Tag Archives: against the spread

NFL Week 12 Odds, Predictions and Picks against the spread

John Morgan
November 26, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

More than half of the remaining NFL Week 12 games have odds of seven or more points. On paper there are few competitive games, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Last week the Chiefs were double-digit favorites but lost to a one-win Giants club in disarray. Washington was an injury riddled 7½ point road dog up against a hot team on a seven game winning streak. The 4-5 Skins were up by 15 with less than two minutes to play and nearly upset the Saints before losing in overtime in one of the season’s most exciting games. On the other hand there are the Patriots, who have not lost since October 1st – and have covered the spread four weeks in a row.

Should the Patriots-Dolphins game turn into a blowout, there may be some competitive games in the early time slot. Buffalo is at KC in a battle between two fading teams. Tampa Bay at Atlanta could be interesting should the Falcons have a letdown after winning at Seattle. In the late time slot the Saints at Rams should be a great game. The night games are nothing special. Green Bay at Pittsburgh would have been a good game if Aaron Rodgers was the QB rather than Brett Hundley. Monday night it is Houston at Baltimore. The only reason to watch that is to witness a potential John Harbaugh meltdown and another Baltimore loss.

Unfortunately New England fans are once again saddled with Ian Eagle and the incompetent Dan Fouts as the broadcast crew for Sunday’s game. It boggles my mind that somebody at CBS considers this pair to be their second best set of announcers. How can anyone possibly consider those two to be better than Greg Gumbel and Trent Green, or Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon?

For a full list of announcers and to see what games are being broadcast in your are, please check JP Kirby’s 506 Sports.

Early Games on CBS

4-6 Miami Dolphins at 8-2 New England Patriots
Patriots favored by 16½; over/under 47½ points; money line -1900, +1000

The Patriots have often struggled against quarterbacks that they have little film to review for tendencies and weaknesses. Does that mean that Matt Moore will lead the Dolphins to an upset? Of course not. The offense is clicking despite several injuries, and the defense has made a 180 turn from the first month of the season.

Pick: Patriots 38, Dolphins 17
New England +16½, over 47½

 

0-10 Cleveland Browns at 4-6 Cincinnati Bengals
Bengals favored by 8; over/under 38 points; money line -410, +340

DeShone Kizer has thrown 14 interceptions, most in the NFL. Cleveland’s defense has been decent, but having to overcome all those turnovers is too much to ask for.

Pick: Bengals 24, Browns 13
Cincinnati -8, under 38

 

5-5 Buffalo Bills at 6-4 Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs favored by 10; over/under 46½ points; money line -500, +400

Buffalo HC Sean McDermott may be in over his head. With a 5-4 record and the Bills holding onto a wild card spot, he inexplicably benched QB Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is not an elite quarterback by any means, but the replacement was a 5th round rookie going on the road to make his first NFL start. Nathan Peterman proceeded to throw an interception on four of the first five drives, and was mercifully yanked after his fifth pick. McDermott’s reasoning was that he wanted to see what Peterman had and how he could do. Isn’t that what a blowout game in the fourth quarter is for? Or preseason? Or games in December after you have been eliminated from the playoffs, as opposed to a midseason game when you have a winning record?

Pick: Chiefs 31, Bills 20
Kansas City -10, over 46½

 

Early Games on Fox

3-7 Chicago Bears at 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles favored by 14; over/under 44½ points; money line -1100, +700

Philly has won eight in a row and is coming off a huge win over division rival Dallas. The Eagles will be on the road for the next three games, playing the Rams, Seahawks and Giants. The Bears have already taken advantage of superior opponents in trap games twice, defeating the Steelers and Panthers. While an upset would be shocking, A close game would not be a surprise.

Pick: Eagles 24, Bears 20
Chicago +14, under 44½

 

4-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 6-4 Atlanta Falcons
Falcons favored by 9½; over/under 48½ points; money line -475, +375

In their victory last week at Miami the Bucs allowed three pass plays of over 40 yards. That kind of pass defense is going to be in a world of hurt against Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the Atlanta offense.

Pick: Falcons 30, Bucs 21
Tampa Bay +9½, over 48½

 

7-3 Carolina Panthers at 4-6 New York Jets
Panthers favored by 5½; over/under 40 points; money line -250, +210

Will Carolina be well rested or rusty coming off the bye? If the Panthers are looking ahead to next week’s game at New Orleans, the fundamentally sound Jet defense could cause enough problems to pull off an upset.

Pick: Panthers 20, Jets 17
New York Jets +5½, under 40

 

6-4 Tennessee Titans at 3-7 Indianapolis Colts
Titans favored by 3; over/under 45½ points; money line -165, +145

The Titans bounce back from last Thursday’s loss to Pittsburgh by feasting on an inferior opponent.

Pick: Titans 24, Colts 17
Tennessee -3, under 45½

 

Late Afternoon Games

6-4 Seattle Seahawks at 1-9 San Francisco 49ers
4:05 ET on Fox
Seahawks favored by 6½; over/under 45½ points; money line -300, +250

The 49ers may be able to keep it close thanks to all the injuries on Seattle’s defense. The Niners just don’t have enough talent to beat the Seahawks though.

Pick: Seahawks 27, Niners 20
Seattle -6½, over 45½

 

8-2 New Orleans Saints at 7-3 Los Angeles Rams
4:25 ET on CBS
Rams favored by 2½; over/under 53½ points; money line -145, +125

By far the best game of the week. The Rams have beaten only one good team all season (Jacksonville), and were a bit disappointing in last week’s loss at Minnesota. I’m expecting them to bounce back at home against New Orleans. The Saints defense has been opportunistic (ten interceptions, 13 takeaways) but could be overpowered here. New Orleans gave up 31 points at home to the injury riddled Redskins last week, and haven’t faced an offense this good since their week two loss to the Patriots.

Pick: Rams 31, Saints 27
LA Rams -2½, over 53½

 

7-3 Jacksonville Jaguars at 4-6 Arizona Cardinals
4:25 ET on CBS
Jaguars favored by 5½; over/under 38 points; money line -240, +200

The Jaguar defense is allowing just 14.1 points per game, by far the lowest in the NFL. Jacksonville should be able to feast on Blaine Gabbert and an anemic Arizona offense that has scored more than 21 points just twice all year.

Pick: Jaguars 20, Cardinals 13
Jacksonville -5½, under 38

 

3-7 Denver Broncos at 4-6 Oakland Raiders
4:25 ET on CBS
Raiders favored by 5; over/under 43 points; money line -240, +200

Remember when the experts declared the AFC West to be the best division in the NFL before the 2017 season began? Not much of that talk now, thanks to these two disappointing teams that failed to live up to the hype. Denver has lost six in a row, their worst losing streak since 1990. They could actually benefit from Tim Tebow at this point.

Pick: Raiders 24, Broncos 21
Denver +5, over 43

 

Prime Time Games

5-5 Green Bay Packers at 8-2 Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday night at 8:30 pm ET on NBC
Steelers favored by 14; over/under 43½ points; money line -1000, +600

Last week Pittsburgh was able to stop Tennessee’s running game, force the Titans into predictable pass plays, and take advantage of poor down-and distance situations. That resulted in four Marcus Mariotta interceptions and a 40-17 victory. The same formula worked for Baltimore last week in their 23-0 rout over the Packers as Green Bay turned the ball over five times. No reason to believe this game won’t be more of the same.

Pick: Steelers 31, Packers 10
Pittsburgh -14, under 43½

 

4-6 Houston Texans at 5-5 Baltimore Ravens
Monday night at 8:30 pm ET on espn
Ravens favored by 7; over/under 38 points; money line -320, +260

Tom Savage has ten turnovers (3 picks, 7 fumbles) in just 125 pass attempts. He has been sacked 13 times and is averaging a league-worst 4.54 yards per dropback. This all plays right into the strength of Baltimore’s defense, to force turnovers (an NFL-best 23).

Pick: Ravens 24, Texans 13
Ravens -7, under 37

 

NFL Week 11 Odds, Predictions and Picks against the spread

John Morgan
November 19, 2017 at 11:00 am ET

The Patriots versus Raiders in Mexico City highlights a decent slate of pro football games in Week 11. Four games in particular stand out, conveniently with one in each time slot.

The day kicks off with a matchup of division leaders, a rarity in the early time slot. The 7-2 Rams have won four straight and bring their top ranked offense (32.9 ppg) to Minnesota. The 7-2 Vikings have won five in a row and are allowing just 18.3 points per game. Minnesota is listed as a 2½ point favorite.

The Patriots and Raiders renew their decades long rivalry in the late afternoon time slot. New England puts a five game winning streak on the line in their second consecutive game on the road at high altitude. The Patriots need a win to keep pace with Pittsburgh for the best record in the AFC, and to maintain their two game lead in the AFC East. 4-5 Oakland has been inconsistent this year but still possess plenty of talent on offense. The Raiders need a victory to keep hopes of winning the AFC West alive.

Sunday night has a good game with Philadelphia at Dallas. The Eagles own the NFL’s best record at 8-1, and have a league-high seven game winning streak. The 5-4 Cowboys need a win to stay in contention for a wild card spot, as nine other NFC teams have at least five wins. With all that has been happening off the field for Jerry Jones, a victory would be sweet. The Jerrah now knows first hand with what it is like to be on the wrong side of Roger Goodell’s erratic system of lies punishment.

Week 11 wraps up with a good game on Monday Night. 5-4 Atlanta travels to Seattle to play the 6-3 Seahawks. The defending NFC champs are in third place, two games behind New Orleans. The Falcons need a win here to not only stay close in the NFC South, but to just keep up as a wild card contender. Seattle is only one game behind the Rams in the NFC West but they have bigger issues. The Seahawks will be without Pro Bowl CB Richard Sherman (ruptured Achilles’ tendon) and Pro Bowl SS Kam Chancellor (neck stinger).

For a full list of announcers and to see what games are being broadcast in your are, please check JP Kirby’s 506 Sports.

Early Games on Fox

5-4 Detroit Lions at 3-6 Chicago Bears
Lions favored by 3; over/under 41 points; money line -150, +130

The Bears continue to find a way to lose close games. Mitch Trubisky has a bright future but right now he’s going through the growing pains of being a rookie quarterback on a bad football team.

Pick: Lions 21, Bears 17
Detroit -3, under 41

 

3-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 4-5 Miami Dolphins
Pick’em; over/under 41½ points; money line -110, -110

How much of a distraction will the Uber allegations against Jameis Winston be for the Bucs? This game comes down to which CB gets burnt more badly, Miami’s Xavien Howard or Tampa’s nickel duo of Javien Elliott and Robert McClain.

Pick: Buccaneers 20, Dolphins 17
Tampa Bay -0, under 41½

 

7-2 Los Angeles Rams at 7-2 Minnesota Vikings
Vikings favored by 2½; over/under 45½ points; money line -135, +115

Most of the talk has been about Jared Goff and the #1 LA offense against a tough Viking defense. The Rams are well balanced, with Aaron Donald leading the way in Wade Phillips’ defense. LA is allowing just 18.0 points per game and has forced 19 turnovers. Keep an eye on Viking WR Adam Thielen. The D-2 receiver has five games with at least 90 yards receiving, and at least five receptions in all nine games.

Pick: Rams 24, Vikings 20
Los Angeles +2½, under 45½

 

4-5 Washington Redskins at 7-2 New Orleans Saints
Saints favored by 7½; over/under 51½ points; money line -380, +310

The Saints are playing well in all three phases of the game. The offense is far more productive with more emphasis on the running game, keeping opposing defenses off balance. Net result is a 7-game winning streak, tied with Philadelphia for the longest in the NFL this season. Make that eight straight over the injury depleted Skins.

Pick: Saints 31, Redskins 21
New Orleans -7½, over 51½

 

4-5 Arizona Cardinals at 3-6 Houston Texans
Texans favored by 1½; over/under 37½ points; money line -125, +105

You want to know why ratings are down? Games where the starting quarterbacks are Tom Savage and Drew Stanton may have something to do with that.

Pick: Cardinals 19, Texans 16
Arizona +1½, under 37½

 

Early Games on CBS

6-3 Kansas City Chiefs at 1-8 New York Giants
Chiefs favored by 10; over/under 46 points; money line -500, +400

Remember when preseason prognosticators were predicting that the Giants would win the division and contend for the Super Bowl? Now Big Blue is a double-digit underdog at home and instead in contention for the number one pick in the 2018 draft.

Pick: Chiefs 34, Giants 10
Kansas City -10, under 46

 

4-5 Baltimore Ravens at 5-4 Green Bay Packers
Ravens favored by 2; over/under 38 points; money line -130, +110

Brett Hundley looked awful in his first two games, but was improved last week. Packer RB Jamaal will need a productive day to counter Baltimore’s blitz-heavy defense on a cold (33) and windy (12-25) day.

Pick: Packers 20, Ravens 17
Green Bay +2, under 38

 

6-3 Jacksonville Jaguars at 0-9 Cleveland Browns
Jaguars favored by 7½; over/under 37 points; money line -380, +310

Jacksonville may be without their top four receivers, so it will be imperative that the Jags get their running game in gear. Jacksonville’s offensive line has performed well this year, with the Jaguars averaging an NFL best 163 yards rushing per game. Cleveland’s run defense has been their lone bright spot. The Browns are allowing an NFL-low 3.1 yards per carry and just 86 yards rushing per game.

Pick: Browns 20, Jaguars 16
Cleveland +7½, under 37

 

Late Afternoon Games

5-4 Buffalo Bills at 3-6 Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 ET on Fox
Chargers favored by 5½; over/under 41½ points; money line -250, +210

Nathan Peterman gets the start at quarterback over benched Tyrod Taylor. Expecting a rookie QB to win on the road in his first NFL start is a tall order, even though the Chargers have virtually no home field advantage.

Pick: Chargers 27, Bills 16
Los Angeles -5½, over 41½

 

3-6 Cincinnati Bengals at 3-6 Denver Broncos, 4:25 ET on CBS
Broncos favored by 2½; over/under 38½ points; money line -145, +125

Denver has lost five straight and Bronco fans are pointing their fingers at everybody, including John Elway. If the Bengal secondary could not cover Tennessee receivers last week, what will they do at Mile High against Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders?

Pick: Broncos 23, Bengals 20
Denver -2½, over 38½

 

7-2 New England Patriots vs 4-5 Oakland Raiders
4:25 pm ET on CBS, at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City
Patriots favored by 7; over/under 54½ points; money line -320, +270

Jack Tatum. Daryl Stingley. Russ Francis. George Atkinson. Phil Villapiano. Ray Hamilton. Ben Dreith. Stop whining about the Tuck Rule, Raider fans. You scored six points on your final ten possessions of that game, and failed to stop the Patriots on three of their last four possessions.Pats improve to 19-15-1 all time in this series.

Pick: Patriots 31, Raiders 17
New England -7, under 54½

 

Prime Time Games

8-1 Philadelphia Eagles at 5-4 Dallas Cowboys
Sunday night at 8:30 pm ET on NBC
Eagles favored by 5½; over/under 48 points; money line -240, +200

Carson Wentz has thrown 17 touchdown passes against three interceptions in the last five games. Dallas has not been able to contain good quarterbacks and high scoring offenses this year. The Cowboys gave up 35 points in home losses to the Packers and Rams, and 27 points at Atlanta last week.

Pick: Eagles 31, Cowboys 20
Philadelphia -5½, over 48

 

5-4 Atlanta Falcons at 6-3 Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks favored by 3; over/under 45 points; money line -150, +130
Monday night at 8:30 pm ET on espn

The Seahawks are in a difficult situation, playing without CB Richard Sherman and SS Kam Chancellor. Seattle does benefit with the return of FS Earl Thomas, and Atlanta RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) is out. This could easily go either way; it’s tough to pick against Seattle at home. Former Patriot Justin Coleman gets the start at corner in place of Sherman.

Pick: Seahawks 24, Falcons 20
Seattle -3, under 45

 

Bye Week:
7-3 Carolina Panthers
3-7 Indianapolis Colts
4-6 New York Jets
1-9 San Francisco 49ers

 

For a sneak peak at next week’s games, check out NFL Week 12 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead Lines: Pats favored by 14.5 vs Miami.

 

NFL Week 10 Odds, Predictions and Picks against the spread

John Morgan
November 12, 2017 at 7:00 am ET

NFL Week 10 has plenty of interesting story lines. On Sunday night the Patriots travel to their house of horrors, Denver’s Mile High Stadium. The Pats are 2-6 since 2005 in Colorado, and 4-18 in the Rockies since 1969. Despite that alarming trend the Patriots are 7½ point favorites as of Saturday night.

Since their week five bye the Broncos have been in a free fall with no end in sight. First there was a 13-point loss to the Giants, giving Big Blue their only win of 2017. That was followed by a shutout loss to the Chargers, then a five-turnover debacle against KC. Last week the one strong point for Denver, their defense, allowed 51 points. It was the most points allowed by the Broncos since 2010. On top of that the 28 point differential was the worst for Denver since the 2011 season of Tim Tebow.

There are plenty of other games worth watching as well. In the early time slot Minnesota is at Washington, and the Saints travel to Buffalo on a six-game winning streak. Then in the late afternoon time slot Dallas travels to Atlanta without Ezekiel Elliott. Roger Goodell wanted the NFL to have 12-month headlines, but these questionable suspensions and subsequent court cases are crushing the popularity of the sport. The week wraps up with Miami at Carolina on Monday night.

Most of the country will get Pittsburgh at Indy early on CBS. Fox has the early time slot split between the Saints-Bills in the east, and Minnesota-Washington in the west. The Pats-Broncos game is available most everywhere, though Hartford is stubbornly (and stupidly) opting to air the Giants game instead. smh…. For a full list of announcers and to see what games are being broadcast in your are, please check JP Kirby’s 506 Sports.

 

Early Games on Fox

6-2 Minnesota Vikings at 4-4 Washington Redskins
Vikings favored by 1½; over/under 41 points; money line -125, +105

Washington has had injuries throughout their entire offensive line this season. They get three starters (LG Shawn Lauvo, C Spencer Long, RG Brandon Scherff) back this week. That should significantly help matters, but LT is still a sore spot. Minnesota Pro Bowl DE Everson Griffen already has ten sacks, and will make LT TJ Clemmings look incompetent.

Pick: Vikings 23, Redskins 17
Minnesota -1½, under 41

 

4-4 Green Bay Packers at 3-5 Chicago Bears
Bears favored by 5½; over/under 37½ points; money line -250, +210

It would be no surprise whatsoever if the Pack finishes the season in last place in the NFC North. Perhaps then they can use their early draft picks to shore up that Swiss cheese offensive line. Here’s a question: will Brett Hundley be able to make the roster on a CFL or Arena league team in 2018?

Pick: Bears 20, Packers 17
Packers +5½, under 37½

 

3-5 Cincinnati Bengals at 5-3 Tennessee Titans
Titans favored by 4½; over/under 40½ points; money line -220, +180

Cincinnati has given up 25 ppg over the last three weeks, losing two of three since their bye. Two of those games were against Jacksonville and Indianapolis, neither of which are offensive juggernauts. More alarming was the Bengals regression on offense last week, with a mere eight first downs and seven points scored.

Pick: Titans 20, Bengals 17
Cincinnati +4½, under 40½

 

6-2 New Orleans Saints at 5-3 Buffalo Bills
Saints favored by 3; over/under 47½ points; money line -145, +125

The Saints are overdue for a letdown loss, but will it come now? Here is dome team playing outside up north in the last half of the season against a team coming off an embarrassing loss. I just don’t think that the Bills can keep up with the New Orleans offense though. The Saints have a balanced attack and are playing complimentary football. That is something they have lacked since winning the Super Bowl eight years ago. Logically the Saints win, but I’m taking the Bills to bounce back in a slight upset. Buffalo wins their fifth straight home game.

Pick: Bills 24, Saints 20
Buffalo +3, under 47½

 

Early Games on CBS

6-2 Pittsburgh Steelers at 3-6 Indianapolis Colts
Steelers favored by 10; over/under 45 points; money line -500, +400

Pittsburgh has a tendency to play down to the level of their opponents on the road. That doesn’t mean the Colts will pull off the upset though; they are still awful. Indy has an atrocious minus-98 point differential already. To place that in perspective that is worse than even the one-win Giants, or the winless Browns and Niners.

Pick: Steelers 27, Colts 20
Indianapolis +10, over 45

 

3-5 Los Angeles Chargers at 5-3 Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars favored by 4½; over/under 41 points; money line -210, +180

RB Leonard Fournette will have fresh legs after three weeks off. He faces a Charger run defense that is allowing 4.6 yards per carry (28th) and 135 yards per game (31st). The Jacksonville defense is for real, allowing an NFL-best 14.6 points per game.

Pick: Jaguars 24, Chargers 13
Jacksonville -4½, under 41

 

4-5 New York Jets at 2-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jets favored by 2½; over/under 43½ points; money line -140, +120

Tampa Bay’s defense has been a sore spot all season. The Buccaneer defense generates no pass rush, with a league-worst eight sacks on the season. That has resulted in 7.9 yards per pass attempt (28th) and 24.8 points per game (26th). Give journeyman QB Josh McCown enough time and he will avoid critical mistakes and do just enough to win.

Pick: Jets 24, Bucs 20
Gang Green -2½, over 43½

 

0-8 Cleveland Browns at 4-4 Detroit Lions
Lions favored by 11; over/under 43½ points; money line -625, +450

The Cleveland defense has actually played well this year. The Browns are allowing only 2.9 yards per rush (1st) and 4.9 yards per play (8th). The offense though ranks at or near the bottom in nearly every statistical category. Detroit may be inconsistent, but they have far more talent and should win easily.

Pick: Lions 31, Browns 13
Detroit -11, over 43½

 

Late Afternoon Games

3-5 Houston Texans at 6-2 Los Angeles Rams
Rams favored by 11½; over/under 45½ points; money line -675, +475

This would have been a really great game to watch. Unfortunately it’s Tom Savage at QB rather than DeShaun Watson, and JJ Watt and Whitney Houston are sidelined as well. The Rams put up 51 points last week and now have to be considered a genuine contender to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. QB Jared Goff’s numbers through eight games: 2,030 yards passing with 13 TD against only 4 INT. Goff also leads the NFL with 8.3 yards per pass attempt and 13.8 yards per completion.

Pick: Rams 27, Texans 13
Los Angeles -11½, under 45½

 

5-3 Dallas Cowboys at 4-4 Atlanta Falcons
Falcons favored by 3; over/under 48½ points; money line -150, +130

The Dallas offense has been clicking, and the Atlanta defense has been missing. The Cowboys will be without RB Ezekiel Elliott however. Perhaps more importantly all-pro LT Tyron Smith will also be inactive due to a groin injury. Atlanta needs to get their offense back in gear to keep their playoff hopes reasonably alive.

Pick: Falcons 28, Cowboys 27
Dallas +3, over 48½

 

1-7 New York Giants at 0-9 San Francisco 49ers
Giants favored by 2½; over/under 42 points; money line -145, +125

Week after week I keep picking Santa Clara to win a game. Week after week the Miners find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Now they host Team Turmoil, traveling three time zones. The G-men have given up on their season and their coach is Dead Man Walking. The legend of Jimmy Garoppolo in the City by the Bay commences. Only masochists would tune in to watch a game between two teams with a combined 1-16 record.

Pick: Niners 3, Giants 2
Niners +2½, under 42

 

Prime Time Games

6-2 New England Patriots at 3-5 Denver Broncos
Patriot favored by 7½; over/under 44½ points; money line -320, +260

New England fans are rightfully going to temper their expectations based on the Patriots history in Denver. The Broncos have not looked good since their week five bye. Denver has lost four straight, turning the ball over 13 times in that span. To win they will need their defense to come through against a Patriot offense that is without WR Chris Hogan (shoulder). Danny Amendola has been playing through a knee injury, so the Pats could rely more on James White in the passing game. The Broncos can’t focus on stopping both Rob Gronkowski and the Patriot running backs at the same time. Brock Osweiler and the Denver offense will make a critical gaffe or two against Matt Patricia’s defense.

Pick: Patriots 31, Broncos 17
New England -7½, over 44½

 

4-4 Miami Dolphins at 6-3 Carolina Panthers
Panthers favored by 9; over/under 38½ points; money line -450, +350

Continuity on offensive lines is a key to productivity. Miami will make two changes to their OL this week, adding LG Ted Larsen but losing RT Ja’Wuan James. That could be problematic against a Carolina defense that is allowing only 17.7 ppg.

Pick: Panthers 24, Dolphins 17
Miami +9, over 38½

 

Bye Week:
4-5 Baltimore Ravens
6-3 Kansas City Chiefs
4-5 Oakland Raiders
8-1 Philadelphia Eagles

 

For a sneak peak at next week’s games, check out NFL Week 11 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead Lines: Patriots favored by 6 vs Raiders in Mexico City.

 

NFL Week 7 Odds, Predictions and Picks against the spread

John Morgan
October 22, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

NFL Week 7 is highlighted by the most hyped and anticipated game of the 2017 season. The Atlanta Falcons travel to Foxborough for only the second time this millennium, in a rematch of the greatest Super Bowl in NFL history. The Patriots lead the all-time series 8-6 and are 5-0 in the Belichick-Brady era. New England was listed as a 3½ point favorite for most of the week, with that number dropping to three late Friday. As of Saturday night 63% of the money bet on the spread is taking the Falcons to cover, 74% of the money line is on Atlanta, and 77% is on the point total going over 56½ points.

Ironically the Pats-Falcons game will end up being no more than the second most exciting game of the week. In a departure from the usual Thursday night fare, NFL fans were treated to a wild and stunning ending to the week’s first game. If seven lead changes weren’t enough, consider the final half minute of the Raiders closing drive to beat Kansas City.

  • Completion on 4th and 11 for a first down.
  • Two incomplete passes.
  • Touchdown pass to tie the game.
  • Scoring play reviewed; call reversed, out of bounds inside the one yard line.
  • Ten second runoff; game clock down to 0:03 seconds.
  • Pass completed for touchdown.
  • Penalty, offensive pass interference; TD nullified, ten yard penalty.
  • Pass incomplete, clock at 0:00.
  • Penalty on defense; Raiders get an untimed down.
  • Pass again incomplete.
  • Another penalty on KC, another untimed play for Oakland.
  • Pass complete for touchdown to tie the game.
  • Extra point good to win the game.

As a whole the public tends to place more money on the favorite than on the underdog. Those that bet the chalk in week six lost their shirt. Favorites covered the spread in a mere three games last week, and underdogs won nine of those 14 games straight up. Both home teams favored by 13½ lost (Atlanta to Miami and Denver to the Giants). In addition Minnesota knocked out Green Bay, Pittsburgh handed Kansas City their first loss, and the Chargers (at Oakland) and Bears (at Baltimore) pulled off road upsets. The 2017 has provided plenty of inconsistency, with teams looking strong one week and bad the next.

Week 7 is full of games that are close matchups, at least on paper. While week six had what appeared to be plenty of blowouts (and we saw how that turned out), there are zero games with a spread of more than six points this week. Road teams are favored nearly as often as home team, accounting for many of those low odds. New Orleans at Green Bay and Tampa Bay at Buffalo appear to be the most watchable of the eight games in the early time slot. Cincinnati at Pittsburgh was flexed to a later kickoff to help improve the quality of the late afternoon games. Another good option as a prelude to the Pats-Falcons game is Denver at the Chargers. Atlanta at New England is of course the must-watch game on Sunday night. Monday night features Carson Wentz and Philadelphia hosting Washington. The Eagles went on the road to defeat Carolina last week, and now own the NFL’s best record at 5-1.

 

Early Games on CBS

3-3 Tennessee Titans at 0-6 Cleveland Browns
Titans favored by 6; over/under 45½; money line -250, +210

The Titans have displayed an annoying penchant for playing down to the level of their opponents. However, this is the Browns we are talking about. Even if Tennessee starts slow – as they often do – the Titans should still be able to win this game with less than 100% productivity.

Pick: Titans 24, Browns 20; Cleveland +6

 

3-3 Jacksonville Jaguars at 2-4 Indianapolis Colts
Jaguars favored by 3; over/under 43½; money line -165, +145

The Colts are unable to finish games, a sign of substandard coaching. Jacksonville failed to live up to lofty expectations in 2016, but this season their defense (18.3 ppg, 312 ypg) is carrying the Jags to playoff contention.

Pick: Jaguars 27, Colts 17; Jacksonville -3.

 

3-3 Baltimore Ravens at 4-2 Minnesota Vikings
Vikings favored by 5½; over/under 38½; money line -250, +210

Don’t be fooled by Baltimore’s record. Their wins were against the Raiders without Derek Carr, the Browns, and a Bengal team still in preseason form in week one. The Ravens home loss last week to the lowly Bears was not an anomaly.

Pick: Vikings 24, Ravens 13; Minnesota -5½

 

4-2 Carolina Panthers at 2-4 Chicago Bears
Panthers favored by 3; over/under 41; money line -170, +150

So when the dust all settled this game was cross flexed from Fox to CBS and the Miami-Jets game went from CBS to Fox. Why bother? Is anybody outside of those four fan bases going to watch either game? Mitch Trubisky looks like he will become a good NFL quarterback. But for this game the Bears are facing a well rested Panther team wanting to rid themselves of the taste of last week’s defeat. Beating the Ravens doesn’t really count for much; the Bears still have a long ways to go before becoming a contender.

Pick: Panthers 24, Bears 17; Panthers -3

 

Early Games on Fox

3-3 New York Jets at 3-2 Miami Dolphins
Dolphins favored by 3; over/under 38; money line -175, +155

Adam Gase finally figured out that Jay Cutler (an NFL-worst 5.2 yards per pass attempt) was not going to lead the Dolphins to many victories. Miami made no pretense what their plan was, lining up in two or three tight end formations, and was able run the ball effectively in last week’s win at Atlanta. Expect more of the same in this game. Woody Hayes would love this game.

Pick: Dolphins 17, Jets 16; Jets +3, under 38

 

2-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 3-2 Buffalo Bills
Bills favored by 3; over/under 45; money line -150, +130

Jameis Winston will get the start for the Bucs, despite his bum shoulder. Tampa Bay’s defense has underachieved this season, but they finally get the heart of their D – linebackers LaVonte David and Kwon Alexander – healthy and on the field together. Their productivity is key, as Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy has bounced back from a couple of sub-par games with 98 yards from scrimmage in the win at Atlanta, and 99 yards at Cincinnati.

Pick: Bucs 20, Bills 16; Tampa Bay +3; under 45

 

3-2 New Orleans Saints at 4-2 Green Bay Packers
Saints favored by 4; over/under 47½; money line -210 +180

The Saints look for their fourth straight win while Green Bay QB Brent Hundley gets his first NFL start. Unfortunately for him the New Orleans defense has risen from the dead, forcing nine takeaways this season. On the other side of the ball the Saints have discovered a running game – ironically, with incumbent Mark Ingram rather than Adrian Peterson.

Pick: Saints 31-17; New Orleans -4

 

3-3 Arizona Cardinals ‘at’ 4-2 Los Angeles Rams, in London
Rams favored by 3; over/under 45½; money line -160, +140

Adrian Peterson had a big game in his debut last week, but don’t expect a repeat performance. The Arizona offensive line is still awful, and the Ram defense is much better than Tampa Bay’s injury riddled D. Jared Goff and the LA offense (a league-best 29.8 points per game) should give European NFL fans plenty of scoring to cheer for. Arizona’s defense (26.3 ppg) is nowhere near as formidable as they had been the previous four years.

Pick: Rams 31, Cardinals 24; Los Angeles -3

 

Late Afternoon Games

2-3 Dallas at 0-6 San Francisco 49ers, 4:00 ET on Fox
Cowboys favored by 6; over/under 48½; money line -265, +225

The Cowboys have not lived up to pre-season expectations, despite being able to play Ezekiel Elliott. After losing five straight games by a field goal or less, the Niners finally get their first W.

Pick: 49ers 24-21; San Fran +6

 

4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers at 2-3 Cincinnati Bengals, 4:30 ET on CBS
Steelers favored by 5½; over/under 40½; money line -250, +210

It is amazing to consider the possibility that Cincinnati, who looked awful in their first two games, could be in first place in the AFC North with a victory. Steeler WR Martavis Bryant, who asked to be traded due to his role in the offense, could have a big game here. In five games against the Bengals Bryant has three touchdowns, catching 21 out of 32 passes thrown his way for 257 yards.

Pick: Steelers 24-20; Cincinnati +5½

 

3-2 Seattle Seahawks at 1-5 New York Giants, 4:30 ET on CBS
Seahawks favored by 4; over/under 39½; money line -210, +180

Seattle’s offensive line has caused problems for their offense. Their defense is still a force, which is bad news for an injury ravaged Giants squad.

Pick: Seahawks 24-13; Seattle -4

 

3-2 Denver Broncos at 2-4 Los Angeles Chargers, 4:30 ET on CBS
Even odds (pick’em); over/under 40½; money line -110, -110

The threat of Demaryius Thomas (10 catches, 133 yards last week) will enable CJ Anderson to run the ball. The Chargers will do what they do best: lose a close game.

Pick: Broncos 24-20; Denver (pk)

 

Prime Time Games

3-2 Atlanta Falcons at 4-2 New England Patriots, Sunday 8:30 ET on NBC
Patriots favored by 3; over/under 56½; money line -160, +140

Atlanta’s offense presents difficult matchups for the Patriot defense. The Falcons get a very tiny bit of revenge, but the Super Bowl LI legacy will live long after this game is forgotten.

Pick: Falcons 31, Patriots 27; Atlanta +3

 

3-2 Washington Redskins at 5-1 Philadelphia Eagles, Monday 8:30 pm ET on espn
Eagles favored by 4½; over/under 49; money line -225, +185

Philly is clicking on all cylinders right now. Washington on the other hand is banged up, with injuries to both corners.

Pick: Eagles 30-20; Philadelphia -4½

 

Best Bets:
Jaguars -3
Saints -4
49ers +6
Seahawks -4
Bucs-Bills under 45
Eagles -4½
Jets-Dolphins under 38

 

NFL Week 6 Odds, Predictions and Picks against the spread

John Morgan
October 15, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

NFL Week 6 kicked off with an oddity. Lo and behold, we had a quality Thursday night game between a pair of teams with winning (both 4-1) records. Philadelphia went on the road and defeated Carolina in Charlotte 28-23. Carson Wentz overcame a slow start and threw three touchdowns – and more importantly, no interceptions. The Eagle defensive front seven won the line of scrimmage against the Carolina offensive line. Cam Newton had thrown for 671 yards and six touchdowns over his last two games, but the Philly defense harassed him all night. With a 5-1 record and possessing an impressive road victory, the Eagles are a legitimate candidate to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 52. Meanwhile, one high strung idiot has given Panther fans an embarrassing reputation.

 

★★★★★ — Game of the Week

3-2 Pittsburgh Steelers at 5-0 Kansas City Chiefs
4:25 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Broadcast in all markets except Arizona, California, Nevada and southern Oregon.
Chiefs favored by 4; over/under 47; Money Line KC -205, Pitt +175

Right now Alex Smith is the NFL MVP for 2017. The previously maligned quarterback is leading the league in completion percentage, yards per pass attempt and passer rating. The additions of Tyreek Hill in 2016 and rookie Kareem Hunt this year certainly help as well. The Pittsburgh defensive front seven is nothing special and won’t be able to handle that duo. Whispers about the demise of 35 year old Ben Roethlisberger (6 TD, 7 INT) will gain momentum this week in Iron City.

Prediction: Chiefs 27, Steelers 20
Chiefs -4

 

★★★★ — Good Games

3-2 New England Patriots at 3-2 New York Jets
1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Broadcast in all markets except those airing the Browns-Texans and Dolphins-Falcons games. Also not broadcast in DC, Baltimore, Minneapolis and New Orleans due to NFL blackout rules.
Patriots favored by 9½; over/under 47½; Money Line NWE -475, NYJ +375

The Jets have thrived when they don’t have to rely on Josh McCown and the league’s worst group of receivers. On the other hand the Patriot pass defense has been suspect, to put it mildly. On top of that the Pats will be without starting corners Stephon Gilmore (concussion) and Eric Rowe (groin). It will be interesting to see what Matt Patricia game plans Sunday. Nickel situations would presumably call for safety Duron Harmon. After Malcolm Butler and Jonathan Jones the only other corner is Johnson Bademosi, who has yet to play a defensive snap this season.

Prediction: Patriots 27, Jets 24
Jets +9½

 

4-1 Green Bay Packers at 3-2 Minnesota Vikings
1:00 pm ET on Fox; Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman
Broadcast in most of the US; see the five other games on Fox for exceptions.
Packers favored by 3; over/under 45; Money Line GB -175, Min +155

This would be a great game if the two teams were at full strength, but that is not the case. QB Case Keenum has filled in admirably for Sam Bradford, but the Vikes could really use Dalvin Cook against this Green Bay defense. WR Adam Thielen has played well, but with Stefon Diggs out the Packer defense can double team him all day.

Prediction: Packers 31, Vikings 21
Packers -3 (two units)

 

3-2 Los Angeles Rams at 3-2 Jacksonville Jaguars
4:05 pm ET on Fox; Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth
Broadcast in Boston, southern California, Jacksonville, Houston, Miami, New York City, Ohio (except Cincinnati) and West Palm Beach.
Jaguars favored by 2½; over/under 42½; Money Line Jax -145, Rams +125

Here we are in mid-October, and both the Rams and Jags have winning records. Jacksonville is a complete enigma. They rank first in both sacks and interceptions, second in passes defensed, third in passing yards allowed, and sixth in quarterback hits. The Jaguars looked unbeatable in wins over the Texans, Ravens and Steelers. Problem is that each victory was followed by a poor game (Titans, Jets). Following that pattern the Jags are due for another dud. Rams QB Jared Goff has made remarkable progress in his second season, and doesn’t make the mistakes that Blake Bortles does. Jacksonville is playing at home and with a better defense though, and finally wins consecutive games.

Prediction: Jaguars 24, Rams 17
Jaguars -2½</span

 

★★★ — Decent Games

3-2 Detroit Lions at 2-2 New Orleans Saints
1:00 pm ET on Fox; Dan Hellie, Chris Spielman
Broadcast in Louisiana, Michigan and Mississippi.
Saints favored by 5; over/under 50; Money Line NOR -215, Det +185

QB Matthew Stafford is dealing with a bum ankle, which is good news for Saints DE Cameron Jordan. Detroit will attempt to get RB Ameer Abdullah rolling against a New Orleans defense that is allowing 4.5 yards per carry. The Lions will also miss be without DT Haloti Ngata for the rest of the season, which certainly does not help when facing Drew Brees.

Prediction: Saints 27, Lions 24
Lions +5

 

1-4 Los Angeles Chargers at 2-3 Oakland Raiders
4:25 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Broadcast in Arizona, California, Nevada and southern Oregon.
Raiders favored by 3; over/under 50½; Money Line Oak -175, LAC +155

Derek Carr may be less than 100%, but that’s still great news for the Raiders. EJ Manuel’s passes were late and slow, leaving Oakland receivers in peril last week. The LAC run defense is non existent, allowing 5.0 yards per carry and a league worst 161 yards per game. In 2016 the Chargers lost too many winnable games, so they changed head coaches. Nothing has changed so far this year. The Bolts were fortunate to finally win a game they tried to give away last week, escaping with a narrow victory against the depleted Giants. Sunday they return to their standard format of losing a close game. Note: the line has dropped from 5½-6 points on Friday to 3-3½ point on Saturday. I liked the Chargers when the number was at that high point, but at just three I would go with the Raiders.

Prediction: Raiders 28, Chargers 24
Raiders -3

 

2-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 2-3 Arizona Cardinals
4:05 pm ET on Fox; Kenny Albert, Charles Davis
Broadcast in Arizona, Atlanta and Florida (except Jacksonville, Miami and West Palm Beach).
Bucs favored by 1½; over/under 45½; Money Line Bucs -125, Ariz +105

Adrian Peterson talked his way out of New Orleans, where he was a bad fit. While he is an upgrade over Chris Johnson, Arizona still has no running game due to their porous offensive line. The Cardinals best bet is to just use him as a decoy on play action passes. Just throw the ball to whomever is being covered by Buccaneer CB Vernon Hargreaves, who gives the opposition a 12 yard cushion yet still manages to get beat deep. Cardinal CB Patrick Peterson versus Buc WR Mike Evans makes this game watchable. If Tampa Bay can make some field goals for a change they could win this game.

Prediction: Cardinals 23, Buccaneers 20
Cardinals +1½

 

★★ — Meh Games

0-5 Cleveland Browns at 2-3 Houston Texans
1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, James Lofton
Broadcast in Ohio, eastern Kentucky, Tennessee (except Memphis), Texas, Jacksonville and Shreveport.
Texans favored by 9; over/under 47; Money Line Hou -450, Cle +350

The Texans are now without both JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus. There is still Jadeveon Clowney, but Joe Thomas should be able to neutralize his production. Houston QB DeShaun Watson has been outstanding, and should be able to beat Cleveland LB Jamie Collins when he decides to run. Despite the losses of defensive playmakers, I’ll take the team with Watson at quarterback over the one with Kevin Hogan.

Prediction: Texans 31, Browns 21
Texans -9

 

2-2 Miami Dolphins at 3-1 Atlanta Falcons
1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Broadcast in most of the southeast: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana (except Shreveport and New Orleans) and Florida (except Jacksonville).
Falcons favored by 13; over/under 45½; Money Line Atl -900, Mia +600

Atlanta was aided by questionable officiating in a pair of early season victories; now they are helped out by their schedule. Injuries are never a good thing, but their bye last week came at the best possible time. The Falcons should get WR Julio Jones and OLB Vic Beasley back for Sunday’s game, though WR Mohammed Sanu is out. Regardless of who suits up, it is difficult to envision a scenario where Miami wins. The Dolphins are averaging an NFL-worst 10.3 points per game; how can they keep pace with the Falcons? On top of that the Fins are dealing with the aftermath of a scandal involving a coach, and are on the verge of a quarterback controversy.

Prediction: Falcons 27, Dolphins 10
Falcons -13

 

1-4 Chicago Bears at 3-2 Baltimore Ravens
1:00 pm ET on Fox; Sam Rosen, Ronde Barber
Broadcast in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland and western Pennsylvania.
Ravens favored by 6½; over/under 39½; Money Line Bal -300, Chi +250

Another week, another pushover for the Ravens. Baltimore has victories over Cincinnati (before the Bengals fired their OC), Cleveland and Oakland (with EJ Manuel at QB). In their two other games the Ravens were outscored 70-16. Baltimore will be in first place in the AFC North on Sunday night, but it’s a façade. Perhaps Jordan Richard can run the ball effectively to keep the game close. Chicago rookie QB Mitch Trubisky has no receivers who can catch the ball.

Prediction: Ravens 24, Bears 17
Ravens -6½

 

0-5 San Francisco 49ers at 2-2 Washington Redskins
1:00 pm ET on Fox; Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston
Broadcast in northern California, DC, North Carolina, eastern Pennsylvania, Virginia and Reno NV.
Redskins favored by 11; over/under 46½; Money Line Wash -600, SF +450

In my opinion three consecutive road games should be abolished in the NFL. It simply puts to much of a burden on that team’s ability to prepare, and inevitably results in a sloppy game. Here we are with SF, an already talented-deficient team, having to overcome that obstacle against a rested club. The Washington defense has performed better than anticipated this year, while the Niners are managing to score just 17.8 points per game (25th). Throw in possible dissension over the release of Navorro Bowman, and we have the recipe for an ugly blowout. The Niners have been competitive; each of their last four games has been decided by a field goal or less. Consecutive overtime losses have to be incredibly frustrating though.

Prediction: Redskins 31, Niners 13
Redskins -11

 

0-5 New York Giants at 3-1 Denver Broncos
8:30 pm ET Sunday on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Broncos favored by 12; over/under 39; Money Line Den -700, NYG +500

Let’s see, the Giants can’t stop the run or the pass. They are down four receivers. Their offensive line stinks. In the span of five weeks they have gone from a supposed Super Bowl contender to a team planning on the 2018 draft. Now they have to travel 1800 miles and play 5280 feet above sea level. Against a well rested team that ranks first in the NFL in defense (261 yards per game).

Considering what a hypocrite Giant owner John Mara is, I shed no tears. The puppet master pulling Roger Goodell’s strings for his own betterment thought he was all set when he had the commissioner suspend Ezekiel Elliot. Watching his team fail so miserably should bring a smile to every football fan’s face.

Prediction: Broncos 34, Giants 10
Broncos -12 (two units)

 

— Bottom of the Barrel

2-3 Indianapolis Colts at 2-3 Tennessee Titans
8:30 pm ET Monday on espn; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden
No lines at this point in time due to uncertainty on status of Marcus Mariota.

If Mariota plays: Titans 24, Colts 20
If Cassel plays: Colts 24, Titans 17

 

Teaser (three units):
Broncos -6
Redskins -5

 

NFL Week 6 Odds, Announcers & TV Broadcast Distribution

John Morgan
October 14, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

In a network decision nobody anticipated before the 2017 NFL season began, a Sunday afternoon Jets game will be broadcast to most of the nation. Three games dominate the NFL Week 6 afternoon broadcast distribution. Most of the nation will be fed the following games Sunday afternoon. In the early time slot CBS will air the New England Patriots at New York Jets for the lead in the AFC East. Pittsburgh at Kansas City will follow as the marquee game on CBS in the late afternoon. Fox has the single game this week, with Green Bay at Minnesota being broadcast by the majority of their affiliates. The prime time games are nothing to stay up for this week. The winless Giants are at Denver on Sunday night in what should be a blowout. Week 6 wraps up with the Colts at Tennessee on Monday night.

Odds listed are as of Friday the 13th. Lines have already changed during the week, and are many are likely to do so again before kickoff.

 

Early Games on CBS

0-5 Cleveland Browns at 2-3 Houston Texans
1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, James Lofton
Broadcast in Ohio, eastern Kentucky, Tennessee (except Memphis), Texas, Jacksonville and Shreveport.
Texans favored by 9½; over/under 46½; Money Line Hou -475, Cle +375

3-2 New England Patriots at 3-2 New York Jets
1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Broadcast in all markets except those airing the Browns-Texans and Dolphins-Falcons games. Also not broadcast in DC, Baltimore, Minneapolis and New Orleans due to NFL blackout rules.
Patriots favored by 9½; over/under 47½; Money Line NWE -475, NYJ +375

2-2 Miami Dolphins at 3-1 Atlanta Falcons
1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Broadcast in most of the southeast: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana (except Shreveport and New Orleans) and Florida (except Jacksonville).
Falcons favored by 12½; over/under 46½; Money Line Atl -850, Mia +575

 

Early Fox Games

3-2 Detroit Lions at 2-2 New Orleans Saints
1:00 pm ET on Fox; Dan Hellie, Chris Spielman
Broadcast in Louisiana, Michigan and Mississippi.
Saints favored by 4; over/under 50; Money Line NOR -210, Det +180

4-1 Green Bay Packers at 3-2 Minnesota Vikings
1:00 pm ET on Fox; Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman
Broadcast in most of the US; see the five other games on Fox for exceptions.
Packers favored by 3; over/under 46; Money Line GB -175, Min +155

1-4 Chicago Bears at 3-2 Baltimore Ravens
1:00 pm ET on Fox; Sam Rosen, Ronde Barber
Broadcast in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland and western Pennsylvania.
Ravens favored by 6½; over/under 39½; Money Line Bal -300, Chi +250

0-5 San Francisco 49ers at 2-2 Washington Redskins
1:00 pm ET on Fox; Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston
Broadcast in northern California, DC, North Carolina, eastern Pennsylvania, Virginia and Reno NV.
Redskins favored by 11; over/under 46½; Money Line Wash -600, SF +450

 

Late Games on Fox

3-2 Los Angeles Rams at 3-2 Jacksonville Jaguars
4:05 pm ET on Fox; Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth
Broadcast in Boston, southern California, Jacksonville, Houston, Miami, New York City, Ohio (except Cincinnati) and West Palm Beach.
Jaguars favored by 2½; over/under 42½; Money Line Jax -145, Rams +125

2-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 2-3 Arizona Cardinals
4:05 pm ET on Fox; Kenny Albert, Charles Davis
Broadcast in Arizona, Atlanta and Florida (except Jacksonville, Miami and West Palm Beach).
Bucs favored by 1½; over/under 45½; Money Line Bucs -125, Ariz +105

 

Late Games on CBS

3-2 Pittsburgh Steelers at 5-0 Kansas City Chiefs
4:25 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Broadcast in all markets except Arizona, California, Nevada and southern Oregon.
Chiefs favored by 4½; over/under 47; Money Line KC -215, Pitt +185

1-4 Los Angeles Chargers at 2-3 Oakland Raiders
4:25 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Broadcast in Arizona, California, Nevada and southern Oregon.
Raiders favored by 5½; over/under 51½; Money Line Oak -250, LAC +210

 

Prime Time Games

0-5 New York Giants at 3-1 Denver Broncos
8:30 pm ET Sunday on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Broncos favored by 12; over/under 39; Money Line Den -700, NYG +500

2-3 Indianapolis Colts at 2-3 Tennessee Titans
8:30 pm ET Monday on espn; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden
No lines at this point in time.

Thursday Night: Philadelphia Eagles 28 (at) Carolina Panthers 23
Panthers: -3, -150
Eagles: +3, +130
over/under: 44

 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publisher of this website. Neither the author nor this website promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.

 

NFL Week 5 Odds, Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

John Morgan
October 8, 2017 at 9:30 am ET

NFL Week 5 kicked off with the unusual occurrence of a decent Thursday night game. The Patriots overcame two turnovers, twelve penalties and an inability to finish (1-3 in red zone, settling for four field goals) to defeat the Bucs 19-14 in Tampa. Nick Folk’s three missed field goals were the bulls eye for the wrath of Buc fans, but there was more to their loss than that. Tampa Bay was unable to capitalize on either turnover, and the play calling deserved scrutiny as well. Doug Martin gashed the Patriot defense to the tune of 5.7 yards per carry, but he was not utilized at all on the final three possessions. Both teams are on the road next week: the Patriots at the Jets, and Tampa Bay at Arizona.

Pittsburgh (-8) is the only team favored by more than a touchdown this week. Tennessee (at Miami), Kansas City (at Houston) and Minnesota (at Chicago) join New England at Tampa as the Week 5 road favorites. The Patriots had spent most of the week at -5½ but Rob Gronkowski’s status spurred late money on the Bucs, bringing the final line to four points in most venues, and even 3½ at some parlors.

Some interesting Money Lines to consider this week include the underdog Chargers +150 at the Giants and Buffalo +150 at Cincinnati. On the other side favorites Tennessee -145 at Miami, Kansas City -120 at Houston, and Minnesota -145 at Chicago are worth a look. The largest point totals are Green Bay at Dallas (52½) and Seahawks at Rams (47½). On the other end of the scale Baltimore at Oakland and the Bills at Bengals both have over/unders of 39½.

To see what games are being broadcast in your neck of the woods, check out 506 Sports NFL Maps.

 

NFL Week 5 Early Games

Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants (-3½), o/u 45

The Chargers fired head coach Mike McCoy after losing so many winnable games a year ago. Fast forward to the 2017 season and it’s déjà vu. Under Anthony Lynn the Chargers are 0-4 with three losses by three points or less. The crowd could turn on the Giants should they fall behind, and they have never had much of a home field advantage over the years in East Rutherford.

Pick: Chargers 24, Giants 20
Chargers +3½ (two units)

 

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (-3), 39½

The Buffalo defense is allowing an NFL best 13.5 point per game. Cincinnati’s offense struggled mightily the first two games of the year, but has scored 55 points the last two weeks. Flying under the radar is the Bengal defense. Cincy’s D is giving up just 16.8 points per game and 4.4 yards per play, both third best in the league. The Bills are attempting to win consecutive road games, and face the challenge of playing three away games in four weeks.

Pick: Bengals 17, Bills 13
Bengals -3
Under 39½

 

New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (pick), 40

Both teams are devoid of talent and looking ahead to the 2018 draft. The Jets have taken a page from the movie Major League and are sabotaging management’s plans to tank. Todd Bowles has Gang Green playing solid fundamental football on defense, forcing opponents to go on long drives while waiting to exploit a mistake. Cleveland’s defense has played well against the run but the Browns are allowing 8.3 yards per pass attempt.

Pick: Jets 20, Browns 17
Jets +0

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-9), 42½

The Steelers beat arch rival Baltimore last week, and face the undefeated Chiefs a week ago. This is the perfect setup for a letdown, and the Jaguar defense is capable of keeping this game close.

Pick: Steelers 24, Jaguars 17
Jaguars +9

 

Tennessee Titans (-2½) at Miami Dolphins, 43

Matt Cassel is expected to get the start for Tennessee due to Marcus Mariota’s hamstring injury. Since 2012 Cassel is 8-18 with 27 TD and 36 picks. Despite Miami’s offensive impotence (last in the NFL with 8.3 points per game), it is really difficult to picture the Titans going on the road for a win Sunday.

Pick: Dolphins 16, Titans 13
Dolphins +2½
Under 43

 

San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts (-1½), 44½

There is no justification to take the Niners on the road straight up, and this point spread is so low that is essentially what one would be doing. Indy plays well in spurts but then looks awful the next quarter. The Colt defense is dead last at 34.0 points per game and is allowing 6.1 yards per play (29th). San Fran’s offense has been equally inefficient, so something has to give there. The Niners rank 26th in scoring (16.5 ppg), 26th in yards per play (4.7), 28th in the red zone (38.5%) and 30th on third down (30%).

Pick: Colts 24, Niners 20
Colts -1½

 

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-6½), 45

The Cardinals have been unable to do anything at all on the ground since losing RB David Johnson in week one. That puts more pressure on Carson Palmer to carry the team. Problem is that the Cardinal offensive line is a sieve. Once the Eagles take a lead they can tee it up against that OL. Palmer has already been sacked a league high 17 times and that number may reach 20 – by halftime.

Pick: Eagles 24, Cardinals 13
Eagles -6½

 

Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (-2½), 42½

Detroit leads the league with 11 takeaways, while Carolina has none in the last three games and is 31st with a -5 turnover differential. The Lion defense Carolina’s signature win last week was more about what the Patriot defense did not do than what the Panthers did do. Carolina is scoring 19.5 points per game despite having played against three bad defenses. Last week Cam Newton wasn’t able to handle success very well; how will he handle a loss with all eyes upon him Sunday? It’s really difficult to win back-to-back road games in the NFL.

Pick: Lions 20, Panthers 16
Lions -2½

 

NFL Week 5 Late Games

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (-1½), 47½

What, the Rams are favored to beat Seattle?! The Seahawk defense has struggled against opposing running backs in both the running game (5.0 yards per carry) and catching passes out of the backfield (8 yards per pass attempt). Todd Gurley presents a matchup problem for the Seattle defense that will not have the benefit of their 12th man home crowd. On the other side of the ball the Ram defense has struggled (4.9 yards per carry, 26.3 points per game), but still should be able to take advantage of a porous Seattle offensive line.

Pick: Rams 23, Seahawks 20
Rams -1½
Under 47½

 

Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders (-3), 39½

Joe Flacco has now thrown an interception in ten straight games. The Raven QB has a league worst 5.0 yards per pass attempt and 31st ranked passer rating of 65.0. The Raven defense has struggled against the run, which plays right into Oakland’s game plan. With Derek Carr (back injury) out, EJ Manuel will be under center for the Raiders. That means plenty of carries for Marshawn Lynch and Jalen Richard.

Pick: Raiders 24, Ravens 17
Raiders -3

 

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-3), 52½

Dallas plays much better at home, where Dak Prescott has a 109.6 passer rating in his last seven games. The Cowboy offensive line has not performed as well as they did last year, but should be able to easily handle a mediocre Green Bay defense. That means a big day for Ezekiel Elliott, who has underwhelmed to the tune of 3.6 yards per carry this year. The Packers will be able to score enough to make this game close, aided by the lack of Sean Lee on defense for Dallas. Cowboys get a small bit of revenge for last year’s playoff loss to Green Bay.

Pick: Cowboys 34, Packers 30
Cowboys -3
over 52½

 

NFL Week 5 Prime Time Games

Kansas City Chiefs (-1) at Houston Texans, 45 (Sunday night)

Houston obliterated Tennessee last week with an aggressive defense that limited the Titans to two third down conversions and nine first downs, while amassing five turnovers. DeShaun Watson broke through for five touchdowns last week and appears to be the franchise quarterback the Texans have been lacking since their inception. Kansas City finally has a good offense to compliment their defense for the first time since Dick Vermeil was the KC head coach. The Chiefs are averaging an NFL-best 6.8 yards per play, spreading the ball around to Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. KC is in a bit of a tough spot, going on the road after a hard fought Monday night game. In case you missed it the ‘meaningless’ final play of the game left gamblers in either ecstasy or agony.

Pick: Texans 24, Chiefs 20
Texans +1

 

Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Chicago Bears, 40 (Monday night)

The Chicago defense is allowing 26.0 point per game (27th) and a 47% third down conversion rate (31st). Offensively they 29th in scoring (15.2 ppg) and 23rd in yards per play (4.9). It does not matter who the quarterback is for either team or where the game is played. Minnesota (and about 90% of the NFL) is more than a field goal better than Chicago.

Pick: Vikings 27, Bears 17
Vikings -3 (two units)

 

NFL Week 5 Byes

Atlanta Falcons

Denver Broncos

New Orleans Saints

Washington Redskins

 

NFL Week 4 Odds, TV Info, Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

John Morgan
September 30, 2017 at 10:00 pm ET

A rematch of Super Bowl 39 is among the highlights of NFL Week 4. Carolina travels to Foxboro to take on the Patriots in an early afternoon game with New England favored by 9½ points. In the same time slot Baltimore hosts Pittsburgh in a battle of bitter AFC North rivals. The late afternoon game should be a good one as well. Oakland is at Denver in a clash of original AFL antagonists for supremacy in the AFC West. Indy is at Seattle for what looms to be a letdown for NFL fans on Sunday night, and then Washington is at KC on Monday night.

For a look at what games will be televised in your area, please check out JP Kirby’s 506 Sports.

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 9:30 am ET on Fox; Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis
New Orleans Saints ‘at’ Miami Dolphins, in London
Saints favored by 2½; point total 50½

Perhaps Miami will find some extra motivation after losing to the Jets. I’m more inclined to believe that the New Orleans offense will have a field day against a Dolphins defense that has struggled defending intermediate and deep passes.

Pick: Saints 31, Dolphins 27
Saints -2½

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots
Patriots favored by 9; point total 49

Carolina will start Kevin Seymour at corner, who was recently acquired to replace injured Daryl Worley. Expect Tom Brady to test Seymour early and often. Carolina has scored only three touchdowns in three games. Despite New England’s woes on defense, the Panthers won’t be able to keep up with the Patriots.

Pick: Patriots 27, Panthers 20
Panthers +9

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys favored by 6½; point total 48½

Dallas looks like their offense has finally shifted from training camp to regular season mode. Problem for the Cowboys is that their defense is far from championship caliber. Jared Goff has made great strides from a year ago. The question for him and the Rams is if they can get it done against a good team on the road.

Pick: Cowboys 27, Rams 24
Rams +6½

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Thom Brennaman, Chris Speilman
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Vikings favored by 2½; point total 42½

Case Keenum sliced and diced the Tampa Bay defense last week to the tune of 369 passing yards and 34 points. Detroit’s defense is much better than the banged up Bucs though. This should be a great game and good gauge for both teams.

Pick: Lions 24, Vikings 21
Lions +2½

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Titans favored by 2½; point total 43½

Tennessee is by far the more well rounded team. I am more inclined to believe Houston’s offense is more like the team that scored 20 points in their first two games combined than the one that posted 33 points last week.

Pick: Titans 24, Texans 20
Titans -2½

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, James Lofton
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets
Jaguars favored by 3; point total 38½

Jacksonville is a road favorite for the first time in six years thanks to their defense. Meanwhile the Jets plans to tank have gone awry with a couple of decent performances. This franchise is so bad they can’t even succeed at an attempt to fail.

Jaguars 21, Jets 17
Jaguars -3

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Bengals favored by 3; point total 41½

The good news for Ohio is that one of their pro football fan bases will be able to celebrate their first victory of the 2017 NFL season. Unless of course ineptitude continues to reign supreme in the Buckeye state and this game ends in a tie, which would surprise no one.

Pick: Bengals 20, Browns 16
Bengals -3

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Steelers favored by 3; point total 42½

Baltimore turned some heads by forcing ten turnovers on their way to a 2-0 start. Lost in the conversation was the fact those games were against the winless Bengals and Browns. Pittsburgh is notorious for their mediocre play on the road, but the Steelers should win this game with ease.

Pick: Steelers 24, Ravens 13
Steelers -3

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Buffalo Bills at Atlanta Falcons
Falcons favored by 8; point total 48½

Atlanta has been the beneficiary of several questionable officiating calls en route to their 3-0 start. Buffalo’s defense has looked very good thus far, but consider their competition. The Jets, Panthers and Broncos do not pose the type of offensive threat that the Falcons do.

Pick: Falcons 31, Bills 17
Falcons -8

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 4:00 pm ET on Fox; Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber
New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs favored by 3½; point total 44½

If both teams were at full strength I would back Tampa Bay without hesitation. Problem is that they will be without three of their best players on defense, and opposing quarterbacks have been abusing corners Ryan Smith and Vernon Hargreaves.

Pick: Giants 24, Buccaneers 20
Giants +3½

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 4:00 pm ET on Fox; Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Chargers
Chargers favored by 2½; point total 47½

The Chargers have played much better than their 0-3 record indicates. Philly on the other hand deserved to lose last week against the Giants. A bit of regression to the norm for both teams on Sunday.

Pick: Chargers 27, Eagles 24
Chargers -2½

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 4:00 pm ET on Fox; Sam Rosen, David Diehl
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
Cardinals favored by 6½; point total 44½

Arizona may be underachieving this season, but they are far more talented than the lowly Niners.

Pick: Cardinals 24, Niners 16
Cardinals -6½

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 4:30 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
Broncos favored by 3; point total 45½

Both teams looked really good in weeks one and two, and both looked pretty bad in week three. Even though this game is at Mile High, the Raiders are the more talented team. The porous Oakland defense will keep this game close.

Pick: Raiders 24, Broncos 21
Raiders +3

 

Sunday, Oct 1 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks favored by 13½; point total 41½

The Colts have been bad enough to warrant this huge spread. However, Seattle’s offensive line is so abysmal that Indy should be able to keep the final score within two touchdowns.

Pick: Seahawks 20, Colts 13
Colts +13½

 

Monday, Oct 2 at 8:30 pm ET on espn; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden
Washington Redskins at Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs favored by 8½; point total 49½

Kansas City is the only team in the NFL to start the season both 3-0 straight-up and against the spread. Washington’s defense has been playing much better than I expected them to though, well enough to keep this game close. The speed of Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill will be too much for the Skins to overcome.

Pick: Chiefs 27, Redskins 20
Redskins +8½

 

Thursday, Sept 24 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Packers favored by 7; point total 44½
The Packers cruised to a 35-14 victory in a game that was even more lopsided than the final score. Chicago was unable to take advantage of Green Bay missing both of their starting tackles, their best defensive player (DT Mike Daniels), and lost RB Ty Montgomery on the opening series. Bears QB Mike Glennon has now turned the ball over eight times already this season (five interceptions, three fumbles). Chicago may as well put Mitch Trubisky under center, and write Glennon off as an $18.5 million mistake.

Final: Packers 35, Bears 14
Packers cover the 7 point spread

 

NFL Week 4 Lines & TV Broadcast Info

John Morgan
September 28, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

CBS owns the doubleheader in NFL Week 4, highlighted by Oakland at Denver in the late afternoon time slot. Fox takes advantage of their only broadcast of the Patriots this season in the early game. Their top announcing crew of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will call the game from Foxboro between the Pats and Carolina Panthers. There is also welcome news for NFL fans in Connecticut. WTIC in Hartford will broadcast the Patriots game rather than the Giants game. This is a rare occurrence, but the ineptitude shown by Big Blue during their 0-3 start makes this the right choice.

NBC has been dealt a dud for their Sunday night game. Last April when the schedule was announced Indianapolis at Seattle looked as if it was going to be a great game. Seattle’s offensive line has turned the Seahawks into a disappointment, while the wheels have completely come off a Colt team that needs much more than just Andrew Luck. For a change we get a decent Monday night game this week, with Kansas City hosting Washington.

 

Early Week 4 Games

Thursday September 28 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers.
Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson, Jay Feely.
Broadcast in all television markets.
Packers favored by 7; over/under 45.

Sunday October 1 at 9:30 am ET on Fox
New Orleans Saints vs Miami Dolphins in London.
Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver.
Broadcast in all television markets.
Saints favored by 3; over/under 49½

Sunday October 1 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots.
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews.
Broadcast in New England, western Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, most of Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia (except Atlanta), southeastern Florida, Alabama, Nebraska and Wyoming.
Patriots favored by 9; over/under 49

Sunday October 1 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys.
Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin.
Broadcast in DC, eastern Virginia, Knoxville, Memphis, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, southern Illinois, Texas (except Houston), Oklahoma, Kansas (except Topeka), New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Las Vegas, southern California (except San Diego), Oregon, Washington and Hawaii.
Cowboys favored by 6½; over/under 47½

Sunday October 1 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings.
Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman, Peter Schrager.
Broadcast in Michigan, most of Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Alaska.
No line yet due to Sam Bradford injury status.

Sunday October 1 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans.
Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon.
Broadcast in Indiana, western Kentucky, Tennessee, Shreveport, Texas (except Dallas), and Eugene Oregon.
Titans favored by 1½; over/under 44

Sunday October 1 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets.
Andrew Catalon, James Lofton, Otis Livingston.
Broadcast in Vermont, Hartford, Albany, New York City, southern Georgia, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tallahassee.
Jaguars favored by 3; over/under 39½

Sunday October 1 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns.
Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta.
Broadcast in Ohio and eastern Kentucky.
Bengals favored by 3; over/under 41

Sunday October 1 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens.
Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn.
Broadcast throughout most of the US. See other CBS early games for exceptions. No early CBS game in Boston, Dallas or Minneapolis.
Steelers favored by 3; over/under 42

Sunday October 1 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Buffalo Bills at Atlanta Falcons.
Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl.
Broadcast in western New York, and most of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Falcons favored by 8; over/under 48½

Late Week 4 Games

Sunday October 1 at 4:00 pm ET on Fox
New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Tiki Barber, Kristina Pink.
Broadcast in New York, Atlanta and Florida (except Miami and West Palm Beach).
Bucs favored by 3; over under 44

Sunday October 1 at 4:00 pm ET on Fox
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Chargers.
Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Shannon Spake.
Broadcast in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Nashville, Houston and San Diego.
Chargers favored by 1; over/under 47½

Sunday October 1 at 4:00 pm ET on Fox
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals.
Sam Rosen, David Diehl, Jennifer Hale.
Broadcast in Arizona, northern California and Reno.
Cardinals favored by 7; over/under 44½

Sunday October 1 at 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos.
Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson.
Broadcast in all markets (except Phoenix and Tampa).
Broncos favored by 2½; over/under 46½

Sunday October 1 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC
Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks.
Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya.
Broadcast in all television markets.
Seahawks favored by 13; over/under 41½

Monday October 2 at 8:30 pm ET on espn
Washington Redskins at Kansas City Chiefs.
Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters.
Broadcast in all television markets.
Chiefs favored by 7; over/under 49½

 

NFL Week 3 Odds, TV Info, Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

John Morgan
September 23, 2017 at 2:00 pm ET

Only ten teams remain undefeated after just two weeks, and two of those clubs are 1-0. The best game of the week includes a pair of those teams and two of the NFL’s highest paid quarterbacks. Atlanta is at Detroit in a matchup that actually looks better now than it did when the schedule was released last spring.

Atlanta (at Detroit) and Oakland (at Washington) are both three point road favorites, highlighting the slate of NFL Week 3 games. The Patriots are favored by two touchdowns in Foxboro against Houston in a rematch of last year’s playoff game. The Browns are surprise road favorites at Indianapolis as the Colts continue their post-deflategate descent into the abyss.

Four of the nine winless teams will attempt to avoid an 0-3 start while facing a 2-0 club. Starting the season in that manner will put any head coach and general manager on the hot seat. Teams such as the Giants and Bengals that are taking an unexpected drastic downturn are already feeling the heat. In other cases owners of bad teams don’t have enough patience for a team to develop, a situation exacerbated by sports talk radio and anonymous internet commentary. The inevitable result will be another HC or GM change, and the losing cycle simply continues.

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 9:30 am ET on Yahoo.com. Announcers: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton.
Baltimore Ravens ‘at’ Jacksonville Jaguars in London
No television broadcast except in each team’s home market.
Ravens favored by 3½; point total 39½

Sunday kicks off with the first of three 2017 breakfast football games. The Ravens and Jaguars play at Wembley Stadium, one of five international contests to take place this season. The Baltimore defense already has ten turnovers, eight interceptions and eight sacks. In case any defensive coordinator could not figure it out, last week Tennessee gave the league a blueprint on how to game plan against the Jags. It’s simple: put eight in the box to neutralize Leonard Fournette and dare Jacksonville to pass. Since 2014 Blake Bortles has an NFL high 66 turnovers and 53 picks.

Ravens 24, Jaguars 13
Baltimore -3½ (three units)

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Beth Mowins, Jay Feely
Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts
Broadcast in Ohio and Indiana.
Browns favored by 1½; point total 42½

For the Browns to be favored against anybody other than the Jets is a surprise. For that to happen on the road is newsworthy. The Colts had gotten away with dominating a weak division from 2003 on, after Eddie George retired and Steve McNair’s body gave out for Tennessee. Indy may very well win this game, but the cosmic retribution for attempting to frame the Patriots will continue for years.

Colts 23, Browns 20
Colts +1½

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Pittsburgh Steelers at Chicago Bears
Broadcast throughout most of the Mid-Atlantic states and Great Lakes region.
Steelers favored by 7; point total 44

Pittsburgh is notorious for playing down to (or below) their competition when away from Heinz Field. That shouldn’t be of any concern Sunday. Mike Glennon has thus far proven that he did not deserve his free agency contract and should forever return to backup status. The Steelers have attempted to upgrade their secondary the last two off seasons. This is just another tuneup for them until they face some real competition.

Steelers 24, Bears 16
Steelers -7

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Tom McCarthy, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
Broadcast in eastern New York and Florida (except Jacksonville and Tallahassee).
Dolphins favored by 6; point total 43

Among other deficiencies, the Jets have been been terrible against the run. Team Green is giving up 185 rushing yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry. Miami’s Jay Ajayi is leading the NFL with 122 rushing yards per game and is averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Even Jay Cutler can’t screw this game up.

Dolphins 27, Jets 17
Dolphins -6 (two units)

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta
Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills
Broadcast in New York (except NYC and Albany), and most of the western US.
Broncos favored by 3; point total 39

Who are the Broncos? The team gifted with a slim home victory against an average team in week one? Or the the one that looked like a well balanced machine, dominating against what we thought was a formidable opponent last week? The Buffalo offense is far too one-dimensional and reliant on LeSean McCoy for him to be effective.

Broncos 24, Bills 13
Broncos -3 (three units)

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Broadcast in New England, Tennessee (except Memphis), Greenville, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Los Angeles, Hawaii, eastern Oregon and eastern Washington.
Patriots favored by 14; point total 44

A repeat of last season’s playoff game would not be a surprise. The Houston defense is still as formidable as it was last year when they led the NFL in total yards allowed. The Texans have not given up a touchdown pass this season and are limiting opponents to a 26% conversion rate on third down. Most remarkably they have not permitted an opponent to pass for 300 yards in 31 consecutive games.

The Patriots will be without tackle Marcus Cannon, which makes an already tough job more difficult for the offense. The problem for Houston is that their offense is a work in progress. Rookie QB DeShaun Watson is still learning the game and has no playmakers to work with. The Patriot offense will eventually get it in gear and Houston doesn’t have the horses to keep up.

Patriots 27, Texans 16
Texans +14

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
Broadcast in North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.
Panthers favored by 3½; point total 46½

Carolina has allowed a mere six points in two games but now faces their first legitimate offense. The problem for New Orleans is that their defense is one of the worst in the NFL for the fourth straight season, and seems to be getting worse rather than better.

Panthers 27, Saints 20
Panthers -3½

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
Broadcast in Florida (except Miami and West Palm Beach), parts of Illinois, Wisconsin (except Green Bay and Milwaukee), Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Montana, and North and South Dakota.
Bucs favored by 2½; point total 39

Minnesota is another of many teams that looked great one game (week one) and awful (week two) this season. The Bucs have only played one game and since it was against Chicago we have to take it with a grain of salt. Despite that caveat Tampa looks strong on both sides of the ball and should be considered a serious playoff contender.

Bucs 24, Vikings 17
Bucs -2½ (one unit0)

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox; Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions
Broadcast in Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, most of Illinois, Green Bay, Milwaukee and Topeka.
Falcons favored by 3; point total 50½

The much anticipated Super Bowl hangover has not materialized for Atlanta. 2-0 Detroit has looked good in both of their games as well. RB Ameer Abdullah appears to be fully recovered from a 2016 Lisfranc injury, which has helped to diversify the Lion offense. A dome road game aids Atlanta’s chances, but the Falcons will be without leading pass rusher Vic Beasley (hamstring).

Lions 27, Falcons 24
Lions +3

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 1:00 ET on Fox; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Broadcast in most of the northeast (except Boston, Buffalo, Pittsburgh), Cincinnati, eastern Kentucky, West Palm Beach, Texas (except Houston), Oklahoma, Kansas (except Topeka), Utah, Arizona, Las Vegas and southern California.
Eagles favored by 6; point total 42½

Fox is sending their number one announcing crew to this game, and beaming it in to nearly every neutral television market. Considering how the Giants have played so far that may be a mistake, despite all the scattered New York transplants. Despite some injuries the Eagle defense should dominate New York’s porous offensive line. The vaunted Giant defense hasn’t done anything special yet, though that could change against an inconsistent Philly offense. Perhaps the G-men get it together with their backs up against the wall, but the Eagles are the superior team.

Eagles 24, Giants 14
Eagles -6

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 4:00 pm ET on Fox; Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis
Seattle Seahawks at Tennessee Titans
Broadcast in Alaska, northern California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Ohio (except Cincinnati), Tennessee, Wyoming, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, Pittsburgh and Reno.
Titans favored by 2½; point total 41

Seattle is one of many teams that looks awful early this season due to the deficiencies with their offensive line. Facing an aggressive Dick LeBeau defense without the benefit of their 12th man won’t help. Seattle’s potent defense will once again have to carry the day for the Seahawks to eek out a road victory.

Seahawks 17, Titans 16
Seahawks +2½, under 41 (one unit)

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 4:30 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers
Broadcast in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Reno.
Chiefs favored by 3; point total 47½

In recent seasons the Chargers seemed to lose every close game they played in, losing games they should have won. The proper response of a change in head coach was supposed to curtail that epidemic. So far this year we just have more of the same. If you enjoy watching good running backs then this game is a must-see, featuring Kareem Hunt and Melvin Gordon. KC has the better defense and better head coach.

Chiefs 27, Chargers 23
Chiefs -3

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 4:30 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers
Broadcast in all markets except Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Nashville and Reno.
Packers favored by 8; point total 46½

This looked like it should be a quality, highly competitive game when the schedule was announced back in April. Both offensive lines are sieves, the Bengals don’t know what it is like to score a touchdown, and Green Bay’s defense is a work in progress. Despite injuries and their o-line, Green Bay should win this game easily.

Packers 24, Bengals 13
Packers -8, under 46½ (two units)

 

Sunday, Sept 24 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins
Broadcast in all Markets.
Raiders favored by 3; point total 55

The Washington offense is still forming an identity after free agent departures of wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Marshawn Lynch has added another dimension to an already potent Oakland offense. The Raider defense (4.8 yards per carry) hasn’t noticeably improved so the Redskins should be able to keep this game tight.

Raiders 31, Redskins 24
Raiders -3

 

Monday, Sept 25 at 8:30 pm ET on espn; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden
Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals
Broadcast in all markets.
Cowboys favored by 3; point total 47

Here we are with yet another schizophrenic team, the Cowboys. Expect Dallas to rebound after last week’s embarrassment. The Arizona offense is lost with no compass without RB David Johnson. The Cardinal defense used to dominate but that is no longer the case. Expect the Cowboy offensive line to control the game while the Arizona offense sputters.

Cowboys 27, Cardinals 17
Cowboys -3 (two units)