The Sport Skeptic predictions are coming to you live from Detroit this week for a special holiday edition… although maybe the Thanksgiving picks would be a better special holiday edition… at any rate, I’m back home for a little bit and staying up unusually late to get the predictions for the rest of the weekend ready. Here goes.
The big game for the weekend is probably Pats-Broncos, although I’m sure there are some people with a preference for Giants-Cowboys. But it’s hard to argue with a Manning-Brady game, especially when both teams are doing well. That being said, I think the main reason this game is predicted to be close is that it’s being played in New England. The Broncos have the best offense in the league right now, and specifically compared to the Pats they get sacked less, throw fewer picks, and get many more yards per attempt (the Pats are still only 25th in that category); the only place the Pats have an advantage is in yards per rush. However, the Broncos have a pretty stout run defense whereas New England’s is so-so, the two are tied at interception rate, the Pats have a better pass rush, and they have a better defensive yards per pass. All in all, the Pats’ defense is probably a little better. So it’s kind of a strength-against-strength situation, and the question will be if Manning can outdo the Pats’ defense better than Brady can outdo the Broncos’ defense. I’m leaning towards yes, although Luigi likes the Pats to cover.
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I think Bill Simmons has roughly given up on his picks now, and is truly punishing Lions fans by picking them to cover the last couple weeks, writing an article about Calvin Johnson, and then taking the Bucs to cover. Bill, just leave us out of it.
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The only game that matters to me this weekend (that’s not entirely true, but mostly true) is the Lions-Bucs game. The Lions are heavy favorites, which only means that a loss will be more fitting. After dropping the game to the Steelers last week while the Bears won in overtime, Detroit needs to win to keep up their division lead. They should have a good shot to do it, as they are touchdown to 10 point favorites depending on when and where you look(ed). The Packers, trying to stay in the race, have a good chance at beating the Vikings, and the more worrisome Bears travel to St. Louis for a close match-up. If everything goes according to plan, the Lions will head into Thanksgiving up a game on the Bears and probably the Packers.
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Finally, we have the over/under picks. Your predicted most exciting game of the week is Pats-Broncos, which seems like a good bet. That being said, Saints-Falcons had the same total and they only got to 30. Your second best bet is Lions-Bucs, although if you combine the line with the spread you get a hopefully unexciting 27-20 (or so) victory for Detroit. If you aren’t a fan of defense, or crappy offense, stay away from Ravens-Jets and Browns-Steelers. Dolphins-Panthers is also expected to stay low, but I think that would be based more on actual decent play as opposed to incompetence.
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