Free NFL Picks: New England Patriots vs Houston Texans

This is a tough one to get a read on, how weird, right? I mean, it’s only a game that absolutely doesn’t matter at all to the Patriots, but Tom Brady has supposedly asked to play and Bill Belichick has supposedly answered with “You bet, it’s your world, you’re in.” So Tom’s telling everyone and their mother that he’ll be playing this week. Now I don’t know Bill Belichick personally, but this seems like a great time to pull an awesome trick on just about everyone (including my fantasy team) and play Brady for about a quarter before giving way to some guy most of the fans don’t even know. That’s right, name the Pats’ back-up and I’ll give you some Flutie Flakes. Nope, Doug Flutie is on ESPN analyzing college football games, but if you answered Andrew Walter, you’re close – that guy’s the #3… Brian Hoyer is the right answer, and I’m not promising we’ll see him – but I’m telling you, Tom coming out saying he’s going to play seems way too easy to be real.

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And while the Patriots have shown they’ll go for the wins late in the year instead of rolling over for their opponents, this is also a game that holds no significance for New England what-so ever. They know they’ll be playing next week and they know they’ll be playing a home game – this game means nothing.

For the Texans, this game is a chance at the playoffs – it’s not a “win and you’re in” situation, but a win keeps them alive. They have a powerful enough offensive attack to put pressure on the Patriots anyway – in a meaningless game for the Pats, I expect Houston to win by double digits.

New England Patriots @ Houston Texans (-7.5)

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Free Football Picks

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Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns Free Football Picks: This Thursday Night game sure doesn’t have much intrigue. Like I said earlier this year, the NFL doesn’t do a very good job of setting up excitement for their Thursday games. Pittsburgh is the defending Champ, but they sure have played like the Cleveland Browns lately. You’d think they’d be looking pretty after starting off hot and playing the Chiefs and Raiders in a three week period, but no, the Steelers have lost four straight, including losses to those two AFC West powerhouses. The Browns, well, they’ve collected losses really well thus far.

Cleveland is 11-1 on the season, I take that back, sorry, they are 1-11 thus far, tied for the worst record in the league, and the only hope they have is that Pittsburgh is trying for the hideous trifecta. I’m pretty sure the NFL stops when the Steelers lose to the Raiders, Chiefs, and Browns in a single year. You can bet I’ll be rooting for such an even to take place, just the sheer amazement I would have on my face might be worth it.

But I’m taking Pittsburgh, because I don’t think the Steelers can piss another game away. I don’t think they have a bad enough team to lose 5 straight games, even if injuries are making life tough on them. The Browns aren’t a good football team, they have a brand new coach that has a good chance of being somewhere else next year. They have a young quarterback that has been playing pretty well, but I only think that ends up working against them. Defensively they will have trouble with Big Ben and company. Ben put up 400+ against them last time out. I think a rare Pittsburgh double digit win is in the cards.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) @ Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears NFL Free Pick

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Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears NFL Free Pick: The Bears are bad, folks, really. If their numerous losses don’t prove that to you, go ahead and look at their wins. Add up every single one of their wins, mix them in with a 10-year-old bin of crap in your garage, and see if you can tell the difference between anything after a good shake. You say, Pittsburgh, I say – maybe. But before I admit the Bears have beat one good team, I’ll mention the fact that both Oakland and Kansas City also beat that team. How many teams have that gold nugget on their resume? Right.

So aside from the Steelers, the Packers have taken down powerhouses like Seattle (with Seneca Wallace starting at QB), Cleveland, Detroit, and just last week, they beat the mighty Rams by 8 points at home in Chicago. Nice. Yes, there is nothing impressive about this 5 and 7 team. Not at all.

The Packers, on the other hand, the hand that you didn’t just wipe with because you ran out of toilet paper, are a good team, and don’t look now, but all that youth and excitement is actually getting even better. They’ve drafted some great young players and their switch to a 3-4 is utilizing all of that talent. They have become a run-stuffing dynamo and their coverage in the secondary claims one of the best defensive players in football, Mr. Charles Woodson.

Aaron Rodgers, and even Ryan Grant, should tear up this Bears defense that has had a very tough time stopping potent offenses. I like the Packers by 14-21 points on the road. Help me out Jay, I know you will!

Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens Free NFL Pick

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Denver Broncos (+3.5) @ Baltimore Ravens Free NFL Pick: The Broncos are 6-0, undefeated, just like the Colts and Saints – yet they’ve only been favored twice all season long. They were favored at home against the Cleveland Browns (by 3) and in Oakland against those always powerful Raiders (by 1). 6 games down, 6 wins in the bag, and just two times they’ve been favored to do so, and those were against a couple of the worst teams in football – amazing. And here they are again, going up against a physical Ravens team, be them 3-3, and Denver is once again a Dog. Does the fairytale have to stop? I’m not so sure, but this game should be one hell of a rough and tumble affair. But getting just a hair more than a field goal, I have to like that in a game that almost promises to be tight. Combined, these two teams are a bettor’s dream, 10-2 ATS on the season. Baltimore has played in 5 close games so far this season. Their only blowout, the Browns. Even Kansas City hung tough well into the 4th. 3 of Denver’s 6 wins have come by a touchdown or less. It’s just in their blood, they play tough, they limit mistakes, they tackle well, they cut down on the big play. It’s Broncos or nothing here, that’s where my value-meter stands.

Houston Texans vs Buffalo Bills Pick & Preview

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Houston Texans (-3) @ Buffalo Bills: The Bills have feasted on opposing quarterbacking mistakes – but I’m sorry, Matt Schaub isn’t a rookie and he’s definitely not Jake Delhomme. Also, the Texans don’t need to pass the ball to win, and the Bills can’t focus their defense on one thing the Texans do to win. Houston can win a lot of ways, and they have a lot of weapons. If you haven’t noticed, Matt Schaub has become one of the better QBs in the NFL. He can throw the ball against anyone, and he has. The Bills’ defense still has a lot of people either missing from or questionable in Sunday’s game. They have an offense that is limited at best. Despite Houston’s history they have been better defensively of late. Sure, the 49ers got back in the game in the 2nd half last week by finding Vernon Davis for 3 touchdowns, but the Texans shut down one of the better rushing attacks in the league, and have shown the ability to make opposing offenses do something they don’t want to do. In a shoot out, the Texans get the nod. In a close game, the Texans have the ability to make that big play that wins the game. They are favored by a field goal on the road, something that has been scary for Texans’ backers for a long time. But this team is a little different. I expect them to battle for a playoff spot, they know this one is important with some big games against solid teams coming up – they have to beat the teams that they are supposed to beat. I’m taking the Texans by a field goal and expecting them to win by a touchdown, maybe two.

Cleveland Browns vs Chicago Bears Pick & Preview

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Cleveland Browns (+14) @ Chicago Bears Pick and Preview: I know, big dogs have been suicide all season long, and this very well might be another one of those, lord knows the Browns have it in them – but at the very least, Cleveland has been a defense that forces opposing quarterbacks into bad throws, and if you don’t think Jay Cutler is prone to interceptions than you have been smoking the good stuff. The Browns can, at least, run the football. They have a powerful offensive line, a very underrated unit, and a couple running backs that can get 4 yards a pop. The Bears can be run on, they are beat up in the front 7, they need to commit to helping in the secondary (because they struggle there) and the bottom line is there’s space to run in Chicago. Sure, the Browns have a brutal run defense, sure, they’ve gotten blown out a few times this year, but I think they can stick with the Bears. Chicago will have to show me one heck of a lot more before I take them as a two touchdown favorite this season. They make mistakes on offense, they allow big plays on defense, and they are prone to quick offensive series – that won’t take advantage of Cleveland’s biggest weakness. Always tough to take the Brownies, but the value is with them on the road.

Seattle Seahawks vs Dallas Cowboys Free NFL Pick

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Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys (-9.5) Free Pick: I really want to pick the Seahawks, and at first that’s exactly the directions I was going to go, then I thought about it a little more and though that if Matt Hasselbeck has no time to throw against a physical and athletic defense in Dallas, I don’t see the Hawks making many big plays. Earlier in the year, Dallas was struggling to attack the passer, but it’s hard to imagine that being the case against this make-shift offensive line Seattle has been forced to put together. And now the Cowboys are bringing pressure with ease. Not only that, but Dallas’s offense, a group that had been struggling to find an identity, has seemingly figured it out over the past couple weeks, finding a young receiver named Miles Austin to be the playmaker down the field. With Marion Barber and Felix Jones getting healthier by the day, and Tony Romo seemingly back at his confident place, the Cowboys looks as scary as people expect them to be. The Hawks have only played well against the league’s lesser teams, and while Dallas might not be Super Bowl bound, they are definitely a team fighting for a playoffs spot this season. All things considered, I just think Dallas’s pass rush will be too much. I’ll take Dallas at home.

New York Giants vs. New Orleans Saints Pick

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New York Giants (+3) @ New Orleans Saints: The Giants just keep getting the job done. It’s not as under the radar as it has been, but for being in New York, having the highest paid quarterback in the league, beating everyone in their path, and all that other stuff, they don’t get nearly as much love as say the Patriots, or even the Saints for that matter. The Saints have been solid, no doubt about it, but they have yet to show me they are the top team in the league, while New York has proven to be in that conversation over and over. The Saints offense has really struggled against top ranked defenses, and if not for some touchdown production on special teams and defense, I don’t think they’d be undefeated. Now their defense has played much better, definitely, and they’ve shown me a lot of guts this season when things aren’t going perfectly their way, but they haven’t played an all around solid team like New York yet. I know the Saints have had two weeks to prepare, but in a way, so have the Giants – last week they played Oakland. I like the Giants to run the ball on the Saints, something New Orleans hasn’t had done to them so far this year, and that should be the difference in this close game. The Giants play well on the road, losing just twice on the road last season, going 6-2 ATS away from home. I’ll take the Giants and the field goal in New Orleans.