'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the league
All the players were fighting late-season fatigue.
The bad teams were awful, the good teams were great,
while ten teams had yet to determine their fate.
The NFC East was a battle you see
'Tween the Boys, Eli Manning, and young RG3
While out in the West, Niners mined for gold rocks
Taking down with their pick axe, the pesky Seahawks.
And up in the North where the autumn's abated,
the once fearsome Bears have all now hibernated.
Detroit is long gone, while a Viking sneak peak,
has them saying good-bye to the playoffs this week.
The AFC picture is more of a snooze
with very few teams left with something to lose.
The Bengals and Steelers will fight to save face
and claim the grand, silver prize - second place.
The Colts try again in KC not to suck,
and clinch the post-season for Sir Andrew Luck.
While the old Denver Mannings roll up more first downs,
Whilst wishing good cheer to the young Cleveland Browns.
What's that my dear friends, you don't care which team wins?
Be it Jaguar or Texan or Panther or Phin?
Don't worry young gamblers, place all bets with care
And trust that Saint Pick-olas soon will be there.
Happy Holidays from Vincenzo!
Oh yeah, he's back.
LAST WEEK: 10-6 ATS
SEASON TO DATE: 120-106 ATS
THURSDAY THREE FAN PICKS: 2-1 ATS / 8-7 ATS on the season
FRIDAY FIVE CONFIDENCE PICKS:2-3 ATS last week, but still 27-18 ATS on the season.
Available Now: http://thespreadzone.blogspot.com/2012/12/friday-five-come-and-get-it.html
Finally. I have risen from the couch like a phoenix from the flame, ready to deliver gifts to all of our readers in the form of solid, professional, NFL picks against the spread. Although he faltered in the prequel, shaken by the evils of indecision and novelty, Marco Solo stormed back last week, delivering us from a three-week losing streak into what appears to be post-season form.
In the interest of maintaining interest in The Spread Zone, we're going to jump right into the picks this week. Read on to see who Saint Pick-olas is backing this holiday weekend. Nice teams are in bold, naughty ones in just plain, old, boring, no present-getting font.
Saturday Night Football
Atlanta Falcons (-4.5) over DETROIT LIONS : The Falcons just came off a We-Sent-A-Message-For-Last-Year's-Playoff-Beat-Down Game at home against the New York Giants while the Lions are coming off a We-Can't-Believe-We-Actually-Lost-To-The-Cardinals drubbing in Arizona. Seems like it could be a sleeper trap game, but Atlanta is still playing for home field advantage throughout the playoffs and Detroit is only playing to prevent a transfer to the USFL. The Falcons will want to follow up their statement game with an exclamation mark, while the Lions will follow another embarrassing blowout loss with different kinds of exclamations.
Sunday Morning Football
St. Louis Rams (+3.5) over TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Talk about teams heading in opposite directions. While Jeff Fisher has Rams Nation feeling as though "In the Hunt" is a first round playoff bye, Bucs head coach Greg Schiano appears content to rest on his laurels now that Tampa's six wins make them bowl eligible. The Rams ninth ranked secondary should be able to limit Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson in what promises to be a grind-it-out, whoever wants it more kind of game. Although St. Louis plays better in the confines of their dome, they relish the role of underdog, going 10-3 ATS in their last 13.
Indianapolis Colts (-6.5) over KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: The Colts haven't lost two games in a row all year, and this weekend in KC won't alter that trend. Although Kansas City boasts the seventh ranked pass defense in the NFL, their passing offense is completely incapable of putting points on the board and their running game is about as unpredictable as Ben Rothleisberger at a night club. Simply put - a six and a half point line means a 7-0 victory for the Colts.
New Orleans Saints (+3.5) over DALLAS COWBOYS: The Cowboys have only one victory this season by more than seven points - a Week 10 road drubbing of Philadelphia 38-23. That's it. They are also 0-7 ATS at home this year. They win close, they lose close, or they lose big. They do not win big - especially not against an offensive powerhouse team like the Saints. Take the OVER, take the Cowboys straight up, and take Jason Garrett to back to the comedy club where he was doing meaningful work.
Buffalo Bills (+4.5) over MIAMI DOLPHINS: If you want a sure bet here, take the UNDER. Even if it's 10. In games which Miami is favored, said UNDER is 9-2. Marco has been crushing on the offensive potential of Buffalo all season, but apparently the Bills are currently pregnant with a three touchdown game and the gestation period is almost two months. Seriously! Win or lose they haven't scored more than 20 since early November. Nonetheless, we are taking Buffalo who will forego the home birth and have a scheduled offensive C-Section in South Beach this weekend.
Washington Redskins (-4.5) over PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Washington Redskins head coach, Mike Shannahan is so confident in his offensive coordinating son's abilities that he is now benching Kirk Cousins in favor of third string quarterback and former college stand-out, Rex Grossman. Couple that piece of fiction with the fact that the Redskins are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 division games, and you can ride the Washington half of a parlay all the way to the Champs-Elysees.
New England Patriots (-14.5) over JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Jacksonville is a god-awful 2-18 SU in their last 20 games as an underdog. If you can find the last game in which they were a favorite, the state of Florida will waive your income tax. The Patriots are coming off of their first home December loss in a decade. Don't you think that Bellichick took his Brady-bot to get tuned up between games. This could make the Seattle-Arizona game look like a nail biter.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (-8.5) over Oakland Raiders: To Marco, this year's Raiders have been like that elusive, playing hard to get girl at the bar. Every time he sees her, he says out loud, "This is the week. I can feel it." And every week she turns him away disappointed. Last week, the Raiders finally put out in a 15-0 victory over the Chiefs. This week, Marco didn't even give them a second look. Don't hate the player. Hate the Raiders.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-11.5) over Tennessee Titans: The Titans rank in the bottom half of almost every offensive and defensive category in the NFL, while the Green Bay Packers are beginning to remind us how they ended up 15-1 last year. Be careful not to overvalue the Titans this week, because the Jets beating the Jets Monday night doesn't count as momentum in the gambling world. The Packers win big, playing for home field and a first round playoff bye.
Cincinnati Bengals (+4.5) over PITTSBURGH STEELERS: In the late stages of labor during the birth of our daughter my wife yelled, "Oh god, just get it out of me," to which our midwife calmly replied, "Carrie, God can't help you now. You have to push." Mike Tomlin and Marvin Lewis will both be sharing these sentiments with their teams before Sunday's game as Cincinnati's 2-10 ATS division record goes up against Pittsburgh's 0-4 ATS as a favorite record. God spelled backwards is Dog - and that's who we're taking.
HOUSTON TEXANS (-7.5) over Minnesota Vikings: Make no mistake, Adrian Peterson will break the all-time NFL rushing record sometime during the next two weekends. Although this is in great part due to his raw talent and super-human abilities, it is also because the Vikings are a one-dimensional team with a weaponless passing game. Houston is still playing to secure home field throughout the playoffs and to regain momentum after their embarrassing loss to AFC foe New England two weeks ago. Take the Texans at home where they are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 December games.
San Diego Chargers (+3.5) over NEW YORK JETS: Even though San Diego sucks when they play the Jets (1-6 ATS) and New York rules as a favorite (8-3 SU in 11), we're going against the grain here because Tim Tebow was slighted by the Jets and we believe the hand of God will no doubt cause McElroy to throw red zone interceptions on the 3, the 1, and the 6 yard lines.
Cleveland Browns (+13.5) over DENVER BRONCOS: What else is there to say? The higher you go above sea level, the more advantageous youth becomes. There is no team younger than the Browns. Until their cover two Thursdays ago in Oakland, Denver was 0-11 ATS when favored by 8+, while Cleveland loves the super-dog role (8+ points) going 8-3 ATS in their last 11. The Broncos are still playing for a bye, but chances are if they get up big they'll rest guys in the second half and let the Browns sneak back under 14.
New York Giants (-2.5) over BALTIMORE RAVENS: The mystique of M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland is all but vanished. Consecutive losses to Pittsburgh and Denver have left the Ravens looking a bit Edgar Allen Poe-ish.
Ah, distinctly we remember it was in the bleak December,
Our defense's dying ember, let the opposition score
Every time forever more.
Chicago Bears (-5.5) over ARIZONA CARDINALS: Beating the Lions is like smoking weed and thinking you can handle harder drugs. They are the gateway to addiction but it's all downhill from there. Don't be fooled by last week game, this is the same Arizona Cardinals team that lost nine in a row before smoking that killer green bud from D-Town.
San Francisco Forty Niners (-1.5) over SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: In the longest con of all, Jim Harbaugh's move to Colin Kaepernick finally pays off against the Seattle Seahawks. When asked repeatedly why he gave Alex's starting job to Colin, Harbaugh replied, "Because the kid is deaf, y'all." Everyone assumed Jim was trying to be hip and contemporary, when in fact all along he meant it quite literally. What noise at CenturyLink Field? Not in Colin's noiseless world. Give up the points and watch the Niners seal up the division as they hand the Seahawks their third SU and ATS loss in their last 17 home games.
That's a wrap, home fries. It's good to be back.
May the Spread be Delicious,
Vinny and Marco
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