It’s been a theme this year, a tale of 2 halves of football. Last week, half of my picks were covering the spread in the first half. Some started off slow but won with their second half play and some gave up that halftime lead by the end of the game. I had to just give my predictions without analysis with the last bunch of games because I was running out of time before kickoff. I will do better going forward for you but I just had my first week at my new job and I’m trying to acclimate to my new hours for writing this blog but here’s a cookie, I threw in Colin Cowherd’s picks at the end. Here’s my week 6 picks:
Chicago Bears vs. Atlanta Falcons,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Falcons -3. O/U: 54.5:
Devin Hester gets a visit from his former team this week and he hasn’t been silent about the way he feels he was treated his last few years with the Bears. Hester felt that he needed to be implemented more in the Bears offense. This year with the Falcons, he’s been in the game plan but also has to share touches with Roddy White and Julio Jones. He’s had breakout games against the Saints and Vikings and in numerous ways against the Buccs. He’s listed as questionable for Sunday but I’d put my money on him playing, and not missing any game against the Bears. His team however is slumping. Atlanta has lost their last 2 games, both on the road and are 2-3 overall (all losses from road games). Matty Ice has ice running through his veins for home games. They are so good at home, it’s hard to look past So they’re due for a win right? The Bears are also 2-3 but have had their 2 wins come on the road with their first road loss coming at the hands of the Panthers last week. They too are on a 2 game skid and questions are swirling around weather Cutler is the guy to take them where they want to go. Last week Cutler showed more inconsistent playmaking decisions with 2 interceptions and a lost fumble on a fine passing day, completing 78% of his throws for 289 yards and 2 TD’s. The theme of the year for most middle of the pack teams has been that they can play 1 half of great football and have the lead after the half or comeback and win but haven’t been able to put a whole game together. These 2 teams have that issue. This is really the matchup of 2 quarterbacks. One is viewed as elite (Ryan) and the other has his fan base crumbling belief in him that he can bring home a deep playoff run (Cutler). Look for the Falcons to start off quick, since Ryan plays his best football in the first quarter (78% completion percentage lifetime) and Cutler doesn’t really get going until the 3rd quarter, where he has his best completion percentage lifetime (63%). You also can’t ignore Matty’s home record of 40-10 in his career, including this years home games and 20-5 following a loss. It will be a tough one for the Falcons but the Bears are reeling as well and have to try and recover from the current 2 game skid on the road in a tough venue, the Georgia Dome. I would take the Falcons however, to win with the points and in the Over. Falcons 31-24
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Titans -4.5. O/U: 42.5:
The line history on this game tells you a lot about how unsure Vegas is with this game. They want to say that they think the Jags will get their first win against another terrible team but Bortles has thrown 2 picks each game he’s played. For it to swing from -7 to -4 to -4.5 back to -4 for the Titans, while not adjusting due to a star player being injured, just shows that they may be making this bet look too wild for many to bet on. That is probably because they want to favor the home team (Titans) but think the Jags can pull off a win especially covering the spread if it’s reasonable. That being said, neither team has played well, but Bortles seems to be coming around slowly (minus the 2 picks he seems to throw every game). He was able to hook up with 9 different receivers which shows that he is still trying to find someone to groove with and mesh with as his go to guy. The defense however, has picked it up. They only allowed the Steelers to score 17 points, recorded 4 sacks, held them on 8/16 3rd downs, and the tandem of Poslusny/Cyprien accounted for 23 tackles and a sack, 34% of the teams 67 tackles. Their main issue is the non existent run game. The Titans, outside of their week oem win, has been horrible. Last week they seemed to pick it up offensively but Locker left the game and didn’t return in the 2nd quarter. The Titans scored all of their 28 points in the first half and lead by 25 at one point, probably the best half they’ve played all year. But them game isn’t won by the half and the Browns made the necessary adjustments to come from behind and win it. Look, the Titans probably will have Whitehurst in and half allowed on average, 32 points per game. That’s a ton of points and I think the Jags can pull out at least 14 and hold the Titans with their beastly defense. Take the Jags to win with the points and take the Under. Jags 21-20.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Ravens -3.5. O/U: 43.5:
Well the Buccs seem to have turned the ship in the right direction with the QB change. Not many people thought they’d keep it close in the Superdome against the Saints, me included. They kept a bunch of drives going with their 20 first downs while they caused 3 Saints turnovers, all Drew Bree’s INT’s. Some quick fixes are needed for them to win games like converting on 3rd down (just 3/9 or 33% last week), 15 penalties for 113 yards, which is an unreal figure and probably took away their win right there and having 10:30 minutes time of possession LESS than the Saints. Fixing that and Vincent Jackson having another amazing game like last week (4 rec – 144 yards) will keep them in close games like this last week. The Ravens did a lot of things that can win you football games last week like causing 4 turnovers, averaging 6 yards per carry, and having a punter do work averaging 48.4 yards per punt on 5 punts. But they really shot themselves in the foot by their own turnovers (2 fumbles lost and a pick), allowing Indy to keep the ball for a crazy 38:43, and only completing 1/3 4th down attempts because they could only muster up completing 1/11 3rd down attempts. That’s just pitiful! Flacco has to play better (22/38, 58%, 235 yards, 0 TD’s/1 INT), and they need to run it more to control the clock better. They had 2 running backs with just 10 carries but rattled off 72 yards and a score (Forsett 6-42 & TD, Pierce 4-30). The line has to be better though for Flacco, giving up 4 sacks for a total of 38 yards doesn’t help either. They are 3-2 and need to turn it around which they do against the Buccs but it will be a tougher game than some will imagine. Take the Ravens to win and cover the spread but barely and in the Under. Ravens 21-17.
Denver Broncos vs. New York Jets,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Broncos -10 O/U: 47.5:
Geno’s time in New York is on a rocky patch but when Vick came in (which the fans were calling for), they were probably wishing Geno was back in. Not good for Rex Ryan if he can’t find a QB to win games. Geno probably shouldn’t have been started all of last year but Sanchez was injured and on the rocks with his play as well at the time but you want a guy in there that gives you the best chance to win. Mistakes and inconsistency will result in another benching, can he stand up the pressure that is the Broncos and keep up with the scoring? I tell you what, 11 first downs and being 1/12 on 3rd downs aren’t going to cut it, ever! Would you put your money on that? Maybe their defense but they won’t withstand 60 minutes of Peyton. Denver’s defense even made an appearance last week, holding the Cardinals to just 9 first downs, 3/16 on 3rd downs and only allowed 215 total yards! The offense was pretty amazing as usual, holding the ball for over 35 minutes, 568 total yards, and 24 first downs. Peyton alone threw for 31/47 (66%) 479 4 TD’s but also 2 picks, but anytime Peyton has a game like this, expect the scoring to be plentiful and the blowout to be on. They didn’t need to run much but when they did, they averaged 3.3 per run with 3 different carriers averaging 4 yards or more. D-Thomas had a blazing game as well, 8 catches for 226 (28.2) and 2 scores, with his compliment Emmanuel Sanders catching 7 for 101 (14.4) and Julius Thomas hauling in 6 for 66 (11.0) and the other 2 scores, just an outstanding receiving core that are on fire and give Peyton so many options to choose from and by the way, you didn’t see Welker on there who caught 7 for 58 yards. 3 receivers over 6 catches and 50 yards each! Wrapping your mind around that is hard because it’s unheard of. The line on this game opened in some places at 5 or 6 went to as high as 10.5 to 10 to 9.5 back to 10. Those swings just tell you to stay away from games that throw a game around like that. The Sharps don’t know what to make of the Jets since they were shutout last week 31-0 and the offense just laid down. However, this is the 3rd best pass offense in the league going against the worst pass defense in the league. Take the Broncos to win, to cover and to score at least 35 to help this one score in the Over. It will be a blow out. Broncos 38-20.
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Vikings –2.5. O/U: 43:
This is a tough one because Teddy Bridgewater is back and this will be a first look for the Lions at him. The last time the Vikes were at home with Teddy at the helm, it was an upset over the Falcons. The running game for the Vikes can do damage but they are going against one of the better run games in the league (3rd) and a pretty decent pass defense (6th). The Lions seem to be very different on the road but against the Vikings in 8 career games, Stafford has one of his better TD/INT ratios and completes about 64% of his passes against them. The big question is how will he do without Calvin Johnson in the lineup. He was listed as doubtful with his week 5 ankle injury and is expected to miss this game. That opens the door for opportunity for Teddy. I think he puts a double threat on the Lions that they haven’t really faced this year and being fresh from sitting out last week will help. They will pound the ball on the ground but not as effective as previous games and will make it a game. Having just a 2.5 point line helps me make up my mind on this one. If you got the line earlier in the week, the Lions were giving up about 1.5 points but with Johnson most likely sitting, that line flip flops so I hope you locked it in when the Vikes were 1.5 point dogs. I still think they win at home and cover the -2.5 point spread but in the Under. Vikings 20-17.
New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Patriots -2.5. O/U: 44.5:
The Pats line is still recovering from injuries and they are wondering who will be snapping Brady the ball. The hardest thing to do is handle the ball in between players especially snapping the ball with QB and new center. I’m sure there was extra practice all week on it but I’m going to say that the over/under on snapping blunders will be over 1. The Bills have re-found their confidence under the helm of Kyle Orton. He’s been able to give the Bills a consistent passing game like they haven’t seen with EJ Manuel. Orton has a 69.8 completion percentage and going against the 3rd best pass defense in the league, it will be tough but if anything, count him in for being consistent. He’s looked for a starting opportunity which is what brought him out of retirement and he’s got his chance and will continue to make the most of it this week against bitter rivals (bitter due to being 2-10 last 12 home games against the Pats). Sammy Watkins looked good last week with 7 catches for 84 yards. He will score a TD this week against the Pats, the Bills will be keeping this one close because they really want to beat Tom Brady. The Bills are 2nd best in the league against the run; the Pats are 14th in the run offense. Tom will get hit and pressured. Take the Bills to cover the points and to win given that this is probably their best opportunity to pull off a win against the Pats in the last decade. This game will score in the Over. Bills 24-21.
Carolina Panthers vs. Cincinnati Bengals,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Bengals -7. O/U: 43.5:
The Bengals have covered 11 straight home games ATS by an average of 12 points! AJ Green was a last minute scratch but I’ll stick to my guns since the line hasn’t moved. Take the Bengals to win but giving up a TD to Cam is too much so take the Panthers to cover in the Over. Bengals 27-24.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Browns -1. O/U: 47:
Close game as far as points but the Browns want revenge from the week 1 thrilling loss. Take the Browns to win at home with the -1 point and to score in the Under. Browns 24-21.
Green Bay Packers vs. Miami Dolphins,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Packers -2.5. O/U: 49:
Experts are saying the heat in Miami may make a difference in this one and if your betting on the heat helping the Dolphins and not betting on the Dolphins to try and win, then you need to rethink your betting strategies. Packers take this one easily over a weak Fins team and big. Take the Pack -2.5, it may even move to 2 before kickoff and to score in the Under. Packer 28-20.
San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders,
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chargers -7. O/U: 43.5:
Chargers will be too strong, I don’t like taking TD spreads but the Raiders are baaaad. Chargers 31-17.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Seahawks -8.5. O/U: 47:
Cowboys are not getting any credit in this one with an +8.5 underdog spread! That’s nuts. Romo is back, the line is doing a great job and they will keep it close in the always tough Seattle. I was close to calling an upset alert but you can’t go against the 12th man. Take the Seahawks to win but the ‘Boys to cover the +8.5 point spread in the Over. Seahawks 31-24.
Washington Redskins vs. Arizona Cardinals,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Cardinals -5 O/U: 45.5:
The Redskins will bounce back this week. They actually kept the game with Seattle last week within range. the Cardinals got beat up a bit by the Broncos last week and the Redskins D will keep pressure on Stanton. Take the Redskins to win with the points as well +5, and in the Under. Redskins 24-20.
New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles,
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Eagles -2.5. O/U: 50.5:
Eagles offense isn’t what it was last year. They are getting outscored and seem to only really play 1 half of football. The Giants have gotten much better since their first 2 weeks. This will be a good one. Still, 4-1 is 4-1, the Eagles seem to find a way to win and at home in prime time, take the Eagles to win and cover the -2.5 spread and to score in the Over. Eagles 30-27.
Colin Cowherd made his picks Friday and doesn’t like one of them and these are his lines:
Bears +3, Bengals -6.5, Giants +3, Dolphins +3.5, Chargers -7 (he doesn’t like the Chargers game). The Sharps disagreed with the Bengals and Chargers picks.
Good betting everyone.