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The Profit

A couple of you wrote in to offer encouragement this past week. The basic viewpoint was that I'm too hard on myself for constantly bashing my picking abilities, when in reality a 50% pick rate is actually decent. Granted, when I look around at some of the other guys picking games for Yahoo, CBS, ESPN, etc., I see a lot of percentages in the 40% range. So yeah, I mean I'm better than those guys - but that was already a given.

See, we here at FBG hold ourselves to a higher standard. That may come across as sarcasm, but it's actually the first non-sarcastic comment I've made thus far. Fifty percent just isn't going to cut it for me. Not after three seasons of picking nearly 60% on my best bets, and well over 50% in general. There's still time for this year, but time is beginning to run out. Not to mention, ya know, I'm still not doing any good with another sub-.500 week in Week 12.

Well, at least my lock of the week hit for the first time since.

On to the picks…

Source: Yahoo.com

ARIZONA (-3) at SAN FRANCISCO
How can I possibly provide any insight into this game that would enable me to justify one team over the other? Arizona has at least played a bit better lately - that's all I got. PICK: Cardinals

BALTIMORE (-8) vs. HOUSTON
Pssssst, hey - wanna hear a secret? These teams STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK STINK! PICK: Texans

CAROLINA (-3) vs. ATLANTA
As mentioned in my Power Rankings article this week, I mentioned that the Panthers play down to the level of their opponents more than just about any other team. They haven't done it every week, but most weeks that has been the case. With that said, there isn't really a way to play "down" to Atlanta. The teams are on just about equal footing, and have similar places in the standings. The winner of this game may very well determine the division title. In fact, it likely will. I don't think the Panthers will sit back in this one at all. I expect that when facing a team of fairly equal stature to them, they'll play a solid game and come away with a home win. Sure, Vick is playing just about the best football of his life right now, but unless he can also play cornerback, I think the Panthers will have a good time throwing the ball all over the yard come Sunday. PICK: Panthers

CHICAGO (-7) vs. GREEN BAY
Well, recent history indicates that Brett Favre will have the ball in hand with less than two minutes to play and his team trailing by less than a touchdown. He will invariably lead the team from his own 20 to midfield in less than thirty seconds. He will then proceed to make an ill-advised throw down the middle of the field, which will either be batted down or result in a roughing the kicker penalty. Officials will determine that Favre must have been punting the football, since there's no way he could possibly THROW a pass that poorly. Following the roughing the kicker penalty, he'll run around in the backfield for several minutes during the next play, forcing John Madden's head to nearly explode with excitement. Madden, of course, won't be announcing the game - he'll actually be taking a nap. But it's sort of a "Shining" thing between those two, and Madden will be awoken from his slumber when he 'feels' that Favre has just made a miraculous play. Unfortunately, after all the running around, Favre will simply be sacked by Alex Brown. Favre will inevitably pat Brown's rear-end for making such a fine play, and Madden will brag to no one in particular that it was maybe the finest butt pat he's ever seen in all his years of watching football. On the next play, Favre will find a streaking Donald Driver down the middle of the field for the touchdown, after which Madden's head will ACTUALLY explode. With such an enormous dome, the remnants of Madden skull blanket the city of Philadelphia, and sales of cheesesteaks drop considerably. ABC covers up the Madden miscue by simply creating a fake face for John, made completely out of wax -- just like they did for Sam Ryan. Unfortunately for Favre, Green Bay's defense was never taught how to actually play football, and it is revealed that the Packer defenders are really just the last surviving actors who played the munchkins in the Wizard Of Oz. The Bears easily score, but Green Bay covers the spread. PICK: Packers

DENVER (-1) at KANSAS CITY
Kansas City, a home dog against a division rival? Wow. Not really much else to add there. Even if I'm wrong, I'll feel much better backing the Chiefs at home and being wrong than I would going against them at home and being wrong. PICK: Chiefs

MIAMI (-4) vs. BUFFALO
I think a coin flip is in order here. We've got two of the most unpredictable teams in the entire league to this point squaring off in a battle for second place in the AFC East. OK - if it's heads I'm picking Miami, and if it's tails I'm going against Buffalo. PICK: Dolphins (I can't leave it to chance, so I'll stick with the homeboys)

MINNESOTA (-3) at DETROIT
Would anyone be at all shocked if both teams actually forget there is a game this weekend, and instead over 100 combined players from both teams sleep in and forget to set their alarm clocks? Honestly though, is Minnesota really good enough to be a road dog against anyone?!? PICK: Lions

NEW YORK GIANTS (-3) vs. DALLAS
We're going with the tried-and-true method here of picking the game based upon my girlfriend's appearance at the game. As some of you may remember from last year, he has never been to a Dallas/New York game in which the Cowboys actually won. I figure with my pick rate at about 50% for the season, this is as good a method as any for projecting the eventual winner of the game. 50% vs. 100%? Yeah, I'll go with the girlfriend's father element. PICK: Giants

PITTSBURGH (-3.5) vs. CINCINNATI
I know we aren't supposed to base our picks on what we just saw the previous week, but in this case it's very tempting. I know, I know - Pittsburgh was beaten by the best team in football, whereas Cincinnati beat up on one of the league's doormats. Yet I just can't get past the fact that Pittsburgh hasn't really put on a dominant performance recently. Roethlisberger seems very much affected by the knee injuries, and the Steelers lack many playmakers offensively. Perhaps their best playmaker, Antwaan Randle El, is woefully underutilized. Why you'd not want to use one of your best assets is beyond me. Keeping the ball out of his hands would be like if suddenly decided it would be a good look to start wearing oversized sweaters for all of her photo shoots. Clumsy segue: On the Cincinnati side of the ball, everything is going right right now. They are moving it incredibly well both through the air and on the ground, and despite their lack of success in an earlier meeting with Pitt, I think they can do some damage this week. I like Cincy in the upset and to take a stranglehold on the AFC North. PICK: Bengals

SAN DIEGO (-11) vs. OAKLAND
By now, most of you know that I'm a Chargers fan. If you didn't know that, you either haven't been reading this article each week (shame on you!), or you simply skim over my summaries for each game. I don't know why you'd ever do such a thing, because you'd miss out on gems like this: go check out www.aprilscott.com. Trust me, you'll thank me later. As for the game in question, like I said I'm a San Diego backer. And I'm here to tell you that there's no way they cover 11 points this week against the Raiders. For one, Oakland is coming off another winnable loss. Two, Antonio Gates still is not yet 100%. Three, Randy Moss is inching closer and closer to 100%. Four, the Chargers nearly blew the Raiders out of the water in the first game they met, so some revenge will want to be exacted. Five, well there's no five but I wasn't sure how to end this. I believe San Diego wins by about a touchdown or so, but doesn't cover 11. PICK: Raiders

TAMPA BAY (-3.5) at NEW ORLEANS
Aaron Brooks has historically played well against the Bucs. You heard that correctly. The marginally decent Brooks, who has almost always had to face great defenses in Tampa, has actually been very good against much better competition. That would be like Sarah Jessica Parker winning a beauty pageant against Jessica Simpson, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, and Jessica Rabbit. It makes no sense, it should be completely reversed, and there's no logical explanation behind it. With that, PICK: Saints

SEATTLE (-4) at PHILADELPHIA
I'm not in love with either team this week, to be honest. The Seahawks failed to cover two weeks ago against San Francisco, giving me free license to pick against them whenever I wish. This is one of those weeks I'd like to do just that, because I can definitely see Philadelphia having one big game left in them this season. The thing is, it'd be a lot easier to see that one big game with McNabb still in there. Even if he had his groins surgically removed with a wrench, I still think he might be a better option than Mike McMahon - and this is coming from someone who thinks McNabb is overrated. Still, even with Philly maybe having a game in them, I don't think Seattle is going to come out flat, as some have suggested. They just aren't that team anymore. What they are now is a team that is offensively unstoppable at times, and good enough defensively to hold down the fort - especially against a Philly offense as inept as this one seems to be. PICK: Seahawks

BEST BETS

INDIANAPOLIS (-16) vs. TENNESSEE
I haven't been as big a fan of the "take Indy and law the points" operation as I was last year, for obvious reasons. But in recent weeks, the Colts have really shown that they still CAN put up big numbers, but often don't have the opportunity to. This week, they'll have that opportunity. Please don't overrate Tennessee based on what they did last week and in recent weeks. They are still very, very bad. PICK: Colts

JACKSONVILLE (-3) at CLEVELAND
Much as it pains me to say it as a Chargers fan, the Browns have no shot. PICK: Jaguars

NEW ENGLAND (-10) vs. NEW YORK JETS
Someone asked me yesterday, "If the Patriots are struggling so much, then why is the line on the game ten points? Are the Jets really playing that bad?"

Yes. Yes they are. PICK: Patriots

WASHINGTON (-3) at SAINT LOUIS
I REALLY REALLY REALLY don't like the line on this game. We've got Washington on the one hand, which hasn't really played a good complete game in over a month, versus a Rams team showing a little bit of life lately. The Rams are also home, where they are infinitely better than the road version. They've also got everyone healthy. I don't know, I was always taught to not rely on the Rams. True story: when I was away at college, my parents would always send food and money, and there was always a note attached reminding me to never trust Martz. But I just can't shake the feeling that this offense can still do major damage, and being three point home dogs to a mediocre team still seems wrong. Plus there's no more Martz, so at least that's out of the way. PICK: Rams

LOCK OF THE WEEK: Jacksonville Jaguars (either I'll be right, or the Chargers will pick up a game in the playoff chase; either way, my bets are hedged)


LAST WEEK

  • OVERALL: : 7-8-1 (46.6%)
  • BEST BETS: 4-0 (100%)
  • LOCK OF WEEK: 1-0 (100%)

SEASON TOTALS

  • OVERALL: 86-86-4 (50%)
  • BEST BETS: 25-22-1 (53.1%)
  • PICK OF WEEK: 4-8 (33%)
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