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NFL Playoff Predictions: Giants at Dallas

The Giants lost their last regular season game, but it seems like it could have been the best thing that has happened to the team since Eli Manning stopped sucking all the time. While the Buccaneers rested their starters and then came out to play last week’s game against New York, but not until they woke up in the fourth quarter, the Giants were ready from the get-go and now they have the confidence of a team that feels like they can beat any team in the league. So, will that happen in Dallas? Can Eli win two playoff games in a row?

One thing that would certainly help their cause would be for Terrible Omens to be sidelined with that high ankle sprain from a few weeks ago. Chances? Slim. As one of our FanYard members, Maize, said about TO, “If he has spent the past three weeks trying to learn tight-rope walking over the jungles of Costa Rica, living off a diet of raw vegetables and nuts in the rain forest surrounding one of the big volcanoes, and catches a flight on Sunday morning back to Dallas where he hitchhikes to the stadium and does not even get time to shower, he will still be on the field for the first play his offense has in this game.”

Could not have said it better myself.

The rest of the FanYard crew has spoken as well, and they seem to mostly think that Tony Romo will be able to stop thinking about Jessica Simpson long enough to lead America’s Team to victory. The Yardstick for the game favors the Cowboys to win by three points, with only 39% believing the Giants will get another road win. Mmmm…America. Only here can Jessica Simpson become a prop for a sportsbook and a reason to read about football all in the same day. Thanks to Football Jabber for pointing that out to us.



***With ten minutes left in the game, the Indianapolis Colts just scored to go ahead of the San Diego Chargers by a score of 24-21 and Philip Rivers sat out the last series with an injured leg, it looked like. Bob Sanders was injured earlier, so that outta even things out, right? Yeah, right. Sanders is back on the field and the Chargers need Billy Volek to prove me wrong. Oh, yeah, and LaDainian Tomlinson is out, too. So, basically, it is Billy Volek and Chris Chambers trying beat the Colts now. Best of luck, guys.***

***UPDATE: Wow! The Chargers went downfield and scored to go up 28-24, led by Billy Volek and Michael Turner, and the Chargers held off the Indianapolis Colts in the last game to be played at the RCA Dome to win the game. The Chargers are in the AFC Championship game in New England next week, and the Patriots have to love the physical toll this game took on San Diego. A very surprised congrats to Norv Turner. 92% of FanYard said the Colts would win and the Yardstick for the game favored the Colts by eight.***


Seattle Won’t Win, Won’t Play

With :15 second left in the first half and his Seattle Seahawks down 28-17 in their road playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, Mike Holmgren showed why he is a coach who was lucky to have won any Super Bowls, and why he likely will not win another no matter how talented of a team he is coaching. By taking a knee to run out the clock after his team had squandered an early 14-0 lead on two scores that came as a result of Ryan Grant’s two early lost fumbles, Holmgren once again demonstrated that he sometimes forgets football fundamentals and has almost no clue about the very existence of a small thing called time. They ran out the clock – with time-outs to spare.


I don’t know how to better express what a mistake this is, so I’ll quote Gregg Easterbrook from ESPNs Page 2:

“Then again, maybe Spenser, my 12-year-old, had the explanation. Trailing 10-0, the Redskins took possession on their 9 with 47 seconds remaining in the first half, holding three timeouts. Washington ran up the middle to kill the clock, not using its timeouts, and this led to some interesting tactical maneuvering in the closing seconds to prevent Seattle from attempting the extremely rare free kick after a fair catch. Anyway, when Spenser saw the Redskins had no intention of trying to score, despite a zero on the scoreboard and all three timeouts, he scoffed, “They’re sure to lose now.” And yea, verily, it came to pass. I don’t care if you are backed up on your 9, it’s a playoff game and you have no points. Try to score!”

Ever since the Super Bowl that Seattle lost to the Steelers, when they appeared to not realize there was even a game clock, Holmgren has seemed to have lost his edge. Unfortunately for his team, it gives them very little chance to live up to their potential.

The Yardstick for this game finalized favoring the Packers to win by six points. They have outscored the Seahawks 28-3 since going down by fourteen. Make the score 35-17 now. I could not even finish this piece before the Packers scored again. Seahawks…get rid of him.

***Update: Wow, is Babineaux ever fast. He just took Ryan Grant down from behind in almost blizzard conditions on a run where Grant set the Packers post-season record for rush yards in a game. He now has 167 on 20 carries, with two touchdowns. Talk about making up for those two fumbles.

In Holmgren news, the offense, backed up in their own end and with 18 yards to go on first down, called an Alexander run, which got maybe a yard. Dumb call, if you are trying to get a first down, anyway – which is the point isn’t it. Green bay allowed seven runs of 20+ yards in 424 attempts during the season. That’s less than one in sixty. Might as well try, though, hey what?

Oh…make it 42-20 and give Ryan 169 and three scores. If Grant had celebrated his third score by making a snow angel, would he get fined by the NFL for using a prop?




NFL Playoff Predictions: Jaguars at Steelers

The common thinking in this game is that the Steelers are going to be too tough to beat at home. They don’t lose at Heinz Field. Their defense is too strong. Big Ben is leading a great offense. Jacksonville’s offense is pretty good, but mostly just OK, definitely not strong enough to beat Pittsburgh twice in a row at home, especially considering that the Steelers defense is one of the best – if not the best – in the NFL.

Hear that sound? It is a bubble bursting on every Steelers fan out there. I hate to do it, as I have two very, very good friends who are huge Steelers fans…but I have to.


(Here, I tried to find a Steelers fan blog to link to, but it seems they all stopped typing sometime between the start of the 2006 season, and the realization that their team wasn’t going to make the playoffs last year. If the Steelers do anything in these playoffs, I’ll bet one could make a killing driving a bandwagon around full of Steelers blog URLs.) In lieu of Steelers fan blogs, I had to find a good piece about this Steelers / Jaguars game.

Myth 1) Steelers too tough to beat at home: In general, this is the case, yes. But this is no general. This is the playoffs, and it is very specifically Jacksonville that needs to be taken into account. Since the start of 2K, the Jags have played in Pittsburgh four times. Three of those games have been losses for the home team, including the past two.

Myth 2) Steelers defense is too strong: This should read “was” too strong, as the Pittsburgh defense has gone from being tops in the NFL to being ranked just 14th since Week 10. The Jaguars defense, meanwhile, is the sixth-ranked defense in the NFL since Week 10. Injuries have happened to both teams on this side of the ball, but Jacksonville’s depth is obviously greater.

Myth 3) Jaguars offense just OK: If you call being the best offense not quarterbacked by Tom Brady since Week 10 “just OK,” then that is just what the Jaguars offense is. Big Ben’s offense in that same span has been worse than 17 other teams in the NFL; at the midpoint of the season, they were fourth.

Truthiness: This game is the meeting of two teams headed in completely different direction over the stretch run of the season and, though anything can happen in a football game, the Steelers just don’t match up well in this game in many aspects.

Of course, Ben Roethlisbberger has pulled rabbits out of his arm before and surprised people and I know he can do it again. Same with Hines Ward. The man is simply amazing. These two are the reason I will be glued to this game and expect a close, hard-fought battle. Best of luck to both teams.

At FanYard, the Yardstick for this game is calling for a three-point Jaguars victory. And what do you think?

Join FanYard today and have your say on this game. Get your own Yard. It’s free, easy, fun and you can track your predictions over time, too, in football and basketball.

Gimme My Yard now!


Orange Bowl Predictions at FanYard


The outcome of tonight’s Orange Bowl seems preordained to many pundits you will read out there in PunditWorld. Basically, the Kansas Jayhawks stand no chance against the fast defense of the Virginia Tech Hokies. Virginia Tech’s corners are fast and strong and will shut down the Jayhawks receivers on the outside. In the middle, they have a 220-pound safety who will be just looking to remove the head of any slot receiver coming through the middle of the field. With, then, no one to throw to, the Jayhawks will have to rely on their running game, right?

VT pass rush will not allow the KU quarterback to get comfortable and get a read; flushing him out of the pocket, where VT will have a linebacker ready to tackle him if he starts running. The Jayhawks running backs won’t be able to run against the VT linebacking corps even if they do make it past the defensive line, which they will not.

The only chance any expert I have read gives the Jayhawks to win is if they can neak in CB/WR Aqib Talib abd somehow throw him the ball on every down without the Hokies ever catching on. Well, yoy can bet that the Virginia Tech Hokies are not so dumb that they did not think of this…or at the very least read it somewhere and made a note: “Don’t let Talib beat us in the Orange Bowl,” and stuck it up somewhere for the rest of the team to see.

All this means the experts give Kansas no chance, then, really, of even coming close to winning the Orange Bowl. The Yardstick for the Orange Bowl says VT wins by a field goal. Some sites call for an even bigger win, a blow out.

Then again, they all said the same thing about the Fiesta Bowl last night. I must have missed reading the Mountaineers paper.


Viewing Your Sports Predictions, Historically

You will now notice in your My Yard page at FanYard, that there is now a new section titled: Pick History. This page breaks all your picks into the various sports very nicely. It defaults to NFL, but you will see the tabs for NCAAF, NBA and NCAAB. Your picks in whichever sport you want to look at will be listed by date, starting with the latest date of any pick you have made in that sport. As you look down the page, your picks will be listed as they go further back in time.

Each game is linked to its Game Yard, so you can go back and see what was said about this game, or to see the Yardstick visually. For games that have finished, you will be able to see not only what you predicted the outcome to be, but also what the actual margin of victory (Score Margin) was and for which team. You will see whether or not you were credited for a win or a loss and how many points you were awarded for your win, if any. (Remember, you must be within ten points of the actual winning margin, and have picked the winning team, in order to receive points for your pick.)

The one other change in this regard is that only your most recent 20 picks are now shown in your Yard. To see the rest, click “View All Picks,” and you’ll be taken to the page described herein.

Happy New Year, all!


Alamo Bowl Predictions


This year’s Alamo Bowl features Joe Paterno’s Penn State Nittany Lions going up against the Texas A&M Aggies in Paterno’s 500th game as the head coach of the Lions. Penn State matches up well against the running game of the Aggies and has enough good players in their secondary to be able to cover one-on-one against the passing game.

The Yardstick for the Alamo Bowl favors the Lions by four points at time of writing, and the game will likely be decided by whether or not Lions QB Anthony Morelli gets into a rhythm and avoids making some of the costly mental errors that have become too much of an issue for him.


Texas Bowl Predictions


Tonight’s Texas Bowl features the TCU Horned Frogs against the Houston Cougars in Houston, Texas. Both teams have deep receiving corps and quarterbacks who can get the ball deep. The Cougars will have to play better pass protection than they have most of the season, while TCU quarterback Andy Dalton will have to do a better job at protecting the ball than he has through some of this season; he has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns this season, although four of his INTs did come in just one game.

Dalton’s job will be made all the easier by the relative lack of a pass rush possessed by the Cougars, not to mention that his sophomore running back Joseph Turner has come into his own this year. In his last game, Turner garnered 226 yards and four scores on 33 carries.

The Yardstick for the Texas Bowl predicts a four-point win for the Horned Frogs.

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