I think I went 6-7-1 last week, so that sucks. I’m going to put in a little more effort this week to try to improve on that.
If anyone wants to know, I got my odds here, on 10/18.
It’s that time of the week again. Here are this week’s picks:
Denver (-1) at Arizona. I do believe the Broncos can handle the Cardinals, even in Arizona. They haven’t traveled well this year (0-2), but Arizona hasn’t been an intimidating place to play (Cards: 0-3 at home) The top two leaders in tackles for the Cards (who are both in the top 5 in the NFL) are both safeties, suggesting to me that they’re letting a lot of rushes into their backfield (To be fair, their #3 guy is an LB). Their offense is the really weak part of the team, however, as only Buffalo has scored fewer points this year. Denver’s biggest weakness corresponds to Arizona’s. Denver’s rushing defense (27th) hasn’t been very good this year, but Arizona’s rushing game (32nd) has been terrible. Meanwhile, their rushing game against the Cards’ rushing defense shows a pretty big advantage. DEN – give the point.
Note: due to me sending this in late, this will be posted after this game has finished. If I got the pick wrong, you know that’s true.
Tennessee at LA Chargers (-6.5). The Titans are another team with a mediocre offense, one I think the Chargers can deal with. On the other side of the ball, the Titans have a decent defense, although their passing defense is much better than their running defense (26th). This works in favor of the Chargers, particularly Melvin Gordon. Playing in LA, I think the Chargers will be able to get that extra TD to beat the spread. LAC – give the points.
New England (-3) at Chicago. I wish the point spread were larger, it would give me more confidence in saying the Bears may well have a rebound game at home (against the spread, if nothing else). They’ve done well at home, while the Patriots have looked great at Gillette Stadium, and well… not so much anywhere else. The one key weakness I would fear would be Chicago’s average pass defense against Tom Brady and the rest of a team that knows how to make plays when necessary. Usually. CHI – take the points.
Cleveland at Tampa Bay (-3.5). The one area where the Buccaneers have shown real weakness is pass defense, where they are giving up the highest average YPG and over 3 TDs a game. They are quite fortunate, therefore, to be playing the Browns, who are tied for scoring the fewest passing TDs per game behind high round draft pick Baker Mayfield. Cleveland’s running game is one of the strongest in the league, although Tampa has shown they aren’t too bad at stopping the run. I think the biggest question is, can Jameis Winston throw more TDs to his own receivers than “completions” to Denzel Ward? Assuming the answer is yes, I’ll go with the Bucs at home. TB – give the points
Detroit (-3) at Miami. The Dolphins stats don’t seem to support their record (partially due to a large blowout loss in New England). The only statistical advantage I can see for them is Miami’s ground game against the Lions’ rushing defense. And while Miami’s passing defense has given up a lot of yardage, they also have the most interceptions in the league. Additionally, Detroit hasn’t shown they can play on the road this year. MIA – take the points
Carolina at Philadelphia (-4.5). Another game where I think the home/road records come into play. The statistical matchups are fairly even. A lot will come down to how the Eagles’ can (or cannot) hold Cam Newton at bay (or intercept him three times as they did last year). While that’s unlikely, I do think they will be able to turn their home field into a real advantage. PHI – give the points
Buffalo at Indianapolis (-7.5). The Bills have shown a heroic inability to score points, with the one unusual exception being their one win against Minnesota. They recently hired Former Panthers QB Derek Anderson to pump up their anemic passing. I think the most important matchup will be the Colts passing vs Buffalo’s pass defense. While the Bills could keep it close with good defensive play and better offense, I don’t expect their new QB to make that much of a difference. IND – give the points
Cincinnati at Kansas City (-6). The Bengals had a hard time dealing with Pittsburgh’s passing, and they are now facing a similar problem facing the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. While the Bengals have shown they can play on the road, they’re also now facing one of the best offenses smarting over a close loss. Their best hope is going to come dealing with a mediocre Kansas City defense. KC – give the points
Minnesota (-3) at NY Jets. The Jets are going to have a hard time stopping Kirk Cousins. The other matchups in this game are pretty much of a wash, statistically. They are probably going to get somewhere on the ground, but unless Sam Darnold plays better than he has previously this year, I think the Vikings have a definite advantage. MIN – give the points
Houston at Jacksonville (-4.5) The Jaguars remain the league’s statistical leader on defense, although they appear to be in freefall after two big losses to Dallas and Kansas City. Meanwhile, The Texans appear to be on the rise after starting the season 0-3. I think this is one game where the numbers don’t matter nearly as much as the motivations for the players. The Jaguars will be looking to end their losing ‘streak’ at home, and they do have the talent to do so. JAC – give the points
New Orleans at Baltimore (-2.5). The Saints have the league’s highest scoring offense going up against the league’s stingiest defense in the Ravens. Typically, in this matchup, you pick defense over offense. However, I’m feeling contrarian right now. NO – take the points
LA Rams (-9.5) at San Francisco. I’ve been checking team and individual player stats for a while. For this one, I’m just going to take the Rams. LAR – give the points
NY Giants at Atlanta (-5). The matchups for this one are fairly even. As above, I’m getting lazy, and it’s getting late, so I’m just going to go with the home team. ATL – give the points .