The Spaghetti Vendor struck back in Week 2 going 10-6 against the spread. I was almost unanimous with my early slate in covering seven of the first eight games. Only to trip up in the late afternoon games that featured a little too much of the “everybody believes in us” Kool-Aid; Oakland, Tampa.
Through the first two weeks I stand at 16-16 against the spread; well, 16-17 if you count the “PBS football clinic” Belicheck and company ran for three and half hours Thursday night. I swear, this is the last time I go against Belicheck. Everybody and their grandmother thought surely their was no way for Belicheck to actually pull out a victory against a probable AFC playoff team right? I mean not with Jacoby freaking Brissett?! Done. I’ve learned my lesson, I will never go against God’s gift to football (Belicheck, not Brady). Well……except if Eli is in the way (like really? Eli Manning of all people, is the freaking kryptonite to the greatest coach of all-time? The football gods must have a weird sense of humor). Anyways, I digress, onto my picks.
As I said before, my record is a tick below .500. The season has been pretty wonky so far, most teams haven’t fully revealed their scent yet. But I think I’m pretty close to being on the plus sides of these picks………..or I may just start turning to mush. Gambling is a hell of a drug right?!
(Home team in caps, pick in bold)
Last Week: 10-6 / To Date: 16-17
Cardinals -4 over BILLS
Okay, okay, Let’s get this out of the way first. The Cardinals proved me wrong last week. Doesn’t really change my opinion other then I gave the young Bucs too much credit. I know Arizona looked off against NE in Week 1 but those Pats very well might go 16-0 again. They slammed down the gauntlet in an absolute must win at home. Now they get to travel east for a road date with Buffalo. Rex Ryan just fired his OC, even though the defense has been the bigger problem. I think any road game going across country to play the early game is tough but I trust Arian’s to battle it out and hold the pathetic Bills offense in check while the offense takes care of business. Take AZ laying the four points.
Lions +7 over PACKERS
My instincts were right Sunday night about my Green Bay Packers. Starting out with two straight road games in tough for any team. But given the current level or should I say, offensive ineptitude the Packers and particularly, Aaron Rodgers, is playing at, Green Bay can’t be trust to lay 7 points to anyone except maybe the Browns. Now Rodgers could snap out of it and Lions aren’t world beaters. I just don’t think that Green Bay can get to 27 points with ease anymore, it may take more time for this group to step up. I like the Lions to keep it competitive throughout, they have a good shot to win if the GB offense/Arod have a repeat of last week and Demarious Randall gets no safety help again. Take the Lions and the points.
Raiders +1 over TITANS
The Raiders bandwagon got a little lighter last week. The darlings of the AFC got a rude awakening when they let Atlanta run them up and down the field. Which may happen from time to time with this YOUNG of a roster. Stacking success, I said it last week, it is the last thing that a team like the Raiders need to learn. To be playing at their potential week in and week out. Through two weeks the Raiders set the defensive record for most yards allowed. Not good at all. Now Tennessee played a very good Vikings team to a draw until their defense took over and played well enough at Detroit to squeak out a win. The Titans defense looks dependable, their running game is solid, so I expect them to put points up on Oakland. But, I just like the overall talent edge the Raiders possess to win on the road. Oakland is the better team, it’s games like these where they need to show it. Oakland and the point in a close one.
DOLPHINS -10 over Browns
The Dolphins are another team that started out with two very tough road games; in Seattle and in Foxborough. With hopes for some home cooking, they couldn’t have drawn a better opponent to get them back into the win column, the Browns! Cleveland gave Baltimore a run last week but Baltimore may be the “good bad team” this year. Ten is a lot for a team like the Dolphins to be swallowing at home but the Browns are injury-riddled, talent-less and are tanking. Go with the team that needs a win desperately. The Browns are just desperate to get the season over with.
Ravens -1 over JAGUARS
The Jags had everybody nearly fooled about being a possible playoff contender, turns out they may just suck at the first 30 mins of football. The Ravens also got down big to the Browns (which worries me, really? Down 20-2 to the freaking Browns!!) but rallied late. I’m really torn on this game, on one hand I down trust either team too much after the first two weeks but I surely trust Jon Harbaugh more than Gus Bradley. Take the Ravens laying one, but be cautious of a Bortles comeback.
Broncos +3.5 over BENGALS
Home team usually gets 3 points, so the line here says that the Bengals are a half point better than the defending SB champs. After last week’s dismantling of Indy and the way this defense CONTINUES to play as if it’s the 2015 Playoffs all over again, I can’t swallow the 3.5 points when Denver just needs to get to 17-20 points because I do not see Andy Dalton and his limited offense so far being able the score 20 plus points. Trevor Siemian is the perfect quarterback for this team and after going into Carolina and handling that stage, I think he has more than enough to win this game. Take Denver and the 3.5, they are as dependable as its gets (until next week when Cincy plays out of its mind on Sunday).
PANTHERS -6.5 over Vikings
This one is a tough spot for the Vikings. Fresh off a two game winning streak and fresh off losing their franchise running back for the year most likely. Minnesota has to travel to Carolina and this has all the makings of a let down game. The Vikings defense is legit and I look for them to keep Cam Newton in check, but I’m just not sure they’re ready to play lights out again for the second week in a row. The Panthers got their swagger back last week but also showed they can’t be trusted to put opponents away for good as the Niners made attempts time and again to back door cover. But I’m going with the Panthers being a touchdown better than Minnesota. Take the Panthers laying 6.5.
GIANTS -3.5 over Redskins
This has all the makings of that “Eli shits his pants game” that happens a couple times a year. The Giants look to be markedly better than the Washington professional football team (nod to Joe House), they have the skill players and the quarterback to hang thirty on this team. So why am I so nervous? Well, because Eli could throw 4 touchdowns or 4 picks in this game and neither would surprise me. So why am I picking them? Kirk Cousins sucks, thats why. He duped all of us into thinking he was a franchise quarterback, hell he even duped the Redskins front office (should’ve signed that extension Kirk). This team is not particularly good on either side of the ball and at home, I like the Giants to make an early statement for the NFC East (until they blow this game and remind all of us that gambling on them is basically waterboarding yourself). Take the Giants and pray for some good signs early from Eli.
BUCCANEERS -5 over Rams
Yep, taking the home favorites a lot this week. This one is a rather easy call. The Rams have yet to score a touchdown this year. I’m still buying Tampa and Jameis stock by the handfuls even in the wake of last week’s beatdown. Jameis will bounce back at home (as most young QBs do) and the young Bucs have enough firepower to score at least 17 on LA. As for the Rams, i don’t care how good your defense is, I see no possible way the offense gets to double digits on the scoreboard. One of my best bets of the week, Tampa giving 5.
Niners +10 over SEAHAWKS
I have said before that I don’t like swallowing double digit points often, and especially this early in the season. The Seahawks have scored one more offensive touchdown than the Rams have this season and that came on a two minute drill in Week 1. Their offensive line might be bottom 5 in football. Russell Wilson is already hurt and the Seattle offense suddenly is lacking elite playmakers on the outside. As for San Francisco, they are flawed, but but some reason I like them this year. Being that it is a division game, and yes on the road, I just haven’t seen enough from Wilson and company to really play downhill and make this a blowout. The only that happens is if Gabbert makes some crucial turnovers to the Seahawks elite defense. That is a very real possibility, but i’m still grabbing the points, SF to cover.
CHIEFS -3 over Jets
This one was another tough one to call. The Jets are dealing with some injuries with their WRs. Brandon Marshall may not play. Meanwhile, the Chiefs look to welcome back Jammal Charles, albeit in very limited action. Since the Chiefs are getting healthy and the Jets may not be fully 100% at receiver, I like KC to take this game. Not much else to say here, go with the home team.
COLTS -2.5 over Chargers
I’m convinced that outside of Andrew Luck, the Colts are absolutely terrible at football. It’s like those years when the Mariners had Griffey or ARod, hell even Felix Hernandez and for the love of god they could never muster enough talent around them, and they wasted some of their best years. So why am I picking the Colts when the Chargers have looked far better in the first two weeks. Self preservation. Indy NEEDS this win. Start 0-3 and could can almost write them off. It might not be pretty but Andrew Luck will put this team on his back to notch the Colts first victory this year. Colts at home because their playoff lives depend on it.
Steelers -3.5 over EAGLES
Probably the lock of the week along with Tampa over LA. The Steelers look to be the second best team in the NFL so far. They have elite talent at every level on offense and Le’Veon Bell isn’t even back yet! Carson Wentz and his merry band of birds have looked good so far…..against Cleveland and Chicago, probably two of the bottom 5 teams in the NFL. Here they get to play with the big boys. I don’t see things going smoothly for Wentz once he gets down 10 in the first half. The Steelers are as dependable (health permitting) as it gets.
Bears +7 over COWBOYS
Risky play here going with Brian Hoyer here but a few things stand out to me. The Dallas Cowboys have not shown me enough to be favored by 7 at home. If they hung 27 plus on NYG and WAS to start then yes, you deserve the -7. Second, it’s Sunday Night Football, these Dallas games are always close. I look for a high scoring affair, taking the over (44) in this game is another savvy bet. But I like for the Bears to hang with the Boys long enough to make it interesting. I like Dallas to win but not by more than a score.
SAINTS -2.5 over Falcons
Drew Brees gets to come home to his fortress of solitude. Now the dome hasn’t been as untouchable recently as you might believe, but, Atlanta’s defense is pretty shoddy and I see another Saints v. Raiders Week 1 affair in store for MNF. If this was in Atlanta, I’d give the nod to them, but it is not. I’m taking the better coach, better offense and better quarterback in this one. Saints laying 2.5
Steelers -3.5 over EAGLES
BUCCANEERS -5 over Rams
DOLPHINS -10 over Browns