Tag Archives: thursday night football

Patriots Players To Watch, Week 6 Against the Giants

Steve Balestrieri
October 10, 2019 at 11:00 am ET

 

The Patriots are back home in Gillette Stadium to face the New York Giants. With the short week to prepare, the game plans for either team will probably be limited so it comes down to execution. Thursday night games tend to be sloppier than their Sunday counterparts, so limiting mistakes while trying to force some mistakes on your opponents are always a big key, even more so than on Sunday.

Here are our Patriots players to watch this week as the Patriots try to improve to 6-0 on the season against the Giants. 

James White: 

The Patriots, as we pointed out in our key matchups piece, will no doubt try to target the Giants linebackers in the passing game by putting them in coverage against the running backs. And their main weapon in that regard continues to be James White. 

White is fantastic out of the backfield and keeping the sticks moving and when the defense wants to drop back and play coverage, he has always been able to take advantage of his opportunities in the running game. 

We look for White to play a big role this week in the offensive game plan, facing a defense that has struggled to stop the run or the pass, White on the field is the kind of versatile chess piece which will keep the defense guessing.

Jamie Collins:

The Patriots linebackers are having a fantastic season. Dont’a Hightower has dubbed them “the Boogeymen” and Collins has fit the bill [no pun intended], as the top Boogeyman for opponents to face. Collins is having a fantastic second stint with the Patriots. He’s been disruptive, has done a great job of setting the edge, getting after the quarterback and dropping into coverage. 

Every week it seems that we’re singing the praises of one of the linebackers after a game. Two weeks ago it was Kyle Van Noy, who was the defensive player of the week. Last week it was Hightower who seemed to be everywhere in disrupting the Redskins offense. This week, it is Collins’ turn. 

With the Giants missing three of their top offensive chess pieces in this game, it will allow Bill Belichick and Jerod Mayo to give Collins more opportunities to disrupt the flow of the Giants offense. And we expect him to do just that. 

Julian Edelman:

Bill Belichick said this week that Edelman is “one of the most competitive players I’ve ever coached.” Tom Brady took it one step farther heaping huge praise on the tough yet banged-up wide receiver. 

“He’s one of the best players in the history of the franchise,” Brady said in a radio interview on Monday. “When you think of some of the great receivers we’ve had, Julian is right up there at the top. So you’ve got to get him the ball, and he’s making a lot of yards with it in his hands. We put a lot on Julian. Julian’s a very smart player. Very tough. He’s mentally, physically tough. What he’s gone through the last few weeks with his injury and then still just laying it on the line — you see even on that catch-and-run there in the third quarter, him kind of diving over the pile. He’s an incredible player, an incredible teammate, and the more we get him the ball, the better it is for our offense.”

Edelman is questionable for this game as his chest/rib injury has been very painful, he’s been wincing every time he gets off the turf. But It would be folly to count him out of this nationally televised game. He knows how valuable he is to this offense. He’s the one matchup nightmare that the Giants will have a hard time covering tonight. 

Jonathan Jones:

Jones seems to be finally be getting his due as one of the outstanding slot corners in the NFL. The Patriots rewarded him with a 3-year extension this summer worth around $21 million dollars. Along with Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, the Patriots have one of the deepest and most talented cornerback groups in the league.

Jones may see a lot of Golden Tate this week. With Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram out this week, Tate may be the go-to guy for Daniel Jones and the Giants passing game. And the G-men may move Tate in the slot to keep him away from Stephon Gilmore and give Tate more options to break on the ball. 

This promises to be a great matchup between the two. Tate is an accomplished veteran who has been in many big games. The moment will never be too much for him and as he stated this week, the Giants aren’t intimidated by the moment. 

Matt LaCosse: 

LaCosse was a bit more involved in the offense last week, he only caught a single pass for 22 yards and has only caught three passes on the season, but he’s been banged up and now that he’s healthy, the Patriots are hoping that he can be more productive in the passing game. He did show up nicely in the running game, and easily had his best game of the season in that regard. He made a key block in springing Sony Michel for his 14-yard touchdown run. That is the type of play the team needs consistently.

The focus on LaCosse and Ryan Izzo will be much closer now that the team has decided to release veteran Ben Watson. Watson was considered to be the main TE target once his suspension was over. Now he’s gone and there the focus will be on these two, TEs to get it done. Especially on LaCosse who is considered the better receiver of the two. 

We’ll see if Josh McDaniels tries to get LaCosse more involved in the passing game this week. With WR Phillip Dorsett out with a hamstring injury, it would be a prime opportunity for him to begin to carve out a role for himself.   

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Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news.

 

Patriots 2019 Opponents, Week 6, First Impressions of the Giants

Steve Balestrieri
October 9, 2019 at 8:34 am ET

The New York Giants are hurting, injury-wise coming into the Week 6 game with the Patriots. If there isn’t enough reason to hate Thursday Night Football, besides the asinine uniforms that the teams wear, several key members of the G-Men, notably on the offensive side of the ball may not be ready to go by Thursday night.  

The Giants came under a ton of flak this spring when they selected Daniel Jones from Duke with their first-round pick, sixth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Jones quieted some of those critics with some stellar play in the preseason. But after a slow start, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur benched two time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning and placed Jones in as the team’s starter. Jones’ first game he led a thrilling come-from-behind win over the Bucs and coupled that up with a win over Washington, before losing last week to Minnesota. 

This team though right now is beset by several injuries and that is a big reason why the Patriots are 16 point favorites this week.

So, here are our first impressions of the Giants of 2019:

Belichick is Really High On Jones, Was Hoping He’d Drop in the Draft:

Bill Belichick was practically gushing about the talents of Jones when discussing the young Giants QB. During Belichick’s conference call on Monday to the media, he sounded quite impressed with him.

“We did some work on him in the spring as well; he visited here and spent some time with us,” Belichick said. “He’s a very impressive young man and I’ve gotten the chance to see him play in the last few weeks here. So he’s a smart kid, has a good football background, very athletic, runs well. He’s fast, he can get out of the pocket and he’s a hard guy to catch.” 

“It’s a very diverse offense, and it looks like Jones has handled it very well,” he added, speaking about Shurmur’s offense. “He does all of the things that they do, including the RPO’s and so forth that it looks like have been included in the offense, have been added in the last couple years. So, he has a pretty complete playbook for his level of experience and he handles all of those things well.”

“He’s an accurate thrower at all three levels. He’s shown a lot of poise in the pocket. He’s taken some hits and had people around him back in the pocket, but he has a lot of poise and toughness and just stands in there.”

Jones was very impressive in a short cameo during the 4th and final preseason game here in August. But if you think Belichick is just inflating this week’s opponent, as is the norm around here, consider this. 

Dianna Russini of ESPN reported that Belichick told Jones’ then Duke coach David Cutcliffe, “Jones won’t be there when we are on the clock but I sure hope he drops.”

Injuries May Have the Offense Short-Handed: 

The Giants will probably be without star wide receiver Sterling Shepard who is out with a concussion. Tight End Evan Engram will also probably miss this game with a knee injury. Worse yet, Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday that besides Shepard and Engram unlikely to play, that the Giants outstanding running back, Saquon Barkley is probably not going to be able to play either. 

Engram leads the Giants with 33 receptions for 373 yards and two touchdowns. The media in New York reported that there wasn’t a packed bag in front of Engram’s locker, which is indicative that he may not be making the trip to Foxboro. 

Barkley suffered a high ankle sprain about two weeks ago and although he’s been at practice, albeit in a limited fashion, he hasn’t yet received medical clearance to go. Initially, it was believed Barkley would out six to eight weeks. Now it could be much shorter, given his appearance at the last three Giants’ practices. 

Shurmur, however, isn’t having any of these reports. On Tuesday he stated, “You didn’t hear that from me,” Shurmur said when he was asked about the reports that described Barkley as unlikely to play on Thursday. “Some of the stuff that’s out there we didn’t put out there.”

The Giants Defense May Get Back Two Starting Linebackers:

The Giants’ injury woes on offense may be tempered somewhat by the news that two of their starting linebackers may return to action on Thursday night against the Patriots. Alec Ogletree and Tae Davis, who both missed the Giants’ last two games were full participants at practice on Tuesday. 

It is hoped that both will be ready to go and that will be a big boost for a defense that has been struggling a bit. The Giants lost rookie starter Ryan Connelly to a season-ending knee injury also and with three backups in last week against the Minnesota Vikings, the Giants were gashed for 211 yards on the ground. 

However, for one member of the Giants defense, strong safety Jabrill Peppers, he’s excited to be going against fellow Michigan alum Tom Brady for the first time. “This is my first time,” Peppers said. “I’m excited, I ain’t gonna lie.”

The Giants pass defense is ranked 28th in terms of yards allowed but Peppers has begun to assert himself in the defense. He had a pick-six against the Redskins two weeks ago and forced a fumble against the Vikings last week. 

Keep an Eye On Rookie DT Dexter Lawrence on Thursday Night: 

The old adage about the way to beat Tom Brady by moving him off his spot is very true while the silly wives’ tale of “Brady doesn’t like to get hit” is just that. Name me one QB that loves getting hit in the pocket. However, we digress here. One thing the Redskins were able to do, especially early in the game was bring pressure on Brady by only rushing three and frequently that was coming right up the middle. 

The Giants’ second 1st-round draft pick this spring was Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence who they selected with the 17th overall pick. The scouting profile on Lawrence had the big [6’4, 342] man being a premier run-stuffer but a player who wouldn’t offer much as a pass rusher. But early results show that may have been a flawed report. Lawrence has two sacks, three QB hits, and several hurries. 

If he can get the pressure up the A-gap that the Giants have been able to do to Brady in two SBs then they know that the chances for an upset increase. Lawrence, who grew up watching Brady on television as a kid, is eager for the opportunity. 

“It would be like a dream come true,” Lawrence said in an interview earlier this week. “That’s every young defensive player’s dream, is to go sack, Tom Brady. You see people get pressure up the middle, and he gets a little uncomfortable.”

If Barkley is Out Who Is Running the Ball? 

If Adam Schefter’s report is indeed true and RB Saquon Barkley misses this week’s game, his backup Wayne Gallman is also unlikely to play as he has a concussion. So the onus in the Giants running game will fall to third-stringer Jon Hillman and fullback Eli Penny who was activated off the team’s practice squad a la Jakob Johnson. 

Hillman is another guy who was formerly on the practice squad after going undrafted from Rutgers, the home for many of the Patriots defensive backs. Hillman didn’t have a lot of success running against a very stout Minnesota front seven last week. He gained only 20 yards on nine carries as they had trouble moving the ball. 

Penny a 6’1, 250-pound battering ram contributed in both the running and passing games and he may see a lot more reps and looks this week if the Giants offense is as short-handed as the early reports indicated. 

This is another reason why Thursday Night Football sucks. But hey, the league is all about player safety. 

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news.

 

NFL Week 16 Odds, Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

John Morgan
December 22, 2017 at 8:01 pm ET

NFL Week 16 Odds, Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

Week 16 is unique, with neither Thursday nor Sunday night football – but with two games on Monday. Five teams have clinched a playoff spot and 14 others are still in contention for the post-season. There are plenty of intriguing games worth watching this weekend and next before the playoffs commence. The theory of home field advantage will be put to a test during these three days. Road teams are favored in ten of the sixteen games this week.

There is another oddity about this week’s schedule. Of the four games between teams with winning records, none are on in primetime – and three are broadcast in the early time slot. Fox has always had an affinity for NFC East teams due to their large market sizes. But if the network is not going to make the best game of the week (Falcons at Saints) their showcase game, then give it up to be flexed to Saturday night. Net result is that the two best games (NO-Atl and Patriots-Bills) are on at the same time. Those two back-to-back would have made for superior programming.

To see what games are being broadcast in your area, please check JP Kirby’s 506 Sports.

 

National Broadcasts

3-11 Indianapolis Colts at 8-6 Baltimore Ravens
4:30 pm ET Saturday 12/23 on NFLN; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Ravens favored by 13½; over/under 41 points; money line -1000, +675

Baltimore has averaged 31 points over their last five games, in large part to an NFL-best plus-17 turnover differential. The Raven defense ranks 4th with 18.3 points per game and has a league best 33 takeaways. I don’t see how the Indy offense (16.1 ppg, 31st) can keep this game close.

Pick: Ravens 31, Colts 13
Ravens -13½, over 41

 

11-3 Minnesota Vikings at 7-7 Green Bay Packers
8:30 pm ET Saturday 12/23 on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Vikings favored by 9; over/under 41 points; money line -430, +340

The Vikings are playing for at minimum a first round bye, while Green Bay is eliminated. Minnesota’s defense will dominate a team that may be giving second stringers playing time with an eye on 2018.

Pick: Vikings 27, Packers 13
Vikings -9, under 41

 

11-3 Pittsburgh Steelers at 4-10 Houston Texans
4:30 pm ET, Monday 12/25 on NBC/NFLN; Mike Tirico, Kurt Warner
Steelers favored by 9½; over/under 45 points; money line -450, +350

I’m interested to see if Pittsburgh comes out with their hair on fire after last week’s last second loss. Or will the Steelers play down to their opponent’s level, as they often do. Pittsburgh is notorious for not playing well on the road either, and no Antonio Brown does not help matters. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Pittsburgh comes out flat, but Houston has lost too many key players over the course of their season.

Pick: Steelers 24, Texans 20
Texans +9½, under 45

 

6-8 Oakland Raiders at 12-2 Philadelphia Eagles
8:30 pm ET Monday 12/25 on ESPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden
Eagles favored by 9; over/under 47½ points; money line -400, +330

Oakland is all but mathematically eliminated, and traveling cross country for a meaningless game. Philly wants to clinch the number one seed in the NFC and Nick Foles (4 TDs last week) showed the 31.3 ppg offense is still in capable hands. The Eagle defense should be able to handle Oakland and control this game.

Pick: Eagles 34, Raiders 17
Eagles -9, over 47½

 

Early CBS Games

8-6 Buffalo Bills at 11-3 New England Patriots
Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Patriots favored by 12; over/under 47½ points; money line -750, +525

This should be a great game, as both teams have plenty to play for. The Patriots need two wins to insure home field throughout the playoffs. Buffalo needs a victory (and help) to make the playoffs. To add to the drama this is a revenge game for the Bills after the hit three weeks ago that resulted in Rob Gronkowski’s suspension. Sean McDermott came up with a great defensive game plan for Buffalo in the last meeting; it will be interesting to see what he has in store Sunday.

Pick: Patriots 27, Bills 20
Bills +12, under 47½

 

7-7 Los Angeles Chargers at 5-9 New York Jets
Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Chargers favored by 7; over/under 42½ points; money line -300, +250

After a surprisingly good start, the Jets are 2-7 in their last nine games. As the season has progressed their lack of quality depth has become apparent. The Chargers are in a must-win spot here; the Jets can go back to their original plan of tanking the 2017 season.

Pick: Chargers 27, Jets 17
Chargers -7, over 42½

 

6-8 Miami Dolphins at 8-6 Kansas City Chiefs
Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Chiefs favored by 10½; over/under 43½ points; money line -550, +425

Dolphins on the road outdoors in cold weather equals a Miami loss. Kansas City has finally righted their mid-season swoon with home victories over the Raiders and Chargers. Make it three in a row for the Chiefs.

Pick: Chiefs 27, Dolphins 14
Chiefs -10½, under 43½

 

5-9 Denver Broncos at 6-8 Washington Redskins
Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta
Redskins favored by 3½; over/under 40½ points; money line -180, +160

Washington is again in a difficult position due to injuries on their offensive line. Denver has finally got it together the last couple of weeks, just in time to win enough games to miss out on a top-5 draft pick.

Pick: Broncos 20, Redskins 17
Broncos +3½, under 40½

 

0-14 Cleveland Browns at 4-10 Chicago Bears
Tom McCarthy, Steve Beuerlein
Bears favored by 6½; over/under 38 points; money line -280, +240

Chicago has played well at home this year, beating the Steelers and Panthers. Their home losses have all been close (an average of 5 points), and mostly to good teams (Falcons, Vikings, Packers). Cleveland’s 0-16 parade plans remain intact.

Pick: Bears 24, Browns 13
Bears -6½, under 38

 

Early Games on Fox

9-5 Atlanta Falcons at 10-4 New Orleans Saints
Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis
Saints favored by 5½; over/under 52½ points; money line -240, +200

Set your DVR so you can record and watch this game after the Patriots-Bills ends. Two weeks ago the Falcons beat the Saints 20-17 in Atlanta. It is really difficult to sweep a good division rival. The Falcons should be able to keep it close, especially now that RB Tevin Coleman (concussion) has been cleared to play.

Pick: Saints 27, Falcons 24
Falcons +5½, under 51½

 

10-4 Los Angeles Rams at 8-6 Tennessee Titans
Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston
Rams favored by 6½; over/under 47½ points; money line -290, +240

On one hand you have a west coast team having to travel 2000 miles and play a game three hours earlier than usual. On the other hand the Rams are a far superior team than the Titans. LA is back in sync now that Robert Woods is back on the playing field.

Pick: Rams 24, Titans 20
Titans +6½, under 47½

 

8-6 Detroit Lions at 5-9 Cincinnati Bengals
Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman
Lions favored by 4; over/under 44 points; money line -210, +180

This will be the final home game for Cincy head coach Marvin Lewis. Maybe he and Jeff Fisher can form a speaking tour and teach people how to retain a job much longer than they deserve.

Pick: Lions 24, Bengals 17
Lions -4, under 44

 

4-10 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 10-4 Carolina Panthers
Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber
Panthers favored by 10; over/under 46½ points; money line -475, +375

Can somebody please explain to me why Carolina LB Thomas Davis was originally suspended for two games, rather than one? I think Roger Goodell uses one of those magic eight-balls from the sixties when deciding his punishments.

Pick: Panthers 34, Bucs 17
Panthers -10, over 46½

 

Late Games

10-4 Jacksonville Jaguars at 4-10 San Francisco 49ers
Andrew Catalon, James Lofton (CBS)
Jaguars favored by 4; over/under 42 points; money line -210, +175

When Jimmy Garoppolo was traded, Pats fans wished him well. Now Patriot Nation is full of hand wringing seller’s remorse. The Niners have won three in a row since inserting Jimmy G as their starting quarterback, after a 1-10 start. Jacksonville could be in for a battle on the road here, especially if the Jags have to count on Blake Bortles at critical junctures.

Jaguars 23, Forty Niners 20
Niners +4, over 42

 

8-6 Seattle Seahawks at 8-6 Dallas Cowboys
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman (Fox)
Cowboys favored by 5; over/under 47½ points; money line -240, +200

Dallas has won three straight and have RB Ezekiel Elliott for this game. His presence completely changes the Cowboy offense. Seattle’s defense is just a shell of its former self to injuries. Is it time to replace Pete Carroll?

Pick: Cowboys 27, Seahawks 17
Cowboys +5, under 47½

 

2-12 New York Giants at 6-8 Arizona Cardinals
Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth (Fox)
Cardinals favored by 3½; over/under 40 points; money line -185, +165

Ho hum, a battle of two under achieving teams. Giants are the bigger mess right now and on the road.

Pick: Cardinals 24, Giants 13
Cardinals +3½, under 40

 

 

NFL Week 12 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Pats favored by 14.5 vs Miami

John Morgan
November 19, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has published their latest NFL Advanced Betting Lines. These early odds are posted prior to the following week’s games, including this past Thursday’s game between Pittsburgh and Tennessee. Also known as Look-Ahead lines, they give the adventurous sports fan an opportunity to wager on games up to twelve days away. Early lines offer a short opportunity to get a jump on odds that could be less favorable after Sunday’s games.

The good news is that this the bye weeks are over, and that Thanksgiving Day gives us three games to feast on.

On paper the NFL Week 12 schedule does not offer many close games. Eleven games have a spread of 6½ or more and two games list odds of three points or less. The New England Patriots are the heaviest favorites, at -14½ at home versus Miami. Two other home teams are also double-digit favorites. Chicago is at Philadelphia (-11½) and Green Bay plays at Pittsburgh (-12½) next Sunday night.

Home favorites also have the narrowest odds. The Vikings are at Detroit (-1½) in an important NFC North game, and the Rams (-1½) host New Orleans in one of the late afternoon matchups. The only road favorites are Carolina (at the Jets), Tennessee at Indy, Seattle at San Francisco, and Jacksonville at Arizona.

NFL Week 12 Early Odds

Thanksgiving Day, Thursday Nov 24
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (-1½) 12:30 pm ET on Fox
Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys (-4), 4:30 pm ET on CBS
New York Giants at Washington Redskins (-8½), 8:30 pm ET on NBC

Sunday Nov 26 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-8)
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-14½)
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-7½)

Sunday Nov 26 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (-11½)
Tampa Bay Bucs at Atlanta Falcons (-9)
Carolina Panthers (-4) at New York Jets
Tennessee Titans (-6½) at Indianapolis Colts

Sunday Nov 26 late afternoon games
Seattle Seahawks (-8½) at San Francisco 49ers, 4:00 pm ET on Fox
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams (-1½), 4:30 pm on CBS
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3½) at Arizona Cardinals, 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (-6½), 4:30 pm ET on CBS

Prime Time Games, 8:30 pm ET
Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-12½), Sunday November 26 on NBC
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-7½), Monday November 27 on espn

 

At first glance I like the Vikings (+1½), Rams (-1½), Washington (-8½), Bucs +9 and Packers +12½.

 

NFL Week 11 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Pats favored by 6 vs Raiders

John Morgan
November 11, 2017 at 5:30 pm ET

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has published their latest NFL Advanced Betting Lines. These early odds are posted prior to the following week’s games, including this past Thursday’s game between Seattle and Arizona. Also known as Look-Ahead lines, they give the adventurous sports fan an opportunity to wager on games up to twelve days away. Early lines offer a short opportunity to get a jump on odds that could be less favorable after Sunday’s games.

NFL Week 11 looks like it will have plenty of close games. There are no double-digit favorites, and only one game with a spread of more than seven. Home teams are favored in only half of the 14 scheduled games, and nine games have odds of 3½ or fewer points.

The week kicks off with Tennessee at Pittsburgh in Thursday night. In the early Sunday time slot there is what should be a great game between two NFC division leaders. The Rams are at Minnesota in a battle between two teams that have far exceeded expectations thus far in 2017. The winner will be in good position to head into the playoffs with a first round bye. LA has shown that all they needed was to rid themselves of Jeff Fisher, while the Vikings defense has carried the load after losing RB Dalvin Cook to a torn ACL.

In the late afternoon time slot the Patriots and Raiders renew a rivalry dating back to the inception of the American Football League 57 years ago. Players will face the challenge of the high altitude and smog of Mexico City in the 35th meeting between these two franchises. What’s the over/under on the number of times ‘tuck rule’ is mentioned on television that day? Don’t turn hearing that phrase into a drinking game; too many people will die from alcohol poisoning.

Week 11 wraps up with a pair of good prime time NFC games. On Sunday night the Eagles are at Dallas. Philly has a 2½ game lead heading into the week 10 games, and the Cowboys need a win to keep up for a chance of at least a wild card spot. Then on Monday night Atlanta is at Seattle. The two clubs have represented the NFC in the Super Bowl in three of the last four years. Both have underachieved somewhat this year despite their winning records, but still have enough talent to put together a long winning streak in the second half of the season.

NFL Week 11 Early Odds

Thursday Nov 16 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)

Sunday Nov 19 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Detroit Lions (-2½) at Chicago Bears
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins (-3½)
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings (-3)
Arizona Cardinals (-2) at Houston Texans
Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints (-7)

Sunday Nov 19 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Kansas City Chiefs (-9½) at New York Giants
Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Green Bay Packers
Jacksonville Jaguars (-7) at Cleveland Browns

Sunday Nov 19 late afternoon games
Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Chargers (-3), 4:00 pm ET on Fox
Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos (-2½), 4:30 pm ET on CBS
New England Patriots (-6) at Mexico City Raiders, 4:30 pm ET on CBS

Prime Time Games, 8:30 pm ET
Philadelphia Eagles (-1) at Dallas Cowboys, Sunday November 19 on NBC
Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (-2), Monday November 20 on espn

Bye Week
Carolina Panthers
Indianapolis Colts
New York Jets
San Francisco 49ers

 

I like the Jaguars minus-7 against the Browns based on the numbers above. Another option is a three-point teaser two-game teaser. Bring Houston to plus-5 at home versus Arizona, and the Jags to minus-4 at Cleveland. For less risk (but a lower payoff) make it six points. That would give Houston more than a touchdown (+8) and Jacksonville just a minus-1.

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 8 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Pats favored by 7 at Chargers

John Morgan
October 19, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has published their latest NFL Advanced Betting Lines. These early odds are posted prior to the following week’s games, including the Thursday Night Football game. Also known as Look-Ahead lines, they give the adventurous sports fan an opportunity to wager on games up to twelve days away. In other words, these week 8 odds are published prior to the week 7 games being played. If you are in Vegas and have a good feeling about a matchup further down the road, the Westgate offers an opportunity to get a jump on odds that could be less favorable after this week’s games.

The early week 8 games don’t offer a whole lot worth watching. Best of the lot in the early Sunday time slot involve the AFC East versus AFC West. The AFCE is currently a home favorite in both games. Buffalo (-2½ point) hosts Oakland, and the Chargers visit New England (-7).

Week 8 kicks off with a couple of mediocre games. Miami is at Baltimore on Thursday night, and Minnesota plays Cleveland in a Sunday morning breakfast game from London. Things improve in the late afternoon slot with Houston at Seattle and Dallas at Washington. Sunday night features Pittsburgh at Detroit, with the Steelers favored by three. Then we have a good (!) Monday night game to finish the week. Denver is at Kansas City in the 115th meeting between these two original AFL rivals.

 

NFL Week 8 Early Odds

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens (-4½), Thursday October 26 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS

Minnesota Vikings (-7½) vs Cleveland Browns in London, Sunday October 29 at 9:30 am ET on NFLN

Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (-3½), Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1½), Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills (-2½), Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (-7), Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (-8½), Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Atlanta Falcons (-7) at New York Jets, Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles (-10½), Sunday October 29 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox

Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks (-6½), Sunday October 29 at 4:00 pm ET on CBS
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (-1), Sunday October 29 at 4:30 pm ET on Fox

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Detroit Lions, Sunday October 29 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-6½), Monday October 30 at 8:30 pm ET on espn

 

NFL Week 7 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Pats favored by 4 vs Falcons

John Morgan
October 12, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has published their latest NFL Advanced Betting Lines. These early odds are posted prior to the following week’s games, including the Thursday Night Football game. Also known as Look-Ahead lines, they give the adventurous sports fan an opportunity to wager on games up to twelve days away. If you are in Vegas and have a good feeling about a matchup further down the road, the Westgate offers an opportunity to get a jump on odds that could be less favorable after Sunday’s games.

Week 7 is highlighted by a rematch of what was possibly the greatest championship game in pro sports history. The Atlanta Falcons will travel to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots a week from Sunday night. The professional handicappers at the Westgate have listed the defending champs as four point favorites for the moment.

Since home field accounts for about a three point advantage on NFL betting lines, that means the Pats would be considered to be slightly (one point) better than Atlanta on a neutral field. That may come as a bit of a surprise to those who have witnessed the performance of New England’s defense this season. On the other hand the Falcons had issues to deal with as well after losing to Buffalo. In spite of extra time to recuperate after last week’s bye, Atlanta still had nine players on this week’s initial injury report. Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (hamstring), defensive tackle Courtney Upshaw (ankle/knee), wide receiver Justin Hardy (illness) and kicker Matt Bryant (back) did not participate in practice on Wednesday. Wide receiver Julio Jones (hip) was limited, as was outside linebacker Vic Beasley. Atlanta’s premier pass rusher has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain/tear.

Aside from the Sunday night showdown, NFL week 7 does have other games of note. Kansas City is at Oakland for one of those rare Thursday night games worth watching. New Orleans travels to Green Bay in the early Sunday time slot, and the Broncos play the Chargers late Sunday afternoon. The week wraps up with the Eagles hosting Washington for what should be a good Monday night game.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati has been flexed from a 1:00 pm kickoff to 4:25. That may have been done to mask what was supposed to be a good game in that late afternoon time slot. The 0-5 Giants, now depleted of most of their wide receivers, are the week’s biggest underdogs at 7½ points – despite playing at home. Fortunately for Seattle fans that Seahawks-Giants game – which was originally slated to be the premier game for CBS – will remain in the late time slot. In other programming notes Carolina at Chicago moves from Fox to CBS; the Jets-Dolphins game will be found on Fox rather than CBS.

NFL Week 7 Early Odds

Thursday Oct 19 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS
Kansas City Chiefs (-2½) at Oakland Raiders

Sunday Oct 22 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Tennessee Titans (off) at Cleveland Browns
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Indianapolis Colts
Baltimore Ravens at Minnesota Vikings (-3)
Carolina Panthers (-4½) at Chicago Bears

Sunday Oct 22 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-4½)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Buffalo Bills (-2)
New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers (-6½)
Arizona Cardinals ‘at’ Los Angeles Rams (-3) in London

Sunday Oct 22 late afternoon games
Dallas Cowboys (-4½) at San Francisco 49ers, 4:00 pm ET on Fox
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7), 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Seattle Seahawks (-7½) at New York Giants, 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Denver Broncos (-2½) at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:30 pm ET on CBS

Prime Time Games, 8:30 pm ET
Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots (-4), Sun Oct 22 on NBC
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-6½), Mon Oct 23 on espn

Week 7 Byes
Detroit Lions
Houston Texans

 

NFL Week 6 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Pats favored by 9.5 at Jets

John Morgan
October 7, 2017 at 9:30 pm ET

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has published their latest NFL Advanced Betting Lines. These early odds are posted prior to the following week’s games, including the Thursday Night Football game. Also known as Look-Ahead lines, they give the adventurous sports fan an opportunity to wager on games up to twelve days away. If you are in Vegas and have a good feeling about a matchup further down the road, the Westgate offers an opportunity to get a jump on odds that could be less favorable after Sunday’s games.

The two Super Bowl LI contestants are the biggest initial Week 6 favorites. Atlanta is a 9½ point home favorite, and New England is favored by the same amount on the road. The Falcons face a Miami team that has scored a mere six points in their last two games and are averaging just 8.3 points per game on the season. The defending Super Bowl champions travel to New Jersey to take on their arch rivals for the biannual encounter. The Jets have ruined management tanking plans and could enter on a three game winning streak should they defeat the Browns on Sunday.

Next week’s marquee game kicks off in the late afternoon slot on CBS. The 4-0 Kansas City Chiefs travel to Pittsburgh to face the 3-1 Steelers at Heinz Field. The Chiefs are averaging 30.5 points per game while Pittsburgh is allowing only 14.8 ppg; both numbers rank second best in the NFL. Aside from potential playoff implications, this should be a great game for all football fans to watch.

NFL Week 6 Early Odds

Thursday Oct 12 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (-3)

Sunday Oct 15 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons (-9½)
Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans (-8½)
New England Patriots (-9½) at New York Jets

Sunday Oct 15 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Chicago Bears at Baltimore Ravens (-6)
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (off)
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints (-3)
San Francisco Forty Niners at Washington Redskins (-7)

Sunday Oct 15 late afternoon games
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals (-2½), 4:00 pm ET on Fox
Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville Jaguars (pick), 4:00 pm ET on Fox
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders (off), 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-2½), 4:30 pm ET on CBS

Prime Time Games, 8:30 pm ET
New York Giants at Denver Broncos (-6), Sunday October 9 on NBC
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (off), Monday October 10 on espn

Bye Week
Buffalo Bills
Cincinnati Bengals
Dallas Cowboys
Seattle Seahawks

 

NFL Week 3 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Pats 12 point favorites vs Texans

John Morgan
September 16, 2017 at 10:00 pm ET

On Tuesday (when I was still without power in Florida) the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published their NFL Regular Season Week 2 Advanced Betting Lines. Also known as Look-Ahead or Early Lines, these odds were released prior to any of the previous games – including Thursday night’s crap show between the Texans and Bengals. These Early Advanced Lines can and will differ substantially from odds posted by Vegas and offshore accounts by the time these games kick off next week. It will be interesting to see how the professional handicappers that set these lines react to Houston’s offensive ineptitude when the Week Three odds are initially set next week.

 

The one line that may raise eyebrows (and set pro football back eighty years) involves Cleveland and Indianapolis. Despite the fact that the baseball team in Cleveland has won more games in three weeks than their football team has since early 2011, the Browns are favored by three points – on the road – against the Colts.

 

The Patriots are the only double digit favorites, playing at home against the Texans. The only other game with a line of greater than seven points involves the other team in the TNF snoozefest. Green Bay is a nine point home favorite versus Cincinnati.

 

Week Three does not involve many particularly compelling matchups. The best of the lot is probably Sunday night’s Oakland (-4) at Washington. After that there are a couple of early games that may be worth watching: New Orleans at Carolina (-5½) and Atlanta (-3) at Detroit. To the surprise of nobody that follows the NFL, the Thursday night game will be another one worth avoiding.

 

Thursday Sept 21 at 8:25 pm ET on NFLN
Los Angeles Rams (-2½) at San Francisco 49ers

Sunday Sept 24 at 9:30 am ET on Yahoo.com
Baltimore Ravens (-4½) ‘at’ Jacksonville Jaguars (London)

Sunday Sept 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Cleveland Browns (-3) at Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers (-6½) at Chicago Bears
Miami Dolphins (-5½) at New York Jets
Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills (-1½)
Houston Texans at New England Patriots (-12)

Sunday Sept 24 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (-5½)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings (-3)
Atlanta Falcons (-3) at Detroit Lions
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)

Sunday Sept 24 late afternoon games
Seattle Seahawks (-1) at Tennessee Titans (4:05, Fox)
Kansas City Chiefs (-1½) at Los Angeles Chargers (4:25, CBS)
Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers (-9) (4:25, CBS)

Sunday Sept 24 at 8:30 pm on NBC
Oakland Raiders (-4) at Washington Redskins

Monday Sept 25 at 8:30 pm on espn
Dallas Cowboys (-3) at Arizona Cardinals

 

Best Bets:
Colts (+3) vs Browns
Bucs (+3) at Vikings
Jaguars (+4½) vs Ravens
Dolphins (-5½) at Jete

 

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.