The Degenerate: Week 16 Preview and Thursday Pick; #ALLIN

It’s Week 16, this crazy season is almost over, but not until the Eagles make us sweat it out a little longer.

2011 has been quite a ride for Eagles fans

This is it, another week where the Eagles can be eliminated from playoff contention before they even kickoff their game. Let’s break down the scenarios (not like you haven’t already heard this a hundred times this week):

Eagles are eliminated if:

  • Giants beat Jets in the 1pm game OR Eagles lose to Cowboys

Eagles stay alive if:

  • Jets beat Giants AND Eagles beat Cowboys

And if we stay alive, then it all comes down to Week 17, Giants at Dallas and we will be cheering for the Giants like we’ve never cheered for the Giants before. I was thinking the other day, have Eagles fans ever cheered for the Giants? Maybe in that Super Bowl against the undefeated Patriots, but that’s probably it.

Jets are three point favorites this week, so Vegas thinks that they can pull it off. Let’s hope the bookies are right this time.


Let’s check on the Week 15 picks, take a first look at the Eagles / Dallas game and make a pick in the Thursday night Colts/Texans matchup…

Week 15 Revisited

3-0, how about that! We had a good weekend. Thursday was a pretty easy win. We were on Atlanta -12.5, they came out and blew the doors off Jacksonville 41-14. No sweat. That’s the kind of game I like. Over by halftime.

3-0? I can get used to that.

Sunday was the big match up of the week, Tebow vs. Brady. I had a feeling that the Patriots would be able to score on the Broncos, and they sure did. But Tebow was able to draw first blood and jump out to a 17-6 but the Patriots were able to pull ahead and take a 27-16 lead into halftime.

A few more scores in the 2nd half and the Patriots cruised to a 41-23 win. Another easy winner, 18 point win laying seven. Nice.

Monday night was just us playing the statistics. We had two of the top defenses, an injured QB and another QB who was not the guy to light up the scoreboard.

Ben Roethlisberger played, but he didn’t look healthy. Hobbling around, he threw a couple of early interceptions to kill Steeler drives.

But the 49ers couldn’t get into the endzone either. Alex Smith turned two touchdown drives into two fieldgoal drives, and I couldn’t be happier. 6-0 at half, 13-3 after three quarters, this one never even sniffed 30 points. And the UNDER 38 got there easy.

Let’s hope we can keep the momentum going this week and take a hot streak into the postseason.

Week 15 Hometown Preview: Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Opening Line: Cowboys -3, O/U 50.5
Current Line: Cowboys -2, O/U 50.5
Game Trends (via Eagles: 10-3 OVER in last 13 road games; Cowboys: 12-4 OVER in last 16 home games.

No caption needed, the picture speaks for itself.

This line is what you would expect. Opened as Dallas -3, so pretty much a pick ‘em with Dallas getting a bump for homefield. The early money came in on the Eagles, I guess a 45-19 beatdown of the Jets is more impressive than the Cowboys 31-15 win at Tampa Bay.

We all know what happened last time these guys played in Week 6. It was one of the first ‘do-or-die’ weeks if the Eagles season. The Eagles were a 3 point favorite at home and came away with an impressive 34-7 win. Oh by the way, we had the UNDER in that one (winner).

Dallas is 5-2 ATS at home this season, but 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall this season. The Eagles are 2-0 ATS and SU as road dogs this season. And this game is the definition of ‘must win’ for them this week.

The total really sticks out to me on this one, 50.5? That seems high. Two top 15 defenses, neither team really known to put up many points (I know the Eagles scored 45 last week, but that was out of the ordinary).

I expect the Eagles to play it conservative, and use LeSean McCoy as much as possible. and with Brent Celek coming on strong the past few weeks, we could continue to see him used in a short passing game. Dallas could be without RB Felix Jones, so that takes away a big part of their offense. Can Romo put up points against the reborn Eagles defense? I don’t think so.

Right now, I’m leaning Eagles plus the points and UNDER. Well come back tomorrow and break it all down and make a pick. But for now, let’s move on to the Thursday night game…

Thursday Night Football

TNF Bet #1: (a.k.a the “Yeah, the Colts won, but they still stink” pick): Texans -6.5 over Colts

What a crappy season for the Colts. They finally got win #1 last week, and it only took them 14 games. Their one potent offense has turned impotent (#29th overall), #32 (last) in overall team efficiency and #32 in defensive efficiency. To put it bluntly, the Colts suck this season.

It's been a rough season for Colts fans

We’ve had to handicap some bad teams this year (Rams, Jaguars, Vikings) but the Colts might take the prize.

I think the Jaguars are worse on offense (but not by much), and maybe you can argue that the Tampa or Minnesota is worse on defense, but the Colts have the unique combination of a crappy offense and a crappy defense.

The Indy offense is managing a paltry 283 total yards per game, and only putting up 15.1 points per game. That’s not going to win many games (as they’ve proven this year). The Texans are 10-4 and still jockeying for position in the playoffs, so they aren’t on cruise control yet. They had a bad loss last week at home against Carolina, after running off 7 straight wins. I don’t think the Texans will have any problems moving the ball tonight and that’s why I’m going with Houston -6.5.

Houston doesn’t have Matt Schaub, and they won’t have Andre Johnson, but they do have a pretty fierce combination of running backs, so expect to see alot of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. The Colts are giving up 138 rushing yards per game, and Houston is anked #2 in rushing yards per game at 151. So yeah, expect a big day from Foster. Congratulations to you if you are starting him in fantasy this week.

The only question mark for the Texans is QB TJ Yates. He’s had 3 starts so far, one good, one bad, and one so-so. I think this week he will be able to take advantage of the weak Colts defense and move the ball. I still expect the Texans to rely mainly on the run, but Yates should be able to move the ball when he needs to. As long as he doesn’t try to do too much, we should be ok laying 6.5.

Arian Foster should have a big night

The Colts offense is pathetic. Yeah, there is no other word to describe it. 15 points per game? 283 yards of total offense. Not good. Dan Orlovsky is in at QB now, he replaced Curtis Painter a few weeks ago. Last week in the big win over Tennessee he managed… 115 yard passing. So I think the Colts have decided to not let him throw the ball. Could be a smart move. Like with the Texans, I think on the Indy side of the ball we will see alot of running plays as well. Donald Brown had a breakout game last week, 161 yard rushing and a TD. But that was his only game with over 80 yard rushing this season.

The Houston defense is pretty good. #7 in overall defensive efficiency (#4 v. pass, #12 v. rush) and I think they will be able to shut down the Colts offense, not that it’s a big challenge.

Houston is finally in a position to control it’s own destiny, and after years of playing second fiddle to the Colts in the AFC South they can finally bully them around and move closer to the chance at a bye week in the first round.

The Texans won the first matchup in Week 1, 34-7, and they will be rady for a season sweep.

How about both teams keep it on the ground, but only the Texans have success moving the ball. Houston finally gets revenge on big brother and comes away with a win, Texans 27-10.

The Line: Texans -6.5 O/U 40.5
The Pick: Texans -6.5
Game trends (via 10-3 OVER in the last 13 meetings. HOU 6-1-1 ATS last 8 games this season.






Season Record: 21-16. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.

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