NFL Picks (2009): 147-117-9 (+$5,170) NFL Picks (2008): 136-125-6 (+$4,330)
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Vegas betting action updated Jan. 10, 12:20 p.m. ET.
Jerks of the Week for Jan. 4, 2010 are up, so just click the link. This week's jerks are: 1) Parx Casino. 2) Buck Hotel Bar Patrons. 3) State Liquor Laws and Mississippi.
It's time for Notes from NFL.com GameCenter - a list of a few stupid comments I found on NFL.com's new crappy GameCenter and my thoughts on them:
1. "Welker needs a concussion to the job be done"
You, my friend, don't need anymore concussions.
2. "THEY JUST SAID B4 THE COMMERCIAL THE DEVASTATING INJURY TO WELKER"
Perhaps if you used some lower-case letters, your sentence would actually make sense.
3. "JAGS ITS THE BROWNS COME ON THEY HAVE THE WORST STATS IN THE LEAGUE!!!!! I NEED YOU TO WIN SO I CAN GET MY MONEY PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!"
Handicapping 101 apparently says to bet against the team with the worst stats.
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: Most major media people I've listened to seem to think that the Ravens don't have a chance because Joe Flacco can't command Baltimore to a victory in Foxboro. I think I heard three or four ESPN "personalities" declare that Flacco can't expose New England's weak secondary.
To quote South Park's rendition of Michael Jackson, "That's ignorant." Flacco started the season strong, but went through a mid-season slump. That seems to be the point where Flacco fell out of favor with many people, but he was really banged up with multiple injuries.
After that Monday night loss at Green Bay, Flacco has been a lot better. I've watched each of the past four Ravens games, but if you don't believe me, check out his combined stats in those contests: 58-of-93, 796 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. That's a completion percentage of 62.4 and a YPA of 8.6.
Pretty damn impressive - especially when you consider the following two factors: First, a long touchdown of Flacco's was wiped out because Derrick Mason dropped a very easy catch. Those numbers could be even better. And second, Flacco didn't have the services of his stud left tackle Jared Gaither for three of those contests. Michael Oher was able to step in for Gaither and play prolifically, but what really hurt the Ravens was Oniel Cousins on the right side. LaMarr Woodley completely abused Cousins in Week 16, which was a major reason why the Steelers won that contest.
Gaither returned in Week 17, and with a game under his belt, he should be even better for this playoff tilt.
This is terrible news for New England. The Patriots really struggle to get pressure on the quarterback, so I can't see them rattling Flacco at all with Gaither and Oher protecting the edges. This will allow Flacco to shred New England's pathetic excuse of a secondary.
Meanwhile, I expect the Ravens to establish a solid ground game. I know that Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren are coming back for the Patriots, but this New England defense has surrendered at least 89 rushing yards to every single opponent it has faced this year with the exception of the Falcons back in Week 3. In an Oct. 4 meeting against Baltimore, the Patriots relinquished 116 rushing yards on a horrifying 6.8 YPC to Ray Rice and company.
NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: The loss of Wes Welker is huge. That should go without saying, but there are many out there who believe that Julian Edelman will be able to fill Welker's shoes, allowing the Patriots' offense to keep on clicking.
Well, not me. Sure, Edelman will catch 9-10 passes and collect 90-110 yards, but it's the stuff that doesn't show up in the box score that will be paramount. Over the years, Tom Brady and Welker have developed a strong rapport. When the opposition is blitzing, Welker knows exactly what to do. In the 2-minute drill, Brady is confident in Welker and throws his way often. Edelman is just a rookie, and his inability to read what's going on will hurt New England.
Welker missed two games earlier in the year. In those contests, Brady failed to complete 60 percent of his passes (48.9, 59.5) and maintained YPAs of 4.6 and 6.6. The Patriots struggled to put up points in those games, mustering only nine at the Jets, and then struggling versus Atlanta before getting some late scores in that victory.
With Welker out, the Ravens can double Randy Moss and blitz more. This will make life extremely difficult for Brady, who won't have a strong rushing attack by his side. Dating back to Oct. 18, Baltimore hasn't surrendered more than 4.1 YPC to any opponent it has faced. In fact, only two foes managed more than a 3.7 YPC in that span.
By the way, if you don't believe me that the Welker-to-Edelman downgrade will be this significant, consider this quote from Texans corner Dunta Robinson:
"We had to double two guys, and now you can focus on doubling one guy, and that was Randy [Moss]. Now we can pressure Tom [Brady] a little bit more."
RECAP: The Ravens are the most underrated team in the playoffs because no one respects Flacco. As mentioned earlier, his mid-season struggles were the result of multiple injuries. Flacco has played really well after that Monday night loss to the Packers, especially considering that his star left tackle was out for three of those four games.
Meanwhile, I think people are really underestimating the loss of Welker. He was the centerpiece of that offense. In the clutch, Brady relied on Welker; not Moss.
I don't think the Patriots will be able to fix this in seven days. I like Baltimore here - not only to cover, but to come away with a straight-up victory.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Ravens.
The money has really jumped to New England after equal action all week.
Percentage of money on New England: 70% (253,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
Ravens are 11-7 ATS on the road under John Harbaugh.
Patriots are 46-35 ATS at home under Bill Belichick.
Patriots are 18-9 ATS in December home games since 2000.
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Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be doing this game for FOX, but what if the broadcasting team was Emmitt, Herm and Philadelphia Eagles Television Network guy Kevin Reilly (a huge homer who called Maurice Jones-Drew "Maurice Drew-Jones" and Torry Holt "Terry Holt")? Here's how it would sound like if Reilly, Emmitt and Herm were in the booth for this game:
Kevin Reilly: Welcome to Arizona, the capital of Phoenix! Tonight, the Green Bay Packers take on the Phoenix Coyotes! This game is a rematch of one that took place last Sunday. The Packers won by 56, which is exactly what I predicted. Guys, will the Packers get another victory here?
Emmitt: I always have the believes that a team know the saying, fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on the guy who fool me the first time. If the Packers win, then shame on the Packers for foolin' the Cardinals not one time, but the time one more than one time.
Reilly: Cardinals? Who are the Cardinals? Emmitt, you are a football genius, but I'm pretty sure there is no football team named the Cardinals. That would be pretty gay.
Herm: That's wrong! That's not right! That's politically uncorrect! I mean that's politically incorrect! You can't say gay! That's bad! That's not good! Say 'homosexually challenged!' I mean say 'heterosexually challenged!' Don't say gay! You'll get fired!
Reilly: Ah, what do you know, stupid gay coach? Emmitt, can you tell Herm that he's fired? I have no control over who gets fired or hired, but I really should in this instance. After all, I know more about football than anyone on this planet.
Emmitt: I do not understand what the knowledge of football knowledge have to do with the ability to fire and... uhh... the thing where you do not fire but do the opposite of fire, I forget.
Reilly: Everything, Emmitt! Who can the network heads hire that knows as much football as I do? Watch this: The Packers will once again beat the Phoenix Coyotes, 27-4! Brett Favre will throw for five touchdowns, and Jake Plummer will throw five interceptions! Ha! Just watch!
Herm: Brett Favre!? Jake Plummer!? You're in the 90s! You're living in the 90s! You're stuck in time! You need help! Let us help you! Let us assist you! You're trapped back in time! You need to get out of being stuck in time! Come into the 10s! The 10s have started! Come on in! We're willing to accept you! Come on now! Just come on! Take a leap! Just take a step! You can do it now! You can do it!
Reilly: I'm not taking any sort of step with you, stupid Herm! You're fired! We'll be back after a word from our local sponsors!
GREEN BAY OFFENSE: Aaron Rodgers - not Brett Favre - and the Packers' offense put on a show in Week 17, but you can't read anything into that at all. Once the Cardinals learned that they couldn't clinch a bye, they played a completely vanilla defense, allowing Green Bay to score at will against them.
The Packers will be running into a more formidable Arizona defense this time around. The Cardinals have basically shut down every passing attack they've faced since Thanksgiving weekend. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who suffered a knee bruise last week, is expected to play in this contest, so the Cardinals' ability to contain Rodgers and all of his weapons will be predicated on their ability to put pressure on the quarterback.
Arizona finished with 43 sacks on the year and even did a good job of pressuring Brett Favre about a month ago. The Cardinals really need to get to Rodgers without blitzing, which is easier said than done; after taking dozens of sacks earlier in the year, Rodgers has been sacked only 13 times in the past eight games.
Green Bay will have success on the ground. Ryan Grant has been very consistent this year, while the Cardinals have surrendered at least 100 rushing yards to all but three opponents since Oct. 25. Even the lowly Lions compiled 161 yards on a 6.0 YPC a few weeks back.
If Arizona is gashed by yet another running back, Rodgers won't have any problems converting third downs. Rodgers statistically is already the best quarterback at moving the chains on third down, so it's not like the Cardinals are dying to give him any help.
ARIZONA OFFENSE: Like the defense, the Cardinals' offense didn't show anything to the Packers. We will see Arizona's full arsenal here.
Actually, that's not true. Anquan Boldin suffered ankle and knee injuries against Green Bay on Sunday, and it's looking like he may miss this game. The Cardinals still have Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston, but Boldin will be missed.
And that's especially the case against Green Bay's prolific defense. The Packers are great in all areas. They've allowed just two 100-yard rushing performances to opponents since Week 3. Except for the Steelers, no team has passed for more than 217 yards on them since Nov. 1. They also excel at getting to the quarterback; rookies Clay Matthews and Brad Jones have been terrific this year, especially during the team's 7-of-8 streak.
The key matchup here will be Cardinals backup left tackle Jeremy Bridges against Matthews. Bridges did a great job against Jared Allen about a month ago. Repeating that against Matthews and keeping Kurt Warner on his feet will be paramount if Arizona wants to walk away from this contest with a victory.
RECAP: In my opinion, this game is the toughest call of the weekend. The Packers are the better team - I have them No. 1 in my NFL Power Rankings - but that doesn't mean that they're going to win.
In fact, with a gun to my head, I'd take the Cardinals. There are two major things working against Green Bay here:
1. Green Bay played hard and showed everything to Arizona. Ken Whisenhunt and his coaching staff have a lot of game film to work with. The Packers, meanwhile, saw nothing from the Cardinals. I think this gives Whisenhunt a big advantage over Mike McCarthy.
2. The Packers just played a game in Arizona. They then flew back to Green Bay. A few days later, they'll be flying out back to Arizona again.
That's a lot of mileage and a ton of jet lag. Playing two consecutive road games is tough enough; flying across the country three times in a span of seven days has to be really taxing.
Then again, it wouldn't shock me at all to see Green Bay win by 20-plus again. But like I said, this matchup is tough, so those two things really stood out and helped me decide on a winner.
The Psychology. Edge: Cardinals.
The Cardinals saw everything the Packers had to offer. The Packers, meanwhile, didn't see any tricks Ken Whisenhunt has up sleeve.
The Vegas. Edge: Cardinals.
The public is all over the Pack after watching them slaughter Arizona on Sunday.
Percentage of money on Green Bay: 88% (253,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Cardinals.
Cardinals are 17-6 ATS in December home games since 2000.
Cardinals are 9-2 ATS at home as underdogs or favorites of less than -3 under Ken Whisenhunt.
Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenver winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 18, 2016): 2-2 (+$445)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2016): 2-0 (+$500)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2016): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 18, 2016): 0-4 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 18, 2016): $0
2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780)
2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-124-10, 53.7% (+$1,645) 2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-34-3, 55.3% (+$675) 2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-20-5, 50.0% (-$975) 2016 Season Over-Under: 119-138-1, 46.3% (+$95) 2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$795
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$2,550) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,436-2,240-141, 52.1% (+$9,795) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 785-702-37 (52.8%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 328-290-18 (53.1%) Career Over-Under: 1,941-1,901-54 (50.4%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 36-22 (62.1%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.
I also think free safety is the big need, not necessarily strong safety. We can live another year with Devon Kindred and Ibraheim Campbell at strong safety. Maybe if we didn't have so many other more pressing needs I wouldn't mind addressing SS, but there are other priorities on this team.