Thursday Night Throwdown

This division has been a complete surprise full of injuries and unexpected winners.  The Eagles have been a huge surprise as well as the Redskins for that matter.  With the injuries to the Cowboys, expect them to fall from grace until about week 8 when they get some key starters back.  For now, enjoy the power struggle of the NFC East.

Washington Redskins @ New York Giants,
8:25 p.m., TV: CBS/NFLN, LINE: Giants -4, O/U: 45:
Since the air game isn’t so consistent for the Skins, the ground game has been a pleasant surprise.  Morris in week one and now Matt Jones last week going over 100 yards.  Last week, Cousins was actually consistent and didn’t turn the ball over.  He has games like that from time to time.  Eli last week hit OBJ big last week for huge yardage and a score but is bound to be inconsistent but you’ll never know when the “cable” version of Eli shows up.  These two teams played decent against good defenses last week so expect this one to be close and low scoring. My Pick: Giants 21-20.

Monday Night Mashup

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts,
8:30 p.m., TV: ESPN, LINE: Colts -7, O/U: 46:
The Colts came out flat last week against the Bills and came away with a lot of questions in the rushing game.  Not one running back ran for more than 35 yards, and Luck turned the ball over as many times as he put it in the end zone.  Tyrod Taylor turned out to be pretty good and didn’t fold under the pressure of playing Luck.  The Jets on the other hand came away with a win under Fitzpatrick, who finds himself in another organization who can’t get their act together.  It also helps that his rushing game stepped up and took some of the load.  It also helps that a fresh but unexperienced Manziel had to take over the Browns offense.  The Colts defense couldn’t stop Taylor, don’t think they’ll stop the vet Fitzpatrick plus the Jets actually have a running game to use.  The Jets will keep it close but Luck puts together a decent game at home. My Pick: Colts 27-24.

Week 2 NFL Picks

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills,
1 p.m., TV: CBS, LINE: Bills +1.5, O/U: 45:
The Patriots came into week one with questions at quarterback until the courts overturned his 4 game suspension. Tom put on a clinic and absolutely made the NFL eat some sour grapes with his play and yes there was even radiogate. McCoy is expected to play given his hamstring issue but wasn’t very effective carrying the ball in week 1 but is still a viable option for Taylor in the pass game. The Bills have a stingy looking defense against a very good Andre Luck and the Colts. Bills win this one despite Gronk having a big game. My Pick: Bills 21-20.

Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers,
1 p.m., TV: CBS, LINE: Panthers -3, O/U: 41:
Houston couldn’t stop a thing last week against the Chiefs. With a stacked defensive line, Alex Smith should’ve been under tons of pressure and it should’ve been closer and yes, they were predicted to win. Hoyer didn’t have a great game and now Mallett is under center. He has a strong arm with a lot of talent but his downfall is never living up to his potential. With a shot in Houston and not sitting behind Brady, maybe it’ll liven up the kid. Kuechly is out with a concussion from last weeks game against the Jags but with him out, the Panthers still stuffed the Jags. Mallett seemed to get the offense going last week almost making a comeback. The Panthers didn’t have a whole lot of options in the air game but Stewart looked like his old/healthy self with a huge game given the low expectations. My Pick: Texans 24-20.

Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears,
1 p.m., TV: FOX, LINE: Bears +2.5, O/U: 46:
Palmer tore up a Saints secondary that was suspect going into the game. The Bears also got lit up by a fantastic looking Packers air game. Ellington may be out but that air game will be as strong as ever. The Bears put up a good fight against Green Bay at home but with Cutler making mistakes and even late in the game when he needs to be at his best, it gives the Bears a disadvantage where they don’t need it. Where they make up for it is Forte however, he’s not the guy who has the ball in his hands every play to make better decisions. My Pick: Cardinals -2.5.

San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals,
1 p.m., TV: CBS, LINE: Bengals -3.5, O/U: 48:
The Bengals have been unreal at home and another monster on the road and especially ugly late in the seasons. Keenan Allen had a career game last week with a missing Antonio Gates. Tyler Eifert also had a career game in last week’s matchup against the Raiders. With these two offenses on point to start the season off right, the defenses won’t have a chance to keep the end zone clear of celebrations. I’m just surprised there isn’t a side bet for Adam “Pacman” Jones getting into trouble again, seeing that he had a fit of rage last week that costed him some good cabbage. My Pick: Bengals 31-24.

Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns,
1 p.m., TV: CBS, LINE: Browns +1.5, O/U: 41:
Mariota looked like a seasoned vet last week torching the Buccs secondary for 4 scores. This week also marks the first career start for Johnny Manziel who looked good at times and bad at other times. This is also the second week in a row 2 Heisman wining quarterbacks will be facing each other. Last week it was the last 2 years winners and this week is the winner from 3 years ago versus last year’s winner. Mariota has workable weapons, Manziel doesn’t. My Pick: Titans 22-20.

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings,
1 p.m., TV: FOX, LINE: Vikings -3, O/U: 44.5:
The Vikings did not look good at all last week but in the new home they turn it around. They didn’t feed Adrian Peterson the rock like they should’ve but that changes today. Teddy is still young and doesn’t have the control of the team like a vet can. The Lions offense has always been decent and Ebron looked to have a good start to his sophomore bid. My Pick: Lions 20-17.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints,
1 p.m., TV: FOX, LINE: Saints -10, O/U: 47:
Division rivalries are always good games but Winston seemed to be exposed by a not that great Titans defense. Saints secondary got torched by a healthy Carson Palmer but recoup against a raw Winston. Brees looked like himself and on the road even. Look for him to explode at home and expose the Buccs again and then some. My Pick: Saints 35-17

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants,
1 p.m., TV: FOX LINE: Giants -2, O/U: 49:
The Giants looked pretty resilient last week in Dallas and nearly won the game but gave it up late. Eli looked like typical Eli and look for that to continue against a Falcons team that gave the Eagles fits early last week and even beat them. The Falcons can be iffy on the road in outdoors games and the Giants aren’t favored that much but the offense didn’t look great. My Pick: Falcons 23-17.

San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers,
1 p.m., TV: FOX, LINE: Steelers -6, O/U: 46:
The 49ers came out of the gates with a nice upset win. The defense put together a great game against an offense that was poised to do great things given the momentum coming off of last season. Big Ben and the Steelers had some lapses in judgement when covering Gronk last week but with over a week to prepare and seeing what things did work for the 49ers and their run game, they have a big game and really show us who the 9ers are. My Pick: Steelers 33-14.

St. Louis Rams at Washington Redskins,
1 p.m., TV: FOX, LINE: Redskins +4, O/U: 41:
The Rams came out and had decent expectations going into the Seahawks game last week and nearly lost it but fended them off for a huge upset win. They always play tough defense at home but have never had a consistent starter behind center. Now that Foles is in town, the guy gives a great deep ball threat and the Redskins have been a dumpster fire for years but the defense can stop drives but if the offense can’t get anything going, it’ll wear them out and open them up. My Pick: Rams 31-19

Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars,
4:05 p.m., TV: CBS, LINE: Jaguars +6.5, O/U: 42:
The Dolphins enjoyed a nice win last week against the Skins but this week against the Jags could prove to be a tougher play, defensively anyways. The Jags usually have a decent defense but still allowed the Panthers to score 20 without a whole lot of offensive weapons. The Jags will hold the Dolphins buy not enough due to the offense being stuffed by a much improved Fins defensive front. My Pick: Dolphins 24-14.

Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders,
4:05 p.m., TV: CBS, LINE: Raiders +6, O/U: 42:
What to make of the Ravens. They had a hard time getting anything going on offense last week agains the Broncos but the defense looked really good and even after losing Suggs for the year after tearing his Achilles. The Raiders got off to an ok start but after Carr left the game with a hand injury, all hope went out the door. With Carr back this week, some of that hope is back. This will be another low scoring affair but with the better team coming out on top. Don’t be surprised if the Raiders keep it close however. My Pick: Ravens 20-17.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles,
4:25 p.m., TV: FOX, LINE: Eagles -7, O/U: 54.5:
The Eagles might’ve started slow but finished big last week against the Falcons last week. The Falcons still took them to the woodshed long enough to get the win but give the Eagles a few extra minutes last week and they would’ve pulled it out. The defense still got blown out of the water in the air game even with Maxwell as a new edition. The Falcons still had some big time targets to throw to but the Cowboys don’t have Dez in the lineup. They do however have good depth of trustworthy receivers that can step up and contribute. 7 is a pretty big spread for these two to go at it. My Pick: Eagles 30-25.

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers,
8:30 p.m., TV: NBC, LINE: Packers +3.5, O/U: 50:
The Seahawks have lost some key members on their defense especially since one of them is by their own doings, not figuring out the Chancellor thing yet. The Packers are unreal at home, always count on them to ride high with Rodgers behind center. The Packers had a 12 point lead in the NFC Championship game in Green Bay last year. They let that game slip away and the Hawks pulled off some kind of miracle. That doesn’t sit well with Green Bay who haven’t beat them since 2010, 5 matchups ago. Rodgers will be out for blood and with James Jones filling in for Jordy Nelson in the best possible way last week, that’s going to make them that much more dangerous this year. The Seahawks put together a decent offensive performance in a tough road matchup against the Rams last week. They normally don’t score like that on the road and to be up in tough Green Bay, they won’t duplicate over 30 points but Jimmy Graham helps. My Pick: Packers 31-26.

Thursday Night Throwdown

Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs,
8:25 p.m., TV: CBS/NFLN, LINE: Chiefs -3, O/U: 42.5:

Last week was a bit of a shock seeing Manning struggle.  A lot of off season reports stated his arm was strong and he looked great.  Well, Sunday, not so much.  Reports of no zip being on the ball, ducks being thrown and the deep ball lacking posses questions about Denver’s passing game.  The league is now turning to a shorter passing game, screens and slot receivers are the ones making more catches for more yards.  Does this help Manning through this year, with Sanders, yes.  The defense looked good at least, keeping them in the game last week but the offense sputtered and it scares people.  The Chiefs on the other hand looked amazing and against Yet the wide receivers are still without a TD.  Andy Reid will use Kelce to disrupt the Broncos secondary, creating huge mismatches.  My pick: Chiefs 27-20.

Monday Night Mashup: Eagles @ Falcons & Vikings @ 49ers

Monday night football is back, here’s a rundown of the Eagles and Falcons game.

Philadelphia Eagles vs Atlanta Falcons,
TV: ESPN @ 7:10 p.m.; LINE: Falcons +3.5 O/U 56:

Sam Bradford finally can get things started in Philly. The fans have been clamoring about the hopes all offseason long and get a great chance at a good start against the Falcons in Atlanta. Atlanta hasn’t really had the hottest of defenses in recent years, this year seems to be no exception. The offense is usually there with a great air attack with Jones and White on the outside but the running game has been suspect. Two young backs are looking to change that, second year back Freeman and rookie Coleman look to complement each other and share reps in the backfield to give another dimension to an already potent offense. The masterful Chip Kelly will once again look to make some magic with his fourth starting quarterback in 3 years. He’s been able to squeeze out great season no matter the man behind center, but with an actual number one guy who is healthy and has tons of experience, the sky is the limit. It also helps to have the 3 headed back of Murray, Sproles and Matthews in the backfield. Young guns like Agholor, Matthews and Huff look to be the future of the air attack for Bradford. Chip also revamped the defense with Alonso and Maxwell, so look for that side of the ball to improve as well. This one will be a shoot out! My Pick: Eagles 38-28.

Minnesota Vikings vs San Francisco 49ers,
TV: ESPN @ 10:20 p.m.; LINE: 49ers +3 O/U 43:

New coach, tons of missing starters on defense and offense from a year ago make this one hard to evaluate. You can’t really see a sense of a teams losses in the preseason since most of the first team doesn’t play with each other and if they do it’s only for about a series or quarter at most. There just isn’t always enough time to establish rhythm in a meaningless game. They do have some studs in the backfield who proved they can replace Gore but Kaepernick hasn’t proven he’s worth the big contract the 49ers gave him. On the other hand, the Vikings were without their franchise guy in Peterson for the last 15 games of last season. Good or bad thing? Has it slowed him down or rested him immensely? A talent like Peterson only gets better with rest and doesn’t rust up like the tin man. He’s out to prove himself to everyone that he still has it and that he stuck around Minnesota and didn’t jet to Dallas for a reason. Peterson’s absence also gave Bridgewater more reign over the offense and really shinned late in the season on his way to winning rookie of the year in the NFC. Peterson will garnish about 25-28 carries and if Kaep struggles look for the same if not a few more touches for Carlos Hyde and Reggie Bush, which all in all will slow the pace and scoring of this game. In all, the loss of Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and Chris Borland will be too many losses to stop a rising offense in the Vikes. It’s always a bad sign when your defense from a year ago was ranked in the top 5 among the NFL to outside the top 12 in most preseason rankings in the next year, that’s no coincidence folks. Not to mention a lot of new pieces on the offensive side of the ball will more than likely contribute to more struggles for Kaep. Look forward to a new era of Vikings football in 2015 along with their new crib. My Pick: Vikings 21-17

Week 1 – Sunday Roundtable with Colin Cowhed’s Blazing 5

Week one, Sunday regular season action is upon us.  Here are my predictions and Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5 picks.  Good luck to all!

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Bills +3 O/U: 45
Rex Ryan’s new era in Buffalo begins with Tyrod Taylor as his starter, unfortunately it’s against a tough Colts team lead by the miraculous Andrew Luck. Buffalo’s defense will make it tough on Luck but Taylor won’t get anything going on offense for the Bills. Pick: Colts 27-17

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears,
TV: 1 p.m., FOX. LINE: Bears -7 O/U: 49
No Jordy Nelson, no problem. Green Bay has had depth at receiver for years with the next best guy always stepping up. James Jones was recently signed to add security to the position for the season, back with his favorite elite quarterback in a very familiar offense. Pack don’t miss a step in Chicago but the spread is almost too great for this division rivalry. Pick: Packers 31-21

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans,
TV: 1 p.m., CBS. LINE: Texans +1 O/U: 41
Adding Maclin to the receiving corps will help Alex Smith get some touchdowns to the receivers this year, but the Texans defense is back with two of the biggest defensive ends in the game with Clowney being healthy again. The Texans will be without Foster for this game so look to see the back field platooning. Defense wins the day and the Texans are a home dog so take them. Pick: Texans 17-14

Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars,
TV: 1 p.m., FOX. LINE: Jags +3 O/U: 40.5
An intriguing matchup with the Jags toughening defense and the lackluster, nearly weaponless Panthers offense. I am surprised the line isn’t closer to a pick’em given that Bortles started to settle in as an NFL starter late last year. He’s got a plethora of young talent at receiver and with TJ as the new addition to the back field, look for the Jags to set a winning building block this year. Cam tries to do it all in this game which will be dangerous. It’ll be close but Cam can’t get the ball to enough guys to make up for missing Benjamin. Pick: Jags 17-16

Cleveland Browns at New York Jets,
TV: 1 p.m., CBS. LINE: Jets -3.5 O/U: 38.5
The Browns have been piecing together a team for years with no real direction. The defense always seemed to be the lone standout and kept them in a few games but the lack of offense proved to be its main weakness. With the Jets defense always being solid, now adding a sure star in Marshall on the outside as a main target, the Jets will try to move on from Geno slowly and find a winner at QB in Fitzpatrick who can win and keep mistakes to a minimum. No cannon but can give Marshall a big year. Pick: Jets 14-12

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams,
TV: 1 p.m., FOX. LINE: Rams +4 O/U: 41.5
These two always seem to give each other fits and Seattle has never been stellar on the road. The Rams always give good teams trouble on the defensive side but with Foles as their new guy behind center, it may rejuvenate the franchise who were at the mercy of Sam Bradford and his knees. Expect bigger things from the Rams this year but Foles hasn’t faced a defense like this yet and had an average year compared to his first with Chip Kelly in Philly. Pick: Seahawks 20-17

Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins,
TV: 1 p.m., CBS. LINE: Redskins +5 O/U: 45.5
The Dolphins anchored their man behind center with a nice new fat contract but now come the expectations. The Dolphins aren’t just going to rely on Tannehill as they added a stud at defensive tackle in Suh. Adding him will make the front defensive line that much tougher. Dolphins go from mediocre to playoff contenders this year. The Redskins have been in a tailspin again this offseason with more RGIII talk. With Cousins starting, they’re offense will have less distraction with injuries and off the field comments but Cousins isn’t their guy and the Redskins should’ve traded him when his value was very high 2 years ago. It must hurt being a home dog by more than a field goal but it’s for good reason. Pick: Fins 31-17

New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals,
TV: 4:05 p.m., FOX. LINE: Cards -2.5 O/U: 48
Jimmy Graham is no longer the main, attractive weapon in Who Dat nation. Brandin Cooks is now the young outstanding weapon opposite Colston that will keep the passing game thriving but still not as hot as it has been in years past. Brees took a bit of a hit in yardage however will still have more than 4,000 yards. The Cards have Palmer back and healthy. With the addition of Chris Johnson and some other young backs platooning in, the Cards could have a moderately successful season if most of the main offensive pieces stay healthy. This game is in doors which is both teams bread and butter. Look for it to be close like the line states but the Cards hold on. Pick: Cards 27-24

Detroit Lions at San Diego Chargers,
TV: 4:05 p.m., FOX. LINE: Chargers -3.5 O/U: 46
The Chargers open up at home without their start tight end Gates in the lineup. No more Matthews in the backfield will prove to shortchange the Chargers in the redzone. However the lack off redzone threats for the Chargers, the Lions are without Suh on their defensive front. That will considerably change the dynamic of their pass rush. Nonetheless, both teams still have the ability to air it out. Pick: Chargers 24-21

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos,
TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS. LINE: Broncos -5 O/U: 47
With new offensive minds for the Broncos and an aging legend who still deals with numbness in his throwing hand, look for the Broncos to tone it down a bit in the air game, especially without Julius Thomas now with the Jags. The running game isn’t a sure bet to take over the offense but the days of 45-50 TD’s in the passing game are over for Manning. The Ravens on the other hand found a gem last year in Forsett. Coupled with the strong armed Flacco and Steve Smith threat, the Ravens are poised to have a good year. Pick: Broncos 27-24

Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders,
TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS. LINE: Raiders +3 O/U: 43
The Raiders all around looked pretty good this off season. Defensively sound and Carr is developing nicely for them. The Bengals are going to put up their typical average season, good start, horrible finish. Teams are now on to Andy Daulton and once under substantial pressure, he will turn the ball over. Look for the Bengals to go to the run game more this year than in the past to limit picks. Pick: Raiders 21-17

Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers,
TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS. LINE: Buccs -3 O/U: 41
The rookie quarterback matchup, Winston and Mariota is what we’ve all been waiting to see. Who made out better. This will show which quarterback was better prepared for their inaugural season. That being said, Winston was drafted into a much better offensive situation than Mariota. With Evans and Jackson on the outside Jenkins at tight end, and Martin/Sims combo in the backfield, the Buccs are going to be riding high this year if Winston can settle into the offense at full pace. Mariota has a little more work to do with the lack of weapons compared to Winston but he is a great game manager and doesn’t make errors often. Pick: Buccs 27-21

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys,
TV: 8:30 p.m., NBC. LINE: Cowboys -7 O/U: 52.5
Another early divisional matchup pits the revamped Giants offense with Cruz back, the Giants are poised to have a pretty successful air attack again this year. The Cowboys are without their leading rusher in Murray, jetting to another divisional rival, the Eagles, but landed Run DMC formerly of the Raiders. He hasn’t been all that cracked up to be since he was drafted but a new place, new team, new O-line might bring some spark out of him. Still, Romo, Dez and Witten are a tough combo in itself to handle. Pick: Cowboys 30-27

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5 Picks:
Jaguars (+3) 23-20
Ravens (+5) 27-26
Packers (-7) 34-20
Rams (+4.5) 27-26
Giants (+6) 28-26

NFL Week 1 – Thursday Night Throwdown

Back for the 2015 season. It’s been another long offseason with many news topics that have been discussed and there’s usually one that beats the dead horse and this year it involves the high profiled QB Tom Brady and “deflategate”. Well, it all turned out to be much to do about nothing and his 4 game suspension was over-ruled to which he will be starting the season opener tonight. The Steelers have also had some issues with star players getting into trouble but the suspensions actually sticking, seeing Martavis Bryant out with a 4 game suspension as well as Le’Veon Bell’s 2 games, who coincidentally was with former teammate, now Patriot, LeGarrette Blount, who is also dealing with a suspension of his own.

Nevertheless, the season is upon us, let football begin!

New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, TV: NBC @ 8:30 p.m.; LINE: Patriots -7.5, O/U 52:

Both teams are dealing with key injuries and suspensions, luckily for the Pats, Brady avoided his. Now with all eyes, ears and hands all over the Patriots, this will be a huge kickoff (highly rated) for the NFL with all of the surrounding controversy and attention that the Pats have found themselves in this year already. Brady will be ever prepared, as he always is but don’t look for this one to be a high scoring contest. The light rain they are having will start the game off slow and these two defenses aren’t half bad either. Yes, Wilfork is gone and is now pretending to be a kicker during practices with the Texans but the defensive front will still be strong. Troy Polamalu is now retired after acknowledging losing some steps in his game over the last few years. This defense in some ways is younger now so look for them to play refreshed but don’t be surprised with some mistakes sprinkled in. With the new extra point rules, it’ll be interesting to see if the coaches use different strategies in this wet affair. Both quarterbacks are great game managers so there will be no rushing anything.  They both know they can’t allow mistakes to happen since the other will capitalize on them.  No underinflated balls will be helping Tom win this one but look for the Steelers to keep it close. Patriots 24-20.

Check back for a preview of Sunday’s picks! Good luck!

Betting lines provided by Bovada