NFL 2011 – Week Ten Picks

For the first time all season I feel like I am on top of the wave – translation, I love my week 10 picks! Fade at your own risk!
Las Vegas Hilton Super Contest Week 9 Recap

  • Picks: Chiefs (Loss), Bears (Win), Packers(Win), Giants (Win), Broncos(Win)
  • I had to check to be sure I didn’t get tagged with two losses for picking a team that lost ATS by 32 points. Fortunately, that only counted as a single loss.
  • Not only was this my best week at 4-1, but it didn’t remove days from my life, as only the Packers game how any doubt about the spread.
  • I believe that I have finally caught the wave. You might be thinking, “you got no chance”, but don’t tell that to the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals or 2007 Colorado Rockies. I will have to post a “2007 Rockies”-like run to have any chance at cashing in the contest. Still, you have to keep chopping wood and hope that a few of the breaks that broke bad for me turn in my favor the rest of the way.
  • I am currently 8 points (wins or 2 ties) out of the money. I am estimating that I need a at minimum of a 20-10 run over the next 6 weeks to put me in position to move into the top 20 by season’s end. That might require a 10-0 finish over the last two weeks, but “. . .you’re telling me there is a chance!” – Lloyd Christmas

LVHSC: 4-1, 19-24-2 (Tied for 429th)
Note: I use the Las Vegas Hilton Lines from vegasinsider.com. The Super Contest lines are not live, but instead are set and held the entire week.
NFC Worst – “The Quest for a division champ in week 11”

Baltimore (-6.5) @ Seattle
St. Louis @ Cleveland (-2.5)
NY Giants @ San Francisco (-3.5)
Arizona @ Philadelphia (-13.0)

The Super Wynner Contest Standings

Contestant

Last Week

Record

G-Dub

5-9

75-51-4 (.592)

Megan Wynner

8-6

63-63-4 (.500)

Juana Wynner

8-6

60-66-4 (.477)

Colin Wynner

8-6

55-71-4 (.439)

That’s right the quest for the “6-win division champ” is over, but fear not, I have come up with a new gimmick to keep you interested in the “NFC Worst”. I introduce to you the quest for “Clinching the division after 10 games”. Not since the NFL went to a 16 game schedule in 1978 has a team clinched their division after 10 games, but we have a chance this year with the NFC Worst.

You might be thinking, what is the big deal clinching a division after 10 games. Well, let’s take a deeper dive to help everyone understand how improbable it is – the earliest that a team could possibly clinch a division is after 8 games. For that to happen we would need not only complete incompetence on the part of the other division opponents, who would all have to be 0-8, but also it would require an unheard of scheduling anomaly: the 8-0 team would have to play five division games; the other division opponents must not have played each other in the first eight weeks; and the division opponent who faced the division leader would have had to play one less non-conference game in the first eight weeks. Uh, yeah, that’s not going to happen.

So, let’s look at after 9 games, which is much more likely, as we could have a 9-0 team and three 1-8 or if the schedule permitted an 8-1 team with three 0-9 teams. Computed the probability (using an average of -330 money line for the top team and +150 for others) of that happening yields roughly 257,000 to 1! Not quite Powerball chances to still up beyond what any odds a frugal bookmaker would ever offer for such a bet.

Even at 10 games the odds are fairly crazy – 4700 to 1, but 54 times more likely to occur than after nine games. Given that we have had only 216 chances (divisions times seasons since 1978) for this to occur, it isn’t a surprise that is hasn’t happen. That is exactly why I am now rooting for the 49ers to close out this division after 10 games. Here is all I need for cash my 2500-1 ticket (remember, Vegas has to take their cut, or juice, instead of offering true odds of 4700-1, I estimate they would not offer the “against” bet and would take $2200 in juice, so 2500-1, remember all that glitz wasn’t built dollar by dollar):

  • Week 10, ranked in order likeliness according to Colin Wynner:
    • Arizona loses to Philadelphia – 100%, look at that, I just gave you a bonus survivor pool pick for this week
    • St. Louis loses to Cleveland – roughly 67%, my fear is that lightening will strike before the end of the third quarter forcing the game to be called and thus giving the Rams a win. Translation the Rams cannot close!
    • San Francisco beats the NY Giants – 55%, Giants are a great road team. Have the 49ers really been tested this season?
    • Seattle loses Baltimore, 52.5%, surprisingly I expect the Ravens to come out flat. Now why would I think that? Those you forget history are doomed to repeat it – Week two against the Titans and week seven against the Jaguars are two big reasons.
  • Week 11,
    • San Francisco beats Arizona – 100%, the Cardinals couldn’t beat the Singletary led 49ers. And we what a train-wreck the 49ers were under Singletary.
    • St. Louis beats Seattle – 65%, they owe them from last season.

That is all we need to have a team defy odds and clinch a division after 10 games.

On to the “NFC Worst” games:

I am seriously nervous about picking the Browns in this game, but not because I fear they will lose but because they are one of the few teams that plays so ugly that I can see them winning by either one or two points, and thus failing to cover.

Pick: Cleveland -2.5

If the opposing team doesn’t have the universal symbol for steel on their helmets, the Ravens aren’t guaranteed to show up. Couple that with the cross-country flight, the emotional win over the Steelers and the ever too tasty 6.5 spreads on clearly the dominate team and I think we see why I am sacred that the Seahawks will destroy the quest for “history” above.

Pick: Seattle +6.5

So, I wasn’t a big fan of the Eagles against the Bears last week simply because of the over-reaction from the previous week when they beat Dallas. But this week, I like the fact that the Eagles are coming off a terrible performance, under-reaction, anyone? Plus, they are starting to get it together and the first sign of that is they will begin hammering bad teams. I think the Cardinals qualify as a “bad team”.

Pick: Philadelphia -13.0

I am a Rams fan, so in all honesty I have a tough time giving them any credit. In fact, I hate them so much that if they were playing a full team of Jerry Sandusky’s coached by the Jerry Sandusky, I would have a tough time rooting for them. But as much as it pains me to admit, this 49er team really good. And I will let you in on a little secret – the 49ers are the only team that can seriously challenge the Packers in the NFC. Yeah, I am salivating at the prospect of getting 10.5 points with the 49ers in the NFC championship – retirement score!

But this game is all about the “hook”, 49ers by 3, line is 3.5, I have to go with the Giants, who are great on the road in these situations.

Pick: NY Giants +3.5

Pittsburgh (-3.5) @ Cincinnati – In 2009, the Bengals surprised everyone by winning the AFC North. I remember the season well, as it took me 10 weeks to buy into the 2009 Bengals. This year feels very similar, we all think the Steelers will waltz into Cincy after a tough loss and right the ship by whacking the Bengals. Not so fast, the Bengals are one of the few teams in the NFL that know their identity and I love teams like that, because they tend to be more predictable than the random teams. The Bengals are built on defense, therefore they aren’t afraid to manage the game offensively, which means they are more than happen to punt and play defense. Plus, I want them to keep winning, because I can’t wait to bet against Marvin Lewis and a rookie quarterback in the playoffs.

Pick: Cincinnati +3.5

Denver @ Kansas City (-3.0) – Talk about over-reaction, really, the Chiefs and the Broncos are equal teams? So, the Broncos break out the gimmick “Zone Read” offense, catch the Raiders looking ahead, hit a few big plays in route to defeating the Raiders and all of a sudden they’re for real? Yeah, I’m not buying it.
This line should be 5.0 points but you subtract one point because the Chiefs got rung up by the Dolphins and subtract one point because the Broncos slammed the Raiders. I almost feel like making this the, no I can’t, ah what the hell, LOCK OF THE CENTURY!
Pick: Kansas City -3.0

.

Juana Wynner’s Week Ten Picks

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati (-3.5) – I hate the Steelers because they cheat and steal super bowls away from teams who should really win.
Cincinnati +3.5
Denver @ Kansas City (-3.0) – I’m thinking about going to college in Colorado so I think Denver will win.
Denver +3.0
Buffalo @ Dallas (-5.5) – I love Buffalo Wild Wings! Best restaurant ever created. I think that “Buffalo” will keep it close.
Buffalo +5.5
St. Louis @ Cleveland (-2.5) – St. Louis has not won any games this year. I think it’s a safe bet to say that they will not win this one.
Colin’s Comment – Not true the Rams have one win. And to think she has access to an entire team of fact checkers, oh wait, that’s her, nevermind!
Cleveland -2.5
Arizona @ Philadelphia (-13.0)
– I know that Arizona is my team and everything but they are just not good. I mean they barely beat the Rams.
Colin’s Comment – Rams fan, don’t get crazy, that’s a veiled shot at me.
Philadelphia -13.0
The rest:
Jacksonville -3.0, Houston -3.5, Carolina -3.5, Washington +4.0, Atlanta PK, Chicago -3.5, Seattle +6.5, San Francisco -3.5, New England +1.5, Minnesota +13.0

Jacksonville (-3.0) @ Indianapolis – Wow, the Jags favored in Indy! That hasn’t happen since they became division mates in 2002. In fact the Jaguars have not been favored in a game against regardless of the venue. Man, I really, really want to take the Colts, but I simply cannot based on the lack of pride the Colts are currently displaying. Those players just want this season to end. The Colts simple do not resemble an NFL team. Admit it, I’m Right. You probably are with me in thinking that the Colts will show some pride one of these and rise to the occasion one of these weeks. There is some backing on the Colts based on the logic of “this is the last winnable game” for them. .
I got news for you – I am not buying into that logic one bit. Why? Well the Jags are a terrible match-up for the Colts – a team that will physically dominate them with their running game and defense. No, the Colts will pick off a team like the Titans at home or the Panthers on the road, but not this Jaguar team.

A bookmaker tweeted last week, “I am seriously not looking forward to setting Colts lines the remainder of the season.” If that isn’t the white flag of surrender, I don’t know what is.
Pick: Jacksonville -3.0
Detroit @ Chicago (-2.5) – Chicago coach Lovie Smith commented after the upset win over the Eagles that “the Chicago Bears shouldn’t not be 8 point underdogs to anyone. Our players took note of that and felt disrespected.” I love it. In fact, why don’t more coaches openly address the point spread. I mean outside of getting fired and permanently banned, what is the downside? I can imagine the following from an NFL coach:

  • “Look, I realize we’re only 2-6, but you have to look deeper, we’re 6-2 ATS.”
  • “I will tell you honestly that if we have the ball late, up by 6 points, we aren’t going to milk the clock, we will go for the cover.”
  • “Yeah, it would have probably been smart to pull our starters when we were down 35-3, but we wanted to go for a score to push the game over.”

Now that is a coach I can support. Until that happens, Lovie is as close as we’ve got. My guess is when the Bears found out the odds-makers think the Lions are slightly better, they felt “disrespected”.

Pick: Chicago -2.5
Houston (-3.5) @ Tampa Bay – Are we sure that Houston is a good team or do they happen to be the 2010 version of the Chiefs? Where is their signature win – the Steelers, yeah maybe, but outside of that they have beaten the Colts, Titans, Jaguars, Dolphins and Browns. Not exactly murderers row of opponents, yet they are giving the Bucs 3.5 points, in Tampa!?!

For some reason everyone is down on the Bucs this season, but at 4-4 they’re right in the thick of the race, plus they own wins over division rivals the Falcons and Saints. They hung around with the Saints last week in a game that was a “must-win” for the Saints. I really do not get it. But sign me up for the Bucs and the home team underdog points.

Pick: Tampa Bay +3.5

Buffalo @ Dallas (-5.5) – When the lines came out for this week, I immediately had this game as a strong Buffalo play. But as the week moved on I began wavering, I’m just not sure the Bills are good. Every NFL season has teams that can take care of the mediocre and bad teams on their schedule but cannot beat the elite teams – 2010 Tampa Bay, for example couldn’t beat Atlanta or New Orleans. Since the schedule is almost entirely random there is a chance that a schedule could be front-loaded with bad teams, meaning a team might comprise a record that looks better than the team’s true performance. That might be the 2011 Bills.

Before their “game of the year” flop against the Jets last week, the Bills had five wins, but if we look closer the Bills five wins are relatively soft. Let me explain, the Bills drilled the Chiefs in week one when the Chiefs literally had no clue. And by no clue, I mean they were in more disarray than any team in the NFL; in week two the Bills needed to rally from 18 points down to beat the Raiders, a team coming off the late Monday game and traveling across the country; week three saw another amazing Bills comeback win, this time from 21 points down; week five the Bills beat the Eagles, when the Eagles were a mess. And still it require four Eagle turnovers; and, their most impressive win, they shutout the mighty Redskins in week eight. When the Jets smacked them last week, it sent me a message that the Bills aren’t really ready to compete with the elite NFL teams.

But 5.5 points is very enticing against a Cowboys team that a. struggles to score touchdowns in the red zone; b. has played 14 of their last 17 games within four points; and c. is banged up on both sides of the ball.

The good news is we will know what we have in the Bills after this week – either they are a contender or a team we can fade against the better NFL teams.

Pick: Buffalo +5.5

Tennessee @ Carolina (-3.5) – Last week there were a couple reports that Chris Johnson might get cut shortly after the NFL begins the 2012-2013 calendar year. Despite reports of the 56 million dollar “play-maker” money given CJ366, it appears that the fine print allows the Titans an out in March that will save the team the majority money owed on the contract. Hmm, maybe that is why CJ366 had a little more of a “burst” last week against the Bengals, albeit he “bursted” toward the sideline and ran out of bounds prior to contact. He wasn’t CJ2K, but at least he hit the corner with speed on at least three plays. Of course, he finished with a very mediocre 64 yards on the ground, but maybe he realized that due to cost over-runs on his kitchen “re-model”, he might need a job. Doesn’t it seem like every week someone will tweet/post/say, “this has to be the week CJ breaks out, if not this week, it’s not going to happen.” For the record, CJ2K is dead to me!

Pick: Carolina -3.5

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Megan Wynner’s Week Ten Picks

Detroit @ Chicago (-2.5) – I think that the Detroit Lions will win because I like their team colors! Also I think they can outplay the Bears!
Pick: Detroit +2.5
Minnesota @ Green Bay (-13.0) – I think that the Minnesota Vikings will win because the Packers have Morgan Burnett. This is because Morgan is name of the goalie on my soccer team and she gives up some of the softest goals ever so Burnett will let Minnesota score.
Pick: Minnesota +13.0
Jacksonville (-3) @ Indianapolis – what kind of name is the Indianapolis Colts? Jacksonville Jaguars is much a better name and I think they will win!

Pick: Jacksonville -3
Denver @ Kansas City (-3) – I think that the Kansas City Chiefs will win because the Denver Broncos have Thompson Syd’Quan who will cost the Broncos the game. This is because I have a girl named Sarah Thompson on my soccer team and she sucks!
Pick: Kansas City -3
Pittsburgh (-3.5) @ Cincinnati – I think that the Pittsburgh Steelers will win because they won the super bowl in 2008.

Pick: Pittsburgh -3.5
The rest:
Buffalo +5.5, Houston -3.5, Carolina -3.5, Miami -4, New Orleans PK, St. Louis +2.5, Arizona +13, Seattle +6.5, San Francisco -3.5, New England +1.5

Washington @ Miami (-4.0) –I know it’s a cliché but Miami is the best 1-7 team in the history of the NFL. If they somehow had the ability to erase four plays this season, they could easily be 4-4 which would put them in the middle of the playoff race. In fact I can give you the three plays – 1. Browns, the fluke “hail-mary” completion at the end of the game; 2. The non-call on the Revis pick-6 against the Jets. The Dolphins likely go up 10-0 in a game where the home crowd was about to suffocate Sanchez; and 3. Any play in the final three minutes of the Bronco game.

Pick: Miami -4.0

New Orleans @ Atlanta (PK) – Aren’t these two teams essentially the same? Yet, somehow Falcons are getting the short end of the point spread by being a very disrespected “pick’em”. Now if Lovie Smith were the coach of the Falcons he would have his team ready to play just based on that dis-respect alone.

The game should be a 3 point spread; therefore, the Falcons provide great value. And I love great value!

Pick: Atlanta PK

New England @ NY Jets (-1.5) – “The Pats won’t lose three in a row” and “Belichick coming off two losses is unbeatable” are the themes of the week. First off, both of those statements are incorrect – the Pats have lost three in a row, as have the Belichickian led Patriots. Proof, the 2002 Pats lost four in a row. And remember this version of the Patriots is far from the dominate Patriot dynasty that we all know and, effing hate with the white hot passion of a googol suns!

I will, however, admit that it is scary to bet against the Pats in this situation, but I cannot let hyperbole influence a logical view of this game. The Jets are playing better, the Jets are at home, the Jets lost to the Patriots in the previous game and “history” tells us these teams split their games, and the Jets have put a great deal of emphasis on winning the division this season to secure home-field advantage. And yet I only have to lay -1.5. Come, Rex, you have the chance to stomp on the throats of the Patriots – DO IT, MAN, DO IT!

Pick: NY Jets -1.5

Minnesota @ Green Bay (-13.0) –

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