Week 5 Sunday Games: Preview and Predictions

Well, I hate to sound like a homer but the Pack blew up Ponders return start in a huge fashion. Not to mention that the running game got on track finally. This wee
k is off to a good start and this picks Sunday, will prove it. To week 5 Sunday’s game action.

Chicago Bears vs. Carolina Panthers,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Panthers -2.5. O/U: 45.5:

Both teams were embarrassed last week. The Bears were embarrassed because they couldn’t put up more points with all of the first downs, yards and the long drives they had from all of the yards they racked up. The Panthers got torched by their old #1 WR, Steve Smith Sr., who they let go due to wanting to free up cap (that’s their reason). Both defenses allowed over 300+ passing yards but the Bears are ranked 22nd in yardage allowed, Panthers are 23rd. Their offenses rank about as well as their defenses however the offensive advantage goes to the Bears. Not only does the offensive experience go to the Bears, the defensive advantage does as well. The Bears defense only allowed 3 drives over 60 yards while the Panthers defense allowed 5 with 4 being 80 yards! The Bears have the more veteran group, quarterback, receivers and running backs. The Bears offense, which exploited the Packers, will exploit the Panthers who can’t stop anything right now. Take the Bears to win getting +2.5 points in the Over. Bears 26-20.

Cleveland Browns vs. Tennessee Titans,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Titans +1. O/U: 44:

The Browns are coming off of a bye week and even though they may have a 1-2 record, Brian Hoyer is pretty happy with the way the team has performed this season. The Browns have lost their 2 games by a FG or less and against divisional rivals. The passing game for the Browns is a surprising bright spot. Terrance West has had a pretty good start to his rookie campaign. He has gone over 200 yards and has 2 TD’s. Ben Tate is questionable for Sunday but if he returns, put your money on the Browns using the running game more and developing a workable game plan for future games so that they don’t rely solely on Hoyer’s arm. The Titans lost terribly on the road in Indy. Only posting 261 total yards will not make them successful going forward. Charlie Whitehurst got the start for the injured Jake Locker and his inexperience showed by only completing 52% of his passes. Jake Locker is hoping to be back on the field Sunday, and do the Titans need him to find his groove. The Titans scored 26 points in a win against the Chiefs in week 1. In the 3 games since, they’ve only scored 34, averaging just 11 points a game. The only thing going for the Titans is their pass defense which is 9th in the league. If they can hone in on stopping the run with their 22nd ranked rush defense, they may have a shot to be in this game. In this case, take the Browns at -1 points to win and in the Over. The thing that stands out is this game opened at Browns getting +2.5 points, that in itself tells you the Browns have the upper hand here. Jake Locker starts this game and both teams will be in a shoot out. Browns 24-21.

St. Louis Rams vs. Philadelphia Eagles,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Eagles -4.5. O/U: 48:

The Rams are coming off of a bye week, and hopefully the momentum that they could take away from their last game at home against Dallas shows up for them in this one. Against Dallas, they opened off quick and big, with a 21-10 lead at the half. However, they let that lead slip through their hands at home eventually losing 34-31. Austin Davies get his 3rd straight start throwing for 327 yards on 30/42 passes and 3 TD’s and 2 INT’s. The Rams also drove the ball very well against a surprisingly strong Dallas defense, 5 drives over 60 yards, not just all in the 1st half where they dominated but all throughout the game. All but one of those drives resulted in points, the other one was a turnover on downs. The running game is one the Eagles wished they had even though it’s only 22nd in the league. The Eagles main struggle on offense is the running the football, especially Le’Sean McCoy. McCoy averaged 76.5 yards on the ground in the first 2 games, the last 2 however, only averaging 19.5 yards. He has 12 fewer carries in the last few games and averaging 3.75 yards per carry in the first 2 while only mustering 1.45 per carry the last 2 weeks. He hasn’t even been involved in the passing game the last 2 weeks, since Sproles’ outburst in Indy in week 2. McCoy will look to bounce back against a bad run defense and the Eagles will put together their first solid game against a struggling Rams bit don’t be surprised if Austin Davis has a big game. Take the Eagles to win with the points in the over. Eagles 28-21.

Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Giants -3.5. O/U: 50.5:

This matchup is scary on numerous levels. First, the Giants had a resurgence on offense and tore up against the Redskins last week and Second, the Falcons were their usual, terrible self on the road last week. Granted, it was Teddy Bridgewater’s first start and there isn’t much game film on him in the pros to pick through his tendencies and their offense put up some decent yards, but the turnover bug on the road showed up again. The Falcons had 4 of 11 drives go over 60 yards and all ended with TD’s but the defense just couldn’t stop Teddy and his offense who had 6 of 11 drives go over 50 yards and converted 5 of them for points (4 TD’s, 1 FG, 1 Missed FG). That’s way too many yards for a team that thinks they’re elite, to give up. The Falcons allowed 558 yards, 317 through the air, and 241 on the ground. On the other side of the field, Eli Manning kept the ball out of defenders arms in into his own receivers’. He threw 28/39 (72% completion) for 300 yards and 4 TD’s. The Giants were the worst team as far as turnovers go, in 2013 and it seemed to be much of the same this year. The first 2 games resulted in 4 INT’s but in the last 2 weeks, he has turned things around with 6 TD’s and just 1 INT. Their rushing game has also started to pick it up with Rashad Jennings having 341 yards on 81 carries averaging 4.2 yards per carry. However, look for the Falcons to shake off their road woes and get some success in New York who is 22nd in the league vs. the passing game. Take the Falcons to win, getting +3.5 points and scoring in the Over. Falcons 28-24.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Steelers –6. O/U: 47.5:

Blake Bortles got his first NFL start last week against a tough Chargers team. He faired well, 29/37 (78%) for 254 yards and 1 TD/2 INT’s. Consistent passing was the key to the throwing success as Henne completed less than 55% of his passes. Bortles might’ve been a breath of fresh air for a minute but they still can’t run, still turn the ball over and still are only averaging 14 points a game. They haven’t had a breakout game yet and I don’t see one happening anytime soon. The Steelers have had too many close games this year and could actually have been 3-1 or 1-3 as 2 of their games (a win and loss) have been by 3 points. The offense has gotten off to a surprisingly hot start, ranking 8th in the pass and 5th in the run. Big Ben is averaging 273 yards a game and is on pace for a 4,400 yard year which would be a career high as well as keeping the turnovers to a minimum. The run game behind him has been the best he has since his days with “Fast” Willie Parker. The run game is averaging 5.75 yards per carry with Blount and Bell, over 5 yards per carry! That is just insane! All that and against the leagues 30th best run defense. Antonio Brown is hot and stays hot. Predictions out there are telling bettors to stay away from taking the Steelers since the game is in Jacksonville and they lost last week to a miserable Bucs team; I’m saying take the Steelers to win with the -6 points in the Under. This thing will be another TD or more loss for the Jags. Steelers 28-10.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Saints -10. O/U: 48:

Finally the Saints are back in familiar territory, the Superdome. The start to this season has been very disappointing for the Saints. They lost 2 close ones in the first 2 weeks, beat Minnesota (barely) in week 3 and played absolutely terrible football against the Cowboys last week. Rob Ryan’s defense has issues and they don’t look like they will be fixed for a while after losing Jarius Byrd last week to a torn lateral meniscus. They have one of the worst pass defenses in the league (28th) and bottom half in the league with their run defense (21st). As bad as the Saints defense is however, they are going up against the leagues worst passing offense and 24th best run game. Brees and his 3rd best pass offense will have a field day against the 29th pass defense of the Buccs. The only thing the Buccs have going for them is their new starter, Mike Glennon. Glennon got his first start of the season last week with McCown out with a thumb issue and tossed for 302 on 21/42 completed passes (50%) with 2 TD’s and 1 INT. Expect a big game through the air in this one as neither team can seem to pick a pass off. The only interception that was attained was by the Buccs. That’s right, a combined 1 interception in 4 games for both teams. So with the Saints being at home, as electric as they are in the Superdome, take them to win and to cover the -10 points in the Over. Saints 35-24.

Houston Texans vs. Dallas Cowboys,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS: Line: Cowboys -6.5 O/U: 47:

Lots of uncertainty early amongst bettors on this one and I can’t see why. In my eyes, Dallas is a lock! Now both teams are 3-1 against the spread this year but the ‘Boys have had a bit tougher of a schedule and the offensive line is starting to move defenses wherever they want! A combined 190 yards on the ground on just 35 carries for this offense against the Saints last week left them feeling good about an average carry going 5.4 yards. Romo has had time to sit in the pocket and toss fireballs down the field (averaging 9 yards per attempt last week) will compiling 3 TD’s. Murray on the other hand, is the new beast mode. He has racked up a 100 yards or more in each game this year and averages 5.4 yards per carry on the season so far. Not to mention, he has a rushing TD in each of the games this year with 5 total. Houston on the other hand was fired up, especially the quiet Fitzpatrick who wanted to stick it to his old team, the Bills. He played better and actually had his 2nd straight game over 250 yards. Houston is a mediocre team but Dallas is an all around good trenches team. If they can control the line of scrimmage like they have been lately, they blow by the Texans. Take the ‘Boys to win with the -6.5 points but in the Under. Cowboys 28-10.

Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Lions -5.5. O/U: 43:

Here is another game that the public bettors still aren’t sure about. The majority has shown favoritism for the Lions but not by much. The Lions are a pretty spectacular team at home. The Lions typically don’t play too well on the road but have had better success than the likes of the Falcons and Saints. Tell that to the Jets, who lost to the Lions 24-17 in New York. The offense exploded for 272 through the air but did fair on the ground with just their 88 yards. The Lions rushing game hasn’t been strong (26th in the league) but have been able to adjust with the passing game (7th in the league). Their defense has been awesome this year and their issue the last few years was the pass defense. This year they rank better in the defensive pass game than their defensive run (2nd and 6th in the league). The Bills have been inconsistent on offense under EJ Manuel, who was only 21/44 passes (48% completion) so they are sitting him and tapped Kyle Orton and he takes over the 31st ranked passing game with a star in the wings in Sammy Watkins. In all of the struggles by Manuel, he did manage to not turn it over a great deal, just 3 times in 4 games but it was the inconsistency completing passes that lead to his demise. Their running game has been picking up the slack on offense but it hasn’t been easy for them. Just 13th in the league in rushing, they’ll look to have more of a balance against the Lions. In the end, it’s Orton’s first start since 12/29/13 when he was a Cowboy facing the Eagles and throwing for 358, 2 TD’s but 2 INT’s as well. Look for the Lions to win this one and to cover the points -5.5 in the Over since the Bills defense against the pass is 25th in the league. The line dropped from -7 to -5.5, that’s a steal! Lions 31-20.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS LINE: Colts –3. O/U: 49:

These 2 offenses can be explosive, mostly in the passing game. The Ravens defense may look like they don’t allow much since they only average 15 points per game allowed. That’s because they started off with a bunch of divisional games that are usually lower scoring games. The Colts have a better passing game while the Ravens have shown big flashes when using Steve Smith Sr. Both defenses are mediocre and the Colts are at home so I would take the Colts even at -3 to win with those points and to score in the Over since neither pass defense will show up. Colts 31-24.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Denver Broncos,
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Broncos -7.5. O/U: 47:

The Cardinals are off to a fantastic start, and all with a backup quarterback leading them the last few games. Carson Palmer will be out again after learning the a nerve in his throwing shoulder actually went dead and will need some time to rejuvenate. Luckily, they say it’s not career threatening. The Broncos are at home and with Wes being back, look for him to have a breakout game with him making his first home debut this season (his 2nd since returning from his 4 game suspension). The Broncos may not be the best offensive team but 10th isn’t too shabby. With Wes back, look for Peyton to have a big day. The Cards on the other hand may not be the best team numbers wise but with one of the best run defenses (4th), they may be able to contain Bell and force Peyton to a bunch of passes and possibly more errors. Ultimately the Broncos will win this one with the points and in the Over. Broncos 34-21.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: 49ers -4.5 O/U: 44:

Colin Kaepernick and the passing game are off to a slow start, especially considering the weapons and offensive line he has. They are 22nd in the league in passing however, the run game is doing most of the work at 7th best. Last week the run game racked up 218 yards on 42 total carries. Kaep had another game throwing barely cracking the 200 yard mark but the 4th straight this season under 250 yards. He’s taken 10 sacks this year because he seems to be holding the ball a bit longer than usual. Gore was off to a slow start but picked it up last week against the Eagles with his frost 100 yard game. The Chiefs have gotten back on track from their 0-2 start and won their last 2. With Jamaal Charles out earlier this season, Knile Davis picked up the slack and has had a pretty good start with 321 yards on 71 carries for 3 scores. Alex Smith has struggled to climb over the 250 yard mark himself, only eclipsing the mark in 1 game (255). Since game 1 however, he’s been fairly accurate, he was 1 TD/3INT in week one but has thrown 6 TD’s and 0 INT’s. He’s going up against a really tough defense especially towards the run game. It will be interesting to see how both Charles and Davis do against them up front. But who knows, Alex Smith may want some revenge from the team that drafted him and kept shuffling the type of offenses they ran with every coach that came in and left. Playing an old team usually fires a guy up. I’d say take the 49ers at home to win but the Chiefs for the points and scoring in the Over. 49ers 27-24.

New York Jets vs. San Diego Chargers,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chargers -6.5. O/U: 44:

this is not a good place for Geno Smith to be. He will likely be playing for his job this game since he is off to an average start but has had poor throws in each of his games this year. He may have an ok game going up against the 12th best pass defense but you never know with him, he’s been so inconsistent in his career game to game. It’s a good thing the Chargers don’t have a running game (31st best in the league) going up against the best in the league against the rush. The Jets defense has been really strong and kept the team in allow their games this year but the turnovers on offense have ruined field position and the scoreboard throughout the season. The Chargers too have a good ground defense (9th in the league) but Rex will probably want to play it safe to stay off the hot seat a run a bunch minimizing the mistakes Geno can make. Phillip Rivers has had a hot hand early, which is unusual since the team usually starts the season out slow. The Chargers have the 5th best passing game and are off to a 3-1 start. Rivers is over 1100 yards and has 9 TD’s but that is mostly due to picking up the slack from all of his injured running backs. Donald Brown is not getting it done with a 2 yard per carry average. Look for Rivers to be slinging it all over the field at home and the Jets to start off rushing a bunch but having to turn to the pass once they get down by 2 scores. Take the Chargers to win but the Jets for the points, +6.5, since their defense will keep it close and score in the Over. I think the line is too big and the O/ U is too small. Chargers 27-24.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England Patriots,
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Bengals -2.5. O/U: 45.5:

Terrific Tom hasn’t been so terrific this year. Like Kaep he has yet to have a 250 yard game. All of this years we used to see him have, in Chad Johnson’s words, video game like numbers. Without receivers and without a good offensive line, we see him under a whole different pressure that he never had before and he’s hurting because of it. Yes they are still 2-2, yes their record at home with To, at the helm is immaculate, but this is the new Pats. Because of their bad O-line, they have one of the leagues worst offenses, 30th in pass and 23rd in rushing. Adding Talib has been a huge help and it shows with the best pass defense but against the run, their 23rd. This should be an easy win for the Bengals, even in New England because the weather shouldn’t be too different from Cincy. It will also be a test for the Bengals just above mediocre offense. Daulton in week 1 was stellar, 300 yards/77 yard completion long/1 TD. Since he’s declined in yardage each of the 2 games (252 in week 2, 169 week3). Both games he was 15/23 which is low for the amount of passes he should have but don’t let those numbers deceive you. He still averaged 10.96 yards per attempt in week 2 and 7.35 in week 3. So they are still trying to keep the deep ball present I their game to get the defenses to lighten up in the box but the run game still hasn’t exploded yet, 15th in the league. That will change going up against the Pats defense. They will test that secondary, pound the run and then throw overtop again. Not many times you will see the Pats give points but don’t take them. They will lose this one and it might not be a pretty sight. Take the Bengals and the points to win in the Under. Bengals 24-17.

Enjoy the week, happy betting and look for my Monday predictions tomorrow.

Week 3: Sunday Games Preview, Game and Spread Predictions

Last week I turned it up on the spread! Talk about a turn around. Listen, the first week is always hard to predict winners of the spreads because you haven’t seen the teams go live for 4 whole quarters. I was a numbing 7-9 in week one but 9-7 on the over/under calls. With the over/unders, you generally have an idea of the offenses or the weekly matchups that have potential to score in the over, same for the defenses in the under. Here’s the funny thing. I made a bet against my GB -8 pick and hit. At the last second I decided that -8 was too high and that Geno was going to keep it close, so I took the Jets and they nearly won the thing if it hadn’t been for the fake or not so fake timeout call. So for this blogs record sake, it was a 10-6, 63% winners week, but in my head, I really went 11-5, 69% winners.

This week, I’m off to a hot start. Atlanta crushed Tampa Bay and scored in the over by themselves, real Peyton Manning/Denver Broncos like. Atlanta was just relentless on both sides of the ball and like I said, the Buccs would have to get first downs and sustain long drives to keep it close. They just go out and do what they’ve been doing, turning the ball over (even after causing a turnover) and not getting those crucial first downs. Their first, first down was near the end of the first half! Pitiful! To boot, McCown gets hurt, then Mike Glennon comes in and shows him up a bit. The Buccs paid McCown a ton of cash and gave him the starting job immediately after signing. This is also the same coach who kept Rex Grossman at the helm of his offense, which wasn’t great, during their Super Bowl year. Well the only thing I got wrong was the final score really, I thought the Buccs would wake up for a divisional game and score more than they did.

Anyways, on to Week 3’s Sunday picks and predictions:

San Diego Chargers vs. Buffalo Bills,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Bills -2.5. O/U: 45.5:

Both the Bills and Chargers had big wins at home last week. The Chargers beat up on the visiting Seahawks who, like I said, are not the same team on the road and could have trouble scoring more than 2 TD’s. Well they did score 3 of them but their usually stout defense allowed 30! Rivers to Gates seemed to be the “it thing” of the night, they hooked up through the air 3 times for 6. By the way, what is it with the West Coast and their TE’s? 2 have already had 3 TD games, (Julius Thomas and Antonio Gates). Give Buffalo credit, they made the most of their field position most of the game. They started at their own 40 or better 6 times (resulted in 4 FG’s/missed FG/Punt), at or above their own 30 or better 8 times (5 FG’s/missed FG/2 Punts) and in Miami territory 5 times (3 FG’s/missed FG/Punt)! They were able to move the ball well but not good enough for TD’s (4 drives of 40 yards or more). The Bills defense was just as good, only allowing 3 drives for Miami’s offense to go 60 yards or more resulting in allowing 10 points and getting a INT (2nd/3rd/4th best Miami drives were 29/28/14 yards). The Chargers allowed 3 scoring drives and shut the Seahawks down on the other 7 drives. What the Chargers do well is sucking up time on offense. They had 3 drives over 5 minutes totaling 19:33 (over a whole quarter on 3 drives)! The total time of possession shook out like this: SEA 17:45, SD 42:15, what ball hogs! The Chargers also turned 6 of 10 drives into points, which they also had a 1 play drive that was just a knee to end the first half (so really, 6 of 9). That’s a heck of a game for the Chargers. They’ll do much of the same to the Bills, keeping their offense on the field, tiring out that Bills D. Take the Chargers to win with the points +2.5 and in the Over. Chargers 28-21.

Dallas Cowboys vs. St. Louis Rams,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Cowboys -2.5. O/U: 44:

This shouldn’t take long. The Rams are a mess and even with legendary coach Jeff Fisher. Listen, Jeff Fisher can’t get on the field and throw the ball for them and play the game for the team the way he expects them to perform. You may be saying, why are you dogging them, they are 1-1. They beat the Buccs last week. Did you see the Buccs Thursday? They are channeling their inner 1980’s self. Without a viable QB, the Rams have no leadership on the field. Austin Davis looked strong in last weeks game going 22-29 for 235 yards. The key for him was not INT’s! The ‘Boys looked to get back on track last week and their defense looked good for a second straight week. The offense held on to the ball more than 2/3’s of the game. Romo didn’t pass a whole lot but kept his game efficient. The run game really looked good racking up 220 yards on 40 touches with Murray leading the way with 167 yards on 29 carries. Look for a route in this one. The ‘Boys will win with the points -2.5 and in the Over. Cowboys 31-14.

Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Eagles -6. O/U: 51:

Welcome back to Philly Desean! Well may not be so welcome since he is now with division rival Washington. Yeah, RGIII is hurt but Kirk Cousins is a viable backup and has proven his worth which is why the Redskins haven’t really shopped him in trades. Cousins looked great at time while filling in the last 2 years but also looked like a backup during other times. Last week he was able to complete 67% of his passes, 250 yards and 2 TD’s. Desean will definitely get the Redskins pumped in his return (even though he is still questionable) so look for the Redskins to start quick since the Eagles don’t show up until the 2nd half. This will be a tougher game than normal for the Eagles and not due to the D-Jack hype but because the Redskins have one of the best pass rushing defenses in the league! After all, they did sack Chad Henne 10 times (combination of bad line play and Henne holding the ball too long). Lately Foles has been holding the ball longer than he should and making some bad decisions on where to throw the ball (2 picks already in 2 games, 2 picks all of last year in 13 games). Philly has had a better offensive line in recent years so this will be a nice test for them and played very well last week. Eyes will be on Sproles out of the backfield with his amazing game last week but it won’t be that type of game for him this week. I like the Eagles winning this game but take the Redskins for the points +6 and to score in the Over. Eagles 31-27.

Houston Texans vs. New York Giants,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Texans -1. O/U: 41.5:

Eli Manning’s woes continue and Tom Coughlin is turning 50 shades of red I haven’t seen before. The Giants offense have scored a 28 points (28th in the NFL) and 269 offensive yards (30th). That’s just pitiful! Especially for a team that has won 2 Super Bowls since 2007 (2011 the other). Just 3 years removed from a Super Bowl and this is the product they put out? Anyways, they did do some good things last week, time of possession was 5 minutes higher than the Cardinals, a good amount of first downs (24), more yards and 2-3 in the red zone. Where they failed was turnovers (4), 9 penalties for 70 yards, and only averaging 3 yards per carry. The Texans are going to give them a tough go but a win can be achieved. Houston won against a Oakland Raiders team that is sinking already this season. They took advantage of the non existent running game and pressured rookie QB Carr into throwing 2 picks. Fitzpatrick was accurate, completing 14/19 (74%) passes for just 139 yards and 2 TD’s and Arian Foster showed flashes of old rushing 28 times for 138 yards for almost 5 yards per carry and a score. Most of Fosters’ carries were between the tackles however, and is now questionable for this week 3 game. So with Foster Q’d for Sunday and Fitzpatrick not able to drive the ball down the field to support the possible lack of rushing game, expect the Giants to get their first win this year. Take the Giants to win with the points +1 and in the Under, since the Texans will have a hard time scoring if Foster is limited or missing Sunday. Giants 21-17.

Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Saints -10. O/U: 49.5:

It’s amazing that the Sharpes only value a guy like Adrian Peterson at a value of 1-1.5 points per game. The guy averages just over 12 TD’s per season rushing, 13 if you add in his receiving stats. That’s 91 TD’s in 104 games, how does he only account for just 1 to 1.5 points? Anyways, he’s out, probably for a while so in comes back up Matt Asiata, who in AP’s absence last week rushed 13 times for just 36 yards (2.8 yards per carry) but caught 5 passes for 48 yards (9.6 yards per catch) and a score. It will be interesting to see how the holes in the Saints defense (which allowed a Browns team to score 26 points on them) are corrected for the Vikings. Yes the Saints are 0-2 but they were both lost by a field goal or less. They have done all the right things on offense, it’s just that the defense needs to start to step up and stop teams (last in the league in passing yards allowed, 21st in rushing yards allowed). Just because AP isn’t in, doesn’t mean they can be lax on the defensive side of the ball because Matt Cassel could still shred defenses with his arm if even though he looked like a rookie last week by throwing 4 picks! But seeing the stat line for the Vikes rushing game, the 4 picks from Cassel and the 6 sacks he took, it looks like the Saints will dominate in this one. Take the Saints to win, with the points and in the Over. I think it may look like the Falcons/Buccs game Thursday. Saints 38-14.

Tennessee Titans vs. Cincinnati Bengals,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Bengals -7. O/U: 43.5

The Bengals have come out firing on all cylinders. Last week they made the Falcons and Matt Ryan look small in comparison due to the turnovers they created. Not only did the Bengals move the ball through the air (Daulton 15/23 65% 252 yards and 1 TD) but the RB tandem of Bernard and Hill combined for 42 carries and 164 yards and 2 TD’s. Getting 3 picks against Ryan is no easy task but the defense stepped up and look for them to be ball hawking against the Titans this week. The Titans had an opportunity to continue to bash the reeling Cowboys but failed to do so getting walloped themselves. Locker didn’t look that great throwing 2 picks to just 1 TD and the ground game couldn’t get close to 100 yards. Romo didn’t even have a great day throwing so there shouldn’t have been a reason to not stay close in the game. But there was. They couldn’t sustain their drives. The Titans just had 13 first downs on 11 drives but only 3 were over 50 yards (FG, TD, Turnover on downs). 5 of their drives had less than 10 yards gained! To be successful, you have to sustain drives and score off of the longer ones, plus have 20+ first downs. The fact they only had 13 shows they were handled by the ‘Boys’ defense. Well, since they couldn’t get it done at home against Dallas, expect the Bengals to blow them out in Cincy. Take the Bengals to win with the points -7, and in the Over. Bengals 38-14.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Ravens –1.5. O/U: 41.5:

Baltimore has owned this series the last few years winning 9 of the last 10. In those 10 games, Baltimore has only covered 6 of them and 8 of the games finished in the under. Hoyer didn’t play the last game between the two but Ray Rice really didn’t either (11 carries/17 yards, 3 catches/21 yards). Hoyer and the air game still don’t look like a threat but that running game they have sure does pack a punch (6th in the league with average rushing yards per game). The Browns defense was supposed to be the side of the ball that would be consistent but they are 30th in the league allowing pass yards (299.5/game) and 26th in rushing(150.5/game). The Ravens played a week and a half ago, Thursday Night against another divisional foe, the Steelers. The Ravens showed some life even after a short week due to the Thursday game. Whether it be that the Ravens catching the Steelers off guard or rallied in the locker room in wake of the Ray Rice issues, they had some time to recoup and got the job done. Flacco was on point (not many yards though), and the run game did what it needed to do. The Ravens set the game plan up to a perfect winning measure by getting 25 first downs and had over 10 minutes more than the Steelers in time of procession. The NFC North usually have low scoring games against each other, don’t go against my advise here! Take the Ravens to win with the points -1.5 and the Under. Ravens 20-14.

Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Lions –2. O/U: 52.5:

The inconsistent Lions showed their ugly faces last week, bitten by the turnover bug in Carolina. Green Bay got close win at home last week against the Jets, thanks in part by the “phantom” timeout call. The Packers have owned this series, winning 8 of the last 10, Detroit however won handedly last game which was in Detroit. Flynn was in for the injured Rodgers who threw a pick and was sacked 7 times! That will not be the case Sunday. Rodgers is back and ready to claim the top of the NFC North. Both offenses will be high flying. Detroit is a more consistent team and usually play well at home. The Packers have big road game win potential with a healthy squad. Nelson had an amazing game last week racking up a career-best 209 yards on 9 catches and 1 TD. Look for much of the same there between Rodgers and Nelson, as Nelson has been the go-to guy with 9 catches in the first 2 games for 292 and 1 TD. Lacy is off to a slow start to his sophomore year in the league, and it might continue against the Lions fierce run defense (2nd best total yards allowed, 255/game and rushing yards allowed, 57.5/game). Green Bay’s defense is still forming as the pass defense has stepped up this year (6th 178.5/game) but the 2nd worst rush defense (31st 176.5/game) but they are going against the 28th worst rushing offense (73/game) but the 4th best pass offense (297/game). This will be a high scoring game at Ford field but take the Packers with the +2 points to win in the Over. Packers 38-31.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Colts -7. O/U: 45:

Last week was a horrible week for the Jags and their offense. The only real stat line that grabs your eyes is the sack line. Henne was sacked 10 times last week, which tied a franchise record for the Redskins. The times of Henne’s 10 sacks: 3.85, 2.22, 3.10, 2.88, 3.35, 3.01, 2.54, 2.47, 2.50 and 2.75 seconds. So the line wasn’t entirely at fault but we also don’t have the coaches game tape to see some coverages down the field. From what I saw, Henne was at fault for a good 4-5 of them just by holding the ball too long (average release time for NFL QB should be in the area of 2.75-3 seconds). Now there were blown blocks, blitzes not picked up and some coverage sacks. For a pocket passer, you can’t just get rid of the football, that’s how picks are created, nervous QB’s. Because of the dominance by the defense of the Redskins, the Jags only amassed 8 (3-13 on 3rd downs) first downs and only 20 minutes of possession and an extremely lousy 148 total yards on offense. The plus, just 1 turnover (INT). The Colts took over the entire first half of last weeks game against the Eagles and looked to have a win in the bag, leading 17-6 at half. Then the wheels fell off and they ended up losing 30-27 going 0-2 to start the season. The Colts did everything right statistically to win the game, 25 first downs, 36 minutes of possession time (13 minutes more than the Eagles) and committed 7 less penalties than the Eagles. The turnovers are what hurt the Colts in the 2nd half, here are their 2nd half drives (# plays/# yards/outcome): 3/8/Punt, 10/62/FG, 1/1/Fumble, 12/80/TD, 8/41/INT, 3/5/Punt. They had 5 drives in the first half: 3/1/Punt, 9/72/TD, 11/44/FG, 3/0/Punt, 10/58/TD. The key, no turnovers. Take the Colts in this one to win with the points -7 and in the Under, since the Jags defense has the potential to play well in the secondary but the offense is lacking scores due to issues on the line and a very young and inexperienced WR core. Colts 28-16

Oakland Raiders vs. New England Patriots,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -14. O/U: 46.5:

Where should I start with this one, I mean the Patriots are giving up 14 points! The Raiders last week against a Texans team that shouldn’t put up 30 points especially since they only gave up just 139 yards through the air. It was the ground game that killed them, giving up 188 yards on the ground which gave Houston the possession win (a whopping 38:36), the 4 turnovers and the fact that Houston started 4 drives in Oakland territory (which lead to 2 FG’s, TD, and a Blocked FG). Take those points off the board, Oakland would’ve had a closer game than the score indicated and Derrick Carr played better this week but not by a whole lot (27/42 64%, 263 yards, 1TD/2INT), not to mention that he was over half of the rushing game (4 carries for 58 yards). The Raiders’ running game is in shambles. MJD is nursing his hand after undergoing an operation to fix a broken bone in his hand after week 1. He is questionable for week 3 but I would expect him to miss the game. DMC only gained an average of 3 yards per carry, which isn’t great but they were playing from behind so the passing game was thrown into full gear most of the game. The Pats are coming off a great week from a Adrian Petersonless Vikings and took advantage, blowing them out 30-7. The crazy stat is that the Pats only had 142 yards through the air. The tandem of Ridley/Vereen played well, combining for 31 carries for 141 yards and a score (Ridley was 25/101/1 TD). They didn’t have to pass as they started from their 39 or better on 5 of 11 drives and took a 24-7 lead into the half. Expect Derrick Carr to play well this week even against the 4th best passing defense (166/game) but also expect Brady to have a great game against the 27th worst pass defense (184/game). The points are hard to get over on this one so take the Pats to win but Oakland for the points +14 in the Over. Pats 31-21.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals,
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Cardinals +3. O/U: 42.

The 49ers have owned the Cards in the last 10 games, winning 9 of the last 10 games, covering the spread in 8 of them. Jim Harbaugh does not have 2 bad weeks in a row and his team dictates that on the field. They are 8-4 in games following a loss in the regular season and have covered the spread 9 of those 12 games, since 2011! That is an unreal stat. Here’s another, they are 17-7 on the road while covering 17 of those point spreads (covered a loss, did not cover one of the wins). 2 of the 7 none covered spreads were in Seattle (go figure). But still, those are numbers to bet your mortgage on! Granted, Kaepernick has a sore back but it shouldn’t play that much of a factor. The Cardinals on the other hand are the latest team to have a player connect with a domestic dispute case, Jonathan Dwyer (what’s up with these running backs lately?). Last week the Cards beat up on the woefully horrible New York Giants and Drew Stanton showed his inexperience. He was just 14/29 (48% completion percentage) for just under 170 yards. They will be without him and Carson Palmer (shoulder) on Sunday and will have Andre Ellington in the lineup after suffering a foot injury last week. The test will be for the 49ers against one of the better defenses in the league. I like the 49ers in this one simply because they are one of if not the best road team in the NFL. Take the 49ers to win with the points -3 in the Under. 49ers 28-10

Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Seahawks -4.5. O/U: 48:

There really isn’t much to say here. The Seahawks are 16-1 in their last 17 home games. If you think the Broncos had a hard time on neutral site last meeting, wait until you see them in Seattle. The only neat thing you may see, unless Richard Sherman says so, is Peyton Manning climbing into the 500 TD club which Brett Favre is the only exclusive member so far. Lots of new faces on defense but it hasn’t changed much, they are the 28th worst D but 10th best allowing rushing yards. These two teams haven’t changed much since the Supper Bowl except location. Keep the past in mind, Peyton looked frustrated, uncomfortable and uneasy in the game you should be most prepared for. Another stat to keep in mind, he Broncos have won their 2 games this year but have lost their only 2 spreads so far. Last week they were just kept off of the field in the second half due to the Chiefs sucking up almost 18 minutes of possession! That doesn’t speak to much of that new defense they have been promoting. You just don’t mess with a home streak like this, and no, I don’t care that Wes Welker might be back this week. Yes I know, the biggest game of the week and the least amount of analysis but hey, these numbers are sick and you can’t go against them. Take the Seahawks to win with the points -4.5 and in the over. Seahawks 30-24

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Miami Dolphins,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Dolphins -3.5. O/U: 42.5:

Miami and Buffalo was supposed to be a pick’em game in some eyes. The Bills were only favored by 1 and still crushed the Fins. Where is the blame placed? The special teams didn’t have a great day, which accounted for the Bills scoring 10 points in a matter of 2 minutes and 2 seconds (blocked Punt in Miami territory and a kickoff return TD)! Miami also shot themselves in the foot by not having a drive over 30 yards in the first half (plays/yards: 4/14, 5/14, 4/-8, 4/10, 3/3, 6/29). That just reeks of a mediocre offense but they came out firing with back to back scoring drives of 64 yards both for a FG and TD but slipped back to the first half numbers only to have a60 last drive end in a INT. This is a team that beat the Patriots by 13 in week 1! A little Jekell and Hyde scares me for any type of long range success. The Chiefs are having a bit of an 0-2 crisis of their own. They are in the bottom half in the league with everything (18th pass off 212.5/game, 22nd rush off 100/game, 19th pass defense 240/game, 23rd rush defense 125/game). Those are terrible numbers. They got blown out by the Titans in week one and put a rally of some sorts on the Broncos last week in that loss. The good news was that the offense was clicking and Alex Smith still had a decent game and ended up with more yards than Peyton. The offense strung together a possession time of 36:14, 12 and a half full minutes over Denver (and Denver usually takes forever to drive the ball down the field with the Omaha King)! That was thanks in large part to 28, yes count them, 28 first downs! The Chiefs ran about twice the amount of plays and kept Peyton off the field for most of the second half (which is probably why the Broncos only scored 24) with drives of 10 and almost 8 minutes in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Unfortunately they missed a FG on the 10 minute drive. Holding the ball on 2 drives that is more than 1 quarter of play is amazing and if done again, they must get more points off of for that to be a feature of their game they can build on. I think they test that theory again this week and pummel an offensively weak Miami team due to Knowshon Moreno being out. The weather is going to be a high of about 83 with chance of thunderstorms before 8 pm so don’t expect the heat to play a factor for the Chiefs as it did for the Patriots. Take the Chiefs to win with the points +3.5 but in the Under. Chiefs 21-17.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Carolina Panthers,
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Panthers -3.5. O/U: 42:

The Steelers are reeling after a rough start with 2 divisional games, almost losing to the Browns and dealing with a punishing ground game last week in a loss to the Ravens. They are ranked 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed (174/game). Now it’s time to play against a team that is 25th (87.5/game) in the league in rushing. Surprisingly, Big Ben and the passing game are 5th (289/game) in the league, which will have a nice test going against the 12th (207.5/game) best pass defense. In order for the Steelers to have success this week, they have to limit the turnovers, in which they had 3 last week. They also lost the possession battle due to the turnovers by 10 minutes and committed 5 more penalties for 40 more yards. The Steelers had only 3 drives over 40 yards (64, 73, 72) and only scored once on the drives with just a FG, fumbling and throwing an INT on the others. The Panthers are off to a nice 2-0 start thanks to a week 1 fill in win by Derek Anderson and a blowout win against a high powered Lions offense last week that was just shut down. One of the keys were the turnovers the Panthers caused (3). The Lions had back to back possessions in the 4th quarter where they threw an INT and fumbled that the Panthers turned into a TD and FG on that next possession. Cam had a good first game of the season, 22/34 (65%) for 281 yards and TD, and ran 4 times for 19 yards (4.8/average per carry). This is going to be a tough game for both teams and the score will indicate that. I like the Panthers to win this one but take the Steelers for the points +3.5 in the Under. Panthers 19-17.

Check back tomorrow for my Monday Night pick and prediction. Good luck all!

Week 2 Sunday Games Preview and Predictions

It’s always hard to predict how the first week turns out with who wins and loses let alone giving advice on the spreads and over/unders. I’d like to say that I faired ok in the spreads given some of the upsets and closer than should’ve been performances of some teams and faired better on the over/unders but not by much. The first week is the first full game action for everyone and for most teams, not all of the bugs are worked out. Some of my surprises included the Jags first half, Saints/Pats/Bears/Chiefs losing, the Cowboys’ turnovers and the Packers not staying with the Seahawks.

A lot of other things happened this week that will affect the week 2 games. Ray Rice is now unemployed and suspended from the league indefinitely, Adrian Peterson was indicted on child abuse charges and is deactivated for this week, the drug policy has changed which would mean the likes of Wes Welker would be activated for this week but might not play given his lack of practice this week, and Josh Gordon may have his year long suspension reduced to 8 games. There was a lot of sloppy play over the first week as we saw the usually poised players crumble. You can only imagine that this past week of practice sured up some of the holes in last play.  So I was 7-9 against the spread, I was 9-7 for my Over/Under calls, that counts for something right?  I’m only taking 3 dogs this week and I feel pretty good about them.  Here are the picks:

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: -1 O/U: 42.5:

Both teams surprisingly came out strong last week pulling off upset wins, Bills over the Bears and the Dolphins over the Pats. EJ looked good completing over 70% of his passes and even had a rushing TD while his running backs ran for over 170 yards against a usually stout Bears defense. He did it twice last year during his rookie season and they both resulted in wins as well. The only time he was able to follow up at 70% completion percentage he threw for under 50%. EJ is still young and hasn’t been able to hit a stride while overcoming injuries in his rookie year. This may be his turn around if he can stay healthy. The Dolphins last week ran the ball well, racking up 191 yards on the ground and averaging 5 yards per carry. Not so well throwing the ball as Tannehill is still trying to prove that he is the Fins’ franchise QB. EJ will take advantage of how well he throws the ball short and intermediately which will keep the Dolphins on their toes then hit them with the run game. Take the Bills at home -1 in the over as both teams have a good run game which will open up the pass for both teams. Bills 24-20.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Washington Redskins,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Redskins -6.5. O/U: 43.5:

The Jags came out like they were shot out of a cannon last week in the first half with a 17-0 lead. They caused turnovers and Chad Henne put the ball into the hands of a rookie wide receiver named Allen Hurns (3 receptions in the 1st quarter for 101 yards). The turning point was the opening drive in the second half when faced with a 4th and 1, the Eagles snapped the ball before the Jags defense was set and went 49 yards for the score and didn’t look back. The Jags now have a great first half to work off of and fix that horrendous second half. The Redskins have deeper issues. They only had 2 completions over 20 yards even though RGIII had a completion percentage over 70%, he couldn’t get the ball in the end zone and fumbled twice losing one of them. The Redksins had 46 yards on 4 drives in the first quarter all resulting in punts and had their 2 longest drives (78 & 79 yards, back to back drives in the 3rd quarter) end as a result of a lost fumble. The Redskins allowed 3 long drives of 68, 83. and 89 yards with a quarterback that isn’t known for driving the ball down the field. Fitzpatrick had just over 200 yards for the game and the Texans only had 115 yards on the ground. Expect the Jags to keep it close even if they lose since Henne looked really good to open off the game and to have Toby Gerhart get more carries. I’m always one for giving a guy the benefit of the doubt when the system around him constantly changes (like Alex Smith), so don’t be surprised if Henne has a breakout year (you heard it here first). The Jags won’t wait until their 9th game this year for their first win so take them +6.5 in the Over. Jags 24-21.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Tennessee Titans,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Titans –3.5. O/U: 49.5:

The Cowboys surprised us in a good way but mostly in a bad way last week. With tons of injuries to their defense, we expected the defense to struggle but they didn’t and held the 49ers to just 28 points. The offense however fluttered and Romo disintegrated in the first half with 3 interceptions which 2 converted into touchdowns for the 49er also returning an opening drive fumble by DeMarco Murray for a score. 21-3 after the first, 7-14 the rest of the game. Take away the turnovers and Romo’s terrible field vision on those 3 drives, that game was winnable. The Cowboys will have a difficult time duplicating their performance given the effort needed to hold an offense like the 49ers. Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt is like a quarterback whisperer. He has taken Big Ben and Kurt Warner to the Super Bowl, winning with Big Ben and revived Phillip Rivers’s career last year, bringing him a successful winning season. Look for the Whis to make some magic with Jake Locker who had a pretty good game last week. Take the Titans to win but the Cowboys for the points if it stays at 3 or higher in the Over. Titans 28-27.

Arizona Cardinals vs. New York Giants,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Giants -2.5. O/U: 43:

Who knows where to start with the Giants. Eli Completed under 55% of his passes and only averaged 4.9 yards per pass, and oh yeah, the run game wasn’t there either. The Giants as well only carried the ball on average 2 yards per carry and Eli only threw for 163 yards and 2 picks to 1 TD. Out of 10 drives, the Giants scored on 2 (drives of 79 and 80 yards). The other 8 drives sucked up just 61 yards of offense only averaging 7.6 yards per drive outside of the 2 they scored on. That’s not just bad, that is a significant offensive meltdown. That’s not the outcome anyone would expect having all summer and preseason to get ready to go for the season. The Cardinals looked good against a tough, gritty Chargers however came out of the game with a banged up Andre Ellington and Carson Palmer, but both are expected to play Sunday. All but 1 Cardinals receiver had less than 30 yards receiving which only meant that Palmer who had over 300 yards, had a really good day with one receiver and spread the ball around to others. Michael Floyd had 5 catches for 119 yards while 10 other guys caught the other 19 passes for 185 yards. Larry Fitzgerald had 4 targets and only 1 catch for 22 yards. Expect him to have a bigger roll against the Giants. Take the Cardinals getting +2.5 points to win in the Over. Cards 27-20.

New England Patriots vs. Minnesota Vikings,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -6. O/U: 48:

For the first time since Christmas Eve 2000, the New England Patriots are in sole possession of last place in the AFC East. It is rare for Tom Brady to have back to back weeks and this is the Bills we are talking about here. Gronk didn’t get a whole lot of game time but expect that to change this week. Tom is only 8-6 when throwing the ball more than 50 times in a game during the regular season. He is now also only 1-3 when he throws more than 50 times and completes less than 60% of his passes. He only averaged 4.4 yards per pass but also was sacked 4 times (all in the second half) as well and that is most likely due to trading away their starting center Logan Mankins. The Vikings however will be without Adrian Peterson this week as I mentioned above due to being indicted for child abuse. The Vikings don’t have Toby Gerhart to lean on in AP’s absence so the running game will struggle. The Patriots don’t often lose 2 games in a row so look for the Patriots to bounce back. The line for the game opened at +3 for the Vikings and have only changed to +6 with the AP news. I’m surprised it didn’t move more given what AP can do with the rock. With this in mind, you have to take the Patriots with the points to win in the Under. Pats 27-14.

New Orleans Saints vs. Cleveland Browns,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Saints -6 O/U: 47.5:

The Saints are typically average on the road which proved to be the point for the defense as the Falcons slammed the Saints D for 568 yards. Drew Brees looked in mid season form with his 333 yard performance almost getting to 70% completion percent but only found the end zone once. The run game for the Saints averaged 4 yards per carry which is above par from last year (3.8 per carry for the whole season). The Browns surprisingly kept up with the Steelers last year losing by a last second field goal. Credit the Browns running game for keeping them in the game with the Steelers (30 carries for 183 yards, 6 yds avg. per carry). Hoyer was good enough (completing 61% of his passes for 230 yards, 1 TD) but the inexperience with having to share time with Manziel in the pre season has set the air game a bit back. Expect the Saints to continue their air offense dominance with Brees and new weapon, rookie Brandon Cooks (7 catches for 77 yards and 1 TD). Take the Saints -6 in the Over. Saints 34-14.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Cincinnati Bengals,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Bengals –5. O/U: 48.5:

The Bengals have covered the spread in all homes games last year and in the last handful of seasons, teams that played the Saints the week before only have won 38% of their next weeks games. When you play the Saints, there area lot of things you have to cover to stop them defensively and they are one of the quickest paced teams causing more fatigue than normal. Andy Daulton and AJ Green looked like they hadn’t stopped playing pitch and catch since the 2013 season ended. Daulton had a 301 yard game but with just 1 TD to AJ who caught 6 passes for 131 yards. They had to make up for a lackluster run game which only racked up 79 yards against the Ravens in Baltimore. The Falcons brought it against the Saints and Matt Ryan blew up for 448 yards and 3 scores in the season opener at home. He didn’t look affected by the absence of Tony Gonzalez. Follow the stats in this one. Bengals undefeated at home last year while covering in all of those games and the week after playing the Saints, NFL teams usually lose. Take the Bengals to win -5 in the Over. Bengals 30-24.

Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Panthers -2.5. O/U: 43.5:

Cam is back in action this week and we got a taste of what this new receiving core can do last week. Fill in Derek Anderson completed 71% of his throws for 230 yards and a pair of scores, doing his best to fill in for Cam being out rehabbing his ribs. Rookie Kelvin Benjamin showed flashes of what he can provide Cam this year with his 6 catches for 92 yards and a TD. DeAngelo Williams showed flashes of a younger self carrying the ball 14 times for 72 yards but is questionable Sunday with a thigh injury. Stafford to Megatron was the show and accounted for 2 early TD’s on back to back drives. Rushing the ball for the Lions, on the other hand, was not as plentiful as the air game with just 76 yards on 30 carries! Just 2 yards on average per run! Reggie was kept quiet on the ground but made some noise through the air. Expect much of the same from the Lions but be weary, the Lions are known for their inconsistency from week to week. Hopefully that changes with their new coach. Still, I would take the Lions getting +2.5 points on the road and to win in the Over largely because of Stafford’s 2nd weapon Golden Tate who had 6 catches for 93 yards (44 yards his longest catch). Lions 31-27.

St. Louis Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers,
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Buccaneers -2.5 O/U: 38:

Both teams walked out of week 1 with key injuries and some will miss this Sunday’s matchup. Rams DE Chris Long will be out until mid November with ankle surgery, QB Shaun Hill quad strain. The Buccs DE Gholston has a shoulder issue, DE Bowers has an abdominal tear, DE Johnson will be out with an ankle injury, DE Clayborn was placed on the I-R with a torn Bicep, DB Melvin out with an ankle injury, CB Mike Jenkins was placed on the I-R tearing his pectoral muscle, TE Seferian-Jenkins is out with an ankle injury and G/C Logan Mankins with a left knee issue as well as RB Doug Martin. Did you get all of that? Neither teams offense had much success in the first week and struggled to get anything going on the ground. Doug Martin had 9 carries for 9 yards before leaving the game injured. He hasn’t been the same since his rookie year. The Buccs need veteran McCown to help lead the younger offense through this season to get into a rhythm like he had with the Bears last year. That might start this game since the Rams are struggling to find their identity on offense (and struggling to find a reliable starting QB) let alone losing a huge leader for their D. It will be sloppy, it will be boring. Take the Buccs at home with the points -2.5 and in the Under. Buccs 24-13.

Seattle Seahawks vs. San Diego Chargers,
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Seahawks –6 O/U: 44.5:

Long rest versus short rest. The Seahawks played a week and a half ago in the 2014 NFL opener at home against the Packers while the Chargers were in Arizona on Monday night. The Seahawks dominated the Packers from the get-go and won handidly against a great Aaron Rodgers but head to San Diego who faced no push over on Monday night, the Arizona Cardinals. The Chargers had a hard time getting the ball moving on the ground with just 52 totals team rushing yards and the game was a bit of a snoozer in the first half but losing by 1 on the road will have Rivers fired up for Sunday. He’s already mentioned to the media that he will not be scared to throw it Richard Sherman’s way, unlike Rodgers who didn’t test the corner all game long in the 2014 NFL season opener. The Seahawks are unreal/dominating at home and good enough on the road. Most of their road wins are close games even against mediocre teams, this may be the same case given how well the Chargers improved last year. The points have changed drastically since the opening of the line at +3.5. However, now it’s up to +6 for the Bolts which makes this a juicy action game. I like the Seahawks still wining this game however take the Chargers +6 at home in the Over. Seahawks 24-21.

Houston Texans vs. Oakland Raiders,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Texans -2.5. O/U: 39.5:

Houston is coming out of a week where they lost their #1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney at least until mid October to microscopic knee surgery and who saw their average starting QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick, played, well, average. Arian Foster sort of got back to his old form, rushing 27 times for 103 yards for only 3.8 yards per carry. Oakland decided to go against starting the former Texans starting star QB Matt Schaub and instead went with the highly touted rookie Derek Carr. Carr didn’t disappoint, completing 63% of his passes for only 151 yards but for 2 TD’s and 0 picks. Their rushing game however, probably the worst in the league at this point, rushing for only 25 yards on 15 carries, with 3 different backs and Carr with a run for -1 yard. Word is Maurice Jones-Drew is out for Sunday so it’s Darren McFadden’s show if he can stay healthy. He performed the best, 4 rushes for 15 yards averaging 3.8 yards per carry. With Carr showing what he can do and if the running game doesn’t get going again, look for the Raiders to give him a ton of work. I don’t see Fitzpatrick being the Texans solution at QB since Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins need a QB that has the arm strength to drive the ball down the field, which Fitz can’t do. Look for the Texans to have a heavy dose of rushing in their offensive gameplay with the Raiders giving up over 200 yards on the ground to 4 different rushers. That will give them control of most of the game’s time of possession. Expect a low scoring game but the Texans to hold on to get a win. Take the Texans with the points -2.5 in the Over. Texans 24-20.

New York Jets vs. Green Bay Packers,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Packers -8 O/U: 46:

The Packer fans were optimistic coming into the season opener against the Super Bowl Champs. They left disappointed. The Packers were embarrassed, much like the Broncos were back in February, which also had snap issues like Peyton did early in the SB. The Packers only scored 8 more points than the high octane offense of Denver. Eddie Lacy was diagnosed with a concussion and is probable for Sunday but expected to play. The Packers T Bulaga suffered a torn MCL last week, and yes is still questionable for Sunday. The Packers struggled to get going on the ground rushing only for 80 yards which didn’t bode well for Rodgers who only passed for 189 yards with a TD and a INT but completing 70% of his throws however only averaging 5.7 per attempt. Geno Smith did exceptionally well for the Jets last week, completing 82% of his passes for 221 yards with a TD and INT but also set the rushing game up for a big day, over 200 yards on the ground! The Jets were only able to score 2 offensive TD’s due to a pair of turnovers on consecutive drives and 5 stalled drives resulting in a punt. They did have 3 long drives (81-Fumble, 80-TD, 71-TD). Geno is still learning but it’s 2nd year time now, there shouldn’t be much of a curve in his game so look for him to be more consistent especially now with new weapon, Eric Decker. Jordy Nelson saw 14 targets and came up with some huge catches out of his 9 receptions for 83 yards. The corners are not as good on the Jets so look for Rodgers to pick them apart with having both Cobbs and Nelson healthy. Don’t look too much into the Jets only allowing Oakland to have 25 rushing yards. Oakland has an aging MJD and an up and down back in DMC. Take the Packers to win with the points -8 in the Over. Packers 31-20.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos,
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Broncos -10.5 O/U: 52

Peyton wasn’t kidding when he said Wes Welker will be hard to replace. He relied heavily on his TE Julius Thomas, who had 3 TD’s all in the 2nd quarter, much to his fantasy owners delight. Even though Peyton didn’t have his typical 300/400/500 yards passing, he got the Broncos up big and early, leading 24-7 at the half. Their defense only allowed 54 yards (3.8 average yards per carry) on the ground but Indy had to turn to the air early and often to catch back up to the Broncos. The Chiefs were stunned last week by a very determined Titans group under their new coach Ken Whisenhunt. The usually stellar defense of the Chiefs we slashed for 162 yards on the ground while Jake Locker tallied 266 yards through the air. KC’s offense just down right fizzled. Alex Smith looked like he did from his first 6-7 years in the league, terrible completion percentage and TD/INT ratio (1/3). Don’t get me started on the running game. An abysmal 67 yards with Alex Smith leading the way with 36 of those. Jamaal Charles had 19 yards, and he didn’t leave early due to injury….maybe due to damage to his pride or ego which made him check out mentally. Clearly the only option they looked at in the air game was Donny Avery who had 7 catches for 84 yards. Dwayne Bowe is expected to be back in the lineup after serving his suspension last week, so look for the Chiefs to rebound with one more weapon on the field.  But still, we are talking about the Broncos here, so take them to win with the points -10.5 in the Over.  Broncos 34-21.

Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers,

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: 49ers -7. O/U: 48.5:

Last but not least on the docket for Sunday night, the Bears go on the road to avenge their home opener loss to the underdog Bills.  This will be a tough one for them however, due to Brandon Marshall having ankle issues and Alshon Jeffrey having hamstring issues even sitting out of practice on Thursday.  Both Cutler and Kaepernick completed 69% of their passes! Cutler with more yards but also 2 picks to Kaep’s 0.  Matt Forte proved to be as solid as ever having 17 carries for 82 yards and 8 catches for 87 yards.  Tons of questions followed the 49ers defense, wondering if they could stop Tony Romo and the high flying Cowboys offense, boy did they ever.  They caused Tony to throw 3 picks in the first half.  The Cowboys also fumbled 3 times recovering only 1 but scoring on the first caused fumble early in the first quarter.  In the last few years they prove that they could win without Aldon Smith, well, they did it again and will continue to do so here against the Cowboys.  At this point the 49ers are the obvious pick.  They were more consistent last week but Kaep has to target more than 4 receivers to win.  The Bears can keep it close if Marshall and Jeffrey are healthy.  Take the Bears with the points +7 but the 49ers to win in the Over.  49ers 30-24.

Look for my Monday night preview between the Eagles and Colts, tomorrow.

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