Tag Archives: Week 7

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 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

 

Pittsburgh Dad Reacts to Steelers loss to Patriots

John Morgan
October 24, 2016 at 6:30 pm ET

Patriot Super Fan Paul ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald has not yet released a Steelers post-game video, but he did provide a link to his (wannabe) counterpart in Pittsburgh. The Braintree Massachusetts native formerly known as Nick Stevens nailed his FitzyGFY parody of the Boston sports fan long ago. Here his western Pennsylvania counterpart known as ‘Pittsburgh Dad‘ attempts to do the same as a Yinzer after the Steelers’ 27-16 home loss to the Patriots.

 

 

TB Times: Tom Brady burns Steelers after Patriots’ 27-16 victory at Pittsburgh

John Morgan
October 23, 2016 at 10:15 pm ET

Soon after the New England Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was time for another edition of the TB Times to be published. Tom Brady – or perhaps an executive assistant – roasted Steeler Nation on his Facebook page after handing Pittsburgh their third loss of season.

Brady completed 73% of his passes (19/26) for 222 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Patriots quarterback is averaging 335 passing yards per game on the season, with eight touchdowns and no turnovers. In TB12’s three games since his return from Article 46 exile the Patriots offense is averaging 32 points per game. On Sunday he even ran for three first downs, one on a quarterback sneak and two when all the receivers were covered.

LeGarrette Blount rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Blount gashed the team that unceremoniously dumped him two years ago to the tune of 5.3 yards per carry and outperforming Pittsburgh star running back Le’Veon Bell. Rob Gronkowski caught all four passes thrown his way, making the Steelers secondary look impotent. Gronk finished with 93 yards and one touchdown, and set up another touchdown knocking over defenders in his trademark style.

The Patriots did not come close to playing their best game. The Pats turned the ball over twice, set Pittsburgh up with great field position after a 35-yard Ryan Allen punt, and Stephen Gostkowski missed another extra point. Mike Tomlin was unable to take advantage of those miscues though, and that was the difference between a win and a loss. Both teams scored four times but while the Steelers were settling for field goals (and two missed field goal attempts), the Patriots kept responding with touchdowns.

Next up for the Patriots is an opportunity for payback. New England’s sole loss on the season was to the Bills and the Pats travel to Buffalo next week. Rex Ryan’s crew may have been caught looking ahead to that game, as the Bills were upset by Miami. Buffalo blew an 11-point second half lead, torched on both the ground (214 yards rushing by Ben Ajayi) and the air. A 66 yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills with 2:24 remaining sealed the outcome. Buffalo drops to 4-3, two games behind the Patriots in the AFC East; Miami improves to 3-4.

NFL Week 7 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

John Morgan
at 6:00 am ET

The 5-1 New England Patriots will take part in the marquee game of NFL Week 7, traveling to Pittsburgh to face the 4-2 Steelers. Although this contest has lost a bit of its luster due to the absence of Ben Roethlisberger, it is still the best matchup of the week. With elite players such as Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown that are capable of making defenders look foolish, Pittsburgh is still a formidable foe even without Big Ben.

The winner of this game will hold a very early lead in pursuit of home field advantage for the AFC playoffs. The game kicks off at 4:25 pm eastern time and will be televised nationally on CBS, with the exceptions of Atlanta and San Francisco.

In the early time slot there are a few compelling games to check out. On FOX the undefeated Minnesota Vikings go on the road to face the Eagles, and New Orleans is at Kansas City. The Bills and Dolphins renew their AFC East rivalry in south Florida on CBS; the Patriots will play at Buffalo next week. The two prime time games should be competitive as well. Sunday night Arizona hosts the Seahawks, and then Houston is at Denver in a battle between two AFC contenders on Monday night.

 

NFL Week 7 Early NFC Games

 

★★ 3-3 New York Giants ‘at’ 3-3 Los Angeles Rams in London
Sunday, October 23 at 9:30 am ET on NFLN; Kevin Harlan and Dan Fouts
Giants -2½ . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . NYG -145, LAR +125
Broadcast in all markets.

An already good Ram defense gets better with the return of DE Robert Quinn from a shoulder injury. Between injuries to their running backs and poor play up front the Giants’ rushing game is non-existent. Getting pressure without having to blitz will allow LA to cover New York’s receivers better than Baltimore did last week.

Prediction: Rams 27, Giants 17
Rams +2½ (two units). . . . . under 44½ . . . . . Los Angeles +125

Final Score: Giants 17, Rams 10 x
Rams +2½ xx . . . . under 44½ ✓ . . . . Rams +125 x

 

★★★★ 5-0 Minnesota Vikings at 3-2 Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman and Erin Andrews
Vikings -2½ . . . . over/under 39½ . . . . MIN -155, PHI +135
Broadcast in New England, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Las Vegas NV, New Mexico, New York (except Buffalo and NYC), Charlotte NC, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee (except Nashville), Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Minnesota is no fluke, possessing the best defense in the NFL. As expected Philadelphia rookie RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who is subbing for suspended starter Lance Johnson, struggled last week. That’s a situation that Viking head coach will be able to exploit. The Vikes would surely like to help teammate Sam Bradford stick one to his former team after casting him off as an afterthought.

Prediction: Vikings 20, Eagles 13
Vikings -2½ (one unit) . . . . . under 39½ . . . . . Minnesota -155

Final Score: Eagles 21, Vikings 10 x
Vikings -2½ x . . . . under 39½ ✓ . . . . Vikings -155

 

★★★ 4-2 Washington Redskins at 3-3 Detroit Lions
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Justin Kutcher, Charles Davis and Chris Speilman
Lions -1½ . . . . over/under 49½ . . . . DET -125, WAS +105
Broadcast in DC, Michigan, North Carolina (except Charlotte), Virginia and West Virginia.

Washington has won four straight after stumbling out of the gate. Does that mean that the Skins are better right now, or due for a stinker? Detroit has been up and down all season thus far. This one is really tough to call. With hesitation I will give a slight lean to the team on the winning streak.

Prediction: Redskins 27, Lions 24
Redskins +1½ . . . . . over 49½ . . . . . Washington +105

Final Score: Lions 20, Redskins 17 x
Redskins +1½ x . . . . over 49½ x . . . . Redskins +105 x

 

NFL Week 7 Early Inter-Conference Game

 

★★★★ 2-3 New Orleans Saints at 3-2 Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kenny Albert, John Lynch and Pam Oliver
Chiefs -6 . . . . over/under 50½ . . . . KAN -240, NOR +200
Broadcast in Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Nebraska.

The Saint offense ranks second in the NFL, averaging 31.0 points per game. However, their problem once again is a shoddy defense that ranks near the bottom in just about every category. Jamaal Charles should be back at full strength, giving KC a potent 1-2 punch out of the backfield along with Spencer Ware (5.3 yards per carry). The Chief defense is still not the same with OLB Justin Houston remaining on PUP, but is far superior to the swiss cheese New Orleans D.

Prediction: Chiefs 34, Saints 27
Chiefs -6 . . . . . over 50½ (one unit) . . . . . Kansas City -240

Final Score: Chiefs 27, Saints 21 ✓
Chiefs -6 -push- . . . . over 50½ x . . . . Chiefs -240 ✓

 

NFL Week 7 Early AFC Games

 

★★ 0-6 Cleveland Browns at 2-4 Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Beuerlein and Steve Tasker
Bengals -10 . . . . over/under 45 . . . . CIN -500, CLE +400
Broadcast in eastern Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

Only two teams are giving up more points (29.3 per game) than Cleveland. The Browns just don’t come up big in the clutch allowing opponents to score touchdowns in 73% of their red zone possessions. Cincinnati is not performing well in the red zone either. The Bengals rank 28th on offense (8/19, 42%) and 27th on defense (13/19, 68.%) in the red zone. On paper Cincy should win this game easily. It will be interesting to see how the Bengals respond to last week’s loss at New England. With Ben Roethliberger out, this is a golden opportunity to make a run for the AFC North title.

Prediction: Bengals 30, Browns 23
Browns +10 (one unit) . . . . . over 45 . . . . . Cincinnati -500

Final Score: Bengals 31, Browns 17 ✓
Browns +10 x . . . . over 45 ✓ . . . . Bengals -500 ✓

 

★★★ 4-2 Buffalo Bills at 2-4 Miami Dolphins
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Tom McCarthy and Adam Archuleta
Bills -2½ . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . BUF -140, MIA +120
Broadcast in south and central Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, western New York and Rhode Island.

Since Ryan Tannehill became Miami’s starting quarterback Buffalo has dominated this series, winning six of the last eight games. The Bills are plainly superior on both the offensive and defensive line, even without NT Marcell Dareus. Miami’s offensive line is getting healthier and Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy may not play due to a hamstring injury. Still, the best hope for Miami is for the Bills to be looking ahead to next week’s game against the Patriots. Rex Ryan’s crew is due for an unexpected loss.

Prediction: Dolphins 20, Bills 17
Dolphins +2½ . . . . . under 44½ . . . . . Miami +120

Final Score: Dolphins 28, Bills 25 ✓
Dolphins +2½ ✓ . . . . under 44½ x . . . . Dolphins +120 ✓

 

★★★ 4-2 Oakland Raiders at 2-3 Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green and Jamie Erdahl
Jaguars -1½ . . . . over/under 47½ . . . . JAC -115, OAK +105
Broadcast in Alabama, northern Florida, Georgia (except Atlanta), Michigan, Mississippi, Wisconsin, and everywhere west of the Mississippi River (with the exception of Houston and Kansas City).

The Oakland defense ranks last in yards allowed (445 per game), last in passing (8.9 yards per attempt and 313 yards per game), last in yards per play (6.9), 31st in opponent red zone possessions (4.7 per game) and 30th in run defense (4.8 yards per carry). Somehow the Raiders have clamped down in the clutch however, holding the opposition to 53.6% red zone touchdowns (16th) and 4.2 third down conversions per game (5th). Jacksonville cannot run the ball though, and Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree should be able to get open early and often against the Jaguar secondary. Trivia: the last time these two met was three years ago. The quarterbacks then were Terrelle Pryor and Chad Henne, and the running backs were Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew.

Prediction: Raiders 28, Jaguars 24
Raiders +1½ . . . . . over 47½ (one unit) . . . . . Oakland +105

Final Score: Raiders 33, Jaguars 16 ✓
Raiders +1½ ✓ . . . . over 47½ . . . . Raiders +105 ✓

 

★★ 2-4 Indianapolis Colts at 3-3 Tennessee Titans
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots
Titans -3 . . . . over/under 48 . . . . TEN -175, IND +155
Broadcast in Atlanta GA, Illinois, Indiana, western Kentucky, Tennessee and Houston TX.

Colt owner Jim Irsay says that criticism of GM Ryan Grigson is unjust. No mention that the only draft pick Grigson has got right was the no-brainer for Andrew Luck after the team tanked in order to obtain the number one overall pick in the draft. Grigson whined about the contract that he himself gave to Luck, leaving him little money to spend under the salary cap. Perhaps Grigson should look at how franchises like Pittsburgh and Green Bay get it done year after year rather than attempting to frame a team he can’t beat.

Irsay went on to say that with a few bounces the Colts could be 6-0. While that might be true, what is more probable than not is that with a few bounces Indy could be 0-6. You know it is time for the owner to just shut up and go away when Antonio Cromartie makes a more coherent and intelligent comment than Irsay.

Prediction: Titans 30, Colts 24
Titans -3 . . . . . over 48 . . . . . Tennessee -175

Final Score: Colts 34, Titans 26 x
Titans -3 x . . . . over 48 ✓ . . . . Titans -175 x

 

★★ 3-3 Baltimore Ravens at 1-4 New York Jets
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle and Rich Gannon
Jets -2 . . . . over/under 41 . . . . NYJ -130, BAL +110
Broadcast in Connecticut, DC, Maryland, western Massachusetts, eastern New York (Albany, NYC), North Carolina, Pennsylvania (except Philadelphia), South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.

The Jets are an abysmal 1-5 and the wheels may be falling off. In Todd Bowles’ defense, Gang Green has had to open the season against five teams that made the playoffs last year, and only two home games. Not surprisingly Baltimore’s 3-0 start was a mirage. Despite a relatively easy schedule thus far the Raven offense is averaging just 4.9 yards per play (29th). John Harbaugh didn’t read the NFL rule book last week, apparently thinking that a Cover 2 defense was an illegal formation. End result was a loss to the Giants even though their sole offensive weapon was Odell Beckham.

Prediction: Jets 23, Ravens 17
Jets -2 . . . . . under 41 . . . . . New York -130

Final Score: Jets 24, Ravens 16 ✓
Jets -2 ✓ . . . . under 41 ✓ . . . . Jets -130 ✓

 

NFL Week 7 Game of the Week

 

★★★★★ 5-1 New England Patriots at 4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, October 23 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson
Patriots -7 . . . . over/under 47½ . . . . NWE -310 PIT +260
Broadcast in all markets with the exception of Atlanta and San Francisco.

With Landry Jones under center you can count on Le’Veon Bell running the ball more than the ten times he did last week. Bell is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and 147 yards from scrimmage this year. Jones does not have anywhere near the same ability to pass the ball deep to Antonio Brown that Ben Roethisberger does. That means this game hinges on New England’s ability to neutralize Bell, and prevent the Steeler offense from keeping Brady, Gronk and company on the sidelines.

Prediction: Patriots 30, Steelers 20
Patriots -7 . . . . . over 47½ . . . . . New England -310

Final Score: Patriots 27, Steelers 16 ✓
Patriots -7 ✓ . . . . over 47½ x . . . . Patriots -310 ✓

 

Other NFL Week 7 Late Games

 

★★ 2-4 San Diego Chargers at 4-2 Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, October 23 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Sam Rosen, Daryl Johnston and Laura Okmin
Falcons -6 . . . . over/under 54½ . . . . ATL -240, SDC +200
Broadcast in Alabama, southern California, parts of Florida (Jacksonville, Miami, West Palm), Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Baltimore, Buffalo, Nashville and New York City.

Thanks to a stealth negative PR campaign waged by the Chargers and the NFL this off-season, most people don’t think much of DE Joey Bosa. The reality is that his presence has improved the Charger defense. Much of that is due to his play, but equally important is that opponents can no longer focus on stopping OLB Melvin Ingram. Those two are going to have to dominate if San Diego is to have a chance of winning. Nobody has been able to completely neutralize Atlanta’s offense. The Falcons lead the NFL with 33.2 points per game, 442 yards per game and 9.9 yards per pass attempt. Mike McCoy is not a head coach that I have faith in to come up with a game plan to stop Atlanta.

Prediction: Falcons 34, Chargers 27
Falcons -6 . . . . . over 54½ (two units) . . . . . Atlanta -240

Final Score: Chargers 33, Falcons 30 OT x
Falcons -6 x . . . . over 54½ ✓✓ . . . . Falcons -240 x

 

2-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1-5 San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, October 23 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber and Jennifer Hale
Niners -1 . . . . over/under 45½ . . . . SFO -115, TAM -105
Broadcast in northern California, Florida (except Jacksonville, Miami and West Palm Beach) and Reno NV.

Neither team has a good defense, but San Francisco is particularly bad. The Niner D is 31st in scoring (30.8 ppg), thanks to a run defense that is giving up 5.0 yards per carry and a jaw-dropping 175 rushing yards per game. The Bucs on the other hand are a team that has never performed well on the west coast (7-28), though to be fair that record was complied under other coaching regimes.

Prediction: Buccaneers 24, 49ers 20
Buccaneers +1 . . . . . under 45½ . . . . . Tampa Bay -105

Final Score: Buccaneers 34, Forty Niners 17 ✓
Buccaneers +1 ✓ . . . . under 45½ x . . . . Buccaneers -105 ✓

 

NFL Week 7 Night Games

 

★★★★ 4-1 Seattle Seahawks at 2-3 Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, October 23 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya
Cardinals -1 . . . . over/under 43½ . . . . ARI -120, SEA +100
Broadcast in all markets.

Arizona has been known for their vertical passing game and not much of a running game in recent years. 2016 is different though, with RB David Johnson shouldering the load for the Cardinals. Johnson leads the NFL with 833 yards from scrimmage, with 568 rushing yards and 265 receiving for an average of 139 yards per game. Arizona would love to put an end to reporters questions about being outscored by Seattle 105-34 in their last three games in Phoenix, but the Seahawks are a worthy adversary. Russell Wilson has thrown 158 passes without an interception. After a slow start (15 points in two games) the Seattle offense has gelled; the Seahawks have averaged 30 points in their last three games.

Prediction: Seahawks 23, Cardinals 20
Seahawks +1 . . . . . under 43½ . . . . . Seattle +100

Final Score: Seahawks 6, Cardinals 6 (OT) -tie-
Seahawks +1 ✓ . . . . under 43½ ✓ . . . . Seahawks -100 -push-

 

★★★★ 4-2 Houston Texans at 4-2 Denver Broncos
Monday, October 24 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters
Broncos -8 . . . . over/under 40½ . . . . DEN -360, HOU +300
Broadcast in all markets.

While the headlines will focus on Brock Osweiler returning to Denver, the primary focus should be on the Broncos’ impotent offense. Denver has managed to score only 29 combined points in their last two games, and both were against mediocre defenses. Unfortunately for Houston their defense has been ravaged with injuries and they just don’t have enough firepower on offense to overcome that fact.

Prediction: Broncos 23, Texans 17
Texans +8 . . . . . under 40½ . . . . . Denver -360

Final Score: Broncos 27, Texans 9 ✓
Texans +8 x . . . . under 40½ ✓ . . . . Broncos -360 ✓

 

★★ 1-5 Chicago Bears at 3-2 Green Bay Packers
Thursday, October 20 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson
Packers -7½ . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . GNB -350, CHI +290
Broadcast in all markets.

Prediction: Packers 27, Bears 13
Packers -7½ (one unit) . . . . . under 46½ . . . . . Green Bay -350

As expected, the Packers were able to take care of business at home. The Bears simply do not have the talent level or depth to compete against better teams.

Final Score: Packers 26, Bears 10 ✓
Packers -7½ . . . . under 46½ ✓ . . . . Packers -350 ✓

 

3-Team Parlay (one unit): x
Chargers at Falcons over 54½ ✓
Rams +2½ vs Giants x
Vikings -2½ at Eagles x

4-Team 6-Point Teaser (two units): xx
Chargers at Falcons over 48½ ✓
Vikings +3½ at Eagles x
Raiders at Jaguars over 41½ ✓
Rams +8½ vs Giants ✓

 

 

Tale of the Tape

The only downside to Week Six was that neither of my top picks were winners. A four-team teaser was a big payoff, comprised of the Pats (vs Bengals), Cowboys (at Packers) and Bills (at Rams) all winning outright, while the Falcons (at Seahawks) covered easily. Worst predictions were Pittsburgh (-7) at Miami and Raiders (-2½) versus Chiefs.

Week 6 Results:
11-4 Straight Up
10-4-1 Against the Spread
10-5 Over/Under
2-unit plays: 0-2, -280
1-unit plays: 8-0-1, +790
3-Game Parlay: 1u, 0-1, -110
4-Game Teaser: 3u, 1-0, +900
17 units invested
9-3-1, +1300 on $1870 risk
69.5% ROI

Year to Date Results:
50-42 Straight Up
52-38-2 Against the Spread
49-43 Over/Under
3-unit plays: 2-5-1, -1080
2-unit plays: 16-9, +1380
1-unit plays: 24-8-1, +1510
Parlays: 1-3, +270
Teasers: 3-1, +1690
46-26-2, +3770 on original $2310 risk.
163.2% ROI on original $2310 bankroll.
28.6% ROI on $13,200 (120 units) of total weekly investments.

9-3-1, +1300 on 17 units (+69.5%) in Week 6.
7-7, +50 on 22 units (+2.1%) in Week 5.
9-2, +1910 on 18 units (+96.5%) in Week 4.
3-9-1, -1280 on 22 units (-58.2%) in Week 3.
9-3, +950 on 20 units (+43.2%) in Week 2.
9-2, +840 on 21 units (+36.4%) in Week 1.

 

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. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call 1-888-ADMIT-IT or 1-888-GA-HELPS.

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

 

NFL Week 7 Television Coverage & Odds – Pats-Steelers broadcast virtually everywhere

John Morgan
October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm ET

The New England Patriots will take part in what will be the NFL’s biggest game next Sunday as the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Pats. The highly anticipated contest lost a bit of its luster with Ben Roethlisberger suffering an unfortunate knee injury. Big Ben will be out for a few weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee suffered in Sunday’s upset loss at Miami. The outcome of this game could go a long ways to determining who has home field advantage in the AFC playoffs next January.

The game kicks off at 4:25 pm eastern time Sunday. CBS will broadcast the game on every one of their affiliates in the United States with the exception (thanks to archaic NFL/FCC rules) of Atlanta and San Francisco. Jim Nantz will announce the play-by-play with Phil Simms will handling the commentary.

Last week when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook published their advanced lines this game was listed as a pick’em. Roethlisberger’s injury combined with Pittsburgh’s poor showing at Miami and New England’s 18-point victory over Cincinnati has caused oddsmakers to dramatically reassess this matchup. Early today the Patriots were listed as a seven point favorite and as of early Monday evening most venues have pushed that up to 7½ points.

Week 7 has a couple of good NFC games on tap: Minnesota at Philadelphia in the early time slot, and Seattle at Arizona on Sunday night. New England fans should be interested in Buffalo at Miami early and Houston at Denver on Monday night.

For the first time this season the Cowboys will not be televised in prime time or to a near-nationwide audience. The reason? Dallas (and Carolina) have a bye this week. Please keep in mind that the broadcast distribution is preliminary. Some affiliates will request and receive approval to change to another game.

 

NFL Week 7 Television Coverage & Odds

 

★★ 1-5 Chicago Bears at 3-2 Green Bay Packers
Thursday, October 20 at 8:30 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson
Packers -9½ . . . . over/under 46
Broadcast in all markets.

 

★★ 3-3 New York Giants ‘at’ 3-3 Los Angeles Rams in London
Sunday, October 23 at 9:30 am ET on NFLN; Kevin Harlan and Dan Fouts
Giants -3 . . . . over/under 44
Broadcast in all markets.

 

★★★★ 5-0 Minnesota Vikings at 3-2 Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman and Erin Andrews
Vikings -2½ . . . . over/under 40
Broadcast in New England, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Las Vegas NV, New Mexico, New York (except Buffalo and NYC), Charlotte NC, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

 

★★★★ 2-3 New Orleans Saints at 3-2 Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kenny Albert, John Lynch and Pam Oliver
Chiefs -7 . . . . over/under 50
Broadcast in Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Nebraska.

 

★★★ 4-2 Washington Redskins at 3-3 Detroit Lions
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Justin Kutcher, Charles Davis and Peter Schrager
Lions -1 . . . . over/under 48½
Broadcast in DC, Michigan, North Carolina (except Charlotte) and Virginia.

 

★★ 0-6 Cleveland Browns at 2-4 Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Tom McCarthy and Adam Archuleta
Bengals -10 . . . . over/under 46
Broadcast in eastern Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

 

★★★ 4-2 Buffalo Bills at 2-4 Miami Dolphins
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker and Steve Beuerlein
Bills -3 . . . . over/under 45½
Broadcast in Arkansas, south and central Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and western New York.

 

★★★ 4-2 Oakland Raiders at 2-3 Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green and Jamie Erdahl
Jaguars -1 . . . . over/under 49
Broadcast in Alabama, northern Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, Wisconsin, and everywhere west of the Mississippi River (with the exception of Arkansas and Kansas City).

 

★★ 2-4 Indianapolis Colts at 3-3 Tennessee Titans
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots
Titans -2½ . . . . over/under 48½
Broadcast in Illinois, Indiana, western Kentucky, Tennessee and Houston TX.

 

★★ 3-3 Baltimore Ravens at 1-4 New York Jets
Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle and Rich Gannon
Pick’em . . . . over/under 42½
Broadcast in Connecticut, DC, Maryland, western Massachusetts, eastern New York (Albany, NYC), North Carolina, Pennsylvania (except Philadelphia), South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.

 

★★ 2-4 San Diego Chargers at 4-2 Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, October 23 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Sam Rosen, Daryl Johnston and Laura Okmin
Falcons -6½ . . . . over/under 53
Broadcast in Alabama, southern California, parts of Florida (Jacksonville, Miami, West Palm), Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Baltimore, Buffalo, Nashville and New York City.

 

2-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1-5 San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, October 23 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber and Jennifer Hale
Buccaneers -2 . . . . over/under 47½
Broadcast in northern California, Florida (except Jacksonville, Miami and West Palm Beach) and Reno NV.

 

★★★★★ 5-1 New England Patriots at 4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, October 23 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson
Patriots -7 . . . . over/under 46
Broadcast in all markets with the exception of Atlanta and San Francisco.

 

★★★★ 4-1 Seattle Seahawks at 2-3 Arizona Cardinals
Sunday, October 23 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya
Cardinals -1 . . . . over/under 43½
Broadcast in all markets.

 

★★★★ 4-2 Houston Texans at 4-2 Denver Broncos
Monday, October 24 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters
Broncos -7 . . . . over/under 41
Broadcast in all markets.

 

NFL Week 7 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines – Patriots at Steelers a Pick’em

John Morgan
October 12, 2016 at 10:30 pm ET

On Wednesday afternoon the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook released their advanced betting lines, also known as look-ahead lines. These early lines give some clairvoyant risk takers an opportunity to roll the dice on games that will not be played for another week and a half. There are times when public reaction to the most recent game clouds reality, and for a moment one can exploit the odds on an overrated or underrated team – or be done in by an unforeseen injury.

Week 7 features a highly anticipated game between two of the NFL’s best teams. The New England Patriots travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers in a battle for supremacy in the AFC. Although the game is being played at Heinz Field, some Vegas handicappers have determined that the Patriots are a formidable enough team to negate the hometown advantage at Heinz Field. In a bit of an anomaly this is one of four games listed at even odds.

The big game kicks off at 4:25 pm eastern time a week from Sunday. The showdown will be televised on CBS and will be available in all but two markets (Atlanta and San Francisco) in the US.

As a prelude the Patriots host Cincinnati this weekend, and Pittsburgh is at Miami. Here is a look ahead at the full Week 7 schedule and their initial odds. Carolina and Dallas will be off with a bye.

 

NFL Week 7 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines

 

Thursday October 20:

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-10½) [CBS]

 

Sunday October 23 Early Games:

New York Giants (-2) ‘at’ Los Angeles Rams, in London [NFLN]

Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (-1) [FOX]

New Orleans Saints at Kansas City Chiefs (-7) [FOX]

Washington Redskins at Detroit Lions (-2½) [FOX]

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-10½) [CBS]

Buffalo Bills (-3) at Miami Dolphins [CBS]

Oakland Raiders (-2½) at Jacksonville Jaguars [CBS]

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (Pk) [CBS]

Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets (Pk) [CBS]

 

Sunday October 23 Late Games:

San Diego Chargers at Atlanta Falcons (-5½) [FOX]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers (Pk) [FOX]

New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers (Pk) [CBS]

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (-1) [NBC]

 

Monday October 24:

Houston Texans at Denver Broncos (-6½) [BSPN]

 

As for tomorrow night’s game, perhaps it is wishful thinking – but San Diego is overdue for a win. The Chargers have played well enough to be 5-0 – if the games were just a few ticks short of 60 minutes long. Which team is going to win one for the gipper? Denver, with their head coach hospitalized? Or San Diego, with Mike McCoy one more last-minute loss away from probably being fired? I’ll go with the home team and their proven quarterback over the road team on a short week, with either two inexperienced QBs – one injured and one shell shocked.

Prediction: Chargers 20, Broncos 17
Chargers +3½ (one unit). . . . under 45 . . . . San Diego +155

 

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. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call 1-888-ADMIT-IT.

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

 

Week 7 NFL Previews, Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

John Morgan
October 25, 2015 at 7:00 am ET

Week 7 brings NFL fans one great game – the Jets at Patriots pits the league’s best defense versus the NFL’s best offense – and besides that a whole lot of mediocrity. Unfortunately for football fans this early game is the one and only matchup between two teams with winning records. Some of that can be attributed to three unbeaten teams – Cincinnati, Denver and Green Bay – all having a bye this week. Beyond that though, the NFL’s never-ending quest for parity has exposed an ugly under belly as a side effect. Only nine of the 32 NFL teams have winning records and two entire divisions do not have a single winning team.

 

Five teams: the Patriots, Packers, Bengals, Broncos and Panthers – account for a whopping 31% of all of the NFL’s victories thus far, and zero percent of the losses. Add in 5-1 Atlanta to that group, and now you have six clubs responsible for 37% of all NFL wins. Right now there is just too much mediocre to just plain bad football being played, as witnessed by the last two NFL prime time games: San Francisco’s awful performance at home in the 20-3 loss to Seattle on Thursday, and last Monday’s unwatchable wreck between the Giants and Eagles. Unfortunately I have zero faith in those in charge at 345 Park Avenue to even recognize this situation, much less do something to improve the product for our consumption.

 

The Patriots-Jets game will receive extensive television distribution on Sunday. Besides being broadcast in New England and New York, the game will also air throughout the southeast (except in Florida, Atlanta, Nashville and New Orleans) as well as in Chicago, Wisconsin and Oklahoma; the game will also be available most everywhere west of Texas with the exception of California, southern Oregon, Utah and Reno. To see a view of what games will be broadcast in your area please check out this week’s NFL maps at 506 Sports.

 

On a side note, happy 41st birthday to Corey Dillon. Fifteen years ago almost to the day Dillon broke Walter Payton‘s single-game NFL rushing when he ran for 278 yards against Denver. In his first season with the Patriots Dillon rushed for a franchise record 1,635 yards and averaged 4.7 yards per carry, helping the Pats win their third Super Bowl. Dillon was a big upgrade over Antowain Smith, and at the age of 30 he earned his fourth Pro Bowl honor – and his first and only championship ring. Though he was with the Patriots for only three seasons, Dillon ranks 8th all-time in team history with 3,180 rushing yards; he is 19th in the NFL all-time with 11,241 yards. At the time some questioned the wisdom of giving up a second-round pick for Dillon, but it turned out to be yet another great decision by Bill Belichick.

 

3-3 Buffalo Bills vs 1-5 Jacksonville Jaguars in London, 9:30 am ET on yahoo.com; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon

Bills -4½ (opened at -3½); over/under 41; Bills -220, Jaguars +180

Before the season began I bought into the ‘Jags aren’t there yet, but they are improving’ train of thought, but right now they are still the same old train wreck known as the NFL’s worst team. 3oth in points scored and 30th in points allowed is no way to go through life son. Even without their starting quarterback, receivers and running back, the Bills should still win against this team.

Prediction: Bills 27, Jaguars 17

Pick: Bills -4½; over 41; Bills -220

 

2-4 Cleveland Browns at 2-3 St. Louis Rams; early game on CBS; Brian Anderson, Adam Archuleta

Rams -6½ (opened at -4½); over/under 42; Browns +230, Rams -270

Remember in the off season when the Rams were being hyped as being ready to make the step up to becoming a playoff team? That noise became louder after an opening week victory over Seattle, but the reality is that right now the only NFL team scoring fewer points is San Francisco; consider yourself lucky if you didn’t see them play on Sunday.

Prediction: Browns 24, Rams 20

Pick: Browns +6½ (one unit); over 42; Browns +230

 

4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers at 1-5 Kansas City Chiefs, early game on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green

Chiefs -3 (opened w/Steelers -3½); over/under 43; Steelers +130, Chiefs -150

The swing in the betting line baffles me. Pittsburgh’s offense is better off with Landry Jones rather than Michael Vick; the Steelers don’t need Ben Roethlisberger to beat a KC team that has Charcandrick West rather than Jamaal Charles at running back.

Prediction: Steelers 24, Chiefs 17

Pick: Steelers +3; under 43; Steelers +130

 

2-4 Houston Texans at 2-3 Miami Dolphins, early game on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots

Dolphins -4½ (opened at -1½); over/under 44½; Texans +180, Dolphins -220

In their first game under new defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo the Fins were far more productive, attacking in a one-gap style; the players on the roster did not fit former DC Kevin Coyle‘s scheme. Perhaps more importantly Miami stuck with the running game, which placed less of a burden on Ryan Tannehill. However, that was the Titans; the Dolphins were bad enough early that I need more than a single victory over a one-win team before I alter my viewpoint.

Prediction: Dolphins 24, Texans 20

Pick: Texans +4½; under 44½; Dolphins -220

 

4-1 New York Jets at 5-0 New England Patriots, early game on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts

Patriots -7½ (opened at -9½); over/under 48½; Jets +300, Patriots -360

After a two-game road trip and an emotional (despite the team’s lack of admitting so) victory over the Colts, this would normally be a setup for a trap game. Since this is the Jets that won’t happen, but the reality is that gang green matches up very well against the Pats on both sides of the ball. At 9½ points I was all over the Jets; at 7½ I’ll still take the road dog plus the points, though with a bit less conviction. A turnover or special teams play may be the slight difference needed for another victory by New England.

Prediction: Patriots 24, Jets 20

Pick: Jets +7½; under 48½; Jets +300

 

3-2 Minnesota Vikings at 1-5 Detroit Lions, early game on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber

Pick’em (opened w/Vikings -3); over/under 44½; Vikings -120, Lions +100

Running back Adrian Peterson has been downgraded from probable to questionable with a finger injury. To me it is not so much whether Peterson can play, but how much his potential absence could play havoc with Minnesota’s game plan. The problem for Detroit though is that if Peterson is out and the Vikings throw the ball more often, that is not necessarily a good thing: the Lions are allowing 9.1 yards per pass attempt, dead last in the NFL.

Prediction: Vikings 27, Lions 17

Pick: Vikings +0 (one unit); under 44½; Vikings -120 (one unit)

 

5-1 Atlanta Falcons at 1-4 Tennessee Titans, early game on FOX; Justin Kutcher, Charles Davis

Falcons -6 (opened at -3); over/under 47; Falcons -260, Titans +220

The Falcons come into this game well rested, with ten days to prepare. Devonta Freeman (2nd in the NFL with 505 yards rushing) faces a defense that is allowing 130 yards per game (28th) and 4.7 yards per carry (26th). Stack the box to stop the run, and there goes Julio Jones, Leonard Hankerson and Roddy White. Since their week one victory at Tampa the Titans have lost four in a row, being outscored 115-70 in that span.

Prediction: Falcons 31, Titans 17

Pick: Falcons -6 (two units); over 47; Falcons -260

 

2-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 2-4 Washington Redskins, early game on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston

Skins -3 (opened at -5); over/under 42½; Bucs +145, Skins -165

Uggh. Similar to the Browns-Rams, this is a game that you can’t pay me to watch. To rub salt in the wound this is the only early game on local television here in the Tampa area, so it looks like Finley’s or the WingHouse will get my business on Sunday. As for the game itself, Washington’s pass defense looks bad; Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson should have big games and make Jameis Winston look decent for at least one week. I liked this much better when it was Tampa Bay plus-5, but I’ll still take the Bucs on the road even though it is down to three.

Prediction: Bucs 27, Skins 20

Pick: Bucs +3 (two units); over 42½ (one unit); Bucs +145 (one unit)

 

2-4 New Orleans Saints at 3-3 Indianapolis Colts, early game on FOX; Sam Rosen, John Lynch

Colts -4 (opened at -6½); over/under 52; Saints +175, Colts -210

Over the last several seasons many teams have underwhelmed in the week following a game against the Patriots; I have a strong feeling that will be the case here with the Colts. I liked the Saints a lot more when the line was 6½, but even at four points I’ll still go with New Orleans – despite all their struggles (such as an NFL-worst 6.4 yards per play on defense) this year.

Prediction: Saints 27, Colts 24

Pick: Saints +4 (two units); under 51; Saints +175 (one unit) 

 

2-3 Oakland Raiders at 2-4 San Diego Chargers, late game on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker

Chargers -3½ (opened at -4½); over/under 47; Raiders +170, Chargers -200

Philip Rivers (353 passing yards per game, 70% completion rate) may be a fantasy football superstar right now, but because of San Diego’s deficiency in the running game the Chargers just don’t score enough. San Diego owns the NFL’s best ‘official’ offense (first in yardage), but rank only 15th in scoring (22.7 ppg). At 19.1 yards per point San Diego ranks 31st in offensive efficiency (ahead of only San Francisco), and to make matters worse their defense is 28th at 13.2 yards per point allowed. The Raiders are a middle of the pack team, but the Chargers keep finding new ways to lose.

Prediction: Raiders 24, Chargers 20

Pick: Raiders +3½ (two units); under 47; Raiders +170 (one unit)

 

2-3 Dallas Cowboys at 3-3 New York Giants, late game on FOX; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman

Giants -3½ (opened at -5½); over/under 45½; Cowboys +150, Giants -170

Wow, imagine that: Fox is broadcasting the Giants and Cowboys to every single television market (except San Diego). Yeah, keep jamming those mediocre NFC East teams down our collective throats year after year guys. The Giants are coming off a bad loss on a short week, while Dallas has had two weeks to prepare new starting quarterback Matt Cassel – and possibly new starting running back Christine Michael. The Cowboy pass defense has not looked good at all this year, but you have to disregard a game any team has to go against Tom Brady and the Patriots; with Greg Hardy in the lineup their D is much improved. This is another game where I liked the underdog early in the week, but not so much now that the line has shifted.

Prediction: Giants 24, Cowboys 20

Pick: Giants -3½; under 45½; Cowboys +150

 

3-3 Philadelphia Eagles at 5-0 Carolina Panthers, Sunday night on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth

Panthers -3 (opened at -2½); over/under 45½; Eagles +135, Panthers -155

I see this as a trap game for Carolina, with a bit of a letdown after their big win last week at Seattle. A year ago Philly sacked Cam Newton nine times and forced four turnovers; though that can’t be expected to happen again, I do like the Eagles chances in this game; they have played a lot better after a rough start to the season, winning three of their last four games.

Eagles 23, Panthers 20

Pick: Eagles +3 (one unit); under 45½; Eagles +135

 

1-5 Baltimore Ravens at 4-2 Arizona Cardinals, Monday night on ESPN; Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden

Cardinals -8½ (opened at -6½); over/under 49; Ravens +330, Cardinals -400

Want to hear something funny? Remember just a few weeks ago, before the season began, when many national media members were predicting that the Ravens would represent the AFC in the Super Bowl? Baltimore has no pass rush, making their average secondary look bad in coverage. This is exactly what Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona offense needs after losing their last two games. Yet another game where the line looked much better early – but it hasn’t shifted enough for me to back off.

Prediction: Cardinals 31, Ravens 20

Pick: Cardinals -8½; over 49; Cardinals -400

 

Bye Week: 6-0 Cincinnati Bengals; 6-0 Denver Broncos; 6-0 Green Bay Packers; 2-4 Chicago Bears

 

 

 

 

Jets at Patriots Stats-Based Preview

John Morgan
October 24, 2015 at 7:00 am ET

The 5-0 New England Patriots meet the 4-1 New York Jets in a battle for first place in the AFC East on Sunday. Here is a look at how the two teams compare statistically; the numbers reflect an average per game rather than gross totals. I have used per-game stats rather than totals because that makes the rankings more meaningful, considering that teams have played a different number of games thus far due to bye weeks.

Looking at these numbers I was a bit surprised – as I am sure many others will be – at how often the Jets ranked relatively high (top ten in the NFL) in offensive categories. It is also really amazing to see how often the New England offense and Jet defense both rank number one, or number one and two in one statistical category after another. This game is gearing up to be a classic clash between a great offense and and an elite defense.

There are a few areas that stand out that could be troublesome for the Patriots, and they all involve the Jets’ offense versus the Patriots’ defense. New York does very well on the ground (first in rushing yards per game and seventh in yards per carry) while the Patriots are below average (22nd and 30th, respectively) in those two categories. The Jet offense is also far more efficient on third down than the New England defense is, and the same holds true for the NYJ red zone offense in comparison to the Patriot RZ defense.

On the other hand the Patriots have some statistical advantages as well. The Jets’ propensity to turn the ball over (seven interceptions and three fumbles) could very well be a turning point in Sunday’s game, and the Patriots perform far better on special teams; that too could very well be a key point in the outcome of this game.

Patriots Offense versus Jets Defense

Scoring: Pats 36.6 (1st); Jets 15.0 (1st)

Yardage: Pats 422 (2nd); Jets 269 (1st)

First Downs: Pats 26.2 (1st); Jets 16.2 (1st)

Yards per Play: Pats 6.4 (3rd); Jets 4.3 (2nd)

Yards per Drive: Pats 40.4 (1st); Jets 23.2 (1st)

Points per Drive: Pats 3.39 (1st); Jets 1.02 (1st)

Drive Success Rate: Pats .798 (1st); Jets .604 (1st)

Points per Play: Pats .556 (2nd); Jets .241 (1st)

Touchdowns: Pats 4.2 (1st); Jets 1.8 (1st)

Red Zone Touchdowns: Pats 3.4 (1st); Jets 0.8 (1st)

Red Zone TD Percentage: Pats 73.9% (2nd); Jets 33.3% (1st)

Plays per Game: Pats 65.8 (14th); Jets 62.2 (7th)

Third Down Conversions: Pats 5.8 (12th); Jets 4.6 (7th)

Third Down Percentage: Pats 50.9% (1st); Jets 31.9% (4th)

Punts per Score: Pats 0.4 (1st); Jets 2.1 (1st)

Rushing Yards: Pats 97.2 (21st); Jets 82.6 (2nd)

Yards per Rush: Pats 4.08 (16th); Jets 3.50 (2nd)

Passing Yards: Pats 325 (2nd); Jets 187 (2nd)

Yards per Pass Attempt: Pats 8.6 (4th); Jets 5.4 (1st)

Completion Percentage: Pats 70.6% (2nd); Jets 52.4% (1st)

Passer Rating: Pats 118.4 (1st); Jets 60.9 (1st)

Complete Passes: Pats 27.8 (4th); Jets 19.4 (4th)

Incomplete Passes: Pats 11.6 (9th); Jets 17.6 (1st)

Quarterback Sacks: Pats 2.6 (21st); Jets 1.6 (25th)

Sack Yardage Lost: Pats 14.6 (16th); Jets 12.0 (22nd)

 

Jets Offense versus Pats Defense

Scoring: Jets 25.8 (7th); Pats 20.6 (11th)

Yardage: Jets 380 (8th); Pats 356 (17th)

First Downs: Jets 20.4 (16th); Pats 20.6 (13th)

Yards per Play: Jets 5.7 (8th); Pats 5.4 (13th)

Yards per Drive: Jets 29.9 (23rd); Pats 31.3 (11th)

Points per Drive: Jets 2.08 (10th); Pats 1.80 (12th)

Drive Success Rate: Jets .685 (19th); Pats .705 (16th)

Points per Play: Jets .384 (9th); Pats .315 (10th)

Touchdowns: Jets 3.0 (8th); Pats 2.6 (15th)

Red Zone Touchdowns: Jets 2.8 (4th); Pats 1.8 (15th)

Red Zone TD Percentage: Jets 73.7% (3rd); Pats 69.2% (28th)

Plays per Game: Jets 67.2 (6th); Pats 65.4 (15th)

Third Down Conversions: Jets 6.2 (7th); Pats 5.6 (24th)

Third Down Percentage: Jets 43.1% (8th); Pats 40.0% (20th)

Punts per Score: Jets 1.0 (9th); Pats 1.3 (8th)

Rushing Yards: Jets 146 (1st); Pats 114.6 (22nd)

Yards per Rush: Jets 4.48 (7th); Pats 4.86 (30th)

Passing Yards: Jets 234 (21st); Pats 241 (15th)

Yards per Pass Attempt: Jets 6.9 (18th); Pats 7.0 (10th)

Completion Percentage: Jets 62.6% (19th); Pats 64.2% (15th)

Passer Rating: Jets 83.4 (18th); Pats 87.5 (11th)

Complete Passes: Jets 21.4 (22nd); Pats 24.4 (21st)

Incomplete Passes: Jets 12.8 (14th); Pats 13.6 (14th)

Quarterback Sacks: Jets 0.4 (1st); Pats 3.8 (2nd)

Sack Yardage Lost: Jets 1.6 (1st); Pats 25.4 (2nd)

 

Turnovers

Patriot Giveaways: 0.6 (2nd);  Jet Takeaways: 3.0 (1st)

Jet Giveaways: 2.0 (27th); Patriot Takeaways: 1.4 (18th)

 

Penalties

Penalties: Patriots 7.8 (19th); Jets 6.6 (6th)

Penalty Yards: Patriots 70.0 (27th); Jets 68.2 (25th)

Opponent Penalties: Patriots 9.4 (3rd); Jets 8.0 (10th)

Opponent Penalty Yards: Patriots 96.8 (1st); Jets 61.8 (16th)

 

Football Outsiders Statistics and Rankings

Team Efficiency – Total DVOA: Patriots 44.4% (2nd); Jets 26.9% (5th)

Team Efficiency – Total DAVE: Patriots 37.5% (1st); Jets 19.6% (5th)

Team Efficiency: Offense DVOA: Patriots 32.8% (1st); Jets 5.4% (10th)

Team Efficiency: Defense DVOA: Patriots -3.7% (8th); Jets -29.4% (2nd)

Special Teams DVOA: Patriots 7.9% (3rd); Jets -7.9% (31st)

Seahawks at 49ers – Preview, Prediction and Pick Against the Spread

John Morgan
October 22, 2015 at 7:00 am ET

NFL week seven gets underway tonight with an all-NFC West game, as the Seattle Seahawks travel to Santa Clara to play the San Francisco 49ers. Game kicks off at 8:25 pm eastern time and is televised on CBS; Jim Nantz will handle the play-by-play alongside Phil Simms in the booth, with Tracy Wolfson on the sidelines. The game will also be broadcast to a worldwide television market, including Canada (on Sportsnet), Mexico (Fox Sports and NFL Network), the UK (Sky Sports), the Far East (All Sports Network TV), and will also be shown on the Armed Forces Network Europe on AFN Sports 2.

 

Both teams enter the game with 2-4 records, tied for last place in the NFC West, two games behind the Arizona Cardinals. Despite their record, the Seahawks have actually scored more points (134, 22.3 per game) than they have allowed (125, 20.8 per game). Seattle is 0-3 on the road this season and has not done well in close games. The Seahawks have played four games decided by three points, and are 1-3 in those games.

 

The Niners are 2-1 at home and after starting the season with no close games (their first four games were decided by 14 points or more), they have had two close games: a 3-point loss at the Giants, and last week a 5-point victory over the Ravens that ended a four-game losing streak.

 

Odds: This game opened up with Seattle as four-point favorite, but heavy betting on the Seahawks has pushed the line up to as high as 7½ points (SportsBet.com); most venues are at 6½. The point total has inched up as well, but not as dramatically; after opening at 41 it is now at either 42 or 42½ depending on where you look. As always the money lines vary from shop to shop; Westgate is typical, with the Seahawks -300 and Niners +250.

 

History: The Seahawks lead the all-time series 18-15, which includes a victory in the lone playoff game between these two rivals. In the 2013-14 NFC Championship game Seattle defeated the Niners 23-17, and then went on to annihilate Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8 to win Super Bowl 48. In that NFCCG Russell Wilson threw a 35-yard 4th down touchdown pass in the 4th quarter to Jermaine Kearse to take the lead, and then with time running out Richard Sherman tipped a Colin Kaepernick pass in the end zone that was intercepted by Malcolm Smith to seal the victory.

 

The Seahawks won both regular season games last year and have now five of the last six games between these two teams. In those six games Kaepernick completed just 53% of his passes and was sacked 18 times, throwing nine interceptions against three touchdowns, while compiling a pitiful 54.1 passer rating.

 

Seattle’s 4th Quarter Struggles. If you want to know why the defending NFC champions are only 2-4, begin with the end. In the 4th quarter Seattle has allowed opponents to score 55 points through the first six weeks of the 2015 season; that is the fourth most points allowed in the 4th quarter by any team in the NFL. In the past few seasons the Hawks have owned that final stanza, especially defensively; that has not been the case this year. In the fourth quarter this year the Seahawks are averaging 4.5 points scored per game, which is the fourth fewest in the NFL. Combine that with the 9.2 points allowed per game (12.3 ppg over last three games), and you have (other than the Tennessee Titans) the worst fourth-quarter team in the NFL.

 

For Seattle to win this game they need to get back to their core offensive efficiency: run the ball effectively. That will set up manageable third downs. That has not been happening enough, and the result is an offense that ranks just 20th in third downs conversions (36.9%).

 

For San Francisco to win this game they need the Colin Kaepernick that we have seen the last two weeks to show up. In the first four games of the season Kaepernick averaged just 182 passing yards per game, throwing for only two touchdowns with five picks. Over the last two weeks Kaepernick has thrown four touchdown passes with no picks and averaged over 300 passing yards per game.

 

Prediction: I think HC Pete Carroll and DC Kris Richard fix Seattle’s communication issues, and the defense plays more like we are accustomed to seeing. Seahawks 24, Niners 13

 

Pick: Seahawks -6½; under 42½; Seahawks -300