By Kerry J. Byrne
Cold, Hard Football Facts overlord of analysis
There are few things in our sad, lonely lives more awe-inspiring than the power and the fury of the mighty Zeppelin, especially on an ass-kicking tour de force like Moby Dick, higlighted by one whale of a drum solo.
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The mightly Zeppelin was the closest comparison we could come up with Sunday after a whale of a week for our very own real and spectacular picks
. We struggled to a .500 mark ATS in the first two weeks, but as we noted Friday
, "it takes a few weeks for our Quality Stats to get their bearings on the new season ... so expect much better days ahead."
The better days are here, kids. That's right, we even predicted our own monster week! That's ballsy, if we do say so ourselves. Heading into Monday night's Green Bay-Chicago game, we're a tremendous 11-4 ATS, highlighted by a spectacular 7-2 mark in the early afternoon games.
It's not just that we were right, it's that we basically told you how most of these games would unfold. We also brought back some of our road-dog magic.
As we've proven over the years, picking road dogs to win outright is a CHFF specialty. We nailed 'em Sunday by accurately identifying not one, not two, but three road dogs who would win outright (Titans, Cowboys, Jets) and three other road dogs who would put up tougher tests than the wise guys anticipated (Bills, Falcons, Raiders).
Here are 10 highlights from a banner week for the mighty Cold, Hard Football Facts and our awe-inspiring Quality Stats -- consider them our very own Hammer of the Gridiron Gods. That's a whole lotta love, men.
Dallas at Houston (-3.5)
: "This game shapes up as a bad match for the Texans ... they have a critical, gaping flaw in their game: a brutal pass defense (113.4 Defensive Passer Rating)."
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: This game shaped up as a bad match for the Texans.
Once again, we picked a road dog to win outright and delivered. It's like a gift, really. We also told you it was time to get off the Houston bandwagon
, and couldn't have picked a better week to do so. Tony Romo got his game on track, exactly as we said it would happen: 23 of 30 for 284 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT and a 127.6 passer rating against what's shaping up as truly one of the worst pass defenses in history
. The Texans failed to force a single Negative Pass Play.
Oh, and as we said, the Cowboys would struggle to run the ball, but still win the game. They averaged 3.7 YPA.
Who picks an 0-2 team that can't run the ball well to win outright on the road against a 2-0 team? That's right, Bonzo, the Cold, Hard Football Facts.
The result: Dallas 27, Houston 13
Tennessee at N.Y. Giants (-3.5)
We said: "The (Titans) get after the quarterback quite well ... forcing Negative Pass Plays on 14.29 percent of drop backs ... The Giants counter with Offensive Hogs who rank a mere No 28, including 29th in Negative Pass Plays (15.25%). It adds up to a long day for the G-Men, a week after they were humiliated by the Colts."
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: It was a long day for the G-Men, a week after they were humiliated by the Colts. The Giants suffered four Negative Pass Plays (two sacks, two INT), including picks by Eli Manning on their first two drives that set the tone in the home loss. We called for the underdog Titans to win outright on the road, and they delivered.
The result: Tennessee 29, N.Y. Giants 10
Cincinnati (-3.5) at Carolina
: "(Cincy's) tough defense creates a statistical mismatch against the Panthers, who rank No. 31 in Passing Yards Per Attempt (4.26 YPA
), who scored just seven points last week against the Bucs and who put the offense in the hands of a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start."
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:
Cincy's tough defense created a statistical mismatch for the Panthers. Rookie Carolina QB Jimmy Clausen averaged just 5.3 Passing Yards Per Attempt. So we nailed this game after learning our lesson in Weeks 1 and 2: You might remember that we picked the Panthers to win the NFC South
. So that pick kind of didn't work too well for us.
The result: Cincinnati 20, Carolina 7
Pittsburgh (-2.5) at Tampa Bay
: "Pittsburgh's championship-form defense
, boasts a dangerous group of top-rated Defensive Hogs
, and has played extraordinarily well, surrendering just 20 points in two games against what most people consider pretty good teams (Atlanta and Tennesseee). Look for Pittsburgh to win ugly, but convincingly, in Tampa."
The Cold, Hard Football Facts:
Pittsburgh won convincingly, but it was far from ugly. The Steelers, in the wake of their convincing win over the Bucs, are the scariest team in football
The result: Pittsburgh 38, Tampa Bay 13
Buffalo at New England (-13.5)
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Patriots won big – at least by NFL standards – but a two-touchdown victory proved out of their reach as we said it would. They were never able to shake the Bills in a game that produced five lead changes in the first half alone.
The result: New England 38, Buffalo 30
San Francisco (-2.5) at Kansas City
: "We have no confidence in the 49ers to cross half the country and win a game ... last time we saw them outside San Francisco, it was an ugly 31-6 loss at Seattle. The 49ers have won just two measly road games outside the division since 2006, victories over the lousy Bills and Redskins in 2008."
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The 49ers showed in inability to cross half the country and win a game. They suffered another ugly road loss and we accurately picked another underdog to win outright, though this one less impressive than the others because it came at home.
The result: Kansas City 31, San Francisco 10
Atlanta at New Orleans (-4.5)
: "The Saints have yet to click here in 2010 like they did in 2009. They scored just 14 points in a tough Week 1 win over the Vikings, and they held on for dear life in last week's 25-22 victory over what is probably no more than an average San Francisco team."
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Saints didn't click here in 2010 against the Falcons. We picked them to win, but we didn't see them winning big as the wise guys anticipated, even at home against a team they've dominated for several years.
The result: Atlanta 27, New Orleans 24
Philadelphia (-3.5) at Jacksonville
: "(Philly QB Michael) Vick looks like an entirely different QB than we've seen out of him in the past. And it shapes up as a big advantage for Philly. Jacksonville was incredibly poor against the pass in 2009 (95.98 in DPR, 30th
) and have shown no improvement in 2010. Vick rolls, Jags roll over."
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Vick rolled, and the Jags rolled over. The Eagles quarterback had one of the best days of his career (fourth best yardage total) against the dreadful Jacksonville pass defense.
The result: Philadelphia 28, Jacksonville 3
Oakland at Arizona (-4.5)
: "The Raiders have actually been a fairly competitive team when Bruce Gradkowski plays quarterback, as we reported this week
. Gradkowski gets the nod this week. Taking a chance here rolling the dice on the Raiders."
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Raiders were a fairly competitive team with Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback. Hey put them in a position to win by two on the road in Arizona, until kicker Sebastian Janikowski choked on a 32-yarder on the last play of the game. He had converted better than 90 percent of the field goals in his career from 30-39 yards. It was also his third miss of the day. Hey, tough to pin down a choke day by the kicker too – he may be a civilian by the end of the week.
The result: Arizona 24, Oakland 23
N.Y. Jets at Miami (-1.5)
: "We think the Jets have the biggest advantage: their run defense has been incredible (1.84 YPA
), and they'll force Miami into becoming a one-dimensional team. That's not a good dimension in which to find yourself when your quarterback is Chad Henne."
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Jets run defense was not incredible, but it was pretty damn good, holding Miami's multifaceted attack to 84 yards on 23 attempts (3.65 YPA). It forced Miami to become one-dimensional and Henne wasn't quite up to the task. He passed for 363 yards and 8.25 YPA, but on Miami's final desperate play to come within a conversion of tying the game, his pass was intercepted by Jets CB Drew Coleman in the end zone.
The result: N.Y. Jets 31, Miami 23