Last week I opened with how the NFL was anything but predictable. And with my picks last week (8-5 vs the spread) I’m starting to find some reliable footing with most of the teams. But the underlying theme that the NFL feels a little watered down isn’t slowing at all. The Patriots look to be the best overall team top to bottom but many national pundits of the team (chiefly Bill Simmons and Mike Lombardi) are down on them as a powerhouse because of their limitations on defense. New England may be the best team because they have Brady but ask any rational Pats fan and they know they’re vulnerable to the elite offenses that Oakland and a healthy Pittsburgh team possess.
Minnesota just undermined all the goodwill they built up the first 7 weeks by turning in a stinker against a Bears team that is bottom 3 in the league. Now I know that is mainly due to a rash of injuries on the offensive line, but no one is going to feel sorry for you, not the NFL nor Vegas. But as the tree leaves begin to turn (or at least as much as they can for Southern California) the league is beginning to take a shape into teams you can count to be in a general range. Brady and the Pats against a so-so offense, take the Pats. Dallas will not be blown out of a game because the structure of that offense always allows them to stay competitive. Pittsburgh healthy with Big Ben, as reliable as they come, but be wary of that fluky road game. Philly follows the same line as Dallas. Atlanta will always get to 26 points and in most cases, 30 plus, especially against a bad defense. Oakland, Detroit and San Diego will always be in close games because they have the offensive talent and quarterbacks to do so. The NFC West is built on defense but don’t expect many offensive points, so bet accordingly. This last paragraph is the summation of what we’ve witnessed through first half the season. The only thing left is to get a feel for those second half surge teams, you hear me Green Bay, Tennessee and Buffalo?
Alright, on to the picks. So I completely forgot to make my usual Thursday Night Pick (I would’ve picked Atlanta but that is besides the point), so that pick will be omitted. Every week I’m inching closer to the right side of .500. So for the first time in awhile, I will give thoughts on each game, but I’ll aim to keep it short and concise.
Last Week: 8-5 / To Date: 62-70
(Picks in bold and home team in caps)
Steelers -1.5 over RAVENS
Big Ben will most likely play on Sunday. While he may not be a 100%, I like only laying 1.5 for a Steelers team that wants to get back in its offensive groove.
Cowboys -7 over BROWNS
I am very wary of this game, it is the ultimate trap game coming off the draining Philly game and a huge tilt with the Steelers next week. But until I see a chip in the Dallas armor, I like the Boys to roll in Cleveland.
CHIEFS -7 over Jaguars
Probably the most underrated team in the NFL over the last calendar year as they have only lost 3 games in that span. The Jags are terrible and I trust KC to take care of business at home.
DOLPHINS -3.5 over Jets
Really a toss up to me, but I like the fact that Miami is coming off it’s bye week. Would’ve liked it better at 2.5 but I’ll roll with Tannehill and the offense coming out strong.
Eagles +2.5 over GIANTS
Coming off a tough division loss and I get points against a very average Giant’s team. Seems like a lock, a little nervous of Manning/Odell at home but I’m going with the better team.
Lions +6.5 over VIKINGS
With the amount of injuries along the offensive line, I just don’t see how the Vikings can separate from anyone barring a dominating defensive effort. I like the Lions to keep it close and maybe win.
Panthers -3 over RAMS
It’s going to be a knock em down drag em out game. But I like Cam and the offensive talent over the Rams below average group. And look for Cam to finally get some calls against a frustrated Rams team(Aaron Donald).
Saints -3.5 over NINERS
Despite Brees’ road woes, the Niners simply don’t have the offensive talent to hang with Brees, Snead, Cooks, Thomas and company. Saints by a touchdown.
Colts +7.5 over PACKERS
If it was less than 5, I’m taking the Packers. I like to Packers to win outright, but Luck is notorious for making furious rallies to make the score closer than it should. And nobody takes their foot off the gas pedal than Green Bay.
CHARGERS -4 over Titans
I like both teams as potential playoff teams. The Chargers may just be the best 3-5 team ever. The Titans have their flaws but I like the Chargers to rebound nicely after a tough loss in Denver.
Broncos +2 over RAIDERS
The game of the week, possibly game of the year so far. Oakland finally gets to face a legitimate contender and it is on the big stage of national television. Denver loves being an underdog and they will use that against Oakland. This means more to the Raiders than it does to the Broncos, I expect some nerves from the Raiders and I like that I’m getting points for Denver. Broncos to win and take the lead in the AFC West.
SEAHAWKS -7 over Bills
Conventional wisdom says that Seattle will have a hard time scoring points. Russell Wilson has been pretty bad so far and the Bills are a frisky team that you should grab the points. But Seattle, coming off a loss, coming home, playing on national TV with that crowd against a Bills offense that is not elite by any means, I like Seattle’s defense to overwhelm them, force turnovers and play downhill. Seahawks by 10 points, possibly a blowout.