NFL Week 3: Sunday Picks, Predictions & Colin Cowherd’s Blazin’ 5

Atlanta Falcons @ Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Colts -1.5, O/U: 47.5)

Brissett is off to a great start even though he’s only thrown for 336 yards but he has completed 64% of his passes with 5 TD’s and only 1 pick. TY has been his biggest target, nearly racking up half of those passing yards and 3 of those TD’s. TY is listed as questionable but it’s the Colts’ first home game without Luck so expect that crowd to be very supportive of a 1-1 team looking to beat a solid Falcons team to move above .500. The Falcons looked horrible in Minnesota and barely held off a very banged up Eagles team at home. With essentially no running game, they’ve had to heavily rely on Matty-Ice very early on and he’s been up and down. Ryan has completed 67% of his passes but is 1:1 on the TD/INT ratio (5/5). Take the Colts to cover in the win, in the under, Colts 23-20.

Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs, Arrowhead Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Chiefs -5.5, O/U: 52.5)

You can’t crown Lamar Jackson just yet. He’s taken it to the weak Dolphins and barely pushed past the lacking Cardinals. He’s played well, completing 72% of his passes for 596 yards, 7 TD’s and no picks. He’s going to go pass for pass with Mahomes but Mahomes has better weapons. It might not have looked like it but the Chiefs struggled 3 out of 4 quarters against the Raiders. A massive record breaking 2nd quarter pushed Patrick and the Chiefs to a lead they would hold the rest of the game. Back at home, the Chiefs will look to assert their explosiveness again. Take the Chiefs to cover in the win, in the over, Chiefs 34-24.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills, New Era Field, 1:00 PM, CBS (Bills -6, O/U: 43.5)

I don’t know what to make of the Bengals. Dalton has over 700 yards, 4TD’s/1 INT and completed 66% of his passes. The running game has lacked severely which only has 54 yards between their 2 backs. John Ross has emerged as the top target in Green’s absence. A close lose to the Seahawks on the road but a bad loss at home vs the 49ers has everyone wondering who they really are. The Bills will be without stud rookie running back Devin Singletary. Josh Allen has been grinding through the first 2 games, not playing stellar but efficient enough to win both games on the road. The Bills Mafia will be in full hysteria over a 2-0 start. Take the Bills to win but the Bengals to cover in the under, Bills 20-17.

Denver Broncos @ Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field, 1:00 PM, FOX (Packers -7.5, O/U: 43.5)

The Broncos have had a rough start to the season after an opening night loss to the Raiders and a heartbreaking loss to the Bears last week. Flacco has looked every bit as mediocre as his time in Baltimore but have had good support from the running game with the surprise leading rusher being Royce Freeman. The defense has not been able to record a sack even with star Von Miller. The Packers are off to a fast start even though the first game was very rocky for the new offense but to start 2-0 against a very good Bears and Vikings defenses is a huge start. A big issue with the offense is the sacks allowed and the pressure Rodgers has seen early on. They’ve allowed 7 sacks for negative 55 yards which has contributed to being 7/27 on 3rd downs and 9 three and out drives. The defense has proven how much their improved and that’s really what has helped them stay in games as they continue to get in sync with the new offense. Take the Packers to cover in the win, in the over, Packers 30-21.

Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, 1:00 PM, FOX (Eagles -5.5, O/U: 45.5)

The Lions are coming off a hard fought win against the Chargers at home. Stafford has been very efficient early on as Kerryon Johnson has a slower start to the season than he would like. Stafford has been hooking up with Golladay and rookie tight end sensation TJ Hockenson (even though he only had 1 catch on 3 targets for only 7 yards in week 2). The defense is off to a fast start with 6 sacks and 2 picks. The Eagles are really banged up, so banged up that they had to cancel practice and just do a walk through during the week. No Desean Jackson, Jordan Mailata, or Corey Clement after last weeks rash of injuries. Still banged up but at least probable or questionable to play is Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert. All of whom were injured, most in the 1st quarter of last weeks game. Wentz has been rusty to start and even took a few shots that fans were hoping he’d be ok from but with fast starts with Jackson, Ertz and Agholor, it’s only a matter of time until he is on fire, so long as he can stay healthy. Take the Lions to cover in the win, in the under, Lions 23-21.

Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium, 1:00 PM, FOX (Cowboys -22, O/U: 46.5)

In my opinion, no analysis is going to persuade you in this one. Take the Cowboys to cover and in the under, Cowboys 30-10.

New York Jets @ New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, 1:00 PM, CBS (Patriots -21, O/U: 43.5)

I have a similar feeling about the Jets as I do the Dolphins except the Jets have Le’Veon Bell. Like my prediction with the Pats/Dolphins last week, expect the Pats to run up the score on a divisional foe. With Belichick, the uglier the score, the better. Take the Patriots to cover and in the over, Patriots 35-13.

Oakland Raiders @ Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium, 1:00 PM, FOX (Vikings -9, O/U: 43.5)

Take the Raiders to cover but the Vikings to win in the over, Vikings 27-20.

Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals, University of Phoenix Stadium, 4:05 PM, FOX (Cardinals -2.5, O/U: 44.5)

Take the Cardinals to cover in the under, Cardinals 23-20.

New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Raymond James Stadium, 4:05 PM, FOX (Buccs -6, O/U: 47.5)

Take the Giants to cover in the win, in the under, Giants 24-20.

Houston Texans @ Los Angeles Chargers, StubHub Center, 4:25 PM, CBS (Chargers -3 O/U: 49.5)

Take the Chargers to cover in the over, Chargers 28-24.

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks, CenturyLink Field, 4:25 PM, CBS (Seahawks -4.5, O/U: 45.5)

Take the Seahawks to cover in the under, Seahawks 27-17.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Francisco 49ers, Levi’s Stadium, 4:25 PM, CBS (49ers -6.5, O/U: 44.5)

Take the 49ers to win but the Steelers to cover in the under, 49ers 27-21.

Los Angeles Rams @ Cleveland Browns, FirstEnergy Stadium, 8:20 PM, NBC (Browns +3, O/U: 47.5)

Take the Rams to cover in the over, Rams 31-24.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5:

  • Baltimore at Kansas City – Kansas City (-5)
  • Detroit at Philadelphia – Detroit (+6)
  • NY Giants at Tampa Bay – NY Giants (+6)
  • Pittsburgh at San Francisco – Pittsburgh (+6.5)
  • LA Rams at Cleveland – LA Rams (-3.5)

NFL Week 2: Monday Night Football Prediction & Pick

Cleveland Browns @ New York Jets, MetLife Stadium, 8:15 PM, ESPN (Jets +6.5, O/U: 45.5)

Cleveland came out flat last week and were all hype on paper and got punched in the mouth in front of their own fans by a Titans team who really has many doubts up and down that roster.  Even their more sturdy/reliable defense was shown up.  On paper, the Browns look stacked and should have a winning season but you don’t win games on swagger.  Mayfield might’ve been selected #1 overall and turned around the Browns from being 1-31 over the previous 2 seasons before his arrival, but he still has a ton to prove.  Throwing 3 picks to open the season, is not ideal but it is a learning curve.  OBJ had watchgate all week and threatens to wear it again tonight.  Are the Browns self imploding over self wants?

The Jets are without their young QB Darnold as he was dealt a mono diagnosis early in the week.  Trevor Siemian will be filling in and he’s been looking for his next break since he’s left Denver.  At least the Jets will have someone whose started and played a full NFL season instead of some young hanger-on whose been a career backup with a handful of NFL game action throws in his short career.  They traded the Patriots for Demaryius Thomas with Quincy Enunwa being lost for the year.  Bell will have to be relied upon to carry a big workload since Thomas won’t be up to speed on the playbook.  Robby Anderson needs to turn it on to swoop in under the radar if the Jets are looking to steal one in a moment of weakness.

OBJ may have fired up Greg Williams and his defense by calling him out during the week for purposely trying to injure players and he will certainly have a target on his back and even his watch.  Given that, Take the Browns to win but the Jets to cover in the over, Browns 27-24.

 

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 3: Monday Night Football

Pittsburgh at Tamp Bay, 8:15pm, ESPN, (Buccs -1.5, O/U: 55)

The Steelers are in somewhat of a tailspin at the moment.  Bell still holding out and now the Steelers announce this past weekend that they’re listening to trade inquiries and Brown staging a mini coup, are facing an 0-3 start.  They have looked good on offense, which you should expect with the young talent around Big Ben, but the one time strength of this team, their defense, has looked very mediocre.  Tying Cleveland and blew a two touchdown lead in the 4th quarter against the Chiefs and the Mighty Mahomes, they’re looking to bounce back and right the ship against a red hot Buccs team.

The Buccs obviously didn’t think their season would start 2-0 with Fitz-Noodle-Arm turning into Fitz-Magic, who’s looking to become the first quarterback in league history to start a season with over 400 yards in each of his first three games.  Desean Jackson is looking like the D-Jax of old and Mike Evans is actually getting decent balls thrown his way which has given him the ability to make plays like he did in college and early on in his career.

The difference maker in this one will be which defense holds up against the others offense.  The Buccs front eight have been like a bull in a china shop. Vita Vea will likely be making his rookie debut joining his teammates in battle, making them even more vicious.  This Buccs team look like the Eagles team from last year, running around, making huge plays, scoring a ton and just plain old having fun, man!  It’ll be close but take the Buccs to continue to elevate The Beard and continue Fitz-Magic’s McGregor like swagger, wining and covering in the over, Buccs 31-28.

Ride the Buccs, finishing the week on your way to #beatyourbookie.

Week 2: Thursday Night Division Mash Up

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens,
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS, NFL Network. LINE: Ravens -2.5. O/U: 44:

Enough of the Ray Rice story. I don’t need to re-hash details with all of the other major media doing that so this is strictly about the game at hand. The Ravens normally hand out about 150 media passes for games, today they handed out 500! So it will be talked about all broadcast long.

Last week the Steelers were tested by a virtually weaponless Browns team but held on to win. They will need more grit from their players against the Ravens. 9 out of the last 10 meetings have been decided by 3 points or less. Le’Veon Bell has had his share of off the field issues but was in action last week and scored a TD while rushing for 109 yards also while catching 6 passes for 88 yards. Big Ben looked decent with 365 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. The Ravens, aside from not having Ray Rice in the backfield, had issues with his replacement, Bernard Pierce, who fumbled on a key play and was benched for it. 3rd back Justin Forsett picked up the slack carrying the ball 11 times for 70 yards and a TD. Only having 3 running backs on the roster, John Harbaugh hasn’t tipped his hat as to who will start however we can only assume it will be Bernard Pierce as well as a healthy mix of Forsett. Sorry fantasy guys, unless one of those guys breaks out, the Ravens won’t have a start running back this year to yank decent points off of. With that being said, it’s in Baltimore, and the home teams have only a 5-5 record in the last 10 (the Ravens only having 2 of those wins at home. But Flacco and Steve Smith looked very good in their first game together so don’t let the home game numbers scare you. Teams, even under conditions similar to these, rally well and on short weeks, the home team has the advantage on the rest factor especially since the Steelers were on the road Sunday against the Browns. Take the Ravens in the Under with the points in this one as it will be another tight one, Ravens 23-20.