Thursday Night Throwdown

Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs,
8:25 p.m., TV: CBS/NFLN, LINE: Chiefs -3, O/U: 42.5:

Last week was a bit of a shock seeing Manning struggle.  A lot of off season reports stated his arm was strong and he looked great.  Well, Sunday, not so much.  Reports of no zip being on the ball, ducks being thrown and the deep ball lacking posses questions about Denver’s passing game.  The league is now turning to a shorter passing game, screens and slot receivers are the ones making more catches for more yards.  Does this help Manning through this year, with Sanders, yes.  The defense looked good at least, keeping them in the game last week but the offense sputtered and it scares people.  The Chiefs on the other hand looked amazing and against Yet the wide receivers are still without a TD.  Andy Reid will use Kelce to disrupt the Broncos secondary, creating huge mismatches.  My pick: Chiefs 27-20.

Week 1 – Sunday Roundtable with Colin Cowhed’s Blazing 5

Week one, Sunday regular season action is upon us.  Here are my predictions and Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5 picks.  Good luck to all!

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills,
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Bills +3 O/U: 45
Rex Ryan’s new era in Buffalo begins with Tyrod Taylor as his starter, unfortunately it’s against a tough Colts team lead by the miraculous Andrew Luck. Buffalo’s defense will make it tough on Luck but Taylor won’t get anything going on offense for the Bills. Pick: Colts 27-17

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears,
TV: 1 p.m., FOX. LINE: Bears -7 O/U: 49
No Jordy Nelson, no problem. Green Bay has had depth at receiver for years with the next best guy always stepping up. James Jones was recently signed to add security to the position for the season, back with his favorite elite quarterback in a very familiar offense. Pack don’t miss a step in Chicago but the spread is almost too great for this division rivalry. Pick: Packers 31-21

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans,
TV: 1 p.m., CBS. LINE: Texans +1 O/U: 41
Adding Maclin to the receiving corps will help Alex Smith get some touchdowns to the receivers this year, but the Texans defense is back with two of the biggest defensive ends in the game with Clowney being healthy again. The Texans will be without Foster for this game so look to see the back field platooning. Defense wins the day and the Texans are a home dog so take them. Pick: Texans 17-14

Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars,
TV: 1 p.m., FOX. LINE: Jags +3 O/U: 40.5
An intriguing matchup with the Jags toughening defense and the lackluster, nearly weaponless Panthers offense. I am surprised the line isn’t closer to a pick’em given that Bortles started to settle in as an NFL starter late last year. He’s got a plethora of young talent at receiver and with TJ as the new addition to the back field, look for the Jags to set a winning building block this year. Cam tries to do it all in this game which will be dangerous. It’ll be close but Cam can’t get the ball to enough guys to make up for missing Benjamin. Pick: Jags 17-16

Cleveland Browns at New York Jets,
TV: 1 p.m., CBS. LINE: Jets -3.5 O/U: 38.5
The Browns have been piecing together a team for years with no real direction. The defense always seemed to be the lone standout and kept them in a few games but the lack of offense proved to be its main weakness. With the Jets defense always being solid, now adding a sure star in Marshall on the outside as a main target, the Jets will try to move on from Geno slowly and find a winner at QB in Fitzpatrick who can win and keep mistakes to a minimum. No cannon but can give Marshall a big year. Pick: Jets 14-12

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams,
TV: 1 p.m., FOX. LINE: Rams +4 O/U: 41.5
These two always seem to give each other fits and Seattle has never been stellar on the road. The Rams always give good teams trouble on the defensive side but with Foles as their new guy behind center, it may rejuvenate the franchise who were at the mercy of Sam Bradford and his knees. Expect bigger things from the Rams this year but Foles hasn’t faced a defense like this yet and had an average year compared to his first with Chip Kelly in Philly. Pick: Seahawks 20-17

Miami Dolphins at Washington Redskins,
TV: 1 p.m., CBS. LINE: Redskins +5 O/U: 45.5
The Dolphins anchored their man behind center with a nice new fat contract but now come the expectations. The Dolphins aren’t just going to rely on Tannehill as they added a stud at defensive tackle in Suh. Adding him will make the front defensive line that much tougher. Dolphins go from mediocre to playoff contenders this year. The Redskins have been in a tailspin again this offseason with more RGIII talk. With Cousins starting, they’re offense will have less distraction with injuries and off the field comments but Cousins isn’t their guy and the Redskins should’ve traded him when his value was very high 2 years ago. It must hurt being a home dog by more than a field goal but it’s for good reason. Pick: Fins 31-17

New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals,
TV: 4:05 p.m., FOX. LINE: Cards -2.5 O/U: 48
Jimmy Graham is no longer the main, attractive weapon in Who Dat nation. Brandin Cooks is now the young outstanding weapon opposite Colston that will keep the passing game thriving but still not as hot as it has been in years past. Brees took a bit of a hit in yardage however will still have more than 4,000 yards. The Cards have Palmer back and healthy. With the addition of Chris Johnson and some other young backs platooning in, the Cards could have a moderately successful season if most of the main offensive pieces stay healthy. This game is in doors which is both teams bread and butter. Look for it to be close like the line states but the Cards hold on. Pick: Cards 27-24

Detroit Lions at San Diego Chargers,
TV: 4:05 p.m., FOX. LINE: Chargers -3.5 O/U: 46
The Chargers open up at home without their start tight end Gates in the lineup. No more Matthews in the backfield will prove to shortchange the Chargers in the redzone. However the lack off redzone threats for the Chargers, the Lions are without Suh on their defensive front. That will considerably change the dynamic of their pass rush. Nonetheless, both teams still have the ability to air it out. Pick: Chargers 24-21

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos,
TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS. LINE: Broncos -5 O/U: 47
With new offensive minds for the Broncos and an aging legend who still deals with numbness in his throwing hand, look for the Broncos to tone it down a bit in the air game, especially without Julius Thomas now with the Jags. The running game isn’t a sure bet to take over the offense but the days of 45-50 TD’s in the passing game are over for Manning. The Ravens on the other hand found a gem last year in Forsett. Coupled with the strong armed Flacco and Steve Smith threat, the Ravens are poised to have a good year. Pick: Broncos 27-24

Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland Raiders,
TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS. LINE: Raiders +3 O/U: 43
The Raiders all around looked pretty good this off season. Defensively sound and Carr is developing nicely for them. The Bengals are going to put up their typical average season, good start, horrible finish. Teams are now on to Andy Daulton and once under substantial pressure, he will turn the ball over. Look for the Bengals to go to the run game more this year than in the past to limit picks. Pick: Raiders 21-17

Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers,
TV: 4:25 p.m., CBS. LINE: Buccs -3 O/U: 41
The rookie quarterback matchup, Winston and Mariota is what we’ve all been waiting to see. Who made out better. This will show which quarterback was better prepared for their inaugural season. That being said, Winston was drafted into a much better offensive situation than Mariota. With Evans and Jackson on the outside Jenkins at tight end, and Martin/Sims combo in the backfield, the Buccs are going to be riding high this year if Winston can settle into the offense at full pace. Mariota has a little more work to do with the lack of weapons compared to Winston but he is a great game manager and doesn’t make errors often. Pick: Buccs 27-21

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys,
TV: 8:30 p.m., NBC. LINE: Cowboys -7 O/U: 52.5
Another early divisional matchup pits the revamped Giants offense with Cruz back, the Giants are poised to have a pretty successful air attack again this year. The Cowboys are without their leading rusher in Murray, jetting to another divisional rival, the Eagles, but landed Run DMC formerly of the Raiders. He hasn’t been all that cracked up to be since he was drafted but a new place, new team, new O-line might bring some spark out of him. Still, Romo, Dez and Witten are a tough combo in itself to handle. Pick: Cowboys 30-27

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5 Picks:
Jaguars (+3) 23-20
Ravens (+5) 27-26
Packers (-7) 34-20
Rams (+4.5) 27-26
Giants (+6) 28-26

Musings & Week 15 Thursday Game

Welcome back readers!  Today I will be discussing how my fantasy football teams did this past week and who I have starting this week, and a quick preview of all week 15 NFL action as well as spread, over/under analysis and predictions using the lines from Covers.com.  I will also give my reaction Bleacher Report’s week 15 predictions.  I cut out the Fan Duel conversation and saved that for a topic for next week.

I run in just in 2 leagues, only because more would be too much work to have to update constantly on my type of schedule.  One is in one of my buddies’ league with a gentlemen’s wager of $20 per team.  This past week was the start of the playoffs for this league.  I came into the playoffs like Seattle a few years back, I was 6-7 but on a current 2 game slide.  I had to face a team with Peyton Manning (31 points), Antonio Brown (19 points), Andre Johnson (15 points), and the Chiefs Defense (27 points).  To say the least, it was a tough game.  However, I had a team worthy of being competitive but just couldn’t match up with the stats of my opponent, Drew Brees (28 points), Desean Jackson (11 points), Chris Johnson (8 points), and Jason Witten (7 points).  Now those players mentioned as the highlights on my team were actually outscored by my kicker (all but Brees), Phil Dawson (16 points), who was signed Sunday, around 3 pm, as a last minute acquisition because I forgot to start my actual kicker Mason Crosby.  Nevertheless, my team ultimately lost 118-80 and was booted from the playoffs.

My other league, I am the commissioner of.  This league consists of a few newbies to fantasy football or guys who only have a season or two under their belts.  Again, gentlemen’s wager of just $10.  I have dominated this league, going 8-0 to open the season but limped to my first week bye going 2-3 in the last 5 weeks.  This week is my bye but heading in to my first playoff matchup, this will be my starting lineup for next week:

QB Drew Brees/WR Vincent Jackson/WR Demarius Thomas/RB Pierre Thomas/RB Jamaal Charles/TE Tony Gonzalez/WR-TE-RB Dwayne Bowe/K Garrett Hartley/DEF Seattle Seahawks

Now here is when I’m just supposed to brag about how I picked some of these guys up in lopsided trade with a newbie or picked a couple of these guys up off the free agents waiver wire and hit big.  No.  I drafted every one of my starters and this is why having a strong draft will carry you through your season and the playoffs.  From what I’ve noticed in fantasy football, not many people are willing to trade because you play just about everyone at some point in the season.  I must applaud my good buddy Josh in the $20 league he runs, he traded me Drew Brees and Chris Johnson for Marcus Colston and Adrian Peterson (trade happened around week 4 or so).  I saw that as a fair trade and one that I thought would benefit me in the long run since Brees puts up crazy numbers and the Vikings offense has been hot and cold through the first couple of weeks this season.  Nevertheless, he made it past the first round (and picked up McCown just before the week started to which he scored him 38 points, Peterson got hurt and only scored him 1 point but had Shady McCoy which scored him 33 points to which McCown/McCoy accounted for 71 of his winning 104 points this past week against a team that only scored 78 points, so yeah…) and I didn’t.

I didn’t have as strong of a draft as my other league but was also playing against some smarter fantasy players who all drafted well.  Through the season I was in that waiver wires hunt every week, trying to catch the next couple week starter that busts out for 20-30 quick points.  Live by the draft, die by the draft.  Do your homework, have a strong draft and make smart moves/trades.

Now, on to my week 15 analysis and picks.  I will be going into depth on Sunday’s and Monday’s games later this week for analysis.  I will put the lines up now so you know where they are at least starting Wednesday.

For now, here are my thoughts on the Thursday game:

Thursday 12/12/13

Chargers @ Broncos

Covers.com

Covers.com is a site I use to check lines and trends since they do polls of the users of the site as well as 12 “expert” odds makers and how they feel the game will go with the given lines.  They also have a little write up and prediction at the end of every games preview.  Also included on this site for every game is individual and team stats, as well as injuries and previous 10 games of each team and previous 10 meetings of the two teams.  This site gives you a lot of information to use and it’s all free!

Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report shows the Odds Shark computer prediction for every game which runs thousands of simulation models to come up with an estimated guess based on facts and factors for the game.  Bleacher Report gives you the computers scores and then gives you their predictions against or with the computers outcome, so you’re really getting two predictions.

Odds Shark says:  38.2 – 27.9 Broncos Victory in the Over

Bleacher Report says:  San Diego will have to play one of its best games of the year to hang with the Broncos. Rivers has been absolutely great, and Chargers head coach Mike McCoy might have some insight as to how to slow down Manning and Co. But Denver has proven it can cover big numbers. Give the points with the Broncos, and pay attention to the OVER trends below as well.

Covers.com says: Broncos 37 – Chargers 27 in the Over

My Predictions

Listen, I lost out on this game the first time around, I won’t do that again!  I took the BRONCOS on the points and the OVER back in early November and lost out because they scored under 56 only totaling 48 points.  Out of the Broncos 13 games so far this year, 2 games have scored under the point total, back to back weeks but first being against the Chargers.  They were the first real test for Peyton and his Broncos, making the highlight reels feature the other team as well and actually keeping the game within reach for the Chargers.  Broncos still covered but barely.  This week it’s Denver, in the cold again, but Manning put to rest the accusations that he doesn’t play well in the cold and wouldn’t play well in Denver come crunch time, late in the season and through the playoffs. Broncos are -10 with an over/under of 55.5. 

I say stay away from the spread as I think it could go either way but definitely take the OVER 55.5 as the Broncos have this unreal offense and listen, Denver has covered the points or came within 7 of the total by themselves alone in 3 of 7 home games this year, and 4 of 13 overall.  In the NFL, that means you are scary good!  I want to say, with the Broncos being at home, they will want to end the last regular season home game for its fans on a high scoring note, not to mention the excitement of having their coach John Fox back on the sidelines.  He missed his first game after open heart surgery in week 10 when they played the Chargers and makes his first game return against them…coincidence?

Broncos 45 – Chargers 31

Trends:

  • Broncos cover or come within 7 of the points total by themselves in 3 of 7 home games
  • Broncos have beaten the Chargers four straight overall
  • Chargers are 5-1-1 ATS past seven games at Denver
  • Chargers are 5-1-1 ATS in the past seven games as road underdogs
  • OVER is 12-2-1 past 15 games when Chargers are road underdogs
  • OVER is 10-1-1 past 12 Broncos home games
  • OVER is 8-0-1 past nine times Broncos home as double-digit favorites
  • Chargers Pass/Overall Defense entering this week are both 28th in the NFL
  • Broncos Pass/Overall Defense entering this week are 29th/25th in the NFL
  • Chargers Pass/Overall Offense and Points entering this week are 4th/4th/11th in the NFL
  • Broncos Pass/Overall Offense and Points entering this week are all 1st in the NFL
  • Manning has recorded 11 games with 300+ passing yards this season, tying Tom Brady for the 2nd most in NFL history
  • Chargers WR Keenan Allen has 61 catches (a franchise record for a rookie) for 902 yards, 5 TD’s
  • The Broncos need to score 75 points in their final 3 games to break the NFL record of 589 total season points set by the Patriots in 2007.  They average 39.6 points per game so far this year

The rest of the NFL games (lines only), spreads are for the home team.

Redskins @ Falcons -6.5   O/U 51

49ers @ Buccaneers +5   O/U 41

Seahawks @ Giants +7   O/U 41

Bears @ Browns -1   O/U 45

Texans @ Colts -5.5   O/U 45.5

Bills @ Jaguars +2   O/U 43

Patriots @ Dolphins +2.5   O/U 45.5

Eagles @ Vikings +4.5   O/U 51

Chiefs @ Raiders +4   O/U 41

Jets @ Panthers -11   O/U 40.5

Packers @ Cowboys -7   O/U 48.5

Saints @ Rams +5.5   O/U 47

Cardinals @ Titans +2.5   O/U 41.5

Bengals @ Steelers +3   O/U 40.5

Ravens @ Lions -6   O/U 48

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