Saturday, December 28, 2013

NFL Picks, Week 17

Yikes, that went badly in a hurry. I was quietly inching my way back towards .500 for the season, I had the defecit down to single digits, and then last week completely blew up on me. I was lazy, and I gave every matchup between a team with something to play for against a team with nothing to play for to the team fighting for its playoff life. In many cases, that was a serious mistake. So, now I am faced with the following challenge this week: Be perfect, or finish below .500 again. 

It looks impossible, so I'm going to have to bring in a friend. 

That's right, it's honey badger time. As always, home team in CAPS. 

ATLANTA (+6) over Carolina 
Why this looks silly: This isn't 2012. Atlanta stinks this year. This coming from someone who never bathes. 
Why honey badger don't care: Atlanta has put together a pretty good 5-game stretch here, including putting up 24 points on San Francisco on Monday. Plus, with Steve Smith out, the Carolina offense isn't running away with anything. 

Green Bay (+7) over CHICAGO
Why this looks silly: Umm, it doesn't. The line does, but the pick doesn't. 
Why honey badger don't care: Thanks to you getting your lines on Christmas day (read: before Aaron Rodgers was cleared to play in this game), you ended up with a nice, cushioned pick. Take it and don't think twice. 

Baltimore (+6) over CINCINNATI
Why this looks silly: Did you watch last week's game
Why honey badger don't care: A desperate Ravens defense against Andy Dalton. Smells delicious. 

TENNESSEE (-7) over Houston 
Why this looks silly: Two teams playing out the string, and you're expecting one to cover 7 points. 
Why honey badger don't care: Houston's down to their, what, 87th-string running back? They're also on a 13-game skid and probably need a loss to lock up the #1 pick in the 2014 draft. 

Jacksonville (+11.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
Why this looks silly: Indianapolis a) is going to the playoffs, b) just pasted Kansas City (also going to the playoffs), and c) doesn't stink
Why honey badger don't care: Official honey badger gut call, the spread simply seems too high for a team that looked so lethargic for the second half of the season. 

PITTSBURGH (-7) over Cleveland
Why this looks silly: Knocking Pittsburgh out of the playoffs would be Cleveland's Super Bowl. 
Why honey badger don't care: Maybe so, but if Cleveland were to make a Super Bowl, how would you expect them to play? Exactly. 

MIAMI (-6.5) over New York Jets 
Why this looks silly: Miami just got waxed by Buffalo 19-0 because they couldn't contain Buffalo's defensive line. The Jets line is better. 
Why honey badger don't care: Have you seen Geno Smith play on the road? I've eaten snake carcasses that looked prettier. 

MINNESOTA (-3) over Detroit 
Why this looks silly: Detroit's got substantially more talent on their roster. 
Why honey badger don't care: Calvin Johnson is hurt and Matt Stafford is regressing. Plus, now with their season over, there's no telling what kind of ridiculousness the undisciplined Lions will get into in this game. 

Buffalo (+9.5) over NEW ENGLAND
Why this looks silly: New England just pasted Baltimore, who's better than Buffalo. 
Why honey badger don't care: New England's offensive line is desperately trying to get healthy (but not really succeeding), and Buffalo's defensive line is much better equipped to take advantage of this that Baltimore's was. 

NEW ORLEANS (-12.5) over Tampa Bay 
Why this looks silly: New Orleans has looked terrible in their past two games. 
Why honey badger don't care: Those were both road games. The Superdome is strong.

NEW YORK GIANTS (-4) over Washington 
Why this looks silly: Both of these teams are terrible, why not just take the points?
Why honey badger don't care: Both coaches may be gone after the season ends, but only one seems to be actively trying to get fired. 

ARIZONA (Even) over San Francisco
Why this looks silly: San Francisco might be the best team in the league right now. 
Why honey badger don't care: Even San Francisco isn't 6-1 in their last 7 games. And no one's gone into Arizona this season and won except for Seattle back in their prime. 

SAN DIEGO (-9.5) over Kansas City 
Why this looks silly: Kansas City is the 11-4 team here. 
Why honey badger don't care: They also have nothing to play for. Andy Reid's history suggests important players will be rested, and San Diego is still clinging to their playoff life. 

St. Louis (+10.5) over SEATTLE
Why this looks silly: You're picking against Seattle at home?
Why honey badger don't care: Tennessee. Tampa Bay (winless at the time). Arizona. All of these teams covered against Seattle at home. Arizona even beat them. At some point you just have to stop saying "Seattle covers at home". No really, stop saying it or I'm going to claw out your eyeballs. Anyway, ever since Jeff Fisher got to St. Louis, the Rams have given the Seahawks fits. That continues this weekend. 

Denver (-12) over OAKLAND
Why this looks silly: If Peyton doesn't play the whole game, can they hold a 14+ point lead?
Why honey badger don't care: Peyton wants the stats. He'll stay in long enough to pad his yardage and touchdown stats. By that point the Raiders won't be able to catch up. 

Philadelphia (-6.5) over DALLAS
Why this looks silly: It doesn't. 
Why honey badger don't care: This is the script for the Dallas Cowboys under Jason Garrett: Go 8-7 in your first 15 games, which puts you in a win-and-you're-in scenario for week 17. Then, under the bright lights of Sunday night, fail spectacularly. 

2013 Midweek Picks: 7-9-1
Last week: 4-12 (.250)
2013 season: 109-124-7 (.484)

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