Another week and another split week for our intrepid pickers.
The Bears covered the 2.5 that Jeff and Sam were picking last week, but it wouldn’t have been so had they had to use the closing line, when most books had the Bears as 3.5 or 4.5 point favorites.
The under was a bust for just the fourth time this year.
In the survivor pool, things got even thinner as Jeff was among the five players eliminated. Upping the ante to two games a week proved too much and he struck out with both the Panthers and Eagles. Ouch.
Leader Pat picked up his first strike and three others of the remaining six picked up a strike as well.
In pick ‘ems, Lester remains tied on top with WhiteH2O at 101. Sam and Jeff are tied at 94 with several others in fourth place, while CrackedCacti won the week with 11 points.
Chicago Bears vs. Dallas Cowboys (-3, O/U 42.5)
Thursday, 7:20 p.m., FOX
Sam: This game, in reality, is a stay away game. I can’t get a good feel for this and even the metrics I use in my research to find trends aren’t helping me.
The Cowboys, despite being a ‘warm-weather’ team have played well in cold-ish weather. It’s forecast to be about 38 degrees at kickoff, so hardly a bitter cold December night, but still cold.
They have covered their last five games played below 40 degrees and 8 of their last 12. This year they’re 3-2 as road favorites.
However, they’ve lost to every team ranked in the top 11 in defensive DVOA they’ve played (Patriots, Jets, Vikings, Bills and Saints). The Bears rank eighth. They scored an average of 16 points per game in those contests. In all other games that jumps to 32.9 points per game.
We’re all aware of the Bears’ struggles, so it comes down to if you trust them to put up more points than the Cowboys.
That’s the part I’m stuck on. I’d have to say, I can’t and even if they do, how many more points past that 16 points average that the Cowboys have against good defenses?
I think the safer play here is Cowboys -3. For what it’s worth, the Cowboys are 7-5 against the spread while the Bears are 3-9 this season. I’m going back to the under because it makes the most sense with this Bears defense.
As for survivor picks, I’d look hard at Green Bay and Minnesota. Yeah, I know, that sucks, but I hadn’t burned them yet.
Jeff: Yeah, listen, if you’re going to go out of the Survivor pool, do it in spectacular fashion! With the Eagles losing to Miami and the Panthers losing to Washington, that was about as bad as it can get. I thought long and hard on Sunday morning about taking the Panthers out of it and rolling with the Bucs as I had a really good feeling about them. Obviously it wouldn’t have mattered because I at no point even considered not taking the Eagles. Boo. Good luck to those remaining but I will say I had a lot of fun. I had planned to take the Packers (gross) and the Browns this weekend. Take that for what it’s worth if you’re still in it.
The smart money says do whatever Sam tells you to do on the Bears because his track record is much better. For me, I seem to keep going back to the well with these Bears. I think the Cowboys are probably imploding at just the right time for Chicago to pull an upset, not to mention the fact that the Cowboys haven’t beat anyone impressive this year - Washington, the Giants twice, Miami, Detroit, and Philly. I know I shouldn’t do this, I really do, but I’m taking the Bears +3. Let’s do this thing! Oh, and I’m still on team under. I know it didn’t hit last week but I think this one is played in the teens.