Week 15 pigskin picks

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Dec 10, 2008



It appears that we are the Broncos of picking games against the spread. Like Denver, we can alternately be tremendous or terrible from week to week.
 
Back in Week 13, we posted a nifty 12-4 mark ATS. Then last week, we went just 6-10 versus the number. For the season, we have now dipped back below .500 with a record of 101-102-5.
 
When it comes to predicting straight-up winners, we're still rolling. Our 11-5 mark last week puts us at 134-73-1 (.646) on the season.
 
Give the boys in Vegas credit – the point spread truly is the great equalizer. Trying once again to be on the right side more often than not, here's our analysis of Week 15:
 
New Orleans at Chicago (-3)
Although the Bears give up a lot of yards through the air, they are sixth in Defensive Passer Rating, which suggests that they can limit Passing YPA leader Drew Brees just enough to get the win.
 
The pick: Bears 26, Saints 24
 
Green Bay (-1½) at Jacksonville                            
Ranking second-best in Scoreability, the Packers should be able to put up sufficient points to secure a road win against a Jaguars team that has lost by double digits in four straight.
 
The pick: Packers 23, Jaguars 17
 
Detroit at Indianapolis (-17)             
The biggest spread of the season is certainly justified, as the winless Lions are dead last in Bendability and have injuries at quarterback.
 
The pick: Colts 34, Lions 13
 
Washington (-7) at Cincinnati           
The Redskins rank next-to-last in Scoreability – one spot worse than the lowly Bengals – which makes laying a full touchdown on the road a dicey proposition. 
 
The pick: Redskins 17, Bengals 13
                       
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-3)                
Despite Monday's loss, the Buccaneers still have better numbers against Quality Opponents (5-4, +2.8 PPG) than the Falcons do (3-5, -2.2 PPG).
 
The pick: Buccaneers 23, Falcons 21
 
San Francisco at Miami (-6½)
Flying across the country for an early game can be problematic, but the backdoor should be wide open for the 49ers, who rank 14 spots higher in Scoreability.
 
The pick: Dolphins 22, 49ers 17
 
Seattle (-2½) at St. Louis 
The Seahawks showed signs of life last week, and they should look even better against the Rams, who rank next-to-last in both Bendability and Defensive Passer Rating.
 
The pick: Seahawks 20, Rams 16 
 
Buffalo at N.Y. Jets (-9)       
With J.P. Losman at quarterback, the Bills have managed just six points in six quarters; they will struggle to keep pace with the Jets, who are still the league's best in Scoreability.
 
The pick: Jets 30, Bills 17
 
Tennessee (-3) at Houston               
The Titans top our Big Play Index and place second in Defensive Passer Rating, whereas the Texans rank in the bottom 10 in both categories.
 
The pick: Titans 27, Texans 22
 
Pittsburgh at Baltimore (-1)
Since the two dominant defenses are essentially a wash, the slightest edge goes to the home-standing Ravens, who rank a surprising sixth in Scoreability.  
           
The pick: Ravens 16, Steelers 13
 
Denver at Carolina (-7½)                 
The power-running Panthers will pound the ball relentlessly against a Broncos stop unit the ranks next-to-last in our Defensive Hog Index.
 
The pick: Panthers 30, Broncos 20
 
San Diego (-5½) at Kansas City                                                      
A failed 2-point conversion was all that kept the Chiefs from winning the first meeting, and they should be able to stay close again by throwing against the No. 26 team in Defensive Passer Rating.
 
The pick: Chargers 27, Chiefs 23        
 
Minnesota at Arizona (-3)
With Tavaris Jackson back under center for the Vikings, the quarterbacking advantage decidedly belongs to the Cardinals, who rank fourth in Passing Yards Per Attempt and fifth in Scoreability.
 
The pick: Cardinals 24, Vikings 20
 
New England (-7) at Oakland 
The Raiders have scored just 13 offensive touchdowns in 13 games, and their No. 29 ranking in Scoreability would be even worse if not for three TDs on kick returns.
 
The pick: Patriots 27, Raiders 16
 
N.Y. Giants at Dallas (-3)
Against teams that are currently above .500, the Cowboys are just 3-4, while the Giants' only blemish on their 7-1 Quality Record was their loss to Philly last week.
 
The pick: Giants 31, Cowboys 28
                       
Cleveland at Philadelphia (-14)
After knocking off the defending champs to stay in the playoff hunt, the Eagles won't be motivated to win by a large margin over a Browns team that ranks third in Bendability.
 
The pick: Eagles 24, Browns 13

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