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NFL Lines 2014, Week 6

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).

Sunday’s Games

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.

Best Bets

This week, I like the Packers, Seattle, and Chargers.

NFL Lines 2014, Week 6 Thursday Night

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.

 

NFL Lines 2014, Week 5 Recap

Another winning week, as I went 8-6-1 (my first push of the year!), and 2-0-1 with my best bets. To date, my overall record is now 39-36-1, and my best bets are 5-0-1.

This week, I think we learned a couple of things. One, several teams are simply broken. We already  knew this about certain teams (Oakland, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville), but this past week revealed a number of others. For instance, the Steelers are broken. Despite winning on the road against Jacksonville, the way they struggled to do so and the beating they took at the hands of Baltimore, and the last-minute loss against the Bucs shows that this is a team in disarray. It’s no coincidence they lead the league in penalties. That is one undisciplined team.

The Bears are another broken team. It seemed unlikely that their offense would do them in at any point this year, but Jay Cutler’s turnovers against the Panthers showed that they aren’t a strong enough team to absorb those mistakes.

The Vikings without Teddy Bridgewater, Cordarrelle Paterson, and Adrian Peterson are a broken team. The Jets are a broken team. Atlanta is a broken team. And perhaps most surprising of all, New Orleans is a broken team.

NFL Lines 2014, Week 5

Thursday Night Recap

Well, 0-for-5 on the Thursday night games this year! As I said in the write up, Christian Ponder…oof. Get well soon, Teddy Bridgewater.

Sunday’s Games

Chicago +3 at Carolina

The team that can’t score (Panthers) vs. the team that can’t play defense (Bears). Meanwhile, even with injuries to their offensive line, the Bears should have enough weapons to hold up against an injury-riddled Carolina defense.

Cleveland +2 at Tennessee

Let’s see what teams coming off a bye week can do this year. Against Jake Locker, the Browns need to be able to win this game. This game features two teams with multiple-RB threats. Bishop Sankey of Tennessee was the most highly touted rookie RB this season, but so far has been a bust and outshined by both Terrence West and Isaih Crowell of Cleveland. Ben Tate, though, should return to his starting role for the Browns this week.

St. Louis +6.5 at Philadelphia

The Eagles actually started as an eight-point favorite in this game, which the public apparently thought was too much against Austin Davis and Zac Stacy. Bill Barnwell of Grantland seems to be of two minds on the Eagles. On the one hand, he seems to think they’re a pretty good team. On the other hand, he notes that so far this season Philadelphia has beaten only Jacksonville, and teams that have beaten only Jacksonville. Hmmm….

Atlanta +4 at NY Giants

I think the Falcons could be about ready to give up on the season. But there’s hope for them yet against a team Matt Ryan should be able to throw against.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans -10

This seems like a lot of points to give for a team that’s been as dismal as the Saints this year. But New Orleans is decidedly better at home, and Tampa Bay might just think that their last-minute victory over the Steelers on the road last week was the Super Bowl. Look for Drew Brees & Co. to take out some frustration in this game.

Houston +6.5 at Dallas

Another interesting line move: Dallas was originally only a four-point favorite, but Cowboys fans moved the line by almost a field goal. Oh, Cowboys fans. You’re delightful.

Buffalo +7 at Detroit

Kyle Orton? Kyle Orton.

Baltimore +3 at Indianapolis

Toughest game of the week to call. I’m going with the Ravens, simply because the competitiveness they bring will be a stark contrast to what the Colts have seen the last two weeks.

Pittsburgh -6 at Jacksonville

Sorry, Jaguars, but I think the Steelers might have some feelings to work out over their crushing loss to the Bucs last week. And here you are, another team from Florida.

Arizona at Denver -7.5

The Cardinals have a good defense, but Drew Stanton vs. Peyton Manning? No thank you.

Kansas City +5 at San Francisco

The 49ers looked a bit more like their old selves last week, but the Chiefs are rolling. As long as Alex Smith doesn’t overdo it in this revenge game, they should be fine.

NY Jets at San Diego -6.5

The Chargers have trouble at RB, but I think Geno Smith will find it hard to move the ball against this defense.

Cincinnati (Pick) at New England

The Patriots rarely lose back-to-back games in the Bill Belichick era, but they rarely look as bad on offense as they do this year. The Bengals coming off a bye week could be the worst thing for New England right now. If Pittsburgh and Baltimore both win earlier in the day, the Bengals will be all the more motivated to stay ahead of their division rivals.

Seattle -7 at Washington

Another team coming off a bye week in Seattle, although Washington’s been off since a week ago last Thursday when they were shellacked by the Giants. The Seahawks should easily dominate this game.

Best Bets

This week, I like Denver -7.5, Seattle -7, Kansas City +5

NFL Lines 2014, Week 5 Thursday Night

Minnesota +7.5 at Green Bay

I hate (potentially) taking Christian Ponder on the road, but I’m counting on a couple of factors to keep this one close:

  • The weather. A sloppy field makes it tough for either team to move the ball.
  • Teddy Bridgewater might play.
  • Green Bay is an up-and-down, semi-competent team. Not the kind of group I want to count on to win by eight.
  • One of these Thursday night games will be competitive, right?

NFL Lines 2014, Week 4 Recap

A much better improvement this week compared to last week! I went 8-5 with my picks, bringing my season total to 31-30. Even better, all three of my Best Bets came through, so I’m 3-0 on that front. I also went 4-1 in taking home favorites, which has been my weakest sector to date.

Here’s a quick look at the results from week 4:

Correct Incorrect
Buffalo at Houston -3 NY Giants at Washington -3.5
Tennessee at Indianapolis -7 Miami at Oakland +3.5
Carolina at Baltimore -3 Green Bay at Chicago +2
Detroit -1.5 at NY Jets Philadelphia +4 at San Francisco
Tampa Bay +7 at Pittsburgh New Orleans -3 at Dallas
Jacksonville at San Diego -12.5
Atlanta at Minnesota +3.5
New England at Kansas City +3

Some notes:

  • EJ Manual was as bad as I expected, and is now being replaced by Kyle Orton, the Keanu Reaves of NFL quarterbacks.
  • Teddy Bridgewater!!
  • The Ravens probably are that good, and Carolina (with its injuries on defense) are that bad.
  • So long, Dennis Allen
  • Three supposedly good teams came into the week desperate for a win: Green Bay, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Only the Saints lost.

NFL Lines 2014, Week 4

Thursday Night Recap

Well, true to form this year, the Thursday night game was a blowout. Unfortunately, it didn’t go the way I expected. Hard to predict that any QB, much less one who’s played as well as Kirk Cousins has this year, will throw four interceptions. And he lost a fumble, too. Oof.

Onto the picks!

Miami at Oakland +3.5 (in London)

This game is Roger Goodell’s annual folly to try to have American football catch on overseas. Not gonna happen. Way past time to give up this ridiculous notion. I’d rather see attrition before a team is actually placed in London. As for the line, the Dolphins couldn’t even say if Ryan Tannehill would be their starter this week, and I’m supposed to take their side? I’ll take the team that went into Foxboro and almost stole a game from the Patriots last week.

Green Bay at Chicago +2

This was a surprising line. Sure, Green Bay has been winning in Chicago for years with Brett Favre and now Aaron Rodgers, but the Packers have hardly been impressive this year. Yes, they will be the more desperate of the two teams, as they look to avoid going 1-3, but the Bears have recovered nicely since losing a number of defensive starters.

Buffalo at Houston -3

EJ Manual on the road? No thank you.

Tennessee at Indianapolis -7

A lot of points – the second week in a row the Colts have been favored by a touchdown – but no way would I put money on Charlie Whitehurst.

Carolina at Baltimore -3

I can see Carolina winning this game, but I’m guessing Baltimore will do enough to pull out the win.

Detroit -1.5 at NY Jets

The Bears just destroyed the Jets on Monday night, and now the Lions (who likely have a defense at least as good as the Bears) are giving only 1.5 points against a team coming off a short week?

Tampa Bay +7 at Pittsburgh

Tampa Bay is awful. They don’t have a QB. Their star RB is hurt. But if Vegas isn’t willing to make the Steelers a 10-point favorite, I’m not going to back them.

Jacksonville at San Diego -12.5

It’s a lot of points, but the Jaguars are awful even with a likely upgrade at QB in rookie Blake Bortles. The Chargers have two hurt RBs, but I think their defense is good enough to keep this one from being close.

Philadelphia +4 at San Franscisco

This was a surprising line. I could almost see San Francisco being a three-point home favorite, but four? Seems just a bit too rich against a team that can pile on the points.

Atlanta at Minnesota +3.5

I believe in Teddy Bridgewater.

New Orleans -3 at Dallas

This was the surprising line of the week. Dallas seems like a live team, while New Orleans looks lackluster at best. So why are the Saints favored on the road here? No idea. But if Vegas says they’re the team to beat in this game, I’ll go with it.

New England at Kansas City +3

Kansas City looked good enough last week to convince me they can win this game.

Best Bets

Not a lot to like this week. But if I had to pick three games, I would go with the Colts, Lions, and Chargers.