Friday, December 31

NFL Picks: Week 17

I'd say this one's pretty much over - after I bombed yet another week and Bucko once again led the way (in both cases thanks almost entirely to the crime scene that is the AFC North), he's pretty much got the title wrapped up headed into the season's final week with a six-game lead over second-place Figgs. Nicely done. sir.

As for me, I'm just glad to see this awful NFL season come to a close. The Browns showed some real promise halfway through the year and then just disappeared from the Jacksonville game on. It apparently wasn't enough for the Sporting Gods to have us just suck - they had to make it look like we had some promise for a couple of weeks to lure us in, then pull it away from us in cruel fashion while the fucking steelers and ravens both cruised to 11-4 records so I once again can't just enjoy a playoff season without my two least favorite teams gumming it up. The whole direction of the AFC North really kinda seems like piling on at this point, especially when I get back after another disappointing NFL Sunday and hear the Cavs lose by one point at home to an awful Minnesota team that they led by 14 in the 4th quarter. I really don't know what I did to deserve such treatment from the Sporting Gods.

Last Week
Andy: 5-11
Figgs: 7-9
Nick: 7-9
Bucko: 8-8
Gopo: 8-8

Nick's Money Picks ($): 2-2

Bucko: 125-107-8
Figgs: 119-113-8
Andy: 118-114-8
Nick: 113-119-8
Gopo: 112-120-8

Nick's Money Picks ($): 33-34-3
Figgs' Money Picks ($): 26-14-4

Sunday games
1 pm kickoff

BROWNS (+5.5) vs steelers
Andy: BROWNS (PBR Pk). A couple of members of FCF denote the games on which they've placed wagers with the ($) notation, including in the parentheses when they have lines differing from the ones we play against in our picks. I've done the same this week with the lone game on which I have a gambling stake. You see, since about 2002, I've had a standing bet with Gopo for each NFL season that we bet a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon on the outcome of the Browns-steelers season series. If either team wins both games, the losing team's fan has to buy the other the 30-pack of delicious PBR - if the two teams split, it's a draw (cases don't roll over to the next year, and I did not buy a second case in 2002 when the Browns dropped three to...I can't even type their name anymore). Needless to say, this is the single worst agreement I've ever entered into. It's terrible, like Time Warner-AOL merger bad, and as lopsided as Gasol to LA, Darth Vader and Lando Calrissian's deal, or the US buying Alaska for two cents an acre. I hate this bet. But one year, damnit, I (along with all decent humanfolk) am going to win, and that's going to be the best PBR I've ever had, or at least as good as the previous PBR was. Sadly, that year will not be 2010, so I'll have to settle for saving $15 when the Browns beat the squealers this Sunday.
Figgs: Browns. Andy, when you finally win that case, I'm picturing you on the roof of your building (shirtless, of course) consecutively shotgunning all 30.
Nick: Browns. Fuck the Steelers.
Bucko: Steelers. I almost went Browns here, but I remembered the Steelers are playing for a bye. Andy's note: Bucko also remembered his deep, abiding love for the Pittsburgh steelers. This is a man who had three brand-new steeler jerseys in his house this past weekend. I saw them.
Gopo: Steelers. Our friend is out of the country, so Andy will be handling his portion of the weekly picks. They're all Gopo's selections, but he wasn't able to add commmentary, so I will. On this game, Gopo thinks, "man, I feel really bad about being a steeler fan. I hope my teeth are OK. Andy deserves to win that PBR some year."

FALCONS (-14.5) vs Panthers
Andy: Atlanta. One team is really good, one really bad, and Atlanta recently kicked Carolina around by 21 on the road - not much to say about this one, so let's take a trip back to last Thursday. I went to BW3 for the evening, where I go most weeks, to lead our trivia team into battle . Early in the game, however, the manager came over and asked if we could relinquish our seats near the trivia some drooling idiot steeler fans could watch their stupid black and yellow thugs play their game against Carolina. Our team plays every week and these losers get to come take our seats because they managed to put on their ugly jerseys correctly one night? Unbelievable. So we had to sit way far away from the action, where we could barely hear the questions, and still had to watch the game and have line-of-sight to more cretin Pittsburgh fans. Oh well, just another log on the fire that is my burning anti-steeler passion.
Figgs: ATL. Did Andy even make a pick during that rant? Andy's note: I wrote the rant before making my pick - I hadn't forgotten, but wanted to get that down while it was in my mind.
Nick: Falcons. Clausen doesn't even have a backdoor cover in him.
Bucko: Panthers. I think the Falcons will be playing it easy. They will still win, but it is too many points.
Gopo: Panthers. "I have not watched the NFL at all this year."

LIONS (-3.5) vs Vikings
Andy: Vikings. For many picks this week I'm going to introduce the use of's SRS (simplr rating system) to evaluate each pick, along with my predicted lines and other analysis. In this case, the difference in the teams' SRS is -2.9, pretty close to the line, so I don't get any help here (ATL is +19 over Carolina so I took them to cover). So I took the Vikings because I simply can't fathom the notion of Detroit winning four straight football games.
Figgs: Vikes.
Nick: Lions. Classic Tuesday night hangover. ($)
Bucko: Lions
Gopo: Lions. "Even my e-mailed-in pick is as detailed as Figgs' and Bucko's. Also, I got my picks in way before Nick."

CHIEVES (-3.5) vs Raiders
Andy: Chieves. Does everyone realize that KC is one of only two teams undefeated at home this year (Patriots)? The SRS differential is only 1.8, but doesn't adequately account for KC's wild home/road split.
Figgs: KC. I feel like this line should be KC -3.5 if it were at Oakland. At home, I got them by a touchdown.
Nick: Chiefs. These guys are tough at home. They're going to make round one gambling tricky.
Bucko: Chiefs.
Gopo: Chiefs. "Supporting the Indian brotherhood."

PATRIOTS (-3.5) vs Dolphins
Andy: Patriots. They own a 13-point SRS lead over Miami. I'm not even going to bother to look at who New England's backup QB is.
Figgs: Pats. Really? Have oddsmakers seen Miami in recent weeks? I guess they're assuming Brady and other stars won't see much action, but I still gotta go NE here.
Nick: Pats. They don't quit.
Bucko: Pats. The hoody won't let up.
Gopo: Patriots. "It's going to suck when they knock us out of the playoffs."

SAINTS (-6) vs Bucs
Andy: Bucs. The SRS differential is only 4.5, and what the hell does New Orleans care about this game? Atlanta's not losing to Carolina, and Nawlins is locked into the five-seed and a gift opening-round matchup in St. Louis. Take it easy, boys.
Figgs: Saints.
Nick: Bucs. Jaaaash Freeman.
Bucko: Saints.
Gopo: Saints. "Gotta take a former Big 10 QB after their dynamite performance in bowls this year."

JETS (-1) vs Buffaloes
Andy: Jets. They own an eight-point SRS edge over Buffalo. Just a superior team. I don't care if Sanchez plays this one or not.
Figgs: Jets. I may not be taking into account teams that don't have anything to play for, but any time is see "JETS (-1) vs Buffaloes", I can't possibly justify taking the Jills. Correct me if I'm wrong, but do the Bills not have anything to play for as well?
Nick: Bills. The Jets are going to coast.
Bucko: Jets.
Gopo: Jets. "22-17."

RAVENS (-9.5) vs Bengals
Andy: Bengals. Baltimore is only 8 better by SRS, plus Cincy already beat them, is on a mini-roll, and I hate Baltimore.
Figgs: Ravens. This is a line that finally makes sense to me. But it's still probably not high enough.
Nick: Bengals. Too many points.
Bucko: Bengals. They always play the birds tight.
Gopo: Bengals. "I have sheer contempt for Carson Palmer's QB abilities unless it means a cheap cover."

4 pm kickoff
TEXANS (+1.5) vs Jags
Andy: Texans. Houston has actually been slightly better this year (horrible collapse in Denver that cost me a cover notwithstanding) and they'll win this one over a fading Jax team.
Figgs: Jax. Gary Kubiak, the GM wants to see you in the locker room. Bring your playbook.
Nick: Jags.
Bucko: Houston. Garrard doesn't look like he's going to play.
Gopo: Texans. "Why the hell not?"

REDSKINS (+4) vs Giants
Andy: Giants. They're a TD better in SRS and can still win a playoff spot.
Figgs: Skins. Washington has played some inspired ball the last few weeks, and I feel as if the G-Men are just gonna fold after laying that egg in Green Bay last week.
Nick: Skins. The Giants blow.
Bucko: Redskins.
Gopo: Giants. "So much for Indian solidarity. The Giants' name implies that they are larger than their opponents."

EAGLES (-3.5) vs Cowboys
Andy: Eagles. They're seven better in SRS and playing at home against a Cowboy club on the wrong side of their late-season push. Nice job last week, btw, Jon Kitna. Did anyone else see where Tucker Carlson said that Michael Vick should be executed for his dogfighting escapades? Executed? Forget the rule of law - let's just assign punishments from now on based on what this douchebag thinks will get him the highest ratings.
Figgs: Philly. It seems I'm taking a lot of favorites here.
Nick: Eagles. Just don't see Dallas getting up for this game in Philly.
Bucko: Eagles. That is if everyone plays.
Gopo: Eagles. "Doing what the steelers couldn't do in the 1995 Super Bowl."

49ERS (-6) vs Cardinals
Andy: 49ers. Hate the line, but they're been five better this season, and this gives me one last chance to take a shot at Mike Singletary.
Figgs: Cards. This line seems pretty high for a 5-10 football team.
Nick: Niners. The Cardinals are awful - this is more a vote of no confidence in them than a vote of confidence in the Niners.
Bucko: Cards. How can the Niners offens do anything if they switch QB's every week.
Gopo: 49ers. "Root, root, root for the home team."

PACKERS (-10) vs Bears
Andy: Bears. Huh? I think I'll pass on this opportunity to give 10 against an 11-4 team.
Figgs: Bears. Again, possibly overestimating the Bears will to win since they already have the #2 seed wrapped up, but this line seems a little crazy.
Nick: Bears.
Bucko: Bears. Wow this is a lot of points. Pack will win!
Gopo: Bears. "If this competition was decided on who gets their picks in latest each week, Nick would run away with it." OK, fine, that was Andy writing first-person.

COLTS (-10) vs Titans
Andy: Titans. They won't win this, but for all of Tennessee's QB issues, they're only 1.5 off of Indy in SRS this year. Shouldn't be that much of a blowout.
Figgs: Titans. This line is about as high as Vince Young will be during this game. OHH!
Nick: Colts.
Bucko: Colts.
Gopo: Titans. "Also bigger than their opponent.'

BRONCOS (+3.5) vs Chargers
Andy: Chargers. According to SRS, they're two TD's a game better than Denver - I feel like I'm getting 11 free points.
Figgs: Chargers.
Nick: Broncos. Raging Teboner.
Bucko: Chargers.
Gopo: Chargers. "Not backing Tim Tebow."

Sunday Night Football, 8:20 pm
SEAHAWKS (+2.5) vs Rams
Andy: Seahawks. I just want to see St. Louis get in at 7-9. Weren't they supposed to have flex scheduling for these Sunday night games at some point? Can we have Flex Divisioning so the Browns can play in the NFC West next year?
Figgs: Rams. Believe it or not, this was the game they flexed.
Nick: Rams. ($)
Bucko: Rams.
Gopo: Rams. "I have to take someone."

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