Well, I hate to sound like a homer but the Pack blew up Ponders return start in a huge fashion. Not to mention that the running game got on track finally. This wee
k is off to a good start and this picks Sunday, will prove it. To week 5 Sunday’s game action.
Chicago Bears vs. Carolina Panthers,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Panthers -2.5. O/U: 45.5:
Both teams were embarrassed last week. The Bears were embarrassed because they couldn’t put up more points with all of the first downs, yards and the long drives they had from all of the yards they racked up. The Panthers got torched by their old #1 WR, Steve Smith Sr., who they let go due to wanting to free up cap (that’s their reason). Both defenses allowed over 300+ passing yards but the Bears are ranked 22nd in yardage allowed, Panthers are 23rd. Their offenses rank about as well as their defenses however the offensive advantage goes to the Bears. Not only does the offensive experience go to the Bears, the defensive advantage does as well. The Bears defense only allowed 3 drives over 60 yards while the Panthers defense allowed 5 with 4 being 80 yards! The Bears have the more veteran group, quarterback, receivers and running backs. The Bears offense, which exploited the Packers, will exploit the Panthers who can’t stop anything right now. Take the Bears to win getting +2.5 points in the Over. Bears 26-20.
Cleveland Browns vs. Tennessee Titans,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Titans +1. O/U: 44:
The Browns are coming off of a bye week and even though they may have a 1-2 record, Brian Hoyer is pretty happy with the way the team has performed this season. The Browns have lost their 2 games by a FG or less and against divisional rivals. The passing game for the Browns is a surprising bright spot. Terrance West has had a pretty good start to his rookie campaign. He has gone over 200 yards and has 2 TD’s. Ben Tate is questionable for Sunday but if he returns, put your money on the Browns using the running game more and developing a workable game plan for future games so that they don’t rely solely on Hoyer’s arm. The Titans lost terribly on the road in Indy. Only posting 261 total yards will not make them successful going forward. Charlie Whitehurst got the start for the injured Jake Locker and his inexperience showed by only completing 52% of his passes. Jake Locker is hoping to be back on the field Sunday, and do the Titans need him to find his groove. The Titans scored 26 points in a win against the Chiefs in week 1. In the 3 games since, they’ve only scored 34, averaging just 11 points a game. The only thing going for the Titans is their pass defense which is 9th in the league. If they can hone in on stopping the run with their 22nd ranked rush defense, they may have a shot to be in this game. In this case, take the Browns at -1 points to win and in the Over. The thing that stands out is this game opened at Browns getting +2.5 points, that in itself tells you the Browns have the upper hand here. Jake Locker starts this game and both teams will be in a shoot out. Browns 24-21.
St. Louis Rams vs. Philadelphia Eagles,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Eagles -4.5. O/U: 48:
The Rams are coming off of a bye week, and hopefully the momentum that they could take away from their last game at home against Dallas shows up for them in this one. Against Dallas, they opened off quick and big, with a 21-10 lead at the half. However, they let that lead slip through their hands at home eventually losing 34-31. Austin Davies get his 3rd straight start throwing for 327 yards on 30/42 passes and 3 TD’s and 2 INT’s. The Rams also drove the ball very well against a surprisingly strong Dallas defense, 5 drives over 60 yards, not just all in the 1st half where they dominated but all throughout the game. All but one of those drives resulted in points, the other one was a turnover on downs. The running game is one the Eagles wished they had even though it’s only 22nd in the league. The Eagles main struggle on offense is the running the football, especially Le’Sean McCoy. McCoy averaged 76.5 yards on the ground in the first 2 games, the last 2 however, only averaging 19.5 yards. He has 12 fewer carries in the last few games and averaging 3.75 yards per carry in the first 2 while only mustering 1.45 per carry the last 2 weeks. He hasn’t even been involved in the passing game the last 2 weeks, since Sproles’ outburst in Indy in week 2. McCoy will look to bounce back against a bad run defense and the Eagles will put together their first solid game against a struggling Rams bit don’t be surprised if Austin Davis has a big game. Take the Eagles to win with the points in the over. Eagles 28-21.
Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Giants -3.5. O/U: 50.5:
This matchup is scary on numerous levels. First, the Giants had a resurgence on offense and tore up against the Redskins last week and Second, the Falcons were their usual, terrible self on the road last week. Granted, it was Teddy Bridgewater’s first start and there isn’t much game film on him in the pros to pick through his tendencies and their offense put up some decent yards, but the turnover bug on the road showed up again. The Falcons had 4 of 11 drives go over 60 yards and all ended with TD’s but the defense just couldn’t stop Teddy and his offense who had 6 of 11 drives go over 50 yards and converted 5 of them for points (4 TD’s, 1 FG, 1 Missed FG). That’s way too many yards for a team that thinks they’re elite, to give up. The Falcons allowed 558 yards, 317 through the air, and 241 on the ground. On the other side of the field, Eli Manning kept the ball out of defenders arms in into his own receivers’. He threw 28/39 (72% completion) for 300 yards and 4 TD’s. The Giants were the worst team as far as turnovers go, in 2013 and it seemed to be much of the same this year. The first 2 games resulted in 4 INT’s but in the last 2 weeks, he has turned things around with 6 TD’s and just 1 INT. Their rushing game has also started to pick it up with Rashad Jennings having 341 yards on 81 carries averaging 4.2 yards per carry. However, look for the Falcons to shake off their road woes and get some success in New York who is 22nd in the league vs. the passing game. Take the Falcons to win, getting +3.5 points and scoring in the Over. Falcons 28-24.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Steelers –6. O/U: 47.5:
Blake Bortles got his first NFL start last week against a tough Chargers team. He faired well, 29/37 (78%) for 254 yards and 1 TD/2 INT’s. Consistent passing was the key to the throwing success as Henne completed less than 55% of his passes. Bortles might’ve been a breath of fresh air for a minute but they still can’t run, still turn the ball over and still are only averaging 14 points a game. They haven’t had a breakout game yet and I don’t see one happening anytime soon. The Steelers have had too many close games this year and could actually have been 3-1 or 1-3 as 2 of their games (a win and loss) have been by 3 points. The offense has gotten off to a surprisingly hot start, ranking 8th in the pass and 5th in the run. Big Ben is averaging 273 yards a game and is on pace for a 4,400 yard year which would be a career high as well as keeping the turnovers to a minimum. The run game behind him has been the best he has since his days with “Fast” Willie Parker. The run game is averaging 5.75 yards per carry with Blount and Bell, over 5 yards per carry! That is just insane! All that and against the leagues 30th best run defense. Antonio Brown is hot and stays hot. Predictions out there are telling bettors to stay away from taking the Steelers since the game is in Jacksonville and they lost last week to a miserable Bucs team; I’m saying take the Steelers to win with the -6 points in the Under. This thing will be another TD or more loss for the Jags. Steelers 28-10.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Saints -10. O/U: 48:
Finally the Saints are back in familiar territory, the Superdome. The start to this season has been very disappointing for the Saints. They lost 2 close ones in the first 2 weeks, beat Minnesota (barely) in week 3 and played absolutely terrible football against the Cowboys last week. Rob Ryan’s defense has issues and they don’t look like they will be fixed for a while after losing Jarius Byrd last week to a torn lateral meniscus. They have one of the worst pass defenses in the league (28th) and bottom half in the league with their run defense (21st). As bad as the Saints defense is however, they are going up against the leagues worst passing offense and 24th best run game. Brees and his 3rd best pass offense will have a field day against the 29th pass defense of the Buccs. The only thing the Buccs have going for them is their new starter, Mike Glennon. Glennon got his first start of the season last week with McCown out with a thumb issue and tossed for 302 on 21/42 completed passes (50%) with 2 TD’s and 1 INT. Expect a big game through the air in this one as neither team can seem to pick a pass off. The only interception that was attained was by the Buccs. That’s right, a combined 1 interception in 4 games for both teams. So with the Saints being at home, as electric as they are in the Superdome, take them to win and to cover the -10 points in the Over. Saints 35-24.
Houston Texans vs. Dallas Cowboys,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS: Line: Cowboys -6.5 O/U: 47:
Lots of uncertainty early amongst bettors on this one and I can’t see why. In my eyes, Dallas is a lock! Now both teams are 3-1 against the spread this year but the ‘Boys have had a bit tougher of a schedule and the offensive line is starting to move defenses wherever they want! A combined 190 yards on the ground on just 35 carries for this offense against the Saints last week left them feeling good about an average carry going 5.4 yards. Romo has had time to sit in the pocket and toss fireballs down the field (averaging 9 yards per attempt last week) will compiling 3 TD’s. Murray on the other hand, is the new beast mode. He has racked up a 100 yards or more in each game this year and averages 5.4 yards per carry on the season so far. Not to mention, he has a rushing TD in each of the games this year with 5 total. Houston on the other hand was fired up, especially the quiet Fitzpatrick who wanted to stick it to his old team, the Bills. He played better and actually had his 2nd straight game over 250 yards. Houston is a mediocre team but Dallas is an all around good trenches team. If they can control the line of scrimmage like they have been lately, they blow by the Texans. Take the ‘Boys to win with the -6.5 points but in the Under. Cowboys 28-10.
Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Lions -5.5. O/U: 43:
Here is another game that the public bettors still aren’t sure about. The majority has shown favoritism for the Lions but not by much. The Lions are a pretty spectacular team at home. The Lions typically don’t play too well on the road but have had better success than the likes of the Falcons and Saints. Tell that to the Jets, who lost to the Lions 24-17 in New York. The offense exploded for 272 through the air but did fair on the ground with just their 88 yards. The Lions rushing game hasn’t been strong (26th in the league) but have been able to adjust with the passing game (7th in the league). Their defense has been awesome this year and their issue the last few years was the pass defense. This year they rank better in the defensive pass game than their defensive run (2nd and 6th in the league). The Bills have been inconsistent on offense under EJ Manuel, who was only 21/44 passes (48% completion) so they are sitting him and tapped Kyle Orton and he takes over the 31st ranked passing game with a star in the wings in Sammy Watkins. In all of the struggles by Manuel, he did manage to not turn it over a great deal, just 3 times in 4 games but it was the inconsistency completing passes that lead to his demise. Their running game has been picking up the slack on offense but it hasn’t been easy for them. Just 13th in the league in rushing, they’ll look to have more of a balance against the Lions. In the end, it’s Orton’s first start since 12/29/13 when he was a Cowboy facing the Eagles and throwing for 358, 2 TD’s but 2 INT’s as well. Look for the Lions to win this one and to cover the points -5.5 in the Over since the Bills defense against the pass is 25th in the league. The line dropped from -7 to -5.5, that’s a steal! Lions 31-20.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS LINE: Colts –3. O/U: 49:
These 2 offenses can be explosive, mostly in the passing game. The Ravens defense may look like they don’t allow much since they only average 15 points per game allowed. That’s because they started off with a bunch of divisional games that are usually lower scoring games. The Colts have a better passing game while the Ravens have shown big flashes when using Steve Smith Sr. Both defenses are mediocre and the Colts are at home so I would take the Colts even at -3 to win with those points and to score in the Over since neither pass defense will show up. Colts 31-24.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Denver Broncos,
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Broncos -7.5. O/U: 47:
The Cardinals are off to a fantastic start, and all with a backup quarterback leading them the last few games. Carson Palmer will be out again after learning the a nerve in his throwing shoulder actually went dead and will need some time to rejuvenate. Luckily, they say it’s not career threatening. The Broncos are at home and with Wes being back, look for him to have a breakout game with him making his first home debut this season (his 2nd since returning from his 4 game suspension). The Broncos may not be the best offensive team but 10th isn’t too shabby. With Wes back, look for Peyton to have a big day. The Cards on the other hand may not be the best team numbers wise but with one of the best run defenses (4th), they may be able to contain Bell and force Peyton to a bunch of passes and possibly more errors. Ultimately the Broncos will win this one with the points and in the Over. Broncos 34-21.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: 49ers -4.5 O/U: 44:
Colin Kaepernick and the passing game are off to a slow start, especially considering the weapons and offensive line he has. They are 22nd in the league in passing however, the run game is doing most of the work at 7th best. Last week the run game racked up 218 yards on 42 total carries. Kaep had another game throwing barely cracking the 200 yard mark but the 4th straight this season under 250 yards. He’s taken 10 sacks this year because he seems to be holding the ball a bit longer than usual. Gore was off to a slow start but picked it up last week against the Eagles with his frost 100 yard game. The Chiefs have gotten back on track from their 0-2 start and won their last 2. With Jamaal Charles out earlier this season, Knile Davis picked up the slack and has had a pretty good start with 321 yards on 71 carries for 3 scores. Alex Smith has struggled to climb over the 250 yard mark himself, only eclipsing the mark in 1 game (255). Since game 1 however, he’s been fairly accurate, he was 1 TD/3INT in week one but has thrown 6 TD’s and 0 INT’s. He’s going up against a really tough defense especially towards the run game. It will be interesting to see how both Charles and Davis do against them up front. But who knows, Alex Smith may want some revenge from the team that drafted him and kept shuffling the type of offenses they ran with every coach that came in and left. Playing an old team usually fires a guy up. I’d say take the 49ers at home to win but the Chiefs for the points and scoring in the Over. 49ers 27-24.
New York Jets vs. San Diego Chargers,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chargers -6.5. O/U: 44:
this is not a good place for Geno Smith to be. He will likely be playing for his job this game since he is off to an average start but has had poor throws in each of his games this year. He may have an ok game going up against the 12th best pass defense but you never know with him, he’s been so inconsistent in his career game to game. It’s a good thing the Chargers don’t have a running game (31st best in the league) going up against the best in the league against the rush. The Jets defense has been really strong and kept the team in allow their games this year but the turnovers on offense have ruined field position and the scoreboard throughout the season. The Chargers too have a good ground defense (9th in the league) but Rex will probably want to play it safe to stay off the hot seat a run a bunch minimizing the mistakes Geno can make. Phillip Rivers has had a hot hand early, which is unusual since the team usually starts the season out slow. The Chargers have the 5th best passing game and are off to a 3-1 start. Rivers is over 1100 yards and has 9 TD’s but that is mostly due to picking up the slack from all of his injured running backs. Donald Brown is not getting it done with a 2 yard per carry average. Look for Rivers to be slinging it all over the field at home and the Jets to start off rushing a bunch but having to turn to the pass once they get down by 2 scores. Take the Chargers to win but the Jets for the points, +6.5, since their defense will keep it close and score in the Over. I think the line is too big and the O/ U is too small. Chargers 27-24.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England Patriots,
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Bengals -2.5. O/U: 45.5:
Terrific Tom hasn’t been so terrific this year. Like Kaep he has yet to have a 250 yard game. All of this years we used to see him have, in Chad Johnson’s words, video game like numbers. Without receivers and without a good offensive line, we see him under a whole different pressure that he never had before and he’s hurting because of it. Yes they are still 2-2, yes their record at home with To, at the helm is immaculate, but this is the new Pats. Because of their bad O-line, they have one of the leagues worst offenses, 30th in pass and 23rd in rushing. Adding Talib has been a huge help and it shows with the best pass defense but against the run, their 23rd. This should be an easy win for the Bengals, even in New England because the weather shouldn’t be too different from Cincy. It will also be a test for the Bengals just above mediocre offense. Daulton in week 1 was stellar, 300 yards/77 yard completion long/1 TD. Since he’s declined in yardage each of the 2 games (252 in week 2, 169 week3). Both games he was 15/23 which is low for the amount of passes he should have but don’t let those numbers deceive you. He still averaged 10.96 yards per attempt in week 2 and 7.35 in week 3. So they are still trying to keep the deep ball present I their game to get the defenses to lighten up in the box but the run game still hasn’t exploded yet, 15th in the league. That will change going up against the Pats defense. They will test that secondary, pound the run and then throw overtop again. Not many times you will see the Pats give points but don’t take them. They will lose this one and it might not be a pretty sight. Take the Bengals and the points to win in the Under. Bengals 24-17.
Enjoy the week, happy betting and look for my Monday predictions tomorrow.