Papas Picks: Week 17 NFL Underdogs Bets

Well I was only 2-3 last week as the Raiders, Jaguars, and Redskins all let me down with stinkers that basically exemplify everything I hate about those three franchises. The Redskins never know what they have, so how the hell can you? The Jaguars can play awesome football against good teams, put themselves in a nice position to succeed, then come out and crap all over themselves like this guy Samson that hangs out down past 31st and Douglas. And the Raiders, well, Al Davis made a deal with the Devil, and when the Devil came to collect, Al Davis promised he wouldn’t kill him if he didn’t kill him… got that? Hate. So this week I’ll leave those three pathetic crumbs off my list of dogs, and we’ll go with some teams with gumption. Believe it!

no banners

Green Bay Packers (+3) @ Arizona Cardinals: They say that the Packers don’t have anything to play for, and while that may be true, neither will the damn Cardinals. That’s right, they will get a home game in Week 1 of the playoffs, and that’s about it. By the time this game gets going, Minnesota will have already won and Arizona will be once again, playing for nothing. The Packers brass claim their guys will be treating this like a regular week – and that’s enough for me, I’m in. Plus I think Green Bay is flat out better.

Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2): The Bucs have won two straight, and I’m just as stunned as anyone. This will be 3 straight. Atlanta is a playoff caliber team, suiting up in Week 17 with no chance at the post-season. That right there is enough to count them out.

New Orleans (+7) @ Carolina Panthers: The Panthers have a decent running game, and Drew Brees is out, and I assume other Saints will be resting as well – but they are still playing the Panthers, and betting against the Panthers when they are a touchdown favorite seems like a great bet.

Indianapolis Colts (+10) @ Buffalo Bills: Really? +10? I mean, I know the Colts will be sitting lots of guys, but these are the Bills we’re talking about, and it’s not like the Colts have been terrible when using back-ups all season long. You forget, this defense just plugs in players and succeeds. I’m not guaranteeing a win, but the Colts should cover a dime spot.

Philadelphia Eagles (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys: This is an interesting game, for the NFC East Championship and a possible first round bye if the Eagles win. Dallas won last time, in Philly, and I think the Eagles return the favor.

Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Football Pick

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are easily playing their best football of the season, running with success and playing much better defense. Not only did they smack around the Seahawks two weeks ago, using an arsenal of turnover causing defensive plays, but they went and upset a fully-healthy New Orleans Saints team in New Orleans last week as well, all behind rookie signal caller Josh Freeman. It’s really quite fantastic, I mean beating up on the Seahawks in Seattle is one thing, almost expected if you spend time watching them quit Sunday after Sunday, but the Saints in New Orleans – awesome.

no banners

But that can’t last. You might think it can, but I’m here to tell you it can’t. The won both those games on the road, and that will make winning at home just a little bit different, just a little too different. The Bucs have a solid run-game, but I think the Falcons will feast on a couple arrant Freeman passes, and hello, Atlanta is good. I know they are hurting, definitely a team beat down by injuries this year, but they still have playmakers, and are just flat out better than Tampa Bay.

It all comes down to Tampa Bay winning three games in a row, and how I just absolutely cannot buy into it. If it was a one game thing, with Tampa coming in losing five straight, I could see the upset, but after winning two games in a row? Nope.

Atlanta Falcons (-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Arses Five Favorites: Week 16 NFL Preview

Ugh, I lost 4 games for the second week in a row, bringing me to 14-11 over five weeks of free picks. From what I hear, that’s not too bad, but still, it’s bean feast or fart for me in five weeks of picks, two weeks with 4 wins or more, two weeks with a single win, and that one 3-2 week. Anyway, I have to keep rolling, just two more weeks to go, and I like some favorites the public doesn’t seem too fond of and see a couple big public favorites that look good to me as well. Here’s my top 5 favorites for Week 16…

no banners

Atlanta Falcons (-8.5) @ home VS Buffalo: The Bills aren’t explosive enough offensively to stick with Atlanta. Sure, Michael Turner will likely be out again, but Matt Ryan is back, and an Atlanta team taking more chances with receivers like Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White might be a good thing. The Falcons are 5-2 at home – only 40% of the public likes them – count me in that 40%.

Green Bay (-14) @ home VS Seattle: This game is a bit of a joke. The Packers have been playing very aggressively all year offensively, and most of the year defensively. The Hawks are as soft as room temp butter. 35-13.

Dolphins (-3) @ home VS Texans: The Dolphins are solid at home, and they are just more consistent than Houston because of their strong offensive line and efficient rushing attack. Houston is sexier, sure, but Miami can just get it done.

Patriots (-7.5) @ home VS Jacksonville: Please. The Jaguars give choke artists a bad name. Tom Brady isn’t going to keep throwing incomplete passes all the way into the playoffs, I promise, the guy is going to turn it around, why not against a Jaguars secondary that has trouble stopping themselves. And don’t even get me started on Jacksonville’s offense. Does Del-Rio know their best player needs to touch the ball more? Answer, last week, yes, this week? Nope!

Eagles (-7) @ home VS Denver: The Broncos defense has struggled against elite passing attacks, losing and failing to cover against Indy, San Diego, and Pittsburgh so far this season. And to make me hate their chances even more, they lost to the freaking Raiders last week, with their old starter, new #3 QB, JaMarcus Russell, leading the Raiders to victory. C’mon Man!!!

Buffalo Bills vs Atlanta Falcons Free Football Pick

Buffalo Bills vs Atlanta Falcons Free Football Pick: Sure, the Falcons won last week in a game they probably didn’t have any reason to win – they were playing with nothing to gain, with some key injuries, and a banged up defense that had struggled all season – but they won anyway. And the Bills, well, they lost again. But it’s not that easy, and I really think the Bills are playing their best football of the season while Atlanta just made a win out of a situation where their opponent just couldn’t put them away. Another loss and a Falcon win helped this spread be what it opened at, and getting the Bills at +9 seems like a deal to me.

no banners

Shoot, at one book, you can even get the Bills at +9.5 – which is definitely better than 9. 35-24, 27-18, 30-20 – I’ve seen those happen a lot, 9 point games aren’t crazy, so if you can get that extra half point, that’s nice – but I think this game will be closer than 9. First of all, the Bills love to run the ball, and run it they will. 2nd of all, getting up to play a Jets team with playoff aspirations is one thing, but getting up when you have no chance at the playoffs against the 5-9 Buffalo Bills is a completely different deal. To put it simply, I don’t see the Falcons coming out and doing that.

Atlanta has played in close games all season long, winning only 3 games by more than 8 points, and playing plenty of close games in which they lost. The Bills have played in plenty of close games lately, and despite winning just 2 of their last 5, have finished within a touchdown or less in each loss. Look for this one to be close.

Buffalo Bills (+9) @ Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons vs New York Jets NFL Week 15 Picks

Atlanta Falcons vs New York Jets NFL Week 15 Picks: When it comes right down to it, I think the Falcons are a lot better than their record insists, both these teams play close games, and Atlanta should be as healthy as they’ve been in the last month. The only thing I have going against me here is the Falcons’ road woes, and woeful they are indeed. Atlanta has just one road win in six chances, going 1-5 away from Atlanta this season.

no banners

But I think the Falcons are better than a 6-7 insinuates – look at their losses. Aside from Carolina (a team that just happens to be a match-up nightmare for the run-defense-less Falcons) Atlanta has only lost to winning teams, the Patriots, Cowboys, Saints, Giants, Eagles, and Saints – and 4 if those games have been by one possession. They play close games. And they often step up their play for big games.

The Jets have won 3 straight after losing three straight in November. But it’s not like they’ve played dominate football, they’ve just played one of the softest three weeks in football, playing at home against Carolina, then on the road against powerhouses such as the Bills and Buccaneers – sign me up for that schedule. The Jets haven’t beaten a team with a winning record since they upset the Patriots in Week 2.

Offensively, the Falcons are obviously better, and even against bad defenses, the Jets have had plenty of trouble bringing the football with them to the end-zone. That’s enough for me to take the Falcons at +6.

Atlanta Falcons (+6) @ New York Jets

New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons Pick & Preview

no banners

New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons Pick & Preview: I know Matt Ryan played a terrible game last week in his chance to show he can still play. But I also know that any quarterback can have a bad game, and the Eagles weird defenses can give any guy a lot of trouble. I know that the Falcons have been a good home team for some time, and that’s been pretty consistent this year (sans last week’s game against the Eagles). Matt Ryan is almost surely out another week, but I think Redman will play just fine. He has proven in the past that he can make all the throws, and he’s had success.

Giving up 10 points to the Falcons at home is just too much. I know they’re missing two of the biggest reasons why they’ve turned their poor play around over the last couple years, but this team can win without Michael Turner (who still might play) and Matty Ice. They still have playmakers all over the field, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and even Jerious Norwood can do a lot with a little space.

The Saints have been amazing all year long, and it’s hard to believe that Atlanta will be able to slow that high powered offense down at all – but New Orleans has been winning quite a few games they haven’t played well enough to win in – and luck is bound to run out one of these times. An undefeated season is almost unheard of, and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they threw up a stinker.Either way, I like this game to stay close. I think the Falcons score in the high 20s, maybe even get to the 30s – and if that’s the case, it will be tough for the Saints to cover.

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons (+10.5)

Philadelphia Eagles vs Atlanta Falcons Free Football Pick

no banners

Philadelphia Eagles vs Atlanta Falcons Free Football Pick: The Philadelphia Eagles have proven they can’t be trusted, and while the Falcons are definitely seeing some tough times with injuries to key players, their back-ups have shown they can win in a tough spot – but can a guy really go with the Falcons to win at home against a healthy Eagles team that needs all the wins they can get? A team that has struggled to win against low-level opponents? A team that has should have realized by now that they can’t come in without focus? Against a defense that can’t stop the run or pass? Keep reading…

The answer is no, despite seeing the Eagles go on the road where they have already lost to the Oakland Raiders and struggled against the Washington Redskins (twice), and barely beat a bad Chicago Bears team – I can’t see the Eagles struggling here. Atlanta doesn’t bring enough pressure to seriously disrupt Donovan McNabb, the Eagles should also find room to run, and defensively the Eagles are just far superior to the Falcons.

You add in the injuries, the two key players that helped turn this team around last year, both unlikely to play this Sunday, and I have to stick with my first impression of this game, the Eagles have to win this, they should win it, and they should do so in rather convincing fashion.Three isn’t enough for me to take Atlanta – to be happy about taking the Falcons, I’d need more than a touchdown.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) @ Atlanta Falcons

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Atlanta Falcons Football Pick

no banners

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+13.5) @ Atlanta Falcons Football Pick: I knew you’d be able to get this game at a better number later in the week, because despite what Atlanta’s recent history suggests, everybody thinks this offense is too explosive to play a close game against a tomato can like the Buccos. But wait, just like that, I was wrong – the line actually went down from the 13.5 I got it at on Monday Night – and now sits from 11.5 to 13 – both of which I think are decent bets, but obviously not as good as the touchdown and two field goal loss by the Bucs that would still pay me for a win. Regardless, check out my thoughts and see which way you want to go.

The public liked Atlanta so much, 60%, that the line went down in their favor – hmmm… Vegas doesn’t know everything, but I’m just saying. Tampa had played well in 3 of 4 games before getting beat up by the Saints last week, 38-7. They played Miami tough (probably should have won), beat up on Green Bay (the 10 point win probably doesn’t tell the whole story) and were right there with the Panthers two weeks prior to that (they also got smoked 35-7 by the Patriots somewhere in-between there, but that was in England, what happen in England, well, sucks – just ask Avi from “Snatch”).  They’ve played solid football under rookie QB, Josh Freeman, and they can run the ball. That gets me excited.

The Falcons aren’t a double digit favorite team, as you can see by their 5-5 record, and their two wins by 13 or more points all season long. The Falcons beat up on the 49ers and Washington Redskins. Tampa has played 6 of their 10 games within 13 points of their opponent. Yeah, they have one win, sure, but a running game and a young passer with a couple solid receiving options – against the Falcons defense? – yeah, I like some points going up for the Bucs. I also like Tampa’s chances of slowing the Falcons offense with Turner out. Go Bucs!

Atlanta Falcons vs New York Giants Free NFL Pick

no banners

Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants (-6) Free NFL Pick: The Giants have killed me loudly over the past four weeks. After starting 4-1 ATS, and showing me that Eli had grown out of his Ellie stage, I began to think highly of the Giants physical style and precise passing game. Four straight losses, both in real life and against the spread, and here I am, still picking the Giants as 6 point favorites against a solid Atlanta Falcons team. Funny how that works. But I seem to be in the “expert” minority here, the only 4 “experts” I’ve seen this week are taking Atlanta to cover.

I don’t know if it’s going to sway you, and if it doesn’t, go with your heart! But this is why I like the Giants this week. The Falcons lost Michael Turner to a sprained ankle, and unless he’s a magic healer (ala Wolverine – yeah, comic book style) or didn’t actually hurt himself that bad (I doubt it, because they needed him bad last week), he’s not going to be playing against the Giants. Slamming Jason Snelling or a less-than-100% Jerious Norwood into an angry Giants defense isn’t the same as Michael Turner.

Atlanta has lost 3 of their last 4 and is 1-4 on the road this season. What doe New England, Dallas, and New Orleans have in common? Ooo, I know, they all beat Atlanta this year. Ooo, and one more thing, they all have winning records. Yes, the Falcons are 0-3 against teams with winning records this season.

For those reasons, and the fact that I apparently can’t give up hope on the Giants to cover me a spread (or I just don’t want to make the switch only to see them beat me) – I’m taking New York to cover.

Atlanta Falcons vs Carolina Panthers Free Pick & Preview

no banners

Atlanta Falcons (-1) @ Carolina Panthers Free Pick & Preview: Okay, I get it, this is obviously a trap game for the public bettor. And I see what Vegas sees in this one, really, I do, and yes, I’m making my Falcons pick anyway. What does Vegas see, you ask? Well, they see a Falcons team that can’t stop the run, has lucked out lately, and hasn’t really played elite football consistently all season long. They are just 1-3 on the road, and that offense that was supposed to dominate this season – they’ve been out-gained in 3 of the last 4 games and their opponents have gained more yardage through the air in 6 of their last 7 – even Jake Delhomme and the Panthers out-passed Matty Ice and the falcons. But despite all this, the hype train is running at full speed.

Then you have Carolina, a team that can run on anyone and has done so, has played well against two tough teams in two weeks, and are playing at home against a team that can’t stop the run (or pass for that matter). The Falcons are 5-3, the Panthers 3-5, and there you have it, the Panthers have some value at home if you look at it from those perspectives.

But, look out, I’m ignoring those things. I’m ignoring the Panthers 3-1 ATS record in their last 4 games. I’m going with the Falcons because their coaching staff doesn’t get side-tracked into believing they are something they aren’t. They run the ball well, and will do so against Carolina – they pass the ball better than Carolina, and make way fewer mistakes. They don’t do much for me defensively, but that’s okay, because Carolina loves to forget how easy gaining yards on the ground is. They love to become a passing team with the game on the line, and that has led to much failure.

I’ll ignore all that smart betting business for the simple fact that I can trust the Falcons to do the right thing and I can trust the Panthers to screw up a game where they played like the better team. Fair enough? I think so.