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
I had a terrible week four picking games and have yet to record a positive score and having fallen 9 points behind Dan so I’m beginning to wonder if I need to completely overhaul my process or be even more trusting of the numbers, and this game is doing nothing to help me make up my mind.
Week 4: 4 – 11
Overall: 28 – 35
Week 4: 9 – 6
Overall: 37 – 26
Buccaneers @ Bears (+5.5)
I am really looking forward to watching this game as I haven’t seen the Bucs since their underwhelming opening game against the Saints, or the Bears at all, but I absolutely hate this line which sits right that awkward zone between points around a field goal win and a touchdown win. Given the consensus number I’m getting an advantage for the Bears from this line, and a fairly sizeable one at that, but the Bucs have won three straight, are the best team by overall DVOA, have the second ranked defence and Tom Brady. I don’t trust the Bears offence as they shuffle quarterbacks and even with tight end OJ Howard going down I feel like the Bucs have too many players that can hurt the Bears defence. This might be the wrong move right now, but given how previous methods have failed me I’m trusting my gut on this one.
Gee’s Pick: Buccaneers Dan’s Pick: Bears
Well we are finally scoring some points and I’ve managed to maintain my slender advantage, but the combination of games and who we’ve already picked is making this a tricky week or at least that’s how it feels to me. Dan is rolling with his plan to pick against the Jets and hoping the Cardinals break their two-game losing streak whilst I’m finding it really hard to find a team that convinces me. There’s a couple of options, but given I don’t like this week I’m going to throw in one of the better teams and hope it doesn’t bite me later in the season.
Gee: 3 Dan: 2
Week 5 Selection:
Gee: Chiefs Dan: Cardinals
Bold Prediction of the Week
Sorry all, but with Dan on holiday and podcast taking a week off I’m not doing something I don’t like without the evil producer pointing me in that direction.
I am trying not to push the panic button, but it seems like Dan has inherited his dad’s picking pin this season as he has now opened up a four point lead as I have consistently gone 8-8 through three weeks. I am trying to incrementally adjust my process and I think there are lessons to be learned, but if I don’t improve soon it is going to be very hard to catch Dan, although there is a potential for the pair of us to have a terrible week at any moment.
I have to trust the process and hope that in this marathon season I can turn things around at some point.
Week 3: 8 – 8
Overall: 24 – 24
Week 3: 11 – 5
Overall: 28 – 20
Broncos @ Jets (+2.5)
Dan and I were talking on the podcast about my interest in all games in the NFL, and I will say that whilst the Jets hosting the Broncos is not the most enticing matchup, I am genuinely interested to see what is going on with both teams. The Jets have been in trouble for a while now and it seems Adam Gase is not going to be able to turn that around whilst the Broncos are floundering with injuries in Vic Fangio’s second season so there is not much that we do not know for certain.
The interesting thing for me is that there is a very clear play according to the numbers I use for picking games as both have the Jets giving points and yet I am getting points at home so given what I have written at the start about trusting the process, I’m going to back the Jets.
Dan is never going to let me hear the end of this if I am wrong…
Gee’s Pick: Jets Dan’s Pick: Broncos
For the first time both Dan and I scored points in week three and it appears that we are beginning to follow a similar method for picking teams as we are both going for the Rams beating the Giants this week.
Gee: 2 Dan: 1
Week 4 Selection:
Gee: Rams Dan: Rams
Bold Prediction of the Week
Dan is still insisting on making me do this, even after my prediction about the Falcons failed thanks to a fourth quarter Bears comeback powered by Nick Foles.
A scan through the week four games whilst recording the podcast led me to suggest the Lions beating the Saints, which truthfully I’m not sure where it came from other than Dan is forcing me to do the segment because he knows I hate doing it. There is a scenario where this could happen as the Lions are at home and we don’t know the status of Michael Thomas (though he is back in practice) so we shall have to see how things go but I am not exactly confident…
Dan maintained his lead in the picks competition as we both went 8-8, but I did managed to get our first survivor pick right so I’ve gone a point ahead on that.
Dan is also making me make a bold prediction of the week, which so far has resulted in half a point in the first week for Rosen not being on the Dolphins roster, but it wasn’t a trade as I thought as Rosen was cut and is now signed to the Bucs practise squad. Last week I predicted the Rams would defeat the Eagles to send them to 0-2 and I was correct. If Dan is going to keep making me do this (and he is) then I guess I’d better keep track of them here so this week’s is down the bottom. I’ve also predicted that Mike Zimmer will fire another offensive coordinator this season, but I concede that’s a bit speculative.
Week 2: 8 – 8
Overall: 16 – 16
Week 2: 8 – 8
Overall: 17 – 15
Dolphins @ Jaguars (-2.5)
Last week Dan thought he jinxed the Bengals by making them his survivor pick, but we both thought the Bengals would at least cover the points, which they only just managed to do. However, this week Dan is reverting to picking the Dolphins, and I wonder if this is either a good move on his part because he’s been watching them closely, or if he’s letting his loyalties cloud his judgement. As much as the DVOA numbers could be off with the small sample size we have so far, the Jaguars are ranked nineteen place higher by DVOA than the Dolphins and if I’m getting a line that is half a point better than the consensus line of -3 that I’m seeing, then I’m picking the home team on Thursday night.
Gee’s Pick: Jaguars Dan’s Pick: Dolphins
So one of us finally got off the mark in terms of scoring, but it’s hardly much to celebrate and poor Dan has been eliminated twice already. I like his pick of the Steelers this weekend, the Texans offence and defence doesn’t look as potent as it has in recent years, but it’s not a option available to me and I would be concerned about a desperate 0-2 team with a quarterback as good as Deshaun Watson being able to spring a surprise. I’m a little bit nervous about my own selection, but given the Broncos will be starting Jeff Driskel at quarterback against Tom Brady I’m backing the Bucs to build on last week’s win. I just hope we don’t both look foolish next week.
Gee: 1 Dan: 0
Week 3 Selection:
Gee: Steelers Dan: Buccaneers
Bold Prediction of the Week
This week’s bold prediction is that the Atlanta Falcons will find a way to finally win a game and defeat the 2-0 Chicago bears.
Unlike the players who will very much be preparing for this weekend’s final regular season games, I have not been hard at it since Christmas Eve and so I am bringing you a small improvised post this festive week.
My first gift to myself is to have watched my usual amount of games and not write them up, but to have watched them as a football fan.
My second gift appears to be my continued languishing in last place in the Picks competition:
Week 16: 8-8
Week 16: 9-7
Week 16: 7-9
I also managed to slip up in my entry into the ESPN site, which is why Dan’s Dad thinks I joined him on eight points when I actually managed to fall a further point behind, although mathematically still able to win the league but I suspect that’s not going to happen.
It has not been an easy season of blogging for me for one reason or another, but the site still binds the three of us who write it together and for our teams 2020 holds: a play-off berth, a first overall pick in the draft, and an opportunity to take advantage of roster rebuild that is already well under way with a coach who looks more than ready to utilise the incoming talent.
I hope you are all having a wonderful festive period, I will pick up the pace at the weekend as we head into the new year, play-offs and Super Bowl LIV.
For now, I’ll leave you with the usual Thursday Trivia roundup from Dan’s Dad.
Week 16 Trivia
‘Some weeks ago I trailed Week 16 as being pivotal in the race to the Play-Offs and so it proved. In particular, the bi-annual Packer-Viking matchup which rarely offers a dull game with little hanging on it, and so it proved was the case this week.
For, I think (factcheck needed), the first time the NFC North’s premier teams would both finish the year with at least 10 wins and on the back of that all seeding scenarios were possible – but after MNF these options have shrunk markedly.
[There was no way that 3D could offer up such a challenge and me not take the bait, but in this instance Dan’s Dad is decidedly wrong as since its inception in 2002 there have been six separate second place teams in the NFC North with at least ten wins including the 2012 Minnesota Vikings – Ed,]
For those who didn’t watch the game in the wee-smalls of Tuesday AM, the Vikings started the first two quarters like a team possessed and despite registering only 16 1st half yards but creating 4 turnovers the Vikings ended the half ahead although the second half played out a very different story. Cousins continued to a 0-9 MNF record and while I saw flashes of brilliance I am never inspired. Witness, if you will, the trick play attempted by Cousins and WR Stefon Diggs where misdirection saw Diggs become a proxy QB and just failed to land a pass to the floundering Cousins in Q2. Note to self – position specialists are just that for a reason and its best not to ask a fish to ride a bicycle. Enough to say, the Packers won (again) and could be highly seeded (possibly even top seed) but the Vikings already had a playoff berth secured but that’s what they will get – although who would relish drawing them in the play offs?
The Picks competition rumbles along and overall only Dan managed to close the gap scoring 9 while Gee and I managed a good but unexceptional 8 each [Actually 7 for me – Ed.]. This, with a week to go, leaves me on a pleasing 137 (which is what I took an extra week to reach last year, Dan is on 130 while Gee has battled up to 124  only 2  behind where he was at this point last year.
OK, enough of the smoke blowing where are we with the Trivia Quizzlette?
Dan led Gee by 3 points (18:15) when I asked:
The Kansas City Chiefs were originally known by what name?
Gee went straight for the “3D is playing the devious card” approach while Dan went for something that sounded plausible. That’s their choices but its Christmas, I was on holiday and I wasn’t playing games. So the answer was simply: The Dallas Texans.
The Chiefs began play as the Dallas Texans, with the birth of the American Football League (AFL) in 1960. Their owner Lamar Hunt, was also the founder of the AFL, and was only 28 years old at the time. Hunt later helped pave the way for the 1970 AFL/NFL merger, and became the first Chief inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972.
Moving swiftly on with no change in the scores we arrive in LA so there are 2 ‘simple’ questions about the Chargers and the Rams worth 2 points each
Firstly for the Los Angeles Rams:
I was the quarterback that led the Rams to a victory in the 2000 Super Bowl against the Tennessee Titans. I lost my starting job after I fumbled six times in the first game of the 2003 season. Who am I?
Then for the Los Angeles Chargers:
Which Charger quarterback bounced back from a dismal 2003-04 season, winning the Comeback Player of the Year Award, throwing 27 touchdowns to seven interceptions, and landing himself a spot in the 2005 NFL Pro Bowl?
Probably best attempted before the drink starts flowing and Nanna’s Sherry Trifle lands in the bowl!
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year in the hope that you have enjoyed my offerings in this post over the last season and that the holidays don’t see too much unnecessary roughness.’