Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
Last week we had a few things to be thankful for, like the Patriots putting up 59 points against the Colts, and Green Bay kicking a field goal with 10 seconds left to get us the cover. But we also had a few “what?!?” moments. In the Carolina / Tampa Bay game we had the Panthers +1 1/2, they were winning by 8 with a minute left. Of course they give up a TD, then the 2-point conversion, and then lost by 6 in overtime. Doesn’t get worse than that, or does it… we also had the Broncos -7 1/2. They were up by 14 points late in the 4th quarter, and the Chargers got a garbage TD (that had to be confirmed through instant replay) to beat us by a half point. Oh well, we ended the week at 7-6 so I’ll take it.
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 feast on some turkey, and feast on some winners this weekend…
Last Week: 7-6
Season Record: 66-64-2
Thursday, Nov. 22nd
Houston Texans at Detroit Lions (+3 1/2, O/U 50)
All due respect to the Patriots, the Texans have the best offense in the league. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to take Houston this week on the road.
The Lions seem to be putting it together lately. Last week they almost pulled off an upset at home against the Packers, and now they get to stay at home and get to take on the Texans, who are coming off of a hard-fought overtime win against the Jaguars.
The line looks fishy, laying only 3 points for the Texans? I think the short week will be a problem and I think this will be a high scoring game, and I’ll take the Lions getting points at home to start the Thanksgiving slate.
Pick: Lions +3 1/2
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (-3 1/2, O/U 48)
RGIII and the Redskins really put it to the Eagles last week. Robert Griffin ended the game with 4 touchdowns, and only 1 incomplete pass. -His best day as a pro so far in his young career.
But on Thanksgiving, in a division game, against a team that is only 1 game out of first place? I’ll take the Cowboys in this one.
I think Dallas sees an opportunity to restart their season. They were left for dead a few weeks ago, now they are in the playoff mix again and only one game out of first place. I think the Cowboys offense should be able to move the ball against the Redskins defense and score enough to cover the 3 1/2 points at home.
Pick: Cowboys -3 1/2
New England Patriots at New York Jets (+6 1/2, O/U 48)
Two questions need to be answered before we pick this game: How much does Rob Gronkowski mean to the Patriots? And do you believe the Jets are back on track after their win in St Louis last week?
My answers: Gronk means a lot to the Pats, and no I don’t think the Jets are back on track.
But most importantly, do I think the Patriots can cover the 6 1/2 points on the road? Yes, I do.
The Patriots will miss Gronkowski, but they should be able to plug in Aaron Hernandez and the drop off won’t be too great. Hernandez has been hurt lately, but I think the injury to Gronkowski will push him to get on the field on Thursday night.
I expect the Patriots to use a ball-control offense against the Jets, short bursts with Welker, Edelman and Ridley. They should win and be able to cover the spread, and I think the under could also be a good play here.
Pick: Patriots -6 1/2
Sunday, Nov. 25th
Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals (-8, O/U 49)
Should the Bengals be laying 8 points to anyone? No, they shouldn’t. Cincinnati is 0-7-3 in their last 10 games as a favorite of 7 points or more.
I know the Raiders are struggling but they should be able to move the ball against the Bengals defense. Expect a lot of points in this one. Take a look at the Over 49 also. Oakland is giving up a ton of points lately (38, 55 and 42 points in their last three games) and while I don’t expect the Raiders to come into Cincinnati and pull the upset I’ll take the 8 points all day, every day.
Pick: Raiders +8
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (+3, O/U 39 1/2)
Well, the Steelers sure missed Ben Roethlisberger last week, huh? No offense to speak of with Byron Leftwich behind center. Then Leftwich breaks his ribs and now the Steelers QB is….. Charlie Batch? Ok, whatever.
This is a good spot for Cleveland, at home playing against a banged up Steelers offense. I don’t know how the Steelers will move the ball with Charlie Batch. I guess they will rely more on running the ball? Cleveland gave the Cowboys a game last week, but couldn’t hold onto a 13-0 lead, and lost in overtime. In a division game I’ll take the Browns at home getting points.
Pick: Browns +3
Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis Colts (-3, O/U 52)
The Colts got blasted last week. Wow. 59-24, and the game didn’t even seem that close. Indy was up 14-7 at one point and then…. well, it got real ugly.
Buffalo had a nice division win at home against the Dolphins in the Thursday night game, and now they go on the road, with 10 days rest to take on the Colts.
The Colts have the worst defense in the league (32nd ranked in both pass and rush), and I expect the Bills to be able to move the ball on the Colts, relying on the run to keep Andrew Luck off the field as much as possible.
Knowing how bad the Colts D is, I am going with Buffalo here. The Colts magical run was fun, it was a great story for the league and very inspirational to all involved, but I think it’s over. I’ll say the Bills get the win on the road.
Pick: Bills +3
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (+10 1/2, O/U 52)
I’m usually a sucker for the double-digit favorites, but this week I’m treading lightly. In my research this week I found that double digit road favorites are 1-14 against the spread in the last 15 games.
So, I do like the Broncos and I think they can win. I just can’t buck that trend.
Peyton Manning is having an MVP season, and the Chiefs are just a mess. But 10 1/2 is a lot and I’ll hope that the Chiefs can hang in there and give Denver a game. Who knows, the Jags almost beat Houston this past week, so you never know. Hesitantly, I’ll take the Chiefs.
Pick: Chiefs +10 1/2
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (+3, O/U 43 1/2)
So, which bad team are you backing in this one? The Jags showed some life last week at Houston and almost pulled the huge upset, only to fall in overtime. But they did discover that Chad Henne is a decent QB. At 1-9 they aren’t in any position to make a playoff run but they could be able to pull off a few wins at the end of the season.
Tennessee is coming off of a bye week, and in Week 10 they beat the Dolphins 37-3, could they be turning their season around, too?
This game is tough to handicap. Both teams are pretty much the same in terms of defense (Jaguars 27th, Titans 28th) and offense (Jags 30th, Titans 29th). So in an even matchup I’ll take the Jags getting points at home with new QB Chad Henne.
Pick: Jaguars +3
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-5 1/2, O/U 41)
Jay Cutler should be back this week, and boy do the Bears need him. The Chicago offense looked bad on Monday night at San Francisco, only managing 143 total yards on offense. Yes, it was against one of the best defenses in the league, but that is still pathetic.
Can they bounce back against the Vikings? I think they can. Minnesota has given up 24 points or more in four of its last five games. I think the Bears will be able to move the ball.
The Bears defense should be able to slow down the Vikings and RB Adrian Petersen. I like the Bears to get the win, and the cover, and snap that two game losing streak this week.
Pick: Bears -5 1/2
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1, O/U 48 1/2)
The Falcons are giving up 136 rushing yards per game. Tampa is averaging 128 rushing yards per game. I think this game comes down to that mismatch. You can expect to see a lot of Doug Martin this week. Another 100+ yard game is probably on the way for his fantasy football owners.
Atlanta is 9-1 and yet they are only a 1-point favorite? Yup, and 90% of the bets are coming in on the Falcons. Another reason to lean to the Bucs in this one. I think the Bucs at home is the play here.
Pick: Buccaneers +1
Seattle Seahawks at Miami Dolphins (+3, O/U 37 1/2)
Seattle is one of the surprise teams this season. Riding a rookie QB (Russell Wilson) and a very good defense to a 6-4 record and they are right on the mix for the playoffs. But they really are a tale of two teams, 5-0 at home, 1-4 on the road. Now they make the longest road trip in the NFL, going from Seattle to Miami (2,722 Miles).
I like the Dolphins in this one. Yes, their offense is struggling, but I’m getting points at home against a team that isn’t very strong on the road. I’ll take it.
Pick: Dolphins +3
Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers (Pk, O/U 47)
This is a must win game for San Diego. They’ve lost 5 of their last 6 games, they are 3 games behind the Broncos in the AFC West and Norv Turner is probably going to lose his job if they don’t turn this season around soon.
But this week is not the week for the Charger re-birth, Norv better dust off his resume. I like the Ravens in this one. The Ravens are playing well, winning 7 of their last 8 games. San Diego has given up 30+ points in 4 of their last 6 games, the only teams that didn’t score 30 or more against them? The Chiefs and the Browns. Not exactly high-powered offenses.
I’ll take the Ravens in a high scoring game to get a win in San Diego.
Pick: Ravens pk
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (+2, O/U 49)
A star is born! 49ers backup QB Colin Kaepernick was forced to start last Monday night against the Bears when starter Alex Smith was ruled out with a concussion. A rookie QB, against the Bears, on Monday night? No way he can do anything, right? Well, the kid had a heck of a game. Two touchdowns, 243 yards and a beautiful performance filling in for Smith.
Can he do it again? I’m not sure, but I do think the 49ers can go into New Orleans as small favorites and win.
The Saints are 5-1 after starting a dismal 0-4, and they are making a move into the playoff mix. A win this week would be huge, but it’s not going to happen. Both teams can move the ball, but the lack of defense for the Saints will be the difference here. I’ll lay anything less than a field goal with the 49ers.
Pick: 49ers -2
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals (-2 1/2, O/U 37 1/2)
Neither team has won a game in over a month, so how do you make a pick in this one? I kept it simple, the Cardinals have the better defense, and that’s good enough for me. Plus, I’m not picking the Rams to win a close game on the road.
I know that Arizona has no offense, and this week we don’t even know who their starting QB will be. It will probably rookie Ryan Lindley, but it could be Kevin Kolb, if he is healthy.
Either way, I like the Cardinals at home on the strength of their defense alone (4th ranked) to control the Rams and find a way to snap a six game losing streak.
Pick: Cardinals -2 1/2
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants (-2 1/2, O/U 49 1/2)
Love, love, love the Packers in this one. I’m not buying the Giants right now. They looked great for a few weeks, but since their big win in San Francisco they have had 4 rough outings. Two games against the Redskins and Cowboys that they had to come from behind late in the game to win, and their two most recent games were losses to the Bengals and the Steelers. The Giants seem to do this every year. They fall apart in November, then rally and make a playoff run in December and January. It happened last year. I think their November doldrums continue for one more week.
Aaron Rodgers leads the NFL with a 107 quarterback rating, and Green Bay is on a five game winning streak and they are looking pretty good despite the injury problems they’ve been dealt. And I think this week they get a win on the road.
Pick: Packers +2 1/2
Monday, Nov. 26th
Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles (-2, O/U 43)
So, the Eagles. What a mess. Last week in Washington they were blown away on both sides of the ball. Rookie QB Nick Foles looked exactly like a rookie who was way overmatched. It was ugly all around. They’ve lost 6 games in a row. Now the Eagles come home for a Monday Night game against the Panthers. Can they finally get a win? I don’t think so.
This team is so lost in the woods that I don’t even think they can muster an “us against the world” mentality. HC Andy Reid is a dead man walking, QB Mike Vick could be jettisoned after the season, and the rest of the coaching staff is probably on the chopping block. I’m not backing them this week, and maybe not for the rest of the season.
Yes, Carolina is 2-8 but if you look at their schedule they have played competitive games on the road. They got a win at Washington, lost by 1 point at Chicago, lost by 2 points at Atlanta, and by 6 points at Tampa Bay. Their defense is pretty good (8th ranked) and they should be able to shut down this impotent Eagles offense. Eagles RB LeSean MCCoy could be out with a concussion, QB Mike Vick is also questionable. So Nick Foles at starting QB again? And Bryce Brown at starting RB? Ok, good luck with that.
The Panthers are catching the Eagles in a prime spot to get a road win. I’ll take the points and I think the Panthers will be able to pull the upset here.
Pick: Panthers +2