Got a gambling problem? Tired of getting beat in Fanduel? Need to throw more money away on reckless parlays and 6-team teasers?
Then I have you covered! Welcome to my weekly edition of making picks versus the NFL spread. And I am already off to a roaring start with picking Carolina last night (really Denver? We really going with the “QB does just enough to not lose this game” plan for a second year in a row……sigh). On to the picks:
(Home team in caps, pick in bold)
To Date: 0-1
Packers (-5.5) over JAGUARS
My team up first. I was tempted to have the Jags cover here. The Packers are notorious for starting out slow. A hot, muggy and hellacious afternoon bodes well for the Jaguars. But Aaron Rodgers is on a mission this year, he has all his weapons fully healthy, and as much as it would be a hot take to pick the Jags, I’m not taking Bortles over Rodgers. Packers roll in the second half and hold off a late Jags rally to cover the spread.
RAVENS (-3) over Bills
I think everyone is sleeping on the Ravens this year. After one year of subpar football, everyone thinks this is the reincarnation of the Browns. The Bills are decent but in my opinion over-hyped because of their coach. I think Baltimore surprises people with a solid home opener win this weekend.
Bears (+6) over TEXANS
I was iffy on this. With the recent wave of health news, J.J. Watt cleared to play, and potentially Kevin White a no-go on Sunday, everything is trending towards a comfortable home win for Houston. But I can’t fully trust Osweiler in start one with all the weapons that has to jell. I look for Chicago to keep it close late and come through on the backdoor cover. Texans are better, but 6 points points better with all these questions?
EAGLES (-3) over Browns
Not a lot to go on here. Philly gets the nod just because they are home. It is a pretty terrible matchup to watch when you considered the quarterbacks playing. I have no interest in this game, neither should you unless you are a degenerate gambler (you’re reading this so…..).
FALCONS (-2.5) over Buccaneers
I really like the burgeoning Bucs offense. In shape year 2 Jameis. The Mike Evans rebound, the Dougernaut rolling like its 2015 and Charles Sims becoming Dion Lewis 2.0. So why did I go with Hotlanta?! History. The history bodes well for Matty Ice and his team when it comes to home openers (7-0). Julio Jones continues his historic year from ’15 and the dirty birds start 1-0.
TITANS (+2.5) over Vikings
Again, another game I’m torn on. The Vikings with Bridgewater would’ve been 5 point favorites, without they still get a respectable 2.5. But I just gotta give the young Titans team a little more credit than Vegas is. I think it comes down to both defenses playing to a draw and I like Mariota to make a late drive when it counts. Shaun Hill to do the same thing? Not so much.
Bengals (-2.5) over JETS
Pound for pound, Cincinnati might have the best talent spread over their 53 man roster than anyone else in the league. If Dalton can remain at that 2015 level, this is a scary team. The Jets at home versus a tough conference opponent spells trouble for them. I think they slightly over-achieved last year and reality will hit them square in the jaw on Sunday. They have a ways to go to compete with the AFC upper-echelon.
Raiders (+1.5) over SAINTS
The sleeper darlings of the 2016 off-season, everybody loves the Raiders. It has almost gotten to the point where the love may have gone too far. ……Almost…… I’m still buying stock in Carr, Cooper and most importantly, Khalil Mack. He has the chance to jump to that mid-2000s Demarcus Ware level. Both teams have solid QBs, both teams have awesome skill position players. But only the Raiders have a pass rusher who shifts the balance of power. Raiders to cover and win.
CHIEFS (-6.5) over Chargers
I feel two ways about this game. It’s either a blowout (see above pick), or Rivers does one of his annoying backdoor covers. I don’t know why but I feel a blowout here. The Chiefs are home, their defense is legit. Their running certainly didn’t miss Charles last year (4th in Running DVOA) and I think Kelce breakouts in a big way in Week 1, just like last year. Chiefs in a romp.
SEAHAWKS (-10.5) over Dolphins
Very few teams are as good as Seattle in coming through on that double digit spread and not letting up on the backdoor cover. Seattle is my pick for the NFC’s top dog. With Green Bay and Arizona following close by. Miami has a new offensive minded guru in Adam Gase, but Century Link Field is not going to be their coming out party. The Ryan Tannehill break through will have to wait one more week.
COLTS (-3) over Lions
Reality tells me that not much has really changed for the Colts. It is the same team with older vets, no offensive line and a so-so defense. The Lions meanwhile look to give Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter the easy job of replacing Calvin Johnson. The Lions have weapons; Golden Tate, newly acquired Marvin Jones and PPR machine Theo Riddick. So why am I picking Indy? Yeah, you guessed it, Andrew Luck. When Luck is on, his ceiling is higher than Stafford’s even with a healthy Megatron out there. I’m betting like its 2014, lets see if 2015 doesn’t rear its ugly head.
Giants over COWBOYS
The award for the most interesting game of the week goes to these guys. I’m surprised it wasn’t already flexed into Sunday night (do we really need 3 more hours of Garoppolo-Deflategate-Gronk-Deflategate-Spygate-Deflategate talk from Collinsworth). This game pits Eli-Odell versus the future of Dallas with Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliot and Dez. How one handed cacthes is Odell going to make? Does Ezekiel go for 200 yards in his rookie debut? Is Dak the new coming of Jameis Winston with a 4th round price? I don’t know which one comes true but I trust Eli more in Week 1 than the young Cowboy rookies. Either way, it should be an entertaining game.
CARDINALS (-7) over Patriots
I don’t like the Cardinals as much as everybody else does. Maybe I’m still bitter about that 2016 Divisional Playoff loss. And you’re probably right, but as talented as their roster and coach are, I think Carson Palmer is in for a major regression. I think the 2016 Playoffs showed his true colors………So why am I picking Cards over Pats. Because the Pats have no Brady (4 games), no Gronk and Jimmy Garoppolo in start one. I don’t think Belicheck even cares about this game. It’s going to be a Cardinals blowout but some how Belicheck takes things from slaughter and uses them to win the AFC East and a playoff bye down the road, but he doesn’t give a shit about this game. The Cardinals do.
Steelers (-3) over REDSKINS
I really think the Skins are going to put up a good fight in this one, but I think the Steelers offense will be too much for the Redskins to keep up with. Even with the newly acquired Josh Norman. Should be an offensive show, but look for Ben to crack 30 points first and not look back.
NINERS (+2.5) over Rams
I think the Rams are over-hyped. As dominating as their defensive line is and their commitment to ball control and slow pace on offense. They have absolutely no quarterback. Now to be fair, neither do the Niners. But some part of me feels Chip will call plays to quickly get the ball out of Gabbert’s hands, maybe even Kaepernick’s too. Don’t put it past him to shuffle in the backup QB for some read option packages. Something about this game just screams to take the home dog and the points. It’s probably just Case Keenum.
Cincinnati (-2.5) over JETS
Giants over COWBOYS
CARDINALS (-7) over Patriots