NFL Week 2: Sunday Game Predictions & Picks

Arizona Cardinals @ Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium, 1:00 PM, FOX (Ravens -12.5, O/U: 46.5)

The Cardinals are on the road so don’t expect any comeback miracles like last week. They played 3 quarters of bad football and pulled it together at home to tie the Lions. The Ravens brought it last week versus the Dolphins with Lamar Jackson going off with rookie receiver Marquise Brown. Expect the Ravens to do a similar thing to a similarly bad team although not on a similar level. Take the Ravens to cover in the win and in the over, Ravens 34-20.

Buffalo Bills @ New York Giants, MetLife Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Giants +2.5, O/U: 44.5)

The Bills had a slow opening week 1 but bounced back to win against the Jets while also producing 6 20 yards or more plays. The Giants got drubbed by the Cowboys and now have their #1 receiver, Sterling Shepard in concussion protocol. The Giants also only went 2 for 11 on 3rd downs and the Bills defense is stingy, only allowing 3.4 yards per play, the best out of all of the teams in week 1. Take the Bills to cover in the win, in the under, Bills 24-16.

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins, FedEx Field, 1:00 PM, FOX (Redskins +5, O/U: 47.5)

Dallas looked really good in the opening week against the Giants. Cobb, scored in his debut with the team and Zeke also found the endzone after ending his contract disputes. The Redskins got up big early on the Eagles but allowed them to comeback and win the game, nearly covering the 10 point spread until Keenum lead a very late TD drive with 12 seconds left that was meaningless other than to the people who bet the Eagles to cover. Take the Cowboys to win and cover a more manageable spread in the over, Cowboys 31-20.

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans, Nissan Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Titans -3.5, O/U: 43.5)

The Colts pushed the Chargers to OT last week and Brissett looked pretty good (21/27, 190, 2TD’s). Mack also stepped up with 174 yards and a score on 25 carries. The Titans blew up everyone’s expectations of what the Browns hyped themselves up to be. Mariota was efficient and tossed 3 scores in the absolute beating of the Browns. Push the upset alert in this one. Take the Colts to cover and win in the over, Colts 24-21.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans, NRG Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Texans -8, O/U: 42.5)

Gardner Minshew looked good filling in for the injured Foles and was really efficient (22/25, 275, 2 TD/1 INT) with his top receiver being DJ Chark. The Texans had an amazing game with the Saints last Monday night and nearly pulled it off with 2 huge 4th quarter throws from Watson, going 75 yards in 37 seconds, with less than 2 minutes to go. JJ Watt didn’t record a recordable stat other than a game played number but still made big impacts on the game with his pressure on Brees. Expect him to have his first tackle and sack of the year early in this one. Speaking of sacks, the Texans gave up 6 on Watson last week, which must improve if they want their young star QB healthy for 16 games. Take the Texans cover in the win and in the over, Texans 28-16.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Detroit Lions, Ford Field, 1:00 PM, CBS (Lions +1.5, O/U: 47.5)

Ekeler stepped into the roll as the feature back much like when he did when Gordon had injuries and looked really good (154 scrimmage yards). Ekeler had 3 scores with one of them being the game winning score in OT against the Colts. The defense was worrisome but had standouts individually. Stafford threw for 385 yards and 3 scores against the Cardinals but the team couldn’t hold on to the 18 point lead on the road and eventually tied the Cardinals. TJ Hockenson had 6 catches for 131 yards and a TD in his debut, making him the new record holder for receiving yards by a rookie TE. I know the Chargers are much better on the road than at home however they are still missing Derwin James and now will be without top TE Hunter Henry for 4-6 weeks. Take the Lions to win and cover in the over, Lions 27-24.

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field, 1:00 PM, FOX (Packers -2.5, O/U: 43.5)

The Vikings scored all of their points off of short field turnovers by the Falcons last week which put that game out of reach early. Kirk Cousins was only 8/10 for 98 yards and a TD while Dalvin Cook had 21 carries for 111 yards and 2 scores. They travel to Green Bay where the Packers rarely turn the ball over and has been consistently one of the toughest places to play in the NFL for opponents. The Packers new look offense did not get off to the great start like many anticipated it would. They were only 2 of 12 on 3rd downs but scored the only TD of the game which proved huge. With 3 extra days of prep for the Packers, expect them to have sured up their flaws and mistakes to take one at home against a division rival. Take the Packers to win and cover in the over, Packers 27-24.

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Dolphins +18, O/U: 48.5)

We have our first college football line of the year with this one. Not much to say for this matchup other than the Patriots are a finally tuned machine with tremendous coaching. Antonio Brown will get his first looks in the offense with a little over a week to prepare and study the playbook. Tom Brady looked as dangerous as ever throwing nearly 350 yards and 3 TD’s and spread the ball to 7 different receivers, 3 of which had at least 5 catches. The Dolphins looked absolutely atrocious last week. They deserve this line as they were stopped on the ground and forced through the air, where they completed less than 50% of their passes. The Patriots will not think twice about running up the score on a division rival. Take the Patriots to cover in the under, Patriots 34-10.

San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium, 1:00 PM, FOX (Bengals Pick’em, O/U: 46.5)

The 49ers kept the mystery around Garapolo going another week as he tried to get his feet wet after missing all of 2018. He looked as expected in the opener but the defense looked great (not hard to do when Winston throws directly to your cornerbacks). The 49ers secondary outpaced ALL of 2018’s 2 picks with 3 and 2 of them being returned for TD’s. Richard Sherman had his first INT in over a year after having none last year and returned it to the house. 30 carries were spread out over 3 backs with Coleman spraining his ankle (out for week 2). AJ Green is still out for the Bengals as they gave the Seahawks fits in their own house, nearly pulling off the upset win. Dalton threw for over 400 yards as the run game was basically a non factor. John Ross went off with 7 cathces for 158 yards and 2 TD’s. I think the 49ers will eventually get better once Jimmy G gets some more games under his belt. Take the Bengals to win the pick’em in the over, Bengals 28-21.

Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Heinz Field, 1:00 PM, FOX (Steelers -3.5, O/U: 47.5)

The Seahawks squeaked out a win at home, surprisingly having trouble with Andy Dalton even without AJ Green. The offense looked mediocre as the rushing game was fairly silent most of the game as well. Wilson was kept to less than 200 yards but I will give them the benefit of the doubt as rain was a factor in hindering the game. The Steelers looked horrendous on the road with the Patriots even though that is the M.O. on Brady versus the Steelers (beating the Steelers in the last 9 meetings). The line couldn’t help get James Conner going on his 10 carries (only 21 yards). Big Ben competed less than 50% of his passes and threw a pick. Going 3 for 12 on 3rd downs never helps. The Steelers do bounce back from bad losses like last week and usually play buttoned up the next week. Seattle has to cross the country to play what would be a morning game on the west coast. Take the Steelers to win in the under, Steelers 21-17.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders, Oakland Coliseum, 4:05 PM, CBS (Raiders +7, O/U: 53.5)

The Chiefs lost Tyreek Hill in last weeks game for 4-6 weeks with a dislocated clavicle joint. His absence meant nothing as Sammy Watkins filled in nicely with 9 catches for 198 yards and 3 scores. LeSean McCoy torched the defense with 81 yards on 10 carries so you should expect him to get the feature work until he slows. The Defense however allowed 347 yards to a rookie quarterback last week. The Raiders offensive line looked stellar, not allowing a sack on Derek Carr against a stingy/tough Broncos defense, which allowed Carr to gel with new favorite target Tyrell Williams (6 catches, 105 yards and 1 TD). Josh Jacobs looked as good as advertised (23 carries, 85 yards and 2 TD’s). The defense even got in on the party with 3 sacks and a forced fumble. I was shocked by this line as Vegas thinks the Chiefs would be a 13 point favorite at home versus the Raiders. Take the Chiefs to win but the Raiders to cover in the over, Chiefs 31-27.

Chicago Bears @ Denver Broncos, Broncos Stadium at Mile High, 4:25 PM, FOX (Broncos +1.5, O/U: 40.5)

The Bears looked about as bad on offense as you could look in the opening week. Many penalties, Trubisky completing less than 50% of his passes, run game non-existent, 3 for 15 on third down. This is the second year between coach and QB so you would’ve thought it would’ve looked better by now. The defense held up its end of the bargain, keeping Rodgers out of the endzone most of the night. The Broncos also looked miserable in the opening week. After supposedly finding a decent QB to run this team in Flacco, he looked mediocre going 21/31, 268 yards and a TD. They probably should’ve ran more since the running back tandem of Freeman and Lindsay combined for 99 yards on 21 carries. Sutton and Sanders were the only standouts having 7 grabs for 120 yards & 5 grabs for 85 yards and a score, respectively. Take the Bears to cover with a win in the under, Bears 20-17.

New Orleans Saints @ Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 4:25 PM, FOX (Rams -2, O/U: 52.5)

The Saints had a heckuva shootout showdown in the Dome last week against he Texans even with being hosed by the refs twice, again, in a big game. Brees had 370 yards, 2 scores and a pick while Kamara picked up where he left off having 97 yards on 13 carries. The nice complimentary play came from Latavious Murray, who broke off a 30 yard touchdown run. Ted Ginn (7 catches on 7 targets for 101 yards) and Michael Thomas (10 catches for 123 yards) both had big days. The defense combined for 6 sacks against a tough Watson. The only thing working against the Saints is going on the road to an outdoor stadium, to which they play as a different team all together. The Rams were back in form on the road in Carolina mixing the passing and run games well. No real standouts other than Gurley’s 97 yards on 14 carries and Malcolm Browns 2 TD runs. The defense racked up 3 sacks, a pick and 2 forced fumbles. Take the Rams at home to win and cover in the over, Rams 34-31.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 8:20 PM, NBC (Falcons +1.5, O/U: 52.5)

The Eagles were able to overcome a 17 point deficit to the Redskins at home by pulling out to a 12 point lead late in the 4th quarter before allowing the Redskins to score a touchdown with 12 seconds left. Wentz eventually started to connect for big plays to DeSean Jackson starting late in the 2nd quarter with a 51 yard TD bomb and later with a 53 yard TD bomb, bringing Eagles fans to their feet for the days of old with D-Jax. Wentz finished 28/39 for 313 yards and 3 scores while Jackson finished with 8 catches for 154 yards and 2 scores. The running game saw shares of carries equally to Sproles, Howard and Sanders (9-47, 6-44, 11-25), whit Sanders having the longest rush of the day (19 yards). The Falcons turned the ball over way too much in their matchup against the Vikings in Minnesota. They gave the Vikings 4 touchdowns off of those turnovers and all of them on short fields. They were down 21-0 at the half because of those mistakes. Ryan’s stats look efficient going 33/46 for 304 yards and 2 scores but those 2 picks that he has put them in bad spots. Going down early, eliminated the need for a balanced run attack and therefore 9 different receivers were used to try and make a comeback. 2 late TD’s in the 4th quarter was all they could muster. Take the Eagles to cover in the win in the over, Eagles 31-24.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazin 5:

  • Buffalo at NY Giants – Buffalo (-2)
  • Seattle at Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh (-3.5)
  • Chicago at Denver – Denver (+2.5)
  • New Orleans at LA Rams – LA Rams (-2.5)
  • Philadelphia at Atlanta – Atlanta (+2)

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.

2019 NFL Week 1: Sunday Games

The first full Sunday of games is upon us! We opened off with a sweet but nail biting cover with the Packers, lets continue that momentum in probably the hardest weeks to bet on NFL football.

Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium, 1:00 PM, FOX (Vikings -3.5, O/U: 47)

Devonta Freeman is not as strong of a feature back as he once was years ago. Hampered by injuries, the Falcons had to go out and get him some insurance/backup to help with the load, in Ito Smith. They are stocked full at receiver power though with Jones, Ridley and Sanu. It’ll be tough to cover all 3 guys effectively. For the Vikings, Thielen had the NFL’s 4th most receptions last year with 113 while Diggs had a career high 102 catches. With Cook back 100%, the offense is at full capacity with weapons at Cousin’s disposal to match their strong defense. Take the Vikings to cover in the under, Vikings 24-20.

Baltimore Ravens @ Miami Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Dolphins +7, O/U: 40)

The Ravens are all in on revamping their offense and signed Ingram to lead their backfield as they’ve been searching to rediscover a talented back. With Jackson and Ingram’s running abilities, look for many RPO’s and read options to counter Jackson arm but don’t expect to see 300+ through the air as they lack heavily at receiver and don’t really have a true #1 guy there. The Dolphins saw how their Florida counterparts (Buccs) had successes with Fitzmagic however, they too are without a decent receiving corps and lack a true #1 guy on the outside. Having Drake carry the ball mixed with Balage helps but this one will probably be a snoozer. Take the Ravens to win but the Dolphins to cover in the under, Ravens 20-14.

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets, MetLife Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Jets -2.5, O/U: 41)

Allen showed flashes of his potential all season last year and it was shocking given his supporting cast being below average. Don’t believe me? Don’t watch many Bills games? Watchin his game against the Viking last year. After offloading Shady McCoy, they’re looking to the impressive in camp and preseason rookie, Singletary, to take most of the workload along with Gore mentoring him up. Allen still doesn’t have anything to write home about in the receiving corps but he’ll make it work. The Jets went out and snatched up Bell after his drama with the Steelers last year where he sat out the whole year seeking a new contract. He will take some pressure off of young Darnold as there wasn’t much of a running game for him to rely on last year in his rookie season. They have some ok receivers but are thin on talent there. Take the Bills to cover in the over, Bills 27-18.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Jacksonville Jaguars, TIAA Bank Field, 1:00 PM, CBS (Jags +3.5, O/U: 50.5)

Losing Hunt didn’t seem to slow this offense as other guys stepped up and filled the roll nicely. Don’t get me wrong, he’s dynamic and offered you a lot of options when using him, but Williams is capable to doing similar things. Mahomes stunned in his first year starting (2nd year in the league) with 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns. The Chiefs led the NFL in scoring with 35.3 points per game (7 touchdowns) which is unbelievable! Reid had Shady McCoy signed to give another weapon to use in the backfield as he can be very shifty and elusive. Adding the Honey Badger for their secondary was a nice upgrade to their air defense. The Jags moved on from Bortles and signed Foles who had been great for the Eagles and even led them to a Super Bowl victory over the Patriots a few seasons ago. The last time he left the Eagles, he didn’t fair to well so we’ll see if he can keep his play up still having a decent supporting cast around him. They also added Conley from the Chiefs to help the receiving corps with the loss of Robinson to the Bears. Fournette still hasa bunch to prove since he hasn’t played to his potential and is reported to have worked hard this off season to improve his game and personal life. I can’t believe this game is only at 3.5 points. Take the Chiefs to win in the over, Chiefs 35-20.

Los Angeles Rams @ Carolina Panthers, Bank of America Stadium, 1:00 PM, FOX (Panthers +1.5, O/U: 49.5)

Goff resigned quietly to match the output he’s had the last few seasons under McVay (last year: 4,688 yards with 32 TD’s). Gurley, Woods, Cooks and Kupp are all healthy and they are all explosive. The offense especially suffered without Kupp. They added some veteran defensive pieces in Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle. Cam had shoulder surgery in the offseason, then had a scare with an ankle injury in the pre season but his supporting cast stays the same (CMC, Moore, Samuel, Olsen). Defense moves to a 3-4 so there could be a learning curve yet with that going into the season. Take the Rams to cover in the under, Rams 24-20.

Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns, FirstEnergy Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Browns -5.5, O/U: 45)

Mariotta still hasn’t started 16 games in a season which is problematic when talking about your franchise guy.  After a strong 2016, he’s had a rough go with a TD/INT ratio of 1/1 and barely cracks 3,000 when he does play most of the season. The Titans defense proved tough under new head coach Vrabel and will continue that trend this year.  The Browns added OBJ to the opposite side of the offense alongside former LSU teammate Landry.  They also will be led by Nick Chubb in the backfield with newly signed Hunt sitting 8 weeks on suspension from his time with the Chiefs.  Baker had a solid rookie season with a 2/1 TD/INT ratio, led the Browns to a handful of unforeseen wins given their 1-31 record the previous 2 seasons and even had the pull to get his OC and coach fired early in the season.  Take the Browns to cover in the under, Browns 27-13.

Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, 1:00 PM, FOX (Eagles -10, O/U: 44.5)

The Redskins will have Guice back after being lost all of last year with a knee injury.  AP was figured to be shuffled in with Guice and Thompson but as of Sunday morning, AP may be deactivated and the Skins will only suit 2 backs.  They are very young at receiver and have a very average quarterback in Keenam.  The Eagles will have Wentz back 100% and doubled down on his health by allowing Foles to fly the coup to the Jags to start there.  Desean Jackson is back in town and looking to continue what he does best in a high powered offense, take the tops off defenses.  Eagles also added depth in their backfield by signing Howard from the Bears and drafting Sanders from PSU with Sproles coming back for what seems to be his last season.  We have our first HUGE line on the young season.  Take the Eagles to cover in the under, Eagles 28-10.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks, CenturyLink Field, 4:05 PM, CBS (Seahawks -9.5, O/U: 44.5)

The Bengals are without star receiver Green for at least this week and maybe the next 2 which leaves them shorthanded in their air attack.  Mixon looked great in his rookie season with 1,100 yards and 8 TD’s even with injuries to their top offensive guys like Dalton and Eifert who were out for large chunks of the season.  Dalton and Eifert are back at 100% however.  The Seahawks were in desperate need of a turnaround seeing their defense slip from Legion of Boom to middle of the road.  They went out and traded for Clowney to add to the front/pass rush as Wagner still leads them.  Wilson has been consistent over his career and is finding himself with a running game that he can rely on again.  Take the Seahawks to cover in the under, Seahawks 24-14.

Indianapolis Colts @ Los Angeles Chargers, StubHub Center, 4:05 PM, CBS (Chargers -6.5, O/U: 44.5)

Luck’s retirement caught everyone off guard.  Luckily they had traded for Brissett a few years ago when Luck had nagging, reoccurring injuries that made him miss a bunch of games.  When Brissett played, he played fairly well.  In 2017, he played most of the year in Luck’s absence and piled up over 3,000 yards and had a 2/1 TD/INT ratio.  With Mack in his second season in the backfield, the addition of Funchess to the receiving corps and Ebron building on a career year last year (750 yards and 13 TD’s), look for the Colts to not miss much of a beat over Luck’s departure.  The Chargers however are missing key players in key roles.  No Gordon due to a holdout, no Williams who singed with the Raiders and no James on the defensive side of the ball with an injury.  Mix that with no Gates for the first time in 15 years and Rivers has an uphill climb to start the season.  Take the Colts to win in the over, Colts 24-21.

Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix Stadium, 4:25 PM, FOX (Cards +3, O/U: 46.5)

The Lions had a rough first year under Patricia during his rookie campaign as head coach.  New additions will help the Lions get back on track with Flowers on the defensive side and Amendola on the offensive side.  Johnson will once again lead the backfield as he was one of the few bright spots on this offense last year during his rookie season as he averaged a massive 5.4 yards per carry.  Stafford will still have Golladay and Jones after Kearse went down with a potential career ending leg injury in the pre season.  The Cardinals drafted quarterbacks in back to back years in the first round.  As they selected the 5’10” Murray, they eventually then traded Rosen to the Dolphins.  Murray didn’t look fantastic in the pre season but with a great offensive mind like rookie head coach Kingsbury, he could flourish.  Johnson needs to get back to his 2016 self soon as he’s been ineffective the last few seasons though not all his fault as the offensive line hasn’t done it’s job either.  Adding Terrell Suggs on the defensive side of the ball is a great pass rushing pairing with Chandler Jones.  Take the Lions to win in the under, Lions 24-17.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium, 4:25 PM, FOX (Cowboys -7, O/U: 45.5)

The Giants are trying to fool everyone here.  Trading away start receiver OBJ to solely put the offense on Barkley given his 2,000+ yards from scrimmage in his spectacular rookie season.  The Giants are thin at receiver and now are relying on Sheppard as their #1 guy with Engram continuing to build on his successes at TE.  Question is, how long does Manning last before the impressive rookie Jones comes in?  The Cowboys spent the entire offseason talking about money.  With Zeke holding out and feuding with Owner Jerry Jones up until late last week, Zeke hasn’t been with the team all pre season.  Cowboys are assuring us that he is game ready.  Dak stayed quiet and poised that they will have a great year and it is promising with Cooper having a tremendous impact on the offense last year and Gallop looking great his rookie year along with the surprising emergence of Vander Esche in the middle of their defense, 2019 is looking up for the Boys.  Take the Cowboys to win in the over, Cowboys 31-20.

San Francisco 49ers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Raymond James Stadium, 4:25 PM, FOX (Buccs -1, O/U: 51)

Jimmy G is back 100% from his season ending knee injury and really nothing much has changed on his offense to improve the squad he left.  He looked good for the 9ers in 2017 ending the season going 5-0 after being traded but only lasted 3 games last year.  Receiving corps is still thin, there’s not really a #1 feature back behind Jimmy G and the defense struggled at times.  The Buccs ring Arians out of retirement as this could be Winston’s last chance to prove himself before his out as starter.  He loses Desean Jackson on the outside but still has Evans, Godwin and OJ Howard to throw to.  Barber and Jones will split the backfield but neither have looked like the feature back the team needs.  Take the Buccs to win in the under, Buccs 24-20.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, 8:20 PM, NBC (Patriots -5.5, O/U: 49.5)

Brown and Bell both gone, 2 explosive players.  Enter in Conner (973yards and 12 TD’s rushing) who proved he could give the Steelers just as good a chance to win games as Bell with less gruff and the emergence of JuJu (111 catches and 7 TD’s in 2018) and James Washington on the outside and it’s as if the Steelers really won’t seem to miss a beat and just offloaded a bunch of drama.  Steelers also have been rebuilding their defense through the draft with TJ Watt a few years ago and now Devin Bush Jr just this season.  Brady loses Gronk and will be without rookie standout Harry to kickoff the season against the Steelers in which he is a perfect 8-0 at Gillette against them.  Brady will always be a quarterback that makes hero’s out of guys you’ve never heard of but this year will be different with Josh Gordon being back, Edelman, Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas and now Antonio Brown in the receiving corps.  A major bright spot last year was Michel becoming the feature back as a rookie and looks to have that locked up for as long as he plays well.  The only thing against the Patriots at home is that they’re known to start seasons a little slow, especially on the defensive side of the ball.  Take the Steelers to cover in the loss, in the over, Patriots 31-27.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazin 5:

  • LA Rams at Carolina – LA Rams (-1.5)
  • Atlanta at Minnesota – Atlanta (+4)
  • Indianapolis at LA Chargers – Indianapolis (+6.5)
  • Pittsburgh at New England – Pittsburgh (+6)
  • Houston at New Orleans – Houston (+7)

2019 NFL Kickoff Week 1: Thursday Night Football Spread Pick/Prediction

Welcome to week one of the NFL’s 100th season!  These off-seasons seem to get longer and longer as the years go on but that’s only thanks to the 24/7 NFL news cycle.  It also gave me a long time to think about the very average follow up I had in 2018 (51%) to the successes of my 2017 season (56%).  Don’t worry, I’m refreshed, recharged and packing a big ol’ punch for this season.  There have been many dramatic stories around the league to keep us all busy during the summer that any normal fan would feel worn out before even a minute is played this year already, but there’s always something special about opening day.

From Le’Veon Bell signing with the Jets for less money than he sat out for/demanding from the Steelers, to Antonio Brown’s freezer burnt feet and helmet issues, Ezekiel Elliot and Melvin Gordon pulling the holdout card Bell made so famous, then Zeke signing a huge deal given the very thin market for dynamic backs and the Chargers telling Gordon to forget about signing a massive deal in LA and that he should seek a trade, to the sad retirement of one of the games top quarterbacks, Andrew Luck, just a few weeks before the season starts.  It has been a whirlwind with many changes and new names and faces in new places but we’ve made it.  The time is now and kickoff is here, let’s get after it!

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears, Soldier Field, 8:20 PM, NBC (Bears -3, O/U: 46.5):

We go into the opening day of the 100th year with the most storied rivalry in the league’s history. We got a glimpse of how great it is nearly a year ago when the then newly acquired Khalil Mack dominated the first half of the game and gave the Packers and their fans a scare when he hobbled Rodgers with a few hits and injured his knee.  Rodgers goes into the half, doses up on some major pain killers and comes out and blows up the Bears secondary and their 20 point lead to win 24-23 and then gave a hilarious post game interview, clearly high on pain meds mixed with the high of beating their fiercest division rival.  We will get much of the same tonight but hopefully with less knee torqueing on Rodgers since that plagued him most of last season (I know, I’m a Packers homer).

High Rodgers

This year the Bears are trying to build off of their 12-4, NFC North division champs season last year that catapulted them from a bottom 8 team to a playoff caliber team that ended in the playoffs with the ill fated Cody Parkey “double doink”. Most of the significant changes were the addition of Mack but also the offensive efficiency due to a coaching change.  The Bears would game-plan the scripts of their first few drives of each game pretty well in order to get games off to good starts and for Trubisky to build confidence.  Out of their 43 offensive touchdowns, 24 of them were in the first half (56%).  Their running game has something to prove and will have a challenge with having a younger/unproven backfield in which will more than likely split the workload between 3 different backs, at least at first.

The Packers will come to the season opener with a new coach Matt LaFleur, coaching staff, offense and have a young receiving corps lead by Davante Adams given the deductions over the last two seasons of mainstays Randall Cobb (Dallas Cowboys) and Jordy Nelson (retiring after spending last year in Oakland).  The Packers also discovered a running game in Aaron Jones last year before he was lost to the season with injury.  He is poised to bounce back this year, hopefully giving the Packers a 1,000 yard back again and continue on the TD tear he was on last year where he scored 8 TD’s in 7 games before his injury.  The Packers last 1,000 yard rusher was way back in 2013 and 2014 when Eddie Lacy squeaked over the mark in back to back years (1,178/1,139).  In Rodger’s 11 years as a starter, he’s only had 4 years with a 1,000 yard back.  Lastly, the Packers have invested in their defense through the draft and even picked up former Bear safety, Adrian Amos, in free agency.  It could be the Packers best defense since their Super Bowl win in 2010.

The Packers will catch the Bears off guard with the full playbook of the Packers offense being unveiled in a special rivalry meeting.  I may be a homer here but you also have to look at it as a matchup of QB’s as in, who would you take? Take the Packers to beat the Bears and cover in the over, Packers 27-20.

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 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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