Five Thursday night NFL games to open the season and five blowouts. Fun times. Including opening night, every Thursday game has been decided by 20 points or more with the average margin being 29 points. That’s not exactly competitive football. CBS’ deal with the NFL is only one-year long, so the lack of competitive football doesn’t help the NFL’s case for a bigger deal next year. Sadly, I think plenty of other networks would line up to pay big money to have the property on their Thursday night. Hopefully this weekend’s games will be more competitive.
Locks of the Week:
DALLAS -6 over Houston
Is it finally time to stop ragging on the Cowboys’ defense? The performance they put on last week against New Orleans was quite impressive. The offensive change to become run-heavy will continue to work as long as DeMarco Murray doesn’t fall apart. (Fantasy owners knock on wood.) The real question is: why did Dez Bryant crash a high school homecoming?
Kyle’s pick: Dallas
DENVER -7.5 over Arizona
Give Arizona credit for fixing up their run defense despite losing three players from their front seven to free agency and injury. Shame Denver airs out the ball more than they run it. Patrick Peterson needs to show us he’s worth the big contract because he’s been embarrassed a few times this season.
Kyle’s pick: Denver
N.Y. Jets +7.5 over SAN DIEGO
This might look like an abominable pick given the 1-3 Jets are traveling west to take on the 3-1 Chargers, but I think the road trip will do the Jets some good. Geno doesn’t have to listen to the home crowd get on his case. If the Jets stay simple with a ground and pound offense with no turnovers (the Chargers are in the bottom third of the league in creating interceptions), then they should be within striking distance.
Kyle’s pick: New York
Seattle -7 over Washington
I’m hitting up four locks this week because I’m feeling good. After witnessing what the Redskins’ defense has done in the last two week, believing they have what it takes to keep a solid offense under 30 points is like believing Jenna Jameson’s boyfriend doesn’t think she looked better before all the plastic surgery. Suddenly not everyone in Washington is on the Kirk Cousins bandwagon anymore and now he faces the best defense in football with an extra week to prepare. What sealed the deal was this study about how west coast teams dominate east coast teams in night games.
Kyle’s pick: Seattle
Trap Games of the Week:
Baltimore +3.5 over INDIANAPOLIS
Baltimore is always an interesting team to handicap on the road. The fact that they have a capable offense against one of the league’s worst defenses makes you feel a lot better about their chances to cover a spread of more than a field goal. The defense got worse when LaRon Landry got suspended for four games in the most obvious PED violation of all time.
Kyle’s pick: Indianapolis
Kansas City +6 over SAN FRANCISCO
I’m torn on this game too. Both teams are coming off big wins, so I expect let downs on both sides. I still don’t think the Chiefs are legit, but I do applaud the way they’ve held things together over the last three weeks. Given that I still think the 49ers are a tad overrated, I’ll take the points with the Chiefs. Besides, how can you hate on the Chiefs when they have fans like this?
Kyle’s pick: Kansas City
Rest of the Picks:
TENNESSEE -1 over Cleveland
There’s really not much reason to choose Tennessee after they’ve been taken to the woodshed the last two weeks by Cincinnati and Indianapolis until you acknowledge that both those teams have good offenses. Tennessee was fine defensively in the previous two games and the return of Jake Locker should at least give the offense some ability to throw downfield. I love the way Cleveland has competed this year, but I’m not ready to choose them on the road yet in what basically amounts to a toss-up.
Kyle’s pick: Tennessee
Chicago +3 over CAROLINA
Carolina is so banged-up that they had to use defensive tackles and linebackers this week in practice as defensive ends. The offense is now down to their fourth-string running back, which also doesn’t bode well. The Bears have their own problems, but at least we know Jay Cutler can pick defenses apart with time. As long as the Bears focus their defensive efforts on Kelvin Benjamin, they’ll have enough to win this one. The over is also worth a look with both defenses suffering.
Kyle’s pick: Carolina
Pittsburgh -6 over JACKSONVILLE
The Steelers were embarrassed last weekend in blowing the game to Tampa Bay. Their defense clearly isn’t what it was in the recent glory days. Thankfully for them, the Jaguars are breaking in a rookie quarterback and have injuries in their receiving core.
Kyle’s pick: Pittsburgh
Buffalo +7.5 over DETROIT
I almost wasted a 200-word opening on the Bills’ quarterback change, but then I remembered we’re talking about the Bills. It’s just amazing that an organization is giving up on a quarterback after 20 games when the same people involved drafted him in the first place. Maybe we should applaud them for realizing their mistake and cutting bait as soon as possible.
Kyle’s pick: Detroit
NEW ORLEANS -10 over Tampa Bay
There’s no place like home. The Saints are 13-4 in their last 17 at home with an average winning margin of 15.7 points. The Buccaneers will be riding a little too high after last week’s comeback victory. That’s what I made it my survivor pick of the week.
Kyle’s pick: New Orleans
N.Y. GIANTS -4 over Atlanta
The Falcons aren’t a great road team and now they’re missing at least three offensive linemen for this weekend’s game. The Giants defense has been really good outside of one half in Detroit and the offense is starting to kick things into gear. The Falcons can’t stop anyone, so that should make things fun. Roddy White guaranteed scoring a touchdown, but did he realize the cornerback facing him finally dropped his v-card?? I would’ve locked this up if I didn’t have the policy of not locking up my own team.
Kyle’s pick: Giants
PHILADELPHIA -7 over St. Louis
The Rams defense is the cure for what ails the Eagles’ offense. Expect a shootout because the Eagles have given up at least 26 points in the last three games. I expect the Eagles to pull away late.
Kyle’s pick: Philly
NEW ENGLAND PK over Cincinnati
The Patriots have a knack of turning things around after a loss. It doesn’t help that it’s a short week, but I’m hopefully extra attention is paid to fixing the offensive line and the home field advantage will help.
Kyle’s pick: New England
This Week: 1-0
Last Week: 7-6