NFL 2012 Week 11: Regaining hope?

That question mark in the title is definitely necessary.  I don't know when I gave up hope on the Chargers season, but down by three to the Bucs, driving into the red zone to take the lead or settle for a tying field goal, then Rivers throws an interception that gets returned for a touchdown...that's probably where I would start looking.

I was going to analyze team's playoff hopes at the halfway mark...last week.  But the flu got in the way.  So now I get an extra week (plus one actually relevant Thursday night) of games to make my analysis that much more accurate.  After week 4, I eliminated half the league.  Since Indianapolis and Pittsburgh had only played 3 games, I'm going to use that to cop out of eliminating them too quickly.  Right now, the AFC has 6 teams at 6-3 or better and everyone else is at least two games back.  The Texans, Ravens, Patriots, Broncos, Steelers and Colts are all looking pretty good.  My only tiny hope is that there are only six teams in the AFC with a positive point differential, and the Colts aren't one of them.  The Chargers are the sixth team.  The Chargers have a Pythagorean record of a 5.0-4.0 team.  The Colts are 4.1-4.9.  And Miami and Cincinnati are also better than the Colts.  If the Chargers beat the Broncos on Sunday, I'll say the AFC West is still alive, but I really don't expect it.  I think the 4 AFC Division champs have been determined.  The Steelers and Colts lead Miami, Cincinnati and San Diego for the two wild card spots.  Not very bold, but the only change from a month ago was bringing the Colts back into the fold.

In the NFC, I'm dropping Arizona and adding Seattle and Tampa Bay.  Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and NYG are making the playoffs.  Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Seattle and Minnesota have 5.7,  5.6, 6.2, and 5.4 wins, respectively (Seattle hasn't had their bye yet).

Overall, I'm giving you 6 AFC teams and 10 NFC teams.

Miami (+2) over BUFFALO: I thought the Dolphins would win outright, but I'm glad they lost.  Another tiny factor that could possibly help the Chargers make the playoffs.  Maybe if Denver beats them by 18, I will completely give up hope and no longer relate every AFC game to how it affects the Chargers playoff hopes.
Not So Bold Prediction: CJ Spiller has more carries than Fred Jackson.
Bold Prediction: There is both a punt return for a touchdown and a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Arizona (+10) over ATLANTA: Perfect line.  So close.  And I don't like picking Arizona.  Maybe next year I'll start to introduce some subjective matter to override my objective analysis.
Not So Bold Prediction: Matt Ryan throws a touchdown.
Bold Prediction: Tony Gonzalez catches a touchdown.

Cleveland (+8) over DALLAS: I have no problem with this pick.  Just because there's not that big a gap between these two teams.
Not So Bold Prediction: Trent Richardson leads the game in carries.
Bold Prediction: There are exactly four passing touchdowns in this game.

DETROIT (+3.5) over Green Bay: This is probably another one of those games where my subjective analysis would take the Packers in a heartbeat.  But in Detroit, the Packers should be favored by 3 and you're getting half a point of value.  That is, until the Packers have a 21-10 half time lead and you start trying to figure out backdoor cover situations in your head.
Not So Bold Prediction: Aaron Rodgers throws a touchdown.
Bold Prediction: There are exactly six passing touchdowns in this game.

Cincinnati (-3.5) over KANSAS CITY:  When I'm picking the Lions over the Packers just because they are in Detroit I start to worry that I am overvaluing home field advantage.  Going against the home dog Chiefs in Kansas City is not one of those situations.
Not So Bold Prediction: The Chiefs have a turnover.
Bold Prediction: Jamaal Charles has 120 total yards, but does not score.

Nyj (+3.5) over ST. LOUIS: Seriously?  What the hell am I doing here?  Oh wait, the Rams aren't actually that good and should only be 2 point favorites.
Not So Bold Prediction: Mark Sanchez turns the ball over.
Bold Prediction: Tim Tebow throws a pass.

WASHINGTON (-3.5) over Philadelphia: This one feels about right.  Although it would have been a much more interesting game if Michael Vick was playing.  RGIII vs. Foles just doesn't ahve the same ring to it.
Not So Bold Prediction: Robert Griffin III has more rush attempts than Nick Foles.
Bold Prediction: Alfred Morris scores a touchdown.

Tampa Bay (-1.5) over CAROLINA: More or less the same line of reasoning as going against the Chiefs.  Ron Rivera is a bad coach and between Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert, they just can't run the ball when they need to.
Not So Bold Prediction: Doug Martin outrushes every Panther.
Bold Prediction: Doug Martin outrushes every Panther...combined.

HOUSTON (-15.5) over Jacksonville: This is one of those spreads that actually goes off my charts because it doesn't happen often enough to develop a decent sample size.  When I add in home field advantage, I calculate the Texans as having a 101% chance of winning this game.  So of course the final score is going to be 35-20.
Not So Bold Prediction: Arian Foster scores a touchdown.
Bold Prediction: Arian Foster scores three touchdowns.

OAKLAND (+5) over New Orleans:  Seriously!?!  Come on!!  Throw me a bone here!!  Who came up with this system?  And who is this schmuck blindly following it?
Not So Bold Prediction: Drew Brees throws a touchdown.
Bold Prediction: Carson Palmer outscores Drew Brees.

San Diego (+7.5) over DENVER: The Broncos are the third best team in the AFC and the Chargers are the 6th best team in the AFC.  I know, I wish I believed it too.
Not So Bold Prediction: Peyton Manning throws a touchdown.
Bold Prediction: Antonio Gates catches a touchdown.

Indianapolis (+9.5) over NEW ENGLAND: Ok, this is the last straw.  If someone doesn't step in soon...wait, what's that?  9.5 points? A Patriots team that beat the Bills by six is favored by 9.5 over a potential playoff team?  I guess I'm ok with that.
Not So Bold Prediction: Tom Brady's career as a male model is more successful than Andrew Luck's.
Bold Prediction: Andrew Luck's fantasy game scores higher than Tom Brady's.

PITTSBURGH (+3.5) over Baltimore: Some day I want my favorite team to be perennially competitive like these two teams.  I can dream.
Not So Bold Prediction: I'm not going to say "Someone gets a concussion" because I really have emotionally moved away from the big hits.  I want to ban tackle football before high school in favor of flag football. In this game, Ray Rice outscores the Steelers RBs.
Bold Prediction: This is a surprisingly high scoring game for these two teams.  Along the lines of 31-28.

Chicago (+5) over SAN FRANCISCO: Back when we thought the two backup quarterbacks were playing and the line was Off(0) I had the 49ers winning at home (barely).  Now that we know the two backup quarterbacks are playing and the line is 5, I have the 49ers winning at home (barely), with the Bears covering.
Not So Bold Prediction: Brandon Marshall outscores all the 49ers receivers.
Bold Prediction: This game is decided by a field goal in the last ninety seconds.


  1. $40 on Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Houston.

    $20 on Pittsburgh, Miami (whew, dodged a bullet there!, Cincinnati, Washington

  2. I don't think there was a single line I liked this week. But, since I'm at a whopping $855, here goes...

    $25 each on Packers, Saints, Steelers, & Bears

  3. And, awesome Susan Boyle drop. Never gets old!

  4. I can't complain about my 3-1 week at all given I ended up with 2 half-point covers & my loss was due to the Niners destroying the Bears. I'll take it!

    Now up to $905.

  5. In order: W,W,L,W,N/A,W,W.

    Up $100 to $1,050.

  6. I made no picks (out of town) to remain at $890. I trail Scooter by the slimmest of margins.

    Coming back though!