|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|09-26-22||Cowboys +1 v. Giants||Top||23-16||Win||100||10 h 35 m||Show|
The 1-1 Cowboys face off with the 2-0 Giants in a highly touted MNF game. Sorry Giants, but I am not sure that 3-0 is a real possibility. First off, I am not sold on Jones nor the Giants ability to protect him on Monday. Jones was well under 200 yds passing, with very short yds/comp and was sacked multiple time. This against 2 relatively poor pass attacks. The Cowboys’ pass defense has been formidable, top 5 in most categories, and a passer nightmare in both games. The Giants also saw the run game (Barkley) fall off significantly in week two after a fine and much publicized effort in Week one against a weak defense. The Cowboys’ rush defense was much better in week two, holding Mixon and the Bengals to 89 yards.
On defense the Giants have not really impressed. The run defense struggled against the Titans as expected but allowed nearly 120 yds against Carolina. They are 30th in yards per completion, again vs. two sub-par passers.
Perhaps the biggest question in this game surrounds the Dallas offense after the loss of Prescott. The Cowboys have a very good two pronged running attack. Rush threw for more yards and had a higher passer rating than Jones in week two. He has been well protected and has brilliant targets available. Even with injury returns, the Giants will likely struggle to get to Rush this week. The rest of the Dallas team will have Rush in about in as good a position to succeed as could be hoped for.
The Giants are a small favorite. Take the Cowboys to steal this one on the road.
|09-25-22||Falcons +1 v. Seahawks||Top||27-23||Win||100||4 h 49 m||Show|
The Falcons have held their own against 2 tough opponents, scoring 26 and 27 points and covering in both games. They have a solid rush offense to date, and Mariota has put them in a position to win both games. The 1-1 Seahawks were lucky to win their first game and lost badly last week. They are close to the bottom in many offensive categories, including time of possession and points scored. They have no run game to speak of. Geno Smith has been accurate but unable to generate points or yards.
|09-25-22||Ravens -2 v. Patriots||Top||37-26||Win||100||25 h 22 m||Show|
It was just the one quarter... Like the old joke, the Ravens’ 4th quarter soured a fine game from Lamar Jackson. And yes, the Patriots’ won last week, but against a Steelers team with not much of an offense. The Patriots do not have the receivers, nor can Jones run and gun with Jackson. Not to mention, the Ravens blitz and Jones is very susceptible. Both teams have been solid vs. the run, but NE hasn’t faced a QB who can scramble like Jackson. The Ravens lack of rushing offense, other than Jackson, is a concern, but that may change today. New England does have two solid running backs.
Jackson’s QB rating is right up there, Jones is 18th. Jackson has thrown just 1 interception; Jones 2. Neither passer was sacked last game. NE may be missing their top receiver in this game, a situation they can ill afford.
I am wagering on the Ravens this week and expect them to bounce back from their ugly loss in week two. I also expect the Ravens' defense to be on their very best behavior and make the necessary adjustments, and had success backing the Browns' defense to respond this week. Jones has yet to prove himself this year; Jackson will be the game breaker. The line has dropped below a field goal. Jump on the Ravens to win and cover.
|09-25-22||Chiefs -5.5 v. Colts||Top||17-20||Loss||-110||22 h 26 m||Show|
The 2-0 Chiefs face a struggling Colts team in Indianapolis on Sunday. The Colts game in week two could hardly have gone worse, but the line has drifted in the Colts’ favor. I am unsure why. KC and Patrick Mahomes have looked very good in their opening two games. Mahomes has adapted comfortably to his new circumstances, and we are seeing some timely running from this pass-centric offense. Mahomes has had great protection, hasn’t thrown an interception, and has a monster QB rating.
The Colts’ offense has been a shambles, and were shut out last week. Taylor only carried the ball 9 times, which is incomprehensible. Ryan does not look settled, and has been very poor under pressure, of which there has been lots as the Colts’ O-line has struggled. Ryan threw 3 interceptions, was sacked multiple times, and ended with a miserable 34 passer rating. He may benefit from the return of a quality target, but that is still an unknown.
Kc did not defend well vs the pass last week but faced a much tougher opponent in the Chargers. They have been more successful applying pressure to the passer than the Colts, but haven’t faced a top running back like Taylor this year, so will need to work to contain him.
The Colts would have to make a huge adjustment to come within a TD of the Chiefs and there really is no sign of that in week three. To add to their problems, the Colts will miss a pair of key people on defense this week. I am on KC to win and cover on the road on Sunday.
|09-25-22||Eagles -6 v. Washington Commanders||Top||24-8||Win||100||13 h 49 m||Show|
The Eagles collectively improved from week 1, and manhandled the Vikings in a complete game winning effort. Hurts looked poised and produced in the air and, of course, on the ground. The Eagles’ running game is on fire with Sanders averaging 88 yds a game and 5.9 yds/carry. Hurts has “chipped in” with 147 yards to date, ahead of all passers. On defense, they limited the Vikings’ run game to 62 yds and all but shut down the highly touted Jefferson in the air. The Vikings’ offense was on the field less than 40% of the time.
The Commanders lost to Detroit, but Wentz made it interesting in the second half. He has thrown for over 300 yards in the first two games, but also had 3 interceptions and was sacked 6 times to date. Wentz had better be good as Washington has had no appreciable running game to date. The Commanders’ defense has struggled against the run, at or near the bottom in yds and yds/carry, and giving up 191 yards to the Lions last week. They’ve also given up considerably more yards in the air than the Eagles.
I am big on the Eagles this year, but was concerned with their defensive play in Week one. Week two showed real improvement against a possible play-off team. There is much talk about a revenge game for Wentz this week. That sentiment goes both ways as Russell Wilson found out in his first game back in Seattle. Take the Eagles to win and cover. 9*!
|09-22-22||Steelers v. Browns -4.5||Top||17-29||Win||100||26 h 41 m||Show|
Thursday Night Football brings you an odd match-up this week featuring a team that can’t score vs a team the apparently can’t defend. We have heard about the Browns’ defensive debacle endlessly, but there were high points in that game for the Browns. Jacoby Brissett looked pretty good, and significantly better than the previous week. He was accurate, threw for 221 yds, had a passer rating of 98.5, and was protected well by the Browns’ O line. The Browns’ rush attack was overpowering, and is first in the league, with 184 yds last week and a potent two pronged attack from Chubb and Hunt. The Steelers have yet to face a good running team, but are still 23rd in yards allowed. They are also 30th in passing yards allowed, still missing Watt, and had zero sacks last week.
The Browns are missing key people on defense, which will make a difference, but less so against the Steelers. Trubisky has not been effective, and if anything was worse last week. He is 28th in passing yards, and 26th in QB rating. He was sacked three times last week and has not looked good handling pressure. The Steelers have not mounted a real run game yet, which leads one to wonder what have they been doing on offense? They haven’t had the ball much is the correct response, and are 30th in offensive time of possession.
I expect Cleveland to run up some points, and the defense to be on their best behavior, especially at home. Take the Browns to win and cover.
|09-19-22||Vikings +2.5 v. Eagles||Top||7-24||Loss||-110||31 h 16 m||Show|
The Vikings off a hug win against the Packers, looked solid on both offense and defense. Admittedly this was not a vintage game from Rogers, but give the Vikings some credit; they sacked him 4 times, and held Rogers to a 74.7 QB rating. On offense, Cousins, Jefferson, and Cook all looked terrific. Cousins was accurate, and ran up 269 passing yds with 2 TDs and a 118 QB rating.
The Eagles put up a bunch of points but were hardly in control against a team much weaker than the Vikings. Hurts struggled in the air but was a force on the ground. The Eagles’ run game is a force to be reckoned with, and it isn’t just Hurts. The Eagles have a very good offensive line, and a solid running back in Sanders. The Eagles cannot afford to expose Hurts to the same degree very often.
The Eagles’ defense was a concern. They were just OK vs. Gough and the pass, but were very poor vs. the run. As talented as it is the defense is, did not look composed or effective. Can they improve significantly in a week? It seems a tall order. I like the Eagles this year, but just not yet. Take the Vikings to cover.
|09-18-22||Patriots v. Steelers UNDER 40.5||Top||17-14||Win||100||37 h 7 m||Show|
Looking the Patriots and Steelers in week one, there was no joy to be seen, other than the Steelers’ pass defense. They were full marks for a 7 sack, 5 turnover day. And it wasn’t just Watt who excelled, although he will be sorely missed on Sunday. The Patriots’ run defense was also effective, limiting the Dolphins to 65 yards and 2.8 yds a carry. Their pass defense did manage 3 sacks.
Neither quarterback impressed at all. Jones’ accuracy was ok but he also missed relievers badly at very critical moments. He was sacked twice and threw 1 interception. Trubinsky shouldn’t even attempt a long game. He wasn’t intercepted because he consistently overthrew his receivers, had just a 55 % completion rate and looked uncomfortable under pressure. He will likely see more pressure on Sunday.
The two teams were 26th and 27th in total yards on offense last week, with a negligible and unsuccessful running game. Both teams finished under 80 total yards rushing and an average of 3.5 and 3.4 yds per carry.
Where are the points going to come from on Sunday? New England only managed 7 in week one, and the Steelers’ defense accounted for most of the Steelers’ field position and 7 of their points. The answer about points is they aren’t coming, or not very many of them. Take the Patriots and Steelers to go under.
|09-18-22||Dolphins v. Ravens UNDER 44.5||Top||42-38||Loss||-110||12 h 51 m||Show|
The Ravens won easily last week, but it wasn’t the most inspiring of wins. While they limited the Jets’ running game, they allowed Flacco a ton of passing yards. They did sack him three times and pressured him frequently. On offense they took advantage of good field position. Jackson threw for 3 touchdowns, but just 211 yards. He was sacked twice. The Ravens rushed for just 63 yards, and 3 yds per carry with minimal yards from Jackson himself.
The Dolphins rolled over the Patriots, with a fine first outing from Tua and his top two receivers. It was all in the air, as the Dolphins ran for just 78 yards, no TDs and five first downs. The defense pretty well shut down the Patriots’ attack allowing just 270 total yards and 1 TD.
The Dolphins love to blitz and thoroughly disrupted the Ravens’ offense in their meeting last year. Expect more of the same tactic until it is proven unsuccessful. Obviously the Ravens have had lots of time to develop a better strategy, but Jackson can expect plenty of pressure this week.
The Dolphins are expected to be a very good defensive team this year. They won’t have to worry about much of a run game from Miami considering last week’s performance. They should pressure Tua much more than he was last week, although the number of yards given up to Flacco is disconcerting. The Dolphins have the injury bug with their offensive line., making the Ravens’ job slightly easier.
It is hard to pick a clear victor so I am looking to the total. This could be more of a defensive battle than might be expected. Take the total to go under. 9*!
|09-15-22||Chargers v. Chiefs -3.5||Top||24-27||Loss||-115||22 h 48 m||Show|
It is the Chargers and the Chiefs in a barn burner of a match-up on TNF. Mahomes and the Chiefs overpowered the Cardinals over 3 quarters, then coasted home while resting starters, which is significant considering the quick turn-around in Week Two. The Chargers prevailed in a much closer match-up vs the Raiders, and were all out until the last series.
|09-12-22||Broncos -6.5 v. Seahawks||Top||16-17||Loss||-115||21 h 21 m||Show|
For the Broncos, it is kind of like starting school with the brand new outfit; new QB, new coach and new plan for the offense. Same old defense, which is a good thing. Rated well into the top 10, the Broncos’ defense allowed the third lowest points last year. They were particularly good against the pass, and in the red zone, but look for a new emphasis on bringing pressure to quarterbacks this year. The Broncos on offense have a powerful rushing duo in Williams and Gordon, and fine receivers. What remains to be seen is how much of an addition Wilson can be to take the Broncos to the next step and how quickly he can do it.
Much is made in the media about the Seahawks and the return of Wilson. It will be very surprising if the Seahawks thrive rather than flounder this year, and the Broncos will be a very tough opening match. As much as the Seahawks know Russell Wilson, Wilson the playmaker, also knows the Seahawks. Emotions aside, this might be the very best place for Wilson and the Broncos to start.
On offense, Seattle hopes that RB force Penny will continue as he finished last year. It is eight years since Geno Smith played as a starting quarterback, so no great expectations there. Smith did not thrive under pressure last year, and while still has some very fine targets, he is a big step back on QB for the Seahawks this year.
Look for the tough Broncos defense to hold things together early and pressure Smith, and possibly more of a running game early from the Broncos. Wilson knows why he is there, is a consummate professional and competitor, and WILL establish a pass attack. Projected scores for this match vary wildly from a grudge win by a vengeful Seattle squad to a Broncos blowout. I expect something in the middle. Take Denver to win and cover. 9*!
|09-11-22||Chiefs -6 v. Cardinals||Top||44-21||Win||100||22 h 54 m||Show|
What to think of the Cardinals this year? The Cardinals didn't make a ton of changes in the off season They face a tough early schedule, and there is definitely friction around Kyler Murray. The Cardinals have a mediocre offensive line and will be missing Hopkins for the first six games as well as 2 other key targets injured or questionable.. Their day one opponent probably couldn't be worse. Mahomes and the Chiefs don't fail on season openers, and are projected to be in the elite in the league again this year. While they lost Hill, they still have Kelce, and have added key receivers for a new look KC pass attack. One thing that hasn't changed is the O-line, and that is a good thing. It served Mahomes very well last year.
The Cardinals started last season as a very good defensive team, but that changed by the end of the season. The lost some key people on defense and haven't appeared to replace them. The Cardinals have a pretty serious injury bill at the moment. They are not especially good vs the run, so we might just see more running game from the Chiefs on Sunday.
Mahomes has something to prove after a difficult (for him) year in 2021. He has by all reports, prepared very well, and the KC offense looked good in preseason. Take the Chiefs to win and cover on Sunday. 9*!
|09-11-22||Eagles -4.5 v. Lions||Top||38-35||Loss||-115||19 h 16 m||Show|
Have the Eagles truly landed? Well, I am on Hurts and the Eagles until I see otherwise. The Eagles have done much to bolster the team in the off season. AJ Brown might not even be the most significant addition as they have significantly added to the defense through free agency and the draft. Hurts needs to take that step forward this season and the Eagles brain trust has put him in the best possible position to make that step. The Eagles now have a trio of top targets for Hurts, a very strong O-line and a dominant run game to boot. Did I mention a top 5 or 6 defense?
Run is a bit of a dirty word for the Lions. They don't have an established run game, and they likely wont defend the run much better than last year. Geoff, like Hurts, needs to make the next step, but the Lions, while improved, don't have the personnel to fully support him. Their offensive line was expected to be a bright spot this year, but the injury bug has struck already. While it likely won't be the rout we say last year, I expect the Eagles to win and cover.
|09-08-22||Bills -2 v. Rams||Top||31-10||Win||100||45 h 28 m||Show|
The Bills face the Rams on the road in what is touted as a possible prequel to this year's Super Bowl. So what have these teams done lately? The Bills who were solid on both sides of the ball, upgraded on defense by adding Von Miller and others to an already impressive and well run defense. What did the Rams do? certainly, they lost more than they gained.The Rams had their issues on defense last year, especially early in the season and were never much better than average over the season. I am not convinced that the Rams won't struggle early again.
There is no doubting Stafford's abilities, but he doesn't come without a down side. He threw more interceptions than any one last year, and he doesn't exactly spread the ball around. He gets sacked a not inconsiderable number of times, and there are still some questions around his elbow. Allen and his running ability, and Von Miller, who will likely be in Stafford's face a lot on Thursday ,will be the difference-makers in this game.
The Bills are hungrier and with more to prove. On the road or no, take the Bills to win and cover. 9*!
|02-13-22||Rams v. Bengals +4.5||Top||23-20||Win||100||194 h 10 m||Show|
Burrow and Stafford are a given; two dominant passers peaking at the right time, both with superlative targets. Lets look at the defenses, which is where this game will be decided. There are many recent positive improvements for the Rams defense; yards against and 3rd down conversions against are down, and they have been dominant in controlling time of possession. They have been tough on quarterbacks, but they are still only 21st in passing yards allowed. Burrow has been remarkably effective in spite of horrible O-line performance this season. I think the Rams defense will cramp his style but no one has been able to shut him down lately. Stafford may have his hands full as well. The Bengals defense is tough against the run but has been doing the job against the pass as well. They had 4 sacks against Mahomes last week, and pretty well shut down the Chiefs’ fierce pass attack in the second half last time out. They have only given up an average of 19 points a game in their last three against tough competition. The Rams are favored but the Bengals have been defying odds all season. This game will be close likely decided by a single field goal. Take the Bengals to surprise and cover once again.
|02-13-22||Rams v. Bengals UNDER 48.5||Top||23-20||Win||100||75 h 1 m||Show|
Looking at the Rams/Bengals matchup, with two top QBs and their wide variety of excellent receiving options, it is easy to imagine a high-scoring result. I am not seeing this result, and have held off to get the highest total available. I think this game is going under, and here is why.
The Rams defense has been successful at limiting points (18 avg. L3), rushing yards, and has improved recently in yards allowed in the air. They have limited opposing pass offenses to a short pass game, and have limited pass TDs. They are 7th overall in sacks. Burrow has been largely immune to pass pressure, but he won’t be as free and easy to wander vs the Rams’ formidable pass rush. Will they shut Burrow down? Unlikely. Will they slow him down? Very likely. One need only look back to the Bengals/Titans game when the Titans scored only 19 points with Burrow sacked an astounding 9 times. The Bengals may also be forced into more of a run situation on Sunday, slowing the game down. They have a very viable option in Mixon, but the Rams defense has been outright stingy vs the run.
Stafford may have his hands full as well. The Bengals defense is tough against the run, but has been doing the job against the pass as well. They had four sacks against Mahomes last week and adapted well in the second half to control him effectively. They’ve only given up an average of 19 points a game in their last three games. Their QB pressure stats, other than actual sacks, are actually better than the Rams’. The Rams have essentially abandoned the run lately, banking on Stafford, but a hurried Stafford is not without peril. Could we also see more of a running game from Akers and the Rams as well?
That is my take on total. The over/under line has been pretty static, but hunt for the right number, and take this game to surprise a lot of people and go under.
|01-30-22||49ers v. Rams UNDER 46||Top||17-20||Win||100||29 h 8 m||Show|
The Rams face the 49ers for the third time this season, and many reputations rest on the outcome. The two defenses will have a huge impact on this game. Yes, Stafford is on a roll, but the 49ers are tough on quarterbacks, averaging 5 sacks a game in the last three games, are 6th in passing yards allowed this year, and hold opposing Qbs to a rating of 83 over the last three weeks. A rattled Stafford is not nearly the same quarterback. He is not immune to throwing the ball away. Should the Rams look to the running game, it doesn’t get any easier. The 49ers have only allowed 69 rush yards on average in their last three games.
What can we expect from the 49ers’ offense on Sunday? Probably a concentrated effort to run the ball, slowing the game down, and keeping Stafford off the field. It worked for them in their last win against the Rams. Their Qb, Garappolo has not impressed lately, with a QB rating of only 79 in his last three games. The 49ers appear to have more faith in their running game. A note to bear in mind. Their double threat magician Deebo Samuel, terrific lately, may not be 100%.
It would be a mistake to underestimate the Rams’ defense. They are strong against the run; fifth and improving in rush yards/game and rush yards/attempt. They are equally tough on Qbs, holding opposing Qbs to a rating of 71 over the last three games.
The 49ers are a very good road team, and have dominated the Rams for some time. I am not confident in their ability to outscore the Rams, but I do think they will hold the final score down. I am wagering on the total to go under.
|01-30-22||Bengals v. Chiefs OVER 54||Top||27-24||Loss||-112||78 h 46 m||Show|
Bengals vs Chiefs
It is hard to see this as anything other than a shootout. Mahomes, Burrow and their various stellar targets appear to be at peak form. The Bills, who possess much better defense than the Bengals, could not control Mahomes and the Chiefs. The Bengals are 26th in pass yards against, and 8th but sinking badly in rushing yards allowed and sacks. It is hard to imagine them in any way controlling Mahomes and Co. The Bengals beat the Chiefs at their own game 4 weeks ago, and the number of points given up by KC to high-octane pass offenses this year is very high. Burrow takes a lickin’ and still keeps kickin’ every week and one of these days the Bengals lack of an O-line is going to bite them. It may not be this week as KC is only 29th in sacks. I’m looking forward to this game. Who knows, it may even surpass the Bills/Chiefs barn-burner last week. I do think the points will pile up in a big way. Take the over.
|01-30-22||Bengals +7.5 v. Chiefs||Top||27-24||Win||100||55 h 30 m||Show|
The odds have reached a point where Cincinnati seems like a good option. It is a concern that the Chiefs can’t hold an opposing offense, in particular a passing offense, at bay. Burrow and Mahomes have been equally dynamic of late. Burrow will not face the kind of pressure he has endured in either of the last two weeks. The Chiefs have one of the worst defenses in terms of sacks in the league. The Bengals have already beaten the Chiefs in a meaningful game within the last 4 weeks, with great success in the air. A blowout by the Chiefs is highly unlikely. If this game goes as expected, it will likely be decided on one scoring drive or in overtime. I can see the Chiefs up to one touchdown, but after that, I am banking on the Bengals.
|01-23-22||Bills +2.5 v. Chiefs||Top||36-42||Loss||-115||28 h 40 m||Show|
Bills face the Chiefs on Divisional game day. Let us get to the point, and make this short but sweet. Bills will win, and they will have their defense to thank. Two super-hot QBs face off, both in prime form. Mahomes has slightly better passing stats, but Allen is better protected and more of a running threat. I get that Mahomes can be a game changer, but Allen is no slouch in that department either. Give a slight nod to the Chiefs’ passing offense, if you will, but after than it is all about the Bills. They are better on both sides of the ball in the red zone, are 6th on avg. in the major rushing categories, and far superior on defense.
There was a stretch when the Chiefs held the opposition to under two touchdowns on defense, but that has not been the case lately. The Bills have the best defense against the run, and are first in too many categories to list here. The Bills’ O-line has been terrific this year, and their defense has savaged opposing Qbs at an average of 5+ over the last three games. I really don't see Kansas City matching up well here. Yes, the Chiefs are at home this week but the Bills are playing like a team on a mission right now. Bills to cover, and very likely win.
|01-23-22||Rams v. Bucs OVER 47.5||Top||30-27||Win||100||32 h 5 m||Show|
The Rams face the Buccaneers for the second time this season, only this time it is for most the marbles. Not that it really matters at this point, but Tampa Bay has been lights out as a home team, and the Rams are a very good on the road this year. With Brady and Stafford at QB, both these teams are going to score points, and while the teams may run the ball, it will be to set up to two very good pass offenses. That said, the Bucs and Rams have good news on the rush offense side. RB Fournette will be healthy for the Bucs and the Rams have Akers back for only the 2nd time this season. Neither pass defense is in the top echelon, although the Rams did shut the Cardinals down effectively last weekend. Brady and Stafford will likely face more pressure than they are used to. The Rams in particular, have been tough on Qbs lately, and it is still not completely clear how injury will affect the Buc’s defensive line. Not to forget that these teams are 1st and 6th in protecting their passer. Stafford has had issues with interceptions, but didn’t throw the ball away at all last week. Brady rarely throws the ball away. I can see both offenses stepping it out this weekend. Weather conditions will be fine. Look for a ton of points scored. Take the Rams and Bucs to go over the total.
|01-22-22||49ers v. Packers UNDER 47.5||Top||13-10||Win||100||59 h 56 m||Show|
The Packers are back from their bye week, rested and at home, but I wonder just how comfortable they are with this weekend’s match-up. The 49ers’ defense is tough and improving of late. In the last 3 weeks; 4+sacks a game, rush yards against average of 75, pass yards against 189, and an average quarterback rating of 78. You get my point. The last time the Packers played a solid defense was against the Browns, with a very close 22-20 win the result. Now throw in serious low temperatures, wind, and possible snow, all elements that would suggest more of a running game. The 49ers are 7th and climbing in rushing yards, with their Deebo/Mitchell combo. The Packers can also run, although not quite as effectively. They just can’t stop the run (31st in rush yards against). Worst case scenario for the Packers is the Giants coming in and running the ball all the cold day long. I am not saying we won’t see any magic from Rodgers, just less of it. If there weren’t injury issues with a couple of 49ers players, this would be a wager on San Francisco. All things considered, I like the total in this game. Take the 49ers and Packers to go under the total.
|01-22-22||Bengals v. Titans -3||Top||19-16||Loss||-110||81 h 33 m||Show|
The high-flying Bengals, led by star QB Joe Burrow, face a formidable ground-dwelling Titans team that likely features the return of the King, Derrick Henry. Burrow has put up the big numbers in spite of being sacked more than just about any QB in the league. The Titans’ defense sit 25th in passing yards given up, however they are much better in points allowed in the air (7th) and passing first downs. They will get to Burrow, but that hasn’t seemed to matter to his performance. The Bengals’ run defense, 7th for the season, has struggled lately, giving up 150+ yards on average in their last three games.
While this game could be close, I favor the Titans for several reasons. Running under all of the hype around the return of Henry, Tannehill has put together some good outings in his last games. The Bengals’ pass defense is well below average and their defensive line is seriously compromised by injuries. The Titans will have more of a flexible offense on Saturday, and have had very good success in the red zone. The Bengals have a very solid running back in Joe Mixon, but don’t use him much and the Titans’ run defense is very very tough. The Titans will struggle to contain Burrow and Co., but they don’t give up a lot of points and are 4th in red-zone defense. The Titans are healthy and well rested. The best defense against Burrow is to keep him off the field. I think the Titans will establish a run game against the Bengals and slow this game down. A healthy Henry would just be the icing on the cake. Look for the Titans to win and cover.
|01-17-22||Cardinals v. Rams -3.5||Top||11-34||Win||100||12 h 22 m||Show|
The Cardinals have been on a downward trend, losing 4 of 5, scoring less points and allowing considerably more over the last month. There is no defensive category where they have shown anything but a slide. Things are not much better on offense with far less passing yards, and far poorer results in the red zone. That is a lot of ship to right coming into the wildcard weekend. They are a good road team and beat the Cowboys on the road, but lets not forget that they lost badly on the road to the Lions.
The Rams have won 4 of 5, losing narrowly to the 49ers last week. Well, don’t they always lose to the 49ers? Much has been and should be made of Stafford’s ability to turn the ball over. He faced formidable pressure from the 49ers’ defense and was sacked 5 times. The Cardinals will not exert that kind of pressure on Stafford this week. The Rams’ defense are tough on the run, and very good at getting to the quarterback. They give up yards against the pass, but not necessarily points. They are much better in the red zone of late. They beat Arizona by 7 last time out. I don’t think it will be much different this week.
The Rams have the stars who can excel, Stafford being one of them. This is a critical game for some very big Rams reputations. I am wagering for LA to step up here. Take the Rams to win and cover.
|01-16-22||Steelers v. Chiefs -11.5||Top||21-42||Win||100||21 h 53 m||Show|
The Chiefs crushed the Steelers just three weeks ago, winning by 26. The Steelers squeaked into the playoffs by the slimmest of margins, and all the talk about no pressure on the Steelers in this game doesn’t hide the fact that the Chiefs are a much better team with a recent history of playoff success.
The Steelers’ claim to fame is their pass defense, in particular Qb pressure, pass yards allowed and yards per attempt. That said, it is odd that against the good pass-first offenses they have played (Bengals, Chiefs, Chargers and Vikings) , all were losses and some by wide margins. As far as sacks go, the Chiefs are third in the league in protecting their QB, allowing just 1 sack per week over their last three games. TJ Watt was held in control in their last meeting, a rare occasion.
The Steelers are dead last against the run. Even though the Chiefs are best known as a pass-first offense, they have far greater balance this year and can run the ball very effectively. Mahomes will do whatever is needed under the circumstances to win a game. He is still one of the best rushing Qbs in the business.
The Chiefs’ defense gives up the eighth least points allowed, which is surprising as there is no one area in which they excel. They are healthy now, and we need to be reminded that they have held 6 of their last 9 opponents to under two Tds. The Steelers just don’t put many points on the board. With a very poor run game and a very average pass offense, I don’t expect them to surprise anyone on Sunday. Take the Chiefs to win and cover.
|01-16-22||Eagles v. Bucs UNDER 46||Top||15-31||Push||0||30 h 31 m||Show|
The Eagles are not going to be scared off their run-focused game plan easily; the Buccaneers’ powerful run defense is not quite what it was last year or even earlier in the season. The Bucs haven’t faced a quarterback who runs as well as Hurts does lately, and the Eagles have the best run offense in the league, with two solid RBs who will figure into the picture. Still, Tampa does not give points up easily. Fifth in the league in points allowed, they do allow passing yards, but not so many points, and do pressure the opposing quarterback very well.
The Eagles have been successful at limiting pass and run yards this year, but between the Eagles’ lack of QB pressure, and the Buc’s very good O-line, Brady will likely be a force to be reckoned with. Throwing into the wind and the rain will likely have some impact on Brady’s game, and the Buccaneers are far less effective moving the football on the ground.
I like the total in this game. The Buccaneers have some key players who are still banged up. The weather conditions suggest a slower than usual game, and possibly more of a running game from the Buccaneers. The Eagles may find points hard to come by on Saturday, and may have a little success limiting Brady. The total seems high in this situation. Take the Eagles and Buccaneers to go under on Sunday.
|01-15-22||Patriots v. Bills -4||Top||17-47||Win||100||36 h 31 m||Show|
The Patriots face the Bills for a chance to move on, but looking carefully at the two teams’ last month’s performances, it seems unlikely that they can or will win this game. There has been a significant regression in the Patriots’ defensive performance, especially in the run, an aspect of the game that will likely figure prominently on a very cold day in Buffalo. Points allowed are way up, their ability to pressure QBs has declined, and their red zone defense has declined. This against a Bills team with the third highest points for. For a generally pass-first offense, the Bills have now passed the Patriots in rushing yards and rush yards/attempt. Allen has had excellent protection three weeks in a row.
As much as the Patriots’ defense has declined, the Bills’ defensive effort has soared. First in points allowed, dominant in all pass defense categories, they have also shown huge improvement in rush defense.
The Bills are very healthy; not so the Patriots, with numerous starters banged up. The Bills are on a roll and Allen is in good form. There are some questions around Patriots’ QB Jones lately, and the rookie QB faces a very tough defense in cold play-off conditions. Belichick or no, the Bills will win and cover..
|01-15-22||Raiders v. Bengals -5||Top||19-26||Win||100||55 h 59 m||Show|
The Raiders, off an inspiring win last week, squeaked into the playoffs, and now face a rested Bengals team. The pass-first Bengals offense comes in with Burrow at his peak, some solid receiving options, and a top 5 running back, a dual threat, who they probably under-use on the ground. Burrow is accurate, explosive and does not turn the ball over. The only issue with Burrow is the lack of protection he gets. The Bengals defense is middle of the pack. Their strengths are against the run, they give up yards but not necessarily points against the pass, and they can be effective in pressuring the QB. They have a definite advantage in turnovers, both on offense and defense.
The Raiders have presented a much more balanced attack in their last few games and it has been working for them. Carr might be playing second to Burrow, but his stats speak for themselves. The Raiders have relied much more on their running game lately, and have a good running back, also a twin threat, in Jacobs. On defense, the Raiders have given up a ton of points this season, but that has declined outside of last week. They have tightened up against the run, but do struggle against a strong pass-first offense such as the Bengals. The Raiders’ red zone defense is also an issue.
The Bengals beat the Raiders handily on the road earlier in the season. Cincinnati hasn’t won a playoff game in a very long time, so they are due. The Raiders did not have the benefit of a week off, and are on the road. I am wagering that the Bengals, a real offensive powerhouse in top form, to outscore the Raiders. Cincinnati to win and cover.
|01-09-22||Chargers v. Raiders OVER 48.5||Top||32-35||Win||100||13 h 44 m||Show|
This “win or done” matchup features two very good quarterbacks and a pair of often unimpressive offenses. The Raiders have been tough to score on lately. Their pass defense has been surprisingly good in their last three games, but they haven’t faced a strong pass-first offense since the Chiefs, who badly mauled them. The Chargers, as good as their offense has been, give up a ton of points, and often to unlikely teams (41 points to Houston). They also struggled against the Chiefs. Both these teams defend poorly in the red zone.
Herbert is the wonder boy these days but he is still relatively inexperienced. It will be interesting to see how he plays in a the Raiders’ loud and hostile stadium in playoff-like conditions. Carr is very much the veteran and at home.
How is this one going to play out? I think Carr and the Raiders will put up points against a weak and regressing Chargers defense. I also think that the Raiders will not be able to handle the ‘Herbert and Ekeler’ duo as easily as their last three opponents. Tough call on the winner, but look for plenty of points. Take the Chargers and Raiders to go over the total.
|01-09-22||Saints -4 v. Falcons||Top||30-20||Win||100||150 h 44 m||Show|
The Saints are still in the playoff picture and the Falcons aren’t. All the talk of the Falcons as spoilers is nothing like the impetus of still playing for the post season. This and the Saints’ absolutely dominant defense, arguably the best against the run and hugely improved vs the pass of late, will push the Saints past the Falcons.
As much as the Saints defense has improved, the Falcons’ defense has regressed. They are bottom 6 in points allowed, red zone defense, and 32nd and slipping in Qb sacks. They allowed 175 yards rushing over their last three games. Their offense is also trending down, averaging just 16 points scored over their last three games. Ryan has been sacked 37 times, including 5 last week.
Will the Saints cover? They bumped their points-for up to 18 last week. Hill should have plenty of protection, and did get something going with two of his receivers, Kamara and Callaway. He is a big threat to run and the Falcons don’t fare well against a QB who can run. The Saints are healthier than they have been, and have a solid rush attack, possibly including Ingram as well as Kamara. While I am not expecting a blow-out, I am wagering on the Saints to cover as well as win.
|01-09-22||Colts v. Jaguars UNDER 44||Top||11-26||Win||100||39 h 1 m||Show|
The Colts really need this win, and will be all in. The Jaguars? Who knows? They've played the Colts tough, with an embarrassingly ( for the Colts) long streak of home victories, and with a relatively close game earlier in the season. There is also their ranking and the #1 draft pick situation to consider. I am sure that the Colts will win this game, but by how much is the question. The Colts don't need to grind the Jaguars into the ground, so playing full out for the full 60 minutes may not be necessary. The Jaguars don't put up a ton of points, and the Colts' offensive numbers have regressed somewhat. Where the Colts have improved is that they are tougher to score against. They are a run-first offense, and it would make no sense to change the game plan for the sake of running up the score. Of all the options in this game, I am most comfortable with a lower total. I am wagering the Colts lead comfortably, then shut the Jaguars down. Take the UNDER today.
|01-09-22||Titans -10 v. Texans||Top||28-25||Loss||-110||24 h 58 m||Show|
The Titans face the Texans in a key game for their play off hopes. They are playing for a bye week, and with their “ultra RB’ Henry near a return, it would be very significant win. The Titans will leave nothing to chance with the memory of a very poor effort against the Texans still strong.
The Titans defense was absolutely formidable last week, holding Miami to 3 points. They are healthier, with all defensive categories markedly improved over the last three weeks. The Texans’ defense is particularly poor vs. the run; last in yards allowed and 2nd last in rush tds allowed. This kind of performance is obviously a very poor match with the Titans’ strengths. Even without Henry, the Titans’ run-first offense has been taking great strides, averaging 163 yards a game in their last three starts.
Tannehill will remember his last game vs Houston as he was sacked 7 times. The Texans don’t generally apply that much pressure. Look for the Tennessee O-line to do a better job of protection, with Tannehill only throwing as needed. Rookie David Mills appears to be settling in with the Texans, but will likely face intense pressure on game day.
I am wary of a wide spreads in week 18, but I think the Titans will be all in until the end on this one. Who knows what kind of effort to expect from the Texans? I am confident that the Titans will win and cover on Sunday.
|01-08-22||Chiefs v. Broncos UNDER 45||Top||28-24||Loss||-107||27 h 40 m||Show|
The Chiefs meet the Broncos in a very meaningful game for K.C., but not really for Denver. After limiting opposing teams' offense in the extreme, the Chiefs have given up two high totals in three games, and seen their defensive stats plummet. As much as the Chiefs need a win, this is also their last chance to right the ship on defense before the post season. The good news is that they face Drew Lock, rather than Burrow or Herbert.
While this is not a really meaningful game for the Broncos other than Lock, it is a home game, so look for some effort. The Denver defense stumbled last week but has held most teams to under 20 points, or in the case of the Chiefs last time out, 22 points. Their offense has stumbled for more than a week, averaging only 12 points for the last 3 games.
Both teams appear to be over the worst of covid, touch wood, but the Chiefs are missing their best RB, and the Broncos, their QB and other significant players. Look for the Chiefs to focus on defense in this game. Look for a return to the tight defense they showed for much of the year, with the Broncos struggling to put points on the board. If the Broncos do play all out, they have the potential to slow the Chiefs' potentially explosive offense. I am wagering on the total to go under.
|01-03-22||Browns v. Steelers UNDER 42||Top||14-26||Win||100||20 h 11 m||Show|
Both the Browns and the Steelers are teetering on the edge of a playoff-less season. Who ever loses on Monday is finished. The Browns are at their healthiest in some time. They have one of the best running backs in the business. The Steelers rank dead last in rush yards allowed and yards per attempt. Browns’ quarterback is playing wounded and it shows in his passing stats. Look for the Browns to deliver a steady diet of Nick Chubb and slow this game down. The Pittsburgh defense excels in sacks, passing yards allowed, and red zone defense, which with a rush-first opponent like the Browns, plays to a low total.
There is a fair bit of hype about this being Roethlisberger’s swansong, but lets face it; he is retiring for a reason. While he is still accurate and doesn’t turn the ball over, his yards per game and yards/attempt have dropped. He is a bit of a sitting duck back there, and has been sacked with regularity this season. The flip side of Big Ben’s retirement is that there are a whole lot of Browns players who would like to make his last home game a memorable one, with a little payback.
Pittsburgh has been running the ball more but they are up against a very stiff Browns run offense. The Browns are very solid against the pass as well, so don’t look for the Steelers, lower than average in points scored per game, to pile up the points. I like the total in this game. Look for a result similar to the Titans/Steelers. Take the under.
|01-02-22||Vikings v. Packers -13||10-37||Win||100||7 h 1 m||Show|
I released this wager early and have a very favorable line personally. I still do really like this play though.
The Vikes are down and out after last weekend's 30-23 loss to LA. Kirk Cousins had 315 yards and a TD, but Cousins is now out because of COVID protocol. Sean Mannion is the backup and I just can see him stepping up on such short notice and being productive whatsoever.
Green Bay is now in the drivers seat in the NFC and this is an opportunity that I expect Aaron Rogers and company to take advantage of. The Packers are just a game up on Dallas, who owns the tiebreaker, and the Rams and Bucs are also just behind.
Also note, Minnesota won't have TE and offensive star Adam Thelien playing either. This one is a "no brainer." Lay the points. 8* PACKERS
|01-02-22||Panthers v. Saints -6.5||Top||10-18||Win||100||9 h 4 m||Show|
Comparing a team’s stats in their last few games to their seasons’ average can be informing. Looking at the Panthers’ defensive numbers, I’d say they’ve already broken out the golf clubs. The Panthers’ rush defense has not been up to much all season, but the pass defense was solid. In their past few games, their effectiveness has plummeted, which is good new for the Saints. The Saints have a running game with Kamara back and Hill at QB, but they need all the help they can get on pass offense. This will be as complete a lineup as the Saints have had in some time, so it will be interesting to see if they can put up more than 14 points, which is what they have averaged lately. The Saints defense has yet to stumble this year; top of the heap in red zone defense, great rushing defense and improving pass defense. Carolina doesn’t put up many points on the board, and again, that number has also tanked lately. The QB position has been an adventure, and their rushing yards are in decline.
This is a rare opportunity for the Saints to put some points on the board, and help out their dwindling chances for a wild card spot. It is really a meaningless game for the Panthers other than for draft position, and an away game at that. I believe the Saints formidable defense will stymie the Panthers’ suspect offense. Take the Saints to win and cover.
|01-02-22||Raiders v. Colts -6.5||Top||23-20||Loss||-127||47 h 53 m||Show|
The Raiders face the Colts in a crucial game with both teams hit with some severity by covid. QB Wentz could be out for the Colts, which is not quite such a loss in the Colts’ run-first offense. Wentz was solid last week, but many weeks Wentz is not as prominent. Untested rookie Sam Ehlinger will likely replace him. The Colts’ O line has protected their passer effectively this year. One wrinkle in the mix is that Ehlinger is much more of a run threat than Wentz.
Can the Colts still win and cover? No one has stopped Jonathon Taylor, and while Vegas has shown improvement in rush defense, they have not faced anyone like him. Of note, the Raiders are the very worst red-zone defenders in the NFL. The Raiders’ pass defense has been solid in yards allowed but they do allow more than their share of points, they don’t pressure Qbs especially well, and they don’t create many turnovers.
The Colts defense has shown real improvement, giving up more than 17 points only once in their last 6 games, while facing very stiff competition. The Raiders are a pass-first offense, with Derek Carr the focus. Carr is banged up, which might account for the significant drop in passing yards over the last few games. The Raiders will again be missing Waller again this week. The Colts don’t pressure Qbs so much which is good because the Raiders are middle of the road in protecting Carr. The Colts are very adept at creating turnovers, while the Raiders give up the ball a lot.
Much has been made of the loss of Wentz, but the Raiders are the more depleted of the two teams. The Colts have been terrific against the spread this year, and overpowering of late. I’m betting on the Colts to again win and cover.
|01-02-22||Eagles -3 v. Washington Football Team||Top||20-16||Win||100||39 h 55 m||Show|
There is very little good news on the injury front for a very disrupted WFT. Heinicke is beaten up and in the dog house, and top running back Gibson is out. This is a blow for a team struggling to put meat on the table (so to speak). The Football Team is up against a surging Eagles team, winners of 5 of 6 games, and needing a win to solidify their playoff hopes.
The Eagles are top in the NFL with the run. Howard is questionable, but with the other backs and Hurts in the equation, they should be in good form. The Football Team is 8th in the league against the run but very much in freefall lately, allowing over 150 yards rushing in their last three games. Other than QB pressure, Washington is very poor against the pass. While the Eagles don’t rely on their passing game, Hurts has seen his QB stats climb lately.
The Football team will have their hands full against an increasingly tough Eagles defense. Only 1 team in the last 8 has run for +100 yards against them, and they are top 10 in all of the pass defense categories other than sacks. They have been very stingy in points allowed, averaging just 15 over the last three games.
In “what have you done lately” terms, this game is all Eagles. They beat the Football Team by 10 points 2 weeks ago, and I can’t see that Washington is in any better shape now. Barring a major underestimation by the Eagles, this game should be theirs for the taking. Take Philadelphia to win and cover.
|01-02-22||Falcons v. Bills -14.5||15-29||Loss||-101||39 h 50 m||Show|
The Bills are running hot and are fairly healthy, which is saying a lot. Allen is the QB of the moment with his fine performance last week, and he is up against a Falcons pass defense that is 23rd in yards allowed and 32nd in sacks. Giving Allen that kind of friendly environment will likely lead to a high total. The Falcons’ run defense is also on the average side, allowing more than 125 yds over their last three games. The Bills have averaged 135 rushing yards over their last three games, even though they are a pass-first offense. Singletary and Allen give the Bills much more flexibility in their running game.
The Falcons aren’t scoring a ton of points, and they struggle badly against good teams. I remember vividly their 25 -0 loss to the Patriots, who the Bills beat up on last week. Atlanta's run game is worst in the league and sinking fast. Ryan is a competent QB, but he will be up against the league’s best pass defense, both in yards and yards/attempt.
The Falcons have covid issues, much more at the moment than the Bills. Atlanta has been blown out more than a couple of times this year. Sunday’s game might just be one more nail in the playoff coffin.
The points are high but I believe the Bills will win and cover.
|12-27-21||Dolphins -2.5 v. Saints||Top||20-3||Win||100||37 h 41 m||Show|
Even after their shutout against the Bucanneers, there is still the Saints' 9 point offense to consider, and that was with their quarterback and some other key pieces who will be missing this week. Now the Saints are down to their 3rd or 4th string QB. A Saints win would make a great Disney feature, but lets face it; "this ain't no movie", as the song goes.
The Saints defense has dominant last week, and has been their strong suit all season. The Dolphins allowed 24 points to the Jets, but this was not a result for the Dolphins. In their previous 5 games they allowed an average of around 12 points per game, while reeling off 5 staight wins.
Tagovailoa has improved over the course of the season, and has been accurate and well protected of late. The Dolphins have shown dramatic improvement in offense. Here are a pair of stats to compare: Dolphins have scored 28 points on average in their last three games compared to 18 for the Saints. The Dolphins have an 81 scoring % in the red zone over the last two weeks, compared to the Saints’ 28% rate.
It appears to have been a doomed season for the Saints. They are depleted once again, and we saw where that got them earlier in the year. Take the Dolphins to win and cover.
|12-26-21||Washington Football Team v. Cowboys -8.5||14-56||Win||100||6 h 50 m||Show|
The numbers have dropped to a more reasonable level in the WTF/Cowboys game. The WFT must be thinking "WTF" after their last couple of weeks. Although players, including Heinicke, are returning, the team is still suffering the effects of Covid, a very short turnaround, 2 demoralizing losses, and an away game. The Cowboys are healthier, at home, and no doubt still motivated. Prescott is a few weeks past his return and was looking better last week. The WFT excels nowhere on offense and may be missing their best runningback. Their defense had been very solid against the run this season but has regressed significantly lately. Other than pressuriing the passer, their pass defense is among the worst in the league.
Dallas' defense has gone from worst to almost first this season; the unexpected powerhouse of this team. Look for a more settled offense to return to early season form. The Cowboys have been good against the spread for most of the season. Now that the points are out of the double figures, take the Cowboys to win and cover.
|12-26-21||Steelers v. Chiefs UNDER 45.5||Top||10-36||Loss||-110||9 h 57 m||Show|
Big Ben is no longer the formidable opponent he once was, but he is still the only show in town as far as the Steelers’ offense goes. The pass game is definitely middle of the pack, but the Steelers just don’t run. Period. They are 31st in the NFL in rush yards, and 30th in rush 1st downs. They don’t defend the run well either; their rush defense is 31st on average, and abysmal in their last two games. What the Steelers do well on defense is defend against the pass (12th rated and improving) and get to opposing Qbs (2nd and improving). How does this stack up against the Chiefs? The Chiefs can run, and will if pressed, but it is usually a second choice. The Steelers’ offense may shift the Chiefs to more of a run-first style of offense, so likely no 413 yards passing this week and maybe a lot less points scored. Other than last week, the Chiefs have held opposing teams to less than 9 points a game over a 5 game stretch. They are a “bend but don’t break” defense. Roethlisberger may have some success against them but I don’t see him stacking up the points. Considering the matchup and the Chiefs’ ability to keep the score down, I think the game’s total is high. Take the Steelers and Chiefs to go under the total.
|12-26-21||Bills v. Patriots -2||Top||33-21||Loss||-110||53 h 5 m||Show|
The Bills face New England in a critical game for both teams. The Patriots ran all over the Bills in their last windswept meeting, but weather, with possible snow, may still be a factor this time out. Covid may also be a factor with the Bills especially depleted.
After allowing a very uncharacteristic 27 points to the Colts, look for the Patriots’ defense to bounce back this week. Josh Allen is hampered by a foot injury, which may affect his usual mobility. The Patriots’ pass defense is tough on pass offenses, with low yards allowed and good QB pressure stats.
The Bills defense is very strong against the pass, but has been run on lately. Other than last week, QB pressure is not their strong point. The New England O line has protected Jones very well lately, while Allen has been sacked with frequency, specially last game.
Enter Belichik, New England’s thirteenth man. He and the Patriots are off a loss; two in a row is not a part of the plan. This game could be close, but a hampered Allen, the Bills covid issues, and the Bills’ uneven season sway me towards the Patriots. New England to win and cover.
|12-25-21||Colts +1 v. Cardinals||22-16||Win||100||36 h 23 m||Show|
If you took the Cardinals' stats for the last three games and compared them to NFL season averages, they would be in the bottom 10 % of the league. This, against the Lions, Bears and Raiders. This would appear to be a serious downturn rather than a fly on the windshield. On the other side, the Colts are peaking, with dramatically better performance across the board over the same period against much tougher competition (NE, Houston, Tampa Bay).
If Arizona has any chance to bounce back on Saturday, it will be up to Murray and his targets, as the Colts are very tough to run against. Murray has not looked himself in his last two games and the Cardinals' pass yards and completion % have plummeted. The Colts' offense is all about Taylor and the run, with Wentz performing as needed. Curiously, Wentz has more pass TDs than Murray, with minimal interceptions. The Colts' O line has protected their QB better than has Arizonas'. The Colts are very good on the road while the Cardinals, even when hot, have been indifferent at home.
Yes, the Cardinals could bounce back on Saturday, but i wouldn't count on it. Take the Colts to stay the course. Colts + anything should work. A sizable win would not astonish me.
|12-25-21||Browns v. Packers UNDER 46.5||Top||22-24||Win||100||4 h 33 m||Show|
The Browns have had a tough season to date but are starting to get healthier. One thing that hasn't suffered lately is their defense, giving up less than 16 points on average over their last four games. The Browns are in desperation mode, and while you can't expect Rodgers and Co. to take it easy today, they know where they are headed already. The Browns have one of the very best running backs in the league and the Packers can be run against. The best way to control Rodgers is to keep him off the field. The Browns are tough against opposing QBs, both in yards allowed and in pressuring QBs. The Packers have not protected Rodgers particularily well lately. Mayfield may be back today but hasn't practised, and the Browns are very poor at scoring on the road. Look for this game to produce less points that expected. Take the total to go under..
|12-23-21||49ers v. Titans UNDER 44||Top||17-20||Win||100||14 h 52 m||Show|
The Titans are up against a very hot 49ers team with first place in the AFC south now in jeopardy. They have not been scoring enough points to win with any regularity. Off a disappointing loss, and with far too many turnovers lately, is there any likelihood that the Titans can bounce back? The Titans are still a rush-first offense and are running for yards with success, but they are up against a solid 49ers rush defense. Their pass offense is very weak, down 80 yards per game over their last 3 starts when compared to their season average. It is uncertain if one or both of WRs Brown or Jones will be starting this week. Tannehill has been sacked 37 times this year and will likely spend more time on his back as the 49ers are 10th in the league and improving in sacks.
The 49ers have seen growth in their rush offense lately but are up against a very tough Titans rush defense that has been lights out in their last three starts. Garoppolo has silenced a few of his critics with some decent numbers lately. He is accurate and has cut down on hi turnovers. The 49ers have protected him well this season. Of note, the 49ers are best in the league in red zone scoring %. That said, the Titans’ pass defense has been much improved lately, allowing fewer yards and Tds against. Their sack totals have also picked up.
Given their recent success, the 49ers have not faced a really tough defense lately. The Titans are hard to score against, but are only averaging 15 points per game over the last 4 games, and I don’t expect a significant improvement this week. Take the 49ers and Titans to go UNDER THE TOTAL ON THURSDAY
|12-21-21||Seahawks v. Rams -7||Top||10-20||Win||100||2 h 59 m||Show|
It is a tough call on the Seahawks/ Rams game, because of the Covid disruption. The Seahawks defense has shown real improvement lately in points allowed, red zone protection and rushing yards allowed. Their run offense has climbed dramatically, and Russel has looked back in form. How will they fare against the Rams? Much depends on who is playing today so it will be a last minute decision. The Rams are all about pass offense, with Stafford and Cupp front and center. It is not that the Rams never run, but they are 25th in the league at the moment, so winning against the Rams means controlling the pass. The Seahawks are not successful in QB pressure,(29th rated). They are worst in the league in pass yards allowed and there has been no sign of improvement lately. The Rams are not a warm and fuzzy matchup for the Seahakwks defense.
|12-20-21||Vikings v. Bears OVER 44||Top||17-9||Loss||-110||12 h 48 m||Show|
The Bears have scored 52 points in their last two games, a huge improvement over their lowly 17 point scored average. The Bears have a solid run game, but the improvement has come in the passing game, with good increases in passing yards and points in the last three games. Unfortunately the Bears defense, already 28th rated, is much worse over their last three games.
The Vikings haven’t had a low scoring game since week 4. They are 10th and climbing in points scored, with an average of 30 points in their last three games. Like the Bears, their points allowed, never low, has climbed to 29 over the last three games.
On the field, the Vikings defense is 26th and 27th rated against the pass and run respectively, but they are top in the league at applying QB pressure. Luckily for the Bears, Field has handled the blitz well and has the advantage of scrambling impressively. The Bears defense struggle against the run but generally handle the pass well. The Vikings put up monster numbers with the run offense last week and have shown improvement well above average with their run game lately. Against Cousins, the Bears face a well protected, dynamic, and accurate QB, with high TD totals and low interception and sack numbers. Cousins could very well pick the Bears offense apart, just as Rogers did last week.
Lets see, both teams are scoring more on offense and allowing more on defense. It doesn’t take rocket science to see the potential for a high scoring affair. This game is a definite total over selection
|12-19-21||Saints +11.5 v. Bucs||9-0||Win||100||12 h 58 m||Show|
The Saints meet up with the Bucs sporting an impressive recent history against them. Can they continue their unlikely dominance against the immensely talented Brady and Co? Probably not. Can they keep this game close? Yes, and here is why.
The Saints have struggled this season and have had severe injury issues. In week 15, their three very good rush options (Hill, Kamara, Ingram) are all healthy. And yes, you can run on the Bucs. While third in defense against the run for the season, the Bucs’ rush defense has degraded of late, both in yards allowed, yards per carry, and points allowed of late. In addition, they have a hard time against a QB who can run. I think the Saints’ healthy and diverse run offense will have success against the Bucs.
It is unlikely that they will completely control Brady, but with an established run game, they can keep him off the field. The Buccaneers have become somewhat less of a pass first offense of late, but RB Fournette is questionable or compromised this week. The Saints defense has been very good against the run and best in the league at red zone defense. Their pass defense has improved dramatically of late. They have been able to get to Brady in the past, although the Bucs’ O line is generally very solid.. If they can key on Brady, they can prevent a blowout.
The Bucs’ defense is only average against the pass, but very good in QB pressure. The second key is whether Hil can establish enough of a passing game to be effective.
The Saints need a win here to stay in the running. A win is unlikely but I am counting on them to keep this game close. Take the Saints with the points.
|12-19-21||Bengals +3 v. Broncos||Top||15-10||Win||100||31 h 37 m||Show|
The Broncos are off a lopsided win, the Bengals off a pair of losses. This is THE game to ante in or fold for both teams, in what will likely be a very close match up. At QB, the young dynamic Burrow gets the nod over Bridgewater, but with a couple of caveats. Burrow has been sacked an astounding 41 times, and has thrown for too many interceptions. Still, he is very cool under fire, and very good against the blitz.
Both teams have solid run offenses. The Broncos have been “runnin’ fools” in the last 3 weeks. The Broncos are a run-first offense, and that is unlikely to change on Sunday, which plays to the Bengals’ strength on defense. Forcing Bridgewater to throw will likely be a Bengals focus.
Denver’s defense is strong against the pass and great in the red zone. Some teams have run on them and they are only average in QB pressure, which might be a break for Burrow. The Bengals defense does two things very well. They apply pressure to opposing QBs, and as noted are very strong against the run.
This game will be close, and likely hinges on turnovers. If the Bengals control their turnovers, they win outright. While the Broncos are solid in ball control, I still like the explosiveness of a Burrow-led Bengals offense. Take the Bengals with the points.
|12-19-21||Cardinals -12.5 v. Lions||12-30||Loss||-105||52 h 46 m||Show|
This is a very lopsided match-up with an equally large point spread. I can’t see the Cardinals not taking the Lions seriously. I think the reverse is more likely. After a tough loss and a blow to their collective egos, I see the Cardinals out for blood, with no mercy shown. Looking at games where Arizona has played the NFL lesser lights, there have been some very big margins. The stats are remarkably one sided; there is no one area that the Lions excel in for them to take any purchase on keeping this game close. A couple of key stats: red zone success- Arizona, 3rd, Detroit, 31st, and sacks- Cardinals 6th and climbing, Lions 31st. Murray will have lots of protection but it could be a very long evening for Goff.
The Lions lost by 28 against Denver last week. As much as this is a large spread, I think the Cardinals will win and cover. Expect a similar result to week 14
|12-18-21||Patriots +2.5 v. Colts||Top||17-27||Loss||-110||84 h 42 m||Show|
The Patriots are 7-0 in recent games. All the wins have one thing in common; their opponents just don’t score enough points to win. Patriots’ QB Mac Jones has shown remarkable poise and improvement in his first year. Off a bye and 3 pass win against the Bills, Jones’ arm will be well rested if nothing else. Lets see if he can shine against an average Colts pass defense.
The Colts are on a win one-lose one pattern, but have been piling up and allowing points in a big way, mostly scoring on the back of Jonathon Taylor. Controlling Taylor will be the key for the Patriots. The Patriots have a solid run defense and Belichick has had a week and a half to come up with a plan. The Patriots do give up some rushing yards, but they are best in the league in fewest rushing points allowed.
It will not be easy for Colts QB Wentz on Saturday. Wentz has been OK for the Colts and has shown some improvement lately, but he will be up against a very tough Patriots’ pass defense. Over the last three games, NE’s passing yards allowed have dropped from a seasonal average of 195 to 113 yards allowed. They are 9th in sacks, and very solid pressuring the passer.
While the Colts have Taylor, the Patriots’ have a trio of good options up against the Colts’ middle of the road run defense.
It is hard to bet against the Patriots, but as a slight underdog, it would not be wise. Look for them to reign in Taylor to some degree. If this happens, I don’t see Wentz picking up the slack. Patriots
|12-16-21||Chiefs -3 v. Chargers||34-28||Win||100||36 h 49 m||Show|
Step back to NFL week three when the Chargers knocked off the Chiefs 30-24. Fast forward to now. It is remarkable how the Chiefs became so tough to play against. It is now 4 of 5 games that the Chiefs have allowed less than NINE points. Teams have had success passing against the Chiefs, but they don’t score that often. The Chiefs have really tightened up in the red zone, and in TDs allowed. They have also become much tougher in pressuring the QB, which will be critical on Thursday
While the Chargers are very good defending against the pass, they have been run on almost at will at times by opposing teams, and are 30th defending in the red zone. They have not allowed less than 20 points since week on.
Mahomes and Herbert are quite similar when the stats are compared. Both are a solid run option, and can be explosive. Mahomes has been lower key, but did bounce back for a huge game in week 14. Herbert had some struggles after a strong start, but has been dominant of late.
Oddly, the running game may decide this match up. The Chiefs’ no longer require Mahomes to be their only option. They have a number of viable run options, against a weak Chargers defense. The Chargers are far more reliant on Herbert as a one trick pony. Their best RB is limited this week, and the Chiefs defense has been all over the run in the last few games.
The last time the Chargers faced a tough defense (Denver) they did not fare well. I don’t see the Chiefs reverting to their early season struggles on defense, and Mahomes looked pretty fired up last week. The Chiefs just have more options than the Chargers. Look for KC to control Herbert, and win the rematch. Chiefs to win and cover..
|12-13-21||Rams v. Cardinals -128||Top||30-23||Loss||-128||12 h 55 m||Show|
The Rams are 8-4, but their list of conquests reads like the NFL bottom-feeders club. The last time they beat a team with a winning record was week one. Arizona has a far more impressive pedigree this year, and continued to win without their starting Qb. Comparing quarterbacks, Stafford throws for more yards and TDs, is less accurate, with more interceptions and some questionable decision making. He has been very well protected by his O-line, but that may change this week. While Murray didn’t throw much in his return, he is more accurate, and is a real option to run, health permitting. He has weathered more pressure than Stafford.
As the run goes, the Rams don’t. Much. They are missing their top RB, but Michel did fill in well last game. The Cardinals have a solid pair of options (three if you count Murray) they can rely upon. They are top of the pack in rushing Tds.
The Rams run defense give up a lot of yards and points (23rd rated), but against the pass, they are straight out tough. The Cardinals defense is strong all around and very tough in the red zone. Both teams have exceptional pass rushes.
So who wins this one? If you ask me, it is the Cardinals. They beat the Rams previously, have faced tougher competition with better results, and have a more balanced offense. Take the Cardinals to win outright.
|12-12-21||Bears +11.5 v. Packers||30-45||Loss||-110||9 h 48 m||Show|
The Bears rumble into their match against the Packers and it won’t be a picnic. While the Bears are trending towards healthy, or at least healthier, the Packers are still a force to be reckoned with. The Bears’ rookie QB is back from injury, but this is hardly cause for celebration. Justin Field’s numbers are not impressive. Two stats stand out; 4 Tds against 8 interceptions, and an ugly 31 sacks. No wonder his ribs hurt. On the plus side, he can run. At QB this game is a mismatch. Compare to Rodgers’ 23 Tds, vs 4 interceptions and 21 sacks. Rogers will likely control this game, using the Packers’ very average running game when he needs to.
All the signs point to a big Packers win, but Rodgers’ comments no doubt stung. A win is likely out of the question for the Bears, but what do they have or need to keep this one close?
1. Run the ball successfully and slow the game down. Montgomery can be a force to be reckoned with, and Fields, if he is up to it, can also run. The Packers’ defense are tough against the run, especially lately.
2. The Bears defense is poor against the run, but solid against the pass. They can and will want to get to Rodgers today. Making his life miserable will likely be job #1.
3. Control turnovers. Fields has been a walking interception machine. Rodgers is very careful with the ball. The Bears must protected their QB today.
4. Take advantage in the red zone. One of the Bears’ successes has been their ability to finish their chances which are few enough. This will be critical today.
I think the line is about right in normal circumstances, but I think the Bears will make the extra effort to stand proud and keep this game closer than expected. Take the Bears with the points.
|12-12-21||Bills v. Bucs -3.5||Top||27-33||Win||102||31 h 12 m||Show|
The Bills meet the Bucs in a much awaited matchup. The game features two premier passers and a pair of pass-first offenses, so the outcome depends on how each team defends. Brady and his receivers face the Bills’ top ranked pass defense, but what the Bills don’t do is pressure the quarterback effectively. The Bucs have been very good at protecting Brady, so we can see a situation where Brady, with time, will be throwing against a very good secondary. For Allen the reverse is true. The Bucs have the 20th ranked pass defense, but are very good at pressuring the opposing QB. They are fourth in sacks for the season and had 5 last week. Can the Bucs get to Allen regularly or will he pick them to pieces through the air? A key factor in this game could be defense in the red zone. While the Bucs give up passing yards, they are significantly better than the Bills in defending in the red zone.
What about the running game? What running game.. The Bills don’t run much. Even last week in gale force winds, they stuck to the program. It is tough to run against the Bucs; they are 2nd rated in rushing defense. Tampa Bay has viable run options, but it is always option #2. Looking at how successful teams have been against the usually dependable Bills' run defense lately might give the Bucs pause for thought.
The Bills have been uneven this year, but good on the road. The Bucs, other than a blip in the beginning of November have maintained a steady ship, and are undefeated at home. Brady and Gronk have owned the Bills. Take Tampa Bay to win and cover.
|12-12-21||Raiders v. Chiefs -9.5||9-48||Win||100||5 h 54 m||Show|
The Raiders meet the Chiefs in a rematch, with the Chiefs winning in a blowout in Vegas last time out. The Chiefs are winning, but not as expected; their defense is ruling the roost, allowing an average of only10 points over their last 4 games. Vegas has struggled at 1-5. The Raiders’ QB has had a solid season, but he is a one trick pony, so as goes he, so go the Raiders. Carr is passing for 260+ yards over his last three games which is down for him. He has been sacked 27 times this year and has surprisingly few TDs (17) compared to other elite Qbs. By comparison, Mahomes, very much on a down year, has thrown for less yds, but is sacked much less and has far more TDs. The Chiefs’ O line, unlike the Raiders’, has shown solid improvement in protecting their QB.
These are pass-first offenses. Vegas is 28th in rushing yards, the Chiefs 19th. For the Chiefs, Edwards-Hilaire is healthy at RB, and Mahomes is always a dangerous option. The Raiders have Jacobs, who has run for 470+ yards but averages only 3.8 yds a carry.
Teams have had success passing against the Chiefs, but they don’t score that often. The Chiefs have really tightened up in the red zone, and in Tds allowed. They are tough to play against, with more than 2 takeaways in each of 4 last games, and very good sack totals. Quarterbacks have been successful against the Raiders, with a 97+ QB rate against them, 26th in the league. They held WFT to 17 points, but allowed 32+ in their previous three games.
The Chiefs are heavy favorites, so a win is expected, but will they cover? Vegas is out-coached, and Mahomes is due. With no real running game it is hard to see the Raiders controlling the ball. This might not be the blow out we saw in their last meeting, but I expect the Chiefs to cover.
|12-09-21||Steelers +3.5 v. Vikings||28-36||Loss||-119||36 h 42 m||Show|
Only the Vikings could reel off 426 yards of offense and still lose. Last week, Cousins had a solid game, and he has been that way all year. He has 23 TDs against only three interceptions. He has had time to throw, and has been well protected with only 15 sack for the season. That may change against the Steelers. Pittsburgh sacked the QB 7 times last week, and leads the league in applying pressure. TJ Watt is a monster, and can be a game changer.
The Vikings, rated right behind Pittsburgh, can crash a quarterback as well. It is one of the only areas where the Viking defense excels. Where the Vikings’ 24th rated defense does not pass muster is in the red zone (25th), against the run (29th), and pass yards against (22nd).
The Vikings are a pass-first offense but they do have run options. There main man Cook is out, but Mattison filled in well last week. The Steelers’ defense has not been great against the run either, but will make life difficult for Cousins and his receivers, especially in the red zone.
This would seem a perfect opportunity for the Steelers to run the ball, and they have the man for the job. Rookie Najee Harris has become a legitimate 2 way force, but the Steelers until now choose not to exploit the run much. Roethlisberger is not the force he once was, but he has slowly improved this year. The Steelers’ O line has been more effective lately, and he has only 6 interceptions against 14 Tds. He will face pressure from the Vikings defense.
We are starting to see more of the “tough to play against” character of the Steelers and that is not good news for the Vikings. Pittsburgh has momentum on their side, and are 4-1-1 ATS lately. The Vikings are not an effective home team this year. Look for the Vikings to struggle on offense on Thursday, and Roethlisberger, in his final season, do enough to keep this one close or win.Take Pittsburgh
|12-06-21||Patriots +2.5 v. Bills||14-10||Win||105||58 h 4 m||Show|
On paper, the Patriots and Bills are close, but the edge goes to Buffalo. On the “what have you done lately” scale, the baton passes to the Patriots. Here are a few good reasons to take New England on Monday night.
1. Mac Jones has shown remarkable poise and improvement in his first year. The kid can really think on his feet, rivalling top veteran QBs. How much has he improved? Last week he threw for 330 yards, with a 120+ QB rating, and in his last three weeks, he has a 79% pass completion rate. Just try and keep up with the Jones!
2. the Patriots are winning by miles ATS, and beating some worthy opponents while doing it. The Bills, 2-3 and a push over the same period, have been erratic. The pummeled a very depleted Saints team but rolled over for the Colts.
3. A huge improvement in the Patriots’ pass defense. Over the last three games, the passing yards allowed has dropped from a seasonal average of 200 to 109 yards allowed. They are 9th in sacks, and solid pressuring the passer. The Bills’ very good pass defense has declined slightly on average, and they do not pressure the passer as much.
4. The Patriots appear poised, confident, and ready for greater glory. I am not so sure about the Bills. They are a good but uneven team, maybe ready to be toppled. It will likely be close but take the Patriots on Monday.
|12-05-21||Broncos +9 v. Chiefs||9-22||Loss||-110||9 h 41 m||Show|
The Chiefs are off a bye week, rested and relatively healthy, and at home in prime time. Time for a blow out win over Denver? Maybe not. The Broncos have been solid vs a pass-first offense this year. They are 10th rated against the pass, with a good secondary, and effective at applying pressure to the QB. They do not have a dominant QB like Mahomes, but Bridgewater has been accurate and doesn’t give the ball away, with only 5 interceptions all year. The Broncos’ running game has been solid. They are down a running back, but Williams has been a real eye-opener this year and this could be his game to shine. The Chiefs’ pass defense is only 24th rated, and other than last game, they do not pressure QBs overly, so if the Broncos can establish a running game to support Bridgewater, this game could be close.
What to say about Mahomes. He was brilliant against the Raiders, and good against the Cowboys, but he will likely face more pressure from the Broncos than in either of his last two games. If he has a weakness, it is that he has thrown a good number of interceptions this year with 11 already. Unlike the Broncos, the Chiefs over all are prone to giveaways. On the plus side, the Chiefs’ defense appears to have improved this year, all the way from problematic to solid. Any success the Broncos have tonight rests on just which Chiefs defense shows up.
The Chiefs are a largish favorite, but are not particularly impressive ATS. Denver as well as KC are an improved team this year with momentum of their own. I don’t expect Denver to win, but this game may be closer than expected. Take the Broncos
|12-05-21||49ers -3 v. Seahawks||23-30||Loss||-120||9 h 24 m||Show|
The Seahawks beat the 49ers in early October, but much has changed since then. The 49er have what the Seahawks need, which is a running game. Seattle has averaged only 65 yards in their last three starts. Wilson is exposed, and the Seahawks’ possession time is limited. The resurgence of the 49ers’ running game coincides with the recent strong performance of Garoppolo. The 49ers, 6th rated and rising in rushing yards are averaging more than double the yards per game. Missing Samuel will be a loss on the ground and in the air, but Mitchell ran for 130+ yards on his own last week.
Wilson looked better last week but the WFT’s pass defense isn’t even on the same planet as the 49ers’. It will likely be a long game for Wilson; the Seahawks’ offensive line is allowing more than 3 sacks a game, and the 49ers’ defense take no prisoners.
Garoppolo has been effective and efficient, with very impressive stats in his last few games. He has only thrown two interceptions in 5 games, and has had good protection. The Seattle passing defense is rock bottom in yards allowed, and does not pressure well. With a strong running game, and a good offensive line, look for Garoppolo to have something of a field day. Final nail in the coffin: Seattle has been miserable at home, while the 49ers are road warriors this year and are 4-1 ATS lately.
Favorable odds are out there. Take the 49ers to win and cover.
|12-05-21||Giants v. Dolphins -3||Top||9-20||Win||100||100 h 10 m||Show|
With the Dolphins, it is very much “what have you done lately?”The answer is a lot; 4 wins in a row, 4-0-1 ATS, Tagovailoa hitting 80+ completion % and +100 QB rating four times in the last five games for starters. Looking through the stats, the last four games show a dramatic turnaround. The Dolphins’ run defense, 10th on average, has been much better than that recently and has been blitzing very successfully. Even their dismal running game has improved.
For the Giants, the outlook is not so rosy. Jones their QB is not likely to play. His replacement Glennon is 6-21 lifetime and has hardly played this season. Last week the Giants’ defense held the Eagles to 7 points but they were only able to score 13. Without Jones, and with an average running game (of which Jones was an active part) up against the tough Dolphins run defense, it will be hard to score points this week. The Dolphins haven’t allowed more than 17 points in five games and have faced better teams than the Giants. Look for the Dolphins to continue in their winning way and cover.
|12-02-21||Cowboys -4.5 v. Saints||27-17||Win||100||12 h 14 m||Show|
A pair of teams in recovery meet in Thursday night Football. Right now there are questions around who will play, but a few things are known. Taysom Hill will be the Saints’ QB. He will likely be an improvement over Siemian, if for nothing else other than his running abilities, but he may not be completely recovered. The Saints’ pass offense has been dismal, and their run offense, without Kamara has dropped from an average of 120+ yards to 79 yards over the last three games. Kamara is still questionable. The Saints possession time has been very poor in their last games as well.
The Saints’ claim to fame is their formidable 3rd rated run offense, but you wouldn’t have know it in the two previous weeks, giving up a massive 242 and 113 yards respectively. New Orleans’ pass defense is not in the same league at 23rd ranked, which will be a bonus for Prescott. Dak seems completely recovered, and was impressive last week. This week he will have some of his usual suspects back for targets. The Cowboys’ running game has plummeted in the past weeks with a banged up Elliott continuing to play, but Pollard is healthy. The Cowboys defense is weak and was picked to pieces by Vegas last week. Their run defense on average is, well, average..
For the Saints to get anywhere against the Cowboys, their run defense will have to bounce back, and Hill will have to generate some much needed offense. Hill is the wild card here, and it would be asking a lot for him to carry the Saints offense. The Cowboys will be working hard to restore their season, and might be the healthier of the two teams. I can't see New Orleans putting enough points on the board to keep up with Prescott and that #1 offense. Take The Cowboys to win and cover.
|11-29-21||Seahawks v. Washington Football Team +1||Top||15-17||Win||100||12 h 6 m||Show|
It is last call for the Seahawks on Sunday, sporting a 30th and 32nd ranked offense and defense, and the Washington FT on the upswing. Wilson has not been in form since returning, but no matter how he performs on Monday, Seattle has very significant issues standing between them and a win.
The Seahawks, missing Carson, and with Collins limited, are without any real options on the run, and the FT handles the rush very well. Washington has a legitimate run game, 10th rated and improving in their last three games. The Seahawks defense has struggled against the run all season. As a backup QB, Heineke has performed much better than expected, particularly in his last two games. He has thrown for 4 TDs against 0 interceptions in those two games. Wilson is still an unknown this week, and he will face a poor but dramatically improving WFT pass defense. The same cannot be said of the Seahawks’ passing defense. They have been bad, (rated 30th) and stayed bad. Neither team protects their QB well, but Seattle really struggles; Wilson has been sacked 7 times in the two games since his return.
Wilson has worked miracles before, but the Seahawks aren’t helping his cause. This game is basically a pick’um. I am picking the Washington football team.
|11-28-21||Browns v. Ravens -3||10-16||Win||100||12 h 9 m||Show|
It hasn’t been the season that the Browns expected but they are still in the hunt. The oft-injured Browns are recovering, although Mayfield is playing injured and, apparently, angry. He has not been at his best, with only 163 passing yards average in the last 3 games, and 10 touchdowns against 27 sacks. The Browns have the best rush offense in the league with Chub and possibly Hunt, but they are up against the Ravens’ 2nd rated rush defense. The Ravens’ pass defense is not in the same league at 2nd to last, but they do like to blitz, and as seen in the sack figures, the Browns don’t protect their passer very well.
For the Ravens, Lamar Jackson is back. He is the 11th ranked passer in the league, with 14 TDs against an ugly 28 sacks. He has also run for 600+ yards this year, and with the other running backs, has a rush offense that doesn’t trail the Browns by much. Weakness #2 is the Ravens’ offensive line, although the Browns do not have a habit of blitzing regularly.
The Browns defense overall is solid, but they have had some very lopsided losses this season. Teams that have handled the Browns running game have pretty well had their way with them. The Ravens' solid run defense could put them in that category. Jackson and the Ravens have handled the Browns in the past, and are very good at home. So the Ravens win, but do they cover? They aren't good ATS this year, but have been against the Browns. Ravens
|11-28-21||Chargers -2.5 v. Broncos||13-28||Loss||-110||31 h 26 m||Show|
The Chargers and Broncos couldn’t be much more different. The Chargers have a 4th ranked pass-centered offense built around a young, explosive, if occasionally uneven QB in Herbert. The Broncos are a low scoring, low points allowed team. QB Bridgewater doesn’t throw a lot, is accurate and conservative with few interceptions. The rushing offense should figure prominently for the Broncos on Sunday if Denver has any hope of success. They have a solid ‘double threat’ pair of running backs who maybe don’t get used as much as they should. The Chargers defense is very poor vs the run, although improving somewhat in the last three games. The Broncos offensive line is injury riddled and rough at the best of times. Bridgewater has been sacked 21 times already, so the running game look even more attractive.
The run has not been a focus for the Chargers, or at least not until recently. Ekeler has developed into a solid pass and run threat, and of course Herbert can run effectively. The Chargers will have their hands full running on Sunday as the Broncos defense (last week notwithstanding) has been solid vs the run.
Where the Broncos struggle is against the pass. They are the 29th rated team defending against the pass and have a poor pass rush. This plays to the strength of the Chargers offense and will I think, be decisive in the final outcome.
The Chargers are 2 ½ point favorites, and will have just too much offense for the Broncos to match. Look for the Chargers to win and cover.
|11-28-21||Titans v. Patriots -6.5||Top||13-36||Win||100||5 h 54 m||Show|
The Patriots are winning and often by a wide margin, limiting their last 3 opponents to a touchdown or less. The injury-riddled Titans have given up an average of 20 points over their last 4 games.
Post-Henry, the Titans rush offense has dropped significantly. Tannehill, without the protection of a premier running game and his three top targets, has been exposed and has seen his sack numbers rise to a whopping 31, along with 12 interceptions.
By comparison, rookie Mac Jones has developed well this season, has a higher completion rate, has been sacked less and has 2/3rds the interceptions. His completion rate has been in the 80’s in the last three Patriot games. The Patriots’ running game has found new footage of late, and has been in the NFL top three in their last 3 games.
The Titan 5th rated defense are hard to run against for yards, but they are not as effective in run points allowed. The Patriots are far more effective against the pass.
Injuries may catch up with the Titans on Sunday. With Henry, Jones and Brown all out, and Tannehill exposed, it is hard to see where their points will come from. If the Patriots maintain their withering defense of the last few games, and Jones continues in good form, the Patriots should win and cover.
|11-25-21||Bills -6 v. Saints||31-6||Win||100||9 h 31 m||Show|
The Bills have a few things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. 1. They are healthy, a novel concept in the NFL. 2. The Saints are not. Missing major players in the offensive line, and with Kamara missing and Ingram questionable, the Saints running game has taken a big hit. 3. Siemian is showing his true colors. Siemian’s completion rate is in the 50’s, very low considering the protection he has received, and without Kamara as a run threat and a passing out, he will be even more limited.
The Bills were embarrassed last week by the Colts, their usually solid run defense torn to shreds. The Saints, usually even better against the run, were also pummeled, with much of that coming from opposing QB Hurts. Allen can run. Can he duplicate Hurts’ success? Allen has struggled of late and has not lived up to expectations. This game provides an opportunity for bounce back, if he can control an ugly pattern of turnovers. He has been protected well this season, and the 22nd rated Saints passing defense could be picked on.
I like Buffalo in this game. The Bills have a winning record on the road, the Saints have struggled at home. With a depleted running game, Siemian up against a tough Bills passing defense and with the Saints’ depleted O line, I just don’t see where the Saints’ points are coming from. This is the perfect opportunity for Allen and the Bills to shine. Take the Bills to win and cover.
|11-25-21||Raiders v. Cowboys -7||36-33||Loss||-115||25 h 17 m||Show|
The Cowboys may not be as banged up as was suggested, which is bad news for the Raiders. At home, in primetime, and after that loss to the Chiefs, Prescott and the Cowboys will be looking to flex their muscular offense. The Cowboys are a very good home team, and they meet the Raiders at a fortuitious moment. The Raiders are struggling in the last three games and in a big way, with points for at 14.3 and huge totals against. Even their very strong pass offense has dropped by 50 yds, and their 3 down conversions are miserable.
Carr has been very good in passing for yards, but trails Prescott in accuracy & passing TDs, and interceptions. Without a prominent run offense or offensive line, Carr has been sacked more often. Aside from Prescott and a variety of fine targets, the Cowboys have a potent two pronged rushing attack with Elliot reportedly available this week. In fact the running game may be a deciding factor on Turkey day, with the Cowboys defending well against the run, and the Raiders, you guessed it, struggling.
The Cowboys’ defense has been better than expected this year; last week, a case in point, they held Mahomes and co. to 19 points. There is not much doubt that the Cowboys will win this one. I am also counting on them to cover. Cowboys
|11-25-21||Bears -3 v. Lions||16-14||Loss||-100||4 h 17 m||Show|
As traditional as Turkey lately, the Lions are in primetime on Thanksgiving day. Make that EARLY prime time! Here are a couple of key notes. The Bears have already beaten the Lions this year and covered. The Lions are 6-4 against the spread but the Bears, while 4-6 overall against the spread, are 4-1 ATS against teams with a losing record.
The quarterback situation is unclear in Detroit, with Goff being ‘will he won’t he’. On the other side, it will be back up Andy Dalton at QB. Dalton has experience, and will be better protected than usual as the Lions are worst in the league in pressuring the quarterback. Whoever starts for Detroit will face likely more pressure, as the Bears are 2nd int the league in sacks.
This game will likely feature the running game from both reams. The Bears have the advantage in the rushing department with a hot Montgomery and the 6th rated rushing attack against a Lions defense that is 31st in the league. Montgomery ran for 100+ yards and two Tds the last time out against the Lion. While the Lions’ running game has potential, it is middle of the pack in terms of yards. The Bears defense are more likely to control Swift and the Lions’ run game than the reverse against Montgomery.
The Lions are at home, which hasn’t made a difference this season as they are winless. The Bears aren’t a terrific road team but need a victory. The odds have tightened up in the Bears’ favor. I favor the Bears but it will be close. Take Chicago
|11-22-21||Giants +11.5 v. Bucs||10-30||Loss||-117||14 h 35 m||Show|
The Giants, well rested after their bye week face Brady and the Bucccaneers off 2 straight losses. New York has been effective on the road ATS this year and has had some success against the Bucs ATS. Jones may have some opportunities against Tampa Bay, as the Bucs’ pass defense, which has struggled all season, has been particularly poor in the last two games. They likely won’t have too much success against the run even if Barkley is back, as the Bucs are very successful against the run.
Is Brady on a downward trend or will be bounce back with a vengeance in primetime and at home? Either is a possibility, although something of the latter is more likely. It is still not certain which of Brady’s targets will be returning from injury.
Will the Buccaneers win this game? Most likely. Will they cover? I have my doubts. Look for the Giants to keep things close. Giants
|11-21-21||Steelers v. Chargers UNDER 47.5||37-41||Loss||-105||12 h 48 m||Show|
An injury-ridden Steelers team limps into LA to face the relatively healthy but struggling Chargers team in a key matchup for both teams. And yes, Ben will be in the stadium. Much of the Steelers’ defense will not start, including TJ Watt. Justin Herbert will likely be breathing a sigh of relief. Herbert, after a very strong start, has struggled badly in his last four games, with a QB rating of under 75 in three of them. Last week he threw for only 195 yards, and the Chargers ARE a pass driven offense. That may change this week as Pittsburgh’s defense is 9th against the pass, but 24th against the run. Look for more from Ekeler, who is more than capable, in Week 11.
With Big Ben back, memories of the Steelers’ pathetic efforts in week 10 can slide into the distance. Not that he has been overwhelming, but the Steelers’ offense certainly appeared rudderless last week. Roethlisberger has improved as the season progressed. The Steelers will likely look to their stellar RB Najee Harris and their running game this weekend. Last week aside, when they didn’t defend well against either,, the Chargers defend well against the pass but are 31st in YPC and dead last in rushing yards allowed.
The Steelers are a good road team, but the number of injuries is a real concern. Both teams will be looking to bounce back from embarrassing week ten efforts. This is a must win for Herbert and the Chargers. There is a good chance that much of this game will be on the ground, slowing the pace, and lowering the total. Take the total to go under on Sunday night.
|11-21-21||Cowboys +2.5 v. Chiefs||9-19||Loss||-100||8 h 58 m||Show|
Have the Chiefs really turned things around? They crushed Las Vegas last week, but won in a very un-Chiefs-like manner against a rudderless Green Bay team in week 9. The Cowboys laid their own egg in Week 9 but bounced back in an equally convincing manner. The Chiefs are 2 /12 point favorites, but I can’t see them covering. So much is banking on Mahomes in this game. The Chiefs’ defense obviously played better last week, but the are still ranked 24th over all. While we aren’t talking league leaders here, there is no category that the Cowboys’ defense isn’t better by a considerable margin, in particular at forcing turnovers. Prescott has matched Mahomes in most categories, including average yards and has far fewer interceptions. As far as pass protection goes, Mahomes has been sacked 17 times, and hit 58 times. The Dallas QBs have been sacked 14 times and hit 40. Mahomes has the advantage as a scrambler, but the Cowboys have a pair of top rushing threats in Elliot and Pollard. KC’s top rusher is 45th ranked Williams.
I don’t think this team is up to last years’ Chiefs, and t is going to take more than one convincing win to change my mind. So as the say in Missouri, “Show me”, and then I’ll back the Chiefs. Let’s not forget that ugly number of KC against the spread. 3 and 7! The Cowboys have the best offense in the league, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they stole this game. Take Dallas
|11-21-21||Colts +7.5 v. Bills||41-15||Win||100||55 h 58 m||Show|
Colts vs Bills
How Jonathon Taylor goes, so go the Colts. While Taylor has been outstanding, his biggest days have been against inferior run defenses. The Bills have been formidable against pass and run, among other things such as third down and red zone defense and interceptions. Not to mention QB pressure. If Taylor comes up short, it will be tough on Wentz, who can be pretty average or worse (as in last week), to take up the slack with the passing game.
After an abysmal game in week 9, Allen and the Bills came out flying last week. Allen has been impressive other than week 9, with 100+ QB rankings in 6 of 7 games.The Colts pass defense has not impressed, with an average QBR allowed of close to 100 and a 23rd ranked pass yards average. And while it may come from several sources, the Bills running game is still 10th ranked, against a 17th ranked Colts rushing defense.
Beating the 6-3 Bills at home would be a feat. Can the Colts cover? If Buffalo can control the running game, this one could be lopsided. Take the Bills to win and cover.
|11-18-21||Patriots v. Falcons +7.5||25-0||Loss||-133||15 h 42 m||Show|
Ryan and the Falcons stunk out the field last week, Ryan finishing with no touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and a QB rating I can almost count on my fingers and toes. Jones was excellent last week, with his best game of his first year, but one game does not make him the reincarnate of Brady as some are suggesting. The Falcons at home and in the bright lights as well, are not going to want to be humiliated two weeks running. Ryan is a consummate professional and can’t play any worse than last week. I am looking for a bounceback from the Falcons, and maybe a slight fall off from a rookie QB and the Patriots. Don’t expect a win out of Atlanta but they’ll keep it close. Falcons +6.5
|11-15-21||Rams -3.5 v. 49ers||10-31||Loss||-100||7 h 20 m||Show|
The 7-2 Rams face the home team 3-5 49ers. Both teams are off a loss; the Rams loss to the Titans particularly stung. Rams QB Stafford had a down game last week but he has been dominant this season with 8.89 yds per, and 23 Tds vs 6 interceptions. His opponent Garopollo has been ok for the season, and was decent in a losing cause last week, but his tenure is uncertain with the 49ers.
The Rams lost Woods, which will hurt and add Beckam in some capacity and possibly Von Miller. The 49ers are also beaten up, missing their #2 running back, and other key pieces.
The Rams have a pass-dominated offense, but can and may look to run the ball more this week. While the 49ers defense is strong against the pass, they are poor against the run. And while the 49ers don’t allow many passing yards, they still allow more than their share of passing TDs. The Rams defense protects well against the rush, but are average against the pass. They are very good defending in the red zone.
Garopollo was sacked 5 times last week, which is not normal, but a disturbing trend. The Addition of Von Miller, if available adds to an already decent pass rush.
The Rams have lost 4 straight against the 49ers. Off the loss last week, I like their chances to change that stat. The 49ers have lost 4 straight at home, and contrary to expectations, just don’t seem to have it together this season. Take the Rams to win and cover today
|11-14-21||Chiefs v. Raiders +3||41-14||Loss||-120||11 h 20 m||Show|
Anyone taking the Chiefs in this matchup is banking on a return to form from Mahomes. He has shown no sign of it, even in the win last week, throwing for only 166 yards, 1 TD, and 4.5 yds average. And it is not as if last week was a one-off. Carr wasn’t great last week either; while he threw for 260+ yards and a touchdown, he also threw two interceptions. He has allowed only five previous to that game. Carr can be explosive and has the highest pass yards average at 8.2 yds. To put this in context, Mahomes has been at 6.0 yds per completion since week 5. It is all about the passing game on Sunday; neither team has much of a running game, although the Raiders are improving.
The Chiefs’ defense is lamentable, poor against the run and pass. They are 30th in passing yards per attempt average, and tied with Raiders at 28th against the run. The Raiders are solid against the pass (14th) and very good at limiting passing yards per (2nd). Where the Raiders really excel is in pressuring the QB. They are 6th in QB pressure and 2nd in QB hits. It could be a long evening for Mahomes and Chiefs’ offensive line.
The Raiders have faced a ton of turmoil in the past weeks, but things should start to settle. Much is at stake in this game; I’m looking for Carr and the Raiders to put off-field issues behind them and cover if not win against the Chiefs.
|11-14-21||Eagles v. Broncos -2.5||30-13||Loss||-107||55 h 22 m||Show|
The 3-6 Eagles are on the road against the 5-4 Broncos this week in what should be a close matchup. The Eagles running game has been very successful of late with three solid options, but the 8th ranked Broncos’ defense is much better than the Eagles’ last few opponents’. QB Hurts doesn’t throw for many yards, although he does contribute on the rush. Last week was one of his better outings, however he will face a very stiff Broncos pass defense.
For the Broncos, Bridgewater has been solid and accurate, if slow off the mark. He has been sacked often; the Broncos’ offensive line has the injury bug. The Eagles pass rush really struggled last week with no sacks, and little QB pressure. If this continues, look for Bridgewater to have a solid game, and pick the Eagles apart.. The Broncos also have a decent running game of their own, with two viable options. The Eagles rush defense struggles, allowing 120 yards per game.
The Broncos have a more balanced offense and a solid defense. They are tough to beat in Denver. Look for them to gut this one out. Some very favorable odds are available, so don’t wait on this one!
|11-14-21||Saints v. Titans -3||21-23||Loss||-100||4 h 4 m||Show|
The Titans, solid in their first game without Henry are home to the Saints who are without their starting QB and RB Kamara. Kamara is a huge part of the Saints’ rush and pass offense, and will be missed. The Saints did pick up RB Ingram, but he is not a complete replacement. Siemien played well in his two starts as backup QB, with 3 Tds and an 89.5 Qb rating. He has been well protected so far, but that may change this week. The Titans have been rough on passers, sacking the Rams Qb 5 times last week with 11 QB hits. The Saints will struggle to score points. Their passing attack is 31st rated; it and the run will both take a hit without Kamara.
The Saints are a very well coached team, and have a highly ranked defense against the run. They don’t turn the ball over very much and are proficient at causing turnovers. They do not defend against the pass very well, so it may be time for Tannehill to step up the Titans’ passing game. Tannehill has been average this year, but seems to generate offense when needed. Tannehill has been sacked 27 times this season, but the 31st ranked Saints don’t muster much of a pass rush, He has been intercepted 8 times, so controlling turnovers will be a key on Sunday.
The Titans defense is average against the run, better than the Saints against the pass, but where they excel is getting to the QB. The Titans have handled some potent offenses in their five game win streak; the Saints, missing key players, would not qualify in this category. Tennessee is a successful team at home, and have a lot of momentum at the moment. Some decent odds are available. Take the Titans to win and cover.
|11-11-21||Ravens v. Dolphins +7.5||10-22||Win||100||28 h 1 m||Show|
Much has been made of the Raven’s ability to dumb it down this season vs poorer teams; they ARE only 3-5 against the spread. Miami is worse ATS at 3-6, which is a point to consider. After being shelled last week with favorites failing to cover, the last thing I want to do is pick another favorite, but the Ravens and Jackson are too potent and explosive, and the Dolphins’ 30th ranked defense too poor to do otherwise.
The Ravens defend poorly against the pass, but they will face a questionable Tagovailoa, with an injured throwing hand, or Brissett, who was hardly dominant last week. The Dolphins have no running game to speak about, and a struggling offensive line. Not to mention, a very high rate of turnovers.
MvP candidate Lamar Jackson is a quality passer and a top ten rusher. The Ravens’ offense has surpassed 400 yds 4 times this season, and is more than capable of the “big plays”. And don’t forget their kicker, who can add three consistently from anywhere over center.
With a damaged quarterback, the Dolphins may have to turn to the running game, and this is one area where the 23rd rated Ravens’ defense does excel.
Take the Ravens to win and, yes, cover..
|11-08-21||Bears v. Steelers -7||27-29||Loss||-105||14 h 11 m||Show|
Monday Night Football pits the Bears, off three losses, vs the Steelers, winners of three in a row. As the Steelers offensive line gels and the running game gains traction, Roethlisberger’s stock is on the rise once again. Last week he passed for 266 Yds, a TD and had a 98.4 QB rate. Rookie Najee Harris has showed remarkable improvement in his first season, and had 91 yards rushing last week. The Steelers broke the 100 yds mark three times in the last three games. The Steelers have allowed 14 sacks, and have only 7 turnovers.
Last week was Rookie Justin Field’s best game, but he IS the 32nd rated QB, very inexperienced, and averaging just 123 ypg passing with 7 interceptions. The kid can run, last week for over 100 yds, but having been sacked 26 times already this season, it is probably out of self-preservation. The Bears are 6th in rushing yards, but overall their offense is as low as it gets.
The Steelers defense is solid and improving. They are very strong in pressuring the passer, sacks, controlling the run and they don’t allow a ton of points against.
The Bears’ defense has been uncharacteristically poor of late. In their 3 game skid, the Bears have allowed over 140 yds rushing per game, and had no sacks last week.
The Steelers are at home, and are on a roll. It seems it is a favorites day for me, but I believe the Steelers will win and cover.
|11-07-21||Titans v. Rams -7||28-16||Loss||-110||12 h 23 m||Show|
The Rams are a 71/2 point favorite this week against the Titans. I have had my struggles this season with favorites covering, but here is one to trust. The loss of Titans’ running back Henry is inestimable, not just in replacing his yards (they can’t) but in the impact on Tannehill, the offensive line and the passing game. Without the threat of Henry, Tannehill, already sacked 24 times, will spend even more time on his butt, and a dimension of the now critical passing game is lost.
The Titans are up against a very hot QB and team in the Rams. Stafford was terrific last week, has 22 TDs against 4 interceptions, and has a connection with Cooper Kupp that more than equals the Tannehill-Brown pairing. The Rams’ offensive line is best in the league allowing just 8 sacks, and very good at blocking for the run. And let us not forget that Henderson JR. is the seventh ranked rusher in the NFL.
The Rams defense is the best in the league at sacking the QB, and good against the pass. It is not know if their huge addition, Von Miller, will play this week but it would be a huge boost.
I am sure it will take the Titans some games to adjust to their Henry-less universe. Take the Rams to win and cover against the Titans this week.
|11-07-21||Falcons v. Saints -6||27-25||Loss||-123||70 h 42 m||Show|
Falcons vs Saints
The Saints are down a starting QB, the Falcons, their top receiver. This may impact the Falcons more, as the Falcons are an extremely pass-centric team, and Matt Ryan has few effective targets as it is. New Orleans will start Siemien at QB. He filled in very well by any standards last week. They likely will miss Winston but the Saints are not a very pass-focused offense. They have a solid running game around Kamara, and it just got a lot better with the deadline addition of Ingram. Ingram is a former Saint, and should fit in easily and well.
This game pits the 27th and the 31st rated offenses in yards per game. With such low offensive yardage, Saints have a better record and score more points than might be expected considering these numbers. They are a very well coached team, and have the 4th ranked defense. They don’t turn the ball over very much and are proficient at causing turnovers. They are also 2nd in the league in defensive points scored, which is significant in low scoring games.
Ryan is a competent QB, but with little support from his receivers, no running game and an ineffective offensive line, he is often left hung out to dry. And while the Atlanta defends well against the pass, they have the 26th rated defense against the run.
I think the running game will be key in this match-up. Look for a solid performance from Kamara and co. and the New Orleans defense, in another low scoring game. Take the Saints to win and cover.
|11-04-21||Jets +10.5 v. Colts||30-45||Loss||-106||29 h 9 m||Show|
The Jets were a great story in week seven. Worst knocks off first with the backup quarterback leading the way. They ought to make a movie.. White wasn’t just good; he ended with 400 passing yards and a very high pass completion rate. He was poised and conservative, with no passes over 15 yards. How will he do this week? The Colts’ pass rush is not overwhelming, with 16 sacks, and the defense has allowed 243 yds passing to date..
The Jets had huge and affirmative press this week, but was Week 8 just a one-off? This is the same Jets team that lost to the Patriots 54-13 the previous week, that has a running game of 75 yards a game, and 3.6 avg carry.i
The Colts are off a loss, with Carson Wentz in the hot seat. Wentz had his worst performance of the year, and ended the game with some key errors in judgment. He was back to last year’s habit, throwing two interceptions. It is hard to know how he will respond, but he might want to check out White’s last week performance for some ideas. Wentz has been hit an astounding 61 times this season and sacked 16 times. The Jets pass rush is improving, but they are not a force at this moment.
The Colts have the advantage of a very strong running game, with Jonathon Taylor leading the way. Taylor is also a very good pass target. Again, Wentz might want to rely more on the run, as the Jets are not effective in defending against the run.
There is a ton of pressure on Wentz to perform this week, and no guarantees as to his response. On the other side, the Colts are forewarned about White. Any win will buoy up the Jets, and they must be riding high this week. I think the Jets will cover, but don’t expect an outright win..
|11-01-21||Giants v. Chiefs -10||17-20||Loss||-110||13 h 14 m||Show|
Before everything gets out of proportion, does anyone think that Mahomes will ever play as poorly as he did last week again? Even after last week’s debacle, the Chiefs still have the 3rd ranking offense. And yes they do have the fifth worst defense, but don’t forget that the Giants have the 27th rated defense AND the 20th ranked offense. So where has the Giants’ defense looked strong(er)? Not at applying pressure on the QB (29th) or QB hits (20th). They have created turnovers, but they are poor vs the run and barely average vs the pass. The Giants had 6 sacks last week, but that was not typical. Mahomes should have more protection this week, and perhaps the Chiefs will take the opportunity to try something different on Sunday, like step out with the running game.
Jones has been a middle of the road but improving QB this year, and the Giants have their star running back and 2 top receivers out this week. Don’t look for a ton of points from the Giants, even against a struggling defense.
The Chiefs are vulnerable, but I don’t think the Giants match up as a team that can exploit their weaknesses. Given his opportunity this week against the Giants, I am looking for the Mahomes and the Chiefs to bounce back. Take Kansas City to win and cover.
|10-31-21||Cowboys -1 v. Vikings||20-16||Win||100||102 h 19 m||Show|
Sunday night football will be well worth watching this week as the high-scoring Cowboys meet the improving Vikings. The Cowboys’ big concern is whether Prescott will play, but it appears he will. Both teams are off a bye, and both had wins in week 6. The Cowboys won in a mistake-filled game against the Patriots, with Prescott airing it out for seasonal best 445 yds. Prescott has been more than impressive this year with a QB rating of 115, and 16 TDs opposed to 4 interceptions. We will see how he does against a tough Minnesota pass rush. The Cowboys balance their offense with a very potent “a 1 and a 2” punch running game.
Cousins was equally impressive in week 6, with 300 yds and 3 interceptions. Cousins has a QB rating of 105 for the season. The Vikings running game in the name of Dalvin Cook had a season-high yds total, and Cook looked in better health. The Vikings defense have a very good pass rush, causing low pass completion rates, with a very high number of sacks. Where they struggle is against the run, both in yards allowed, and average carry. This is concerning considering the Cowboys’ twin threats of Elliot and Pollard.
While the Cowboys defense do not pressure opposing quarterbacks very effectively, and give up too many passing yards, they have caused a very high total of interceptions. They are also very good this year in shutting down the run.
This is a very potent Cowboys offense that has managed to outscore any defensive miscues to this point, and their defense is much improved over last year. The Cowboys are 6-0 against the spread, and the Vikings are 3-3. I am looking for the Cowboys to go 7-0 ATS and to again win and cover.
|10-31-21||Bengals -10.5 v. Jets||31-34||Loss||-115||25 h 5 m||Show|
It would be a major upset for the Jets to cover against the a surprisingly good Bengals team, especially now with an inexperienced back up QB Mike White in the game. Last week, Burrow was impressive against a much better opponent, passing for more than 400 yds and 3 touchdowns. The Burrow to Chase connection has been a real eye-opener. Burrow’s only real negative is the number of interceptions he has thrown. The Bengals offensive line is improving, but allowed Burrow to be sack regularly in early games. The Jets’ pride is their pass rush. The Jets only hope of keeping the score down, other than Bengals complacency, is to take advantage the Bengals’ weak point, and pressure Burrow into committing more turnovers.
To cover, the Jets will have to put points on the board and that does not look promising with an offense that doesn’t rush or pass well, against a Bengals’ defense that is strong vs both. The Jets are the only team with more interceptions allowed (11) than the Bengals.
Bengals RB Mixon had an off game last week, but look for him to bounce back in a big way against the Jets.
Bengals will win and cover against the Jets.
|10-28-21||Packers v. Cardinals -6.5||24-21||Loss||-106||37 h 37 m||Show|
Thursday night Football pits the 6-1 Packers on the road vs the undefeated Cardinals. The Cardinals beat up on the lowly Texans last week. The Packers were not really as impressive in their win against Washington as the score might suggest. The Cardinals have faced much stiffer competition in their 7-0 run than Green Bay has faced. In addition, Green Bay is likely down their top pair of wide receivers, which was enough to drive up the line this week. The Cardinals are reasonably healthy.
On paper, the Cardinals lead the Packers in all major offensive and defensive situations, including QB.
2nd rated Murray has completed a higher % passes for more yards and more points than 6th rated Aaron Rodgers. The only advantage Rodgers has in in interceptions allowed. And a lot of experience..
Quarterbacks aside, a key to this game will be whether the Packers’ defense can handle (or not) the Cardinal’s running game. The 23rd rated defense allowed 430 total yards against Washington, and have been very poor vs the run and in the red zone for much of the season. They have 18 sacks. The Cardinals defense has been solid against the pass, at least average against the run and has 19 sacks.
I don’t think Rodgers can pull this one out of the hat; too many parts are missing and just too much competition this week. Take the Cardinals to win and cover.
|10-25-21||Saints -4 v. Seahawks||13-10||Loss||-107||14 h 31 m||Show|
The 3-2 Saints meet up with the 2-4 Seahawks in Seattle in the wind and the rain. The Saints offense has modest passing yards and good rushing stats, but they are a big bang for the buck in the scoring department. So far this season they have been exceptional in the red zone. Quarterback Jameis Winston is 5th in the league in QB ratings with 12 TDs against 3 interceptions. His passing yards have increased dramatically each week in his last 4 starts, from 111 yards to 279 yds in their last game.
Where the Saints excel is on defense, especially against the run (3.3 yds avg, 79 yds/ game). While they may not have much of a pass rush, they defend well against the pass and in the red zone, and have 9 interceptions already.
The Seahawks, ARW have Geno Smith at QB for the next weeks, a considerable step down. Without the mobility of Wilson, Smith was sacked 5 times behind a suspect Seahawks offensive line. The Seahawks have allowed a total of 18 sacks this season already. Smith was 15 of 18 last week with a turnover, but passing yards avg. was only 3.25 yards
The Seahawks defense struggles against the run. Given the conditions on Monday night, a running game may be paramount. Collins ran for 101 yds last week, but overall the Saints have the edge, defensively and offensively. Collins is either playing injured or out at this point, so it could be Saints running back Kamara who steps out.
I like the well-rested Saints in this game. Shop around and take New Orleans to win and cover.
|10-24-21||Colts +4 v. 49ers||30-18||Win||100||38 h 56 m||Show|
The Colts are on an upward trend, thumping the Texans in week 6 and winning two of three games. Carson Wentz, recovered from ankle sprains, passed for 625 yards and 4 TDs in the last two games and has allowed one interception in 6 games. He has been extremely poised considering the pressure he has faced behind the Colts’ struggling offensive line, and is turning into a big play machine. RB Jonathon Taylor is turning heads with his recent play, and rushed for 145 yds against the Texans. The 49ers are average against the rush and the game is expected to be played in the mud so watch for another big game from Taylor.
The Colts defense is strong against the run and good at creating turnovers, but they do not excel in defense against the pass, nor do they apply a lot of pressure on the passer. They face Garoppolo, who is returning from injury and has mobility issues. It would not be unfair to say Garoppolo has struggled in his last two games played. His completion rate is down, yards per attempt down. He has passed for 3 touchdowns in 2 games, and has two interceptions. The 49ers’ running game has been inconsistent, and in the bottom third of the NFL. They have had a bye week to sort out this side of the offense and the run will be important if field conditions are what is expected. They are 8th rated against the pass this year.
I see the Colts and as the team with momentum. I like Wentz’s ability to handle pressure and control the game. The running game will be important on Sunday, and Indianapolis has a real edge there. Take the Colts to cover if not win.
|10-24-21||Lions v. Rams -16||19-28||Loss||-106||9 h 36 m||Show|
Detroit Lions @ LA Rams
Not only am I expecting the Rams to win today, I'm expecting them to win in absolute blowout fashion.
In a contest which I envision being completely lop-sided in nature, I'm going to suggest laying the points with confidence in what I predict will be an absolute ATS blood-bath!
The Lions are terrible. They're 0-6 and off a 34-11 home loss to the Bengals. QB Jared Goff was just 28 of 42 for 202 yards and an interception. Jamal Williams has been a bright spot for Detroit offensively, so far he has 255 yards on 69 rushes. Defensively though the Lions are horrible as well, entering allowing 28.7 PPG.
The Rams are conceding 21.2. LA QB Matt Stafford will be out to bury his former team today. Keep your eyes on Cooper Kupp, who already has 635 receiving yards this year for the Rams.
LA is 9-4-1 ATS in its last 14 as a home favorite, while Detroit is just 4-9 ATS in its last 13 as a road underdog.
I expect LA to have no mercy here as it keeps the pedal to the metal until the final whistle. The play is LA.
|10-24-21||Panthers -3 v. Giants||3-25||Loss||-100||54 h 18 m||Show|
Losers of three straight, the Panthers take on the 1-5 Giants on the road. The Panthers are still missing McCaffrey and it shows. Darnold was poor last week again, completing only 17 of 41 passes with one interception. On a positive note he did finish with a very fine drive to tie the game up.
The Panthers haven’t run much since the loss of CMC, but with a sputtering pass-focused offense, this is expected to change. This would be a fine time to step it up as the Giants struggle against the run.
The Carolina defense was uncharacteristically poor in week 6 allowing 4 TDs and giving up monster yardage. Let us hope that this is not the new norm. To date they are first in pass rush and have 16 sacks.
A strong pass rush is bad news for the Giants, as their wounded offensive line has been brutal. If Darnold was poor, then Jones was worse, with 3 interceptions and a fumble. The Giants to date have an indifferent running attack.
The Giants 25th rated defense showed itself, giving up four touchdowns as well, but this is not unexpected. They are very poor against pass as well as the run.
What to expect in this matchup? Look for a better performance from the Panthers’ defense for one thing. With the amount of pressure that Carolina can bring, look for Jones to struggle again. I expect a better game form Darnold, with more protection. Take the Panthers to win and cover.
|10-21-21||Broncos v. Browns UNDER 41||14-17||Win||100||14 h 34 m||Show|
The Browns have a slew of injuries, including QB, a pair of running backs, and key pieces in the offensive line. When your leaders in passing, rushing and TDs are all out, the offense is in trouble. Not to mention a short week for Keenum to put things together. They are still 3 point favorites. Which doesn’t say much for the 3-3 Broncos, off three straight losses.
Bridgewater will start for the Broncos, but he is limping as well. He was sacked five times, and was hit well in the double figures last game. While he threw for three touchdowns, he also had three interceptions.
The highly touted Browns defense has stumbled badly two games in a row. Two stats to note; the Browns are 29th in the NFL in takeaways, and they are only averaging 2 sacks per game in their last two starts. The Broncos defense is rated at 9th which may be generous. They have been solid against the run. The Browns defense is reasonably intact, and may show up after two poor games. With an injury-weakened offensive line and a reserve quarterback, the Browns may not be putting up many points. Give Keenum at least the first half to find his feet. Take this game to go under the total in the first half.
|10-18-21||Bills -6 v. Titans||31-34||Loss||-107||9 h 17 m||Show|
Bills vs Titans
Off a blow-out over KC and 4 straight wins, The Bills appear to be more than a match for anyone. The Titans are 3-2, but have some key injuries, and will be banking on powerhouse Derrick Henry and the run again. How the Bills handle Henry will be a key today. They have been very good at controlling the run thus far. Last week aside, Tannehill has been very average, with low touchdown totals. The Titans offensive line has been picked apart, allowing a painful 25 sacks. Not to mention, the Bills have the best defense against the pass in the league.
Jake Allen has been effective and efficient, with talk of MVP thrown around. He has passed for 12 touchdowns, with just 2 interceptions, and has run the ball very successfully. Add to this a balanced running attack, against a Titans defense that has struggled on the ground and in the air.
This game is all Buffalo. Take the Bills to win and cover.
|10-17-21||Seahawks v. Steelers UNDER 43||20-23||Push||0||14 h 49 m||Show|
Seattle Seahawks/Pittsburgh Steelers
For me, this one is simple. Seattle and Pittsburgh are both going to be trying to establish the run game today. The Seahawks especially since QB Russell Wilson went down with injury last week.
Geno Smith has always been a "game manager," and that'll again be the case today as he's thrust into the spotlight in this difficult road venue.
Pittsburgh rookie RB Najee Harris ran for a career-best 122 yards and a TD in last week's 27-19 win over the Broncos and I expect him to have another big day here against this weak Seattle defensvie front.
The total has gone under in Pittsburgh's last eight games against the NFC and I expect that trend to continue here in the first half on Sunday night. The play is the under in the first half.
|10-17-21||Cowboys -4 v. Patriots||35-29||Win||100||100 h 12 m||Show|
Cowboys vs Patriots
The Cowboys are 4-1 this season and 5-0 against the spread. Are the Cowboys, finally, the real thing? Dak Prescott has the Dallas offense purring along with a fine balance between pass and run. 2nd in points scored, the Cowboys have out scored the Patriots by an almost 2 to 1 margin. The Cowboys are out-rushing the Patriots by more than a 2-1 margin, and while the Patriots’ overall defense has been steady, they are only 15th in defense against the run. Dallas is far superior with success in the red zone.
New England, in victory, did not impress in Week 5. The Patriots just haven’t scored a lot of points this season. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones is inexperienced but improving, but with only 5 TDs so far. And while the Patriots have allowed 5 fewer points per game this season, Cowboys’ maligned defense has thrived is in creating turnovers. Diggs has more than an interception a game. Jones and the Patriots have been very poor at hanging on to the ball. This could be a significant factor in week 6.
The Cowboys opened at -3 ½ . The line is climbing, and for good reason. Jump on this game early and take the Cowboys to cover.
|10-17-21||Vikings v. Panthers UNDER 45.5||34-28||Loss||-108||16 h 14 m||Show|
Vikings vs Panthers
Off a pair of losses, the Panthers need a win here. The big bad news for the Panthers is that McCaffrey is not, as was expected, back for the Panthers. This impacts the running game, but it also limits QB Darnold. There is no easy out from the exceptional pressure he has faced this season. The Panthers’ offensive line has not been effective. Darnold had a very poor game in week 5, but it is hard to compete with your butt on the turf. He’s had 5 turnovers in the last two games and has been sacked 14 times this season. Without McCaffrey, the Panthers offense is really sputtering. A telling stat; Carolina is only converting 38% of third down situations.
As much as the Panthers need a win, The Vikings need a road victory in week 6 for any chance of a successful season. The big good news for QB Cousins and the Vikings is that RB Dalvin Cook is returning. From a low point against the Browns and just 7 points scored, Cousins has been on something of a rebound. But will we still see the methodical and conservative approach to offense of previous weeks? Likely so..
Two very strong defenses will put their mark on this game. Both defenses have been very successful in limiting passing and rushing this season. The Vikings defense are third in the league in sacks and the Panthers just 1 back at 16. The Panthers excel at applying quick pressure on the passer. Both defenses are very good in limiting third down conversions.
This match up does not look conducive to a high points total. Take the Vikings and Panthers to go under the total.
|10-14-21||Bucs -6.5 v. Eagles||28-22||Loss||-115||76 h 53 m||Show|
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Bucs are off back-to-back wins at the Patriots and over the Dolphins last weekend and I like the defending champs to keep the good times rolling again here.
With ten days off after this before a game at home against Chicago, I expect Tom Brady to take advantage of this suspect Philly secondary.
Jalen Hurts has shown plenty of promise and while he may go on to become the next Donovan McNabb, this is a huge step-up in competition for the rookie QB. I just don't trust Hurts on the national stage against the Super Bowl Champs.
I think this Bucs' defense is underrated as well and I believe it's going to have a big day here against this young Philly offense.
Lay the points and expect a blowout. GUNSLINGER on Tampa.
|10-11-21||Colts v. Ravens OVER 46||25-31||Win||100||14 h 33 m||Show|
Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens
The Colts are not having the season that they had hoped for so far. After losing 3 straight, they finally cracked the winning collumn in last weeks victory over the Dolphins. Indy has now seen 4 of thier last 5 games finish OVER the Total.
For thw Ravens, the've stated 3-1, undefeated since the OT loss in week 1. In last week's win, they scored 17 points themselves in the first half. I expect them to have their foot on the gas again in this one.
With the Colts needing a win and the Ravens looking to put up points right out of the gate, I believe there's no question that this game should be a hugh scoring game right from the start. Take the 1st Half OVER
|10-10-21||Bills v. Chiefs -3||38-20||Loss||-100||27 h 4 m||Show|
Buffalo Bills @ KC Chiefs
This is an important game for both teams, but I'd say much more to the 2-2 Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs though enter off a big 42-30 win at Philadelphia last weekend. Previous to that they lost two tough games agasint the Ravens and Chargers.
Buffalo has been exceptional on both sides of the ball. It averages 33.5 PPG, while allowing 11.0, but that's definitely due to the level of competition its faced so far (a 35-0 win over Houston stands out obviously.)
KC's defense has been its weak point to this point. But, I still like KC to dig deep here against a Buffalo side that's just 2-5 ATS in its last seven games played in the month of October.
The Chiefs would have had this game circled on the calendar, and I expect Patrick Mahomes and company to deliver.
The play is KC.