Bucko's feat of strength came a bit early this year, as a stunning three-week 32-14-2 run has vaulted him to sole posession of first place with a four-game edge on second place, with just two weeks remaining to play. The most annoying part of his performance is how his loss total is 99 - we all have triple digits in that column but he doesn't, and that "1" looks huge on all of our ledgers. On the flipside, the rest of us all figured out how to post our picks prior to the Sunday kickoffs.
Browns fans also found something underneath their aluminium pole last Sunday in the form of the Jets knocking off the Steelers, but with Cleveland adrift in another 5-9 campaign and both Baltimore and Pittsburgh bound for the postseason, there will be plenty of airing of grievances towards the NFL once again this year.
Nick's Money Picks ($): 1-3
Nick's Money Picks ($): 31-32-3
Figgs' Money Picks ($): 26-14-4
Thursday game, 8:20 pm
STEELERS (-14.5) vs Panthers
Andy: Panthers. This game just shouts "stay away" to me, both in terms of whether one would want to wager money on it or consider viewing it. Nevertheless, we pick every game here on FCF, and I can't argue with Figgs' logic.
Figgs: Panthers, just because.
Nick: Panthers. Hey Steelers: Fuck You. Too many points for a team without a big-number offense. Carolina, we'll leave the backdoor open for ya.
Bucko: Steelers. Who needs Troy against the Panthers.
Gopo: Panthers. Next two weeks are going to be quick picks as I'll be in India - my record can't be any worse than it's been the last two weeks. No way Steelers cover this - too many injuries to blow this team away, but they should win.
Saturday game, 7:30 pm
CARDINALS (+6.5) vs Cowboys
Andy: Cowboys. Most weeks, I have some picks I feel good about, and some I feel shaky about - there's a fair amount of buyer's remorse with my picks as soon as I've made them, but I do my best. After the dust settles after each week of NFL action, there's usually one that I look back on and wonder what on Earth I was thinking. Last week, that pick was Cardinals (+2.5) at Panthers. My reasoning was that a 1-12 team shouldn't be giving points, but somehow I remained oblivious to the fact that this was THE 2010 ARIZONA CARDINALS. Not just that, but THE 2010 ARIZONA CARDINALS on the road, on the East Coast to boot, and starting a guy named "Skeleton" at QB. I should have been willing to give points with a good high school team to go against Arizona last week. That having been said, there is absolutely no way I'm taking THE 2010 ARIZONA CARDINALS in this game without getting more than a TD, even though Dallas managed to squander an easy cover at home against Warshington last week.
Figgs: Cowboys. What Andy said exactly.
Nick: Boys. The Arizona Cardinals blow, and I'm sticking with the Cowboys even after they killed me by giving the Redskins a late bullshit cover last week. ($)
Bucko: Cowboys. They're playing well and Arizona sucks.
Gopo: Cowboys. I suck at picking against/with the Cardinals this year.
1 pm kickoff
BROWNS (+3.5) vs Ravens
Andy: Browns. I'll admit it, this line baffles me. I thought we'd be getting 5.5. Look, the Ravens are fighting for playoff positioning, they're healthy, and the Browns have just dropped consecutive decisions to two-win teams. On the other hand, the Browns play really well against good teams - it's the lousy ones that trouble us. Nevertheless, I would rather forfeit the entire season than pick the Ravens against the Browns. Have you seen Ray Lewis' characteristically moronic pre-game talk, claiming that Peyton Hillis' performance against Baltimore in the teams' first 2010 meeting (144 yards on the ground) "won't happen again"? What a fucking idiot. Lewis' chief skill these days appears to be jumping on the pile or a player who's already down after the play. I mean, he's absolutely elevated that to an art form. But hey, let's all keep giving him a free pass because of how good he was 10 years ago. Go jump in a lake, Baltimore Ratbirds.
Figgs: Browns. I don't like this line one bit. I do, however, like the Browns.
Nick: Browns. If not for the policy, I'd probably be hard on the Ravens here. Even I am not above the policy.
Bucko: Ravens. Sorry, not enough points.
Gopo: Ravens. As usual, would love to be wrong when picking the Ravens.
BUFFALOES (+9) vs Patriots
Andy: Buffaloes. Gopo's analysis only goes halfway - it's a different Buffaloes team as well, with the Bills having won four of their past six games. I think they'll keep it close - New England can't keep pummeling everyone for the whole rest of the year, can they?
Bucko: Patriots. They look damn good.
Gopo: Patriots. The Bills played them tough the first time around, but think this is a different Pats team now.
BEARS (-1) vs Jets
Andy: Bears. Sanchez is a question mark and the Bears are brimming with well-earned confidence, playing well of late in all facets of the game. Bucko, they have indeed clinched a playoff spot, but they have not secured a first-round bye, and that's huge. This is not the time for them to take a week off.
Figgs: Jets. I'm still not 100% on this Chicago team.
Bucko: Jets. I look for a down week from the Bears who have clinched already.
Gopo: Bears. Dare I say it: the Bears might be legit.
CHIEVES (-5) vs Titans
Andy: Chieves. Arrowhead in December is no place for a team playing for nothing, that may or may not care about the rest of the season. With Cassel in, I'm rolling KC. While I'm here, is there some reason why Matt Cassel can't do the giant testicles dance after a big play like Sam Cassell used to do?
Figgs: KC. Tough call, but the Chiefs just have more to play for.
Gopo: Titans. No idea about either one of these teams. When in doubt, take the points.
RAMS (-1.5) vs 49ers
Andy: Rams. Believe it or not, I'd probably take San Fran if they were at home with Troy Smith starting, but since only one of those things is true, I'll take St. Louis.
Figgs: Rams. Don't like picking against Troy Smith here, but I just can't understand why Vegas is STILL giving San Fran love even though they continue to lose.
Nick: Rams. ($)
Bucko: Rams. The Niners are a mess.
Gopo: Rams. Again, no idea about either one of these teams. This time I'm going with who I want to win instead of the points.
DOLPHINS (-3.5) vs Lions
Andy: Lions. I mean, they just won a game in Florida last week against a team better than this week's opponent - why wouldn't I take them and get a field goal plus to do so?
Figgs: Fish. I have nothing to back this up with.
Bucko: Lions. Dolphins offense isn't looking good.
Gopo: Lions. I think Detroit is actually a better team right now than the Dolphins.
JAGUARS (-7) vs Redskins
Andy: Jaguars. Mike Shanahan's mismanagement of Washington is threatening to become epic. They're worse in literally every football department since he took over. The Jags, meanwhile, still have a chance at a playoff spot despite a negative point differential. They should win this one easily in front of all 3000 of their fans.
Figgs: Skins. No MJD for Jax, Washington can keep it within a TD.
Bucko: Jaguars. Big game from Garrard.
Gopo: Jaguars. Redskins are done.
4 pm kickoff
RAIDERS (+3) vs Colts
Andy: Raiders. The Colts impressed me with their victory last week, but Oakland is 5-2 at home this year and they match up well (strong pass defense, good rush offense) against Indy.
Figgs: Indy. I'll go with Peyton every time in a must-win situation.
Nick: Raiders. ($)
Bucko: Colts in a shootout.
Gopo: Colts. Not enough points for me to take a mediocre Raiders club - give me the Peytons.
BRONCOS (+2.5) vs Texans
Andy: Texans. Gopo makes some quality points here.
Figgs: Texans. Chad Henne may no longer be my most hated starting QB in the league.
Nick: Texans. My Teboner's flaccid.
Bucko: Broncos. Tebow all day baby.
Gopo: Houston. I will never root for Tim Tebow and 2.5 points isn't enough for me to take that horrible team.
BENGALS (+9) vs Chargers
Andy: Chargers. Oh, Cincinnati Bengals, how you continue to torture me this season. I finally jump off from picking you and you cover against the Saints, then I get back on and you get walloped by the steelers, and then you take out the Browns. Can you stop, please? I'm taking San Diago mostly out of contempt for Cincy's recent antics.
Figgs: Chargers. 9 points is a lot for a road team, but then again, it is the Bungles.
Bucko: Chargers. Rivers having a great year.
Gopo: Chargers. The Bengals will have to throw all game, and without TO, Palmer is going to look even worse than he usually does.
PACKERS (-3) vs Giants
Andy: Giants. Eli's propensity for INT's worries me, but this New York team is too good and will absolutely be out for blood this week.
Figgs: Pack. I'm gonna gain so many games on you guys this week.
Bucko: Giants. To much pressure on Rodgers.
Gopo: Giants. With or without Rodgers, think the Giants take this one after their epic collapse last week.
BUCS (-6) vs Seahawks
Andy: Buccaneers. Seattle is in first place ... with a -84 point differential. Astounding.
Figgs: Bucs. A Seattle loss here will clinch under 7.5 wins and make me some moolah.
Nick: Bucs. ($)
Gopo: Bucs. I have nothing to say about this game.
Sunday Night Football, 8:20 pm
EAGLES (-14) vs Vikings
Andy: Eagles. Took me a while, but I frankly can't see them scoring fewer than 28 points against Minny at home, and I can't see Minnesota under the leadership of Joe Webb with a banged-up Adrian Peterson cranking out more than 14. I'm good at math.
Figgs: Philly. This is a lot of points, but if Peterson doesn't play I don't know if Minny will score a point.
Gopo: Vikings. Way too many points - I think the Vikings will keep it reasonably close.
Monday Night Football, 8:30 pm
FALCONS (-2) vs Saints
Andy: Falcons. Initially I thought to take New Orleans because they're the champs and will rise up for a game against the upstart Falcons, but Atlanta is just crushing people. Interestingly, teams with a better SRS than Atlanta, according to profootball-reference.com: New England, pittsburgh, Green Bay, Philly, San Diego.
Figgs: ATL. I've come to really enjoy watching both of these teams play this year. Really looking forward to this one.
Bucko: Falcons. They could be the best.
Gopo: Falcons. For the division - the dirty birds don't lose at home. I expect them to bring it for this game.
Thursday, December 23
Labels: NFL Picks 2010