Let’s all celebrate, because I finally picked a Thursday night game correctly last night. Hurray! I had the Saints +3.5, and I’ll be honest, I watched baseball last night instead of the game. Seriously, the quality of play on Thursday nights is horrible. Take out the first game where the Patriots and Steelers both played a relatively good game but obviously it wasn’t a short week. The Chiefs turned it over five times in a sloppy Week 2 game. The Giants couldn’t score touchdowns in the red zone against the Redskins. The Michael Vick-led Steelers blew a game to the Ravens where the Ravens didn’t play very well. There was the Brian Hoyer/Ryan Mallet shit show against the Matt Hasselbeck-led Colts last week. And then last night, the 6-0 Falcons looked sloppy offensively and lost to Drew Brees throwing without a shoulder. So yeah, quality has been bad, and a lot of underdogs have won, so I took the Saints at home playing against a hobbled Julio Jones and a Falcons team coming off of an overtime game against the Redskins. The only good thing from last night’s game? The fantasy phenomenon that is Devonta Freeman. I say this as a proud Freeman owner in two different leagues, especially in my league where I blew my first two picks on DeMarco Murray and Jeremy Hill. So, if you’re reading Devonta, thank you very much for all of the touchdowns, and please keep them coming. On to the picks.
Redskins (+6) over JETS
Do people really think the Jets are six points better than the Redskins? Are we still in the mindset we went into the season with that the Redskins were the worst team in the league? And if the answer is yes, then why have we accepted the Jets as a real team and not the Redskins? Let’s look at this unbelievable 3-1 Jets team. They beat the Browns, the Colts, lost to the Eagles, and beat the Dolphins. Great job on your 3-1 career record Todd Bowles, you don’t get to lay six points against a team that beat the Rams and Eagles and gave the Giants and Falcons tough games.
Cardinals (-3.5) over STEELERS
As a Ben Roethlisberger fantasy owner who has started Derek Carr the last two weeks, I really hope Big Ben plays, but there’s no way he comes back after just two weeks. I know the guy is big, he’s strong, and he’s tough, but he’s not playing, and if he does he won’t be anywhere near 100%, which while it might still be better than Michael Vick at 100%, isn’t going to fair well against an opportunistic Cardinals defense. I think Vick may have gained some confidence with that last drive on Monday night, but the Cardinals are a real team that are very well coached and should give that offense fits.
VIKINGS (-3.5) over Chiefs
Let’s admit it, the Chiefs are not a good team. Their one win is against the Texans, and that might be one of the five worst teams in the league. They’re 1-4, and just blew a game against the Bears. Jamaal Charles is now out, not that he was helping this offense very much, and they can’t drive the ball 80 yards against anybody. The Vikings are a borderline playoff team, I’ll take them at home only giving 3.5.
BILLS (+3) over Bengals
The Bengals proved something last week. When they were down 24-7, it looked like this was the old Bengals that baited you into buying into them only to implode in a big game like they always do, but they came back and won. But this week, they’re due for a letdown. The Bills are banged up offensively, but defensively they gave Mariota problems last week, and I think they keep this game low scoring and I’ll take them getting three at home.
Bears (+3) over LIONS
Seriously, why are the Lions laying three points to anybody? This seems like a similar situation to the Redskins. Detroit was supposed to be a borderline playoff team going into the year, and people haven’t moved past that. They are bad. Their offense looks horrible, and when Jay Cutler’s playing, the Bears are an okay team. The Lions shouldn’t give anyone points, especially when Cutler’s playing.
Broncos (-4) over BROWNS
Don’t get me wrong, the Browns are a tough out, but I think Josh McCown’s run of excellence comes to an end against this Denver defense. The Bronco’s offense is 30th in the league, but they should get a boost against a Browns team that just gave up 30 points to a bad Ravens offensive line. Maybe they can finally run the ball a little bit.
JAGUARS (-1) over Texans
You know who might be good? Blake Bortles. People kind of wrote him off after a shaky rookie season, but this year he’s completing almost 60% of his passes, thrown for close to 1300 yards, and has ten touchdowns to four interceptions. Last year, he threw 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. The improvement is there, and the Texans would die for that quarterback situation right now. And by the way, the Texans could have that quarterback situation, but with the number one pick they drafted Clowney, when they already had J.J. Watt, and he’s played a total of nine games so far and has been playing hurt this year. Great move Houston.
Dolphins (+1.5) over TITANS
The Dolphins should start playing better. This is a good team, but they quit on their coach before the season started. That’s over, and they should be playing harder and closer to their capability this week. Coming off of a bye, and playing against a struggling Titans offense, I’ll take Miami getting points.
SEAHAWKS (-7) over Panthers
Everybody loves the 4-0 Panthers, and everyone is skeptical about the 2-3 Seahawks, but allow me to go through the Panthers 4-0 record. They have beaten the Jaguars, Texans, Saints, and Buccaneers. I’d like to say congratulations on your undefeated record against teams with a combined 6-15 record. Now go on the road and beat the Seahawks with no weapons (outside of your tight end who will have to deal with Kam Chancellor) against a pissed off Seattle defense and good luck trying to stop the Seahawk’s offense that put up 24 points on a good Bengals defense last week and has Marshawn Lynch coming back. The Panthers will also have a banged up Luke Kuechly. Prove something to me Cam Newton.
PACKERS (-10.5) over Chargers
Normally the Monday night loser is an automatic the following week, but this year they are just 1-4 against the spread the following week. The one win was the Vikings, who played in a weird double header that started actually ended on Tuesday morning on the east coast, so maybe it wasn’t a Monday night loser. In addition to being 5-0, the Packers are also 5-0 against the spread this year. Coming off of two shaky offensive performances, I expect them to get things under control again this week.
Ravens (-2) over 49ERS
This will be a closer game than you think. The Ravens are 1-4 because they are as good as a 1-4 team, and the 49ers have been decent defensively. The Ravens have no pass rush, and as you saw last week on Sunday night, Colin Kaepernick looks competent when he doesn’t have to make quick decisions. However, San Francisco is still a mess, and the Ravens have a severe advantage at coach and quarterback, so I’ll lay a couple points.
Patriots (-10) over COLTS
You’ve heard the narrative all week. This is the revenge tour for the Patriots. There’s no way they lose to the Colts. They’ll probably score 95 points in this game. I can’t disagree with any of that, but let me pose one question: How is this a revenge game for the Patriots? They steamrolled the Colts last year, in the playoffs and the regular season, they steamrolled them in the playoffs the year before, and they steamrolled them in the regular season the year before that. Do the Colts have any pride? Do they feel embarrassed at all? Do they just walk out onto the field, knowing the Patriots are just going to keep hammering away with big running backs and let them rush for 200 yards and 4 touchdowns? Do they care? Are they professional football players? Don’t they have the best young quarterback since Brady/Manning? I’m calling you out Colts. I want to see something. Prove to me that you are NFL players and that it bugs you at least a little bit that you routinely get embarrassed by the Patriots and everyone expects it to keep happening.
Giants (+5) over EAGLES
The Eagles looked good last week, but this is too many points to give. The Giants are one of the most underrated teams in the NFL. Despite all kinds of injuries on defense, their secondary is still strong and should give Sam Bradford problems. The Eagles will have to run the ball effectively to win this game, and their secondary will have to play to the best of its capabilities, or else Eli should shred them. Look at the weapons at his disposal right now. Even if Odell Beckham is hurt, Larry Donnell is an emerging tight end, Reuben Randle is an effective receiver, Shane Vereen is the best receiving running back in the NFL, and Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams complete a loaded backfield. 5 points is too much in this one.
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 (-9.5), Michigan State (+8), USC (+6.5), TCU (-20.5), Alabama (-4), Oregon, Air Force, and South Florida straight up.
NFL Record Last Week: 6-8-1
NFL Record Overall: 39-39-3
College Football Record Last Week: 4-4-0
College Football Record Overall: 21-19-0