It’s been a bit quiet on the blog thanks to some illness after new year that saw me drop the ball completely on the picks competition so let’s see how things stood after I conceded ahead of the week seventeen games.
Week 16: 8 – 8
Overall: 125 – 115
Week 16: 10 – 6
Overall: 133 – 107
Clearly congratulations are in order for Dan, who wins for a second straight year, meaning the TWF social media stays in Dolphins colours for another season and it is now four years since I have won a picks competition with Dan taking a 3-2 overall season lead over me.
Clearly, I need to look again at my process in the off-season!
The good news for me is at least in the survivor competition I was more competitive, as already sitting on a four point lead the Chiefs came through for me against the Steelers while the Chargers laying an egg against Texans served to extend my lead.
Gee: 12 Dan: 7
The Wrong Football Dynasty League
I had a very solid dynasty season, going 11-4 in the regular season to win my division, but sadly I was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by Dan who in turn was beaten by our eventual winner Adam.
A hearty congratulations goes out to Adam, and thank you to everyone else in the league who is currently licking their wounds and planning their revenge for next season.
It’s both the best time of season and the warning that soon we will be without football for too many months. Dan and I will be backing teams to progress in the playoffs, but it’s time to make the best of the fiercest matchups of the year as we see who makes the Super Bowl.
I’m just hoping that the Bengals can end the longest playoff win drought in US sports. It’s not that much to ask, is it?
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.
Week 14: 7 – 7
Overall: 108 – 100
Week 14: 10 – 4
Overall: 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
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.
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.
Week 13: 10 – 4
Overall: 101 – 93
Week 13: 8 – 8
Overall: 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
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.
Gee: 9 Dan: 5
Week 14 Selection:
Gee: Chargers Dan: Chargers
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.
Dan and I both had winning weeks in the picks competition, and I’m particularly pleased to pick up ten points in a thirteen game week. The pair of us are solidly over fifty percent at the moment, but who knows if we’ll be able to maintain that for another eleven weeks.
Week 7: 10 – 3
Overall: 58 – 49
Week 7: 8 – 5
Overall: 56 – 51
Packers @ Cardinals (-5.5)
This could be completely the wrong way to approach this game, particularly as the Packers are dealing with receivers Davante Adam and Allen Lazard going on the Covid-19 list as well as defensive coordinator Joe Barry, but while this line is slightly better than the consensus I’m seeing online it still seems like a lot for Cardinals to cover. I can definitely see given their record and the situation in Green Bay that they are favourites, but I keep looking at those numbers and going, yeah but the Packers have Aaron Rodgers. Throw out the first game of the season and the Packers are unbeaten, and whilst that first game definitely counts it shouldn’t have too much influence and even missing one of the best receivers in the game this line is just that bit too rich for me. I could easily regret this, and I absolutely know that this is not how I advocate making decisions, but I just don’t want to go against the Packers giving Rodgers this many points.
Gee’s Pick: Packers Dan’s Pick: Cardinals
Dan and I held serve in week seven, with the Rams beating the Lions for Dan and the Bucs taking care of the Bears for me. Dan is going for a radically different, and some might suggest overly bold strategy of going against the Eagles this week as he thinks the Lions are getting their first win. It’s certainly an approach, although I do wonder if he remembers this is a competition that is supposed to be based on a survivor pool so it’s certainly not one I’m going to replicate right now. I am hoping that any concern Dan might have about my pick will be compensated for by the reverse jinx potential as given Dan’s statements on the pod and the pick rankings I use, I am going for the Bills to beat the Dolphins. I can certainly handle dropping a point in this competition if the Dolphins get a win and not just because of my bold prediction.
Gee: 6 Dan: 4
Week 8 Selection:
Gee: Bills Dan: Lions
Bold Prediction of the Week
As ever I was struggling with a bold prediction despite my big win last week, but I was eventually allowed to plump for the Dolphins keeping the score to within a touchdown against the Bills so I basically get to be on both sides of this game.
Dan closed the gap to two points in week five of our picks competition but as we turn our attention to game six, which is the first of the season to feature teams on a bye, we also have what looks to be a distinctly one-sided Thursday night game.
Week 5: 7 – 9
Overall: 43 – 37
Week 5: 10 – 6
Overall: 41 – 39
Buccaneers @ Eagles (+6.5)
The Philadelphia Eagles are currently ranked sixteenth overall by DVOA, but are undeniably limited on offence despite occasionally flashing glimpses of what they could be. The Eagles did beat the Panthers last week, but you would feel that even with the Buccaneers’ cluster of injuries at corner, that the Eagles’ passing game is not efficient enough for them to get the win. Even Tom Brady dealing with a thumb injury on his throwing hand is not enough for me to back the Eagles to cover given that the consensus line is +7 and I’ve seen others higher than that. The Eagles could very well make me look like a fool but for now I can’t look past the Bucs in this one, even if they are on the road.
Gee’s Pick: Buccaneers Dan’s Pick: Buccaneers
I don’t know how closely Dan was following the game on Sunday as it was happening, but the Patriots were made to work to get their win against the Texans but his plan to pick against the Texans just about held. However, he has transferred his plan to pick against the Jaguars, which I understand except he’s placing more faith in his Dolphins team than I have! That said, the Ravens could have easily lost against the Colts so I can’t be too confident in my own selections. Looking at the teams this week I’ve gone for the Rams against the Giants, even if they are on the road, the Giants have enough injuries and struggles this season to make me think they’ll struggle to keep up with the Rams.
Gee: 4 Dan: 3
Week 3 Selection:
Gee: Rams Dan: Dolphins
Bold Prediction of the Week
I was really struggling for a bold prediction this week, but I was eventually allowed to back the Bears to cover getting four and a half points as they host the Packers on Sunday.
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.
I was ill enough during the week to drive a coach and horses through my blog schedule for the week so I have a large number of things to cover in a single post so I guess I will be going broad but shallow this week.
I extended my lead over Dan with a decent week of picks after a poor week two so let’s see if I can settle into a system or if it’s going to be a week to week season.
Week 3: 12 – 4
Overall: 28 – 20
Week 3: 8 – 8
Overall: 23 – 25
The Thursday night game saw the Bengals win a game 24-21 having gone in at half time down two touchdowns having scored nothing. Until recently that would have meant a loss but there does seem to be something different about this year’s Bengals. I’m not suddenly pencilling them into the Super Bowl, but Joe Burrow is reminding everyone why people were excited about him and to get this win with the injuries in the secondary on a short week is a good step forward. As for the Jaguars, they obviously had a good first half, but they look a ways away from winning regularly and it could take some time. It’s too early to truly judge Urban Myer as a coach, but it has been rough early and this was always a long term project so it might not get better for a while. You can also see given Myer’s offseason moves and some of his comments why there is already speculation.
Dan got his first point on the board this week with the selection of the Cardinals going against the Jags whilst I would still be standing in a standard survivor pool so let’s see both how long I can keep that going and if Dan can catch me. I’m plumping for the Saints at home for the first time this season against a Giants team who have injuries and a troubled start to the season. Dan is going for Bills to beat the Texans which seems a solid selection to me!
Gee: 3 Dan: 1
Week 3 Selection:
Gee: Saints Dan: Bills
Bold Prediction of the Week
My bold prediction for this week was to take the Detroit Lions getting their first win on the road against the Chicago Bears. It’s certainly bold, and I’m not entirely sure it won’t happen either, but let’s see.
I’m still at the stage where I’m seeing most of the games as having something interesting but in the interests of keeping it short, I’ll cover what I can in a brief manner.
The matchup of the early games for my mind is the Carolina Panthers visiting the Dallas Cowboys to put their unbeaten record on the line against the 2-1 NFC East leaders. This should be a great game given how well the two teams are playing, particularly as the line is very much leaning to the Cowboys, while the Panthers are the number one team by DVOA and are both eight places and 18.5% higher than their opponents. The Cowboys have competent defence this season to go along with an explosive passing attack, which should be a really interesting matchup against the league’s top defence by DVOA. I think you likely lean Cowboys to win the game as I’m not that convinced by Sam Darnold and the Panthers are also missing Christian McCaffery with a hamstring problem, but it still should be a cracking game and the Panthers could well spring a surprise.
Points from the rest:
The Falcons got their first win last week but are not convincing yet so is this a game where Washington can get right after a difficult start to the season or will their problems continue on the road.
The Bills are understandable favourites against the Texans, but 16.5 is a huge number of points to lay so whilst I doubt rookie quarterback Davis Mills can get his first win on the road, he didn’t look that bad last week and I wonder if there is a sneaky cover to be had here.
The Bears offence was woeful last week, and the questions are understandably on the coaches at this point. The Lions might be viewed as a get right team but equally, this could be a game that’s a big trap for the Bears, particularly as these two teams are right next to each other in overall DVOA.
The Miami Dolphins have had a rough start to the season, but the Colts have been even rougher and starting a quarterback with two sprained ankles and limited time with his new team in the pre-season doesn’t inspire confidence. At this point, a first win is a must for the Colts, but a top ten defence by DVOA might be enough for the Dolphins to deny them.
This is the other cracking matchup in the early games that in another week would have been featured. The Browns are the number two team by DVOA and are heading to take on a Vikings team whose record is probably worse than their performance. This should be a cracking game, well worth a watch and whilst I understand the Browns being favoured, the Vikings getting points at home looks a good selection to me
I don’t think the Giants are getting the answers they were hoping for about Daniel Jones thanks to a combination of coaching and injuries, but there are wider problems for this franchise. It’s hard to see them beating the Saints, even if Jameis Winston has shown us the usual high and lows of his play dispite now having Sean Payton as his coach.
The New York Jets have shown glimmers of what could be, but it was already a mutli-year rebuild project before the injuries started and after a shut out they will be desperate to do better at home against the Titans. The Titans are not a good team, but should have enough to win this one, but I’m not sure that includes winning by eight.
The Chiefs are another team who’ve had a rough start to the season, which is unusual for Andy Reid who has an impressive record in September but the Chiefs’ defence is rooted to the bottom of the DVOA rankings and even with Patrick Mahomes you can’t outscore that. However, the Eagles started picking up injuries and quarterback Jalen Hutrs needs to be more consistent passing the ball before the Eagles can truly start to compete and so I find it hard to believe they will win this game.
Washington @ Falcons (+1.5)
Gee’s Pick: Washington Dan’s Pick: Washington
Texans @ Bills (-16.5)
Gee’s Pick: Texans Dan’s Pick: Bills
Lions @ Bears (-2.5)
Gee’s Pick: Lions Dan’s Pick: Lions
Panthers @ Cowboys (-4.5)
Gee’s Pick: Panthers Dan’s Pick: Cowboys
Colts @ Dolphins (-1.5)
Gee’s Pick: Dolphins Dan’s Pick: Dolphins
Browns @ Vikings (+2.5)
Gee’s Pick: Vikings Dan’s Pick: Vikings
Giants @ Saints (-7.5)
Gee’s Pick: Saints Dan’s Pick: Saints
Titans @ Jets (+7.5)
Gee’s Pick: Jets Dan’s Pick: Titans
Chiefs @ Eagles (+7.5)
Gee’s Pick: Chiefs Dan’s Pick: Chiefs
There’s a couple of intriguing games in the late slot but the pick for me once again has to feature the LA Rams, this time hosting the also unbeaten Arizona Cardinals. The Rams have been explosive on offence and good enough on defence, which is interesting as when you start comparing these two teams’ DVOA rankings the Rams are ranked first in offence, but the Cardinals are top ten in all three phases of the game and are only 0.3% worse overall. I’m not sure if the Cardinals can win the game on the road, but this looks to be a cracking game and I think there’s a decent chance the Cardinals can keep this to within six.
Points on the Rest:
The Seahawks have not quite come together yet and will be hoping to peg back the 49ers in their bid to stay in the race for the play-offs. The 49ers have not entirely convinced either so this should be an interesting demonstration of where these two teams stand.
The unbeaten Denver Broncos host the Ravens this week in their first true test of the 2021 season. The early DVOA ranking are somewhat volatile as they don’t have all the opponent adjustments factored in, so I totally understand why the line sees the Ravens as the better team but I’m curious to see how this plays out on the football field. It’s certainly not beyond Vic Fangio to scheme up a defence capable of stymieing the Ravens’ multi-faceted rush attack as well as their passing game, but can Teddy Bridgwater maintain the Broncos offensive success against the Ravens defence?
The Steelers look to be in trouble with the offence looking how it did at the end of last season and the defence struggling against the Bengals last week minues TJ Watt. There are still doubts about the Packers after their opening loss of the season and how the defence has looked, but a good win here would further settle some of those anxieties and I suspect that is what will happen, even if you should never count out Mike Tomlin’s Steelers.
Cardinals @ Rams (-5.5)
Gee’s Pick: Cardinals Dan’s Pick: Rams
Seahawks @ 49ers (-2.5)
Gee’s Pick: Seahawks Dan’s Pick: Seahawks
Ravens @ Broncos (-1.5)
Gee’s Pick: Ravens Dan’s Pick: Ravens
Steelers @ Packers (-6.5)
Gee’s Pick: Packers Dan’s Pick: Packers
Sunday Night Football:
Buccaneers @ Patriots (+6.5)
From a narrative point of view the undisputed game of the week is the return of Tom Brady to New England with his Super Bowl winning Buccaneers. Things have not gone perfectly for the Bucs this season, particularly as they have been struggling to defend the pass and were fairly straightforwardly beaten by the Rams last week. However, their offence has looked good and there is a solid 31.8% between the teams in overall DVOA, which accounts for them laying six and a half pints. Ordinarily getting this many points at home would be a no brainer selection of the Patriots, but even with the selection of Mac Jones looking to have provided the long-term successor to Brady at quarterback for the Patriots, there is still a lot of development for the Pats to go and whilst I wouldn’t bet against them being in the playoff hunt by December, I’m not there with them right this second. Mind you, I would not exactly be surprised if Belichick makes me regret this pick come Monday morning either…
Gee’s Pick: Buccaneers Dan’s Pick: Buccaneers
Monday Night Football
Raiders @ Chargers (-.3.5)
This should be a cracking divisional game to finish off the week as the unbeaten Las Vegas Raiders head over to LA to face a Chargers teams coming off an impressive win against the Chiefs last week. However, right now the Raiders’ defence ranks eleventh by DVOA so might be able to do a better job against Justin Herbet than the Chiefs managed. Derek Carr has been playing better than the Vegas offensive ranking of seventeenth might indicate and the Chargers have not demonstrated that they are a defensive monster just yet. I don’t have a strong lean in either direction on this one so I’m grabbing the extra half point for a pick, but I am really looking forward to watching this game.
Gee’s Pick: Raiders Dan’s Pick: Chargers
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.
I was incredibly naïve yesterday. Here’s my opening line from what was meant to be my mid-week post:
‘It feels like a long time since I have had a normal blog schedule but having closed out week one we are on our way into the marathon of an eighteen week NFL regular season so let’s if we can establish a routine once more.’
Clearly both the IT and football gods that I don’t believe in as an atheist but like to talk about as a writer because sometimes you just have to anthropomorphise the random fluctuations of probability, chortled to themselves and said to themselves we’ll show him.
So before I get into he picks competition and survivor picks from week two, here’s the games section of my post from yesterday that did get written.
I promise not to do this every week, even though I always watch the Bengals, but that’s where I’m starting as they beat the visiting Vikings 27-24 in overtime. It seemed to take a little while for both teams to get going and the Bengals did their best to give this game away but after getting the game’s only takeaway in overtime rookie kicker Ewan McPherson hit a thirty-four yard field goal with zeros on the clock to seal the victory in a pretty much dream start for a kicker’s career. The Bengals had some high points, Joe Burrow looked good and hit Ja’Marr Chase for a fifty-yard touchdown at the end of the first half as the rookie receiver and LSU teammate of Burrow’s managed to go for one hundred receiving yards in his first NFL regular season start. So much for dropping everything. That said, as good a trio of receiver as Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins look to be, Burrow still took too many hits passing the ball but Joe Mixon ran for one hundred and twenty-nine yards and given the turmoil of recent seasons on the offensive line, I’m inclined to see how this works out over the coming months even if I’m not convinced yet. The defence also looked better, although I wonder about the run defence again and they were blitzing more as well. One of the Vikings’ comeback touchdowns was scored against a cover-0 blitz and call me overly cautious, but I always want at least one deep safety. Still, this could be the start of positive progress in year three for Zac Taylor, but he’s going to have to win consistently to prove the Bengals are moving in the right direction.
As for the Vikings, it feels like a pre-season of turmoil might have had some impact on the field. Despite looking dangerous multiple times running the ball, Dalvin Cook could only finish with sixty-one yards from his twenty carries and it was Kirk Cousins who provided much of the impetus for the offence, even if things did start slowly. It does still seem to be the case that whilst Cousins is clearly a good quarterback, he struggles to elevate at critical moments in the game and whilst you can certainly win with a quarterback like that, a lot has to be right around them for an offence to succeed and things will have to come together for this team if the Vikings want to get back to the playoffs.
Moving on to the second game that I watched from Sunday, the Washington Football Team hosted the LA Chargers and the Football Team put up what was a pretty valiant effort after Ryan Fitzpatrick was lost early in the game suffering a dislocated hip, but ultimately lost the 16 – 20. The LA Chargers looked good on both sides of the ball, which was impressive as the Washington pass rush looked good and I like the look of Football Team’s defence again this season, but it was always going to be hard for Washington to truly compete once Taylor Heinicke took control of the offence in replacement of Fitzpatrick. Not that Heinicke played badly, but his one hundred and twenty-two yards from eleven completions simply couldn’t compete with Justin Herbert’s three-hundred-yard game as the Charger’s second year quarterback looked every bit a player building on his offensive rookie of the year performance from 2020. There was in fact, a lot to like about the Chargers under rookie head coach Brandon Staley and whilst it’s early in his tenure, and the hype might be overdone, there’s genuine promise there. As for Washington, you trust Ron Rivera to keep them competitive, even under difficult circumstances but a lot will depend on how Heinicke responds to being made starter again, having paused his degree to sign and start the Football Team’s playoff game last season he has another opportunity to further cement a place in the league. Heinicke has at least had a pre-season this year, but it’s a quick turnaround to week two as Washington head to New York to fact the Giants tonight.
The final game I watched from Sunday was interesting rather than enthralling as the Chicago Bears confirmed the reasons why Andy Dalton is starting, given their offensive line problems and how quickly Dalton was getting the ball out. Though the Bears didn’t look terrible, the LA Rams looked formidable as they ran out 34 – 14 in front of fans in their new stadium for the first time. The Rams were not messing about on offence either, three plays into the season and out comes the Stafford deep ball for a sixty-seven yard touchdown to Van Jefferson. The Bears did manage to pull within five before half time, but early in second half another deep pass, this time a fifty-six yard play where Cooper Kupp got behind the defence and had empty turf between him and the end zone. There had been plenty of positive noises coming from the Rams about the addition of Stafford and this was clearly a positive start. The lopsided nature of the roster has to be a concern as an injury to one of their mega stars could be a real problem, but that is clearly a bet they are willing to make. For the Bears, as I wrote I do see why they have begun the season with Dalton and I’ve heard enough people I respect say that rookie Justin Fields has talent but not ready yet, but it’s only a mater of time before he gets the opportunity to start, particularly if the Bears keep losing. Maybe we will have a clearer idea after Dalton returns to Cincinnati to face the team who drafted him.
Now with that out the way, let’s turn our attention to the picks competition where I got out to a winning start with a positive score of 10 points in week one taking an early three point lead, but we’re barely past the start line so it’s pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things so let’s get to Competition Thursday proper.
Week 1: 10 – 6
Overall: 10 – 6
Week 1: 7 – 9
Overall: 7 – 9
Giants @ Washington (-3.5)
The Giants got off to a rough start and early short week to a division rival is not an easy follow up. It might help that Washington are starting their backup quarterback as mentioned earlier, but these two teams are right next to each other in the DVOA rankings with with nearly inverse offence and defence rankings. I’m concerned about the direction the Giants have been travelling for the last few years, and whilst I saw some positives in what Joe Judge did last season in his first year as head coach, it’s always hard when you don’t have a quarterback and time is running out for Daniel Jones to prove himself the man. I’m always hoping for success for players, just not wins over the Bengals, but in this case I think that Washington are likely to eek out a win. However, this line is too rich for me given the circumstances and whilst I could be wrong, I’m not confident enough to lay this number of points.
Gee’s Pick: Giants Dan’s Pick: Giants
The Lions had a go at making me nervous, but the 49ers held on to get me a point to start our survivor competition, whilst Dan’s plan to pick against the Texans’ backfired and if this was a standard pool he’d be eliminated already. That would make for a pretty poor blog competition though, so I take the point and we roll into week two.
This week Dan promised me this isn’t a jinx as he’s gone for the Bengals in Chicago taking on the Bears, whilst I’m echoing his pick from week one but hoping the Browns go better as they look to recover from a tough opening game in Kansas City that they really could have won if Patrick Mahomes wasn’t so good.
Gee: 1 Dan: 0
Week 2 Selection:
Gee: Browns v Texans Dan: Bengals @ Bears
Bold Prediction of the Week
I’m never that confident in these, but Dan likes to put me under pressure and this week I plumped for:
The Falcons will cover against the Buccaneers this week.
So let’s see if they can finish the game within twelve I win, and feel if not proud than not totally ridiculous.
A bad week in picks and survivor for yours truly means that Dan is tightening his grip on both competitions and with me fighting through physical injury (badly sprained ankle) and dodgy internet I feel in no shape to catch him up.
I suspect that the blog will be turning teal and orange much to Dan’s delight, and if that is the case then I will have to see if I can find the website resources I created when I dreamt up the idea of blog colours being the prize, or if I will have to recreate from scratch.
Looking back over my week fourteen picking mistakes, they are a mixture of things I did not see coming that I am not convinced could be predicted from the information I was working with, and things I am really annoyed about. If you had enough information on the injury situation of Kyler Murray then perhaps you could have predicted the Cardinals would beat the Giants with Murray once more scrambling effectively, but there were signs that Lamar Jackson was looking better running the ball against the Cowboys so I should have accounted for that in their game against the Browns. I’ve been a step slow to see changes in teams this season and part of dealing with the volatility of a matchup driven week to week sport like the NFL is to not hold on to recent results to tightly and be wary of reading too much into the last couple of weeks. I will definitely be digging into my picking history this off-season and re-assessing my plan for next week.
Week 14: 6 – 10
Overall: 99 – 110
Week 14: 10 – 6
Overall: 110 – 99
Chargers @ Raiders (-3.5)
Our Thursday Night game for week fifteen is a divisional matchup that sees the Las Vegas Raiders hosting the LA Chargers in a battle of recently moved franchises, which is immediately throwing me into a quandary. The Raiders have lost three out of their last four games and needed a helping hand from a zero-blitz Jets defence to win their one game in that stretch. With their chances of making the play-offs badly damaged by this run Raider’s head coach Jon Gruden fired defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and promoted Rod Marinelli, who will need all of his experience to make a difference to this unit on a short week. The LA Chargers have a promising young quarterback but despite having what on paper should be a competitive roster have not managed to turn that potential into wins. The Chargers may have beaten the Falcons last week but neither team is exactly engendering a lot of trust in me at the moment so the extra half point I’m getting compared to the consensus line is seeing me take the Chargers, but I’m not exactly excited about it.
Gee’s Pick: Chargers Dan’s Pick: Raiders
My ability to jinx good NFC teams struck again in week fourteen when having lost earlier in the season with the Packers, I lost with the Saints going against the Eagles. To put that in perspective, both teams are 10-3 and I managed to pick them in one of their six losses. Dan of course had the advantage of not adjusting his pick to me and sailed through with the Titans but there was nothing stopping me from picking them last week so I should have just done that. As it happens, the Titans are my best shot this week so I am going with them against the Lions whilst Dan is opting to go against the Jaguars with the Ravens.
Gee: 9 Dan: 11
Week 15 Selection:
Gee: Titans Dan: Ravens
Bold Prediction of the Week
This week my bold prediction is that Jalen Hurts with have more rushing yards against the Cardinals than Lamar Jackson will have against the Jaguars. Now I think this might be madness, and it is a sign of the disruption to my week that I can’t remember my original thinking on why this would be the case when preparing for podcast, but it is at least bold.
Well, it’s not exactly a milestone on the way to overhauling the lead Dan extended by a point in week nine, but I am slowly approaching fifty percent in my picks, which feels like I might get back to some kind of respectability by season’s end even if I don’t pull off the comeback, but I’m not ruling that out either so let’s get to Competition Thursday for week ten.
Week 9: 8 – 6
Overall: 65 – 69
Week 9: 9 – 5
Overall: 72 – 62
Colts @ Titans (-2.5)
I’m really looking forward to this game as it is a big divisional encounter between two winning teams so there are big repercussions on the result. It is also an interesting line as my first instinct is to pick the Titans at home on a short week, but looking at the consensus number online it would seem like this is actually good value line for the Colts. However, whilst the Colts have a really good defence, I don’t entirely trust their offence with a thirty-nine year old Philip Rivers at quarterback, plus the Titans are back to winning ways so whilst I could very well still be wrong, I am going to back my first thought as that is often as good a way to pick as any.
Gee’s Pick: Titans Dan’s Pick: Titans
So, by adopting Dan’s strategy of picking against the Jets I kept pace with him in week nine as he correctly picked the Packers to beat the 49ers. The Jets strategy is unavailable to both of us this week as they are on a bye, as are the Cowboys so looking at the matchups featuring teams with losing records in week ten I can’t go for the Packers against the one win Jaguars as I’ve already used them, so I’m going to go for the Browns hosting the two win Texans. Dan is clearly feeling brave as he is going with the Vikings on the road in Chicago against the Bears but he was clearly feeling good about it when I queried it so we shall have to see how that works out.
Gee: 6 Dan: 7
Week 10 Selection:
Gee: Browns Dan: Vikings
Bold Prediction of the Week
With us recording the podcase early this week, I only have the one bold prediction, which is that the 3-5 Minnesota Vikings will beat the 5-4 Chicago Bears, which was bold enough for Dan to allow and that’s all that really matters to me. I wonder if my prediction had an effect on his survivor pick.
It’s been a rough week with one thing or another, and so having missed some games and the windows to record a pod/write a mid-week blog I am easing back into the swing of things with a Competition Thursday.
If I am going to drag myself back into the picks competition then the first step is to actually beat Dan in a week and that finally happened in week six so now I just have to put together a string of wins and hope to get a big week when Dan doesn’t but one thing at a time. The next milestone is getting his lead down to double digits…
Week 6: 7 – 7
Overall: 42 – 50
Week 6: 6 – 8
Overall: 52 – 40
Giants @ Eagles (-3.5)
There are plenty of issues with the Giants roster, and Daniel Jones threw another bad interception last week, but they are playing hard for first year head coach Joe Judge and got their first win last week. Thanks to the weirdness in the NFC East this still leaves the Giants only one game behind the Cowboys at the head of division and both them and their opponents the Eagles will be looking at the Cowboys performance on Monday and wondering if they can get themselves into the race for the division. This should be more likely for the Eagles, but they have so many injuries again this season that you have to wonder if they have hit a critical mass, although a close loss to the Ravens last week could be cause to hope in Philadelphia. The numbers tell me to go with the Eagles and I don’t feel strongly enough to go against them, but I do wonder if the Giants might spring a surprise tonight and I’m certainly looking forward to watching what happens.
Gee’s Pick: Eagles Dan’s Pick: Eagles
So both of us scored last week, which leaves tied on four points and going into week 7 I am still trying to avoid picking the same team as Dan, but this week’s games have defeated me and so I’m going to have to join him in picking the Bills