NFL Week 1: Monday Night Football

Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 7:10 PM, ESPN (Saints -6.5, O/U: 52.5)

The Texans made some moves this offseason to help Lamar Miller and the rushing game and it proved necessary as Miller is lost this season before the preseason ended to a knee injury. They traded for Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde, who are a good enough tandum to be effective enough. They also valued Watson’s blindside (Tunsil) more than a second elite pass rusher (Clowney). The Saints had back to back disappointing losses in the playoffs to end their season, last year on a brutal non call PI. Not a bunch changed on their roster but with Murray replacing Ingram and Cook coming in for a hole at TE coming off of a great year with Oakland should keep their offense on track. Saints end a 5 year opening week winless drought by winning but take the Texans to cover in the over, Saints 31-27.

Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, 10:20 PM, ESPN (Raiders +3, O/U: 42.5)

The Broncos have been waiting for years and finally, they have someone to lead their offense in Flacco. Philip Lindsay is back 100% from his broken wrist in the last game of last year, building off an amazing performance as an undrafted rookie. Flacco will have two great young receivers in Sutton and Hamilton to throw to as well as veteran Sanders. The defense pretty much stayed the same, should continue to dominate. The Raiders were mired by the AB drama between the frostbitten feet, helmet issues and GM/fines/contract issues, they still showed on HBO’S “Hard Knocks” that they had still worked hard despite all of that and played fairly well fitting their pre season games. Impressive undrafted rookie Kellan Doss comes back from his week on the Jaguars practice squad to sign a decent deal to be on the 52 man roster to fill in for AB’s spot. He will see plenty of targets after his impressive pre season. Josh Jacobs was drafted to be the feature back for the offense and from what he showed in his limited carries in the pre season, we’re in for a treat. I may be a bit high on them but take the Raiders to cover in the upset win in the under, Raiders 21-20.

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 14: Thursday Night Football

Jacksonville at Tennessee (Titans -5.5, O/U: 37.5)

Totally forgot today was Thursday, true story. Take the Titans to cover in the under, Titans 17-10.

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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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