The NFL and ESPN will likely see their highest rating of the year for Monday Night Football this week. Both teams in this heavyweight showdown are currently riding six-game winning streaks, making their case for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Both teams come into this game with extremely positive point differentials. New England has the highest in the league at +170 while the Texans are 2nd at +130. Only two other teams carry a positive differential greater than 100 (49ers and Broncos both +118). Needless to say, these are two of the elite teams in the NFL, and this game could quite possibly be the AFC Championship matchup come January.
Houston came into this season with lofty expectations to morph this relatively new franchise into a yearly contender. After starting 2011 at 10-3, the Texans lost their final three games to finish 10-6, clinching the AFC South in the process. Matt Schaub was lost in week 10 to a foot injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season. Rookie quarterback T.J. Yates filled in admirably, but the loss of Schaub proved too much for the Texans to handle. Yates threw 3 interceptions in the conference semifinal against the Ravens while the Texans fell 20-13.
This year’s Texans, led by Schaub and Arian Foster, came out of the gates with a vengeance. They currently sit at 11-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Houston boasts the 2nd ranked rushing defense and the 6th ranked rushing offense. This is a power run team with a more than serviceable quarterback, who has an elite wide receiver in Andre Johnson at his disposal. Owen Daniels has been greatly improved this year, giving Schaub a trustworthy option over the middle. Foster continues to prove that he is one of the top backs in the league, leading all rushers in carries and touchdowns. Although he has 13 touchdowns in 12 games, the most amazing statistic of Foster’s season is that he has lost only one fumble in 280 carries.
New England came into this season just like any other in the past ten years. Expectations are sky-high and failure isn’t a consideration. After starting the year 1-2, you can bet panic started to set in with the fans in the Northeast. The Patriots proceeded to win eight of their next nine games; all but three by a hefty margin. Brady and McDaniels have put together four 2007-like performances putting up scoring totals of 45, 49, 52 and 59. With 25 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, Tom is continuing to flourish in Belichick’s system. The scariest part of the Patriots offense this year is the emergence of a running game.
Steven Ridley, the second year running back out of LSU, has taken advantage of every opportunity handed to him this year. In his rookie season Ridley managed 5.1 ypc on limited touches. Coming into the season, he was given the reigns as the starter and exploded for 125 yards on 21 carries in his first game in Tennessee. He never looked back and has already surpassed 1,000 yards on the season, adding in 9 rushing touchdowns for good measure.
In games of this magnitude, there are bound to be exciting matchups to watch. Good teams are often judged based on their ability to convert, or get a stop, on third-downs. Houston’s defense holds the lowest third-down conversion rate in the NFL. Not surprisingly, New England has the league’s top third-down offense. Voila – a match made in Roger Goodell’s heaven. Another intriguing matchup is the Patriots 9th ranked rushing defense against Arian Foster. Behind Houston’s zone-blocking scheme, Foster hits holes decisively and has breakaway straight-line speed. He’s constantly falling forward and punishing defenders that get in his way. Houston will be looking to establish the ground game early and often, while the Patriots do everything in their power to minimize his yards per carry.
Both teams combine a high powered offense with a defense predicated on takeaways. New England leads the league with a +24 takeaway differential and Houston is tied for second with +14. The winner of the takeaway differential in this game will likely be the victor, as these teams are so evenly matched. We as fans of the NFL cannot ask for a better Monday Night Football game to watch in week 14. Neither team’s season will be in jeopardy after losing this game, but important statements will be made based on the final outcome.
Week 13 Results: 1-2
Season [ATS]: 12-11
Survivor Pick: To date, I’ve used DET, CIN, DAL, ATL, PIT, NYJ, MIN, GB, HOU, BAL, DEN, CLE and CAR. I actually changed my pick at the last minute last week from Carolina to Chicago. Needless to say, neither team pulled out the win, so I am officially out of my pool now. Only 5 remain – oh so close! I like the Colts, Steelers and Buccaneers this week. Take one of those if you have them still.
Luck’s TD:INT ratio splits are 9:3 at home vs. 8:13 away. Last week he threw 4 TD’s in Detroit further boosting that stat. The kid is good; everybody knows that. But he plays extremely well in the comfort of Indy, with his fans, and the dome atmosphere. The Titans have been in shambles all year and have showed no signs of turning it on at this point. I think this is a high scoring game, where luck goes over 300 yards yet again and Vic Ballard has his true breakout game as the lone starting RB. Wayne, Avery & Hilton are turning out to be quite the receiving core for Luck.
This isn’t just another divisional game for Chicago. They are in a dead heat with Green Bay for 1st place in the NFC North. Minnesota is emotionally devastated by the placing of Percy Harvin on IR. Peterson is the only thing keeping them afloat. I have no doubts that Alien Peterson will get his, but Ponder and his “receiving” core are pitiful. The Vikings are 5-1 at home (1-5 away) but they haven’t beaten a good team since September. Marshall breaks 100 yards yet again and the Bears win by double digits.
Forget who’s playing here. Look at the records. 11-1 vs. 3-9 – how do you get a 3 point spread? I live in Charlotte and I can assure you there is no home-field advantage in terms of their crowd. Sure, it’s a division matchup so the Panthers may come out to play, but they just lost to the Chiefs. The Chiefs! Don’t get me wrong, the Falcons are as sketchy as an 11-1 team gets, but after last week, I don’t think the Panthers have what it takes to win games right now. LaFell is looking doubtfull which kills their passing attack, which has improved in parallel with LaFell’s emergence. At worst, I see this game pushing. Don’t be afraid to buy the ½ point if you get it at 3½.
Quick Notes: The total in the Saints @ Giants is 53 – take the under now. If Jonathan Joseph doesn’t suit up for the Texans, I like the Patriots -3 at home. I like the Cardinals +10 which seems to be a trap game (now that the almight Skelton is back) and the over which is currently at 35 points. The Seahawks are losing corners left and right, and the Cardinals still have that guy names Larry.
Bonus Pick: I use Bovada.lv to place my bets and they offer attractive teasers each week. I have hit three out of four 4-game teasers the past 4 weeks (tweet @ me for proof). This week, my teaser is +6pts (+265) with Bears -3, Colts -5, 49ers -10 and Seahawks -10 giving you final lines of CHI +3, IND +1, SF -4 and SEA -4. A 6.5 point teaser pays out +240 and the 7 point pays out +200
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Each and every year, the NFC East is touted as one of the most talented and toughest conferences in the NFL. And each and every year at least one team disappoints. This year every team except 2011’s last place Redskins have disappointed us in one way or another. Three of the four teams currently sit under .500, and the last place Eagles have been battling the Tebow-less Jets for biggest bust of the year. The Cowboys have under-performed yet again, managing only five wins with a plethora of talent on the roster. This leaves us with our week 13 matchup: the New York (Football) Giants vs. the Washington Redskins.
The Giants have had a rollercoaster of a year thus far and who knows if the largest drop has been hit yet. To say they have disappointed may be a reach, but it was their recent stretch of poor performances that got fans and analysts concerned. Eli went through a dead-arm phase and lost sight of the end zone, failing to record a passing touchdown in three straight games, while tossing 4 interceptions. But last week Eli showed his Manning heritage by throwing for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns in a turnover free blowout of the Packers. Hakeem Nicks has proclaimed himself the healthiest he has been all year which only bodes well for the football Giants.
The Redskins have been a pleasant surprise in the NFC East after finishing 5-11 last year. Robert Griffin III has exceeded his first year expectations, instantly becoming one of the most electric players in the NFL. In his first year, he has brought the Redskins to their ’11 win total of five and has encountered a couple of close losses. After 12 games, “RG3” holds a 4:1 TD:INT ratio (16:4) and is completing 67% of his passes, good for 4th in the league. But RG3’s hype came from what he can do on the ground. Boasting a 4.41 40-yard dash time, this former track star was expected to make things happen scrambling out of the pocket. He’s done so by rushing for 642 yards (6.4 ypc) and 6 touchdowns, good for 21st in the NFL. Ryan Mathews and Michael Turner have fewer yards than Griffin, just to name a few.
What’s at stake in this game? Although the Giants are sitting at 7-3, they still have a lot to prove to their fans, the league and most importantly themselves. Eli needs to come out and have another strong outing and David Wilson needs to step up in Andre Brown’s absence. A broken leg will sideline him for the rest of the regular season, but a return in the Super Bowl could be a possibility. Victor Cruz needs to get over his case of the drops, which he has had off and on this entire season, totaling 9 so far. The Redskins are still very much in the wild card hunt at 5-6 but will need a win against NY or Baltimore to keep the dream alive. The Skins play Cleveland and Philadelphia in weeks 15 and 16, which should be easy wins for a playoff team. The Redskins only have two wins at home compared to three losses and losing twice to a divisional rival can be heartbreaking to fans. This matchup is the definition of a ‘make-or-break’ game for Washington.
The keys to this game are simple. Washington’s 31st ranked pass defense needs to step up against two great wide receivers and capitalize on their chances to create turnovers. With Bradshaw’s counterpart out, the Giants will likely throw the ball more to account for Brown’s carries. Wilson has had fumbling issues his whole career so you can bet that Washington will be throwing their fists at the ball each carry he gets. RG3 needs to be cognizant of the ferocious pass-rush he is about to endure and make things happen with his feet. Pierre Garcon’s health will be a key factor in boosting the Redskins passing game. Garcon appeared healthy last week but has claimed he won’t be 100% until the offseason.
You can bet the Redskins will be keeping an eye on the Tampa Bay, Seattle and Minnesota games, as those teams are their top competition for the 2nd wildcard spot. All three teams have tough road matchups and will be fighting for wins. Assuming Green Bay has the top wildcard spot locked up, New Orleans (@Atlanta) and Dallas (vs. Philadelphia) are the only two teams with realistic possibilities of making the playoffs. The NFL rarely fails to excite, and the suspense this year could go deep into the regular season.
Week 11 Results: 2-1
Week 12 Results: Too much Turkey
Season [ATS]: 11-9
Survivor Pick: To date, I’ve used DET, CIN, DAL, ATL, PIT, NYJ, MIN, GB, HOU, BAL, DEN and CLE respectively each week. This week I’m going with Carolina. Kansas City is a mess and Carolina is better than their record suggests.
My survivor pick of the week. Cam looked great last week against the Eagles. Ok, so that last sentence has very little meaning. But the Chiefs aren’t any better than the Eagles. Arrowhead stadium used to be a tough place to play, but now the Chiefs are 1-10 with little to no hope of winning another game. With a line this small you have to take the hot team over a one-win team. Another stat to ease your conscious: Carolina is 4-1 ATS away from home.
Putting aside the fact that the Jags are 100x better with Henne over Gabbert, the Jags are surprisingly 5-0 ATS as away dogs this year. If you’ve ever seen the Jags stadium during home games you can understand why they play much better in other team’s stadiums. Six points in way too much to give in a game between two bad teams whose seasons are over.
Houston is a much better team than Tennessee – plain and simple. There hasn’t been a game this year where they haven’t come to play. They beat the Titans by 24 on their home field and I don’t expect this game to be much closer. The line won’t stay this small so jump on it while you can. Houston is out to prove something this year and they won’t let a division rival hand them their 2nd loss. The return of Ben Tate could help alleviate some of the pressure of Foster as well, allowing the Texans to dominate the game on the ground.
Quick Notes: The Bengals are a hot team right now and are -1.5 against the Chargers. San Diego likes to show up once and a while, but the Bengals are the better bet here. Speaking of hot teams – how are the Buccaneers getting 7 points against the Broncos? Oh yeah, Peyton Manning. I will likely bet Tampa Bay in this game but I won’t endorse the pick. I don’t like the half point, just off principle, but the Patriots -7.5 is laughable the way they have been playing. I’ll be taking the alternative line (-14.5) which will probably only pay out +180.
Thanksgiving week in the NFL marks a time where players, coaches and fans give thanks to their family, friends and the playoff race. At this point in the season, the AFC has much more disparity than the NFC. Therefore, the playoff and wildcard races are much more intriguing in the NFC. This week, the 9-1 Falcons will visit the 6-4 Buccaneers for a division rivalry game. Other than the Texans, there aren’t any hotter teams in the NFL than these two NFC South contenders. The Buccaneers will look to keep their four-game winning streak alive as the Falcons attempt to start a new streak of their own.
Four weeks into the season the NFC South had a combined record of 6-10, with Atlanta holding four of those wins. The Panthers and Buccaneers were 1-3 and the Saints were a surprising 0-4. Since then, the teams are a combined 16-8 (15-3 excluding Carolina). Outside of the Panthers’ struggles, the division is living up to the preseason expectations. Matt Ryan, despite the five-interception game last week, is playing the role of an MVP quarterback. Josh Freeman is proving that his sophomore slump was just that and nothing more (or less). And Drew Brees is, well, Drew Brees. He’s consistently putting the team on his back, utilizing whoever he has on the field, moving the ball with ease. In the past few weeks the Saints have found their running game, and their defense is looking better than the worst NFL defense ever - if that’s possible.
What does this all mean for the ramifications of the game this Sunday? Not only do the Buccaneers need a win to stay in the divisional race; they need a win to secure a chance at a wild card spot. New Orleans is 5-1 in their last six games and we can safely assume they are not going away. Green Bay and Chicago are locked up at 7-3 atop the NFC North and Minnesota is hot on their tail at 6-4. Another team that sits at 6-4 is the Seattle Seahawks, who are taking the term “home-field advantage” to a whole new level. Excluding the Cowboys, for reasons recognized by all, there are five teams, including Tampa Bay, fighting for the two wild card spots.
Each team’s strengths play into their opponent’s weaknesses. This makes for an intriguing matchup. The Buccaneers have excelled in the running game, especially of late, as rookie Doug Martin is proving to be a feature back in the NFL. The Buccaneers come into this game with the 1st ranked rushing defense in the league going against the 28th ranked rushing offense, led by an aging veteran in Michael Turner, who seems to be wearing down by each down he plays. On the contrary, the Falcons boast the 3rd best passing offense in the league going against the league’s worst passing defense, giving up 312 yards per contest.
This game has all the makings of a shootout between two of the league’s best young quarterbacks. Now with Vincent Jackson at his disposal, Freeman has a deep-threat to stretch the field and open up the middle for Mike Williams, who coincided with Freeman in a sophomore slump. Matt Ryan has been electric for most of the year and much of that has to do with his two stud receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones. Jones has been sidelined with a bad ankle and is questionable for the game this Sunday. If Jones does end up playing, you can lock him into a limited snap count and usage mainly as a decoy.
The NFL has scheduled a plethora of meaningful games this week. Some games are important for pride, some for standings and some just for hope (See, Panthers vs. Eagles and Titans vs. Jaguars). The Falcons vs. Buccaneers has ramifications on many levels and shouldn’t be neglected by NFL viewers. Look for the Bucs to come out with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove.
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Week 10 Results: 0-3 (said really fast hoping no one notices)
Season [ATS]: 9-8
Survivor Pick: To date, I’ve used DET, CIN, DAL, ATL, PIT, NYJ, MIN, GB, HOU and BAL respectively each week. This week I’m riding the ageless Peyton Manning and the Broncos over the Chargers.
Leftwich is 0-6 as a starter dating back to October of 2008. Ouch. The guy has a cannon for an arm. However, his delivery looks like he’s throwing a cannon ball. Antonio Brown will be sitting out this game leaving only Mike Wallace to stretch the field. The Ravens know this and should be gameplanning against the deep ball. I’m confident Harbough will do the right thing and force Leftwich to get the ball out quickly (using that term loosely).
New Orleans -4.5
There aren’t many teams hotter than Naw’leens right now. There’s a lot of buzz around Carson Palmer right now, especially in the fantasy world. That buzz should stay in the fantasy world. The Raiders, as a whole, are not a good football team. They have allowed 97 points in their last 2 games. Let that sink in. Now they go against a top 3 offense of the last 5 years. The Saints now have their running game going which opens up the passing game even more. Palmer has to come crashing back to life sooner or later, and Heyward-Bey has a sore hammy. I like NO to win this by at least 10.
Tampa Bay -1.5
The Bucs are on FIRE. There isn’t much to say here. A much improved team that is clicking on all cylinders vs. a team in distress searching for their identity. Yes, it’s a divisional game in Carolina, but -1.5 is basically a pick’em. I love Freeman and Martin in this game.
Quick Notes: My quick notes last week were much more successful going 3-0 recommending the Texans, Cowboys and Buccaneers. The Broncos are 4-1 ATS compared to the Chargers 1-4 recently. This is a rivalry game and I like the Chargers +7.5. A recent news broadcast has informed the country that the Jets are awful. Go with the Rams – feed Amendola! It’s always a good idea to go against the Chiefs. The Bengals are getting a FG right now.
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Week 9 Results: 3-1
Season [ATS]: 9-5
Survivor Pick: To date, I’ve used DET, CIN, DAL, ATL, PIT, NYJ, MIN, GB and HOU respectively each week. This week I’m locking in Baltimore against the Raiders. Safe players may want to go with New England coming off a bye week. Baltimore has a tough schedule the rest of the way and I don’t want to miss out on them this year.
The Jets are coming off a bye. The Jets have been nothing short of bi-polar this year. They’ve hung in games with the Texans and the Patriots, and they’ve been blown out by the 49ers, Dolphins and Steelers. They also blew out the 6-3 Colts that everyone loves right now. So, which NY team will show up? I repeat: the Jets are coming off a bye. Rex Ryan’s job is on the line. Being defensive minded, you can guarantee he will try to stop two things: Marshawn Lynch and the deep ball. Those two things are all that Seattle has. Wilson throws a great one, don’t get me wrong, but he’s not a quick-slant-pre-snap-read kind of guy yet. He’s made a killing off of long balls to Tate and Rice. DRC should take Rice out of the equation and forcing Wilson to dink-and-dunk should slow the Seahawks down. Even if they pull the win out at home (as they usually do) the Jets will keep the game a barnburner.
Have you seen Minnesota lately? They are falling apart. Well, that AP guy is still decent. But Ponder looks like he’s been taking pointers from Blaine Gabbert circa ‘11 the way he’s been slinging the ball. With Harvin looking doubtful for the game, you need to pounce on this now. I’m wasting time just writing about it. The Lions have assembled a running game again and Stafford is starting to throw the ball normally again. After failing to cover the first 4 games of the year, the Lions have covered their last 4. This clearly shows the public perception failing to accurately judge the Lions’ value. Ride it while it lasts; they will soon be given more points to cover each game.
The Chiefs are 1-7 this year and 2-5 ATS. Of those seven losses, six of them have been by double digits. Exclude the Oakland game where they only lost by 10, they have lost by 16+ in five out of seven. They are bad. Anytime you give an NFL team double digits points, you have good reason to doubt the bet. I understand. But re-read those statistics. Kansas City gives up 30 points per game. Try and convince yourself that the Steelers, with Ben playing at an elite level and Redman/Dwyer running all over teams, won’t put up 30+ points. Then ask yourself: Can the Chiefs, who average 16 points per game, put up 20 points against a defense ranked #1 in the league against the pass? Again, giving double digits to any team in the NFL comes with risk. I believe the risk here is minimized beyond belief.
Quick Notes: Chicago’s record as home favorite ATS: 2-2. Houston’s record as an underdog: N/A, as in they haven’t been an underdog yet. Wonder why? There’s no way I bet on the Eagles again this week. I’ve done it too many times. They are 1-6-1 ATS this year. But there’s something inside of me that can’t pick against them. Please bet on the Cowboys. I can’t put it in my write-up for reasons I just discussed, but they are awful. I think the Patriots are going to blow out the Bills, but for reasons discussed in the Steelers pick, I refrained from putting them in. And if you’re into riding hot teams, look no further than the Jacked Gerbal’s Buccaneers. Yeah, that nickname doesn’t work either. Tampa Bay is playing great football right now and they are 6-2 ATS.
Week 9 Results: 3-1
Season [ATS]: 9-5
LOSS. The Redskins (-3) truly fooled me this week. I underestimated the power of the Panthers defense. They kept RG3 in check throughout the game, not allowing him to break free for large gains. The Redskins receivers couldn’t pry themselves away from Carolina’s “suffocating” defense, and without a true deep threat, the Skins just can’t stretch the field. Cam played turnover free football and showed that the Panthers aren’t as bad as their record suggests.
WIN. The Steelers (+3.5) benefitted from Eli’s cold streak and made this bet a wide open layup. Redman proved that the Steelers O-line is responsible for a lot of the running game’s resurgence as he exploded for 100+ yards. With Ben playing the best football of his career, the Steelers will be extremely hard to stop if their running game continues to pound opponents into the ground. It may just be me but it sure looks like the old-time Steeler mentality is coming back.
WIN. Tampa Bay (+1) stayed hot Sunday rolling over the Raiders behind Doug Martin’s ROY-like performance. The final score didn’t do the game justice. It was a blowout for most of the game and the Raiders managed 3 TD’s in garbage time, thanks to LeGarrette Blount, who proved to the coaches that he should stay on the bench with his 4th quarter fumble. There aren’t many quarterbacks hotter than Josh Freeman right now. In his last four games, Freeman has averaged 314 yards per game along with a 11:1 TD:INT ratio. I’ll be watching their line closely against the Chargers – if it falls below 3, grab it!
WIN. Seattle (-4) showed why they are so dominant at home. Despite the efforts of Peterson, the Seahawks were able to control this game throughout. Ponder is in a downward spiral and could only manage 69 yards on 11 completions against Seattle’s defense. Lynch looked unstoppable, constantly carrying defenders on his back, which has become second nature to him. Russell Wilson was excellent as well tossing 3 TDs.
Get it while the gettin’s good! I’m on a roll here these past few weeks and I’m looking to keep it going next week. For those survivors out there, Houston carried us on one more week. In hindsight, I wish I had taken Seattle to save the Texans for later, but the Seahawks play Arizona at home week 14 which will be a safe play.
The Panthers came into Washington Sunday afternoon on a five-game losing streak. At 1-6, their season was spiraling downhill and panic was setting in. Their five-game skid included losses to the Giants, Falcons, Seahawks, Cowboys and Bears. That’s no easy schedule for any team, let alone one still in rebuilding mode. With the media drilling home Newton vs. Griffin III, the balloon of pressure in Carolina was on the brink of bursting.
In comes Armanti Edwards. Who?!? That’s right, Carolina’s heavily scrutinized 3rd round draft pick in 2010. As a rookie, the Appalachian State project barely saw the field. Last year, he was delegated to return duties, in which he subsequently flopped averaging only 5.5 yards per punt return. Edwards sparked the third and final touchdown drive with an 82 yard catch and run down the sideline. With this catch being his second of the season/career, I wouldn’t expect Edwards to be heard from again this year, and at this point, that may be just fine with the Panthers.
Unfortunately for the media, the quarterback battle was far from the deciding factor in this game. Neither turned the ball over, but Cam did something RG3 couldn’t manage to do: score. Cam’s touchdown pass was a beautiful back-shoulder jump-ball in the endzone to Steve Smith, who recorded his first TD catch of the year. Yes, the year. The score came with 0:57 left in the half to give the Panthers a 14-3 edge at the halfway point. Newton also scored on a goal line rush from the 1 yard line. The Redskins offense averaged 26.6 points/game coming into the matchup and with the Panthers scoring only 21 points, the other side of the ball needed to step up.
The Panthers defense was indeed the deciding factor in the game. Looking at the team statistics - total yards, number of possessions and turnovers remained even. The Skins controlled the time of possession (35:20 to 24:40) and the Panthers managed one drive of 10+ plays while the Redskins had four. But when stops needed to be made, Carolina’s defense was ready. The defense held the Skins to a 20% third-down conversion rate (3-15). Carolina’s defense was even better in the redzone, allowing the Skins to score only once in three attempts, including a 4th-and-goal stand. RG3 could never break free for that long run and was held to short gains after watching his receivers fail to break free from coverage. Evan Royster, not Alfred Morris, was the only Skin to find the endzone, inevitably upsetting fantasy owners across the globe.
After this win, Cam and the Cats will be looking to build on their new found momentum. They return to Charlotte next week to face two more difficult opponents: Denver and Tampa Bay. These games will be Cam’s opportunity to show his team and league what kind of quarterback and person he is. If he can lead his team to a couple more victories, he will regain the exciting-young-running-quarterback crown. If he flops (and frowns), RG3’s statement, asking to be compared to Rodgers instead of Cam, may be validated.
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Last Week: 1-2
A bear trap. That’s what Week 9 looks like. There are 5 road favorites, all with spreads between 2.5-3.5 points. Detroit and Chicago look very enticing, but I won’t be recommending either.
Survivor Pick: To date, I’ve used DET, CIN, DAL, ATL, PIT, NYJ, MIN and GB respectively each week. This week I’m playing it safe again with the Texans. I also like Seattle at home if you’re daring.
The Redskins are coming off a 15-point loss to the Steelers on the road. The game had no turnovers and only 7 punts total. The Redskins just failed to put the ball in the endzone on a couple of nice drives. The Panthers took a lead into the 4th quarter against the Bears and allowed them to drive down the field for a win. Cam has been nothing short of a disappointment this year, and though the Redskins secondary is laughable, Cam doesn’t have anyone other than Steve Smith to throw to, and LaFell is out with a concussion. The Skins are only 1-2 at home with losses to the Bengals and Falcons. They’ve played a tough schedule so far and RG3 has led them to a 3-5 record. He makes it 4-5 this week.
I can’t believe that this line will stay larger than a field goal but grab it while you can. Big Ben and the Black & Yellow are still underrated in the public’s perception (possibly due to their poor attire last week). Ben is slinging the ball better than he has in his entire career. But Eli’s no slouch either. I think this game remains competitive throughout. The Giants haven’t blown any team out (excluding the Panthers on TNF). They just aren’t that type of team this year. The pass rush hasn’t been as elite as it has in the past and the secondary is 26th overall against the pass. If Dwyer suits up for his 3rd straight start, look for him to open up the passing game for Ben, Brown and Wallace. Even if the Giants pull it off, I see it being by a field goal. Look at it this way: if the Giants are up 10 going into the 4th, Big Ben will surely lead the Steelers to a garbage time TD making it a 3 point game. Sure looks like a lock to me.
Tampa Bay +1
Tampa Bay has been on fire lately. Their offense is clicking both on the ground and through the air. For those of you who like statistics, the Bucs are 3-0 as away dogs and the Raiders are 0-2 as home favorites. The Raiders just barely snuck by the Jags at home and the Buccos beat the Vikings by 19 away from home. It feels like each team is trending in different directions. Tampa Bay’s defense ranks 6th in the league in rushing yards per game. Couple that with McFadden’s struggles and the Raiders are relying on Carson Palmer to take this game over. I’d much rather put my money on the improving young-gun Josh Freeman.
Anyone notice Seattle’s road struggles? If so, you’ve noticed how good they are at home. Inside the dome in front of a sold-out crowd allows them to play ball freely. Ponder has shown his true colors lately. He’s still a young quarterback that makes mistakes. Sure, AP will get his yards on the ground, but they will have to abandon it eventually after Seattle puts some early points on the board. Minnesota just lost their top CB Chris Cook which should make it easier for Wilson to stretch the field. His deep ball has been a thing of beauty this year.
Brought to you by Aaron Marcotte (@MoreThanFantasy) of TradeDebate.com