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.

 

Week 6: Monday Night Football & Analysis

Well, we’ve come down to the end of week 6 and yet another bounce back week for me.  Tonight’s game will either cap me at 57% winners or 64% winners, either way, you should’ve made some money.

I don’t know what is going on in this league lately, maybe it’s the injuries, maybe it’s that some of these teams really did their home work in the coaching hires they’ve made and the rookies they’ve drafted but the league is super competitive this year.  18 teams hover at or around (higher/lower) the .500 mark by a game.  Now, you have 6 teams 2 games or more below .500 and 6 teams that are 2 games or more above .500 but it’s rather tight with more than half of the league.  Not to mention, a team like the 49ers have lost every game this year to go 0-6.  That might sound really bad, but take a look at how much they’ve lost by in their last 5 games and you may think differently about them, at Seahawks by 3, at home to the Rams by 2, at Cardinals by 3, at Colts by 3, at Redskins by 2.  That’s a helluva effort by Shanahan and his crew.

With that, lets go to some stats that I came across after breaking down my first 6 weeks of picks and let me tell you, there are some really odd trends.  Through the first 90 games:

ATS O/U ATS O/U
Thursday Night Sunday 1p
5-1 3-3 21-28-1 25-25
83% 50% 43% 50%
Sunday 4p Sunday Night
14-8 14-8 2-4 2-4
61% 61% 33% 33%
Monday Night Primetime
4-1-1 3-2-1 11-6-1 8-9-1
80% 60% 65% 47%
Bookend Nights Overall
9-2-1 6-5-1 46-42-2 47-42-1
82% 55% 52% 53%

There are my overall stats, pretty simplistic breakdown with the added bonus of seeing each set of games throughout the week.  The “Bookend Nights” are the combined record of the Thursday and Monday night games.  Pretty astonishing isn’t it?  I just love to see the trends when you breakdown my basic overall record to see where the strengths and weaknesses are in my picks.  That being said, I had some time to look at this breakdown even further:

Underdog Picks Road Dog Picks Home Dog Picks
22-9-1 71% 15-5-1 75% 7-4 64%
Favorite Picks Road Favorite Picks Home Favorite Picks
24-33-1 42% 8-13-1 38% 16-20 44%
Picks 7+ Points Picks 6.5 – 3 Points Picks 2.5 or Less Pts.
10-12 46% 24-23-2 51% 12-7 63%

As you can see here, I broke down my overall even farther, to the underdog and favorites in each pick as well as with 3 different spread categories.  I apparently LOVE the underdog picks and do very well in deciding on which underdog games will pay dividends.  The one jaw dropper I saw was my record with the road dogs.  75% winners on road dogs!  That’s insane!  Those are games not many bettors take and I’ve already bet on 21 of them, and pretty successfully.  Sadly, not so much on the favorites.  The one thing I’m jealous on is my one good buddies record on the games he picks to bet on with the favorites.  I think it’s obvious that I need to take some notes with him.

I also gave a point spread breakdown because there are games where you sit there, look at the line and go “man, if it was 6.5 instead of 7, I’d take it” among other lines scenarios.  Well, you can now look at my trends using that same thought process.  How successful I’ve been in selecting which spreads I’m better at deciding who’s going to cover.  I was actually shocked since the 2.5 point or less games are so hard to determine given that Vegas thinks the 2 teams at play are fairly equal, or at least that the road dog or road favorite is a bit more dominate even in the other teams house.  Nevertheless, I do pretty well with games that have under a 3 point spread.  But no you might want to know about the road dogs and favorites right?  Look no further:

RDog Picks 7+ Points RDog Picks 6.5-3 Points RDog Picks 2.5 or Less Pts
3-1 75% 8-3-1 73% 4-1 80%
RFav. Picks 7+ Points RFav Picks 6.5-3 Points RFav. Picks 2.5 or Less Pts
0-3 0% 4-6-1 40% 4-4 50%
Dog Picks 7+ Points Dog Picks 6.5-3 Points Dog Picks 2.5 or Less Pts
1-0 100% 3-4 43% 3-0 100%
Fav. Picks 7+ Points Fav Picks 6.5-3 Points Fav. Picks 2.5 or Less Pts
6-8 43% 9-10 47% 1-2 33%

As you saw, I’m a huge fan of the road dog and they help me win a good percentage of my games but I wanted to see what kinds of spreads I bet on them (RDog) with and the outcomes, as well as road favorites (Rfav.), the home dog picks (Dog), and home favorite picks (Fav.).  The numbers speak for themselves, road dog record, no matter what spread you’re getting, if I’m betting a road dog, you should be as well.  Same goes for the home dogs 7+ points and 2.5 points or less.  So far I’m undefeated there.

So there you have it, the complete breakdown of my picks.  You can see my strengths and weaknesses from the first 6 weeks of the season.  I hope to give you updates on these stats at the end of every month going forward.  Now, on to tonight’s Monday Night Football pick:

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans, 8:30p (Titans -7.5, O/U: 48)

So let me get this straight, the Colts who are 2-3, who have a capable quarterback, receivers and running back are 7.5 point road dogs to the Titans who are without their stud rookie receiver and will start their leader, quarterback Marcus Mariota after sitting out a week with a hamstring issue?   Hamstrings are no joke and take some time to heal.  Mariota, even with a good offensive line, is known to scramble and make plays with his legs.  The Colts will look to keep him in the pocket and hit him low or at least wrap him up to the point where he tries to break free and possibly re-aggravate his hamstring injury.  He won’t have much help around him with injuries and DeMarco Murray having a bleak couple of weeks in rushing yards.  Jacoby Brissett has some of the tools that Andrew Luck has in regards to movement.  They both can move well inside and outside of the pocket, it’s the decision making that’s key.  Brissett has 60% completions this year and only 3 INT’s but just a measly 2 TD’s.  He hasn’t looked fantastic in the red zone with his arm but has made things happen with his 3 TD runs.  In the end, both defenses are in the bottom 3rd in the league, the Colts are worse but bad is bad.  I don’t expect this to be a shootout but I do expect the Colts to keep it close.  Take the Titans to win but the Colts to cover as road dogs in the under, 21-17.

Lastly, I want to wish my warmest regards to Aaron Rodgers.  I was devastated to hear about the broken collarbone.  I’m a huge Packer fan and he is our team.  I hope for a speedy recovery, we need ya 12!

 

Week 5: Sunday Games with Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5

The week started off great with a big win.  I know Gronk was listed as out and that changed the line late but given I was finishing up the article, I didn’t hear about his injury until right at kickoff.  Ok, let’s not jinx the good start so far and get to todays picks.

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals, 1p (Bengals -3, O/U: 39.5)

The Bills defense has shown up to play this year.  They got Matty Ice to look average again (which he is) by throwing all kinds of looks at him and rushing hard.  People undersold on the Bills early on but they’ve proven they can beat the best on the road.  The Bengals had a good week, doesn’t mean you should jump back on board but they looked much better.  Daulton can move a little in the pocket but can he stand in there with rushers coming after him and be responsible with the ball?  Take the Bills to win in the Over, 24-21.

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns, 1p (Pickem, O/U: 40)

The Jets are another team that was sold out on early on.  They were picked to go 0-16 by the great Colin Cowherd.  They’re now tied with the Patriots and have a good shot to stay up near the top of the AFC.  They have to get their offense going to do so though.  Their defense has allowed 92 points and their offense has only scored 75.  Being 2-0 at home and 0-2 on the road speaks volumes, they need their fans and the comfort of playing at home to play well.  McCown has completed 70% of his passes but has a 3/3 TD/INT ratio.  Their run game is their strength, 7th in the league.  The Browns defense isn’t the worst but it’s still down there.  They’ve thrown Kizer to the wolves and the poor kid can’t even break free.  51% completions, 3 TD’s to 8 INT’s.  It doesn’t look good for him.  There’s not one bright spot on this team and they’re going to vey for the 1st pick in the draft again and probably squander it again. Take the Jets as a straight up winner in the under, 17-10.

Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions, 1p (Lions -2.5, O/U: 42.5)

The Panthers went into New England and upset the defending Champs.  It was a shocking win and Cam looked like his old self.  It’s been almost a year and a half since we’ve seen him perform like that.  The Lions have had way too many come from behind games in the 4th quarter to my liking and they’ve been exceptionally lucky in those games, coming out better than .500 in wining those games.  When does the luck run out or are they that clutch when they absolutely need a score?  I don’t think the Panthers can pull off another road upset especially given the off the field issues that followed came after a press conference this week that caused a lot of negative buzz.  Take the Lions to cover in the win and in the under (possibly in the 4th quarter?), 20-17.

San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts, 1p (Colts -1.5, O/U: 44.5)

This matchup was initially billed as a snoozer but then Jacoby Brissett has taken over the reigns in Lucks absence and has really looked good.  They’ve had a tough schedule early without Luck and played most of the teams tough but have had their fair share of turnovers that turned into points.  The 49ers also have had a tough schedule to start the season, Panthers, Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals and they’ve lost the last 3 games by a field goal.  The 49ers defense has hung tough, even on then road.  The Colts can run with the better teams if they don’t turn the ball over and have a shot at wins against the bottom 3rd of the league.  This was a toughy but I am going to take the 49ers to win and in the over, 27-24.

Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins, 1p (Dolphins +2.5, O/U: 43)

Mariota will be out with Matt Cassel filling in.  The Dolphins who looked to have fell into a miracle with Cutler coming out of retirement and playing for Adam Gase again, winning their first game, Cutler smiling.  Since, they’ve looked miserable on offense with Ajayi virtually pulling a disappearing act on the stat sheet.  What did it in for me was Cutler on a noticeable run play, Cutler spread wide out to help sell the trick play just stood there, nonchalantly, uninterested in the play.  I guess we’re back to the old Cutler.  The Titans however still have a really good 1-2 punch in the backfield with Murray and Henry.  That will be the key to the game for the Titans, run early and often, and control the clock, keeping the rock out of Ajayi’s hands.  Take the Titans to win and cover in the under, 20-10.

Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants, 1p (Giants -1.5, O/U: 47.5)

The Chargers haven’t looked good at home and actually have shown to not really have a fan base, even seeing other teams fan bases show up more than their own.  The Chargers have been in all of their games this year and that is a continuation of the last year.  They are another team, like the 49ers, who have had 3 of their 4 losses end with a difference of 3 or less points.  Three of their 4 games have been at home so I think the road game across country may give them a change of scenery and spark this team in an odd way.  The Giants started the first 2 games of the year looking absolutely unwatchable.  They had question marks in the backfield and on the offensive line but no one thought it would help generate the product that was shown.  In the last few weeks however, we’ve seen a turn around, losing each of the last 2 on the road by a field goal or less.  They still have those questions but have played better despite the fact.  The Chargers however, have been the better team statistically and both defenses have been keeping their teams in games.  I still would take the Chargers to cover the spread, being given 3, to win in the over, 31-24.

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles, 1p (Eagles -6.5, O/U: 45)

These 2 teams have been exciting to watch, even the Cardinals who have been without their star running back David Johnson.  Now, that has meant that Carson Palmer has had to throw more but with their receiving corps, it’s been fluid.  The Eagles pass game improved with their offseason additions but the real surprise was the emergence of a solid run game.  They lost Sproles for the season but Blount has taken hold of primary back duties with Smallwood complimenting him nicely.  This will be a very fun game to watch.  The Cardinals need their fans in this time of need, missing Johnson so take the Eagles to cover this one in the over, since it will be a shootout, 35-27.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1p (Steelers -7.5, O/U: 42.5)

The Jags have had a shocking start to the season, at 2-2 but a loss to the Jets in OT may have brought their larger than normal self start back down to Earth.  Bortles actually has 7 TD’s to 3 INT’s but lacks in the yardage and seems to have been on a leash to start the year and control his play, especially given the talent they have in the backfield with him, Leonard Fournette.  They’ve also had the best defense against the pass, given they’ve also played the Jets, Texans (before Watson started) and the hapless Ravens.  The Steelers have also had a good start but given their schedule so far, who knows how good they really are.  Bell has had a decent but slower than normal start given he sat out all of the pre-season.  The surprise for the Steelers has been their defense, 2nd overall and 2nd against the pass.  Big Ben has a 62% completion percentage with a 6/2 TD/INT ratio.  With this one being at home, take the Steelers to win in the under, 21-10

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05p (Rams -1.5, 47.5)

All of a sudden the Rams have an efficient offense.  The arrival of their new young coach, Sean McVay, has given Goff a new start in year 2.  The Rams have the 5th best offense overall and pass offense in the league.  Their defense needs a boost but they have the talent to turn it around.  The Seahawks have been the typical slow start Seahawks but have been turning it on lately with their offense.  The only real defense they faced to give them trouble was the 49ers, to which they almost lost to them in mostly a field goal challenge.  The Seahawks offensive line will have the microscope on it again, as they allow Wilson to constantly be under duress.  The Rams typically give the Seahawks fits and especially in Seattle.  I would take the Rams to cover, win and in the under, 27-20.

Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders, 4:05p (Raiders -3, O/U: 39.5)

The Ravens have looked absolutely horrible this season and the only reason they are 2-0 is because those wins came against similar dumpster fires earlier on in the season, the Bengals and Browns.  They got trounced by the Jags in London and the Steelers just last week.  Their offense is near last in the league and their defense is in the bottom 3rd of the league.  Now the Raiders started hot but the last 2 games have been a struggle but against 2 solid defenses (Redskins/Broncos).  They also lost their leader, Derek Carr, to a back injury for 2-6 weeks.  EJ Manuel is a capable backup and can get some wins in the next few weeks but it’ll take his best, starting with a good potential confidence booster in this matchup.  This should be an easy cover at home, take the Raiders to cover in the under, 20-14.

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys, 4:25p (Cowboys -3, O/U: 45)

These 2 teams always seem to give a show.  Green Bay has been red hot despite lacking a real running game, to which they are 28th in the league.  The real shocker has been their defense which has been 6th in the league.  This team has basically lived and died by the arm of Rodgers who is off to a great start, averaging 286 yards/game and a rating just over 100.  Dallas’s motivation for this game is to avenge the bad loss to the Rams at home last week.  This team all around has been a middle of the pack team all around.  They really don’t have a deep threat and opposing defenses can keep the play within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage which bodes not so good for Dak.  Zeke has had successful games against Green Bay (2 games totaling 282 yards), so expect him to have a solid game.  This will be an amazing game to watch with the Cowboys wanting payback for last years heartbreaking playoff loss.  Green Bay needs this win as a landmark win, to help their critics R-E-L-A-X.  Take the Packers to cover and win in the over on the road, 34-29.

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans, 8:30p (Texans +1, O/U: 45)

A lot of people are giving Houston a real shot at winning this game and it’s because of the play of Rookie, Deshaun Watson.  The Texans haven’t had a great passing game but it’s been effective.  Not only can he pass but he’s rushed for nearly 150 yards on 19 carries (7.79 yards per rush average).  He looks to be the real deal for them which could make them more dangerous as the season goes on.  Watt and Clowney will have to watch their rush, how deep into the pocket they go on Smith since Smith is a mobile quarterback.  What can you say about the Chiefs that will convince you not to take them?  Absolutely nothing.  You’re talking about the 2nd best offense and 1st rushing offense in the league.  Alex Smith has been on a tear, 8/0 TD/INT ratio along with Kareem Hunts record setting 502 yards on 68 carries (7.38 yards/carry) and 4 TD’s.  Their defense hasn’t been terribly great but that can be attributed to facing strong offenses early, not to mention, the offense has been on fire!  Despite the calls for an upset, I’m taking the Chiefs to get to 5-0 by covering in the over, 31-27.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5:

Carolina @ Detroit (-3)

LA Chargers (+3.5) @ NY Giants

Seattle @ LA Rams (-2.5)

Green Bay @ Dallas (-2)

Kansas City @ Houston (+1)

 

Week 4: Sunday Games & Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5

Well, we opened up with a great win.  Boy did that game look ugly for the Bears.  They had the game plan I talked about in the last post however, couldn’t stick to it.  Not because the game strayed away from it but because they couldn’t hold onto the football early on.  Lots of early turnovers and giving the ball to Aaron Rodgers instead of keeping it from hi, put them in an early hole that they never could escape.  I always feel hesitation when swallowing a touchdown but I couldn’t pass there and now we have a few Sunday to choose from.  There’s work to do for my comeback off of a really bad week.  This week I’m going to pick just a handful of games to write about and then just give you my picks for the rest.  Lets get to it.

New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins (L), 9:30a (Dolphins +3, O/U: 50.5)

This one scares me only because teams that play in London one week, have the next week off.  I wonder how much of a distraction Adrian Peterson is in the locker room, calling for some more touches.  Take the Dolphins in the under, 27-21.

 
Buffalo Bills at Atlanta Falcons, 1p (Falcons -8, O/U: 48.5)

Bills looked good last week at home against one of the best defenses in the league but the Falcons are monsters at home.  I don’t like swallowing a touchdown or more but you need to have an amazing offense to cover, which the Falcons have.  Take the Falcons to win in the Over, 38-13.

 
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens, 1p (Ravens +3, O/U: 42.5)

This game will surely disappoint on offense but if you’re a defense kind of game.  As long as you’re a defense guy, this is a heckuva matchup. Ravens are more consistent at home, and the Steelers unravel away from Heinz Stadium.  Some outlier stats is that the Steelers are 0-4-1 against the spread with the Ravens with the underdog being 4-0-1 in those same meetings.  Take the Ravens in the under, 17-10.

 
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns, 1p (Browns +3, O/U: 41.5)

Bengals and Browns.  Probably the worst matchup of the season.  Bengals FINALLY scored some touchdowns last week!  I think the Bengals pull this one out in front of the dog pack.  Bengals in the under, 20-14.

 
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys, 1p (Cowboys -6.5, O/U: 48.5)

This line started around -9.5 and -10 in some areas, went to -6 and now at -6.5.  That tells me that Vegas, doesn’t know if they can truly trust a Rams line.  Cowboys are tough at home and will more than likely win this game but it’ll be closer given that the Rams have a new coaching staff that has this offense clicking.  The defense has always been solid but never had a complimentary offense.  The Rams will break that unreal Cowboys offensive line here and there but Dak is too good when escaping the pocket.  This is a favorite by nearly a touchdown that I just can’t pull the trigger on.  Take the Rams in the under but the Cowboys to win, 24-21.

 
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans, 1p (Texans +2.5, O/U: 43.5)

Titans even on the road will roll on the Texans.  Watson may shine a bit but the Titans are sneaky good this year on both sides of the ball.  Take the Titans in the over, 27-17.

 
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings, 1p (Vikings -2.5, O/U: 42.5)

Another NFC North matchup this week.  Once again, no Sam Bradford but we all have seen how capable this team is with or without him.  The Vikings have some really solid weapons other than Diggs.  The Lions are coming off of a heartbreaking loss due to a replay basically taking away a touchdown.  The bets are swinging around 54% Lions -46% Vikings.  That is too close to touch for most bettors but if your feeling lucky, listen up.  Take the Lions in the over, 31-27.

 
Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots, 1p (Patriots -9, O/U: 49.5)

I want to give the Panthers the benefit of the doubt, that they’ll keep it close and respectable but I can’t.  Again, another touchdown, plus spread that the favorite will cover given the lack of available weapons and a declining Cam Newton.  Take the Patriots to win in the under, 34-13.

 
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets, 1p (Jets +3, O/U: 38.5)

The Jets defense has awoken.  I know what you’re gonna say, “but Jacksonville looked so good last week in London and blew out the Ravens”.  Well, again, I go back to how things used to be.  There’s more London games this year and thus has resulted in you not getting the next week off if you play there. In turn, it’s basically a short week for the team with all of that travel.  Take the Jets as home dogs to win it in the over, 21-20.

 
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05p (Cardinals -6.5, O/U: 44.5)

Another big spread for the week and again one that I think gets covered by the home team.  Typically if a team plays Thursday night the week before and Sunday the next week, I like taking them with the extra few days of preparation.  Those extra days aren’t going to help the 49ers who last week gave up a ton of yards and points to the Rams.  Now they eventually came back with a valiant effort but ultimately, still lost.  The 49ers were given a +3 spread last week at home, this week +6.5.  Only a 3.5 point difference and that is basically a 3 point swing for being away now.  So to me, that’s saying that the Cardinals are viewed as .5 point favorites over the Rams.  I don’t buy that yet.  Larry Fitzgerald will have another solid matchup this week given how bad the 49ers secondary is.  Take the Cardinals in the under, 31-10.

 
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05p (Chargers -2.5, O/U: 47.5)

LeGarrette Blount had himself a game last week.  Look for him to bust loose again with Sproles out for the season with the multitude of injuries sustained in last weeks game (knee/wrist).  Smallwood will be peppered in there as a change of pace back and Wentz will be told to launch the big chunk yardage plays when he can.  The Chargers are 0-3 this year and playing their home games in a soccer field.  There’s even talks about if the Chargers should stay or go back to San Diego.  Even with their defensive front, I think this team has already lost the edge.  Take the Eagles to win in the over, 35-17.

 
New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:05p (Buccaneers -3, O/U: 44.5)

Gosh, where do I begin?  Winston can’t keep himself from making poor decisions with the ball through the air, even with the weapons he has.  The Giants looked a bit better last week with OBJ back and healthy last week.  They are still struggling with their ground game but making it work with 4 different guys.  The Buccs also banged up on defense, especially their front.  Take the Giants to win in the over, 26-20.

 
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos, 4:25p (Broncos -3, O/U:46)

Rivalry game with a really good and young offense going to the house of a really good, veteran defense that have won a super bowl recently.  The Broncos, while not having a household name at quarterback, have been consistently gaining yards and scoring, complementing their defense well.  The Raiders defense, especially through the air, has been atrocious.  Take the Broncos to win in the under, 24-17.

 
Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks, 8:30p (Seahawks -13, O/U: 41.5)

This line I have no clue how it blew up to 13.  I mean, it even grew a .5 point since the line opened.  The Seahawks offense, even at home, has been absolutely terrible.  They only scored 12 points at home against the 49ers a few weeks ago.  What is the logic behind this line?  Brissett is a capable quarterback and proved it last week with the start and win at home over the Browns.  This game is looking juicy for a Colts bet.  Take the Seahawks to win but the Colts to keep it close in the under, Colts 17-10.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5 on the year is an amazing 11-4 to start 2017, here’s his picks for the week:

Giants (+3) @ Buccs
Steelers @ Ravens (+3)
Rams (+8) @ Cowboys
Raiders @ Broncos (-2.5)
Redskins @ Chiefs (-6.5)

 

Week 4: Thursday Night Football

Last week didn’t go as planned as we ended well below .500 in one of the strangest weeks in the NFL in my 24 years of being a fan.  No doubt the emotions of last weekend affected players and teams and I believe it affected the product on the field.  I’ve been talking about the politics from last weekend all week long and I’m going to leave it out of the rest off this blog.  It’s been exhaustive. Politics, off.

Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers, 8:25p (Packers -7, O/U: 44.5)

This will more than likely be close early.  Green Bay’s defense gives up big chunks of yards through the air but matchup a little better with the ground game.  The game plan should be simple for the Bears, get plenty of first downs, run often, keep the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands.  If you can keep the Packers offense off the field, your chance of winning increases tremendously.  Now, I’ve never been a fan of Mike Glennon.  He’s got a nice completion percentage but his coaches have tended to keep him on a leash and not let him loose.  The Bears had a great ground game last week and they’ll look to build on that success this week on the road.  Jordan Howard may lead the team in carries and yards but it’s rookie Tarik Cohen leading the team in yards per carry with 6.5 and the teams leading receiver, giving him a very solid start to his rookie season.  However, that spells trouble for the Bears with trying to stay consistent on offense while keeping possession of the ball.  Green Bay is a tough place to play on the road and Green Bay is one of the best in the league since the turn of the century in winning at home.  Take the Packers to win in the over, 33-17.

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.

Week 5: Thursday Night Divisional Matchup

Well they say all good things must come to an end. My fantastic 2 week run at handicapping was amazing and I enjoyed sharing that with you but it crashed and burned starting with last Thursday’s Redskins terrible loss. I did however, tell you that the bad streak was over and another good streak will start with Monday Nights game and I didn’t lie. It was known going into the game that the Pats offensive line was going to have trouble and that was an understatement. Brady was held for the 3rd straight game to less than 250 yards and was hit a lot! I hope you’re still believing in me because I still hold an astounding 61% winners against the spread. The over/under predictions, not so much. Now, on to the Week 5 Thursday game…

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers,
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS, NFL Network. LINE: Packers -8. O/U: 48:

Last week Aaron Rodgers told Packer fans to R-E-L-A-X and he delivered a great outcome for them. The Packers offense was on point, wasting only 1 drive (Missed FG) in all of their 7 drives total. That is amazing in itself. 3 drives were over 60 yards which is average but they also capitalized on their turnovers. They had 2 interceptions against Cutler and returned them at least 40 yards into Bears territory and walked away with 2 TD’s. However, the defense showed that they still have major holes to cover up. The defense let up 33 first downs and almost 500 yards! The rushing game alone allowed 235 yards. If you take the 2 turnovers away and the resulting scores, this game is a TD difference. But it’s hard to deny a pass game as on point as the Packers. Rodgers was 22/28 (78%) for 302 yards and 4 TD’s. Weather may play a part in this game so look for the dismal running game to get more looks. Lacy hasn’t been great, only averaging 3 yards per carry but has only touched the ball an average of 13 times per game, which is very low for a starting RB.

As for the Vikings, early indications for tonight’s game is that Teddy Bridgewater will not play since they will need to rely on him for the rest of the year, they want his ankle to heal properly. But wow, did they pull out a stunner against the Falcons. The Vikes held the Falcons on 7 of their 11 drives to nothing. They still allowed 5 drives over 40 yards (4 being TD’s) but didn’t allow them to get back into by continuing to score on offense. They scored on 7 of their 11 drives, 4 TD’s but managed to get and stay within FG range to rack up some more points. That says more to the fact that the Falcons didn’t know how to stop Teddy. That usually is a case in sports with new/rookie players, there just isn’t enough game film on them to study tendencies and such. That and the Falcons really are like the Saints, terrible on the road. Either way, their defense hasn’t been great in recent years and could be the reason for not making long playoff runs. The Falcons defense allowed 7 of 11 drives to go over 40 yards with an average drive of 49 yards. Conclusion: Teddy Bridgewater could be the real deal! This week, with Ponder starting, they will go right back to mediocrity. They won’t give the same air threat that Teddy gives but the ground game will be all of their highlights.

The Packers vs. the run, is the worst in the league, allowing 176 yards per game, and are going up against the leagues 8th best rushing game in the Vikings. Surprising since AP isn’t the one doing the damage. Matt Asiata has been very effective on the ground and catching passes out of the backfield. Don’t sleep on the tandem though, Jerick McKinnon has carried some of AP’s load as well, almost as many yards as Asiata with almost half the carries, averaging almost twice the yards per carry however, that’s all from last game. I’m just saying be aware of the run game. The line has moved from the Packers being favored at -9, to -7.5 to now being -8. Don’t let the line fool you. Christian Ponder is the last guy the Vikings would want under center. He really hasn’t played well since coming into the league and AP took away a lot of negative attention from him because AP was so great.

I think the Packers win big at home against the Vikes. Take the Packers to win with the points -8 in the Over, because I think the Packs defense will give up tons of yardage on the ground but Rodgers seems to have found his groove with both Cobb and has never really been off with Nelson and will rack up some serious air yards if the weather stays fair. Packers 38-20.