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: 126-65*-1 (.660)
LAST WEEK: 10-6
COLTS PREDICTIONS: 9-3
It could almost be a greeting among Colts fans... at least for another week. No one expected the Colts to be here - no one. Were there some people saying they thought the Colts would surprise people? Sure - but a 6-10, 7-9 or 8-8 kind of surprise, not an 8-4 surprise. You can imagine the interactions among Colts fans today, can't you?
Man in Colts sweatshirt (we will call him Elmer) walks through Circle Centre Mall. From across the way he sees a guy in an Andrew Luck jersey (whom we will call Wilbur).
Elmer - Bro... 8-4. (pointing to the Luck jersey)
Wilbur - 8-4. (pumps his fist)
The two men then part... never to see or speak to each other again. 8-4.
Colts fans got an extra laugh (and that's all it deserved) this week when reading an article posted by Chris Baldwin of the
blog daily digital magazine 'CultureMap Houston'. You can read the article is you want (it REALLY is funny) but it basically states that Indianapolis is somehow 'fair-weather' because it isn't in constant mourning over the loss of Manning and is supporting the new era with Andrew Luck. It told you... good stuff.
I'm going to attach some excerpts and the appropriate responses. Enjoy.
Indianapolis is showing just how fair-weather a sports town it is, completely disrespecting the quarterback who put their nowhere hamlet on the map. Take away a big race that isn't quite so big anymore and Peyton Manning and Indianapolis would be as minor league a sports town as you can get.
RESPONSE: (cracks smile) heehee.... hahaha.
Never mind that Andrew Luck is mostly a game manager at the moment - way more than Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, who often gets saddled with that label. Never mind that he hasn't shown close to the brilliance that Robert Griffin III has displayed while carrying a flawed Redskins team.
RESPONSE: HAHAHA...hahaha (straining to contain laughter)
The Luck brigade will spin one that has little to do with the quarterback and a lot to do with real luck and a surprising defense: The Colts' 6-1 record in games decided by seven points or less.
RESPONSE: BAHAHAHAHA.... HAHAHAHAAA!
And Luck's numbers do not seem so spectacular when stacked up next to Andrew Dalton's 2011 rookie season. Dalton only threw 13 interceptions in 16 games while leading the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs.
RESPONSE: OK... this deserves a proper response. A fair statistic assessment would be to look at each of them after their first 12 games. Dalton's Bengals were 7-5 and the Colts are 8-4. Dalton was sacked just 24 times that whole season, Luck is on pace to be sacked 37. Dalton (helped by a better defense and running game) was asked to throw an average of just 32 times per game, Luck throws an average of 42 and already has nearly the same amount of attempts as Dalton has his entire rookie season. Bengals were 4-6 in one score games and Dalton had 4 game winning drives all season, the Colts are 7-1 in one score games and Luck has 6 game winning drives in 12 games. Here are their stats over the first 12 games of their career:
DALTON - 229/387 2644 yards 17 TDs 12 INTs 1 Rushing TD
LUCK - 279/503 3596 yards 17 TDs 16 INTs 5 Rushing TDs
You're right, Mr. Baldwin..... Luck doesn't look spectacular next to Dalton at all. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!
Much of Luck's very relative success (again, his stats already show he's ordinary) is due to the weak schedule Indy's played. The combined record of the teams Indy has beat for its seven wins: 31-46.
RESPONSE: With the win over Detroit the record of the teams they've beat is now 38-58 or .396 (remembering, of course, that 8 of those 58 losses were to the Colts). Baldwin went to a lot effort to say that Peyton Manning and the Broncos were doing MUCH grander things. What's the combined record of the teams they've beat? 41-67 or .380. How about his precious Texans? Just 57-75 or .432. This guy seriously makes me laugh!
Mr Baldwin just needs to get on the bus with this Luck kid... he's the real deal. There's plenty of room... heck, I'll even save you a seat. Now get on the bus. Put your jacket on first and then get on the bus.
Movie Quote Trivia is back for another week!
Congratulations to Evan from the Westside (I'm pretty sure he looks like this) and Brad Russell of Fishers, IN for correctly spotting all three movie quotes (Funny Farm, Robin Hood: Men in Tights and That Thing You Do!) and answering all three Colts Trivia questions correctly (1996, 2005 and Dwight Freeney) last week. In all, there were seven correct responses this week.
Two winners will be drawn again 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 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 gift card or autographed photo.
Let's recap this past week shall we?
Here's why I'm a genius:
1) Colts @ Lions
What I said: 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
What happened: It was their commitment to the running game in the second half that helped pull out a miracle win The defense didn't do much when it came to pressure but did force the one turnover I said they'd need for a win. It wasn't easy (as I predicted) but I was right (as you should have predicted).
2) Jaguars @ Bills
What I said: 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
What happened: Bills beat the spread easily and the Jaguars never got close. Nailed it.
3) Texans @ Titans
What I said: 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
What happened: Lock of the week pays off again. The Texans were up 21-3 at the half and went into cruise control. Let that be a lesson to you, boys and girls. Don't ever argue with the big dog, because the big dog is always right. Still covered the spread and the lock of the week always seems to be money... like me.
4) Cardinals @ Jets
What I said: 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
What happened: 7-6. See what I mean? Isn't it sad that some people paid good money to see that game. The Jets used their third string quarterback to pull out the victory against a Cardinals team that has lost 8 straight. Can you believe they used to be 4-0?!?
5) Eagles @ Cowboys
What I said: 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
What happened: I told you the Cowboys would win... and that they'd play down to the Eagles level. Two for two. If you were smart (and a betting person) and you put some money of the Eagles to beat the spread, you're welcome.
Here's why I'm dumb:
1) Seahawks @ Bears
What I said: 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
What happened: It took overtime for the Seahawks to win this game and I'm still surprised. What looked like a lock most of the day fell apart in the fourth quarter and overtime. I'm not wrong often... but I was here. (That hurt to say)
2) Panthers @ Chiefs
What I said: 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
What happened: In fairness, this pick was made before the tragedy in Kansas City occurred. It is tough to measure the emotional impact on a game after something like that. I'm giving myself a pass on this one... you should do the same.
3) 49ers @ Rams
What I said: 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
What happened: At least I warned you to stay away... I hope you listened. I told you I had a feeling that Harbaugh may regret not starting Smith this past week - and that would seem to be the case. As I've said before, even when I'm wrong I'm right... It's a curse.
4) Steelers @ Ravens
What I said: 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
What happened: The Steelers didn't rush Roethlisberger back and still beat the Ravens. I'm shocked.
- I don't know about you but I expect to see a ton of Warren Moon jersey's in the stands when we travel to Houston. They know a thing or two about honoring their legends - according to Chris Baldwin.
- Rex Ryan announced that he is going back to Mark Sanchez this week - even after another terrible outing - pretty much ending any hope that Tim Tebow will play this season or be back next year. Meanwhile, Andy Reid's commitment to Nick Foles should end Mike Vick's time in Philly. This clears the way for Vick to go to the Jets next year - we all know how much Rex Ryan loves quarterbacks with good feet.
- The Colts announced that anyone with a ticket to the Colts/Titans game this weekend is invited to stay around after the game to watch the Hunter Smith Band perform a concert. You remember Hunter Smith, don't you? He was that guy that didn't do anything when Peyton Manning was around. (Smith also has a higher career QB Rating than Andrew Luck, Mr. Baldwin... it's true - look it up)
- Maybe it's just me but if I coached the Titans I would just show this clip every time before the game... But I'm lazy.
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)
2) Who is the franchise leader in career tackles for the Colts?
A. Eugene Daniel
B. Duane Bickett
C. Jeff Herrod
3) Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are the top two in franchise history at forcing fumbles. Who is third?
B. Raheem Brock
C. Tony Bennett
Before we get to the games, here are some other fearless predictions, news and notes for Week 14:
On to the picks!
Tennessee Titans (4-8) at Indianapolis Colts (8-4)
Line - Colts by 5.5
This game was a VERY close last time in Nashville. The Colts were bailed out by a quick whistle on a Dwayne Allen fumble and a corkscrewing dive by Vick Ballard on a screen pass. Titans will want revenge.
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. Like a duck on the pond. On the surface everything looks calm, but beneath the water those little feet are churning a mile a minute.
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
Denver Broncos (9-3) at Oakland Raiders (3-9)
Line - Broncos by 10.5
The Broncos essentially get a bye this week against the Raiders. I think the spread is a little high for my liking - especially on the road, but we all know what Peyton Manning is capable of. I'm taking the Broncos to cover but I wouldn't touch this game if it were me.
BRONCOS WIN 34-20
St. Louis Rams (5-6-1) at Buffalo Bills (5-7)
Line - Bills by 3
The Rams would be much happier id 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
Dallas Cowboys (6-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)
Line - Bengals by 3
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
Kansas City Chiefs (2-10) at Cleveland Browns (4-8)
Line - Browns by 5.5
I'm probably crazy but I think Kansas City can ride the emotion for another week and steal a win from the Browns this weekend. This will be a low scoring game with both teams averaging less than 20 points per game. Look for Jamaal Charles to carry the Chiefs and Brandon Weeden to make some late mistakes to cost the Browns.
CHIEFS WIN 20-17
Chicago Bears (8-4) at Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
Line - Bears by 3
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
San Diego Chargers (4-8) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)
Line - Even
The Steelers are making their playoff push and need another win at home to put the pressure on Indy and Cincinnati. The Chargers will be flying across the country and playing at Heinz Field - there is no way they pull this game out. Both teams last three games have been one possession games - so it should be close, but take the Steelers.
STEELERS WIN 24-20
Philadelphia Eagles (3-9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)
Line - Buccaneers by 7.5
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
Baltimore Ravens (9-3) at Washington Redskins (6-6)
Line - Redskins by 1.5
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 23-20
Atlanta Falcons (11-1) at Carolina Panthers (3-9)
Line - Falcons by 3.5
This spread is a little too generous to the Falcons for me to bite. The Panthers have a way of hanging around in just about every game they've played. The last time these two met it came down to a last second field goal after a Cam Newton fumble - I expect another close game this week. Don't pick against the Falcons, but don't expect them to win by more than a field goal.
FALCONS WIN 27-24
New York Jets (5-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)
Line - Jets by 2.5
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
Miami Dolphins (5-7) at San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1)
Line - 49ers by 10
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
New Orleans Saints (5-7) at New York Giants (7-5)
Line - Giants by 5
Four out of the last five times the Saints have played the Giants they've put up 30 or more points - this is a bad matchup for New York. The Giants needs to start winning to sneak into the playoffs again but I don't know that they can this week. It won't be popular and people will think you're crazy - but take the Saints this week.
SAINTS WIN 34-27
Arizona Cardinals (4-8) at Seattle Seahawks (7-5)
Line - Seahawks by 10.5
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
Detroit Lions (4-8) at Green Bay Packers (8-4)
Line - Packers by 7
It will be cold at Lambeau Field this weekend... and passing is a lot harder in the cold. Unfortunately, both of these teams depend on the pass - so it should be interesting. I think you see a lower scoring game than you may expect, making it hard for the Packers to cover the spread.
PACKERS WIN 27-23
Houston Texans (11-1) at New England Patriots (9-3)
Line - Patriots by 4
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
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.
Follow me on Twitter at @ColtsInsiders