Week 6: Sunday NFL Games

It’s been a theme this year, a tale of 2 halves of football. Last week, half of my picks were covering the spread in the first half. Some started off slow but won with their second half play and some gave up that halftime lead by the end of the game. I had to just give my predictions without analysis with the last bunch of games because I was running out of time before kickoff. I will do better going forward for you but I just had my first week at my new job and I’m trying to acclimate to my new hours for writing this blog but here’s a cookie, I threw in Colin Cowherd’s picks at the end. Here’s my week 6 picks:

Chicago Bears vs. Atlanta Falcons,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Falcons -3. O/U: 54.5:

Devin Hester gets a visit from his former team this week and he hasn’t been silent about the way he feels he was treated his last few years with the Bears. Hester felt that he needed to be implemented more in the Bears offense. This year with the Falcons, he’s been in the game plan but also has to share touches with Roddy White and Julio Jones. He’s had breakout games against the Saints and Vikings and in numerous ways against the Buccs. He’s listed as questionable for Sunday but I’d put my money on him playing, and not missing any game against the Bears. His team however is slumping. Atlanta has lost their last 2 games, both on the road and are 2-3 overall (all losses from road games). Matty Ice has ice running through his veins for home games. They are so good at home, it’s hard to look past So they’re due for a win right? The Bears are also 2-3 but have had their 2 wins come on the road with their first road loss coming at the hands of the Panthers last week. They too are on a 2 game skid and questions are swirling around weather Cutler is the guy to take them where they want to go. Last week Cutler showed more inconsistent playmaking decisions with 2 interceptions and a lost fumble on a fine passing day, completing 78% of his throws for 289 yards and 2 TD’s. The theme of the year for most middle of the pack teams has been that they can play 1 half of great football and have the lead after the half or comeback and win but haven’t been able to put a whole game together. These 2 teams have that issue. This is really the matchup of 2 quarterbacks. One is viewed as elite (Ryan) and the other has his fan base crumbling belief in him that he can bring home a deep playoff run (Cutler). Look for the Falcons to start off quick, since Ryan plays his best football in the first quarter (78% completion percentage lifetime) and Cutler doesn’t really get going until the 3rd quarter, where he has his best completion percentage lifetime (63%). You also can’t ignore Matty’s home record of 40-10 in his career, including this years home games and 20-5 following a loss. It will be a tough one for the Falcons but the Bears are reeling as well and have to try and recover from the current 2 game skid on the road in a tough venue, the Georgia Dome. I would take the Falcons however, to win with the points and in the Over. Falcons 31-24

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Titans -4.5. O/U: 42.5:

The line history on this game tells you a lot about how unsure Vegas is with this game. They want to say that they think the Jags will get their first win against another terrible team but Bortles has thrown 2 picks each game he’s played. For it to swing from -7 to -4 to -4.5 back to -4 for the Titans, while not adjusting due to a star player being injured, just shows that they may be making this bet look too wild for many to bet on. That is probably because they want to favor the home team (Titans) but think the Jags can pull off a win especially covering the spread if it’s reasonable. That being said, neither team has played well, but Bortles seems to be coming around slowly (minus the 2 picks he seems to throw every game). He was able to hook up with 9 different receivers which shows that he is still trying to find someone to groove with and mesh with as his go to guy. The defense however, has picked it up. They only allowed the Steelers to score 17 points, recorded 4 sacks, held them on 8/16 3rd downs, and the tandem of Poslusny/Cyprien accounted for 23 tackles and a sack, 34% of the teams 67 tackles. Their main issue is the non existent run game. The Titans, outside of their week oem win, has been horrible. Last week they seemed to pick it up offensively but Locker left the game and didn’t return in the 2nd quarter. The Titans scored all of their 28 points in the first half and lead by 25 at one point, probably the best half they’ve played all year. But them game isn’t won by the half and the Browns made the necessary adjustments to come from behind and win it. Look, the Titans probably will have Whitehurst in and half allowed on average, 32 points per game. That’s a ton of points and I think the Jags can pull out at least 14 and hold the Titans with their beastly defense. Take the Jags to win with the points and take the Under. Jags 21-20.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Ravens -3.5. O/U: 43.5:

Well the Buccs seem to have turned the ship in the right direction with the QB change. Not many people thought they’d keep it close in the Superdome against the Saints, me included. They kept a bunch of drives going with their 20 first downs while they caused 3 Saints turnovers, all Drew Bree’s INT’s. Some quick fixes are needed for them to win games like converting on 3rd down (just 3/9 or 33% last week), 15 penalties for 113 yards, which is an unreal figure and probably took away their win right there and having 10:30 minutes time of possession LESS than the Saints. Fixing that and Vincent Jackson having another amazing game like last week (4 rec – 144 yards) will keep them in close games like this last week. The Ravens did a lot of things that can win you football games last week like causing 4 turnovers, averaging 6 yards per carry, and having a punter do work averaging 48.4 yards per punt on 5 punts. But they really shot themselves in the foot by their own turnovers (2 fumbles lost and a pick), allowing Indy to keep the ball for a crazy 38:43, and only completing 1/3 4th down attempts because they could only muster up completing 1/11 3rd down attempts. That’s just pitiful! Flacco has to play better (22/38, 58%, 235 yards, 0 TD’s/1 INT), and they need to run it more to control the clock better. They had 2 running backs with just 10 carries but rattled off 72 yards and a score (Forsett 6-42 & TD, Pierce 4-30). The line has to be better though for Flacco, giving up 4 sacks for a total of 38 yards doesn’t help either. They are 3-2 and need to turn it around which they do against the Buccs but it will be a tougher game than some will imagine. Take the Ravens to win and cover the spread but barely and in the Under. Ravens 21-17.

Denver Broncos vs. New York Jets,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Broncos -10 O/U: 47.5:

Geno’s time in New York is on a rocky patch but when Vick came in (which the fans were calling for), they were probably wishing Geno was back in. Not good for Rex Ryan if he can’t find a QB to win games. Geno probably shouldn’t have been started all of last year but Sanchez was injured and on the rocks with his play as well at the time but you want a guy in there that gives you the best chance to win. Mistakes and inconsistency will result in another benching, can he stand up the pressure that is the Broncos and keep up with the scoring? I tell you what, 11 first downs and being 1/12 on 3rd downs aren’t going to cut it, ever! Would you put your money on that? Maybe their defense but they won’t withstand 60 minutes of Peyton. Denver’s defense even made an appearance last week, holding the Cardinals to just 9 first downs, 3/16 on 3rd downs and only allowed 215 total yards! The offense was pretty amazing as usual, holding the ball for over 35 minutes, 568 total yards, and 24 first downs. Peyton alone threw for 31/47 (66%) 479 4 TD’s but also 2 picks, but anytime Peyton has a game like this, expect the scoring to be plentiful and the blowout to be on. They didn’t need to run much but when they did, they averaged 3.3 per run with 3 different carriers averaging 4 yards or more. D-Thomas had a blazing game as well, 8 catches for 226 (28.2) and 2 scores, with his compliment Emmanuel Sanders catching 7 for 101 (14.4) and Julius Thomas hauling in 6 for 66 (11.0) and the other 2 scores, just an outstanding receiving core that are on fire and give Peyton so many options to choose from and by the way, you didn’t see Welker on there who caught 7 for 58 yards. 3 receivers over 6 catches and 50 yards each! Wrapping your mind around that is hard because it’s unheard of. The line on this game opened in some places at 5 or 6 went to as high as 10.5 to 10 to 9.5 back to 10. Those swings just tell you to stay away from games that throw a game around like that. The Sharps don’t know what to make of the Jets since they were shutout last week 31-0 and the offense just laid down. However, this is the 3rd best pass offense in the league going against the worst pass defense in the league. Take the Broncos to win, to cover and to score at least 35 to help this one score in the Over. It will be a blow out. Broncos 38-20.

Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Vikings –2.5. O/U: 43:

This is a tough one because Teddy Bridgewater is back and this will be a first look for the Lions at him. The last time the Vikes were at home with Teddy at the helm, it was an upset over the Falcons. The running game for the Vikes can do damage but they are going against one of the better run games in the league (3rd) and a pretty decent pass defense (6th). The Lions seem to be very different on the road but against the Vikings in 8 career games, Stafford has one of his better TD/INT ratios and completes about 64% of his passes against them. The big question is how will he do without Calvin Johnson in the lineup. He was listed as doubtful with his week 5 ankle injury and is expected to miss this game. That opens the door for opportunity for Teddy. I think he puts a double threat on the Lions that they haven’t really faced this year and being fresh from sitting out last week will help. They will pound the ball on the ground but not as effective as previous games and will make it a game. Having just a 2.5 point line helps me make up my mind on this one. If you got the line earlier in the week, the Lions were giving up about 1.5 points but with Johnson most likely sitting, that line flip flops so I hope you locked it in when the Vikes were 1.5 point dogs. I still think they win at home and cover the -2.5 point spread but in the Under. Vikings 20-17.

New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Patriots -2.5. O/U: 44.5:

The Pats line is still recovering from injuries and they are wondering who will be snapping Brady the ball. The hardest thing to do is handle the ball in between players especially snapping the ball with QB and new center. I’m sure there was extra practice all week on it but I’m going to say that the over/under on snapping blunders will be over 1. The Bills have re-found their confidence under the helm of Kyle Orton. He’s been able to give the Bills a consistent passing game like they haven’t seen with EJ Manuel. Orton has a 69.8 completion percentage and going against the 3rd best pass defense in the league, it will be tough but if anything, count him in for being consistent. He’s looked for a starting opportunity which is what brought him out of retirement and he’s got his chance and will continue to make the most of it this week against bitter rivals (bitter due to being 2-10 last 12 home games against the Pats). Sammy Watkins looked good last week with 7 catches for 84 yards. He will score a TD this week against the Pats, the Bills will be keeping this one close because they really want to beat Tom Brady. The Bills are 2nd best in the league against the run; the Pats are 14th in the run offense. Tom will get hit and pressured. Take the Bills to cover the points and to win given that this is probably their best opportunity to pull off a win against the Pats in the last decade. This game will score in the Over. Bills 24-21.

Carolina Panthers vs. Cincinnati Bengals,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Bengals -7. O/U: 43.5:

The Bengals have covered 11 straight home games ATS by an average of 12 points! AJ Green was a last minute scratch but I’ll stick to my guns since the line hasn’t moved.   Take the Bengals to win but giving up a TD to Cam is too much so take the Panthers to cover in the Over. Bengals 27-24.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Browns -1. O/U: 47:

Close game as far as points but the Browns want revenge from the week 1 thrilling loss. Take the Browns to win at home with the -1 point and to score in the Under. Browns 24-21.

Green Bay Packers vs. Miami Dolphins,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Packers -2.5. O/U: 49:

Experts are saying the heat in Miami may make a difference in this one and if your betting on the heat helping the Dolphins and not betting on the Dolphins to try and win, then you need to rethink your betting strategies. Packers take this one easily over a weak Fins team and big. Take the Pack -2.5, it may even move to 2 before kickoff and to score in the Under. Packer 28-20.

San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders,
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chargers -7. O/U: 43.5:

Chargers will be too strong, I don’t like taking TD spreads but the Raiders are baaaad. Chargers 31-17.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Seahawks -8.5. O/U: 47:

Cowboys are not getting any credit in this one with an +8.5 underdog spread! That’s nuts. Romo is back, the line is doing a great job and they will keep it close in the always tough Seattle. I was close to calling an upset alert but you can’t go against the 12th man. Take the Seahawks to win but the ‘Boys to cover the +8.5 point spread in the Over. Seahawks 31-24.

Washington Redskins vs. Arizona Cardinals,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Cardinals -5 O/U: 45.5:

The Redskins will bounce back this week. They actually kept the game with Seattle last week within range. the Cardinals got beat up a bit by the Broncos last week and the Redskins D will keep pressure on Stanton. Take the Redskins to win with the points as well +5, and in the Under. Redskins 24-20.

New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles,
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Eagles -2.5. O/U: 50.5:

Eagles offense isn’t what it was last year. They are getting outscored and seem to only really play 1 half of football. The Giants have gotten much better since their first 2 weeks. This will be a good one. Still, 4-1 is 4-1, the Eagles seem to find a way to win and at home in prime time, take the Eagles to win and cover the -2.5 spread and to score in the Over. Eagles 30-27.

Colin Cowherd made his picks Friday and doesn’t like one of them and these are his lines:

Bears +3, Bengals -6.5, Giants +3, Dolphins +3.5, Chargers -7 (he doesn’t like the Chargers game).  The Sharps disagreed with the Bengals and Chargers picks.

Good betting everyone.

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.

Week 4: Sunday Games Preview, Game and Spread Predictions

So I was completely wrong about Thursday nights game. The exact opposite happened and well, you win some and lose some. Btw, for-warning you, I started to write reviews for the games this week but was extremely busy towards the end of the week and got 2 lengthy ones done. The rest will be quick blurbs and my predictions with the spreads and overs/unders. I hope you understand.

Miami Dolphins vs. Oakland Raiders (London),
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Dolphins -4. O/U: 41
Welcome to the game of bottom feeders. Both are reeling from loses last week but also trying to shake their persona this year of being a bad team. The Dolphins seem like they are trying to shake free of their “franchise ” QB. Reports have been that the Dolphins are starting to lose patience with Tannehill, who hasn’t been playing like a franchise QB since he was drafted. Now in his 3rd year, he still doesn’t look like he can lead them to the post season even with a guy like Mike Wallace as a legit deep threat and a half decent running game with Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller. Their defense hasn’t been too bad either so there is only one explanation, #17. At this point, Tannehill’s career numbers are the same averages as his predecessor Chad Henne, except Henne could drive the ball down field and averaged more yards per pass with less of a receiving corps. Tannehill gets the start Sunday but he was a whopping 21/43 last week and that’s not going to get it done if he plans on keeping his job. Oakland on the other hand doesn’t even have a running game they can rely on when the passing game isn’t working. MJD is hurt, DMC isn’t the back they hoped for, averaging 3 or less yards per run and they let Rashad Jennings go to the Giants who is now having a great start to his season. However, the Raiders take some sort of momentum into the game Sunday after keeping up with the Patriots last week. The Raiders only had 3 drives of 50 or more yards but none over 57 and 2 just had 50 yards. Outside of those 3 drives they had drives of 20, 26, 8, 29, 9, & 1 yard. They even started that 29 yard drive in Patriots territory. I hate hypotheticals but if they were to turn that 29 yard drive into a TD instead of the FG they got, we’re talking about a different game here, a 3 point game. So while both defenses were tough, the Raiders hung in there with one of the best teams in the league with, arguably, one of the best QB’s the league has ever seen. Their defense played well on the road, look for them to play well in London. Hopefully Carr will continue to improve and start making himself look like a gamer. Also take into account that the Raiders are in London already, and the Dolphins are still practicing in the states. For the Dolphins to come over so late, look for them to have some serious troubles adjusting once they land and start to prepare for the game. I think the Raiders win, easily covering the points +4 but in the Under. Raiders 24-10.

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Packers -2 O/U: 51:
Aaron Rodgers sounded like his west coast, cool self when talking to his fans about the Packers slow 1-2 start. R-E-L-A-X chirped Rodgers. No time to relax when they have the Bears coming up next in Chicago. The last time these 2 met it was for the NFC North title and a playoff birth last year. The Packers miraculously came back and won in dramatic fashion. It will be tough for them Sunday, if they continue to bring their lackadaisical offense with them. The running game hasn’t been much this year to which they are relying on Aaron’s arm a little too much. Chicago who’s defense is in the bottom half of the league (15th best in passing allowed, 233/game & 26th in rushing allowed, 144.7/game). Maybe this will be the game Green Bay gets their act together offensively and rack up some yards. The Pack have the 28th best offense, but with Charles Tillman out for the Bears, look for the Pack to finally R-E-L-A-X and get back to winning. Take the Pack to win with the points, -2, and in the Over. Packers 31-24

Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Texans –3.5. O/U: 40.5:

This will be painless. Fitzpatrick showed he can still do things with his arm, having his first 250+ yard game this year (289). He still threw 3 picks though. The Texans defense will trouble EJ so much that they implode. The Bills and Texans haven’t been that great either in their 3 games, who both showed their true colors last week. Take the Texans at home with the points, in the Over. Texans 24-17.

Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Colts -7.5. O/U: 46:

Locker is out for the Titans so Charlie Whitehurst gets the nod. The Colts tore up a bad team in The Jags last week in Jacksonville. luck set a career high in completion percentage with 79.5% while throwing for 370 yards and 4 TDs. Look for much of the same in this one especially being in Indy. Take the Colts with the points to blow out the Titans in the Over. Colts 31-17.

Carolina Panthers vs. Baltimore Ravens,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Ravens -3.5. O/U: 40.5:

Steve Smith Sr gets a chance to show his old team why they shouldn’t have let him go so easily. He’s been a big deep threat for Flacco early in the season. Cam shows that he didn’t need a top paid receiver to do well, as his new fav is Kelvin Benjamin. It will be a tough and physical game. Look for the Ravens to shut down the Panthers non existent run game and force Cam into mistakes. Ravens will take this one at home but take the Panthers for the points in the Over. Ravens 24-21.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers,
TV: 1 p.m. FOX. Line: Steelers -7.5. O/U: 44.5:

The Buccs are still having trouble getting any consistent play from the QB position. They’ve had limited success from their RB Rainey but he is prone to fumbling. The Steelers have found a gem in Le’Veon Bell who leads the AFC with 305 yards rushing and average per carry of 5.9. Blount gives a great compliment option who can break out for big yardage as well. Take the Steelers to pound the Buccs with the points in the Over. Steelers 31-17.

Detroit Lions vs. New York Jets,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Lions – 1.5. O/U: 45:

The Lions are a totally different team on the road. That has carried over from the last few years. The Jets have had a tough schedule so far this year. Sunday won’t be any different. Geno is in charge of the offense but still needs to make better decisions in tough spots. There will be some offensive troubles in this one. The Jets will have a hard time handling the offense the Lions will drop on the,. Take the Lions to win with the points in the Under. Lions 24-17.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Diego Chargers,
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chargers -13. O/U: 44.5:

The Jags pulled Chad Henne and altered their Blake Bortles plan by putting him in and starting him Sunday. Bortles looked fairly good in relief duty throwing for 223 yards, 2 TDs, 2 picks. Phillip Rivers has had a great start throwing 913 yards, 7 TDs and just 2 picks. The Jags have a new starter but that won’t help all of the yards their defense gives up. The spread is just too big, so take the Chargers to win in the Over but take the Jags for the spread. Chargers 31-20.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Falcons –2.5. O/U: 47:

The Vikes also put their rookie in last week but due to injury to Cassel (broken foot). Adrian Peterson. Is still out but Asiata has been a decent fill in. The Falcons also seem to have the road bug the Lions do, losing their only road game in terrible fashion. Matt Ryan won’t have another tough road game this week and will lead the Falcons to a road win with the points and but in the Under. Falcons 28-17.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Francisco 49ers,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: 49ers -4.5. O/U: 50.5:

The Eagles get a tough test on the road against a very strong Niners defense. The Eagles has a hard time getting into a groove and keeping it all game long. The Eagles have had a tough time getting the run game going which will continue to struggle Sunday. The Niners will take advantage of that and after losing to the Cardinals last week, and the Bears the week before, you better believe that Harbaugh won’t let them get into his first 3 game losing streak since taking over. Extra motivation because of that will get a 49er win with the points and in the Under. 49ers 31-17.

New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys,
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Saints -3. O/U: 53:

The Saints could easily have been 3-0 but have not held offenses well. This may be much of the same, allowing a bunch of points. The Saints don’t particularly cover spreads on the road so easily but Dallas has issues on offense that tends to stall for big stretches during games. They barely pulled off a win against the reeling Rams. Look for the Saints to hit a grove and finally prove that the Cowboys defense has been a fluke. Take the Saints to win with the points in the Over. Saints 35-27.

Check out the blog tomorrow for my Monday night game prediction a preview. Good luck everyone.

Week 2: Thursday Night Division Mash Up

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens,
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS, NFL Network. LINE: Ravens -2.5. O/U: 44:

Enough of the Ray Rice story. I don’t need to re-hash details with all of the other major media doing that so this is strictly about the game at hand. The Ravens normally hand out about 150 media passes for games, today they handed out 500! So it will be talked about all broadcast long.

Last week the Steelers were tested by a virtually weaponless Browns team but held on to win. They will need more grit from their players against the Ravens. 9 out of the last 10 meetings have been decided by 3 points or less. Le’Veon Bell has had his share of off the field issues but was in action last week and scored a TD while rushing for 109 yards also while catching 6 passes for 88 yards. Big Ben looked decent with 365 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. The Ravens, aside from not having Ray Rice in the backfield, had issues with his replacement, Bernard Pierce, who fumbled on a key play and was benched for it. 3rd back Justin Forsett picked up the slack carrying the ball 11 times for 70 yards and a TD. Only having 3 running backs on the roster, John Harbaugh hasn’t tipped his hat as to who will start however we can only assume it will be Bernard Pierce as well as a healthy mix of Forsett. Sorry fantasy guys, unless one of those guys breaks out, the Ravens won’t have a start running back this year to yank decent points off of. With that being said, it’s in Baltimore, and the home teams have only a 5-5 record in the last 10 (the Ravens only having 2 of those wins at home. But Flacco and Steve Smith looked very good in their first game together so don’t let the home game numbers scare you. Teams, even under conditions similar to these, rally well and on short weeks, the home team has the advantage on the rest factor especially since the Steelers were on the road Sunday against the Browns. Take the Ravens in the Under with the points in this one as it will be another tight one, Ravens 23-20.

Week 15 Sunday and Monday Spread, Totals, Picks, Scores and Analysis

Welcome back for the rest of my week 15 predictions.  Sorry it’s a little late for I was making my way back from Camden, NJ yesterday in the snow storm, took a few hours to drive back.  Anyways, enough with the excuses, here are my pick s and quick analysis.

Bills @ Jaguars (Jags +3, O/U 42.5) – Both teams are sitting at 4-9 however the Jags have turned it around in the last few weeks.  The Jags are terrible at home and seem to can’t really score in front of their own fans, 1-5 ATS.  The Jags are dealing with numerous offensive weapons out for Sunday (Shorts III, Blackmon, Forsett, Jones-Drew).  Considering the fact that Shorts didn’t really have much to do with last week’s win and it was MJD’s show, and now he most likely will be out, Take the BILLS and the UNDER, Bills 21 – Jags 9.

Patriots @ Dolphins (Fins -1.5, O/U 46) – The Fins are 3-3 ATS at home and the Pats are 3-3 ATS on the road.  After starting the season 0-4 ATS, the Fins are 5-1 ATS since and 4-0 ATS in the last 4 games.  Look for the Fins to continue that trend and cover by winning at home against the Pats.  The passing game for the Fins is starting to come along.  Thannehill will have Mike Wallace most likely matched up on Aqib Talib who is dealing with a hip injury and the Pats are missing their top receiver from the past 5 week, Rob Gronkowski.  Brady and the Pats usually find a way to win without top players but look for the Fins to put up a fight.  Take the DOLPHINS in the UNDER, Pats 20 – Fins 24.

Texans @ Colts (Colts -4, O/U 47) – Both of these teams starting the season with higher hopes than where they are at right now.  The Colts have been up and down all season, not really putting together a good string of games or show consistency since losing Reggie Wayne early in the season.  The Texans couldn’t shake a bad start and have ended up with an abysmal 2-11 record but in 8 of the 11 loses, they have been within a touchdown or less of their opponent.  Keenum is under center for the rest of the year but after looking shaky against the Jags defense last week, I don’t see an improvement this week.  Take the COLTS in the UNDER, Texans 17 – Colts 27.

Eagles @ Vikings (Vikings +6.5, O/U 53) – The Eagles come into this game on a nice win out in what seemed to be a blizzard last week.  The more amazing stat from last week was not the win but the point total.  Virtually abandoning the passing game in the second half, the run game led by Shady McCoy, rushed for 217 yards in that blizzard.  The Vikings are coming off a tough loss to the Ravens last week and a close one even without Peterson for much of the game.  Vikings are a little banged up on the defensive side of the ball and the Eagles defense seems to get better every week.  Take the EAGLES in the OVER, Eagles 42 – Vikings 17.

Redskins @ Falcons (Falcons -6, O/U 50) – Without RGIII, look for the Redskins offense to resurge under the helm of Cousins, but don’t expect them to win.  While the fresh blood of Cousins will spark some points, the team is torn with all of the uncertainty their franchise QB has for their coach Shanahan.  The team seems to have lost some faith in their coach and only will put up some limited sparks with a 100% healthy QB in Cousins.  The Falcons have been inconsistent all season however the offense has shown flashes of what it used to be the past few years and against a down and out Redskins and being at home, look for the Falcons to play well.  Take the FALCONS and the UNDER, Redskins 17 – Falcons 31.

49ers @ Buccaneers (Buccs +5, O/U 41) – The Buccs have been under-rated with Glennon as their QB and has really matured as the season has come along.  Even though their playoff hopes are gone, they would love to play spoiler to a team who is on the verge of locking up a spot and make it tougher for the 49ers to secure a wild card spot.  The Buccs defense hasn’t been what it used to be in the early 90’s but has promise.  Kaepernick has shown to be shaky when under pressure at times this year and his play directly affects how the 49ers play.  Look for a lower scoring game if the Buccs can pressure Kaepernick but look for the 49ers to squeak away with a win.  Take the BUCCS and the UNDER, 49ers 20 – Buccs 17.

Bears @ Browns (Browns +1, O/U 44) – This one should be a gimme figuring the Bears giving just a point.  Cutler will be back under center and will look refreshed.  The Bears under McCown have played well and have kept themselves alive being 7-6 with the Lions who have the tie breaker with the Bears.  The Browns have been in a tail spin on offense after losing Hoyer but played really well in New England and even came away with a win, thanks mostly to their defense.  The surging Bears will be too much on offense and defense to deal with.  Take the BEARS and the UNDER, Bears 27 – Browns 13.

Seahawks @ Giants (Giants +7.5, O/U 42) – This one will shock people.  The Seahawks seem to struggle at times, on the road especially going from West Coast to East Coast.  The Giants are tired of being called pushovers and have played better as of late going 5-2 in their last 7 games after starting the season 0-6.  With Jason Pierre-Paul being out, Justin Tuck has stepped up getting 7 sacks over the past 3 games.  Tuck has stated this week that they don’t want to be embarrassed by the Seahawks and so will be clawing all game long to keep the Seahawks offense grounded.  The Seahawks have shown that even with some key highlights out on defense, they have the depth to make up for it.  They have 28 takeaways, tied for 1st in the NFL while the Giants have the NFL’s most turnovers with 34, much of that from the 0-6 start.  This game is important for the Seahawks to wrap up the NFC West so it is a must win for them for the road to the Super Bowl to come through Seattle.  Take the GIANTS and the UNDER, Seahawks 20 – Giants 17.

Jets @ Panthers (Panthers -10, O/U 41) – Where do you start on this one?  The Jets have played much better at home than on the road and that usually is the given for a rookie QB but on the road, it hasn’t really even been close for the Jets.  The Jets are just 1-5 on the road and 1-5 ATS on the road.  The Panthers have been covering machines lately, going 8-2 in the last 10 games with covering 7 of those 8 wins and missing the win against the Fins by just .5.  Watch for the Panthers to pour more gasonline on the dumpster fire that is the Jets on the road.  Take the PANTHERS and the UNDER, Jets 13 – Panthers 24.

Chiefs @ Raiders (Raiders +5, O/U 41) – Hello Chiefs offense.  The last 3 games have been fun to watch but the Chiefs are only 1-2 in those 3 games.  Their offense has kept them in the games and look for them to keep rolling on top of the Raiders this week.  Alex Smith has come to life and the offense looks on point and in mid-season form, getting ready for a nice playoff run.  The Raiders have been reeling since losing Terrelle Pryor and a little of that spark in the offense has gone with it. Matt McGloin has done a nice job as a fill in and not bad as an undrafted free agent rookie but he’s no super star but has put up respectable numbers (88.7 QB Rating, 957 Yards, 6 TD’s, 3 INT’s).  Take the Chiefs and the OVER, Chiefs 38 – Raiders 17.

Cardinals @ Titans (Titans +2.5, O/U 43) – The cards have shown up these last few weeks and their ATS record shows it, 9-4 (4-0 in the last 4 games).  However, the Cards have to travel cross country to face the Titans and road teams usually struggle to put up enough points to have a big win.  The Titans defense has seen some tough offenses in the last few weeks, having to deal with the Broncos last week.  The Titans offense still hasn’t really had any consistency and even in the running game, the Cards get the edge.  Take the CARDS and the UNDER, Cards 20 – Titans 17.

Packers @ Cowboys (Cowboys -6.5, O/U 49.5) – The Cowboys at home are 5-1 and are 4-2 ATS.  The Packers are 1-3-1 without Rodgers under center and have looked terrible in the passing game.  Eddie Lacy is the reason they are not 0-5-0 in those games and once Rodgers comes back, this offense will look explosive.  Until then, stay away from the Packers.  Flynn had a decent game last week which they actually won but against the Falcons who have proven to be disappointing and had not lived up to their preseason hype, and the Pack barely won that game.  The Cowboys and Romo are looking to shake the December story lines and how they can’t win.  This is a must win for the Boys and will need a win to build momentum towards next week and the playoffs later on.  Take the COWBOYS in the UNDER, Packers, 20 – Cowboys 28.

Saints @ Rams (Rams +6, O/U 47.5)People still get excited about the Saints even when they are on the road but the numbers don’t lie.  Saints are 1-5 ATS on the road.  The Rams are only 3-3 ATS at home but have shown some fight against some really good teams in their dome especially the amazing week 8 win against the Seahawks.  Even without Bradford, Clemmens has shined for the Rams.  Expect the Rams defense to show up and keep this one as the Saints flounder on the road again.  Take the RAMS in the OVER.  Saints 24 – Rams 28.

Bengals @ Steelers (Steelers +1.5, O/U 43) – Bengals may be perfect at home but are only 3-4 on the road.  With the last road game of the year, they are looking to take a series sweep against the Steelers.  The Steelers can’t seem to put things together this year being 5-8 overall.  ATS the Bengals are 8-4-1 while the Steelers are just 6-7.  I would expect the Bengals defense to pressure Big Ben all game long and the Bengals offense to put up some decent yards through the air.  Take the BENGALS in the OVER.  Bengals 31 – Steelers 24.

Ravens @ Lions (Lions -6.5, O/U 50)The Lions are at home this week, thawed off and ready to battle.  Expect the Lions defense to dominate with their huge defensive front led by Ndamuhong Suh.  Both teams enter the contest 6-7 ATS, but 7-6 overall.  Ravens are 1-5 on the road while the Lions are 4-2 at home, however the Lions are 3-3 ATS at home and the Ravens are 2-4 ATS on the road.  The Ravens offense won’t keep up with the Lions high powered Offense, especially with explosive Reggie Bush expected to be back in action.  Take the LIONS in the OVER but barely, Ravens 23 – Lions 30.

Sorry almost all of these picks are in late, been dealing with the snow/ice storm that hit.  These are my honest to God picks and as you can see, some are incorrect with the scores.  I will make sure to get them in by Friday.  You still have the Bengals and Lions to take, so good luck!

Look for my recap on Tuesday.

Musings & Week 15 Thursday Game

Welcome back readers!  Today I will be discussing how my fantasy football teams did this past week and who I have starting this week, and a quick preview of all week 15 NFL action as well as spread, over/under analysis and predictions using the lines from Covers.com.  I will also give my reaction Bleacher Report’s week 15 predictions.  I cut out the Fan Duel conversation and saved that for a topic for next week.

I run in just in 2 leagues, only because more would be too much work to have to update constantly on my type of schedule.  One is in one of my buddies’ league with a gentlemen’s wager of $20 per team.  This past week was the start of the playoffs for this league.  I came into the playoffs like Seattle a few years back, I was 6-7 but on a current 2 game slide.  I had to face a team with Peyton Manning (31 points), Antonio Brown (19 points), Andre Johnson (15 points), and the Chiefs Defense (27 points).  To say the least, it was a tough game.  However, I had a team worthy of being competitive but just couldn’t match up with the stats of my opponent, Drew Brees (28 points), Desean Jackson (11 points), Chris Johnson (8 points), and Jason Witten (7 points).  Now those players mentioned as the highlights on my team were actually outscored by my kicker (all but Brees), Phil Dawson (16 points), who was signed Sunday, around 3 pm, as a last minute acquisition because I forgot to start my actual kicker Mason Crosby.  Nevertheless, my team ultimately lost 118-80 and was booted from the playoffs.

My other league, I am the commissioner of.  This league consists of a few newbies to fantasy football or guys who only have a season or two under their belts.  Again, gentlemen’s wager of just $10.  I have dominated this league, going 8-0 to open the season but limped to my first week bye going 2-3 in the last 5 weeks.  This week is my bye but heading in to my first playoff matchup, this will be my starting lineup for next week:

QB Drew Brees/WR Vincent Jackson/WR Demarius Thomas/RB Pierre Thomas/RB Jamaal Charles/TE Tony Gonzalez/WR-TE-RB Dwayne Bowe/K Garrett Hartley/DEF Seattle Seahawks

Now here is when I’m just supposed to brag about how I picked some of these guys up in lopsided trade with a newbie or picked a couple of these guys up off the free agents waiver wire and hit big.  No.  I drafted every one of my starters and this is why having a strong draft will carry you through your season and the playoffs.  From what I’ve noticed in fantasy football, not many people are willing to trade because you play just about everyone at some point in the season.  I must applaud my good buddy Josh in the $20 league he runs, he traded me Drew Brees and Chris Johnson for Marcus Colston and Adrian Peterson (trade happened around week 4 or so).  I saw that as a fair trade and one that I thought would benefit me in the long run since Brees puts up crazy numbers and the Vikings offense has been hot and cold through the first couple of weeks this season.  Nevertheless, he made it past the first round (and picked up McCown just before the week started to which he scored him 38 points, Peterson got hurt and only scored him 1 point but had Shady McCoy which scored him 33 points to which McCown/McCoy accounted for 71 of his winning 104 points this past week against a team that only scored 78 points, so yeah…) and I didn’t.

I didn’t have as strong of a draft as my other league but was also playing against some smarter fantasy players who all drafted well.  Through the season I was in that waiver wires hunt every week, trying to catch the next couple week starter that busts out for 20-30 quick points.  Live by the draft, die by the draft.  Do your homework, have a strong draft and make smart moves/trades.

Now, on to my week 15 analysis and picks.  I will be going into depth on Sunday’s and Monday’s games later this week for analysis.  I will put the lines up now so you know where they are at least starting Wednesday.

For now, here are my thoughts on the Thursday game:

Thursday 12/12/13

Chargers @ Broncos

Covers.com

Covers.com is a site I use to check lines and trends since they do polls of the users of the site as well as 12 “expert” odds makers and how they feel the game will go with the given lines.  They also have a little write up and prediction at the end of every games preview.  Also included on this site for every game is individual and team stats, as well as injuries and previous 10 games of each team and previous 10 meetings of the two teams.  This site gives you a lot of information to use and it’s all free!

Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report shows the Odds Shark computer prediction for every game which runs thousands of simulation models to come up with an estimated guess based on facts and factors for the game.  Bleacher Report gives you the computers scores and then gives you their predictions against or with the computers outcome, so you’re really getting two predictions.

Odds Shark says:  38.2 – 27.9 Broncos Victory in the Over

Bleacher Report says:  San Diego will have to play one of its best games of the year to hang with the Broncos. Rivers has been absolutely great, and Chargers head coach Mike McCoy might have some insight as to how to slow down Manning and Co. But Denver has proven it can cover big numbers. Give the points with the Broncos, and pay attention to the OVER trends below as well.

Covers.com says: Broncos 37 – Chargers 27 in the Over

My Predictions

Listen, I lost out on this game the first time around, I won’t do that again!  I took the BRONCOS on the points and the OVER back in early November and lost out because they scored under 56 only totaling 48 points.  Out of the Broncos 13 games so far this year, 2 games have scored under the point total, back to back weeks but first being against the Chargers.  They were the first real test for Peyton and his Broncos, making the highlight reels feature the other team as well and actually keeping the game within reach for the Chargers.  Broncos still covered but barely.  This week it’s Denver, in the cold again, but Manning put to rest the accusations that he doesn’t play well in the cold and wouldn’t play well in Denver come crunch time, late in the season and through the playoffs. Broncos are -10 with an over/under of 55.5. 

I say stay away from the spread as I think it could go either way but definitely take the OVER 55.5 as the Broncos have this unreal offense and listen, Denver has covered the points or came within 7 of the total by themselves alone in 3 of 7 home games this year, and 4 of 13 overall.  In the NFL, that means you are scary good!  I want to say, with the Broncos being at home, they will want to end the last regular season home game for its fans on a high scoring note, not to mention the excitement of having their coach John Fox back on the sidelines.  He missed his first game after open heart surgery in week 10 when they played the Chargers and makes his first game return against them…coincidence?

Broncos 45 – Chargers 31

Trends:

  • Broncos cover or come within 7 of the points total by themselves in 3 of 7 home games
  • Broncos have beaten the Chargers four straight overall
  • Chargers are 5-1-1 ATS past seven games at Denver
  • Chargers are 5-1-1 ATS in the past seven games as road underdogs
  • OVER is 12-2-1 past 15 games when Chargers are road underdogs
  • OVER is 10-1-1 past 12 Broncos home games
  • OVER is 8-0-1 past nine times Broncos home as double-digit favorites
  • Chargers Pass/Overall Defense entering this week are both 28th in the NFL
  • Broncos Pass/Overall Defense entering this week are 29th/25th in the NFL
  • Chargers Pass/Overall Offense and Points entering this week are 4th/4th/11th in the NFL
  • Broncos Pass/Overall Offense and Points entering this week are all 1st in the NFL
  • Manning has recorded 11 games with 300+ passing yards this season, tying Tom Brady for the 2nd most in NFL history
  • Chargers WR Keenan Allen has 61 catches (a franchise record for a rookie) for 902 yards, 5 TD’s
  • The Broncos need to score 75 points in their final 3 games to break the NFL record of 589 total season points set by the Patriots in 2007.  They average 39.6 points per game so far this year

The rest of the NFL games (lines only), spreads are for the home team.

Redskins @ Falcons -6.5   O/U 51

49ers @ Buccaneers +5   O/U 41

Seahawks @ Giants +7   O/U 41

Bears @ Browns -1   O/U 45

Texans @ Colts -5.5   O/U 45.5

Bills @ Jaguars +2   O/U 43

Patriots @ Dolphins +2.5   O/U 45.5

Eagles @ Vikings +4.5   O/U 51

Chiefs @ Raiders +4   O/U 41

Jets @ Panthers -11   O/U 40.5

Packers @ Cowboys -7   O/U 48.5

Saints @ Rams +5.5   O/U 47

Cardinals @ Titans +2.5   O/U 41.5

Bengals @ Steelers +3   O/U 40.5

Ravens @ Lions -6   O/U 48

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