The Edmonton Oilers Will Be Buyers…Let That Sink In

This is my first piece on the Oilers since the season began.  A) that’ll change!  B) it is really tough to write about a team who is middle of the pack!  I mean, outside of drooling over Connor everyday (something I’m willing to do if you want to read about that), I’m happy to say that this team isn’t giving us much to discuss right now.  What is there, the backup goaltender?  I’ve seen guys not let this go, and while I’m with those guys in that the Gustavsson signing was awful, finding a backup goaltender is about as tough as finding a dude in a strip club.  I could bitch about the Hall trade?  Would that be the trade that made the New Jersey Devils 4 points WORSE than they were through 36 games last season?  I would say people have been nitpicking considering how awful it’s been for the Oilers for such a long time.

 

So, I know this is weird for people, but seeing how we are now only 2 months away from the trade deadline, and the Oilers have a pretty nice cushion on a playoff spot, we have to actually start discussing what this team needs to add!

 

Before I get to that, maybe I’m bias, but I see this team as being pretty damn scary.  Last night might have been the first sign of this team truly busting out.  That was as invisible of a night as you’ll ever see Connor McDavid have, and yet the Oilers really controlled that game.  Have yet to see any of the analytics from it, but from the eyeball test it felt like the Kings were lucky to be within a goal late in the game.  I’m not a Jordan Eberle fan at all, but his shooting percentage won’t continue to be off the charts awful.  Neither will Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  This team is good right now, and even without making moves they could make a jump in the next 2 months simply by more guys playing up to their potential.

 

But why depend on that?

 

I think we would all agree that there are 3 area’s where this team needs to upgrade: centre/right wing, right handed shot top 4 D-man, and backup netminder.

 

The first of those 3 I view as the most vital, and to me the better move is to get a centre.  Most might say they need the right winger, and why would you need a centre when you have McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins, Draisaitl and then have Letestu playing as good as he is?  Well first of all, depth down the middle is never an issue.  Injuries are a part of the game that a lot of fans love to overlook, but you have to be ready for them.  As you all should know, you can put a centre on the wing, but you can’t put a winger in the middle.  I personally want to see Todd McLellan have the luxury of putting Draisaitl wherever he needs to.  So if you get a guy like say….Tyler Bozak….it would allow McLellan to do that.  Bozak is the guy who really intrigues me.  I don’t know how realistic it is with the Leafs playing well, but I have to think they’d be willing to move him.  He isn’t a cheap cap hit at 4.2 mil for next season.  But he is the ideal 3rd line centre for this hockey team.  Right handed shot, great in the dot (57.2% on the season), has a lot speed, and quietly he’s actually having a nice season offensively with 20 points in 32 games.

 

To me he would be ideal, and there aren’t really any other possibilities right now.  Martin Hanzal is about the only other obvious one, and I’m not a fan of someone possibly making this team slower as they already have shown they have more issues with faster teams.  I’m sure more centres will become available, but as of December 30th, those look like the only 2 quality and realistic options for the Oilers at centre.

 

I didn’t really want to take too hard of a look at what Chiarelli might do on the right side, but one guy I think everyone should at least keep their eye on is….you think I’m going to say Iginla don’t you?!  I did notice that very early on this season that Iginla will start to be discussed for this hockey club.  It’s his hometown, there are a TON of connections in the organization to Jarome Iginla, the Oilers could use a right handed shot like his on the PP.  But no, I wasn’t going to talk Iginla in this piece.  Instead, I have another former Chiarelli pickup in mind.  Brett Connolly.

 

And Brett Connolly has essentially been a bust in this league.  But I look at what he brings to the table, and he can fire the puck, and he is a right handed shot, and he does have size, and he does skate pretty well.  Connolly has only got into 20 games this season with the Caps, only 3 goals and 1 assist, so the chances of him working out are slim.  But seeing how Chiarelli has acquired him before, and the fact that he checks off a lot of the boxes for what the Oilers need on the right side.  For what he would cost, he might be worth the look (should he not end up on waivers…trust me, by no means am I saying he is a likely answer).

 

But we have the blueline, and things have changed a bit in the last few weeks.  The big problem (and good problem) is that Matt Benning keeps taking some big steps.  Last night might have been his best game thus far in the NHL.  His confidence just keeps rising, much like we saw last season with Brandon Davidson.  So while earlier in the season a guy like Michael Stone (impending UFA, likely to be one of the top defencemen available at this deadline) looked to be a great fit for the Oilers, now…would he be that much of an upgrade?

 

But this club does still really need some offensive punch from their blueline.  The need hasn’t changed since the offseason.  A right handed shooting D who can at least play on the top unit PP, if not run it.  The Avs shit show of a season has possibly opened the door on Tyson Barrie yet again.  But there are a lot of problem’s there.  A) the Avs problems are largely on their blueline much like had been the case with the Oilers in the past, and B) he’s locked up for another 3 seasons.  So I can’t see the Avs moving on from him, unless the package coming back is enormous.  I could come up with 3 or 4 trade package ideas, but I try to avoid doing that these days.

 

Some fans will ask the question of should they or shouldn’t they go after Kevin Shattenkirk should the Blues move him before the deadline?  I doubt they will, but if they did…no.  For this season, making the playoffs is this teams Cup.  For what Shattenkirk would cost and knowing he won’t re-sign in Edmonton, it’s just not worth it.  Sucks, because he is the exact player the Oilers need on the blueline, but without re-signing here it would just be a total waste of assets.

 

Finally, the backup tendy.  And again, I really don’t know what the thought process was behind signing Jonas Gustavsson.  He’s a guy who has always had big time talent, but is extremely sloppy technically.  Every once in a while a guy like Dominik Hasek or Tim Thomas comes along and thrives playing like that, in both cases not until they were well into their careers.  But those guys are very much so the exception to the rule.  But as I said off the top, this is not a difficult fix.  Thomas Greiss is ideal.  Keith Kinkaid is an impending UFA and just played out of his skull in Washington last night.  It’s getting to the point in the season where they could fit Ondrej Pavelec under the cap.  Those are 3 guys off the top of my head, all would be upgrades, none of them would cost a lot, those who have been freaking out about this need to chill.  It is not a difficult fix.

 

But I get it.  This organization isn’t giving you much to hate these days.  Are they perfect?  No.  But are they night and day compared to the old regime?  Absolutely.  And they’re solid enough to get this organization to where they need to go.  I’ve seen guys on Twitter start harping on the job Chiarelli did in Boston because Tim Thomas was so great, there for Chiarelli didn’t actually do a good job.  Sure.  If a GM isn’t good thanks to good goaltending, then I guess just about every GM is awful.  Chiarelli took an organization that was in complete SHAMBLES in 2006, and made it a powerhouse.  Top team in the East in 09, Cup in 2011, finals in 2013, President’s trophy in 2014, the guy deserves a little more trust than what a lot of Oilers fans seem to be giving the guy.

 

We should PROBABLY all enjoy this?  The Oilers are 2nd in the Pacific, comfortably in a playoff spot, and it’s not October 30th, it’s December 30th.

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 16 Picks ATS

Ok, so I’m hungover while writing this (shout out to tall singles…you had to be there), and it’s late Friday night, running on 4 hours sleep, and I got Christmas gifts that need wrapping.  Correction: I got Christmas gifts that I need to tell Steph to wrap for me.  Anyway, nearly forgot to do this, but for the second week in a row I’m rushed to do this and there for this will be speedy.  A .500 week last week going 2-2-1, now sitting at 38-31-7 on the season.  A 9-1 or so finish to the season would really make me look smrter than I am…

 

Atlanta at Carolina

Panthers +3

When he doesn’t get touched, QB front runner is great!  Also, the Panthers late in the season are great.  I still really like the Falcons, but the Panthers are JUST BARELY still alive, even with a win here are likely dusted after this weekend, but as long as they’re alive I like the matchup here and believe they’ll win this one outright.

 

Minnesota at Green Bay

Packers -7

I’m a little nervous with this one, but if you just look at things rationally and where both these teams are headed, then the Packers should win this one in a blowout.  And as you’ll see as I go on here today, the Packers come into this one as the desperate team.  Nothing on the line for the Vikings, not even improving their pick because the Eagles own it, but the Packers really need this one because should they lose, the Lions all of a sudden have what could be a cupcake matchup in Dallas now that the Cowboys have clinched home field in the NFC.

 

Indianapolis at Oakland

Colts +3.5

Love this one here because the game is just so much bigger for the Colts than it is for the Raiders.  The Colts are much like the Panthers where they’re not going to the playoffs, but the door is still just slightly open.  When that’s the case, you don’t want to be the reason you miss the playoffs.  You want other teams to knock you out.  Also, I believe Andrew Luck should put points up on this Raiders D, and the Colts D is actually playing decent of late so they might get some stops.  Don’t forget too that the Raiders clinched with a big win in San Diego, so coming off that high could prove to be dangerous for them.  If you’re looking for an upset special this week, the Colts could be a real good bet.

 

Baltimore at Pittsburgh

Steelers -5.5

Seeing it’s the holidays, I have to put the Christmas day games on my picks.  I’ve called the Ravens total frauds just about all season.  I don’t see any reason to bail on that theory now, although there are certain teams who just seem to love to f*** you over during the season.  But I just think this is a massive game for the Steelers (obviously, AFC North on the line), and the Steelers have been a sleepy team all season but this is one of those spots where they need to win so with desperation mixed with a big talent advantage I like the Steelers to win this one by a TD.

 

Denver at Kansas City

Broncos +3

I’ll admit, I like this pick the least this week.  But yet again, the theme for this week, it’s all about who the more desperate team is.  KC is essentially in, so this game is important for them, but I wouldn’t say vital.  The Broncos though have to win or they’re done.  I do think the Chiefs win the game, but I see it being a war in the trenches and nothing exciting to watch.

 

*Detroit at Dallas

Cowboys -7

Bonus pick here.  DO NOT BET THIS YET!!!  This all depends on what the Packers do.  BUT…should the Packers win, take the Cowboys here as it would be great value.  It’s a nothing game for the Cowboys now so why would you do such a thing?  Because as I pointed out in my hot takes piece last week, this would be a nothing game for the Lions should the Packers win.  Packers win, and it’s Packers v Lions for the NFC North in week 17 no matter what the Lions do against the Cowboys, so why play anyone?  Especially when it would be a short week for the Lions, and the Packers will have an extra days rest.  Add to this, since the Cowboys clinched on Thursday after the Giants loss, this line hasn’t moved.  People have laid big money on the Lions, but the line has stayed at 7, indicating that Vegas is loving all the money going on the Lions.  Wait on the Packers, and as soon as they’re in the clear…should they win…rush to put money on the Cowboys because the value on the bet would be ridiculous.

 

Over/Under

I’ve done poorly with these lately, so I don’t want to tell you my record…

 

Tennessee at Jacksonville

Over 44

The Jags with a new coach on the sidelines in Doug Marrone, so I believe what’ll happen in these final two games is they’ll play loose just looking to give the fans a show to end the season.  Bortles with Robinson, Hurns, Lee and Thomas could really expose the Titans DB’s.  The last time these two met, they combined for 58 points.  Unless the weather is shitty in Northern Florida, I think 44 should be attainable.

 

San Francisco at Los Angeles

Over 39.5

Hell yeah this will go over!!  Are you kidding me?!  Two teams playing in LA with nothing to play for?  I know they’re both gross, but they’ll just let if fly in this one.  I honestly expect this to be a bit of a shootout.  Maybe a 38-31 type game.

 

Guessing the Lines (week 17)

I don’t know what my record is on this, let’s just do it.  Have to be within a point of the line.  This one will be REALLY tricky because a lot of teams will have nothing to play for.  So I’ll explain all my thoughts because you’ll be wondering why I’m thinking some of these lines will happen.

 

New Orleans at Atlanta -7 (I predict they have to win to clinch the South)

 

Baltimore -6 at Cincinnati (Ravens lose in Pittsburgh, but the Ravens will still be alive)

 

NY Giants at Washington -7 (Giants will have clinched, Redskins will have to win)

 

Houston at Tennessee -3 (This will likely be for the AFC South, should be tremendous)

 

Carolina at Tampa Bay -6.5 (Bucs will still be alive, Panthers will be done)

 

Green Bay -3.5 at Detroit (As long as the Packers don’t blow it against the Vikings, this is for the NFC North and the Packers will be the favorites)

 

Jacksonville at Indianapolis -6 (Nothing game for either, expect a ton of points put up)

 

New England at Miami -2.5 (This is really tough because Belichick won’t rest guys, but this is will be the biggest game for the Dolphins since 08 so I have to think they’ll be the favorite)

 

Chicago at Minnesota -3 (Nothing game for either team, Bears might take it with how hard they’re playing but I assume the Viks will still be the favorite)

 

Buffalo -6.5 at NY Jets (Bills beat the Dolphins and they could still have a heartbeat, yet even if they don’t I believe they’ll play hard for Rex Ryan in what’ll be his last game as head coach)

 

Dallas at Philadelphia -4 (Absolutely nothing game for the Cowboys.  Eagles will play hard to get their fans a win against a hated rival)

 

Cleveland at Pittsburgh -14.5 (Tricky, because I’m not sure what the Steelers may have to play for.  Might still be a shot at a bye, I’m honestly not sure.  If they have something on the line, this will be a massive line)

 

Arizona -3.5 at Los Angeles (Cards being the more veteran team will be a bigger threat to lay down in the final game of the season, so this line won’t be what you’d think)

 

Oakland -3 at Denver (I think the Raiders might need this one to clinch or at least stay alive for the AFC West title.  I doubt the Broncos will have anything to play for, but being the Raiders and the final home game of the season the Broncos will still play hard)

 

Kansas City -6.5 at San Diego (Same story here, AFC West could be on the line.  BUT…possibly the last game in San Diego for the Chargers so if for some reason it’s a nothing game for the Chiefs I’d expect the Chargers to be the favorites)

 

Seattle -7.5 at San Francisco (This would be a bigger line if it meant anything to the Seahawks, but it likely won’t)

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

An Avalanche of Problems

A little back story on this piece you’re about to read…at least I hope you’re about to read it.  It’s Christmas time, and all my kids need gifts.  Ok, so I don’t have kids.  But if I did, and I hope to someday, they will in fact need gifts so you may as well get started on helping that cause and donate to my charity “help Soups kids get Xbox’s or whatever gaming device will be out in 10 years”.  I lacked creativity for the name of my charity.

 

Anyway, I was about to write this piece about three weeks ago or so.  Then the Avs looked as though they had turned a bit of a corner after handling the Bruins with relative ease one night.  Then…might have been the next game…they had that 10-1 loss which was a BIT of a red flag for their season.  Though they did bounce back with a win the next night in Toronto, the Leafs vastly outplayed them.

 

It’s now up to a streak of only 2 wins, 5 points in their last 13 games.  And as I said, one of those wins was the Toronto game where they got dominated.  It is REALLY bad in Denver right now.

 

I feel bad for Joe Sakic.  It was an awful hire by Avs owner Stan Kroenke who likely isn’t paying much attention at all to the Avs these days as owner of the NFL’s L.A. Rams who are in the process of building a new stadium and entertainment district at a cost of a measly 2.66 BILLION dollars.  But Sakic was a PR hire.  In no way was he ready to head up this team, and when he took the reigns, the team was in shambles.

 

One of the worst things that may have happened to this team was a fluke run right out the gate in 2014 that had a shockingly amount of hockey pundits fooled.  In 2015, as many sharper hockey people expected, the Avs came crashing back down to earth.  Nobody seemed to notice though.  Last season was no better, yet hardly anyone outside of Denver put any heat on the organization.  If they were a Canadian market they would be getting KILLED for how awful they’ve been run.  They may have had more success than the Oilers in the last eight seasons, but they haven’t been any better.  2010 they made the playoffs, but all that happened is they rode an extremely flukey start and maybe the best season of Craig Anderson’s career to the 8th seed in the West.  2014 they finished 1st in the Central division, but again it was all smoke and mirrors.  Semyon Varlamov was unreal and their PDO was off the charts.  These aren’t successful seasons.  They were the hockey equivalent to winning big money on a bet.  Winning money on a bet doesn’t tell you much about a person, and fluke seasons don’t tell you much about a hockey team.

 

But now we are finding out what is on this team, and it isn’t pretty.  The big problem the Avs have is their drafting (as it is with most bad teams).  I go back to 2010 where their 1st round pick was used on Joey Hishon.  Now, it’s a shame Hishon got railroaded by Brayden McNabb in the 2011 Memorial Cup because he was having a great season.  But for me, I never liked the Hishon pick to begin with.  I never felt like his game would translate to the NHL.

 

In 2011 they made that horrendous trade with the Blues that offloaded Kevin Shattenkirk and brought back Erik Johnson and the 11th pick in the draft which they used on Duncan Siemens.  A Sherwood Park kid who has had a rough go of things on and off the ice, so I don’t want to be harsh, yet have to be honest in that it was a terrible pick by the Avs.

 

In 2012 they moved their 1st for Varlamov.  That’s a great trade…right?!  No.  They gave the Caps their 1st and 2nd round picks on July 1st, 2011.  I believe the day before Varlamov either signed with or was about to sign in the KHL.  The Caps were losing him for nothing.  The Avs then gave them their top two picks for that draft.  WHY?!?  He was gone!!!  Just wait them out a bit and get him for a 2nd!  That pick they gave up became….Filip Forsberg.  OOPS!

 

Oh, there’s more.  2014, after everyone was singing their praises for such a wonderful season.  They then step up and take Conner Bleackley.  Had a lot of injury problems, not looking to crush him, but yet again it was a blown 1st round pick.  You HAVE to draft well in this league and you just simply can’t afford to blow 1st rounders at this rate.  You combine all these misses in the 1st round with nothing coming to the team in rounds 2-7, and it’s just a recipe for total disaster.  There are a few teams in this league and around pro sports who have actually survived so many swings and misses in the first round of the draft, but no team survives if they can’t hit on one or two picks every year from the 2nd round on.

 

Man, you look back at the 09 draft when their rebuild really got going, and they had one of the best drafts in the last 10 years getting Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly and Tyson Barrie with 3 of their first 4 picks!  Since then it’s just been awful outside of when they had top two picks to snag Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan McKinnon.

 

Of course it wasn’t JUST the drafting that messed up things for this organization.  Essentially letting Patrick Roy run Ryan O’Reilly out of town was a death nail, and then allowing him to do the trade with Buffalo that netted the Avs next to nothing for him was even worse.  He had Mikhail Grigorenko in junior, so he must be great.  Sure.  The kid couldn’t have had more red flags around him going into his draft, and then in Buffalo did absolutely nothing to suggest he would meet his potential.  Yet Roy had to have him.  Much like the Oilers with Griffin Reinhart on the same night, though Reinhart didn’t have many red flags entering his draft.

 

I had been thinking about finally finishing this piece on the Avs earlier in the day yesterday.  Right before I was about to call it a night, I came across this tweet:

If you’re too lazy to open it up, it’s in response to a follower of Dater’s blasting him for suggesting the Avs trade Duchene.  I’ve been critical of some stuff Dater has put on Twitter in the past, but I will never rip on how plugged into the Avs organization the guy is.  If he’s saying THIS, I would say reading between the lines that Duchene privately wants out and the Avs are willing to make that happen for him.

 

The worst part of all this is where do they go now?  As we saw with the Oilers and their desperation for defencemen, the GM’s in this league would rather someone gets a player for dirt cheap rather than look to make a smart hockey move to improve their team.  So that likely means the return on Duchene could be terrible.  I could probably come up with 15 trade ideas that make sense in this scenario, not one of them will happen because of how the GM’s operate now days.

 

The unpopular move might be to show Sakic the door, but they have to show Sakic and others the door and get some true hockey people in there.  I’ve always been a massive Joe Sakic fan, but did he ever really earn this gig?  He has it because it was a good PR move at the time to hire him.

 

So should Joe be shown the door (hopefully in a very respectful way), Jay Feaster’s name would then come up, as Feaster cut his teeth as a GM in Hersey when they were the AHL affiliate for the Avs.  I’m not a big Jay Feaster guy, but he is experienced and he has had his successes.  Wouldn’t be my choice, but I would understand the hire.

 

If I were a Kroenke, I’d have a much better life than I do right now, but I also would look into Dale Tallon’s situation with the Panthers.  It’s no secret that it’s a shit show down there, and perhaps after the season Tallon could be had.  If not him, I’d look at one of the top assistant GM’s in the league like a Paul Fenton from the Preds, Julien BriseBois from the Bolts, or Joe Will from the Sharks.  Someone who has been in an organization where they’ve done an exceptional job with the draft.  From there, you allow that GM to bring in new amateur scouts, new coaches, etc.

 

As bleak as it’s been and still will be in the near future in Denver, it’s not a bad job at all.  Denver has to be one of the top markets in the league when you’re winning.  The Avs were a BIG deal in that town for a decade.  You’re recognized but not heavily scrutinized, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in North America, it really is an ideal situation for a player.

 

And for an incoming GM, even needing to move Duchene you still have McKinnon, Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, and the kid who I believe will be a breakout star for Canada at the World Juniors in Tyson Jost.  And that’s just the talent up front.  Semyon Varlamov is a star goaltender, Erik Johnson (Avs fans likely wish it was Kevin Shattenkirk) and Tyson Barrie aren’t stars on the blueline but are good guys to build around.  But the depth of this organization has been completely gutted and will take a while to build back up.

 

I really thought entering this season that the culture was desperate for a change behind the bench and that Patrick Roy had poisoned things.  Maybe he did, but it’s clear now he was far from the problem, and there is no way to tell how good of a coach Jared Bednar is which is a real shame for him.  Likely, he’ll be gone before he gets a chance to prove his worth.  But this team badly needs an overhaul on and off the ice, because the last overhaul simply hasn’t worked.

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 15 Hot Takes

I’ll start this week with some quick hitters, the hottest of all the hot takes this season.

 

I was of the opinion that the Rams didn’t look very good after the coaching change.

 

The Browns are not an NFL team that can win football games.

 

Drew Brees is a good QB.

 

Injuries could be making the San Diego Chargers a weaker football team than they normally would be.

 

See, this is the type of blog I should have been doing the whole season.  That was 66 words.  I probably could have told you all about the NFL week to week in 200 words or less.  Back in high school if I had to write 300 words I’d be making that as wordy as I possibly could to get to 301 or 302.  Now days if I got less than 1,000 I feel as though I’ve failed my dozens of fans.  I’m kidding, that should read a dozen, not dozens.

 

Big thanks once again goes out to the Miami Dolphins who decided to save their absolutely most garbage, pathetic thing of a performance two weeks ago in Baltimore when I bet them hard.  Why?  Because it’s so FUCKIN CLEAR that the Ravens are still frauds, and the Dolphins are pretty good!  No Ryan Tannehill, no problem for the fish on Saturday night in New York.  I know it was the Jets, but that’s a big rivalry game.  Meanwhile, the Ravens couldn’t stop the Eagles average running game, or a QB who mechanically keeps looking worse and worse.  They won, but they won thanks to the Eagles missing a two point conversion.  Dolphins are taking the 6th seed in the AFC.  No chance the Ravens beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Sunday, but what a great game that’ll be to watch on Christmas day!

 

Another massive game on the horizon will be the Packers and Lions for the NFC North in week 17.  With the way things shook down, the Packers are now just a game back.  So they win out and they win the North.  Lions win out, they win the North.  It’s highly unlikely this game won’t be for everything, as the Lions get the Cowboys in Dallas.  Unless the Giants get upset by a terrible Eagles team, the Cowboys will need to win this game to clinch the NFC East and home field.

 

What a massive win for MY Titans in KC!  I’ve been on this team pretty much all season.  This is the best team in the NFC South, they just have to win out to take the division, which facing the Jags and then getting the Texans at home they should do.  But as much as we all trash that division, the Titans are for real and are going to be a miserable out for anyone.  The weakness is their secondary, but we’ve seen teams win the Super Bowl with poor secondary’s.  QB can make throws, can run the ball, can get to the QB, it’s a damn good team and that win in KC is the type of big win that takes their confidence to another level.

 

It’s funny how the Falcons are still flying under the radar.  I know I’ve hardly talked about them at all this season.  They could not be in a better position heading into the playoffs (assuming they close the deal on the NFC South crown).  Nobody is paying any attention to them, they have a good QB, good run game, and get to the QB just like the Titans.  They have a better QB yet not as good of a run game as the Titans, but you get the point.

 

I made the point before the season that the Broncos would miss Peyton Manning, they do.  I also made the point that Gary Kubiak seems to make a lot of QB’s look better than they are, he does.  Trevor Siemian looked solid early, and a lot of people bought in.  But he’s done nothing but digress all year.  He’s not an NFL starter.  Might be a solid backup, but he’s not a starter.  The Broncos are desperate to win in KC on Christmas night, but they aren’t going to because he can’t go into KC and win that game for them.  Doesn’t matter how great their D is, Siemian isn’t going to get it done.  I sound like Skip Bayless in this paragraph, which is fitting considering I made this blog with a complete jack ass like him in mind.

 

I could give more love to the Raiders this week, but you know what I’ll say.  I will add this to their story though.  I’m too lazy apparently to look up the numbers, but just from watching the games I see a Raiders defense that is progressing and getting better.  Not really because of the performance on Sunday, that’s a shitty Chargers O-line, and they also were without a real NFL running back.  But they’re better than their numbers suggest.  I’ve figured all season that while I loved them that they weren’t serious contenders to win the AFC, but I’m starting to wonder if they can’t do it, though I doubt they can go into Foxborough and win.

 

A very pedestrian 2-2-1 week picking ATS (Redskins now down 23-12 so they ain’t beating the Panthers by 7!) but maybe I’ll have better luck than I did last week guessing the lines?  Let’s find out.

 

NY Giants -3.5 at Philadelphia

Giants by 3, so I’m off to a good start.

 

Atlanta -4 at Carolina

Falcons by 3.5, 2/2.

 

Miami at Buffalo -1.5

Bills are favored by 3.5, so it has me wondering if Vegas isn’t baiting people to take the Dolphins.  If the weather is awful, the Bills with that running game and home field could have a massive advantage.

 

Minnesota at Green Bay -2.5

I figured the Vikings would win.  They SO didn’t!  No shock that this line is the Pack now by 6.5.

 

NY Jets at New England -9.5

This is shocking.  Pats by 16.5!!!  No.  Take the Jets here, that’s just stupid.  What do the Pats even have to play for?!  This is the Jets Super Bowl.

 

San Diego -6.5 at Cleveland

Spot on.  Take the Chargers, Browns can’t cover let alone win.

 

Tampa Bay -2 at New Orleans

Wow, the Saints are favored by 3.  I’m really stunned at this one.

 

Tennessee -6 at Jacksonville

Titans by 5, so I just barely get the win here.

 

Washington -4 at Chicago

Redskins by 3.5 is what I can find, though much like last week I’m looking these up as the Monday nighter is on going (at the half).

 

Indianapolis at Oakland -6.5

Maybe would have been this had the Colts lost as I expected them to.  But they’re coming off a blowout win, so the Raiders are only favored by 3.5.

 

Arizona at Seattle -7

After getting humiliated at home by Drew Brees, the Cards have shown they’re basically giving up.  Seahawks by 9.

 

San Francisco at Los Angeles -2.5

Rams by 3.5.  I think my line is better, but nobody cares about this game.

 

Cincinnati at Houston -3

Another one I just barely get right.  Texans by 2.

 

Baltimore at Pittsburgh -3

Steelers by 5.5.  I don’t know if the Steelers will cover, but I do know they’re winning this football game and taking the division.

 

Denver at Kansas City -4

Chiefs by 4.5.  Man, Christmas day we have two MASSIVE games!  Awesome!

 

Detroit at Dallas -6.5

Cowboys by 7.  I’m going to suggest that you bet the Cowboys at 7 VERY HARD RIGHT NOW.  The Packers are highly likely to beat the Vikings, there for this game will be meaningless to the Lions and they could end up resting their top guys.  Meanwhile the Cowboys likely need it to wrap up the NFC East because the Giants should win in Philly.

 

Anyway, 9/16 so I managed to pull it out, though it’s not lost on me that I only got one of the games exactly right.  I really need to clean up my act!!

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 15 Picks ATS

Ok, it’s 9:33 AM.  I’m REALLY late getting this started, but I guess we’ll see how I make out.  I have an hour and a half until the games start, so basically I have an hour to get this written.  Please excuse all the spelling mistakes that’ll certainly be made.  Coming off an OK 3-2 week, now at 36-29-6 on the season.

 

Green Bay at Chicago

Bears +6

For whatever reason, the Bears are showing signs of life.  Add to this, the weather is going to be BRUTAL for this game.  Aaron Rodgers is 0-3 in the weather that is expected for this game.  So 6 points is just far too many points here.  Packers win a very ugly and close game.

 

Philadelphia at Baltimore

Ravens -5

So I haven’t been too high on the Ravens all season long, but in this spot I’m making an exception.  I’m making an exception here because the Eagles have completely fallen apart and the betting public clearly hasn’t fully adjusted to this yet.  The Ravens are in short rest this week, but they’re also a very desperate team after the loss to the Pats.  I love the Ravens to blowout the Eagles today.

 

Tennessee at Kansas City

Titans +6

The Chiefs are coming off 10 days rest, but they’re also coming off a massive win against the Raiders.  I’m not at all saying the Titans will pull off the upset here, but I do think they can keep this game really close, and really ugly.  Also the Titans now are getting desperate in the “race” for the AFC South.  Two teams with great running games and similar QB’s, Chiefs win but Titans keep this one within a field goal.

 

Oakland at San Diego

Chargers +3

I said it before and I’ll say it again, I think the Chargers are winning this game outright.  10 days rest for the Raiders, and all of a sudden it is somewhat an important game for them.  But this is the Super Bowl for the Chargers.  This is possibly the last game for the Chargers in San Diego facing the Raiders.  That’s their number one rival, and it just won’t get any bigger than this for Chargers fans in San Diego, the ones that’ll be there.  The OTHER motivating factor for the Chargers will be that the stadium is expected to be over run by Raiders fans as it appears the Chargers will without a doubt be on the move after this season concludes.

 

Carolina at Washington

Redskins -6.5

The Panthers are just simply done.  Obviously they’ve been done for a few weeks now, but for a team that had Super Bowl aspirations coming into the season, some teams being done are worse than others.  And this line suggests to me that they’re trying to get people to bet on the Panthers because the love for Cam Newton and belief the Panthers are great likely hasn’t faded this much.  The Redskins can really take advantage of this secondary too that has been without their best DB all season, because they let him go to Washington ironically.

 

 

Over/Under

0-2 last week, 6-6 on the season.

 

Oakland at San Diego

Over 49.5

This is just too low.  Both teams with D’s you can really take advantage of, both teams with great QB’s, this will be a shootout between Rivers and Carr.

 

Carolina at Washington

Over 50.5

I learned my lesson last week.  Don’t ever take the under!!!  Panthers won’t be able to stop the Redskins offense even if Luke Kuechly returns, and Cam “frontrunner” Newton will be happy to play a D that doesn’t beat him up too much for his liking, so he’ll do his thing.

 

 

Guessing the Lines (week 16)

7/16 last week, 51/92 on the season.  The goal is to be within a point of the line.

 

NY Giants -3.5 at Philadelphia

 

Atlanta -4 at Carolina

 

Miami at Buffalo -1.5

 

Minnesota at Green Bay -2.5

 

NY Jets at New England -9.5

 

San Diego -6.5 at Cleveland

 

Tampa Bay -2 at New Orleans

 

Tennessee -6 at Jacksonville

 

Washington -4 at Chicago

 

Indianapolis at Oakland -6.5

 

Arizona at Seattle -7

 

San Francisco at Los Angeles -2.5

 

Cincinnati at Houston -3

 

Baltimore at Pittsburgh -3

 

Denver at Kansas City -4

 

Detroit at Dallas -6.5

 

Hmm, 10:23.  50 minutes.  Not bad.

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 14 Hot Takes

I started to write this late Sunday afternoon, this is what I had:

“I have to start with Jeff Fisher and the Rams, whom I’ve been on an island standing up for all season.  But yesterday was rock bottom, and while I won’t move off my belief that Fisher is a good head coach, it just clearly isn’t going to work there and a change is needed.  If they want to salvage the Jared Goff trade/pick, a house cleaning is needed in that front office and on the sidelines.  It’s a GREAT gig.  They’re moving into a new stadium in two more seasons, they have a potential Pro Bowl QB in Goff (yes, I’m not bailing on him after 5 FREAKING GAMES!!!), Pro Bowl RB in Todd Gurley, they have a lot of great pieces on D, and oh yeah…it’s L.A.  I don’t know if he is interested in leaving his post in the MNF booth, but Jon Gruden would be absolutely perfect for the job.  They need a guy who is going to help develop Goff and get this offense going.”

 

The right move was made by Rams ownership.  It doesn’t sound like Les Snead is safe either.  Josh McDaniels is the name a lot of people are tossing around, and I like that idea.  I question whether or not McDaniels can be a great head coach, but the fit might be good enough to make this a playoff team.  He would get that offense pointed in the right direction.  They desperately need to build up that offensive line.  With good protection, the talent they have at WR specifically is good enough that Goff could do some damage.  But more so, with a good O-line, not only does that allow Goff to make some throws, but Todd Gurley could then get it going again.  It isn’t a big fix, they just need the right people running things in L.A.

 

KC beat Oakland on Thursday, and as much as I didn’t like it I’ve been on that since day one of the season.  You can read literally anything I’ve wrote from the start of the season on, I have not moved off that point.  Oakland is making the playoffs, KC is winning the division.  Come playoff time I’ll take the Raiders because I’ll take Derek Carr all day over Alex Smith, but over 16 games the Chiefs are the better team.

 

Rex Ryan might get fired?  Tyrod Taylor isn’t the answer for the Bills at QB?!  Right.  Did the Pegula’s actually need two seasons to figure this shit out?!?  Rex isn’t anything of a good coach.  Taylor is a solid backup to have but he is the typical guy who once coaches have film on he gets exposed.  Perhaps with the right coach he could get to a Alex Smith “type” level, but he’s not a franchise QB.  It’s rebuilding time once again for the Bills as they close in on 20 years without seeing the playoffs.  I feel awful for that fan base.  Yes, THAT fan base who seem to have an insane amount of complete dip shits.  Dip shits, but they deserve a lot better.

 

Cleveland is going 0-16 now for sure.  I can’t believe I bet them AGAIN.  Not only does this team not win, they never even beat the spread!  The Bengals are terrible, and they rolled the Browns.  No words have yet to be invented to describe the Browns.  But I do believe this organization has a great chance to finally move forward believe it or not.  I think Hue Jackson is a good coach, they look like they will have not only the top pick but another top 10 pick in the draft, there are some pretty good QB’s in this year’s draft including Ohio born Mitch Trubisky.  The draft stuff isn’t even worth looking at until March or so once the combine and pro day’s have commenced and the coaches and GM’s start looking at the film on these kids, but point is this could be the draft that finally turns the Browns around.

 

I think it’s safe to say the Packers are now back.  That was pretty impressive.  I know I had that game, and made the point that the weather specifically could hurt the Seahawks, but that was total domination by the Packers.  For their WR’s to light up the Seahawks secondary like that was something (mind you, no Earl Thomas, but still).   There is very little room for error for the Packers.  Two games back of Detroit in the NFC North, but if they can makeup one game by week 17 it’ll be a showdown in Motown for the NFC North.  Win and you’re in.  I like both teams, I love great football, and I’m really pulling for that scenario.  With Matt Stafford now playing hurt, it’s not far fetched at all.

 

I know, I know, I’ve been calling the Giants frauds and yet they’ve now knocked off the Cowboys twice this season.  The D is clearly elite, maybe I’ll retract calling them frauds, but I still don’t believe in this Giants team.  What did Dallas have to play for?!  With the Seahawks losing the Cowboys have a very comfortable lead for home field in the NFC, the NFC East crown, it just was a nothing game for the Cowboys.  Yet the Giants still only beat them 10-7.  To me, they still have to prove it.

 

Well my picks weren’t great this week.  0-2 on the over/under’s.  But I did have a nice little 3-2 week ATS.  Let’s see how I did guessing the lines.  Again, the goal is to be within a point.

 

L.A. at Seattle -7.5

This is maybe the furthest I’ve been off on these yet.  Figured on a short week, the Rams have the Seahawks number, it wouldn’t be THAT big.  Wrong.  WRONG!  Seattle -14.5.

 

Miami -3.5 at NY Jets

Dolphins are only favored by 2.5.  I guess I’m right, but I like that for Miami because I don’t think Matt Moore is THAT far off Ryan Tannehill.

 

Green Bay -7 at Chicago

Another one right, as the Pack are favored by 6.5.  The Bears are playing everyone tough these days, might have to take them if this line does in fact get to Packers -7.

 

Cleveland at Buffalo -7.5

Bills are favored by 10.5, and I don’t blame Vegas one bit here.  As I said earlier, the Browns can’t beat the spread let alone a team!  Unreal, because the Bills can’t win right now either, yet they’re favored by 10.5.

 

Philadelphia at Baltimore -6.5

Ravens are -6.  I’m writing this as the Monday nighter is being played (16-3 at the half for the Pats), so it’s not on the board right now but that’s what it’s projected to be.

 

Tennessee at Kansas City -6.5

Another win as the Chiefs are favored by 6.

 

Pittsburgh -6 at Cincinnati

Steelers are only favored by 3.5?!  I think I’ll lay some coin on the Steelers here, even if A.J. Green is back.

 

Detroit at NY Giants -3

No surprise that with Stafford injured and the Giants beating the Cowboys on Sunday night, Giants -4.5.

 

Indianapolis at Minnesota -1.5

Another big miss by me here.  I assumed the Colts would beat the Texans, they got humiliated at home, so now the Vikings are favored by 4.

 

Jacksonville at Houston -4.5

Of course that Colt/Texans game messed with this line too as the Texans are favored by 6.

 

New Orleans at Arizona -2.5

Spot on.

 

San Francisco at Atlanta -9.5

Another massive miss by me here, as the Falcons are -14.

 

Oakland -1 at San Diego

Vegas didn’t do what I thought they might do, which was make this a bait game.  Raiders -3, I’d take the Chargers.  Potentially the last game for the Raiders in San Diego, this is the Chargers Super Bowl.

 

New England -3 at Denver

Spot on from what I found, though again like the Ravens this game isn’t on the board yet on Sports Interaction.

 

Tampa Bay at Dallas -6.5

Cowboys -7 so a win here.

 

Carolina at Washington -3

Wow, Redskins by 5.  Looks like Vegas is finally figuring the Panthers out.  Can’t wait to see what the over is in this one.  So this is my first losing week guessing the lines.  7/16.  Can’t win’em all.

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 14 Picks ATS

Not happy.  Not happy at all!  First of all, this weather is just horrific.  It’s such a cop out topic, but seriously the weather is all that’s on my mind right now.  It’s so cold I don’t want to do anything but crank the heat and stay inside.  Put on top of that, the Oilers aren’t playing well, speculation has begun that the Jays front office would prefer to not do anything so they’re setup to sell off everyone at next year’s trade deadline, and a 1-4 performance with my picks last Sunday.  Do you want to know the real truth about Christmas kids?  When you become an adult, December goes from amazing to disgusting!  Bah humbug…or whatever they said in the 20’s (I have to get in saying the 20’s as much as possible now because in 3 years we’ll have to say whether that’s the 1920’s or the 2020’s).  1-4 last week, 33-27-6 on the season.

 

Arizona at Miami

Dolphins +2

The Dolphins should not be underdogs in this game.  It started that way.  Then all the money, sharp and public went on the Cardinals.  I’m in the vast minority on this that Vegas knew something nobody else did.  Because from a public standpoint they’d still view the Cards as a great team who had a tough season, and the Dolphins as a shitty team who had a lucky season.  Coming off what was by far their worst performance of the season, the Dolphins will be as desperate of a team as you’ll find.  Also what I hear being left out on this…while it’s not a PST team playing at 10 AM, it is a MST team playing at 11 AM.  I believe the Dolphins win a tight, low scoring game outright at home.

 

Cincinnati at Cleveland

Browns +6

Don’t get cute here, just take the 6 points, but I’m personally taking the Browns to win outright.  At home, RGIII is back at QB, the Bengals suck, the Browns are off a bye, this game is nothing to the Bengals, this game is everything to the Browns who if they don’t win here they likely aren’t winning in 2016.  As if all that wasn’t enough, RJ Bell had stats this week that said this is almost a lock.  The favorite in this series in the last 19 games has covered only 5 times.  Also, any team that has been winless after week 8 since 1990 has gone 50-22-3 ATS.  Finally, any winless team of 0-5 or worse playing on extra rest (in this case, off a bye) have gone 23-5-1 ATS.  The Browns at +6 is about as safe of a bet as you’ll ever find.

 

Washington at Philadelphia

Redskins -2.5

So I’ll be honest, I don’t love this bet.  In division, Eagles are going to be desperate, I just don’t have a great feeling on this one.  But I have to pick 5 games, and this one SHOULD be a safe bet.  Redskins I view as one of the top teams in the NFC, and the Eagles have done nothing but trend down since their week 3 blowout win over the Steelers.  So I’ll take the Redskins here to win by a field goal, but just don’t bet this one hard.

 

Seattle at Green Bay

Packers +3

This one is a little safer than the Redskins bet.  I still don’t really trust the Packers right now, but they’re a terrific late season team.  This team in the last 15 seasons or so have been amazing in December.  Plus the Seahawks aren’t really a snow team.  They won in the snow last year in Minnesota, but they needed Blair Walsh to have one of the worst misses of all time to get the win.  They do play in bad weather a lot this time of year, but not in this kind of cold and not the snow.  I do think the Seahawks win, but I believe it’ll be a really tight game.

 

Dallas at NY Giants

Cowboys -3.5

I basically say it in everything I write on the NFL these days, I just think the Giants are total frauds.  I keep hearing people say “this is the type of Giants team that wins the Super Bowl”.  No!  It’s nothing like those Giants teams!  Those Giants teams were better than their record suggested, this team is much worse!  I do worry a bit here as to how Dak Prescott will do if the weather plays a factor, but as dominant as the Cowboys have been to this point, this team is built for December/January football.  They keep your D on the field and beat you up with their O-line.  That formula works great at anytime of the year, but is a nightmare when the weather gets bad.

 

Over/Under

1-1 last week (again), 6-4 on the season.

 

San Diego at Carolina

Over 49

Cam Newton vs Philip Rivers, both teams have just ok defenses.  I’d trust the Panthers D a little more if Luke Kuechly were healthy, but he isn’t.  So Newton coming off being humiliated in more ways than one on national TV will be hot, and Rivers has just quietly been one of the best in the league this season.  I believe this will be the highest scoring game of the week.

 

Dallas at NY Giants

Over 47

Doesn’t really makes sense if you consider their week one matchup was 20-19, and that was indoors in September.  Outdoors in December I have it going over?!  Well the Cowboys now are a MUCH more confident team than the Cowboys were back then.  Counter that with the fact I don’t like any of the Cowboys DB’s to lock down ODB, so he may go off in this one.  The Cowboys secondary is real good, probably the only strength that defense has, but I still believe the Giants can exploit them and make this a 31-24 type game.

 

Guessing the Lines (week 15)

9/16 last week, 44/76 on the season.  The goal is to be within a point of the line.

 

L.A. at Seattle -7.5

 

Miami -3.5 at NY Jets

 

Green Bay -7 at Chicago

 

Cleveland at Buffalo -7.5

 

Philadelphia at Baltimore -6.5

 

Tennessee at Kansas City -6.5

 

Pittsburgh -6 at Cincinnati

 

Detroit at NY Giants -3

 

Indianapolis at Minnesota -1.5

 

Jacksonville at Houston -4.5

 

New Orleans at Arizona -2.5

 

San Francisco at Atlanta -9.5

 

Oakland -1 at San Diego

(the Raiders might get a bigger number than this, but I’m thinking this might be a Vegas bait because the Chargers are winning this game)

 

New England -3 at Denver

 

Tampa Bay at Dallas -6.5

 

Carolina at Washington -3

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

Exit Encarnacion

Well I can honestly say I hadn’t loved another man with a parrot in Rogers Centre since the great Koko B. Ware rode in a small mobile wrestling ring cart at Wrestlemania XI.  Never again did I believe a man with a parrot could steal my heart, yet Edwin Encarnacion did just that.  It wasn’t a real parrot, unlike Koko, who had Franky, and Franky was HILARIOUS, but the parrot was there in spirit nonetheless.  But the parrot is being walked on out the door, and it really is a shame now that we know how it shook down.

 

Truth be told, I was good with him leaving after the season.  I was looking at some of the possibilities, fully trusted (obviously still do) Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins, and felt like there were better moves the organization could make than to get tied down with a long term, big money deal for a soon to be 34 year old DH.  It was already the oldest team in MLB, too right handed heavy, not quick enough on the bases, Encarnacion just simply wasn’t a great fit…at what was thought to be the price.

 

But now that we know what we know, did both sides overplay their hand?

 

We know Encarnacion’s camp did.  Edwin made it pretty clear that Toronto was his first choice, and almost felt like he was reluctant to go to free agency.  Maybe that’s just the Jays homer in me, but if he wasn’t being sincere he sure fooled me!  But it really did feel like he was more so advised…as he should be…to go get the big contract.  I worry for his sake that even though he’ll get that big contract (though not near as big as his camp thought he would), that he’s not going to be happy elsewhere.  I guess it depends on the team he goes to.  Winning can help alleviate any problems he may have.

 

I wonder though if the Jays aren’t going to regret moving on so quickly from Encarnacion though as well.  It was the right move, and I’m a pretty big fan of the Kendrys Morales signing.  I think in this lineup, playing in Rogers Centre which is a much more friendly park for power hitters, 35-40 bombs honestly wouldn’t shock me in the least.

 

The Steve Pearce signing (which of course is the reason we now know Encarnacion’s time in Toronto is done) I like too…depending on who he’ll be platooning with.  He crushes lefties, and seems to love Rogers Centre (loves hitting against the Jays anyway), so that could be a ton of bang for their buck.  Again though, that all depends on who he is platooning with.  If it’s Justin Smoak then I’m not too happy.  If it’s Mitch Moreland, I’m a little more happy with that than Smoak, but still feel like an upgrade will be needed by July 31st.  It wouldn’t dare be Rowdy Tellez already…would it?!

 

So I like what the Jays have done to this point.  If by March the front office has only added Jay Bruce and Boone Logan to this team then I’m not happy.  But so far, so good.

 

But I can’t help but wonder if they couldn’t have got Encarnacion for 3 years/60 million or somewhere in that range.  Because it sure is starting to feel like without the Red Sox chasing him hard that the market just isn’t there for the now former Jays slugger.  I absolutely get not wanting to sit on your ass and running the risk of being left with nothing, but it will really suck if this guy ends up in Baltimore or Texas for that price.

 

As for the Jays and what is next, as I eluded to early they still have a ton of work to do.  Dexter Fowler intrigues me, as I’m still a believer in having a guy who is comfortable in the leadoff role, but more importantly it just would give them more speed on the base paths.  The numbers being talked about are comfortable to me, and as Arden Zwelling tweeted yesterday, the Jays have quite a bit of money to play with after doing the deal with Pearce.

 

Again, trust this front office.  So far, they haven’t given Jays fans much to bitch about.  And as I said off the top, I’ve been fine with Encarnacion walking sine the offseason began.  But should he walk for a deal that’s at or less than the Jays offer of 4×20, that’ll be tough to stomach for all Jays fans.

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 13 Hot Takes

wentzLast week I decided to give the CFL some love in this write up and take a few paragraphs to talk about how tremendous the Grey Cup was.  So I guess this week I should discuss how great the football is in MLS between Toronto and Montreal.  Yep, I should.  Problem is, I don’t talk about the ECHL, don’t talk AA baseball, don’t talk about the China league in basketball.  My point here is that why in the hell do Toronto sports fans claim they won’t embrace the CFL because “it isn’t big time” yet they flock to watch the MLS?!  Let’s be honest about this, Toronto….you’re wannabe Americans and the CFL would thrive without the Argos just like the NFL did when fans in L.A. thought they were too sweet for that league.

 

Ok, so that had nothing to do with the NFL, but I had to get that shot off before the clock ran out.  Onto the week 13…action?

 

Could any game have gone less like I believed it would than the Miami/Baltimore game?!  The Dolphins couldn’t have laid more of an egg.  You can say the Ravens are just that good, but I STILL, yes…STILL refuse to believe they’re anything but frauds, simply because their offense hasn’t been good all season, and now they’re dominating one of the top defenses in the league?!  No.  The Dolphins just simply didn’t bother to show up, and when you’ve been as down for as long as the Dolphins have you just can’t take anyone lightly.  Had the Dolphins +3.5, got humiliated.  For once in my over/under’s I took the under on this game, and got humiliated.  Hey Miami, f*** you.

 

Man, my picks were just horrendous.  1-4, only 1-1 in the over/under’s.  It’s such a piss of when you know you’re picking good and shitty weeks like this happen.  And it’s really been all or nothing of late.  In the last seven weeks, I’ve either only lost once or less, or only won once or less.  This week though was just fucked right from the start, so fucked that I’m not bothering to sensor myself.  Colin Cowherd said it on his show on Friday, the lines were just really tricky for whatever reason.  Probably wasn’t a good sign in hindsight that I nailed so many of the lines, because if I nail the lines then it’s tough to decide one way or another where to go.  Anyway, I’m just talking to myself at this point.

 

How good is this game going to be on Thursday between the Chiefs and Raiders?!  Chiefs win a massive game in Atlanta, and the Raiders made it look easy coming back from a 15 point deficit against the Bills.  I’ve said all season, the Chiefs win that division and feel great about that coming into this game.  But despite their age, I’d fear the Raiders a little more come playoff time.  Better QB, a lot of playmakers on both sides of the ball (especially if they get a rejuvenated Aldon Smith back), and that offensive line…while it’s not what the Cowboys have, it’s damn good and can beat up on any D-line in the league.

 

Remember when the Rams were raked over the coals for not playing Jared Goff because Carson Wentz was so amazing and he started day one in Philly?!  Remember when I was saying that meant nothing?!  How much better has Wentz looked than Goff since Goff has been starting?  Hasn’t?  At all?  There was a guy once upon a time named Rick Mirer.  And in the 1993 NFL draft, the New England Patriots had a tough choice to make between Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer.  The Pats took Bledsoe, and out of the gate everyone was killing them for taking Bledsoe as he struggled and Mirer looked great.  Then teams got film on Mirer.  All Rick Mirer did from about the sixth game of his rookie season on was digress.  Probably shouldn’t have been starting.  I’m not saying that is going to be Carson Wentz, but since week 3 against Pittsburgh, all he’s done is digress.  Goff has literally nothing around him other than Todd Gurley and that O-line is so bad that neither guy has a chance to do anything.  But let this be a lesson to you all…just because someone is starting doesn’t mean they’re good!  People should know this lesson well by now!

 

That was a damn impressive win by the Lions in New Orleans.  They’re very much so in the driver seat in the NFC North, although with the Packers now having won back to back they aren’t out of the woods just yet.  The Pack have a win against them already, so if they win in Detroit in the final week of the season, they’d have the tie breaker.  But Stafford has been better than Rodgers, Theo Reddick is better than anything the Packers can scrap together at RB, and the Lions have the better D.  A.K.A. I’d be shocked if the Lions didn’t win the NFC North at this point.

 

The Steelers aren’t great (yet), but the Giants are frauds and I won’t move off that point.  Lightest game left on their schedule is the Eagles (I originally believed it was the Lions, but the Eagles have completely fallen apart), and the Eagles LOVE to spoil shit for the Giants.  I just don’t see them making the playoffs.

 

Cam Newton was benched and then crushed in Seattle.  YEP.  I don’t get a lot right, but that guy is the easiest call in the NFL right now.  He gets touched, he folds.  He doesn’t, he’s an all time great.

 

For weeks now I’ve been calling the Titans to take the AFC South.  They may, but I have to admit the Colts look like they’re starting to come on as long as Andrew Luck is out there.  Say what you will about how awful the Jets season has been, that D-line is one of the best in football and the Colts O-line held them in check.  The last month or so it’s felt like a different Colts team.  It’s not like they’ll go to the Super Bowl or anything, but they definitely have a shot to win that pathetic division.

 

Finally, the lines.  Maybe my favorite thing to now talk about, likely because it’s the only thing I seem to get right these days!  I aim to be within a point, let’s see how it went.

 

Oakland at Kansas City -2.5

Half a point off, Chiefs by 3, looks to be moving to 3.5.  I can’t stress enough how great of a game this is going to be!  Essentially for the division crown at this point.

 

Pittsburgh -3 at Buffalo

Steelers only favored by 2.  Little surprised, but then again the Bills will be desperate and the Steelers can get sleepy.

 

Denver -1.5 at Tennessee

Wow, Titans are favored by 1.  I can’t see the public laying off taking the Broncos at that number, although it is off the board right now (I’m guessing waiting on Trevor Siemian’s status).

 

Washington at Philadelphia -2

Not shocked after that humiliation by the Eagles in Cincy that this is now the Redskins favored by a point.  Anything less than 3 points, take the Redskins.

 

Arizona -1.5 at Miami

BAIT!!!  Dolphins favored by 2, makes little-no sense with the Dolphins being humiliated and the Cards coming off a win.  Don’t fall for it, take the Dolphins.

 

Minnesota -2.5 at Jacksonville

Vikings by 3.5, so it’s a win for me, but I don’t know how you could trust the Vikings by 3.5 against anyone at this point, especially on the road.

 

Houston at Indianapolis -3.5

I got it, but Indy is -4.5.  I’m a little surprised it’s that high, but it was an impressive showing last night despite how poorly the Jets have been this season.

 

San Diego at Carolina -3

A pick’em!  Oh how the mighty have fallen!  QB frontrunner though will be all about putting up big numbers after being embarrassed on Sunday night.

 

Cincinnati -3.5 at Cleveland

Cincy -5.5.  I didn’t realize when looking at who the Browns had left two weeks ago that Cincy at home was still on the schedule.  THIS could be their last chance at 1-15.

 

Chicago at Detroit -6.5

Lions by 8, and it’s not a surprise with how great they were in New Orleans.  I’d take the Bears though.  Lions primed for a letdown, the Bears playing for jobs.

 

NY Jets -3 at San Francisco

San Fran by a point right now.  Not a big shocker after the Jets got humiliated by the Colts last night.  Short rest this week, have to go cross country, the Niners won’t have to play in a freaking blizzard this week, makes sense.

 

New Orleans at Tampa Bay -2.5

Bucs by 2.5 it is!  This is a massive game in the NFC South, Saints have to have this one.

 

Atlanta -6 at Los Angeles

Falcons by 6 it is!  They’re pretty good, and the Rams are not.

 

Seattle -3 at Green Bay

Seahawks by 3 it is!  Are the Packers back?  Are the Seahawks back?  Interesting matchup.

 

Dallas -2.5 at NY Giants

Cowboys by 3, moving soon to 3.5.  The Giants are frauds, I cant stress that enough.  Cowboys all but wrap up the division with a win here.

 

Baltimore at New England -7.5

Another one spot freaking on!  The line is moving towards Pats by 7.  If it gets to 6.5, I’d bet the Pats pretty hard.  So that’s 9/16 on the week.  I have yet to go under .500 on these, although after going 1-4 with my picks ATS this week that shows this means nothing.

 

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NFL Week 13 Picks ATS

hi-res-2056683bef9a0afc67053b5463bdab7e_crop_northHow in the freaking hell do you have three games push in a week?!  Having any game push is pretty rare.  But to have three in the same week…I likely won’t ever do that again.  Good news is that I went undefeated last week!  Bad news is I only won two of the five games!  Now 32-23-6 on the season.

 

Los Angeles at New England

Rams +13.5

It’s just far too many points.  Doesn’t mean the Pats can’t win this one by 14, but the Rams D is coming off a humiliating performance, Brady is dinged up, the Pats don’t have Gronk so other playmakers now need to be worked into the offense, and the Pats D isn’t so good that Jared Goff can’t do some damage against them.  Smart money here is on the Rams.

 

Miami at Baltimore

Dolphins +3.5

I’ve been loving the Dolphins the last month or so, and I have not been shy to say I think the Ravens aren’t as good as their record and are nowhere near worthy of being a division leading team.  3.5 is a gift, as I strongly believe the Dolphins will take this one outright.

 

San Francisco at Chicago

49ers -2

What a terrible game this is going to be, I know.  Most of you won’t want to put money on it because of that, but I just think the 49ers at less than a field goal is a really smart bet.  I’m not a Colin Kaepernick fan at all, but he’s been playing better and better every week.  It’s not just him either, this Niners team is really playing hard.  Then on the other side you have a Bears team just completely buried by injuries.  I like the Niners to win this outright, so anything less than a field goal is fine with me.

 

Buffalo at Oakland

Bills +3

I like this bet a lot, mainly because every Raiders game is tight!  So you can pretty much take the underdog in the game involving the Raiders this season, and you’ll win money!  I’m not sure what the numbers are on that, but I’ve bet the Raider games all season and crushed it with them.  If by chance this moves to 3.5, I love the Bills.  If it goes to 2.5, the Raiders then would be the smart money.

 

Carolina at Seattle

Seahawks -7

This matchup is all kinds of wrong for the Panthers.  QB frontrunner doesn’t like it when things get tough, and in Seattle, against that D, it’ll be a REALLY tough night for him, so he’ll likely fold.  I am a little hesitant in saying that because the Panthers always play the Seahawks tough, even when the Seahawks were in their Super Bowl years and the Panthers were still emerging.  But Newton never faced the Seahawks when things were going anywhere near as poorly as they are right now for the Panthers.  It’s a big number, but I’m willing to eat it here.

 

Over/Under

1-1 last week, 5-3 on the season.

 

Miami at Baltimore

Under 41

FINALLY a pick an under!  This game features two elite defenses, and two QB’s who I don’t believe are capable of overcoming elite defenses.  41 points?  I see something like 17-14, 20-17…tops.

 

Buffalo at Oakland

Over 49

Just like last week, I don’t know why the Raiders aren’t getting more love on the over/under’s.  They’re going to put up big points on just about anyone, especially at home, and the Bills…while I don’t love Tyrod Taylor, he’s good enough and unique enough to give the Raiders defense fits.

 

Guessing the Lines (week 14)

12/16 last week, 35/60 on the season.  The goal is to be within a point of the line.

 

Oakland at Kansas City -2.5

 

Pittsburgh -3 at Buffalo

 

Denver -1.5 at Tennessee

 

Washington at Philadelphia -2

 

Arizona -1.5 at Miami

 

Minnesota -2.5 at Jacksonville

 

Houston at Indianapolis -3.5

 

San Diego at Carolina -3

 

Cincinnati -3.5 at Cleveland

 

Chicago at Detroit -6.5

 

NY Jets -3 at San Francisco

 

New Orleans at Tampa Bay -2.5

 

Atlanta -6 at Los Angeles

 

Seattle -3 at Green Bay

 

Dallas -2.5 at NY Giants

 

Baltimore at New England -7.5

 

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