Monday, October 31, 2011

Week 8 Notes...

THE CLUTCH:

Down 17-14 with 8:28 remaining, Eli Manning led the Giants on a 53 yard, 2.5 minute touchdown drive, capped by a 25 pass to Victor Cruz for the 20-17 lead and eventual victory.

Tied at 21, Christian Ponder led the Vikings on a time-consuming 7 minute drive, capped off by a Ryan Longwell 31 yard field goal to take the 24-21 lead. Ponder threw for 53 yards on the drive. The field goal turned out to be the game-winner because...

Down 24-21 with 2:43 left, Cam Newton led the Panthers 57 yards to the Vikings 13 yard line, but the Panthers lost after Olindo Mare shanked an easy 31 yard field goal for the Panthers loss.

Tied at 27 with 52 seconds remaining, Joe Flacco threw a 36 yard strike to Torrey Smith to set up Billy Cundif's 25 yard game-winning field goal.

Up 17-10 with 6:17 remaining, Alex Smith led the 49ers on a 4+ minute, 66 yard drive, capped off by a David Akers 26 yard field goal to put the game away.

In overtime, Matt Cassel drove the Chiefs 74 yards for the game-winning 30 yard field goal by Ryan Succop. Cassel was 5 for 6 with 56 yards on the game-winning drive.

THE non-CLUTCH:

Down 20-17 with under six minutes remaining, Matt Moore had two possessions to either tie or take the lead. His first possession was a punt after a 3 and out (including a sack), and second possession included a sack, and an interception for the Dolphins' 7th loss.

Down 20-12 with 4:50 remaining, Tarvaris Jackson had a three and out after taking a sack. Seattle's punt was returned for a touchdown, sealing the loss for Seattle.

Tied at 20 with a minute remaining on the Chiefs 15 yard line, Philip Rivers fumbled the ball, costing the Chiefs the win. The Chargers ended up punting on their only possession in overtime, and lost after the Chiefs kicked a field goal on their next possession.

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

BEST:
1. Eli Manning: 349 yards, 2 touchdowns, 106.6 passer rating + clutch performance
2. Matthew Stafford: 267 yards, 3 touchdowns, 130.8 passer rating
3. Ben Roethlisberger: 365 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 97.5 passer rating
4. Michael Vick: 279 yards, 2 touchdowns, 129.9 passer rating
5. Ryan Fitzpatrick: 262 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 116.4 passer rating

WORST:
22. Curtis Painter: 250 yards, 2 interceptions, 50.6 passer rating
23. John Beck: 208 yards, 2 interceptions, 53.6 passer rating
24. Matt Moore: 138 yards, 1 interception, 58.5 passer rating + non-clutch performance
25. Charlie Whitehurst: 52 yards, 80.7 passer rating + benched
26. Blaine Gabbert: 97 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 26.7 passer rating

QB RECORDS VS. SPREAD (actual records in parenthesis)

Elite QBs: 24-27 (34-17)

Very Good QBs: 17-18 (21-14)

Average QBs: 33-27 (27-28)

Unknown QBs: 21-21 (17-25)

Bad QBs: 13-6 (12-7)

Backups: 8-17 (4-22)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Week 8 Picks...

Last week went well, with my value picks going 5-1, while the #4CR picks went 4-2. With 9 backup quarterbacks playing last week (3-6), and the backup trend most likely continuing--things are looking up.

To the picks:

Stay Away Games:
Cleveland at San Francisco (-9.5): Unknown vs. Bad
Washington at Buffalo (-5.5): Bad Backup vs. Bad *Game to be played in Toronto

Games with Advantages:

Jacksonville at Houston (-9.5): Jacksonville has won their past six quarters 22-7 vs. the Steelers and Ravens—pretty impressive. Houston just won their last game by 34 points, so perhaps a let-down is due. When Matt Schaub is involved---always bet with caution.

Detroit at Denver (+0.5): Considering most other lines for this game have Detroit (-3), I will stay away from this. I do think Denver has a shot at winning this out-right though (irrational pro-Tebow pick)

San Diego at Kansas City (+3.5): Philip Rivers is 2-4 against the spread this year. The Chargers are 4-2, but have under-performed in arguably every game this season. I would normally have faith in San Diego to take care of business---but not at this moment vs. a frisky Chiefs team who always seem to play the Chargers tough.

MY #4CR PICKS:

New Orleans (-12.5) over ST. LOUIS: Another AJ Feeley sighting? Do you know the Rams are averaging less than 10 points a game? Do you know the Rams have less points for their season (56) than the Saints had in their last game (62)?

BALTIMORE (-12.5) over Arizona: Meet Joe Flacco aka Flacco and Hyde. Six games in this year, 3 great games, 3 stinkers. Flacco is coming off a horrible performance on Monday Night Football vs. the lowly Jaguars, so expect Flacco and co. to go nuts vs. a crappy Cardinals team, who tends to play much worse on the road.

NY GIANTS (-9.5) over Miami: Four of the six Miami losses have been by 10+ points. I know everyone got burned betting on Eli Manning with a big spread vs. Seattle, but Miami’s Matt Moore appears banged up, and his backup is….wait…JP Losman. I can not wait for JP to start some games this season.

TENNESSEE (-9.5) over Indianapolis: Betting against the Colts would put you at a 5-2 record (71%)—that’s just something you have to ride out. Hopefully, this is a game where Chris Johnson gets his mojo back.

CINCINNATI (-2.5) over Seattle: Another Charlie Whitehurst sighting!

CAROLINA (-3.5) over Minnesota: Worried about the extra half point, but I think Carolina has a chance at making a run. Sitting at 2-5, the Panthers have a very do-able next four games (Minnesota, Tennessee, at Detroit, and at Indianapolis). It’s not out of the question that we’ll be looking at a 6-5 Carolina team in Week 13.

VALUE PICKS:

New Orleans (-12.5), Baltimore (-12.5), Cincinnati (-2.5), Tennessee (-9.5)

New England (-2.5) over PITTSBURGH: Because the Patriots essentially own the Steelers. Don’t buy into the “teams coming back from their byes have been playing bad” theory, because those teams who have had a bye already are not exactly the cream of the crop in the first place. Trust in Brady.

Dallas (+3.5) over PHILADELPHIA: Three things: 1) Dallas might be better, 2) Good chance this game will be determined by a field goal; and 3) Free extra half point.

#4CR PICKS: 22-20 (4-2 last week)
MY VALUE PICKS: 23-19 (5-1 last week)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

St. Louis Rams Would Benefit Most From Andrew Luck Sweepstakes

In case you missed it, I wrote an article this week for The Washington Post's Website on why the Rams would benefit the most from landing the #1 pick. You can check out the article here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NFL Should Launch Pink Super Bowl Tradition

In case you missed it, I wrote an article this week for The Washington Post's Website about the a new Super Bowl proposal/tradition. You can check out the article here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NY JETS: Introducing JET BLACK HELMETS (Prototypes!)

Back in November 2009, I posted some new NY Jets' Helmet and Uniform Designs on my site, and it still remains my most popular article by far. After getting praise from Jets fans, and players (Darrelle Revis & Dustin Keller), I decided to get a pro-type made to help the cause.

To The New York Jets Organization: Let's Introduce JET BLACK.

Rex & Co. have given the Jets a tough edge, and uniform changes have proven in the past that it can lead to Super Bowls (see: New England, Tampa Bay, and Denver).

Re-tweet this article, post on Jets and NFL message boards, write to Woody Johnson himself---anything. Let's make this happen!





Monday, October 24, 2011

Week 7 Notes...

THE CLUTCH:

Down 15-0 with 5:23 remaining, Tim Tebow orchestrated two straight touchdown drives, including one two point conversion run to tie the game and force overtime. Denver recoverd an onsides kick to set up the game-tying score. The Broncos went on to win the game in overtime after a fumble recovery.

Up 24-21 on San Diego's 11 yard line, Mark Sanchez ran for a 1st down, which made San Diego use the rest of their timeouts. After the Jets kicked a field goal, the Chargers essentially had little chance at a comeback.




Up 21-18 with 7:17 left, Jay Cutler led Chicago 76 yards for a 5+ minute drive, capped by a field goal to put the Bears up by 6 with less than 2 minutes to go. Cutler threw for 66 yards on the drive.

THE non-CLUTCH:

Down 6-3 with less than 3 minutes remaining, after getting a 1st down on a pass interference call, Charlie Whitehurst threw three incompletions on the next set of downs, for a loss of downs, and ultimately the game. Whitehurst capped off an atrocious game, throwing for only 97 yards with an interception.

Down 23-16 with 3:20 remaining, after driving the Lions 46 yards, Matthew Stafford threw four straight incompletions for a loss of downs and loss of game.

In overtime, Matt Moore's fumble in their own territory, set up the 52 yard game-winning field goal for Denver's Matt Prater for the Dolphins' 6th loss of the season.

Down 24-21 with just over 5 minutes remaining, Philip Rivers threw a key interception on their own 41 yard line. Rivers got another chance down 27-21 with 1:36 left from their own 24, but ran a very slow no-huddle offense, throwing mostly short passes, and threw a very odd 4th down pass out of bounds when a Hail Mary was needed.

Down 24-18 with 1:55 remaining, Josh Freeman threw his fourth interception six plays later for the Tampa Bay loss.

Down 33-27 with 3 minutes left and a 1st down on their own 36 yard line, Christian Ponder threw three straight incompletions, which resulted in a punt. The Vikings never got the ball back.



Down 12-7 with 1:43 remaining, Joe Flacco threw a game-losing interception on the second play of the drive for the horrible loss to the Jaguars.

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



BEST:



1. Drew Brees: 325 yards, 5 touchdowns, 144.9 passer rating



2. Ben Roethlisberger: 361 yards, 3 touchdowns, 121.8 passer rating



3. Aaron Rodgers: 335 yards, 3 touchdowns, 146.5 passer rating



4. Matt Schaub: 296 yards, 2 touchdowns, 147.7 passer rating



5. Cam Newton: 256 yards, 1 touchdown, 127.5 passer rating



WORST:



22. Philip Rivers: 179 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 51.4 passer rating + non-clutch performance



23. Matt Hasselbeck: 104 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 38.8 passer rating



24. Charlie Whitehurst: 97 yards, 1 interception, 35 passer rating



25. Curtis Painter: 67 yards, 1 interception, 38.1 passer rating



26. Kyle Boller: 61 yards, 3 interceptions, 22.3 passer rating

QB RECORDS VS. SPREAD (actual records in parenthesis)

Elite QBs: 22-24 (32-14)

Very Good QBs: 17-15 (19-13)

Average QBs: 30-27 (24-28)

Unknown QBs: 18-19 (15-22)

Bad QBs: 11-6 (10-7)

Backups: 5-12 (2-15)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Week 7 Picks..

Let’s play glass half empty/half full.

Half empty: After a 4-2 week, I am now at a mediocre 18-18.

Half Full: If I just stopped going against Alex Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick (1-7 against), I would be 17-11 (61%).

Translation: As much as I anticipate a Bills late season collapse, and now most likely a 49ers 1st game exit from the playoffs—I will now steer away from betting against the Bills and 49ers, unless I have very good reason not to.

To the picks!

Stay Away Games:
Houston at Tennessee (-3.5): Average vs. Average
San Diego at NY Jets (+1.5): Elite vs. Very Good

Games with Advantages:

Indianapolis at New Orleans (-13.5): Only 5 out of the Saints 15 wins the past 2 seasons have been by over 13.5. However, if the Saints score, 30+, do you think the Colts can keep up? Beware the cheap cover.

Seattle at Cleveland (-2.5): Looks like Chaz Whitehurst is getting the nod, so the “bet against the back-up rule” is in effect. Only worry is betting on Colt McCoy.

Chicago at TAMPA BAY (+1.5): Getting points at “home” is too tempting in a game that I think Tampa Bay should win. However, the game is being played on a neutral field in London.

St. Louis at Dallas (-12.5): If AJ Feely starts, this is a no-brainer for Dallas. As of Friday, it seems like a game-time decision.

MY #4CR PICKS:

CAROLINA (-2.5) over Washington: All year I’ve been waiting to bet against John Beck, and after a 4 interception day by Rex Grossman, I finally have my chance. I also think Cam Newton will bounce back from his worst day as a pro.

Kansas City (+3.5) over OAKLAND: After Oakland’s ill-advised panic move to trade for Carson Palmer, Oakland fills in for the Bengals shoes last year as the team to always bet against. In the event Palmer doesn’t play this week, there’s the next worst thing in Kyle Boller. Plus, the Chiefs may think they’re actually good, and might be playing for their coach’s job.

Atlanta (+3.5) over DETROIT: It’s Week 7, and I think the Falcons are actually better. Thanks for the 3.5 points.

Baltimore (-7.5) over JACKSONVILLE: Have to ride the fact that Jacksonville stinks.

Green Bay (-8.5) over MINNESOTA: In two of Green Bay’s road games this year, they have won by more than 8.5. The only one under was by 7 because of a cheap Cam Newton backdoor cover. Plus, it means going against a backup (rookie) quarterback.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) over ARIZONA: Even though the Cardinals are always frisky at home, you don’t make friends (or in this case fans) with Kolb Salad.

MY VALUE PICKS:
Carolina (-2.5), Atlanta (+3.5), Kansas City (+3.5), Green Bay (-8.5), Pittsburgh (-3.5) &

Denver (+2.5) over MIAMI: All aboard the Tebow bandwagon! This to me is the lock of the year. Tebow’s opening game is road game which will feel like a home game vs. a team that looked horrendous on MNF vs. the Jets, plays worse at home, and have a back-up quarterback starting? Sign me up.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ridiculous Palmer Trade Lessens The Value of Draft Picks

After Cincinnati’s complete heist from Oakland, hauling in 1st and 2nd round picks for a sub-par, but big name quarterback (Carson Palmer), I think it’s time to re-evaluate the value of a draft pick.

Since 2002 there have been a number of teams trading high picks in hopes of landing a potential franchise quarterback. Some have had success, some have not. Let’s see where Oakland perceives Palmer’s value using the NFL Draft Value Chart.

2002: Bills trade the #14th pick to the Patriots for Drew Bledsoe.
2004- The Dolphins trade the #35th pick for AJ Feeley.

2006- The Dolphins trade the #51st picks for Daunte Culpepper.

2007- The Texans trade the 39th pick, and swap 1st rounders (#8 and #10) for Matt Schaub.

2009- The Chiefs trade the 34th pick for Matt Cassel (with Mike Vrabel). Note: not including Vrabel’s value.

2009- The Bears traded the 18th and 84th picks in 2009, the 11th pick in 2010 draft and Kyle Orton for Jay Cutler (ended up being Johnny Knox). Note: Assuming Orton has a 4th round value.

2010- The Redskins trade the #37th pick and 104th pick for Donovan McNabb.

2010: The Seahawks trade the 89th pick and swap second rounders to land Charlie Whitehurst.

2011- The Cardinals trade a 2012 second round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Kevin Kolb. Note: As of right now, that would be the 39th pick, and let’s assume Cromartie’s value is the 50th pick.

2011- The Raiders trade a 2012 1st round pick and a 2013 2nd round pick for Carson Palmer.
For arguments sake, let’s assume their current positioning (#22) for the next two drafts (best case scenario for Oakland).

So what did we learn? The draft value from lowest to highest went: Charlie Whitehurst 345, Daunte Culpepper 390, AJ Feeley 550, Matt Cassel 560, Matt Schaub 610, Donovan McNabb 616, Kevin Kolb 910, Drew Bledsoe 1106, Carson Palmer 1140, and Jay Cutler 1384,

So let’s put the Palmer trade into perspective.
Oakland view a guy who the Bengals didn’t even want, and is 14-22 since 2008, as valuable as a Jay Cutler-type (conversely 28-26 since 2008 and is five years younger). Also, he has about twice the value as starters Matt Cassel, Matt Schaub, and Donovan McNabb.

Translation: if Cassel was offered for Palmer, Oakland would only say yes if the Chiefs threw in a 1st round pick. Delusional, right?

I know Oakland was in dire need of a quarterback, but to overpay for a bad one? Doesn’t anyone remember as far back as last year? Wouldn’t his value be equivalent to Culpepper’s in 2006? Couldn’t they have landed Jake Delhomme for free?

My head hurts. Ladies and gentleman, your 8-8 Oakland Raiders!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Minnesota Vikings: Home Of The Re-Tread Quarterback

In case you missed it, I wrote an article this week for The Washington Post's Website about the Minnesota Vikings and their love for re-tread quarterbacks. You can check out the article here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Week 6 Notes...

THE CLUTCH:

Down 19-15 with alittle over 5 minutes remaining, Alex Smith took advantage of good field positioning, and orchestrated a 35 yard drive, capped by a 6 yard touchdown pass to Delanie Walker on 4th down to take the late 22-19 lead.

Tied at 24 with 4:02 remaining, Eli Manning led a 76 yard drive to a short field goal by Lawrence Tynes to take the 27-24 lead. The biggest play of the drive was a pass interference call that ended up being 37 yards.

Up 20-13 with 2 minutes remaining, Michael Vick's 1 yard quarterback sneak led to the 1st down, and sealed the victory for the Eagles.

Down 16-13 with 2:31 remaining, Tom Brady led the Patriots 80 yards, capped by the game-winning 8 yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez for the 20-16 victory over the Cowboys. Brady was 8 for 9 for 78 yards, and ran for a 3rd and short on that last drive.

Up 26-20 with 2:31 left, Josh Freeman converted a 17 yard pass to Dezmon Briscoe on a 3rd and 9 to seal the victory over New Orleans.

THE non-CLUTCH:

Down 24-17 with 7 minutes remaining, Cam Newton threw a costly interception in their own territory, which led to a Falcons' touchdown 8 plays later, which sealed the loss for the Panthers.

Down 20-17, Curtis Painter fell into some bad luck. After a potential game-tying field goal was blocked, Painter had one last try with over 2 minutes to go. However, Pierre Garcon fumbled on Painter's first throw, which was returned for a touchdown for the Colts sixth loss of the season.

Down 22-19 with 1:51 remaining, Matthew Stafford threw three straight incompletions for a loss of downs, and eventual loss. Stafford has another shot down 25-19, but took an awful sack, ending any hope for a miracle.

Tied at 24, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a costly interception from the Giants 27 yard line with just over 4 minutes remaining. Fitzpatrick got another opportunity down 3 with 1:32 to go, but threw two straight incompletions for a loss of down, and loss of game.

Down 17-13 with 1:01 remaining from their own 23 yard line, Blaine Gabbert got the Jaguars into position for a late Hail-Mary attempt, but it fell incomplete for the Gabbert's 4th loss in 4 games.

After recovering an onsides kick, down 24-17 with 1:06 remaining, Colt McCoy threw three straight incompletions for the loss of downs and loss of game to the Oakland Raiders.

Tied at 13, and coming off a Tom Brady interception, Tony Romo failed to get the Cowboys into the end-zone from the Patriots 5 yard line, settling for a field goal. Romo's next possession led to conservative play calling and a punt in fear of a potential Romo mistake. After the Patriots took the lead on a touchdown, Romo had one last shot at a Hail-Mary, but he ended up throwing the ball out of bounds for zero chance at a miracle.

Down 26-20, Drew Brees drove the Saints 72 yards all the way to Tampa Bay's 4 yard line for a 4th and 2 with just over 3 minutes remaining. However, Brees's pass was intercepted, and the Saints never got the ball back.

CHEAP COVERS:

Favorites by 7.5, the Bengals, up 20-17, returned a fumble with just over 2 minutes left for the cheap cover and win 27-17.

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

BEST:

1. Aaron Rodgers: 310 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, 119.6 passer rating
2. Josh Freeman: 303 yards, 2 touchdowns, 95.9 passer rating + clutch performance
3. Jay Cutler: 267 yards, 2 touchdowns, 115.9 passer rating
4. Andy Dalton: 264 yards, 1 touchdown, 111.5 passer rating
5. Eli Manning: 292 yards, 94.8 passer rating + clutch performance

WORST:

22. Curtis Painter: 188 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 79 passer rating + non-clutch performance
23. Blaine Gabbert: 109 yards, 1 touchdown, 70.8 passer rating + non-clutch performance
24. Matt Moore: 204 yards, 2 interceptions, 41.8 passer rating
25. Cam Newton: 237 yards, 3 interceptions, 44.6 passer rating + non-clutch performance
26. Rex Grossman: 143 yards, 4 interceptions, 23.7 passer rating + benched

QB RECORDS VS. SPREAD (actual records in parenthesis)

Elite QBs: 19-22 (28-13)

Very Good QBs: 15-13 (17-11)

Average QBs: 27-26 (21-27)

Unknown QBs: 16-17 (13-20)

Bad QBs: 11-6 (10-7)

Backups: 2-6 (0-8)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Week 6 Picks...

After another 3-3 week, and 14-16 for the season-I'm am getting a bit frustrated with this quarterback method. Even in the "Games With Advantages" category, teams with the quarterback advantage are only 8-9. Conversely, I'm 45-32 picking games total on ESPN's simple Pick'em's with the Spread. That's 31-16 in games that I'm not submitting as my official picks!

Advantages are hard to come by. So far underdogs are winning the year 41-36, and home teams have the slight lead at 40-37. You know it's a weird year when the Lions, Bills, and 49ers are a combined 13-2 (12-3 vs. spread).

So moving forward, I'm pulling a "Back To The Future"--by creating two separate time-lines (no pun intended). One will be making the picks with the quarterback method per usual, and one will be me making value picks. Here it goes!

Stay Away Games:

Cleveland at Oakland (-5.5): Unknown vs. Average

Dallas at New England (-7.5): Very Good vs. Elite

Minnesota at Chicago (-2.5): Average vs. Average

New Orleans at Tampa Bay (+4.5): Elite vs. Very Good

Games with Advantages:

Buffalo at NY Giants (-3.5): The extra half point is too much in a game that could go either way (even though I think Giants should prevail). This has 23-20 written all over it.

Houston at Baltimore (-7.5): This game is featuring two Jekyyl and Hyde quarterbacks. Flacco should play awesome considering he's coming back from a bye, and has been on an awesome, but then horrible trend this year (he played horrible his last game). Schaub is coming off a typical Matt Schaub game last week with his usual late-game blunder, falling short in a game they should have won.

Just throwing it out there, but wouldn't be a decent idea to maybe consider going with Matt Leinart at some point this season? Texans are underperforming AGAIN (on year 6!), and with the breaks in their division this year, anything other than a cake-walk 10-6 year should be deemed an utter failure.

MY #4CR PICKS:
Philadelphia (+0.5) over WASHINGTON: The Eagles have not only lost their last four games, but they also lost their last four covers. However, on the bright side, they should have won and covered all of those games, only to lose because of injuries to Michael Vick, and costly 4th quarter brain-farts. I think the Eagles will pull this one out, and will avoid the 1-5 disaster.

PITTSBURGH (-12.5) over Jacksonville: Two consecutive blow-outs for the Steelers could remind the world that "Yes, they are a team to be reckoned with." Plus, Blaine Gabbert (who has yet to cover a game in his 3 starts) at Heinz Field? Sounds good to me!

NY JETS (-7.5) over Miami: I hate this pick! Do you know the Jets are 1-3 vs. Miami in the Rex Ryan era? However, besides Tebow Jackson--going against backups are the closest thing to a sure thing (4-1 vs. Backups/Spot Starters). If the Jets are any good, they should demolish the Matt Moore-led/ head coach about to be fired/ team trying to tank for Andrew Luck, Miami Dolphins.

CINCINNATI (-7.5) over Indianapolis: Two solid performances so far by Curtis Painter, and the Colts are 2-1 vs. the spread in the last three weeks. Another, I hate this pick! But c'mon--Curtis Painter?

GREEN BAY (-14.5) over St. Louis: As much as I think the Rams could potentially turn things around when they get to their much easier second-half schedule, Green Bay is looking like 1994 Steve Young 49ers-esque juggernauts. Even if St. Louis can muster 21 points, Green Bay could score 40+.

DETROIT (-4.5) over San Francisco: Here's the thing: The value is betting San Francisco getting 4.5 points in a game that they could either win, or will be decided by a field goal. However, the thought of Alex Smith's 49ers being 5-1 (6-0 vs. the spread) makes me cringe. Can't do it.

MY VALUE PICKS:

This is a tough week, especially considering I'm going with essentially all favorites in a year where underdogs are becoming a force. However, it's looking like a tough week, so I'll be going with mostly the #4CR picks, except replacing Detroit (-4.5) with...

Carolina (+4.5) over ATLANTA: Cam Newton upset special. This team has been covering all year (4-1), and I could see them actually winning this game.

Bracing For Tim Tebow Fever

In case you missed it, I wrote an article this week for The Washington Post's Website about the Tim Tebow Hype-Machine. You can check out the article here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Week 5 Notes..

THE CLUTCH:

Matt Cassel's one yard sneak with just over a minute remaining, clinched Kansas City's second win of the season. Cassel overcame a 24-14 deficit, throwing 4 touchdowns.

Down 25-22 with 4:49 left, backup Charlie Whitehurst drove Seattle 80 yards, capped by a 27 yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin, which gave them the 29-25 lead, and ultimately the win.

Down 27-23 with 7:06 remaining, Drew Brees led the Saints on a 89 yard, 6+ minute drive, capped off by the game-winning 6 yard pass to Pierre Thomas. Brees was a cool 8 for 9 for 80 yards on that last drive.

Down 20-16 with 5:15 remaining, Andy Dalton took advantage of good field position at the Jaguars 23 yard line, and led the Bengals to what would be the game-winning touchdown, capped by a 2 yard run by Bernard Scott.

Up 27-21 with 7:14 to go, Tom Brady rode a hot hand in Benjarvis Green-Ellis, as the Patriots clinched the game with a 6 minute drive, capped by a field goal, which put the game away for New England over the Jets. Brady converted a key 3rd down on the drive.

Up 22-14 with 7:32 to go, Aaron Rodgers led the Packers on a 6 minute, 66 yard drive, which led to the game-clinching field goal by Mason Crosby. Rodgers was 3 for 3 for 61 yards on the drive.

THE non-CLUTCH:

Down 31-24 with 5:39 remaining, Michael Vick drove the Eagles 78 yards. However, his pass to Jason Avant was tipped off the receiver, and bounced twice before being intercepted by Buffalo, which ultimately cost the Eagles the game.

Down 28-24 with alittle over 3 minutes to go on the Chiefs 46 yard line, Curtis Painter threw 3 straight incompletions (one on 4th down), which led to the Colts 5th loss of the season (0-5).

Down 29-25 with 2:37 left, Eli Manning drove the Giants 70 yards, before a pass to Victor Cruz bounched off Cruz for the game-losing interception, which was returned for a Pick-6.

With only 50 seconds remaining from their own 20 yard line with 2 time outs, Cam Newton failed to get Panthers in position for a game-tying field goal, running out of time at midfield.

Down 23-20, Blaine Gabbert fumbled on a 3rd and 1 on their own 42 yard line with under 2 minutes remaining, which cost Jacksonville possession, and the game.

Down 25-20 after driving Houston 58 yards to Oakland's 5 yard line, Matt Schaub had one last play to give the Texans the win. However, on the last play, instead of probably running it in, Schaub threw a weak floater, which was intercepted by Michael Huff for Houston's 2nd loss.

Backup, and now starter, Tim Tebow almost overcame a 26-10 fourth quarter deficit, leading the Broncos to two touchdowns, but missed a two point conversion (it was dropped), which would have tied the game. Tebow got one last chance at a Hail Mary at the end of the game, but fell incomplete.

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

BEST:

1. Aaron Rodgers: 396 yards, 2 touchdowns, 117 passer rating

2. Matt Cassel: 257 yards, 4 touchdowns, 138.9 passer rating + clutch performance

3. Ben Roethlisberger: 228 yards, 5 touchdowns, 1 interception, 116.2 passer rating

4. Drew Brees: 359 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 100.1 passer rating + clutch performance

5. Alex Smith: 170 yards, 3 touchdowns, 127.2 passer rating

WORST:

20. Michael Vick: 315 yards, 2 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 66.1 passer rating + non-clutch performance

21. Kevin Kolb: 232 yards, 2 interceptions, 46.9 passer rating

22. Matt Ryan: 167 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 55.1 passer rating

23. Josh Freeman: 187 yards, 2 interceptions, 43.4 passer rating

24. Kyle Orton: 34 yards, 1 interception, 21.0 passer rating + benched


QB RECORDS VS. SPREAD (actual records in parenthesis)

Elite QBs: 16-19 (23-12)

Very Good QBs: 11-12 (13-10)

Average QBs: 25-23 (19-24)

Unknown QBs: 15-13 (12-16)

Bad QBs: 9-6 (9-6)

Backups: 1-4 (0-5)

Friday, October 7, 2011

TEBOW KNOWS: Orton's time As Broncos' Starter Coming To An End

In case you missed it, I wrote an article this week for The Washington Post's Website about Denver's quarterback situation. Tim Tebow Supporters?--you can check out the article here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Week 5 Picks...Quarter Season Adjustments

Being 4 weeks into the season, with a record of 11-13, I think it's time to re-evaluate some quarterbacks within their groups, and admit some mistakes:

The main culprits:

Donovan McNabb: 2-2 against spread, 0-4 record. McNabb has dissapointed me this season. The main area of mediocrity is losing 4 games by less than 7 points in all winnable games. With an 0-4 record, and Christian Ponder waiting in the shadows, McNabb has to be moved to the "Average" category, until I can officially start betting against Ponder. Also, McNabb's 5-12 since leaving Philadelphia. There's no beaches in Minnesota, but McNabb still appears washed up.

Sam Bradford: 0-4 against spread, 0-4 record. From an outsider point of view, many could point to Bradford taking a step back this season. However, from an eye-test point of view, the Rams have zero weapons around Bradford. The Rams drop alot of passes, have essentially no deep threat (sorry Brandon Gibson), and it's forcing Bradford to take alot of bad sacks. Bradford's sacks HAVE been terrible (see last week's comeback attempt), but I think Bradford has been unpredictable enough to put him back in the "Unknown" category. I jumped the gun on Bradford anyway. Afterall, he was 7-9 last year in the NFC West and lost a must-win play-in game for the playoffs.

Now to the games...

Stay Away Games:

Arizona at Minnesota (-2.5): Unknown vs. Average

Oakland at Houston (-5.5): Average vs. Average

NY Jets at New England (-9.5): Very Good vs. Elite

Green Bay at Atlanta (+5.5): Elite vs. Elite

Chicago at Detroit (-6.5): Average vs. Unknown

Games with Advantages:

New Orleans at Carolina (+6.5): Two things: 1) I think Carolina could actually win this game and pull off the upset; 2) If they don't, Cam Newton has proven twice already, that he's fully capable of the "Cheap Cover."

Tennessee at Pittsburgh (-6.5): This isn't a "trap" game, this is a "oh crap" game for Pittsburgh. Banged up defense, and banged up Roethlisberger could mean trouble vs. a frisky Titans team, which has Chris Johnson heating up.

MY PICKS:

NY GIANTS (-9.5) over Seattle: Everyone's suicide pick this week. Always bet against Seattle on the road! Seattle is 1-9 since 2010, with an average point differential of -19.2 on the road.

Philadelphia (-2.5) over BUFFALO: I am very confident that the Bills are more likely to win 6 games than 10 games this year. So this is an easy one. However, Bills lost last week's "trap game"--so doesn't this week mean this is there "Nobody Believed In Us" game? Nah.

Tampa Bay (+2.5) over SAN FRANCISCO: This hits two overriding opinions of mine: I think Tampa Bay's actually really good, and I think San Francisco's an imposter. If Alex Smith starts 5-0 vs. the spread, watch out for flying pigs.

Cincinnati (+2.5) over JACKSONVILLE: Battle of the rookies, even though Gabbert is technically a "backup." This is more of a value pick. Cincinnati may be sneaky decent, so I'll take the points. Also, the Red Rifle is 3-1 against the spread.

Kansas City (+2.5) over INDIANAPOLIS: Who wants Andrew Luck more? I think the Chiefs actually still think they have a shot at turning their season around (even though it's unlikely). When in doubt, bet against a Peyton-less Colts.

San Diego (-4.5) over DENVER: This could the breaking point for Kyle Orton's demise in Denver. I can hear the boos now, with cuts to Tim Tebow warming up. Plus, even at 3-1--hasn't San Diego been underachieving this year? They are due for a blow-out.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 4 Notes...

THE CLUTCH:

Tied at 20 with 1:48 left, the Red Rifle Andy Dalton, led Cincinnati 55 yards to set up the game-winning Mike Nugent 43 yard field goal for the victory over the Bills. Dalton was 2 for 3 with 37 yards on the game-winning drive, and ran for a key 1st down.

Down 30-27 with less than 4 minutes to go from the Cowboys 40, Matthew Stafford took advantage of a Cowboys turnover, and threw the game-winning 2 yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson for the 34-30 victory.

He didn't do a whole lot, but Alex Smith steered the ship in a 49ers come-from-behind victory. Down 23-17 with alittle over 6 minutes left, the 49ers went on a 77 yard, 3 and a half minute touchdown drive, capped by a Frank Gore rushing touchdown. Smith was 3 for 4 with 13 yards on the game-winning drive. The 49ers overcame a 20-3 halftime deficit.

Down 27-17 with 5:16 remaining, Eli Manning led two touchdown drives, stealing the 31-27 victory over the Cardinals. Manning finished the game on a 7 for 8 tear with 126 yards and two touchdowns.

Down 30-28 with 1:49 remaining from their own 15 yard line, Tarvaris Jackson led Seattle 47 yards for at least an attempt at a game-winning field goal. However, the 61 yarder wasn't even close.

Up 23-16 in the fourth quarter, Philip Rivers led the Chargers on a 65 yard, 7 minute drive, which was capped by a game-sealing field goal to put the Chargers up by 10 with 4:28 to go. Rivers threw for 28 yards on that drive.

Tied at 17 with 6:47 remaining, Josh Freeman scrambled for a key 1st down, which gave way to a game-winning 35 yard touchdown run by LaGarrette Blount. Freeman also qb-sneaked for a 1st down to ice the game on the next possession.

THE non-CLUTCH:

Up 30-27 with 4:22 left, Tony Romo threw a killer interception that led to an eventual Lions game-winning touchdown. Romo threw 3 interceptions, and the Cowboys blew a 20-3 halftime lead.

Down 22-17 with 4:07 left from the Vikings 15 yard line, Donovan McNabb led the Vikings to the Chiefs 41 yard line, but stalled on 4 straight incompletions for the loss. McNabb's 0-4 start could (and should!) pave the way for the Christian Ponder era in Minnesota.

With an 0-3 record, Sam Bradford had two possessions down 17-10 with less than five minutes to go, and failed to move the ball at all. The first possession, the Rams had great field position at Washington's 19 yard line, but Bradford took two horrible sacks, forcing a punt. Bradford was 2 for 6 for 14 yards on their last drive with another killer sack.

Not Michael Vick's fault, but Jeremy Maclin, for the second time this year, cost the Eagles on the last drive of a game, resulting in a loss. Down 24-23 with 3 minutes to go, Vick led the Eagles 31 yards, before Maclin coughed up the ball on the 49ers 31 yard line.

Down 17-10 in the fourth quarter, Ben Roethlisberger had four possessions to tie the game. The Steelers last four possessions were 3 punts and an interception. Roethlisberger took 3 sacks, and was 3 for 8 for 40 yards and a pick.

Down 31-27 with less than two minutes to go, a 2nd and 1 on the Giants 29 yard line, Kevin Kolb took a back-breaking sack. Two plays later, Kolb threw an incompletion on a 4th and 2 for the loss.

Down 24-17 with 3:15 remaining, Curtis Painter threw two incompletions which led to a punt. The Colts never got the ball back.

CHEAP COVERS:

Down 11 with 1:23, Cam Newton led the Panthers (+6.5) 78 yards for the garbage touchdown and cheap cover.

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

BEST:
1. Aaron Rodgers: 408 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception, 134.5 passer rating
2. Eli Manning: 321 yards, 2 touchdowns, 108.4 passer rating + clutch performance
3. Alex Smith: 291 yards, 2 touchdowns, 112.1 passer rating + clutch performance
4. Philip Rivers: 307 yards, 1 touchdowns, 110.6 passer rating + clutch performance
5. Matt Ryan: 291 yards, 1 touchdown, 94.4 passer rating

WORST:
28. Kevin Kolb: 237 yards, 1 interception, 67.9 passer rating + non-clutch performance
29. Blaine Gabbert: 196 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 51.3 passer rating
30. Ben Roethlisberger: 206 yards, 1 interception, 61.3 passer rating + non-clutch performance
31. Mark Sanchez: 119 yards, 1 interception, 30.5 passer rating
32. Chad Henne: 27 yards, 1 interception, 53.1 passer rating + left game with injury

QB RECORDS VS. SPREAD (actual records in parenthesis)

Elite QBs: 13-15 (18-10)

Very Good QBs: 12-16 (13-15)

Average QBs: 19-17 (16-20)

Unknown QBs: 12-8 (10-10)

Bad QBs: 7-6 (7-6)

Backups: 1-2 (0-3)