It took a while for Thursday night’s game to get going, but the results were exactly as we expected. There was plenty of offense, which made fantasy football players happy. Dallas controlled the game although their defense typically let Chicago get a little closer than they should’ve. Enjoy that while you can. Next week we get Arizona and the legendary Drew Stanton on a short week against St. Louis. I’d make some plans for Thursday night if I were you.
We have two themes with the picks this week: home underdogs and trap games. Home underdogs are 70.9% in the last 30 days as Vegas adjusts to all the early season heat on favorites by adjusting lines to keep people on them, but getting the results in their favor. Trap games seem to be way too prevalent these days, so I’m banging those too.
Locks of the Week:
DENVER -10 over Buffalo
We like big spreads in our locks this week and we start with Denver. Denver has a great way of dominating teams they’re supposed to, as is evident by their 8-2 record against the spread (ATS) in their last 10 when favored by 8 points or more. They’ve turned the corner offensively after looking a little slugging recently. The reason may surprise you, but it’s their running game led by C.J. Anderson. The Bills have done a nice job at hanging in there in games, but they haven’t faced high-powered offenses other than the Patriots in Week 6. They lost that game by 15.
Tampa Bay +10 over DETROIT
The Buccaneers certainly aren’t a good team and they have plenty of problems, but they’re kind of frisky. Since their bye week, they’ve lost by 8 points or less in four of their 5 losses. They’ve got enough offense to keep themselves in the game. Detroit exploded last week against Chicago, but as we saw, anyone can explode against Chicago.
GREEN BAY -13 over Atlanta
The Packers are rolling right now and they’ll enjoy their extra day of rest after beating the Patriots last week. Thankfully they’re a veteran team who will keep the foot on the pedal this week by beating an easily ambushed Falcons bunch. Matt Ryan’s numbers are much worse on the road than they are at home. He only has 21 touchdowns to 20 interceptions on the road in the last two years behind a beat down offensive line. The Packers’ will get a chance to tee off on Ryan and should add to their 7-3 record ATS in their last 10 when favored by 8 or more.
Kyle: Green Bay
Rest of the Picks:
N.Y. Giants PK over TENNESSEE
The Jaguars didn’t win their game against the Giants last week. The Giants lost it. As a Giants fan, it was annoying, but I’m totally OK with it because any win now only hurts their spot in the draft order. Tennessee is another team fighting for their spot on the draft order, but they’ve been playing worse than the Giants recently. I’d suggest you watch another game than this.
St. Louis -3 over WASHINGTON
This is the only home dog I’m going against. Maybe I’ll learn my lesson picking Shaun Hill on the road, but the Rams’ pass rush has been firing in recent games and Chris Long’s return from injury last week certainly helped. Washington’s 30th ranked offensive line in pass protection according to Football Outsiders (FO) doesn’t bode well for them in this one.
Kyle: St. Louis
Pittsburgh +3.5 over CINCINNATI
Your guess is as good as mine on this one. Pittsburgh doesn’t ever seem to play as well as they should. Their defense got pieces back last week, but it didn’t help and then the offense sucked. Cincinnati has been lumbering their way through games despite having a terrible run defense and Andy Dalton trying to lose games with three interceptions in the first half last week. I’ll take the points.
CLEVELAND +4 over Indianapolis
Here we have another home dog. The Colts seem to own bad teams, but I guess Cleveland doesn’t qualify for that because of their record? At 7-5 they seem to be an above average team, but not really a good one. This may be the day that Brian Hoyer gets the support of the locker room, but I guess we’ll see.
Carolina +10.5 over NEW ORLEANS
New Orleans just came off destroying Pittsburgh, so I expect a letdown because the Saints haven’t been able to get rolling at any point this year. Their home dominance clearly is a thing of the past. Carolina is bad, but why isn’t this line higher?
JACKSONVILLE +7 over Houston
We’re firing off another home dog. Don’t look now, but the Jaguars are ranked 11th in the league in defensive efficiency according to FO. It may surprise you, but that’s better than Houston. I’m worried about Blake Bortles because he surely wasn’t the reason the Jaguars came back last week, but he looked solid on the game’s final drive. Houston’s Ryan Fitzpatrick won’t be throwing for six touchdowns every week.
Minnesota -5.5 over N.Y. JETS
The Jets just lost a heartbreaker to Miami after dominating them with the running game. Now they’re off a short week against Minnesota. I don’t imagine Geno Smith to play well in the cold against an underrated pass defense. The Jets’ secondary will make Teddy Bridgewater look capable.
Kansas City PK over ARIZONA
I’ve had enough of Drew Stanton and Arizona just gave up big rushing yardage to an attack led by Steven Jackson. I don’t need to say anymore.
Kyle: Kansas City
PHILADELHPIA PK over Seattle
This should be a fun one. We have Chip Kelly’s offense against Pete Carroll’s defense. The Seahawks are rolling after a couple of strong outings, but Philadelphia’s feeling pretty confident after beating Dallas so easily. This game is on Mark Sanchez. If he plays well enough, the Eagles can come out of this one. It’s a home game, so that helps his case.
OAKLAND +9.5 over San Francisco
San Francisco’s offense just isn’t very good. Covering this many points seems like a stretch. And hey it’s another home dog!
SAN DIEGO +4 over New England
The final home dog of the day goes to San Diego. Just when we thought they were ready to be dead and buried, they crept up on us and surprised at Baltimore. This should be one highly entertaining Sunday night affair. A field goal should decide it.
Kyle’s pick: New England
This Week: 1-0
Last Week: 7-9