“Because Two Cents Just Isn’t Enough”
Well this has been a fantastic month of December for the Dime!
Four straight losing weeks. 24-38-2 against the spread. 0-6 against the spread on my Philosophy Picks.
With stats like these, you have to wonder what on earth would ever inspire me to change my career focus!
But alas, more on changing my life next week. Right now, it is time to man up!
Since starting the Dime off with four straight winning seasons, I have had losing seasons in two of the last three years. I must avoid another!
All I have to do is go 8-8.
My old friend 8-8. Friend? Nay, more like a sidekick. A co-captain. A brother.
Without you, 8-8, I’d probably be 7-9. But no, with you, I am ordinary. With you, I am the same, after hundreds of hours of writing and research and stat-crunching all season, as a monkey flipping a coin.
Join me, dear 8-8, on this fateful Winter day. Let us sing and dance in the most ordinary voice with the most ordinary steps!
Let us show the world just how overwhelmingly underwhelming I truly am at picking NFL football games!
8 wins. 8 losses. Zero point five zero zero. We can do this. Together.
.500 OR BUST!
With the spread: 6 – 9 – 1 (.400)
Without the spread: 9 – 7 – 0 (.563)
^Philosophy Picks^: 0 – 3 – 0 (.000)
$Money Picks$: 0 – 2 – 0 (.000)
With the spread: 117 – 116 – 7 (.502)
Without the spread: 153 – 86 – 1 (.640)
^Philosophy Picks^: 10 – 20 – 0 (.333)
$Money Picks$: 32 – 32 – 2 (.500)
QUICK RECAP OF LAST WEEK
Tennessee (+12.5) @ Green Bay (-12.5)
Oakland (+8.5) @ Carolina (-8.5)
Minnesota (+9.0) @ Houston (-9.0)
Chicago (-6.0) @ Arizona (+6.0)
NY Giants (-2.5) @ Baltimore (+2.5)
San Francisco (+1.0) @ Seattle (-1.0)
Indianapolis (-7.0) @ Kansas City (+7.0) TIE
Atlanta (-3.5) @ $^Detroit (+3.5)
New Orleans (+1.0) @ Dallas (-1.0)
$^Buffalo (+4.5) @ Miami (-4.5)
San Diego (+2.5) @ NY Jets (-2.5)
Washington (-6.5) @ ^Philadelphia (+6.5)
Cincinnati (+3.0) @ Pittsburgh (-3.0)
St. Louis (+3.0) @ Tampa Bay (-3.0)
New England (-14.0) @ Jacksonville (+14.0)
Cleveland (+12.5) @ Denver (-12.5)
* – Indicates Upset Pick
^ – Indicates Philosophy Pick
$ – Indicates Money Pick
Tampa Bay (+3.5) @ Atlanta (-3.5)
Atlanta is the only team on the board this Sunday with absolutely nothing to gain from playing with the NFC’s top seed already locked up. Still, reports indicate that the Falcons’ intention is to play to win, likely in part due to their lack of playoff success in recent years and wanting to end the season on a high note. Considering that Tampa Bay’s play has fallen off the face of the Earth, if Atlanta intends to try in this game, it should have no trouble scooping up the win at home.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Atlanta
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Atlanta
NY Jets (+3.5) @ Buffalo (-3.5)
Remember back in Week One when the Jets crushed Buffalo? Those were better times for Sanchez, who is back under center, and this abysmal Jets team. Sure, Buffalo might use that big loss as motivation, but this looks to me like a team that has mailed it in for the season. And as bad as the Jets are, the defense is still there, and shouldn’t have any trouble against this one-dimensional offense. Sanchez is likely playing for 31 other teams this week, and if he can keep his bone-headed plays to a minimum the Jets should be able to squeak out a meaningless win to end another disastrous season.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: NY Jets
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *NY Jets
Baltimore (+2.5) @ Cincinnati (-2.5)
The Bengals are red-hot, and while this game doesn’t mean much to either of these teams, I think from a psyche perspective it means a lot more to the Bengals. The Ravens are a veteran group that already has a home game locked up next week, and they got their wings back last week in stomping the Giants. Cincinnati is 6-1 SU and ATS over its last seven games, and as a young team without any recent playoff success, going into the playoffs on a roll would be great. All of that, and honestly, you could easily argue that the Bengals are the better team right now anyway.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Cincinnati
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Cincinnati
Chicago (-3.0) @ Detroit (+3.0)
Any sane and rational person would have scrapped Philosophy Picks by now, but I’ll continue to go down with the ship. Here you have a slumping home underdog in a division rivalry game with nothing to lose going up against a team that needs a win to keep its playoff hopes alive. After weeks upon weeks of frustration, this is Detroit’s chance to end the season on a high note by ruining a hated rival’s playoff chances. And as bad as the Lions have been, the Bears haven’t been much better of late. Maybe the Lions, like me this week, can man up and come out on top.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $^Detroit
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: *Detroit
Jacksonville (+4.0) @ Tennessee (-4.0)
I actually have no idea on this game. I lean slightly towards Tennessee coming off of that humiliating loss to Green Bay while Jacksonville put up a nice fight on New England, but four points? I’m not ready to lay that between what appears to be two somewhat evenly matched bad teams. My model says Jacksonville 17 – Tennessee 14. I think the Titans get the win, but I can’t lay the points. I’m thinking 17-14 the other way.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Jacksonville
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Tennessee
Houston (-7.0) @ Indianapolis (+7.0)
I actually really like Indianapolis and the points here. Sure, what I said a few weeks ago still holds true, that this is a good (not great) team that gets exposed by superior opponents. But this team has been playing all season long for Chuck Pagano during his recovery process, and now he is actually back in the locker room and on the sideline. The atmosphere at Lucas Oil Stadium is going to be electric as the fans send their team into the playoffs with a ton of positive energy. On the other side, Houston hasn’t looked sharp at all over the last few weeks. I like the Texans to win, but not that much; they either lose outright or win in a close one.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $^Indianapolis
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Houston
Carolina (+4.5) @ New Orleans (-4.5)
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers have actually looked really good over the last month and change, and logic dictates that this will be a shootout that Carolina can win. But Drew Brees is back in form over the last two weeks, and at home I just don’t see him letting this disappointing season end on a down note. Another blowout victory, along with Sean Peyton’s signing this week, will send the following message to the league: “We’ll see you in 2013.” I’m clearing out my inbox and awaiting its arrival.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: New Orleans
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: New Orleans
Philadelphia (+7.0) @ NY Giants (-7.0)
My model actually has Philadelphia winning this one outright, 30-24. As laughable as that may be, it is based strictly on recent form; and the Giants have been dreadful. Considering big games against big teams with the playoffs and division on the line hasn’t motivated this team, why should we expect an amazing performance this week? The Giants always have trouble with the Eagles, and while I’m not quite ready to pick this turnover-prone disaster of a team outright, I’ll gladly take the points.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Philadelphia
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: NY Giants
Cleveland (+7.0) @ Pittsburgh (-7.0)
Haven’t seen a spread on this game as I “go to print”, and this was one that I saw a spread contest website using, so it’s better than nothing. Anyway, I guess I have to go with the Steelers here. Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson are both out for Cleveland, making it hard for me to find any source of offense for the Browns. And while the Steelers’ play hasn’t been very inspiring of late, they should be angry enough at home to stomp a team that they always stomp, especially considering that the Browns beat them in Cleveland which set this whole collapse in motion. Pittsburgh, reluctantly.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Pittsburgh
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Pittsburgh
Oakland (+10.0) @ San Diego (-10.0)
Terrelle Pryor is starting, that’s cool. Actually gives me some reason to watch my team get annihilated. San Diego is bad, but not remotely as bad as the Raiders/ Sure, Pryor could spark the offense and sure, Philip Rivers could blow a late lead with a pick-six to give Oakland a backdoor cover. Or, the Chargers could expose Oakland’s pitiful defense like they always do, and force a rookie QB making his first start into some rookie mistakes. I’ll go with that one.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: San Diego
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: San Diego
Arizona (+16.5) @ San Francisco (-16.5)
Wow, what a spread. Normally, I’d happily take the points on Arizona, especially against a team like San Francisco that doesn’t have an exceptional offense. But coming off of that humiliating loss to Seattle, you knoe that Jim Harbaugh is going to have his team chomping at the bits to destroy the Cardinals this week to get some mojo back heading into the playoffs. I’d feel bad for any opposing offense coming in this week… it being one of the league’s most pathetic just makes matters even worse for the 49ers’ opposition.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: San Francisco
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: San Francisco
St. Louis (+11.0) @ Seattle (-11.0)
I will almost certainly regret this, but I’m actually taking the points on the Rams. The Rams have very quietly put together a strong finish to the season, and they are built in a way (physical on defense, versatile on offense) to match up well against Seattle. The Seahawks are on an incredible roll on both sides of the ball, and this is a team that is 7-0 SU and ATS at home with 10 straight ATS wins at home… Seattle at home is as clear-cut as it comes. But I think all of that is being factored into this line, and that in reality it should be closer to six or seven points. Feels like a damned if I do, damned if I don’t kind of game, but St. Louis and the points it is.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: St. Louis
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Seattle
Green Bay (-3.5) @ Minnesota (+3.5)
This is one of the most intriguing games on the board with plenty on the line for both teams. Both teams are hot, but I think Green Bay gets the job done here. The Packers have been in playoff mode for months, have dominated the NFC North (5-0 SU and ATS), and as good as Adrian Peterson is, he is Minnesota’s only threat on offense. If this game comes down to the quarterbacks in the fourth quarter, who do you like, Aaron Rodgers or Christian Ponder? The hook to 3.5 makes this a bit scarier, but I’m expecting a 24-17 type of win for the Pack.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Green Bay
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Green Bay
Miami (+10.0) @ New England (-10.0)
No team has tortured me more than the New England Patriots this season. I am an astounding 2-13 ATS in the 15 games featuring the New England Patriots. That is pretty damn remarkable. My model says “you are on your own” in this one, giving me a score of 24-14 New England. So with zero confidence, I’m taking the Patriots; New England always plays to win in Week 17, and after losing its last home game to San Francisco and looking out-of-whack last week against the Jags, I think (or hope) that a two-touchdown win against the Fins is in order.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: New England
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: New England
Kansas City (+16.0) @ Denver (-16.0)
This is another pick and spread that I hate, but I’ve talked myself into the Chiefs. Denver is a well-oiled machine, and there is little to no doubt that the Broncos can win this game and pick their score. But unlike San Francisco who needs a punching bag, the Broncos have been comfortably steamrolling the league for weeks. There shouldn’t be any great desire to pound the Chiefs into submission; simply winning and getting into the playoffs healthy should be the priority. Would it surprise anyone to see Peyton Manning and some key defensive starters removed from the game with a 21-point lead? I’m sure Denver will win 31-10 and bury me for my stupidity, but the Chiefs have shown some fight in big games this season, and this is the kind of spread that should embarrass and motivate them into a strong effort and cover.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: Kansas City
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: Denver
Dallas (+3.5) @ Washington (-3.5)
I can’t think of a more fitting final pick of the season, for me, than a team that everyone else has already ruled out. The Washington Redskins are 6-0 SU and ATS over their last six games, and it seems that everyone and their mother is penciling them into the NFC East Champion slot and not giving Dallas a snowball’s chance this Sunday. But you know what? Dallas isn’t so bad either. And back in Week One, the Cowboys took their pent up frustration from falling a game short last year out on the Giants in beating New York in their stadium. Now, back in that same situation again, feeling the sting of last year all over again, you think they are going to let that happen again? I say no. Both teams want it, and both teams are motivated. But this is Washington’s first go at it in a while, and I think that the Cowboys are sick and tired of being everyone else’s stepping stool. “RGIII for MVP” be damned, “Romo is a choke” be damned, “Jerry Jones is a joke” be damned, Dallas mans up Sunday night and stuns the world. The world, but not Dave’s Dime.
PICK WITH THE SPREAD: $^Dallas
PICK WITHOUT THE SPREAD: ^*Dallas
THE COLLEGE NICKEL
FINAL RECORD: 39 – 37 – 0 (.513)
I was thinking about doing a video, but realized I only have two strong opinions on the remaining bowl games. Therefore, might as well just write them up here instead.
GATOR BOWL, Northwestern VS. Mississippi State OVER 52:
I honestly think that this total is off by about 10 points. This is a classical case of strength vs. weakness when both teams’ offenses are on the field. Mississippi State has an outstanding passing attack and NW has been torched all season long by quality passing games, and Northwestern is one of the nation’s leading rushing teams going up against a Mississippi State team that had no answer for the run this year. I’d actually be quite surprised if either team failed to score into the high 20’s, and expect both to score into the 30’s. Even if I’m wrong about it being a total shootout, a score like 31-23 is enough at this low total.
ROSE BOWL, Stanford -6.0 over Wisconsin:
Both of these teams play similar, smash-mouth brands of football. The thing is, I like Stanford’s defense and front seven a lot better. The Cardinal are built to stop the run, and Wisconsin doesn’t have the passing game to keep Stanford honest, either. Furthermore, Wisconsin’s coach ditched the team for the Arkansas job; historically, teams that lose their coach leading up to a bowl game tend not to perform well in that bowl game. I expect the Badgers to compete and put up a fight, and this is actually a lot of points for a game that should be low scoring. But in the end, I only see Wisconsin scoring in the neighborhood of 10 to 17 points, and think Stanford can get into the 24 to 27 range for a win and cover.
Good luck! Thanks for reading!
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