Surviving Week 15
Last week, the Seahawks won fairly easily for me, but aside from Detroit (and maybe Pittsburgh), most of the big favorites coasted, and none of them lost. Let's take a look at this week's slate:
|Team ||Opponent ||% Picked* ||Vegas ML** ||Vegas Odds
|FALCONS ||Jaguars ||23.40% ||562.5 ||85%
|CARDINALS ||Browns ||15.20% ||275 ||73%
|Titans ||COLTS ||14.20% ||275 ||73%
|GIANTS ||Redskins ||11.70% ||282.5 ||74%
|Bengals ||RAMS ||10.40% ||252.5 ||72%
|Packers ||CHIEFS ||9.50% ||850 ||89%
|Saints ||VIKINGS ||7.10% ||287.5 ||74%
|TEXANS ||Panthers ||2.90% ||260 ||72%
|Cowboys ||BUCCANEERS ||2.80% ||290 ||74%
|BEARS ||Seahawks ||0.60% ||187.5 ||65%
|Patriots ||BRONCOS ||0.30% ||260 ||72%
Home Team in CAPS
* according to OfficeFootballPools.com
** average of the two moneylines
1. Green Bay Packers
I actually don't love this setup in Arrowhead, especially if Kyle Orton
's able to play, but obviously you'd be thrilled if you someone still had the Packers available against the Chiefs. I give Green Bay an 88 percent chance to win this game.
2. Atlanta Falcons (my pick)
The Falcons typically play better at home, and they usually handle below average teams fairly easily, i.e., they win the games they're supposed to win even if they lack the upside to beat the league's elite teams. The Jaguars qualify as below average, with arguably the worst passing attack in the NFL. I give the Falcons an 87 percent chance to win this game.
3. Houston Texans
If you've used up the Packers and Falcons, then you can take your pick among half a dozen or so seven-point favorites. The Texans really should be favored by 10, but the loss of Matt Schaub
and the presence of wild card Cam Newton
make this a little more volatile than I'd ideally like. Still, the Texans should be able to run all day, and their defense is among the league's best. I give Houston a 75 percent chance to win this game.
4. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are like the Chargers in their ability to implode at the worst possible times, but the Bucs are a train wreck right now, and Dallas needs this game to stay competitive in the NFC East. I give the Cowboys a 74 percent chance to win this game.
5. New York Giants
The Giants defense is capable of disastrous showings, but Eli Manning
has been a rock, the running game has been better of late, and they're coming off of two strong performances. I give the Giants a 74 percent chance to win this game.
6. New Orleans Saints
The Saints have been far worse on the road, nearly losing to Tennessee last week and losing to the Rams in a dome eariler this year. The Vikings, who should have Christian Ponder
and Adrian Peterson
back, have shown signs of life lately and should make this a game. Still, it's hard to see Minnesota stopping Drew Brees
and that offense with the game on the line. I give the Saints a 73 percent chance to win this game.
7. Cincinnati Bengals
The Rams are one of the league's true doormats, but they showed some fight in Seattle Monday night, and Cincinnati is reeling from an emotional loss and having to travel to the dome. Still, I give the Bengals a 73 percent chance to win this game.
8. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals have played a lot better of late, and the Browns are a joke, but I'm not entirely ready to trust John Skelton
against anyone. Consider that Arizona barely scraped by the Rams in two meetings last month. I give them a 72 percent chance to win this game.
- The Titans with Matt Hasselbeck
under center are an average team at best, and the Colts with Dan Orlovsky
are not the doormat they've been for most of the year. In Indy, and with a winless season looming, I expect the Colts to show up and quite possibly win outright.
New England Patriots
- The smart money usually fades the story and goes with the proven commodity, but New England's defense is poor, and I don't want to mess with the Broncos in Denver if the game is close.