Upcoming Match-ups

The “Oddcast” Email Exchange: Week 16

Thanks to a lot of holiday traveling, there will be no podcast for the next couple weeks. But our lack of a physical presence around the office wasn’t reason enough to deny people our sweet, sweet picks against the spread. After a strong week by Sascha (6-2), and a so-so week by the others, the race for picking supremacy is coming down to the wire, and that means we have to keep making predictions for Week 16 of the NFL.

As an early Christmas gift to all who read this, we offer our weekly picks, as well as a little messaging exchange as we discuss the week’s biggest NFL games: Vikings-Packers, Ravens-Steelers, Broncos-Chiefs and Lions-Cowboys. Happy holidays! (Scroll to the bottom for all the picks. And if you really miss our voices, listen to last week’s episode.)


Minnesota at Green Bay (-6.5)

eric
Alright, are we ready to bring our long-winded way of dissecting games to the print medium?

sascha
Does this answer that is far longer than it needs to be answer your pretty straight-forward question that merely required a “yes or no” response? (edited)

eric
It most certainly serves as the affirmation I was in search of. Can Matt now respond in a similar manner?

matt
Matt is here and ready to type away

eric
Huzzah! Then, let’s begin finger-pounding about the Packers-Vikings, a game I thought was going to be really important, but may not actually matter much in the grand scheme. Green Bay is at home, and therefore a 6.5 point favorite. If they win, they play Detroit for the NFC North; if they lose, they probably still play Detroit for the North. Who should I bet in this scenario?

sascha
I’ll answer in the form of a Christmas story.

Once upon a time, laying 6.5 against the Vikings was a scary proposition. The Minnesota defense was a Scrooge-like miser when it came to donating points to the needy. Then it discovered the spirit of giving in Week 15, probably inspired by Zeke’s jump into the Sally Ann bin (space-time continuum problems notwithstanding). Now they’re facing a team that doesn’t need any donations. Rodgers and the Packers are going to run up the score early and cover.

matt
I can’t match that Christmas spirit, but I will say this: Aaron Rodgers has won 15-straight home games in the month of December. He has the Packers offense scoring an average of 29 points per game over the last four. Minnesota has only scored more than 15 points once in their last four. The Vikings defense is clearly not the same without Harrison Smith. Rodgers picks them apart and covers the spread.

Joe Bielawa, via Wikimedia Commons

eric
Clearly my parents raised me with a very different story. They used to talk of a great powerful reindeer, who was shunned by the other reindeer after he swatted his kid. But this reindeer had the power to carry Santa’s sleigh all by himself. I know he doesn’t look like it anymore in his old age, but Christmas is a time for believing. I want to believe in AP.

And even if he does stay sucky, I saw Aaron Rodgers hobbling all over the field on Sunday, and the Vikings can’t possibly show that bad of an effort against a division opponent. Everson Griffen breaks Rodgers’ back and makes next week’s game really intriguing! I’m going solo on Vikes!

sascha
You’re going to need zealot-like faith to believe in that old steed AP. The Minny o-line is so bad at run blocking. He was under two yards per carry at the start of the year. Time to put him out to stud.

matt
Rudolph guided the sleigh with his shiny red nose, he still had the help of the other eight reindeer to pull it. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen are all on the IR; and Sam Bradford just doesn’t have the horsepower to put points on the board (edited)

eric
What are you talking about? He led em to six shiny ones last week. And AP’s average was up to 3.7 last week (on six carries)! This team’s turning a corner!

sascha
AP aside, you can run a bit on the Vikes (16th D-DVOA against the run) and the Packers just got an early Xmas present: the best running back in the league, Ty Montgomery!

eric
The reason I lost in the fantasy playoffs! I can’t, in good faith, support that jerk. Also, I just hate taking such big spreads in divisional games.

matt
Sascha or Ty Montgomery?

sascha
Both!

eric
Very much so. Welp, on to the next one?

sascha
I think you mean Game 2 Turtle Doves.

eric
This next one is a way better gift than two flying rats.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-5)

eric
Its Pittsburgh looking to win another divisional crown, and their hated rivals in Baltimore trying to stop them. Steelers are 5-point favorites at home. Who you like here?

Keith Allison, via Flickr

sascha
Baltimore has dominated this match-up lately (four straight wins). They were piss-poor against the Pats last week, but I still believe in their defense especially if Jimmy Smith is playing. Even though his status is still in doubt right now, I’m basically taking the Eric approach in this divisional game: 5 is too many to lay in an ultra-meaningful divisional game between two above average teams.

eric
You mean the Eagles? Or have the Ravens looked piss poor for two straight weeks in your eyes?

sascha
Oh right, that was two weeks ago against the Pats. I’ll label their Week 15 performance against Philly merely “uninspiring.”

matt
Antonio Brown has to be singing “All I Want for Christmas is Ben.” The star receiver hasn’t recorded more than 100 yards in a game since Week 10. Le’Veon Bell’s 954 yards from scrimmage over the last five have been very impressive, but after Ryan Mathews ran all over the Ravens defense, they’re going to be pissed off! As Sascha said, the Ravens have dominated this match-up lately, they’ve won four-straight and six of the last seven. Baltimore’s stingy defense makes a return, and they keep this game within a field goal.

eric
I don’t have the guts to call for specific plays, other than a few terrible Joe Flacco overthrows that make you question how he’s still a thing. And yet, even with that anchor under center, the Ravens are the right play here. Pittsburgh hasn’t been super-impressive on their five-game win-streak (against the spread and straight up). They probably win it on a last second field goal.

matt
Not to mention, Justin Tucker has to be annoyed with Chris Boswell for taking eyes off him last week.

sascha
Lol. I literally just typed, “Chris Boswell certainly did his best Justin Tucker impression last week.” Redundant analysis: it’s why you love us.

eric
Also redundant picks. But I guess if we’re all on Baltimore it has to be right, right?

matt
Consensus!! The only pick we all agreed upon last week came through; even though I kind of wish it didn’t…

sascha
That would be everyone picking the Pats to cover against Matt’s beloved Broncos, for the scant few who didn’t listen.

eric
Segue opportunity!

Denver at Kansas City (-3.5)

matt
No, Eric. I don’t want to talk about my fantasy team this week

eric
Not quite. Speaking of terrible teams we’ll all bet against this week; those aforementioned Broncos are visiting the Chiefs, trying to keep their faint hopes alive. Matt, tell us why your team is dead, even though Andy Reid is trying really hard to lose games now.

reid.neureiter, via Flickr

matt
The offensive line sucks; Trevor Siemian is still making one crucial mistake per game; and our wide receivers just aren’t making the plays they need to. HOWEVER, now that Aqib Talib has threatened the offense, they may have extra motivation this week. I doubt Siemian has been shot before, and probably doesn’t want to start now

eric
They’re only 3.5 point dogs… are you planning on wasting your money? Because I’m not. Gimme a Chiefs team who can at least score 17 a game, over a Broncos team that only gets 10 … and struggles with that.

matt
KC is almost as weak as Denver in the trenches. Don’t forget they let Denver rush for 124 yards on them the last time they played, and only managed 83 themselves.

sascha  
I don’t love betting on “opportunistic” defenses that bleed yards; those big plays should regress to the mean. But I can’t see the Chiefs dropping two straight at Arrowhead. And I can’t see Andy Reid coaching as poorly as he did last week. There’s a reason that was only KC’s, what, third regular season loss in the last 24 games?

matt  
Denver’s defense hasn’t generated a turnover in two weeks now; I expect that streak to come to an end. I’m not lobbying to take Denver SU, but think this will be a field goal game.

sascha 
Reid is going to do the unthinkable and give Tyreek Hill *TWO* carries. KC is going to be Denver’s Nightmare Before Christmas.

matt
Give me the Broncos

eric
It’s more like a Nightmare on Christmas. But ya, Gary Kubiak’s been way too conservative since the McManus missed kick last time these teams met. He’s too gun-shy to keep it close. So two on the Chiefs here?

sascha
Indeed.

Detroit at Dallas (-7)

eric
Then let us finish with another game that could be big, or serve virtually no purpose. The Monday Night affair between Dallas and Detroit. If Green Bay wins, Lions are playing for the division in Week 17 no matter what. If the Giants lose, Dallas locks up homefield and coast time begins. But assuming it will matter Vegas has Cowboys by a touchdown (and convert).

Keith Allison, via Wikimedia Commons

sascha
Before last week, I would have said “don’t bother with the convert caveat when you’ve got Dan Bailey.” But what the hell was that? I think he was playing himself in fantasy.

eric 
Maybe he’s worried Romo will take his job? Since QB is off the table.

matt
As long as Jerry “Ebeneezer” Jones is around, there will always be controversy surrounding the quarterback position. He just loves headlines. Can Dak play the role of Tiny Tim and convince him to shed his selfish ways for a run at the Super Bowl?

eric 
No, but a visit from the Ghost of playoff loses past might. Which I guess in this metaphor would be the Giants?

sascha  
He does love the headlines, but he also loves winning. Whatever he says outwardly, he has to be thinking that Dak is the right play, doesn’t he?

eric 
I don’t want to play the “guess what Jerry Jones is thinking” game. Really, you can only lose.

matt
But he has to realize it’s not only going to effect his rookie quarterback, but the morale of the rest of the team

sascha
The House that Jerry Built always wins.

eric
But can they win by more than a TD? Detroit’s magical close loss streak ended, yet now that they’re back indoors, I kinda like em again.

matt
In order for the Lions to compete, Stafford has to be performing at an MVP level. I don’t know if he can do that with the finger injury. (edited)

sascha
I say it every week, I don’t like laying many on Dallas because of their style of play. They have the potential to really shorten games and limit the number of possessions. But Detroit is too banged up for me, between Stafford’s hand, Theo Riddick’s wrist, and Darius Slay’s hamstring. I think you saw last week that they need to be at full capacity to keep performing their over-achieving magic. I’ll take the Cowboys.

eric 
Thing is, Dak set some sort of completion record, Zeke topped 100 yards, the Cowboys won the turnover battle by 3, and they still barely beat the Bucs. Stafford can pull a Jameis and hit a few big plays to get the cover.

sascha
You can’t say everything went right, though. If Bailey hits those FGs per usual, Dallas covers.

eric
Is there a cure for the yips though?

sascha
Christmas pudding. Or alcohol?

MGoBlog, via Flickr

matt
The Cowboys aren’t great against the pass, and that’s why I’d be comfortable taking Detroit with a healthy Stafford. I’m going Cowboys, just to be clear. Bailey isn’t Tony Romo, he’ll shake the poor performance like most others do.

eric
Humbug to both of you! I’ll take Lions by my lonesome. I should also note, guys going solo are 5-1-1 over the last two weeks of podcasting.

matt
I assume that means I haven’t been the lone-wolf often

eric
You are source of the loss and push

matt
How many of the wins are mine?

sascha
Hahaha. Oh dear. So moral of the story, when Eric and I split, the one who sided with Matt should just switch?

eric
I guess so. But we don’t have time to go back and change.

matt 
What about my question? How many wins are mine?

eric
… (Changing the subject!) I think it’s time to wrap it up, since we’re already over 2000 words.

matt
Go Broncos!

sascha
Solo game picks, real quick-like?

eric
I’ll just stick em at the bottom with zero context. (The best kind of context!)

Full Week 16 Picks

Eric’s Picks: MIN (+6.5), BAL (+5), KC (-3.5), DET (+7), NYG (-2.5), CHI (+3), ARI (+8), HOU (-1)

Matt’s Picks: GB (-6.5), BAL (+5), DEN (+3.5), DAL (-7), SD (-6), NO (-3), NE (-16.5), LA (-3.5)

Sascha’s Picks: GB (-6.5), BAL (+5), KC (-3.5), DAL (-7), TEN (-4.5), ATL (-2.5), IND (+3.5), MIA (+3.5)


Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]

Author Image
Discussion

Let's have fun and keep it civil.