The week started off great with a big win. I know Gronk was listed as out and that changed the line late but given I was finishing up the article, I didn’t hear about his injury until right at kickoff. Ok, let’s not jinx the good start so far and get to todays picks.
Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals, 1p (Bengals -3, O/U: 39.5)
The Bills defense has shown up to play this year. They got Matty Ice to look average again (which he is) by throwing all kinds of looks at him and rushing hard. People undersold on the Bills early on but they’ve proven they can beat the best on the road. The Bengals had a good week, doesn’t mean you should jump back on board but they looked much better. Daulton can move a little in the pocket but can he stand in there with rushers coming after him and be responsible with the ball? Take the Bills to win in the Over, 24-21.
New York Jets at Cleveland Browns, 1p (Pickem, O/U: 40)
The Jets are another team that was sold out on early on. They were picked to go 0-16 by the great Colin Cowherd. They’re now tied with the Patriots and have a good shot to stay up near the top of the AFC. They have to get their offense going to do so though. Their defense has allowed 92 points and their offense has only scored 75. Being 2-0 at home and 0-2 on the road speaks volumes, they need their fans and the comfort of playing at home to play well. McCown has completed 70% of his passes but has a 3/3 TD/INT ratio. Their run game is their strength, 7th in the league. The Browns defense isn’t the worst but it’s still down there. They’ve thrown Kizer to the wolves and the poor kid can’t even break free. 51% completions, 3 TD’s to 8 INT’s. It doesn’t look good for him. There’s not one bright spot on this team and they’re going to vey for the 1st pick in the draft again and probably squander it again. Take the Jets as a straight up winner in the under, 17-10.
Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions, 1p (Lions -2.5, O/U: 42.5)
The Panthers went into New England and upset the defending Champs. It was a shocking win and Cam looked like his old self. It’s been almost a year and a half since we’ve seen him perform like that. The Lions have had way too many come from behind games in the 4th quarter to my liking and they’ve been exceptionally lucky in those games, coming out better than .500 in wining those games. When does the luck run out or are they that clutch when they absolutely need a score? I don’t think the Panthers can pull off another road upset especially given the off the field issues that followed came after a press conference this week that caused a lot of negative buzz. Take the Lions to cover in the win and in the under (possibly in the 4th quarter?), 20-17.
San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts, 1p (Colts -1.5, O/U: 44.5)
This matchup was initially billed as a snoozer but then Jacoby Brissett has taken over the reigns in Lucks absence and has really looked good. They’ve had a tough schedule early without Luck and played most of the teams tough but have had their fair share of turnovers that turned into points. The 49ers also have had a tough schedule to start the season, Panthers, Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals and they’ve lost the last 3 games by a field goal. The 49ers defense has hung tough, even on then road. The Colts can run with the better teams if they don’t turn the ball over and have a shot at wins against the bottom 3rd of the league. This was a toughy but I am going to take the 49ers to win and in the over, 27-24.
Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins, 1p (Dolphins +2.5, O/U: 43)
Mariota will be out with Matt Cassel filling in. The Dolphins who looked to have fell into a miracle with Cutler coming out of retirement and playing for Adam Gase again, winning their first game, Cutler smiling. Since, they’ve looked miserable on offense with Ajayi virtually pulling a disappearing act on the stat sheet. What did it in for me was Cutler on a noticeable run play, Cutler spread wide out to help sell the trick play just stood there, nonchalantly, uninterested in the play. I guess we’re back to the old Cutler. The Titans however still have a really good 1-2 punch in the backfield with Murray and Henry. That will be the key to the game for the Titans, run early and often, and control the clock, keeping the rock out of Ajayi’s hands. Take the Titans to win and cover in the under, 20-10.
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants, 1p (Giants -1.5, O/U: 47.5)
The Chargers haven’t looked good at home and actually have shown to not really have a fan base, even seeing other teams fan bases show up more than their own. The Chargers have been in all of their games this year and that is a continuation of the last year. They are another team, like the 49ers, who have had 3 of their 4 losses end with a difference of 3 or less points. Three of their 4 games have been at home so I think the road game across country may give them a change of scenery and spark this team in an odd way. The Giants started the first 2 games of the year looking absolutely unwatchable. They had question marks in the backfield and on the offensive line but no one thought it would help generate the product that was shown. In the last few weeks however, we’ve seen a turn around, losing each of the last 2 on the road by a field goal or less. They still have those questions but have played better despite the fact. The Chargers however, have been the better team statistically and both defenses have been keeping their teams in games. I still would take the Chargers to cover the spread, being given 3, to win in the over, 31-24.
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles, 1p (Eagles -6.5, O/U: 45)
These 2 teams have been exciting to watch, even the Cardinals who have been without their star running back David Johnson. Now, that has meant that Carson Palmer has had to throw more but with their receiving corps, it’s been fluid. The Eagles pass game improved with their offseason additions but the real surprise was the emergence of a solid run game. They lost Sproles for the season but Blount has taken hold of primary back duties with Smallwood complimenting him nicely. This will be a very fun game to watch. The Cardinals need their fans in this time of need, missing Johnson so take the Eagles to cover this one in the over, since it will be a shootout, 35-27.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1p (Steelers -7.5, O/U: 42.5)
The Jags have had a shocking start to the season, at 2-2 but a loss to the Jets in OT may have brought their larger than normal self start back down to Earth. Bortles actually has 7 TD’s to 3 INT’s but lacks in the yardage and seems to have been on a leash to start the year and control his play, especially given the talent they have in the backfield with him, Leonard Fournette. They’ve also had the best defense against the pass, given they’ve also played the Jets, Texans (before Watson started) and the hapless Ravens. The Steelers have also had a good start but given their schedule so far, who knows how good they really are. Bell has had a decent but slower than normal start given he sat out all of the pre-season. The surprise for the Steelers has been their defense, 2nd overall and 2nd against the pass. Big Ben has a 62% completion percentage with a 6/2 TD/INT ratio. With this one being at home, take the Steelers to win in the under, 21-10
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05p (Rams -1.5, 47.5)
All of a sudden the Rams have an efficient offense. The arrival of their new young coach, Sean McVay, has given Goff a new start in year 2. The Rams have the 5th best offense overall and pass offense in the league. Their defense needs a boost but they have the talent to turn it around. The Seahawks have been the typical slow start Seahawks but have been turning it on lately with their offense. The only real defense they faced to give them trouble was the 49ers, to which they almost lost to them in mostly a field goal challenge. The Seahawks offensive line will have the microscope on it again, as they allow Wilson to constantly be under duress. The Rams typically give the Seahawks fits and especially in Seattle. I would take the Rams to cover, win and in the under, 27-20.
Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders, 4:05p (Raiders -3, O/U: 39.5)
The Ravens have looked absolutely horrible this season and the only reason they are 2-0 is because those wins came against similar dumpster fires earlier on in the season, the Bengals and Browns. They got trounced by the Jags in London and the Steelers just last week. Their offense is near last in the league and their defense is in the bottom 3rd of the league. Now the Raiders started hot but the last 2 games have been a struggle but against 2 solid defenses (Redskins/Broncos). They also lost their leader, Derek Carr, to a back injury for 2-6 weeks. EJ Manuel is a capable backup and can get some wins in the next few weeks but it’ll take his best, starting with a good potential confidence booster in this matchup. This should be an easy cover at home, take the Raiders to cover in the under, 20-14.
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys, 4:25p (Cowboys -3, O/U: 45)
These 2 teams always seem to give a show. Green Bay has been red hot despite lacking a real running game, to which they are 28th in the league. The real shocker has been their defense which has been 6th in the league. This team has basically lived and died by the arm of Rodgers who is off to a great start, averaging 286 yards/game and a rating just over 100. Dallas’s motivation for this game is to avenge the bad loss to the Rams at home last week. This team all around has been a middle of the pack team all around. They really don’t have a deep threat and opposing defenses can keep the play within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage which bodes not so good for Dak. Zeke has had successful games against Green Bay (2 games totaling 282 yards), so expect him to have a solid game. This will be an amazing game to watch with the Cowboys wanting payback for last years heartbreaking playoff loss. Green Bay needs this win as a landmark win, to help their critics R-E-L-A-X. Take the Packers to cover and win in the over on the road, 34-29.
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans, 8:30p (Texans +1, O/U: 45)
A lot of people are giving Houston a real shot at winning this game and it’s because of the play of Rookie, Deshaun Watson. The Texans haven’t had a great passing game but it’s been effective. Not only can he pass but he’s rushed for nearly 150 yards on 19 carries (7.79 yards per rush average). He looks to be the real deal for them which could make them more dangerous as the season goes on. Watt and Clowney will have to watch their rush, how deep into the pocket they go on Smith since Smith is a mobile quarterback. What can you say about the Chiefs that will convince you not to take them? Absolutely nothing. You’re talking about the 2nd best offense and 1st rushing offense in the league. Alex Smith has been on a tear, 8/0 TD/INT ratio along with Kareem Hunts record setting 502 yards on 68 carries (7.38 yards/carry) and 4 TD’s. Their defense hasn’t been terribly great but that can be attributed to facing strong offenses early, not to mention, the offense has been on fire! Despite the calls for an upset, I’m taking the Chiefs to get to 5-0 by covering in the over, 31-27.
Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5:
Carolina @ Detroit (-3)
LA Chargers (+3.5) @ NY Giants
Seattle @ LA Rams (-2.5)
Green Bay @ Dallas (-2)
Kansas City @ Houston (+1)