Last week was somewhat of a struggle for Doc Brown who went 6-7 ATS and 7-6 SU. The good news is his Top 3 went 2-1, keeping the season percentage at 75%. Now that’s what you should be banking on when you peep the picks each week. Full analysis of this week’s games is after the picks chart, but here are some thoughts on the Top 3 picks.
One of the first games to which I gravitated was the Bears at the Bills. Chicago is laying 2.5 points which doesn’t seem like too much. The strength of this team is defense, and I expect the Bills to struggle scoring against the D. Chicago’s offense is the major question mark. Jay Cutler has been throwing picks as if he can hit a million dollar bonus by getting to 30 on the year. Their offense has been brutal and that’s because of their inability to protect the quarterback. What makes me believe this game will be different is that Buffalo’s pass rush isn’t nearly as potent as Seattle’s or Washington’s. I think the Bears will be able to protect Cutler and score enough points to cover in Toronto.
I’ve been big on the Dolphins all year. Their defense is extremely underrated and one of the better units in the league. I think this will be a game of field goals and very close, coming down to the final five minutes of the game. Baltimore can come out on top, but it will be by a slim margin.
Drew Brees may or may not be playing with a knee injury, but it doesn’t matter. He looked great in the second half last week against Pittsburgh and seems to have turned the corner. Carolina may have played them tough before, but they’re one of the worst teams in football. I think the Saints will look like the team on display last weekend and annihilate the weakened Panthers. Analysis on the rest of the games following the picks chart.
(ATS = Against the Spread, SU = Straight Up)
I was debating taking the Jets to cover on the road at Detroit as one of my Top 3 picks. I’m on record saying I think Mark Sanchez will have a monster game against the Lions and I still believe that will be the case. Thing is with Matthew Stafford at quarterback, Detroit should be able to score points too, but not enough to win or stay within four.
Tampa Bay does well against teams on their level but get blown out by superior team. Atlanta is vastly superior, hence the Falcons will win big. Or at least that’s how it should go. They’ll run for a huge total against the Bucs and pound the ball down Tampa’s throats.
Cleveland plays hard and surprises folks by keeping games close. They won’t sneak up on the Pats the way they did with the Saints, nor will they get two pick sixes from Brady to help. The bonus is that you know Bill Belichick will want to run up the score against Eric Mangini, making a late score likely if you need the cover.
Nothing has gone right for Minnesota this year and their team seems to be a walking disaster. Randy Moss is gone, Brett Favre is busted up, and Brad Childress has seemingly lost the locker room. But I still believe the Vikings have talent and can put it together for a game. Arizona will be their first easy opponent in a while. I think they’ll take advantage of the situation.
Antonio Gates now has a right foot injury to match his left foot injury. He’s talking as if he won’t play this weekend, and even if he does he won’t be Antonio Gates. That’s good enough to swing the balance in favor of Houston for me. Philip Rivers can make do with any wide receivers the Chargers have as long as Gates is there. If Gates isn’t there, the offense won’t be the same.
The Giants and Seahawks was a tough game for me to call. Seattle has one of the best homefield advantages in the league, but I don’t know how that can help their dreadful offense against a quality defense. Qwest Field has its magical powers, but it won’t be enough for them to overcome a significantly better Giants opponent.
If there’s one stat that all gamblers should know, it’s that Andy Reid is 11-0 following a bye week. Now that’s the sign of a good coach. Reid does his preparation and finds opponents’ weaknesses. Some people say Peyton Manning doesn’t have any, but I sure saw Kansas City find a few. I’m guessing the Eagles will too and they’ll be able to put pressure on Peyton. Vick is coming back from his broken ribs and should be fully recovered. His mobility will be an advantage for Philly if it starts raining at the Linc.
One of the biggest games of the weekend is Kansas City at Oakland. The Raiders have been on a role the past two weeks but I need to see them beat the Chiefs before I become a believer. They need to prove they’re not the Raiders of old before I put my reputation on them. Kansas City is a better team, not to mention very good defensively. I think they’ll show it and maintain control of the AFC West with a road win.
I really don’t have a good feel for Dallas and Green Bay. The Cowboys shouldn’t have lost as badly to Jacksonville as they did (tipped interceptions hurt them), but they’ve also packed it in this year. Green Bay’s defense looked great last weekend and can replicate the performance. Their offense has been a disappointment and is the only reason I’d question their ability to cover.
The Steelers aren’t the same juggernaut I thought they were, and it’s mostly because their offense isn’t great. Still, the Bengals are brutal and I have no reason to pick them against a superior Pittsburgh team. I don’t want to bank on the “this will be the game the Bengals pull it together” theory. I’d much rather be surprised knowing there was a chance it could happen because the smart money is that they continue to have the same problems they’ve had all season long.Google+