Week 3: Thursday Night Football

St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers, 8:25pm (49ers +3, O/U: 40)

Sheesh, what a matchup.  These Thursday night games seem to be one bad matchup after another.  Now, the Rams seem to have some things together on offense with their new coach, Sean McVay, but the faith in Goff still isn’t totally there.  The rise of a semi stable passing game has taken a bit of the burden off of Gurley, who is having a good start to his third year in the league.  This will be a battle of defenses all night.  I’m actually shocked the over/under is where it is at 40.  I’m hinting at half of my prediction.

The 49ers defense has been a surprising bright spot of this team.  Losing key players on their defense over the years as hurt them but others have stepped up and a healthy NaVarro Bowman is the piece that leads this defenses success.  Hoyer needs to settle in.  Give the guy a break, it’s rather hard to go from system to system and play against tough defenses to start the season.  If he can get consistent in the short passing game, Hyde can gash the defense, and the 49ers could push for a bounce back season, starting with this game.

Don’t let the Rams early success grab your faith just yet.  This game could really give you a sense as to the capabilities of the Goff.  Look for the 49ers to steal a win as a home dog in the under, because it’ll be an ugly one.  49ers win in the under, 17-16.

Week 1 Recap: 60%+ Winners Baby!

Week 1 has come and gone with some pretty shocking results and injuries.

The first week of the NFL season for fans is an exciting time, holiday like for most of America.  Take it from me, I’m a huge hockey guy and I don’t get this excited over the NHL’s opening week of the season.  However you celebrated, there is always this massive expectation of upsets, blowouts, and key injuries.

Thursday had all of them rolled into one game.  Cheesy banner hoisting celebration, shocking Vegas point spread of 9, shocking upset from the underdog, key injuries from Danny Amendola’s concussion and Eric Berry’s torn Achilles, and the game was basically a blowout.

Sunday was much of the same, Ravens blowout/shutout the Bengals, Jags shockingly blowout the Texans, Rams took the Colts to the woodshed, and we saw the loss of one of the top 2 best running backs in the game, David Johnson, get a dislocated wrist which will more than likely have him out 2-3 months.

We saw a bunch of rookies take control of their respected positions and make key differences in games, TJ Watt, Dalvin Cook, Kareem Hunt, Kenny Golladay, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Haason Reddick, and Cooper Kupp.

Wow, what a first week!

Now to my predictions.  I shocked myself.  I pulled out some close ones and some really caught me off guard but to have 61.5% winners ATS and 64.28% winners with the O/U for the first week?  I’ll take that a run with it.  I’m a genius, football psychic, I have the crystal ball of the NFL and baby, I’m just handing out free cash left and right.

The “what if’s”.  I was a late Tarik Cohen TD and a blocked Chargers field goal from having those pushes as winners (66%) and if Forbath doesn’t miss his extra point, my O/U’s would’ve been the same (66%).

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5:

How did Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5 do?  He stated it was the best opening week since he’s been doing it.  He went 4-1 picking the Eagles (-1), Ravens (+3), Lions (+2), and Packers (-3).  Obviously the 49ers (+5.5) were the ones that prevented him from a perfect record to start.

Come back Thursday for the tomorrow nights matchup and prediction.

Monday Night Football

New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings, 7:10p (Vikings -3, O/U 48)

AP coming home, with a new team.  Saints running game has not been all that great since Drew Brees has come to town.  With AP and Ingram in the backfield, the load isn’t all on Brees’ right arm.  Given the Saints addition of the Vikes former franchise star, the Vikes still have that staunchy defense and Bradford has brought some consistency to their air game since Favre retired after the 2010 season.  Brees will be missing Brandon Cooks badly but he is still great and can make something out of that offense however I feel the loss is bigger than the gain.  Yes, I’m aware that AP lead the league in rushing after his major knee injury 3 years ago but he’s 32 and now in a high powered passing offense with Ingram taking touches from him.  Expect the Vikings to play well.  Vikings win 24-20

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos, 10:20p (Broncos -3, O/U 43)

Not much has really changed with the Chargers other than a city change and oh yeah, Keenan Allen is back and healthy again.  It seems as if he’s had some horrible season ending injuries the last bunch of years but when he’s healthy, the Chargers are hard to beat.  That being said, their going into Denver.  This defense is still mostly staffed with players who helped get them to the Super Bowl a few years back.  Don’t count out the Chargers defensive front, lead by Joey Bosa.  They made their presence known last year.  Don’t expect anything less from them.  Denver still doesn’t have a formidable QB which spells trouble for Thomas and Sanders in the fantasy realm but CJ Anderson is giving them another weapon to use.  There isn’t an expectation that there are going to be any major scoring but I do expect it to be over the 43 point O/U marker.  Chargers win 24-21

 

NFL Week 1: Season Opener

Welcome back to another NFL season!

This year, it just feels like it is going to be a great one.  The draft came and went with lots of quality depth for the running back and wide receiver positions.  Fantasy draft season hits and you’re suddenly thrown into the conundrum of taking a seasoned vet or one of the 4 rookie backs that could start and make huge impacts?  And talk about depth at receiver!  Outside of the top crop of players guaranteed to vie for the 200-250 point mark in most PPR leagues, there is some amazing depth there for your WR2-4!

Then pre-season hits. You’re excited, waiting for the first big crack of pads and game action regardless if they are guys who will be cut in 4 weeks (and Hardknocks).  Football is back!  A couple key injuries here and there and then you’re wondering why Greg held the damn draft so early in the pre-season…….but you don’t care because it gives you an excuse to play GM for your team and scour stats of the waiver wire players for that undrafted diamond in the rough stud!

Man, what a time of the year…

Fast forward to the first game of the season, Chiefs @ Patriots.  Pats -9, O/U 48.5:

Rule of thumb for the past 15 years or so has been, don’t bet against the Pats at home, EVER!  Chances are, out of 8 games, you’ll be in the black, handedly, every year.  Their ATS coverage at home since 2003 is amazing (75-54-4, 58.1% covers).  The only team better than them is Seattle 73-46-4 (61.3% covers), and those figures include playoffs.  Needless to say, SHOCKER! I mean, the only thing not shocking about that game was that the Chiefs were going to cover the 9 points Vegas gave them.  They had to have been reminded by that fact all week and possibly helped create a “chip on the shoulder” mentality that they weren’t being respected coming into this game.  Let’s be honest though, we know the Pats are REALLY good at home especially when it’s a feature game, but 9 POINTS!?!?!  That’s a spread you reserve for the Pats/Jags or the Pats/Browns, not the Chiefs.  I figured they’d cover but still lose…..because, well…..it’s the Pats at home.  I couldn’t have been more wrong about the final score.

Covers.com had the game at Pats -9, O/U of 48.5. I figured that the Pats secondary would make it difficult for Smith to be relied on solely, so I planned on his usual 1 maybe 2 TD’s through the air and maybe 250 yards, effectively like a pro vet QB, managing the game well.  I expected Hunt to make a small impact in his first game, maybe 70 yards and a score.  I expected the Pats to have their run game stall because of the Chiefs stingy defensive front and I expected Tom would exploit the defense on a handful of plays to keep the Pats ahead with his numerous air attack weapons.

Not once could I have predicted Hunt tearing off 148 yards on the ground with another 98 through the air along with 3 TD’s, (dramatic pause), ALL after losing a fumble on his first ever carry! Nor did I see Smith tossing for 368 and 4 scores while completing 80% of his passes.  No one, however, could’ve seen this coming, Tom Brady completing just 44% of his throws and end up with 0 TD’s, (another dramatic pause) 0!!!!  They only averaged 3.5 yards rushing as a team, mostly thanks to Gillislee and White (side shocker no one saw coming, Gillislee having 3 rushing TD’s).

So the Chiefs defense did what I thought they’d do but the pass rush against Brady was alive last night!  Brady had a bunch of time in the pocket for most of the night despite the 3 sacks but he felt the pressure amount the longer he held the ball (which was evident on a play where no one was all that close to him and he flinched in the pocket, ducking down as if to brace for a sack and quickly stood straight back up to fire an incompletion).  The Chiefs did all of this while amassing 15 penalties for 139 yards to which the Pats got 4 first downs from and set up a few close TD’s at the Chief’s goal line.

First game, in the books, complete shocker.  Expect a big bounce back next week since that usually happens when the Pats lose bad.

Check back Sunday morning for a preview of Sunday’s games complete with spread and over/unders from Covers.com along with my predictions for each game along with Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5.

Thursday Night Throwdown

This division has been a complete surprise full of injuries and unexpected winners.  The Eagles have been a huge surprise as well as the Redskins for that matter.  With the injuries to the Cowboys, expect them to fall from grace until about week 8 when they get some key starters back.  For now, enjoy the power struggle of the NFC East.

Washington Redskins @ New York Giants,
8:25 p.m., TV: CBS/NFLN, LINE: Giants -4, O/U: 45:
Since the air game isn’t so consistent for the Skins, the ground game has been a pleasant surprise.  Morris in week one and now Matt Jones last week going over 100 yards.  Last week, Cousins was actually consistent and didn’t turn the ball over.  He has games like that from time to time.  Eli last week hit OBJ big last week for huge yardage and a score but is bound to be inconsistent but you’ll never know when the “cable” version of Eli shows up.  These two teams played decent against good defenses last week so expect this one to be close and low scoring. My Pick: Giants 21-20.

Week 2 NFL Picks

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills,
1 p.m., TV: CBS, LINE: Bills +1.5, O/U: 45:
The Patriots came into week one with questions at quarterback until the courts overturned his 4 game suspension. Tom put on a clinic and absolutely made the NFL eat some sour grapes with his play and yes there was even radiogate. McCoy is expected to play given his hamstring issue but wasn’t very effective carrying the ball in week 1 but is still a viable option for Taylor in the pass game. The Bills have a stingy looking defense against a very good Andre Luck and the Colts. Bills win this one despite Gronk having a big game. My Pick: Bills 21-20.

Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers,
1 p.m., TV: CBS, LINE: Panthers -3, O/U: 41:
Houston couldn’t stop a thing last week against the Chiefs. With a stacked defensive line, Alex Smith should’ve been under tons of pressure and it should’ve been closer and yes, they were predicted to win. Hoyer didn’t have a great game and now Mallett is under center. He has a strong arm with a lot of talent but his downfall is never living up to his potential. With a shot in Houston and not sitting behind Brady, maybe it’ll liven up the kid. Kuechly is out with a concussion from last weeks game against the Jags but with him out, the Panthers still stuffed the Jags. Mallett seemed to get the offense going last week almost making a comeback. The Panthers didn’t have a whole lot of options in the air game but Stewart looked like his old/healthy self with a huge game given the low expectations. My Pick: Texans 24-20.

Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears,
1 p.m., TV: FOX, LINE: Bears +2.5, O/U: 46:
Palmer tore up a Saints secondary that was suspect going into the game. The Bears also got lit up by a fantastic looking Packers air game. Ellington may be out but that air game will be as strong as ever. The Bears put up a good fight against Green Bay at home but with Cutler making mistakes and even late in the game when he needs to be at his best, it gives the Bears a disadvantage where they don’t need it. Where they make up for it is Forte however, he’s not the guy who has the ball in his hands every play to make better decisions. My Pick: Cardinals -2.5.

San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals,
1 p.m., TV: CBS, LINE: Bengals -3.5, O/U: 48:
The Bengals have been unreal at home and another monster on the road and especially ugly late in the seasons. Keenan Allen had a career game last week with a missing Antonio Gates. Tyler Eifert also had a career game in last week’s matchup against the Raiders. With these two offenses on point to start the season off right, the defenses won’t have a chance to keep the end zone clear of celebrations. I’m just surprised there isn’t a side bet for Adam “Pacman” Jones getting into trouble again, seeing that he had a fit of rage last week that costed him some good cabbage. My Pick: Bengals 31-24.

Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns,
1 p.m., TV: CBS, LINE: Browns +1.5, O/U: 41:
Mariota looked like a seasoned vet last week torching the Buccs secondary for 4 scores. This week also marks the first career start for Johnny Manziel who looked good at times and bad at other times. This is also the second week in a row 2 Heisman wining quarterbacks will be facing each other. Last week it was the last 2 years winners and this week is the winner from 3 years ago versus last year’s winner. Mariota has workable weapons, Manziel doesn’t. My Pick: Titans 22-20.

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings,
1 p.m., TV: FOX, LINE: Vikings -3, O/U: 44.5:
The Vikings did not look good at all last week but in the new home they turn it around. They didn’t feed Adrian Peterson the rock like they should’ve but that changes today. Teddy is still young and doesn’t have the control of the team like a vet can. The Lions offense has always been decent and Ebron looked to have a good start to his sophomore bid. My Pick: Lions 20-17.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints,
1 p.m., TV: FOX, LINE: Saints -10, O/U: 47:
Division rivalries are always good games but Winston seemed to be exposed by a not that great Titans defense. Saints secondary got torched by a healthy Carson Palmer but recoup against a raw Winston. Brees looked like himself and on the road even. Look for him to explode at home and expose the Buccs again and then some. My Pick: Saints 35-17

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants,
1 p.m., TV: FOX LINE: Giants -2, O/U: 49:
The Giants looked pretty resilient last week in Dallas and nearly won the game but gave it up late. Eli looked like typical Eli and look for that to continue against a Falcons team that gave the Eagles fits early last week and even beat them. The Falcons can be iffy on the road in outdoors games and the Giants aren’t favored that much but the offense didn’t look great. My Pick: Falcons 23-17.

San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers,
1 p.m., TV: FOX, LINE: Steelers -6, O/U: 46:
The 49ers came out of the gates with a nice upset win. The defense put together a great game against an offense that was poised to do great things given the momentum coming off of last season. Big Ben and the Steelers had some lapses in judgement when covering Gronk last week but with over a week to prepare and seeing what things did work for the 49ers and their run game, they have a big game and really show us who the 9ers are. My Pick: Steelers 33-14.

St. Louis Rams at Washington Redskins,
1 p.m., TV: FOX, LINE: Redskins +4, O/U: 41:
The Rams came out and had decent expectations going into the Seahawks game last week and nearly lost it but fended them off for a huge upset win. They always play tough defense at home but have never had a consistent starter behind center. Now that Foles is in town, the guy gives a great deep ball threat and the Redskins have been a dumpster fire for years but the defense can stop drives but if the offense can’t get anything going, it’ll wear them out and open them up. My Pick: Rams 31-19

Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars,
4:05 p.m., TV: CBS, LINE: Jaguars +6.5, O/U: 42:
The Dolphins enjoyed a nice win last week against the Skins but this week against the Jags could prove to be a tougher play, defensively anyways. The Jags usually have a decent defense but still allowed the Panthers to score 20 without a whole lot of offensive weapons. The Jags will hold the Dolphins buy not enough due to the offense being stuffed by a much improved Fins defensive front. My Pick: Dolphins 24-14.

Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders,
4:05 p.m., TV: CBS, LINE: Raiders +6, O/U: 42:
What to make of the Ravens. They had a hard time getting anything going on offense last week agains the Broncos but the defense looked really good and even after losing Suggs for the year after tearing his Achilles. The Raiders got off to an ok start but after Carr left the game with a hand injury, all hope went out the door. With Carr back this week, some of that hope is back. This will be another low scoring affair but with the better team coming out on top. Don’t be surprised if the Raiders keep it close however. My Pick: Ravens 20-17.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles,
4:25 p.m., TV: FOX, LINE: Eagles -7, O/U: 54.5:
The Eagles might’ve started slow but finished big last week against the Falcons last week. The Falcons still took them to the woodshed long enough to get the win but give the Eagles a few extra minutes last week and they would’ve pulled it out. The defense still got blown out of the water in the air game even with Maxwell as a new edition. The Falcons still had some big time targets to throw to but the Cowboys don’t have Dez in the lineup. They do however have good depth of trustworthy receivers that can step up and contribute. 7 is a pretty big spread for these two to go at it. My Pick: Eagles 30-25.

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers,
8:30 p.m., TV: NBC, LINE: Packers +3.5, O/U: 50:
The Seahawks have lost some key members on their defense especially since one of them is by their own doings, not figuring out the Chancellor thing yet. The Packers are unreal at home, always count on them to ride high with Rodgers behind center. The Packers had a 12 point lead in the NFC Championship game in Green Bay last year. They let that game slip away and the Hawks pulled off some kind of miracle. That doesn’t sit well with Green Bay who haven’t beat them since 2010, 5 matchups ago. Rodgers will be out for blood and with James Jones filling in for Jordy Nelson in the best possible way last week, that’s going to make them that much more dangerous this year. The Seahawks put together a decent offensive performance in a tough road matchup against the Rams last week. They normally don’t score like that on the road and to be up in tough Green Bay, they won’t duplicate over 30 points but Jimmy Graham helps. My Pick: Packers 31-26.

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

Week 3: Thursday Night Divisional Mash up

matt-ryan-pic-2

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons,
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS, NFL Network. LINE: Falcons -6.5. O/U: 44.5

Atlanta, as I predicted, came out flat last week. Chalk one up for the Saints syndrome. Matt Ryan had gone from showing up big time in week one to disappearing behind his 3 picks last week. The Falcons had a hard time getting anything going in the first half with their longest drive being 40 yards and only getting a field goal from it. In the second half they went 3 and out, pick on first play of second drive in the 2nd half, 10 plays/59 yards/pick, 10 plays/77 yards/TD, 5 plays/6 yards/punt, 10 plays/22 yards/pick. The Buccs have kept their 2 losses to less than a TD difference. The problem is they lost by 6 to a Cam Newtonless Panthers and a Rams team without a true starting QB and their best pass rusher, lost by 2 at home. They are facing a fully loaded and ready to redeem themselves Falcons team. Josh McCown has completed at least 62% or more of his passes but has yet to have a 200 yard passing game. His TD/INT ratio is 2/3 so far through 2 weeks. He has yet to stretch the field beyond a 30 yard pass. That creates a lot of pressure in the box but they are 11th in the league with rushing yards. The star emerging is not Doug Martin, it’s Bobby Rainey who ran for 144 yards in last weeks game. Out of their 20 drives this year, only 7 have climbed above 50 yards and ended like this: 4 TD’s (their only TD’s on the season), 2 INT’s and 1 FG. They are 27th in the league averaging 17.5 first downs per game. The leading team are the Saints with 28. Their drives go like this: 11 drives of 21 over 50 yards ending with 2 FG’s, 7 TD’s, Punt, INT. Granted the Saints are 0-2 but have only lost by a field goal or less in those games. The Buccs need to sustain their long drives, eliminate those turnovers and they’ll result in more points and need to gain more first downs per game. The usual number you would like to see is 20 out of the 60-70 plays a team runs. The key for the Buccs may be for them to stray more towards the running and keeping McCown to shorter, more efficient passes to get those needed first downs. The Falcons are back at home where Ryan is 37-10 at home. He still has Roddy White and Julio Jones in the lineup so far which means bad things for the Buccs secondary. Look for the Falcons to win this one and taking the points -6.5 in the Over, the Falcons will put up points in bunches. Falcons 28-20.

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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