NFL Week 15 Free Picks

Eagles vs. Vikings, 1:00PM ET
With both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart expected to be out for Minnesota, points will be at a premium for the Vikings. The Eagles defense was brutal in the first two months of the season but the team has found its rhythm of late and is playing better on that side of the ball than at any point this year. Philly is also running the ball at will, and Minnesota has had issues slowing the run over the past few weeks. The Eagles are 4-0 against the spread in their last four road games, 4-1 ATS in their last four games versus a team with a losing record, and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. They’re also 5-1 against the spread in their last six games versus the Vikings so lay the points.

Patriots vs. Dolphins, 1:00PM ET
Thanks to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the Patriots will survive without Rob Gronkowski, just like they did earlier in the season when he missed the first six games of the year. That said, they survived earlier in the year because of the play of their defense, which has lost Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Tommy Kelly along the way. The Dolphins impressed last week in Pittsburgh, beating the Steelers on the road and in the elements. The Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin distraction has died down and there has been a semblance of stability again in Miami. The Patriots are 0-4 against the spread in their last four road games, 1-4 ATS in their last five games in December and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games versus AFC opponents. On the other side, the Dolphins are 4-0 against the spread in their last four games overall, 4-0 ATS in their last four games versus AFC opponents and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games.

Bears vs. Browns, 1:00PM ET
With all the talk about who should start under center, the most glaring situation that is facing the Bears has gone somewhat unnoticed. The defense is an absolute mess and with the way Jason Campbell has played since taking over the starting quarterback job in Cleveland, Chicago should continue to struggle defensively today. The over is 10-3 in the Bears’ last 13 road games, 11-4 in their last 15 games overall, and 5-1 in their last six road games versus a team with a losing record. The over is also 5-1 in the Browns’ last six games overall, 4-1 in their last five home games and 4-0 in their last four games following an ATS win.

Packers vs. Cowboys, 4:25PM ET
The Packers were fortunate to come away with a victory last week at home versus the Falcons in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. They trailed 21-10 at halftime and Atlanta did them a favor by once again putting together another second half collapse. Give credit to Dom Campers’ defense for coming alive in the final two quarters of that game, but today will be a different animal in Dallas. The Cowboys’ defense has been atrocious this season, ranking dead last in total yards per game. But they should have an easier time defending against an ineffective Matt Flynn and a hobbled Eddie Lacy at home. The favorite is 8-2 against the spread in the last 10 meetings between these two teams while the Packers are 0-5 against the number in their last five trips to Dallas.

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Alabama’s Mark Ingram wins Heisman

Alabama running back Mark Ingram won the 2009 Heisman Trophy, which was handed out Saturday night.


Ingram finished 28 points ahead of Stanford running back Toby Gerhart, the tightest finish in the 75-year history of the award.

Ingram wiped away tears before starting his speech and his voice wavered throughout.

“I’m a little overwhelmed right now,” he said. “I’m just so excited to bring Alabama their first Heisman winner.”

Ingram received 227 first-place votes and 1,304 points. Gerhart got 222 first-place votes and 1,276 points, while Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, last season’s runner-up, received 203 and 1,145.

Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was fourth and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who won the Heisman two years ago, was fifth.

Gerhart was an absolute beast from start to finish this season, but at times, Ingram was all the offense Alabama had until the final couple games of the season. (Plus, he helped get his team to the national championship.)

Between him and Gerhart, both well deserving of the award and it’s not surprising that the final vote was so close.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Toby Gerhart runs over Notre Dame defender

This is one of those plays that when you see it live, you can’t help but to drop an expletive.

Watch Stanford running back (and potential Heisman winner) drop this Notre Dame cornerback Gary Gray in the fourth quarter of the Cardinal’s win on Saturday night:

2009 Heisman Barometer: Week 12

Draft writes that Stanford’s Toby Gerhart and Alabama’s Mark Ingram has seen their draft stock rise over the past couple weeks and now ranks them No. 1 and No. 2 on their Heisman Barometer.

1. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford
Once again, a guy who might not have a real shot at winning the award. Mark Ingram looks poised to become Alabama’s first Heisman recipient ever, and I’m not trying to take anything away from him, but I don’t think the Tide would struggle without him. Stanford, on the other hand, doesn’t beat USC without their junior tailback. He’s a deceptively quick bulldozer who has the Cardinal on the right track to getting back to the Rose Bowl. One loss from Oregon, and a Pac 10 title could be just enough help to give Gerhart the hardware. At the very least, he’s my number one.

Last Week’s Stats: 178 Rushing Yards, 3 TDs

2. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
He’s probably the realistic frontrunner right now, and it’s not like he doesn’t deserve it. 1297 rushing yards, 13 total TDs, and a 6.7 ypc average. Not bad at all, especially through only 10 games. But the biggest reason that Ingram’s looking like a lock to become the second sophomore to win the Heisman is the fact that his team is undefeated. One big test left against Florida in the SEC championship. Win that one and head to Pasadena for the big game and Mark can vote for himself next year.

As Draft Zoo points out, Gerhart is unlikely to win the award but the way he has come on as of late, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t at least deserve some mention.

If you haven’t see Gerhart play, you’re really missing out. He’s a load to bring down and looked damn near unstoppable against Oregon and USC the past two weeks. He’s one of those guys that can put his entire team on his back and carry them and it’s no wonder that more pundits are starting to talk about him as a legit NFL prospect.

People keep talking about how Tim Tebow is the front-runner to win this year’s Heisman, but I just don’t see it. Can anyone objectively say that Tebow has done enough to merit the award? Considering how much talent he has around him (and I’m not just talking about offense), I’m not sure you can.

Unless he comes out and puts on a show against Alabama and whomever Florida plays in the national championship if the Gators can beat the Tide in the SEC title game, then I don’t see Tebow taking home the hardware this season.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

2009 College Football Week 12 Picks & Predictions

Last week was bitter sweet as I went 4-0 straight up but just 1-3 against the spread. Keep in mind that I try to only pick top 25 games, so they’re much, much harder to predict. Like, much harder. (Or at least that’s my excuse anyway.)

No. 8 LSU at Mississippi, 3:30PM ET
Both of these SEC teams will be looking to finish the 2009 season strong when they square off this Saturday in Oxford. The Rebels snapped a six-game losing streak to the Tigers last season but they haven’t won at home in his series since 1998. The public seems high on Ole Miss after the Rebs hammered Tennessee last Saturday, but keep in mind that the Vols were in the midst of some turmoil after three of their players were arrested for attempted armed robbery last week. Dexter McCluster went off on Tennessee for 282 yards and four touchdowns, but he’ll have a hard time repeating that effort against a stout LSU front seven. Something tells me that Les Miles’ team is still pissed off about what happened two weeks again in Tuscaloosa and will play this week with passion. I see a small upset for the Tigers and an outright win.
Odds: Ole Miss –4.5.
Prediction: LSU 20, Ole Miss 17.

No. 25 California at No. 17 Stanford, 7:30PM ET
Stanford is playing as well as anyone in the nation right now. The Cardinal have scored 106 points combined against Oregon and USC the past two weeks and senior running back Toby Gerhart has almost been unstoppable. Without running back Jahvid Best, Cal squeaked by Arizona last week, 24-16. With Best sidelined again this Saturday, many expect Stanford to roll but don’t forget that Cal has the 19th best run defense in the nation and is capable of containing Gerhart and keeping things close. Quarterback Kevin Riley might be able to take advantage of a Stanford secondary that has been inconsistent this season, although without the threat of a running game the Bears’ offense might become too one-dimensional in the second half. I think Stanford will pull out the victory but this game will be closer than people think.
Odds: Stanford –7.5.
Prediction: Stanford 35, Cal 31.

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