The models didn’t have a good Thanksgiving, as they agreed that Chicago and Dallas should have covered but neither game came through. I don’t honestly mind too much, since I got to see a Lions win in person and that was pretty fun. Let’s see what the predictions are for the rest of the holiday weekend.
Green Bay – New England and Kansas City – Denver are probably the two biggest games on Sunday. The Packers and Pats have both made dominant runs after slow starts, and are getting equal respect with the Packers favored by about the 3 point home field advantage. Luigi and Yoshi 2 have that as about right, but Yoshi 1 actually has the Pack as favors to cover. I could see this going either way, but I expect some amount of a shoot-out and wouldn’t be surprised to see New England take the win. On the other hand, the models all have Kansas City as a little bit of a favorite, while the SBR line has them as small underdogs. I don’t feel as confident about that one.
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Luigi’s most exciting games this week are Packers-Pats and Steelers-Saints, both of which seem reasonable. The over/unders would add Dallas-Philly and Indy-Washington (presumably one-sided). Eagles-Cowboys already came in on the under, so maybe Luigi happened to be right this week.
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As far as Thursday’s games go, the Detroit win was obviously big for Detroit. As I mentioned before, even after their losses to Arizona and New England, they could still get to 10 wins fairly easily with wins over Minnesota and Tampa (the next two weeks) and a split with Chicago. The sticky part to that, of course, is actually getting the wins. The home victory yesterday means that there’s more room for something else to go wrong while still getting to 10. Ten wins isn’t a guaranteed playoff spot (as last year’s Cardinals will tell you), but it’s certainly strong enough to get there. The Eagles’ victory was also big as it puts them up a game in the NFC East, gets them to 9 wins, and guarantees them at least a split with the Cowboys in the division tie-breaker. Dallas, on the other hand, still has three road games around a home bout with the Colts. That isn’t an easy road, and this loss might come back to haunt them (although maybe not as much as an overtime loss to Washington).
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Here are Bill Simmons’ picks. I’m still behind pretty badly and running out of time. Luigi and Yoshi 2 at least went with the Seahawks, so they have a game in hand this week. It looks like there are a few games where the models go the other way from Bill; we’ll see if they go my way.
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Finally we have the SuperContest picks, where I’m hoping to just end up at .500. Luigi has slim pickings this week, but is going with Atlanta +2.5, Kansas City +1.5, New Orleans +4.5, Oakland +6.5, and Washington +9.5. Those last two games are predicted to be within two points of the line, so you could really swap them for any other game and it wouldn’t be a big difference. Yoshi 1 is going with Oakland, Kansas City, Chicago +7 (wrong), Jets +6.5, and Washington. Finally, Yoshi 2 is going with Atlanta, Kansas City, Jacksonville +2.5, Jets, and Washington. Let’s see if the models can get another positive week.