NFL Week 6: Sunday Morning London Game Pick & Prediction

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – London, 9:30 AM (Buccs +1, O/U: 47.5)

Kyle Allen has been keeping the Panthers season alive in the absence of Cam. He’s completed 67% of his passes and has been very careful with the ball, throwing 5 TD’s and 0 picks. The team has put a lot of work on Christian McCaffrey as well as he leads the league in yards from scrimmage (866) while leading the league in rushing yards (587) and tied for second in rushing TD’s (6). The defense is the 4th best against the pass, allowing just 985 yards. The Buccs have been keeping things interesting in the NFC South with wins against the Panthers and Rams. Jameis has been up and down but has looked better than seasons past under Arians (61.4 % completions, 1,371 yards and 11 TD’s with 5 picks). The big difference in this offense is that their efficient in passing downfield, averaging 13.4 yards per completion. The line needs more work as they’ve allowed 18 sacks (tied for 4th in the league). The emergence of Ronald Jones has been much needed for the run game. The team is middle of the league in rushing but Ronnie has shown flashes of what he can do when the line blocks well as he’s averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Their defense has been suspect however as they’ve allowed the 5th most points and yards in the league (148 and 1,967 yards) but caused 10 turnovers which ironically is also the 5th best in the league.

Take the Panthers to cover in the over, Panthers 27-24.

NFL Week 2: Thursday Night Football Prediction

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers, Bank of America Stadium, 8:20 PM, NFLN (Panthers -7, O/U: 48.5)
Jameis Winston couldn’t seem to get out of his own way last week against the 49ers. He accounted for all 4 of the Buccs turnovers including 3 interceptions, which two were brought back for touchdowns. Bruce Arians seems to have a short memory with Winston so far, keeping him as a starter for tonight. Ronny Jones III had a solid opening game to his sophomore campaign as he tries to solidify the back who will get the biggest workload. Jones went 75 yards on 13 carries while also catching a pass for 18 yards. Cam Newton had a solid outing to start the season against the Rams. He had a hard time moving the ball through the air, averaging less than 10 yards per completion. Panthers fans however, got to enjoy watching another stellar performance from Christian McCaffrey who had over 200 yards from scrimmage, leading the team in rushing and receiving, and had 2 rushing scores. Tonight’s game will mark Gerald McCoy’s first game against his old team since he had spent his first 9 years in the league with Tampa Bay. The thing that hurt the Panthers last week was giving the Rams short field drives early in the game. They will not drop 2 home games in back to back weeks. Take the Panthers to cover in the win, in the under, Panthers 27-17.

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.

#beatyourbookie

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.

#beatyourbookie

Week 10: Monday Night Football

It seems as though the 1pm games were giving me fits again yesterday but I bounced back beautifully hitting 3 for 3 in the 4pm games and nailed the Sunday night game with the Pats as 7 point road favorites against what is supposed to be one of the top 5 defenses in the league.

The Packers on the road were shocking as Brett Hundley actually made some really sweet throws. I didn’t think the Steelers pick would be a gamble on the road against the Colts, but like I said before, the Steelers on the road are just a different team. The Jets lost a game against a sinking ship. The Titans could slay the Bengals who are clawing at the bit to not have an absolutely terrible season. The Redskins disappoint at home after a huge come from behind victory in Seattle, only to lose at home to the all of a sudden, trendy Vikings. By the way, did you see Bridgewater suited up in that game as a backup, great story!

This league has been crazy week in and week out. Could’ve potentially had an amazing week but still grew to a 7-5-1 week 10 record so far. Anyways, this one is to help us get to 62%. On to tonight’s game:

Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers, 8:30p (Panthers -9, O/U: 38.5)

The Panthers have been slowly putting things together each of the last few weeks. They go from a dysfunctional team, with a dysfunctional quarterback who miraculously completes tons of passes to an efficient offense beating the likes of the Falcons and in previous weeks beating the Bills, Pats, Lions and kept a really close game against the Eagles. Cam’s stats aren’t tremendous through the air but they’re manageable. His interceptions have always been an issue. In 9 starts this year, his QB Rating has only been above 80% 4 times, and is a career 85% guy (average). He’s currently holding a 10 TD to 11 INT ratio, which is never good. But when he can break even or more TD’s to picks on that ratio, they win their games (6-0). So it looks like, no matter what his numbers are, as long as he doesn’t turn the ball over, he stays out of his head and gives his team a real shot in every game so long as he can focus.

What can I say about the Dolphins that will have you take them in this game? Nothing. Plain in simple, absolutely nothing. This is the worst offense in the league as far as scoring and yards go.  Can you believe that?  Worse than the Browns?  In some regards, you bet!  The Dolphins are dead last in the league in points scored, total offensive yards, rushing TD’s, average yards & points per drive and are 30th in net yards per attempt, rushing yards, rushing yards per attempt, 29th in passing yards, interceptions and so on. They’re going up against a defense that leads the league in yards allowed, 1st downs allowed, rushing TD’s allowed and are 2nd in passing attempts allowed, rushing attempts allowed, rushing yards allowed, 3rd in points allowed, average points allowed per drive. I think you get the point. The Dolphins will have a very hard time moving the ball, maybe even looking at it given how hungry and possessive these Cats are with the football.

Take the Panthers to cover in a route tonight, in the over, 31-10.

Week 6: Thursday Night Football

Welp, (that’s what these kids are saying nowadays right?), the Vikings came oh so close to covering for me last week to push me to an even week.  It would’ve been sweet to come back to you today to at least say, “still only one losing week so far this year”, but no.  Mitch-a-palooza had to play half decent for a rookie getting his first start on Monday night.  Kid can throw and move and throw on the move, wow!  He was hitting guys in the hands near the sidelines while running away from 300 pound guys trying to catch him as a late Monday night snack.  He could be the real deal for them.

Shockers of the week were road teams, Panthers, Jags, Seahawks, Ravens, who were all road dogs and won.  I tell ya, I can’t figure out the 1 o’clock and the Sunday night games.  That seems to be my Bermuda Triangle.  Just take a look, everywhere else I’m excellent:

ATS O/U ATS O/U
Thursday Night Sunday 1p
4-1 2-3 17-25-1 24-19
80% 40% 41% 56%
Sunday 4p   Sunday Night  
11-7 3-4 2-3 2-3
61% 43% 40% 40%
Monday Night   Primetime  (Thr/Sun/Mon)
4-1-1 3-2-1 10-5-1 7-8-1
80% 60% 66% 47%
Bookend Nights (Thr/Mon) Overall
8-2-1 5-5-1 38-37-2 42-34-1
80% 50% 51% 55%

Listen, I don’t want to tell you to stay away from my picks but if you look at my Sunday 1pm games and/or my Sunday night games, please be skeptical at best about them.  On to tonight’s game (where by the way, I’m 80% winners for the year):

Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers, 8:25p (Panthers -3, O/U: 45.5)

This is probably the first matchup of the year on Thursday night that pits 2 hot teams against each other, with both teams being 4-1.

The Panthers have seen a resurgence from Cam Newton in the last 2 weeks.  300 yard games, well over 70% completions, 6 TD’s/1 INT.  I must admit, I sold on Cam early and didn’t do my research.  In the last 5 seasons, of Cam’s 6 plus in the NFL, Cam has had a losing record and then followed it with a winning record.  He’s gone from touchdowns in the teens to the 20’s and 30’s in the following year.  There’s something about Cam that must feed off of the doubters because he’s having a career year throwing the ball and I couldn’t have been more wrong about him.

I sold a bit early because I saw the super bowl slump follow him into this year’s first 3 games and couldn’t take any more.  18 games of poor quarterback play with big weapons and he only managed about a TD per game, that’s not winning you jack in fantasy.

Cut to the Panther’s defense who is 3rd in the league going against the Eagles 3rd ranked offense.  It’ll be a showdown to see who will prevail.  Wentz, who has an astounding 3/1 TD/INT ratio, is having a breakout year and has the league buzzing.  He’s big, can move, strong arm, basically everything you look for in a franchise QB, he’s got IT.  The Panthers have one of the leagues worst turnover differentials at -4 (28th) while the Eagles have the leagues 10th best at +2.

This should be a close one and the big selling point for me is the Eagles play on the road.  They’ve gone into Washington against a good team with a top 10 defense and won, into the NFL’s best team and top 2 hardest stadiums to play in on the road (Chiefs) and lost by 7, and went to LA against the Chargers and came away with a 2 point victory.

Carolina’s success recently has been on the road and when home, they were hard to watch.  Yes, Cam has looked great in his last 2 starts and he may do well this week but dink and dunk passes aren’t going to win you games against the Eagles who can really push the ball down the field in chunks.  I consider the Eagles to be either the 2nd or 3rd best team in the NFL right now but have Carolina lingering between 8-10 only because of their play the last 2 weeks.

Don’t get too high on Cam just yet (yes, I’m still a bit skeptical with no Olsen and Benjamin 3rd on the team in catches), the Eagles have been a team of consistency this year and that speaks more to the composure of a team rather than hot and cold weeks that Cam has given the last year and a half.  Take the Eagles as road dogs to cover and I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’ll win in the over, 27-24.

 

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)