Football on a Thursday! Brings me back to week 1 when the Packers and Saints squared off on opening night. All sorts of excited to get Professional Football on a Thursday - splits up the week so nicely but gives me one less day of researching the world wide web for quirky stats. Unfortunately for us, we get the Raiders and the Chargers - can't win em all. A quick look at the games and its easy to notice that there are A LOT of close spreads this weekend which means all we have to do is pick the better team. Should be pretty easy. Let's see if we can make it two winning weeks in a row after the jump...
Thursday, November 10th (8:20 ET Kickoff)
Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers (-7)
Carson Palmer versus Philip Rivers. 3 Years ago this would have been a great match up. This year the only thing I think about is whether the combined Interception record will be broken (the record is 13 in a game between the Denver Broncos and the Houston Oilers in 1962). It doesn't look like Darren McFadden will be back for this game on short rest so the Raiders will have to rely on Palmer even more. After three crushing defeats, I think Rivers and the Chargers finally put together a much needed win at home. The last four seasons they are 26-6 in the second half of the season. It is now the second half of the season. I'll take the Chargers minus the points in this one.
Sunday November 13th (1:00 ET Kickoffs)
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
I just don't know if I can believe in this Bengals team yet. Their 6-2 record looks great but a little digging reveals that they've beaten the likes of the Browns, Jaguars, Colts, Seahawks, Titans, and Bills. Not exactly the Mount Rushmore of powerhouse football teams this year. In a division game like this I'd rather put my money on a proven QB like Big Ben especially with the Steelers eager to get a win after that loss last week to the Ravens. I like what Andy Dalton has done so far - but until he shows me he can hang with the premier teams I'll stick with the Steelers. Take the Steelers and grab the points.
Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-3)
Literally couldn't be more confused on this game. Is Tim Tebow a winner? Does he blow? Do the Chiefs know that they are in the playoff hunt? Are the Broncos really in the playoff hunt? These are questions that I just made up to fill a couple of lines to make it look like I care about this game even slightly. Quite frankly, I could care less. I'll take the Chiefs at Arrowhead.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Now this is a matchup! Blaine Gabbert going on the road to Indianapolis in what will undoubtedly be a hostile environment for the Colts. I mean imagine the pressure that Gabbert will have to deal with as Colts fans unconditionally root for him to destroy their team. I don't think he's up for the challenge. I'll take the Colts plus the field goal at home.
Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys (-5.5)
My beloved 5-3 Bills going on the road to face a 4-4 Dallas team in what will be a rematch of every Super Bowl played in the early 90's. Unfortunately these two franchises haven't reached the big game since then. The Cowboys will be without WR Miles Austin due to a hamstring injury which should mean a heavy dose of DeMarco Murray and seam routes to TE Jason Witten. The Bills will rely on Fred Jackson to get the offense back on track against a Cowboys Defense that has given up 401 yards on the ground in its past two contests. Chan Gailey should be motivated going up against his former team - going by this logic he should be motivated every week because he's pretty much coached every organization. I think the Cowboys get the W, but I'll back the Bills plus the points on the road.
Houston Texans (-3) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There is no denying the the Houston Texans can flat out run the ball. Arian Foster and Ben Tate are a solid 1-2 punch and this Houston offense looks to be unstoppable of late. Meanwhile, the Bucs have been reserved to claiming scrubs like DT Albert Haynesworth on waivers. Usually not a good sign. The Bucs struggle to run the football while the Texans have found success at limiting opponents on the ground. I gave Houston the "Most Underrated Team" award in last week's prestigious ceremony - they continue to handle business and fly under the radar. I think they might just be the best team in the AFC right now. I'll take the Texans to stay hot and continue their winning ways over the Bucs.
Tennessee Titans vs. Carolina Panthers (-3.5)
Cam Newton is awesome. I think he will continue to be awesome - but I don't see the Panthers winning this game. Have the Titans have been playing poor football the past four weeks? Yes, 1-3 with two blowout losses and their lone victory coming over the Colts. A lot of this shitty play has to do with the fact that the offense blows - but they've managed a 4-4 record to this point in the season. In the AFC that's good enough to keep pace with the playoff race. I look for the Titans' to feed Chris Johnson and look for him to get back on track against a woeful Panthers Run D. They allow 133 yards on the ground and have given up 11 rushing TDs so far this year. I'll run with the Titans plus the points.
Washington Redskins vs. Miami Dolphins (-4)
I had to make sure I was actually awake when I saw this, but Matt Moore was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week. This Dolphins team is much better than their 1-7 record. They just beat the Chiefs on the road, they should have beaten the Broncos and Browns and they played the Giants to a field goal in NY. Not too shabby. Reggie Bush is playing inspired and Brandon Marshall has been a "monster" of late. All that being said - the Dolphins do not win at home. They were 1-7 last year, and have started out 0-3 this year. I hate putting money on the Redskins - but the Dolphins will find a way to eff up this momentum. I'll take the Redskins plus the points on the road.
New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons (Straight Up)
The inconsistency of the Saints has me a little weary for this game. I think that the Falcons have been playing like a team on a mission while the Saints haven't quite figured it out. The Falcons D has been very good the past few games and their offense looks to have it full stride with the return of rookie WR Julio Jones. In what will likely be the most exciting early game on Sunday - I'll take the Falcons at home.
St. Louis Rams vs. Cleveland Browns (-3)
This game takes the award for "game I will avoid watching at all costs." But maybe I should start watching these games because I feel like I lose this game every week. Oh well - I'll take the Rams plus the points.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Eagles - Currently No Line
There's still no line at any of the books for this game. Tough spot for me here since I'm sure Vegas is waiting to hear back on Kevin Kolb's status. Doesn't matter. As long as the line is less than 23 in favor of the Eagles I'll side with Philadelphia. There's just no way the Eagles don't thwart this Cardinals team. Big game for DeSean Jackson this week after that dud against the Bears. The Eagles D looked terrible last week against Jay Cutler - that will change this week as well. I'll take the Eagles at home to win by at least 20. (I'm sure there will be a line over the weekend which will be the line used for the Season Record).
Sunday, November 13th (4:00 ET Kickoffs)
Baltimore Ravens (-7) vs. Seattle Seahawks
Baltimore has struggled on the road this year - losses at Tennessee and Jacksonville. They also had to come back from a large deficit to beat the Cardinals. So there's a tendency to slack off in these 'layup' games especially after an emotional win over the Steelers last week. Then I think about it some more and remember that the Seahawks are not a good football team. I don't like investing in teams that are inherently bad - plus the only way I see the Seahawks covering this game would be on a backdoor punt return TD by Leon Washington as time expires. I'll take my chances with the Ravens in this one.
Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears (-3)
This game confuses me. I've literally tried to write this summary about 7 different times. Each time I come to a different conclusion. Here's the one I'll go with. I still don't like Jay Cutler. Give me the Lions on the road.
New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers (-3.5)
The 49ers are 7-0-1 ATS this year which means they have covered or tied in every game that they have played. I so badly want to take the Giants to break that streak especially since with one win over the Patriots, Eli Manning can now be considered a top 13 QB in the league. But here's the thing, the 49ers run the ball very well, and play even better defense. Given the home field advantage - I'll side with the 49ers to stay hot.
Sunday, November 13th (8:30 ET Kickoff)
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets (-1.5)
This week's quote of the week comes courtesy of Jets CB Darrelle Revis on Wes Welker: "He's like the Energizer Bunny... he just keeps on coming and coming." Come on Darrelle, that was your word choice? He's right though, this Patriots offense is still one that should be feared. Tom Brady is not done, he is not over the hill, he is still in his prime. It just sucks for the Patriots that he can't make tackles. I look for the Pats to right their recent struggles and hand the Jets their first loss at MetLife Stadium. I'll take the Pats in this one.
Monday, November 14th (8:40 ET Kickoff)
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers (-13.5)
Christian Ponder gets another crack at the Packers after almost beating them a few weeks ago. It's not fair for him that 2 of his first 3 starts come against the best team in the league. He did get a win over fellow Rookie Cam Newton and has given some hope to this Vikings. It's been well documented that the Packers D is not very good - they just get bailed out by Aaron Rodgers every week. The Vikings have talent all over the football field and barring a horrific, pressure-filled game from Ponder I actually think the Vikings will keep this close. I'll take Minnesota on the road on Prime Time television.
Not going to lie this was by far the toughest week of the season to prognosticate. I just hope I can stay above the .500 mark for the season.
Last Week: 8-6
Season Record: 65-59-5