A Solitary Pick

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The festive period is definitely messing with my schedule, and with the Omicron variant sending cases rising everywhere it’s all feeling a bit eerily familiar. There were meant to be two games this Saturday but now we are left with a single high quality matchup.

Patriots @ Colts (-2.5)

This should be a great game, but it feels like the Colts will have problems because they have a very effective formula, but it’s hard to trust Carson Wentz in the passing game, and with that kind of weakness to scheme around you would expect Belichick to have a defence ready to make the Colts rely on Wentz throwing the ball. I could be wrong, as Frank Reich is a coach I really admire, but I whilst I think it will be competitive, I like the Patriots in this one.

Gee’s Pick:       Patriots
Dan’s Pick:       Patriots

Competition Thursday: 2021 Week Fifteen

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We have what looks to be a cracking Thursday night game this week, though week fourteen was anything but cracking for me as Dan extended his lead to six games, and I’m looking at the fact that I have not won a picks competition in at least three, and by the looks of it four seasons now. Clearly the rethink I have hinted at in the last couple of years actually needs to happen in the offseason.

Meanwhile, as in so many places the number of Covid cases are rising in the NFL so picking could get very tricky in the upcoming weeks.

Gee:Week 14:  7 – 7Overall:  108 – 100
Dan:Week 14:  10 – 4Overall:  114 – 94

Chiefs @ Chargers (+3.5)

The Chiefs have found a formula for winning that’s got them six straight, with the addition of edge player Melvin Ingram via trade and the return of some of their injured defensive players the Chiefs are making lives difficult for teams despite only ranking seventeenth in defence by DVOA. They have held opponents to under twenty points in those six wins and if there is a concern, it is that the offence, whilst scoring big against the Raiders hasn’t been back to its explosive best, but if the defence can keep doing what it has been the Chiefs stand a good chance of solidifying themselves back amongst the challengers in the AFC.

The Chargers meanwhile have two very solid wins in their last two games and whilst many, including me, were wondering about their offence scheme and not taking enough of an advantage of Justin Herbert’s arm, they do seem to be pushing the ball more and the offence is now ranked third by DVOA. The defence still lags behind, but I do not believe Brandon Staley will make the same kind of mistakes as the Raiders’ Gus Bradley in scheming against Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. This could well be another win for the Chiefs tonight, but with the Chargers at home on a short week getting an extra half point I’ll take that slightly nervously and hope I’m not overthinking my pick. Again…

Gee’s Pick:      Chargers
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Survivor Competition

So it turns out that if Dan and I had the courage of our early convictions we would have been fine going with the Chargers to beat the Giants, but both the Packers and the Seahawks took care of us so we turn our attention to week fifteen, and I don’t mind telling you that it is getting pretty tough to find selections now.

After staring at the list for a while I have come up with the Dolphins beating the Jets at home and I just hope that it being a divisional game doesn’t trip me up. Despite Dan saying he hated all his options, I don’t hate his selection of the Chiefs to win, though it’s not an obvious one and might make for some nervous watching tonight.

Current Score

Gee: 10
Dan: 6

Week 15 Selection:

Gee:    Dolphins
Dan:    Chiefs

2021 Week Fourteen Picks

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Well, both Dan and I took losses on Thursday, although with the Steelers remarkable comeback we had the chance of the cover despite Mike Tomlin’s team being 29-0 down until 2:11 in the third quarter. It can’t be fun being a fan of the Vikings this season.

I have also given Dan and I a Mulligan on the survivor picks this week given we both selected the Chargers before the news broke about the extent of the Covid-19 break out in their receiver room. Dan is now going against the Texans by taking Seattle, whilst I’m backing the Packers to beat the Bears given Aaron Rodgers’ ownership of the Bears. I just hope that quote and this pick doesn’t come back to bite me.

Dan:     Seahawks
Gee:     Packers

Early Games:

There’s a couple of big divisional games in the early slate and it’s one of them that I’m picking, although if you like bruising competitive football you could do a lot works that watch the Ravens taking on the Browns, but I have settled on the Cowboys travelling to Washington to take on the Football Team. The Cowboys are taking on a team who have won their last four games coming off their bye, whilst the Cowboys have gone 2-3 in the last five, though have had some injury/Covid-19 problems in this stretch. If the Cowboys are the team that we thought they were early in the season, they need to win this game to extend their lead at the top of the division. The truth is that whilst I have been impressed with the way Washington have found their feet since their bye, I have more faith in Dak Prescott to find a way through the Football Team’s defence than Taylor Heinicke not to have a turnover or two against an opportunistic Cowboys defence.

Points from the rest:

  • The Ravens’ injuries meet the Browns’s in what feels like it could be an absolute mess of a game. It’s certainly odd to see the Ravens ranked as lowly as sixteenth overall by DVOA but the Browns are only ranked two places higher and have distinctly whelmed this season.
  • You know it is bad when the league’s own website is carrying a story about the disfunction of your team. The Titans have a bunch of injuries and may well have problems covering this line, but it would be a genuine surprise if they lost to the Jaguars.
  • Divisional games are funny things, and I am still not convinced by the Chiefs’ offence, but their defence genuinely have found their feet and the Raiders insisted on playing the wrong defence the last time these two teams met and it’s hard to see Gus Bradley changing it up this time so whilst hesitant, I think the Chiefs may cover this one.
  • The Saints are so injured on offence, but the Jets have so far to go before they will be truly competitive, and the Saints have a really good defence so that’s where I’m inclined to pick in this one.
  • I’m not sure what to expect from the Panthers after the firing of Joe Brady, and the Falcons have been at least competitive so far this season so it’s hard to find a side in what is a meeting of two bad teams that is strangely intriguing as a watch.
  • The Seahawks still have a lot of problems, and it feels like there will big changes in the off-season, but the Texans are just plain bad and it feels like they are not even finding young players to build around for the future.

Ravens @ Browns (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Ravens
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

Jaguars @ Titans (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Titans
Dan’s Pick:      Titans

Raiders @ Chiefs (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Saints @ Jets (+5.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Saints

Cowboys @ Washington (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Cowboys
Dan’s Pick:      Cowboys

Falcons @ Panthers (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Falcons
Dan’s Pick:      Falcons

Seahawks @ Texans (+7.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:      Seahawks

Late Games:

The big game from the slate game must be the Bills trying to get over the tough loss to the Patriots on Monday by taking on the Buccaneers in Tampa. The absence of a Bills run game will be less of an issue against a defence that is one of the toughest to run against in the league and perhaps the bigger test will be the Bills defence going against Tom Brady on the road without corner Tre’Davious White who was lost for the season in week twelve. This was meant to be the year the Bills took the next step and instead they find themselves two games behind a Patriots team resurgent in 2021 despite a bad start to the season. The Bills have not had a marquee win since beating the Chiefs in week five and need a performance to settle the nerves and give themselves a platform to build on with their crucial return visit to New England in week sixteen on the horizon.

Points on the Rest:

  • The Broncos should beat the Lions as they have for the most part beaten the teams they should do and are at home, but there are plenty of questions around the Broncos as they still have not found a franchise quarterback and who knows how the Lions will respond to their first win of the season.
  • The Chargers will just be happy to get a win against the Giants given the issues they are having at receiver thanks to a Covid-19 outbreak. The Giants have been competitive at times this season, but it feels like they will be going into the offseason with more questions than answers after second year head coach Joe Judge struggled to build on some glimpses of hope from last season.
  • The Bengals had enough bad turnover luck last week that I am not freaking out about their loss to the Chargers, but the 49ers are not an easy team to beat and I don’t think any Bengals fan will feel relaxed about Joe Burrow’s hand problem until he’s got through the game looking good, even if he did nearly pull of the comeback last week with his hand swelling after the dislocation of his little finger. The 49ers are a strange team to pick this season and with Deebo Samuel and Eligah Mitchell injured they could struggle in this one.

Lions @ Broncos (-8.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Lions
Dan’s Pick:      Lions

Giants @ Chargers (-10.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Giants
Dan’s Pick:      Chargers

49ers @ Bengals (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Bengals
Dan’s Pick:      Bengals

Bills @ Buccaneers (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Bills
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

Sunday Night Football:

Bears @ Packers (-12.5)

This should be a marquee game, except the Bears have struggled all season and the Packers have only looked bad when Roders was out through Covid, although they did drop a game against the Vikings in week eleven. Still, coming off a bye with Rodgers talking about his toe feeling better it is hard to see anything other than a Packers win in this one, although whether it will be by thirteen is a different matter.

Gee’s Pick:      Bears
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Monday Night Football

Rams @ Cardinals (-2.5)

This is one of the matchups of the week and I’m just hoping I can find time to watch it at some point. That said, I’m not convinced that the Rams will silence their critics this week given their only win in four games was against the Jaguars last week. The Cardinals may still have questions about what they can do in the playoffs, but with a 10-2 record despite missing their starting quarterback for three weeks they are definitely a team to take seriously. A top three defence under Vance Joseph has every chance of causing problems for a Rams’ offence that hasn’t looked right until it faced the Jaguars, so I see the Cardinals as favourites in this one.

Gee’s Pick:      Cardinals
Dan’s Pick:      Cardinals

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.

Competition Thursday: 2021 Week Fourteen

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I finally put together a strong week of picks and so was able to scramble a couple of points back from Dan, but it is getting to the business end of the season and I’m still three points behind so let’s see how the next couple of weeks go.

Gee:Week 13:  10 – 4Overall:  101 – 93
Dan:Week 13:  8 – 8Overall:  104 – 90

Steelers @ Vikings (-3.5)

I am definitely intrigued by tonight’s game as the Vikings seem to be stuck in a recurring nightmare of close losses and wins, while the Steelers feel like they are in a very similar place. I don’t have a strong feel for how this game will work out and I could be horribly wrong, but to me this line is off thanks to being over the key number of three so even though I don’t have a strong inclination for how this matchup will play out on the field, I am very happy to pick the Steelers. That just leaves me to watch the game without worrying if my analysis was right and I think it should be a pretty entertaining game too.

Gee’s Pick:      Steelers
Dan’s Pick:      Steelers

Survivor Competition

I am afraid Dan got eliminated again last week off the back of the Lions first win of the season, and this isn’t even the first time the Lions eliminated Dan despite only having one win on the board. He is also running out of weeks to catch me so can ill afford another slip up as the Colts kept me going with their routine looking win against the Texans on Sunday.

This week, I am going to be taking the Chargers as they are hosting the Giants and by coincidence so is Dan, although we are running out of teams at this point of the season.

Current Score

Gee: 9
Dan: 5

Week 14 Selection:

Gee:    Chargers
Dan:    Chargers

Bold Prediction

I completely understood why Dan vetoed my tentative suggestion of the Falcons to beat the Panthers as not being bold enough, but I’m not sure if last week’s results had an undue influence on me suggesting the Lions will be within three of the Broncos this weekend, but that’s what I went with on the pod so I just have to will it to be true I suppose.

2021 Week Thirteen Picks

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It’s been another busy week that has left me a bit all over the place so here is a shortened and combined Competition Thursday and Sunday as I stare dispiritedly at the widening gap between Dan and I in the picks competition.

Gee:Week 12:  6 – 9Overall:  91 – 89
Dan:Week 12:  9 – 6Overall:  96 – 84

Survivor Competition

Both Dan and I were eliminated last week as the Giants made me pay for backing the Eagles while the Raiders got a late win against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. This week Dan is picking against the Lions and whilst the Vikings have had an up and down season, it’s hard to see them losing this one. I am going for the Colts visiting the Texans and hoping that the Colts’ winning streak holds for another week.

Current Score

Gee: 8
Dan: 6

Week 13 Selection:

Gee:    Colts
Dan:    Vikings

Early Games:

It’s a bit of a weird early slate and a lot of the games have high lines except for the Dolphins hosting the Giants, which seems strangely low to me given that the Dolphins have now won four straight games, but the closest contest looks to be the Bengals hosting the Chargers.

I’m actually somewhat nervous about this game as the Bengals have not won more than two in a row this season and after convincing wins against the Raiders and Steelers, my heart wants to believe but I can still see the flaws. The Chargers started the season 4-1 and have only won two of their last six games but are also ranked higher than the Bengals by overall DVOA. I had not really realised that the Chargers offence was ranked second overall by DVOA, but interestingly their defence ranks twenty-third which I would not have expected given what Brandon Staley managed as coordinator of the Rams’ defence last year. I think this should be a close contest that I hope the Bengals edge it but I’m not confident. I would be looking forward to getting another look at the Chargers if it wasn’t happening against the Bengals.

Points from the rest:

  • The Buccaneers keep rolling and should have no problem in beating the last placed team in overall DVOA, although the fact that the Falcons have five wins points to Arther Smith doing something right with a limited roster.
  • The Cardinals keep rolling and it’s hard to see the Bears springing an upset whether Kyler Murray is playing or not, which is particularly impressive given how effective Murray has been as a quarterback when healthy this season.
  • The Vikings has struggled to string wins together this season but the Lions have managed none before they were missing running back D’Andre Swift so things don’t look good for them this week.
  • It’s interesting that the Dolphins only have one more win than the Giants but seem to be heading in the right direction after the rough start while the Giants seemed to be mired in mediocrity yet again.
  • The Eagles had a rough showing last week and will be looking to bounce back against the Jets, who beat the Texans last week so honestly, I have no idea what to expect.
  • There are definitely questions about Carson Wentz in the big games, but the Colts have come on so far from how they started the season and the Texans could be the perfect get right game after a tough loss to the Bucs where they were competitive to the end.

Buccaneers @ Falcons (+10.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

Cardinals @ Bears (+7.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Cardinals
Dan’s Pick:      Cardinals

Chargers @ Bengals (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Chargers
Dan’s Pick:      Bengals

Vikings @ Lions (+7.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Vikings
Dan’s Pick:      Vikings

Giants @ Dolphins (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:      Dolphins

Eagles @ Jets (+6.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Eagles
Dan’s Pick:      Eagles

Colts @ Texans (+9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Colts
Dan’s Pick:      Colts

Late Games:

The late games are little uninspiring given how the season has worked out, and the one that interests me most is the now 5-6 Washington Football Team taking on a Raiders team who proved me very wrong by beating the Cowboys last week on Thanksgiving. The Football Team have now won three straight, seeming to find their way with Taylor Heinike who was sleeping on his sister’s couch and studying before the Football team late last season and somehow appearing to be playing better defence without second year pass rusher Chase Young. I don’t have a strong side in this contest as it feels like there is such a variance in how both teams have played, but it does intrigue me.

Points on the Rest:

  • The Rams need a win and this week host one of the better teams to get one against as the Jaguars moribund season continues and I increasingly wonder how they beat the Bills in week nine.
  • The Ravens visiting the Steelers should be a marquee game, but for the first time in Mike Tomlin’s tenure as head coach the Steelers are not good, even if it’s not like they are terrible. The Ravens have had struggles of their own, but I think they should win out in this one.
  • Another team not living up to the usual standards of their head coach are the Seattle Seahawks, with Russel Wilson clearly not right coming of his finger injuries but there being bigger problems through the roster. The 49ers have been doing much better recently, though the loss of Deebo Samuel could hurt them, but they should have enough to win.

Washington @ Raiders (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Washington
Dan’s Pick:      Raiders

Jaguars @ Rams (-13.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Rams
Dan’s Pick:      Rams

Ravens @ Steelers (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Ravens
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

49ers @ Seahawks (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      49ers
Dan’s Pick:      49ers

Sunday Night Football:

Broncos @ Chiefs (-9.5)

This could be a sneaky competitive game as I’m not fully convinced by the Chiefs offence and Vic Fangio is the author of the two high defences that have spread through the league this season and caused the Chiefs so many problems. Andy Reid’s record coming of the bye is excellent for wins and given how the Chiefs’ defence has been playing recently I think they should win this game, but this is too big a line for me given how the Chiefs have played this season.

Gee’s Pick:      Broncos
Dan’s Pick:      Broncos

Monday Night Football

Patriots @ Bills (-2.5)

This is pretty much everyone’s pick of the week’s games, and I will certainly be watching with interest, but I do wonder if this will be as competitive as it should be. The Bills have struggled on offence even as their defence continues its reign as the best in the league by DVOA and I wonder if there is a sense of déjà vu as they welcome the division leading Patriots who are playing good defence and efficient offence. Having had one down season last season, the Patriots rebuilt themselves in free-agency and the draft to make themselves the second rank team in the league by DVOA after a six game winning streak. The weather looks like it will be against throwing the ball so it looks like it could be a bruising encounter between two defences, though now would be a great time for the Josh Allen and his receivers to find some form but I’m not sure Belichick is the coach to do that against. I’m sure Dan would be very pleased to see me proved wrong.

Gee’s Pick:      Patriots
Dan’s Pick:      Patriots

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.

2021 Week Twelve Picks

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So after a feast of Thanksgiving football where I started the week 3-0 we turn to the weekend’s games and the rest of week twelve.

Early Games:

There are a few tasty contests this week, and I could have gone in a couple of directions in the early slate, but I have settled on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking on the Colts in Indianapolis as the pick of the games. The Colts had a rough 0-3 start to the season before ripping off six wins and two overtime losses to drag themselves into the playoff hunt, but this week will be real test. I will be interested to see if Jonathan Taylor can maintain his incredible sequence of rushing games against the Buccaneers’ front seven. As for the Bucs, they got over their two-game wobble with a solid win last week against the Giants but it feels like we’re not going to really learn anything about them until the playoffs, although this should be an interesting test.

Points from the rest:

  • The Steelers visit to the Bengals will be a physical affair, and as happy as I was to see the Bengals get a good win against the Raiders last week, the score flattered, and I have a feeling the game will be closer than this line suggests.
  • The Dolphins have won three straight and welcome a Panthers team who are still integrating Cam Newton after signing him a couple of weeks ago to rescue their season. Newton has sparked the Panthers in a couple of moments, but questions remain about his accuracy throwing the ball so this will be an interesting test.
  • The Titans will be hoping that last week’s loss against the Texans was just one of those weeks as the injuries keep piling up but facing a Belichick defence will be a real test of what Ryan Tannehill can do to raise the level of those around him on offence.
  • The Eagles have now won three of their last four having found an identity on offence with running the ball. I will be interested to see what Freddie Kitchens can do with the Giants offence as he got his head coaching shot with the Browns after stepping up mid-season after a firing. However, it does feel like the Giants are a long way from a meaningful game at this point of the season.
  • The Falcons will be hoping to get over their horrible loss last week against the Jaguars, but they are also rock bottom of the DVOA rankings with all three phases of the game ranked in the thirties.
  • The Jets on the road at the Vikings sees two franchises where the coaches and players are only playing for their NFL careers, which is always a sad state of affairs.

Steelers @ Bengals (-4.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Steelers
Dan’s Pick:      Bengals

Buccaneers @ Colts (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

Panthers @ Dolphins (+1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Panthers
Dan’s Pick:      Panthers

Titans @ Patriots (-5.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Patriots
Dan’s Pick:      Patriots

Eagles @ Giants (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Eagles
Dan’s Pick:      Eagles

Falcons @ Jaguars (+1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:      Falcons

Jets @ Texans (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Texans
Dan’s Pick:      Texans

Late Games:

The Rams coming off a bye will have spent the last two week working on how to operate without receiver Robert Woods and trying to integrate the newly acquired Odell Beckham who has a different set of skills. The Rams lost two straight going into the bye but on offence you would have faith that Sean McVay and his staff will get things figured out eventually. However, they are trying to get back to winning ways against a strong Packers team whose defence has been good enough to win with and whose offence is still top five by DVOA despite injuries. That said, the Packers lost their backup left tackle last week and with David Bakhtiari getting a scope on his reconstructed knee we shall have to see if the offensive line can hold up until Bakhtiari can play.

Points on the Rest:

  • After a strong start the Chargers have been up and down in recent weeks and so I am not entirely sure how they will do against a Broncos team who should be able to scheme up the type of defence the Chargers have struggled against in recent weeks.
  • The Vikings and 49ers are both trying to fight their way into the wildcard hunt, and neither can really afford a loss this week.

Chargers @ Broncos (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Broncos
Dan’s Pick:      Chargers

Rams @ Packers (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Rams
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Vikings @ 49ers (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Vikings
Dan’s Pick:      Vikings

Sunday Night Football:

Browns @ Ravens (-4.5)

The AFC North Sunday night matchup will be a bruising affair, but the dirty secret is that no one in the division ranks that highly by DVOA and the Ravens known for their defensive identity are currently ranked twenty-seventh on that side of the ball. It does seem more likely that the Browns will lose this one than win, but this is a lot of points to give a team you are only ranked two place higher than by overall DVOA.

Gee’s Pick:      Browns
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

Monday Night Football

Seahawks @ Washington (-1.5) 

Neither of these teams are where you might have expected them to be coming into the season. The Washington Football Team have struggled all year, particularly on defence where everyone was excited about how good they could be and yet are currently ranked thirty-first by DVOA. The Seahawks are having their worst season under Pete Carroll, with little chance of stopping themselves having a losing season for the first time since 2011. I don’t know how quarterback Russell Wilson will play this week, but he has struggled since returning from his finger injury and it is hard to have much confidence in what will happen in this one.

Gee’s Pick:      Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:      Washington

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.

Competition Thursday: 2021 Thanksgiving

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It’s Thanksgiving, and as ever I am grateful for Dan indulging my love of the NFL, producing the podcast, and generally being a great friend.

Dan and I kept our noses above fifty percent in week eleven as Dan maintained his two point lead overall.

We turn our eyes to three games with it being Thanksgiving so let’s take a look at who is facing the Lions and Cowboys and what the extra game will be in 2021.

Gee:Week 11:  8-7Overall:  85–80
Dan:Week 11:  8-7Overall:  87–78

Bears @ Lions (+3.5)

The Lions ran the Browns close last week but couldn’t get that elusive win despite a distinctly, if understandable, subpar performance from Baker Mayfield who is carrying multiple injuries. On Thanksgiving the Lions host a Bears team with problems of their own as sections of fans are calling for head coach Matt Nagy to be fired. For the second Thanksgiving in a row Andy Dalton will be getting a start, this time for the Bears as they search for their first win since week five. To get a measure of the game, the Lions have not won a game since week thirteen in 2020 and given the Lions are choosing between Jared Goff dealing with an oblique injury that hasn’t healed and Tim Boyle who managed just seventy-seven passing yards last week it’s hard to have much faith they will turn things round. I am looking forward to seeing D’Andre Swift run the ball for the Lions but the highest ranking by DVOA of any unit in this game is the Lions’ special teams at fourth, and of the defence/offence units the Bears’ defence is the only one ranked above twenty.

I don’t have strong lean in this game, but if I’m getting three and a half points at home on a short week I guess I have to take the Lions.

Gee’s Pick:      Lions
Dan’s Pick:      Lions

Raiders @ Cowboys (-7.5)

Both teams are coming into this game after a loss, but at least with the Cowboys there is hope if they get some of their receivers and offensive line healthy. The good news for the Cowboys is their defence is top five in the league and held the Chiefs in check so you feel they should do a job against a Raiders offence who has struggled in recent weeks. Let’s be honest, the Raiders are trending in the wrong direction after all that has happened to them and although they are not a terrible team, it is hard to see where their next win is coming. That said, I just have this feeling that this one might be tighter than expected given the injuries to the Cowboys’ offence and so I am cautiously picking a sneaky cover in this one.

Gee’s Pick:      Raiders
Dan’s Pick:      Cowboys

Bills @ Saints (+4.5)

The Saints keep getting injuries and whilst they have found ways to stay competitive, I am not sure I see it holding this week with the raft of offensive players they have out. The Bills have slipped back into second in the AFC East, but there are some arguments that they are not that far away with a few given bounces. It is understandable that after three straight years of improvement that Josh Allen’s accuracy has fallen back a little, but it is jarring to see their top ranked defence by DVOA sit next to an offensive ranking of eighteenth. This is the fifth best team in the league going against the ninth and this is what make me nervous. I respect both coaches and defences, and I think it likely the Bills win but by five points? I don’t like this line at all but given that the Saints lost to the Eagles by eleven last week and don’t look to be getting players back on offence I am going to reluctantly grab the Bills.

Gee’s Pick:      Bills
Dan’s Pick:      Bills

Survivor Competition

I can see why Dan picked the Titans last week, but long streaks always make me nervous even if it was a surprise that the Texans got the win, which saw Dan get eliminated again whilst I picked up a point going with the Patriots.

This week Dan is backing the Cowboys to beat the Raiders, which is one of the safter selections when I look at the numbers. I am really struggling for picks this week thanks to it being week twelve and how the matchups have fallen. I don’t feel super confident about it, but given the options I find myself taking the Eagles on the road against the Giants, which is placing a lot on the recent form of the Eagles but I have a bit of a cushion and I just hope picking a survivor is not this tough ever week going forward…

Current Score

Gee: 8
Dan: 5

Week 12 Selection:

Gee:    Eagles
Dan:    Cowboys

Bold Prediction of the Week

My bold prediction after really struggling was the Texans to beat the Jets, which Dan allowed but you could hear him being suitably unimpressed and this was before they lost Mike White and Joe Flacco to Covid. I still have not found something leaping out at me, but given the stiuation witht he Jets’ QBs I may yet update this on Sunday if inspiration strikes!

2021 Week Eleven Picks

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Things are a little out of sync this weekend so this will have to be a shorter picks post than normal. The Thursday night game certainly was trying to contribute to that given that there was no real contest as the Patriots ground the Falcons into a 25-0 loss. The defence of the Patriots just blanketed the Falcons offence, making Matt Ryan’s life miserable behind a line that struggled to protect him. This was not the best game for rookie quarterback Mac Jones, but it didn’t matter and the Bills will be watching the surging Patriots nervously now they have a won five straight.

Early Games:

  • The Colts have been playing better and it will be interesting to see if Carson Wentz can tame his tendency to try too much, but if feels baked in at this point and I just wonder how the Bills will go given their recent stumbles.
  • The Ravens lost two of their last three games, and whilst a short week after overtime might explain it, they will be hoping to get back on track against a Bears team who seemed lost even before they had confirmation that pass rusher Khalil Mack was not coming back for the rest of the season after having his foot operated on.
  • The only two teams in the NFL to have winless seasons face off this week with the Lions yet to get off the mark and it doesn’t look that hopeful this week.
  • The Titans have won six straight games and it’s. hard to see the Texans stopping it, although given the injuries the Titans are dealing with the cover is tempting.
  • The Vikings really can’t afford to drop any more games behind the Packers, although it’s hard to see the Packers losing the division, but if the Vikings are to challenge for the playoffs, they need to put a string of wins together.
  • The Dolphins have won two straight and have a good chance to make it three against a struggling Jets team who rather than develop one of their young quarterbacks are starting Joe Flacco even though another win is not going to really help them at this point.
  • The Saints visit to Philadelphia will be a tougher game than it might have seemed a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know if that will lead to an upset, but I would be genuinely interested in watching this one and I wouldn’t have said that a couple of weeks ago.
  • The Panthers re-signed Cam Newton in the hopes of rescuing a season where their young defence had made a leap forward, but the offence had stagnated and struggled until last week. The Washington Football Team came out of their bye and beat the Buccaneers last week and will be hoping to make another statement, this time on the road.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguar have begun to put something together on defence, but the offence is still struggling and this week they face a 49ers team fresh of a good win against the Rams who will be hoping they can build on that.

Colts @ Bills (-7.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Colts
Dan’s Pick:      Colts

Ravens @ Bears (+6.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Ravens
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

Lions @ Browns (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Browns
Dan’s Pick:      Lions

Texans @ Titans (-10.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Texans
Dan’s Pick:      Titans

Packers @ Vikings (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Vikings
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Dolphins @ Jets (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:      Dolphins

Saints @ Eagles (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Saints

Washington @ Panthers (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Panthers
Dan’s Pick:      Panthers

49ers @ Jaguars (+5.5)

Gee’s Pick:      49ers
Dan’s Pick:      49ers

Late Games:

  • The Bengals dropped from 5-2 to 5-4 thanks to two rough losses so will be coming off their bye with an eye on getting back to winning ways. The Raiders have also lost two straight but it feels like the bad things are snowballing for them. I’m sure both teams will be hoping to turn things round and while I’m. not ready to trust the Bengals right now, I think they should win this one.
  • The game of the week sees the Chiefs fresh from three straight wins host the 7-2 Cowboys who are ranked ten places higher by DVOA. I don’t trust the Chiefs defence to hold up against Dak Prescott and I am fascinated by the prospect of seeing how Patrick Mahomes and the struggling Chiefs offence will fare against the fourth ranked defence by DVOA.
  • The Cardinals have had a tough couple of weeks with Kyler Murry out with an ankle injury but won one of those games. Russell Wilson struggled last week in his return from his finger injury, but the Seahawks have been distinctly average this season and I wonder if they have enough to beat the 8-2 Cardinals. The numbers say something different though.

Bengals @ Raiders (+1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Bengals
Dan’s Pick:      Bengals

Cowboys @ Chiefs (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Cowboys
Dan’s Pick:      Cowboys

Cardinals @ Seahawks (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:      Cardinals

Sunday Night Football:

Steelers @ Chargers (-4.5)

The Steelers have activated Ben Roethlisberger from the Covid-19 list but given how they have been playing I’m not sure this will magically turn things round for them. Having said that, the Chargers are struggling on offence, with plenty of criticism about them not taking advantage of young QB Justin Herbert’s powerful arm and with only one win in their last four games the Chargers will be hoping they can stop their season fading from the promising start.

Gee’s Pick:      Steelers
Dan’s Pick:      Chargers

Monday Night Football

Giants @ Buccaneers (-11.5)

I have no handle on the Giants, but it is hard to see many positives for this team given how they have struggled and visiting a Buccaneers team who were beaten by Washington last week doesn’t feel like a situation where the Giants will turn things round. Yes, the Bucs are dealing with injuries, but there is a chasm between these teams in the DVOA ranking and I would expect the Bucs to take care of business in this one, I am just not sure of this points total with Tom Brady seemingly a little out of sync.

Gee’s Pick:      Giants
Dan’s Pick:      Giants

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.

Competition Thursday: 2021 Week Eleven

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I unfortunately scored the inverse to Dan in another bad week for picks, which saw Dan open up a two point lead as I fell closer to a fifty percent win percentage.

Gee:Week 10:  6 – 8Overall:  77 – 73
Dan:Week 10:  8 – 6Overall:  79 – 71

Patriots @ Falcons (+6.5)

I don’t know if I cursed the Falcons by expressing an interest last week, but they got beat heavily by the Cowboys on Sunday. Now they have questions around Cordarrelle Patterson’s ankle injury and face possibly the worst defence for them on a short week in their current iteration. You have to think that Bill Belichick will have plans for rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, and the Patriots should have more than enough pass rush to make life difficult for Matt Ryan behind an offensive line that struggled to protect him against the Cowboys.

So far this season Mac Jones has been the pick of the rookie quarterbacks, and whilst this has not resulted in a dynamic passing offence, the Patriots have a formula that is definitely working for them now that they seem to be over their traditional slow start.

I’m always concerned laying points on the road on a Thursday night, but I think these are two teams heading in different directions right now.

Gee’s Pick:     Patriots
Dan’s Pick:     Patriots

Survivor Competition

Neither Dan or I managed to survive last week, with Dan’s faith in the Steelers undermined by a late Covid-19 scratch for Ben Roethlisberger while the addition of Cam Newton seemed to do for me.

I don’t think either of us should feel too bad about last week’s results, but we both need to get back on track this week. My strategy for this would be to back the Titans to keep their win streak going against the Texans, even if I am giving the Texans a hard look as a underdog cover for Sunday, but Dan pipped me to that selection.

As a result I’m stealing an option he was considering but isn’t available to him and I’m grabbing the Patriots going against the Falcons.

Current Score

Gee: 7
Dan: 5

Week 11 Selection:

Gee:    Titans
Dan:    Patriots

Bold Prediction of the Week

My bold prediction for the week definitely counts as bold.

For all that the Chiefs have won three in a row and have taken the lead in the AFC West, the Packers were without Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott has the options at the skills positions to work round an improving Chiefs pass rush. Not to mention that the Cowboys defence currently matches the offence in DVOA ranking as both units are ranked fourth.

This is the third overall team by DVOA in the Cowboys versus the fourteenth in the Chiefs, and yet in a fit of podcast pressure I have predicted the Chiefs will win. I don’t know that my pick this Sunday will follow this…

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measuring a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.

2021 Week Ten Picks

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Dan had seen the Dolphins win one game in eight weeks and then got treated to two back-to-back as they did the unexpected and beat the Ravens 22-10 Thursday night. The big question for me is where has that defence been since last season? I’m still not used to seeing a number eight flying around in the secondary, but Dolphins’ rookie safety Jevon Holland certainly caught the eye and whilst I’d need to watch the all-twenty-two to really know how he played, what I did see certainly impressed. That said, it’s not like the Ravens couldn’t move the ball at all, but they struggled to sustain drives and having taken an early lead through a field-goal, they did not score again until the fourth with Justin Tucker even suffering a rare field-goal miss. The Dolphins won the turnover battle and needed their defence to be so good as their offence struggled and even in throwing the winning touchdown, Tua Tagovailoa didn’t exactly inspire when he came in for injured start Jacoby Brissett, but Tagovailoa did complete the longest pass of the day for the Dolphins with a sixty-four yard pass to Albert Wilson. To be fair Brissett did have his own fifty-yard completion to Isaiah Ford but instead of another field goal that was the result of the Brisset led drive, Tagovailoa and the offence got the game sealing touchdown to make sure of the game after the Ravens threatened to make another comeback with their only touchdown of the game.

There is still half a season for the Dolphins to build something they can push on from next year, although the problem with that thinking is that for an NFL team every new season creates a team this is its own entity, but 3-7 is already looking a lot better than 1-7. The Ravens will be hoping that this result can be explained as a blip on a short week coming off an overtime game that saw them play a full extra ten minutes, which really might be enough to explain their display in this game.

Early Games:

Week ten looks to be a week of intrigue rather than games that immediately leap off the page, but as ever I’m sure there will be plenty to delve into once things get going.

The best game of the early slate initially looked to be the Saints visiting the Titans, although in addition to the injuries at quarterback the Saints have now also lost Alvin Kamara. The Titans obviously have their own running back questions now they are starting Adrian Peterson in place of Derek Henry, but also have Julio Jones battling a hamstring problem he aggravated in practice on Thursday. The Titans have the best record in the AFC despite being decidedly middle of the pack with an overall ranking of fourteenth by DVOA, while the Saints are ranked eighth overall despite uneven quarterback play thanks to their strong defence. I’m not sure about the Saints winning on the road but given the circumstances I’m not sure the Titans are going to win by more than a field goal.

The Browns are coming off something of a statement win against the Bengals last week, but while Baker Mayfield looked better last week, the Brown are without Nick Chubb thanks to Covid-19 and head into the weekend with only D’Ernest Johnson available from the running back room until they activated Brian Hill from the practice squad. They are heading to face a New England team using a familiar formula to win games, which they have done in four of their last five. This should be a good if run focussed game and I have a feeling that the Patriots are likely to win out.

Points from the rest:

  • I want to watch the Falcons this week as they’ve dragged themselves back to 4-4 despite an overall ranking of thirty-first by DVOA and have managed to build receiver Cordarrelle Patterson into a dual threat running back at age thirty. You have to think that the Broncos heavy defeat of the Cowboys last week was a blip, but the Cowboys will want to look a lot better this week.
  • The Jaguars got a good performance from their defence, perhaps benefitting from the troubles the Bills’ offence has been having recently, but are still not a good football team and with the Colts running the ball well and winning four of their last six games (the two losses were in overtime) should have more than enough to win this one even if the line is too large to pick them to cover.
  • The Bills offence seems to have been struggling in recent weeks and this culminated in a surprising loss to the Jaguars last week. They will need to get back to winning ways quickly with the Patriots catching them in the division. The Bills number one defence by DVOA will be facing Mike White getting his third straight start for the Jets, and whilst I’m not sure we can predict another loss for the Bills, I certainly like the Jets to get the sneaky cover given the size of the line.
  • I already kind of like the Lions against a Steelers team who despite their great record under Mike Tomlin have been known to play down to their opposition at times, but with the news that Ben Roethlisberger is set to miss the game with Covid-19 I’m definitely going to risk the Lions getting the cover.
  • The Washington Football Team are just having a horrible season, and I see little to dissuade me that the Buccaneers will get the win coming of a bye, even if receiver Chris Godwin is dealing with a foot injury.

Falcons @ Cowboys (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Falcons
Dan’s Pick:      Falcons

Saints @ Titans (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Saints

Jaguars @ Colts (-10.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:      Jaguars

Browns @ Patriots (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Patriots
Dan’s Pick:      Patriots

Bills @ Jets (+13.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Jets
Dan’s Pick:      Bills

Lions @ Steelers (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Lions
Dan’s Pick:      Lions

Buccaneers @ Washington (+9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

Late Games:

The obvious match up of the late games is the returning quarterback bowl that sees the Packers with Aaron Rodgers activated after his Covid-19 infection hosting a Seahawks team who will be welcoming Russell Wilson back from a fracture/torn ligament in his finger. The Seahawks were competitive starting Geno Smith (1-2 as the starter) while the Packers will be looking to bounce back after a rough game against the Chiefs that they could have won with better field-goal kicking. Still, the Packers’ defence has looked good and the offence is likely to bounce back with Rodgers back at quarterback and I like them to win this games, but that extra half-point and what I’m seeing in my numbers makes just about pick the Seahawks to get the cover.

Points on the Rest:

  • The Cardinals look like they might be trying to get another win without their starting quarterback Kyler Murray, but the Panther’s sixth ranked defence by DVOA should be a stiffer test than the 49ers defence. However, the Panthers are starting PJ Walker at quarterback with Sam Darnold still injured, and given the Panthers have just signed Cam Newton they can’t be happy with their quarterback situation as the team have slipped from a 3-0 to 4-5. The line gives me pause but the Cardinal have to fancy their chances of getting another win.
  • The Vikings visit to the Chargers feels like a game destined to be decided by a last-minute field goal, with either team as likely to suffer a horrible miss as as a scoring kick. The Chargers sit atop the AFC West with the Raiders despite a shaky few weeks while the Vikings cannot seem to put together a run of wins despite a top ten defence by DVOA and Kirk Cousins putting up impressive passing numbers.
  • The Broncos got a huge win last week, seeming to re-enforce the front office’s faith they could continue to compete this season whilst making a solid trade of Von Miller who was unlikely to re-sign next season so the trade allowed them to gain multiple draft picks. I’m not sure I totally trust them against an Eagles team who followed up their big win against the Lions in week eight with a close loss against the Chargers, but I think the Broncos should win.

Panthers @ Cardinals (-10.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Panthers
Dan’s Pick:      Panthers

Vikings @ Chargers (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Chargers
Dan’s Pick:      Chargers

Eagles @ Broncos (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Broncos
Dan’s Pick:      Broncos

Seahawks @ Packers (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Sunday Night Football:

Chiefs @ Raiders (+2.5)

It feels a little like the Raiders have hit a critical mass of off-field turmoil, even if Derek Carr has repeatedly sounded like the exact kind of leader you would want in such a situation. This week the Raiders welcome a Chiefs team who are still struggling on offence, but whose defence made life miserable for the Packers’ Jordan Love in the young quarterback’s first start last week. However, Derek Carr has been playing like a franchise quarterback this season and now has Desean Jackson to play the Ruggs role of stretching the field. This is the kind of divisional game where any result is possible, but for some reason I feel like the Chiefs are more likely to win but I wouldn’t be surprised if this pick went horribly wrong.

Gee’s Pick:      Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Monday Night Football

Rams @ 49ers (+3.5)

Week ten finishes with what should be a tasty divisional matchup, except that the 49ers are a confounding team with only three wins despite being ranked top ten overall by DVOA. The Rams lost their second game of the season last week but have in recent weeks both traded for Von Miller and just signed Odell Beckham Jr, which they might be extra relieved about with Robert Woods tearing his ACL in practice on Friday. Remarkably, Woods hurt his knee but managed to finish the session before discovering the true extent of his injury, but this does increase the need for Beckam to get acclimatised to his new team quickly. Given how well the Rams have played for the majority of the season I expect they will win this one, but the 49ers knack of being competitive does make me a little worried about the line.

Gee’s Pick:      Rams
Dan’s Pick:      Rams

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.