NFL Week 6: Monday Night Football Pick & Prediction

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field, 8:15 PM, ESPN (Packers -3.5, O/U: 46.5)

The Lions are coming off an early bye week in time to head to Green Bay with 2 weeks to prepare for the new look Packers offense. The Lions have been slow out of the gate as they’ve had some tough matchups early on and faired pretty well, especially in the Chiefs game. Even so, they’re middle of the road in most team statistical categories. The Lions defense however has stepped up to the plate this year ranking 10th in points allowed and in the top half of the league in turnovers caused and stingy in the redzone only allowing 8 TD’s in 16 trips (50%). Stafford has protected the ball well early and has looked fairly sharp (62.4% completions, 1,122 yards, 9TD’s and only 2 picks. Stafford’s line has done well protecting him as well, better than in years past as he’s only been sacked 7 times and has been able to conduct 2 4th quarter comebacks with 1 game winning drive in his 4 games. They need to get Kerryon Johnson going however as he’s only rushed for 264 yards, averaging 3.4 yards per carry and only 1 rushing TD.

The Packers are coming off another emotional win in Dallas as they move back home for a divisional rival game against an always tough Lions team who have had the better of the Pack in recent years. The Packers have quietly kept in the top half of the league on offense and only recently picked up the rushing game with the explosive performance given by Aaron Jones last week that culminated in 4 TD’s. The one aspect that the Packers have been killing teams is their redzone conversions. They rank 6th with 13 TD’s on 19 trips (68.4%). Rodgers is shockingly outside of the top 10 in passing due to a slow start and having an actual rushing game to utilize more. He’s protective as always with the ball with a 6TD to 1 pick ratio. Aaron Jones may only be averaging 60 yards a game but he’s making the most of his carries averaging 4 yards per carry and more than a 4th of them gaining key first downs but the shocking stat is his league leading 8 TD’s. Davante Adams is supposedly out a few weeks with a turf toe injury so that means more opportunities coming to the rest of the receiver depth like Valdes-Scantling, Allison, Graham, Lewis. The defense bounced back after a disappointing loss to the Eagles who took Green Bay’s rush defense to the woodshed in front of their own fans. It hasn’t negated the fact that they are still a top 10 defense. They are tied for 3rd in the league with 11 turnovers (7 off picks), and top 10 in sacks with 15.

Packers home field advantage is unlike 99% of the league where Vegas gives them a 4 point advantage instead of the traditional 3. Take the Packers to cover in the over, Packers 27-23.

NFL Week 4:Thursday Night Football Pick & Prediction

Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field, 8:20 PM, FOX/NFLN (Packers -4, O/U: 47.5)

The Eagles are coming off of a tough loss at home against the Lions where they had a second dropped pass that could’ve lead to a win (first happened in week 2 at Atlanta).  Alshon Jeffery is back in the lineup tonight after missing last week and most of the Falcons game, coming out early in the first quarter with a calf injury. Nelson Agholor was looked at often in Jeffery’s absence, seeing about a dozen targets the last few weeks and hauling in 3 scores.  They’ll expect him to continue to contribute, but hopefully with less drops.  The defense is lacking however and will be without Ronald Darby which will hurt the secondary even more as they’re ranked 29th in pass yards allowed.  Wentz by the numbers: 2019, 61 completion %, 803 yards, 6 TD’s and 2 INT’s.  He’s a career 2.5:1 TD to INT ratio and on Thursday nights he’s 3-0 with 61 completion % with 7 TD’s and 1 INT and a 104.5 QB rating.  His road numbers however are 8-13 with a 1.78:1 TD to INT ratio.

The Rodgers led Packers isn’t hyped by a high flying offense this year even though they woke up a bit last week.  The defense is showing off with having the 2nd best defense in points allowed with just 35.  They recorded 12 sacks and 6 turnovers in the first 3 weeks.  The Packers at home on Thursday nights since 2012 are 4-0 and won each game by at least 13 points (2012 v Bears 23-10, 2014 v Vikings 42-10, 2016 v Bears 26-10 & 2017 v Bears 35-14). Rodgers by the numbers: 2019: 61 completion %, 647 yards, 4 TD’s and 0 INT’s.  Over his career he’s just over 4:1 TD to INT ratio.  Thursday nights he’s 9-4 with a 67 completion %, a 6.75:1 TD to INT ratio and a 106 QB Rating.  At home he has a 66 completion % and a 5.57:1 TD to INT ratio and 107.7 QB rating with a record of 66-17-1.

The stats and recent history lean heavily in Green Bay’s favor.  Take the Packers to cover in the over, Packers 31-24.

2019 NFL Kickoff Week 1: Thursday Night Football Spread Pick/Prediction

Welcome to week one of the NFL’s 100th season!  These off-seasons seem to get longer and longer as the years go on but that’s only thanks to the 24/7 NFL news cycle.  It also gave me a long time to think about the very average follow up I had in 2018 (51%) to the successes of my 2017 season (56%).  Don’t worry, I’m refreshed, recharged and packing a big ol’ punch for this season.  There have been many dramatic stories around the league to keep us all busy during the summer that any normal fan would feel worn out before even a minute is played this year already, but there’s always something special about opening day.

From Le’Veon Bell signing with the Jets for less money than he sat out for/demanding from the Steelers, to Antonio Brown’s freezer burnt feet and helmet issues, Ezekiel Elliot and Melvin Gordon pulling the holdout card Bell made so famous, then Zeke signing a huge deal given the very thin market for dynamic backs and the Chargers telling Gordon to forget about signing a massive deal in LA and that he should seek a trade, to the sad retirement of one of the games top quarterbacks, Andrew Luck, just a few weeks before the season starts.  It has been a whirlwind with many changes and new names and faces in new places but we’ve made it.  The time is now and kickoff is here, let’s get after it!

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears, Soldier Field, 8:20 PM, NBC (Bears -3, O/U: 46.5):

We go into the opening day of the 100th year with the most storied rivalry in the league’s history. We got a glimpse of how great it is nearly a year ago when the then newly acquired Khalil Mack dominated the first half of the game and gave the Packers and their fans a scare when he hobbled Rodgers with a few hits and injured his knee.  Rodgers goes into the half, doses up on some major pain killers and comes out and blows up the Bears secondary and their 20 point lead to win 24-23 and then gave a hilarious post game interview, clearly high on pain meds mixed with the high of beating their fiercest division rival.  We will get much of the same tonight but hopefully with less knee torqueing on Rodgers since that plagued him most of last season (I know, I’m a Packers homer).

High Rodgers

This year the Bears are trying to build off of their 12-4, NFC North division champs season last year that catapulted them from a bottom 8 team to a playoff caliber team that ended in the playoffs with the ill fated Cody Parkey “double doink”. Most of the significant changes were the addition of Mack but also the offensive efficiency due to a coaching change.  The Bears would game-plan the scripts of their first few drives of each game pretty well in order to get games off to good starts and for Trubisky to build confidence.  Out of their 43 offensive touchdowns, 24 of them were in the first half (56%).  Their running game has something to prove and will have a challenge with having a younger/unproven backfield in which will more than likely split the workload between 3 different backs, at least at first.

The Packers will come to the season opener with a new coach Matt LaFleur, coaching staff, offense and have a young receiving corps lead by Davante Adams given the deductions over the last two seasons of mainstays Randall Cobb (Dallas Cowboys) and Jordy Nelson (retiring after spending last year in Oakland).  The Packers also discovered a running game in Aaron Jones last year before he was lost to the season with injury.  He is poised to bounce back this year, hopefully giving the Packers a 1,000 yard back again and continue on the TD tear he was on last year where he scored 8 TD’s in 7 games before his injury.  The Packers last 1,000 yard rusher was way back in 2013 and 2014 when Eddie Lacy squeaked over the mark in back to back years (1,178/1,139).  In Rodger’s 11 years as a starter, he’s only had 4 years with a 1,000 yard back.  Lastly, the Packers have invested in their defense through the draft and even picked up former Bear safety, Adrian Amos, in free agency.  It could be the Packers best defense since their Super Bowl win in 2010.

The Packers will catch the Bears off guard with the full playbook of the Packers offense being unveiled in a special rivalry meeting.  I may be a homer here but you also have to look at it as a matchup of QB’s as in, who would you take? Take the Packers to beat the Bears and cover in the over, Packers 27-20.

Week 9: Monday Night Football

You live and die by half points.  Yesterday, I died by one.  The Titans were a half point away from making yesterday a little better.  But hey, check out that Colts game!  Tom Savage didn’t look good early on this season and he didn’t look any better yesterday.  Two shocks yesterday was how exploited the Broncos defense was and that the Jaguars played so well without Leonard Fournette.  Tough one tonight, lets look at it:

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers, 8:30p (Packers +2, O/U: 42.5)

Detroit comes into this game with one of the worst yards per play in the league and the Packers have to try and rekindle their offense in the wake of Aaron Rodger’s injury.  Brett Hundley had 2 weeks to better understand the offense and get into rhythm with the first team offense.  The Lions have had their usual passing game but they haven’t had a 100 yard rusher since Reggie Bush was in town in 2013 and have only one once in Green Bay since 1992 and it came at the hands of Matthew Stafford in 2013.  Aaron Jones has been a surprise diamond in the rough find for Green Bay, who has been struggling to find consistency in the backfield for years.  I still like Green Bay getting +2 at home against an offense that can’t put the ball in the endzone inside the opponents redzone.  This game either puts me at 50% or 58% so it’s important that I dig down deep on this one.  Take the Packers to cover in the over, Packers 24-21.