really no discernible trend for either team against the spread recently or head to head. This might be the most evenly matched game all week, and I’m hard-pressed to make decision either way. All I can tell you is I’m watching the Thursday Night Game as I’m watching this and I can’t believe how bad Peyton Manning is so far. (I’m sorry, @Dano708)I’m going with the road underdog because Disney movies taught me underdogs win more than they should.
Titans @Browns Sunday 1:00 PM ET
I don’t know who the starting quarterback for the Browns is as I write this, but, damnit, I don’t care. HERE WE GO BROWNI… wait. Tennessee is favored by a point on the road and they’re sporting the hottest rookie quarterback the NFL has seen in years. Sigh.I want to pick Cleveland SO BADLY… Oh Hell. Why not?
Falcons @Giants Sunday 1:00 PM ET
New York is -2.5, but I don’t care. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are going to have  great season for Atlanta, and this week will be no exception.Atlanta is trending up after beating the NFL’s darling Chip Kelly, and New York is trending down after an Eli Manning mental error and controversy about goal line scoring.
Rams @Redskins Sunday 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis is coming off a season opening win against the mighty Seattle Seahawks and Washington couldn’t manage to beat the Miami Dolphins after turning Robert Griffin, III into a safety during practice, and I still have to convince people who to pick in this game?
Dolphins @Jaguars Sunday 4:05 PM ET
Miami is good.Jacksonville has a pool in their stadium.
Ravens @Raiders Sunday 4:05 PM ET
I can’t believe I picked Oakland in an upset last week. Derek Carr goes out early and the Raiders fell apart. What a shame.Eventually, Terrell Suggs‘ Achilles tear is going to haunt the Ravens, but this defense should be able to handle what the young Raiders squad throws at them. On the flip side, Joe Flacco is elite. So.
Cowboys @Eagles Sunday 4:25 PM ET
Screw you, Chip Kelly. Jerry Jones and his side pieces cannot be stopped.
Seahawks @Packers Sunday 8:30 PM ET
Aaron Rodgers is a super hero. There’s no other way to explain him.Seattle is still a really good team, but going in to Lambeau Field STILL missing holdout Kam Chancellor is going to be too much for the Seahawks defense to overcome.
Jets @Colts Monday 8:30 PM ET
This will be the last time I choose Indianapolis when I say they’re overrated in the same sentence.

Follow me on Twitter @RailbirdJ for more senseless sports talk and occasional conversations about being a new dad. Tweet about this using #MTAFPicks and #NomPickem to talk trash to me, the rest of the MTAF NFL crew, and all of the sad sacks who got suckered into @Sportsnom‘s shady pick’em league.

Josh's Week 17 NFL Picks

It’s been a hectic holiday season for me, and I apologize like crazy for not being more consistent in my columns and podcasts here on More Than a Fan. Two Tuesdays ago was a big shindig where I had the honor of dressing up as Santa Claus and passing out gifts to kids all night. No pictures are available, but trust that I brought the house down.

Then came a busy Wednesday evening, followed by a small medical emergency. If you follow me on twitter (<– PLUG!), you probably know what happened. If you’re interested, follow me and ask. I’m not about to go tossing news about my fancy parts on a sports website. After the small medical emergency was a full five days of Christmas cheer.

There’s no excuse for my inattention, but at least I can apologize. So, I’m sorry.

This is the last week for Super Standings, and Roger has out done himself with his analysis this week. I’ve probably outdone myself on the picks, too. I have 124 wins this season, that’s good for 7th in the #AHTP Pick ‘Em league. Ezzy is leading the league with a scorching 135 wins, followed by Bernie’s Mullet Fro (I have no twitter link for this guy, whoever he is), AnthonyG729, TheKardiacKid, 1be4igo, and ConradMorgan23. I wonder who I can catch after my perfect week 17.

Super Standings

Now that the standings and playoff seedings are almost set, there is a lot of “if  – Then” analysis.  Super Standings simplifies all of this with the % chance for each outcome, just as it has all season.

The NFC East is the only division to be decided and as we all know, it will be the winner of the Dallas at Washington game.  Washington has a 9% change of making the playoffs as a wild card with 9 wins if they lose the division to Dallas.  For Dallas it’s win or go home.

NFC Playoff Seeding
Atlanta has clinched the #1 seed and the best chance of winning the conference at 44%.  Green Bay and San Francisco can still get the other first round bye and Green Bay has it if they beat Minnesota.  Playoff Seed 4 goes to the NFC East winner.  Seattle either wins the division (only a 7% chance) or, most likely (93%) is the WC1 with 11 wins.  Minnesota is the leader of 4 teams that can be WC2, but they only have a 45% chance of getting in.  They play GB and  GB needs to win for a first round bye.  But no other team has a better chance.

You may have noticed that the NY Giants have the third highest PWR rating in the NFL and the highest in the NFC.  After their week 6 win over Cleveland the only non-playoff teams they played were Pittsburgh and New Orleans!  Brutal schedule to say the least.  Their 5-5 record was not good enough and now the best team in the NFC only has a 12% chance of making the playoffs!

The favorites for the conference championship are Atlanta, Green Bay and San Francisco.  The other teams (many have not even secured a spot in the playoffs) have single digit % chance of winning the conference.  But their chance is NOT 0%.

AFC Seeding
Houston, Denver and New England are contending for a first round bye.  Houston is in the “Win and In” position since they have the tiebreaker over Denver. But if they do not win to get the #1 seed, they will likely not have a bye at all (8% PS2).  Denver must win to get the PS2 since a loss combined with a NE win will give the bye to NE since they have the tiebreaker head to head win over Denver.  Denver has the best chance of any team in the AFC for a first round bye at PS1 or PS2 with 29% + 62% = 91%.

The favorites for the conference champions are Denver New England and New England.  New England and Denver have the highest PWR rating, but Denver is more likely to have the advantage of the first round bye.  This gives Denver a 41% to 27% advantage at this time.  Houston is about 3 points weaker, but still has a 25% chance of winning the conference with a 68% chance of being the first seed.

The Games

Josh's Week 16 NFL Picks

Super Standings

All divisions except the NFC East have a clear favorite or lock for the division winner.  The AFC North is the only other division with a team with a chance (CIN – 11%) to win the division. Baltimore has a lead in the tiebreakers with a 4-1 division record and a 8-3 conference record.  Yes, Seattle has a 3% chance, but they need to beat San Francisco and then have San Francisco lose to Arizona at home.

NFC East
Week 15 didn’t help resolve the NFC East.  The combination of New York Losing and both of the other contenders has made them the underdog in the division race.  There are a plenty of scenario analysis available so there is no need to repeat it here.  With Super Standings you get a simple number for each team and standings position.  So Washington has a 50% chance of winning the division, Dallas is at 33% and New York is down to 17%.  So the NFC East is up for grabs with three teams that could win the division or miss the playoffs. The second highest rated team (NYG, PWR 55.6) in the NFC has a 38% chance of not making the playoffs.  At the end of week 15 in 2011, NYG only had a 28% chance of winning the NFC East a 0% chance of being a wild card.  So anything can happen.

NFC Playoff Seeding
Atlanta leads with a 95% chance of being the #1 seed.  They also are the favorite to win the conference at 44%.  San Francisco has a lead for the #2 seed at 68%, San Francisco has the highest PWR rating in the NFC, but the spread in PWR rating among the top 4 is only 1.3.  The two teams that lead in getting the round 1 bye have a 71% (42%+29%) chance of winning the conference.  The other two teams, NY and GB have a combined 22% chance of being conference champs. The first round bye is a big deal.  In the Wild Card race, Seattle has the lead with a 92% chance of getting a wild card spot.  The second spot is up for grabs with NYG (45%), CHI(26%), WSH(17%), DAL(10%), MIN(8%) still in the hunt with the three NFC teams still having a chance to win the division.

AFC Playoff Seeding
Houston and Denver have commanding leads for the #1 and #2 spots respectively.  In the AFC we have two teams, NE and Denver who have 58+ PWR ratings and the next strongest teams, Houston and Pittsburgh have have PWR ratings of 54.2.  With the highest power rating in the NFL (by only 0.1), NE will pay dearly for their slow start.  If they go on to get the #3 seed, they will get the #2 wild card (most likely, Pittsburgh) which will be a much stronger team than the #1 wild card, Indianapolis.  For the wild card spots, Indianapolis is about as close to a mathematical lock as you can get.  The other spot is between Pittsburgh (59%) and Cincinnati (30%).  These two play in Pittsburgh this week and it is a must win for Pittsburgh

The Games

Josh's Week 15 NFL Picks

What a stupid week it’s been. First, my NFL picks last week were atrocious. All that work I’ve done to get back on the plus side of 50% for the season after a couple of disastrous weeks early got wiped away with some stupid turnovers and late touchdowns. I’m shaking my fist at you, NFL teams.

Secondly, this week was interrupted by a bunch of crap that prevented me from getting a column on More Than a Fan on Tuesday. So these picks are all I’ve got this week. They better not let me down.

Roger at Super Standings preaches some fantastic playoff probabilities and I’ll be on the Gary Snyder Show talking NFL games this afternoon.

Super Standings

As the season heads in to the final weeks, we will hear a lot of analysis of what teams need to make the playoffs.  This is where Super Standings has the advantage of breaking each race down to a simple % chance of winning their division, playoff seed position, their conference or the Super Bowl.

Week 14 concluded one more divisional race with Green Bay gaining a commanding lead in the NFC North.  Even if Chicago beats Green Bay this week, Green Bay’s tiebreaker lead is almost insurmountable.  Chicago’s loss to Minnesota last week dropped their chances of winning the division from 32% to 5%!  This demonstrates that when you are in a tight divisional race how important divisional games are.

NFC East
The Giants, with a 55% chance of winning the division need to win 2 of the remaining 3 to get to 10 wins and force Washington and Dallas to win out.  Since Washington and Dallas play each other, only one of them can win 10 games.  This is where the Giant’s 2-3 divisional record could end their season.  If Washington wins 10, they will be 5-1 in the NFC East.  If Dallas wins 10, they will be 5-2 in the NFC East to win the divisional record tiebreaker.  The Giants need to win 1 of the next two games on the road where they will be slight underdogs.  If they do, they only need to beat the Eagles at home.  If they fail to beat the Eagles at home, they don’t deserve to go to the playoffs anyhow, right?

NFC Playoff Seeding
Even with their loss to Carolina, Atlanta is still an 80% favorite to be the #1 seed and the favorite to be the conference champion even with the lowest power rating of the division winners.  San Francisco has a slight lead over Green Bay for the other first round bye.  The next two weeks they have two tough opponents on the road and they need to win one of them and beat Arizona at home to get to 11.5 wins and hope Green Bay doesn’t win their last 3 to get 12 wins.  For the wild cards, Seattle and Chicago are in the lead if they get 10 wins.  Whoever doesn’t make it to 10 wins will have a NFC East team to worry about.  So this weeks GB@CHI game isn’t about winning the division, it is about the 1 round by for Green Bay and a wild card spot for Chicago.

AFC Playoff Seeding
Houston is still in the lead for the #1 seed, but only at 60%.  If New England wins their last three, they have the tiebreaker against Houston unless they also win their last three.  New England now has the highest power rating and if they beat San Francisco there is a very good chance they will beat Jacksonville and Miami to get to 13 wins.  Houston will then need to win their last 3, and although they will be favored in each game, it may not happen.  If you look at the power rating for Houston, they peaked at 58.4 in week 7 and now are at 54.  New England is now at their highest power rating at 58.3 (leading the NFL) from 54.3 at the beginning of the year.

Denver is another team that is at their highest power rating of 56.9 (#2 in the NFL) and a chance for 13 but they have lost to both Houston and New England for the tiebreaker.  So since Super Standings has figured out the winning and tiebreaker scenarios, Houston has a 91% chance of a first round bye, New England has a 77% chance and Denver a 27% chance.

But more importantly, New England has a commanding 44% chance of being the conference champion and going on to the Super Bowl.  Indianapolis has about 93% chance of making it as a wild card, but with the lowest power rating in the playoffs (lower than the Browns!) they have 0% chance (that means less than 0.5%) of winning the conference.  Pittsburgh leads the race to getting 9 wins to get the second wild card.  If they can finish the season by beating Cincinnati and Cleveland at home they should make the playoffs.

The Games