Last week I had total confidence in every pick I made except for the Chargers-Patriots game. This week it is almost the exact opposite. A few games are no-brainers, but other than that it seems like every match-up is between two mediocre teams that could go either way. But here goes nothing.
All lines are courtesy of FootballLocks.com.
Sunday, Sept. 25 games: (Home team in ALL CAPS and winner in bold)
CINCINNATI -2.5 San Francisco
- This is going to be a miserable game to watch. Neither team has a very good offense and both have above average defenses. Cedric Benson will be the difference maker this week. That and the sad fact that the 49ers have the worse of the two starting quarterbacks in this game.
New England -8.5 BUFFALO
- If Buffalo can withstand a Tom Brady barrage of 400+ yards, then maybe they can win. Problem is, no one has done it yet and the Bills don’t seem to have that kind of defense. This game should be amazing for fantasy owners that don’t have the Bills or Patriots defense.
NEW ORLEANS -4 Houston
- The Saints are a confusing team. One week their defense gets torn to pieces by Aaron Rodgers and the next they dominate Jay Cutler. Obviously one of those guys is far better than the other, but the defense has been night and day. If the right defense shows up here I see the Saints ending the Texans undefeated record.
PHILADELPHIA -8 New York Giants
- This game hinges on which quarterback lines up under center for the Eagles. If it’s Mike Vick they should continue their recent dominance of the Giants. If it’s Mike Kafka or Vince Young I see the Giants pulling the upset, especially with their defense that can slow down the hurry-up offense. Under the condition that Vick plays, I see the Eagles grinding this one out.
CLEVELAND -2.5 Miami
- Chad Henne has not played horribly, but considering his coach is on the hot seat and his team in 0-2, I don’t know how much time he has left as the starting quarterback for the Dolphins. That being said, I think he will lead his team to a much needed victory, staving off Tony Sparano’s firing for at least one more week.
TENNESSEE -6.5 Denver
- Already we have seen the basement (vs. Jacksonville) and the ceiling (vs. Baltimore) for the Titans. If this game falls somewhere in between, the Titans should be tied with Houston for the AFC South lead by Sunday night.
Detroit -3.5 MINNESOTA
- Matt Stafford has this team firing on all cylinders. It has been impressive watching this offense spread the ball around, and even more impressive seeing the Lions’ defense impose its will on their opponents. Starting after this week, I think first-year Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is going to have to seriously consider benching Donovan McNabb in favor of rookie Christian Ponder.
CAROLINA -3.5 Jacksonville
- This game is going to be interesting to watch. Two rookie quarterbacks, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert, face off and barring injury, at least one of the two have to notch their first NFL win. Everything I have seen this year makes me want to pick Carolina, but for some reason I’m going with the Jaguars.
SAN DIEGO -14.5 Kansas City
- Poor Kansas City. A few months ago things were looking great, but now after season-ending injuries to three of their top five players, things are beyond grim. I seriously think that the Chiefs, who have been outscored 89-10 thus far, could go 0-16 this year. In this particular game they will continue their average margin of defeat of just under 40 points per game as the Chargers go wild.
New York Jets -3.5 OAKLAND
- How the Jets are only 3.5 point favorites at Oakland is beyond me. The 2-0 Jets haven’t exactly set the world on fire, but their wins were solid nonetheless. Oakland choked away their chance at a perfect start last weekend in Buffalo and will put up a good fight here, but they won’t be able to hold on for the victory.
Baltimore -4 ST. LOUIS
- St. Louis got robbed of a victory that could have very well been theirs if not for their opponents flopping and their own inability to hold onto the ball. Early on this year the Rams were a trendy pick to win the NFC West, but a two-game homestand against the Ravens and Redskins won’t do anything to fix the problem or help lead to a playoff berth.
TAMPA BAY -1.5 Atlanta
- The Falcons’ rally last Monday night was something that can change the season for a team. After sputtering out of the gate they finally looked like the team people thought they could be before the season. Tampa Bay is in a similar situation after getting beaten at home by the Lions and coming back on the road against the Vikings. In what could be a match-up for the division, I see Atlanta proving their worth and pulling out a win.
Arizona -3.5 SEATTLE
- There really isn’t too much to say about this game. Arizona is a good team and Seattle is awful. Really nothing will change about the Seahawks until they get a new quarterback, preferably one not currently on their roster.
Green Bay -3.5 CHICAGO
- Poor Jay Cutler. After being tossed around like a rag doll last season things this year are already worse. Dom Capers and his confusing blitz scheme will hound and eventually hurt Cutler. And on offense the Packers will continue their air show, blowing out their division rival.
Pittsburgh -10.5 INDIANAPOLIS
- The only team that is possibly worse than the Chiefs is the Peyton-less Colts. Sad thing is that they could have been one of the three best teams this year with Manning under center. Unfortunately, with Kerry Collins starting things won’t turn around this week.
Monday Sept. 19
DALLAS -5 Washington
- This line completely befuddles me. Tony Romo has a punctured lung, Miles Austin is out with a strained hamstring, Felix Jones has a separated shoulder, and their secondary looks like a MASH unit. Washington isn’t playing amazing right now, but still well enough to be 2-0 and looking like a potential playoff team. The Redskins should be able to contain the Cowboys defense while the Hightower-Helu combo keeps the Cowboys honest.
Six-Pack of Picks for the Spread:
- Washington will beat the Cowboys, so definitely pick them to beat the spread.
- San Diego will easily cover the 14.5 point spread against the lowly Chiefs.
- Green Bay has too much offense and defense to not beat the Bears by more than 3.
- Buffalo’s offense gives them enough to beat the spread against the Patriots.
- With Michael Vick the Eagles can cover the 8-point spread.
- Atlanta will beat Tampa Bay, and take them to beat the spread as well.