Category Archives: Pick 'em

Pick ‘em – Divisional Round

We got off to a 3-1 start to the playoffs last week, missing only the Broncos’ upset win over the Steelers. Let’s see if we can hit that number or even improve on it this week.

QB Tom Brady and the Patriots try to repeat their regular season performance against the Broncos, via milehighreport.com

New Orleans -4 at San Francisco

The 49ers are good, but being a defensive-first team trying to stop an offensive juggernaut is tough. That’s because offensive explosiveness gives you more of a margin for error. The 49ers, meanwhile, have little margin for error given the fact that they don’t score a ton of points because they don’t score touchdowns in the red zone. So even if DE Justin Smith and company and hold down the Drew Brees-led Saints offense, I don’t expect them to operate efficiently enough offensively to get over the hump and win. New Orleans 21, San Francisco 16

New England -14 vs. Denver

This is a huge line, which is not surprising given the fact that the Patriots have scored a ton of points this season while the Broncos have struggled at times to reach the end zone. The Patriots’ defensive isn’t that great, but we figure that they will do a better job of taking away Tim Tebow’s No. 1 passing option (even if it’s down the field) than the Steelers did. If they do that, Tebow could struggle, because he hasn’t done a great job of moving through his route progressions this year. New England may give up a few plays, as they did in the first meeting between these teams, but they should do a good enough job to let Tom Brady and the offense shine. In the end, that would make the game kind of similar to the 41-23 regular-season meeting. New England 38, Denver 21

Baltimore -9 vs. Houston

The wild-card round of the playoffs couldn’t have played out better for the Ravens. They avoid a third game against their AFC North rival Steelers and instead draw a Texans team that is solid but playing with a rookie quarterback in T.J. Yates. The Texans defense is good, but we saw the Ravens smash a similar team when they thumped the 49ers at home earlier this season – and when they beat the Texans (with Matt Schaub) 29-14. Baltimore has enough offensive firepower to make some plays thanks to Ray Rice and some young receivers, and the defense should be able to force Yates into mistakes. While Yates did a good job getting the ball downfield last week against the Bengals, we’re still not confident that he can do so against a top-level defense like the Ravens – especially on the road. Baltimore 24, Houston 10

Green Bay -9 vs. N.Y. Giants

It’s possible that the Giants could go to Green Bay and win. They could outmuscle the Pack on both sides of the ball and use a ball-control approach to steal a win. But while that pattern is possible, we don’t think it’s likely. Instead, we think that the Packers team that was terrific all year long will play up to that level and be so explosive that the Giants just can’t keep up. So while this matchup reminds everyone of 2007, when the Giants won in Green Bay and then avenged a late-season 38-35 loss in the Super Bowl, our preja vu tells us there won’t be any deja vu. Green Bay 35, N.Y. Giants 17

Playoffs: 3-1
Season: 46-51-5 pro, 94-86-7 overall

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Pick ‘em – Wild Card round

We didn’t make picks in Week 17, more because of life happening than because we were dodging something. But we’re back with a vengeance this week with our wild-card picks. Instead of simply picking games against the spread, we’ll go a little further and tell you why.

Texans QB T.J. Yates faces the Bengals again, via chron.com

Houston -3 over Cincinnati

This is the trickiest game to pick all weekend, because both teams have major warts. The Bengals didn’t beat a winning team all season, and even lost to the T.J. Yates-led Texans at home. The Texans have fallen apart due to injuries. Ultimately, we’re going to go with the home team to make enough plays defensively – thanks in large part to rookies J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed – to get the win. Houston 14, Cincinnati 10

New Orleans -10 vs. Detroit

The Saints should win this game, and if it’s a shootout (as everyone expects) they’ll likely get a late turnover for the cover, because that’s what their defense is built to do. Credit goes to the Lions for breaking through and reaching the playoffs, but they don’t have enough defense for this matchup. New Orleans 31, Detroit 17

N.Y. Giants -3 over Atlanta

The Falcons, like the Bengals, haven’t beaten anyone great while taking care of lesser teams. The Giants, meanwhile, struggled at times against lesser competition but always rose to the occasion. Plus, the Giants team we saw beat the Cowboys in Week 17 had a healthier defense than what we’ve seen all season. That should be enough for the Giants to get one playoff win and move forward into a much more daunting second-round matchup. N.Y. Giants 24, Atlanta 20

Pittsburgh -9 at Denver

The thing that made the Broncos a threat during their midseason rally was defense, and that defense has declined in the past month or so. If Denver can’t stop Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, they won’t even come close to being in position for Tebow Time. There’s no in-between in this game – it will either go down to the wire, or the Steelers will win by 17 points or more. We think the latter is far more likely. Pittsburgh 24, Denver 3

And by the way, here’s a little bonus from someone who went 48-34-2 ATS in NCAA picks this year: LSU beats Alabama by more than the 1-point spread. We’ve believed for a while that the Tigers are the best team in college football, as shown by regular-season wins over 3 BCS bowl winners – and all 3 away from home (Oregon in Dallas, at Alabama, at West Virginia). They’ll prove it again by winning the national championship Monday night.

Season: 43-50-5 pro, 91-84-7 overall

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Pick ‘em Week 16

A couple of weeks ago, we snuck our heads above water in our NFL picks, but since then it has been a disaster. We’re going to try to get back on the right track with this week’s picks. Note that the college picks run through next Thursday.

RB Frank Gore and the 49ers face the Seahawks, via nydailynews.com

NCAA picks
Louisville +1 vs. N.C. State (Charlotte)
Texas -3 vs. California (San Diego)
Florida State -3 vs. Notre Dame (Orlando)
Baylor -10 vs. Washington (San Antonio)

NFL picks
Arizona +4 at Cincinnati
Kansas City -2 vs. Oakland
New York Jets -3 vs. New York Giants
Detroit -3 vs. San Diego
Dallas -3 vs. Philadelphia
Seattle +2 vs. San Francisco
New Orleans -7 vs. Atlanta

Last week: 1-0 college, 2-5 pro, 3-5 overall
Season: 45-33-2 college, 41-46-4 pro, 86-79-6 overall

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Pick ‘em Week 14

Last week was another good one for our picks, as we finally climbed over .500 in our pro picks against the spread and continued to build our college picks. Now, as the college regular season wraps up with Army/Navy, let’s see if we can keep the momentum going with our pro picks.

The Bengals and Texans clash this week, via cbshouston.com

NCAA pick
Navy -7 vs. Army (Washington D.C.)

NFL picks
Houston +3 at Cincinnati
New Orleans -4 at Tennessee
Miami -3 vs. Philadelphia
Carolina +3 vs. Atlanta
Denver -3.5 vs. Chicago
Oakland -11.5 at Green Bay
Dallas -3 vs. N.Y. Giants

Last week: 4-2 college, 4-2 pro, 8-4 overall
Season: 44-32-2 college, 37-36-4 pro, 81-68-6 overall

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Pick ‘em Week 13

Last week was another decent but not great week in our picks. Here are the selections for championship week in college football and Week 13 in the NFL.

WR Jacoby Ford and the Raiders take on the Dolphins, via fantasyfootballchallenge.com

NCAA picks
Houston -14.5 vs. Southern Miss
Baylor -3 vs. Texas
LSU -14 vs. Georgia (Atlanta)
Oklahoma State -3.5 vs. Oklahoma
Virginia Tech -7 vs. Clemson (Charlotte)
Michigan State +10 vs. Wisconsin (Indianapolis)

NFL picks
Tennessee +3 at Buffalo
Oakland +3 at Miami
Cincinnati +7 at Pittsburgh
Houston +1.5 vs. Atlanta
N.Y. Giants +7 vs. Green Bay
New Orleans -9 vs. Detroit

Last week: 4-3 college, 3-3 pro, 7-6 overall
Season: 40-30-2 college, 33-34-4 pro, 73-64-6 overall

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Pick ‘em Week 11

Last week went opposite of our normal results, as our college picks stunk but our pro picks went 5-2. We’ll try to continue that pro momentum this week while getting college picks fixed. Here are this week’s picks.

RB Fred Jackson and the Bills take on LB Karlos Dansby and the Dolphins, via sbnation.com

NCAA picks
Michigan -3.5 vs. Nebraska
Virginia +17.5 at Florida State
Baylor +16 vs. Oklahoma
USC +15 at Oregon
SMU +20 at Houston

NFL picks
Oakland -1 at Minnesota
Cincinnati +7 at Baltimore
Atlanta -7 vs. Tennessee
Chicago -4 vs. San Diego
Miami – 1 vs. Buffalo

Last week: 1-5 college, 5-2 pro, 6-7 overall
Season: 32-26-2 college, 27-30-3 pro, 59-56-5 overall

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Pick ‘em Week 10

Last week was a solid 8-3 week. Let’s build on it with this week’s picks.

The Bengals face the Steelers in an AFC North battle, via steelerstoday.com

NCAA picks
Louisville -3 vs. Pittsburgh
Nebraska -3.5 at Penn State
South Carolina -3.5 vs. Florida
Auburn +13 at Georgia
Boise State -15.5 vs. TCU
Stanford -3.5 vs. Oregon

NFL picks
Atlanta +1 vs. New Orleans
Cincinnati +3 vs. Pittsburgh
Dallas -5.5 vs. Buffalo
Houston -3.5 at Tampa Bay
Chicago -3 vs. Detroit
San Francisco -3 vs. N.Y. Giants
New England +1 at N.Y. Jets

Last week: 4-1 college, 4-2 pro, 8-3 overall
Season: 31-21-2 college, 22-28-3 pro, 53-49-5 college

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