Denver Broncos (+3.5) @ Baltimore Ravens Free NFL Pick: The Broncos are 6-0, undefeated, just like the Colts and Saints – yet they’ve only been favored twice all season long. They were favored at home against the Cleveland Browns (by 3) and in Oakland against those always powerful Raiders (by 1). 6 games down, 6 wins in the bag, and just two times they’ve been favored to do so, and those were against a couple of the worst teams in football – amazing. And here they are again, going up against a physical Ravens team, be them 3-3, and Denver is once again a Dog. Does the fairytale have to stop? I’m not so sure, but this game should be one hell of a rough and tumble affair. But getting just a hair more than a field goal, I have to like that in a game that almost promises to be tight. Combined, these two teams are a bettor’s dream, 10-2 ATS on the season. Baltimore has played in 5 close games so far this season. Their only blowout, the Browns. Even Kansas City hung tough well into the 4th. 3 of Denver’s 6 wins have come by a touchdown or less. It’s just in their blood, they play tough, they limit mistakes, they tackle well, they cut down on the big play. It’s Broncos or nothing here, that’s where my value-meter stands.
Houston Texans (-3) @ Buffalo Bills: The Bills have feasted on opposing quarterbacking mistakes – but I’m sorry, Matt Schaub isn’t a rookie and he’s definitely not Jake Delhomme. Also, the Texans don’t need to pass the ball to win, and the Bills can’t focus their defense on one thing the Texans do to win. Houston can win a lot of ways, and they have a lot of weapons. If you haven’t noticed, Matt Schaub has become one of the better QBs in the NFL. He can throw the ball against anyone, and he has. The Bills’ defense still has a lot of people either missing from or questionable in Sunday’s game. They have an offense that is limited at best. Despite Houston’s history they have been better defensively of late. Sure, the 49ers got back in the game in the 2nd half last week by finding Vernon Davis for 3 touchdowns, but the Texans shut down one of the better rushing attacks in the league, and have shown the ability to make opposing offenses do something they don’t want to do. In a shoot out, the Texans get the nod. In a close game, the Texans have the ability to make that big play that wins the game. They are favored by a field goal on the road, something that has been scary for Texans’ backers for a long time. But this team is a little different. I expect them to battle for a playoff spot, they know this one is important with some big games against solid teams coming up – they have to beat the teams that they are supposed to beat. I’m taking the Texans by a field goal and expecting them to win by a touchdown, maybe two.
Cleveland Browns (+14) @ Chicago Bears Pick and Preview: I know, big dogs have been suicide all season long, and this very well might be another one of those, lord knows the Browns have it in them – but at the very least, Cleveland has been a defense that forces opposing quarterbacks into bad throws, and if you don’t think Jay Cutler is prone to interceptions than you have been smoking the good stuff. The Browns can, at least, run the football. They have a powerful offensive line, a very underrated unit, and a couple running backs that can get 4 yards a pop. The Bears can be run on, they are beat up in the front 7, they need to commit to helping in the secondary (because they struggle there) and the bottom line is there’s space to run in Chicago. Sure, the Browns have a brutal run defense, sure, they’ve gotten blown out a few times this year, but I think they can stick with the Bears. Chicago will have to show me one heck of a lot more before I take them as a two touchdown favorite this season. They make mistakes on offense, they allow big plays on defense, and they are prone to quick offensive series – that won’t take advantage of Cleveland’s biggest weakness. Always tough to take the Brownies, but the value is with them on the road.
Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys (-9.5) Free Pick: I really want to pick the Seahawks, and at first that’s exactly the directions I was going to go, then I thought about it a little more and though that if Matt Hasselbeck has no time to throw against a physical and athletic defense in Dallas, I don’t see the Hawks making many big plays. Earlier in the year, Dallas was struggling to attack the passer, but it’s hard to imagine that being the case against this make-shift offensive line Seattle has been forced to put together. And now the Cowboys are bringing pressure with ease. Not only that, but Dallas’s offense, a group that had been struggling to find an identity, has seemingly figured it out over the past couple weeks, finding a young receiver named Miles Austin to be the playmaker down the field. With Marion Barber and Felix Jones getting healthier by the day, and Tony Romo seemingly back at his confident place, the Cowboys looks as scary as people expect them to be. The Hawks have only played well against the league’s lesser teams, and while Dallas might not be Super Bowl bound, they are definitely a team fighting for a playoffs spot this season. All things considered, I just think Dallas’s pass rush will be too much. I’ll take Dallas at home.