THIS SEASON: 154-85*-1 (.644)
LAST WEEK: 11-5
COLTS PREDICTIONS: 12-3
Ahhh.... Week 17. How good does it feel as we come to the end of the season? Much better than it did last season, that's for sure. Isn't it strange how long ago last season feels?
The bad news is that I need to go a perfect 16-0 to reach my goal of 66.7% for the season - probably not going to happen. It's OK. I believe we have two lives: the one we learn with - and the one we live with after that. There is always next season.
Week 17 is the hardest week for Predictificationists. You never know who is going to rest, who is going to play, who has mailed it in and who is trying to finish strong - that's a lot of unknowns when trying to predict the NFL action. The good news is that I'm a genius... but, you already knew that.
The Colts have found themselves in the middle of the 'rest them/play them' debate this week against the Texans. Indianapolis can't improve on their fifth seed position this week but they can sure spoil things for Houston. The Texans need to win this week to secure the #1 seed, home-field advantage and a first round bye - a loss could (and likely would) drop them to the #3 seed.
The return of head coach Chuck Pagano makes it unlikely the Colts take a sick day on Sunday. Pagano won't have his team lay down in his first game back - he's waited too long for this. You could argue that the Colts playoff run could be made easier if the Colts lost this weekend - that is, if you think the Texans are beatable. If the Colts beat the Texans the Broncos would likely become the #1 seed - and Indy's opponent in the second round. As much as TV would love that matchup, I would prefer a game in Houston in the second round (of course, either way we will have to get past Baltimore). Something to think about.
This is the last week of Movie Quote Trivia!
Congratulations to Ryan Burnett of Greenfield, IN for correctly spotting all three Christmas movie quotes (A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation and Elf) and answering all three Colts Trivia questions correctly (Kerwin Bell, Peyton Manning and Vikings/Cowboys) last week. In all, there were only TWO correct responses this week (I think I finally stumped you guys).
Just one winner again this week. 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 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 autographed photo.
Let's recap this past week shall we?
Here's why I'm a genius:
1) Colts @ Chiefs
What I said: 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. 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
What happened: The Colts didn't tackle Jamaal Charles (226 yards) or Peyton Hills (101 yards) but were still able to beat one of the worst teams in football. I said if Andrew Luck could limit his turnovers (he didn't have any) and the Colts could force at least one turnover (they forced 3) they would win this game - and they did... barely.
2) Bills @ Dolphins
What I said: 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
What happened: The Dolphins didn't turn the ball over once - and the Bills had four turnovers (making my prediction of 2 or more very accurate). I said the score would be 24-17 and it finished 24-10. I'm good.
3) Redskins @ Eagles
What I said: 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
What happened: RGIII had only 4 yards rushing (as predicted) and this game ended as a one score game in the fourth quarter. The only way I could have been more right about this game would have been to nail the score... I'll do better next time.
4) Raiders @ Panthers
What I said: The Raiders are also traveling across the country to play this week - and I don't think they will be able to win. 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
What happened: I said Panthers would win by 11... and they won by 11. There isn't much else to say. I'm a genius. (Maniacal laugh... maniacal laugh)
For the record, I was also right about : Falcons/Lions, Titans/Packers, Chargers/Jets, Patriots/Jaguars, Browns/Broncos, Bears/Cardinals, 49ers/Seahawks
Here's why I'm dumb:
1) Saints @ Cowboys
What I said: 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
What happened: For the most part, I still nailed this one. The Saints had control of this game and Dallas was able to get back into it playing for their playoff lives. It came down to the wire and a field goal - but it went the other way... like I said it might. Still a genius - I don't care what you say.
2) Bengals @ Steelers
What I said: 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
What happened: I'm still not impressed with the Bengals after this 13-10 win. The Steelers didn't show up and it cost them their season. Oh well... It's not like either of these teams will be relevant in two weeks anyway - the Bengals are headed for first round elimination.
3) Rams @ Buccaneers
What I said: 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
What happened: I said this one would go the other way if the Rams were able to force some turnovers - and they forced 5 of them. Remember, even when I'm wrong I'm right... it's a curse.
4) Giants @ Ravens
What I said: 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
What happened: The Giants are not the team they've been in seasons past. We've all learned that the hard way this season - and my picks have suffered because of it.
For the record, I was also missed: Vikings/Texans
- How bad are things in New York? Bad enough to break nice-guy Tim Tebow. Reports are swirling that Tebow asked out of the wildcat package after being bypassed for the starting job when Mark Sanchez was benched. Tebow later clarified his remarks saying that he 'wanted packaged out to the wildcats' - Ahhh... makes sense now - he wants to be traded to the Jaguars.
- Sean Payton has reportedly agreed to a new contract with the New Orleans Saints. I wonder if next season the Saints will be a mission like New England was after the infamous 'Spygate' scandal. You remember - they act all pissed off at the world, win some games, run up the score.... and NEVER win another Super Bowl again.
- The race for the #1 pick is down to the Jaguars and the Chiefs. With no clear #1 pick in this year's NFL Draft it probably doesn't matter either way - both of these teams will suck for another season.
- Black Monday is coming up after this weekend - that's the day when coaches lose their jobs based on the performance of their teams this season. My early headcount on firings is at 5-6. I think the Bills, Eagles, Chiefs, Chargers and Cardinals are definitely moving on - and the Titans and Jaguars are 50/50. I wonder if Jim Caldwell gets one of those jobs?
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 Chiefs ran the ball well last week putting Colts' opponents over 2,000 yards for the season. How many times in Indianapolis Colts history (since 1984) have the Colts allowed over 2,000 yards rushing to opponents?
2) In Colts history, who has the highest career yards-per-punt average? (minimum 100 punts)
A. Pat McAfee
B. Ron Stark
3) Who is the Colts all-time leader in kick/punt return touchdowns? (one answer - kick/punt returns combined)
(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!
Houston Texans (12-3) at Indianapolis Colts (10-5)
Line - Texans by 6.5
I'm looking forward to the emotion in Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend when Chuck Pagano makes his return to the sidelines. It'll be emotional - the question is if the Colts can turn that emotion into a win. The team says they will be playing to win this Sunday - and that's the way it should be. It'll be interesting to see if the Colts are still 'playing to win' if they are down by a lot at halftime or if Andrew Luck is getting killed.
I think the Colts come out with a lot of emotion and get an early lead. The real trouble will be coming out of halftime - the Colts have come out flat in the third quarter several times this season. If the Colts can weather a third quarter storm they will win this game.
Look for Luck to throw a couple of touchdowns and probably an interception. Vick Ballard will be important as the Colts try to seal the game late - and I think he goes over 100 yards. This is the week the defense makes a statement and puts some serious pressure on Matt Schaub - I say he gets sacked three or more times. Take the home team - they have Luck on their side.
COLTS WIN 30-24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9) at Atlanta Falcons (13-2)
Line - Even
I know that the Falcons have little to play for - they've already wrapped up the #1 seed and will probably rest several players. The thing is, Josh Freeman has turned into a walking turnover and can't seem to get out of his own way. I don't think the Buccaneers can win this game in Atlanta - regardless who sits.
FALCONS WIN 24-17
New York Jets (6-9) at Buffalo Bills (5-10)
Line - Bills by 3.5
I wonder if Tim Tebow will get in the game after Mark Sanchez turns the ball over three more times in Buffalo? Probably not. The Bills are bad but the Jets have just given up. It'll be cold in Buffalo and I like the Bills rushing attack far better than the Jets.
BILLS WIN 24-17
Baltimore Ravens (10-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)
Line - Bengals by 3
The Ravens have wrapped up the AFC North and don't have a lot to play for - although they could sneak into the #3 seed with a win and if the Patriots stumble against Miami. Neither team will want to show much - they may see each other again in the first round - but I like the Ravens to try and build some momentum heading into the playoffs.
RAVENS WIN 20-17
Chicago Bears (9-6) at Detroit Lions (4-11)
Line - Bears by 3
Everyone is giving up on the Bears - but I can't... not yet. The Lions seem to have mailed it in a few weeks ago and probably won't do much but force the ball to Calvin Johnson. If there is anyone that can stop Johnson it is Chicago's secondary - and if Detroit tries to force the ball to CJ there will be several turnovers in this game. Take Chicago and don't overthink it.
BEARS WIN 27-17
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) at Tennessee Titans (5-10)
Line - Titans by 4
The Jaguars enter the last week of the season with the inside track on the #1 pick. The Chiefs are sure to lose this week against the Broncos meaning Jacksonville has to lose to secure the selection. The pick may not mean much this year but something tells me the Jaguars won't let it slip away. Take the Titans.
TITANS WIN 20-13
Carolina Panthers (6-9) at New Orleans Saints (7-8)
Line - Saints by 5
The spread on this game is a joke - this game won't be close. The Saints should end a disappointing 2012 with a win - and some momentum for next season. Drew Brees has a huge day and this one is over by halftime.
It's the bettors lock of the week.
SAINTS WIN 34-17
Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) at New York Giants (8-7)
Line - Giants by 7.5
I don't trust the Giants anymore - but I can't stop picking them. This is it... if they are going to have ANY shot at the playoffs (and it's a longshot at best) they need to win this game - and the Eagles just may be bad enough to make that happen. Michael Vick returns to the starting lineup this week - will he be the turnover machine he was early in the year or give the team the momentum they need for the upset? I'm guessing he turns the ball over and the Giants find a way - it may just be too late.
GIANTS WIN 27-17
Cleveland Browns (5-10) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)
Line - Even
The Steelers had a major letdown last week against the Bengals - my guess is it took all the air out of them. The Browns are a team that has played tough all season long and may be able to take advantage of a Pittsburgh team without anything to play for. Take the Browns in the upset.
BROWNS WIN 20-17
Kansas City Chiefs (2-13) at Denver Broncos (12-3)
Line - Broncos by 16
The Broncos are hoping the Colts can upset the Texans earlier in the day so they can be playing for the #1 seed - but even if Houston wins the Broncos still need a win to lock up a playoff bye. The Chiefs haven't had much fight in them all season long... and don't expect much here. Peyton Manning and the Broncos roll easy.
It's the lock of the week.
BRONCOS WIN 34-13
Green Bay Packers (11-4) at Minnesota Vikings (9-6)
Line - Packers by 3.5
This should be one of the most entertaining games of the weekend. Both teams are fighting for playoff positions - the Packers are trying to lock up the #2 seed and Minnesota is just trying to make sure they get in. Adrian Peterson will be chasing the single season rushing record and I think this game will be close enough to give him a shot. In the end I think the Packers win and Peterson falls short of the record - talk about a bad day in Minnesota.
PACKERS WIN 27-24
Miami Dolphins (7-8) at New England Patriots (11-4)
Line - Patriots by 10
The Patriots should be able to win this game as they try to chase down a playoff bye. The Dolphins are improving and have been competitive most weeks - but they aren't ready to take on the Patriots during New England winter and a playoff bye a possibility. The Patriots haven't played their best football over the last several weeks and need a big win if they want to be considered an AFC favorite.
PATRIOTS WIN 31-21
Oakland Raiders (4-11) at San Diego Chargers (6-9)
Line - Even
This game is one of the worst of the weekend - I don't think there is a soul outside of California who cares either way how this game turns out.... but Brad makes me pick a winner. The Raiders are going to start Terrelle Pryor at quarterback - and I don't think that's going to help much. The Chargers are bad but the Raiders are worse.
CHARGERS WIN 24-17
Arizona Cardinals (5-10) at San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1)
Line - 49ers by 16.5
The 49ers will look to put the NFC North away with a win over the lifeless Cardinals. This game has the biggest spread of the week - and I wouldn't touch it if I were you. Make no mistake about it - the 49ers will win easily but I don't know if it'll be by 17 points. Take the 49ers to win but the Cardinals to beat the spread.
49ERS WIN 24-14
St. Louis Rams (7-7-1) at Seattle Seahawks (10-5)
Line - Seahawks by 10.5
Seattle is one of the hottest (if not the hottest) team in the league right now - and they get to finish the season at home. The Rams aren't going to lay down without a fight, they've played well all season long. Look for Seattle to outscore the Rams in the second half to put this one away.
SEAHAWKS WIN 34-17
Dallas Cowboys (8-7) at Washington Redskins (9-6)
Line - Redskins by 3
This is it folks, this is what it's all about. One game. There is no tomorrow. This is for the whole megillah, for the whole ball of wax, for the whole kit and caboodle, for the whole enchilada, for the whole shooting match. This is for all the marbles. This is the game of the week. The winner gets the NFC East title and the loser may get eliminated all together (even though the Redskins could still find a way in if other things fall their way). Something tells me the Cowboys will win this game - and I understand that's not the norm. Maybe it's my desire to see Robert Griffin III lose so Andrew Luck will be the ROY - I don't know... But I think the Cowboys win on a late field goal.
COWBOYS 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.
Follow me on Twitter at @ColtsInsiders