Music to listen to: What is Love/Shakedown Street (live) by STS9
Last week was my first week picking NFL games and it was a rough one. We’re still in the early stages of the season where there’s no clue of how good a team will be. More importantly, we don’t know how bad a team is which is the key to picking games successfully against the line. Its easy to pick who is going to win a game straight up but by how many points is a struggle. Team A may be the favorite and the sure winner but how bad is Team B going to play is the question. I messed that up in some regard and hope to correct that. On to the picks and as always home team in CAPS:
Indianapolis (-2.5) Jacksonville: This contest takes place in London so home field advantage is out. I’ll stick with the better quarterback in Andrew Luck who had a solid, franchise-quarterback type performance last week against San Diego. Once again, preseason noise was made about how this may be the year the Jaguars are going to turn the corner and become a playoff contender. That’s not happening once again.
Cleveland (+8) WASHINGTON: This shouldn’t happen to an NFL team but this will be a let down game for the Redskins. Last week, Washington saved its season with an emotional road win at division foe New York Giants. Now, the Redskins are feeling good about themselves and face an inferior Cleveland team at home. The Browns are still a mess but looked feisty at Miami last week. Washington still has issues at quarterback and defense. The Redskins will make this closer than it should be.
NEW ENGLAND (-6) Buffalo: I picked Houston to beat New England last week and got burned for it. That’s not happening again even if the Pats have to use injured quarterbacks. I don’t understand how people are so mad at Rex Ryan for his media antics this week with the conference call. First, I’ve been in on these conference calls between the media and NFL players and coaches. Its not that serious. Second, this is who Rex Ryan is. If he starting talking in a monotone way and being humble, that wouldn’t be real. If this is Ryan’s last run as an NFL coach, he’s going to go out doing his thing and I’m not mad at that.
Seattle (-2.5) NEW YORK JETS: DId you see Ryan Fitzpatrick throw six interceptions last week in Kansas City? I rest my case.
Carolina (-3) ATLANTA: I can see the Falcons winning this game. The Panthers’ defense which was dominant last season has been merely average by its high standards this season. The Falcons have found a nice balance with running backs Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman along with Matt Ryan looking the most comfortable in the past three years. Atlanta’s defense is still poor, especially rushing the quarterback, but respectable stopping the run which is something the Carolina offense is going to want to do. Similar to the first game I picked, I’ll take the better quarterback and think Cam Newton will get a late score to give the Panthers the victory.
Detroit (-3) CHICAGO: If the Bears can’t win this contest, its time to start taking and get in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes.
HOUSTON (-4.5) Tennessee: Last week was an embarassing performance for the Texans and you would have to think that they would come out ready to dominate the Titans especially coming off a long week.More importantly, JJ Watt screwed up his career coming back too early from his back injury.
The injury that I fear most in a professional athlete is one to the back. You can break bones, tear ligaments, dislocate a joint but likely recover from that. An injured back never gets better and its the core of your entire physical existance. Throw your back out or strain it and you realize that its difficult to do simple things like get up from a chair or walk down the street without feeling it. That’s just us reading and writing this article, not a professional athlete in a highly physical position.
When Watt’s injury was first diagnosed, it was supposed to take him out until the fourth or fifth week of the NFL regular season. When I saw Watt warming up to play in the season opener, I knew he was screwed.
As an athlete, you have to be selfish. Coming back for the team and supporting your teammates in the fight is nice but its more important to stay on the field. Now Watt has forever altered his career in a negative way because he and the Texans’ management couldn’t let him miss a month of action. That was a short-sighted decision that has long-term effects.
OAKLAND (+3.5) Baltimore: A late field goal by the Ravens secures the victory:
DENVER (-3) Tampa: Last time Jameis Winston went on the road to the west coast, he arguably had the worst game of his career against a good Arizona defense. Now he has to head into that fire pit in Denver and face that defense? He nor the Bucs are ready for that challenge.
Dallas (-2) SAN FRANCISCO: Another toss up game. Losing Dez Bryant hurts the Cowboys but Dax Prescott has done a good job distributing the ball to different receivers this season. Dallas wins a close one on the road.
SAN DIEGO (4) New Orleans: I know the Chargers are dealing with injuries on both sides of the ball but the Saints may have the worst NFL defense I’ve ever seen through a multiple-year period. In a singular season, there have probably been worst defenses over the past 25 years that I’ve followed the league. However, most of the time things get better over time except in New Orleans. The past four years on that side of the ball have been disastrous with new players, coordinators, etc. Its a shame because Drew Brees prime has been wasted because of this. The Saints could be a postseason team if the defense was even below average.
ARIZONA (-8) Los Angeles: The Cardinals right their ship and win by double-digits at home over the Rams.
PITTSBURGH (-5) Kansas City: I’ve been bullish on the Steelers and will continue to ride with them this week.
MINNESOTA (-5) New York Giants: Sam Bradford has proven me wrong so far this season for the Vikings which has made Minnesota’s offense look strong. The more impressive unit has been the defense which has shut down Green Bay and Carolina this season, two very respectable offenses. The Giants won’t be able to score enough on the road to earn a win.
Last Week: 5-11-0
This Week: 1-0-0
This season: 6-11-0