For Entertainment PurposesNovember 27th, 2010
Now Joe is sure his readers fly to Vegas to wager legally, versus placing bets with the guy whose cell number changes every week.
Regardless of how or why you wager, Joe knows there are many aspiring handicappers reading. So to please the gambling crowd, Joe has turned to superpicker Bob Fox. A writer for various sports publications over the years, Fox flashed his stellar picking skills back in 2008 on JoeBucsFan.com, when Joe had a contest here among sports media.
Fox gives you a handful of games here every week. To date, Fox is 27-17 on the season. Not too shabby.
By BOB FOX
Green Bay Packers 27, Atlanta Falcons 20
This game between the 7-3 Packers and the 8-2 Falcons could play a large part in determining the home field advantage for the NFC playoffs. The Falcons are 18-1 at the Georgia Dome behind QB Matt Ryan, plus are undefeated thus far in 2010 at home. However, the Falcons have shown signs that suggest that particular statistic might soon change. For instance, Atlanta only beat the 3-7 49ers by two points at home, plus needed a late goal line stand to beat the Bucs. And then they had to come back in the last minute to beat the Ravens, also at home. The Packers have been a very good road team under head coach Mike McCarthy, and have beaten the Jets and Vikings on the road this season — very difficult venues. The Falcons have the sixth-ranked offense in the NFL, behind Ryan, RB Michael Turner and WR Roddy White. The Packers lead the NFL in only allowing 14.6 points a game (along with the Bears) and have only allowed 10 points in their last three games. Green Bay’s defense also is tied for third in sacks (29), tied for second in interceptions (15) and is No. 2 in opponents’ quarterback rating (66.5). The Atlanta defense has issues in the secondary, as they are only ranked No. 24 in the NFL. That should excite QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Greg Jennings, who both have been on fire as of late. Bottom line, the Packers are finally getting their passing game to flourish and between that and the solid play of their defense, I see them getting out of Atlanta with a win — a win that should excite Buccaneer fans.
Baltimore Ravens 20, Tampa Bay Bucs 17
The 7-3 Bucs have another tough test Sunday in Baltimore against the 7-3 Ravens. Let me first say, that I am sold on the Bucs. The shutout win last week in San Francisco solidified that feeling, as the Bucs blanked the Niners for the first time since the Steve DeBerg era in the late 70’s (pre-Joe Montana and before DeBerg joined the Bucs). The Bucs have really rallied behind QB Josh Freeman, who has had a fine 2010 season with 14 TD passes to just five interceptions. What makes Freeman’s numbers even more amazing is the fact that his leading WR is a rookie. A rookie named Mike Williams, who has 43 catches thus far, along with six TDs. The Bucs also now have a punishing run game behind rookie RB LeGarrette Blount too, as Blount has averaged over 80 yards a game the last five games. The achilles heel for the Bucs in 2010 has been their run defense, but last week the Bucs held RB Frank Gore to 23 yards in 12 carries. The Bucs pass defense has been very solid, led by CB Aqib Talib (5 picks) and veteran Ronde Barber (3 picks). Still, the Ravens will be tough to beat on the road. The Ravens have the eigth-ranked defense in the NFL, which will be going against the Bucs 23rd-ranked offense. The Ravens have many weapons as well, led by QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice and WR Anquan Boldin. I see the Bucs giving the Ravens a spirited battle, but I think the Ravens have too many weapons on both offense and defense and should win a close game.
San Diego Chargers 27, Indianapolis Colts 24
The 5-5 Chargers go into Indianapolis Sunday night to face the 6-4 Colts. The Chargers have been a real nemesis against the Colts recently, and this game should be no different. Both teams have also had significant injuries this year and will play this game shorthanded in many respects. But the Chargers still have QB Phillip Rivers and the Colts still have QB Peyton Manning, and both are MVP candidates once again in 2010. Rivers has thrown 23 TD passes compared to nine interceptions for a 105.0 QB rating. Meanwhile, Manning has thrown 20 TD passes compared to seven picks for a QB rating of 94.2. Manning has lost TE Dallas Clark for the season, plus has seen the injured Colts use their fourth-string running back at times. The Chargers too have had their share of nicks, as TE Antonio Gates has been hampered by toe and foot issues, plus starting rookie RB Ryan Matthews has battled ankle sprain. The good news for the Bolts is that WR Vincent Jackson will play his first game of the season Sunday. The big difference in this game will be defensively, as the Colts are only ranked 19th in the NFL in defense, including 29th vs. the run. The Chargers are ranked No. 1 both offensively and defensively overall, and No. 1 against the pass. This should be another classic battle between these two teams, but I see Rivers and the Chargers making more big plays than Manning and the Colts.