Last week I went 5–7, just losing to the coin’s 6–6. A decidedly middling performance for both of us – but more so for myself.
On the season:
Look at that! We’re mirror images.
Falcons @ Panthers (–7.5)
The Falcons’ first game after their bye has retrospectively told us more about Tampa Bay than it did Atlanta. Last week’s visit to Arizona is probably more indicative of what we can expect out of this Atlanta team.
This game? I just don’t see how Atlanta scores outside of some garbage time tosses while they’re down double digits. Matt Ryan’s lack of any real weaponry to play with will be this team’s undoing and their abysmal defense will seal them in. It’s going to be a long season in Atlanta. Panthers.
Vikings @ Cowboys (–9.5)
The Vikings aren’t good, but I think they’re better than this spread suggests. Would it really surprise anyone if Adrian Peterson went out and amassed 150 yards and 3 scores in this contest? In a straight up pick em I’d take the Cowboys, but I’m grabbing the points here. Vikings.
Saints (–6.5) @ Jets
The Saints really put the fire to my beloved-in–2013 Bills last week. That surprised me a lot. I wasn’t nearly as surprised to see the Bengals beat up on the Jets in week 8, but to say I had any suspicion it would as thorough a massacre as what happened would be a total lie. I don’t think Thursday night’s Bengals loss does much to diminish what happened to the Jets last week, either. The Jets have been coasting by with a world beating run defense and some surprising (and inconsistent) play from Geno Smith and their running back of the week. None of that gives me any confidence they come in sniffing distance of this spread against a hot Saints team. You could probably double that spread and I’d still pick the Saints.
Titans (–3) @ Rams
It’s really tempting to grab the points and take the Rams here when I reflect back on Monday night and how they almost beat the Seahawks. I mean, they came astonishingly close. Zuerlein kicks true from 50 yards out with 8:33 left in the 4th and this game plays out different. And don’t even get me started on the playcalling down at the goal line to end the game. After punishing the vaunted Seattle D on the ground to the tune of 200 yards, the game ends with a floaty turd of a pass to no one in particular. Game over. Sad stuff. Sure, the right team won… but it was too close. Then again, Zac Stacy (who looked incredible) was out of the game by the time that last drive came to its conclusion and he’s questionable for this matchup.
Meanwhile, the Titans are sneaky good. Their 4 losses come at the hands of Houston-When-We-Thought-They-Were-Good (in overtime!), Kansas City (with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm), Seattle (ditto) and San Francisco (Locker’s back here, but there were some cobwebs – he looked a lot better in the second half). It really feels like they’re on the verge of going on a tear here and I think they win this one comfortably. I’m going with the Titans.
Chiefs (–3.5) @ Bills
The Chiefs have played it too close the past few weeks and I just like the Bills too much. Then again, the Bills have health issues at QB. EJ Manuel is still out and Thad Lewis is looking like he’ll need to sit this one out. That means we’ll see either undrafted Jeff Tuel or MATT FLYNN. Matt. Flynn. Can I really grab the points with Matt Flynn running the offense?
I’ll take the risk. Bills.
Chargers @ Redskins (–1)
How is this line so close? Did I miss something? The Chargers, rested up and coming off their bye against a possibly re-hobbled RGIII and whatever it is the Skins call a defense? And I’m getting a point? Chargers.
Eagles @ Raiders (–1.5)
Fun fact: The Eagles have only won on the road this year. Huh? That can’t be right. (Double checks.) Yep, it’s true.
Wait, who did those wins come against?
Week 1: In DC with that magnificent first half of offensive football.
Week 5: Against the Giants. I could try to come up with a quip here about it, but it would be too depressing.
Week 6: Tampa. Bay. Buccaneers. ’Nuff said.
That does lead to a good point: Will we see the Nick Foles we saw against Tampa Bay? Or will the guy who played Dallas at home and completed 11 of 29 passes for 80 yards before being knocked with a concussion show up?
I went risky with that Bills pick. I’m playing it safer here and picking the Raiders.
Buccaneers @ Seahawks (–14)
I’m growing increasingly suspicious of big spreads like this, but I can’t imagine writing the Buccaneers down in bold text after this sentence. Seahawks.
Ravens (–2) @ Browns
Hey, Jason Campbell didn’t look half bad! Maybe that was a fluke? Probably. But the Ravens have been pretty meh all year and I don’t see that changing this year. I’ll grab the points at home. Browns.
Steelers @ Patriots (–6)
Once upon a time this matchup would have been exciting. I see a lousy challenge from Tomlin leading to a wasted time out the Steelers will need to pull out a close win they won’t get. But the key word there is “close”. I’m not giving this Patriots team 6 points against anyone unless they’re (a) from Florida and (b) not named after a fish. Steelers.
Colts (–2) @ Texans
I’m not fooled by Case Keenum’s competent performance against the Chiefs two weeks ago. The Texans still lost that one, though it was close. This shouldn’t be. Colts.
Bears @ Packers (–10)
Three weeks ago I would have taken the Bears without a second thought. Of course, three weeks ago Jay Cutler, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman were healthy, so this spread never gets that wide. Josh McCown looked competent enough taking over for Cutler against the Skins to suggest their offense could continue rolling at a decent enough level, but the Packers are playing really well despite their own injury problems. I just can’t bring myself to grab those points, so here goes: Packers.