For Entertainment Purposes …

November 11th, 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, when Joe had a contest here among sports media.

Fox gives you a handful of games here every week. To date, Fox is 24-12 on the season. Not too shabby.

By BOB FOX analyst

Baltimore Ravens 24, Atlanta Falcons 20
This game will be the first televised by the NFL Network in 2010, and it matches two teams that are 6-2 and leading their respective divisions. The Falcons are coming off a big win vs. the Bucs, which was also in Atlanta, like this game will be. However, the Tampa Bay game might have come at a very large cost as WR Roddy White suffered a knee injury that has made him questionable for tonight. White is key in the Atlanta passing game, along with TE Tony Gonzales.  But the running game is what makes the Falcons click, as they are sixth in the NFL in rushing, behind RB Michael Turner. The Ravens can stop the run at times, as they are ranked 13th in the NFL, plus they play the pass well (led by S Ed Reed), as they are ranked ninth. The Ravens offense is very balanced, as they are ranked 10th in rushing and 14th in passing behind QB Joe Flacco. I just like the Ravens ability to make big plays more in this game, whether it’s someone like RB Ray Rice, ILB Ray Lewis or a ball hawking safety like Reed making a game changing play. I know there won’t be many fans disappointed in the Tampa Bay area if the Ravens win, that’s for sure.   

Florida Gators 31, South Carolina Gamecocks 24
Who would have believed just a few weeks ago that the Gators would have any chance of winning the SEC East and advancing to the SEC championship game after dropping three straight games in October. Luckily for the Gators, those three losses all came from SEC West teams (Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State). Since then, the Gators have turned it around, winning a key game vs. Georgia and then blowing out Vanderbilt.  QB John Brantley has been exceptionally sharp under center in these last two games for the Gators, completing 63 percent of his passes for 350 yards and two touchdowns as the Gators offense is starting to play pretty well. The Gators defense has been solid all year, as they are ranked seventh nationally. South Carolina, meanwhile, has gone 2-2 after upsetting top ranked Alabama. The loss last week to Arkansas was eye-opening, as the Gamecocks secondary gave up 303 yards to Ryan Mallet in a 41-20 beat down. South Carolina plays the run pretty well, but the Cocks are ranked 106th in the country vs. the pass. QB Stephen Garcia has had a nice season overall, but he’ll be going against a very tough secondary. The Cocks have lost to the Gators four straight years, plus this year’s game is at the Swamp, so I see the Gators taking care of their former old ball coach…Steve Spurrier…as Gator nation will be thrilled by the win.   
Chicago Bears 20, Minnesota Vikings 17
The game between the Vikings and the Bears in Chicago is huge for many reasons. The Bears need to win to stay even with the Packers who are 6-3 and lead the NFC North. The Vikings need to win, as another loss will put them 3-6 and on life support with another game vs. the Pack looming next week. The Vikings are still a team that is imploding, even thought they came back from two touchdowns down very late in the game last week to defeat Arizona at home. It was another classic Brett Favre comeback that led the way, but the win also allowed head coach Brad Childress to keep his job, the same week he waived WR Randy Moss without first gaining approval by team owner Zygi Wilf. The Vikings had acquired Moss just a month or so ago by trading a third-round pick to the Patriots. In addition to all that, Childress had a spirited argument with WR Percy Harvin last week at practice, just a week or so after throwing Favre under the bus after the game in the 28-24 loss to the Packers at Lambeau. Talk about a dysfunctional family.  Da Bears have played Favre and the Vikings very tough at home recently (beat the Vikes 36-30 last year in the Windy City), and I see the eighth-ranked Chicago defense (led by Brian Urlacher and Charles Tillman) making enough big plays to cause a total implosion for the Vikings.
Pittsburgh Steelers 27, New England Patriots 24
The Steelers come off a big road win against the Bengals on Monday night, while the Patriots suffered a shocking 34-14 defeat on the road at the hands of the suddenly surging Browns. This game on Sunday night will be at Heinz Field, and all signs point to another Pittsburgh win. The Pats are 6-2, but seem to be winning behind smoke and mirrors, as the New England offense is ranked only 19th, while the defense is ranked 27th. QB Tom Brady has been very solid though, as he has thrown 14 TD passes to just four interceptions, for a 95.7 QB rating. The Steelers also have an elite QB in Ben Roethlisberger, as the rust is starting to wear off from his four-game suspension to start the year, as Big Ben has thrown 6 TD passes compared to three picks, for a QB rating of 96.8. In addition, the Steelers have a nice running game as well, led by RB Rashard Mendenhall, who has 702 yards rushing thus far, along with seven TDs. But in Pittsburgh, everything starts with the defense and this year is no exception, as the Steelers are ranked fourth. The Steel Curtain defense is ranked No. 1 vs. the run in the NFL, while they are only 24th in pass defense. Brady could use that to his advantage, if he can stay upright. The Steelers are tied for fifth in the NFL in sacks, while Brady has only been sacked 13 times in 8 games.  Bottom line, I see the Steelers outlasting the Pats.

7 Responses to “For Entertainment Purposes …”

  1. Pete 422 Says:

    Speaking of upcoming games, I just saw on channel 10 that there will not be a 4PM game on Sunday! ARG!

  2. Matt Says:

    I like this article every week but I think you should always give us your prediction about the bucs game..even if it’s not a highlight game I’d still like to hear what ya think…just throwin in my opinion love the site keep up the good work!

  3. admin Says:

    Joe here –

    @Matt – FYI, Bob Fox focuses on competitive games each week and/or an upset pick. …There’s not much excitement in picking lopsided games, which the Bucs game should be this week.

  4. Capt.Tim Says:

    0-1, falcons won

  5. Bob Fox Says:

    Yes…0-1. But the Ravens had a 21-20 lead with a minute to go and the Falcons had to cover 80 yards to win it. But nobody on the Baltimore defense made the big play I was looking for. Plus, Matt Ryan looked fantastic throughout the game. You have to give the kid credit. It was also pretty obvious that Roddy White pushed down CB Josh Wilson just before he caught the game winning TD pass with 27 seconds left.

  6. sunrisejeff Says:

    Not only did White push off for the game winning TD but that was NOT a catch by Jenkins on the sidelines. Ball clearly moved when he tried to regrip.

  7. Bob Fox Says:

    This is a direct quote from Roddy White about the play when he caught the TD pass with 27 seconds left.

    “Yeah, you’ve got to do whatever you’ve got to do to win,” White said. “It was one-on-one coverage with one guy. But he was kind of flat-footed, and he tried to grab me, so I just pushed him down.”

    Sounds like pass interference to me. It also looked like pass interference. But not to the zebra (side judge) that the play happened right in front of.