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: 134-73*-1 (.647)
LAST WEEK: 8-8
COLTS PREDICTIONS: 10-3
As a Predictificationist, I've found that there are a precious few that I would allow to share the stage with me. Among that list are Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce and (of course) Punxsutawney Phil. I never thought I'd see the day that I'd add another to that list.... Jim Irsay..
Jim Irsay often used to send out cryptic riddles hidden with prophecy (his latest tweets have become much more normal... that makes me kinda sad) that only true Predictificationists could understand. There was one in particular that I've kept my eye on. Do you remember this tweet from September 12, 2011:
There will b some shocking, dramatic, inspiring, unimaginable things happening in Coltsland over the next 18 months... buckle up, stay faithful, BELIEVE
This is one of the most accurate predictions I've ever seen... and I'm a Predictificationist! Consider the following:
- Shocking - I think we would all agree the release of Peyton Manning, the face of the franchise for over a decade, would be considered shocking. As was firing/releasing/not bringing back of mainstays Dallas Clark, Gary Brackett, Jeff Saturday, Pierre Garcon, Joseph Addai, Jim Caldwell and Bill Polian. Not to mention losing 14 games and becoming the NFL's worst team. Yep - pretty shocking.
- Dramatic - Colts are 7-1 in one score games in 2012 and several have said that this season is something you only see in movies. I'd say that's pretty dramatic stuff.
- Inspiring - How this team and city have rallied around Chuck Pagano has been nothing short of inspiring. Cheerleaders are shaving their heads... it doesn't get more inspired than that.
- Unimaginable - 9-4 with a team full of rookies, head coach that has had to take an extended leave of absence, new GM, almost complete roster turnover and zero salary cap space (and a ton of it eaten up by Dwight Freeney). Absolutely unimaginable.
The crazy thing is that Irsay's 18 month prediction isn't even finished yet. What other 'unimaginable' things does this team have in store for us over the next couple of months? A playoff berth? Probably. A division title? Probably not. A playoff run? Surely not... A Super Bowl appearance? No way! A Super Bowl win? OK, now this has officially gotten crazy. The funny thing is, with the way this team is playing, I can honestly say I wouldn't be shocked if this team pulled off some of that stuff - I'm not predicting it... I just wouldn't be shocked anymore.
Last note on Irsay's timing on his tweet: 18 months from September 12, 2011 would be March 12, 2013. That happens to be the first day of free agency for the start of next season. Think about that for a second - Irsay knew in September that he would be cutting his quarterback and all the fan favorites that surrounded him, taking a huge cap hit for the 2012 season and was gearing up to make a big splash in free agency in 2013. Irsay knew and he let us know in his cryptic riddles. What else did Irsay know in September?
That's why I'm giving him his Predictificationist badge. Welcome to the club, Jim Irsay.
Movie Quote Trivia is back for another week!
Congratulations to Ben Snyder of Anderson, IN and James 'Bantastic' Moorman of Austin, TX for correctly spotting all three movie quotes (Remember the Titans, The Replacements and The Fugitive) and answering all three Colts Trivia questions correctly (24-23, Duane Bickett and Raheem Brock) last week. In all, there were SIXTEEN (our biggest week yet!) correct responses this week.
Just one winner this week. The Buffalo Wild Wings gift card extravaganza has ended (with Christmas approaching I've decided to spend money on my kids instead).... unless you can get Brad to pony up some cash! This week's winner will receive a personalized autographed picture from our pal, Coby Fleener.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 autographed photo.
Let's recap this past week shall we?
Here's why I'm a genius:
1) Titans @ Colts
What I said: It should be interesting to see how Andrew Luck responds to seeing a divisional opponent again for the second time this season. He's played Jacksonville twice already. The first time he played the Jaguars the Colts lost and he was just 22/46 for 313 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. The second time he was 18/26 for 227 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT but ran for two touchdowns as the Colts won easily. Luck was pretty average last time he faced the Titans (26/38, 297, 1/1) and I think we will see a much better performance. Look for Luck to be over 300 yards with at least two touchdown passes - and expect him to use his feet a lot. Colts are supposed to win this game - and they will. I look for this to be their most complete game of the season. COLTS WIN 27-13
What happened: My predictions about Andrew Luck's performance were way off - he may have played the worst game of his young career. If you take away the Luck pick-6 (as they should have - his knee was down) then the final score is 27-16. Not the Colts most complete game of the season but good enough for a win.
2) Cardinals @ Seahawks
What I said: The Seahawks are undefeated at home and coming off of a huge win against the Bears. The Cardinals have lost eight straight and just scored six points against the Jets. Take the Seahawks all day long. It's the lock of the week, too. SEAHAWKS WIN 27-13
What happened: I told you this was a lock of the week - and it was the largest point spread of the week by far. 58-0. If I tell you it's the lock of the week it means you can put money on it... I hope you did here. I, believe it or not, don't bet - I don't care about losing all the money... it's losing all the stuff.
3) Texans @ Patriots
What I said: As a Colts fan this may be hard to grasp - a loss by the Texans could help the Colts chances to steal the AFC South.... that means we may have to become (gulp) Patriots fans for one night. Granted, the chances are slim that the Colts could then sweep the Texans to take the division - but it would add some more excitement around here. I do think the Patriots win this one - they have a way of really showing up in these games. PATRIOTS WIN 34-24
What happened: The Patriots did show up big in this game. I told you New England would cover the spread in this game - they did that and then some.
4) Dolphins @ 49ers
What I said: I LOVE the 49ers this week against the Dolphins. Dolphins have lost 4 of their last 5 and will be traveling across the country to play a 49ers team that wants to prove last week was a fluke. I like San Fran to win big. It's the lock of the week. 49ERS WIN 31-17
What happened: I predicted a 49ers win by 14 points and called it one of my locks of the week. The 49ers won by 14 points and covered the spread. I hope you were listening.
5) Jets @ Jaguars
What I said: Another game that makes me sad for the NFL fans that pay money to see these two teams play. Both are without much hope or excitement. I think the Jets will win a low-scoring snoozefest that no one will care about. JETS WIN 17-13
What happened: I predicted a low-scoring snoozefest with only 30 points scored. There were 27 points scored and the Jets came out on top 17-10. I'm really good at this.
6) Ravens @ Redskins
What I said: The Ravens last three games have been decided by a field goal - and you know how I feel about giving the home team a field goal. The Redskins seem to be a team (like the Colts) that are making it happen. If you ask me (and by reading this, you did) their offense is gimmicky and won't work long-term - but it's working now. I don't think the Ravens will have an answer for it and the Redskins keep their streak alive. REDSKINS WIN 23-20What happened: It took overtime but the result is the same - home team by a field goal. I hope you listened and took the Redskins as well.
Here's why I'm dumb:
1) Rams @ Bills
What I said: The Rams would be much happier if they were able to play the 49ers every week - I can't believe how well they matchup against them. The Bills are a different type of animal and against high scoring offensive teams (Green Bay and New England) the Rams haven't been as competitive. If the Bills score over 20 points (and they should) they will win this game. BILLS WIN 24-17
What happened: The Bills didn't score 20 points and it cost them the game. As I said, a low scoring game favored the Rams and in the last minute they stole the game from Buffalo. Not what I predicted exactly - but I did give myself an out.
2) Cowboys @ Bengals
What I said: I'm rooting for the Cowboys - only because the Bengals are chasing the Colts in the wildcard race - but this is just the type of game that Dallas seems to find a way to lose. Look for the Bengals to get an early lead and for the Cowboys to mount a comeback... that comes up short. BENGALS WIN 27-24
What happened: This was almost exactly what happened - only Dan Bailey made the 40 yard field goal as time expired. Bengals were up 19-10 going into the fourth quarter and the Cowboys did mount a comeback - it just didn't come up short. This game was SO CLOSE to being spot on.
3) Bears @ Vikings
What I said: Both of these teams seem to be fading a little bit down the stretch. The Bears need a win here to keep pace with Green Bay and have a shot at the NFC North title. The Vikings couldn't beat the Packers even with an amazing day from Adrian Peterson and the yards will be a lot harder to get this week against the Bears. This will be close - and lower scoring than you may think, but take the Bears. BEARS WIN 23-16
What happened: It was low scoring - just 35 points scored. Adrian Peterson continues to get his yards and the Bears are fading fast. Another Jay Cutler injury might have changed the outcome of this one. There comes a point when any reasonable man will swallow his pride and admit he made a mistake. The truth is... I was never a reasonable man.
4) Eagles @ Buccaneers
What I said: Tampa Bay has lost two straight and has not played well against the NFC East this season (0-2). A lot of people will jump on the Buccaneers here expecting an easy win - don't be one of those. This game will be closer than the spread indicates and the Eagles may be able to steal it. I still think that Tampa Bay wins - but this game comes down to the fourth quarter. BUCCANEERS WIN 27-24
What happened: In fairness, I DID tell you that the Eagles may steal this game. Sure, sure - it may LOOK like I was wrong, but the truth is that I told you this would be close and maybe go the other way. I can't help it, I'm a genius.
- They are who we thought they were, Part 1 - Do you remember when the Cardinals (4-0), Eagles (3-1), Bears (7-1) and Dolphins (4-3) were all teams to be reckoned with? That seems like a long time ago. Those teams are a combined 3-26 since starting with those records.
- They are who we thought they were, Part 2 - Do you remember when the Colts (2-3), Broncos (2-3), Patriots (3-3), Rams (3-6-1) and Redskins (3-6) were off to slow starts. Some of us even wondered if all hope was lost on Colts, Rams and Redskins (heck, maybe even New England). That seems like a long time ago. Those teams are a combined 29-1 since starting with those records.
- Just when we thought we'd seen the last of Norv Turner as coach of the Chargers they go out and beat a Pittsburgh Steelers team trying to make the playoffs. Not official, but based on past seasons that should secure Norv's job for another 7 mediocre seasons.
- Paul Tagliabue decided to vacate the suspensions on the players involved in the New Orleans Saints bounty program, meaning Bounty Gate is finally (painfully) over. Well, except for the one that Jonathan Vilma has on Roger Goodell.
Send me the answers to these questions with your movie quotes and you will be one step closer to an autograph from one of the Colts promising rookies. 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 are 17-3 (.850) all-time against the Texans. Name the one team in the NFL that the Colts have a higher all-time winning percentage against.
2) Excluding Adam Vinatieri, who leads the Colts in scoring this season?
A. Andrew Luck
B. T.Y. Hilton
C. Reggie Wayne
3) What is the Colts record when Andrew Luck rushes for 20 or more yards?
Before we get to the games, here are some other fearless predictions, news and notes for Week 15:
On to the picks!
Indianapolis Colts (9-4) at Houston Texans (11-2)
Line - Texans by 8.5
I'll be honest - I don't feel good about this week. It's the only time recently that I want my Predictificationist powers to be wrong. The Colts seem to press on the road (especially Andrew Luck) and this Texans defense can make you pay. Look out for J.J. Watt and Johnathan Joseph this week - if the Texans are making big plays on defense these are the names you will hear a lot.
The Colts do seem to have momentum on their side, however. The Texans laid an egg against the Patriots last week and might be playing a little desperate. The Colts know that they control their own destiny - win out and they win the division. The NFL probably want the Colts to win... That would make the matchup in Week 17 must-see TV.
For the Colts to win they will have to keep Arian Foster under 115 yards, keep Andre Johnson under 100 yards, force at least one turnover and Luck will have to protect the ball. That is a tall order on the road - not impossible, though. Look for this game to be similar to the Patriots game the Colts lost a few weeks ago - the Colts will play tough early and then things will start to get away, maybe start to snowball. I'm taking the Texans this week - and it makes me sick.
TEXANS WIN 34-24
Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-9)
Line - Bengals by 4
The Eagles have actually played pretty well with Nick Foles. The Bengals were a big letdown at home last week when they lost to the Cowboys. It makes me wonder if this will be another Bengals team that falls apart late in the season - and I think they are. I'm taking the Eagles to win the game. Look for Nick Foles to have another big game and the defense of the Eagles to force multiple turnovers.
EAGLES WIN 24-17
New York Giants (8-5) at Atlanta Falcons (11-2)
Line - Falcons by 1
The Giants do this to us every year... It looks like they are washed up and out of the playoffs - and then they run the table and are one of the hottest teams in the playoffs. I look for this to continue against the Falcons this week. Atlanta seems like a team that has let a little bit of doubt creep in and look pretty vulnerable right now. If anything can fix the Falcons, it's a home game. The Falcons are awfully scary at home - but the Giants are even scarier late in the season.
GIANTS WIN 27-24
Green Bay Packers (9-4) at Chicago Bears (8-5)
Line - Packers by 3
I don't know what has happened to the Bears and only a fool would pick them to win this game. Yes, I know the Packers will be without Jordy Nelson and Charles Woodson. Some teams have enough talent to overcome injuries - the Bears don't, the Packers do. I like the Packers to win this one by a touchdown or more - and for Bears fans to go into hibernation for another season.
PACKERS WIN 27-17
Washington Redskins (7-6) at Cleveland Browns (5-8)
Line - Even
The line on this game is skewed right now because no one knows if Robert Griffin III is going to be able to play. I like the Redskins either way in this game (even more if RGIII doesn't play) and keep their playoff hopes alive. Cleveland won't go down easy - they haven't all season long. Look for an ugly, hard-fought game that the Redskins limp away with in the fourth quarter by a field goal.
REDSKINS WIN 20-17
Minnesota Vikings (7-6) at St. Louis Rams (6-6-1)
Line - Rams by 3
This is one of the toughest games of the week for me to predict. I could see the Rams winning this game and shutting down Adrian Peterson. I could also see the Vikings running all day and AP getting another 150 yards. I'm thinking history will repeat itself, as it has all season, and AP has a huge day and carries the Vikings to victory - but I won't be shocked it the Rams pull it out.
VIKINGS WIN 24-17
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) at Miami Dolphins (5-8)
Line - Dolphins by 7
Seems like everybody beats Jacksonville, doesn't it? The Dolphins are just 1-5 over their last six games and desperately needed a game like this. I don't think the Dolphins let it slip away - but then again anything can happen.
DOLPHINS WIN 21-13
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) at New Orleans Saints (5-8)
Line - Saints by 3.5
The Buccaneers have been one of the most up-and-down teams I can remember in recent memory. They started 1-3, then won 5 of 6 and now have lost their last 3. It doesn't help that Tampa Bay is ranked DEAD LAST in passing yards allowed... Hmm, I wonder what Drew Brees and the Saints offense will do. Smart money is on the Saints to cover in a high scoring game.
SAINTS WIN 34-27
Denver Broncos (10-3) at Baltimore Ravens (9-4)
Line - Broncos by 2.5
The Ravens seem to be limping into the playoffs without much opposition from the Steelers or Bengals. The Broncos are riding a hot streak and have their eyes set on a playoff bye. I expect the Broncos to win this game but it'll be close. Remember, the Broncos have only beat one team that currently has a winning record - the 7-6 Pittsburgh Steelers back in Week 1. Take the Broncos, but do so with caution.
BRONCOS WIN 27-23
Seattle Seahawks (8-5) at Buffalo Bills (5-8)
Line - Seahawks by 5
Seattle hasn't been very good on the road this season (2-5) and hasn't won in Buffalo since 2001. If you are looking for an upset pick this week, this may be it. I can't pick against what they Seahawks have been doing but I wouldn't be shocked to see the Bills win this one.
SEAHAWKS WIN 27-24
Detroit Lions (4-9) at Arizona Cardinals (4-9)
Line - Lions by 6
I can't lie - I love that Arizona is so bad this year because it makes the lock of the week so much easier. The Lions and Cardinals perfectly represent the difference between failure and fiasco. There's a difference between a failure and a fiasco. A failure is merely the absence of success. Any fool can achieve failure. But a fiasco - a fiasco is a disaster of epic proportions. A fiasco is a folk tale told to other's to make other people feel more alive because it didn't happen to them. The 2012 Cardinals are a fiasco. The Lions on the other hand, are a failure. They have barely lost several tight games this season and I look for them to take out some aggression on the poor, defenseless Cardinals. If the Cardinals somehow win this game, Detroit's season will officially hit rock-bottom. I don't see any way that happens. Take the Lions and smile all the way to the bank.
It's the lock of the week.
LIONS WIN 34-17
Carolina Panthers (4-9) at San Diego Chargers (5-8)
Line - Chargers by 3
Wouldn't it be fitting if the Chargers are able to win out and finish 8-8? Would Norv Turner still lose his job? Geez... I hope so. With that said, I expect the Chargers to win again this week - because that's the way the football gods want it... and I don't think they like the Panthers.
CHARGERS WIN 28-24
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6) at Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
Line - Steelers by 1.5
I went back and forth on this game all week. Both teams are playing well below their potential and one of them has to succeed - I'm just not sure which. With Dez Bryant nursing a broken finger I expect the Cowboys offense to struggle - unless DeMarco Murray can run against the Steelers defense. Ben Roethlisberger will be back for his second game and should get more rhythm with his receivers. I'm taking the Steelers... I've convinced myself.
STEELERS WIN 27-20
Kansas City Chiefs (2-11) at Oakland Raiders (3-10)
Line - Raiders by 3
You know that it is a tough week to predict NFL action when even the BAD teams match up well. You know the old standby is if the game looks even on paper take the home team by a field goal - I guess I'll go with that.
RAIDERS WIN 23-20
San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) at New England Patriots (10-3)
Line - Patriots by 5.5
This is the game I am looking forward to the most this week (besides the Colts/Texans, of course). If there is a defense that can slow down New England the 49ers are the one. Remember that young quarterbacks (like Colin Kaepernick) don't fare well when meeting Bill Belichick the first time. I think the Patriots win the game - and don't be surprised if this is a Super Bowl preview.
PATRIOTS WIN 27-17
New York Jets (6-7) at Tennessee Titans (4-9)
Line - Titans by 1
Oh, ESPN... It's so sad how bad you are at picking games - dreadfully bad. I'll pick the Jets to win the game but no one will be watching it.
JETS WIN 24-17
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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