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Packers are proving my theory

October 18, 2012
By STEVE BROWNLEE - Journal Sports Writer ( , The Mining Journal

Packer fans, you probably won't mind your favorite team becoming my guinea pig for this week after that rousing victory on Sunday night in Houston.

This picking thing is getting a little out of hand after going 5-9 last week, just three weeks after I had a perfectly dreadful 4-12 mark.

I've been racking my brain trying to figure out, as the immortal Vince Lombardi once said, "What the hell's going on out here?"

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Cleveland dropkicking Cincinnati? Tennessee edging Pittsburgh? Buffalo winning at Arizona? And even the Lions and Packers winning on the road against teams with better records?

Then a comment made on TV after the Packers' game - that Green Bay has done nothing but alternate wins and losses this season - reminded me of my old theory about how to pick winners, which I've been ignoring lately.

In one word, anti-momentum.

Basically, if two teams are equal, or actually, sometimes they only have to be in the same area code in terms of talent, then pick the team coming off a loss to beat a team on any kind of winning streak.

That flies directly in the face of the typical strategy where you look to see who played well and who played poorly the previous week, then make your picks accordingly.

Why should anti-momentum work? In this day and age of salary caps and unblinking scrutiny of poorly performing teams in the NFL, there really isn't a whole lot of difference in talent between good and bad squads.

More of a difference, I think, comes from attitude and preparation. And there's nothing like the motivation "earned" from losing to get a team riled up and their coaches sharpening their pencils - or iPods - and figuring out how to do things in a new and better way.

How else do you explain the Packers whipping up on 5-0 Houston just after losing to 1-2 Indianapolis?

So with this in mind, here's my hopefully improved Week 7 picks:

Today, 8:20 p.m.

Seattle at San Francisco - Seattle won last week, the 49ers lost, San Fran's at home, plus I think they're the better team. 49ers, 20-13.

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Green Bay at St. Louis - Here's where my anti-momentum theory hits a snag, because are the Packers (they won) and the Rams (they lost) really in the same area code in terms of talent? Especially with St. Louis losing several star offensive players lately. Packers, 24-21.

Tennessee at Buffalo - Two teams almost in lockstep, coming off close wins after getting blown out the previous two weeks. Geez, now that means I actually have to pick this game. OK, Bills, 16-12.

Dallas at Carolina - Both coming off losses, though Carolina had a week off to let it stew and simmer. But I like the Dallas defense to wreak havoc on Cam Newton. Cowboys, 27-24.

Baltimore at Houston - Easy one, with the Ravens getting lucky to win and Houston lucky they didn't lose 50-7. Texans, 31-27.

Cleveland at Indianapolis - Even easier, since Cleveland's just happy to get off the schneid with Indy smarting from the Jets' slap in the face. Colts, 28-17.

Arizona at Minnesota - An only slightly less important theory than anti-momentum is keeping track of which teams have gigantic advantages at home vs. the road. Here's two examples. Vikings, 23-13.

Washington at N.Y. Giants - Both beat teams with superior records last week. I'll take the Super Bowl champs at home vs. the rookie QB. Giants, 34-30.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay - Two teams coming off wins, with the Saints also having the bye. Buccaneers, 35-30.

Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at New England - Jets won, New England lost. 'Nuff said. Patriots, 33-21.

Jacksonville at Oakland - Both coming off losses, and it wasn't enough for Oakland to almost beat the last undefeated team in the league. Raiders, 23-20.

Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - Anti-momentum also doesn't mean much in bitter rivalries, though both have plenty of "anti-mo" after losses to Tennessee and Cleveland. Bengals, 20-16.

Monday, 8:30 p.m.

Detroit at Chicago - Both coming off big wins, Detroit in overtime at Philly and Chicago a week earlier winning at Jacksonville by 38 points. Bears, 31-27.

Last week - 5-9, 36 percent. Season - 51-40, 56 percent.

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



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