Even though we had some rough losses (lost Miami by a half point, Philly blew a late 10 point lead) we had another week above .500, so that’s nice.
Week 6 was unreal, underdogs performed unbelievably well, going 12-2 against the spread, including five road underdogs that won straight up (Giants, Packers, Bills, Lions, Broncos). Well, this week, I’m leaning to the favorites. After I made all my picks I went back and realized that I’m going with eight favorites, and four underdogs this week. Underdogs in 2012 are 57-32-2 against the spread, which is a very impressive number, and while I don’t really follow trends that much maybe we’ll see an adjustment this week and favorites will do a little better. I can only hope.
There’s a very good slate of games in Week 7,including Jets at Patriots, Ravens at Texans, Redskins at Giants and it all ends with an NFC North battle, Lions at Bears on Monday Night.
Stay in the loop. I usually tweet out some picks on Sunday morning, so follow me on Twitter @Fantasource to get the latest.
Let’s try to keep this train rolling with another winning week…
Last Week: 7-6
Season Record: 37-31-1
Sunday, Oct. 21
Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills (-3 1/2, O/U 46)
What we have here is a battle of two very bad defenses. They are the bottom two teams in points per game (Buffalo: 32 ppg, Tennessee: 34 ppg) and both teams are giving up 420 yards per game in total offense. So how do you handicap this one?
Both teams are coming in off of impressive wins, Tennessee knocked off Pittsburgh at home and the Bills went out to Arizona and got an overtime win against the Cardinals.
I’m going with the Bills in this one. Tennessee is 0-3 on the road, losing by an average of 25 points per game and the only way for them to get a win is if Chris Johnson can take advantage of a terrible Buffalo rush defense and he just might. But I think Ryan Fitzpatrick and the two headed RB monster of Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller will be too much for the Titans.
Pick: Bills -3 1/2
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (-6, O/U 40)
I think the Cardinals have hit the wall. Such a great start to the season, jumping out to 4-0, with wins over the Eagles and Patriots. And then… losing two in a row. Not just losing two in a row, but losing ugly in St. Louis and then dropping an overtime loss to a bad Buffalo team.
And now they go to Minnesota. If you’ve read the column you know that I am on the Vikings bandwagon. I like the offense (yes, I am #TeamPonder) and I think the Vikings will be able to handle the Cardinals this week. I’d lay the six points and I even think the Vikings will win by double digits.
The Cardinals might be without QB Kevin Kolb (as of this writing he was questionable to play), so John Skelton could get the nod. Either way I think the Vikings defense will shut down the struggling Cardinals offense and Christian Ponder and the Vikes offense will be able to score enough at home to get the win and the cover and move to 5-2.
Pick: Vikings -6
Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts (-2 1/2, O/U 45)
Ok Browns, you got your first win, now here come five losses in a row.
Cleveland was impressive last week against the rival Bengals, pulling off the 34-24 win at home. But I don’t think they can do it again. Browns RB Trent Richardson is hurt and might not play this week, and if he does he won’t be 100%. He is a huge part of the Browns offense. The Colts weakness is the rush defense, well the entire defense in general is suspect but the rush D is their weakest spot and without a healthy Richardson to take advantage of that matchup I don’t think the Browns will be able to keep up with Andrew Luck and the Colts.
The Colts have played well at home, 2-1 with wins over Green Bay and Minnesota. I’ll look past last week’s ugly loss to the Jets and say that the Colts rebound at home and knock off the Browns.
Pick: Colts -2 1/2
Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans (-6 1/2, O/U 48)
With all due respect to the Jets/Patriots and Giants/Redskins games, this is the game of the week. Houston was rolling along at 6-0 until last week when they hit the Green Bay brick wall. Wow. Houston was on the losing end of a 42-24 blowout at home.
I like the Ravens in this one. I know everyone is expecting a bounce back game from the Texans but I think the Ravens offense should be able to move the ball, maybe not as easily as the Packers did, but they should be able to put up some points. The loss of LB Brian Cushing might have a bigger impact on the Houston defense than everyone may have expected.
Yes, the Ravens lost Ray Lewis last week and that will definitely be an issue for them. But I expect this to be a high scoring game and I’ll take the points.
Pick: Ravens +6 1/2
Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams (+5, O/U 45 1/2)
The Packers just smoked the previously undefeated Texans, in Houston, by 18 points. And now they are only laying 5 points at St. Louis?
The Rams defense is good. But are they good enough to shut down the Packers offense? The St. Louis defense will have to be sharp this week because the St Louis offense is horrible. The Rams offense has been held to an average of 14 points per game the past 4 weeks. That’s not going to be enough to beat the Packers and their improved defense.
After a rough start to the season it sure looks like the Packers offense is clicking lately, putting up almost 30 points per game the past four games. And I think they will be able to score on this tough Rams defense. I’ll lay the five points on the road.
Pick: Packers -5
Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers (+2, O/U 46)
The Cowboys had a heartbreaker last week in Baltimore. Dallas was down 2 with 30 seconds left, ball on the 34 yard line going in. But clock mismanagement and a missed field goal sent them home with a loss. Ouch.
But now they get to redeem themselves against a struggling Panthers team. Carolina is 1-4 and coming off the bye week they are looking to get back on track. And guess what, I like the Panthers.
Dallas has given up 27 or more points in three of it’s last four games. I expect the Panthers to be able to move the ball against the Dallas defense. Dallas will probably be without RB DeMarco Murray, so that will hurt it’s running game. Felix Jones is a serviceable backup but Murray was the #1 guy.
I expect the Panthers come back strong at home, utilize their RBs (Williams and Stewart) and get a win at home, and Dallas HC Jason Garrett’s hot seat gets even hotter.
Pick: Panthers +2
Washington Redskins at New York Giants (-5 1/2, O/U 50)
All aboard the Robert Griffin Express. I’m driving. Wow, RGIII really got it done last week in a huge win over Minnesota. Maybe the Redskins have turned the corner on the season.
I know the Giants just blew the doors off of the 49ers in San Francisco, but I like the Redskins in this one. Yes, the Redskins have the worst pass defense in the league (328 yards per game), and I know this is a big NFC East rivalry game but the Giants are coming off a huge win against the 49ers, and have to go to Dallas next week for a rematch against the Cowboys. I think this is a spot where the Giants might come up flat. It should be a high scoring game and I’ll take the Redskins (and RGIII) and the points.
Pick: Redskins +5 1/2
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3, O/U 49)
Here’s a little secret for you, Tampa’s defense is very good. They aren’t talked about as one of the top defenses in the league, but they are pretty good. And the Saints come in as the polar opposite. The New Orleans defense stinks (even Saints fans will agree with this).
I think the Bucs offense will be able to move the ball against a porous Saints defense, especially on the ground. New Orleans is surrendering 172 yards rushing per game, so I expect the Bucs to just give it to LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin. I know Drew Brees will be throwing all day for the Saints, but I just think the Bucs are the better team, they are at home, and they are getting points. I’ll say that Tampa pulls the upset as home underdogs.
Pick: Buccaneers +3
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-10, O/U 47)
So Jets coach Rex Ryan was running his mouth earlier this week about the Patriots, “’I want them to know that I think we’re going to beat them.” Um, ok Rex. Vegas made you 10 point underdogs, so you’re the only one who thinks that you’re going to win.
This is the perfect storm for the Patriots, coming off a brutal loss in Seattle, they head home to face a division rival who really isn’t that good but who won’t stop talking about how they are going to win the game.
The Patriots weakness is their defense, but Sanchez doesn’t scare me. Throw out the stats, just give me Tom Brady and Bill Belichick coming home off of an ugly road loss. Rex Ryan’s smack talk is going to backfire. I’ll take the Patriots and lay the double digits.
Pick: Patriots -10
Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders (-4, O/U 44)
This one is easy for me. I’m not taking the Jaguars on the road. No way.
I know that the Raiders are nothing special either, but I’ll take my chances with Carson Palmer at home. Oakland showed some fight last week at Atlanta and now they head home for their first home game in 4 weeks. I expect them to bounce back from the Falcons loss and take advantage of a Jaguars team that has only scored 10 or more points once in their last 4 games.
I’m thinking something like 30-17 Raiders in this one.
Pick: Raiders -4
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (+1 1/2, O/U 45 1/2)
Pittsburgh is a Jekyll and Hyde team, 2-0 at home, 0-3 on the road. And last week they went down to Tennessee and got beat by a pretty bad Titans team. But this week I think they break that road losing streak and get the win, and cover, on the road.
Cincinnati had their own issues last week at Cleveland, falling apart in the 2nd half and losing 34-24.
The Pittsburgh offense will have to get it done in the air, since both Steeler RBs are injured (Mendenhall and Redman) but I expect Ben to take advantage of the weak Bengals pass D and lead the Steelers to victory.
Pick: Steelers -1 1/2
Monday, Oct. 22
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-6, O/U 47)
I watched the Lions play last week and based on that performance, I am taking the Bears. The Lions went to Philly and beat the Eagles but they looked very sloppy in the process. I don’t think it was the Lions winning as much as it was the Eagles giving the game away.
And for Chicago, after that debacle in Green Bay a few weeks ago the Bears have really turned things around. Three straight wins have moved them into first place in the NFC North. The Lions on the other hand are playing their fourth road game in five weeks, and this time it’s a Monday Night matchup in Soldier Field.
The Bears at home, on Monday Night, coming off of a bye week? I’ll lay the 6 points because the Bears defense is on such a roll right now they could very well shut out the Lions.
Pick: Bears -6