Hurricane Sandy rolled through the East Coast last week and left a mess in her wake. Power outages, trees down, flooding. You name it. She brought it. But have no fear my bunker outside of Philadelphia was spared. We never lost power, no water damage and my beer fridge stayed cold. So the train keeps rolling.
This week I’m taking the advice of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, earlier this week he told NJ residents “Don’t be stupid.” Ok Chris, but sometimes the spreads are tricky, and picking winners isn’t easy. But I’ll do my best.
Week 8 picks limped in at 6-7, another week under .500. But after starting the day 2-7 in the early games (boooo!) I came back strong with 4 straight winners in the later games, including a sweep of Sunday Night and Monday Night. We are still above .500 for the season but we need to be on the winning side again. Let’s hope this is the week we turn it around.
Stay in the loop. I usually tweet out some picks on Sunday morning, so follow me on Twitter (@Fantasource) to get the latest.
Let’s try to get back in the groove with a winning week…
Last Week: 6-7
Season Record: 48-43-2
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals (+3 1/2, O/U 47 1/2)
Denver is one of the best offensive team in the NFL. But you already knew that. And yes, it is tempting to take the Bengals and the points at home coming off of the bye week, but I can’t do it.
The Bengals defense can’t stop the Broncos passing attack. The Broncos held Drew Brees to 213 passing yards last week. Do you think the Andy ‘Red Rifle ‘ Dalton can do much better?
I’ll say Peyton stays hot and the Broncos improve their record as favorites to 4-0.
Pick: Broncos -3 1/2
Arizona Cardinals at Green Bay Packers (-11, O/U 43 1/2)
Last week Green Bay was laying 15 points at home against a struggling Jacksonville team, they won but did not cover (I picked the Packers in that one). Now this week they come in as a double-digit favorite again, against a struggling Arizona team. Will I learn my lesson? No. I like the Packers.
You see, here’s the problem. With this Cardinals team, they have no offense. Like absolutely none – 15.9 points per game, 2nd to last in the league, 289.9 yards per game on offense, 2nd to last in the league. And they are coming off a beat down on Monday Night where they lost to the 49ers 24-3, and the game wasn’t even as close as the score says.
Last week the Packers had a scare against the Jaguars,that game was too tight for too long, and they won’t let it happen again. I know they Cardinals have a strong defense, especially pass defense, but I expect the Packers to lay it all out this week and come away with a big win at home.
Pick: Packers -11
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (+2 1/2, O/U 43)
I’m riding the Miami defense in this one. The Dolphins are a top ten defense and they are only a game out of first place in the AFC East.
The Colts have been playing well lately, 3-1 since head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. So they have been playing with extra motivation for the past month, but this week they will find themselves up against a very good Dolphins defense. The Colts will have a hard time moving the ball, while the Dolphins will take advantage of a Colts rush defense that is giving up 137 yard rushing per game. Expect a big game from Reggie Bush and the Dolphins should come out of Indy with a win and a cover.
Pick: Dolphins -2 1/2
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (+3 1/2, O/U 42 1/2)
I don’t know why, I just have a feeling that the Browns can win this game. Look, the Ravens have lived and died by their defense for the last 10 years, but this year is different. That defense is a little slower and older than we remember. The Ravens played the Browns back in week 4 and came away with a 23-16 win at home. Brandon Weeden had a decent game, throwing for 320 yards and no interceptions (but no TD’s either) and the Browns held Ray Rice to only 49 yards rushing.
I expect the Browns to use RB Trent Richardson a lot this week and play some ball control offense to try to keep the Ravens offense off the field. In that type of game, I’ll take the home team getting points. And who knows, the Browns might even get out of this one with a win.
Pick: Browns +3 1/2
Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans (-10, O/U 47 1/2)
Houston coming off of a bye week and probably still reeling from that beat down they got from Green Bay a few weeks ago. Their three home wins have been by margins of 30, 20 and 20 points.
Houston is averaging 140 yards rushing per game. The Bills rush defense? Well, I’m glad you asked. They give up a league high 177 yard per game on the ground. Buffalo has played two good teams this year, San Francisco and New England, and they gave up 45 points at San Fran and 52 points at home to New England. Good teams can score on the Bills.
I think the Texans will score, and score big. Can the Bills keep up? I don’t think so. I’ll say the Texans cover the double digits and move to 7-1.
Pick: Texans -10
Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins (-3, O/U 46 1/2)
RGIII vs. Cam Newton – Battle of the two young guns of the NFL. And I like the younger gun.
I think Robert Griffin will have a big game this week. The Redskins pass defense is brutal. I know that. But Cam Newton isn’t the type of QB to exploit that weakness. Newton comes in with a QB rating of 75, and a TD/Int ratio of 5/7. Yeah, only 5 TD passes on the season. So he may have a better than normal day against the Redskins, don’t expect him to win the game with his arm.
The Panthers are not very good at stopping the rush, and I expect the Redskins to keep the ball on the ground consistently this week, with a combination of RB Alfred Morris and RGIII getting the yardage.
I’ll lay the points at home and say the Redskins win by 7+ points.
Pick: Redskins -3
Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars (+3 1/2, O/U 44)
I love the Lions in this one. Last week the Jaguars went up to Green Bay as 15-point underdogs and gave the Packers a scare. Will they have anything left in the tank this week?
This is a matchup of 1-6 (Jaguars) vs. 3-4 (Lions) but the Lions are the much better team, especially on offense. Lions QB Matt Stafford put up 331 yards passing last week against a pretty good Seahawks defense and I expect him to do the same this week.
I like the Lions to win by 7 points or more in this one. I’ll lay the 3 1/2.
Pick: Lions -3 1/2
Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans (+3 1/2, O/U 43 1/2)
This game gets “Fishy Line of the Week”. Bears come in with one of the top defenses in the league, one that has six defensive touchdowns already, 16 interceptions, 23 sacks, and they are only laying 3 1/2? Seems like this should be closer to a touchdown.
I’m taking the Bears in this one. I think they got a wakeup call last week at home against Carolina and they will come out blazing this week. The Bears D should be able to shutdown Titans RB Chris Johnson and beat the Titans by more than a field goal.
Pick: Bears -3 1/2
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-5, O/U 38 1/2)
At first glance you would think Seattle would be the obvious play. Great defense, laying less than a TD, playing at home (3-0 this season) but I am going with the other side. I like the Vikings to cover.
I am looking at this game being a low scoring affair. The Vikings and Seahawks will both rely on their running game to control the tempo. Minnesota will do it to slow down the tempo and try to take the crowd out the game. Seattle will do it because they are really a one-man offense, RB Marshawn Lynch.
So in a low scoring game that will probably feature major running, I will take the five points.
Pick: Vikings +5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Oakland Raiders (-1 1/2, O/U 46)
The Raiders are riding a two game winning streak, but those two wins are against the Chiefs and the Jaguars. So it’s a nice streak, but it’s not very impressive.
I like the Buccaneers to win this game, and it will be because of Doug Martin. The rookie RB is on fire lately, averaging 120+ yard of total offense over the past 3 games, including 135 yards rushing and two TD’s against Minnesota last Thursday night.
Even though the Tampa pass defense is not great (309 yards per game, 31st in the league), I still think the Bucs should be able to handle the Raiders offense and win this one.
Pick: Buccaneers +1 1/2
Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants (-3 1/2, O/U 47 1/2)
Suddenly the Giants have moved to the top of the “best team in the NFL” argument. Yeah, we knew that they were good but now, after four straight wins, including last week’s nail-biter at Dallas, the Giants are 6-2 and sitting with a pretty comfortable lead in the NFC East.
But I’m taking a different angle this week. Hurricane Sandy blew through New York City earlier in the week and I think that will impact the Giants.
And after that Cowboys game last week, a game that went down to the final seconds, and was only a Dez Bryant fingertip away from being a loss, the Giants are due for a letdown.
I think the Steelers can come in and pull the upset this week. The Steelers pass D is holding opponents to 182 yards per game, best in the league. They’ll need that kind of number to beat Eli and the Giants, but I think they can do it.
Pick: Steelers +3 1/2
Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons (-4, O/U 47 1/2)
So, can we finally say that Atlanta is for real? I’ve been writing them off all season, just waiting for them to come back to earth. But 8 weeks into the season they are still rolling. They are 7-0 and looking good coming off of a road win at Philly.
The Cowboys have struggled, especially last week, they’ve lost 4 of their last 6 games, and the two wins were by 6 and 5 points. And you have to think Tony Romo is on a short leash. He threw 4 interceptions last week against the Giants, but miraculously almost pulled the Cowboys out of a 24-0 first half hole to win the game. But, as usual, the Cowboys couldn’t get it done at the end.
I see the Falcons pass defense v. Tony Romo as the difference in this one. If they can frustrate him early and force him into bad throws and the Falcons should be able to win and cover this game.
Pick: Falcons -4
Monday, Nov. 5th
Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (-3, O/U 52 1/2)
The big question from Eagles fans after last week’s ugly loss to the Falcons was “Is Vick going to get benched?” Rumors were circulating all around Philly that Andy Reid decided to bench Vick in favor of rookie Nick Foles. And then Wednesday came and Andy Reid made it clear, Mike Vick is his quarterback, at least for now.
Yes, the Eagles are struggling, but so are the Saints. New Orleans is giving up a league high 474 yards of offense per game. That total is 50 yards higher than the next highest team. Wow.
I’ve been waiting for the Eagles to snap out of their funk all season, and I think this is the week they do it. Going up against a team with no defense whatsoever, I think Vick snaps back and the Eagles put up 30+ points and get a road win in the Big Easy. And, if only for one week, all will be right in Eagle-land.
Pick: Eagles +3