So, it occurred to me after I posted the Week 8 Thursday Night Game pick (thanks, Chargers!) that I never posted my week 7 recap. I went a miserable 5-9, bringing my overall record to 52-51-2. My best bets (why did I include the Browns in there!?!?) went 1-2, bringing that record to 6-4-2.
San Diego +9 at Denver
There’s always a danger in going against Peyton Manning, at home, in a night game. Witness last week’s unpacking of San Francisco. There’s also a chance Phillip Rivers reverts to Philip Rivers. But this line started at Denver -7.5, which I thought was fair, and moved 1.5 points. Here’s hoping we have the second close Thursday night game of the year.
Thursday Night Recap
Of course they Jets covered, of course they did.
Interesting note for this week’s games: only three home dogs are listed. Would you rather put your money on Jacksonville, St. Louis or Oakland covering?
Atlanta +6.5 at Baltimore
The Ravens are the better team, no doubt, but Atlanta should be able to keep it closer than this.
Minnesota +6 at Buffalo
It’s hard to imagine the Bills giving more than a field goal to anyone this season. The under (43) might be the most attractive aspect of this game.
Cincinnati at Indianapolis -3
The Bengals have looked terrible since returning from their bye week, and now it looks like they will be without WR AJ Green. That’s not the formula you want to bring against the red-hot Colts on the road.
Tennessee + 5 at Washington
This is a bit of a puzzling line. Yes, you have the Titans (a terrible team) on the road, and without their starting RB (Shonn Greene). But Washington is also an awful team, and QB Kirk Cousins can’t seem to keep from self-destructing.
Miami at Chicago -3
I think there’s a danger in the Bears looking past the Dolphins, even though Miami has played teams tough this year. But Miami just shouldn’t be able to match up with all of the offensive weapons the Bears have.
Cleveland -4 at Jacksonville
Just as there should be no excuse for the Bears losing at home to Miami, Cleveland has to be able to win this game at Jacksonville. And if they want to be seen as a team that will compete to win the AFC North, they have to make it a convincing win, and not like the come-from-behind, last-second victory against the Titans.
Seattle -6.5 at St. Louis.
The Seahawks have hardly looked like Super Bowl champions the last few weeks, but was Percy Harvin’s presence and problems in the locker room really all that was holding them back? The Rams aren’t nearly the offensive threat the Cowboys posed last week for Seattle, and this game is an opportunity for them to right the ship and keep pace with a resurgent San Francisco squad.
Carolina +6 at Green Bay
Carolina is still dealing with a number of injuries, but the Packers just can’t seem to put together a great game. The Panthers always seem to keep it close.
New Orleans at Detroit -1.5
Here’s another confusing line. Yes, Megatron probably won’t play for the Lions, but their defense (No. 1 in the league against the pass) should be able to contain the struggling Saints, who have their own star player problems in Jimmy Graham.
Kansas City at San Diego -3
I don’t think I like the idea of taking Andy Reid on the road.
NY Giants at Dallas -4
Will Dallas be in for a letdown after last week’s huge win over Seattle? Will the Giants return to the form we saw from them in the three games prior to last week’s beatdown at the hands of the Eagles? Without Rashad Jennings and Victor Cruz, I don’t see the Giants getting it done.
Arizona -3 at Oakland
Arizona’s secondary can’t cover anyone, but they get to play against David Carr this week. I think the Cardinals will continue to play well with Carson Palmer back.
San Francisco +6.5 at Denver
The 49ers could win this game; six and half points just seems like too many.
Houston +3 at Pittsburgh
Houston has 12 players listed as Probable on this week’s injury report, but I still like their chances against a foundering Steelers team.
This week, I like Cleveland, Indianapolis, and San Diego.
NY Jets at New England -9.5
I hate giving this many points, but New England has been on a roll, the Thursday night games have been blowouts so why not go with the favorite, and the team that’s played better on Thursdays has been the one that’s better prepared. I trust Belichick to have the Pats more ready than Rex Ryan and the Jets. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Geno Smith get pulled at halftime if he doesn’t move the Jets in the first half.
I had an identical overall record to last week: 8-6-1, but my best bets were a bust, going 0-2-1. In hindsight, the Ravens were a much more obvious best bet to include. Also, I was 0-1 in picking home dogs both this week and last, and did best in choosing road favorites (2-0 last week, 4-1-1 this week). Overall, my record is 47-42-2, while my best bets are 5-2-2.
The Bengals have looked bad two weeks in a row now; did something happen on their bye week to throw them off? The Browns, meanwhile are rolling, and have an easy slate of games upcoming.
Thursday Night Recap
Hooray, I’m 1-5 on Thursday nights! As expected, Andrew Luck kept the Colts moving on offense, and Indy’s defense did just enough to secure the win (and cover).
Denver -9 at NY Jets
This is a potential “look-ahead” game for the Broncos, who have a much bigger challenge next week against the 49ers. It’s a lot of points to give on the road, but I have no faith in Geno Smith and Rex Ryan.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland -1
Hard to say whether this line is more surprising or insulting to the Browns. On the one hand, they set an NFL record last week by coming back from 25 points down to beat the Titans. On the other hand, it was Tennessee. Pittsburgh meanwhile, is a broken team. Their week 1 win over Cleveland (by 3, at home) looks all the more suspect in light of the way they’ve played since then. Cleveland has been a team of two halves this year: cold in the first half, red hot in the second. Imagine if they could put together just three good quarters! I’ll take the team that I think has the greater self-confidence.
Jacksonville +4 at Tennessee
The Titans looked dominant against Cleveland in the first half last week, but that may have been more indicative of how weak the Browns have been in the first half, rather than how good the Titans are. Aaron Hurns, the rookie receiver for the Jaguars could be unstoppable against Tennessee’s secondary.
Green Bay -3 at Miami
Ummmm…this could be the tough line of the week to figure out. The Packers are likely a better home team than road team this year, but Aaron Rodgers has the offense rolling on all cylinders. The Dolphins, meanwhile, are caught between rooting for a .500 finish, and hoping for a high draft pick.
Detroit +1 at Minnesota
The potential absence of Calvin Johnson is notable, but I think the Lions defense makes the difference in this game.
Carolina at Cincinnati -6.5
Let’s hope the Bengals are mad and embarrassed enough about that poor Sunday night performance against New England last week to take it out on the Panthers.
New England at Buffalo +2.5
The Bills and the Patriots always play two games against each other each year, by virtue of being in the same division. The Bills always seem to get blown out in one of them. I’m hoping this isn’t that game this year.
Baltimore -3.5 at Tampa Bay
The Ravens could hardly have looked worse against the Colts last week, but I’ll take John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco against Lovie Smith and ol’ what’s his name.
San Diego -7 at Oakland
I think Vegas forgot to put a “1” in front of the “7” for San Diego this week.
Chicago at Atlanta -3
A game between two broken teams. The Bears are so thin at linebacker this week, they might be pulling fans out of the stands to fill in.
Dallas at Seattle -7.5
Dallas has a potent offense, but their defense is starting to show some holes. If the Seahawks could handle the much better Broncos at home, I don’t think Dallas will prove too difficult for them.
Washington +3.5 at Arizona
This is a game Washington could win, if only because the Cardinals only sort of have a quarterback this week.
NY Giants at Philadelphia -3
The Eagles are a tough team to figure out. Are they good, or not? The Giants seemed awful to start the year, but have turned it around better than any other team (save Indianapolis) the last three weeks. If Vegas thought this was going to be a lower-scoring game, I’d take the Giants.
San Francisco -3 at St. Louis
Austin Davis is competitive at QB for the Rams, which I think is reflected in this line. But Jim Harbaugh and Colin Kapernick should be able to get the job done on the road.
This week, I like the Packers, Seattle, and Chargers.
Indianapolis -2.5 at Houston
This game is all about Indy and their defense, as I trust Andrew Luck to be able to move the offense (JJ Watt can’t be everywhere by himself). The Colts looked good against Baltimore last week, although the Ravens seemed to put up a lackluster performance. The defense is much improved from the beginning of the season.