Don's Crystal Ball Week 5 Picks
Week 4 was as perfect as a week can go. Finally, all the stars aligned and games went on as predicted. I hope some of my readers made some money last week. I already heard from a few. Had a whopping 81% overall correct picks last week. Hope to see a repeat.
- Aaron Rodgers is playing on a different level. It really doesnít come close. Heís making it look effortless, just easy. He had an amazing playoff-run last year that culminated with the Super Bowl win, but at the level heís playing right now, the precision of his throws and game management, heís making that playoff run look like amateur hour! Itís always hard to have a repeat in this league but right now, no team looks even close.
- I really dislike all the player protection rules the NFL inputs every year without making any real analysis of what the implications would be. Iíve written about this many times, playing as a DE all my life all the way through college, it really strikes a nerve. But right now, thereís no rule thatís rubbing me the wrong way more than the "defenseless receiver" one. The new rule that allows a WR to catch the ball and make a move to protect himself before a defender can hit him.
Iím all up for protecting players for helmets hits and defenders launching with their helmets to get a big hit and probably provoke an injury. But what this new rule is doing is taking away the aggression a defense must have because itís not only the penalties players are getting for clean shoulder hits that cost the defense 15 yards and most likely will give out points. But the $20,000 fines theyíre getting for them. This is making players doubt themselves and letting WRs catch passes in front of them, thereís a complete link on how lopsided the passing yards have gone up this year in relation to this rule. No longer small WRs have a fear to go into the middle of a defense like they used to, now they roam free.
Mr. Goodell, Iím all about protection but donít take away the essence of the game. You donít need 50 point scores to make a game exciting, a good clean hit can be as exciting as a big TD. Just let the defenses Play.
- Tony Romo: Man this kid doesnít know how to be in the middle. Itís only highs and lows with this guy. Every week it appears heís either the Goat or the Hero. Iíve said it before: thatís what you get with him. He is a very good QB who can do the most unrealistic thing and win your team a game that you had no reason to win, but he can also turn a dominating performance into a loss. I just can't grasp how he can look flawless for 3 quarters and then completely dismantle and make boneheaded plays one after another. Completely baffles me the biggest question we all have is will he ever get it or will these rollercoaster rides be his whole career?
- I had the perfect week! It has to be ranked as one of my best ever prediction weekends. I went 13-3 in all 3 categories for a crazy 81% overall. I made over $2,500 last weekend making my 2011 earnings a little over $3,000 just a great start. Overall for the season Iím at 64% and in 3rd place in the league, with a 63% record against the Spread and 61% against the Over/under.
- " The Goat of the Week" I have to go with Ronnie Brown. Romo deserved his own spot but you canít ignore or forget Brownís play. Nobody know what went through his mind while he tried to throw that ill-advised pass that turned into a fumble as he was being tackled in the goal line in the third quarter. That has to be ranked as one of the dumbest plays ever.
On to the games
New Orleans at Carolina 6.5 Ovr/Und 52.5
Cam Newton has surpassed any expectations and has played toe-to-toe against some of the best teams out there. Gregg Williamsí defense can create a lot of turnovers but at the same time can give away a lot of points. This could possibly be a trap game for the Saints as they tend to lose these types of games. What you can expect is a close game because all four of Camís games have ended with 7 or less point margin. So take the points on this one and I recommend a +6 teaser for Carolina on this one.
Tennessee at Pittsburgh -3 Ovr/Und 39.5
UPSET OF THE WEEK
On paper, this game looks a lot closer than it should. Ben sprained his foot last week; heíll still play, but behind that dreadful O-line can be a very bad idea. Thereís a chance Mendenhall wonít be able to play this week with a hamstring injury. Add to that Chris Johnson finally showed signs of life. If we take into account that the Steelers defense is 25th against the run and theyíre clearly suffering from the losing the Super Bowl curse, I like the upset.
Kansas City at Indianapolis -2.5 Ovr/Und 38.5
Indianapolis has looked better since Painter took over, and by "better" I mean at least I can watch the game. This looks like a perfect matchup for the Colts to get out of that 0-4 record. The Chiefs donít play well on the road, plus that Oline is having lots of trouble protecting Cassel and this is a game they could really use J.Charles because the Colts are really bad against the run. My best recommendation is take the Over on this one. 0-4 teams or worse are 10-5 ATS as favorites since 2002
Philadelphia at Buffalo 2.5 Ovr/Und 49
UPSET OF THE WEEK
Both teams suffered hard losses last week, and Michael Vick can't catch a break; heís getting hit worse than Manny Pacquiaoís punching bag. If we take into account the big possibility that Peters - the only lineman playing decent on that team - would possibly be out for this game it sure doesnít look good. If Reid ignores his instincts, they can have a great game if they run the ball because Buffalo has given 100 yards rushing in each game. I think Vegas is still hoping for that "Dream Team" to show up to still have them as favorites. Eagles are 14-22 ATS vs. AFC opponents since 2001. Itís hard to believe an Andy Reid team can have a 4 game losing streak but it sure looks that way.
Seattle at New York Giants -10 Ovr/Und 43.5
The Giants are a team that has clearly overachieved so far, and a lot has to do with the early favorable matchups they have gotten, but you canít control who you get to play. The defense is putting a lot of pressure against the opposition, and last week with Osi back it went to another level. Seattle is a completely different team on the road than at home so donítí expect a lot of resistance for them. I really wish they would go with the spread offense all the time it sure looks like Tarvaris plays better in that formation. These are the stats for all of you to look for: Seahawks are 13-32 ATS on the road since 2006 & Seahawks are 0-11 ATS on the road vs. teams that average 24+ ppg since 2007. In short, take the Giants.
Cincinnati at Jacksonville -2.5 Ovr/Und 37
This is another rookie QBs battle. Dalton has the edge so far in this battle, as every week he has looked better and - like in college - finds ways to win the games. Gabbert has had two back-to-back awful performances and it's starting to look like this will cost Del Rioís coaching job. Bengals are 15-6 ATS as underdogs since 2009. Take the upset on this one and go with the Over. I donít expect a blow out but rookies make mistakes and 37 is just too low.
Oakland at Houston -6 Ovr/Und 48.5
It was awful news that the whole NFL community got this morning with the death of Al Davis, one of the biggest contributors in the game even if he later became to somewhat of a punch line. I had the Texans winning this game early and not covering the spread, but football is a game of emotion and I really see the Raiders playing with heart on this one so I made a late change and went the complete upset. Al Davis said it best: ďJust Win, BabyĒ
Arizona at Minnesota -2.5 Ovr/Und 45
The Vikings are a team that has played better than what their record shows. They just have found ways to lose late leads. Arizonaís defense is dreadful and I can clearly see A.P having a field day out there. Teams playing at home with a 0-4 are dangerous games plus Arizona doesnít travel well and Kolb just can stand up long enough behind that oline to find their WR. Like I said before 0-4 teams or worse are 10-5 ATS as favorites since 2002. Take the Vikings, and the under.
Tampa Bay at San Francisco -3 Ovr/Und 41
I really like this game because both teams have similar styles and are bay teams, so weather shouldnít be that much of a factor. Freeman is making a reputation of being the new comeback kid. His games might not be pretty but in the 4th quarter he finds ways to win games. I expect a hard matchup of low scoring and aggressive defense. I give a slight edge to the home team but it will be a close game. Take the Under on this one.
New York Jets at New England Patriots -9 Ovr/Und 49.5
The Jets have been awful the past few weeks but getting Mangold for this game will surely help. Rex is going back to his smash football style that won him games in the past and shouldnít have abandoned in the first place. The Patriots canít have an off day on offense because that defense isnít even stopping a cold. The loss of Mayo is huge and will affect this game. The Jets are one of the teams that know how to play the Patriots, so even with how ugly the Jets have looked I expect a close game. Take the points.
San Diego at Denver 4 Ovr/Und 46
San Diego historically has had trouble in the past playing in Denver. It always gets complicated there for them. Denverís defense is not stopping anybody. Theyíre getting pressure and sacks but tend to fold or just commit mistakes. Ortonís game is also suffering, as he looks more like The Kyle Orton of Chicago than last year's Orton. Chargers have won 8 of the past 10 meetings and expect them to win again.
Green Bay at Atlanta 6 Ovr/Und 54
Aaron Rodgers looks unstoppable! He is completing 73% of his passes with a crazy 9.4 YPA. The problem is Green Bayís Defense: not only have they lost two key players on the secondary, but they are giving a lot of points. I was completely leading to this game as another upset because it completely looks like a trap game. Not only Atlanta plays great at home but you have the Divisional Playoffs game as reference from last year. But the reality is that Atlantaís defense canít put pressure and their Oline canít protect Ryan. So take Green bay to win the Game but I would take the +6 Teaser on this one also on the Falcons. Also SNF = high scoring so go for the over.
Chicago at Detroit : -6 Ovr/Und 47.5
Detroit is playing crazy football right now! Even in a game that their offense couldnít click and for 3 quarters their defense couldnít stop the Cowboys, they made the plays to come back for the second week in a row from a huge deficit and win the game. Good teams find ways to win. The Bears offensive line will have huge troubles against the Lions and we all know how Cutler plays when he feels the pressure. Take The Lions.
The Hot Picks
Record 15-9 62% 4-2 in Upset picks
New York Giants (league)
Donís Prediction League Leaders
- Haynie 125 -67 66% [cowboysaddicts.com]
- BrrsColts 124-68 65% [coltfreaks.com]
- TheDon 123-69 64% [cowboysaddicts.com]
CONGRATS TO THE 2010 DONíS PREDICTION LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
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