360 Picks: Week 16


Week 15 saw our straight picks start off 0-2, and then reel off 14 straight victories. If only the Giants could have done that. With two ties, the spread picks rebounded to win 9 of the remaining 14, while the over/under picks had a sorry 6-10 week. It appears misery will be the way of the game total picks for 2014. There are two Saturday games this week, being billed as Thursday night football. Sometimes the NFL makes you scratch your head. Hey, Roger, Thursday night

First let’s look at how we’ve done, then we’ll move on to this week’s selections.

Straight up: 5-0 on High confidence picks, 9-2 on Low. 14-2 Overall
Straight up season: 66-29-1 on High confidence picks, 74-54 on low. 140-83-1 Overall

Spread: 1-0-2 on High confidence picks, 8-5 on Low. 9-5-3 Overall
Spread season: 33-34-2 on High Confidence Picks, 72-78-4 on Low. 105-112-7 Overall

OU: 3-4 on High confidence Picks, 3-6 on Low. 6-10 Overall
Season OU: 26-35-1 on High confidence picks, 74-84-4 on Low. 100-119-5 Overall

Parley Picks: Done for the season. 1-11 Overall. Parlays aren’t our thing. Going to stop suggesting them.
Suicide Selections: 4-0, 45-15 Overall. Never picking the 49ers again.

360 Picks Week 16:

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins:

Line: Eagles by 9.0
Over/Under: 50.0

Analysis: The theme of the Saturday games is NFL soap opera teams against team in the throes of the playoff race. First up are the Washington Redskins, who are starting disaster Robert Griffin III following Colt McCoy’s re-injury of his neck in last week’s loss against the Giants, with his greatest detractor, head coach Jay Gruden watching from the sidelines. Monday the 29th will be a telling day as to how deluded team owner Dan Snyder is by Griffin’s seeming voodoo spell over him. The Eagles pass offense ranks 7th in the NFL, and the Redskins pass defense 18th. If Philadelphia quarterback Mark Sanchez is ever going to have a huge game in Chip Kelly’s offense, this is the one. A win by the Eagles also puts pressure on the Cowboys to win tomorrow, and we all know what happens when Dallas needs to win in December.

Straight Pick: Eagles
Spread Pick: Eagles – 9.0
OU Pick: Over 50.0

Confidence:  High on the Straight; Low on the Spread and the Over.

San Diego Chargers at San Francisco Forty-Niners:

Line: Forty-Niners by 1.5
Over/Under: 40.5

Analysis: The Harbaugh egress is effecting the Forty-Niners just like we all thought it would. The coach has lost the locker room as he is shopping himself to the highest bidder behind the scenes with one face while refusing to discuss it with the other. In the meantime, his team has fallen out of the playoff race and Ray McDonald had been waived in light of his newest scandal, rape allegations. The San Diego Chargers come to town, still in the mix for one of the AFC Wild Card slows and in need of a victory to stay ahead of the field. Given the storm clouds that have gathered over the Field of Jeans, the Chargers should run away with this one. Trent Baalke would terminate Harbaugh now if he didn’t hold out hope of getting some draft picks if Harbaugh chooses to stay in the NFL over returning to his alma mater, Michigan.

Straight Pick: Chargers
Spread Pick: Chargers + 1.5
OU Pick: Under 40.5

Confidence: Low on the Straight and the Spread; High on the Under.

Minnesota Vikings at Miami Dolphins:

Line: Dolphins by 6.0
Over/Under: 42.0

Analysis: The Vikings travel from frigid Minnesota to sunny Miami to take on the 7-7 Dolphins. The Vikings have are a surprising 6-8 and fans have to be wondering how the season might have gone if Adrian Peterson had not taken a switch to his four year old or if the NFL had a consistent and equitable method for punishing player transgressions. A recent piece on ProFootballTalk.com suggests that Peterson’s season ending suspension was in retaliation for his refusal to attend a meeting with NFL representatives on a day when the NFLPA was unavailable. Miami needs the game more than the Peterson-less Vikings. They’ll take is, as Minnesota will be quite hot wearing purple on the sunny side of the Miami field.

Straight Pick: Dolphins
Spread Pick: Dolphins – 6.0
OU Pick: Under 42.0

Confidence: High on all three picks.

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans:

Line: Ravens by 6.0
Over/Under: 42.0

Analysis: Houston lost is down to their fourth quarterback, yet still find themselves on the outskirts of the AFC Wild Card race. With Ryan Mallett and Ryan Fitzpatrick out for the season, and rookie Tom Savage battling a knee injury, Case Keenum, most recently of the Rams practice squad, will be under center for Houston. What a waste of an MVP caliber season from J.J. Watt. Take the Ravens.

Straight Pick: Ravens
Spread Pick: Ravens – 6.0
OU Pick: Over 42.0

Confidence: Low on the Straight and the Spread; High on the Over.

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears:

Line: Lions by 10.0
Over/Under: 44.0

Analysis: Bears general manager Phil Emery was rather upset when offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer suggested last week that the team had Buyer’s remorse over signing Jay Cutler to a long term contract. Imagine his reaction to head coach Marc Trestman’s decision to bench Cutler in favor of backup Jimmy Clausen. This is the best news for the Lions, who need a win to keep pace in the highly competitive NFC playoff race. Detroit wins this one easily.

Straight Pick: Lions
Spread Pick: Lions – 10.0
OU Pick: Under 44.0

Confidence: Low on the Straight and the Spread; High on the Under.

Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers:

Line: Panthers by 4.0
Over/Under: 41.0

Analysis: Johnny Football looks like a draft pick made by a trucking company executive. Manziel turned in one of the worst performances in the history of quarterbacking, and the Browns playoff chances on life support. In fairness, Brian Hoyer had not been doing much better. Manziel and the cardiac-free Browns travel to Carolina to face Cam Newton, one week removed from a rolled truck, and still alive in the putrid NFC South race. Manziel gifts the game to the Panthers, during Hanukkah. Way to be giving during the holidays, Johnny.

Straight Pick: Panthers
Spread Pick: Panthers – 4.0
OU Pick: Under 41.0

Confidence: Low on the Straight and the Spread; High on the Under.

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints:

Line: Saints by 6.0
Over/Under: 56.0

Analysis: Speaking of the NFC South, the winner of this game will have an inside track on winning it and hosting a playoff game, while either the Cowboys or Eagles will likely have 11 wins and watch from home. There is nothing wrong with the NFL playoff system. Absolutely nothing at all. New Orleans breaks it’s 4 game home losing streak and inches closer to the division title.

Straight Pick: Saints
Spread Pick: Saints – 6.0
OU Pick: Over 56.0

Confidence: Low on all three picks.

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Line: Packers by 13.0
Over/Under: 49.0

Analysis: Green Bay thaws out in sunny Tampa, and Aaron Rodgers tries to get hot again, as the Packers need to win to keep pace in the NFC playoff race that looks to be leaving one strong team sitting at home demanding that a 7th team from each conference be added to the mix. The Buccaneers have been playing better of late, and while Packers right tackle has been Bryan Bulaga cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol, and will play, the Packers have historically struggled in Tampa. Green Bay still wins, but the Buccaneers defense keeps it close.

Straight Pick: Packers
Spread Pick: Buccaneers + 13.0
OU Pick: Under 49.0

Confidence: Low on all three picks.

Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers:

Line: Steelers by 3.0
Over/Under: 48.0

Analysis: This game is for a playoff spot as it appears unlikely that both teams make it into the AFC field. Pittsburgh has lost at home to the Buccaneers and the Saints, but Kansas City will have a hard time exploiting the Steelers biggest weakness – their secondary. It will be a close game, with the Steelers winning. At the end of the game, a Chiefs receiver will still not have scored a touchdown this season.

Straight Pick: Steelers
Spread Pick: Chiefs + 3.0
OU Pick: Under 48.0

Confidence: Low on all three picks.

New England Patriots at New York Jets:

Line: Patriots by 11.5
Over/Under: 46.5

Analysis: There has been speculation that Rex Ryan will be joining the Patriots coaching staff for the playoffs if he is dismissed from the Jets following week 17. Perhaps then, he will kiss Bill Belichick’s rings. The two meet for the last time as head coaches in this epic series, with the Jets once again severely undermanned. New England is on pace to clinch the number one overall seed in the playoffs again and needs this game to stay ahead of the Broncos. Throw out the records, the rosters, and everything else you’ve been thinking. It will be a close game, but Tom Brady defeats Geno Smith in the end.

Straight Pick: Patriots
Spread Pick: Jets + 11.5
OU Pick: Under 46.5

Confidence: Low on all three picks.

New York Giants at St. Louis Rams:

Line: Rams by 6.5
Over/Under: 43.5

Analysis: The Giants are on a two game winning streak, their second longest of the season. St. Louis would be a playoff contender if not for losing quarterback Sam Bradford for the season, again, and playing in the ultra competitive NFC West. The Rams defensive line will be a big test for the Giants offensive line that has given Eli Manning solid protection for the past 2 games since Justin Pugh has returned to the lineup. Rookie of the Year in waiting Odell Beckham will keep the Giants in the game, but the Rams have superior talent.

Straight Pick: Rams
Spread Pick: Rams – 6.5
OU Pick: Over 43.5

Confidence: Low on all three picks.

Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders:

Line: Bills by 7.5
Over/Under: 40.0

Analysis: Playoff contender Buffalo. Would you like to ready that again? Playoff contender Buffalo travels to Oakland to face the 2-12 Raiders in hopes of improving their record to 9-6 and keeping their post season chances alive. The Bills don’t hold the tiebreakers, but can sneak in with 10 wins by beating the Raiders and praying that New England doesn’t need the season finale next week. Fresh off their mega upset of the Packers, Buffalo needs to guard against a let down as a loss will doom their playoff race to failure. Let’s hear it for the Bills.

Straight Pick: Bills
Spread Pick: Raiders + 7.5
OU Pick: Under 40.0

Confidence: Low on all three picks.

Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys:

Line: Cowboys by 3.5
Over/Under: 55.0

Analysis: Gather around children and I’ll tell you a tale about DeMarco Murray and his left hand. Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher and cog that powers the Cowboys offense needed surgery to stabilize his broken non-ball carrying hand on Monday, but hopes to play in this critical game against the Colts. Dallas needs to win as they do not hold the tie breakers against the Philadelphia Eagles and have to win both games to be assured of taking the division. Indianapolis should be the third seed in the AFC, and their hopes for a first round bye depend on New England or Denver losing to gain it. Dallas fold like a 2-7 off suit, setting up dramatic games in Washington and Metlife next week to see who takes the NFC East and who watches the playoffs from home.

Straight Pick: Colts
Spread Pick: Colts + 3.5
OU Pick: Over 55.0

Confidence: Low on all three picks.

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals:

Line: Seahawks by 9.0
Over/Under: 36.0

Analysis: Ryan becomes the most important Lindley on prime time television since Audra Lindley played Helen Roper on Three’s Company in the late 70’s and early 80’s. He will be starting at quarterback for the injured Drew Stanton in this game that will determine the winner of the hotly contested NFC West. The winner takes the division. If Arizona wins, Seattle will be in danger of missing the playoffs. Look for the Cardinals defense to step up and shut down the Seahawks to take the division. Teammates always play over their heads in the first game when the quarterback is injured.

Straight Pick: Cardinals
Spread Pick: Cardinals + 9.0
OU Pick: Under 36.0

Confidence: High on all three picks.

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals:

Line: Broncos by 4.0
Over/Under: 47.5

Analysis: The game that will decide hundreds of fantasy championships. Jeremy Hill, A.J. Green, Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, C.J. Anderson, Julius Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders have powered many a team to the fantasy playoffs, and have both of these NFL teams ready for the post season. Expect both defenses to stack up to stop the run and make the passing game beat them. Andy Dalton is 2-9 in prime time games. He sees ghosts at night.

Straight Pick: Broncos
Spread Pick: Broncos – 4.0
OU Pick: Over 57.5

Confidence: High on all three picks.

If you want to play a parley: Don’t look for one here. We’ve been horrendous at them.

If you’re in a suicide pool: In order… Eagles, Patriots, Lions, Dolphins

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