(Sigh) Well, at least the Dolphins won.
I’m in quite the skid right now betting these games. Week 9 saw me go 6-8 against the spread (75-60 overall on the year), and I don’t quite know what went wrong. A couple of games were closer than I expected, and some big upsets messed things up for me (LOOKING AT YOU, GREEN BAY AND DETROIT).
Last week’s schedule saw only three road teams win, and if that happens again this week, I’m going to have a conniption. I like the upcoming slate, however, and I’m ready to bounce back.
So without any further ado, let’s try not to get embarrassed!
(Betting lines via Caesar’s Sportsbook; last updated November #8th)
BYE WEEK TEAMS: New England Patriots (8-1), Houston Texans (6-3), Philadelphia Eagles (5-4), Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5), Denver Broncos (3-6), Washington Redskins (1-8)
DETROIT LIONS (3-4-1) vs. CHICAGO BEARS (3-5) [-2.5]
I don’t think either of these struggling NFC North teams are going to make the playoffs, but this matchup is certainly a “loser leaves town” game. Whereas the Lions have had some poor luck and weak execution, at least you can somewhat trust this team for what it is: an above-average offense that’s defense isn’t terrible, but they’re going to have to outscore you to beat you. As for Chicago, who the hell knows? It’s hard to believe Matt Nagy won coach of the year with the way he’s performed as a play-caller this year, but Mitch Trubisky isn’t doing him any favors. Even if the former #2 overall pick doesn’t ride the pine this week as some have suspected, Chicago hasn’t given me any reason to put my faith into them. Hey, maybe the defense will show up.
***SUNDAY UPDATE*** – Matt Stafford’s streak of 136 straight starts is coming to an end, as he will miss this game due to broken bones in his back. Jeff Driskel takes his starting spot, so I’m going to the Bears’ side on this. I already regret it.
THE PICK: Bears (-4.0)
BALTIMORE RAVENS (6-2) [-10.5] vs. CINCINNATI BENGALS (0-8)
Coming off a huge win over the Patriots, the Ravens now see themselves flying into Cincinnati to take on the league’s worst team that is starting their fourth-round pick at quarterback… you can probably guess how this is going to go.
The Bengals announced after Week 8 that Andy Dalton would be benched to get an extended look at the rook, Ryan Finley. Dalton hasn’t been terrible this year, but with the Bengals looking at a top-3 pick at least, a new quarterback will certainly be on the horizon. And hey, if Ryan Finley balls out (I did like him a lot in college), grab Chase Young and prosper. Unfortunately, the draft isn’t for another five months, so the Bengals have plenty more games to lose in the meantime.
THE PICK: Ravens (-10.5)
BUFFALO BILLS (6-2) vs. CLEVELAND BROWNS (2-6) [-3.0]
Recently, I’ve been informed by a slew of readers that I can come off as kind of a Buffalo hater. Maybe it’s because I treat them (accurately) like a .500-level team that is great on defense but is middling on offense. Well, Bills Mafia, I’m about to take your side for once because this line is ridiculous.
I don’t give a rat’s behind if Cleveland is home, if their secondary is healthy, or what cleats OBJ and Jarvis Landry wear. All I know is this team is an absolute mess, mainly due to their lack of discipline courtesy of forklift-operator/head-coach Freddie Kitchens. This seems like it should be a get-right spot for the Dawg Pound, but why? Because it’s the Bills? That’s silly. Buffalo may not be as good as their 6-2 record indicates, but they are certainly better than Cleveland.
THE PICK: Bills (+3.0)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (6-3) [-6.0] vs. TENNESSEE TITANS (4-5)
After being smartly conservative with their franchise cornerstone, it is expected that reigning league MVP Patrick Mahomes will return this week in a road matchup against everyone’s favorite boring team, the Tennessee Titans. While Mahomes isn’t expected to be 100%, I would say 70% of Mahomes equals about 120% of Ryan Tannehill and 140% of Marcus Mariota (there’s some math for ya!)
We’ve come to know the Tennessee defense as being sneaky great, but they’ve had some secondary struggles the past few weeks, giving up 24.3 points the past three weeks. Not the worst, but still below their standards. This Chiefs’ offense should easily pass that number and win, while the Titans pray every night they can score over 30 (unless they’re playing Cleveland, of course).
THE PICK: Chiefs (-6.0)
ATLANTA FALCONS (1-7) vs. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-1) [-13.5]
I’ll tell you what, I was tempted. Divisional game, inside of a dome, Matt Ryan returning, perfect trap-game. They had me for a second.
For the above-listed arguments, I wouldn’t ridicule someone who decided to take the Falcons. I will say my counter to that opinion:
The Falcons defense stinks. Like, curdled milk stinks. I do think Matt Ryan and company can score on these Saints and put up some points. The contrast oft he situation is, while I expect the Falcons to score points on the New Orleans defense occasionally, what drive from Drew Brees on the Saints’ side won’t at least lead to a field goal. This game still gives me pause because there is the possibility the Falcons come out of the bye guns a blazin’. I’m going to put my faith in them to cover, but I PROMISE if I’m let down this will be the last time.
THE PICK: Falcons (+13.5)
NEW YORK GIANTS (2-7) [-3.0] vs. NEW YORK JETS (1-7)
In the Week 10 edition of #StinkerOfTheWeek, the Jets and Giants will go to absolute war in hopes of 1) Not embarrassing themselves and 2) Securing a top-5 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. I don’t know what surprises me more, the fact that the Jets lost to Miami or that Adam Gase was somehow let back into the building? It kind of makes you feel bad for Jets fans.
As for the Giants, we all know their bad also, but they’re a tier up from the Jets. Daniel Jones, outside of that heroic game against Tampa Bay, has been awful. The defense is a disaster and Pat Shurmur looks like he’s coaching to be fired. All of that being said, I like the Giants in this matchup mainly because after seeing Saquon struggle against Dallas, I think he’s going to get fed this week. They also didn’t lose to the Dolphins.
THE PICK: Giants (-3.0)
ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-5-1) vs. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-6) [-5.0]
This game has the potential to be quite the barn burner in Tampa. Both teams possess exciting quarterbacks with big arms despite their inconsistency, plus awful defenses to boot! While I’m a big fan of Kyler Murray and think another year of development + additions to the offensive line will do wonders for him, Jameis has the goods in terms of weapons. Mike Evans is playing at an All-Pro level, Chris Godwin has become a star at the position, Ronald Jones is starting to show some nice flashes, and O.J. Howard can still pop off a big play or two. Especially with a banged-up Chase Edmonds and a young receiving core, I doubt this Cardinals team will out-score the Bucs.
THE PICK: Buccaneers (-5.0)
MIAMI DOLPHINS (1-7) vs. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (5-3) [-11.0]
Riding high off of their first win of the year, the Dolphins will most likely crash back to the reality of playing viable NFL teams when they take on the Colts this Sunday. Jacoby Brissett’s status is up in the air after straining his MCL early last week against the Steelers, but Brian Hoyer played admirably in his place. Add in Frank Reich is such a good coach he could probably throw a few touchdowns against this team, the Colts get a cupcake win.
THE PICK: Colts (-11.0)
CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-3) vs. GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-2) [-5.5]
It’s officially the Kyle Allen show in Carolina. The Panthers placed former MVP Cam Newton on injured reserve Tuesday afternoon from his foot injury, and it will be interesting to see if this is the last we see of Cam as a Panther. As for Allen, he had a nice rebound game against Tennessee and will look to continue that success against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Green Bay put forth a disgusting effort all-around against the Chargers, showing no rhythm on offense and giving up chunk yard gains to Melvin Gordon and Mike Williams all game. Those types of performances make your wary about how the season will progress for Matt LaFleur’s squad, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and pick Rodgers to have a great game in Lambeau.
THE PICK: Packers (-5.5)
LOS ANGELES RAMS (5-3) [-3.5] vs. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (4-4)
Don’t look now, but the Steelers are surging. Winners of their last three-game, the Pittsburgh defense is playing well and Mike Tomlin has been coaching like his life depends on it. They run into another hot team, the Los Angeles Rams coming off of a bye. The Rams have had a slew of issues on their offensive line and injuries, specifically Brandin Cooks‘ concussions. I worry about this elite Pittsburgh defensive line eating the Rams interior offensive line alive and making Jared Goff miserable all day. On the contrary, I’d be shaking like a leaf knowing Sean McVay had a week off to game-plan for my team, especially with how shaky Mason Rudolph has been. Give me the Rams in a high-scoring affair.
THE PICK: Rams (-3.5)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-3) vs. DALLAS COWBOYS (5-3) [-3.0]
This Sunday night game isn’t a “loser leaves town” proposition whatsoever. It is, in my mind, a battle between two squads teetering between the contenders and the pretenders spectrum in the Super Bowl hunt. Outside of Philadelphia, the Cowboys have yet to beat an above-average team. As for Minnesota, they haven’t been that special in high-pressure situations, losing to Kansas City sans Mahomes last week and are 7-11 all-time on Sunday Night Football. This would be quite a statement win for Kirk Cousins, but in Jerry World against a Dallas team with a chance to take a commanding lead in the NFC East, I just don’t see it.
THE PICK: Cowboys (-3.0)
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (7-2) vs. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8-0) [-6.0]
Out of the several great games on the schedule this week, the Monday Night Football matchup between the star NFC West squads takes the cake. The 49ers’ defense will prove to be Russell Wilson’s toughest task all season, and it will be interesting to see if the current MVP favorite can continue his elite level of play. I worry for the Seahawks pass defense in this game, as it could be the second straight week that Jimmy G goes off. The best chance for the Seahawks in this game is to try and replicate the success Arizona had on the ground last week. If they can do that, this should be a very close game.
THE PICK: Seahawks (+6.0)