Week 15: Monday Night Football

New Orleans vs Carolina, 8:15p, ESPN (Panthers +6, O/U: 50.5)

The Saints ran into a scare last week against the Buccs until they had to rattle off 25 unanswered points to pull out a win. While they barely covered the spread, questions remain as to if they can keep up their play on the road, such has been much better than in years past? Michael Thomas has 298 catches in his first 3 years with its an NFL record (102 so far this year) and he’ll continue to be the main target tonight. The defense wo have their hands full with Cam and McCaffrey even as the top team against the run (mostly due to jumping on teams early, forcing more passing).

Cam comes into this game with a sore shoulder. Whether that affects him trying to find DJ Moore down the field or not will be seen early on. As for McCaffrey, he’s got nearly 1,700 yards from scrimmage and 13 TDs. It’ll be intersting to see how the linebackers trying to matchup up with the speedy backs.

Saints on the road: 6-1 (31 pts for/game & 20 pts allowed/game)

Saints ATS on the road: 6-1

Panthers at home: 5-1 (31 pts for/game & 23 pts allowed/game)

Panthers ATS on the road: 4-2

Take the Panthers to cover in the loss in the over, Saints 34-30.

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Week 15: Thursday Night Football

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Chiefs -3.5, O/U: 54.5)

The Chargers are putting Melvin Gordon on the game day watch to see if he’ll suit up or miss another game.  If Gordon can’t go, Eckler will once again fill in.  Rivers played masterfully in the first meeting this year between the teams, at home but still lost by 4.  His play has evolved over the last 14 weeks and he’s taken care of the ball this year (29 td’s and only 6 int’s).  Rivers and Keenan Allen have connected on big scoring plays the last 5 weeks and have really been hitting their strides.  Lets not forget their defense, who is also hitting a stride in their own right.

The Chiefs have had back to back weeks of close games but wins.  Since Hunt was released, they’ve had to rely on numerous backs to fill in, one being former future back of the team, Spencer Ware but will be without him tonight due to a neck strain and concussion from last week.  A new addition to the Chiefs will be on the sidelines as they signed the newly released Kelvin Benjamin.  He will suit up tonight but as we can imagine, will be limited in his role even with Tyreek Hill dealing with an injured foot.  Let’s also not forget how reckless Mahomes has been the last few weeks with his passes, he’s been great but he’s also thrown a few picks that weren’t the best of decisions.

What may make up your mind are the numbers you see here:

Chargers ATS: 7-6, Road ATS: 5-1

Chiefs ATS: 8-4-1, Home ATS: 3-3

This will be a battle all night long.  The Chargers are an unbelievable road team and the Chiefs can still score 30 without Hunt but both will be fighting for the AFC West and a top seed in the playoffs, so I would expect Gordon to play such an important game.  In the end, it will come down to who’s running game will keep the opponents offense off the field in the 4th quarter?  Take the Chargers to cover in the upset win, in the over, Chargers 31-28.

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Week 13: Monday Night Football

Washington @ Philadelphia, 8:20p, ESPN (Eagles -6, O/U: 45)

In Colt Mccoy’s first start of the season, replacing the injured Alex Smith, he kept the Redskins in the Thanksgiving game against the Cowboys despite not having much of a supporting cast from the backfield and throwing 3 interceptions. Considering the lack of weapons to throw to, he managed to complete 63% of his passes with 2 touchdowns all while having to rely mostly on his tight ends for the bulk of the targets. McCoy isn’t known for having a deep ball so having Davis and Reed as his crutch is pretty helpful. Peterson has his ups and downs and last week was a tough matchup for the old back as the youngblood defenders of the Cowboys didn’t give him anything to work with. He’ll need to take the ball outside of the Eagles box to take advantage of a young and inexperienced secondary to get those chunk yards we’re used to seeing from him over the last decade.

The Eagles might’ve found a diamond in the rough with rookie running back Josh Adams who had a great performance (22 rushes for 84 yards and 1 TD). They’ve been looking for a consistent back to pair with Wentz to take some of the workload off of his shoulders. He’s proved that he can win and win big games but he still doesn’t look like last year’s Wentz. He’s only had 4 of his 9 games end with over 300 yards passing and still hasn’t clicked with newcomer Golden Tate. Despite this he still has a TD/INT ratio of nearly 3:1 (16/6). With Darren Sproles set to make a return along with Michael Bennett, has last week’s close call win walken them up for the tough stretch of games to close out the season and maybe make the playoffs(Redskins, Cowboys, Rams, Texans, Redskins)?

Take the Eagles to cover in the over, Eagles 27-20.

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Week 13: Thursday Night Football

New Orleans at Dallas, 8:20p, NFLN (Cowboys +8, O/U: 52.5)

New Orleans comes in with the league’s best offense, averaging 37.2 points per game. They’ve also only turned the ball over 9 times, tied for the league lead. Michael Thomas has 86 catches already and Kamara has been hot all year, especially the last 6 games where he has 9 touchdowns! The Saints also lead the league in rushing defense which is more than likely from teams being forced to throw more given how quick the Saints go up early in games, which has caused the pass defense to be 30th worst in the league. The rush defense will be tested tonight.

The Cowboys have really turned it up lately since Amari Cooper has come aboard eventhough he’s really only been involved in the offense starting last week on Thanksgiving with an 8 catch, 180 yards and 2 touchdown performance, looking like the first rounder he was supposed to be. Garrett will have to strategize against the Saints and do his best to keep the Saints high powered offense off the field. That means utilizing the league’s leading rusher, Zeke (1,074 rushing yards). But when the ‘Boys defense is on the field, they’ll need Lawrence to continue his wrath of the last 4 games where he’s snagged 3 of his 8.5 sacks on the season. Question is, can the Cowboys newly found 3 headed monster keep up with the Medusa (multiple weapons) offensive threat of the Saints?

Take the Saints to cover on the road in the over, Saints 36-24.

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Week 11: Monday Night Football

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams, 8:20p, ESPN (Rams -3, O/U: 64)

This game has been circled by all fans since week 4 when these two teams have been on fire, turning out tons of points each week. No it’s not in Mexico City thanks to a rump shaking Shakira concert. If you think that will slow up the guys, think twice. The Chiefs were spending time in Denver to get their bodies used to the similar altitude that Mexico City would’ve had.

Mahomes and Goff have nearly identical numbers other than touchdowns (Mahomes 31, Goff 22) and the Chiefs have scored the most points each game on average, in the NFL. Similarly, the Rams have out paced “The Greatest Show in Turf” in most offensive categories this season. They will be without stud Cooper Kupp for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL from last week but don’t think it’ll hinder Goff too much.

This is going to be like a Madden game on easy. I’m predicting massive scoring, mostly through the air. The Rams pass rush will have their hands full chasing around Mahomes. Take the Chiefs to cover in the over (that’s right, I said over 64 points), Chiefs 42-36.

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Week 10: Thursday Night Football

Carolina at Pittsburgh, 8:20p, NFLN (Steelers -3.5, O/U: 51.5)

Finally, we get a game on Thursday worthy of most football fans’ time.

The Panthers have enjoyed the last couple of games with Eric Reid on board to help the defense as the offense keeps rolling at home.  On the road, it’s a little bit of a different story where Cam stays the same but the offense doesn’t score as much.  History points to the Panthers as being a weak road team and even though they’ve lost 2 of 3 on the road (their only 2 losses), they were within 7 points in both games.  In fact, Cam has been stellar as far as his completion percentage and passer rating.  Cam is certainly having a career year but not only is Cam playing well, Christian McCaffrey is having a fantastic sophomore season in the NFL as well.

The Steelers have enjoyed a 4 game winning streak that started after a week 4 loss at home to division foe, Ravens.  That loss put them 0-2 at home and 1-2-1 overall with the season in peril, uncertainty with the Bell situation, turmoil in the organization with AB until they met the high flying Falcons at home the next week.  They haven’t looked back since.  Yes Big Ben has thrown 7 picks but also has 16 touchdowns, Conner slightly outperforming Bell from last year with the same amount of starts and Brown might not have a ton of yards or a great average per catch but has 9 touchdowns.  The defense has been in lockdown mode the last 4 weeks.

With the defense in lockdown mode, take the Steelers to cover in the over, Steelers 31-27.

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Week 5: Thursday Night Football

Indianapolis vs New England, 8:20p, NFLN, (Patriots -10.5, O/U: 50)

It’s the battle of the twelves.  Andrew Luck back at it and revitalizing the Colts/Patriots rivalry that once included former Colts great Peyton Manning.

Both leaders will more than likely be without their top receivers (Hilton, Gronkowski) but Brady still would have Chris Hogan, Eric Ebron and newcomer Josh Gordon.  The running games for both have been coming along with both introducing rookies into thei backfields, leading their rushing attacks with Hines/Wilkins for the Colts and Michel for the Pats.

The Colts defense has looked improved compared to their most recent seasons and actually are near the pace the Patriots have set themselves this season.  The difference maker will be if the Patriots line can stop the defensive front of the Colts since Brady has an obvious lack of mobility.  This will be close early but once Brady gets dialed in, expect him to slowly pull away from the not quite 100% Andrew Luck.

There has been a huge uprising in the league this year where games you thought were a lock were turned upside down in the first few minutes.  Just when you thought, “ok, maybe this one isn’t such a slam dunk given how hard it’s been to nail bets this year”, not so fast my friend, just a friendly reminder, it’s HARD to win in Gillette Stadium.  Take the Patriots to cover in the win and in the under, Patriots 28-17.

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