Believe it or not, Johnny Manziel on one day of film/preparation did not cover the 13 point spread against the Bengals last night, and I won another Thursday night game. The Bengals are the first of the four undefeated teams to 8-0, and make no mistake about it, this is a real team. For the past few years, the Bengals have been good, but when it mattered most, they couldn’t perform. But I believe something changed in Week 16 last year. They played a Monday Night game against the Broncos, and they played a very complete game, picking off Peyton Manning four times n the process. This team is loaded with talent, they’ve drafted extremely well recently. There isn’t a weak point on this team other than quarterback, but Andy Dalton can and has won a lot of games in this league, and he’s more than capable with the offensive talent surrounding him. The Bengals are for real, now let’s move onto the rest of the week.
Packers (-2.5) over PANTHERS
To everyone who watched Aaron Rodgers throw for 77 yards last week: R-E-L-A-X. He’s still one of the top quarterbacks in the league, and they had a horrible gameplan against the best defense in the league. The Panthers, on the other hand, looked about as unimpressive as you can in victory Monday night. This team’s best win was against Seattle, who obviously have a lot of their own problems. Cam Newton’s “MVP” season has produced under a 55% completion percentage, 11 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, and a QBR of 46.9. These are worse than his career numbers, he’s not having a great season. I’ll take the Packers to bounce back.
PATRIOTS (-14) over Redskins
This line is too high, I don’t like this game, but the Redskins defense is just begging the Patriots to score 50 on them. Also, Kirk Cousins is a turnover machine, and an opportunistic Patriot’s defense should capitalize on that. The Pats should get out to an early lead, but beware of the Kirk Cousins garbage-time backdoor cover.
Titans (+8) over SAINTS
Mariota is playing this week, so the Titan’s offense should get a boost. Ken Wisenhunt is out, because apparently going 3-20 isn’t good enough in the NFL. We’ve seen teams go on short term bursts when they get a new coach, go look at the Dolphins. The Saints offense is red hot, but older quarterbacks struggle with consistency, so I expect them to cool off a little bit.
Dolphins (+2.5) over BILLS
This should be a big revenge game for the Dolphins. The Bills are still banged up on offense, and Miami had been playing well under Dan Campbell until they ran into the Patriots last week. There is no shame in getting exploited by the 2015 Patriots, I think the Dolphins should be fine.
Rams (+1.5) over VIKINGS
The Vikings have racked up five wins against a soft schedule, and the Rams are the best team they’ve played aside from Denver (who they lost to). The Rams are under the radar, but this is a pretty good team. They have obvious deficiencies, but they do a few things well, and they know what they do well. I expect them to pressure Bridgewater into bad decisions, and Todd Gurley will run wild.
JETS (-7.5) over Jaguars
Don’t jump ship on the Jets because of what happened last week. They were flying cross country after an emotional letdown in Foxborough, and the Raiders are a good team. Now they’re back home and playing against the Jaguars. Also Fitzpatrick should be healthy, so we won’t be subjected to any more Geno Smith, fingers crossed.
STEELERS (-5) over Raiders
I love the Steelers in this one, and for the record, I picked the Raiders last week and have been on the Raiders from the start of the season. Roethlisberger is now 2-4 in his first game back from an injury, which is likely a result of him coming back too early. Now he’s had an extra week to heal, and this is an important game for the Steelers. The Raiders will be flying west coast to east coast for a 1 o’clock game. Lay the points, the young Raiders are about to be humbled.
Giants (-2.5) over BUCCANEERS
Jason Pierre-Paul will likely play, and the Giants secondary sorely needs a pass rusher helping them out after Brees picked them apart to the tune of 7 touchdowns and 52 points. But, the Buccaneers are not a great team, and the Giants have a ton of offensive firepower.
Falcons (-7) over 49ERS
The Falcons are starting to worry me. For some reason their offense has been figured out the last four weeks, and they have absolutely no pass rush. But, picking against them would mean betting on Blaine Gabbert. Just so you know, Colin Kaepernick, if your coach thinks you’re so bad that he’d rather have Blaine Gabbert lead his team than you, then you are terrible. Please go see a therapist, you need it. Blaine Gabbert had clunkers in college. I don’t think he’s the spark the 49ers need.
Chicken Parm You Taste So Good (-5) over COLTS
I’m finally buying into the Denver defense. That defensive line, plus the Colts atrocious offensive line, plus a beat up Andrew Luck, equals Luck possibly being carried away on a stretcher. And apparently the city of Indianapolis is starting to turn on Luck. My advice? Leave. Pull a LeBron. Tell them to win without you. They won’t be able to, and you’ll be on a team that can actually compete for championships. Seriously, every team in the league would give up a lot for Andrew Luck on the open market, including the Patriots (38-year old Brady vs. 26-year old Luck, we know Belichick’s track record). However, I am not buying in to the “rejuvenated” Broncos offense. Peyton looked healthy, bye weeks will do that. The Packers have a horrible run defense, and they ran wild on them. Peyton threw for 340 yards. That’s good, but let’s not forget Philip Rivers threw for 500 yards in Lambeau with Keenan Allen as his best threat. Don’t go crazy, I need to see more before I say they’re back. Also, congratulations to the Colts. Their 3-5 record has officially clinched the AFC South.
Eagles (-3) over COWBOYS
I can’t possibly pick Matt Cassel/Brandon Weeden against anyone. As bad as Sam Bradford has been this year, he could’ve scored more than 12 points last week, which was all the Cowboys needed to beat the Seahawks. This division is wide open, and the Cowboys had the team that was best built to win it. But Romo’s hurt, and now I hope poor America’s team loses every game.
Bears (+4) over CHARGERS
I don’t understand why this is a primetime game. There was no point during the time period when the NFL was making their schedule when this looked like a good game. I don’t think the Bears are horrible, and the Chargers have no home field advantage. The Bears have a decent following, their should be a decent number of Bears fans at the game. Plus, while the Bears have lost five games, their three losses with Jay Cutler have been by one score. I’ll take them to cover.
For college football fans or just degenerate gamblers who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. Here’s my picks for this week: LSU (+6.5), Iowa (-7), TCU (-5), Minnesota (+23), Stanford (-16), Clemson, Utah, and Washington State straight up.
NFL Record Last Week: 5-8-1
NFL Record Overall: 55-62-6
College Football Record Last Week: 5-3-0
College Football Record Overall: 36-28-0