I’m going a little off schedule this weekend. I sit at the bar watching football with friends ever Sunday. This weekend I’m jumping across the pond for the best sports the United Kingdom can offer. I’m watching two quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup featuring South Africa vs. Wales and Ireland vs. Argentina with an appetizer of Premier League soccer featuring Liverpool vs. Tottneham. I thought this would be a cool idea when tickets went on sale last year because when else would I have such an easy opportunity to witness something like this. As someone with an English mother (can’t believe those bastards didn’t qualify for the elimination round) and who enjoys sports as much as I can, the idea was too good to pass up.
Unfortunately a work meeting for my day job was scheduled on Monday morning so I’m forced to fly home Sunday and miss the entire slate of NFL football. It will be incredibly weird to not even know what’s going on in the games as they happen, so hopefully the trip turns out to be as crazy as I’m expecting. (I mean, can you just imagine how fun it’ll be to watch a bunch of Irish drunks cheer on their rugby team?) I hope when I land in New York and check my phone at 11 p.m. that the games go exactly as follows…
Locks of the Week:
Arizona -3.5 over PITTSBURGH
This game has two ways of looking at it. There’s the narrative street that has Arizona coach Bruce Arians looking to shove it down Pittsburgh’s throat after they tried to force him into retirement a few years ago. Then there’s the narrative that the Steelers just aren’t good enough offensively to keep up. Look, last week was a fluke. The Steelers had an interception return for touchdown, hit a long passing play, and a two-minute drive against a mediocre defense. Outside of that they scored three points. Their offense was not moving the ball in the Michael Vick era. Arizona will find plenty of success throwing it this week and Pittsburgh won’t be able to respond.
J.Camm’s Pick: Arizona
Miami +1.5 over TENNESSEE
It just hit me today that Miami’s new coach is the same Dan Campbell who used to play tight end for the New York Giants. He’s finally living up to his third round pedigree. I expect Miami to be inspired now that Joe Philbin and old defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle were fired. The players obviously weren’t interested in playing for those guys. I expect bigger performances on both sides of the ball, so I’ll take the points. The Titans just haven’t been that impressive in recent weeks.
J.Camm’s Pick: Miami
MINNESOTA -3.5 over Kansas City
The Vikings come off the bye to face the 29th most efficient defense according to Football Outsiders. That’s quite a present. The Chiefs also lost their best offensive weapon last weekend and we all know asking Alex Smith to win you games is not where you want your offense to be. It doesn’t hurt that the Vikings have outscored opponents 57 to 30 in two home games this year.
J.Camm’s Pick: Minnesota
PHILADELHPIA -4.5 over N.Y. Giants
I’m giving you four locks this week because I really like the Eagles in this game, but I wouldn’t bet it in Vegas because I never bet against my own rooting interests. The Giants normally perform well as a road underdog, but they’re so beat up physically right now. The Eagles should see plenty of success offensively as they work the ball over the middle to Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, and the running backs. Things look breaker on the other side of the ball with the Giants having no ground game to speak off and injuries being nursed by their top two receivers. Eli worked his magic last week, but the Eagles defense is much better than what the Niners offered last Sunday night.
J.Camm’s Pick: Giants
Trap Games of the Week:
New England -9 over INDIANAPOLIS
The Colts must’ve been looking at this specific game when holding out Andrew Luck for the last two games. They’ve been completed embarrassed by New England in their recent contests and need to show up better here. Their defense is different than what the Patriots beat up in the playoffs last year because of additions and injuries. But when you look at how dominant the Patriots have been this year and how bad Indianapolis’ offensive line is, it’s hard to not take New England. By the way, did I mention this is also the revenge game for “deflate-gate?” Someone should tell the Colts fans what happened to the Bills after they tried to make fun of the Patriots.
J.Camm’s Pick: New England
Rest of the Picks:
N.Y. JETS -6.5 over Washington
Sheldon Richardson returns for the Jets, but they’ve done pretty well defensively without him. They haven’t actually played a playoff team yet, but thankfully Washington isn’t one either. With the Jets ability to stop the run as the #1 run defense in football according to Football Outsiders, Washington will have to turn to Kirk Cousins to find offense. That’s not something they’re excited about without Desean Jackson against the great Jets secondary.
J.Camm’s Pick: Jets
Chicago +3 over DETROIT
We knew the Lions would be worse this season without their dynamic duo at defensive tackle. We didn’t think they’d be this bad offensively. Maybe Matthew Stafford is nursing an injury from getting injured in Week 1. The Bears have been frisky the last two weeks with comeback wins and actually look like they care about winning.
J.Camm’s Pick: Detroit
Cincinnati -3 over BUFFALO
There’s some public love for Buffalo, but they haven’t beaten anyone of merit yet. The win against Indianapolis in Week 1 is nice, but we all know they’re flawed. If New England and the Giants, two good passing teams, can work the ball down the field against Buffalo, then Cincinnati should be able to as well. Plus the change to E.J. Manuel at quarterback because of Tyrod Taylor’s injury doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy.
J.Camm’s Pick: Cincinnati
JACKSONVILLE +1.5 over Houston
Let’s be honest. Both of these teams are awful. Houston was supposed to have a good defense, but 20th or worst in both rush and pass defense according to Football Outsiders. If only J.J. Watt could get his teammates to play like Batman. Jacksonville beat the Dolphins, but lost by at least a touchdown to their other four opponents. When both teams suck this bad, you take the points.
J.Camm’s Pick: Houston
Denver -4 over CLEVELAND
I hope Josh McCown enjoyed lighting up on the San Diego and Baltimore’s defenses, but Denver’s is a different beast. Cleveland’s 26th in the league in pass blocking according to football outsiders and Denver leads the league in sacks. That’s a recipe for disaster. Denver’s offense is bad, but Cleveland’s porous defense should at least make Denver average for the week.
J.Camm’s Pick: Denver
SEATTLE -7.5 over Carolina
It’s possible that Seattle’s just not the same team they were the last couple of years. Losing that game to Cincinnati showed mortality that we haven’t seen from Seattle’s defense before. Obviously the Seahawks have never been as good on the road, but between the defensive collapse and Russell Wilson constantly running for his life, the problems in Seattle are quite visible. This might be their game to put things back together against an undefeated team. They should be motivated. They should be able to hold down Seattle, who has no offensive weapons outside of Cam Newton and Greg Olsen. Carolina’s also nursing some injuries and even the return of Luke Kuechly won’t solve all their issues on run defense.
J.Camm’s Pick: Carolina
San Diego +11 over GREEN BAY
I struggled with who to take here, but eventually I took San Diego because they have enough offense to stay within striking distance. Besides, Philip Rivers loves himself a shootout. Green Bay has covered every spread so far this year, but they could’ve easily flubbed on a couple of those if not for missed field goals and things of the like.
J.Camm’s Pick: Green Bay
SAN FRANCISCO +2 over Baltimore
This game doesn’t warrant a full paragraph. These two teams have combined to win twice in 10 games. San Francisco was at least supposed to be bad. Baltimore should be embarrassed.
J.Camm’s Pick: San Fran
This Week: 0-1
Last Week: 5-8-1
JCamm: 40-36-3 (One game back. I’m coming for you, Mr. T. You filthy son of a bitch.)