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Sunday, December 27, 2015

NFL 2015 Week 16 - EvenMoney's Game of the Week (Patriots vs Jets)

New England At NY Jets (-3; 45) has strong playoff implications for both teams. A win for the New England Patriots mean they clinch home field throughout the playoffs. A New York Jets loss does not eliminate them from the playoffs.

This matchup is a chance at redemption for a Jets team that took a lead into the fourth quarter when these two teams met in Week 7. New York led until halfway through the fourth quarter, and then the defense showed the gaps and tendencies that would be exposed in three of the next four games.

Sitting at 5-5, with 4 losses in the AFC division, the Jets have turned their season around. Winners of their last 4 games, the Jets have found a great balance on both sides of the ball. During this stretch, the Jets have averaged 27.5 points, while giving up 16 points.

Though the level of competition was not near what they will face today against the Patriots, the same could be said of the three losses the Jets had after losing to the Patriots.

After beating the Jets in Week 7, the Patriots went on to win 4 straight games. Just as they looked to be streaking toward another undefeated season, the Patriots lost two games in a row. They have since won two straight games but the spectre of dominance is not the same.

The Patriots have battled injuries to key players and are likely resting some to avoid injuries this late in the season. Even with these injuries, the Patriots are still good for their season low mark of 20 points.

The question for this game lies on the Patriots defense, which is giving up less than 20 points over the entire season. This average is a hard split where 7 games fall above that scoring mark, and 7 do not. This says more about level of competition than it does about the Patriots defense's consistency. 

The New York Jets have scored 20+ points in 10 of their 14 games - 8 Wins, 2 Losses. Their defense has held opponents to 20 points or less in 8 games -- all wins.

With the points, this game is a toss-up, a push, where the even money goes to the home team, the Jets  (.526).

So, I take the Jets (UNDER), either looking at a defensive battle or blowout. Pick wisely, come back for Monday's pick and until then watch to see who's the winner.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Skins Eagles, Clinch NFC East - NFL 2015 TNF 16

A win tonight over the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins will clinch the NFC East division. Doing so and then beating the Dallas Cowboys next week would have the Skins finish the season 9-7, winners of four straight and provider of respectability for one of this season's much maligned conferences.

A loss in tonight's matchup - Washington At Philadelphia (-3; 49) - will have the NFC East division winner finish at 8-8 or 7-9, but let's hold off on that.

The Skins have been inconsistent all year and have only won two games in a row once, during this current stretch. If they make the playoffs, they would have done so while not beating a team that qualified for this year's playoffs.

The Skins defeated the Eagles earlier this season in a game of two disparate halves, which saw Redskins Quarterback Kirk Cousins make the early case that he's the better of the two quarterbacks.

Cousins bests Eagles Quarterback Sam Bradford in most top statistical categories, including TD/INT ratio, which might prove to be the difference in tonight's game.

At the same time, Bradford has shown the ability to power the Eagles offense, while the Eagles defense continues to struggle against teams with potent passing games.

The Eagles are 6-1 when they score 23+ points and 0-7 when they score less than 23 points.

The Redskins are 6-0 when they score 23+ points and 1-7 when they score less than 23 points.

Tonight's question is simple: Can Kirk Cousins and the Skins offense maintain the consistency of these past two weeks and score 24+ points?

Both teams' defenses give up over 23 points a game, with the Skins having the statistical advantage by 2.2 points.

The numbers are unanimous for the Skins, especially with the 3 points being given. Still, I do think the Eagles can pull off a win while not covering the spread.

So, I take Skins (OVER) because I think both teams will take more offensive risks. Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and until then let's see if Skins clinch.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

NFL 2015 Week 15 - EvenMoney's Game of the Week (Broncos vs Steelers)


Denver At Pittsburgh (-6.5; 45.5) is about respect and lack of it. Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers have scored 30+ points in five straight games. They are 4-1 in these games and have put themselves in position to control their own playoff destiny.

If the Steelers win all three games or have the same number of victories as the New York Jets, they make the playoffs and the Jets do not. This is complicated NFL tie-breaker math that will play itself out in the coming weeks, if necessary.

In the same time span, the Denver Broncos have only once scored 30 points, an overtime victory over the at-the-time undefeated New England Patriots. The Broncos are 3-2 over this stretch and 3-1 since backup Quarterback Brock Osweiler replaced Peyton Manning as the starter.

The Broncos are one victory away from clinching a playoff spot but they still have to worry about the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have won eight straight. If both teams finish with 11 wins, then the complicated NFL tie-breaker math will determine the division winner.

The numbers point to a Steelers (.842) victory and cover.  For this game, the question is whether the Broncos defense can hold the Steelers to 20 points or less.

So, I take the Steelers (UNDER) because Steelers even though their defense is up and down, the offense is operating on a high level. Pick wisely, come back for Monday's pick and until then watch two top AFC teams earn their respect.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Is Jets' Best Good Enough? - NFL 2015 TNF 15

The New York Jets are 8-5 and have one more win than I thought they'd get this season. Most of that credit goes to two people: Head Coach Todd Bowles and Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

If the playoffs started today, the Jets would qualify as the sixth seed for the AFC playoffs. Yet, the Jets face long odds to make the playoffs. New York must win all of, or 2 of its final 3 games. In the latter scenario, they would be counting on the Pittsburgh Steelers to also lose one or more games.

The problem with that is the Steelers face only one tough game - this week's matchup with the Denver Broncos. For the Jets, tonight's matchup against the Dallas Cowboys is technically their only easy game. A loss tonight and the Jets give hope to countless teams that are slightly out of the playoff picture.

Looking back on this season, only two of their five losses count as games the Jets should have done better. Even in those games -- Weeks 10 and 11 -- the Jets faced teams that are on their level, with one (Buffalo Bills) being their Week 17 opponent.

Have the Jets done their best and will they continue to do so? Can they win all 3 or even 2 of their remaining games?

Though not dominant, the defense has stabilized, keeping teams to under 25 points in the last 6 weeks. This has led to a 4-2 record where the offense has proven to be the unpredictable force, scoring just 17 points in both losses.

The Jets are 7-1 when they score 21+ points, and 1-5 when they don't. The bottom line is the Dallas Cowboys do not have enough offensive output to beat the New York Jets. The Cowboys are averaging 16.16 points in their last 6 games, scoring under 20 points in 4 of these games.

For tonight, NY Jets At Dallas (+3.5; 41), the question is whether the Cowboys' best good enough to stop the Jets from scoring.

Jets' Head Coach Bowles has shown a lot of confidence in his offense, particularly Ryan Fitzpatrick, who in turn has not thrown too many interceptions. The Cowboys defense can go either way so Fitzpatrick needs to limit his risks.

The numbers tilt at .947 for the New York Jets to win by 6 points.

So, I take Jets (UNDER) because I think Bowles and Fitzpatrick know what's at stake. Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and until then always do your best.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

NFL 2015 Week 14 - EvenMoney's Game of the Week (Bills vs Eagles)

On the surface, this game looks like it's for the birds. No, not the Eagles, but not worth a serious discussion. With so many teams vying for top spots in their conference or holding on to their Wild Card slots, how does Buffalo At Philadelphia (PK; 47) rise to the top?

In a nutshell, it is the mystery of not knowing which team will show up. Each team has one shot to make it into the playoffs. Though losing this game does not mathematically eliminate them, it pretty much shuts the door on the Buffalo Bills. For the Eagles, a loss has the most impact only if the New York Giants and Washington Redskins win this NFL Week 14.

At 5-7, the Philadelphia Eagles are tied with those two teams for the lead in the NFC East. In a season where no team from the division is playing like they want to win it, the Eagles' season took a sharp turn when they lost to three non-playoff bound teams from NFL Weeks 9 to 11.

If not for an injury to Eagles starting Quarterback Sam Bradford, we're probably not having this conversation. Bradford got injured in the third quarter, with the Eagles leading the Miami Dolphins. Mark Sanchez came in to replace him and the Eagles went on to lose. In the next two losses, the Eagles defense gave up 45 points each game, while the offense struggled.

Last week, upon Bradford's return, the Eagles pulled off an improbable win, on the road, against the New England Patriots. Still, let's not act like the Eagles were bona fide contenders before the Bradford injury.

After 8 games, they were a 4-4 team, just like today's opponent. The Buffalo Bills also went through losses with their backup quarterback manning the help. For them it was a two-game skid, with one loss a game they likely would have lost with their starter.

During those two games, the Bills defense gave up 34 points each game. The Bills are 6-1 when the opponent scores 21 points or less- the lone loss came at the hands of the New England Patriots, who also scored the most - 40 points - against them this season.

The Bills are 0-5 when the opponents scores 24 or more points. In the 9 games, that Bradford has started and completed, the Eagles have scored 24+ points 6 times. They won 5 of those games.

This match-up is listed as a "pick-em", as in go with mainly what you believe. The numbers are overwhelming that the Bills (.895) will win. The lack of faith is on an Eagles defense that has given up 27+ points in 5 out of their last 6 games.

So, I take the Bills (UNDER) with the outlook that Bills and LeSean McCoy will dictate style of play. Pick wisely, come back for Monday's pick and until then watch which team's season is one for the birds.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Can Teddy Bridge The Gap? - NFL 2015 TNF 14

At no time does the saying "Defense wins championships" ring truer than this NFL season. Of the 12 teams that are best situated to make the playoffs, 10 of them are ranked tops in Defense. The two that are not are the division leaders for the NFC East and AFC South.

Though ranked fifth in points per game, the Minnesota Vikings defense is coming off a humbling experience, having given up 38 points this past Sunday. The Vikings also gave up 30 points in Week 11 against the Green Bay Packers.

Even before the injuries on the defensive side of the ball, coming into tonight's game, one could see what type of teams give the Vikings defense problems. The Vikings have only beaten one team that would qualify if the playoffs started today.

The Vikings are 1-4 when they give up 20 or more points. In today's NFL that type of offensive production does not work.

Minnesota has to score more and even though the focus is on Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, it is the Vikings' offensive approach that is outdated.

The days of NFL success being measured by having a dominant running back are over. Heading into Week 14:
  • 2 running backs have reached 1000 yards
  • 10 more running backs can reach 1000 yards for the season, provided they maintain their average weekly output
  • of these 12 running backs, only 5 of their teams would qualify if the playoffs started today

Gone also are the days, where a quarterback throwing for 3000 yards meant the team's passing was on point.
  • 12 quarterbacks have reached 3000 yards; only 4 of their teams would qualify if the playoffs started today
  • 13 more quarterbacks can reach 3000 yards for the season, provided they maintain their average weekly output

Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (2398 yards) sits near the bottom of the 25 quarterbacks on pace to reach 3000 yards. Since this is only his second year in the NFL, there is much time for improvement.

With the playoffs on the horizon, an ailing defense and tonight's matchup - Minnesota At Arizona (-10.5; 46.5) - how soon can Teddy bridge the gap of a past NFL era to today's, where dominance is measured by throwing for 4000 yards?

Of the 21 quarterbacks on pace to throw for 4000 yards, 9 of their teams would qualify if the playoffs started today. This, in itself, is a great measuring stick because the other two quarterbacks and teams that fall short do so because of injuries.

Bridgewater has the opportunities and accuracy but needs to improve on his longer passes, particularly with a dominant running back, Adrian Peterson who leads the NFL in Rushing Yards.

The numbers point toward the Arizona Cardinals (.632) to win by 9 points, and that 3 out of the 4 times the Vikings lost, they did so by 17 or more points.

So, I take Cardinals (OVER) because I see Vikings getting 17 points - not enough to outduel Cardinals. Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and until then get on up and take it to the bridge.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

NFL 2015 Week 13 - EvenMoney's Game of the Week (Jets vs Giants)


"[D]uck what you heard - who's the best in New York,
Fulfilling fantasies without that [fairy] Mr. Roarke?"

With so many quality matchups this Sunday, the early marketing value is on this clash between the two New York metropolitan area teams, where a loss by either dooms a chance at the playoffs.

For the Giants, the reality is that they must win, at least, 4 out of their last 5 games to finish 9-7 for the season. This is only the starting point because they also need the Washington Redskins to finish no better than 9-7.

For the Jets, they too must finish no less than 9-7 but realistically they too must win 4 out of their last 5 games. A 10-6 record will likely get them into the AFC's tie-breaking discussion.

The mathematical possibilities for both teams are too many to ponder, so the best bet is to focus on this game. 

Historically, the New York Giants are the best NFL team in New York. At the same time, fan adulation is not as lopsided as in Major League Baseball where the New York Yankees dominate the landscape when contrasted to the New York Mets.

For this year, at this moment: Who's the best in New York? The Jets have a better record by one game, but is that enough? The Giants can win their division and make the playoffs with an equal or worse record. The Jets cannot.

Their offensive output is nearly identical with the slight edge going to the Giants mainly because of Points Scored, while the Jets have the superior running game.

Defensively, the two teams are polar opposites. The Jets are very conventional, besting the Giants on points and yardage given and Sacks. The Giants are way better on Interceptions and Fumbles.

The better quarterback conversation is a landslide for the Giants' Eli Manning in all passing categories, while the Jets' Ryan Fitzpatrick can make more happen with his legs and enjoys better pass protection.

Though the Jets have a better starting Receiver tandem in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, in this game against secondaries that have struggled, Manning has a better corps of receivers to target, particularly Odell Beckham, Jr.

On the offensive side, the game comes down to the Jets' Chris Ivory, the current best running back in New York. The key reasons are:
  • not falling behind early -- only 1 win when trailing at halftime
  • 0-3 when Fitzpatrick throws 2 or more Interceptions
  • 1-5 when opponent scores 22+ points

Basically, the Jets need Chris Ivory involved throughout for offensive balance in their play calling and to keep their defense off the field because the Giants:
  • have scored 24 points in 8 of their 11 games
  • 1-5 when opponent scores 24+ points
  • 4-1 when opponent scores less than 22 points

With the game being NY Jets At NY Giants (+2.5; 46.5),  the numbers favor the Giants (.842) to win by 2 points simply because the Giants have not had problems scoring.

So, I take the Giants (UNDER) but with Ivory having a big game and helping Jets to a narrow victory. Pick wisely, come back for Monday's pick and until then who do you think is the best in New York?

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Mean Ole Lions - NFL 2015 TNF 13


The Detroit Lions have a chance to play spoiler to two division rivals in these final weeks of the NFL season. Tonight they face the Green Bay Packers who have lost 4 of their past 5 games, including a loss to Detroit.

The Lions are all but eliminated from playoff contention unless they win their final 5 games while other teams falter royally down the stretch. This is a disappointing season for the Lions who are coming off a playoff year with 11 wins.

Falling short of early expectations caused many ripples within the Lions organization. In November, the Lions fired their general manager and president. This came days after Head Coach Jim Caldwell got rid of three coaches from the offense, though statistically the drop-off has been on the defensive end. 

Last year the Lions defense gave up 282 points in 16 games (average 17.63 per game). This year they have given up 288 points in only 10 games (average 28.8 per game).

After losing their first 7 of 8 games, the Lions are on a three-game winning streak, that started with their Week 10 win over the Packers. Over this stretch the Lions defense is giving up only 14.33 points per game.

On the other side of the ball, the Green Bay Packers were riding high with a 6-0 record. They have lost 4 of their last 5 games and are struggling to find an identity on both sides of the ball.

The Detroit Lions have not beaten the Green Bay Packers twice in one season since 1999 but the Lions have won the previous two Home games against the Packers.

For this matchup, Green Bay At Detroit (+2.5; 46.5), the numbers point heavily toward the Detroit Lions (.789) to lose by no more than 1 point.

So, I take Lions (UNDER) as I see this as a toss-up game. Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and until then listen to hear how loud the mean ole Lions roar.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ravens: Masters of Close Finish - NFL 2015 MNF 12

The total absolute point difference for all 10 Baltimore Ravens game is 41, an average of 4.1 points. They have played 5 games in which the margin of victory was 3 points or less. Their biggest loss was by 8 points, on the road to the 9-2 Arizona Cardinals.

At 3-7 Baltimore is all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Heading into tonight's matchup -  Baltimore At Cleveland (-4.5; 41.5) - the Ravens are without starting Quarterback Joe Flacco.

Matt Schaub is slated to start for Baltimore but for the Ravens, the defense continues to be the biggest concern. The Ravens are giving up 24.9 points per game and this Cleveland Browns team scored 33 points on them, in the game that all but doomed their season.

Oddly enough that was the only game the Browns won with Josh McCown at the helm. Cleveland is 2-8 for the season and their absolute point difference is 125, an average of 12.5. Both their wins were by 3 points.

The Browns have lost 5 games in a row while scoring 13.6 points per game. During that same stretch, the Ravens are 2-3 while scoring 20.6 per game but this was with Joe Flacco at quarterback.

The question: Can Baltimore's defense hold the Browns to under 20 points? In games that McCown started and finished, Cleveland averages 21.5 points.

There are no numbers to predict the winner but all simulations show the Baltimore Ravens to lose by no more than 2 points.

So, I take Ravens (UNDER).  Pick wisely, and come back for Thursday's picks and tonight we find out how close the Ravens are to being dominant next season.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

NFL 2015 Week 12 - EvenMoney's Game of the Week (Bucs vs Colts)

Tampa Bay At Indianapolis (-3; 46.5) is a must win game for both teams, yet only one team risks being eliminated from playoff contention with a loss.

Both teams are 5-5 but the Indianapolis Colts are tied for first place in the AFC South. The Colts must win because, after today's matchup, their remaining schedule features their three division rivals. All three opponents are vying for the division title. The Colts face two other AFC teams in play for the Wild Card.

For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: lose this game and they can conceivably pack it in for the year. Though they will not be mathematically eliminated, they would be reliant on too many scenarios - losses - by other teams.

After this game, the Bucs too will face their three division rivals. By the time they face the Chicago Bears, the Bucs will either be out of playoff contention or have more control of their destiny.

Instead of getting too deep into each of today's teams scenarios, let's just say I see the Colts going 2-3 after today, and the Bucs 3-2.

For today's matchup, it really depends on which Bucs offense shows up, specifically Quarterback Jameis Winston. He is experiencing the normal adjustment that rookies face. Winston has thrown 15 TouchDowns and 9 Interceptions. The TouchDown numbers are spiked due to last week's game versus the Philadelphia Eagles when he threw 5 TDs. Otherwise he would have thrown almost as many TDs as INTs.

The good fortune for the Bucs is that they are second in the NFL in Rushing yards. They will face a Colts defense that is near the bottom in Passing and Rushing Yards, while giving up 24.8 points game.

Facing the Colts, scoring 21 points should be a given for the Bucs, who are 4-1 when their defense holds a team to under 21 points.

The question: Can Tampa Bay hold Indianapolis to under 21 points?

The Indianapolis Colts have scored 21+ points in 7 of their 10 games. With backup Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck at the helm, the Colts are 3-0 and he will start in place of the injured Andrew Luck.

What does this mean for the Bucs? It means Tampa Bay should take the air out of the ball and limit the Colts' possessions because in a high scoring game, the odds are with the Colts.

So, I take the Bucs (OVER). Pick wisely, come back for Monday's pick and until then see whether the Colts' home becomes Buc'town.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Can Green Bay Lead from the Middle of the Pack? NFL 2015 TNF 12

The Green Bay Packers are in a precarious position. They are competing for playoff positioning against two teams: the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals.

Each of these 3 teams have 3 "should win games" on their schedule and they face one another in the coming weeks. Arizona is one game ahead of Green Bay in the NFC, and Green Bay is tied with Minnesota in the NFC North division.

So, Chicago at Green Bay (-8, 45) is not the game for the Packers to try reverting to the style of play from the early part of this season when they won their first 6 games.

The Packers have to come to terms that they are a team that lost 3 games in a row. This past Sunday's win against the Minnesota Vikings put them back on the right track but they are not fully back. Gone should be, in their memory, the attitude they should win games by 10 points.

If the playoffs were to start today, 5 of the 7 teams the Packers beat would not qualify. The Packers defense gives up too many yards. During the first 6 games, they scored first and were able to control the pace. Most of the teams they beat did not feature high octane offenses, which meant the Packers defense could take risks to force TurnOvers.

In today's game, they face a Chicago Bears team that technically cannot hurt them on offense. The Bears are content to score 23 points and let their defense handle the rest.

The Packers beat the Bears 31 - 23 in this year's earlier matchup. The Bears defense has improved since early in the season. Their focus is to not allow big passing plays, which could be seen as a test for Aaron Rodgers.

Conversely, Green Bay can see this as an opportunity to put the past behind them and be content to mainly rush the ball. This will limit the amount of time their defense is on the field.

The numbers point to a win by Green Bay (.842) but not covering the spread, because the Packers are more comfortable in high scoring games. As such, look for that slim chance of a Bears victory (.158).

I take Bears (OVER) even though I see a Packers victory. Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and until then watch out for the leader of the pack.

Monday, November 23, 2015

To Be The Man... - NFL 2015 MNF 11

Last Sunday, teams and fans around the country saw the New England Patriots pull out a last minute victory over the New York Giants. With each victory many fear the prospect of another undefeated regular season for the Patriots.

Though realistically the next true and last chance to spoil this outcome lies in next week's matchup against the Denver Broncos, the Buffalo Bills do pose some challenges for the New England Patriots.

One is familiarity, which can also work in the Patriots' favor. Second is Patriots looking ahead to next week. Third is Ric Flair's adage: To be the man, you gotta beat the man.

This is not just on Tyrod Taylor. It's not even on just Rex Ryan, though he had six seasons as the head coach of the New York Jets to unseat the Patriots.

This, this leviathan is on the Buffalo Bills and the other AFC East team who are just content to pray and pray for the Patriots' downfall. Are these three teams simply going to wait until Tom Brady retires?

Even after Brady retires, do they think Bill Belichick is not already preparing a new strategy or scouting for a comparable quarterback?

So, tonight's Monday Night Football game is Buffalo At New England (-7; 47.5). Whereas I called the upset special for the Houston Texans to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, I am not giving the Bills the same leeway.

The Buffalo Bills have to prove their real defense is the one that has kept 5 teams under 20 points five times this season.

This game is of utmost importance to Buffalo. A loss tonight and the AFC will have 8 teams vying for the final 2 playoff spots, with 5 of them holding a 5-5 record, the same one the Bills will have with a loss.

The New England Patriots have scored 27+ points in all 9 games. The Bills defense has only allowed that many points in 3 games, including the Week 2 matchup when the Patriots put 40 on them and won by 8 points.

The question is whether the Bills offense can put up 27+ points against the Patriots defense? The Bills scored 32 points in their previous matchup -- 19 points came in the fourth quarter, after they were down by 14 points.

The numbers break as Patriots (.842) to win by 14 points and Bills (.158) to win by 1 point.

So, I take Patriots (UNDER).  Pick wisely and come back for Thursday's picks. Tonight we find out whether the Bills are ready to dethrone the Patriots.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

NFL 2015 Week 11 - EvenMoney's Game of the Week (Bengals vs Cardinals)

Cincinnati At Arizona (-4.5; 48) pits two teams that are currently in second place in their respective conferences. This game has major consequences for teams chasing these two division leaders.

By tip-off time, Arizona will know whether it has sole possession of second place in the NFC. Barring a major losing streak, Arizona locks up the NFC West with a win.

This matchup comes down to the Cardinals offense versus the Bengals defense. The Cardinals have scored over 24 points in 7 out of 9 games. The Bengals defense has not yielded over 24 points this season, and is first in the NFL in Points Allowed.

This is not smoke and mirrors, as the Bengals have done this against 7 teams that score 21+ points per game.

When two top teams square off, something's got to give. In this case, the question is whether the Bengals "bend but don't break" defense can work against the Cardinals.

The Cardinals lead the league with 36 Extra Point Attempts and have attempted 18 Field Goals. Can you really go against that much offensive firepower?

So, I take the Cardinals (OVER). Pick wisely, come back for Monday's pick and until enjoy two top teams try to take that next step.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jaguars On The Hunt for a Playoff Spot! NFL 2015 TNF 11


Tennessee At Jacksonville (-3; 42.5) signals a chance for the Jacksonville Jaguars to take a sharp turn in the franchise's fortune. The Jaguars have not made the playoffs since the 2007 season.

Since then Jacksonville has not had a winning season. With only a 3-6 record, the Jaguars can only aim for the playoffs because the AFC South division is having a terrible year.

Two teams are tied for first place with a 4-5 record. If Jacksonville wins tonight and both the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans lose on Sunday, there will be a three-way tie for the division.

Even if either or both teams win, the Jaguars can remain just one game off the lead with a win tonight against the 2-7 Tennessee Titans, who are last in the AFC South.

This game comes down to defense. The Jaguars defense has given up 31+ points in 4 games, and 20 points or less in 4 games. Facing a Titans team that has scored 14 points or less in 6 games, this is Jacksonville's chance to make believers of themselves.

On the other side of the ledger, the Titans defense has given up 27+ points in 5 games, and 20 points or less in 4 games. The Jaguars have scored 20+ points in 6 games.

Both teams have been wildly in consistent and no true pattern has evolved, but the Tennessee Titans have only won when they have scored over 34+ points. This can be a question of pace and whether the opponent can run the ball. Jacksonville cannot.

The question: can Jacksonville score 24 points while holding the Titans to under 21 points?

The numbers do not point favorably to either team when it comes to the spread, but Jacksonville is picked at .579 while Tennessee is at .421.

I take Jaguars (OVER). Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and until then watch the Jaguars on the hunt for a playoff spot.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Texans Playing With House Money! - NFL 2015 MNF 10

The Houston Texans can do no wrong tonight. They will literally be playing with house money. The current line is Houston At Cincinnati (-10.5; 46.5).

Even with a 3-5 record, the Texans are only a half-game behind the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC South division lead. A win tonight and they will be tied with a chance at making the playoffs. The two teams have a comparable strength of schedule for their remaining games, which means their meeting in Week 15 could decide the division.

A win tonight against the undefeated (8-0) Cincinnati Bengals can be the restart Houston needs. So far, the Texans have been inconsistent, partly due to key injuries, specifically to Running Back, Arian Foster.

The Texans are near last in NFL Rushing at 87.9 yards per game and 6th in Passing at 281.5 yards per game. Much of this has to do with falling behind early in games and having to abandon the run. There has been some inconsistency at the quarterback position with the benching of Brian Hoyer. Now that the Texans have released Ryan Mallett, the position is for Hoyer to stabilize or lose for good.

The Texans should approach tonight's game with reckless abandon -- Pass first, go for it on 4th down when reasonable and speed up the game, possibly with a hurry up offense. This might be the best strategy because the Bengals defense is currently second in the league in points (17.8). This is interesting because they are not Top 10 in any other major defensive category.

The Bengals allow opponents to rack up yards while killing lots of clock and then limiting them to Field Goals. On offense, their offensive talent can score quickly- 3rd in points (28.6) while being 14th in actual Third Downs Made.

Houston's defense suffered two weeks where they gave up over 40 points (48 and 44). If the Texans defense can give up at or below the 25.6 points per game it allows, then not losing by 11 points is very likely.

The question: can the Bengals score 28 points tonight against a Texans defense that has proven to be an enigma?

The numbers break Bengals (.789) and Texans (.211), but I'm going out on a limb because I think Hoyer has a chance to be real Texas gunslinger while the defense holds up.

So, I take Texans (UNDER).  Pick wisely, and come back for Thursday's picks and tonight we find out just how desperate the Texans are for a win.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

NFL 2015 Week 10 - EvenMoney's Game of the Week (Patriots vs Giants)


New England At NY Giants (+7; 54.5) provides one of two remaining chances for the Patriots not to have an undefeated season. To beat the New England Patriots, a team needs a veteran quarterback who can challenge them. The next time for this to occur will be against the Denver Broncos in Week 12.

There were two previous weeks (1 and 6) when the Patriots faced teams with quarterbacks that posed such a threat. Since then, the Patriots have been able to bomb away and run through teams, knowing no matter the points they give up on defense, their offense will have a chance to surpass it.

The New York Giants have a veteran, championship level quarterback in Eli Manning, who is Top 5 to Top 10 in Completions, Attempts, Comp. Percentage, and Passing TouchDowns. Contrast this with the Giants being 24th in the league in Rushing at under 100 Yards per game and ZERO TouchDowns.

For the Giants to be competitive, Eli needs major help from the defense. Though much maligned for lapses of bad play and giving up 25.1 points per game, the Giants defense is Top 3 in Interceptions and Forced Fumbles.

Still they are ranked last in Sacks and hope the return of Jean Pierre-Paul provides immediate help. New York will need an effective pass rush to control Tom Brady and a Patriots offense that has scored 27+ points each game, averaging 34.5ppg and besting opponents by 16.63ppg.

Before taking that to the bank, do note that the large margins of victory has come against 4 teams with a combined record of 10-22. In the other 4 games, New England won by an average of 7.25 points.

That is not to say that Tom Brady is not having a superb season where he is Top 5 to Top 10 in 8 leading categories.

The question is simple: can the Giants defense hold the Patriots to 27 points or under? If so, then the Giants have won 4 out of 5 of games when their defense holds up.

So, I take the Giants (UNDER). Pick wisely, come back for Monday's pick and until then watch two Super Bowl winning teams and quarterbacks give you a glimpse of the near future.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Can Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor Earn His Wings? NFL 2015 TNF 10

The Buffalo Bills (4-4) have not made the playoffs since the season ending 1999. Since then they have finished .500 or better four times, including this past season.

The coaching change to Rex Ryan was supposed to signal a continuation of that winning path, even though he made wholesale changes.

Three losses to division leaders and a slip up against the Jacksonville Jaguars has everyone writing the Buffalo Bills off. Two of these four losses came with starting Quarterback Tyrod Taylor injured.

Head coaches with big personalities, especially ones with a defense first philosophy, often make people think quarterbacks are interchangeable. So far, the Bills have realized this is not the case.

Buffalo's only chance to win lies on Rex's willingness to open up the offense and rely on Taylor's arm, decision-making and legs. For Quarterbacks who have started 4 or more games this season, Taylor is Top Five in QB Rating, Pass Percentage, Passing Yards Per Attempt and Rushing Yards Per Attempt.

Tonight Buffalo At NY Jets (-2; 41.5) pits Taylor against a Jets defense that is still Top 10 in the NFL but has slipped a bit due to recent lapses in the secondary and missed tackles.

After four seasons as a backup in Baltimore, this game is important for Taylor because it's his chance to be in the rising star quarterback conversation.

For the Buffalo Bills, this game is their playoffs. A loss tonight means they will need to finish the season 6-1 to earn a Wild Card spot.

The question: can Buffalo score 24 points? The Jets have not won a game this season when the opponent scores that much or more.

Though the Bills usually score 24+ when Taylor plays, these results are against teams with losing records and poor defenses.

I take Jets (OVER). Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and look forward to the day Tyrod Taylor earns his wings.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Who Are Da Bears? - NFL 2015 MNF 9

Chicago At San Diego (-4; 50)  has Wild Card playoff implications for both teams, but moreso for the Bears because they will be just one game behind the NFC logjam for the final playoff spot.

It is a tall order because, even after a win tonight, Chicago is likely to go no better than 4-4 in their final 8 games. But, what if, the Bears are not who we thought they were?

The Bears are only 2-5 but 4 of their losses have come to teams with .500 or better records. Four of these teams would qualify if the playoffs started today. Three of these losses were to division foes who know them well and two could have been wins -- lost by 3 points twice.

The blowout losses were to NFC West teams. In Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals, the Bears trailed 28-20 at the half and then Quarterback Jay Cutler got hurt. The Bears went on to lose 48-23.

The next week they were shut out 26-0 on the road at Seattle with Jay Clausen at QB. With Cutler back from injury, Chicago won their next two matchups versus AFC West opponents.

The next two losses -- one due to questionable calls against them at Detroit -- were against fellow NFC North opponents.

Tonight's game will pit the Bears against another AFC West opponent, the San Diego Chargers who are 2-6 and currently on a four-game losing streak.

The Chargers are normally involved in high-scoring affairs because they have offensive firepower and score 23.88 points per game. In return, they give up 28.38.

San Diego has not yielded less than 24 points in any game this year. In both their Wins, the opponent scored, at least, 27 points.

In 3 of their last 4 games, the Bears have held teams to under 24 points.

The question: Do Da Bears have enough offensive firepower to withstand the Chargers' air assault?

The numbers break only on the percentages, not the spread: Bears (.684) and Chargers (.316)

So, I take Bears (Under).  Pick wisely, and come back for Thursday's picks and tonight we find out whether "da Bears are who we thought they were".

Sunday, November 08, 2015

NFL 2015 Week 9 - EvenMoney's Game of the Week (Packers vs Panthers)

Green Bay At Carolina (+2.5; 46) could decide whether the race to the NFC playoffs has intrigue or becomes humdrum. For it to remain riveting, Green Bay has to lose. 

From there, it does not matter the outcome of the matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the St. Louis Rams because 10 teams will fully be in play for the Wild Card.

A week ago, before the loss to the Denver Broncos, the Packers looked unbeatable, as if this season could go down as one talked about for generations. They had won 6 games by 10.5 points. They had a balanced team, where the running game paced them and helped them maintain leads.

Even Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was in on the act (160 yards in 6 games), while throwing it on everybody, averaging 8.16 Yard per Attempt , heading for roughly 4,000 yards for the season. Was Denver's defense the driving force to Rodgers's poor 3.5 Yards per Attempt performance? Or was it something that had been looming but hidden?

Mike Tyson famously and accurately quipped, "Everyone has a plan 'til they get punched in the mouth." Until facing the Broncos, Green Bay had scored first in all of its games, even the come from behind win against the Seattle Seahawks.

The Carolina Panthers are more of a team that builds momentum as the game progresses. They are as likely to fall behind by 3 points as they are to take a 7 point lead.

Though the underdog, the Panthers have more than a puncher's chance to beat the Packers back into the playoff pack; they have Cam Newton.

Using the previous metrics, through 6 games, Cam was on his way to 3400 yards for the season and had 245 yards rushing.

Third in the NFL, Cam Newton averages 13 yards per completion and this is not due to his receivers' YAC (yard after catch). The Panthers use long passes to open up the running game and they lead the NFL in Rushing, where Green Bay's defense is near the bottom.

This is a toss-up for the win, with Carolina getting the slight nod because they are at home. The numbers break as Panthers (.526) to win by 7 points, and Packers (.474) to win by 5 points.

So, I take the Panthers (OVER). Pick wisely, come back for Monday's pick and until then watch which team triumphs.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

What Can Browns Do For You? NFL 2015 TNF 9

With only 10 teams above .500 and 4 of them undefeated, what do you make of NFL 2015? There are three tiers: the undefeateds; the average, at 4+ wins; and the upset-minded.

The Cleveland Browns are of the latter caliber. Up until two weeks ago, before losing to the St. Louis Rams, the Browns looked average, like they could make a slow push to the playoffs.

These past two weeks, with losses at a combined 32 points, have pushed Cleveland down, to the point where no one is giving them a chance to win this Thursday Night Football matchup.

Cleveland at Cincinnati (-11.5; 45) stands as the Browns last chance to salvage the season or merely save face. With Johnny Manziel starting in place of injured Josh McCown, the odds are slim that Cleveland reaches the 28+ points it would take to beat the Bengals.

Cincinnati is one the of undefeated teams, beating opponents by 9.42 points per game. No opponent has scored more than 24 points all season.

That's where division rivalry comes into play. In their two NFC North matchups, the Bengals won by an average of 5 points and had to fight to the bitter end for both wins.

Division rivalries count for something and these two teams have split their past 6 games, with current standing and home field meaning very little. Winners have done so by 10+ points in five of the games.

Cleveland's defense gives up 24 points by seemingly walking on the field; and on average 27 points per game for the year. The weight of this game is on Johnny Manziel's shoulders.

That's a tough order, so I take Bengals (UNDER). Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and look forward to the day Browns can do something for you.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Carolina In My Mind - NFL 2015 MNF 8

A win tonight and the Carolina Panthers will remain the lone undefeated team in the NFC. Let's not look ahead because next week they face the Green Bay Packers who got handled and handed their first loss yesterday.

Even if we were to look ahead, Carolina has a chance to finish 14-2, provided they win tonight. Tonight's Monday Night Football matchup against the Indianapolis Colts can be problematic because the Panthers have not fully distinguished themselves.

Though they stand at 6-0, the Panthers have not beaten a team with a winning (over .500) record. The Panthers have been winning ugly, with defense being their calling card.

Coupled with a defense that only gives up 18.33 points per game, their offense puts up 27 points per game. The Panthers are about ball control -- the running game, which shortens the game and their opponents' opportunities to score.

On the other side, the Colts are near the bottom in scoring at 21 points per game. Their strength is the passing game which should make for an interesting battle against Carolina's defense.

Could this be the sleeper game where the Panthers fall behind early and are forced to abandon the run?

I'm thinking Carolina can win even if it comes down to that because Indianapolis gives up too many yards. The Panthers will get to, at least, 20 points.

The question for Indianapolis at Carolina (-5.5; 45.5): can the Colts score 18 or more points against the Panthers defense?

So, I take Panthers (Under).  Pick wisely, and come back for Thursday's picks and enjoy having Carolina on your mind.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

NFL 2015 Week 8 - EvenMoney's Game of the Week (Giants vs Saints)

After their 0-3 start, the Saints have been rising to the top, winning three of their last four games. A win today and the New Orleans Saints are in the race for a Wild Card playoff spot.

The Saints will need help from other teams, mainly the Chicago Bears beating the Minnesota Vikings. After today's game, New Orleans finish the year with a soft schedule where they can go 6-2.

Today's game: New York at New Orleans (-3; 50) is a must-win for any of this to matter. For the Saints, it is hard to pinpoint what has led to the recent wins. In the past four games, they have scored 5 more points while giving up 3 less points. Yet, no one area of the game jump out as the catalyst for this turnaround.

Chances are it is momentum gained from their win against the Atlanta Falcons; the inverse of how they started the season.

The New York Giants have not gotten traction this season. Plagued with injuries at the Wide Receiver position and no consistent running game, Quarterback Eli Manning is being asked to do more.

Manning has been steady but the Giants go as their defense does -- giving up 22 points per game. A team that scores 24 or more points has a 75% chance to beat the Giants.

Today's question: Can the New Orleans Saints muster enough offense to beat the New York Giants?

The Saints have scored 26 or more in their 3 wins, and average 19 in their 4 losses.

This is a toss-up for the win with Saints getting the slight nod. For our purposes, the numbers break to Giants (.895) to win by 2 points and Saints (.105) to lose by 2 points.

So, I take the Giants (UNDER). Pick wisely, come back for Monday's pick and continue rising to the top.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Patriots Walk A Thin Line - NFL 2015 TNF 8

Miami at New England (-8; 51) is a tricky game to pick. The Patriots have won 3 games by 7 points, 1 game by 8 and two others by over 24 points.

Coupled with that, when the Dolphins lose, they do so by 14 points. Since firing their head coach before their Bye week, the Dolphins have won both their games.

Though these wins come against AFC South teams with losing records, the Dolphins scored 38 and 44 points, eclipsing their previous season-high by 18 points.

Going with the theory that the Dolphins have turned the corner, the Patriots only give up 21 points per game, while scoring  a league-leading 35.5 points per game.

The question for tonight's matchup: can New England score over 30 points against a Miami defense that gives up 23 points per game?

I pick Patriots (Over) because the game is at Gillette Stadium and the past two seasons, the HOME team has won with the Patriots winning by 10 or more.

Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and enjoy the message in the song.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” - NFL 2015 MNF 7

Baltimore at Arizona (-10; 50) is the Ravens final trip out west for the year, where they are 0-3. Tonight we find out whether to say "Nevermore" to the Ravens' defensive identity.

Baltimore has yielded on average 27 points per game, en route to a 1-5 record that has them well out of the playoff picture. For this Monday Night Football matchup, they face the 4-2 Arizona Cardinals who are scoring 33.33 per game.

In amassing those offensive numbers, the Cardinals have not beaten a team with a .500 or better record. Overall, Arizona is giving up under 20 points a game.

So the question is whether the Ravens can score 23 points tonight. The Ravens average just shy of 24 points per game and have scored 23 or more 4 times in their 6 games.

The Cardinals should win this game but the 10 points are a bit much because the Ravens have not lost by more than 6 points all season.

So, I take Ravens (Under).  Pick wisely, and come back for Thursday's picks and enjoy this reading of The Raven by James Earl Jones.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

NFL 2015 Week 7 - EvenMoney's Game of the Week (Vikings vs Lions)


The Minnesota Vikings are, at the moment, in a four team race for the Wild Card. Today's matchup - Minnesota at Detroit (-1; 45) - starts a four-game stretch of must win games.

After these games, the Vikings will then face four NFC teams with playoff possibilities. Now that we have the big picture, Minnesota's current focus is a Detroit Lions team that won its first game last week.

The Lions have underachieved. Though they score 20 points per game, they are more likely to score 17 points while giving up 28.7 points per game.

Adrian Peterson is questionable for the game, which would impact the Vikings' ability to take advantage of Detroit's weak defense. In their previous matchup (Week 2), the Vikings won 26-16 and Peterson rushed for 134 yards.

To counter, can Matthew Stafford challenge the Vikings defense? Stafford has thrown 10 TDs and 9 INTs, and the Vikings defense is vulnerable to both the passing and running game. Theirs is a bend but don't break defense -- second in the NFL, giving up only 16.6 points per game.

The numbers break to Vikings (.842) to win by 2 points and Lions (.158) to lose by 9 points.

So, I take the Vikins (UNDER). Pick wisely, come back for Monday's pick and enjoy this playlist/mix.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How The NFC West Was Lost - NFL 2015 TNF 7

No NFC West team has beaten a team with a winning record, except for San Francisco's Week 1 win against the Minnesota Vikings. To their defense, these losses have come to teams that are likely to win their division.

The major blemish on the Seattle Seahawks record is the loss to division rival St. Louis Rams, a team that also beat NFC West division leading Arizona Cardinals.

So, what ails the Seahawks? They fade in the second half of games, particularly the 4th quarter where they're attempting to nurse the lead, as opposed to blow the opponent away.

The San Francisco 49ers' made wholesale changes in the off-season and are led by rookie head coach by Jim Tomsula. Under this new regime, Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being asked to do more. This has led to an increase in Interceptions and Fumbles.

The main concern for San Francisco is defensive identity, as in which team will come to play. Will it be the one that has given 30+ points in 3 games? Or the one that has held opponents to 20 or less in 3 games.

The question for tonight's game - Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (+6.5; 42.5) - Can the 49ers offense score over 20 points against the Seahawks defense?

I take Seahawks (UNDER), not knowing which Niners defense shows up. Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and enjoy this playlist.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

NFL 2015 Week 6 - EvenMoney's Game of the Week (Redskins vs Jets)

The New York Jets can decide their playoff fate by beating the Washington Redskins in today's matchup. A win today and then going, at least, .500 for the rest of the season puts the Jets in control of their chances for a Wild Card spot in the AFC.

Coming into the season, only the most die-hard of fans would have predicted a chance to have a 4-1 record after today's game. With the entire league splitting into a top tier of six teams and another filled with inconsistent wanderers, the Jets Defense have put them in a position to succeed.

Faced with the absence of their starting Quarterback, New York's defense leads the league in Points Against (13.8) and ranks Top 10 in other key defensive categories (Yards, Passing, Rushing and Interceptions).

This bodes well against the Washington Redskins, who only score 19.4 points per game. Both teams run a balanced offense but have had more success Rushing the ball.

Washington's losses have  come late in the game, mainly due to turnovers (Interceptions). The game will be decided by which team's Defense and Special Teams perform better.

This gives the Jets the edge to win the game but the line is currently at Washington Redskins at New York Jets (-8; 40). This movement from the starting line at -5.5 is due to injuries to key Redskins players, mainly Offensive Lineman Trent Williams and Running Back Matt Jones.

Without these factors, this was a toss-up game. With them, the numbers break to Jets (.368) and Redskins (.632).

So, I take the Redskins (UNDER). Pick wisely, come back for Monday's pick and enjoy this playlist/mix.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Atlanta Falcoms - Fly Like An Eagle NFL 2015 TNF 6


Atlanta Falcons At New Orleans Saints (+3; 52.5) is a game the Falcons (5-0) must win. The Falcons have to keep pace with two other NFC division leaders- Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals.

Winning tonight and the next 5 weeks while hoping the Packers falter will be what keeps them from having to travel to Lambeau Field in the dead of winter.

The Falcons also have to be mindful of division rival Carolina Panthers who are also undefeated at 4-0. The Panthers have a tougher schedule these next few weeks, until the two teams meet but nothing is a given.

The Falcons have mounted comebacks in three of their wins, and give up 22.4 points per game, which currently ranks them 15th in the league. They have scored 32.4 points per game, which is likely what they will score tonight.

The New Orleans Saints are having a horrible season, with Quarterback Drew Brees playing through injury. They are currently 1-4 and on paper, at best, I see the Saints winning 6 more games this season.

The Saints are giving up 28.6 points per game and scoring 20.6 points per game, with their highest output being 26 points.

I take Falcons (OVER) and pray they stay above the fray, continuing to fly like an eagle. Pick wisely, come back for Sunday's picks and enjoy this playlist.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Chargers Playing Second Fiddle - NFL 2015 MNF 5

Tonight's Monday Night Football matchup features two teams who are at 2-2 and are conceivably playing for a Wild Card Playoff spot, as both their division leaders are sitting at 5-0.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, there is a built-in excuse, an injury to their starting quarterback. The Chargers, on the other hand, have not had a 10-win season since LaDainian Tomlinson left after the 2009 season.

Since then, San Diego has only made the playoffs once and have not won the AFC West. First, it was close finishes the Kansas City Chiefs, but lately the Chargers have been mostly playing second fiddle to the Chiefs and the Denver Broncos with Peyton Manning.

The Chargers are basically hitched to Philip Rivers until the end of his contract (app. $82 million) in 2019. They will continue to go as Rivers goes. This year they have won both their HOME games and lost both their AWAY games.

Defensively, they have given up, at least, 24 points each game. Their opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, only gave up more than 24 points once in four games -- to the New England Patriots.

The line is Pittsburgh Steelers At San Diego Chargers (-4; 45.5). The Chargers do play high scoring games, and except for one game this season, the Steelers have combined for 43 or more points.

The numbers show Steelers winning by up to 4 points, and the Chargers with a very slim chance to win by 1 point.

So, I take Steelers (Over).  Pick wisely, and come back for Thursday's picks and enjoy this playlist.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

NFL 2015 Week 5 - EvenMoney's Game of the Week (Seahawks vs Bengals)

Of all the intriguing matchups for NFL 2015 Week 5, Seattle Seahawks at Cincinnati Bengals  (-3; 44) promises to be the game to decide two divisions and Super Bowl contention. If the Bengals win, barring a major injury, then the other teams in the AFC North are essentially playing for a Wild Card spot.

This win would put the Bengals at 5-0 and potentially 3 games ahead of the next team, if the Pittsburgh Steelers lose this week. Cincinnati has to keep pace with the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos, when it comes to playoff home-field advantage in the AFC.

With the Seahawks having represented the NFC in the past two years, this is the Bengals' first true test for that next level. The prior wins -- all AFC contests -- have determined whether they should be in this discussion.

This game decides whether or not they remain a viable threat to play in the Super Bowl. For Seattle, sleep time is over. The Seahawks have been sleepwalking through the season like a team that ate too much of a carb-filled meal.

So far, nothing has knocked the chip off their shoulder, the one they think guarantees them another Super Bowl appearance. To their defense, the Seahawks have not had a reason to wake up. Yes, they faced the Green Bay Packers earlier this season. In all honesty, that game meant much more to Green Bay and the late game execution confirms this.

Seattle has taken two early season losses in stride and they've turned it on against two underwhelming teams. The two wins were at HOME and the two losses AWAY.

Today's game: AWAY. It is also the first inter-conference game for both teams. It is not a game that one can say defense will matter more than offense, and vice versa.

This will simply be a hitting game, a playoff level intensity that the Bengals have faced twice this season -- San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens. Both times, the Cincinnati Bengals got off to early scoring starts and held on for victories. A better way of framing it: the Bengals play all four quarters; the Seahawks, not so much.

At the end of the day, it comes down the passing game. Which quarterback will have more success? More precisely: can Russell Wilson expose what has been the Cincinatti Bengals weak spot?

I rarely call PUSH but with the line at -3 and a game likely to be 27-24. Which team do you think wins by a Field Goal?

I have the numbers as Seattle (.737) to win by 7 points, and the Bengals (.263) to win by 2 points.

Under those terms, I take the Seahawks (Over 44).

Pick wisely, come back for Monday's pick and Enjoy this playlist/mix.