Predicting the NFL action before it happens isn't easy... unless you're a Predictificationist like me. Sit back, relax and know that you've come to the right place.
THIS SEASON: 116-59*-1 (.663)
LAST WEEK: 10-6
COLTS PREDICTIONS: 8-3
10-6 last week - yuck. In some ways I'm glad that the bar for my predictions has risen so high that guessing ten games correctly is considered failure - that's what makes me the best at what I do. A lot of tough games this week - only a true Predictificationist will get ten or more correct... Let's see how I do.
The Colts found a way to win last week (as they have all season) and are in the driver's seat for a wildcard berth. The optimist in me loves that the Colts are so good in crunch time (6-1 in one-score games), but the pessimist is starting to wonder when their luck will run out. Regardless - I'm enjoying the ride.
The Colts are having a great year (exceeding anyone's expectations) but it would take a true 'Christmas Miracle' for this team to win the Super Bowl (too late... I've already trademarked the 'Miracle on W 56th Street' phrase - don't get any ideas). There are some obvious needs on this team - and most of them start on the defensive side of the ball... and this got me thinking. Indianapolis is positioned perfectly for a dynamite offseason and, in the spirit of the holidays (cue the deer), I thought we could make our own 'Colts Christmas Wish List'. This can be as specific or vague as you'd like it to be... name players from other teams, college players that could be in the draft or upcoming free agents. I'll start the list and you can add more in the comments below... don't get too crazy (yeah.. there was this one time.. we stayed up way past midnight..)
The Colts have been good this year (better than you expected) and should be entitled to some extra loot next season... if you ask me. Here are some of the types of players I would like to see gift wrapped and placed under our tree this offseason.
- A running back like C.J. Spiller or Jamaal Charles.
- A compliment to Reggie Wayne as he gets older... maybe Mike Wallace or Dwayne Bowe?
- Ryan Clady would be a nice addition to the offensive line - but I will settle for any big uglies you could send our way.
- A veteran corner that could teach the young guys and make some plays in the meantime... Asante Samuel would do.
- I'm comfortable re-gifting Dwight Freeney to another team this offseason... could you replace him with a high-energy, pass rushing, 3-4 type outside linebacker? The old model isn't cutting it anymore.
Movie Quote Trivia is back for another week!
Congratulations to Mike Miller of Avon, IN (currently in Kinsale, Ireland) for correctly spotting all three movie quotes (Jerry Maguire, Groundhog Day and Airplane!) and answering all three Colts Trivia questions correctly (143, Marshall Faulk and Albert Bentley)last week. In all, there were eight correct responses this week.
Another slight change this week - two winners will be drawn this week. One will receive a $50 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card and the other will receive a personalized autographed picture from our pal, Coby Fleener. I'll let the first person drawn pick which one they want.
Like last week I will compile all the correct responses for the first 24 hours, put the names in a hat (actually an excel spreadsheet using a random formula) and pick a winner. To be eligible for the prize you must find all three movie quotes and answer all three Colts questions correctly (I can't confirm or deny that adding compliments to your email will help your chances).
If you are new to the game (where have you been?) it works like this: Three movie quotes from my favorite movies are hidden in this article. If you find them (and know the answers to Colts trivia), send me an email to email@example.com. Be one of the first people to send me an email with all three quotes, the movies they come from and the answers to Colts Trivia and you just may get the gift card or autographed photo.
Let's recap this past week shall we?
Here's why I'm a genius:
1) Texans @ Lions
What I said: The Texans are rolling again and may be the best team in the NFL. The only game they lost this season was to a pass-happy team from the NFC North - the Packers. The Lions have a similar pedigree and may shock some people in this game. Listen closely - do not bet on this game. Logic says that the Texans will win and probably cover the spread - but this game may surprise you. Stay away. The bosses at Stampede Blue force me to make a pick, so I'll take the Texans to win and cover, but I wouldn't put a dime on this one. TEXANS WIN 34-27
What happened: Needless to say I called this one on the nose. The Lions went toe to toe with one of the top teams in the league - and probably should have won (if not for a blown call... and a dumb challenge). Hopefully you took my advice and stayed away from putting any money on this game... you're welcome.
2) Patriots @ Jets
What I said: If you look at the series over the years between the Patriots and the Jets it seems that there is one game that is close and another that's a blowout each season. They've already played their close game this season which leads me to believe the Patriots should handle this one pretty easily. It's not a groundbreaking statement to say that the Jets have had a down year - a VERY down year. The Patriots will be without starting TE Rob Gronkowski and it may hamper the passing game a bit - look for more commitment to the running game and Aaron Hernandez to come up big. I say the Patriots roll in this one. PATRIOTS WIN 34-17
What happened: Do you think this one was a blowout? Wow. The Patriots are rolling and may be getting hot at the right time. How about the commitment to the running game? 152 yards and 2 touchdowns last week.
3) Vikings @ Bears
What I said: When Jay Cutler has played the Bears have owned this series lately - and put up big points doing it. Obviously Cutler is the wildcard here, but if he plays I like the Bears to rebound from an embarrassing loss to the 49ers last week. Nothing fires up a proud defense like a good ol' fashioned butt-whooping. Look for the Bears to make a statement, shut down Adrian Peterson and win convincingly. BEARS WIN 31-17
What happened: Well, the Bears didn't shut down Adrian Peterson (108 yards) but that's the only thing they didn't do. Chicago's defense allowed just ten points and the offense put up big numbers again... and yes, they still own this series.
4) Ravens @ Chargers
What I said: If you are a gambling man, take note - this is another game I love this week. Yes, I know that the Ravens will be traveling across the country. Yes, I know Baltimore hasn't exactly been dominant lately. All I need to know is that Norv Turner is still coaching and Phillip Rivers is still playing quarter back for the Chargers - as long as that happens I like Baltimore all day. RAVENS WIN 27-20
What happened: OK, OK... It took overtime - but if you had money on the Ravens this week you were rewarded. The game didn't play out the way I thought it would but several people were picking Baltimore to lose. Phillip Rivers continued to disappoint (as predicted) and Norv should be receiving a pink slip in his stocking this year.
5) Rams @ Cardinals
What I said: The Cardinals are the anti-Saints - they haven't won a game since starting 4-0. I just can't pick a team that has fallen apart the way that they have - even if they're at home. I'm picking the Rams to beat the spread and continue Arizona's losing streak. RAMS WIN 20-17
What happened: Picking against the Cardinals has become so easy, you may wonder why it is still on here. Several people picked Arizona to beat a poor Rams team last Sunday, especially since they were at home - not me. I'm not sure I will pick the Cardinals to win any game again this season. I still can't believe they started 4-0.... what a joke!
6) Panthers @ Eagles
What I said: Is it just me or is ESPN the worst at picking Monday Night Football games? I just can't pick the Eagles anymore - I have no faith in anything they do. So, even against the Carolina Panthers, I'm picking the Eagles to lose. (Please note that I didn't pick the Panthers to win - I couldn't live with myself) EAGLES LOSE 27-17What happened: If you watched the game on Monday night (congratulations... it was painful) then you saw what I saw - the Eagles lost that game, the Panthers didn't win it. My prediction couldn't have been more accurate - two teams that didn't deserve to win... one of them had to find a way to lose.
Here's why I'm dumb:
1) Redskins @ Cowboys
What I said: Over the last eight meeting between these two teams the point differential is just 22 points - in favor of the Cowboys. That's an average of less than three points a game. Once again - stay away from this game if you are betting any money. It's not worth it! The Cowboys are on a bit of a winning streak and will treat this as a playoff game as they try to revive their season. The Redskins are tough to predict and Robert Griffin III is a game changer. As always, in an even game I'm taking the home team by a field goal - which means I think the Redskins beat the spread. COWBOYS WIN 27-24
What happened: Well - the Redskins did beat the spread - and the Cowboys. I thought the Cowboys would be inspired by getting back into the playoff race, but I was wrong. RGIII is a game changer and was again the difference in this one. Don't look now, Colts fans... he may be making a push to steal ROY honors from Andrew Luck.
2) Steelers @ Browns
What I said: The Steelers will be starting their third quarterback of the season this week against the Browns after Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich go down with injuries over the last two weeks. In the past this wouldn't matter much - the Steelers have always been more reliant on the run and their defense than the passing game - until this year. Charlie Batch is a solid veteran and he should be able to manage the game for Pittsburgh against one of the bottom teams in the league. Look for Cleveland to come out with a lot of energy looking for a chance to upset their division rival while their down, but I think a turnover late will seal the game for the Steelers. STEELERS WIN 23-17
What happened: Turnovers definitely sealed the game - 8 of them for Pittsburgh. The sad thing is that the Steelers STILL had a chance to win this game. I thought this would be tough for Pittsburgh, starting Charlie Batch and all - I didn't think it would be their stable of running backs that would let them down.
3) Titans @ Jaguars
What I said: I don't know why, but I love Tennessee this week. The Jaguars are due for a let down after giving it everything they had against Houston last week. I think the Titans win this one by two touchdowns and Chris Johnson has a huge day. TITANS WIN 27-13
What happened: This may go down as one of the dumbest quotes of all time... 'I love Tennessee this week' - no one should love Tennessee ANY week. Chris Johnson had just 80 yards and averaged less than four yards per carry - definitely not the huge day I predicted. This was dumb... I'm sorry.
4) Packers @ Giants
What I said: This one might be game of the week #2. The Giants can still afford to lose a few games before they back their way into the playoffs again and surprise everybody. Look for the Packers to keep rolling with a big road win. Aaron Rodgers will have a huge day and a big fourth quarter drive to put this one away. PACKERS WIN 31-27
What happened: The Giants decided that they didn't want to lose anymore - and when they do that, they are tough to beat. The Packers didn't know what hit them. Aaron Rodgers had just 219 yards passing with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. This was a bad call...
- Rumor is that Lions DT Ndamukong Suh got a real 'kick' out of playing against the Texans on Thanksgiving. Matt Schaub enjoyed it, too - except when getting 'sacked'. Suh was confused by all the controversy, claiming he was just playing 'foot-ball' but said from this point on he would put his best 'foot' forward. Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn't decided whether the play will result in any fine from the NFL's 'penile' system. There is no truth to the rumor that Schaub has decided to 'Suh' but does claim he got the 'shaft' when no flag was thrown. Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan saw nothing wrong with the (fore)play and would welcome Suh on his team... (I could do this ALL day...)
- Part of me wonders if Ron Rivera is on the hot seat in Carolina. If he gets fired and the Panthers are able to lure Jon Gruden out of the MNF booth would Cam Newton become 'The Sheriff'? A black sheriff? And why not? It worked in 'Blazing Saddles'.
- Alex Smith described the 49ers pursuit of Peyton Manning (former #1 pick and recognized as one of the best QBs in NFL history) last offseason as 'extra motivation' but noted that it made things awkward between him and the team. I wonder how motivated and awkward Smith is around the locker room now that he's lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick (2nd round pick with 3 career TD passes). Over the last two games (before his concussion) Smith had completed 25/27 for 304 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions... Face it, Alex - Jim Harbaugh DOES NOT like you.
- A lot of people are giving Chiefs players Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe a hard time for seeking out autographs and pictures with Peyton Manning after the game on Sunday. Manning is a pro (and one of the best there's ever been) and he's used to posing for pictures. Want to know who needs some more work on posing for photos? Andrew Luck. Take a look at this... C'mon Andrew!
Send me the answers to these questions with your movie quotes and you will be one step closer to deep fried chicken goodness wallowing in one of your favorite sauces. I don't think you can simply 'Google' these questions... but maybe I'm wrong. (Please send me the name of the player or number you're guessing, not the letter)
1) The Colts have been outscored this season but still have a winning record. When was the last time the Colts finished with a winning record but were outscored during the season?
2) When was the last time the Colts led the NFL in point differential (biggest spread between points scored and points allowed)?
3) Dwight Freeney holds the franchise record for sacks in a season with 16. Who has the second most sacks in a season?
A. Dwight Freeney
B. Chad Bratzke
Before we get to the games, here are some other fearless predictions, news and notes for Week 13:
On to the picks!
Indianapolis Colts (7-4) at Detroit Lions (4-7)
Line - Lions by 4.5
Let's face it - the Colts haven't been very good on the road this year. They've lost to the Bears, Patriots and Jets on the road and only beaten the Titans and Jaguars. So far the Colts haven't been close to beating REALLY good teams away from Lucas Oil Stadium (Patriots and Bears) - it's time to see how they do against a pretty good team.
The Lions are built a lot like the Colts of years past. They throw the ball a lot, don't have much of a running game and their defense struggles to get off the field. Calvin Johnson will be a nightmare matchup all day - I'm assuming Vontae Davis will get thrown right back into the fire. Matthew Stafford has been hit frequently this season and the Colts should be able to get some pressure. The loss of Fili Moala and shutting down of Josh Chapman would normally make the team vulnerable up the middle, but that shouldn't be much of a concern against Detroit.
The Colts will need to rely on their rookie quarterback to win the game - something Andrew Luck has struggled to do on the road this season. If Luck can limit his turnovers and the Colts can remain balanced in the running game the offense should be able to do it's part. The defense needs to create some pressure and generate at least one turnover for the Colts to pull out the win on the road.
I think they do it... but it won't be easy.
COLTS WIN 31-27
New Orleans Saints (5-6) at Atlanta Falcons (10-1)
Line - Falcons by 4
This game got a little chippy last time these two met - should make for a great game again. New Orleans is hanging on by a thread to very slim playoff hopes and need this game to have any realistic shot at getting in. The Falcons will be upset at losing last time to the Saints and should come out with a lot of energy in front of their home crowd. I think the Falcons pull this one out - another close one that comes down to the wire.
FALCONS WIN 27-24
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) at Buffalo Bills (4-7)
Line - Bills by 6
The Jaguars have surprised some people over the last few weeks taking the Texans to overtime and beating the Titans last week. Their only other win was against the Colts which proves one thing - they play well within their division. Outside the division has been another story - and they are a warm weather team traveling to Buffalo where there is a 50% chance of rain. I like the Bills to win the game by a touchdown, covering the spread.
BILLS WIN 24-17
Seattle Seahawks (6-5) at Chicago Bears (8-3)
Line - Bears by 4
If you want to make some money this weekend, put it on the Bears. The Seahawks have been dreadful on the road this season (1-5 with their only win coming against lowly Carolina) and the Bears are one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. Look for the Seahawks run to come to a screeching halt after this week. Take the Bears to win big.... very big.
BEARS WIN 34-17
Minnesota Vikings (6-5) at Green Bay Packers (7-4)
Line - Packers by 9
Speaking of teams that are coming to the end of their run, you can add the Vikings to that list. The Packers respond to a tough loss as well as any team in the NFL (after losses they beat the Bears, Texans and Saints the next week) and should add the Vikings to that list this week. I don't know if they will cover the spread and I wouldn't put any money on this one if it were me.
PACKERS WIN 27-17
Houston Texans (10-1) at Tennessee Titans (4-7)
Line - Texans by 5.5
Houston destroyed Tennessee 38-14 the first time the two met and I'm surprised that the Texans are only favored by 5.5 - there must be something I'm missing. It'd be one thing if this team was dependent on a high flying pass attack (like the Packers) and heading north to Nashville to play in the elements - but the Texans rely on their running game first. They should roll in Tennessee this week.
It's the lock of the week.
TEXANS WIN 34-17
Carolina Panthers (3-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-10)
Line - Panthers by 3
The Panthers got an easy game last week against the Eagles and they are getting another gift this week. Carolina has played remarkably better over the last few weeks (taking the Buccaneers to overtime and beating Philadelphia) and shouldn't struggle much with Kansas City. The only way this one get's interesting is if Jamaal Charles can have one of his insanely good days - which he is VERY capable of.
PANTHERS WIN 24-14
San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1) at St. Louis Rams (4-6-1)
Line - 49ers by 7
This match-up ended as a shocker a few weeks ago when the teams finished with a tie and ushered in the Colin Kaepernick era. My Predictificationist powers lead me to think that the 49ers will have a point to prove - but there is a part of me that thinks the Rams may make Jim Harbaugh regret going away from Alex Smith and shock everyone. Stay away.
49ERS WIN 24-17
New England Patriots (8-3) at Miami Dolphins (5-6)
Line - Patriots by 7.5
The Patriots have owned this series lately and seem to be getting a kick out of blowing out opponents lately. New England will force Ryan Tannehill into all kinds of mistakes and frustrate the Dolphins all day long. I like the Patriots to cover and then some... and maybe some more.
PATRIOTS WIN 38-24
Arizona Cardinals (4-7) at New York Jets (4-7)
Line - Jets by 4.5
Man... the Cardinals are terrible. So bad in fact that I will pick the Jets to beat them. Both of these teams are without much hope and have no quarterback of the future. The sad thing is that there are people that will pay good money to see this game.
JETS WIN 23-16
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) at Denver Broncos (8-3)
Line - Broncos by 7
This is one of the games I am most looking forward to this week in the NFL. Peyton Manning and the Broncos haven't really been tested by a team with a winning record since losing to the Patriots nearly seven weeks ago. This will be the first real test - a playoff warm up game - to make sure the Broncos are what they seem. Tampa Bay will be fired up but Denver may have the best home field advantage in all of the NFL.
BRONCOS WIN 27-24
Cleveland Browns (3-8) at Oakland Raiders (3-8)
Line - Even
The Browns are getting some attention after beating the Steelers last week. Remember this: the Browns needed 8 turnovers last week to beat Pittsburgh - and only won by 7 points. The Browns will be travelling across the country for this game and hasn't won a road game all season (0-5). Take the Raiders to win this one.
RAIDERS WIN 24-17
Cincinnati Bengals (6-5) at San Diego Chargers (4-7)
Line - Bengals by 1.5
The Bengals have found themselves right in the thick of the playoff race and are eager to prove last season wasn't a fluke. Travelling across the country won't be easy and I expect a slow start for Cincinnati. Look for a late comeback (maybe a last second field goal) to beat the Chargers.
BENGALS WIN 27-24
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) at Baltimore Ravens (9-2)
Line - Even
The Steelers are getting in desperate mode - they are fighting for a wildcard berth and a loss to the Ravens could put them well behind in the race. Pittsburgh will probably try to rush Ben Roethlisberger back for this game... and that's why I like the Ravens. They haven't been as dominant as I would have liked all season long but I don't see any way they lose this game.
RAVENS WIN 24-20
Philadelphia Eagles (3-8) at Dallas Cowboys (5-6)
Line - Cowboys by 9
I know that Philly is a train wreck but nine points is WAY too much for a team like the Cowboys. Dallas has found a way to play to the level of their competition - and sometimes worse. The Cowboys will win this game but it'll be close and frustrating all night.
COWBOYS WIN 27-24
New York Giants (7-4) at Washington Redskins (5-6)
Line - Giants by 2.5
I understand why people are high on the Redskins - I really do. The Giants have a way of dominating and taking over when they decide they want to - and after last week, it appears they've decided to turn it on again. It blows my mind that the Giants are favored by less than a field goal and I plan on putting some money on the Giants this week. If you are a betting person, I recommend you do the same.
GIANTS WIN 34-20
Did you see the movie quotes? Do you know the answers to Colts Trivia? Be one of the first to hit me on my email Predictification@gmail.com for a chance at a $50 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card or personalized Coby Fleener photo!
Agree? Disagree? As always, comments are welcome! I will track my picks during the season and brag when I'm right (and pretend I was right when I'm wrong). Pick against me if you dare - remember, I'm a Predictificationist.
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