Carolina Panthers (2-12) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4) Line: Steelers by 14. Total: 37. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 15): Steelers -14.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 15): Steelers -13.5.
Thursday, Dec. 23, 8:20 ET
The Game. Edge: Steelers.
I've been harping about how horrible Bob Papa, Joe Theismann and Matt Millen have been on the NFL Network. But let's take a look at what a real doctor thinks about them. This is an e-mail from Dr. Steven S:
Listening to these morons is a true test of courage. I can't go more than a minute or two without having to suppress the overwhelming urge of driving sharp pencils into both of my ears.
It's amazing how often these dolts are wrong. And not just little stuff. Big ones like touchdown or not, first down or not, penalty or not. I think the answer is picture no volume and something soothing on the stereo.
I know you've been down on them, all year. Until tonight, I could just ignore them. Not tonight.
With that in mind, here's a preview of what this Carolina-Pittsburgh game will sound like:
Bob Papa: Jiminy Cricket drops back to pass, throws it and it's intercepted by Ike Turner! That's the fourth interception by Jiminy Cricket tonight!
Joe Theismann: And that's an interception, Bob. Here's what an interception means. It's when the quarterback throws the ball, and instead of it going into the receiver's hands, it lands in the defender's hands. After that, the defender runs it back the other way. That's what an interception is, Bob.
Matt Millen: You see that play? I want you to watch this. It's all caused by LaMarr Woodley's pressure. LaMarr Woodley comes off the edge and puts pressure on Jason Clausen, and forces the poor throw. I like to refer to LaMarr Woodley as "Man Beef." Because he's a man, and he has a lot of beef.
Joe Theismann: Speaking of beef, Matt ate about 5,000 pounds of beef at the restaurant last night. Remember that, Bob? They had to grease the door just to get him out.
Bob Papa: Ben Hamburger with a long pass to Michael Watson! First down, Pittsburgh Pirates!
Joe Theismann: I talked to Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He told me that Ben Roethlisberger no longer rapes females. That's what makes Ben Roethlisberger a great NFL quarterback.
Matt Millen: Now, the Steelers are in the red zone. They already lead by 14. If they score here, it'll be a three-score game. If they get a field goal, they'll lead by 20, which is a three-score game. But if they score a touchdown, they'll be up by 21, which is a four-score game.
For the love of God, NFL, please don't let us listen to these guys again.
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.
CAROLINA OFFENSE: The reason I usually take the Over on Thursday games is because defenses are generally a lot less effective when preparing for offenses on a short work week. The converse isn't true. So, with that in mind, can Carolina score on Pittsburgh? Umm... no.
The Panthers can't pass protect, and the Steelers have a devastating pass rush. Jimmy Clausen lucks out because Troy Polamalu won't be playing and consequently won't be able to pick-six him a couple of times, but Chuckin' Jimmy will be pretty ineffective in check-down mode.
Polamalu's absence could allow Jonathan Stewart to have a couple of nice runs, however, which should save Carolina the embarrassment of being shut out.
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: I really can't see the Panthers having much success against the Steelers' offense.
Prior to last week's win over Arizona, Carolina had allowed six consecutive opponents to rush for 93 yards or more. Rashard Mendenhall will have a big game, setting up easy passing situations for Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers have struggled offensively lately because of all the injuries to their offensive line. Well, the Panthers can't rush the passer consistently, so Pittsburgh will be able to move the chains with regularity on Thursday night.
RECAP: Traveling on a short week is always tough. I said it in my Week 15 picks - Thursday hosts with winning records this year are 4-1 against the spread for that reason. The only loss came in Week 11, thanks to Tyler Thigpen's ineptness.
The only thing keeping me from laying multiple units with the Steelers is the fact that they're a double-digit favorite coming off a loss. Teams tend not to cover in this situation, though this could be part of the 35-percent exception.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No emotional edge.
The Vegas. Edge: Panthers.
Jimmy Clausen versus the Steelers defense? Hmm...
Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 76% (51,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Steelers.
Steelers are 21-8 ATS in December home games since 2000.
Dallas Cowboys (5-9) at Arizona Cardinals (4-10) Line: Cowboys by 7. Total: 45. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 15): Cowboys -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 15): Cowboys -4.
Merry Christmas, 7:30 ET
The Game. Edge: Cowboys.
Week 15 Recap: I went 9-7, but lost $150 because I whiffed on my top two picks. Not to sound like Bill Belichick, but I need to do a better job because I completely sucked last week. I handicapped like a drunk and consequently had my fifth losing week of the year. I did, however, pick up on a couple of things that I'll be able to implement next year. So there is a silver lining at least.
I received one piece of hate mail. Sort of. Here it is:
Why do you s*** the bed in your early games almost all the time every week, and do good in the 3 or 4 late games almost all the time? Do you do that on purpose for some reason?
Yeah, I plan it out that way. Vegas and I have a deal where I screw my readers early so they don't bet my games late.
Now that my secret is revealed, let me wish everyone a Merry Christmas or whatever you happen to celebrate.
DALLAS OFFENSE: It's a good thing the Cowboys are starting to run the ball effectively (now that Marion Barber is conveniently hurt) because the Cardinals can't stop it whatsoever. Arizona surrendered 163 rushing yards to Carolina last week, as Jonathan Stewart ripped off double-digit gains at will even when the Cardinals knew the Panthers were going to run the football.
With a strong ground attack by his side, Jon Kitna will have plenty of success aerially. Not that Kitna would need the extra time in the pocket; Arizona has just six sacks in its previous five games.
If you look at the stats, you may notice that the Cardinals haven't allowed 200 passing yards to any opponent since Week 10. But that's only because the other team hasn't needed to throw at all. The fact that they've battled Jimmy Clausen, Kyle Orton, Jimmy Clausen, Troy Smith and Matt Cassel (with a big lead) might have something to do with it too.
ARIZONA OFFENSE: John Skelton played pretty well in his NFL debut, though the stats didn't show it because his receivers dropped a ton of passes. Skelton struggled last week on the road, but should be able to rebound at home against a poor defense.
Dallas has a very miserable secondary ranked 30th against the pass in terms of YPA. Even Rex Grossman was great against them last week. And to make matters worse, the Cowboys could be missing starting strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh because of a concussion.
The Cardinals struggled to run the football last week, but that could change Saturday night. The Cowboys are just 21st versus the rush (YPC).
RECAP: This spread is way too high. 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 Dallas won't beat Philadelphia in the finale.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No emotional edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Cardinals.
No doubt the Cowboys are going to win. Arizona lost to Carolina!
Percentage of money on Dallas: 86% (66,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Cardinals.
Cardinals are 19-7 ATS in December home games since 2000.
Cardinals are 12-4 ATS at home as underdogs or favorites of less than -3 under Ken Whisenhunt.
New England Patriots (12-2) at Buffalo Bills (4-10) Line: Patriots by 9. Total: 45.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 15): Patriots -10.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 15): Patriots -9.
Sunday, Dec. 26, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Patriots.
Vegas Recap: A pretty ho-hum week for Vegas. Of the six highly bet teams, three covered (Chargers, Falcons, Raiders). The sportsbooks won with the Redskins, Titans and Packers beating the spread. Of course, Vegas won some money because of the juice, parlays and teasers.
Still, the Week of Vegas may soon be upon us. Casual bettors, be prepared to turn tricks on the corner in order to pay your bookies.
NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: The Packers did a great job of containing the Patriots. They did this by controlling the clock and putting lots of pressure on Tom Brady. Buffalo may be able to do the first thing, but don't count of Brady feeling the heat in the pocket again.
The Bills have just 25 sacks on the year, including only five in the past three weeks. They consequently aren't very good against the pass, so Brady should have his way with their secondary.
Buffalo's ground defense is also pretty bad. Excluding last week - the Dolphins can't run the ball - the Bills have surrendered an average of 153 rushing yards per game the previous four weeks.
BUFFALO OFFENSE: I do think the Bills will be able to control the clock and keep Brady off the field. They have the rushing attack with Fred Jackson; we saw New England have issues containing Green Bay's mediocre runners Sunday night. If Brandon Jackson can't run well on the Patriots, why can't Fred Jackson?
With Jackson keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick out of third-and-long situations, Buffalo should be able move the chains consistently. Keeping Fitzpatrick out of those ugly downs will be important because New England's red-hot pass rush has 12 sacks in the past four weeks.
RECAP: I like the Bills for a couple of units for three reasons.
1. This contest is meaningless to the Patriots. They're two games up on the Jets, so they don't really need a win.
2. This is Buffalo's Super Bowl. The Bills haven't beaten New England since Week 1, 2003, so they're going to play their hearts out.
3. The Bills are a home underdog coming off a straight-up road victory playing a team that just won at home. Teams tend to cover in this situation.
The Psychology. Edge: Bills.
This is Buffalo's Super Bowl. This is New England's third preseason game.
The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out whom the public will be betting on in this matchup.
Percentage of money on New England: 74% (90,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
History: Patriots have won the last 14 meetings.
Patriots are 31-19 ATS vs. AFC East opponents since 2001.
Tom Brady is 120-38 as a starter (93-62 ATS).
Bills are 3-23 ATS after playing the Miami Dolphins since 1998.
Bills are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
New York Jets (10-4) at Chicago Bears (10-4) Line: Bears by 2.5. Total: 36. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 15): Bears -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 15): Bears -3.
Sunday, Dec. 26, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: None.
Some random NFL notes I can't put anywhere else:
1. Mike Singletary's move back to Alex Smith puzzled me. He apparently did it because of Smith's "experience." Yes, Smith's experience at sucking will come in handy the final two weeks of the season.
I find it interesting that football works the complete opposite of adultery. In adultery, men leave the experience (the aging wife) for something new and exciting (the hot 18-year-old intern at the office). In football, however, Singletary abandoned his new hot intern (Troy Smith) in favor of his old lady (Alex Smith). Not that there's anything wrong with that.
2. If Alex Smith is a boring, fat wife, and Troy Smith is the new slut at the office, what does that make Rex Grossman? Aside from perhaps Chad Henne, no quarterback is as erratic and inconsistent as Grossman.
If Grossman were a woman, he'd look like Katy Perry one day and Nancy Pelosi the next, kind of like that chick on Seinfeld whose appearance depended on the lighting. Grossman would also make for a great girlfriend one week, then poison your food and kill your family out of the blue. In bed, it would be great sex one night, and then painful torture the next night. Not that there's anything wrong with that either.
3. Speaking of women and football, e-mailer Kevin F. sent the following over regarding Jerry Jones' wife and daughter ruining his beautiful stadium:
It seems we can't go a game at Cowboys Stadium without some mention of one of Jerry Jones family members and the "hard work" they've poured into the stadium and the team. First it was that pathetic halftime show at Thanksgiving that the announcers salivated over even though it was the stupidest thing I've ever seen. That was thanks to Jerry Jones' daughter.
Then during the Eagles game last week they showed some god awful piece of "art" and said that it was Jerry Jones wife who had devoted her life to getting "beatiful works" like that into the stadium. I hope next week they thank Jerry Jones' grandson for the porno magazine that "accidentally" got left in the press box.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: The Battle of Shaky Quarterbacks Playing Great Defenses That Could Cause Them to S*** the Bed is upon us. Mark Sanchez managed the game pretty well last week. However, Troy Polamalu was out, which helped out a lot.
Unfortunately for Sanchez, the Bears are at full strength. His offensive line has allowed nine sacks in the past three games because right tackle Damien Woody has been out, and you really have to wonder how well Sanchez will be protected against a Chicago front featuring Julius Peppers.
The Jets ran the ball pretty well last week, but once again, Polamalu wasn't in the lineup. The Bears are a decent 12th versus the rush, so Sanchez could spend most of the afternoon operating in third-and-long situations.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: I don't trust Sanchez here, and Jay Cutler is not dependable either.
Cutler will often be under pressure Sunday; his offensive line leads the NFL in sacks allowed, while the Jets defense has accumulated 12 sacks of its own in the previous four weeks. Cutler is certainly capable of making great throws, as we saw Monday night, but he's also definitely prone to mistakes - and I'm sure Rex Ryan has something up his sleeve.
Like the Jets, the Bears won't have much success on the ground; New York struggled against Rashard Mendenhall, but still ranks second versus the run.
RECAP: There are offsetting shaky quarterbacks and offsetting situational angles in this game. I can't recommend betting either side, but I would lean toward Chicago because this contest is more important to them. The Bears are playing for a bye, while the Jets are pretty much locked into the No. 5 or 6 seed.
SURVIVOR PICK: By popular request, the survivor pick is back.
Here are my top six in order: Pittsburgh (used), Philadelphia (used), Tampa Bay (used), Chicago, Kansas City and Jacksonville. 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.
No emotional edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Jets.
Slight lean on the Bears.
Percentage of money on Chicago: 66% (87,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bears.
Monday Night Magic: Teams coming off a win of 17+ points on MNF are 37-22 ATS the following week.
Baltimore Ravens (10-4) at Cleveland Browns (5-9) Line: Ravens by 3.5. Total: 39.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 15): Ravens -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 15): Ravens -3.
Sunday, Dec. 26, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Ravens.
More random NFL notes:
4. At 4 p.m. Monday, I tweeted (@walterfootball), "What are the odds that @espn shows the Cardinals-Panthers highlights on NFL Primetime? 1 in 1,000,000,000? Nah, too low."
Sure enough, the new crappy NFL Primetime missed the Arizona-Carolina, Cleveland-Cincinnati and Miami-Buffalo highlights (or lowlights). Normally, I'd complain about this, but I'll allow two e-mailers to do that for me. First, from Chris R:
NFL Primetime with Trey Wingo is terrible. They don't show highlights of every game. The sad thing is if I uploaded a YouTube video with a Herm Edwards impression and emailed the video to Trey Wingo, that video would have a better chance of getting on TV than the Cardinals vs. Panthers highlights this week.
Watching NFL Primetime without Chris Berman is like watching College Football Live or College Gameday without Lee Corso. There is no entertainment value or passion, and the show just sucks. What happened to ESPN? Ten years ago it was a respectable business with classy anchors. Now ESPN is just a sad joke that isn't even worth mocking.
Awesome. Meanwhile, Dustin C. sent over the following:
Factor Back! Factor Back! Factor Back! What do you think the average over/under on how many times Merril Hoge says "Factor Back!" in every episode of NFL Live? God that's annoying. I'm going to start a drinking game out of it, even though it's in the middle of the day.
Translation: By 5 p.m., Dustin C. was just as drunk as Derek Anderson.
5. Speaking of Anderson, Blake E. questioned the Arizona quarterback's concussion in the following e-mail:
I noticed today that Derek Anderson hadn't been benched, but suffered "concussion" symptoms. Hmm... were these symptoms dizziness, headaches, light headedness, blurred vision, and getting shown up by rookies out of Fordham? That's weird because the same symptoms are listed on the magic flask warning label.
6. I've always wondered what would happen if scientists cloned Bo-Bo (the worst fantasy football player in the history of the universe) and had him play himself in fantasy.
I don't need to wonder anymore. Facebook friend Jason B. sent the following picture over of the worst fantasy football playoff matchup of all time.
One more fantasy football matchup picture: This is actually from one of my seven leagues (PPR). I won my semi-final. Here's the other semi-final. Take a look and see if anything stands out:
I've never seen a fantasy bench outscore both fantasy starting lineups. And I have to play the guy on the right this week. The sound you just heard was me crapping my pants.
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: It took the Ravens this long to get Ray Rice going? What were they waiting for, an invitation? Rice was phenomenal against the Saints, generating 233 yards and two touchdowns. I just don't understand why Cam Cameron hasn't been using Rice like this all year.
Cameron better keep riding Rice because this is a great matchup for him. The Browns looked completely helpless when trying to stop the run against the Bengals; Cedric Benson totaled 150 yards on 31 attempts last week.
With Baltimore pounding the ball successfully against Cleveland, Joe Flacco won't have to throw often behind a struggling offensive line. The Ravens have had trouble pass blocking recently (18 sacks the past five weeks), but Flacco's limited attempts should be able to keep his sack total down this week.
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: The last time these teams met, Peyton Hillis ran all over Baltimore's defense (22 carries, 144 yards). Hillis should be effective once again; the Ravens have allowed three of their previous five opponents to generate more than four yards per carry.
With Hillis running well, Colt McCoy will obviously have a much easier time converting third downs and moving the chains. McCoy has been very impressive as a rookie, and has played well against the likes of the Steelers, Patriots and Jets, so I don't see any reason why he would struggle against Baltimore.
RECAP: There aren't any situational betting angles here, so I can't recommend betting on either side. However, I would lean toward the Ravens since they've dominated this rivalry, having won the previous five meetings by 7, 16, 31, 10 and 18 points.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No emotional edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
Tons of money coming in on the Ravens.
Percentage of money on Baltimore: 86% (115,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Ravens.
History: Home Team has won 9 of the last 13 meetings (Ravens have won the last 5 meetings).
Ravens are 11-4 ATS vs. teams with losing records under John Harbaugh.
Tennessee Titans (6-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-5) Line: Chiefs by 4.5. Total: 42.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 15): Chiefs -7.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 15): Chiefs -6.5.
Sunday, Dec. 26, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Titans.
Some random college football notes:
1. I think I'm in the minority, but I hope the Big Ten keeps its Legends and Losers Leaders divisional names.
No, I don't like Legends and Losers Leaders; I think it would be the perfect testament to how pathetic and out of touch the NCAA is with its fans. The Big Ten commissioner actually said that he'd re-consider changing the Legends and Losers Leaders divisional names because they received a 90-percent disapproval rating and they "didn't connect with our fans like we wanted to."
That's funny. Because the lack of a playoff system also gets a 90-percent disapproval rating, yet you don't do anything about that. Your concern about the public's wishes change when you're in danger of losing control of all the money, eh Big Ten commissioner?
2. Mark Cuban is my new hero. Cuban said Thursday that he plans on raising half a billion dollars to get rid of this horrible and meaningless bowl system. Cuban said he wants a 12- or a 16-team playoff.
Sixteen teams is my personal preference. People would fill out brackets. They'd be glued to their TV sets that first weekend, hoping for a No. 7 over No. 2 upset. They'd cost American businesses a combined billion dollars thanks to a lack of productivity. It would be glorious.
The way I would do it, each conference would get an automatic bid from its champion as long as it has nine wins. All the other teams would receive at-large bids. Here's how the brackets would look:
No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 8 Central Florida
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Michigan State
No. 3 Stanford vs. No. 6 Virginia Tech
No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 7 West Virginia
No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 8 Miami of Ohio
No. 4 Arkansas vs. No. 5 Boise State
No. 3 Ohio State* vs. No. 6 Missouri
No. 2 TCU vs. No. 7 Nevada
* - I put Ohio State out West and Stanford in the East to avoid an Ohio State-Wisconsin rematch in Round 2.
As in the NCAA Tournament, the No. 1 seeds would have a cakewalk to the second round. And who wouldn't want to watch a potential second-round matchup between Oregon and Boise State?
Shame on you, NCAA, for not giving us what we all want. Fortunately, the awesome Mark Cuban will slay all of you greedy bastards.
3. Colorado's head coach was fired at the end of the year. Maybe they should get rid of their players too. According to ESPN (and thanks to Jason J. for this), a Colorado running back ran for a loss of 82 yards against Kansas State, setting his team up with a 3rd-and-86:
KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: I have to give Matt Cassel a ton of credit. He played valiantly at St. Louis. He definitely wasn't 100 percent, yet he was tough enough to make the throws he needed to and take a few vicious hits from the Rams.
Having said that, the Chiefs may struggle on offense this week. Kansas City needs a working ground attack to move the chains successfully. They achieved this against St. Louis' struggling stop unit, but the Titans just limited Arian Foster and the Texans to 30 yards on 17 carries. Aside from two lacking efforts against the Giants and Jaguars, Tennessee has been prolific against the run this year.
The Titans also excel at rushing the passer, as Jason Babin is in the top five in sacks. Tennessee just sacked Matt Schaub four times, which doesn't bode well for Cassel, whose offensive line has surrendered nine sacks in the past three weeks.
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: Like the Chiefs with Jamaal Charles, the Titans have to get Chris Johnson going to have success on offense.
Fortunately for Johnson's fantasy owners, the stud back gets to battle a defense that has allowed five of its previous seven opponents to gain at least four yards per carry. Johnson has been great the past two weeks, and he should be able to pick up right where he left off against Houston (24 carries, 130 yards).
Kerry Collins played well last week - 14-of-24, 237 yards, two touchdowns, one interception - but was taking advantage of a miserable Texans secondary. With Brandon Flowers on Kenny Britt, Collins won't have as much luck this Sunday, though he'll be able to move the chains and keep drives alive on occasion thanks to Johnson breaking long gains at will.
RECAP: What a shady point spread. How are the 9-5 Chiefs only two points better than the 6-8 Titans? Well, Tennessee is stronger than its 6-8 record indicates; the team was 5-2, but went into a tailspin in the wake of the Vince Young drama. However, Jeff Fisher appears to have rallied the troupes because the Titans are playing well again.
I think these teams are pretty much even, as Kansas City's record is the byproduct of a ridiculously easy schedule. Seriously, their only quality victory was in Week 1 against San Diego. Since then, they've beaten: St. Louis (6-8), Denver (3-11), Arizona (4-10), Buffalo (4-10), Jacksonville (Todd Bouman started), San Francisco (5-9) and Cleveland (5-9).
This spread is low because Vegas knows the Chiefs are a farce. I'm taking the Titans, though there aren't any situational angles to support this.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No emotional edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Titans.
Why is this line so low?
Percentage of money on Kansas City: 67% (79,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Titans.
Titans are 24-14 ATS as underdogs in the post-Steve McNair era.
Chiefs are 10-19 ATS at home since 2007 (4-2 in 2010).
San Francisco 49ers (5-9) at St. Louis Rams (6-8) Line: Rams by 2.5. Total: 39.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 15): Rams -2.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 15): Rams -2.
Sunday, Dec. 26, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: 49ers.
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.
Two weeks ago, I showed you an e-mail I received from a "United Bank of Afriocan." I replied to it, telling them my name was "Mister Compassion Chuck Norris" and that I was raised by wolves until I was 18. I even said, "'Ruuufff ruf ruuuffff rooooff ruuuff awwooooo' means 'I can't wait to receive my inheritance from the United Bank of Afriocan!'"
And if that wasn't enough, when they asked me for my address, I gave them: "123 Wolf Cave Road; Wolf Village, Alaska."
Now, who would be stupid enough to fall for that? Apparently, the United Bank of Afriocan because they actually sent me back an e-mail asking me to scan my driver's license. This is what I sent them:
OK, so they can't possibly be stupid enough to fall for that, right? Right!?
I received the following e-mail days later:
Attn: MC Chuck Norris
Greetings to you from the office of the Integrated Diplomatic office, It`s my pleasure to inform you that your Atm Card parcel has been approved for delivery.
In respect with the provision act of decree 114 of the 1999 constitution, i am directed to inform you that, arrangements have been concluded to deliver your parcel as soon as you fulfill the obligations given to you by making out a payment of $150 only being for the Customs Yellow Tag Fee.
Description of Parcel to be delivered
*Atm Card, Valued US$500,000.00..................0.80kg
*One copy of Endorsed Eligibility certificate. -------------0.20kg
*Original copy of certificate (cc) --------------------------0.10kg
*Original Copy of Insurance Certificate (CIC) ------------ 0.15kg
In view of this development you are expected to indicate your interest by following our instructions to enable the dispatch of your ATM card.
and also your scanned ATM card has been forwarded to you so as to know what you will be expecting form are diplomatic when they arrive your home town.
Your card will be delivered to you as soon you meet up with the Customs Yellow Tag Fee of $150 only. Once you make out the payment your Atm card parcel will be dispatch off to you today and you receive it in two days..
Wow. They actually believe there is a Mister Compassion Chuck Norris who lives in Alaska and speaks wolf tongue.
Unfortunately, John Wire lied; my scanned ATM card was not sent to me. Being a renowned black-ops mercenary, bank robber and son of a wolf, Mister Compassion Chuck Norris has taken great umbrage with this:
Junior Diplomat John Wire:
Tis I, Mister Compassion Chuck Norris again. I am sorry it took me a few days to e-mail you back. One of my wolf cubs urinated on my laptop, so I had to go to the local Best Buy to get my computer fixed. When the Nerd Herd individual charged me for fixing my computer, I captured him and brought him back to my wolf family for dinner.
With that in mind, Junior Diplomat John Wire, you shall suffer the same fate if you do not send the scanned version of my ATM card to me as promised. I have been excited about the prospect of receiving the scanned version of my ATM card to prove to all of the shopkeepers in Wolf Village, Alaska that I am the recipient of a large sum of money from the United Bank of Afriocan.
I've bragged about my fortunes to all the other wolves, but I still have nothing to show for it. Now, the other wolves are talking behind my back, and I am in danger of becoming the village dunce. Junior Diplomat John Wire, I cannot stress the dire importance of the situation to you. If I am the subject of ridicule for another week, I may make it my life goal to destroy the entire United Bank of Afriocan.
I have included a picture of what I would like my ATM card to look like. Feel free to play around with it, but please stick to the general look and feel:
If you are wondering, the first picture is of yours truly. The second is of my lovely wife. The third picture is of my bastard son who peed on my laptop. And the last picture is of my brother-in-law. As you can tell, he's a bit of a douche bag, but my wife made me put his picture on there. I just wish he would ask whenever he wants to borrow my tools, you know?
Merry Christmas to you, Junior Diplomat John Wire, or as they say in my wolf tongue "Aroooo ruff ruff ruff aroooo ruff raroooo!" Translated into English: "If you screw this up for me and do not give me the ATM card I want, I will burn the United Bank of Afriocan to the ground and salt your wounds."
Thank you and good day,
Mister Compassion Chuck Norris
ST. LOUIS OFFENSE: Sam Bradford has really struggled lately. I don't know if it was the ankle injury he suffered early at Arizona, the pick-six he tossed at New Orleans, or the fact that he has played better defenses in the past couple of weeks. But he has really regressed after an impressive start to his rookie campaign.
If it's the latter, Bradford should revert to pre-Saints mode because the 49ers are miserable against the pass. Seemingly everyone has torched San Francisco's 26th-ranked aerial defense (YPA) this year.
The Rams better hope Bradford can rebound because they certainly aren't going to have much success on the ground. The 49ers are ranked third against the run in terms of YPC.
SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: While Steven Jackson will struggle to find running room, Brian Westbrook and an impressive Anthony Dixon will have plenty at their disposal. The Rams have been pathetic against ground attacks lately; they've surrendered an average of 131.6 rushing yards to their previous five opponents.
St. Louis' defensive strength is rushing the passer (39 sacks), so Alex Smith will need Westbrook and Dixon to put him in favorable passing downs.
Smith has actually been pretty decent since reclaiming the starting job. He was just 19-of-29 for 165 yards and an interception last week, but it's not his fault that one of his targets dropped a long pass. And playing the Rams' defense is certainly a step down from battling the Chargers, who are No. 1 against aerial attacks in terms of YPA.
RECAP: I really don't know what to do with this game. There are offsetting situational betting angles. And while the 49ers are playing better right now - despite the blowout loss to San Diego - there's always a chance that Bradford could snap out of his funk.
With a gun to my head, I'm taking the Rams; San Francisco could be deflated coming off that Thursday night game.
The Psychology. Edge: Rams.
The 49ers put a lot of stock into that Chargers game. They won't be at 100 percent this Sunday.
The Vegas. Edge: 49ers.
Bettors jumped all over the Rams when Troy Smith was named the starter.
Percentage of money on St. Louis: 69% (91,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: 49ers.
History: 49ers have won 9 of the last 11 meetings.
Mike Singletary is 9-4 ATS against divisional opponents.
Detroit Lions (4-10) at Miami Dolphins (7-7) Line: Dolphins by 3.5. Total: 41.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 15): Dolphins -6.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 15): Dolphins -4.
Sunday, Dec. 26, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: None.
The Video of the Week: I found this when I was searching for the video game mash-ups I posted a couple of weeks ago. Here's what the Super Mario Bros. would look like in real life. My favorite part is when Mario wants to solve his problems by going go-kart riding or playing tennis.
MIAMI OFFENSE: The Dolphins can't do anything offensively. Their running game stinks. Chad Henne has lost all confidence because he's way too erratic. And the offensive line suddenly can't protect (18 sacks in the past five games).
But Miami can certainly rebound against the Lions, right? Detroit's defense is crappy, so anyone can score on them, correct? Well, not really.
The Lions have actually been a lot better defensively recently. Since they were blown out on Thanksgiving, Detroit has accumulated 10 sacks in three games. They've also allowed opposing quarterbacks to maintain a 7.2 YPA - which would be good for about 20th in the NFL. That doesn't sound too lucrative, but remember whom we're talking about here.
Detroit should be able to dominate the line of scrimmage with its prolific front, so I can't see Miami doing much on offense.
DETROIT OFFENSE: Drew Stanton suffered a separated shoulder last week, but there's a chance he could play through the pain. However, that could be moot because Shaun Hill may make his way back to the lineup.
Regardless of who the starter is, the Lions won't have much luck moving the chains consistently. The Dolphins' offense might be struggling, but their stop unit has been prolific of late. Since Week 10, they've maintained a 6.1 YPA, which would place them atop the pass defense rankings.
Unlike last week, Maurice Morris won't have much success on the ground; the Dolphins are fourth versus the run in terms of YPC, and no opponent has gained more than 66 rushing yards against them since Week 11.
RECAP: This will be a low-scoring offensive struggle. I like Detroit for three reasons:
1. The Lions are underdogs in their second-consecutive road game. Teams usually cover in this situation; Detroit is 8-4 against the spread in this dynamic dating back to 2002.
2. The Dolphins have NEVER covered the spread as 3.5-point favorites under Tony Sparano (0-8 ATS). I find that amazing.
3. Miami was just eliminated from the playoffs. The team could be deflated this week.
The Psychology. Edge: Lions.
The Dolphins were just knocked out of the playoffs. Will they get up for lowly Detroit?
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Detroit: 59% (81,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Lions.
Lions are 13-20 ATS vs. AFC opponents since 2001.
Dolphins are 3-8 ATS vs. NFC teams under Tony Sparano.
Dolphins are 0-8 ATS as favorites of 3.5 or more under Tony Sparano.
Dolphins are 2-10 ATS after a loss of 6 or fewer points since 2007.
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: So, how about that crow, everyone? Every single person on TV and the Internet blasted Mike Shanahan for benching Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman. The guys on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown went ballistic. Cris Carter in particular exclaimed, "No elite quarterback has ever been treated this way!" So, McNabb's elite now? Weh?
I had no faith in Grossman, but he certainly proved everyone wrong. His 322-yard, four-touchdown performance was unbelievable. Sure, he had the two picks, but he still played better than McNabb had all year. Once upon a time, Shanahan transformed Jake Plummer from a pedestrian quarterback into a solid signal-caller. He could be doing the same thing with Grossman. Remember, Grossman has never had an elite offensive coach at his disposal in the NFL.
Grossman has an easy matchup this week. The Jaguars have a miserable defense ranked dead last against the pass in terms of YPA. They can't get to the quarterback either, mustering just five sacks the past four games. In other words, if Grossman screws up, it'll all be on him.
However, Grossman may not have to do much. Ryan Torain should be able to pummel a Jacksonville defense that has surrendered 303 rushing yards in its previous two contests.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: What's up with Maurice Jones-Drew? Jones-Drew had slight knee issues going into the Colts game, and was sidelined for the final few drives Sunday.
If Pocket Hercules is out or limited, that'll really put the Jaguars behind the eight ball, since their passing attack isn't exactly prolific. The Redskins will be praying that Jones-Drew isn't anywhere near 100 percent because they are just 31st versus the run.
Washington is also anemic versus aerial attacks. The team has only 25 sacks on the year (seven since its Week 9 bye) and consequently ranks 27th against the pass in terms of YPA.
RECAP: The Redskins might be my December NFL Pick of the Month. I'm absolutely in love with two games this week: Washington-Jacksonville and Green Bay-New York. My NFL Pick of the Month decision will depend on what the Packers-Giants spread is, and whether Aaron Rodgers plays or not. For now, I'll leave this at 5-8 units. Check back later in the week.
Here's why I love Washington:
1. The Jaguars are coming off a heart-breaking loss to the Colts. The talking heads on TV referred to it as the most important regular-season game in Jacksonville's franchise history. The Jaguars came up just a bit short and won't be able to get up for lowly Washington.
2. Want to know how Jacksonville has fared in the past after losing to arch rival Indianapolis? Since 2002, the Jaguars are just 1-7 against the spread as favorites after going down to the Colts.
3. As mentioned in the Lions-Dolphins game, teams usually cover as underdogs in their second-consecutive road tilt; Washington is 8-4 against the spread in this situation dating back to 2002.
4. In a similar dynamic, betting on road dogs with three or more consecutive losses is usually pretty lucrative.
5. The Jaguars have just three wins of more than seven points this year: at the Titans, who didn't try at all; at the Cowboys, who didn't give a damn either at the time because of Wade Phillips; and at the Bills, who blew a pretty big lead.
6. Speaking of a seven-point spread, Jacksonville is 3-6 against the number when favored by seven or more coming off a loss under Jack Del Rio.
As I said, stay tuned. When the Giants-Packers line is posted and Rodgers' status is known, I'll announce which game will be my December NFL Pick of the Month.
LOCKED IN: This game will be at least five units, so I'm putting that in now; I'd rather miss out on +7.5 than risk the spread dropping to +6.5.
The Psychology. Edge: Redskins.
The Jaguars are coming off a heart-breaking loss.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
People are starting to bet the Redskins with Maurice Jones-Drew out.
Percentage of money on Washington: 56% (88,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Redskins.
Jaguars are 1-7 ATS as favorites after playing the Colts since 2002.
Jaguars are 6-13 ATS as favorites of 6.5 or more since 2003.
Jaguars are 6-9 ATS vs. NFC opponents since 2007.
Jaguars are 10-19 ATS against non-divisional opponents since 2008.
Jaguars are 4-10 ATS as home favorites since 2008.
Jaguars are 3-6 ATS as favorites of -7 or more coming off a loss.
Week 16 NFL Picks - Late Games Colts at Raiders, Chargers at Bengals, Texans at Broncos, Seahawks at Buccaneers, Giants at Packers, Vikings at Eagles, Saints at Falcons
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, 2015): 1-0 (+$200)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2015): 1-0 (+$200)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2015): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2015): 1-0 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21, 2015): -$580
2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
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: 2,291-2,116-129, 52.0% (+$8,150) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 741-668-34 (52.6%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 305-267-13 (53.3%) Career Over-Under: 1,823-1,765-51 (50.8%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 33-22 (60.0%)
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.