If you’re expecting to see any more overtime victories by safety this weekend, I wouldn’t hold my breath. We were looking forward to a close game, but it’s probably more accurate to say that the Bengals gave it away. Dalton threw three interceptions, which he had only done three times before. Even if you think Dalton might be prone to throwing picks, the timing wasn’t so great. He had one that was returned 94 yards for a touchdown, which is at least a ten-point swing right there. He also threw one with less than 30 seconds before half time, which the Dolphins turned around into a quick field goal. The Bengals couldn’t have just run the clock out, since Miami had all its timeouts, but if they had sprinkled a run in there there might not have been enough time for the field goal (and perhaps the interception wouldn’t have happened). But, the game turned out the way it did, and so Miami stays in the playoff hunt while the Bengals fail to put a real damper on the AFC North race.
There are a couple of predicted-to-be-close games this week. Washington-San Diego is one; I believe the SuperContest line was Chargers -1 but my SBR line for today is Chargers +1. Yoshi 1 has Washington as a tiny favorite, but Luigi and Yoshi 2 think the Chargers are solid favorites. The two are close in terms of record, but the Chargers have a much better margin of victory; Washington is averaging a loss by 8 points while San Diego is averaging a 3.5 point win. So I would lean towards the Chargers, but obviously Washington is capable of putting up some points. Cleveland and Baltimore is another; if the Ravens can win, they keep the AFC North at least a little interesting. They are the favorite, but only by 1.5 points. The models have it as a pretty close game as well. The Ravens won an ugly one in Baltimore back in week 2, and I think they’re the better team, but Cleveland’s defense is good enough to keep any game interesting and Jason Campbell is obviously not a downgrade from who has suited up for the Browns before. If I had to guess, I would go with Baltimore but it looks like a toss-up. Here are all the spread picks:
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Here are Bill Simmons’ picks. If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend checking out the article just for the excellent Andy Reid gif. Otherwise you can check out all the links he has to other Grantland stuff, since the site isn’t self-referential enough already.
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There are three predicted big winners: Dallas over Minnesota, Seattle over Tampa, and Green Bay over Chicago. Luigi has Cowboys and Vikings as about right, and I mentioned on Thursday that your opinion on Packers-Bears depends on how much of an upgrade you think Cutler is over McCown. Seattle is definitely a favorite over Tampa, but the models think maybe a little too much. That being said, they’re still 80% plus to win. I hope you don’t get stuck with any of those games, although obviously we’ll all get the NFC North match on Monday night. Here are the rest of the moneyline predictions.
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Finally we get to the ‘entertaining’ games, which are the ones with the highest predicted score. There are only two set to break the 50 mark, which are Packers-Bears and Washington-San Diego. In terms of the over/under, only one other game is even over 46, and that’s Dallas-Minnesota. So it might be kind of a boring week, but you never know. If you aren’t a big fan of defense/incompetency though, I would stay away from watching our two sub-40 games for the week, Buffalo-KC and Rams-Titans. Maybe one of those four will surprise us by breaking 20.
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