Saturday, September 19, 2015

Points Will Flow as Teams Find Rhythm

I think there will be some high scoring games this week and wouldn't be surprised if about 6 teams go over the 30+ point mark.

Let's get to the games:


The Bills had a very good Week 1 and have one of the best defenses in football, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Pick erm with the Pats? I take the Pats.

Spread: NE
Straight Up: NE
Score: 21-17

HOU @ CAR (-3.5)

I think this game with be short on defense, so whoever can generate a better flow on the other end will win out. I like Houston to be the one to do so here. Take the points and the Texans for the win.

Spread: HOU
Straight Up: HOU
Score: 31-21

ARI @ CHI (+2)

I like the Bears getting points, I don't know why though. Maybe it is pity, maybe it's because I think Matt Forte is tired of losing and I see him willing Chicago to this victory.

Spread: CHI
Straight Up: CHI
Score: 23-20

SD @ CIN (-3)

The Bengals had a good Week 1 against a pretty bad Oakland team. San Diego is certainly a better opponent, but they travel East to face a fairly staunch Bengals defense. I expect this to be primarily an offensive showing, with the Bengals coming out on top. I like them to cover.

Spread: CIN
Straight Up: CIN
Score: 31-24

TEN @ CLE (+1)

I realize that the Titans played Tampa Bay last week, but really? Johnny football going to lead the Browns to the promised land? I doubt it. Taking Tennessee to cover and for the win.

Spread: TEN
Straight Up: TEN
Score: 24-17

DET @ MIN (-3)

I hope that Vikings can learn to block anyone with their offensive line, otherwise, Teddy Bridgewater won't have such a long career. Until they show me otherwise, I'll take Detroit with the points.

Spread: DET
Straight Up: DET
Score: 27-13

TB @ NO (-10)

Big spread even for the inept Tamp Bay defense. Until New Orleans blows someone out, I'll wait and take the points.

Spread: TB
Straight Up: NO
Score: 31-22

ATL @ NYG (-2.5)

I think this should actually be a good game. However, if last week is any indication, if it is close at the end, I like Atlanta. Taking the points.

Spread: ATL
Straight Up: ATL
Score: 30-27

SF @ PIT (-6.5)

Way too many points for a San Francisco team that ran all over the Vikings defense last week. Taking the points, but the Steelers for the win.

Spread: SF
Straight Up: PIT
Score: 20-17

STL @ WAS (+3)

The Rams beat the Seahawks in Week 1 and in return they only get to be 3 point favorites? I like them by a TD, at least.

Spread: STL
Straight Up: STL
Score: 24-17

MIA @ JAC (+6)

I don't think Miami is going to blow anyone out just yet. They're still working out the kinks on offense. I'll take the points.

Spread: JAC
Straight Up: MIA
Score: 23-20

BAL @ OAK (+6.5)

Whoever is playing QB for the Raiders, I still think it will be ugly. I'll take the Ravens defense for the win and their offense (although a bit inept) to cover.

Spread: BAL
Straight Up: BAL
Score: 17-10

DAL @ PHI (-4.5)

Everyone is talking about this game as if it is DeMarco Murray against the Cowboys. Judging by last week's game, Chip Kelly is more likely to platoon him with Mathews and Sproles. I like the Eagles to win, but the Cowboys to cover.

Spread: DAL
Straight Up: PHI
Score: 27-24

SEA @ GB (-3.5)

Ask the Seahawks if they are missing Cam Chancellor after this game. I like Green Bay to cover.

Spread: GB
Straight Up: GB
Score: 31-21

NYJ @ IND (-7)

The Colts are already banged up at WR and although it looks like Cromartie isn't going to play, I still think the defense can stop them. I like the Jets to cover here. I'm not sure they can win, but they'll keep it close.

Spread: NYJ
Straight Up: IND
Score: 23-20

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Panic Mode for Broncos?

What did we learn last week? That it was just Week 1 and we can't panic yet, even if we're Giants fans. 

Let's get right to tonight's game:

DEN @ KC (-3)

Let's not go crazy because of everyone's fear over Manning's lack of arm strength. He is a bright QB and can still find ways to win. I'd worry more about C.J. Anderson's turf toe. Still, I'm a gambling man and will take the points, but pick the Chiefs to win.

Spread: DEN
Straight Up: KC
Score: 26-24

Yeah, arm's fine, thanks for asking Tamba

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Week 1 - Sunday Early Games

We got our football appetites wet on Thursday. One game in and we already have our first controversy. Looking forward to see what the rest of this weekend's games bring.

Let's get right to the games:

IND @ BUF (+2.5)

The Rex Ryan era starts in Buffalo. I am always skeptical when the biggest off-season acquisition is your coach. Granted, the Bills also went out and acquired RB LeSean McCoy, who by many accounts, is a shell of what he used to be in Philadelphia. Regardless, if we have learned anything about Rex Ryan's teams is that they will be very good on defense and at best, inconsistent on offense. Expect much of the same this year, with both the QB & RB positions in-flux. Poor play by either of these positions severely limits second year WR Sammy Watkins potential to accrue big numbers, as he likely will face double coverage much of the year.

On Sunday lining up against the Bills defense will be RB Frank Gore and WR Andre Johnson. Is this a throwback Pro Bowl Team circa 2010? Nope - it's just the Colts going out and getting some very serviceable talent until all their young players are fully ready.  Both Johnson and Gore are coming off of years playing for really bad offensive teams, however, with a talent like QB Andrew Luck, they no longer have to be THE GUY and can settle into complimentary roles in a well-balanced offense.

I think this game will be close enough, but with Gore & Luck able to manage the clock in the 4th quarter, I like the Colts to keep the Bills at bay.  Colts by a FG.

Spread: IND
Straight Up: IND
Score: 20-17

GB @ CHI (+6.5)

Simply put, the Bears are not very good and the Packers are. Not much to the analysis here. Unfortunately, the Packers lost WR Jordy Nelson for the season, but have more than enough talent to put points on the board. Speaking of talent, anyone see QB Aaron Rogers on Celebrity Jeopardy? The man is versatile, that's all I'm saying.

The Bears meanwhile seem to be going through a slew of injuries, particularly to their WR core. If their starters, particularly WR Alshon Jeffrey are unable to play, this will put even more pressure on RB Matt Forte and QB Jay Cutler. Forte seems to handle pressure well, but Cutler is another story. Regardless, the Bears look like they are in for a very difficult game and and even more difficult season.

I think the Packers score early and often and will cover handily.

Spread: GB
Straight Up: GB
Score: 35-17

KC @ HOU (-1)

This is one of those games where I'd rather watch the defenses be on the field. The Chiefs have some talent on offense with RB Jamaal Charles and newly acquired WR Jeremy Maclin. The Texans have some decent weapons on their end, however are without RB Arian Foster for the first few games of the season. Even when he returns, their offense experience some growing pains and likely won't see any consistency until at least Week 7.

We can't talk about the Houston defense without mentioning DE J.J. Watt. I don't know him personally, but there does not seem to be a more talented and humble person playing the game of football today. I hope that Houston gets smart and starts using him full-time in iron man football this season. The bromance is real. Houston improves it's defense with ultimate run stopper Vince "the human forklift" Wilfork and the hopeful healthy return of herald LB Jadeveon Clowney. Kansas City, to their own credit, has some real speed on the defensive front, particularly from DE Tamba Hali.

Defense will be key here and whoever has more takeaways should win the game. Chiefs QB Alex Smith is known for control and I think he'll keep the turnovers to a minimum. I like the Chiefs to sneak away with a close win on the road in Houston.

Spread: KC
Straight Up: KC
Score: 17-14

CAR @ JAC (+3)

This game is very important for both teams, because after about Week 8, both teams are likely going to be out of the running for a playoff spot. The biggest question for the Jaguars this year is how will second year QB Blake Bortles fair. He'll be better if they ever get TE Julius Thomas back from injury. Until then, they'll rely heavily on rookie RB T.J. Yeldon, hope Bortles can keep the interceptions to a minimum (doubtful) and hope the defense is able to keep things competitive.

Did all of the Panthers hopes at being competitive go down with WR and freakish athlete Kelvin Benjamin's season ending injury? Probably not. They were doomed from the start. QB Cam Newton has come back down to reality a bit and is now just an above-average talent, without much help by way of offensive weapons. On defense, Carolina just resigned LB Luke Kuechly, a great talent. Too bad he can't play three positions at once.

I don't see either team playing overly inspired, nor scoring much. I like the Jags at home getting points, but the Panthers getting the road victory.

Spread: JAGS
Straight Up: CAR
Score: 17-16

CLE @ NYJ (-3)

We all know about the Jets starting the season after QB Geno Smith broke his jaw earlier in training camp. So they'll start the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. I think this is an improvement at the position, if only in cutting down the turnovers. Add in WR's Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker and the Jets have themselves some potential to put a few points on the board.

The Browns, unfortunately, look to be the same as they have been in years past - pretty terrible. Their defense may keep them in games, but I wouldn't expect much from them by way of their offense. Browns fans may want to start paying better attention to those Saturday College Football games, because they are likely to be in the running for that #1 draft pick by the end of this season.

I think the Jets take this game easily covering the spread.

Spread: NYJ
Straight Up: NYJScore: 21-10

SEA @ STL (+4)

The Rams start the year with several young RB's, most of whom are currently hurt (Tre Mason & Todd Gurley) and a brand new QB in Nick Foles. When healthy, they have the potential to put up a lot of points. Until they get up to that point, they will have to rely heavily on a defense that should be decent.

Even the casual football fan knows that the Seahawks have been one of the most successful franchises of the last few years. They are nearly unstoppable at home and still pretty good on the road. I don't see them having too much trouble with the Rams.

I like Seattle to get the road victory, but the Rams will keep it close. I'll take the points.

Spread: STL
Straight Up: SEA
Score: 23-20

MIA @ WAS (+3.5)

The RGIII-less Redskins may be almost as bad as the Browns. QB Kirk Cousins isn't bad, but he is going to need a lot of help this year. I just don't see anyone on the team stepping up.

Miami enters the season putting their winning hopes on the shoulders of QB Ryan Tannehill. Unlike Cousins in Washington, Tannehill should finally have a good supporting cast on offense. Adding Ndamukong Suh on defense should only help bolster that side of the field, assuming he can keep the stupid penalties and subsequent suspensions to a minimum. Doubtful though.

It is never good to be getting points at home, but Washington isn't favored for a reason. I like Miami to cover, winning by a touchdown.

Spread: MIA
Straight Up: MIA
Score: 31-24

Thursday, September 10, 2015

And We're Back

How did everyone spend their summer? Flew by as usual amiright? So let's start off addressing the elephant at Foxborough. We all know that the collective North North East of the U.S. we know as New England held its breath for nearly the entirety of training camp. New Englanders all finally exhaled last week, creating a significant Southern zephyr, as a Judge overturned Tom Brady's potential four game ban.

Putting any biases towards Brady, the Patriots & Roger Goodell aside, my single largest complaint is the waste of judicial resources in this process. This entire affair involved, lawyers, judges, arbitrators & any number of ancillary officials. When I was a kid, if you cheated or deflated someone else's balls, you either bought them a new one or had to line up and everyone got a free throw to peg you with another ball.

Week 1 - Thursday Night Game:

PIT @ NE (-7)

New England kicks off at home.  Without any real stars at RB or WR, the loquacious Bill "no comment" Belichick looks to continue to produce offensively by committee. Of course, when you have Rob Gronkowski playing TE, your playbook really only needs to be one play, with multiple check downs inserted. On defense, New England should be decent, although noticeably absent will be fan favorite, Vince Wolfolk, who could swallow a gap almost at will. My guess is that the Patriots play a numbers game this year, not worrying too much about points given up, hoping that the offense can always score a bit more.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, rolls in with a very un-Steelers-like team. Often favored for its staunch defense ("Steel Curtain"), this year's club looks more like a baby blanket. Losing many fan favorites to retirement, this defense is so bad, that when asked about getting the defense ready, long time defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau reportedly said the Korean War was a cakewalk compared to coaching this group. In fact, he resigned from the Steelers in January and took an assistant coaching position with Tennessee a few months later. On offense, however, Pittsburgh has a chance to be very well balanced, maybe even explosive. The Steelers are stocked at WR, with Anotonio Brown looking to lead the league in almost every category. They'll be even better once Martavis Bryant comes back from suspension. Speaking of which, RB Le'Veon Bell will also miss a few games, but when he returns, QB Ben Roethlisberger should have the ability to finally run an excellent play-action game. Until then, just throw downfield to Brown.

Although the Steelers will likely score a lot during this year, don't expect them to be fully up to speed until around week 5, when all their weapons should return. I like the Patriots to take the home opener, with Pittsburgh covering the spread.

Spread: PIT
Straight Up: NE
Score: 27-21

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 6 - a lot of home teams will lose

Taking a bit of a vacation this week, so we'll just do some quick hitters:

NE @ BUF (+3)
Spread: NE
Straight Up: NE
Score: 27-17

CAR @ CIN (-7)
Spread: CAR
Straight Up: CIN
Score: 24-21

PIT @ CLE (-2)
Spread: CLE
Straight Up: CLE
Score: 27-24

GB @ MIA (+3)
Spread: GB
Straight Up: GB
Score: 33-14

DET @ MIN (+1.5)
Spread: MIN
Straight Up: MIN
Score: 24-21

DEN @ NYJ (+9)
Spread: DEN
Straight Up: DEN
Score: 38-13

BAL @ TB (+3)
Spread: TB
Straight Up: TB
Score: 23-21

JAC @ TEN (-6)
Spread: JAC
Straight Up: TEN
Score: 17-14

SD @ OAK (+7)
Spread: SD
Straight Up: SD
Score: 35-20

CHI @ ATL (-3)
Spread: ATL
Straight Up: ATL
Score: 32-27

WAS @ ARI (-3.5)
Spread: ARI
Straight Up: ARI
Score: 28-18

DAL @ SEA (-8)
Spread: DAL
Straight Up: SEA
Score: 27-23

NYG @ PHI (-2.5)
Spread: NYG
Straight Up: NYG
Score: 27-20

SF @ STL (+3)
Spread: SF
Straight Up: SF
Score: 23-17

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Texans Need Points to Win Games

IND @ HOU (2.5)

Texans can't score, Colts can. This scenario will always lead to a loss for Houston. Arian Foster has awoken slightly for the Texans, but Ryan Fitzpatrick has struggled to find his top WR's. I bet Andre Johnson (0 TD's) is really regretting ever ending his holdout. Meanwhile, Andrew Luck and his offense just keeps rolling along. I like Houston's defense, but not more than Indy's offense. I'll take the Colts.

Spread: IND
Straight Up: IND
Score: 27-17

Andre - the end zone is that way

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Download (Week 5)

Another week down and just like that we went from two undefeated teams, to seven (if Seattle wins tonight, which I think they will) one-loss teams. Of all those, I still can't figure out how the Cowboys have found themselves in that bunch, particularly considering their less than stellar defense.  

Thursday reminded us that the Packers are still pretty good as long as they have Aaron Rodgers playing. We also learned that maybe Teddy is more valuable to the Vikings than anyone could have imagined.

Look at Greg Olsen torching his old team for two touchdowns and then win for Carolina. Too many turnovers for Cutler and the Bears does them in again.

Dez Bryant saves the day again for the Cowboys with a huge catch. Houston was unable to capitalize on Arian Foster's nice day (156 yards rushing, 2 TD's).

The Lions are one of the poorer 3-2 teams I have seen recently. Nice come from behind win for Kyle Orton and the Bills.

Three straight wins for Luck and the Colts. Baltimore needs more overall offensive production.

Pittsburgh is just good enough to beat Jacksonville, but that does not making them much better than the lowly Jags. Does Bortles have to pass the ball to himself to try and get a win for Jacksonville?

The Saints managed a win in OT, but again showed how beatable they truly are. Good for the Bucs for finally learning to play for four quarters - just wasn't enough yesterday.

It was rookie day for the Giants as both RB Andre Williams and WR Odell Beckham Jr. scored TD's in their win. Atlanta is going to need some help on their offensive line if they have any hope of wining in the long run this year.

The Eagles are vulnerable on the defensive end, but are still managing to win at all costs. Austin Davis really keeps the Rams in these games - they could string together some wins down the line.

The Browns are just dangerous enough to knock of some playoff bound teams towards the end of this season. The Titans are way better with Jake Locker, but still not that good.

Arizona has some QB issues and hence, scoring issues. Congrats to Peyton Manning and Demaryius who both set career marks of their own in the win for the Broncos.

San Diego looks very good as of late. Geno Smith is a problem, not THE problem though for the Jets.

The 49ers are winning at home, but I still think lacking the dominance expected of them. Alex Smith couldn't do enough to steal the win for the Chiefs against his old team.

The Patriots ran all over the Bengals defense in handing Cincy their first defeat. Bengals looked outplayed all night - I'll chalk it up to bye week rustiness.