2013 Regular Season: 102-60 (63%)
2012 Regular Season: 164-91-1* (64.3%)
Last Week: 8-7 (53.3%)
All-time Colts Predictions: 19-8 (70.4%)
Another ho-hum week... I can't seem to break my slump. I'm in a pick-em league with my children (twins that are five and a four-year old) so that I can find out which of my children I've passed the Predictificationist gene to - and my son tied me this week. That's when I know it's bad.
The Colts won a close one on the road - again. The Colts overcame an early first half deficit - again. And, the Colts offense seemed to really struggle early without Reggie Wayne - again. The bad news is that it's only going to get harder for the offense. In this league, if you show any weakness - any at all, it will be exploited. Indianapolis has shown that they aren't quite as consistent without Andrew Luck's security blanket and the Colts (and Pep Hamilton) will really be tested.
The Colts are on the road again this week as they head to Arizona to square off against former (interim) head coach Bruce Arians. Arians has the Cardinals ahead of where I expected them to be at this point - they've been competitive in every game this season. Carson Palmer isn't the long-term answer at quarterback but he's making teams respect the pass and reminded everyone how good Larry Fitzgerald is.
I don't know if Andrew Luck has many weaknesses, but it he does Bruce Arians will know them. If Luck struggled picking up a certain type of coverage in practices last year you can expect that he will throw it at the sophomore quarterback this week. It should be nice to see the players embrace Arians after the game - especially if it is after a Colts win.
Here's my best pick from last week:
Colts at Titans - I said that this game would be won in the trenches and that the Titans would rely on Chris Johnson. In the first half the Titans had their way running the football and were controlling the game. The Colts corrected and escaped Nashville with a three point victory - as I predicted.
"As I stated above, the Colts haven't lost back to back games in awhile. I look for them to rebound against the Titans this week. This game is equally important to both teams and I expect a close battle.
The game will be won in the trenches. The Titans will want to establish Chris Johnson and keep the Colts offense off the field. The Colts need to establish a running game to take the pressure off the inexperienced (and stone-handed) receivers. Trent Richardson hasn't played well - in fairness, he's been getting hit in the backfield a lot more than he should. His yards per carry is actually worse than it was with the Browns - and that's saying something. Needless to say, offensive line has been a major issue this year... and the loss of Donald Thomas (who most people have forgotten about) just may be the toughest injury for the Colts to overcome.
The Titans will give this game everything they have and the game will be tight. I think the Colts escape on a lateAdam Vinatieri field goal and get out of Music City with a win.
COLTS WIN 27-24"
Before we get to the games, here are some other fearless predictions, news and notes for Week 12:
- Trent Richardson or Donald Brown? Who should start? People don't seem to realize that Brown benefits from being a 'change of pace' back. We've seen Donald Brown in an every down role before... am I the only one that remembers this? He's been great this season - let's leave him in the same role that is working (for the first time in his career).
- Reggie Bush vowed not to fumble again in 2013. I'm glad that we can take him at his word... he's such a man of integrity (cough, cough... USC... cough).
- How crazy is to realize that the Jaguars and Texans are essentially playing for last place in the AFC South this week. The loser falls to the bottom of the standings.
- Quick - Who's the leading rusher for the Raiders this year? Terrelle Pryor. That's right, everyone who invested in Darren McFadden in fantasy football (again) are kicking themselves right now. The bad news: Pryor is hurt, too.
On to the picks!
Indianapolis Colts (7-3) at Arizona Cardinals (6-4)
Line - Cardinals by 2
This is a big game for both teams. The Cardinals find themselves in the thick of the playoff chase and are coming off one of their best offensive performances of the season. Carson Palmer didn't turn the ball over for the first time all season last week - and he can be dangerous if you let him.
The Colts are looking like a sure playoff team and need win games like this one. They will be tested on the road against a coach that knows them well. They will surely need to make adjustments on the fly and their chemistry will be tested. This will be close to a playoff atmosphere - not because of the crowd or emotion, but because of the gameplan and learning to adjust things quickly.
I'm sorry to say that I predict another first half deficit this week. The Colts will rally in the second half and get out of the desert with a win. It won't be sexy but anything that can help this team build chemistry going into the postseason will be a win (in more ways than one).
COLTS WIN 27-24
New Orleans Saints (8-2) at Atlanta Falcons (2-8)
Line - Saints by 9.5
Going into the season everyone looked at the Saints/Falcons games and knew these would define who would win the NFC South - not anymore. This game almost doesn't seem fair anymore. The Falcons lost whatever swagger they used to have the last several seasons and the Saints have rebounded from last season's league-imposed penalties. With that said, it's still a division game in Atlanta... tread carefully.
SAINTS WIN 34-24
[Editor's Note]: Nick submitted this article BEFORE the Saints-Falcons game was played. Chalk this one up as another win for Nick.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-6)
Line - Browns by 1.5
The Steelers are beginning to look like a pretty decent team. The Browns have played hard and have been more competitive than most would have imagined. This should be a typical ugly AFC North game with lots of defensive plays and not a ton of scoring.
I'm taking the Steelers to keep winning.
STEELERS WIN 23-17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) at Detroit Lions (6-4)
Line - Lions by 9
I think this game will be a lot closer than people think. As good as the Buccaneers have looked the last couple of weeks, I can't ignore the first nine weeks of the season. The Lions, who looked like a contender early in the season, now look like a heavyweight fighter that took an uppercut to the chin - they are a little off balance.
I'm taking the Lions but I think the Buccaneers beat the spread.
LIONS WIN 27-24
Minnesota Vikings (2-8) at Green Bay Packers (5-5)
Line - Packers by 5
The Packers need this game and they're at home. If they can't beat the Vikings with quarterback Scott Tolzien they won't beat anybody.
I'm taking the Packers.
PACKERS WIN 24-17
San Diego Chargers (4-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)
Line - Chiefs by 5
The Chiefs lost a tough game at Denver this past week and feel the pressure to keep pace now - until they meet the Broncos again next week. The Chargers have been a bit of a mystery this season - and I think they'll look back at this season and wonder what could have been.
The Chiefs need to win this game. It's the lock of the week.
CHIEFS WIN 24-17
Chicago Bears (6-4) at St. Louis Rams (4-6)
Line - Rams by 1
The Battle of the Backups! The Bears are in a tough battle to win the NFC North and I really believe that they will beat the Rams on the road. St. Louis has some big-time playmakers (you may remember Tavon Austin) and could explode with big plays that change the game. If the Bears can grind this game out (as the should) they will win it.
BEARS WIN 27-20
Carolina Panthers (7-3) at Miami Dolphins (5-5)
Line - Panthers by 4
The Panthers are becoming the darlings of the NFL. The bandwagon is starting to get full after Carolina's win against the Patriots - and with good reason. The Panthers play stubborn defensive and have a dual-threat quarterback that can make plays. The Dolphins have seemed to bond a little over their locker room controversy and they're at home.
I'm taking the Panthers but they might be on upset alert.
PANTHERS WIN 24-17
New York Jets (5-5) at Baltimore Ravens (4-6)
Line - Ravens by 3.5
Based on the Jets season so far you'd expect them to win this game, but I'm not buying it. Geno Smith made a lot of mistakes last game and I think they will stick in his head this week. Young players don't rebound as quickly as veterans and the Ravens are due for another win.
RAVENS WIN 20-17
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) at Houston Texans (2-8)
Line - Texans by 10
The Texans need a game like this - if anything can cure an eight game losing streak it's the Jaguars, right? If the Texans lose again this week I don't know that I can pick them the rest of the season.
TEXANS WIN 27-14
Tennessee Titans (4-6) at Oakland Raiders (4-6)
Line - Raiders by 1
The Raiders really showed me something last week - and that's why I'm taking them this week. Of course, now that I'm taking them I'm sure they'll fall apart. The Titans will be feeling pretty deflated after last week's loss to the Colts and will be traveling across the country.
Don't let me down, Oakland.
RAIDERS WIN 24-20
Dallas Cowboys (5-5) at New York Giants (4-6)
Line - Giants by 2.5
These are the games the Cowboys lose - end of story. The Giants are the hotter team right now and they will find a way to win this game. It must be hard to be a fan in Dallas.
GIANTS WIN 27-24
Denver Broncos (9-1) at New England Patriots (7-3)
Line - Broncos by 2.5
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Wes Welker returns to New England. Lots of storylines for this game and it was correctly selected for SNF. The Patriots can't afford to lose this game but I don't know that Manning will give them a choice. Look for the Broncos to win another ones and questions starting in New England.
BRONCOS WIN 34-27
San Francisco 49ers (6-4) at Washington Redskins (3-7)
Line - 49ers by 5
Remember last year when the Redskins went on that amazing run to make the playoffs? Doesn't seem like it'll happen this year. The 49ers lost a tough game to the Saints and need to win this game to stay in good position for the playoffs.
49ers should win.
49ERS WIN 24-17
BYE WEEKS: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks
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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