Another week of football, another week of success! My hot streak continued in Week 6, going 9-5 against the spread (52-40 overall on the year). I’m feeling more comfortable with the teams, my adrenaline is pumping, I look at the Week 7 schedule and…
There are a lot of home dogs this week, and many of the matchups are either toss-ups or the line is too big and risky. Nevertheless, I am a trooper that will continue to put forth my analysis to make you guys some escarole.
So without any further ado, let’s try not to get embarrassed!
(Betting lines via Caesar’s Sportsbook; odds updated October #16th)
BYE WEEK TEAMS: Cleveland Browns (2-4), Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4), Tampa Buccaneers (2-4), Carolina Panthers (4-2)
LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-3) [-3.0] vs. ATLANTA FALCONS (1-5)
In a matchup of two NFC teams on a downward spiral, whatever offense puts up the most points is most likely going to win. Matt Ryan was superb this past week, but it still wasn’t enough to overcome the atrocity that is the 2019 Atlanta Falcons defense. Dan Quinn’s seat is scalding right now, but I do think Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank will let him finish out the season, which means the defense should continue to struggle. Jared Goff is coming off a performance that looked like it came from his rookie year, and the already-struggling defense will be without Aqib Talib. With the loss of Talib, the Rams reshaped their secondary, trading away Marcus Peters to Baltimore to clear a spot for Jalen Ramsey, who they gave two first-round picks for. For this week, I believe the Rams have enough offensive creativity to score points, and while I worry about their offensive line, I certainly don’t expect a non-existent Atlanta pass rush to be much of a factor.
THE PICK: Rams (-3.0)
MIAMI DOLPHINS (0-5) vs. BUFFALO BILLS (4-1) [17.0]
The Dolphins did the unthinkable last week, covering the spread against an almost as awful Washington team. This Sunday, the Bills have the most points in their favor since 1992! Buffalo’s defense is an elite unit in the league, and I’d be willing to bet my life savings that Miami scores less than 14 points.
The real question, however, is can Buffalo score more than 17 or so points? They’ve done so twice this year, once against the Giants and the Bengals. Both those teams are bad, and while Miami is much much worse, their one semi-bright spot is their secondary, especially if Xavien Howard returns. No matter who Josh Allen plays, you can also guarantee at least one turnover. The Dolphins also flip-flopped on their committal to Rosen for the rest of season, benching him for Ryan Fitzpatrick this game. The Bills are almost certain to win the game, but I think it’ll be a 16-3, 20-7 result.
THE PICK: Dolphins (+17.0)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-4) [-3.5] vs. CINCINNATI BENGALS (0-6)
Your Week 7 #StinkerOfTheWeek! While the game itself shouldn’t be interesting, this is a tough one to decide. I like the defensive performance Jacksonville put on in their loss to the Saints, holding Bridgewater and company to 13 points. The Bengals offense isn’t necessarily a huge weakness, as they got some players in Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd playing well. The Jags offense should feature Leonard Fournette, as the Cincy run defense offers tunnel-sized holes to opposing running backs every week. If A.J. Green were to return, I’d probably pick the straight upset, but I’m going with the Jags to win but Cincy to cover
THE PICK: Bengals (+4.5)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (4-2) [-2.0] vs. DETROIT LIONS (2-2-1)
Those who watched Monday Night Football may have though the Packers were handed the win over the Lions with two horrific hands to the face penalties called on Trey Flowers. While the NFL has a massive officiating problem and the crew last night should be ashamed by several calls that were made, the Lions blew tons of opportunities to put the game away and got a few calls in their favor as well. The refs need to get better though (good one).
The Vikings’ impressive win over Philly in Week 6, yet the Lions clearly looked like they can hang with the good teams Monday Night despite the loss. You have to give it up to Matt Patricia, who after looking lazy and lost as head coach last year has the Lions prepared and playing hard every week. On the contrary, their offensive line’s performance against Green Bay really struggled. Kerryon Johnson, despite scoring a 1-yard touchdown, struggled to find room and Matt Stafford took three sacks. Things won’t get much better this week when Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen come to town. Throw in Dalvin Cook’s All-Pro level play and Kirk Cousins rejuvenation, I like Minnesota to continue their hot streak.
THE PICK: Vikings (-2.0)
OAKLAND RAIDERS (3-2) vs. GREEN BAY PACKERS (5-1) [-5.0]
One of the few games I barely had to think about, the red-hot Packers are home against a surging Raiders team. You may think it’s dumb for me to write off Oakland after decisive victories over playoff contenders Indianapolis and Chicago. They’re also coming off of a bye week, so they should be healthy and prepared. On the other hand, Oakland has lost seven straight to Green Bay going back to 1990, and this seems like too good of Packers defense to not get Derek Carr to turn the ball over at least once. I like the direction of Oakland, but I still believe they’re at least one year away from true contention.
THE PICK: Packers (-5.0)
HOUSTON TEXANS (4-2) vs. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (3-2) [-1.0]
Big ramifications for this game in the AFC South. These two could very well both make the playoffs, but a win for either squad will certainly enhance its odds of winning the division. Deshaun Watson has been spectacular this year, albeit a little inconsistent (averaging 195 yards in two losses this year). Those big games the past few weeks have a couple of stinkers in there, and this Colts secondary did limit Patrick Mahomes two weeks ago. Being able to coax another big game from Marlon Mack will be key, and arguably the best offensive line in football should help with that. Jacoby Brissett gets T.Y. Hilton returning most likely, Frank Reich is a top tier coach, and I believe Indy prevails and takes control of the divisional race.
THE PICK: Colts (-1.0)
ARIZONA CARDINALS (2-3-1) vs. NEW YORK GIANTS (2-4) [-3.0]
This line is confusing to me. I get the G-Men are the home team, and Arizona has an equally bad defense, but have you seen the difference in quarterback play? While Daniel Jones has faced two ferocious units in Minnesota and New England the last two weeks, the Cardinals get Patrick Peterson back this week. Now, Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram returning would be massive, but Kyler Murray has been out of his mind lately, and he gets a pass defense that has been a flat-out albatross. Arizona also might have a new stud back with David Johnson in Chase Edmonds. Both of these teams are quite similar, but I’ll take my chances with Kyler over Danny Dimes.
THE PICK: Cardinals (+3.0)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (5-0) [-10.0] vs. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (1-5)
Congrats on the Redskins for winning their first game after nearly blowing it at the very end to a historically-awful Miami Dolphins team! Your reward? Go up against the undefeated 49ers and try not to give up 40!
I’ll keep it short. Kyle Shanahan should have no problem toying with this defense, and he should be extra motivated going against himself and his father Mike’s former employer. The Redskins are a mess, and it’s going to stay that way with Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen running the show for the time being.
THE PICK: 49ers (-10.0)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (2-4) vs. TENNESSEE TITANS (2-4) [-2.5]
Even in a depleted AFC, this feels like a must-win for either team. The Mariota era has come to an end, as coach Mike Vrabel announced Ryan Tannehill will get the start for Tennessee, which hopefully represents an upgrade in their regard. The Chargers have been stumbling thanks to injuries to their defense and an awful offensive line. I think LA will get off to a quick start and we all know once the opposing team scores a touchdown on the Titans, it’s over. Expect a boring game, but Philip Rivers isn’t ready to roll over yet.
THE PICK: Chargers (+2.5)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-1) vs. CHICAGO BEARS (3-2) [-3.5]
Man, I really hate picking all of these road underdogs, but it’s what my gut is telling me. The Saints offense looked concerning against Jacksonville, and it won’t get much easier in Chicago. Their defense, on the other hand, looked special, and they get either a less-than-100% percent Trubisky or an equally as mediocre Chase Daniel this week. The Bears also are without Kyle Long Jr. for the rest of the year, so Cam Jordan and the fellas on the Saints defensive front should have themselves a day.
THE PICK: Saints (+3.5)
BALTIMORE RAVENS (4-2) vs. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (5-1) [-3.0]
Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson. What more could you need in life?
Seattle is looking to continue their torrid start to the year, but their defense will have to play up to snuff against the Ravens. Jackson had a historic performance last week against the Bengals but faces a much better run defense in Seattle this week. The Ravens defense hasn’t been as stellar as years past this year, and Russ, Chris Carson, and the rest of the ‘Hawks offense should take advantage of that. The 12s will be out in full force this week, and I think they’ll see their team cruise to a 6-1 record.
THE PICK: Seahawks (-3.0)
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (3-3) vs. DALLAS COWBOYS (3-3) [-2.5]
Just like the Texans and Colts game earlier, this matchup on Sunday Night Football will put either Philadelphia or Dallas in the driver’s seat of the NFC East. The Eagles just got rocked by Minnesota, and Dallas was on the receiving end of this year’s biggest upset so far. If the Eagles want to win, they’re going to need Carson Wentz to play like a top-5 QB. He’s been excelling this year so far, and limiting turnovers will surely help their chances. If Dallas hopes to end their skid, Dak Prescott needs to take advantage of a depleted secondary. The Eagles pass defense is ranked #29th in the league, and even without Amari Cooper the Cowboys should have success in that area. The Eagles defensive line is fortunate that Tyron Smith and La’El Collins are out, but I think Dallas maintaining the time of possession and Ezekiel Elliot having a classic game will give Big D the win this weekend.
THE PICK: Cowboys (-2.5)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (6-0) [-10.0] vs. NEW YORK JETS (1-4)
After Sam Darnold’s triumphant return this past weekend, Jets fans have their hopes up for another upset against division rival New England Monday night. The Pats haven’t lost to New York since December 2015, and unfortunately, this team’s defense is too good not to blow it this week. C.J. Mosley coming back should give the Jets another playmaker on defense, but I easily see Brady and the boys covering the spread. Dominance in New England shall continue.
THE PICK: Patriots (-10.0)