New Orleans Saints (11-5) at Seattle Seahawks (7-9) Line: Saints by 10. Total: 46. Walt's Projected Line: Saints -9.
Saturday, 4:30 ET
The Game. Edge: Saints.
Week 17 Recap: As you can probably tell in the comment board below, I had a poor Week 17, going 7-9 (-$1,060). I always suck in Week 17s. In the past three years, I'm 20-28 in the final week of the regular season. It's just way too difficult to figure out who's going to show up, and who's going to roll over and die.
For instance, I thought the Cardinals would want revenge on the 49ers, whom I figured would be flat in the wake of the Mike Singletary firing. Instead, San Francisco fought hard, while the Arizona players seemed more concerned about their vacation plans.
At any rate, it was a pretty even week for Vegas, so here are some random NFL notes I can't put anywhere else:
1. There are some really bad NFL handicappers out there, which makes me feel better about my poor Week 17. For instance, some clown called into Philadelphia's sports-talk radio station Saturday night/Sunday morning and said the following:
"I like the Texans minus the three. Revenge. And uhh... the Jags need to win this game, so the Texans' bein' favored is tellin' us somethin'."
That was his whole explanation. How about David Garrard and Maurice Jones-Drew being out, genius? Crazy thought, but maybe that's why Houston was favored?
This guy got the pick right, but there's nothing worse than winning a game despite handicapping it poorly because it'll only hurt you down the road if you make a larger play on a team after handicapping it the same way.
2. An e-mail from Awesome Kelly in Arizona:
A new phrase I coined yesterday: At least I think this is new - I've never heard it said on a broadcast before. You know how an interception returned for a touchdown is called a pick-six? Well, I think a forced fumble returned for touchdown needs to be called strip-six.
I'll need you to help spread this word because I don�t have the type of avenue you do ;-) Well, if you think the phrase is as awesome as I think it is.
It's pretty awesome. I only foresee one flaw - if Visanthe Shiancoe is strip-sixed, the TV audience may once again be exposed to his abnormally large wang. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
3. Another e-mail; this one from Kevin F., who found the following passage on Joe Theismann's Wikipedia page:
I'm glad Theismann is finally getting the recognition he deserves. No one breaks news like him. Adam Schefter, Jay Glazer and Jason La Canfora can only dream of being as awesome as Theismann in this regard.
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.
NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: Everyone expects this game to be over quickly. It's Drew Brees versus the worst playoff team of all time, after all. There's no way Brees won't score on every possession, right?
I don't think it'll be as easy as people think. No one is talking about this, but Brees' weapons are banged up. For instance, Marques Colston just had his knee scoped. Colston says he'll play, but he definitely won't be 100 percent and could actually hurt New Orleans if he's very limited. Meanwhile, Chris Ivory suffered an ankle injury in the finale, meaning the Saints' top runners could be Reggie Bush and Julius Jones.
New Orleans won't be able to run the football. The Seahawks are just 19th against the rush, but they've gotten better at it since Colin Cole returned to the lineup. Seattle has limited three of its previous four opponents to four yards per carry or worse, and the lone exception are the Buccaneers, who received a half-hearted effort from the Seahawks in a meaningless game.
Now, don't get me wrong. Brees is still awesome and will put up points. He just won't be lighting up the scoreboard as some expect him to.
SEATTLE OFFENSE: The Seahawks played in New Orleans back on Nov. 21. In that game, they generated 424 total yards of offense. And that wasn't just junk yardage - Seattle kept the game close but was ultimately betrayed by two Marshawn Lynch fumbles. The officiating was horrific as well. Here's what I wrote in my recap:
It seemed like every time I looked up at the screen, there was a shady penalty being called on the Seahawks. Seattle was actually whistled for nine infractions, but most of them were significant. This includes what [official] Mike Carey called a helmet-to-helmet penalty on Drew Brees that was clearly a chest tackle. There were also mysterious holding and intentional grounding penalties all afternoon.
Toward the end, the Seahawks recovered an onsides kick, but Carey whistled Lawyer Milloy for illegal touching, when it appeared as though he established himself inbounds before he recovered the football. Pete Carroll was infuriated, but was denied the opportunity to challenge the call for some strange reason.
The Seahawks were able to keep the game relatively close because of Matt Hasselbeck, who went 32-of-44 for 366 yards and a touchdown. The Saints don't put much pressure on the quarterback, so either Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst figure to play at least fairly well.
Seattle will have a chance to achieve an unlikely win if it doesn't turn the ball over like it did in the previous meeting. Lynch needs to avoid fumbles, and Hasselbeck/Whitehurst can't fling the football around carelessly like they've done on one too many occasions this year.
RECAP: Many think that the Saints are a lock to cover. Despite this obscenely large spread, more than 80 percent of the money on the visitor. Hell, there's a thread on my forum named: "Saints -10.5 is the easiest money you will ever make."
If you're convinced New Orleans is a lock, read this first. Everyone expects the Saints to win even though their offensive skill players are banged up and they habitually suck as large favorites (see trend below). All of the pressure is on New Orleans. No one thinks the Seahawks can prevail. They have nothing to lose. The Saints aren't very good outdoors - they nearly lost to Cincinnati and suffered a defeat at Baltimore recently - and Qwest Stadium is going to be unbelievably loud.
But isn't Seattle the worst playoff team of all time in terms of record and point differential? Yes. Next up on the list in terms of the latter were the 1998 Cardinals and 2004 Rams - both of whom won in the postseason.
The Seahawks kept this matchup close the first time, and I believe they will do so again.
The Psychology. Edge: Seahawks.
All the pressure is on the Saints. The Seahawks have nothing to lose.
The Vegas. Edge: Seahawks.
There's a thread in my forum named: Saints -10.5 is the easiest money you will ever make.
Percentage of money on New Orleans: 66% (171,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Seahawks.
Saints are 50-38 ATS on the road since 2000.
Saints are 3-9 ATS as double-digit favorites under Sean Payton.
New York Jets (11-5) at Indianapolis Colts (10-6) Line: Colts by 2. Total: 44.5. Walt's Projected Line: Colts -3.
Saturday, 8:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Colts.
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.
Four 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:
Despite this, someone named Junior Diplomat John Wire sent me an e-mail asking me to give him a fee of $150 so he could send my ATM card over. I then replied giving him a specific design I wanted for the ATM card:
For the next two weeks, I hadn't heard from Junior Diplomat John Wire, so I sent him a threatening e-mail, telling him that I was going to hunt him down with my wolf army (comprised of Jack Bauer, Carl Winslow and Matt Millen) if he didn't send me my ATM card immediately. I promised John Wire that if I found him, I'd torture him by making him watch episodes of the Big Bang Theory.
I was about to give up on this, but John Wire sent over another e-mail a couple of days ago. It was actually the same one he sent before, only now the fee for my ATM card is $240 instead of $150.
I figured I should e-mail him back:
Junior Diplomat John Wire,
Hello fiend, tis I, Mister Compassion Chuck Norris again.
How dare you raise the rate on my ATM card by $90; let alone charge me in the first place? After I told this to my wolf wife, she made me sleep on the couch downstairs. I don't think I'm going to have sex for a very long time, Junior Diplomat John Wire!
This is your final warning. If you do not send me my ATM card immediately, my wolf army and I will find the United Bank of Afriocan, storm into your office, and torture you like you've never been tortured before. You heard of waterboarding? After Jack Bauer urineboards you, you'll wish you've been waterboarded.
Yes, I threatened you last week, but my wife made me take my wolf cub to soccer practice. But this time I mean business! In fact, Jack Bauer, Carl Winslow and Matt Millen are here now, and we're discussing our plans. Here's a conversation we just had:
Me: Hey guys, how can we destroy Junior Diplomat John Wire from the United Bank of Afriocan?
Jack Bauer: He still didn't send you the ATM card? Son of a b****!
Carl Winslow: I propose we eat everything in his office, hem, hem.
Bauer: Damn it! We're not eating anything! We're going to urineboard him!
Matt Millen: And when you say urineboard, here's what you mean. We take some urine and we take a board, and then we put the two together, and we get a urineboard.
Winslow: Can we eat this urineboard after Mister Bauer finishes using it, hem, hem?
Millen: I believe so. Jack Bauer - now that's some 100-percent USDA Man right there. I wouldn't mind taking him back to my hotel room and sticking my kielbasa into his buns, if you know what I mean.
Winslow: Hark, I have developed a hunger for kielbasa and buns. I will return once I have consumed 500 of each item, hem, hem.
As you can see, Junior Diplomat John Wire, my wolf army is close to plotting your destruction. Send me my ATM card now, or prepare to be urineboarded!!!
Mister Compassion Chuck Norris
INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: Excluding all occasions in which Peyton Manning and the Colts starters sat for a portion of the game, Rex Ryan has never beaten Manning as a defensive coordinator or a head coach.
The reason for this is simple - Ryan loves to blitz, while Manning is incredible against the blitz. To disrupt Manning, you need to place tons of pressure on him with just four pass rushers. If you blitz him, he's eventually going to figure things out, like he did in last year's AFC Championship. After three series, Manning solved Ryan's defense.
Now, you could argue that Manning's offense isn't nearly as good as it was last year. I would definitely agree with that. However, the Jets aren't as good defensively as they were last season either. Jay Cutler and the Bears lit them up for 38 points, for crying out loud.
Ryan will probably have some new wrinkle for Manning, and the Colts will probably stall offensively in the first quarter. But once Manning realizes what's going on, Indianapolis will begin to move the chains efficiently.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: Four weeks ago, I would have given the Jets a big edge here. Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson versus a shaky Colts run defense? How could Indianapolis possibly stop them?
Well, two things changed. First, the Jets haven't been running the ball well. Tomlinson has worn down, and the offensive line isn't opening up big holes anymore. And second, the Colts have stopped the rush prolifically lately. In Week 15, Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jaguars had 59 yards on 18 carries. The following Sunday, Darren McFadden and the Raiders were limited to 70 yards on 17 attempts. And in the final game of the season, Chris Johnson and the Titans rushed for only 44 yards on 21 tries.
The Colts will put the clamps on Greene and Tomlinson, forcing Mark Sanchez to move the chains himself. Whether that happens or not is unclear. Sanchez is so erratic, looking great one week and horrific the next. Sanchez was incredible at Chicago, but looked drunk two weeks earlier against the Dolphins.
Speaking of being drunk, Kerry Collins actually played decently at Indianapolis on Sunday - which has to make Jets fans feel somewhat optimistic.
RECAP: Of the four games this weekend, this is the only one in which I don't have a strong opinion. Manning owns Ryan, which is why I'm taking the Colts. However, teams entering the playoffs on a long winning streak tend to struggle if favored at home. I'll get into this more next week when the Patriots host their Round 2 matchup.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No emotional edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Jets.
There's suddenly a lot of action on the Colts.
Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 73% (164,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Jets.
Jets are 8-5 ATS as underdogs since 2009.
Peyton Manning is 4-9 ATS in the playoffs (excluding games against terrible QBs: Jake Plummer, Trent Green, Rex Grossman).
Peyton Manning is 3-5 SU vs. 3-4 Defenses in the playoffs (6-4 SU vs. 4-3 Defenses).
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.