Joe-Pinions: Sports

27 Nov 2010 – NFL Pick ’em Week 11 Results, Week 12 Picks

Posted in Football (NFL) by txtmstrjoe on 27/11/2010

Yet again, an abbreviated NFL Pick ’em post, featuring Week 12 results and Week 13 picks.

First, results from Week 11:

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Oakland Raiders:  Steelers won; I got this pick RIGHT.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions:  Cowboys winning means I got this pick WRONG.

New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts:  Enthralling game.  Patriots won, so I got this pick RIGHT.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  The 49ers laid an egg at home and lost.  I got this pick WRONG.

So, after 11 weeks and 44 games, my record stands at 24-20.


Picks for Week 12:

Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers

Falcons are at home, but Packers look like they have been surging lately.  PACKERS for the win on the road.

New York Giants vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Two inconsistent teams from each conference with identical records (6-4).  The big difference between the Jaguars and the Giants is that New York is still viewed by many to be a legitimate challenger to win their division and possibly parlay that to an extended playoff run.  GIANTS for the win at home.

Chicago Bears vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Da Bears are at home, but I’m picking the EAGLES for the upset on the road.

Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers

49ers will win on the road on Monday Night Football.  Why?  They have a quarterback.  Arizona doesn’t seem to have one.  On the other hand, the Cardinals have a legit coaching staff…


21 Nov 2010 – NFL Pick ’em, Week 11

Posted in Football (NFL) by txtmstrjoe on 21/11/2010

Yet again, life has happened when you’re busy making other plans.

My apologies again for the ridiculously tardy picks for this week’s NFL games (and completely forgetting to post about last week’s results!), but I’ve been fully immersed in computer-related issues (none bad, to be sure; they are just time consuming to the extreme) the past week and a half.

Like last week, then, I’ll just go select four games and select my picks without any attempt at writing any analysis.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Oakland Raiders

Raiders are hot and are on a three-game winning streak.  But they’re flying cross-country and playing an early game.

Steelers got embarrassed against New England.  They’re back home.

STEELERS win at home in one of the week’s more interesting games.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions

Dallas is in disarray, having had a mid-season coaching change.  Wade Phillips is out; Jason Garrett is in as the interim head coach.

Detroit has a similarly rancid record as Dallas, but in their defense they are (still) in rebuilding mode.  Their roster is not as loaded as the Cowboys’.

Which white-silver-blue-clad team wins?  In a toss-up, I’d go with the LIONS.

New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts

Patriots are at home.  They’re the hotter team.  They’ve got the better coach.

PATRIOTS, then, for the win.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The 49ers are hosting the Bucs at what will likely be a very wet, sloppy, muddy Candlestick Park.

San Francisco is also in the midst of their first winning streak of the year (currently at two games).  They seem to have found the panacea to their offensive woes in Troy Smith, who has replaced Alex Smith as the starting quarterback.

While I’m enjoying the 49ers’ winning streak (such as it is), I’m not completely convinced about whether or not Troy Smith is indeed this team’s permanent quarterback for this year (and, more importantly, beyond).  But that’s a discussion for another time.

Niners stay at home, while the Bucs have had to travel all the way across the country.  I see the 49ers taking full advantage of being at home and extending their winning streak to three.


20-16 after thirty six games (after week 9), then 22-18 after forty.  (Last week’s picks: 2-2, correct in Jets @ Browns and 49ers vs. Rams; wrong in Titans @ Miami and Steelers vs. Patriots.)

The optimist in me thinks I’ll go 4-0 this week.

We’ll see by Sunday evening how daft I am for writing that!



13 Nov 2010 – Results for Week 9, Picks for Week 10

Posted in Football (NFL) by txtmstrjoe on 13/11/2010

Sorry for the stupidly late post, but I’ve had a few computer-related difficulties (actually, they were specifically more network-related than computer-related per se) of late, as well as the fact that I’ve been ridiculously busy both at work and at home.  Consequently, I have not had sufficient time to post last week’s results or make some picks for this week.

This post, then, will be devoid of any analysis (such as it is) from me.  I’ll just post last week’s results and this week’s picks, quick and dirty.

Week 9 Results

Buffalo Bills vs. Chicago Bears:  Bears won, so I got this game WRONG.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  Falcons won, so another game I got WRONG.

Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Giants:  A Giants victory means I got this game RIGHT.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Indianapolis Colts:  Picked the Colts, but they lost, so I got this game WRONG.


1-3 for Week 9 brings my season total to 20-16.  I’ve got to do better this week.

Week 10 Picks

Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans

My pick:  TITANS win on the road.

Cleveland Browns vs. NY Jets

My pick:  JETS win on the road.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots

My pick:  STEELERS win a close one at home in the week’s best game.

San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams

My pick:  My heart says San Francisco, though the Rams are definitely playing better this year so far.  I’ll follow my heart and pick the 49ers to win at home.

My apologies again for the abbreviated picks for this week as well as the much-delayed results from last week.

We’ll see how good these picks are by the end of Sunday evening’s games.

5 Nov 2010 – NFL Pick ’em, Week 9

Posted in Football (NFL) by txtmstrjoe on 05/11/2010

Picks for Week 9:

Buffalo Bills vs. Chicago Bears

The Bills are winless after seven games this year, but that elusive first win looks to get closer and closer.  They lost their last two games (road games against the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs) by a total of six points.  The Ravens were some pundits’ favorites to get to the Super Bowl, and the Chiefs are this year’s best over-achieving team with a great home field advantage; for the Bills to lose by just a field goal’s total in both games against very strong competition suggests that the Bills are on the ascendancy.

In contrast, the Chicago Bears started hot with three straight victories to open the season, only for them to cool off and end up losing three out of their next four games (including losses in their two most recent games).  Like Buffalo they’ve lost their last two games by just a field goal apiece, but unlike the Bills they lost at home to teams with less than stellar records on the road.

I see the Bills ending their losing streak at home this weekend.  The Bears’ defense is old and will have problems containing the Roscoe Parrish + Lee Evans wide receiver tandem as well as Buffalo’s running game, which is spearheaded by Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.  On the other side of the ball, the Bills’ front seven are likely salivating at the chance to tee off on Bears QB Jay Cutler.  The Bears’ O-line has been porous, likely because of offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s philosophy of only protecting with five men on the majority of snaps, which exposes Cutler to accumulating a ton of hits and enduring endless pressure for most of the game.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Atlanta Falcons were some people’s pick to emerge from the ultra-competitive NFC South as the division champion.  They are 5-2; they have yet to lose at home.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in contrast, were many people’s pick to finish at best in third spot, but most likely in stone cold dead last, in the NFC South.  They are also 5-2; they have yet to lose on the road.

So what happens when something has to give between two teams that look to be equally matched?

The safe play would be to pick the home team.  I’ll be daring, though, and go pick the up-and-coming BUCCANEERS.  For a young team, they look to have an unusual poise to them.  Not even fourth quarter deficits faze them much.  Young quarterback Josh Freeman is well on his way to establishing himself as potentially one of the best young field generals of his generation with his penchant for leading the Bucs back into fourth quarter-comeback after fourth quarter-comeback.  The defense may not be as nasty and intimidating as it used to be in its heyday under both Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden, but it’s still very good.  Meanwhile, some of Atlanta’s wins have not been particularly impressive.  They got lucky against the 49ers, and they barely eked out wins over the Saints and the Bengals. Against a team with its collective confidence and its level of play on the rise, luck will not be sufficient.

Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Giants

Seattle probably enjoys the most significant home field advantage in the entire NFL, with the possible exception of Kansas City.  When the partisan Qwest Field crowd is at full cry, most teams start to unravel at the seams.

The question for this week is:  Will the New York Giants react to the hostile atmosphere like most other teams, or will they rise above and deal Seattle its first home loss of the year?

The Giants have a fighting chance to win at Qwest Field.  They have a stifling, high-pressure defensive scheme that should keep the Seahawks offense choked up.  “Big Blue” might have the league’s best defensive line, especially when it comes to generating a pass rush.  And on offense, they are methodical, with Ahmad Bradshaw and big, bruising Brandon Jacobs churning out the ground yardage and steady tight end Kevin Boss and wideouts Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks receiving Eli Manning’s passes.  Of all these players, Manning might be the one most prone to succumbing to pressure, but if all he has to deal with is the Qwest Field crowd, he should be okay.

The GIANTS, then, with the win on the road, and the honor of putting the first blemish on Seattle’s home record in 2010.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Indianapolis Colts

The Eagles’ super-athletic quarterback Michael Vick returns to the starter’s spot after sitting out the last few weeks with an injury.  Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is also returning from injury (a severe concussion).  The Eagles’ offense will no doubt be boosted by these two players returning.

The Colts, on the other hand, face their second game of the rest of their season sans tight end Dallas Clark.  Clark is probably Peyton Manning’s favorite receiver, so Clark’s absence will be a big void.  The Colts did well to beat their division rival, the Houston Texans, in their first game without Clark.

Other than Michael Vick’s electric play, there really has been very little excitement to come from Philadelphia.  They are a team in transition, in search of a firm identity.  The quest to define themselves hasn’t been helped by the flux at the quarterback position, with the pendulum swinging from Kevin Kolb (head coach Andy Reid’s pick as starting QB from before the pre-season) to Vick seeming every couple of weeks.  Continuity at this critical position will help this team establish some kind of character.

The Colts, on the other hand, look to be gaining some kind of momentum despite Clark’s absence.  It’s not because they are suddenly better without him; they lose a big match-up advantage with Clark on the sidelines.  He’s too big for most defensive backs, and he’s too fast and agile for most linebackers.  He’s also got great instincts and that essential rapport with Peyton Manning, which is critical for the Colts’ offense.  So how are the Colts still improving despite such a big blow to their offensive roster?  Their defense is getting far less credit than it deserves for their play.  Particularly in critical situations such as crucial third downs, the Colts defense is one of the league’s best at forcing the opposition to cede position by punting.

The big question, then, is how will the Colts defense contain the damage that Michael Vick is capable of unleashing?  I expect the Colts to try to force Vick to beat them through the air; the Colts will likely clog the box with defenders and force Philadelphia to pass.  The irony is, Andy Reid would probably prefer to throw the ball anyway.

So, who wins this intriguing confrontation?  I’m going with the road team yet again.  The COLTS will keep Vick contained and force a couple of turnovers; Peyton Manning will do the rest.


Three of my four picks this week have the road team to beat the home team.  A somewhat risky approach to this week’s slate of games, perhaps, but I feel good about these picks.

I fully expect to increase my 68.4% percentage from my current 19-13 by the end of this Sunday.

What do you think?

4 Nov 2010 – NFL Pick ’em, Week 8 Results

Posted in Football (NFL) by txtmstrjoe on 04/11/2010

Week 8 results:

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Miami Dolphins:  Miami beat Cincinnati, 22-14, which means I got this pick RIGHT.  The Dolphins’ kicker Dan Carpenter hit five FGs for the second game in succession, and running back Ricky Williams added a rushing touchdown, to keep the team undefeated on the road so far.  In contrast, the Bengals look like a team that is increasingly in turmoil as the season marches inexorably on.  Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer missed twenty one of his thirty eight passes and gained a paltry 156yds through the air.  For a man with a hitherto solid reputation as a productive and accurate passer, as well as two much-ballyhooed wide receivers (Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens) as primary targets, Palmer’s performance was particularly miserable.

Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks:  I got this pick WRONG by thinking the Raiders were set for a let-down after their mile-high beat-down of their archrivals, the Denver Broncos, the previous week.  The Raiders played another great game, this time at home, with quarterback Jason Campbell topping the 300yd passing mark (with 310yds and 2TD) and running back Darren McFadden gaining 111yds on the ground.  Combined with a great defensive performance (they allowed only 162 total yds and got eight sacks!), the Raiders look to be on the rise.  In contrast, the Seahawks still can’t win on the road.

New Orleans Saints vs. Pittsburgh Steelers:  This was a big win for the Saints, and I got this pick RIGHT.  Saints quarterback Drew Brees had an early interception, but completed all but two of the rest of his passes, leading the defending champions to a 20-10 victory over the mighty Steelers.  The Steelers could only muster one touchdown, a run-in by running back Rashard Mendenhall.  The Saints defense did a good job to limit the Steelers to 279 total yds, more than living up to their undersold reputation (the Saints defense is one of the NFL’s best).

San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos:  The 49ers won in London in a flyaway “home” game, a pick I got RIGHT.  The 49ers had reserve quarterback Troy Smith take the start from injured incumbent starter Alex Smith (no relation).  Running back Frank Gore had another very strong game, and Troy Smith showed off his excellent mobility when he got flushed out of the pocket.  The Broncos, meanwhile, played a bit like the 49ers have been playing for most of this season, shooting themselves in the proverbial foot with drive-killing penalties and other mistakes despite a very efficient and productive game by quarterback Kyle Orton.  The Broncos did a good job keeping the 49ers off the scoreboard for most of the first half, but the defense could not hold San Francisco back for the entire game.  The 49ers took a two touchdown lead with around six minutes to go, but allowed Denver to score six points on a Orton pass to ex-49er Brandon Lloyd with 2:19 to go.  The 49ers had an inept final drive and punted back to Denver, but Orton threw a game-ending interception to cornerback Shawntae Spencer.


I went 3-1 this week, which brings my season total to 19-13.  The 49ers are on their bye week this weekend, so I will pick one extra game tomorrow to bring this week’s total back up to four games.

I’ll see you all tomorrow evening with this weekend’s picks!

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