Playoff Picture: With the season nearly half over, it's time to start taking a look at how the playoff races are shaping up. Starting in the AFC, it's interesting to note that
1st round byes:
The other division leaders:
The wild cards:
Over in the NFC,
1st round byes:
The wild cards:
Stalking the pack:
Looking Ahead: This weekend's action is most definitely highlighted by the Monday night affair, a showdown at Lambeau between the Dolphins and the Packers…a pair of legitimate Super Bowl contenders at this point of the season. In another game matching Super Bowl quality teams, the 49ers will travel across the bay to take on the Raiders, losers of three straight.
Around the NCAA…
Quest For The Fiesta: Eight teams still remain unbeaten in their quests for a spot in the national championship game, and the potential for yet another BCS controversy grows by the week. Possibly another year of this nonsense will finally put the necessary pressure on the NCAA to start to take a look at some type of 8 or 16 team playoff format. For any college football nuts out there, check out www.collegefootballnews.com. Great website. They update weekly a 16-team playoff bracket (8 winners of the big 8 conferences and next 8 highest rated teams) that they propose replace the current system. In any event, getting back to the race for the Fiesta, there are now 6 teams that have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack.
Heisman Watch: Ken Dorsey remained the frontrunner in the Heisman race with a career high passing effort against
The Games That Matter: Tough tests for Top 10 teams is the theme this week in college football. Aside from
Another ho-hum week for me as I continue to strive for my "breakout week" that will hopefully spur on a torrid winning streak. I went 3-4 in my combined plays in this portion of last week's column and the Saturday newsletter ended up a combined 6-7. Taking the vigorish, or "juice" as it's more widely known as in the world of sports handicapping, the Saturday morning mailing is right around even for the season. I currently stand at 20-18 (52.6%) in college, and 16-13-1 (55.2%) in the NFL. If you bet the same amount on every game, it's necessary to pick winners at right around a 54% clip in order to come out in the black. Any of you out there who want to be added to the mailing list that I send the Saturday morning update out to, just drop me a quick e-mail at email@example.com indicating as much.
After one off week, underdogs continued their dominance ATS in the NFL, covering 9 of 14 games this week. Through 8 weeks now, underdogs have covered in 58% (65-47-4) of the 116 NFL games played thus far!! One may think that teams playing at home would cover at a higher clip that visiting teams, but that has not been the case so far in '02. Road teams went 8-6 ATS this week and are 59-53-4 (52.7%) for the season. And despite the fact that this was the lowest scoring week of the season in the NFL, 7 games went over and 7 games went under the posted totals. On the year, 59 games have went over, and 57 have gone under.
And to those of you who have yet to check out www.sportslynx.com, give it a visit. It's chock full of all the info you could possibly need to help research the weekend football games, and offers free analysis from several "guest cappers" who post all of the selections on there at no cost. And for a very minimal cost ($1-$2 a game), my buddy
NY Jets +7 ½ at
Many have written the Jets off after last week's heartbreaking loss to the Browns, and that's what the odds makers have done here. While they are not cooked yet, if they don't win here the circling of the drain will begin for this team that many predicted would represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. I believe they will come out aggressive and desperate and keep this game close. Despite last week, this has been a different team with Pennington at the helm. If this game drops to 7, buy the hook. Take the Jets in what should be a tight game.
Odds makers, knowing that the public loves betting on the Rams…who have won 2 straight, have made them more than a FG favorite here on the road against a team with a winning record. On principle alone, the Cards are my play here.
Love the Raiders in this spot, taking on a San Fran team that has had their defense over the past 3-4 weeks.
This game reeks of upset, especially given the Hawkeyes pasting of
After their customary poor start under Gary Barnett, the Buffaloes are once again starting to impale opponents behind their power rushing game. This is eerily reminiscent to last season, when their charge landed them in the top 5 in the country. Chris Brown leads the nation in rushing and they keep him fresh by rotating in the two nearly as talented runners behind him on the depth chart. I think the Buffs will be able to run the ball just enough this week to keep this game close against the vaunted Sooner defense. Take
I have backed the Sun Devils the past 2 weeks, but I feel they will get a wakeup call this week against a Cougar team that has been incredibly impressive outside of their loss to
Since I won't have the balls to unsuccessfully wager against Notre Dame for the 9th straight time this year (who am I kidding, I'll go against them again) I make them one of my selections here. 8-0 ATS!! What! Once again, on principle alone, I must fade them here. BC has underachieved all season, and in addition to this game making their year, they need it just to get in the bowl hunt! If you dare, go against God's team and take BC getting the 10.