Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Week 4 Picks...

It's time for my Week 4 picks based on the 4CR.

So far this season, my picks based on quarterbacks have been a bit askew. With a 2-4 showing last week (9-9 for the season), I've basically been holding steady. However, making picks vs. the Spread on ESPN- I am 31-17 so far (65%)--meaning I'm 22-8 (73%) in picks that aren't selected in this column. Yikes!

However, things have been a bit off this year so far. Elite quarterbacks have the worst record so far against the spread, whereas Bad quarterbacks are not being horrible yet (6-6 vs. spread). Things will hopefully even out in the upcoming weeks.

Stay Away Games:

Carolina at Chicago (-6.5): Unknown vs. Average
Tennessee at Cleveland (-0.5): Average vs. Unknown
NY Jets at Baltimore (-3.5): Very Good vs. Very Good

Games with Advantages:

Detroit at Dallas (-1.5): I'm staying away from betting against the Lions for the time being. Stafford has arguably been the best quarterback in the league so far this season.

Buffalo at Cincinnati (+3.5): Since the Bengals couldn't beat the 49ers at home last week--they can't be trusted. Also, like the Lions so far, who knows with the Bills? However, I'm still waiting for the Chan Gailey/Ryan Fitzpatrick combo to come back to reality and start losing again. This could be a trap game for Buffalo.

Atlanta at Seattle (+4.5): Don't bet against the Seahawks at home. Seattle is 7-3 at home and a miserable 1-9 on the road since 2011. Translation: Seahawks might be terrible--but they are dangerous playing at Qwest Field.

Miami at San Diego (-7.5): Even though Tony Sporano seems like a dead-man walking right now, Miami is a much better team playing on the road than at home. Miami is 6-3 on the road, and 1-9 at home since 2011.

New Orleans at Jacksonville (+7.5): Comparable 2010 game for Saints: losing to a Max Hall-led Cardinals team, 30-20. Even though Saints should cover, bet with somewhat caution because of the high spread.

Denver at Green Bay (-12.5): Taking favorites with high spreads didn't work so well last week, so I'll stay away from this one.

Indianapolis at Tampa Bay (-9.5): See above (even if Curtis Painter is involved).

MY PICKS:

ST. LOUIS (+0.5) over Washington: Here's the Rams upcoming schedule after this game: at Green Bay, at Dallas, vs. New Orleans. Basically, the season's on the line for Sam Bradford and company. Starting 0-7 (even though their second half schedule is much MUCH easier) it's just too much to overcome (even in the NFC West). Here's betting Bradford comes through. Plus, the Rams kicked Washington's butt last year 30-16 in Week 3.

Pittsburgh (+3.5) over HOUSTON: I think the Steelers will this out-right. Plus, even if Houston wins--chances are it wouldn't be by more than a field goal anyways.

PHILADELPHIA (-6.5) over San Francisco: Do you know Alex Smith is currently 3-0 against the spread this season? Do you know, I'm 0-3 picking against Alex Smith? There's no way, I'm going 0-4.

Minnesota (-1.5) over KANSAS CITY: Remember how last week, I said McNabb was playing for his career? Well, because he played well--and their defense blew the game--McNabb is getting a do-over. Starting out 0-4 would surely pave the way for the Christian Ponder era. So doesn't it makes more sense for the McNabb and company to win and save face than the Chiefs, who are looking like prime candidates for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, to win?

New England (-4.5) over OAKLAND: After throwing 4 picks last week, Tom Brady, new hair-cut and all, should wreak havoc on Oakland's defense, and I don't think Oakland has the firepower to keep up.

NY Giants (-1.5) over ARIZONA: Cardinals are 5-4 at home, and 1-9 on the road since last season. However, I think the Giants will prove alot of people wrong and be a contender for the NFC East crown. Also-Kevin "Kolb Salad" is looking to me, like a bland, average quarterback. You know what else is bland? Cardinals being 1-3--which sounds about right. It came down to this and betting against Curtis Painter on Monday Night Football---but the G-Men should take care of business.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 3 Notes...

THE CLUTCH:

Down 31-24 with 10:22 to go, Tom Brady led a 7 minute, 74 yard touchdown drive, capped off by 6 yard toss to Wes Welker on 4th and goal to tie the game at 31.

Tied at 31 with 3:25 remaining, Ryan Fitzpatrick led Buffalo 71 yards to the Patriots 10 yard line, to set up Rian Lindell's game-winning 28 yard field goal as time expired. Fitzpatrick was 3 for 3 with 79 yards on that game-winning drive to give Buffalo the unexpected 3-0 start.

Down 6-3 with 9:08 remaining, Alex Smith helped guide San Francisco on a 72 yard, five minute touchdown drive, capped off by a 7 yard run by Kendall Hunter to give the 49ers the 10-6 lead. Smith was 4 for 5 with 48 yards on that drive, which ultimately sealed the victory.

Down 16-10 with 3:23 remaining, starting on their own 20 yard line, Colt McCoy drove Cleveland 80 yards for what would be the game-winning touchdown. McCoy was 9 for 13 on the drive, capped off by a 14 yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Massaquoi. McCoy also converted on a 4th down on the drive.

Down 14-10 with 7:54 remaining, Matt Hasselbeck drove the Titans 95 yards, capped off by a 4 yard touchdown pass to Daniel Graham. Hasselbeck was 5 for 6 with 87 yards on that drive, which ultimately gave the Titans the 17-14 win.

Down 23-20 with 2:30 remaining, Donovan McNabb led the Vikings 52 yards, which set up a 49 yard field goal to tie the game at 23 and set up overtime. McNabb went 6 for 8 with 52 yards on that drive--but it wasn't enough because...

In overtime, Matthew Stafford's 40 yard pass to Calvin Johnson set up the game-winning 32 yard field goal by Jason Hanson

Down 33-32 with 4:13 remaining, Drew Brees led the Saints 93 yards for the touchdown and two-point conversion, which gave the Saints a 40-33 lead, and ultimately the victory. Brees was 4 for 7 on the drive.

Down 10-8 with 6:44 remaining, Cam Newton drove the Panthers 55 yards for what would be the game-winning touchdown, capped by a 16 yard pass to Greg Olsen. Newton was 3 for 3 for 47 yards, not including a 9 yard scramble, and converting a two-point conversion to take the 16-10 lead.

Up 31-24 with 5:33 remaining, Jason Campbell led Oakland 49 yards, which set up Sebastian Janikowski's 49 yard field goal, which sealed the game for the Raiders over the Jets, 34-24. Campbell threw a key 28 yard, thread the needle type throw to Michael Bush on the drive.

After giving up a fumble for a touchdown, Curtis Painter, came back and led the Colts 80 yards to tie the game at 20 with just over two minutes to go. Painter was 5 for 7 with 50 yards on that drive.

Tied at 20 with 2:09 remaining, Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers 50 yards, which set up a game-winning 38 yard field goal by Shaun Suisham. Roethlisberger had 39 yards passing on that drive, not including a key 11 yard scramble.

Down 16-15 with less than minutes remaining, Tony Romo hit Dez Bryant for a 30 yard throw to set up the eventual game-winning 40 yard field goal by Dan Bailey with 1:47 remaining, to take the 18-16 lead.

THE non-CLUTCH:

With under 4 minutes and needing a touchdown on both possessions, two of Andy Dalton's last five passes were intercepted, sealing the loss for the Bengals after leading for most of the game.

Down 17-16 with :43 seconds left on Cleveland's 47 yard line, and needing about 20 yards to get into field goal position, Chad Henne threw four straight incompletions, including the game-losing interception.

Down 17-14 with a 1st and 10 on on Tennessee's 38 yard line, Kyle Orton's next three plays were a sack, an incompletion, and the game-losing interception.

Down 40-33 with 2:42 remaining at their own 20 yard line, Matt Schaub threw two straight incompletions, which led to being sacked on 4th down to lose the game for the Texans.

Down 16-10 with 4:20 remaining, rookie Blaine Gabbert had two chances to take the lead. The first possession led to a punt, and the second, Gabbert failed to get Jacksonville in position for a pass in the end-zone.

With a 1st and 10, Down 20-17 with a minute remaining on San Diego's 43 yard line, Matt Cassel threw the game-losing interception for the Chiefs.

When Seattle took the 13-10 lead in the 3rd quarter, Kevin Kolb had six possessions to at least tie the game. The Cardinals finished with 3 punts, a missed field goal, and included a key interception thrown on Seattle's 36 yard line.


Down 18-16 with less than a minute to go on Washington's 43 yard line, Rex Grossman carelessly fumbled the ball to lose possession, and the game.

#4CR
Each week, here are the best and worst quarterback performances of the week, based on the Foucade Formula.

BEST:

1. Joe Flacco: 389 yards, 3 touchdowns, 103.6 passer rating
2. Eli Manning: 254 yards, 4 touchdowns, 145.7 passer rating
3. Matthew Stafford: 378 yards, 2 touchdowns, 108.8 passer rating + clutch performance
4. Matt Hasselbeck: 311 yards, 2 touchdowns, 119.1 passer rating + clutch performance
5. Drew Brees: 370 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 99.6 passer rating + clutch performance

WORST:

28. Sam Bradford: 166 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 62.8 passer rating
29. Blaine Gabbert: 139 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 73.3 passer rating + non-clutch performance
30. Michael Vick: 176 yards, 1 interception, 73.8 passer rating
31. Kerry Collins: 93 yards, 52.8 passer rating
32. Andy Dalton: 157 yards, 2 interceptions, 40.8 passer rating + non-clutch performance

QB RECORDS VS. SPREAD (actual records in parenthesis)

Elite QBs: 9-12 (13-8)

Very Good QBs: 10-11 (10-11)

Average QBs: 14-13 (11-16)

Unknown QBs: 9-6 (8-7)

Bad QBs: 6-5 (6-5)

Backups: 0-1 (0-1)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week 3 Picks...

It's time for my Week 3 picks based on the 4CR.

Again, six official picks will be made each week.

In Week 2 I went 4-2, bringing up my record for the season to 7-5. Last week, of course, included the devasting loss due to Jesse Holley getting caught on the one yard line in the Cowboys overtime win--despite having a huge lead in the open field for the easy touchdown (and the cover).

Spreads based on OfficeFootballPool.com

Stay Away Games: Games with no distinct advantage or disadvantage at quarterback.

NY Giants at Philadelphia (-7.5): Very Good vs. Elite (Vick is starting)
Miami at Cleveland (-2.5): Average vs. Unknown
Denver at Tennessee (-6.5): Average vs. Average
Baltimore at St. Louis (+3.5): Very Good vs. Very Good
Atlanta at Tampa Bay (-1.5): Elite vs. Very Good
Arizona at Seattle (+3.5): Unknown vs. Average

Games with advantages:

NY Jets at Oakland (+3.5): This may be a trap game for the Jets, who have a very tough schedule ahead of them after this (at Baltimore, at New England). The extra half point--on the road especially--makes this a stay away. Thing to keep an eye on: ever since Jason Campbell has officially been named Oakland's full-time starter, he's 4-3 with 9 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and a 100+ passer rating.

Washington at Dallas (-6.5): In the last five years, 8 of the 10 meetings between these two teams have been decided by 6 points or less. Plus, Tony Romo is playing injured cements this as a stay-away.

Jacksonville at Carolina (-3.5): Blaine Gabbert is debatable whether he should be considered a "backup" (bet against) or an "unknown" (bet with caution), since Jacksonville had no business wasting time on Luke McCown in the first place. Either way, I need to see more from Cam Newton in terms of wins and losses, to give 3.5 points.

Houston at New Orleans (-3.5): Since 2011, 8 of the Saints 12 wins have been by more than 3.5 points. Only 2 of Houston's 10 losses since 2010 have been by less than 3.5 points. Odds are that if the Saints are going to win--they will most likely cover. But could the 2-0 Texans win outright? It's not out of the question.

MY PICKS:

CINCINNATI (-2.5) over San Francisco: Like I mentioned last week, San Francisco is now 2-9 outside the NFC West since last year, with an average loss margin of over 11. Andy Dalton has played surprisingly well so far as a rookie, going 2-0 vs. the spread. Vegas is considering the 49ers to be slightly better because they're getting the half point, but this is where the Alex Smith factor comes into play. Also, Cincinnati has played considerably better at home vs. the road in the past two seasons (9-7 at home, 5-11 away).

MINNESOTA (+3.5) over Detroit: I can see Minnesota winning this out-right. This is not only a must-win for Minnesota, but for Donovan McNabb's career. If he starts out 0-3, after last years down-year--this could be the end of McNabb's starting days in the NFL. An 0-3 start will no doubt raise questions whether Christian Ponder should be given the starting job in Minnesota. Of course getting 3.5 points helps.

New England (-8.5) over BUFFALO: Even though Buffalo is 2-0 right now, can we really take them this seriously? The Patriots and Bills faced off twice in 2010. The first was a shootout, in which the Bills covered 38-30 (they scored touchdown with less than 5 minutes to play down 14 for the cover) but lost, and the second game was no contest with the Patriots winning 34-3. I am buying this as a reality check game for Buffalo, where the same old loser Bills show up.

SAN DIEGO (-14.5) over Kansas City: Last year when these teams played in San Diego (Chiefs were 8-4 at the time), the Chargers won 31-0. The year before in San Diego, the Chargers won by 29 points. If you're worried about San Diego's early season woes, last year they beat two similar bad teams, Jacksonville (Week 2) and Arizona (Week 4), at home by scores of 38-13 and 41-10.

Green Bay (-3.5) over CHICAGO: Pro: Aaron Rodgers is 5-2 vs. the Bears (all 5 wins by 6+ points). Con: Rodgers is only 2-2 playing in Chicago (both wins by 7, both losses by 3). Essentially, if the Bears are any good this year--they would win this game. However, my thinking from the start is that Chicago will be bad this year. Heck, even Jay Cutler has his doubts.

Pittsburgh (-10.5) over INDIANAPOLIS: Despite winning a blow-out, and covering a high spread last week (-14.5) vs. Seattle, I can't help to think Pittsburgh under-achieved. This should be another blow-out for the Steelers--and this will be the game that Indianapolis officially bottoms out. Bonus prediction: Monday morning: Colts announce Peyton Manning is officially done for the season.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 2 Notes...

THE CLUTCH:

Down 35-31 with 3:41 left, Ryan Fitzpatrick drove the Bills 80 yards for the game-winning score with 18 seconds left, capped off by a touchdown pass to David Nelson on 4th down. Fitzpatrick led the Bills back from a 18 point deficit, and converted two 4th downs on the game-winning drive.

Prior to Fitzpatrick's game-winning drive, down 31-28 with 4:48 left, Jason Campbell drove the Raiders 88 yards, throwing a 50 yard touchdown pass to Denarius Moore, giving the Raiders the 35-31 lead. Campbell got a chance at a Hail Mary at the end of the game as time expired, but it ended up getting intercepted. Campbell's 24 yard pass-set up the Hail Mary--and give Campbell credit for easily throwing the ball 60 yards on the last play.

Down 20-17 with 4:12 left, Josh Freeman drove Tampa 61 yards for the game-winning score, capped off by a four yard touchdown run by LaGarrette Blount with under 40 seconds left in the game. Freeman was 5 for 6 for 46 yards on the last drive, as the Buccaneers overcame a 17 point deficit.

Down 21-19 with 4:20 to go from their own 36 yard line, Rex Grossman drove Washington 48 yards for what ended up being the game-winning 34 yard field goal by Graham Gano for the 22-21 victory.

Down 24-21 with 4:03 to go in regulation, Tony Romo, playing with a cracked rib and punctured lung, drove Dallas 44 yards, which led to the game-tying 48 yard field goal by Dan Bailey as time expired to send the game into overtime. Then in overtime, on the Cowboys first offensive play, Romo threw a 77 dart to Jesse Holley that set up the game-winning 19 yard field goal to win 27-24. Romo finished the game 6 for 7, with 114 yards.

Up 28-21 with 5:40 left, Tom Brady was Mr. Cool as he drove the Patriots 75 yards for the game-clinching touchdown (16 yard run by BenJarvis Green-Ellis) for the 35-21 win. Brady finished with 423 passing yards and had 42 yards passing on that last drive.

Down 31-21 going into the 4th quarter, Matt Ryan was 9 for 12 with 89 yards and a touchdown pass, as the Falcons scored two 4th quarter touchdowns for the 35-31 comeback victory over the Eagles.

THE non-CLUTCH:

Backup Mike Kafka, filling in for a concussed Michael Vick, led the Eagles 69 yards to the Falcons 22 yard line with under two minutes left--but didn't get much help as a 4th down pass to Jeremy Maclin was dropped, killing the drive, and losing the games for the Eagles.

Alex Smith had a chance to lead the 49ers to an unlikely 2-0 start, but with a 2nd and short on their own 39 yard line in overtime, Smith took an awful drive-killing sack--which ultimately led to a punt. Dallas scored on the next possession.

Down 24-22 for most of the 4th quarter, rookie Andy Dalton had three possessions, and couldn't get the Bengals into field goal position. Dalton was 5 for 12 for 47 yards (53.1 passer rating) on the last three drives, which included an incompletion on 4th and 1 on Denver's 36, and a back-breaking sack on Denver's 48 yard line--which caused a 3rd and 4th and 19--which they ultimately couldn't convert.

CHEAP COVERS:

Down 14 (spread +10.5) with 2:14 left, Cam Newton drove Carolina 83 yards for the garbage touchdown, and the cheap cover, losing 30-23 instead of 30-16.

Romo's 77 yard pass to Jesse Holley in overtime, Holley had a clear path for the touchdown and the cover (-3.5) but was stopped a yard short. Dallas kicked the field goal for the 3 point, not 6 point win.

If Maclin doesn't drop the 4th down pass, and Kafka leads Philadelphia to a game-winning touchdown, they would have also covered (-2.5).

#4CR

Each week, here are the best and worst quarterback performances of the week, based on the Foucade Formula.

BEST:
1. Tom Brady: 423 yards, 3 touchdowns, 135.7 passer rating + clutch performance
2. Tony Romo: 345 yards, 2 touchdowns, 116.4 passer rating + clutch performance
3. Matthew Stafford: 294 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception, 106.1 passer rating
4. Drew Brees: 270 yards, 3 touchdowns, 118.1 passer rating
5. Aaron Rodgers: 308 yards, 2 touchdowns, 119.9 passer rating

WORST:
28. Tarvaris Jackson: 159 yards, 82.4 yards
29. Chad Henne: 170 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 56.2 passer rating
30. Joe Flacco: 197 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 51.2 passer rating
31. Matt Cassel: 133 yards, 3 interceptions, 44.5 passer rating
32. Luke McCown: 59 yards, 4 interceptions, 1.8 passer rating

QB RECORDS VS. SPREAD (actual records in parenthesis)

Elite QBs: 7-7 (9-5)

Very Good QBs: 6-8 (6-8)

Average QBs: 8-10 (8-10)

Unknown QBs: 8-2 (5-5)

Bad QBs: 3-5 (4-4)

Backups: 0-0 (0-0)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"The Case for Tebow" Should Be Renamed "The Case Against Orton"

What do we know about Tim Tebow? He's a former Heisman trophy winner, National Champion, and 2010 1st round pick. He's also to many--not built like a quarterback, not accurate enough, and can never be a NFL quarterback.

Through all of this--he's arguably the most beloved Denver Broncos quarterback since John Elway- and probably the most polarizing player in the entire league. Pretty impressive for a borderline "4th string" quarterback.

Still, Denver management and John Fox continue to pour the "Haterade" on Tebow. Why? Because Kyle Orton is not worth a 3rd round pick.

You see, this all began prior to the lockout. At the end of the 2010 season, Kyle Orton was benched in favor of Tim Tebow. Despite a pretty good statistical season (281 ypg, 20 td, 9int, 87.5 passer rating), Denver was getting tired of Orton's losing ways (more on this later) and decided to give Tim Tebow a shot (you know, because he was their 1st round pick).

Tebow did fine for a rookie, going 1-2, including an electrifying 24-23 comeback victory over Houston, in which he threw for over 300 yards. Sure, his completion percentage was not great (50%), but people overlook that when you're an intangibles quarterback. Well, at least they do when you're Michael Vick (career 55% completion percentage) ::cough cough:: Double standard.

So when Denver decided the Tebow era was on, they tried to ship Kyle Orton via trade. Their potential trade partner? The Miami Dolphins. However, Denver and Miami couldn't decide on Orton's value, and ultimately, Miami decided Orton wasn't worth giving up a 3rd round pick. They instead signed back-up Matt Moore and they would keep ridiculed Chad Henne. Translation- Orton is not better than a 3rd rounder (i.e. a Colt McCoy-type), Matt Moore, or Chad Henne. Not the most impressive group.

So what's Denver to do? They were essentially stuck with Orton, even though Denver fans were set on Tebow getting the quarterback gig. That's why Denver figured the only way they could still play Orton is if they throw Tebow under the bus.

It started out cute- an open competition between Tebow and Orton. Then Tebow was fighting for the second string job with Brady Quinn. Then it got to 3rd string controversy with unknown Adam Weber.

Let's stop for a second: Brady Quinn? Really? The same Brady Quinn who was thrown away by Cleveland, and has a 3-9 career record (66.8 passer rating). Quinn was so bad when given a chance--in 9 of his 12 starts, he's had a passer rating lower than 75, and 50% of his starts, lower than 50. That's pretty awful.

Essentially Denver wanted no hint of Tebow controversy that they proclaimed "Not only Orton is better, but so is Quinn and some guy you never heard of."

What Denver management does is their own prerogative. However, it just doesn't make sense.

You see, Kyle Orton's been was busy cementing himself as a loser. Notoriously being great between the 20s--yet consistently failing in the red-zone (proclaimed by NFL Network's Mike Lombardi), Orton has managed to go 1-7 in his last 24 starts with games decided by one score.

Coming into the league in 2005, Kyle Orton came in for an injured Rex Grossman, and managed to not be horrible, guiding the Bears to a 10-5 record. He was so bad (59.7 passer rating), Chicago fans were begging Rex Grossman to replace him, which he ultimately did. After Grossman guided the Bears to the Super Bowl the following year and was then benched in 2007, Orton came in--and was essentially okay. In that time, he was 11-7 and had a passer rating in the 80s. His last game with Chicago, he lost a must win game to a 7-8 Houston Texans team, which would have clinched a playoff berth.

Orton was then traded to Denver for Jay Cutler and won his first 6 starts. However, since that, Orton's true colors have come out. He's currently 5-18 since, including losing another must-win last regular season game in 2009 to the 3-12 Kansas City Chiefs that would've sent Denver to the playoffs.

So I'm in the same boat as most Denver fans. If you are going to stink with Kyle Orton, or even Brady Quinn anyway--why not just play Tebow? With Orton and Quinn --you at least know it's not going to end well, whereas Tebow is still an unknown.

Plus, with his fanbase--if Tebow turns out to be a winner--isn't that the ultimate upside?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Week 2 Picks...

It's time for my Week 2 picks based on the 4CR.

Again, six official picks will be made each week.

Week 1, I broke even with a 3-3 record- but hopefully as the season progresses, there will be more backups getting spot starts, and more games with a clear advantages at the quarterback position.

Spreads based on OfficeFootballPool.com

Stay Away Games: Games with no distinct advantage or disadvantage at quarterback.

Arizona at Washington (-4.5): Unknown vs. Average

Kansas City at Detroit (-8.5): Average vs. Unknown

Tampa Bay at Minnesota (-3.5): Very Good vs. Very Good

Houston at Miami (+2.5): Average vs. Average

San Diego at New England (-6.5): Elite vs. Elite

Cincinnati at Denver (-5.5): Unknown vs. Average

Philadelphia at Atlanta (+2.5): Elite vs. Elite

St. Louis at NY Giants (-6.5): Very Good vs. Very Good

Games with Advantages:

Chicago at New Orleans (-6.5): Damn you Jay Cutler! Just when I was about to write the Bears & Cutler off--they come back and blow out a good team (Atlanta). I do think the Saints should win--but after last week, there's enough to make me question that, The high spread makes it an easier decision.

Green Bay (-10.5) at Carolina: It would be a big surprise if Cam Newton can repeat his Week 1 performance. However, this is a game where I can see Carolina hanging around, or possibly getting the back-door cover--especially at home.

MY PICKS:

Baltimore (-6.5) over TENNESSEE: Conventional wisdom says Baltimore (who killed Pittsburgh last week after consistently losing to them for years) is due for a letdown game. However, I just don't think Tennessee will be good this year--especially losing Week 1 to the lowly Jaguars led by Luke McCown. Again, this team is now 2-13 since 2009 when Vince Young isn't their quarterback, and Matt Hasselbeck has lost 24 of his last 36 regular season starts.

NY JETS(-10.5) over Jacksonville: If the Jets are truly an elite team, they should blow-out a crappy Jacksonville team, who has Luke McCown as their quarterback, and are openly saying Maurice Jones-Drew will have limited touches. I think the Jets will reassert itself as a team to be reckoned with, especially after under-performing in Week 1.

PITTSBURGH (-14.5) over Seattle: Tarvaris Jackson playing in Pittsburgh after the Steelers just got embarrassed in Week 1? I know this line is very high, but I would be shocked if the Seahawks don't get smoked.

Dallas (-3.5) over SAN FRANCISCO: Do I question that Dallas lost when favored in Week 2 last year (at home vs. Chicago), after a heartbreaking week 1 loss--which was very similar to what happened last week vs. the Jets? Not so much when Alex Smith is involved. Plus, don't be fooled by San Francisco's Week 1 win. They barely beat a horrible Seattle team at home, and needed essentially two kick returns to make it happen. San Francisco was 2-8 outside the NFC West last year, with an average loss margin of 12.25.

Oakland (+4.5) over BUFFALO: Buffalo only won two games last year by more than a 4.5 point margin. Plus, doesn't an Oakland 2-0 start sound way less absurd than a 2-0 Buffalo start with the Chan Gailey/Ryan Fitzpatrick combo? Plus--free +4.5 points!

Cleveland (-2.5) over INDIANAPOLIS: Do I cringe at the thought of betting on Colt McCoy? I should be! He's only 2-7, and he's only thrown for 248 yards total in those two wins (fluke blow-outs over good teams). However, Kerry Collins, as expected, did look horrible last week--while the Colts are already thinking about the possibility of Andrew Luck. What's the over/under for the Colts announcing Peyton Manning being out for the year? Could be after 0-4 start/loss to Tampa Bay in Primetime.

Last Week: 3-3

Total: 3-3

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week 1 notes...

THE CLUTCH:

Down 17-13 with 6:03 left, backup Bruce Gradkowski, drove the Bengals 62 yards for essentially the game winning touchdown, capped by a 41 yard td pass to rookie AJ Green.

Even though they didn't win, Drew Brees, down 8 points, drove the Saints 79 yards in 68 seconds with no timeouts down to Green Bay's 1 yard line. However, rookie Mark Ingram was stuffed at the goal line for the 42-34 loss.

Up 24-17 with 3:01 remaining, Philip Rivers converted two key passes, combined with some running by Ryan Matthews, sealed the win for the Chargers over the Vikings.

Up 21-14 with 10:57 remaining, Rex Grossman led Washington on a near six minute, 68 yard drive, capped off by a 4 yard touchdown pass, that essentially put the game away for the 28-14 win.

Up 23-20 with under 3 minutes remaining Jason Campbell converted a key 1st down on a 9 yard pass, that just about put the game away for the Raiders.

THE non-CLUTCH

Down 20-17 with 4:28 left, Colt McCoy had two chances to get the Browns into scoring position. However, McCoy simply stunk, going 2 for 8 with 13 yards, throwing an incompletion on a 4th and 8 with just over 2 minutes remaining. Since Cincinnati took that late lead, McCoy finished the game 4 for 12, 22 yards, 1 interception (7.64 passer rating). Yikes.

Down 27-20, on the very last play at the Lions 46 yard line, Josh Freeman brain-farted and threw a pass that wasn't a Hail Mary. In fact, it wasn't even close to the end zone (pass up the middle at the 26). Granted, a Hail Mary would've had a minuscule chance of working, it's still a better chance than zero chance.

Down 16-14 with 1:45 left, Matt Hasselbeck drove Tennessee 43 yards to almost mid-field, before throwing the game-losing interception for the loss.

After a statistically brilliant 1st game, rookie quarterback Cam Newton, down 28-21, drove Carolina 76 yards to the Cardinals 6 yard line. However, he made a rookie mistake on 4th and 6th by throwing a short pass on a route that had no chance of gaining the 6 yards needed. Newton finished the game with 422 yards passing, three touchdowns (2 pass, 1 run), and for those who care, 29 fantasy points.

Down 24-17 with 5:01 remaining, Donovan McNabb capped off a horrible performance (only 39 yards passing) by stalling at their own 20 yard line, capped by a drive killing sack. Minnesota never got the ball back.

Up 24-17 with about 9 minutes left on the Jets 2 yard line, looking to put the game away, Tony Romo lost the ball on a fumble. Then tied at 24 with 59 seconds left, at their own 41 yard line, Romo threw a total brain fart interception to Darrelle Revis, that resulted in a Jets field goal to win the game.

CHEAP COVERS:

If the Saints didn't get stuffed at the goal line at the end of regulation, they would have most likely covered at +4.5.

Hasselbeck's late touchdown to Kenny Britt cut the deficit to Jacksonville 16-14, but more importantly, helped Tennessee cover +3.5.

If Carolina scored at the end, they would have covered at +6.5

After Seattle (+5.5) cut the deficit to 2 points with 3:45 remaining, Tedd Ginn Jr. proceeded to take a kickoff return and a punt return for touchdowns.

#4CR

Each week, here are the best and worst quarterback performances of the week, based on the Foucade Formula.

BEST

1. Tom Brady: 517 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception, 121.6 passer rating

2. Aaron Rodgers: 312 yards, 3 touchdowns, 132.1 passer rating

3. Ryan Fitzpatrick: 208 yards, 4 touchdowns, 133 passer rating

4. Kevin Kolb: 309 yards, 2 touchdowns, 130 passer rating

5. Matthew Stafford: 305 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, 118.9 passer rating

WORST:

28. Eli Manning: 268 yards, 1 interception 70.8 passer rating

29. Sam Bradford: 188 yards, 75.4 passer rating + left game with semi-serious injury

30. Ben Roethlisberger: 280 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 52. 9 passer rating

31. Matt Cassel: 119 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 64.5 passer rating

32. Donovan McNabb: 39 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 47.9 passer rating + non-Clutch performance

QB RECORDS VS. SPREAD (actual records in parenthesis)

Elite QBs: 3-4 (4-3)

Very Good QBs: 3-4 (2-5)

Average QBs: 5-4 (4-5)

Unknown QBs: 3-2 (3-2)

Bad QBs: 2-2 (3-1)

Backups: 0-0 (0-0)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Week One Picks

NFL! NFL! NFL! It's finally back! Time to put the 4CR to the test. Again, if you are not aware, my picks will solely be made based on who's starting at qb.

My mantra? Back elite or very good qbs, Stay away from unknowns/average qbs, and go against Bad and back-up qbs

Six official picks will be made each week, and as the season goes along, I will keep track of each quarterback category's record vs. the spread to see if basing picks on the 4CR actually works.

Here we go---Week One! Note: Spreads based on OfficeFootballPool.com

Stay Away Games: Games with no distinct advantage or disadvantage at quarterback

NO at GB (-4.5): Elite vs. Elite (no advantage)

Phi at StL (+4.5): Elite vs. Very Good (no advantage)

Cin at CLE (-6.5): Unknown vs. Unknown

Pit at Bal (-2.5): Elite vs. Very Good (I like Pitt -2.5)

Car at Ari (-6.5) Unknown vs. Unknown

Min at SD (-8.5) Very Good at Elite

Dal at NYJ (+4.5) Very Good vs. Very Good

Oak at Den (-3.5) Average vs. Average

Games with Advantages:

New York Giants at Washinton (+3.5): Had John Beck won the starting quarterback job, I would be all over this game, taking the Giants. However, although Rex Grossman is very average, he is frisky, and the Giants defense is overcoming alot of injuries.

Buffalo at Kansas City (-5.5): The latest injury report has Matt Cassel likely to play. Yet, there's still a chance that Tyler Palko might get the nod or at least significant playing time. As much as I would love to bet against Ryan Fitzpatrick (bad quarterback) playing at Arrowhead, it's not worth the risk of trusting a guy with only 6 career pass attempts under his belt.

MY PICKS

Atlanta (-2.5) over CHICAGO: This is a pick for an elite quarterback (Matt Ryan) and it doesn't hurt that the other guy is Jay Cutler. I picked the Bears to be horrible this year, so the 2.5 points doesn't scare me either.

TAMPA BAY (-1.5) over Detroit: Good value here, considering Tampa Bay was originally favored by 3.5 and are playing at home. I am tentative to go against a complete unknown in Matthew Stafford, but in reality, he's still just a guy who has a 3-10 career record with a 67.1 passer rating. Plus, Josh Freeman is really good.

Tennessee (+3.5) over JACKSONVILLE: As soon as Jack Del Rio made the move from Garrard to Luke McCown- I looked at Jacksonville's schedule to see how many times I can get bet against him. This one qualifies because Matt Hasselbeck is at least somewhat average. Plus, getting 3.5 points against Luke McCown? No problem!

HOUSTON (-8.5) over Indianapolis: The last time Kerry Collins was taken off the streets at the last minute to start a season for a team---let's just say it didn't go well (2006: 0-3, 1td, 6int, 42.3 passer rating, average loss margin of two touchdowns). This is a bet against Kerry Collins doing what he does best besides being an alcoholic---being a horrible quarterback.

Seattle (+5.5) over SAN FRANCISCO: Don't be fooled. This is not a bet on Tarvaris Jackson (somewhat average)---this is a bet against Alex Smith (horrible quarterback). Plus, why is San Francisco getting 5.5 at home vs. a team that was essentially better than them last year? It looks like last year, that Vegas for some reason, overvalues the 49ers.

New England (-6.5) over MIAMI: 2010 head to head scores: Pats 41-14, Pats 38-7. Backing Brady doesn't hurt either.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2011 Predictions:

AFC

DIVISION WINNERS: 1. San Diego (13-3), 2. New England (12-4), 3. Pittsburgh (11-5), 4. Houston (10-6)

WILDCARDS: 5. NY Jets (11-5), 6. Baltimore (10-6)

OTHERS: Indianapolis (8-8), Denver (8-8), Miami (7-9), Oakland (7-9), Cleveland (7-9), Tennessee (6-10), Kansas City (5-11), Cincinnati (3-13), Buffalo (3-13), Jacksonville (3-13)

NFC

DIVISION WINNERS: 1. Green Bay (11-5), 2. Dallas (11-5), 3. Tampa Bay (11-5), 4. St. Louis (10-6)

WILDCARDS: 5. Philadelphia (10-6), 6. Atlanta (10-6)

OTHERS: New Orleans (9-7), NY Giants (9-7), Minnesota (9-7), Arizona (8-8), Detroit (8-8), Carolina (7-9), Chicago (6-10), Seattle (6-10), Washington (4-12), San Francisco (3-13)

PLAYOFFS

Wild Card Round: Tampa Bay over Atlanta, Philadelphia over St. Louis, Pittsburgh over Baltimore, NY Jets over Houston

Divisional Round: Dallas over Tampa Bay, Green Bay over Philadelphia; New England over Pittsburgh, San Diego over NY Jets

Title Games: Green Bay over Dallas; San Diego over New England

Super Bowl: Green Bay 31, San Diego 27

Replacing Average with Horrible: Jaguars Edition

Yesterday, Jacksonville unexpectedly released David Garrard, and decided to hand over the keys to the team to Blaine Gabbert. Wait, what? They're starting Luke McCown instead? huh?

Let's get this straight: Jacksonville made a mistake by signing Garrard to such a lucrative contract. By all means, Garrard isn't bad--he's just painfully average. He has a 39-37 career record (essentially .500) and a pretty standard 85.8 passer rating. However, ever since he got the big contract, he's been a not-so-good 20-26 the past three seasons.

Everyone expected Jacksonville to sit Garrard at some point in favor of Gabbert this season. Side rant: The idea of having a crappy veteran start the season only to bench him for the rookie is an idiotic strategy. Why not just play the rookie right away? Why waste starts on a quarterback with no future, and probably lose anyway?

With that, this decision was especially confusing because they decided to keep this strategy, and play a much -much--MUCH WORSE quarterback in Luke McCown.

McCown, entering his 8th year, is a career 1-6. That means he averages 0.125 wins per year. Even if Gabbert is extremely unprepared to actually play (which I doubt), how is Luke McCown more qualified?

What's even more perplexing is Jack Del Rio is trying to save his job. If he started Gabbert from Day One---that's his guy, and could buy him more time--even if they went 4-12. However, playing McCown, shows me that Del Rio has no idea what's going on. Jags are very likely to start out 1-7 before the bye. Del Rio is a mortal lock to be fired.

For gambling implications: I am changing my Tennessee (Line: 6.5 wins) UNDER to a Jacksonville (LINE: 6.5 wins) a UNDER, and that's a LOCK.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Betting Futures: 12 Over/Under Win Totals I Will Sign Off On

Minnesota (LINE: 7 wins): Potential Sleeper Team. Basically asking for a one win improvement from '10 (when everything went disasterous), and they have two major additions by subtractions (no Brett Favre drama, no Brad Childress). Plus- Donovan McNabb got a bad rap last season. He had Washington in the playoff mix around Week 10 before being inexplicably benched. He has alot to prove. OVER

San Diego (LINE: 10 wins): The modern day Dan Marino, Phil Rivers, is the front-runner for MVP. Also- he's coming off a non-playoff year, and he averages 11 wins per season anyway. OVER

St. Louis (LINE: 8 wins): PICK ONE: (a) Sam Bradford break-through year (b) Second year improvement (c) Division still stinks (d) I actually think they could be in contention for a bye in the playoffs. OVER

Tampa Bay (LINE: 8 wins): Two words: JAASSSH FREEMAN. Seriously, 25-1 odds for NFC Championship? I'll take that. OVER

Houston (LINE: 8.5 wins): I picked them to win their division, and since they don't play in the NFC West--they should get at least 9 wins. OVER

Carolina (LINE: 4.5 wins): As I noted before: NFC South teams that finished last in the previous five seasons, and have gone a combined 54-27 the following year. Basically, this is a bet that Cam Newton will stay on the field so Jimmy Clausen and Derek Anderson don't have to play. OVER

Chicago (LINE: 8.5 wins): You're asking me to bet against Jay Cutler? No problem! UNDER

San Francisco (LINE: 7.5 wins): Maybe Jim Harbaugh is sabotaging his team so he can be reunited with Andrew Luck? That has to be the reason for Alex Smith, right? UNDER

Buffalo (LINE: 5.5 wins): Chan Gailey + Ryan Fitzpatrick = BET AGAINST UNDER

Washington (LINE: 6.5 wins): Even though kind-of-underrated Rex Grossman beat out John Beck---there's still a good chance Beck could be getting alot of starts. Plus--they play in a super hard division. UNDER

Cincinnati (LINE: 5.5 wins): I would probably go under here even if Carson Palmer was still their quarterback. UNDER

Tennessee (LINE: 6.5 wins): People point out they have a great system, yada yada yada--but this is also the same team that has gone 2-12 in the past two years when Vince Young wasn't starting. Even if Matt Hasselbeck started the entire season (which is unlikely), I would still be very doubtful that he would finish with 7+ wins. He's the same guy who has gone 12-23 the last three years, throwing 44 interceptions in 35 starts (rate of 20 per season). Plus- I look forward to betting against Jake Locker. UNDER

Monday, September 5, 2011

Forecasting Sleepers: Even The Colts Aren't Safe

During the past ten years, the NFL has been the target of parity, with a total of 62 occasions (AFC: 29, NFC: 33) of a team making the jump to the playoffs, after a non-playoff year. To play the averages, that's roughly 6.2 teams each year.

That means for the 12 2010 playoff teams, the odds are that at least five of those teams will miss the playoffs this upcoming season. So who are the most likely to fall out and who are the teams looking to break out? Let's dig

2010 Playoff Teams Most Likely To Miss Playoffs:

1) Seattle Seahawks: 7 wins last year + Tarvaris Jackson experiment + Rams making a leap (see below)

2) Kansas City Chiefs: They only played two playoff teams last year (one was Seattle) + much harder schedule in 2011 + Todd Haley/Matt Cassel combo. This could be very similar to their 2009 season of 4-12. Cassel already might miss some games.

3) Chicago Bears: Tons of lucky breaks in 2010 + Tough division + How do we even know Jay Cutler will ever recover from that NFC Championship Game debacle? Plus- he ended his engagement with Laguna Beach turned The Hills turned Dancing With The Stars, pseudo celebrity, Kristin Cavalleri.

4) Indianapolis Colts: Based on this latest update, it looks like Peyton Manning might not only miss the first game--but much more. Their solution? Giving Kerry Collins $4 million to learn a new play book in a few weeks--and completely forgetting that Collins is a horrible, HORRIBLE quarterback. He's a career 81-96, and 26-47 (35%) since 2003. Imagine if Indianapolis ends up getting Andrew Luck to be Peyton's heir apparent? Shades of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, who landed Tim Duncan because David Robinson got injured the previous season, resulting in a high pick.

5 & 6) Atlanta Falcons & New Orleans (tied) Both have good teams, smart coaches, and great quarterbacks---but one of these teams could miss out due to a tie breaker, playing in a tough division and conference.

7) Philadelphia Eagles: Lots of hype + shaky offensive line + Michael Vick has only made the playoffs 2 out of 5 times when he went into the season as the starting quarterback.

Non-Playoff Teams Most Likely to Make Playoff Leap:

1) San Diego Charger: Potential Juggernaut--could actually be #1 seed in playoffs.

2) Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo's back + no coaching drama + emergence of Dez Bryant.

3) St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford's emergence into an awesome quarterback with the help of Josh McDaniels could easily translate into the NFC West crown.

4) Houston Texans: With Peyton's injury, this has to be the year, right? Best addition for Houston was adding Wade Phillips as Defensive Coordinator, who will greatly improve their horrible defense.

5) Tampa Bay Bucs: Many have Tampa dropping off this year. However, I am giving alot of credit to Josh Freeman and their young nucleus. In fact, I would seriously consider Tampa Bay's 25-1 NFC Championship odds.

6) NY Giants: 18 wins in the last two years, 40 wins in the last four years. Giants could easily be back in the playoffs.

7) Minnesota Vikings: Everything went wrong in 2010, and they improved at quarterback (washed up Favre to frisky McNabb) and coach (anyone other than Brad Childress). That alone could be worth a few extra wins.

8) Detroit Lions: What if Matt Stafford stays healthy and is actually really good?

9) Arizona Cardinals: The potential Kevin Kolb improvement. They won 5 games last year with one of the worst collections of quarterbacks in history (Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton)--so why couldn't they improve four games with Kolb in an easy division?

10) Carolina Panthers: Teams that finished last in the NFC South the last five years, have gone a combined 54-27 (67%) the following year, with 4 of the 5 teams making the playoffs. Plus even a rookie Cam Newton should be a huge upgrade over the Matt Moore/Jimmy Clausen combo from 2010.

MY PICKS:

2010 Playoff Teams to Fall Out in 2011: Seattle, Kansas City, Chicago, Indianapolis, New Orleans (tie breaker)

2010 Non- Playoff Teams to Make Playoffs in 2011: San Diego, Dallas, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Houston.