Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: January 7, 2011 4:02 pm
 

NFL Wildcard Playoff Picks

The playoffs are finally here!  This is my favorite time of the year, there is nothing like playoff NFL football.  Wildcard weekend will feature 4 games, 3 of which have a spread of 3 or less points.  The home teams are favored in all but one of the close spread games and normally Vegas gives the home team three points so Vegas is basically saying those two games are pick'ems.  I finished the season above .500 against the spread but barely.  This is my time to shine and I am predicting I will have a better than .800 record during the playoffs.  Let's get down to business...here we go...

Saturday, January 8th - 4:30 PM - New Orleans Saints (-10.5) at Seattle Seahawks - Mole & Meares Show Pick - Seattle Seahawks

At first blush this line seems really big, especially considering both Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory are done for the season.  The Saints running game will have to rely heavily on Julius Jones and Reggie Bush to step up or they will become one dimensional for the entire playoffs.  The Saints will win this game, especially considering the quarterback situation with the Seahawks.  Both Hasselbeck and Whitehurst have been sharing reps in practice this week meaning they have yet to decide on who will start the game.  I am not confident that the Saints will cover the spread though, mainly due to Seattle being at home and the Saints having to rely heavily on the pass.  I will take the points and take the Seahawks to cover.

Saturday, January 8th - 8:20 PM - New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) - Mole & Meares Show Pick  - New York Jets

This game is a rematch of last year's AFC Championship game where the Colts came out on top.  This is a completely different Colts team who, although they have won four straight games, is no where near the caliber of team they were last year.  Injuries have taken their toll on both sides of the ball and if it wasn't for Peyton Manning the Colts would have been 4-12 this year.  I like the matchup of the Jets defense against a depleted Colts offense and although I don't think the Jets will put up many points I believe they will put up enough to win this game outright.  I will take the two and a half points and take the Jets to win on the road.

Sunday, January 9th - 1:00 PM - Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Kansas City Chiefs - Mole & Meares Show Pick - Baltimore Ravens

There are a lot of factors going in the Chiefs favor in this game.  First they are 7-1 at Arrowhead stadium this year which is a very difficult place for opposing teams to play.  Second, they are basically playing with house money as no one expected them to be in the playoffs this year let alone host a first round game.  Third, they have the leading rusher in the NFL this season in Jamal Charles.  With all of that said I believe experience is going to play a huge role in this game.  The Ravens have been here before and they know how to win a road playoff game in a hostile environment.  The Ravens offense is much improved from a year ago with new weapons at the wide receiver position and Ray Rice can bruise opposing defenses with the run.   The Ravens defense will need to find away to shut down Charles and force Cassel to beat them through the air which I don't believe he can do.  I will give the three points and take the Ravens on the road.

Sunday, January 9th - 4:30 PM - Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5) - Mole & Meares Show Pick - Philadelphia Eagles

This is the marquee game of the weekend.  The Green Bay Packers were a lot of people's preseason pick to represent the NFC in the Superbowl.  Since then they have been decimated with injuries but have found a way to make it to the playoffs.  Aaron Rodgers is having a great season when he is able to stay healthy and on the field.  The Packers have absolutely no running game and are basically a one dimensional team.  The Philadelphia Eagles, on the other hand, were not on anyone's radar before the start of the season, they were supposed to be in a rebuilding year.  But Michael Vick has proven he can still play quarterback and is perhaps playing better than when he was in Atlanta.  Even though the Eagles defense has been brutal this year I believe they can game plan accordingly for a team that is only going to throw the ball.  The x factor in this game is Vick, can the Packers contain him and keep him bottled up?  I like the Eagles to pull this one out at home so I will give the two and a half points and take Philadelphia.

There you have it, my wildcard playoff game picks against the spread.  I have a good feeling that I am going to get off to a great start in this year's playoffs.  Do you see the games going differently?  Let me know by leaving a comment below.  Also, on my site, www.moleandmeares.com, we are running a playoff contest for a chance to win a great prize.  You have to pick the participants in both the AFC and NFC championship games, the teams in the Superbowl and the eventual Superbowl winner.  Make sure to sign up before Saturday and Good Luck!

Mole & Meares
Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:26 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Post Season

The NFL regular season is now officially over and it is on to the playoffs.  That means it is time to rank the 12 playoff teams in our post season version of the NFL power rankings.  Can anyone beat the Patriots this winter?  Are the Falcons the team to beat in the NFC?  Both of these are good questions and below you will find my attempt at answering them.  Here we go...

1.  New England Patriots - The Patriots have won 8 games in a row and all but two haven't even been close.  They are the only team in the NFL to score over 500 points this season and the only team that has outscored its opponents by over 200 points for the season.  They are also the only team to be undefeated at home and one of two teams (Chiefs) to not lose a game to the NFC.  Did I also mention that Tom Brady is probably the runaway MVP this year?  He has a 65.9 completion percentage, has thrown 36 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions and has a passer rating of 111.0.  Someone tell me how this team doesn't win the Superbowl?

2.  Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons are definitely the best team in the NFC at this time but they aren't the Patriots.  They showed two weeks ago against the Saints they can be beat and be beat at home.  With that said they are the most likely candidate to face the Patriots in the Superbowl but they are far from a lock.  Matt Ryan is unproven in the post season and althought Matty "Ice" has had a very good season, we all know that the post season separates the men from the boys.  If Ryan continues his stellar play they should have a chance to play in February.

3.  Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steelers have the best defense in the league again this year, only allowing 232 points against for the season.  Their offense, on the other hand, shows up only from time to time.  They have probably the best chance of any other AFC team to take down the Patriots this year except for the fact that Tom Brady owns them.  If their defense can play at the same level they have all season and they find a way to put the ball in the end zone instead of through the uprights they might have a chance.

4.  Chicago Bears - The Bears have a first round bye but at the same time they do have some cause for concern.  I know they didn't have anything to play for in the final week of the season but they still lined up their first stringers against the Packers and only managed 3 points.  What is more concerning is that Cutler looked shaky and so did their offensive line giving up 6 sacks.  This team is still good though and their defense in probably the best in the NFC.  If Cutler can hold onto the ball and not turn it over than the Bears have what it takes to play for a chance to go to the Superbowl but I am not sure if they can go further.

5.  Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens are almost the exact clone of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they play the same type of football.  Their defense has shown at times that they can give up points but their offense is more consistent than the Steelers.  Other than the Steelers, the Ravens match up best against the Patriots and I believe it will be either the Ravens or the Steelers playing the Patriots for the right to go to Dallas.  If the Ravens can ratchet up their defense for the playoffs and they can continue to run the ball down the throat of their opponents then this team has a chance.

6.  Green Bay Packers - The Packers are the most dangerous 6 seed I have ever seen.  They are coming into the playoffs on a two game win streak where both games were basically playoff games for them.  Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFC when he is healthy and that will be the goal of the offensive line of the Packers, keep Rodgers off the ground.  It is truly amazing what this team has accomplished with the amount of injuries they have sustained this season.  I like the Packers to win this week and go into Atlanta next week with a chance to shock the world.

7.  New Orleans Saints - The Saints are not quite the same team they were last year but they are back in the playoffs with a chance to defend their Superbowl crown.  They won the lottery and get to face the first sub 500 team to ever make the playoffs this year when they travel to Seattle on Saturday.  Stranger things have happened, but I would be surprised not to see New Orleans make it to the divisional weekend of the playoffs.  From there, who knows what happens, they proved a couple of weeks ago they can go into Atlanta and win so maybe they can do it again?

8.  Kansas City Chiefs - The Chiefs are an interesting team.  They, perhaps, run the ball better than any other team in the playoffs and they are very quick on the defensive side of the ball.  They have a tough first round game against the Ravens but they will get to play in the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium.  No one expected this team to be in this position and that is sometimes the most dangerous team out there.  They are playing on house money so they could be looser than everyone else because they know they have nothing to lose.  

9.  Indianapolis Colts - The Colts managed to find a way into the post season again and this time with a JV team around Peyton Manning.  On one hand, it is hard to imagine this Colts team making any noise in the post season but on the other hand it is never a good idea to bet against Manning.  The Colts are riding a 4 game win streak but two of those games were against the awful Tennessee Titans.  I think that the injuries have taken their toll on this team and I can't imagine them being able to beat the elite teams in the AFC this year, could be a one and done this post season.

10.  New York Jets - The Jets are a hard team to get a read on.  Their defense is no where near as good as it was last year when they made the run to the AFC championship game and their offense has been hit or miss.  With all of the off the field distractions, StergerGate, TrippingGate, FootGate and now FavreTextingGate I am not sure if there is any time left to focus on football.  This team has all the tools to be a Superbowl contender, but they can't seem to get out of their own way.  Mark Sanchez needs a year or two more to mature into a better quarterback and Rex Ryan needs to learn how to close his mouth from time to time.  This is not the Jets year.

11.  Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles are limping into the post season after two consecutive losses.  Now granted, the loss on Sunday was because of the Eagles resting most of their starters but it is a loss nonetheless.  Michael Vick hasn't been as electric recently as he was in the middle of the season, perhaps all of the hits he has been taking are finally taking a toll on him.  Their defense has more holes in it than a piece of swiss cheese.  Eagles fans should take solace in the fact that after week one they would never have thought they would be in the playoffs.  This is going to be a very short post season for the Eagles. 

12.  Seattle Seahawks - 7-9.  First team EVER to make the playoffs with a losing record.  They don't even deserve to be in these rankings.  Enjoy your home playoff game because that is where your season ends.

There you have it, the power rankings for the 2010-2011 NFL playoff teams.  Do you see them ranked differently?  Let me know by leaving comments below.  Also, don't forget to check out my online NFL picks show, The Mole & Meares show, at www.moleandmeares.com.  We will be picking all of the playoff games this post season.

Meares

Posted on: December 31, 2010 1:16 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 1:21 pm
 

NFL Week 17 Playoff Predictions

Normally I make my picks against the spread at this time but i am going to forgo that option this week as their are so many games that are not going to be played with starters, etc.  What I am going to do this week is make my playoff predictions.  I will tell you what three teams will lock up playoff spots on Sunday and which teams will make it to the Superbowl.  At the beginning of the season, I predicted the Packers vs the Ravens in the Superbowl and it appears as though both of those teams will make the playoffs.  Lets see how far away from my beginning prediction I end up now.  Here we go...

NFC Playoff seeds

1.  Atlanta Falcons (bye)

2.  Chicago Bears (bye)

3.  Philadelphia Eagles

4.  St. Louis Rams

5.  New Orleans Saints

6.  Green Bay Packers

With the above seeds in place the wild card round of the playoffs will feature the Packers traveling to Philly and the Saints going into St. Louis.  I like one road team in these games and that would be the Saints.  

Divisional playoff weekend will feature the Eagles at the Bears and the Saints at the Falcons.  This would make for two great games and I believe we will see the home teams come out victorious in both situations setting up a Bears/Falcons NFL Conference Championship.

I like the way the Falcons are playing this year, they can run the ball effectively and Matt Ryan has progressed as a starting quarterback and is having the best year of his short career.  I believe he is ready to take the next step and lead his team to the Superbowl so I will take the Falcons to top the Bears in a close, hard fought game.

AFC Playoff seeds

1.  New England Patriots

2.  Pittsburgh Steelers

3.  Kansas City Chiefs

4.  Indianapolis Colts

5.  Baltimore Ravens

6.  New York Jets

With the above seeds, the wild card weekend in the AFC should feature some interesting games as the Jets will travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs and the Ravens will go into Indianapolis to face the Colts.  Again, I like one road team in this situation with the Ravens shutting down Peyton Manning and company.

Divisional playoff weekend would then feature the Ravens going into New England and the Chiefs traveling to Pittsburgh.  Tough to go against the home teams in either of these situations.

The AFC championship would then feature the Steelers traveling into New England to face the Patriots.  Tom Brady has owned the Steelers in his career and I am not sure how this game is going to end up differently.  I like New England to come out on top and return to the Superbowl.  

That would set up a Falcons/Patriots Superbowl which would be a great game featuring the two top teams from each conference.  I will not bet against Tom Brady to lose another Superbowl so I will take the Patriots and their high powered offense to win the game.

Do you have a different opinion?  Let me know by leaving comments...also don't forget to visit my website, www.moleandmeares.com, where we have a weekly NFL picks video that was featured on Showtime's Inside the NFL.  

Meares

Posted on: December 29, 2010 9:06 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 17

Going into the final week of the NFL regular season, the playoff picture is almost completely set.  Their are only three spots available, one in the AFC and two in the NFC, which will be determined this Sunday.  The Patriots have locked up home field advantage in the AFC and Atlanta is all but guaranteed home field advantage in the NFC.  Some teams have backed into the playoffs (Eagles & Jets) and some teams will enter the playoffs on a roll.  With how crazy this NFL season has been I would expect some surprises in the playoffs.  Here are the top 5 teams entering week 17...

1.  New England Patriots (13-2) - The Patriots have won 7 games in a row and haven't scored less than 31 points since November 7th.  I would venture to say that this offense is rolling right now.  New England is not known for resting their starters much, even in games where nothing is on the line so I believe we will see the Patriots roll out to an early lead on Miami at home this week and then coast through the second half and enter the playoffs on an 8 game win streak.  It is tough to envision a Superbowl in February that won't include the Patriots.

2.  Atlanta Falcons (12-3) - The Falcons finally lost at home and showed they aren't unbeatable in the Georgia Dome.  Matt Ryan only lost for the second time at home in his career.  With that said the Falcons face the lowly Panthers this week at home and a win gives them the number one seed in the NFC and forces the road to the Superbowl to go through Atlanta.  I like Atlanta to win this week and force teams to beat them on their own turf but we now see that is not an impossible task. 

3.  Baltimore Ravens (11-4) -  The Ravens are quietly on a 3 game win streak.  Three of their four losses this year came against the Patriots, the Falcons and the Steelers, all playoff teams.  Their fourth loss was at the Cincinnati Bengals who they face at home this week with a chance to avenge their earlier loss and perhaps sneak into the two seed in the AFC.  If the Ravens continue to pound the ball down their opponents throat and can find a way to capture their defense of years past they could be the team to give the Patriots some trouble come late January. 

4.  Chicago Bears (11-4) - The Bears just continue to impress, taking down the Jets last week at home after falling behind 21-10.  I have doubted this team all year, waiting for Jay Cutler to become the turnover machine we are all accustomed to seeing.  That hasn't happened and now with the Vikings upsetting the Eagles last night, the Bears have clinched a first round bye in the NFC.  They face the Packers this week in Lambeau with nothing to play for whereas the Packers need a win to make the playoffs.  More than likely, the Bears will rest most of their starts and the Packers will cruise into the playoffs. 

5.  New Orleans Saints (11-4) - What an impressive win in Atlanta last week.  As I alluded to earlier, the Falcons had not lost at home all season and yet the Saints managed to go into the Georgia Dome and take down the best team in the NFC.  This keeps the Saints slim hopes alive of winning their division and securing the number one seed in the NFC.  This scenario is highly unlikely with the Falcons facing the worst team in the NFL and the Saints welcoming in the upstart Buccaneers who believe they still have a chance to make the playoffs.  But that is why they play the games, you never know!

Honorable Mentions:  Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 16. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 17 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

Meares
Posted on: December 23, 2010 10:07 am
 

NFL Week 16 Picks

Well...I just cannot get on track with my picks against the spread.  I went 8-8 last week which marks the third time in a row I haven't been able to go above .500.  On top of that, my online NFL picks show, The Mole & Meares Show, was supposed to be featured in a segment on Inside the NFL last night but the segment was postponed again!  I am not going to make any promises on when it is going to air anymore so as to not jinx myself.  Two weeks left in the NFL regular season in order to get my overall record to be respectable.  I have done extra homework this week to hopefully put up some decent numbers.  Here we go...

Record to Date - 74-68-3

Carolina at Pittsburgh (-14) - Pittsburgh Steelers - The Thursday night game couldn't be much more of a bore than watching the Steelers decimate the Panthers.  If you don't have the NFL network it really isn't that big of a deal.  14 points is a lot to give in an NFL game but I am willing to give the points in this one because I don't think the Panthers are going to score.

Dallas at Arizona (+7) - Dallas Cowboys - Another boring game on the NFL network on Christmas day.  Don't worry about turning it on, enjoy the time with your family and opening gifts.  This game isn't going to be close as the Cowboys will be way too much for the Cardinals to handle.  I will give the seven and take the Boys on the road.

New England at Buffalo (+7.5) - Buffalo Bills - Let me be clear, I, in no way, believe the Bills are going to win this game.  I do, however, believe that Buffalo is going to play them tough and keep it close for much of the game.  The elements in Buffalo, combined with the fact that the Bills have played many opponents tough this year, makes me think this will be closer than 7 points.  Give me the 7 and a half and I will take the Bills to circle the wagons at home. 

NY Jets at Chicago (-1) - NY Jets - The Bears clinched their division last week and although they would like to lock up the second seed I think they are primed for a let down game.  The Jets on the other hand are clinging to a playoff spot and need a victory this week to solidify their post season hopes.  They are coming off an enormous win at Pittsburgh last week and should be playing with a renewed confidence.  I will take the one measly point and take the Jets on the road.

Baltimore at Cleveland (+3) - Baltimore Ravens - The Cleveland Browns are a team that I just can't get a read on.  This game should be a battle but after the loss that Cleveland suffered last week and the win the Ravens had at home against the Saints, I think this line is too small.  I like the Ravens to punch the Browns in the mouth for 60 minutes so I will give the points and take the Ravens.

Tennessee at Kansas City (-4.5) - Kansas City Chiefs - There is no doubt that when Matt Cassell is behind center for the Chiefs they are a good football team.  They need a win this week to put a strangle hold on the AFC West and Tennessee is only playing for pride.  Kansas City is a tough place to play for good teams and Tennessee is not a good team.  I will give the points and take the Chiefs at home.

San Francisco at St. Louis (-2.5) - St. Louis Rams - This is a huge game in the worst division in the NFL.  San Francisco, who is 5-9, holds their own playoff destiny in their hands which is incredible.  With that said, the Rams are the better team and if Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson can find a way to get the ball in the endzone the Rams should have no problem taking this one at home.  I will give the points and take the Rams to win at home.

Detroit at Miami (-3.5) - Detroit Lions - The Lions are coming off a big win in Tampa Bay last week.  Perhaps they enjoy playing in Florida in December.  The Dolphins lost a heart breaker against the Bills at home last week ending any chance of making the playoffs.  The Lions are a young team that is hungry to win  and I think they are going to want this game more the Dolphins.  I will take the points and take the Lions in Florida.

Minnesota at Philadelphia (-15.5) - Philadelphia Eagles - Was there a better game last week than the Eagles coming back from 21 points with less than 8 minutes to go in the game?  The Eagles confidence has to be at an all time high and they get to face an Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre-less Vikings team at home this week with a chance to lock up the NFC East.  The line could be 21 and I would still take the Eagles.  

Seattle at Tampa Bay (-5.5) - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Tampa Bay's playoff hopes took a huge hit at home last week when they lost to the Lions.  With that said, this team is young and hungry and still thinks they have a chance.  The Seahawks are absolutely brutal on the road and traveling across country from west to east never works out well for the west coast team.  I will give the five and a half points and take the Bucs.

Washington at Jacksonville (-7) - Jacksonville Jaguars - The Redskins are in complete turmoil, McNabb has been benched, Haynesworth suspended, Rex Grossman is starting at quarterback, none of this sounds good.  The Jaguars need a win to keep pace with the Colts for the AFC South.  I have no problem giving the 7 points here and taking the Jaguars at home.

Indianapolis at Oakland (+3) - Indianapolis Colts - Peyton Manning willed the Colts to victory last week against the Jaguars and now holds the playoff hopes of the entire city of Indianapolis in his hands; he usually doesn't disappoint.  Oakland has been playing well this year and is much improved from last season but I think this is where the dream ends for them.  I will give the three points and take the Colts on the road.

Houston at Denver (+3) - Denver Broncos - Tim Tebow made his first NFL start last week and played better than many expected.  Look for Denver to loosen the leash a little more on him this week and allow him to throw the ball around more.  The Texans have just had a brutal season and I don't think it is going to get any better this week.   I like the Tebow led Broncos to win this game outright so I will take the 3 points and take the Bronocs at home.

NY Giants at Green Bay (-2.5) - Green Bay Packers - The Giants will not win another game this year after their horrific collapse in the new Meadowlands this past week.  Tom Coughlin is now on the hot seat and when they don't make the playoffs for the second consecutive year he will no longer be employed.  The Packers get Aaron Rodgers back this week and if they can win out they can still make the playoffs.  I like the Packers in Lambeau in December no matter who they are playing so I will give the points and take the Packers.

San Diego at Cincinnati (+7) - San Diego Chargers - The Cincinnati Bengals ended their 10 game skid last week but will be ready to start another losing streak this week.  The Chargers till believe they can make the playoffs and they have had a few extra days to prepare for the Bengals.  Philip Rivers will rip apart the weak Bengals secondary and the Chargers will easily cover the 7 point spread.

New Orleans at Atlanta (-2.5) - Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons just continue to win and impress me at the same time.  I keep waiting for the let down game but it seems as though it will never come.  The Saints are coming off a loss to the Ravens on Sunday and would love to go into Atlanta and win but unfortunately that is not going to happen.  The Ravens exposed the Saints defense last week and I guarantee you the Falcons coaching staff was paying attention.  Look for Michael Turner to have a monster game and the Falcons to cover the two and a half point spread.

There are my week 16 picks ATS.  Check back next week to see how I did.

Don't forget to visit my NFL picks site at www.moleandmeares.com where we have a weekly video talking about the four biggest games of the week.  We also have a place for you to submit your picks for week 16 straight up for a chance to win our weekly prize!  Good Luck!

Meares
Posted on: December 21, 2010 9:22 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 16

What an amazing week 15 in the NFL.  There were so many good games and so many surprises at the same time.  There have been some major shakeups in our week 16 power rankings and the playoff picture has become much clearer as we head into the final two games of the season.  We have two new teams in our top 5 although our top 2 spots remain the same for the fourth consecutive week.  Don't forget that my online NFL picks show, The Mole & Meares Show, will be featured in a segment about social media on Showtime's Inside the NFL on Wednesday night at 9 pm.  Here we go...

1.  New England Patriots (12-2) - Here is some scary news for the rest of the NFL, the Patriots played their worst game in a long time on Sunday night and still managed to beat a Packers team who was desperate for a win.  Yes, Matt Flynn was the quarterback and yes, the Packers have been decimated by injuries all year long, but the Packers showed heart and almost came away with a victory.  The Patriots are basically on cruise control for the last two games as one more victory will lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  This should be the week where they get that done as they will travel to Buffalo to face the AFC east basement dweller Bills.  Although the Bills have played a lot of teams tough this year with homefield advantage on the line, I like the Patriots to continue their winning ways.

2.  Atlanta Falcons (12-2) - The Falcons entered week 15 in the perfect spot for a trap game.  They had won 7 games in a row and have a huge game against the Saints on tap for Week 16.  They had to travel across the country to face a Seahawks team who is battling for their division in a stadium known for its 12th man.  With all of that said, the Falcons took care of business and easily defeated the Seahawks.  The Falcons look to be head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in the NFC as they just keep on winning.  They are undefeated at home this year and with one more win the ticket to the Superbowl for the NFC will have to be punched in Atlanta.  This week they have their toughest test yet as the Saints will come marching into Atlanta off of a tough loss to the Ravens.  This will be the best, and last, Monday night football game of the season.

3.  Baltimore Ravens (10-4) - The Ravens offense woke up on Sunday against the Saints and all but clinched a playoff berth in the AFC.  The Ravens still have to be worried about their supposed stingy defense allowing Drew Brees and company to put up 24 points against them.  With that said, this was a huge win for the Ravens who needed a victory to get back on track in the AFC North and although they have the same record as the Steelers, they are actually behind them with the tie breaker.  I believe the Ravens are the better team at this time with the awful loss the Steelers endured at home last week to the Jets.  The Ravens travel to Cleveland this week to face the Browns who always seem to give the Raven a tough game.  

4.  Chicago Bears (10-4) - The Bears join our top 5 for the first time in a long time this season.  I am starting to believe that they are a decent team.  They took care of business in Minnesota last night against a struggling Vikings team in the bitter cold.  I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop on Jay Cutler and for him to throw 3 picks in a game but it doesn't happen.  He is quietly playing the best football of his career and if he continues his consistent play there is no telling how far this team can go.  They have another huge game this week as they will play host to the NY Jets who are fighting for their playoff lives.  With the division wrapped up for Chicago will they play with the same intensity they have shown the past few weeks?

5.  Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) - In what is being called the game of the century (at least here in Philly), the Eagles came back from a 21 point deficit in the New Meadowlands stadium with less than 8 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.  The victory has all but clinched the NFC East for the Eagles and has definitely gone a long way to building this young teams confidence for January.  Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy make up the most dymanic four team offensive punch in the NFL.  This week the Eagles welcome in the Vikings to Lincoln Financial Field.  If the Eagles win they clinch the NFC east and move one step closer to perhaps a first round bye.  

Honorable Mentions:  New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 15. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 16 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

Meares
Posted on: December 16, 2010 11:13 am
 

NFL Week 15 Picks

The only thing I can say about last week is...ouch!  I went 6-10 and it was by far my worst week of the year.  It isn't going to get any easier this week as we have a ton of games with major playoff implications which usually means close games.  I need to give a quick plug to my online NFL picks show, The Mole & Meares Show (www.moleandmeares.com), which will be featured on Showtime's Inside the NFL on December 22nd.  Our show this week was shot on the set of Inside the NFL and professional edited by NFL Films.  I want to thank NFL Films, Jason Weber and Susannah Collins for making all of this possible.  Okay, enough self promotion, on to the picks.  Here we go...

Record to date (66-60-3)

San Francisco at San Diego (-10) - San Diego Chargers - This game features two teams that are fighting for their respective playoff lives.  A loss will virtually eliminate each team from playoff contention.  With that said, San Diego is clearly the better team and with this game being at home I like the Chargers to win big so I am okay giving the 10 points.

Cleveland at Cincinnati (-1) - Cincinnati Bengals - One of the few games that features two teams with absolutely nothing to play for but pride.  The Bengals have lost 10 games in a row so something has to give and I think this is one of those divisional games they will step it up for and show some pride.  I like the Bengals at home and giving a point is fine by me. 

Washington at Dallas (-6) - Dallas Cowboys - Another game with absolutely no playoff implications.  Dallas has been vastly improved since the firing of Wade Phillips and Washington has been playing brutally bad of late, losing a game last week due to a botched extra point.  Witht his game being in Dallas, I like that explosive Cowboys offensive to take care of business so I will give the points and take the Boys at home.

Houston at Tennessee (-1.5) - Houston Texans - The last of the games featuring two teams with no chance of making the playoffs.  Houston started the season with so much promise being the Colts at home for the first time.  Since then they have really struggled and came up short last week against the Ravens.  With that said I think they are a better team than the Titans and will win a road game for the first time in a long time.  I will take the little bit of points and put my money on the Texans.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-5) - Jacksonville Jaguars - One of the biggest games of the week.  If Jacksonville wins they all but lock up the AFC South and their first division crown in a long time.  Peyton Manning is still playing with players from the JV team but never count him out.  I think the Colts will pull this one out but it will be too close for me to give 5 points so I will take the points and take the Jaguars.

Kansas City at St. Louis OFF - St. Louis - This game is off the board due to the uncertainty surrounding Matt Cassell's playing status for Sunday.  If he plays I think the Chiefs have a chance to win, unfortunately I don't think he is going to be able to suit up so I will take the Rams to win this game and move one step closer to a division crown.

Buffalo at Miami (-5.5) - Miami Dolphins - The Dolphins still have the smallest glimmer of hope of making the playoffs...they would have to win out and hope everyone else loses but stranger things have happened.  They are coming off arguably their biggest win of the season against the Jets.  The Bills are also coming off a win but I think Miami's rushing attack is going to be too much for them to handle.  I will give the points and take the Dolphins at home.

Detroit at Tampa Bay (-6) - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Buccaneers are fighting for a playoff spot and still have an outside chance of getting in if they can win out.  Detroit is coming off their biggest win of the season when they took out both Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last week.  I think Tampa Bay is definitely the better team here and is out to prove they deserve to play in January so I will give the 6 points and take the Bucs at home.

Arizona at Carolina (-3) - Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals are still alive, albeit barely, in their division even though they have looked like a high school team at times this season.  Carolina is the worst team in the NFC and probably the entire NFL.  Even though the Cardinals have been absolutely dreadful on the road this year I think they will want this game more than Carolina so I will take the points and pray the Cardinals find a way to pull this out on the road.

New Orleans at Baltimore (-1) - Baltimore Ravens - Another one of the featured games of the week.  New Orleans has quietly returned to their Superbowl champion form over the past few weeks and travels into Baltimore to face the stingy Ravens defense.  If this game was played in New Orleans I would take the Saints and put my mortgage payment on it but since it will be in Baltimore, played outside in wintry conditions, I like the Ravens rushing attack and their defense to hinder the pass happy Saints offense.  I will give the point and take the Ravens at home to end the Saints run of 6 games in a row.

Philadelphia at NY Giants (-3) - Philadelphia Eagles - Ok, I will admit, I am a little biased in this pick being a diehard Eagles fan, but at the same time I think the Eagles can win this game.  The Giants did contain Michael Vick the last time these two teams met and they will probably do the same this time.  With that said the Eagles have been running the ball much better in recent weeks and if they stick to the run game I like them to pull this out.  I will take the points and take the Eagles, big surprise, I know.

Atlanta at Seattle (+7) - Seattle Seahawks - This is my upset pick of the week.  Do I think the Seahawks are going to win out right?  Probably not but I like them to keep this close.  The Seahawks are fighting for their division title and the Falcons have a huge game against the Saints the following week and have to travel across country to play in a difficult stadium.  If there is a week where there is a chance for the Falcons to stumble then it is this week and this game.  I will take the 7 points in the only game featuring a home dog and I will take the Seahawks.

NY Jets at Pittsburgh (-6) - NY Jets - This game features two of the premier defenses in the NFL and that is the ONLY reason I will take the Jets.  I think the Steelers will win this game but it will come down to a game winning field goal in the final seconds.  6 points is just too much to give in a game that might have a combined 20 points scored.  Give me the points and the Jets.

Denver at Oakland (-7) - Oakland Raiders - The Raiders are playing Raider football and they are playing it well.  They are pounding the ball down the throats  of their opponents and getting to the quarterback on defense.  The Broncos season is over and they have nothing to play for but pride.  The Raiders on the other hand have a chance to win their division if they get some help down the stretch.  I believe the Raiders will run the ball all over the Broncos so I have no problem giving the 7 points and taking the Raiders.

Green Bay at New England OFF - New England Patriots - This game is off the board due to the uncertainty of Aaron Rodgers playing status.  If Rodgers doesn't play then Green Bay has absolutely no shot at winning this game.  If he does play they have a tiny chance of winning.  The one thing that scares me is this is a must win game for the Packers whereas for the Patriots they can basically go on cruise control.  With that said, I still like the Patriots at home, their offense is way too good.

Chicago at Minnesota OFF - Chicago Bears - This game is also off the board but for mulitple reasons.  We have no idea who will be taking the snaps behind center for Minnesota and it will be played at the University of Minnesota's stadium where it will be really &^%$# cold.  Chicago needs to rebound after getting embarrassed by the Patriots last week and there is no better team to take out your anger on then the Minnesota Vikings.  I don't care if Brett Farve plays or not, Chicago will win this game.

There are my week 15 picks ATS.  Check back next week to see how I did.

Don't forget to visit my NFL picks site at www.moleandmeares.com where we have a weekly video talking about the four biggest games of the week.  We also have a place for you to submit your picks for week 14 straight up for a chance to win our weekly prize!  Good Luck!

Meares
Posted on: December 14, 2010 9:25 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 15

The playoff picture is starting to become clear and there is now a dominant team in the NFL emerging.  This is the first week in a while where there is no changes in our top five rankings.  The only changes occur in our honorable mentions.  There are at least 5 huge games this week that could definitely impact our rankings and have huge playoff implications.  On a side note, The Mole & Meares Show, our online NFL picks show, will be appearing on Inside the NFL on December 22nd on Showtime at 9pm.  Our video from last week featured Susannah Collins from Inside the NFL who made a special guest appearance.  Make sure to check it out at ww.moleandmeares.com.  Ok...Here we go...

1.  New England Patriots (11-2) - Last two weeks, Patriots 81, opponents 10.  Those two games were against division leaders, not the Panthers and the Bills.  The Patriots have now emerged as the dominant team in the NFL.  Tom Brady is the hands on favorite to win the MVP award.  Bill Belichick should win the coach of the year.  With all of that said, they actually have a very good game this week as they welcome in the desperate Green Bay Packers.  The Packers could be without Aaron Rodgers (concussion) and if that is true, the Packers have no chance to win.  Can anyone compete with the Patriots at this point?

2.  Atlanta Falcons (11-2) - The Falcons took care of business on Sunday in what could have been a trap game against the lowly Carolina Panthers.  The Falcons got out to an early lead and never looked back.  This week they travel across the country to face the Seahawks in one of the toughest stadiums to play in.  The Seahawks are coming off an embarrassing loss at the hands of the 49ers and will be desperate for a win to have any chance of making the playoffs this year.  I think the Falcons have progressed enough to take care of business but I wouldn't be completely surprised to see an upset.  The Falcons will face the Saints the week after so they need to take care of business or risk playing for the division the following week.

3.  Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) - The Steelers defense made the Bengals look awful on Sunday.  Not only did the Steelers hold the Bengals to 34 yards rushing but the only two touchdowns the Steelers scored came on the defensive side of the ball with two interceptions returned to the house.  The Steelers might be the only team that can compete with the Patriots in the AFC, the only problem is that Tom Brady is incredible against the Steelers.  This Sunday the Steelers will invite the reeling Jets into Heinz field.  The Jets have lost two games in a row and have looked pitiful doing it.  If the Steelers defense continues to play like they did this past Sunday, this game will be over early in the first quarter.

4.  New Orleans Saints (10-3) - Are the Saints the quietest defending Superbowl champions ever?  No one is talking about them yet they continue to improve each week. For the fifth consecutive week, the Saints put up at least 30 points.  Their offense is beginning to click on all cylinders especially with the return of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush to full health.  There is a chance, albeit a small one, that if they win out they could get the number one seed in the NFC.  With that said, this Sunday will be a huge test for the Saints as they travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens.  If the Saints go into the Raven's house and win, I guarantee they will no longer be under the radar.

5.  Baltimore Ravens (9-4) -  The Ravens won last night against the Texans although it took them till overtime to get the job done.  I predicted the Ravens to win the Superbowl before the season and I am starting to lose faith.  They had a huge lead which they allowed the Texans to erase and could have easily lost this game.  They haven't been playing Ravens defense of recent and if they are going to emerge as the AFC representative in Dallas in February then they need to get back to Ravens football.  This week they face a very tough test when the Saints come marching into Baltimore.  The defense will need to find a way to stop the potent Saints offense in order to win this game.  

Honorable Mentions: Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 14. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 15 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

Meares
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com