Denver Broncos (+3.5) @ San Diego Chargers: The Chargers are and have been overrated. Sure, their backs are against the wall here, but that wall is high, and sitting on top of it is a bunch of Broncos ready to straight donkey punch them right off the wall like Humpty freaking Dumpty. The Broncos are even better than I thought they would be, and I expected a lot more from Josh McDaniels’ guys than most. They run the ball well, throw the ball efficiently, make few mistakes, and play hard-nosed tough tackling defense. I’m sure the Chargers will put up some points, maybe even keep it close, but the better team getting 3 points, I like that value.
Chicago Bears @ Atlanta Falcons (-3): I still don’t get this line. I’ve always figured that Vegas gives the home team 3-4 points, so what they are saying here is that the Bears are, at the very least, even with the Falcons. Really? The Bears aren’t a good road team, lets make that clear. They’ve lost 6 of their last 9 games on the road, and those 3 wins were against the Lions (last season, a team that didn’t win a game last time I checked), the Rams (last season, they were actually even worse than the Lions), and the Seahawks this season in a very close game in which the Hawks were brutalized by injuries and had Seneca Wallace trying to win the game for them. I’m sorry, but something about that recent history doesn’t put me in the Bears-backers section. Atlanta beat down a good 49ers team last week, but that’s not why I’m taking them here. I’m taking them because not only are they better than Chicago, possess better players than the Bears, but they are a good home team playing a bad road team with a spread that claims the two are equal. Now the Falcons struggle with prolific passers, but a lot of yards in his second season and a reasonable start to his first year in Chicago don’t quite make Jay a top flight passer in my book. Like I said, I still don’t get this line. Give me the Falcons.
Philadelphia Eagles (-14) @ Oakland Raiders: There’s no reason to take the Raiders here. They have no offense, their defense isn’t good enough to win games (circa Bears or Ravens of yester-year) and they have a clown owner and a head coach that likes to punch out assistant coaches when they even hint at how big of a circus he’s heading up in Oakland. These guys in the uniforms make the fans in Oak-town look normal. Have you seen that commercial where the guys are getting all dressed up for a KISS concert and when they pop out of their van in full KISS gear, it just happens that they read their tickets wrong and they were smack dab in the middle of Oakland tailgating? Well, the Oakland Raiders seem to play like a bunch of guys that did the same damn thing as the KISS guys. Sure, a new way is born, but that way is a joke. If JaMarcus Russell throws twenty feet short or thirty feet long on any more throws, I’m going to fall over laughing, and I thought he had a decent future. Lets face it, the Raiders are like the Clippers, they pay players lots of money in exchange for their souls. I feel bad for Richard Seymour, but I’m taking the Eagles favored by a couple touchdowns on the road. It’s a shame that Al Davis sold his soul in exchange for the Raiders franchise for eternity. I’m sure he’ll have roster moves and coaching changes written out for the next 20 years in his will. Philadelphia scores fast and often, they have a defense that takes advantage of mistakes, the Raiders make lots of mistakes, I think the defense might cover this spread all by themselves…
Arizona Cardinals (+3) @ Seattle Seahawks: I hope the Hawks win. I don’t like the brand of football Arizona plays offensively, I think they give up way too many big plays. However, I don’t see the injured Hawks offensive line doing enough to slow that Cardinal pass rush. They have 3 back-ups on the O-line starting group, and that’s being generous with the word back-ups, some of these guys are back-up back-ups. And the Cardinals front four can bring it. Now I’ve been hurt by the Hawks a lot, going against them or betting for them, so buyer be ware, but I see the Cardinals winning this game by 10.
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.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets (-9): It’s very rare that when you look at tales of the tape and one side wins at every statistic – welcome to the Bills and Jets tale of the tape. Points, Yards Gained, Yards Allowed, Red Zone Efficiency, Time of Possession, Kicking, Penalties, Turnovers, hot wives, confidence – I mean shoot, the only thing these two teams are even close in is New receivers that were consistent problems for their former teams, and that’s a freaking tie, no winner there. The Bills have a solid rushing attack, and usually that would give them a shot in the dark, running clock, keeping it close, keeping their defense off the field – but not these Bills, no way, they run the hurry up. The hurry up was never designed to hurry up and get your defense back on the field. Only, that’s the only kind of hurry up Buffalo runs. I don’t see the Jets losing three straight. I do see the Jets running the ball 60% of the time. With three good running backs, New York will finally realize their strength and stick to it. The Bills will fall, again.
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.
I had a solid week in Week 5, pulling 3 more games up on the season while going 8-5-1. This week I’m looking for another winning week to keep my game going. Here’s what I like and the other ones I have to pick. The road teams seem to be getting most of my attention this week, while dogs and favorites are split right down the middle. Enjoy the show.
Baltimore Ravens (+6) @ Indianapolis Colts: I can’t see value in the Colts right now. I don’t love Baltimore and I think Peyton has played well against them in the past, but right now I think a tough Ravens running game will give an inconsistent Colts team trouble, even if the Ravens can’t pass real well with Flacco running the show. I expect Addai to get close to nothing and Willis McGahee to have his best game of the year. Picking against the Colts always makes me worry a bit, but this seems like pretty solid value.
Cincinnati Bengals (+6) @ New York Jets: I hate taking the Bengals, really, I do. I just think they are better than their 0-5 record and it has to turn around somewhere. I’m not dying in love with this game, but +6 for a Bengals team that’s played a lot of close games recently, I like that more than taking a Jets team that hadn’t really impressed me before two weeks ago against Arizona.
Carolina Panthers (+2.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I’ve always liked the Panthers as a dog, and even though I buy Tampa Bay as an underrated team, and probably see some value with them at home in this one, my gut is telling me to go with the Panthers – so, screw a bunch of value, I’m going Carolina Blue on this one.
Chicago Bears (-2.5) @ Atlanta Falcons: Am I living on the edge here? Picking against the Falcons once again? I know they’ve been killing me a few times this year, but I think Forte is too much of a force for the Falcons defensive front and I like what Orton has been doing through the air. I think Atlanta is much improved, but the Bears are back (at least better than they were). I’m still not ready to fully buy in to the Bears rolling to the playoffs, but week after week they move up in my book.
Oakland Raiders @ New Orleans Saints (-7): I think the Raiders with Lane Kiffin is a great value here – but Lane was fired because Al Davis was beginning to look like an idiot -fair enough. Until the Raiders prove otherwise, I’m definitely not picking them. I actually felt comfortable taking Oakland in this situation, because I’ve never thought much of the Saints, but at just a touchdown this one is a home team special for me.
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings (-13): Similar to Washington State sports, you can’t see much love for Detroit or St. Louis in the NFL right now. The Vikings are a decent team, they should have lost on Monday Night, but they are a decent team. They will run more and be more effective doing it against the Lions, and of course they can always throw if the need to. Detroit won’t be able to run, and their whole plan to do a scaled down offense with the hurry up seems like a backfire waiting to happen. Gimics don’t get you wins in the NFL, take the Vikings or don’t bet this game at all.
Miami Dolphins (+3.5) @ Houston Texas: The 3.5 (the .5 part) gives me some value on the Dolphins. They do a good job of following their game plan, play discipline football, and make few mistakes offensively. I think the Texans are a much better team than 0-4 indicates, though, so if I had the choice I wouldn’t play this game. Houston has a solid offense and a defense with lots of talent, I think they will only get better as the seasons moves forward. I just like the fact that if Miami loses by a field goal I still win.
St. Louis Rams @ Washington Redskins (-13.5): All those points, what shall we do with them? Juggle them, shoot them in a hoop, I don’t care, I’d just stay away from any kind of “value bet” involving the St. Louis Rams. At -13.5 they might have some value, if they weren’t the Rams. If Detroit wasn’t around, the Rams would the be the sure thing worst team in football. Cincinnati and Cleveland would wallop the Rams. I like what the Redskins are doing, and honestly, they don’t have a weakness right now. They are getting healthier on defense and even with two touchdowns needed to cover, I think this is a solid bet.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5) @ Denver Broncos: This is another tough call for me. I like the Jaguars to run all over the Broncos, but I also like Denver to throw the ball all over the Jaguars secondary. It’s like these two teams are made to put up loads of points on each other. At 48, I’d be taking the over instead of playing either side of this game. I guess, like the Miami game, I see a little bit more value in +3.5, because if Denver comes down and kicks a field goal to win it I still win with the Jags. If Cutler and his receivers don’t hit on all cylinders then that also gives the value nod to Jacksonville. Even with a mediocre offensive line, the Jags should be all ball control in this one. Tough call, but my lean is on Jacksonville at +3.5.
Philadelphia Eagles (-4) @ San Francisco 49ers: I like the Eagles in this one, in fact I love them. Philly has played like poo-poo over the last two weeks, and the week before that they weren’t brilliant either. That usually means good things for Eagles’ backers, as Philly is a one team slump buster. I think they do a lot right this weekend, even without Westbrook (if he indeed doesn’t play). Buckhalter is a nice running back, and without Westy they’ll just have to plan to get the ball to receiver’s hands more. The Eagles going to 2-4 with a loss to the 49ers, I don’t see it.
Dallas Cowboys (-4.5) @ Arizona Cardinals: I like Dallas to dismantle the Cardinals, or at least win by a touchdown. I think the Boys bring a lot of speed at the quarterback, and while Warner has been pretty good (despite one turnover happy game) he has always been prone to the mistake, and Dallas has the athletes and offense to really make him pay. Arizona has a chance because of their run defense, but I like Barber to have a solid game against the Cardinals – that should cut out any hopes the Cards have at an upset here. Jason Witten and Terrell Owens should be enough to keep the Cardinals’ secondary occupied, meaning that extra help the front 7 usually gets won’t be there for much of the game. Cowboys are the play here.
Green Bay Packers (+2.5) @ Seattle Seahawks: Stay away from Washington sports. Seattle’s bound to have another receiver injury this week, and if that happens they’ll have to dress up Charlie Frye in an 80 number and see if he can’t pass for Steve Largent. Green Bay had a little bit too much hype after the first couple weeks, and now look where they are. Still, I don’t see them coming into Seattle and not running the ball right down the Seahawks throats. Ryan Grant should have his first big fantasy day of the year, and that will lead the Packers to a victory over their former coach.
New England Patriots @ San Diego Chargers (-5.5): Lets see, the Patriots don’t run the ball real well right now and their passing game doesn’t flourish either. They capitalized on a lot of 49er mistakes in Week 5, but I doubt the Chargers will be so kind on Sunday Night. I’m willing to bet that LaDainian Tomlinson actually has a decent day on the ground, and Phillip Rivers continues to be his accurate self. The Patriots at +5.5 seem like a great bet, but my feeling has me taking the Chargers to win by a touchdown. Come on SD, this is your chance, get those Patriots while you can.
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.