I made it through my first published season here on Doin Work (minus one week when I was gone). I have to say that I’m pretty happy with the results considering I made myself pick a few here and there just because I knew they’d be on TV and interesting. I found that when I was a more avid gambler, I never really won or lost much, which probably wasn’t a bad thing! This season pretty much reflected that. I went (3-2-1) last week bringing my season record to (45-42-3). Unless this week goes terribly wrong, I should end the regular season above .500. I’m extra scared of this last week of the season, because you never know which playoff teams will rest guys. It’s almost like betting on pre-season games… Obviously the teams that need to win to get in are full throttle, but the teams that are already in and have a limited need to win this week are kind of scary. Kind of like wondering what the new year will bring tomorrow scary. As always the home teams are in bold.
Buffalo (+8) Over Indianapolis
With headliners at the franchise quarterback spot, we have a hall of fame duo of Fitzpatrick versus Painter. If you aren’t already extra excited about this one, you might be the type of person that needs to cancel their Antiques Roadshow on the DVR, so you can re-watch this epic battle over and over for weeks to come. I forsee this being a battle for which QB can keep his rating over 50! I know that the Bills have locked up last place in the AFC East, and the Colts have locked up the 1st seed in all of the AFC which might make some think it’s a meaningless game. I guess I’ll agree, but it DOES look like a good game to bet on. The Colts laid down for the Jets last week with a pissed off Peyton strolling the sidelines, so I think the Bills can cover this one. Speaking of the Jets, if they make it in the playoffs, they are the luckiest potential playoff team out there. They play the best team in the league (Colts), who rest guys, and then another playoff team (Bengals), that will likely rest up for their first round match up. Talk about a cake walk schedule at the end of the year against playoff teams! The Bills will be playing all their starters, and whether they play good or not it shouldn’t matter too much since they should easily beat the Colts 2nd team.
The Texans have a shot at making the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history (8 years). I figure they are going to give it everything they have, and pull out victory. They’ve been playing very well as of late, and have given themselves an opportunity to make some history for themselves. Andre Johnson has been nothing short of unstoppable, and pulling in over 450+ yards in the last three games has him atop the league leader board in receiving yards. The Patriots on the other hand, will be a guessing game on what Bellichick will do. He’s been very evasive on what his plan is with his players and their playing time. My guess is he doesn’t play his starters for that long, and that would mean the Texans could put up huge points on a very weak 2nd defensive unit from New England. I see the Pats going into pre-season mode. If they rest Brady, Moss, and Welker for most of the game, this one shouldn’t be all that close as the Texans run the score up in their home finale.
San Francisco (-7) Over St. Louis
There is no game on the slate I feel more comfortable picking. The Niners desperately want to end the season 8-8. They had a few unlucky breaks this season that kept them from being within reach of a playoff spot, but Singletary won’t let them lay down for the final game of the year. He’s instilled a strong sense of pride, that this organization was lacking since Mariucci left. The Rams desperately want to lock up the #1 overall pick. Tanking this game would give them just that. It’s hard to pick the Rams in any situation, but here it would be plain ridiculous as they seemed to have taken the last seven weeks off after nabbing their sole win of the season. The only buzz in St. Louis is: What’s up with Holliday? Did the Cards sign him yet? The 49ers do have a lot of weapons aside from Frank Gore now. Crabtree and Davis are good complements to Gore, and have shown that they can efficiently work within the passing game. Problem for them is Alex Smith isn’t the answer at QB. I think even if they still only had Gore and Patrick Willis, they could cover the spread without breaking a sweat. Mark this as a lock on your gambling slate!
Speaking of not messing with draft pick chances, why wouldn’t the Lions lay down for one more game to secure the #2 pick in next years’ draft? I tried to answer this question, and figured that since there isn’t one reasonable answer, this has to be a safe pick. The Bears pretty much sucked for most of the year, whether it was Cutler, injuries, or bad coaching they looked like cubs not bears more often than not. Cutler has a chance to hit 30 interceptions for the season if he can throw four this week, but I think they’ll end this year on a high note as much as I don’t want to see it. A two game winning streak might give them a little confidence going into next year. I’ve tried to look at any possible bright side for them to this season, and there aren’t many. Last week, when they looked pretty good against the Vikings most likely was, their brightest moment of the year. It also gave me hope that the Vikings could get knocked out of the playoffs sooner than later, and end all of the Favre talks for a few months, until he decides if he wants to keep playing! I could never see Detroit beating the Vikes, so the Bears must be halfway decent. This is my 2nd favorite pick of the week!
The Charlie Frye era in Oakland hasn’t been anything to write home about. I hope this era will mercifully end at the conclusion of this season. He played bad last week including 3 interceptions against a pretty bad Cleveland Browns team, but the Raiders play surprisingly better at home, and keep it close. Last season they ended Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes with an upset victory that had people hoping that Jamarcus had finally taken the next step. Sadly Raider Nation was given some false hope, and he regressed into oblivion. Frye did have a bright spot last week as he threw for 333 yards. If he can keep from throwing picks in the redzone, they should at least cover the spread. Hopefully they’ll come back with a heavy dose of Michael Bush, since he looks like their best running back. Baltimore’s playoff hopes hinge on a few things happening, but they need this win to get in. I think they might be watching what is happening in the other games more than the one they are in, and get upset. I’m not sure why, but I just don’t see why everybody likes Flacco so much. He’s more hot and cold than a bi-polar Texan without his gun. There’s always at least one WTF kind of upset game each week, and I’m predicting it will be this one!
Tennessee (-4.5) Over Seattle
The Titans played really bad against SD, or it could be that the Chargers ARE that good. I’m thinking that was the case, so there’s no reason not to pick them this week. I’m sure they’d love to end the year at 8-8 giving them plenty of hope for next season in the rejuvenated Vince Young era. Not relying on old man Collins to lead the way can only do wonders for this team. I see Chris Johnson getting his 128 rushing yards this week to get to 2,000 rushing yards on the season. I’m betting he will break a couple 50+ yard runs, that is unless, the endzone is too close when he breaks them! The Seahawks are a team that regresses each week, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that they’ll get blown out. Forsett still isn’t getting enough touches! When will this change? I guess not for this season, since they’ve all but mailed it in. Watching them play it’s amazing that they’ve even won 5 games this year. Julius Jones is not as good a play maker as Justin Forsett, get it right over there Jim Mora Jr.
I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve become somewhat of an Eagles fan. Maybe it’s because they are on Fox every week or it might have something to do with one of my favorite college players (Desean Jackson) coming into his own in Philly. He’s been making a huge difference every time he gets the ball. Mcnabb looks like he’s moving into the been there done that mode, which he has, and has to be pretty comfortable playing that role by now. He also looks like he loves his latest crop of offensive weapons that he’s been given. Celek has even been making huge strides, and even though Mcnabb couldn’t quite make good on his promise of getting him into the pro bowl, Celek still had a great season either way. I keep waiting for Dallas to fall apart at the hinges, but it keeps not happening! It’s that empty feeling of hoping that your getting something for Xmas, but in the end you don’t get it. That’s how I feel every time I watch the Cowboys hoping for a loss. Maybe it’s more rooting for Romo to fail. Maybe it’s disliking Jerry Jones. It’s just fun to them fail I guess. I’m sure both these teams will be playing everybody, so if they happen to meet in the playoffs they will have home field over the other team. Let’s hope Romo fumbles another field goal attempt!