San Francisco 49ers (+13.5) @ Indianapolis Colts Free Pick: I liked the 49ers at -12 to start the week, but this one has a chance of getting to 14 points. Oh, that would make me feel so good. Still, 13 is a good number to get past as well, that way a touchdown and a couple field goals up still keeps me in the money. The 49ers are a good team, and I know the Colts have marched through quite a few squads so far, leaving nothing but Peyton Manning commercials in their wake, but this 49er team has heart, they showed that early in the season and they showed that late last week when they fought and scratched back into a game most teams would have just walked away from. Alex Smith definitely has his hands full in his first start in quite some time, but I think the 49ers can run on Indy if they just full commit to doing so. Frank Gore should be healthier and back in the game this week. I see this game being a lot closer. An out right win would surprise me, but don’t put it past the 49ers, staying within 13 seems like a good bet to me.
San Francisco 49ers (+3) @ Houston Texans: One down game from the 49ers doesn’t have me going away from them here. Now, I like both teams. I thin the Houston Texans are going to put up some wins this season, no doubt, their 3-3 record thus far isn’t a fluke, but the 49ers are too tough for them. San Francisco is coming off a bye, and an off week of feeling that Falcon blasting from Week 5 might just be the thing they needed to step up their play. This will be Michael Crabtree’s first NFL appearance, after he finally signed his rookie deal two weeks ago. But I don’t think Crab will be the guy that makes the difference here, that title goes to the return of Frank Gore. That’s right folks, the spoon that stirs San Francisco’s offense will be back and starting in this one, and that Houston front 7 (or 8 during this game) will have their hands full. I expect the 49ers to win in Houston, so taking them to cover here (getting a field goal free) is just bonus!
Okay, in just a second I have three teams (with player sets) that you might want to trade off or stay away from because of their tough schedules moving forward. But first, here this…
I forgot the Broncos yesterday – they have one decent secondary for the rest of the season (Carolina in Week 16) – aside from the Panthers, Denver plays Cleveland, Atlanta, Oakland, the Jets, Kansas City, Buffalo, and San Diego. Not that Brandon Marshall wasn’t a great option before, but how does he look now? With Tony Scheffler coming back and Eddie Royal completely healthy, and a possible starting option at running back (Ryan Torrain) coming into the mix, I think the Broncos passing attack looks scary as ever. Scheffler and Torrain might be on waivers right now, if that’s the case, rock out and pick them up.
Okay, now for some tough schedules you may want to avoid…
Cincinnati Bengals: As if the situation in Cinci could get any worse, they have a brutal schedule moving forward. Talk about tough, after this week against Jacksonville, the Bengals have a bye. Then it’s a place where two star receivers go to die – that’s right, they play the Eagles, Steelers, Ravens, and Colts – all top ranked pass defenses. Redskins, Browns, and Chiefs, to finish the season, but it gets a heck of a lot worse before it gets better. If there’s any value out there for Housh, Chad Johnson, or (well that’s it I guess) – I would make good and see them off.
The Browns are in the same division as the Bengals, and it looks like their schedule has some big time tough ones as well. Lucky for you guys, the Browns also play the Broncos, Texans, Colts (Jamal Lewis owners anyway), and Bengals. Who else do they play? Well it starts this weekend against the Ravens, and the Bills, and the Titans, and the Eagles, and they end the season with the Steelers. This years’ Saints could end up looking a lot like last years’ Saints, without all those late season offensive numbers – yeah, uh oh.
The 49ers also have a little bit of an interesting go. Aside from the Rams twice, San Francisco doesn’t have another great match-up for Frank Gore owners. The Cardinals, Cowboys, Bills, Jets, Dolphins, and Redskins are all solid if not very good run defenses. I know Frank Gore can do good work against anyone (except the Giants – 11 rushes for 11 yards, also 3 grabs for 50) – but his first half was riddled with Seahawks (twice), Lions, Saints, Patriots – he’s got some tough ones down the stretch. Still, I’d keep him unless you get good value for him, which you probably can considering the goods he’s put up so far this season.
My Saturday Pre-Season games locked me into a 3-0-1 start to the season. Yes, I love the pre-season just as much if I can make money. Here’s a look at what happened on Saturday to keep me undefeated thus far.
San Francisco 49ers @ Oakland Raiders (UNDER 33.5) (8-8-08) (WIN!)
There was one touchdown in the first half of play – and it was on a punt return by Johnny Lee Higgens. Joe Nedney added a field goal making the total points scored 10. So, I walk into the 2nd half needing 3 touchdowns and a field goal to bust the total and lose me my first game. No bad luck here, though, as the Raiders and 49ers continued their offensive sluggishness on way to just 14 total points in the 2nd half. Mike Martz has his hands full in the Bay – without quarterbacks to throw the ball, even his lesser named receivers will find life difficult. As for this game, BINGO! Hit it right on the bulls-eye.
Denver Broncos @ Houston Texans (-2.5) (8-9-08) (WIN!)
The Texans were up 13-7 at half, and I felt pretty good about my chances to cover. However, the Broncos kicked three second half field goals to tie it all up at 16 a piece. But, as time expired in this one, Kris Brown hit a very short field goal to not only win, but cover that wonderful 2.5 point spread and keep me undefeated during the first week of the pre-season. Sage Rosenfels looked good for the Texans, and as a team they were 18-25 passing the ball. But, it was the Texans 140 rushing yards that controlled the clock and the game. I love to win games in which 7 field goals passed through the uprights.