Arses Five Favorites: Week 11 NFL Picks

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Okay, so this is my first picks article ever, and while I’ve said many times that this stuff is easy, we’ll just have to see. I’ve done alright on my own card this year, so Lucky asked me to put my thoughts (that were making me money) down to paper. Since I’ve made most of my money taking favorites, I usually bet 3-5 favorites a game, LL told me to just go with what’s working and select my top five favorites per week (plus he says, Papa has the dogs). He told me that it was okay to go opposite him, which makes me even happier (because like I always say, anything worth playing is worth beating your friends at). Here’s what I got for week 11.

Indianapolis Colts (-1) @ Baltimore Ravens: It’s funny, Lucky got these guys as a dog (though just a point) earlier in the week, I get them here as a favorite, and I have to admit, I’m equally happy. I don’t see a point making the difference. There’s no doubt that the Ravens have some confidence, and they love when nobody gives them a chance, giving them a shot in this game. But Peyton has owned the Ravens, and this isn’t even close to Baltimore’s best secondary they’ve had over the years. This one seems easy enough.

Green Bay Packers (-6) @ home vs. San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers have played a lot of close games, and they can run it, but the Packers are definitely a trouble-match-up for San Francisco. They put a lot of pressure on young receivers with their physical corners, and they don’t run the ball that much on offense, so who cares if the 49ers shut down the run well. San Francisco did not play to win last week against Chicago, and they are lucky to hold on against a bad team. I like Green Bay to win by a couple touchdowns.

Jacksonville Jaguars (-8.5) @ home vs. Buffalo Bills: The Jaguars have been great of late, and they are feeding their best player the ball. The Bills are a mess, fired head coach, terrible offense, new quarterback, injury ridden defense – nothing much to like there. Jacksonville is better than given credit for.

New England (-10.5) @ home vs. New York Jets: I just don’t see the Jets hanging in there twice in a row. The Patriots weren’t playing well to start the season while the Jets were playing on cloud 9. That hasn’t continued, on either side. The Pats have been back to domination on offense, their defense has been stout, and the Jets have fallen hard in both areas. Injuries and youth have not served them well. Plus you have the Pats coming out fired up, looking for redemption and to put last week’s last second loss to the Colts out of their minds. I expect a Patriots killing.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) @ Chicago Bears: Lucky’s right about this one, the Bears just aren’t good. Neither of these teams have been stellar, but the opportunistic Eagles defense against Jay Cutler – lets just say Va-Jay-Jay Cutler will be making that shame face early and often. I’m looking for him to wrap up the passing title this week, passing to opposing teams that is. Gimmie the Eagles.

New York Jets vs New England Patriots Pick & Preview

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New York Jets (+11) @ New England Patriots Pick & Preview: I’m a firm believer that you don’t give a good team double digits and cover the spread very often. I know that if anyone can do it, it’s a pissed off Patriots team that is looking to take the heat of their coach’s back, a team that saw the Jets out-play, out-work, and out-physical them earlier in the year when New York upset the Pats. But just because I know the Patriots have it in them doesn’t mean I’m going to bet the way of the Pats – the value is too good on New York, and it’s not like their heads are swollen from playing too good over the last few weeks. After coming back to reality after a hot start, I know the Jets will be fully prepared for what New England has to offer this Sunday Afternoon.

First and foremost, the Jets have a cat that matches up pretty well with Randy Moss, that, in and of itself, is something most teams can only dream about. Darrelle Revis was tough on Randy in the first game, and while I don’t expect Moss to struggle to make plays as much this time around, I do expect him to be held under his season averages.

Next, the Jets have a solid offensive line and a rushing attack that eats clock and should force the Patriots to pay extra attention to the run. I think Mark Sanchez, though he’s struggled at times, has the big game flare in his blood, and he’ll make some nice plays to keep this one close. 11 is too many. I’ll take them points!

NFL Free Picks Review: Week 10 2009

If you look hard enough, you’ll see basically two different weeks for my selections this time around. You’ll see my losses (Sunday Morning was tough for me) and my wins (the afternoon and night games brought me right back) – the bottom line is, it wasn’t a great week, but as I’ve done almost every mediocre week this season, I still finished out of the red. In 15 games this week I managed 8-7 and moved 1 more game over .500 for the season. I’m not a big fan of 8-7 weeks, double digit wins is kind of my thing, but when the tough gets tougher, a winning week feels good enough! Here’s how it went down!

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Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers (-2.5): (WINNER) The 49ers didn’t try too hard to win, but with Jay Cutler throwing them the ball in the red-zone, they didn’t need to. A late field goal put the 49ers up 10-6, and a last minute interception in the end-zone (Jay’s 5th on the night) slammed the door shut on the Bears, giving me a nice cover to start my week.

Atlanta Falcons (-1) @ Carolina Panthers: (Loss) “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.” I hate, hate, hate, hate when I see what Vegas is banking on and I go against it despite my better judgment. I hate even more how much worse 8-7 seems than 9-6. Anyway, tough one for me, I’d like to think it would have been different had Michael Turner continue the 250 yard game pace he was on, but I’ll never know. Dang Vegas! You won this one, but I’ll win the war!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Miami Dolphins (-9.5): (Loss) The Dolphins were out-played by the Bucs. That’s the last thing I thought I’d ever say this year, but it’s true. Luckily, they are the Bucs, and in almost every opportunity they’ll find a way to lose. Well, lucky for the Fins, not as lucky for me, I needed them to “really lose” and 2 points wasn’t enough. I still don’t know how the Bucs stayed this close.

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings (-16): (WINNER) Just by the hair on my chinny chin chin – and yes, that’s right, I do keep hair on my chin for situations such as this. Unless I shave soon, I might have to start saying “just by the hair on my necky-neck-neck” – but I’m planning on running into a razor sometime this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets (-6.5): (Loss) Oh, the Jets can disappoint a guy, that’s for sure. I thought Sanchez had his swag back, but apparently not. The Jets defense just didn’t show up, and the Jaguars somehow limited the Jets rushing attack. I expected neither of those things to happen. That’s how you become wrong, when things just don’t go the way you expected them to go.

Cincinnati Bengals (+7) @ Pittsburgh Steelers: (WINNER) This was a huge one for me. The Bengals once again held the Steelers out of the end zone most of the day (well all day this time) and Cincinnati did just enough to pressure Big Ben (and not let him get away from sacks) and despite losing their stud running back, the Bengals just found a way to win. Amazing. Regardless of the outcome, it was easy to see that 7 points was just too much.

New Orleans Saints (-13.5) @ St. Louis Rams: (Loss) Really? The Rams? How can a guy predict this stuff? Will the Rams play well next week too? Will New Orleans play like dump against a bad team? I can’t wait to search for those answers… The Rams were a 2 minute drill touchdown away from upsetting the undefeated Saints, but weird, they just couldn’t get it done when it mattered most.

Buffalo Bills (+7.5) @ Tennessee Titans: (Loss) Well, I liked this pick heading into the 4th quarter, that’s for sure. Neither team had scored much, it was tied, 7.5 was looking great! Then the Bills did what they do late in games, 24 points were scored in teh quarter, none by the crappy Bills offense (or their team, for that matter) and the final score makes me look like a clown… It was close! I promise! I know you didn’t watch this terrible game, but it was close!!! If you never watch the Titans because they have stunk all year, and last year they weren’t expected to be good so they got no National TV games, you have to tune into Monday Night Football this week – Chris Johnson is some other kind of fast – awesome to watch that guy run!

Denver Broncos (-4.5) @ Washington Redskins: (Loss) I don’t know what happened here. Even if Orton goes down, you’d think the Broncos could find some way to beat this Redskins team. But no, Jason Campbell actually looked good throwing the ball at times on Sunday, getting some nice touch on short passes, and using his receivers’ strengths. If he had pocket awareness the Redskins would be decent. Alright, that might be going too far, but defensively, the Redskins stopped the Broncos all day long.

Kansas City Chiefs (+2) @ Oakland Raiders: (WINNER) The Raiders are not as good as Kansas City. Their coaching staff is a question mark, their players are wondering what they hell they did earlier in life to deserve this crap, and their owner uses batteries to make his black heart beat – as for the way the Raiders play football, their offense won’t do them any favors, that’s for sure.

Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals (-8.5): (WINNER) Papa Weimer tried to pick against me in this game, what a crazy uncle I’ve enlisted. Didn’t he listen to a word I said? The Cards are a terrible match-up for the Hawks and Seattle fans. As they’ve shown lately.

Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers (+3): (WINNER) I almost always pick against teams that don’t look or play very good and still win. That was the Cowboys last week against the Eagles, and what do you know, they come out with a dud this time around… Green Bay completely shut down everything the Packers did, and when they did allow a little bust in coverage, they just out-toughed the Cowboys and caused fumbles.

Philadelphia Eagles (+3) @ San Diego Chargers: (Loss)The Eagles have just fallen apart of late, and if they don’t get it together (now without Westbrook) they are going to fall right out of the playoff race (maybe not, there’s only 3 teams in the NFC with 6 wins). Philly needs to find a running game in a hurry, they sure didn’t find one against the Chargers.

New England Patriots (+3) @ Indianapolis Colts: (WINNER) Most of the time, when you pick the winner of a football game, you also will win ATS. Especially when it’s not a double digit spread (I’m telling you, do the research and the math, you’ll see the numbers). This was one of those times where that didn’t work out. Many will blame Bill for his 4th down call on the 28, and I have to admit, I wouldn’t have done the same thing – but giving Peyton Manning the ball on about the 25 yard line (with a good punt) with 2 minutes and two timeouts might be a 50-50 chance to win. Getting two yards basically wins you the game. I wouldn’t do it, but I see why he did it. Either way, it looks bad, the Colts came back to win, the Patriots still covered. I won’t lose any sleep over it.

Baltimore Ravens (-10.5) @ Cleveland Browns: (WINNER) This one was eerie at half time when neither team had put up a point. Gross. I think I’d rather watch a quarterback competition between Jon Gruden and Jaws than the crap I watched on Monday Night. But, the Ravens managed a few points in the 3rd quarter and what do you know, one quarter of points was enough to oust the Brownies and show everyone exactly what they I said earlier in the week, 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.”

New England Patriots vs Indianapolis Colts Pick & Preview

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New England Patriots (+3) @ Indianapolis Colts Pick & Preview: This game is close, obviously, Vegas thinks so (hence giving the 8-0 Colts just 3 points at home) and I think so (hence I’m taking the Patriots and the field goal. Since the beginning, the public has liked New England in this one. Maybe Tom Brady’s the NFL darling, maybe people think the Colts are bound to lose one pretty soon, maybe those 57% are like me and they see a Colts team that is deflated by injuries, coming off a couple very close wins against solid football teams in San Francisco and Houston.

The bottom line is, both teams have had some tough games against opponents everyone expected them to beat easily. The Patriots struggled but won against Buffalo to start the season, and lost games against Denver and the New York Jets earlier in the Year. The Colts struggled a little but won at home against Jacksonville, in Miami, and then games against the 49ers and Texans. But both teams are winners – no doubt about that. Both can put up points in a hurry, and both are opportunistic on defense. They limit the big play and make few mistakes.

Picking a side is tough, no doubt, and the Patriots haven’t played well on the road, 0-2 in true road games (they had a ‘fake’ road game in England where Tampa Bay played as the home team). They lost @ Denver by 3 and @ New York against the Jets by 7. They failed to score 20 in either game, and while their defense played well, it was their offenses inability to get into the end-zone that lost them the game.

I don’t think they’ll have trouble scoring in Indy. And defensively, the Patriots are better than the Colts. The Patriots score more, give up fewer yards, gain more yards, and control the ball for longer stretches. The Patriots have been able to run the ball lately, something that should help them against a Colts defense struggling to stop opposing runners.

Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots Preview, Pick

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Miami Dolphins (+11) @ New England Patriots Preview, Pick: Again, I just don’t think you can go against good football teams and double digit points. The Dolphins may be 3-4, but hey, they are a good football team. They can stuff the run, and if anything, they can really run the ball well offensively. They play sound football, get tough yardage, and use that dreaded and famed Wildcat offense to chew up the clock, shorten games, and keep elite offenses off the field. That’s a covering dream right there. Then you give them double digit points? Come on, this is too easy right?

The Pats opened as 12 point favorites, early bets on Miami moved that down to 11 and the small majority of public bets seem to like Miami enough to keep this thing moving down, if you like the Patriots, you can get them -10.5 at some books. But Miami with double digits looks good to me. The Dolphins may be 3-4, but they’ve lost just two games by double digits, a game they freakishly failed to cover in when the Saints returned a late interception for a touchdown after an improbably comeback, and their opening 7-19 loss to Atlanta. They’ve won 3 of their last 4, including two wins against the Jets. They’ve been running wild, and first year starter Chad Henne has proven he can make any throw on the field, making defenses prepare for that for the first time in a long time when facing the Dolphins.

The road team has taken this game in 5 of the last 8 contests. Miami broke out the wildcat to dominate the Patriots in New England early last season. This game has hit the over in 3 of the lat 4 meetings, and Dolphins have busted the over in each of their last 4. I like this one to stay close, and 11 points looks sexy, even against Tom himself.

NFL Free Picks Review: Week 7 2009

9-3-1… That is a record I would love every single week of the year. We could all be rich off that type of pick production and I’m going to do my best to make that happen the rest of the way. Of course, I’m always doing my best, making my picks, assessing the sitch-e-ation, and get the right side against that dreaded line. This week I missed on the Cowboys/Falcons game, and I didn’t give the Cardinals enough credit and might have given Eli a little too much after a nice start to the season, so those two games I fully accept as losses. But the Vikings? Please. They cover that game 8 of 10, and if it wasn’t for two freakish defensive touchdowns in the last 6 minutes of that game, the Vikings cover anyway. That being said, I must say I probably shouldn’t have covered the Saints/Dolphins game. So I guess 9 is right after all. Regardless, I won 9 games in a 13 game week, that’s good stuff, here’s the business….

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Philadelphia Eagles (-7) @ Washington Redskins: (WINNER) The Eagles were playing awfully poorly to be up 20-7 in this game, then on 3rd and 24 Donovan threw a bomb to DeSean Jackson for a touchdown to go up 27-7. It was over at that point, basically, because everyone knew there was no way the Redskins were going to score 20 points from there forward. The Eagles tried to dissolve their easy cover, but Washington just couldn’t do enough – lucky me. The Skins D was solid, despite some big plays they allowed, if they only had an offense…

Arizona Cardinals @ New York Giants (-7): (LOSS) Eli looked more like Ellie in this one, missing on passes, getting them tipped, having that pouty face, getting some drops from a couple of those young receivers, just having an all around tough go of it. And of course they forgot to run the ball despite the success they had early. Oh the Giants, this is what they’ll do to you every once in a while, can’t dominate for all 16 games. Kurt Warner and company played solid football, definitley, but it was Arizona’s secondary that stole the show.

New York Jets (-5.5) @ Oakland Raiders: (WINNER) “Unlike the Eagles, the Jets won’t forget the run, in fact, I think they’ll rely more heavily on it than any game this season. The pressure won’t be on Mark Sanchez’s arm, but the offensive line and a talented running back group. That should spell certain doom for a Raiders team looking to make it two wins in a row.” Well, the Jets lost one third of their talented running tree, but Shonn Greene came in and showed what he can do as the Jets had two runners bust well over the 100 yard mark. The Jets just flat out dominated, getting the Raiders to pull JaMarcus Russell, and think how bad he’s played this year while never getting the yank. Yeah, it was that bad.

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Atlanta Falcons (+4) @ Dallas Cowboys: (LOSS) Hey, I’ve always been here to take it when I lose, and I definitely underestimated the Cowboys in this one. That defensive front came to play, giving Matt Ryan trouble all day long, proving that you can still frazzle the young quarterback if you put the pressure on. With the Cowboys up big early, the Falcons pretty much abandoned the running game, taking away their strength on the ground with Turner and also Ryan’s most accurate part of his game, the play action. Kudos to the Boys. Great game for Mr. Romo as well.

Chicago Bears @ Cincinnati Bengals (-1): (WINNER) “The Bengals, favored at home, against a mediocre NFC team – yeah, I like my chances. Now, the Bears shot themselves in the foot all week long against the Broncos, and the game was still very close – but that doesn’t mean it’s going to carry over here. The Bengals also have a very good defense, a secondary that preys on mistakes by opposing quarterbacks, often baiting them into poor throws. Cedric Benson will have something to prove in this game, and I think he’ll get his teammates to climb on his back for this victory. He’s been running angry so far this season, and I think he’s been looking forward to this match-up for a long time.” Well, the Bengals preyed on Jay Cutler, baiting him into bad Jay Cutler-ish throws, and Cedric Benson stomped all over Chicago’s couches. It was a fun one to watch.

New Orleans Saints (-6.5) @ Miami Dolphins: (WINNER) I really want to take the Dolphins here. I know the public is going to be jocking the Saints like nobody’s business, and Vegas is on pace to hit a few like that coming up. But I can’t buy enough into the Dolphins in the match-up. Why? The Saints have been too good against the run, and more importantly, too good running the ball. That’s right, you heard me. Lost in Drew Brees’s amazing season thus far is the glue that’s truly making this team great, the running back by committee approach. While Drew has been on fire, people forget to realize that this rushing attack has out-rushed every single opponent they’ve gone up against this season. That means two things, the offensive line has been dominant, and also, the defensive front has been stellar. You don’t out-rush every single opponent unless you can stop the run when you’re not on the field. That single aspect of this Saints defense makes me think the Wildcat might have met their match. I’d love to see the upset here, I just don’t think it will happen.

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Minnesota Vikings (+4) @ Pittsburgh Steelers: (LOSS) This should have been a cover. If you watched the game, you feel me. If you didn’t, just believe me. The Vikings were the side in this one, but sometimes you lose games you should win, and other times you win games you should lose – this time I was un-LuckyLester…

Green Bay Packers (-6.5) @ Cleveland Browns: (WINNER) “Big spreads for road favorites can often backfire with a pass happy team struggling to complete passes. But I see the Packers running the ball more this Sunday, holding the ball longer, and covering by at least a touchdown in Cleveland. Vegas or the people? Who wins this Sunday? Damn the man!” Hooray us, damn the man is right! Like I predicted, the Packers finally gave a good number of chances to the guy that should be their work horse, Ryan Grant. It kept Rodgers off the turf, and the ball in Green Bay’s hands. With that kind of attack, the Browns never stood a chance.

New England Patriots (-14.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (WINNER) When you have a great team against a crappy team, at least this season, the chances are really low that the crappy team is covering, even with a big bad spread like this one. The Patriots throw 5 touchdowns in a quarter, or anything like that, but this game was in hand very early. All these big favorites are covering, that goodness I had a bunch of them this week.

Buffalo Bills (+7) @ Carolina Panthers: (WINNER) “I don’t see what the Panthers have done to be a touchdown favorite against anybody in the NFL.” Regardless of what anybody thinks about these two teams, the bottom line was just as I wrote it, the Panthers shouldn’t be favored by 7 over anyone. The Bills didn’t do anything offensively, couldn’t really run it, and didn’t have great passing numbers, but they didn’t need to. The Panthers give points away weekly, and if you can just let them beat themselves, you’re in.

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San Francisco 49ers (+3) @ Houston Texans: (PUSH) The 49ers fell down early, 21-0, and the Texans were definitely in charge. A quarterback switch, an inspired defense, and some big plays from Vernon Davis got the Niners right back in it, but they fell short a field goal, getting me a push. I’ll tell you what, being down 21-0 at the half, without an explosive offense, and still getting a psu – if that’s what bad looks like, I’ll be alright.

San Diego Chargers (-4.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs: (WINNER) I was right on here, loved the Chargers by a touchdown or more, and they followed through and made me look good. The bottom line was that SD’s defense played very well last week, despite what most people remember from that Broncos’ game, and they continued that inspired play against the Chiefs, giving away absolutely nothing all day long. They won easily. Me too.

Indianapolis Colts (-13) @ St. Louis Rams: (WINNER) Just a gimmie, a no doubter, the Rams facing two weeks of prepared Peyton Manning – it was 42-6, and I don’t think it was that close, I’ve got to be honest.

New England Patriots vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick

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New England Patriots (-14.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It’s almost poetic. New England heads to plain old regular England as the “road team” against one of the worst teams in football, Tampa Bay. Wimbley stadium has proven to be a tough place to keep your footing, as it gets chewed up by the weather. But tough field conditions can only be a help for New England. After the Patriots laid a proper onslaught of touchdowns on the Titans last week, and shut out Tennessee 59-0 (in the snow), of course they are going to be big favorites overseas. But it’s justified. The Patriots have played a lot better defensively that I expected this season, and that’s not good news for Josh Johnson and company. I don’t think it’s fair that New England gets to play in a sort-of funky situation, long plane ride, probably a shorter week of practice, because Coach Belichick and company do such a good job of getting their team ready for every situation. Rookie coach, Raheem Morris will certainly have his hands full this week, slowing what looks to be a revitalized Patriots offensive attack. 14.5 is a lot of points, and I wouldn’t bet too much on the game, but if I had to lean one way or another, I’d lean on Tom Brady.

Tennesee Titans vs New England Patriots Betting Preview

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Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots (-9): The Titans have been brutal, and I don’t think their secondary woes will get quelled when Tom Brady and the suddenly sputtering Patriots offense hosts them this Sunday. If anything, I expect Tom and company to beet down the 400 yard passing barrier, put up tons of points, and continue to play solid defense like they’ve done all season long. It may be a popular pick, and the Patriots may be a different offense than they were last year, but last year’s team would have ousted this year’s Titans 70-14. This year’s Patriots could do at least half that mark, and the defense can keep the Titans out of the end zone most of the day.

Free Week 1 NFL Picks

I’m back in action. Fresh off one of my best seasons, I’m ready to deal out my absolutely, 100%, completely, with no small lettered catches at the bottom, Free NFL Football Picks. It’s not often that you get free like this, I know. Willy didn’t even get this free. Perfect. Well I guess you have that blasted internet bill, and you are likely paying for electricity, so it’s not completely free, but I’m not charging you anything. So, at least from me to you is free. Enough free talk. Lets talk football picks. I’ve busted out some previews and some fantasy football action and plenty of other football stuff. But now for the advice. Who do I think is going to take the cake in Week 1? The answers are below. Free. Ha – check them out!

Tennessee Titans (+6) @ Pittsburgh Steelers: This isn’t the easiest pick for me, but in the end a hard nosed game, that promises to be an ugly smash mouth defensive battle, has me thinking 6 is just too much. I like the Steelers, don’t get me wrong, but the Titans didn’t get that much worse. Sure, they lost a lot with Albert Haynesworth (the Titans didn’t dominate without Haynesworth), and Pittsburgh’s defense is legit, but I’m not buying a repeat performance for the Steelers in 2009 – last year’s Super Bowl winners usually aren’t very good beginners – write that down. Their offensive line isn’t great, and that’s enough for me to take Tennessee on opening night.

Denver Broncos (+4) @ Cincinnati Bengals: I’m not sold on Carson Palmer’s health quite yet. Okay, I think he’s healthy enough to play, but I’m not sure he’ll come out firing on all cylinders to start the season. He’s been out for quite some time. The Broncos have at least one shut-down corner, and I like their defense a lot more than last season’s pathetic unit. I just think their game plan is better. I know they’ll be tougher against the run and put a little more pressure on the QB. Kyle Orton will be better than he showed early in the pre-season, Knowshon Moreno will be dynamic, because, well, he is dynamic. And the Broncos will be a little better than people thought they’d be. Josh McDaniels doesn’t have many fans as of now, but I’m one of them. There’s lots of big plays to be had on that offense, and Cinci isn’t really a machine on either side of the ball. I’ll take the points!

Minnesota Vikings (-4) @ Cleveland Browns: I may be riding with the public here (shoot 99% of sportsbook wagers are taking the Vikings against the spread… I hate picking Minnesota, but I don’t see it any other way. The Browns defense is better than advertised, but Minnesota will be able to gang up on the Browns rushing attack, and their two big guns up front are still in play after the court battle isn’t settled. The Vikings have a great offensive line and a QB, while quite long in the tooth, can make all the throws on the field, and has a tendency to start strong. I like Minnesota: me and everyone else.

New York Jets (+5) @ Houston Texans: This is a close one because the spread is 5, I like the Texans to win, but I like the Jets to cover. 28-24 maybe? Maybe less scoring? Here’s the deal, Mark Sanchez is the real deal. He has great feet, watch him, his confidence in the pocket is awesome. That offensive line is one of the top 5 units in football, and I haven’t even gotten to talking about the Jets defense yet. They may be missing Calvin Pace, but with David Harris and Bart Scott at linebacker, and Kris Jenkins protecting them, I think this team has plenty of playmakers and ball hawks to make some big plays happen. The Texans won’t be able to run, and the Jets will. That’s why I’m taking the points.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts (-7): I actually think this line is one of those that looks to good to be true. If Maurice Jones Drew, a guy that is obviously supposed to be the focal point of this offense in Jacksonville, was completely healthy, I would probably steer toward the Jaguars, but nothing about Jacksonville’s defense tells me that Peyton isn’t going to pick his way to score after score. The Colts might start off a little slow in their new schemes, but this is a veteran team with elite talent at very key positions. Bob Sanders out could hurt, but where are the Jaguars really going to pick apart the Colts? Indy looked better against the run in the pre-season. Like I said, that 7 points for the Colts originally made me think, great bet for the Jags, but after looking at it, the line seems about right. Indy at home against a team that can’t pressure Manning, nor can they guard all the offensive playmakers. So, after much deep though action, I’ll roll against the Jaguars, whom I think will turn it around this season.

Dallas Cowboys (-6) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I actually like the Bucs this season, I think they’ll be just fine as I noted in my Total Wins column. However, this is just a bad match-up for them. Despite having a plethora of backs, a trio I guess, and a pretty damn good offensive line, the Cowboys may just be too tough up front. The pre-season doesn’t always show it all, but last season it was real tough to run against the Boys, and this pre-season was no different. A couple solid run games did nothing against Dallas’s top unit. Many think they’ll lose a lot of punch without one of he league’s all time wide receivers, but I don’t see much drop off from this offense sans TO. They’ll run the ball more, which should bum Tampa Bay out, and check down more to guys like Felix Jones, Marion Barber, and Patrick Crayton – the first two are big time play makers that will make defenses pay all year. I like Dallas to win by double digits on the road in this one. Not because the Bucs are bad, but because it’s just a bad match-up for the home team.

Miami Dolphins (+4) @ Atlanta Falcons: I’m such a baby, the Dolphins make me cry… A little Hootie and the Blowfish for ya, you bet. Alright, so I’m taking the Dolphins because they only got better. They seem to struggle a lot with teams that light up the airways and teams with really stellar run defenses that force Pennington to beat them over the top. Atlanta has neither of those aspects on their squad. I know the Falcons are a lot to handle in the run-game, and the Dolphins don’t have the toughest run-stuffing crew in the league, but this group is talented, no doubt. I think Jason Taylor will be a great addition to this defense, and I see Matt Ryan having a lot of trouble every time he drops back. Joey Porter and Taylor are no joke coming off opposing edges. The Dolphins just seem to find a way to win in close games, and last year they played a lot of close games. They can run the ball really well, Pennington plays close to mistake free football, and Matt Ryan still has to stare down the sophomore slump. This game will be very close, and those 4 points could really come in handy.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens (-13): I think the Ravens run all over the Chiefs and that punch-less KC “offensive” attack has a lot of trouble doing diddly in Baltimore. Bo don’t know Diddly, but I do, and the Chiefs won’t be doing it. Got me? Nobody runs against the Ravens, and something tells me the Chiefs won’t change that history. Matt Cassel might be healthy enough to start, but I wouldn’t care if he got to borrow Randy Moss and Wes Welker for this one, he’s not going to light up the Ravens, even with a secondary that has become a little more unknown if not suspect over the years. This game has really shot up, from -7 to -13, and I still like the Ravens. It’s kind of gross, I know, to like a line after it’s almost doubled, but what can I say. I see Flacco being very accurate against a defensive secondary that recently cut their starting safety and is in the midst of changing defensive schemes under a new head coach. The Chiefs will win some games this year, just not these kind of games. 27-6 is a score I wouldn’t be surprised about.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers (+1.5): I love the Eagles this season, really, I do. But I won’t love them against one of the best rushing attacks in the league until they do something or prove something with that front seven. They couldn’t stop the run this pre-season as I watched opponents run freely over the Eagles. Philly should put up a lot of points, and I fully understand that the Panthers have no interior defensive line either – but the Panthers will fully take advantage of that while the Eagles instead decide to throw the ball 4 out of every 5 downs… Just in this match-up, I like the underdog, hometown, returning best record in the NFC. Call me crazy. The Eagles just have too much hype for me.

Detroit Lions (+13) @ New Orleans Saints: What can I say? I’ve never liked the Saints as a huge favorite against anyone. While they have plenty of fire-power, this is a team that can lose to anybody. Kevin Smith’s running ability, and a couple big plays through the air between rookie signal caller Matthew Stafford and one of the best receiving prospects ever, Calvin Johnson, should be just enough to keep the Lions covering this spread in New Orleans. 5 of the Saints 8 wins were by 10 points or less, and while one of those was a 42-7 beating of Detroit, This line is moving on up, and is getting to 14 in some circles, so you might want to wait just to see – 14 obviously has more value that 13 for obvious scoring reasons. I like the Lions either way. One thing that really scares me is the fact that New Orleans was 7-1 ATS as a favorite last season, meaning they beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. Still, 13 points in Week 1 is too much for me, despite those stats telling me otherwise. A stat on my side sees the Lions at 7-1 ATS last season as a double digit dog.

San Francisco 49ers (+6.5) @ Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals have not impressed me. They have a couple talented backs, but no run blocking offensive linemen to spring them loose. They have Kurt Warner, Larry Fitz, Boldin, and Breaston – but they have no toughness, and they just played too well late last season to not come back to earth this time around. The 49ers may have not signed their top draft pick, a guy with the dynamic playmaking ability they desperately need, but I think they’ll be fine without him. Frank Gore is going to run the ball a lot, and Shaun Hill will use that to get some play action throws to open receivers down field. The Cardinals won’t be as tough against the run this season, and the 49ers will be better at everything in Mike’s first full year as head coach. Their offense may be simple, but that toughness will shine through early.

Washington Redskins (+6.5) @ New York Giants: I don’t think the Giants are scary enough offensively to bust the Skins through the air. Washington will get more pressure on opposing offenses this season as Haynesworth really is that good. Al will also help ease the pain against one of the best offensive lines in the league, and I think Washington stacks the line against the Giants in this game. I think 6.5 is too much in a game that looks to have very few scoring opportunities.

St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks (-8.5): Its hard for me to be too excited about the Rams, I called them the worst team in football last season, and despite the Lions hideous record, I stand by that claim. There was no team that was more pathetic than this Rams team a year ago. They no longer have Orlando Pace, but Alex Barron and Adam Goldberg at the edges instead. They don’t have Torry Holt or Isaac Bruce, but Laurent Robinson and Donnie Avery. Steven Jackson is still there, but unfortunately still is Marc Bulger. The guy kills more drives by hanging onto the ball than any QB I know. The defense is aging and hurting (like Leonard Little) and failed draft picks over the last couple years are coming back to haunt the new regime. That being said, it’s still 8.5 in Week 1 against a Hawks team that hasn’t proven to be beastly quite yet. I’m going on record and saying this spread is too high. It’s bad value, and I don’t know what I’m thinking by taking the Hawks anyway. It’s one of those times where I just have that feeling…

Chicago Bears  @ Green Bay Packers (-3.5): The Bears have gained some momentum going into Week 1. Jay Cutler has looked good in a Bears uniform, and Matt Forte should get more room to run because of it – but can they hang with the Packers in Green Bay? I don’t think the Bears are healthy enough up front, to be honest. I know that sounds crazy, but Chicago will continue to hurt in the front 7 without a healthy Tommie Harris. His push, with quickness against the run and pass, really makes a difference for this defense, and I just haven’t seen that yet. The Packers were better than their record showed last season, and that usually starts to even out the season after some tough luck losses. I expect Ryan Grant to get off to a nice start while Aaron Rodgers gives the Bears secondary fits. A key factor that has me going away from Chicago here is the Packers corners. That group is very tough on the young Bears’ receivers – they’re just too physical and too crafty for those young pass catchers. I like Green Bay.

Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots (-10.5): I like the Patriots to dominate in this game. Call me crazy, but I’m not sold on the Buffalo Bills offense, defense, special teams, coaching staff, ownership, etc. They could come out and surprise me, but after spending all pre-season putting together a special offensive plan only to fire the coordinator and scrap it all for something else cries of a TO blow-up on the way. He’ll be asking to get traded to Philly after this year is over. The Bills don’t have a powerful offensive line anymore, and while they do have a couple big time playmakers lining up out wide, I’m not sure Trent is ready to fully take advantage of their talents. New England, on the other hand, should continue to be a beast offensively. I’m probably riding on the Patriot train with a bunch of other public chalk lovers, but I don’t see the Bills slapping enough points on the board to hang with Tom and company. Belichick has had his way with the Bills over the last few years – that trend continues as Dick Jauron’s job security loses some sway. In my happiest of dreams, the OC is brought back half way through the season to take Dick’s job, and he leads the Bills to one of the most stellar offensive outputs in the 2nd half… Dreams. I’ll take the Pats.

San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders (+9): This line will likely move to 10 if you wait. I don’t have that options because I’m not allowed to wait. Schucks auto supply! Oh well, I still like the underdogs in this divisional match-up. I know, the Chargers get to show up and win, they can sleep through the season and easily take the division, and they have more talent in 5 positions than the Raiders have all over the field. I don’t care. What I care about is that the Raiders will be able to run enough to keep themselves in it. JaMarcus Russell has looked impressive enough to me, and he’s not a mistake prone guy. If a team can run, and they limit their mistakes, that’s good enough to walk with them and a nine point cushion. The Raiders won two straight to end last season, and those weren’t the Lions and Rams, those two wins were against the Texans and a Bucs team that only needed a win against the lowly Raiders in Week 17 to get a playoff birth. They didn’t get it, Gruden lost his job, the Raiders brass (AL freaking DAVIS) rejoiced. I hate the Raiders, let that be known, but I think their rushing attack and fewer mistakes keeps them close enough. If Richard Seymour wipes the sand out and gets to Oakland tomorrow, I like this bet even better.

NFL Free Picks: Week 8

7-7 last week, and that looks like a push to me. You all know how I love pushes – ugh. Anyway, I didn’t lose any ground in the old win loss column, so things could have been worse. So far I have 13 games this week (Cowboys line not out yet) – check out the goods in my NFL Free Picks for Week 8. Good luck to all! 

Oakland Raiders (+7) @ Baltimore Ravens: Tough call for me, definitely. You all know what I think about the Raiders sans Lane Kiffin, but they played so well last week against the Jets. From what I see this game will be a defensive struggle, and I’m betting that 7 ends up being too much. I know the Ravens played a really good game against the Dolphins, and I don’t think either team is legit, but defense keeps this close.

Arizona Cardinals (+5) @ Carolina Panthers: This is why. I love the Panthers, but only if they can run the ball effectively. I think the Cardinals will prove a tough opponent against Carolina’s ground game, and when that is the case, the Panthers are just average. I expected the Panthers to win the West, but I didn’t think they’d start the season 5-2… Now it’s looking so. The Panthers lost to Tampa and Minnesota – the Cards aren’t that good against the run, but they are solid. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5) @ Dallas Cowboys: Maybe the books know something I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, the Cowboys aren’t as bad as they played last week, and the Bucs let a bad Seahawk team hang around and they ended up losing that game ATS – still, no Tony Romo, no defensive backs, a defense that is playing soft – I think Tampa does enough against Brad Johnson to make it another tough day for America’s Team. 

Washington Redskins (-7) @ Detroit Lions: Detroit lost by less than a touchdown in each of their last two ball games, and should have beat the Vikings in Minnesota in Week 6 – still, I don’t think they match up well with the Redskins, as Washington should run all over Detroit. Here’s some food for bet, the Lions are 0-2 at home, giving up 48 points to the Packers and losing 34-7 against the Bears.

Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins (+2): Key mistakes destroyed the Dolphins chances in Week 7. They didn’t play well overall, obviously a little frustrated by what happened in Week 6. I thin the Dolphins step back into the winners circle this week and the Bills go to 5-2. Miami has shown me that they are solid, and when they play mistake free football they can win tough games. Buffalo is a better match-up than Baltimore was, and I think they win this one at home. 

St. Louis Rams (+8) @ New England Patriots: I think the Rams are a tough match-up for New England. Matt Cassel is prone to mistakes, he gets sacked a lot, the Rams defense is a completely different group now that Little is back in action at defensive end. The Rams have their running game exploding back to life and the whole team seems to have more confidence now that Haslett is the head guy. I don’t know what to think of the Patriots “one good, one bad” game situation they’ve been rocking, but they are on cue to play a bad one. That doesn’t mean jack to me, though, and this team is still a solid group. I just think all of their injuries start to catch up to them this week against the Rams. Tough call, but I’ll take the Rams with a little more than a TD. 

San Diego Chargers (-3) @ New Orleans Saints: These overseas games are always weird. Last year the Giants barely won in a gross game, and I don’t know what to expect this time around. I’d say go with the Chargers because of the injury woes attacking the Saints, and how Colston and Shockey obviously aren’t back to full health. Oh, and Bush is out. The Chargers will likely get back Chambers, and LT is getting healthier and healthier. Same with Antonio Gates. Vincent Jackson has been really good, and Phillip Rivers is having a great season for the Chargers. Then again, this game is in another country. I’d stay away, but if you’re looking for an edge, I’d take the Chargers – I think they are 6 points better than the Chargers on your normal day. 

Kansas City Chiefs @ New York Jets (-12.5): I like 12.5 I guess. Shoot, the Jets as a big favorite is scary, but I don’t see them playing like garbage after losing an OT game to the freaking Raiders. They are better than that, if still a little overrated. I don’t like the Chiefs without Larry Johnson (and who knows what’s happening there), Damon Huard (out), Brody Croyle (out), or even completely healthy. I think Thomas Jones will run all over the Chiefs and Tyler Thigpen must not be that great because the Chiefs seem to be exhausting all sporting options to pick up another quarterback. It’s never good to throw in a guy that hasn’t seen a playbook for your team, even if it’s a guy like Daunte Culpepper that is better than every single guy you’ve started all year long. Weird. J E T S – winners. 

Atlanta Falcons (+10) @ Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles haven’t won coming off a bye week since the ’04-’05 season. The Falcons can run the ball well and while the Eagles started off stingy against the run, they allowed 145 yards to Clinton Portis and 101 yards to Frank Gore – both having nice yards per carry. I don’t think Turner will burn the Eagles for big yardage, but he’ll do enough to keep Atlanta close, and remember, the Falcons are coming off of two weeks to prepare for Philly as well, and they’re a huge dog – they’ll need some help to win, but I think this will be close. 

Cleveland Browns @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-7): The owners fined Winslow 250 grand for questioning the staph infections in the organization over the past few seasons. What a joke. The rest of the players have to think that’s a joke. The rest of the players also have to think that their season is on the line and that sitting one of their best offensive players is down right stupid. They’ve played one good game all season. Without all the crap going on with Cleveland, I might like them to cover here, but the Jags are coming off a bye and they’ve won 3 straight coming off a break. The Jags are without Matt Jones, but with Jerry Porter getting two weeks to get healthy, they might not be losing anything at all. Cleveland hasn’t looked good enough (sans one single game) for me to take them here. I don’t like this line, but I just can’t take that ridiculous organization – not a huge play, but a slight lean here. 

Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans (-9.5): The Bengals are winless, and that’s scary because they are more talented than that. However, they lost probably their best linebacker for the season. Carson Palmer is not playing this week. Houston can’t mess around, as they saw what happens when they allowed Detroit right back in the game last week. Still, Houston is solid and they should run all over the Bengals. Take them to run away with this one. 

New York Giants @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5): The Steelers in Pittsburgh seems like a slam dunk at -2.5, yes, even against your World Champion New York Giants. Honestly, I think the Giants have played just as many mediocre to bad games as they have good games. Think about it – they couldn’t put away the Redskins in week 1, settling for field goals too often (mediocre). They played a terrible Rams team in Week 2, so you can’t tell much there. They barely beat the Bengals in OT – (mediocre to bad). They killed a terribly lost Seattle team, but played very well there. They lost to Cleveland in a laugher (bad). They let San Francisco hang around all day, even though the Niners were turnover machines (mediocre). Maybe they aren’t a shoe in for back to back titles after all, huh? I like Pittsburgh to show us that one more time this weekend. 

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers (-4.5): You’ve found my weak spot, Mike Singletary. That guy is my favorite player of all time – bar none. I think his intensity, honestly, and respect from his players gets the 49ers going in Week 8. They aren’t great, and they won’t be all year long, but they are going up against the Hawks in his first game as the main guy, and that’s enough for me. Seattle is brutal. Without a couple broken play runs late last week in Tampa, they would have been under 100 yards of offense – that’s a joke. 

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans (-3.5): The Titans should lose one coming up here, but I don’t think Bob Sanders is coming back this week – that pretty much ends the Colts hopes. Betting against Peyton Manning as more than a field goal favorite seems like a poor move, but I’m not betting against him. I’m betting against his offensive lines ability to slow the Titans rush and I’m definitely betting against the Colts defensive front shutting down the Titans run. I think 20 will win this one, and Tennessee can get that in their sleep against this Colts defense – just run the rock.