2013 Regular Season: 121-70-1 (63.4%)
2012 Regular Season: 164-91-1* (64.3%)
Last Week: 14-2 (87.5%)
All-time Colts Predictions: 20-9 (69.0%)
I'm back to being the genius you are all used to.... And that makes me happy. To do better than I did last year I will have to finish the season 44-20 or better - and I think that's doable.
The Colts won last week (as I predicted) but didn't look very good doing it. The playoffs are a certainty but I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that any kind of deep playoff run looks optimistic at best. Usually I'm a glass half-full kind of guy, but I'm having a hard time finding something I'm REALLY excited about with this team - they can't run, can't pass and can't block on offense and the defense struggles from multiple personality disorder.
This week the Colts jump on 74 East to head over to Cincinnati for a game with the Bengals. The game will likely be played in cold, nasty weather and will undoubtedly mean more to Cincy. The Colts pretty much have their division wrapped up. A #2 seed is still a possibility but I don't think anyone outside of Indianapolis (or maybe even anyone inside of it) truly believes this team will reel in the New England Patriots. For the Bengals, the division title isn't a sure thing yet. The Baltimore Ravens are hanging around and I expect that to make the Bengals play with more urgency.
Here are my best picks from last week:
Giants at Redskins - Yes - I did it again. This marks the fifth time this season that I have nailed a score right on the head (let alone get the winner right). It's true... I'm a legend. Here's what I said:
"If there is anyone left on the RGIII bandwagon it may be time to get off. Something isn't right with the second-year quarterback, the Redskins offense or just about anything else in Washington. The Giants haven't exactly been tearing up the league either - but I believe in them more than the Redskins right now (and that's saying something).
GIANTS WIN 24-17"
Titans at Colts - I give you more than just the average prediction. A lot of people were picking the Colts to lose this game - especially with how Indianapolis had played in their last several games. Not me. I knew it'd be a battle and correctly predicted the Colts would lead at the half for the first time in weeks - and that was a BOLD prediction.
"The Colts need a home game - they need something that can get them back into a groove. This game will come down to which team is able to impose their will on the other. The Titans will want to run the ball and attack with a deep pass from time to time (something the Colts have been vulnerable to) and the Colts will want to establish a power running game and control the pace of the game.
What will happen? I think the Colts actually go into halftime with a lead (what?!) and finish off the Titans in the second half. Coby Fleener has a big day.
COLTS WIN 24-17"
Before we get to the games, here are some other fearless predictions, news and notes for Week 14:
- I wonder if the Broncos wrap up the #1 seed before Peyton Manning breaks Tom Brady's single-season passing touchdown record if Denver will go "Bill Polian" and bench their star quarterback. Either way it'll be interesting to see if they let him chase the record if they have nothing else to play for.
- If Miami can beat Pittsburgh this weekend I really like them as the sixth seed in the AFC. I don't think the Ravens are getting in.
- Anyone want to predict how long it'll take before someone throws a "-gate" at the end of a phrase describing Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin's "accidental" step onto the field of play during a punt return against the Ravens? If anybody finds one that already exists be sure to post it in the comments.
- I wonder who will take the most heat from owner Jim Irsay if this season ends with a 'one and done' in the playoffs again and facing the reality of no first round pick next year - Ryan Grigson? Chuck Pagano? Pep Hamilton?
On to the picks!
Indianapolis Colts (8-4) at Cincinnati Bengals (8-4)
Line - Bengals by 5.5
I hate to say it - I think the Colts will lose this week. I don't like it but I think it's reality. The offense hasn't played well at all (they were saved by the defense last week) and it doesn't seem to be getting better. Who knew Reggie Wayne meant THIS much to the offense? The pass defense has really struggled against BIG wide receivers (anyone remember Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald?) and A.J. Green is about as good as they get.
For the Colts to win they will have to be able to run the ball and control the line of scrimmage. Cold weather games come down to two things - big plays and running the football. Unfortunately these are the two things the Colts have struggled with the most.
I'm taking Cincy.
BENGALS WIN 27-17
Houston Texans (2-10) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9)
Line - Texans by 3
Don't look now, but the Jaguars are 3-1 in the last four weeks - including a win over the Texans. The good news for Houston is that Jacksonville is 0-5 at home. The Texans are the better team (despite the records) and they should win this game.
I'm taking the Texans.
TEXANS WIN 27-17
Atlanta Falcons (3-9) at Green Bay Packers (5-6-1)
Line - Packers by 7
I can't imagine how much tickets were selling for to attend this game at the beginning of the season. Earlier in the year you would have expected this game to have MAJOR playoff implications - now it's just another game. I know the Packers are favored and it's December at Lambeau Field - but I can't pick Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers.
FALCONS WIN 24-17
Cleveland Browns (4-8) at New England Patriots (9-3)
Line - Patriots by 12
The Patriots are tough to beat at home and the Browns aren't very good. This is an easy call.
It's the lock of the week.
PATRIOTS WIN 34-17
Oakland Raiders (4-8) at New York Jets (5-7)
Line - Jets by 2.5
The New York Jets have come back from their bye week and looked WORSE. Their offense can't stop turning the ball over and the defense isn't good enough to win games on their own. The Raiders show flashes of big play potential and that's enough to make me believe they'll win - although, I'll admit it's a toss up.
RAIDERS WIN 24-13
Detroit Lions (7-5) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-5)
Line - Eagles by 2.5
This is the game I am most interested to see. Nick Foles has been absolutely on fire this season and has yet to thrown an interception. The Lions have been up and down but finally have the division title within their grasp. I think the Eagles pull this one out at home but Foles throws his first interception of the season.
EAGLES WIN 27-24
Miami Dolphins (6-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7)
Line - Steelers by 3
The Miami Dolphins find themselves in the middle of the playoff hunt despite dealing with internal issues most of the season. The Steelers don't seem to have 'it' this year and there have been whispers that 'major' changes could be on the horizon this offseason.
I'm taking the team that has something to play for and a brighter future.
DOLPHINS WIN 23-17
Buffalo Bills (4-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9)
Line - Buccaneers by 2.5
The Buccaneers have played a lot better over the last few weeks and the Bills have played better than I thought they would all season. When a game looks even on the field you know exactly what to do...
Taking the home team by a field goal.
BUCCANEERS WIN 27-24
Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) at Washington Redskins (3-9)
Line - Chiefs by 3
The Chiefs have lost three in a row after starting the season 9-0. Granted, two of those losses came at the hands of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos but there is still some cause for concern. Luckily for Alex Smith and crew, the Football Gods decided to schedule the Redskins next. Robert Griffin III and the Redskins don't seem to have any answers this season and the Chiefs are going to have to get back to winning.
Take the Chiefs.
CHIEFS WIN 27-17
Minnesota Vikings (3-8-1) at Baltimore Ravens (6-6)
Line - Ravens by 7
The Ravens are still capable of making a playoff run and a game against the Vikings might help them get there. The Vikings beat the Bears last week and the Ravens are playing at about the same level. This game will be a lot closer than the spread but Baltimore has more talent.
RAVENS WIN 23-20
Tennessee Titans (5-7) at Denver Broncos (10-2)
Line - Broncos by 12
The Titans saw their playoff dreams come crashing down in Indianapolis last week. This week they have to travel to Denver to take on the likely #1 seed and Super Bowl favorite - not a good week to be a Titans fan. Peyton Manning will edge closer to the TD record and this game won't be close.
It's another lock of the week.
BRONCOS WIN 34-17
St. Louis Rams (5-7) at Arizona Cardinals (7-5)
Line - Cardinals by 6.5
The Rams seem to play everyone tough - and, last I heard, Carson Palmer is battling some kind of injury. The Cardinals are at home and playing for a playoff spot.
And, if I remember last year accurately, Bruce Arians coached teams seem to win regular season games late in the season when they need to.
CARDINALS WIN 27-24
New York Giants (5-7) at San Diego Chargers (5-7)
Line - Chargers by 3
The Giants are still trying to save their season - although there isn't much point now. The Chargers probably are good enough to be the #6 seed and will probably look back at this season and wonder 'what if'. San Diego is the better team and the Giants turn the ball over too much.
I'm taking San Diego (meaning a whale's vagina...)
CHARGERS WIN 27-20
Seattle Seahawks (11-1) at San Francisco 49ers (8-4)
Line - 49ers by 2.5
The Seahawks are looking like the NFC favorite for the Super Bowl and the 49ers are still trying to shake the Super Bowl hangover. San Francisco seemed to be getting back on track last week. Seattle definitely didn't look like slouches against the Saints.
Ride the hot(ter) hand.
SEAHAWKS WIN 27-23
Carolina Panthers (9-3) at New Orleans Saints (9-3)
Line - Saints by 3.5
The Panthers are one of the hottest teams in the league right now - and now have their eyes set on the division. The Saints are coming off a humbling loss, but they are awful tough to beat at home. I predict the Saints will right the ship and win the game.
By how much? Home team by a field goal, of course.... plus one.
SAINTS WIN 31-27
Dallas Cowboys (7-5) at Chicago Bears (6-6)
Line - Bears by 1
I'm shocked to see the Bears are favored to win this game. Maybe everyone has just seen the Cowboys fold down the stretch a few too many times. I don't think the Bears are good enough to keep up with the Cowboys - at least not without starting quarterback Jay Cutler.
I'm bucking the spread and taking the Cowboys.
COWBOYS WIN 27-20
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 @USAFootballBlog