New England Patriots (8-2) at Detroit Lions (2-8) Line: Patriots by 6.5. Total: 50.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 11): Patriots -5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 11): Patriots -7.
Happy Thanksgiving, 12:30 ET
The Game. Edge: Patriots.
I'll get to the Week 11 recap and Vegas stuff starting with the Sunday games. I'd like to bring up an article I wrote a few years ago.
I previously argued that the Lions should be stripped of their Thanksgiving game. Here was the point I made (updated for previous outcomes):
Some may argue that it's tradition, and it shouldn't be messed with. What tradition? Here was my tradition before this Web site became my full-time job: I went out Wednesday night, the so-called "biggest drinking night of the year." Came home completely drunk. Passed out around 3 a.m. Woke up just in time for kickoff. Vomited multiple times all over myself because I was way too hung over to make it to the toilet. Watched the Lions get completely debacled. Barfed some more so I had room to eat turkey later.
Detroit has lost its previous Thanksgiving games by the scores of: 34-12, 47-10, 37-26, 27-10, 27-7, 41-9 and 41-10. That's an average margin of 24.3 points! Seriously, Roger Goodell needs to do something about this. Until the Lions can field a competitive team, they shouldn't be allowed to embarrass the league every year.
I've completely changed my stance. Aside from taking Brandon Pettigrew over Michael Oher, the Lions have made all the right moves. They drafted a franchise quarterback and gave him the weapons to be successful. They obtained outstanding pass-rushers. Yet, no matter what they do, they just can't seem to catch a break; whether it's watching Matthew Stafford get hurt every time he plays, or losing on ridiculous calls like that Calvin Johnson non-touchdown in Week 1.
The Lions are cursed. It doesn't appear as though they'll ever win. The one thing they have though is this Thanksgiving game. That shouldn't be taken away from them - or the fans just may all kill themselves.
Anyway, it's the usual - my NFL Picks will be posted periodically throughout Tuesday afternoon and evening. You can follow me on Twitter @walterfootball to receive updates for when I post each selection.
DETROIT OFFENSE: Stafford's not the only one who's hurt. Jahvid Best is suffering through two turf toe injuries, and his status is in doubt for this contest. Given that this is a short work week, the Lions will probably sit him.
With Best likely out, Detroit's offense will have no firepower outside of Calvin Johnson. Bill Belichick's specialty as a defensive coach is completely eliminating one aspect of his opponent's scoring attack, and I'm sure he'll be able to keep Megatron from going off.
If that happens, don't look for too many scoring drives from Detroit until the fourth quarter. Shaun Hill puts up great fantasy numbers, but he's not a good quarterback.
NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: The Lions were once ranked near the bottom in pass defense. They've improved to 22nd, as they've limited all but one of their previous eight opponents to 215 passing yards or fewer.
Taking a closer look at the teams they played, however, those eight quarterbacks include: Jon Kitna (with a lead), Ryan Fitzpatrick (with a lead), Donovan McNabb (with a lead), Eli Manning (with a huge lead), Sam Bradford, Aaron Rodgers (with a huge lead) and Brett Favre (with a huge lead). It's not that they've improved against the pass; it's that their opponents didn't need to throw the ball. The Lions, by the way, surrendered 22.9 points per game in those eight contests.
Tom Brady, who is looking much more comfortable now that Deion Branch is healthy, will have no problem putting together consistent scoring drives.
RECAP: If you listen to Bill Simmons' B.S. Report, you heard some false information from the Football Outsiders' Aaron Schatz on Monday. Schatz claimed that the Lions play no worse on Thanksgiving than they do in their other home games. This is completely inaccurate.
Let's roll through those scores again: 34-12, 47-10, 37-26, 27-10, 27-7, 41-9 and 41-10. Forget winning a game; the Lions haven't even covered the spread on Turkey Day since 2003 (0-7). During that span, however, they are 23-21 against the spread at Ford Field when it's not Thanksgiving. Yup, they play exactly the same at home no matter what day it is!
The Lions suck on Thanksgiving. There's just too much pressure from the angry fans who demand a win, and the national media, who continuously opine that Detroit should be stripped of its Thanksgiving game.
The Psychology. Edge: Patriots.
Lots of pressure on the Lions to win this game; they haven't won on Thanksgiving since the holiday was invented.
The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
No surprise that the public is pounding the Patriots.
Percentage of money on New England: 82% (177,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
Turkey Turds: Lions are 1-7 ATS as a Thanksgiving host since 2002.
Patriots are 25-14 ATS vs. NFC opponents since 2001.
New Orleans Saints (7-3) at Dallas Cowboys (3-7) Line: Saints by 4. Total: 49. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 11): Saints -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 11): Saints -3.
Happy Thanksgiving, 4:15 ET
The Game. Edge: Saints.
As I wrote last year, I can no longer get drunk out of my mind and blow 0.5s the night before Thanksgiving because I have to take my full-time job (this site) seriously. So, I can't have fun the night before Thanksgiving. That said, Thanksgiving is still my favorite holiday in the world. What other holiday allows you to stuff your face with food, watch nine hours of football and pass out like a fat slob?
And the best part is, because this is my job, I can get out of doing work around the house in the future when I have a family. Ha! Take that, future wife and kids! Go clean and make food! Walt's gotta work!
Unfortunately, I am missing out on some fun times. For example, I received the following text from one of my female friends late Friday night/early Saturday morning:
My pole dancing night must come to a close. I hope I find my panties.
I would have volunteered to help the search, but I didn't get the text until the following morning because I already passed out. Son of a b****.
NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: The Saints are back. I don't know what they did during their bye week, but they didn't even need Reggie Bush or Pierre Thomas to be more efficient in the red zone. Drew Brees was amazing against the Seahawks; his team punted only once in that entire game.
Of course, Seattle doesn't have the best secondary in the world, ranking 26th versus the pass in terms of YPA. The Cowboys, however, are even worse at No. 29. Thanks to Terence Newman's declining skills and horrid safety play, they've allowed at least 260 passing yards to their previous five opponents.
The Saints will make it six - unless they establish a huge lead early and Brees doesn't have to throw the ball often.
DALLAS OFFENSE: Jon Kitna has been pretty serviceable thus far for the Cowboys. He and Dez Bryant have clicked in their brief action together.
Kitna, however, has his limitations. He couldn't put the Lions away until very late last week (with the help of a punt return touchdown) and he led the Cowboys to just seven points at the Packers - the only top-10 pass defense he's battled in four starts.
The Saints rank in the top 10 as well. In fact, they're No. 2 in terms of YPA. Sure, they surrendered 366 yards to Matt Hasselbeck last week, but a lot of that came in the second half when they were up big. Outside of that contest, New Orleans has yielded more than 228 passing yards to only one opponent this year.
Without a balanced offense to help Kitna, the Cowboys won't be able to put together consistent scoring drives. The Saints are slightly weaker against the run (12th), but Dallas' putrid line can't open up holes for Felix Jones.
RECAP: The Cowboys have a great history of winning (and covering) on Thanksgiving. They've triumphed in their previous four Turkey Day games by the scores of 38-10, 34-3, 34-9 and 24-7.
However, all four of those contests had a common theme: Dallas, who had a winning record at the time, was playing a losing team.
Things have completely flip-flopped this year. Now the Cowboys are the losers, and they have to host the red-hot defending Super Bowl champions.
I like the Saints to win and cover, but I wouldn't recommend betting this game given Sedrick Ellis' doubtful status and Dallas' great Thanksgiving resume (7-2 ATS last 9). A three-point Cowboys loss wouldn't surprise me at all.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
Big game for both teams.
The Vegas. Edge: Cowboys.
This is the first Thanksgiving in a long time that the public isn't all over the Cowboys.
Percentage of money on New Orleans: 84% (164,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
Turkey Tyrants: Cowboys are 7-2 ATS as a Thanksgiving host since 2001.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-8) at New York Jets (8-2) Line: Jets by 9. Total: 43. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 11): Jets -9.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 11): Jets -10.
Happy Thanksgiving, 8:20 ET
The Game. Edge: Jets.
After a delicious Thanksgiving feast, we get to vomit all of our food away late Thursday evening! Why? The completely inept announcing of Bob Papa, Joe Theismann and Matt Millen is terrible enough to make anyone puke.
if you don't have the NFL Network and have missed out, these guys are the absolute worst. Papa continuously makes factual errors (called Matt Ryan "Matt Bryant" and Harry Douglas "Harry Davis.") Theismann loves making fat jokes at Millen's expense (which I find amusing). Millen, meanwhile, says either the most obvious or dumbest things ever. For example, Millen called Rod Marinelli a "great coach." The same guy who went 0-16 with the Lions when Millen was the general manager.
Here's a preview of the Thursday night game:
Bob Papa: Mark Santiago throws a pass, and it's caught by Braylon Anderson for a Cincinnati first down! Now that's what you call an incomplete reception!
Matt Millen: You see that play? I want you to watch this. Braylon Edwards was able to catch the football because the ball sailed right into his hands and it didn't drop to the ground. That's what an NFL reception looks like.
Joe Theismann: You want to see what a fat color commentator looks like? Let's get the camera to pan to Matt. He's incredibly big. Hey Matt, how many turkeys did you eat today? Five? Ten?
Bob Papa: Shonn Granger with the carry, takes it down to midfield. Tackle by Ray Lewis of the Cincinnati Reds.
Matt Millen: I want you to look at the sidelines. See that guy on the Bengals sideline right there? That's Terrell Owens. Nicest guy I've ever met. Anyone who thinks Terrell Owens causes problems in the locker room really doesn't know what they're talking about. I would trade five first-round picks to have Owens on my team.
Joe Theismann: Hey, Matt! There's a hamburger on the ground. Quick, grab it before someone else does!
Matt Millen: Where? Where!? I don't see it! I want to eat that hamburger NOM NOM NOM NOM!!!
Ugh. I can already feel the vomit coming.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: When you're outscored by the Bills 42-3 after a quick start, that just proves that you've given up. The Bengals put forth no effort against Buffalo in the second half Sunday, and why would they? They suffered an emotional loss to the Colts and their season was essentially over.
Now, Cincinnati will somehow have to summon enough energy on a short travel week - without two key defensive starters. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who had two interceptions (one pick-six) against the Bills, and free safety Chris Crocker are both out. With no pass rush to speak of, it's safe to say that the Bengals will not be able to stop a red-hot Mark Sanchez.
Of course, Sanchez won't have to throw the ball if his team is up big. The Jets have struggled to run the ball recently, but the lethargic Bengals could just be what the doctor ordered; they're 26th versus the rush (4.6 YPC).
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: Darrelle Revis announced that he will cover Terrell Owens in this game. Revis shut down Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson the past two weeks, and shouldn't have any trouble with Owens. Of course, Carson Palmer can't look toward Chad Ochocinco either because Antonio Cromartie will be on No. 85.
I really don't know how the Bengals are going to muster any meaningful offense. With Palmer's top two wideouts unavailable and a non-existent running game (Jets are second versus the rush), Cincinnati may not score any points until garbage time.
RECAP: This has blowout written all over it. Aside from the obvious mismatch and the possibility that the Bengals could mail this game in, the Jets have the obvious advantage of hosting a horrible team on a short work week.
Since the NFL introduced a third Thanksgiving game to the lineup in 2006, hosts that have been .500 or better are undefeated against the spread. In fact, the only home team to lose in the third Thanksgiving game was the miserable 2007 Joey Harrington-led Falcons, who had the misfortune of battling the Colts.
The possibility of a backdoor touchdown - the Bengals are good at those - scares me enough to keep this from being a five-unit play. However, I love the Jets enough to lay a healthy three units.
And happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a great holiday.
SURVIVOR PICK: I lost with the Giants in Survivor two weeks ago, but I'll continue to give advice for those who are still alive.
The Jets are my top choice. You have to take them if they're still available. Here are my top six in order: New York Jets, Cleveland, Houston, Baltimore, New York Giants and Washington. As always, never pick a road team. Never pick a bad team. Never pick an underdog. Never save any teams. Always choose the best option.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
The Jets are in a major Breather Alert; the Bengals are the final non-divisional opponent with a losing record on their slate. HOWEVER, they will definitely be up for this game because they're the Thanksgiving host.
The Vegas. Edge: Bengals.
Slight lean on the Jets early on. I thought there'd be more.
Percentage of money on New York: 64% (139,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Jets.
Thanksgiving hosts are 3-1 ATS (3-0 if .500 or better).
Green Bay Packers (7-3) at Atlanta Falcons (8-2) Line: Falcons by 2. Total: 47.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 11): Falcons -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 11): Falcons -3.
Sunday, Nov. 28, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Packers.
Week 11 Recap: A weird week at 8-8, -$480. I finished in the red for the first time since Week 6 even though I hit my top two plays (Bills, Texans). The problem was a combined lost 11 units thanks to:
A lack of effort by the Dolphins (and an injury to the starting center) on Thursday night.
Horrible officiating and fumbling problems in the Seahawks-Saints game (not to mention Seattle failing to score from 2nd-and-goal at the 2-yard line.)
A shovel pass interception to no one in the Rams-Falcons contest. Seriously, Sam Bradford, how could you throw that?
Of course, I received one piece of hate mail from the same douche who keeps e-mailing me whenever I make a losing pick. I'll post that later.
GREEN BAY OFFENSE: Aaron Rodgers has the obvious advantage in this matchup of great, young quarterbacks. Atlanta's secondary is very pedestrian, ranking 28th against the pass in terms of YPA. They've surrendered at least 215 passing yards to all but one opponent (Josh Freeman) in their previous five games.
The Falcons' defensive strength is stopping the run, so the Packers match up well in this contest, considering that they don't need to rush the football to win games because Rodgers is that good.
With a leaky secondary, Atlanta will have to put pressure on Rodgers if it wants to claim its ninth victory of the season. I don't see that happening; the Falcons have just three sacks in their previous three games, while the Packers have allowed just six sacks in their past three contests.
ATLANTA OFFENSE: I said Rodgers has the advantage in this matchup because the Packers boast a brilliant aerial defense. They rank fourth in terms of YPA. Having an incredible pass rush helps, of course; the Packers are tied for fifth in sacks with 28.
Unlike Rodgers, Matt Ryan needs the help of a consistent running game to be successful; the Falcons are just 1-3 against the spread when they rush for fewer than 100 yards this year (5-1 ATS otherwise).
Unfortunately for the Falcons, the Packers also excel at defending ground attacks. Green Bay is eighth in this department, as only two teams have gained more than 100 rushing yards against them since Week 2.
RECAP: As of Tuesday afternoon, close to two-thirds of the public is taking the Packers. The other third likes the Falcons because they're so dominant at home.
Let's explore Atlanta's home success. Matt Ryan is 17-1 straight up and 13-4 against the spread as a host. Those are damn good numbers.
But the question must be asked: What sort of competition has Ryan had in the Georgia Dome? Well, in his first two years, he played only one team that would go on to the postseason (2008 Panthers - a fraud team led by Jake Delhomme). He beat the 7-3 Buccaneers and Ravens this year, but Tampa Bay covered (and nearly won) and Baltimore had to travel on a short week.
Oh, and the combined record of the 18 teams Ryan has battled at home? 102-156. The Georgia Dome doesn't seem so intimidating now, does it?
Look, I'm not trying to deface Ryan or the Falcons here. I think they're a very good team. But their home record isn't exactly completely legitimate.
Now that the pro-Falcons trend is out of the way, let me tell you why I love the Packers:
1. Aaron Rodgers is getting points. That's good enough for me. Rodgers is one of the top six quarterbacks in the NFL (Manning, Brady, Roethlisberger, Brees, Rivers being the other five), and you almost have to bet them every time whenever they're underdogs (88-42 ATS aggregate).
Rodgers himself is 7-3 against the spread as an underdog; 4-1 ATS if you exclude his first year as a starter.
2. Betting on teams in their second consecutive road game, particularly as underdogs, is a pretty lucrative strategy. Mike McCarthy, who has a pretty good road record (see below) is 5-3 ATS in these situations.
3. This line insinuates that the Packers are just a half point better than the Falcons. I disagree with that. Of course, you could argue that Atlanta is getting more respect because of its great home record, but that just makes my case stronger.
I already showed you that the Falcons' hosting record is a bit of a farce, so if this point spread is based entirely on Ryan's record in the Georgia Dome, that gives us incredible value with the superior Packers.
Green Bay is one of two five-unit picks I have this week. I also have a pair of four-unit plays as well.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
Big game for both teams.
The Vegas. Edge: Falcons.
Bettors were all over the Packers early on. The money evened out late.
Percentage of money on Green Bay: 63% (118,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Packers.
Packers are 24-12 ATS on the road under Mike McCarthy.
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) at Buffalo Bills (2-8) Line: Steelers by 6.5. Total: 43.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 11): Steelers -7.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 11): Steelers -7.
Sunday, Nov. 28, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Steelers.
Vegas Recap: I've been noting all year that Vegas has been slaughtering the public in the NFL. I kind of figured that the books would give casual bettors an early Christmas present so people would actually have money to spend on Black Friday (and bet later on).
Well, my instincts were right. All five of the highly bet teams (Ravens, Packers, Falcons, Buccaneers, Eagles) covered the spread in Week 11.
If you're expecting cool Christmas gifts, relax. For once, Santa doesn't owe tons of money to his bookie.
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: The demise of the Steelers has been greatly exaggerated. Those who expected them to struggle and possibly lose to the Raiders (including this guy) were disappointed to see Pittsburgh triumph in a blowout, 35-3.
The Steelers threw all over the Raiders, and should be able to do the same to the Bills, who had trouble defending Carson Palmer and his receivers until the Bengals gave up last week. With no ability to get to the quarterback, Buffalo has allowed 553 passing yards the past two weeks.
Pittsburgh will also be able to run the ball on the Bills, who actually made Cedric Benson look good on Sunday. Buffalo is 27th versus the run, yielding 4.6 YPC on the year.
BUFFALO OFFENSE: The Bills have been able to run the ball very well lately; they've totaled 269 rushing yards in their past two games, making life much easier for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Unfortunately, they won't have nearly as much success in this department Sunday. The Steelers just limited a red-hot Darren McFadden to 14 yards on 10 carries, so Jackson should consider himself fortunate if he can manage a handful of positive gains in this contest.
The Bills have done a great job protecting the quarterback lately (three sacks in the past three games), but playing the Steelers is a completely different animal. They have 29 sacks on the year, and James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley shouldn't have any problem ripping through Buffalo's patchwork offensive line.
RECAP: This spread says the Steelers are only nine points better than the Bills. Considering Pittsburgh and Buffalo are Nos. 4 and 29 in my NFL Power Rankings, respectively, I completely disagree with the line.
I would take Pittsburgh if I had to, but this will be a zero-unit play. There are no spot or situational angles here, and I hate betting the Steelers when the public is pounding them, given the old Rooney connection to sportsbooking. Something shady always seems to happen.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
No one believes in the Bills.
Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 85% (144,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bills.
Steelers are 2-7 ATS on the road as favorites of -5 or more since 2006.
Steelers are 5-12 ATS as road favorites under Mike Tomlin.
Bills are 23-12 ATS in November home games the previous 35 contests.
Carolina Panthers (1-9) at Cleveland Browns (3-7) Line: Browns by 10. Total: 37.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 11): Browns -7.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 11): Browns -7.5.
Sunday, Nov. 28, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Unknown.
As mentioned, I received one piece of hate mail this week. I actually got it Thursday night after my four-unit bet on the Dolphins lost:
Good job AGAIN tonight... damn this is getting old. You wonder why you only hear from me when you suck it up, but yet you've been hearing from me a lot lately haven't you??? Hmmmmm what does that tell you???
Anyway, nice long hate mail write up that you put on the site this week with the monolog between me and my mother. You know, maybe if you spent... sorry wasted... as much time trying to read the Chi/Mia game as you did trying to come up with that whole retarded monolog then maybe you wouldn't be blowing 4 unit picks like it's your job... oh wait IT IS your job, my bad.
I can't believe you actually were happy with the way you performed last week considering your whole weekend was ONE November pick of the month that got you in the plus because you s*** the bed on all of your other picks. But hey we all get lucky once in a while, right?
This is the same guy I talked about before - the one who always sends me hate mail if I get pick wrong, but never congratulates me for a winning week.
I actually enjoy his e-mails; I've received lots of feedback from other people who enjoy reading his nonsensical comments and my responses to them.
As I wrote last week, his life is completely focused around my site. Guess my hypothesis was right on the money.
Here was his Thursday night schedule:
4:00: Gets home from school. Decides he's going to call the hot chick from his chemistry class.
Hot Chick: "Hello?"
*** Silence ***
Hot Chick: "Uhh... who's this?"
*** Hangs up the phone ***
Hate-Mailer: "OMG I almost talked to her OMG!!!"
4:15: Asks his mother if he can play Everquest. She tells him to do his homework first.
6:30: Finishes his homework. Realizes he's hungry. Goes downstairs.
Hate-Mailer: "Mahhhh I'm hungry, can I have macaroni and cheese with bacon mahhh?"
Mom: "No, poopykins, tonight is Thursday, so you have to eat vegetables."
Hate-Mailer: "Buuuuut maaahhhhh!!!"
Mom: "Don't argue with me, sweetie."
Hate-Mailer: "But you said I can have baaaaacon, and then you said you'd make baaaaaacon, and then I thought I'd eat baaaacon."
Mom: "That's it! Eat your vegetables now!"
7:15: Finishes his vegetables. Calls the hot chick again.
Hot Chick: "Hello?"
*** Silence ***
Hot Chick: "Who are you? Why do you keep calling me?"
*** Hangs up the phone ***
Hate-Mailer: "OMG OMG OMG I almost said something OMG OMG OMG!!!"
7:30: Plays Everquest.
11:00: Mom comes into his room.
Mom: "Poopykins, time for bed!"
Hate-Mailer: "But mahhhh!!! I want to see how WalterFootball did with the Bears-Dolphins gaaaaaame!!!"
Mom: "Fine, but then brush your teeth, and I'll tuck you in."
11:05: Sees the score and sends me hate mail.
That's exactly how his Thursday night went down.
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: What a shame. Colt McCoy was playing so well, as he nearly led the Browns on two last-minute drives to potentially beat the Jaguars. Unfortunately, McCoy sprained his ankle. His status as of Tuesday afternoon is unclear.
Regardless of whether McCoy plays or not, the Browns will employ a heavily ground-based attack against the Panthers' pathetic defense. Carolina is 15th versus the rush, but as I've been saying the past couple of weeks, that ranking is really going to drop with Dan Connor out for the year. Peyton Hillis should have a huge game.
Cleveland's starting quarterback - whether that's McCoy or Seneca Wallace - will enjoy the luxury of operating in a clean pocket (Panthers have 15 sacks on the year) and throwing against a secondary that has allowed 795 passing yards the past three weeks.
CAROLINA OFFENSE: Like the Browns, the Panthers have some uncertainty at quarterback. Jimmy Clausen may not be able to play because of a concussion he suffered two weeks ago, so it could either be Brian St. Pierre or Tony Pike.
If it's St. Pierre or Pike, the Panthers have no chance of keeping this game close. The Browns will stack the line of scrimmage to stop Mike Goodson, forcing either inept quarterback to beat them.
If Clausen starts, Carolina will have at least some sort of a shot. Clausen played somewhat well at Tampa Bay in Week 10, and the Browns' secondary is really bad (five consecutive opponents with 224-plus passing yards).
RECAP: It's unclear who's starting or what the point spread will be, so I can't really give you a definitive answer as to whom I'm taking and for how many units. For now, let's tentativelysay I'm picking the Panthers because this spread might be ridiculously high for an offensively challenged 3-7 team.
I'll revisit this pick once we know what's going on, so check back later in the week. If Clausen's starting and the line is still super high, I may take Carolina for 2-3 units and post a long write-up about it.
LINE POSTED: Colt McCoy is out. Jake Delhomme and Jimmy Clausen will start. The Browns have opened up as 10-point favorites.
RECAP II: Jake freaking Delhomme is favored by 10? Are you kidding me? I love the Panthers. Aside from the prospect of wagering against Delhomme here's why:
1. Since 2002, teams that have gone 6-10 or worse are just 19-49 against the spread when laying six or more points. Obviously, this is a difficult system to follow because it's hard to guess which teams will be 6-10, but I think we can be pretty sure that the Browns aren't going to win at least seven games this season with McCoy out for 4-6 weeks.
2. Teams with three or more consecutive losses usually cover as road underdogs. John Fox is 5-3 against the spread in this dynamic.
3. The Browns are a double-digit favorite off a loss. Teams in this situation are just 34-61 against the spread since 2002.
4. Oh, and did I mention that Jake freaking Delhomme is favored by 10 points? I bet his son's kidnappers are thrilled right now.
I love the Panthers to cover the 10. If I trusted them more, this would be an easy five-unit selection. Instead, I'll go with three units.
LOCK IN: If you want to bet the Panthers, do it now. Don't wait because the line may fall to 9.5.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Early money on the Browns, but it has evened out.
Percentage of money on Cleveland: 51% (87,000 bets)
Jacksonville Jaguars (6-4) at New York Giants (6-4) Line: Giants by 7. Total: 44. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 11): Giants -7.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 11): Giants -7.
Sunday, Nov. 28, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Giants.
My e-mail address is published on this site, so I tend to get more spam and junk mail than the average person. Each week, I'm going to find a hilarious e-mail and post it for your entertainment.
I'm going to continue with the Miss Kindness e-mails. If you missed it, some random woman named Miss Kindness sent me a message saying that I'm the man of her dreams. I replied to her, introducing myself as Mister Compassion.
She responded, telling me that her family was killed by rebels in Senegal. She also let me know that she had a large sum of money that she needed to transfer into this country. I, in turn, assured her that I would find her parents' killers and torture them. I also said that I wouldn't need money because I rob banks for a living.
Miss Kindness e-mailed me back:
Hello It is a pleasure you responded to my urgent request, Like i said in my previous e-mail this money is a deposit made by my late father in a bank, i was used as the next trustee to the deposit, but was refused from accessing the account because i am a refugee. According to the law of Senegal, no refugee have the right to transfer, save or withdraw money from a bank account.
I know you must be surprised and sacred with my offer, but please believe in me as a lonely sincere heart with alot of agony Give a consideration to my request as i am facing the most difficult moment of life, however few people has recently lost their lifes because of the hardship in the camp. I don't want to victim illness or death, hence i am pleading you to come to my rescue.
I have to review this secret after spending a while of pressure and frustration due to the attitude of the people. The United Nation has on several occasion promise to take us to Western World, but has failed to fulfill their promise. Haven prayed and fasted, i must say i am convinced within me that you are the right man to assist me out of this situation.
I have already inform my Bank my desire to get back my inheritance through a foreigner who will act on my behalf, however the bank manager has promise to assist you in all kind of advice that will easy the process of the transfer.
You as my helper will have nothing to regret or loose. Please provide me with
(1)YOUR FULL NAME..............................?
(2)YOUR COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE.........?
(4)YOUR PHONE NO.................................?
In case of urgency, please call me through this number, the number contain both the country code, city code. Just dial the number as i have stated it OK. Remember to ask after my name as the telephone is not mine OK. 00221774563646
I have a knight-in-shining-armor complex, so I feel like I need to do whatever I can to help the lovely Miss Kindness.
Here was my reply:
Tis I again, your knight in shining armor, Mister Compassion.
I am sorry for the delay in my response. I have been busy tracking down the killers of your parents. I ventured to your old home in Dakar, Senegal. I collected fingerprints and have searched endlessly for the monsters who ruined your life. I managed to find one.
After beating him up with my brass knuckles, I tied him to a chair and popped in a DVD of the Big Bang Theory. Five episodes in, his head exploded. There was blood everywhere. In fact, there is still blood on my hands right now. I, Mister Compassion, do not believe in taking showers.
I will answer any question you ask of me, Miss Kindness. Here are the answers you seek:
(1)YOUR FULL NAME..............................Mister Compassion Chuck Norris
(2)YOUR COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE.........Texas
(3)YOUR OCCUPATION.............................Black Ops Mercenary; part-time bank robber
(4)YOUR PHONE NO.................................867-5309
(5)YOUR AGE...........................................I am 5 years old. I was created in a laboratory by scientists in 2005.
Unfortunately, Miss Kindness, I do not have possession of a bank account, so I am unable to help you transfer your funds. Instead of having bank accounts, I like to rob banks. I also rob jewelry stores and fast-food restaurants.
I hope to hear from you soon my beautiful,
Mister Compassion Chuck Norris
NEW YORK OFFENSE: The Giants' offense is in shambles right now. Hakeem Nicks is out for three weeks. Steve Smith won't be available for a while because of a chest injury. There are injuries on the offensive line. And as Tom Coughlin noted after the Eagles game, his team is committing way too many turnovers.
The Jaguars are ranked dead last against the pass, but that may improve if they can get tons of pressure on the quarterback like they did against the Browns. They had six sacks last week despite owning just 14 going into the game.
Having said that, even if Jacksonville can't apply pressure on Eli Manning, the Giants may not be able to put together consistent scoring drives; the Jaguars have stopped the run lately, and Manning's top weapons include Mario Manningham and Derek Hagan. By the way, I think Manningham is already the all-time NFL leader in routes run short of the first-down marker on third down.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: New York just surrendered 111 rushing yards to LeSean McCoy and Jerome Harrison, but don't expect Maurice Jones-Drew to go off in a similar fashion. The Giants were simply too focused on QB Dog Killer to bother with McCoy and Harrison. They are still ranked 11th versus the run.
David Garrard will have to beat the Giants aerially. Not having Mike Sims-Walker could be a slight problem, but he still has Marcedes Lewis, Mike Thomas and Jones-Drew out of the backfield at his disposal.
Garrard appears to have a good matchup against a New York secondary that has allowed an average of 281 passing yards in four of its previous five games. However, I'm concerned about Garrard's pass protection; the Giants are tied for fifth in the NFL in sacks (28), while the Jaguars have surrendered nine sacks in their past three contests.
RECAP: I've been critical of the Jaguars in the past, but they're playing quality football right now. Believe it or not, they are one of my four-unit plays this week for the following reasons:
1. This line is not indicative of how these teams are playing right now. The Jaguars have won three consecutive games, while New York have dropped two in a row. The Giants have major injury issues, and they're definitely not 4.5 points better than Jacksonville at this moment.
2. Speaking of the spread, asking the Giants to cover 7.5 points seems like a lot considering how poorly and sloppily they're playing right now.
3. As noted below, this is a major flat spot for the Giants. They created the perfect game plan against QB Dog Killer, but still lost by 10. I don't know how they're going to muster enough energy to play the "mediocre" Jaguars.
4. Teams that are favored after losing two or more consecutive games - I call them False Favorites - seldom cover at home.
The Psychology. Edge: Jaguars.
The Giants put everything into that Eagles game and still lost by 10. They're going to have trouble getting up for the Jagaurs.
The Vegas. Edge: Jaguars.
Lots of late action on the Giants.
Percentage of money on New York: 72% (120,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Giants.
Jaguars are 7-19 ATS against non-divisional opponents since 2008.
Jaguars are 5-9 ATS vs. NFC opponents since 2007.
Giants are 17-11 ATS after a loss since 2005.
Giants are 16-22 ATS as favorites of 6.5 or more the previous 38 instances.
Minnesota Vikings (3-7) at Washington Redskins (5-5) Line: Vikings by 2. Total: 44. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 11): Redskins -1.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 11): Redskins -3.
Sunday, Nov. 28, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Vikings.
The Video of the Week: An e-mailer recently told me to stop creating Jerks of the Week entry because they made me seem racist. So with that in mind, let's take a look at what happens when Popeyes runs out of chicken.
Hey, if I was looking forward to fried chicken and the local Popeyes ran out, I'd be pretty pissed off too. I'd have much crazier things to say than "We've been looking forward to this day" and "I was tryin' to feed my family tonight." Remember, I, Mister Compassion Chuck Norris, like to torture people and rob banks. The managers of that Popeyes would pay dearly.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: I'm really impressed with Leslie Frazier. He hasn't even coached a game yet, but I'm convinced that he's the right man for the job. He just looks like a great head coach by the way he sternly handled the press conference. I don't understand how he wasn't hired for a head-coaching gig already.
Frazier will continue to roll with Brett Favre as his quarterback, and understandably so. It's not like Tarvaris Jackson is the answer. With Sidney Rice a week healthier, Favre should have success against a Washington secondary that has allowed every single opponent it has played this year to throw for at least 212 yards.
Of course, Adrian Peterson remains the key to the Vikings' offense. He should have a huge game against the Redskins' 31st-ranked rush defense.
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: Like the Redskins, Minnesota is really struggling against the pass. Part of the reason is the fact that the Vikings have just 15 sacks on the year. The other part is that the right cornerback position is a huge void on the defense with Cedric Griffin out for the year.
Donovan McNabb responded well last week after a shaky Monday night performance, going 30-of-50 for 376 yards, one touchdown and an interception at Tennessee. Given the Vikings' problems against the pass, McNabb should pick up where he left off.
RECAP: I'm really not sure what to make of this contest. The Vikings are coming off an emotional, season-ending loss to the Packers, but there are also things that favor them. They just lost the spread by 25-plus points and haven't covered in five games - both of which are lucrative betting spots.
And then there's the matter of the Childress firing. Teams that have axed their head coach during a non-bye week in the middle of the season have generally performed really poorly afterward. However, the Cowboys, a team very similar to this Minnesota squad, upset the Giants as huge underdogs a couple of weeks ago in this situation.
I'm taking Washington for zero units; I think the Vikings could be really flat off the Green Bay loss. Dallas was not sluggish off their Packers defeat because their season was already over and they put forth no effort into that game.
The Psychology. Edge: Redskins.
The Packers loss was the end of the Vikings.
The Vegas. Edge: Redskins.
Two-thirds action on the Vikings.
Percentage of money on Minnesota: 71% (97,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Redskins.
Teams that fire their head coach mid-season on a non-bye week are 3-11 ATS since 1996.
Tennessee Titans (5-5) at Houston Texans (4-6) Line: Texans by 6.5. Total: 47. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 11): Texans -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 11): Texans -7 (No Vince Young).
Sunday, Nov. 28, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Texans.
Once again, I'm now in the same fantasy football league as Bo-Bo. If you don't know who Bo-Bo is, he's quite possibly the worst fantasy player in the history of the universe. Here was the team he drafted last year:
QB: Trent Edwards (6th-round pick); RB1: Michael Turner; RB2: Frank Gore; WR1: Terrell Owens; WR2: Kevin Curtis; WR3: Joey Galloway; TE: Chris Cooley; DEF: Minnesota; K: David Akers (12th-round pick).
Unfortunately, I have sad news to report. Bo-Bo will not be going 0-13 this year.
I guess even the worst fantasy football player in the world has to win once in a while. Despite starting bums like Justin Forsett, Jason Avant and Neil Rackers, Bo-Bo triumphed by a single point:
The 0-13 dream season is over. Maybe next year, Bo-Bo.
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: I really don't understand why there's no line for this game. Vince Young and Kerry Collins are both out, and Rusty Smith will start. We know that. Come on Vegas, stop being lazy and just post a damn spread already.
Rusty was, well, rusty in his limited action last week. He went 3-of-9 with an interception, but could have tossed another pick or two (Phillip Buchanon dropped an easy one.) However, he had no snaps leading up to the game, so it's not really fair to judge him on just nine throws.
Chris Johnson will really need to make life easier for Rusty. Ordinarily, defenses would stack the line of scrimmage and force Rusty to beat them, but teams are still convinced that Randy Moss is good. With Moss drawing double coverage, Johnson should be able to run all over the Texans' struggling run defense.
HOUSTON OFFENSE: Unlike the Texans, Tennessee can actually stop the run. But as Arian Foster has shown us, he can be successful against any stop unit. He rushed for 84 yards on just 22 carries against the Jets' No. 2 ground defense Sunday.
Foster was also a big part of the passing attack, catching six balls for 59 yards. Foster, Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub figure to have great statistical performances against the Titans, who have surrendered at least 305 passing yards to each of their previous three opponents.
Keeping the Titans out of the backfield will be Houston's greatest challenge. Tennessee is second in the NFL with 30 sacks. The Texans had pass-protection issues earlier in the year when Duane Brown was out, but they've surrendered just three sacks in the past three weeks.
RECAP: All the situational angles point toward the Titans. Houston just had an emotional loss to the Jets and may not get up for playing a team featuring its third-string rookie quarterback. The Texans are also a false favorite; they're laying points despite dropping two or more games in a row.
Ordinarily, I'd love Tennessee in this spot, but I just don't know how the team's going to respond in the wake of the Jeff Fisher-Vince Young feud. Young's tirade has to serve as a huge distraction for the Titans. I honestly have no idea how well or poorly they're going to play this week.
With a gun to my head, I'd still take Tennessee. Of course, we don't know what the spread will be. Check back later.
LINE POSTED: A line has finally been posted. The Texans have opened up as 6.5-point favorites. I still would take the Titans if I had to, but as I wrote earlier, I wouldn't bet this game. There are just way too many unknowns.
The Psychology. Edge: Unknown.
I honestly have no idea. The Texans are coming off an emotional loss to the Jets, but are playing a divisional rival. However, they may not take the Titans seriously with Rusty Smith at quarterback. The Titans, meanwhile, could be in complete disarray in the wake of all the Vince Young drama.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Houston: 59% (79,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
History: Titans have won 12 of the 16 meetings (Texans won 2 of the last 3).
Titans are 22-13 ATS as underdogs in the post-Steve McNair era.
Texans are 29-14 ATS after two or more consecutive losses (3-4 ATS as favorites).
Week 12 NFL Picks - Late Games Chiefs at Seahawks, Dolphins at Raiders, Rams at Broncos, Buccaneers at Ravens, Eagles at Bears, Chargers at Colts, 49ers at Cardinals
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 21, 2014): 0-1 (-$770)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2014): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2014): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2014): 0-1 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21, 2014): -$65
2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350)
2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2014 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 50-41, 55.0% (+$1,500) 2014 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 12-17-1, 41.4% (-$1,990) 2014 Season Over-Under: 144-119-2, 54.8% ($0) 2014 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$630
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
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)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,157-1,978-117, 52.2% (+$10,530) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 694-624-31 (52.7%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 288-251-11 (53.4%) Career Over-Under: 1,685-1,655-48 (50.5%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 30-19 (61.2%)
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.