Don's Crystal Ball Week 6 Picks
Week 5 was as emotional as a week can get, starting with the NFL losing one of the most controversial and important figures in the history of the game: Al Davis. 5 weeks in, and tons of records not only are getting broken but being completely shattered starting with 4th quarter comebacks and 300 yard game performances.
The Oakland vs. Houston game was so good; it felt like a Hollywood script. Not only because the Raiders won an emotional game in honor of their late owner, but because some of the most controversial draft picks from Al Davis made huge plays that won the game. Sebastian Janikowski going 4/4 and making three 50+ yards FG - crazy. It completely felt like the final “up yours” from Al to the NFL, just priceless.
Ben should play hurt every week; how can a guy that reportedly can barely walk throw 5 TD's, have one of his best games, and not only destroy the Titans but my upset prediction in the process.
A performance that may get lost in the process because of the loss is Jay Cutler's against the Lions. I've been very critical of him for many years because of his attitude and performance under pressure. I still dislike the guy, but he played one of his best games ever on Monday. His o-line was getting destroyed by the Lions, and he was getting hit and running for his life most of the game, but he was the most accurate and made some of the best plays I have ever seen, and at least kept his team on the game.
I had another great week but this time I couldn't capitalize on it. I made some bad combos on my parlays and just made $100 for the week. Overall for the season I'm at 65% and in 1st place in the league, with a 62% record against the spread and 62% against the over/under.
“The Goat of the Week": It has to be M. Vick. For a convicted felon with questionable character, he gets more free passes from the media that I have ever seen. Vick had another awful performance with terrible decisions and 3 interceptions, losing his 4th straight game. But the feel good story of last year doesn't get any backlash from the media - even Vegas is still on their side, putting the Eagles as favorites again this week.
On to the games
Carolina at Atlanta -4 Ovr/Und 51
UPSET OF THE WEEK
Cam Newton has been money every week. He is currently 5-0 and for a rookie, he's showing to have the poise to find ways to keep his team on the game. Atlanta's secondary is awful, giving up over 310 yards per game and their pass pressure is one of the worst. But Atlanta's biggest issue is their o-line, they just can't protect Ryan. This team just got beat on an emotional game and can't find their rhythm. Take Carolina on this upset.
San Francisco at Detroit -4.5 Ovr/Und 46
This matchup is between two surprise teams, even though the real surprise is San Francisco. Harbaugh has this team playing solid defense and keeping Alex Smith on check, they're the clear front runners to take their division, but their record is misleading. The reality is that even with the impressive win last week, this is their real first big test and I believe they will fail. Detroit has shown some weaknesses the past two weeks on their defense, especially the secondary, but even with that they should take this win at home.
Indianapolis at Cincinnati -7 Ovr/Und 40.5
If Indianapolis couldn't win last week’s game while having a 17 point lead, I don't know what it would take. What I do know is that they won't do it this week. Dalton is playing really good, especially late in the game. Yeah, he will give you a bonehead INT on their own side, but he's making the big plays when it counts. Home favorite teams are 28-8 ATS before a bye since 2002.
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh -12 Ovr/Und 40
Fool me once, Ben, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Plain and simple, Pittsburgh is going to win this one - the question is by how much. Jacksonville has no pass rush and their secondary is really hurt with the loss of Derek Cox. Gabbert is playing like a rookie should, or used to: bad with small moments of wonder. Take the points on this one, but I suggest a teaser on Pit of 6 points.
St. Louis at Green Bay -15 Ovr/Und 48
The Rams have no CB's, and this is no understatement. They even lost their only decent one on the bye week for Christ’s sake. This team is on the road against the best team in the league with no weapons to attack or defend. Take the points and UND.
Buffalo at New York Giants -3.5 Ovr/Und 50
UPSET OF THE WEEK
The Giants finally showed their vulnerability on defense, because of the injuries last week against Seattle, and having Eli as your QB when things go bad sure doesn't help. You have to be a little worried of the Buffalo defense - almost losing a 21 point lead last week late in the game against the Eagles, but as long as they can continue to create turnovers they will keep controlling their fate. Go with the upset on this one.
Cleveland at Oakland-6 Ovr/Und 44.5
It's usually hard for teams to carry a back to back win after such an emotional game when they gave it their all, just because the mind and body are left on that field. Oakland has every chance to continue the glory, especially since they play against the Browns without two of their best players. Expect a close and sloppy game. Go with the under on this one, and I recommend taking Cleveland with the 6 point teaser.
Houston at Baltimore -7.5 Ovr/Und 44.5
The Texans are coming from a tough loss playing against one of the best teams in the league and coming from a bye week. A tough break, not only that, but they will have to face them without A. Johnson & M. Williams. Shuabb has had problems against 3-4 systems in the past and Baltimore is one of the best teams against the runs. Take Baltimore on this one.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay-4.5 Ovr/Und 49.5
Tampa Bay finally lost their mojo and couldn't sneak another 4th quarter comeback. Not only that, they lost Blount in the process, making that offense one dimensional and with a QB not in his groove. The Saints are quickly finding their identity and are smiling all the way to the bank that Bush didn't take the pay cut, and landing Sproles. That kid is everything they always wanted out of Bush and more. TB is 4-14 ATS at home under Raheem Morris.
Dallas at New England -7 Ovr/Und 55
This is the game that caused me the biggest problem this week. New England has the most potent offense but the worst defense: this game screams upset to me. Dallas has played very good in all 4 games and has a very balanced team, if not for their 4th quarter meltdowns, this team could be 4-0. Not only that, but this is the healthiest this team has been the whole season, getting most of their top players back.
I was about to pull the trigger until I relaxed and looked at the game more closely. Brady has a 30 regular season game winning streak at home dating back to 2006. Brady also has a career home record of 64-10. Plain and simple, he doesn't lose at home.
Dallas has a team that can compete if they play a perfect game and don't suffer a meltdown at the end, but that seems to be asking too much of this team this year. Still, take Dallas on the points. Since Jason Garrett took over, they hold a record of 9 consecutive games with games ending with a margin of 3 points of less. It’s pretty simple, win or lose they keep scores close.
Minnesota at Chicago -3 Ovr/Und 41.5
The Chicago o-line is awful and the Vikings have one of the best pass/rush in the NFL. I don't expect Forte to have a great game against that defense, and even with the awful secondary the Bears have, you can't expect McNabb to exploit it. Also take the Vikings and go for the under on this one.
Philadelphia at Washington 1 Ovr/Und 47.5
I can't believe that after 4 straight losses, Vegas still considers Philadelphia the favorite - it's just insane. This is a tricky game. The reality is this: we can expect Washington to run and score points against that defense and LB's, we can expect the Redskins to put pressure on Vick and provoke turnovers and we know that the Eagles (even with all those mistakes) can still be in the game because of all the weapons they have. So it all comes down to Rex Grossman: can he manage the game or will he cost them the win? I’d go with the home team on this one. Take the under on this one.
Miami at New York Jets : -7 Ovr/Und 43
Miami is a complete mess, and the NYJ are definitely front runners. I'm the A. Luck sweepstakes for next year’s draft. Matt Moore will take over as the QB but I don't expect a huge change. This is the perfect game for the Jets to win and build some confidence back. The Dolphins are 5-14 ATS after the bye.
The Hot Picks
Record 20-10 67% 5-3 in Upset picks
New York Jets
Don's Prediction League Leaders
TheDon 149-82 65% [cowboysaddicts.com]
Haynie 148 -83 64% [cowboysaddicts.com]
JohnJet 148-83 64% [forums.newyorkjets.com]
BrrsColts 146-85 63% [coltfreaks.com]
CONGRATS TO THE 2010 DON'S PREDICTION LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
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