New Orleans (-3) at Carolina Panthers
The Panthers aren't as good this year and the Saints need to keep winning. They finally had their breakout performance on Sunday night against the Packers. Now does it hurt that the Saints go from Sunday night to Thursday night? I don't think that matters much. I also know Brees isn't the same on the road (and especially outdoors), but this doesn't seem like a game the Saints can afford to lose.
Pick: Saints win by more than 3
San Diego (+1.5) at Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins should be an inspiration to the Giants as they have really rebuilt their trenches in an off-season and because of that are a much tougher opponent. A month ago people were wondering if the Chargers were the league's best team, now they are wondering if they can hold onto to make the playoffs. This is a big game for them, one they can't afford to lose and I think they will win it outright.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+11) at Cincinnati Bengals
I know in the modern day NFL teams score a lot of points and blowouts can happen more often than I'd personally like, but I think the Jaguars are playing better since the beginning of the season. They are still a bad team, but Gabbert gives them some life (as well as some other young players like Allen Robinson, and Denard Robinson). The Bengals will be without LB Vontaze Burfict though they get A.J. Green back. The Bengals are clearly better, but will they win by 2 touchdowns? I don't think so.
Tampa Bay (+6.5) at Cleveland Browns
The Browns are playing the best football they have in years, but they still are prone to bad losses. The Buccaneers are good some games bad others. Who knows what you will get from them? But in any case, the Browns should win this game, but I don't trust them to beat anybody by 6.5 points.
Pick: Tampa Bay loses but covers the spread
Washington Redskins at Minnesota (pick em)
The Redskins get RG3 back this week. Last week defensive coordinator Jim Hasslet had a brilliant game play that was able to totally confuse and frustrate the Cowboys offense. I expect another blitz heavy package to confuse Teddy Bridgewater and I think it's likely to work. The Redskins offensive weapons are also better than what the Vikings have.
Philadelphia Eagles (-2) at Houston Texans
Often I pick with my mind, but sometimes I pick with my heart. I can convince myself how the Texans can win this game, let me see if I can convince you guys. The Texans are 12th in the league against the rush and 8th in points. They are also good at rushing the ball 139.4 yards per game and have a good turnover ratio (despite having Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback). The Eagles on the other hand have a -7 turnover ratio and have trouble stopping people on defense. I think the Texans are a team that can win the line of scrimmage against the Eagles and force Foles to make some mistakes. On offense they have the powerful running game to wear down the Eagles keep them off the field, and take advantage of some timely play action passes. All in all the Texans are a pretty good football team...it's just Ryan Fitzpatrick could always mess it up. I think the Eagles and Texans are similar in terms of talent level, but the Texans get the Eagles at home.
Pick: Texans win outright
New York Jets (+9.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
The Jets are awful, but still better than their record if that makes sense. The Chiefs aren't a dangerous offense. I think the Jets defense can handle the Chiefs and keep the game close. Michael can also make a number of big plays, the problem is does Vick make too many big negative plays?
Pick: Jets cover, Chiefs win
Arizona Cardinals (+3.5) at Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo is questionable and the Cardinals are a good team. They are not as good on the road as they are at home, but they have some very good players on defense and are currently third in the league against the run. They also have talented cornerbacks on the outside with Antonio Cromartie and Patrick Peterson who you would hope could neutralize to an extent Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams and allow the Cardinals to try an aggressive blitzing approach that worked so well for the Redskins last week. It would help if the Cardinals could make a couple plays on special teams. I think if Tony Romo plays the Cowboys should win this game, if not I like the Cardinals. Even with Romo I could see this being a 3 point game.
St. Louis Rams (+10) at San Francisco 49ers
The Rams are not great, but they play games close. They also play the NFC West close.The 49ers should be favored as they are, but I rarely feel good laying 10 points in divisional matchups.
pick: Rams cover, 49ers win
Denver Broncos (-3) at New England Patriots
The Broncos are better, but the Patriots always win at home, which makes this a tough game. But the Broncos are just too talented they are better offensively and defensively than the Patriots and even though Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have had many classic games I think if you disregard the home field advantage the Broncos would win big.
Oakland Raiders (+15) at Seattle Seahawks
Defending Superbowl champions always get the opponents A game the following season. It's a game all teams circle as a measuring stick. Now the Raiders are awful, but 15 points is too many, especially considering how ordinary the Seahawks have looked as of late.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (pick em)
The best game of the week. The Steelers are starting to look comfortable and good. I'm still not sold on the Ravens. I'll take the home team in this pick 'em game.Plus it feels like everytime I've watched a big Steelers/Ravens game the game has come down to Joe Flacco making a lot of bad mistakes.
Indianapolis Colts (-3) at New York Giants
I don't see anyway in which the Giants defense can stop the Colts offense. I also don't like that the Colts are coming off a blowout loss to the Steelers. They are less likely to stumble here I think with that in mind. Maybe the Giants coming off the bye have a big defensive performance in them, but this team has laid more than it's fair share of eggs in big prime time games the last few years. The Colts offense is scary, and it doesn't help that it always seems players coming back to play against their former teams have something extra in their tank. Hakeem Nicks has done essentially nothing this year, but it just seems like the kind of game where he hauls in a touchdown pass or two. The Colts are leaning on Bradshaw now with Trent Richardson banged up and he is responding. The Colts defense isn't great but it's average and that's all they need. This is a tough game, but who knows what Monday night has in store for us.
Week 1 -- ATS: 8-7-1 Straight up: 12-4
Week 2 -- ATS: 7-8 Straight Up: 8-7
Week 3 -- ATS: 13-3 Straight up:14-2
Week 4 -- ATS: 6-7 Straight up: 7-6
Week 5 -- ATS: 9-5 Straight up: 10-4
Week 6 -- ATS: 10-4 Straight up: 8-5-1
Week 7 -- ATS: 8-6 Straight up: 8-6
Week 8: ATS: 9-6 Straight up: 10-5
Season -- ATS: 71-45-1 Straight up -- 77-39-1