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: 143-80*-1 (.641)
LAST WEEK: 9-7
COLTS PREDICTIONS: 11-3
Merry Christmas! Who would've thought that the Colts would give us a playoff berth for Christmas? By Sunday evening the gift should be wrapped and under the tree. What am I asking Santa for this Christmas? How about a nice football? No! No! I want an official Red Ryder carbine-action two-hundred shot range model air rifle (even if I shoot my eye out).
Another mediocre week from the Predictificationist - I'm disappointed because I'm better than that. My goals are lofty as we finish the season... I want to finish the season getting 67% of the games right (I'm at 64% now). That means I need to get 27 of the last 32 games right - and I think I'm up to the challenge.
The Colts should get their leader back on Monday as Chuck Pagano has been cleared to return to the team - and it is perfect timing. The unity of this team since Pagano's diagnosis has been the story of the NFL this season - having him return for the last game of the season and the playoffs could be the lift the team needs for a playoff run. It upsets me to hear that some people think Bruce Arians should remain the head coach - this is ignorance. Chuck's going to be just the lift this team needs - at the right time.
Movie Quote Trivia is back for another week!
Congratulations to Rich Joubert of McCordsville, IN for correctly spotting all three movie quotes (The Jerk, Elizabethtown and Big Fish) and answering all three Colts Trivia questions correctly (Falcons, Hilton and 5-1) last week. In all, there were nine correct responses this week.
This week's movie quotes will be from some of my favorite Christmas flicks - should make it pretty easy this week.
Just one winner again 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) Colts @ Texans
What I said: 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. 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
What happened: Well... Arian Foster ran for 165 yards, Andre Johnson had 151 receiving and J.J. Watt made sure we all knew why he is the best defensive player in football. I told you that combination would result in a Colts loss - and it did. For what it's worth, the Colts did have a chance to take the lead in the second half. It was little mistakes throughout the day that cost them this one: blocked punt and fumbling at the one (to name a few). It is important to note that the Texans offense scored six times (their special teams also scored once) and the Colts only scored three times... that won't get it done.
2) Packers @ Bears
What I said: 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
What happened: I said the Packers would win by a touchdown or more and they won by 8 points - not too bad. I also said that only a fool would pick the Bears - I hope you weren't a fool.
3) Redskins @ Browns
What I said: 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
What happened: This one didn't finish as close as I thought - but I said I liked the Redskins by even more without RGIII. This game was a battle at halftime (the Browns led 14-10) and I know several phony Predictificationists that thought Cleveland would pull this out without RGIII - hopefully you listened to me.
4) Buccaneers @ Saints
What I said: 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
What happened: The Saints did their part to make this a high scoring game (41-0) and easily covered the spread. Drew Brees? Just 307 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. This game got so out of hand that former Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky came in to relieve Josh Freeman (0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions).
For the record, I was also right about : Vikings/Rams, Jaguars/Dolphins, Broncos/Ravens, Seahawks/Bills and Chiefs/Raiders.
Here's why I'm dumb:
1) Lions @ Cardinals
What I said: 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 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
What happened: Wow. The Lions season officially hit rock-bottom. Was I surprised? If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am right now. The Lions had 316 yards of offense compared to just 196 yards for Arizona - and they still lost. The Cardinals quarterback passed for 104 yards - all game. The Cardinals leading rusher had 67 yards - all game. AND THE LIONS STILL LOST. This was a fiasco.
2) Bengals @ Eagles
What I said: 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
What happened: If you watched the first half of this game you already know - same old Bengals. The Eagles GAVE this game away in the second half and shouldn't have lost - but they did. I won't admit I was wrong, though.
3) Giants @ Falcons
What I said: 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
What happened: Well - maybe the Giants are still making us thing they're dead... they're doing a good job at it. They can still win out and get in, but this year seems different. I don't know if they have it in them anymore. Oh - and the Falcons are still VERY scary at home.
4) Steelers @ Cowboys
What I said: 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
What happened: This is hard for me to admit - sometimes I do dumb things. What is it I always say? If the game looks even, take the home team by a field goal. I was torn going into the game - I need to listen to my own advice.
For the record, I was also missed: Panthers/Chargers, 49ers/Patriots and Jets/Titans.
- I think Kirk Cousins will be a hot commodity if the Redskins want to make him available - heck, they may even be able to recoup some of those draft picks they gave up to get RGIII.
- Jets head coach Rex Ryan announced this week that they will start Greg McElroy over Mark Sanchez this week, making it official that the Jets have no desire to start Tim Tebow (you sit on a throne of lies!). This led to rumors that Mike Vick could be the next quarterback of the Jets - and why shouldn't he be? It's obvious that Ryan and the Jets know how to handle high-profile, overrated, left-handed running quarterbacks, right?
- Texans running back Arian Foster surprised his offensive linemen with gifts this week, showing appreciation for another successful season. The gift? Segways (you know, the little motorized mall cap things). Perhaps Foster should have read the limitations a little closer - according to Segway's own website the maximum weight approved is only 260 pounds. Sounds like his offensive linemen will have to go on a diet.
- The final halftime show of the season at Lucas Oil Stadium next Sunday will feature monkeys dressed as cowboys riding around on border collies herding animals. At least it isn't a marching band.
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) Jim Sorgi was the last quarterback to wear #12 for the Colts before Andrew Luck. Who was the last quarterback to wear #12 in a game before Sorgi?
B. Kerwin Bell
C. Jim Harbaugh
A. Andrew Luck
B. Peyton Manning
C. Jack Trudeau
3) There are only two other teams in the NFL that are negative in turnover differential and have a winning record besides the Colts - who are they?
(not multiple choice)
Before we get to the games, here are some other fearless predictions, news and notes for Week 16:
On to the picks!
Indianapolis Colts (9-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-12)
Line - Colts by 6.5
The Chiefs offense has scored just 16 touchdowns all season - 8 rushing and 8 passing. That is dreadful. Kansas City's quarterbacks have combined to throw 8 touchdowns and 16 interceptions this season - in fact, the Chiefs are the only team in the AFC with a worse turnover differential than the Colts.
The Colts are beat up (especially on the offensive line) but should thank the football gods for the way the schedule has fallen. They get one of the worst teams in football only needing one more win to secure a playoff spot - and if they fail to win THAT game, they get a Texans team that should have nothing to play for coming into Lucas Oil Stadium next week. That's a true gift and should give the Colts some momentum heading into the post season.
Look for the Colts to make a strong commitment to the running game this week. They had success against the Texans and some (especially me) didn't think they were committed enough to the run early on last week. I think Vick Ballard needs 25 or more carries and should eclipse the 100 yard mark. Andrew Luck needs to limit his turnovers (1 or less) for the second straight week. If the Colts defense can't generate at least one turnover this week it should be embarrassed - the opportunities will be there. Oh - and please just tackle Jamaal Charles.
COLTS WIN 24-13
Atlanta Falcons (12-2) at Detroit Lions (4-10)
Line - Falcons by 3.5
The Lions are dead to me - their performance against the Cardinals last week made me sick. The Falcons should be riding high after their big win against the Giants. I like the Falcons to coast, winning easily and covering the spread.
FALCONS WIN 34-24
New Orleans Saints (6-8) at Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
Line - Cowboys by 3
The Saints are a scary matchup for the Cowboys - and Dallas needs a win. I wouldn't be shocked if the Saints win this game, I honestly think they should - but the Cowboys are playing for their playoff lives and have pulled out a couple of close games the last two weeks. Look for another close game that comes down to the wire - home team by a field goal.
COWBOYS WIN 27-24
Tennessee Titans (5-9) at Green Bay Packers (10-4)
Line - Packers by 12.5
The Titans were about as unimpressive as you can be in winning a game this past Monday against the Jets. The Packers will pose a bit more of a challenge - and playing on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field won't help. Green Bay has really hit its stride over the last couple of weeks and will be a scary matchup in the playoffs. They've had to deal with injuries all year and should have incredible depth. I think the spread is a bit too large for my liking, but I like the Packers to win.
PACKERS WIN 27-17
Buffalo Bills (5-9) at Miami Dolphins (6-8)
Line - Dolphins by 4.5
The Bills are going to have some hard decisions to make this offseason. Can they make Ryan Fitzpatrick work at quarterback or is it time to go another direction? The Dolphins are watching their quarterback of the future develop right now. Miami should win this game if they can keep from turning the ball over. The Bills will give the ball away at least two times and the Dolphins will win this one.
DOLPHINS WIN 24-17
San Diego Chargers (5-9) at New York Jets (6-8)
Line - Jets by 2
The Jets are going back to Greg McElroy at quarterback this week - and that's why I like the Chargers. Both of these teams are dreadful and don't deserve to win - but the Chargers are a little less dreadful... I think. I don't like that San Diego has to travel across the country to play this game, but I don't think it affects the outcome.
CHARGERS WIN 20-17
Washington Redskins (8-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-10)
Line - Redskins by 6.5
Robert Griffen III returns this week - and I actually think that's a bad thing for the Redskins. I think he will be tentative to run (the most dynamic part of his game) and Philly should game plan to take away the short passes. If that happens (and I think it will) don't be surprised if this is a one score game in the fourth quarter. I almost think the Eagles could steal this one - but I'm playing it safe with the Redskins.
REDSKINS WIN 31-17
Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)
Line - Steelers by 3.5
I just haven't been that impressed with the Bengals over the last several weeks - they seem one-dimensional. The Steelers need a win to stay relevant in the playoff picture and I expect them to play their most complete game of the season. Take the Steelers to cover.
STEELERS WIN 24-17
St. Louis Rams (6-7-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8)
Line - Buccaneers by 3
The Buccaneers should be eager to prove that last week's game was a fluke. The Rams are a team that should be improved and contend for a playoff spot next season. I think the Buccaneers have a little more identity at this point and should win - but if the Rams defense forces some turnovers this one will go the other way.
BUCCANEERS WIN 24-17
Oakland Raiders (4-10) at Carolina Panthers (5-9)
Line - Panthers by 9
The Raiders are also traveling across the country to play this week - and I don't think they will be able to win (unlike the Chargers). The Panthers have been a hard team to figure out this season - the Raiders have been easy. Oakland turns the ball over too much (especially on the road) and the Panthers want to end their disappointing season on a high note. I don't think this one is very close.
PANTHERS WIN 24-13
New England Patriots (10-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)
Line - Patriots by 14.5
The Patriots should run up the score in this one. Tom Brady was embarrassed early last week at home against the 49ers, finishing with just 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. He will be eager to put that game out of his mind and should feast on a Jacksonville team that hasn't had any answers all season long (except Cecil Shorts at the end of the Colts game...). Take this one and never look back - bet the mortgage on it. You're safe.
It's the lock of the week.
PATRIOTS WIN 38-13
Minnesota Vikings (8-6) at Houston Texans (12-2)
Line - Texans by 7.5
Adrian Peterson has been something else this season, hasn't he? Christian Ponder has also been something else... something other than a quarterback. The Texans should wrap up home field throughout the playoffs with a win this Sunday over Minnesota. Peterson will get his yards (probably 125 or more) but the Texans get the W.
TEXANS WIN 27-21
Cleveland Browns (5-9) at Denver Broncos (11-3)
Line - Broncos by 13
Don't look now - but the Browns haven't been THAT bad this season. There is not way they will beat the Broncos, but don't be surprised if they frustrate Peyton Manning a little early on. It'll be the second half before the Broncos have a comfortable lead - but I think they win and cover the spread.
BRONCOS WIN 27-13
Chicago Bears (8-6) at Arizona Cardinals (5-9)
Line - Bears by 5.5
Talk about a game the Bears needed, huh? Chicago gets to play one of the ugliest teams in football and try to save a season that is slipping away. Look for several Cardinals turnovers forced by the Bears defense and the Bears to cover the spread - and then some.
Bears win 23-13
New York Giants (8-6) at Baltimore Ravens (9-5)
Line - Giants by 2
Is this finally the week the Giants begin to warm up for the playoffs? I hope so, because I'm picking them. The Ravens have been stumbling themselves recently and one of these teams should be able to right the ship. Eli Manning needs to elevate his game back to an elite level - but the Giants should win.... unless sneaky Jim Caldwell has something up his sleeve (that's a joke - he doesn't).
GIANTS WIN 27-23
San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) at Seattle Seahawks (9-5)
Line - Even
I'm getting on the Seahawks bandwagon - and I don't even know why. CenturyLink Field will be rocking this weekend and I'm not sure how well the 49ers will respond. Look for a tight game... and the home team winning by a field goal - or a Fail Mary.
SEAHAWKS WIN 27-24
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 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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