Week 11: Monday Night Football

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams, 8:20p, ESPN (Rams -3, O/U: 64)

This game has been circled by all fans since week 4 when these two teams have been on fire, turning out tons of points each week. No it’s not in Mexico City thanks to a rump shaking Shakira concert. If you think that will slow up the guys, think twice. The Chiefs were spending time in Denver to get their bodies used to the similar altitude that Mexico City would’ve had.

Mahomes and Goff have nearly identical numbers other than touchdowns (Mahomes 31, Goff 22) and the Chiefs have scored the most points each game on average, in the NFL. Similarly, the Rams have out paced “The Greatest Show in Turf” in most offensive categories this season. They will be without stud Cooper Kupp for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL from last week but don’t think it’ll hinder Goff too much.

This is going to be like a Madden game on easy. I’m predicting massive scoring, mostly through the air. The Rams pass rush will have their hands full chasing around Mahomes. Take the Chiefs to cover in the over (that’s right, I said over 64 points), Chiefs 42-36.

#beatyourbookie

Week 10: Thursday Night Football

Carolina at Pittsburgh, 8:20p, NFLN (Steelers -3.5, O/U: 51.5)

Finally, we get a game on Thursday worthy of most football fans’ time.

The Panthers have enjoyed the last couple of games with Eric Reid on board to help the defense as the offense keeps rolling at home.  On the road, it’s a little bit of a different story where Cam stays the same but the offense doesn’t score as much.  History points to the Panthers as being a weak road team and even though they’ve lost 2 of 3 on the road (their only 2 losses), they were within 7 points in both games.  In fact, Cam has been stellar as far as his completion percentage and passer rating.  Cam is certainly having a career year but not only is Cam playing well, Christian McCaffrey is having a fantastic sophomore season in the NFL as well.

The Steelers have enjoyed a 4 game winning streak that started after a week 4 loss at home to division foe, Ravens.  That loss put them 0-2 at home and 1-2-1 overall with the season in peril, uncertainty with the Bell situation, turmoil in the organization with AB until they met the high flying Falcons at home the next week.  They haven’t looked back since.  Yes Big Ben has thrown 7 picks but also has 16 touchdowns, Conner slightly outperforming Bell from last year with the same amount of starts and Brown might not have a ton of yards or a great average per catch but has 9 touchdowns.  The defense has been in lockdown mode the last 4 weeks.

With the defense in lockdown mode, take the Steelers to cover in the over, Steelers 31-27.

#beatyourbookie

Week 5: Thursday Night Football

Indianapolis vs New England, 8:20p, NFLN, (Patriots -10.5, O/U: 50)

It’s the battle of the twelves.  Andrew Luck back at it and revitalizing the Colts/Patriots rivalry that once included former Colts great Peyton Manning.

Both leaders will more than likely be without their top receivers (Hilton, Gronkowski) but Brady still would have Chris Hogan, Eric Ebron and newcomer Josh Gordon.  The running games for both have been coming along with both introducing rookies into thei backfields, leading their rushing attacks with Hines/Wilkins for the Colts and Michel for the Pats.

The Colts defense has looked improved compared to their most recent seasons and actually are near the pace the Patriots have set themselves this season.  The difference maker will be if the Patriots line can stop the defensive front of the Colts since Brady has an obvious lack of mobility.  This will be close early but once Brady gets dialed in, expect him to slowly pull away from the not quite 100% Andrew Luck.

There has been a huge uprising in the league this year where games you thought were a lock were turned upside down in the first few minutes.  Just when you thought, “ok, maybe this one isn’t such a slam dunk given how hard it’s been to nail bets this year”, not so fast my friend, just a friendly reminder, it’s HARD to win in Gillette Stadium.  Take the Patriots to cover in the win and in the under, Patriots 28-17.

#beatyourbookie

Week 4: Thursday Night Football

Minnesota at L.A. Rams, 8:20p, NFLN (Rams -7, O/U: 49.5)

This past Sunday, The Vikes got absolutely embarrassed at home by rookie Josh Allen. I mean, he literally leapt over their best linebacker with ease. The Bills took the opening kickoff and then drove the field 75 yards to a touchdown. Kirk Cousins didn’t help his teams cause or confidence by having 2 sacks fumbles that lead to 10 more points and a Bills 17-0 lead after the first. A good team being embarrassed one week basically means that they get revenge the next however it will be very tough to do so when going on the road against one of the best defenses and one of the best offenses in the league.

The Rams are on fire this year, picking up right where they left off from last year. Granted, they started off with a few softballs with the Raiders and Cardinals but had a bit of a test against a team that’s been a better road team than a home team, in the Chargers. The Rams ultimately beat them and covered the spread. Goff and his numerous weapons have gelled well with McVay’s playbook and they don’t seem to show any signs of slowing down, averaging 34 points/game on offense and only 12/game on defense.

Short week, big spread to cover but the Bills defense isn’t nearly as good as the Vikings and you see how they played in Minnesota last week. Expect the Rams to learn from what they saw Sunday and pressure Cousins all night. Take the Rams to cover in the win, in the over, Rams 31-21.

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 3: Thursday Night Football

Last week was horrible for yours truly.  One of my worst weeks since picking winners.  This week, we will right the ship.  We have a toughie to kick off this week so lets get to it.

New York at Cleveland, 8:20p, NFLN (Browns -3, O/U: 41)

New York comes into this matchup being brought back down to earth last week by the Dolphins, following their Rookie quarterbacks huge first win in his first game in Detroit in week one.  Sam Darnold looked more like a rookie last week but with more picks than touchdowns however he still had poise and threw for over 300 yards despite the turnovers and lack of running game.

The Browns are still looking for their first win and they can just taste it.  No, they’re not salivating at the thought of the beer lockers being slung open if they win, they literally tasted a victory.  The Browns entered the fourth quarter holding a 12-3 lead giving up 15 unanswered points before Tyrod Taylor launched the ball to the back of the end zone and Antonio Callaway making a huge grab to tie the game at 18, with a pending extra point.  The Browns, rarely in this position to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, ended up missing the extra point which would’ve given them a 19-18 lead.  They’re tired of losing, tired of coming up just short and a hungry in front of their fans, but keep in mind, it’s still the Browns.

The line is surprising given the Browns usually finding ways to lose games and they’re rarely favorites.  The moneyline scares me a bit with the Jets getting +150 and the Browns getting -170 but I’m still rolling with the safe bet, taking the Jets to cover and win in the under, Jets 21-17.

I feel for you Brownies, I want you to win (just not this week) but like a friend has perfectly put it, until you show me you can win, I will bet against you.  Happy Thursday football night, good betting and don’t forget to #beatyourbookie.

Week 2: Thursday Night Football

Week one is in the books! It is statistically the hardest week to predict anything when it comes to the NFL and we made it out alive with 60% winners!  That caught me by surprise since I was only hoping to get at least around 53%.  The one real shocker was Buccs at the Saints.  Who knew the bearded one would go for over 400 yards in a shootout against Brees?  I know a ton of people were knocked out of elimination pools over it and well, we were caught too, figuring that the Saints covering a 10 point spread was cake.  The other disappointment was the Packers, which I already expressed in a previous post that had Rodgers been healthy all game, I think they would’ve covered that spread.

It’s been a long two and a half days without football but boy, do we have a great matchup tonight…

Baltimore at Cincinnati, 8:20 PM, NFLN (Bengals +1, O/U: 45)

The Ravens absolutely unloaded on the Bills last week and actually forced out Peterman, who was touted as having improved and looked good in the pre-season, for rookie Josh Allen. Now there was a lot of speculation that the Ravens were going to have a great game, but not this great.  Flacco was predicted to have a solid game partly due to having rookie Lamar Jackson on his heels for the starting role.  Flacco finished 25/34 for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The Ravens had questions at running back as to who would lead the team and that seemed to be Kenneth Dixon who had nearly as many carries as both Collins and Allen combined. Lastly, what can we say about the defense? I think it’s back to being great.

The Bengals looked pretty decent against the Colts. Dalton went 21/28 for 243 and 2 scores while throwing a solo pick.  Dixon ran hard in his 17 carries for 95 yards and a score; his biggest run came in at 27 yards.  He averaged 5.6 yards per carry and even without the 27 yard gain; he averaged 4.25 yards/carry.  He’s looking to have a breakout sophomore year.  People weren’t sure what they’d see out of AJ Green since he’s turned 30 and all.  Well, he didn’t disappoint either.  He went off for 6 grabs and 92 yards and even was nice enough to throw a score in there, so I think it’s safe to say that he’ll have another consistent 1,000 yard year.  The Colts lack of running game made the Bengals defense look a little better than it is so look for this one to be a close game.

The Ravens will be tested by the fairly balanced Bengals offense but Dalton folds under big pressure defenses which is exactly what the Ravens are. Take the Ravens to win and cover on the road in the under, Ravens 20-17.

Fast 8

You can’t ask for anything better for the start of the season.  60% winners is the overall that I was hoping to get to for the season and to have it week one is special. Look out for a new feature to the blog, my “Fast 8” picks.  Every week, I’ll choose 8 games that I feel are absolutely worthy of your money on the game.  Think of these games as the best bets of the week or the fastest way to cash/a wining week.  Count this game in with the Fast 8 this week.

It should be another fun dynamic of my blog and another tool for you to #beatyourbookie ……good luck everyone!

Week 1: Monday Night Football

It’s absolutely remarkable how Vegas can set these lines so close to the outcome of the games. Makes you wonder what the secret is, how much homework they do, what kind of insiders they have, or if there’s a formula or algorithm. I had two losses, 1 win and a push within zero to three points of the spread.  Four of the sixteen games could’ve gone either way with a late field goal.  I also had another five games where a touchdown either way could’ve changed the outcome for my bets.  That’s nine of sixteen games where one score (field goal or touchdown) could’ve swung my bets positive or negatively.  I’ve been following lines for  a few years now and I am still amazed by how close these lines are generated to the actual scores of games.  Let the conspiracy theorists converge!

As far as Sunday’s games, I’ve well documented my own 1pm games as mediocre and 2018 has started out no different there. 4-4 against the spread with two games very close from changing that in the 4th quarter of their games until late mistakes happened (Colts & Giants).  I called for a Browns win and they nearly pulled it off to give their fans free Bud Light on opening day no thanks to TJ Watt!  Still, it’s the first season since 2004 that the Browns haven’t lost the opener, so things are looking up in “The Land”.

I bounced back nicely in the 4pm games going 3-0-1. I called the Chargers struggle at home continuing from last season, AP looking good in DC and the Broncos starting the new chapter with Keenum (even though it was a push).

Sunday night was disappointing as far as covering the spread. Seven points is a lot to give up in any game, especially since you don’t know how the teams are going to do in full game action.  I also must admit that I underestimated the Khalil Mack factor.  He made his presence known in that first half, especially when Aaron Rodgers was knocked out before the half.  Still, if that line had performed like they did after the half, all game long, we probably would’ve seen a bigger win and possible cover for the Packers at home, so I’m sticking by my bet and it was just unfortunate to see the line play a poor first half and Rodgers missing nearly all of the second.

I finished Sunday with a 7-6-1 (54%) record, with the potential to pull out a 60% winner’s week in week 1 so I’m optimistic and anxious to watch these games. Now, on to Monday night’s picks…

N.Y. Jets at Detroit, 7:10 PM, ESPN (Lions -7, O/U: 45)

I know what you’re thinking, the Jets are starting rookie Same Darnold, the Lions will blow them out on the road. For that, I have to steal one from Lee Corso, not so fast my friend!  Darnold won that job outright from a guy who’s looked good in the pre-season after not playing for 2 years due to a horrific knee injury (Bridgewater) and a guy beyond his prime, which wasn’t that much of a prime to begin with (McCown).  Don’t mistake him for just some rookie either.  He was taken because he was good and seemed to be the most poised and prepared to start for a team right out of the gate.  The only question was how high would his ceiling be?

As for the rest of the team, they went out and signed Isaiah Crowell to help Powell in the backfield, Terrell Pryor and Andre Roberts to the receiving corps, and Spencer Long as starting center to help give Darnold protection and Weapons to use. The defensive side of the ball saw Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne signed to help the secondary as well as Avery Williamson to start at middle linebacker.

The Lions pretty much go unchanged other than LeGarrette Blount being signed with rookie Kerryon Johnson to compete with Theo Riddick for carries to improve the ground game that Detroit has lacked in Reggie Bush (even he wasn’t a great rusher for them). Stafford has strung together nearly a decades worth of 4,000 plus yard seasons and doesn’t seem to stop that trend given Tate and Jones tearing it up on the outsides.  Jim Bob Cooter has drawn up a pretty exciting offense these last couple of seasons, let’s see what he can do with a fully functional offense.  Devon Kennard and Christian Jones where brought in to boost the linebacking crew and to improve the defense against the run, since they were near the bottom of the league in rushing allowed.  It’s not hard to do when you lose guys like Suh and Nata from your front.

Look for this to be close but don’t be surprised if the Jets keep it interesting. Take the Jets to cover getting 7 but lose to the Lions in the over, Lions 28-24.

L.A. Rams at Oakland, 10:20 PM, ESPN (Raiders +5, O/U: 47.5)

The Rams return for their second season under head coach Sean McVay who brought this team back to life after a dismal 4-12 first season in LA, with an 11-5 finish but a Wild Card loss to the Falcons. With Sammy Watkins leaving us fans thought that they’d still have an arsenal of guys to through to with then rookie Cooper Kupp looking pretty good in his first season but then we all were shocked when Brandin Cooks was picked up.  McVay wanted to make sure that Goff could replicate his 2017 success with having numerous guys to throw to on the outside.  The offense will continue to improve under McVay as he’s being compared to the likes of Kyle Shanahan, and having a genius like mind when it comes to the offensive game.  Veteran defensive pickups like Suh, Talib and Peters are sure to bolster a defense already feared from the likes of Donald.  Rams went all in on this team the last few years and their fans are being rewarded with the fantastic play and now early contenders for the NFC Championship predictions.

The Raiders made some offseason moves of their own, while one could’ve started a riot, some other veteran signings were poised to being back some of that offensive spark they had two seasons ago. Jordy Nelson and Doug Martin are seen as offering more to stabilize the offense and offer different options for John Gruden, who has not been on the sidelines as the head of a football club in a decade.  Justin Ellis and Tank Carradine were brought in to strengthen the defensive front while Tahir Whitehead and Emmanuel Lamur were to strengthen the outside of the box/front 8 of the defense.  Marcus Gilchrist and Leon Hall were brought in to help the secondary, adding to the overall presence of veteran leadership.

The one move that has been the buzz of the team, however, was the trading of Khalil Mack to the Bears for a few first round picks and more. Mack, who was looking for a new deal, seemingly was upset with how the Raiders were conducting their side of the negotiations and how little respect was given to Mack when contract negotiations were being discussed.  The Bears received immediate return after showing Mack some contract love in his first game as a Bear, and the Raiders were left looking like cheapskates and a laughing stock of the league for letting their best player go over a worthy contract negotiation, questioning Gruden and his philosophy.

The locker room has to be devastated and especially for the defensive side for the Raiders. The rams with all of the confidence in the world are going to Oakland as five point favorites.  Look for the Rams to win handedly and cover the five point spread in the over, Rams 38-17.

Don’t forget, Colin Cowherd had the Jets at +6.5 in his Blazinn 5 and while the Wise Men didn’t agree, I feel like it’s still a quality bet being given a whole touchdown. I’m also looking to get back above 50% on 7+ point picks.  Hope your Sunday was fruitful.  Pray to the football gods for Darnold that you can #beatyourbookie Monday night, and catapult me to 60% winners for the week.  Good luck to all!

#beatyourbookie

Week 1 Sunday Games

Well Thursday didn’t go as planned as the Falcons had plenty of head scratching moments and play calls.  The Eagles helped them keep in the game as well, so it was a solid bet until late.  Well, it is week one.  No more pre-season half speed, half of the playbook, these games mean something and teams will play at their hardest to get the ever coveted wins.  On to Sunday’s games to make up for Thursday….

Buffalo at Baltimore, 1:00p, CBS (Ravens -8, O/U: 40)
There isn’t much to say about this dud of a game that hasn’t been written about all off season long. The Bills were reluctant to start their 2018 #1 pick right out of the gate and backed up with that talk by signing AJ McCarron, then after trading him to Oakland, pegging Nate Peterman their starter. The big question is with another rookie 1st rounder Lamar Jackson on the heels of Joe Flacco, will he step up to his Super Bowl caliber play or show that he’s now just washed up? Ravens defense is stingy still given all of the changes through the years.  Peterman looked better in the pre-season than he did last year however, the Ravens eat up quarterbacks that are not really experienced.  I know it’s a lot of points to give for a team that historically doesn’t score a bunch but take the Ravens -8 in the under, Ravens 27-17.

Cincinnati at Indianapolis, 1:00p, CBS (Colts -2, O/U: 48)
Andrew Luck is FINALLY back! It’s been a year and a half and with a somewhat career scare with his shoulder and watching his team suffer a 4-12 season, Luck gives his team a huge confidence boost being in the lineup and since he had last played, he went from having just one decent receiver, and old work horse running back, 2 threatening tight ends and an offensive line that allowed the second most sacks (by 1) but then led the league with 52 the year after. This year they went out and signed Eric Ebron to replace Dwayne Allen, who left 2 seasons ago as well as using some early draft picks to revamp the offensive line to better protect Luck and offer some better blocking for the running game. Luck has only had 1 pre-season and some off-season workouts to knock off the rust, so it’ll be interesting to see how he starts off the season.

For Cincy, not much has changed……for years. Yeah they have Mixon in his 2nd year, AJ still prowling in the deep, and Eifert has given consistency at TE but they will forever be regular season hero’s and post season zeros.  Luck’s magic sparks a little fire in his team, take the Colts to cover in the under, Colts 24-20.

Houston at New England, 1:00p, CBS (Patriots -6.5, O/U: 50)
This should be one of the more interesting matchups of the week. Young vs Old, Promise vs Proven Greatness, Watson Vs Brady. We haven’t seen Watson since his string of a handful of games last year where people were throwing his name into the MVP race. Yeah, he played well……for 6 games. Those games included New England’s defense, which early in the season, are typically giving up tons of yards and points, mediocre defenses from both Tennessee, Seattle and Kansas City, and the bad news Browns defense, which wasn’t stellar last year either.

Patriots are not a great team early on in the season.  Go for the upset in Watson’s return, Texans to win in the under, Texans 24-21.

Jacksonville at N.Y. Giants, 1:00p, FOX (Giants +3, O/U: 42)
In Jacksonville, it looks like it will be another injury plagued season for their receiving corps. Marqis Lee Has suffered an apparent major knee injury. Last year they lost Robinson to a season long injury. If anyone needs the talented receiving corps on the field, it’s Blake Bortles.

It’s sure to be a battle of the star runners though in Fournette and Barkley. Barkley will see his first true test against one of the best defense in the league. Eli sure needs relief with a running game that has been non-existent in the last few seasons.

The Jags aren’t historically great on the road and with OBJ back in the lineup, Eli goes from a low 4 to a high 7.  Add Barkley and you have a completely different looking team.  Take the Giants to win and in the under, Giants 17-14.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1:00p, CBS (Browns +4, O/U: 40.5)
No bell for real this time. Bell has decided to sit out for more money than to sign the franchise tag and play with his teammates. This means second year man and local boy, James Connor is up. The Steelers went out and drafted Washington adding to the outside threats.

The Browns with the first overall pick went with Baker Mayfield and later in the first, snagged Denzel Ward at corner. They also added some depth to the O-line, running backs and receivers in which they got a steal in my mind in the fourth round with Antonio Callaway, who will see significant time in the opener.

They say there’s a Hard Knocks effect where the team usually looks better than it really is but if you look at the roster improvements and the chip on the shoulder to win A GAME, there’s real motivation to knock off a your main rival.  You better screen shot this, take the Browns to win in upset fashion and in the under, Browns 20-17.

San Francisco at Minnesota, 1:00p, FOX (Vikings -7, O/U: 45.5)
The Jimmy G era in San Fran is upon it’s first full season. The weapons are there for him to be successful and one of those weapons is Shanahan’s offensive mind. They strengthened up the offensive line in the draft and added depth to the already deadly receivers. Garcon, Goodwin, Pettis, Celek and Kittle give Garapolo more than enough options given the unproven running game now turned upside down after losing Mckinnon to a bad knee injury.

Minnesota had an unbelievable run with Case Keenum last year but now will have a new thrower of the pigskin under center, Kirk Cousins. Cousins never had the weapons that the Vikes have and with his consistent play under center, it’ll be interesting to see what he can do with Diggs, Thielen, Treadwell, Rudolph and Cook out of the backfield. The offensive line was huge for then rookie, Dalvin Cook, who emerged as another running back surprise and shared some of the spotlight with the successes that two other rookies had in Hunt and Kamara, last year. Defense has virtually gone unchanged from last year and should be at the top of the league all season, which makes this a really good test for the Garapolo/Shanahan tag team coming into Minnesota.

Take the Vikings to win and cover in the over, Vikings 31-20.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1:00p, FOX (Saints -10, O/U: 49.5)
Tampa can’t seem to get it right, every year. They have some holes and needs to fill on offense still, as most teams do, however, when you spend a first round pick on a quarterback, you expect results EVENTUALLY! The weapons for a quarterback to be successful are there but for some reason, Winston still hasn’t grown professionally and personally. I’m shocked that this incident wasn’t enough for Tampa to look at him and just say “no thanks…no more” and get rid of him. Now they have to use Fitzpatrick to fill in for the first three games of the season, who has his physical deficiencies in the throwing game but is accurate on short passes and knows his abilities.

New Orleans opened up last year deep at the running back spot with AP and Ingram looking to split time however, AP never got going and rookie Alvin Kamara chipped away time from AP who then was traded to the Cardinals after a few games. Kamara was a highlight reel in his rookie season while Ingram returned back to the hype that surrounded him when he was drafted, hitting double digits in rushing touchdowns.

Take the Saints to cover and win in the under, Saints 31-17.

Tennessee at Miami, 1:00p, FOX (Dolphins +1, O/U: 45)
I’m not a fan of these two teams. Mariota hasn’t been spectacular since being drafted and Tannehill hasn’t proven he’s worth his contract. Both guys have talent around them but can’t elevate and play stellar ball. Both guys also have injury issues most notably with Tannehill coming back for his first action since December 2016 from a torn ACL, which he had reinjured last summer to keep him out longer and brought Jay Cutler out of retirement for another horrible season.

This one will be more of a defensive struggle than anything and may be close as well.  Take the home dogs, Dolphins to win in the under, Dolphins 20-17.

Kansas City at L.A. Chargers, 4:05p, CBS (Chargers -3, O/U: 49)
The Chiefs were one of those teams that scored big in last years draft with a surprise star in the backfield , Kareem Hunt. Spencer Ware was slotted as the starter last year before being lost for the year before the season started which catapulted Hunt to starter and then, well, the rest was history, literally. Alex Smith was traded out and Sammy Watkins was brought in, Mahomes gets the nod and however much the defense needed some pieces added, they still caused 26 turnovers for the leagues 2nd best margin (-15).

The Chargers, even since their Marty Shottenheimer days, have always been a pretty good team that didn’t do anything. Again, another team that has weapons surrounding their quarterback but struggle to either get in to the playoffs or go deep in to the playoffs. Their defense needed some pieces in the secondary and I believe they addressed that from what I saw in the pre-season. Rivers bounced back from a career high 21 picks and then last year only throwing 10 with 4,515 yards and 28 TD’s. Gordon had his first 1,000 yard rushing year and Allen had his first full season in a few years, staying injury free for most of it,

This is a tough pick because I’m not high on Mahomes but The Chargers were not good at home last year (being as they were playing in a soccer stadium that held about 20 thousand people). Take the Chiefs to win and cover in the over, Chiefs 28-24.

Dallas at Carolina, 4:25p, FOX (Panthers -3, O/U: 42)
The Cowboys come in to the season with some notable players from the last decade plus, missing, Dez and Witten. Two key targets that Dak had used to get his career started. His backfield buddy Zeke will be there with him along with some returning outside guys in Beasley and Williams but every other receiver is relatively new (Hurns, Austin, Thompson and Gallup through the draft). The Witten successors aren’t as promising as Witten was but their serviceable and that O-Line virtually remains the same with the addition for Connor Williams at LG. Defensive squad virtually unchanged except for the return of Randy Gregory and a bunch of 2018 draftees to fill in some needed depth.

The Panthers return nearly every starter from last year while adding some more weapons to the outside of their offense in DJ Moore, and surprisingly did well without Kelvin Benjamin, trading him away to the Bills. Olsen is back, someone who Newton sorely missed. The thing that scares me about the Panthers is how consistently inconsistent they’ve been from year to year, including Cam Newton. They’ve snaked through losing and winning season each of the last 6 seasons.

Dallas won’t be able to keep up offensively but expect a close one.  Take the Panthers to cover and win in the under, Panthers 24-17.

Seattle at Denver, 4:25p, FOX (Broncos -3, O/U: 42)
Talk about a tale of two teams. These two have fallen far from their once prominent spot at the top of the football world with their super bowl wins, but now find themselves rebuilding. The Seahawks barely finished with a winning record at 9-7 while the Broncos hit near rock bottom at 5-11. So much talent on both sides but it was age that caught up to the Hawks and a bad quarterback situation that caught the Broncs and GM John Elway napping.

Broncos went out and fixed their QB situation by getting Case Keenum, although it may be a short-term pickup but they better figure out what they’re going to do going forward since Case is no guarantee and they sent Paxton packing. Both teams will have rookies in starting slot for the game, including the remarkable Shaq Griffin who had his left hand amputated as a young child.

Take the Broncos to win and cover in the under, Broncos 20-14.

Washington at Arizona, 4:25p, FOX (Cardinals -1.5, O/U: 43.5)
Out goes Cousins, in comes Smith. You can only franchise tag a guy so many times before he says no and hits the trade wire. Surprising to also see AP on this team, given that he was a free agent into week 3 of the pre-season before Derrius Guice Blew a wheel for the season. The Redskins used a ton of draft picks to fill gaps in their depth chart but also gained some solid players who could see some significant time in the season opener.

The Cardinals out and tried to get their future franchise QB in Josh Rosen. In my eyes, he’s going to be the best that comes out of their draft. If there’s a team that you should be excited for down the road it’s the Cardinals. David Johnson is still young, JJ Nelson is hitting his prime and Christian Kirk should turn into a nice replacement to Larry Fitzgerald once he decides to retire. The real question is how long with Sam Bradford last as the starter?

Take the Redskins to win and cover in the under, Redskins 24-17.

Chicago at Green Bay, 8:20p, MNBC (Packers -7, O/U: 47)
Battle of the two teams vying for the services of Khalil Mack. Well, that’s one thing the Bears can hold over the Packers head, other than this, however, they don’t have much to talk trash about. They’re inferior at almost every position. The one thing that is hard to do, is go into Green Bay and win with Aaron Rodgers playing. The Bears were so bad, they wouldn’t let Trubisky use the expanded version of the playbook for much of their season and still finished behind the Packers who were 7-9 mostly without the services of Rodgers.

The Bears are inferior to the Packers at every position. They spent the off season trying to improve the receiving corps that Trubisky has to throw to. My issue is with Trubisky, I just don’t think he’s the guy they need to take them to the next level. The guy didn’t even get to work with the full playbook. They’re hoping that bringing in Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton will help elevate his game.

For the Packers, out goes Jordy Nelson and in comes Jimmy Graham. Rodgers is back and healthy and they have some new draft picks to add to the depth at receiver and corner, which was very much so needed. Not only did they get Jimmy G and draft themselves a bunch of help all over the roster, they ponied up on Rodgers’ contract and made him one of the richest players in the NFL. When Rodgers is in the lineup, this team has super bowl potential no matter the roster around him but it should be exciting to see him go up against Mack.

Take the Packers to win and cover in the over, Packers 31-21.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazin 5 Picks:

  • Buffalo at Baltimore – Baltimore (-7)
  • San Francisco at Minnesota – Minnesota (-6)
  • Houston at New England – Houston (+6.5)
  • Jacksonville at NY Giants – NY Giants (+6)
  • NY Jets at Detroit – NY Jets (+6.5)

There you have it.  My Sunday picks are locked in with a few shockers.  It certainly should be an entertaining week with plenty to look out for to set up week two picks.  Happy football day and good luck!

2018 NFL Kickoff: Thursday Night Football

As I sit here and watch the end of the last episode of Hard Knocks with the Browns, I have to start by mentioning how disappointing it was to not see Cajuste get a spot and how shocked I was that they let Nassib go.  I thought for sure Nassib was a lock and with Cajuste having a pretty decent offensive game in the last pre-season game, thought they might keep him but I know they already had 3 solid tight ends so the harsh reality was just seeing him cut.  Anyways, without further ado…..

Welcome to the start of the 2018 NFL season and the start of my predictions machine (hint: I am the machine haha!).

Atlanta at Philadelphia, 8:20p, NBC (Eagles: -1, O/U: 44.5):

The Falcons will play a little roll reversal coming into this game as underdogs compared to being favorites going into Philly for the NFC Divisional game last season.  The previous seasons Super Bowl champs are 12-2 in the last 14 season openers.  The average point totals in those games racked up to a whopping nearly 48 points.

The Eagles have many questions coming into this game as Foles had a bad pre-season and they are dealing with a handful of injuries to key players.  Doug Pederson will keep Foles reigned in and focused while calling plays that will be successful and suit his skill set, like he did in the playoffs.

The Falcons roster hasn’t changed much other than adding another offensive weapon via the draft, Calvin Ridley.  The only worrisome note was the drop in offensive scoring output from 33.8 points in 2016 under Shanahan to 22.1 points in 2017 under Sarkisian.  Given that it was the teams first year under Sark, they should see improvement in their consistency, from game to game, in year 2 under his watch.

The game moved 3 points after the official news that Wentz was out and Foles was in as starter for the Eagles.  To be honest, that’s scary but it also gives me what I need to know about the Eagles.  Like I said, Doug keeps Foles in line for this week and keeps the game close but take the Falcons and their high powered offense to cover +1 and win in the over, Falcons 24-21.

There you have it, game one in the predictions column.  Happy football eve everyone!  Don’t forget to thaw the dip, get the family sized bag of Tostito’s and get your order in early to your favorite wing joint…… oh, and good luck!

#beatyourbookie