Week 15: Saturday Games

Houston vs. New York Jets, 4:30p, NFLN (Jets +7, O/U: 44.5)

Houston had been on a tear with a 9 game winning streak until the Colts messed that up. They look to rebound against the lowly Jets. Despite giving up nearly 400 yards last week, the Texans have the 5th best defense in terms of points allowed and 5th best against the run. This bodes well for them given that the Jets pass game is virtually non existent. A surprising stat is that the Texans are 3-1 on grass this year. Pair that up with Watson’s 112.9 QBR in his last 7 games with 13 TDs and 2 picks alongside Hopkins 5 game road streak catching a touchdown, it makes for a dangerous setup against the Jets.

Speaking of the Jets, Darnold led his team with under 2 minutes left to beat the Bills and snap a 6 game losing streak. Neither rookie quarterback looked all that impressive however after starting with so much hype but failing on his face since week 3, Darnold needed something to gain the confidence back. With the team needing receivers, running back, a defense, the Jets will likely struggle often today.

Take the Texans to cover in the under, Texans 24-10.

Cleveland vs. Denver, 8:30p, NFLN (Broncos -1.5, O/U: 47)

This game feels like a trap given the national following the Browns have accrued. Baker Mayfield has come on strong as of late, leading this team with grit. The Browns are 3-1 in their last 4 with five wins against the Falcons and Panthers. Nick Chubb has also been on a roll with 5 straight games scoring on the ground. Their defense has had individual successes in the form of sacks and picks. Garrett has 7.5 of his 13.5 sacks in the last 7 games along with Randall picking 2 of his 4 passes in the last 3 games.

The Broncos have also been 3-1 in their last 4 games, also against great teams (Steelers and Chargers). Even with the big wins, Keenum has had 3 straight games with less than 200 yards. Phillip Lindsay has been hot and cold all season but still is starring at a 1,000 yard season and double digit rushing touchdowns. Von Miller has led the Broncos defensive resurgence with 9.5 of his 13.5 sacks in the last 8 games.

2nd cousins Bradley Chubb and Nick Chubb won’t be taking it easy on each other as both have eyes on the playoffs.

Take the Browns to cover in the over, Browns 27-24.

Week 10: Sunday Games w/Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5

Thursday nights game was close and I nearly hit on the score exactly.  We knew that the game was going to score in the under.  Both defenses are pretty good with the Seahawks being the obvious better team defensively.  Stanton came out as a shocker by besting Wilson in yards but that’ll happen when you throw it 47 times (even though he only completed 24 of them).  I was surprised that the bruiser of a back, AP, was only held to 29 yards but still had 21 carries.  That number just shocks me, I mean, 1.4 yards per carry is what he left the game with.  I’m astounded by that.  I guess you can only bet he’ll have a great game every other week.  Nonetheless, we ended up pushing another game, bringing the total on the year to 6 pushes.  Hopefully the rest of the week doesn’t hinge on whether we could’ve had a good week with this game being a cover or not.  With that said, here’s Sunday’s games:

New Orleans Saints at Buffalo Bills, 1p (Bills +3, O/U: 48)

The Saints look to continue their high flying offense on the road but we all know that usually isn’t a guarantee.  The Bills look to rebound after an embarrassing loss to the Jets last week.  Some feel as though the Bills will come out swinging because of that, but the Saints have a half presentable defense this year.  Take the Saints in the under, 27-20.

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, 1p (Bears -4.5, O/U: 37.5)

Brett Hundley hasn’t looked like the quarterback that the Packers thought they drafted.  If he’s the guy that they thought would one day be in line to succeed Rodgers, they’re in trouble.  Colin Kaepernick would’ve been the more sensible solution, even a week after seeing Hundley’s first start.  The Bears have turned to Mitch-a-polooza in Chicago where he’s looked pretty good for being a guy who played football at North Carolina.  Their defense is coming around too.  Take the Bears to cover in the under, 21-13.

Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions, 1p (Lions -10.5, O/U: 43.5)

The Lions still seemed to be firing on all cylinders lately.  They actually showed flashes of a running game.  Stafford has always been great and he’ll continue that.  For the Browns…..well……it’s the Browns.  Take the Lions in the under, 31-10.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts, 1p (Colts +10, O/U: 45)

The Steelers tend to play Jekyll and Hyde when playing at home and on the road (worse on the road).  Their defense has been the surprise of the team this year.  They went into Detroit 2 weeks ago and came away the shocking victors.  The Colts have been, well, underwhelming, and that’s not because they’ve screwed me over in 4 of the 5 games I took them in.  They have a highly touted former Patriots backup (which seems to be a thing lately), but without a new offensive line, he could end up like Andrew Luck, who’s prognoses has gone from, back in a few weeks to career ending injury.  Take the Steelers to cover in the over, 31-17. 

Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1p (Jaguars -5, O/U: 41)

This should be a really good matchup.  The Chargers have been noticeably better on the road than at home and actually have looked more comfortable.  They started 0-4 with 3 of those games at home, 3-1 in their last 4 (2-1 on the road).  Fournette is back this week after his one game team levied suspension.  Despite missing last week, he’s 6th in rushing.  If the Chargers can slow down Fournette, they’ll have a real shot at beating a team that has been a real surprise in the league this year.  This could be a real good chance at another push for me but I think that the Chargers could take this one.  Take the Chargers to cover in the over, 24-21.

New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1p (Buccaneers +1.5, O/U: 43.5)

The Jets are still impressing, especially after taking the Bills to task last week.  Their efforts have kept them in the hunt for a playoff spot (2.5 games back of the AFC East leading Patriots), even for a 4-5 team.  McCown has kept the ball in pretty safe hands while the running game has been keeping defenses honest with a pair of older backs.  The Buccs haven’t lived up to expectations this year and now their young star QB is hurt and will miss a few weeks.  After watching Hardknocks this year, I could’ve sworn this team could’ve turned some heads but now D-JAx is back to attitude he showed Philly on the way out and Fitzpatrick is leading the team.  The line moved 1 point in favor of the Jets since yesterday and I can’t believe that Fitz helped move that line.  Take the Jets to roll in the over, 31-17.

Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans, 1p (Titans -5.5, O/U: 40.5)

What’s there to say about the Bengals? A team that once had really good regular seasons but fizzled when it came time for playoffs, to a team that just can’t do much of anything. Of their 3 wins, only 1 came against a team at our above .500 (Bills).  The Titans have been a sleeper team to watch all season. They have statement wins against the Jags and Seahawks and are vying to stay atop of their division. Take the Titans to cover in the over, 27-20.
Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins, 1p (Redskins +1.5, O/U: 40.5)

In the Case Keenum parts of the season, the Vikings have surprisingly been able to survive with a 5-2 record. While their record may be impressive it’s echo they came against that’s as equally unimpressive (Buccs, Bears,  Packers,  Ravens, Browns).  Keenum’s first test comes against a Redskins team flying high off of last week’s win in Seattle. Look for the Redskins offense to be on, as Cousins did his best Aaron Rodgers impression last week. Also look for their pass rush and coverage team too suffocate Keenum. How are the Vikes road favorites in this one? Take the Redskins to cover in the over with a win, 24-21.

Houston Texans at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05p (Rams -12, O/U: 45.5)

This line rose a point since Friday so that just tells you how Vegas feels about the Texans. They looked bad in week one with Savage and they still looked horrible with him last week losing against the Colts! Talk about surprises in the NFL, the Rams turnaround from last year is amazing. We knew Gurley would have another good season but for Goff to look completely different is the real shock. Now he has better weapons than last year but it’s definitely the change in mindset of this team from their new coach that has them flying. Take the Rams to win handedly in the under, 27-10.


Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons, 4:25p (Falcons -3, O/U: 48.5)

The Falcons may have one of the best offenses in the league but they just can’t pull away from opponents in their games. Just when you thought they get a decent lead, it’s squandered away late and they have to claw on the 4th. Their schedule up to this point shows the struggle of this season (wins: Bears, Packers, Lions, Jets / losses: Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, Panthers).  The ‘Boys will be without the only “boy” on their roster (Elliott) as it looks like he finally will be serving his 6 game suspension. They’ll still have some success given the veterans on their roster and the talented Dak Prescott under center. They’ve beaten some really good teams in the last 2 weeks (Chiefs & Redskins) but losing Zeke is huge.  The Falcons will be able to build a lead through the air of their defense can hold the boys on offense. Take the Falcons to cover the in the over, 31-27.

New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25p (49ers +2.5, O/U: 42)

This one should be an interesting game.  I’m not kidding you, interestingly bad. These offenses are in shambles but their defenses have kept them in games. I don’t have many whimsical stats for you but the excitement of possibly seeing Jimmy Garoppolo is alive and could breathe life into this team if he eventually takes the field today. Take the 49ers to cover in the under, 14-13.

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos, 8:30p (Broncos +7, O/U: 44.5)

The line has come down to 7 which makes this a near “must bet” game. I know Denver has played the Patriots well in the last few years but the had one of the best QB’s to lace them up leading them.  This offense is lackluster, and have been flat all season long. Osweiler got the nod to start last week and it didn’t go very well and while he may have beaten the Patriots the last time Blake faced them, basically all of his key weapons have some sort of nagging injuries and there’s a bunch of tape on his game and if anyone can scour tape and magnify flaws of a bad QB, it’s Belichick and the Pats.  Brady and the Pats are showing everyone how you follow up a Super Bowl win, starting the next session 6-2 with wins like the Saints game in New Orleans.  Don’t expect much to change for them in this game. They’re going to want to get on the board fast and often. Take the Patriots to cover in the over, 31-17.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5:

  • Minnesota -1
  • LA Chargers +4
  • Buffalo +2.5
  • Tampa Bay +2.5
  • Dallas +3

Week 5: Sunday Games with Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5

The week started off great with a big win.  I know Gronk was listed as out and that changed the line late but given I was finishing up the article, I didn’t hear about his injury until right at kickoff.  Ok, let’s not jinx the good start so far and get to todays picks.

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals, 1p (Bengals -3, O/U: 39.5)

The Bills defense has shown up to play this year.  They got Matty Ice to look average again (which he is) by throwing all kinds of looks at him and rushing hard.  People undersold on the Bills early on but they’ve proven they can beat the best on the road.  The Bengals had a good week, doesn’t mean you should jump back on board but they looked much better.  Daulton can move a little in the pocket but can he stand in there with rushers coming after him and be responsible with the ball?  Take the Bills to win in the Over, 24-21.

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns, 1p (Pickem, O/U: 40)

The Jets are another team that was sold out on early on.  They were picked to go 0-16 by the great Colin Cowherd.  They’re now tied with the Patriots and have a good shot to stay up near the top of the AFC.  They have to get their offense going to do so though.  Their defense has allowed 92 points and their offense has only scored 75.  Being 2-0 at home and 0-2 on the road speaks volumes, they need their fans and the comfort of playing at home to play well.  McCown has completed 70% of his passes but has a 3/3 TD/INT ratio.  Their run game is their strength, 7th in the league.  The Browns defense isn’t the worst but it’s still down there.  They’ve thrown Kizer to the wolves and the poor kid can’t even break free.  51% completions, 3 TD’s to 8 INT’s.  It doesn’t look good for him.  There’s not one bright spot on this team and they’re going to vey for the 1st pick in the draft again and probably squander it again. Take the Jets as a straight up winner in the under, 17-10.

Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions, 1p (Lions -2.5, O/U: 42.5)

The Panthers went into New England and upset the defending Champs.  It was a shocking win and Cam looked like his old self.  It’s been almost a year and a half since we’ve seen him perform like that.  The Lions have had way too many come from behind games in the 4th quarter to my liking and they’ve been exceptionally lucky in those games, coming out better than .500 in wining those games.  When does the luck run out or are they that clutch when they absolutely need a score?  I don’t think the Panthers can pull off another road upset especially given the off the field issues that followed came after a press conference this week that caused a lot of negative buzz.  Take the Lions to cover in the win and in the under (possibly in the 4th quarter?), 20-17.

San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts, 1p (Colts -1.5, O/U: 44.5)

This matchup was initially billed as a snoozer but then Jacoby Brissett has taken over the reigns in Lucks absence and has really looked good.  They’ve had a tough schedule early without Luck and played most of the teams tough but have had their fair share of turnovers that turned into points.  The 49ers also have had a tough schedule to start the season, Panthers, Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals and they’ve lost the last 3 games by a field goal.  The 49ers defense has hung tough, even on then road.  The Colts can run with the better teams if they don’t turn the ball over and have a shot at wins against the bottom 3rd of the league.  This was a toughy but I am going to take the 49ers to win and in the over, 27-24.

Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins, 1p (Dolphins +2.5, O/U: 43)

Mariota will be out with Matt Cassel filling in.  The Dolphins who looked to have fell into a miracle with Cutler coming out of retirement and playing for Adam Gase again, winning their first game, Cutler smiling.  Since, they’ve looked miserable on offense with Ajayi virtually pulling a disappearing act on the stat sheet.  What did it in for me was Cutler on a noticeable run play, Cutler spread wide out to help sell the trick play just stood there, nonchalantly, uninterested in the play.  I guess we’re back to the old Cutler.  The Titans however still have a really good 1-2 punch in the backfield with Murray and Henry.  That will be the key to the game for the Titans, run early and often, and control the clock, keeping the rock out of Ajayi’s hands.  Take the Titans to win and cover in the under, 20-10.

Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants, 1p (Giants -1.5, O/U: 47.5)

The Chargers haven’t looked good at home and actually have shown to not really have a fan base, even seeing other teams fan bases show up more than their own.  The Chargers have been in all of their games this year and that is a continuation of the last year.  They are another team, like the 49ers, who have had 3 of their 4 losses end with a difference of 3 or less points.  Three of their 4 games have been at home so I think the road game across country may give them a change of scenery and spark this team in an odd way.  The Giants started the first 2 games of the year looking absolutely unwatchable.  They had question marks in the backfield and on the offensive line but no one thought it would help generate the product that was shown.  In the last few weeks however, we’ve seen a turn around, losing each of the last 2 on the road by a field goal or less.  They still have those questions but have played better despite the fact.  The Chargers however, have been the better team statistically and both defenses have been keeping their teams in games.  I still would take the Chargers to cover the spread, being given 3, to win in the over, 31-24.

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles, 1p (Eagles -6.5, O/U: 45)

These 2 teams have been exciting to watch, even the Cardinals who have been without their star running back David Johnson.  Now, that has meant that Carson Palmer has had to throw more but with their receiving corps, it’s been fluid.  The Eagles pass game improved with their offseason additions but the real surprise was the emergence of a solid run game.  They lost Sproles for the season but Blount has taken hold of primary back duties with Smallwood complimenting him nicely.  This will be a very fun game to watch.  The Cardinals need their fans in this time of need, missing Johnson so take the Eagles to cover this one in the over, since it will be a shootout, 35-27.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1p (Steelers -7.5, O/U: 42.5)

The Jags have had a shocking start to the season, at 2-2 but a loss to the Jets in OT may have brought their larger than normal self start back down to Earth.  Bortles actually has 7 TD’s to 3 INT’s but lacks in the yardage and seems to have been on a leash to start the year and control his play, especially given the talent they have in the backfield with him, Leonard Fournette.  They’ve also had the best defense against the pass, given they’ve also played the Jets, Texans (before Watson started) and the hapless Ravens.  The Steelers have also had a good start but given their schedule so far, who knows how good they really are.  Bell has had a decent but slower than normal start given he sat out all of the pre-season.  The surprise for the Steelers has been their defense, 2nd overall and 2nd against the pass.  Big Ben has a 62% completion percentage with a 6/2 TD/INT ratio.  With this one being at home, take the Steelers to win in the under, 21-10

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05p (Rams -1.5, 47.5)

All of a sudden the Rams have an efficient offense.  The arrival of their new young coach, Sean McVay, has given Goff a new start in year 2.  The Rams have the 5th best offense overall and pass offense in the league.  Their defense needs a boost but they have the talent to turn it around.  The Seahawks have been the typical slow start Seahawks but have been turning it on lately with their offense.  The only real defense they faced to give them trouble was the 49ers, to which they almost lost to them in mostly a field goal challenge.  The Seahawks offensive line will have the microscope on it again, as they allow Wilson to constantly be under duress.  The Rams typically give the Seahawks fits and especially in Seattle.  I would take the Rams to cover, win and in the under, 27-20.

Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders, 4:05p (Raiders -3, O/U: 39.5)

The Ravens have looked absolutely horrible this season and the only reason they are 2-0 is because those wins came against similar dumpster fires earlier on in the season, the Bengals and Browns.  They got trounced by the Jags in London and the Steelers just last week.  Their offense is near last in the league and their defense is in the bottom 3rd of the league.  Now the Raiders started hot but the last 2 games have been a struggle but against 2 solid defenses (Redskins/Broncos).  They also lost their leader, Derek Carr, to a back injury for 2-6 weeks.  EJ Manuel is a capable backup and can get some wins in the next few weeks but it’ll take his best, starting with a good potential confidence booster in this matchup.  This should be an easy cover at home, take the Raiders to cover in the under, 20-14.

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys, 4:25p (Cowboys -3, O/U: 45)

These 2 teams always seem to give a show.  Green Bay has been red hot despite lacking a real running game, to which they are 28th in the league.  The real shocker has been their defense which has been 6th in the league.  This team has basically lived and died by the arm of Rodgers who is off to a great start, averaging 286 yards/game and a rating just over 100.  Dallas’s motivation for this game is to avenge the bad loss to the Rams at home last week.  This team all around has been a middle of the pack team all around.  They really don’t have a deep threat and opposing defenses can keep the play within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage which bodes not so good for Dak.  Zeke has had successful games against Green Bay (2 games totaling 282 yards), so expect him to have a solid game.  This will be an amazing game to watch with the Cowboys wanting payback for last years heartbreaking playoff loss.  Green Bay needs this win as a landmark win, to help their critics R-E-L-A-X.  Take the Packers to cover and win in the over on the road, 34-29.

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans, 8:30p (Texans +1, O/U: 45)

A lot of people are giving Houston a real shot at winning this game and it’s because of the play of Rookie, Deshaun Watson.  The Texans haven’t had a great passing game but it’s been effective.  Not only can he pass but he’s rushed for nearly 150 yards on 19 carries (7.79 yards per rush average).  He looks to be the real deal for them which could make them more dangerous as the season goes on.  Watt and Clowney will have to watch their rush, how deep into the pocket they go on Smith since Smith is a mobile quarterback.  What can you say about the Chiefs that will convince you not to take them?  Absolutely nothing.  You’re talking about the 2nd best offense and 1st rushing offense in the league.  Alex Smith has been on a tear, 8/0 TD/INT ratio along with Kareem Hunts record setting 502 yards on 68 carries (7.38 yards/carry) and 4 TD’s.  Their defense hasn’t been terribly great but that can be attributed to facing strong offenses early, not to mention, the offense has been on fire!  Despite the calls for an upset, I’m taking the Chiefs to get to 5-0 by covering in the over, 31-27.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5:

Carolina @ Detroit (-3)

LA Chargers (+3.5) @ NY Giants

Seattle @ LA Rams (-2.5)

Green Bay @ Dallas (-2)

Kansas City @ Houston (+1)

 

Week 2: Thursday Night Football

Welcome to week 2 in the NFL.  Piggybacking off of my 60%+ winners against the spread AND with the over/under, we’re starting week 2 with a toughie.  Lets get to it!

Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals, 8:25p (Bengals -6, O/U: 38):

Yeah you better believe these two teams will keep this puppy in the under.  The way the offenses looked in the openers last week, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a battle of the kickers.  Houston’s offensive line was atrocious last week but we’re not pointing any fingers or nothing (*ahem* Right Tackle Kendall Lamm *ahem*).  Lamm allowed 3 sacks alone, Xavier Su’aFilo allowed 2 at Left Guard and Left Tackle Chris Clark allowed one.  Savage and Watson were sacked a combined 10 times last week…….10!  That line was worse than a leaking faucet, it was a gushing dam breaking wide open.

Wild card for this week, Watson is starting.  Savage couldn’t get rid of the ball fast enough and he looked like he was stuck in cement.  Watson brings a more mobile ability to the position to get out of the pocket but he’s still a rookie, still developing his pro chops.

The Bengals showed their worst side of their game.  Having an average franchise quarterback.  Dalton has been in this system for years now and still shows nasty inconsistency, even with the weapons he has.  The running game was average.  Bernard averaged over 5 yards per carry but had a 23 yard run mixed in there.  The other 6 carries yielded him less than a 3 yard average.  Hill averaged almost 4.5 yards per carry but had a 12 yard run in there, meaning the other 5 averaged less than 3 yards.  The only thing the Bengals had going for them was their defense didn’t give up a ton.  The only reason the Ravens put up 20 was because of all of the Bengals turnovers.  I mean, neither team cracked 275 net yards!  BORING!

Expect this one to be boring as well, maybe even just as sloppy, which makes this prediction that much harder!  I like Watson getting the start but their defense will suffer with the loss of Brian Cushing to a concussion and 10 game PED suspension, among many other injuries to the squad.  Look for the Bengals to pull it together, somewhat, as a do-over for their fans tonight.  Bengals 20-13.

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.

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.

WHY THE TEXANS SHOULDN’T SELECT JADEVEON CLOWNEY #1 OVERALL

Let’s go down memory lane for a moment. The Texans had this very pick in 2006 and it came with a ton of pressure, as it usually does. Everyone was aware that Vince Young was the most versatile quarterback in the draft and fans wanted to see an actual Texan lead the, still relatively new, franchise with the hopes of the next Michael Vick. Pre-Draft mock experts had Reggie Bush going number one to the Texans, pretty much all across the board. To everyone’s surprise, the Texans talked with Mario Williams and signed him on the night before the draft making him, not Bush, the number one overall pick. Going into the 2006 draft, the Texans needed a ton of help on both sides of the ball which they balanced out with the use of the rest of their picks. They used their first two picks on defense picking up Williams and DeMeco Ryans (2nd round, 33rd overall) and their next five picks on offense (OT – Charles Spenser 3/65, OT – Eric Winston 3/66, TE – Owen Daniels 4/98, RB – Wali Lundy 6/170, and WR – David Anderson 7/251).

Combine Results

40 Yd Dash

3 Cone Drill

225 Bench Press

Broad Jump

Vertical Jump

Mario Williams – 6’7” 295 lbs

4.66

7.21

35 Reps

10’

40 ½”

 

One reason Vince Young wasn’t really on their radar was due to the fact that they still saw major potential with David Carr whom they drafted number one overall back in 2002 but had struggled staying upright being the highest sacked quarterback three of his first four pro years. However, he showed the Texans enough to get another full year of starts before not being resigned in favor of the Texans getting Matt Schaub. The Texans even drafted two offensive tackles to help protect Carr, but he eventually played horribly in other areas. Needless to say, the 2006 Texans had four different rookies start eight games and lead their respected position, while finishing 6-10. Williams had a great start and produced solid numbers over his time with the Texans (averaging 40.16 tackles and 8.83 sacks each year and could’ve been more if he didn’t miss 14 games his final 2 years). The point is, he was also a can’t miss pick, at defensive end, but it didn’t help them win a Super Bowl. Even though Vince Young isn’t employed by the NFL at this point, it doesn’t mean he couldn’t have flourished with Andre Johnson either.

Fast forward eight years and the Texans find themselves in a similar spot come May 8th. This draft seems similar, however on different circumstances this time around, the Texans have the distinct opportunity to select the top college prospect (in their eyes) of this year’s draft. It is an exciting time for any team that holds this pick each and every year but with this pick comes ultimate scrutiny from the beloved owner(s), writers and fans. At the forefront of this year’s draft is Jadeveon Clowney, who after his pro-day, is the can’t miss number one pick for any team in the Texans position, according to mock draft experts. There is just one thing, this year is also packed of NFL talent at the quarterback position as well, which the Texans also need. After the Schaub/Keenum experiment last year, the Texans could really use a new franchise quarterback more than another defensive end that could have the same impact as JJ Watt has on the other end. On the forefront of the needs board, the Texans have three quarterbacks, to which no one really is considers as a true franchise quarterback, and five defensive ends.

The one thing that every team needs to win and on a consistent level, is a consistent quarterback with good size. Bill O’Brien has had that in his coaching career since 2006 (Tom Brady in New England, Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenberg at Penn State). Having Bortles could continue that trend and allow O’Brien to keep the style of offense that has helped make him one of the top offensive minds in football. Taking on Clowney would mean that they would have to scheme defensive plays to make him effective since they also have Watt rushing hard on the other end as well. Their Romeo Crennel defense is a make-up of mostly 3-4 mixed with some 4-3. In his 3-4, the lineman are to draw double teams so that blitzing linebackers don’t get tangled up with offensive lineman. Does that type of defense sound good for a light on his feet, quick and explosive defensive end like Clowney? I think not. In fact, game films show Clowney against double teams all throughout his senior year and he was tossed around and not very effective.

The video below is of the Missouri game in which Clowney played poorly throughout only having 4 solo and 1 assisted tackles as well as a deflection in a two overtime game. Props to whom ever made this montage highlighting every play he was on the field for. You can visibly see some good things but on most plays he isn’t putting much effort in, peeling off of chasing the backs, going 10 yards deep in the back field and if he doesn’t get the edge he lets up. In fact he was mostly blown off of the line of scrimmage where as his other team mates took on double teams as well and were more effective in staying on the line.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb-8ePTyOnQ

Top Quarterback Prospects Combine or Pro Day workouts:

 

40 Yd Dash

3 Cone Drill

Broad Jump

Vertical Jump

Blake Bortles – 6’5” 232 lbs

4.93

7.08

9’7”

32 ½”

Tajh Boyd – 6’1” 222 lbs

4.84

7.33

8’10”

30 ½”

Teddy Bridgewater – 6’2” 214 lbs

**4.79

7.17

9’5”

30”

Derek Carr – 6’2” 214 lbs

4.69

9’2”

34 ½”

Johnny Manziel – 6’0” 207 lbs

4.68

6.75

9’5”

31 ½”

**Denotes 40 yd dash was a result from pro day

The Texans are faced with a tough issue at hand with the number one pick overall. Need one, get Clowney and fill a pass rushing need on one of the leagues worse defenses. Need two, improve on the quarterback position which is also a huge need and pick up a defensive end later in the draft with either picks acquired in a trade down or with their second round pick. Huge issues stand in the way of Clowney and the Texans. Numerous experts and former pro athletes who all study the tapes say that the commitment isn’t there. Warren Sapp was recently quoted as saying, “My grandfather taught me something a long time ago. He said ‘You will never get more money by doing less work,’” Sapp said, via the Houston Chronicle. “I look at Jadeveon Clowney’s [game] tape and I don’t see a guy that is playing the game with his hair on fire, making plays, running up and down the field sideline to sideline, doing all of the things.”  That’s not something you want to hear as a team with that number one pick looking to possibly draft Clowney.  Merrill Hodge recently was picking apart his game as recent as his senior year, stating that his technique is flawed, looks like he lacks desire and has limited moves as a defensive end with really only having a good swim move.

Tedy Bruschi has stated that he loves Clowney and sees no reason as to why he shouldn’t be number one.  That was mere moments after Clowney finished his pro day.  First off, pro days are over-rated in some ways and this is due to the fact that it is all schedule and rehearsed.  These players spend weeks and months working out, getting stronger and faster for the combine, doing the same combine drills over and over to get the technique down and to improve for the combine.  After the combine, it’s off to working on areas of your game that you need to improve on to show NFL scouts on your pro day and individual private workouts afterwards, that you are ready to be “their guy”.  Players hook up with a training coach and come up with 50-70 drills/plays to best show off their talents.  Let me reiterate, it’s planned, rehearsed, practiced over and over and over against bags, against no defenses really pressuring them, against upright bags not blocking or applying pressure on them.  Not to knock Tedy Bruschi and his knowledge and experience but why get excited about that?  I would want to see this guy blow by actual players and avoid blockers and pass rushers by moving around in the pocket in that moment and see how they all deal with the similar pressures they will face in a game.  Don’t put too many eggs in the basket of someone’s awesome pro day, put your eggs in the decision on not wanting to pick a guy who was rattled in his pro day like Teddy Bridgewater.  How do you mess up a planned workout?  They say nerves; his nervousness of his pro day and he got rattled?  What happens when you select him and he chokes under NFL pressure?

Enough of that rant, let’s look at scenarios for the Texans.

The Texans have a huge advantage by hanging that first pick over the heads of the rest of the league. A very possible scenario is that the Texans don’t want to play against Clowney if they do pass on him and choose either Khalil Mack or Bortles with the first pick. A team just out of the top five, sitting at number six is the Atlanta Falcons who could use a pass rusher in the worse way. The Browns have been heard to like a wide receiver or quarterback at the number four spot which it’s predicted that Manziel or Sammy Watson will go there, so the Browns will not want to trade up to select either of those players first since they will be there by pick four anyways. Oakland at number five is not in need of a quarterback since they had picked up Matt Schaub and will be looking to bring him pieces to the aerial attack like Sammy Watkins or go defense to go along with newly added Lamarr Woodley and Justin Tuck, if Mack is available. If the Texans can trade down out of the top five and still be in front of the Vikings at eight, they would take Bortles and force the Vikings to take Bridgewater, whose stock has been tarnished with his so-so pro day.

The Texans have a high demand pick for a high demand player in Clowney which they could easily scoop up a ton of early round picks in a trade down scenario to which they could also scoop up Bortles, who experts say is a Bill O’Brien type of guy. If they take Bortles first overall or are able to trade out of the top five with Atlanta, to hope he is there at six, he will more than likely sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and either take over later in the season if there are struggles or sit pretty much the whole year and develop to take over in 2015. With their second round pick or if they trade for other picks, they can easily find a decent defensive end in this draft to help on the other side of the line with JJ Watt. That defensive end could be Dee Ford who posted a better 3 cone drill, 225 bench and similar 40 yard dash, broad jump and vertical jump as Clowney. I see the next two years going the same way, if not better for O’Brien, like his two years at Penn State, if Bortles is picked. O’Brien had to deal with a previously under-performing team with an inadequate armed quarterback in McGloin (who doesn’t have great zip on the ball) and had his ideal quarterback (Hackenberg) arrive a year later playing very well as a freshman. Bortles has the NFL frame and arm to get the job done especially with the revamped receiving core and the still dangerous backfield.

Top Defensive End Prospects Combine or Pro Day workouts:

 

40 Yd Dash

3 Cone Drill

225 Bench Press

Broad Jump

Vertical Jump

Jadeveon Clowney – 6’5” 266 lbs

4.53

7.27

21 Reps

10’4”

37 ½”

*Dee Ford – 6’2” 244 lbs

4.59

7.07

29 Reps

10’4”

35 ½”

Kony Ealy – 6’4” 273 lbs

4.92

6.83

22 Reps

9’6”

31”

Scott Crichton – 6’3” 273 lbs

4.84

7.19

24 Reps

9’

31 ½”

Kareem Martin – 6’6” 272 lbs

4.72

7.20

22 Reps

10’9”

35 ½”

*Denotes Pro Day workout (did not attend combine)

Can you name more dominant defensive players that are attributed to winning their teams multiple Super Bowls than quarterbacks? What you may realize is really what the Texans should do with that first pick. Mark my words, the Texans will be contending for a Super Bowl in the coming years and could quite possibly be the next New England Patriots with Blake Bortles as “their guy”.