NFL Week 9: Monday Night Football

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants, MetLife Stadium, 8:15 PM, ESPN (Giants +6.5, O/U: 48.5)

The Cowboys are coming off a huge win against divisional foes, the Eagles and are rejuvenated a bit with their bye week last week. Coming in fresh against a Giants team that is on a 4 game slide after some tough games against the Vikings, Patriots, Cardinals and Lions, the Giants look for momentum as they inch closer to their week 11 bye. Daniel Jones has looked rough in most of his starts with exception to week 3 and last week, in which last week he was 28/41 for 322 yards, 4 TD’s and zero picks. Barkley started the year hot, averaging over 10 yards until his high ankle sprain, has been average in the last 2 starts averaging less than 70 yards in both games. The Giants need to find him the ball more as he only has 3 scores (2 rushing, 1 receiving). Dak seems to be on a similar streak as he started off hot but as he’s played tougher teams (Saints, Packers and Eagles), he’s looked mediocre. In those 3 games, he has completed 67% of his passes for 925 yards but for only 3 TD’s and 5 picks. Those teams are a combined 19-7 while In his other 4 starts against teams with losing records (5-28), he’s completed 83% of his passes for 1,198 yards, 9 TD’s and 2 picks. Better teams means he’s just your run of the mill, middle of the pack starter but against weaker teams, he looks like an all-star. Take the Cowboys to win and cover handedly in the over, Cowboys 31-19.

NFL Week 4: Sunday Games Picks & Predictions with Colin Cowherd’s Balzin’ 5

Carolina Panthers @ Houston Texans, NRG Stadium, 1:00 PM (Texans -5.5, O/U: 47.5)

Allen gets his second start but against an always hungry defense. The Texans have been in fairly close games all season so far due to the lack of running game which gives the offense an overall inconsistency despite the excellent passing game. With all the weapons Allen has, expect the Panthers to keep it close. Take the Texans to win but the Panthers to cover in the over, Texans 27-24.

Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium, 1:00 PM (Ravens -7.5, O/U: 46.5)

The Browns are struggling mightily to score only averaging 16 points per game. Baker looks to have regressed with additional weapons while only completing 56.9% of his passes. The Ravens have had an offensive output unlike ever seen in this organization. They’ve averaged 36.7 points and went toe to toe with the supreme offense of the Chiefs last week in a close losing effort. Lamar Jackson has completed 63% of his passes for 863 yards, 7 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Take the Ravens to cover in the win, in the over, Ravens 31-20.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Detroit Lions, Ford Field, 1:00 PM (Lions +7, O/U: 54.5)

The Chiefs have been one of the top offensive teams in the league since week 1 of last year. This year they are averaging 33.6 points and even without Tyreek Hill the last 2 weeks. Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, Demarcus Robinsons and newly signed LeSean McCoy have all stepped up when needed. The Lions are a scrappy team who surprisingly lead the NFC North while beating a road tough Chargers and upsetting a championship team in the Eagles in their house. They come home to try their hands at another upset. Stafford has been efficient but the running game with Kerryon Johnson has been lacking which takes a dimension away from this team. Take the Chiefs to cover in the under, Chiefs 31-21.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Miami Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium, 1:00 PM (Dolphins +14, O/U: 44.5)

The Chargers are always a tough road team. They’ve missed key players and especially on defense with Derwin James. Phillip Rivers has been exceptional and especially with top target Keenan Allen, expect that to continue with Fitzpatrick now a Steeler. The Dolphins handed the keys to Rosen last week and given how bad the defense was and the many drops his receivers had, overshadowed the good things he did. Expect him to have a his best outing of the season today. Take the Chargers to cover in the under, Chargers 34-17.

New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills, New Era Field, 1:00 PM (Bills +7, O/U: 41.5)

The Patriots defense has started out very strong, probably the strongest any Pats defense have ever started by blowing out the Steelers, Dolphins and the Jets, only allowing 17 points. Brady has completed 68% of his throws for 911 yards, 7 TD’s and zero picks. The rushing game hasn’t really been there but it hasn’t been needed with how efficient Brady has been. The Bills have been scrappy and impressive with wins against the Jets and Giants on the road and beating the Bengals in a close one at home. You should rarely if ever bet against Bill Belichick and the Pats even though this one will be tough for them. Take the Patriots to cover in the under, Patriots 27-17.

Oakland Raiders @ Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium, 1:00 PM (Colts -6.5, O/U: 46.5)

The Raiders have looked ok to start off the season. Sure they had a bad week against the Vikings but they held the Chiefs scoreless in 3 of 4 quarters the week before and beat the Broncos in week 1. Josh Jacobs has looked like an offensive rookie of the year candidate averaging 5 yards per carry. Carr has completed 73% of his passes but has 4 TD’s and 3 picks. The Colts have kept all games under a touchdown and have won 2 of them. Brissett has also completed over 70% of his passes and Marlon Mack has averaged 4.9 yards per rush on 61 carries for 299 yards. Both teams have allowed 70+ points in the first 3 weeks but the Colts have faced one team that is mediocre at best on offense where the Raiders have faced a top team in the Chiefs and held them to 28. Take the Colts to win but the Raiders to cover in the under, Colts 21-20.

Tennessee Titans @ Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 1:00 PM (Falcons -3.5, O/U: 46.5)

Tennessee has been inconsistent as a team since drafting Mariota and having him lead this team. The one thing Mariota has done well is not throwing picks. What has helped him do that is the rushing game with Derrick Henry and Mariota’s own legs. The Falcons have been shockingly average given the big names on this offense. The rushing game has been non existent and the big performances by Julio Jones to nab 4 reception TD’s and 2 for Hooper and Ridley, to be 1-2 with 2 road games and barely coming away with a win against an Eagles team who lost their 2 top receivers in the opening quarter at home is concerning for their defense and if they can hold an average Mariota. Titans defense can be stout but I expect the better quarterback to be more careful with the ball and start to turn it around. Take the Falcons to cover in the over, Falcons 31-17

Washington Redskins @ New York Giants, MetLife Stadium, 1:00 PM (Giants -3, O/U: 48.5)

The Redskins are choppy but hang in games for some reason. Keenan is a never give up guy and is very fiery. Keenan has completed 69% of his passes despite having a big name but we may see a big name emerging for them, Terry McLaurin who has 16 catches for 257 yards and 3 scores. Chris Thompson has been amazing out of the backfield with 16 catches and 195 yards as the second leading receiver on the team. Danny Dimes has breathed life into this team but it came at the expense of losing Saquon Barkley for at least 1-2 months with a severe sprain of his ankle. Evan Engram has been their top receiver, surprisingly. Given the Barkley injury, expect this one to be close.  Big late injury report has McLaurin out for the game as well. Take the Giants to cover in the under, Giants 24-13.

Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix Stadium, 4:05 PM (Cardinals +5, O/U: 47.5)

The Seahawks defense hasn’t been anywhere close to what they had been but Wilson has bailed them out with big time consistency, completing 71% of his passes for 901 yards and 7 TD’s with zero picks. Tyler Lockett has been the main target while D.K. Metcalf has emerged as another favorite target. Chris Carson has been a bruiser of a back but relatively ineffective. The Cardinals have played tough to start the season marking a tie against the Lions, going toe to toe with the Ravens and losing by less than a touchdown and suffered mightily against the Panthers at home. The defense hasn’t been great and they start slow in the first half, being outscored but have outscored opponents in the second half as you saw against the Lions. Take the Seahawks to cover in the over, Seahawks 27-21.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 4:05 PM (Rams -9, O/U: 48.5)

Jameis Winston has been highly inconsistent only completing 60% of his passes while tossing 5 TD’s and 4 picks. Ronald Jones has been a bright spot of the offense, emerging as their top back averaging 5.29 yards per carry but is not used as much as he should be given they’re often behind in games. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have been Winston’s top receivers. A big win against the Panthers makes you question their power but their losses haven’t been terrible. The Rams are looking as powerful as ever and Cooper Kupp being back shows how much Goff missed him while catching a team best 23 passes while seeing the teams best 31 targets for a team best 267 yards and a team best 2 reception TD’s. Cooks and Woods are right behind him and are virtually seeing the same amount of targets. The duo of Gurley and Brown have been powerful and effective in mixing it up, keeping defenses on their toes. Take the Rams to cover in the over, Rams 34-23.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Denver Broncos, Broncos Stadium at Mile High, 4:25 PM (Broncos -2.5, O/U: 37.5)

The Jags new found quarterback Gardner Minshew has taken the world and the meme world by storm. He’s come out firing and efficiently while also using his legs when in need. He’s been so good that Jalen Ramsey now doesn’t want to be traded. Minshew has completed 73.9% of his passes for 692 yards and 5 TD’s and just 1 pick. Fournette has been good enough when used but Minshew has 80 yards on 11 carries. DJ Chark and Chris Conley have been the top air targets with both averaging at least 16+ yards per catch, which is astounding. The Broncos thought the savior to their offensive troubles was the signing of Joe Flacco, who is trying to stave off retirement. they’ve played tough teams to start the year and have lost to them all but they weren’t terribly bad losses. He’s completed 69% of his passes but low yardage (773) and only 2 TD’s with 2 picks. Courtland Sutton has been his top target but has yet to reach the endzone while Emmanuel Sanders is showing he still has it being the second favorite target and 2 scores. With all of the big time players on this defense and defensive front, they are without a sack, which is a big deal! Take the Jaguars to cover in the win, in the over, Jaguars 24-21.

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears, Soldier Field, 4:25 PM (Bears -1, O/U: 38.5)

The Vikings have been an up and down team so far this year, beating 2 teams that are also inconsistent and tough. It almost seems like the Vikings don’t want Cousins to throw the ball given his inconsistencies, completing only 59% of his passes for 3 TD’s and 2 picks. Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison have been the real leaders of this offense with over 500 yards combined, both averaging over 5 yards per carry and 5 TD’s. The Bears offense has been stagnant and also don’t fully trust Trubisky throwing the ball. The best quote about him was from the Packers Tramon Williams who said the key to their planning on defense was making Trubisky play quarterback. If that doesn’t scare you about your QB situation, I don’t know what will. Take the Bears to win in the under, Bears 20-17.

Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 8:20 PM (Saints +3, O/U: 48.5)

Dak has been unbelievable to start the year, completing 75% of his passes for 920 yards, 9 TD’s and 2 picks.  He’s playing for a contract so expect him to be at the top of his game against a banged up Saints defense.  Zeke has been averaging over 5 yards per carry. Cooper, Gallup and Cobb have been going nuts on the offense and have seen many targets because it’s just too tough to cover all of them.  Bridgewater shocked everyone in the Seattle game with the win but he didn’t look great.  Going against a much tougher defense will expose him greatly.  Take the Cowboys to cover in the over, Cowboys 31-24.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5:

  • Tennessee at Atlanta – Tennessee (+3.5)
  • Cleveland at Baltimore – Baltimore (-7)
  • Oakland at Indianapolis – Oakland (+6.5)
  • Seattle at Arizona – Arizona (+5.5)
  • Dallas at New Orleans – New Orleans (+2.5)

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 13: Thursday Night Football

New Orleans at Dallas, 8:20p, NFLN (Cowboys +8, O/U: 52.5)

New Orleans comes in with the league’s best offense, averaging 37.2 points per game. They’ve also only turned the ball over 9 times, tied for the league lead. Michael Thomas has 86 catches already and Kamara has been hot all year, especially the last 6 games where he has 9 touchdowns! The Saints also lead the league in rushing defense which is more than likely from teams being forced to throw more given how quick the Saints go up early in games, which has caused the pass defense to be 30th worst in the league. The rush defense will be tested tonight.

The Cowboys have really turned it up lately since Amari Cooper has come aboard eventhough he’s really only been involved in the offense starting last week on Thanksgiving with an 8 catch, 180 yards and 2 touchdown performance, looking like the first rounder he was supposed to be. Garrett will have to strategize against the Saints and do his best to keep the Saints high powered offense off the field. That means utilizing the league’s leading rusher, Zeke (1,074 rushing yards). But when the ‘Boys defense is on the field, they’ll need Lawrence to continue his wrath of the last 4 games where he’s snagged 3 of his 8.5 sacks on the season. Question is, can the Cowboys newly found 3 headed monster keep up with the Medusa (multiple weapons) offensive threat of the Saints?

Take the Saints to cover on the road in the over, Saints 36-24.

#beatyourbookie

Week 3: Monday Night Football

Sheesh, what a week.  Boy, did I take a big hit with all of the upsets and incorrect over/under picks.  I find this sport amazing in the fact that one week, defenses can be stout and give the best offenses so much trouble but then the next week be an open flood gate.  I’m not going to spend anymore time about it, it’s just too embarrassing.  Without further ado, my Monday night pick.

Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals, 8:30p (Cardinals +3, O/U: 46.5)

The injury riddled Cardinals host the humbled Cowboys.  The Boys are coming off a nasty loss in Denver where the defense only allowed Zeke to run for 9 yards and hit Dak more than he’s ever been hit in any game he’s played in.  The Cardinals looked shocked that the Colts gave them a run in Indy last week and Carson looked to have too much on his plate at his advanced age without star running back David Johnson.  The Cowboys will come out hungry and they will get to the non-mobile Palmer multiple times.  Take the road favorites, Cowboys in the under, 27-17.