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2011’s hits and misses: Good picks balanced out by spectacular flubs

December 29, 2011
By Steve Brownlee - Journal Sports Writer ( , The Mining Journal

There was bound to be some big hits and bad misses in my 240 NFL picks this season, even as I feel fortunate to be within one win of getting two-thirds of them right.

So I compiled a list of my best and worst picks. I didn't measure them based on how easy or tough they were to pick - that would've required thinking about every game and who was favored and what it meant and all kinds of stuff like that.

Instead, I just compared the score I predicted to what it really turned out to be. A big numbers crunch, you can call it.

The good - One that wasn't real close, but I was proud that I was even in the neighborhood, was Indianapolis' 62-7 home loss to New Orleans in Week 7. I predicted 49-17, which is quite a spread for any game.

For the close picks, there was my 33-17 prediction of New Orleans over Detroit in Week 13. It was actually 31-17 Saints.

And a 23-16 win by Pittsburgh at Cincinnati in Week 10 that turned out 24-17 in favor of the Steelers.

And maybe the best one - drum roll, please - a 17-13 pick of Tennessee over Denver in Week 3. It was actually 17-14 Titans.

As far as bad picks go, they look equally impressive, particularly when it involves Kansas City. Like a 45-7 predicted win by San Diego in Week 3 that the Chiefs won 20-17.

Or the blowouts - I took KC 24-10 over Miami in Week 9 that the Dolphins won 31-3. And a 27-20 win by Oakland in Week 7 that the Chiefs scored a 28-0 shutout.

But the best of the worst didn't involve KC. It was taking Tampa Bay to drop San Francisco 30-21 in Week 5. The 49ers won by a 48-3 thrashing. Considering the directions these teams we're going, I missed the bus by about three hours.

Next week, I'll look back at my preseason playoff picks. I expect more laughter with that trip down memory lane.

Here's the Week 17 picks:

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Detroit at Green Bay - Speaking of predictions, I happened across the Sporting News' August preseason picks for all 32 teams. They not only predicted each team's record, but which games they'd win and lose.

While they were a bit off at 8-8 for Detroit, they not only picked the Packers to go 15-1, but predicted their loss - get this - would be to KC. Eerie, eh?

I gotta spoil the Sporting News' party, however, in picking the team that has something to play for this week - avoiding a trip to New Orleans to open the playoffs. Lions, 24-17.

Tennessee at Houston - The Texans are locked into the No. 3 seed, turning them and the Packers into preseason squads this week. Tennessee still has a shot at a wild card, but must win and wait around for the 4 p.m. games to play out. Titans, 27-16.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville - Maybe the most important game for 2012 and beyond with the No. 1 draft pick still up for grabs between the Colts and St. Louis. Jacksonville has shown some life in two of its past three games. Jaguars, 30-24.

N.Y. Jets at Miami - Miami's also shown some life down the stretch, and non-playoff teams play looser than ones fighting to get in. Dolphins, 19-13.

Chicago at Minnesota - Two teams without top offensive threats. But Chicago has the far superior defense. Bears, 27-17.

Buffalo at New England - New England could lose its first-round playoff bye with a loss. Patriots, 36-28.

San Francisco at St. Louis - Another first-round bye at stake, as well as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. 49ers, 23-9.

Carolina at New Orleans - New Orleans will start this game with something on the line, though the expected 49ers' rout makes the second half meaningless. Saints, 30-27.

Washington at Philadelphia - Philly lets it all hang out way too late this season. Eagles, 44-17.

Sunday, 4:15 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta - In a testament to the poor stretch run by the Bucs, they can't even beat a playoff team taking the week off. Falcons, 31-20.

Baltimore at Cincinnati - The Bengals are fighting to get in the playoffs. Baltimore wants a first-round bye. Ravens, 20-13.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland - The Browns will be done by the time Pittsburgh realizes the meaninglessness of this game. Steelers, 24-20.

Seattle at Arizona - Despite losses to quality teams last week, two of the hottest non-playoff teams. Cardinals, 27-23.

Kansas City at Denver - When the quarterback, KC's Kyle Orton, plays his former team, Denver, the former team has the advantage of knowing his tendencies. Broncos, 24-20.

San Diego at Oakland - A testament to the hatred among teams in the AFC West. Chargers, 26-24.

Sunday, 8:30 p.m.

Dallas at N.Y. Giants - For both teams: win and you're in, lose and go home. It doesn't get much better than this. But Tony Romo's hand injury in cold weather makes the Cowboys a question mark. Giants, 20-13.

Last week - 11-5, 69 percent. Season - 159-81, 66 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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