Minnesota Vikings vs Chicago Bears Monday Night Football Pick

Minnesota Vikings vs Chicago Bears Monday Night Football Pick: The Vikings have played more close games than you’d think, and they haven’t been playing thier best football lately, losing two of three including an embarrassing loss in Carolina to the Panthers. There’s been some problems reported with Brett Favre and head coach Brad Childress, with questions as to who’s in charge. Now that we have that all cleared up, and everyone knows that Brett’s in charge, I think the Vikings will turn it around in Week 16.

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More important that what the Vikings will be doing is the team they are going to be playing. And I know it’s been a disappointing year for Carolina, and the Panthers haven’t played well, but it’s tough to match up with how poorly the Bears have fared after all the pre-season hype.

Who looks like the dummy now folks? All that talk about how stupid Josh McDaniels was for trading away Jay Cutler for a bunch of picks and Kyle Orton seems like rubbish now, doesn’t it? Kyle and the Broncos are on the verge of a playoff birth while Jay and the Bears are a couple wins away from, just 7 freaking wins. That’s right, Chicago is guaranteed a losing season, and lately, they’ve been playing like the bottom tier in the NFL.

Just last week, the Bears made the Ravens offense look like the greatest show on turf, and they’ve lost 6 of 7 to boot. Chicago is just a bad football team, and there’s not much more to say about it. Minnesota better get it right here, if not now than never.

Minnesota Vikings (-7) @ Chicago Bears

Ravens vs Packers Monday Night Football Free Pick

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Baltimore Ravens vs Green Bay Packers MNF Free Pick: Despite thinking the Ravens are better than Green Bay in most facets of the game (falling short in only the passing column), I also think Baltimore is a terrible match-up for the Packers. As you have probably figured out, match-ups are a big part of my game, I don’t just take the better team or the team with the better record or the team with the better defense or, well, you get the picture. I like to see how teams match-up: how what the defense does well will effect the offense, how what the offense does well will effect the defense. Well, all that jazz has me leaning on the Ravens on Monday Night Football.

Both teams, on average, score right around a touchdown more than their opponents. The Packers are 7-4, the Ravens are 6-5. This game means more to the Ravens who would put themselves in a very tough spot if they fell to 6-6. They’d basically have to win out just to have a chance at the playoffs. Green Bay is 6-4-1 ATS, Baltimore is 6-5. 55% of the betting public likes Green Bay.

This is what I like about Baltimore. I think Baltimore’s rushing attack will do more damage than Green Bay’s run game, if only because they actually make a commitment to run the ball. When Green Bay gets out-rushed, they are 0-2 in their last 10 games. When Baltimore out-rushes their opponent, they are 4-2 on the season (losses to only Peyton and Tom). The Packers beat up on teams that give them time to throw, the Ravens don’t give anyone time to throw. When hurried, the Packers offense struggles. This should be a close one, but I like the points and I think Baltimore upsets Green Bay on the road.

Baltimore Ravens (+3) @ Green Bay Packers

New England Patriots vs New Orleans Saints Free Pick

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New England Patriots @ New Orleans Saints (-2.5) Free Pick: The way the Saints have played this year, whether it’s beating up on good teams or fighting back to win games they should have lost, or just never giving up despite everything going wrong – I don’t see how I can’t pick them as a mere 2.5-point favorite at home. They undefeated part doesn’t win me over, but all the intangibles have me interested.

The Saints should be as healthy as they’ve been in weeks, as3 key contributors (Sedrick Ellis, Jabari Greer, and Reggie Bush – in that order, too) plan on playing and are probable for this Monday Night’s game after missing last week’s domination of the Buccos. Those first two should make a huge impact as they’ll be desperately needed if they’re going to eek out another win and stay undefeated.

I have no bad things to say about the Patriots. They are the best coached team in the NFL, you can see that by all the little things they do right, and how they continue to do what they do while losing key players during the off-season and to injury. They really do everything well, and probably have two of the best players ever in Tom Brady and Randy Moss. They have only lost 3 games on the year, and they easily could have won all three if the ball bounced the other way on a single play. They are probably 3 plays away from being undefeated just like the Saints and Colts.

But, the Pats 3 losses have all come on the road, and despite their very talented run defense, I think the Saints can run on the Patriots with the fear of Drew Brees fresh in the minds of the Pats’ coordinators. This one is going to be very close, but if the Saints early season games are any indication of how they’ll rise to this challenge, I think the smart money has to be on them.

Enjoy one hell of a Monday Night Football Game!

Tennessee Titans vs Houston Texans Free Football Pick

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Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans (-4) Free Football Pick: This line moved up after I took the Texans, going up to 4.5 despite seeing the public bet go the way of the visiting Titans. Interesting. Maybe the public sees that the underdog is 9-3 ATS in the last 12 meetings between these two teams. Maybe the public is smitten with the Titans current three game winning streak after starting the season 0-7. Maybe people are seeing that Vince Young is a winner, and the Titans haven’t loss since the former Texas Longhorn got back in the starting line-up. Or maybe they see the Titans’ dominance over the last 9 games, winning 7, covering 5 of the last 7.

But I see the Titans this year, and the Texans are a different team this time around as well. I think Tennessee is somewhere in-between how they started and their last three games, not one or the other. They aren’t a dominant football team, they aren’t a winless squad either. Don’t get it twisted and think that just because they’ve won 3 in a row they are back to the team they were a year ago. Oh no, oh no. They don’t have that defensive power or swagger for that matter.

And the Texans, like I said, they aren’t the .500-ish team they’ve been the last few years, they are a team that played solid football in all but one game this season. On the road against teams like Arizona, Indianapolis, Tennessee and Cincinnati – they may just be 2-2, but they have only one loss by more than a touchdown this season. They have a very good passing attack, a rushing game that can be explosive, and a defense that has played very well over the last 4 weeks.

They may not be the popular pick this week, but the better team at home by just four on Monday Night Football seems like an easy bet to me.

Baltimore Ravens vs Cleveland Browns Free NFL Pick

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Baltimore Ravens (-10.5) @ Cleveland Browns Free NFL Pick: Right now, at some of the different books I pay attention to, you can get this game anywhere from 10.5 to 12 points. The spread is definitely wide, but always big and giving the Browns plenty of chances to cover. 71% of the public likes Baltimore, a number that often stings the public while making the books mo money, mo money, mo money! But I think this time will be different.

During the Browns 7 losses this season, they’ve lost by less than 13 points just once, an overtime loss to a good Bengals team. The Browns have scored fewer than 7 points 5 times this season. They’ve scored one offensive touchdown or less in 7 of their 8 games. That’s absurd, but absolutely true. Sometimes things are unbelievable even though you can see them with your own eyes. Like the name Ochocinco on the back of a dude’s jersey. Like the Oakland Raiders. Like a dude in Cleveland completing just 2 of 17 passes… And winning! The Browns scoring 1 offensive touchdown or less in 7 of 8 games is one of those things. Mangini’s not even angry, he’s amazed, an entire cheese log…

As if being unbelievably bad offensively wasn’t bad enough, the Browns give up 170.5 rushing yards per game, that’s 31st in the NFL, right behind the Buffalo Bills. But at least the Bills are a Top 10 pass defense (actually 11, but you get the picture) – the Browns rank 22nd in pass defense as well. Not only do they give up yards, but they have almost no takeaways either. Only the Chiefs have fewer interceptions. This team is bad, and last time the Ravens played them, the Browns were exposed for exactly what they are. A team with no offense, no defense, and a clown in a man suit acting as head coach. Dreamy situation. Yeah, I’ll take Baltimore.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Denver Broncos Football Pick

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Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos (+3): Monday Night football must have known something that most of us did not. After all the off-season turmoil in Denver, to think that a Steelers/Broncos game would be a good match-up in Week 9 of the NFL season seemed crazy when the MNF schedule came out. Yet here we are, and Pittsburgh isn’t the team with the best record – that belongs to 6-1 Denver. Not only has Denver done well straight up, but they’re 6-1 ATS this season as well. And being an underdog isn’t a new thing for the Broncos, so far this season they’ve been favored just twice, against Cleveland and Oakland.

Denver is coming off a tough loss to the Ravens last week, getting pretty much blown out in the second half after going into halftime down 6-0. The Steelers are coming off a bye week right after a 4 game winning streak, including a 10 point win over Minnesota in Pittsburgh. After going 1-2 to start the season, and looking very mediocre in the process, Pittsburgh has picked it up of late, making big plays on defense and continuing to throw the ball early and often.

Denver has beaten Pittsburgh 3 of the last 4 times these two have met. But that doesn’t mean much normally, and now that these two teams have relatively young coaches with different systems and players, that history means even less. Maybe last season’s 33-10 win over New England is a better judge of past accomplishments. It was Josh McDaniels’ offense that couldn’t do much against Pittsburgh’s defense.

But lets talk about this season. The Steelers are 2-5 ATS and have not been able to put the nail in the coffin despite being up early in most games. They have struggled to close, and thus haven’t really met expectations in the margin of victory. Denver has played tough against everyone, their secondary is very good, and they bring lots of pressure to opposing passers. The Steelers might find it tough to block the Broncos pass rush, and since Big Ben holds the ball a little longer than most, that could make for some big plays for the Broncos defense. Denver shuts down opposing rushing attacks, so the weight of the world will go on Ben’s passing skills. That’s a recipe for failing to cover. So I’ll take the Broncos.

Week 1 Fantasy Football News: Ten for Tuesday

Here we are, breaking down Week 1’s action and how it’s going to effect you moving forward. Here are 10 things that caught my attention in this weekend’s entertaining action…

The Giants did alright throwing the ball sans Mr. Burress. But things aren’t quite how I thought they’d be coming out of Week 1. Dominik Hixon caught one pass while Hakeem Nicks looks to be out after injuring his foot early in the contest. There goes my #2 and #3 options going into Week 1, or so I figure. Who does that leave? Well, Steve Smith got plenty of targets, but he’s probably taken. Mario Manningham however, well, he looked explosive to me. He’s worth a shot going forward. Young, fast, athletic, no sure fire starters keeping him off the field, promising first round pick out a couple weeks? Yes please…..   Richard Seymour was a beast on Monday Night Football action in a Raiders uniform. Many think that was a dumb trade by the Raiders, sending out a first round pick for Seymour, but this guy is a difference maker. He’s going to give the Raiders huge plays, make their run defense better, and keep their secondary from having to cover receivers any longer than 5 seconds. He takes pressure off of everyone. Now that might not mean much to you, because the Raiders aren’t getting many defensive starts this season, however, with Jerrod Mayo going down for the Patriot, and Seymour getting traded, I think the Patriots are becoming more and more vulnerable defensively. They got a first round pick in 2011, but what about winning a championship this season? What about the Patriots as a fantasy DST? I’m looking for better options…..   Two of the biggest off-season movers, Terrell Owens and Jay Cutler, both had pretty forgettable opening day’s for their new squads. TO dropped a pass (weird) and had his team fall in last minute fashion to the Patriots while Jay Cutler did Jay Cutler things, managing 4 interceptions to his single touchdown pass – a nice one to Devin Hester. I would buy low if you have the chance, but if you own these guys, hold tight, both have better days to come. Trent Edwards looked solid, and there’s a good chance Jay’s receivers will get on his page soon enough….   After Week 1, Adrian Peterson leads all running backs in fantasy land – that isn’t crazy, what is crazy is that Tim Hightower, Thomas Jones, Julius Jones, Fred Jackson, and Willis McGahee finish off the Top 6. Of those four, I’m not sure if Fred Jackson, or McGahee have a chance to keep it up, considering their future situations sharing time in the backfield, but both could be decent spot starters – Fred because he’s only done good things when given the chance, and McGahee because he’s seemingly getting goal line action. And my spidey senses tell me that Tim Hightower won’t be racking up double digit catches game in and game out, but I’ve said for a while, he’s a steal and he’ll be a solid contributor. Thomas and Julius, the brothers’ Jones, have a chance to keep racking up big time fantasy points. Every week Julius will get more comfortable with Seattle’s new blocking scheme, and Thomas will get his chances behind that very solid Jets offensive line….    Jake Delhomme pulled off the amazing this Sunday against Philadelphia, he managed to get double digit fantasy points… In the negative. Yes, Jake turned the ball over enough times to get him in -11 in one of my leagues. Now, most leagues he probably got closer to -8, but still, brutal. Jake took a seat in the second half, and Steve Smith owners can only hope that Jake’s last two performances (accounting for 9 interceptions and just 1 TD) are back to back outliers. I’m thinking they are, and these two should get back to decent totals next week against the Falcons. But maybe that’s because I’m a Smith owner…..  Drew Brees has one of the quickest releases in football. His accuracy is amazing, and his eye for the game, the way he plays defenses like puppets, is almost poetic. But dirty and tough and footbally. For a guy that has absolutely no physical advantage, the whole thing truly is amazing. The way Drew can escape pressure for a second, turn his body, reset his feet, and release the ball with pin-point accuracy is amazing. Never known as a speedy guy, I’m not sure there’s another guy that is quicker resetting and throwing than Brees. Those that reached out and grabbed Drew early, I’m sure you’re happy with your Week 1 win…..  Laurence Maroney tallied more carries than any other Patriot RB despite being 4th on the depth chart. He didn’t kill it though, averaging just over 3 yards per carry on 10 attempts. Fred Taylor had 9 carries for 28 yards and a touchdown. Kevin Faulk carried the ball once or twice. Sammy Morris didn’t get an attempt. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Maroney is the upside play, and worth a roster spot most likely, but I’m not sure having any Pat running back is a dreamy situation…..   Donovan McNabb broke a rib on Sunday when a defensive player kneed him in the back about 2 seconds after he got into the end-zone. Personally, I think he’ll play, but we’ll see. I still think the Eagles will be productive in his absence, but Jeff Garcia’s signing makes me think that those of you holding on to Mike Vick really need to find a new person to fill that roster spot. I’m not a Vick hater, quite the contrary, I think the guy deserves a second chance and definitely hope he gets his career back on track. However, if the Eagles have Kevin Kolb, and in a week will get Vick back, why would they go get Garcia? I know, because they don’t think Vick will be able to run this team from the QB position, even if McNabb goes down for a considerable period of time. Let Vick go non-dynasty-leaguers, let him go…..   Byron Leftwich, Joe Flacco, and Mark Sanchez really impressed me this week, but only one of those guys really surprised me. Flacco is quite good, a much better thrower than many people think, and I think he puts up solid numbers this season, but I thought that all along. Sanchez has very mature feet, especially for a young kid with 1 year of college starting experience, and he’ll keep the Jets in winning situations, but I thought that all along. Byron Leftwich is tough as hell, stares into the face of defenses, and will step up to complete a ball in the face of the rush, and while I knew that, I didn’t think he’d throw the ball as well as he did against the Cowboys. He’s always been a winner, but I think Byron can be a fantasy contributor this season. Why? Well, that offensive line is very good, the running backs are equally as talented, and very deep – and a group of pass catchers that include Antonio Bryant, Kellen Winslow, Michael Clayton, and Sammie Stroughter is good enough when teams have to pay so much attention to the run. Byron is rosterable….    Ten of the Top 16 pre-ranked fantasy receivers (ESPN) managed single digit fantasy points, that means guys like Andre Johnson, Anquan Boldin, Eddie Royal, Steve Smith, Roddy White, Terrell Owens and more didn’t help fantasy owners in Week 1. This is why picking receivers high isn’t the best move in fantasy land. Receivers are a fickle and inconsistent bunch. I still like these guys, but on any given week the best receivers will get you next to nothing – where even mediocre running backs will keep you in the game. Until next week!

NFL Free Picks REVIEW: Week 6

I didn’t win another week, but headed into Monday Night I needed an underdog Cleveland cover to finish a tough start Week 6 at .500 – it’s always nice to pull out of a week at even after going 0-4 to start your morning. 

Baltimore Ravens (+6) @ Indianapolis Colts: (LOSS) The Ravens laid a big freaking egg, and even if the Colts played terrible they would have covered this game. 3 points? Ugh – 5 Joe Flacco turnovers didn’t help. 

Cincinnati Bengals (+6) @ New York Jets: (LOSS) But, I picked this game with the understanding that Carson Palmer would play. I told you all in my Five for Friday that the Bengals are no longer a good bet at +6 – I’m taking this loss, but only because of my good nature – there is no way I would have taken Cinci without Palmer. But as you saw, this game was not walk through for the Jets, it was close throughout. 

Carolina Panthers (+2.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (LOSS) The Panthers laid a huge egg as well – looks like I was picking some chickens this week. The Bucs came out and slapped the Panthers around pretty good. 

Chicago Bears (-2.5) @ Atlanta Falcons: (LOSS) Damn Chicago! No, really, there were some plays in this game that just magically went the Falcons way. Matt Ryan had a huge day through the air, but he through a couple passes that were sure thing interceptions, jut the Bears couldn’t manage to get their hands wrapped around the ball. I watched this game from kickoff until Jason Elam’s game winning field goal, and Atlanta must have had 3rd and long almost 10 times during the game. They got it every freaking time. That’s weird. I think I picked the right side here, but my 4th straight loss came hard. 

Oakland Raiders @ New Orleans Saints (-7): (WIN) Finally a win. The Saints anhilated the Raiders, just like I thought they would. Lane Kiffin was a good coach, maybe dumb dumb will see that by the time Oakland gets blown out for the 10th straight time. 

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings (-13): (LOSS) Detroit should have won this game, and obviously they covered easily. Minnesota looks absolutely lost and if it wasn’t for a gift pass interference call by some hopeless zebra, the Lions would have their first win – on the road against their division rival. 

Miami Dolphins (+3.5) @ Houston Texas: (WIN) I thought this game might come down to the wire. Houston got it done with 3 seconds to go, but my Dolphins still covered. That’s what I like to call brilliant. I was hoping Houston would get a win, their talent deserves more than what they’ve got in the win column thus far, and I was also hoping to cover. Both happened Sunday. 

St. Louis Rams @ Washington Redskins (-13.5): (LOSS) Rams win. Yep, 4 fumble turnovers for the Redskins, and the Rams (thought they didn’t do anything all day offensively) get the win in Washington, crushing survivor pool hopes everywhere. This huge spread should have ran me off – what was I thinking?

Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5) @ Denver Broncos: (WIN) When Maurice Jones Drew gets the ball 20+ times the Jags are almost always going to win. Now if they’d just realize that. Jacksonville walked into Denver and handled the Broncos. They were more physical and took advantage of the Broncos soft defensive front. Oh, and the Broncos secondary is bad too. Weird. 

Philadelphia Eagles (-4) @ San Francisco 49ers: (WIN) It was sure close going into the 4th quarter, but Philly snapped out of it, and took advantage of some Mike Martz play calling and what do you know, I get another much needed win for this week. 

Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) @ Arizona Cardinals: (LOSS) The Cardinals were apparently the play here. Dallas looked lost, and you have to wonder how they’ll do with Tony Romo (their most consistent player) out for 4 weeks. Hmmm… Arizona took this game one a blocked punt in overtime, and my dreams of a last second overtime touchdown for the Cowboys were dismantled. But at least the Cowboys lost, that will make a family Lucky Lester happy as usual. 

Green Bay Packers (+2.5) Seattle Seahawks: (WIN) “Stay away from Washington sports.” The Huskies had a bye week, but the Cougars lost to Oregon State by about 50 easily failing to cover in that game. The Hawks played without Matt Hasselbeck and they looked bad. The Packers did pretty much anything they wanted, and the Hawks are really looking bad lately. 

New England Patriots @ San Diego Chargers (-5.5): (WIN) And this one was easy breazy. The Chargers came out and did anything they wanted to do. They threw deep, they threw shallow, and while LT continued to struggle with his yards per carry, he even looked reasonably close to the Old LT on Sunday Night. I’ll take this one and wonder about the Patriots moving forward. 

New York Giants @ Cleveland Browns (+9): Mistake? Maybe so. But “…the value is on Cleveland in this one. They play close games and they have talent. They will be as healthy as they’ve been all season, and New York is coming off one of their best games ever. Cleveland is coming off a bye week and while the Browns have stomped me down a couple times this season, I have to believe they’ll play up to their potential on Monday Night at home against the Super Bowl Champs. I also think this line should be somewhere close to 3.5 to 5 points, so 4 points of value is the way I have to go. Tough to pick against the Giants after the way they’ve started, but I’m not too amazed by their weak competition thus far – so maybe I’m right about this one after-all.” Well, I picked this one right on the button and it brought me to even on the week. I’ll take it. On to Week 7!!!