Friday, October 16, 2009
Week 6 Selections
Here are my picks for Week 6 in the NFL:
ATS - 43-33
SU - 48-28
LOCKS OF THE WEEK:
Philadelphia Eagles (-14.5) @ Oakland Raiders - Clearly the Eagles are the better team. Over the last 4 games, the Raiders have been outscored 96-16 which makes me wonder why this spread isn't around 20-21. The Raiders have a head coach who is thinking about going to jail every night, a quarterback who has a completion percentage 42%, a QB rating of 47, and has been sacked 15 times in 5 games. Russell's turnover to touchdown ratio is a whopping 8:1. This does not bode well for a team that is facing the Eagles defense that has sack hungry linemen and ball-hawking corner backs. Donovan McNabb will have fun throwing the ball to Jeremy Maclin, Kevin Curtis, and Brent Celek. Brian Westbrook will have his breakout game, and I expect Michael Vick to get some more reps at the quarterback position in the 4th quarter. To make more of a case for the Eagles; Andy Reid is 7-3 ATS when he travels to the West Coast, and Oakland is 11-29 ATS in their last 40 at home. Eagles over the Raiders 34 - 6.
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets (-10) - The Jets defense has been licking their lips since Tuesday morning for this game. After allowing the Dolphins offense to tear apart their highly touted defense, the Jets will be all over Marshawn Lynch and Trent Edwards. The Jets defense will be hungry for turnovers, sacks, and touchdowns. Terrell Owens may be in his last game in the Buffalo uniform as I predict him to be traded by Tuesday's deadline. Mark Sanchez and Braylon Edwards will be ready to pick up where they left off in Miami. I expect the Jets run game to have a strong performance on Sunday, as the Bills will be without LB Kawika Mitchell (out for the season) and are allowing 155 yards per game on the ground. Take the Jets over the Bills this week as they will not play as poorly on defense as they did on the road last week in Miami. Jets over the Bills 27 - 10.
Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots (-9.5) - The Patriots are coming off a tough loss in Denver last week. Tom Brady is 1-6 in his career in Denver, and he will be happy to be playing at home this week against the AFC's worst pass defense (Tennessee allows 288 yards through the air). With the Titans struggling on defense, their team motivation becomes more depleted each week. Even though the Patriots are not stingy against the run (97 yards per game), I do not expect Chris Brown or LenDale White to have strong statistical days. The Patriots will be pass happy and Tom Brady will not miss out on opportunities with Moss and Welker like he did in Denver. The Patriots will lead early and the Titans will have to play catch up in the second half. This does not bode well for Kerry Collins. In 5 games this season, Collins ranks 26th in QB rating, is below 60% in completion percentage, and has a 5:7 td to int ratio. In 3 career games against New England, Collins has a 70.5 QB rating, completes 55% of his passes, and has a 1:1 td to int ratio. This does not point in the favor of the Titans. To make matters worse for Tennessee, Tom Brady is 19-7 ATS after a loss, and Bill Belichick is 12-4 ATS after losing as a favorite. Patriots blow out the Titans in Foxboro, 38 - 17.
St. Louis Rams @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-10) - The Jaguars are fuming from last week's 41-0 loss at Seattle. Maurice Jones-Drew has openly voiced his opinion about the offensive struggles of the Jaguars and how the next 3 games are pivotal for the chemistry of the offense. David Garrard has played well for the Jaguars so far this season. In 5 games he has thrown for 5 touchdowns and only 1 interception, and has only been sacked 11 times compared to 13 sacks and 4 interceptions at this point last season. The Jaguars need this game. The Rams are pathetic on offense and defense ranking 32nd and 31st in both categories. The Rams have no one playing well for them on either side of the ball, and Stephen Jackson will face 7-8 men in the box every time he runs the ball this week. Look for Jacksonville to get off to a fast start, Maurice Jones-Drew will be eager to back up his negative remarks, and WR Mike Sims-Walker is back from his one game suspension (violating team rules). One thing to note for this game is that the Jaguars have a bye next week and in the past four seasons the Jaguars are 4-0 ATS when entering a bye week. Also, favorites of 6.5 points or more are 33-7 (in the past 40 games) ATS going into a bye week. Jacksonville will be all over the Rams. Jaguars beat the Rams 31 - 13.
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-14) - Troy Polamalu is back for the Steelers this week, as is Willie Parker wearing magic shoes, and it looks like Rashard Mendenhall will get the start even after missing practice this week due to an "illness". The key part in that sentence is that Troy Polamalu is back for the Steelers. The Bills held Derek Anderson to 2 completions on 13 attempts for a whopping 23 yards. Look for the same out of the Steelers this week. Their pass rush will be ferocious, and their secondary will be licking their chops for an Anderson interception. I am expecting to see new intensity from the Steelers with Polamalu back roaming the secondary. He brings confidence and intensity to his teammates that not many other players in the league can offer. Polamalu is back, the Browns are in town, and they don't stand a chance in Steelers nation. Pittsburgh is 17-1 in the last 18 games between these two teams, make that 18-1 after this game. Pittsburgh over Cleveland 27 - 6.
Rest of Week 6 games:
Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers (-14) - Teams entering a bye week and playing on the road are 2-4 this season. Teams that are coming off a bye week are 4-0 so far this season. Given the fact that Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are most likely out for this game, the edge goes to the Packers without a doubt. Coming off a bye week, they will be fully rested and fully prepared to get off to a good start against the Lions. The Lions are a tough team to bet against as they are 11-3 ATS as a double digit under dog since 2006. I think the Lions will keep it close in the first half, but then run out of gas trying to cover Greg Jennings in the second half. Ryan Grant will run all over the NFL's worst scoring defense (allowing 32 points per game), and the Packers will take this game easily. Packers over the Lions 34 - 17.
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks (-3) - The Seahawks are coming off a monster 41-0 victory against the Jaguars last week, while the Cardinals are lucky to have survived the Texans. Arizona opened up hot against the Texans, but Kurt Warner only completed 3 of 15 passes in the second half which allowed the Texans comeback. The Cardinals are first against the run and last against the pass in the NFL. The Seahawks will have no problem picking up from last week and having Hasselbeck hook up with Burleson and Houshmandzadeh. The Seahawks play too well at home to not like them in this divisional matchup. The home team has won 9 of the last 11 games in this matchup and Seattle is 10-2 ATS as a home favorite over the past 12 games as a favorite. Give the points and take Seattle in this game. Seattle of Arizona by a score of 30 - 20.
Houston Texans (+5.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals - This has all the makings of being an upset. Cincinnati is coming off two road wins, where they first beat the Browns in dramatic fashion, and then took down the mighty-Ravens in the final minute last week. Carson Palmer has being playing fantastic football and Cedric Benson leads the NFL in rushing yards. The Texans, with a poor run defense (141 yards per game), must contain Benson in order to keep this game in their control. I really like Houston's passing attack to go right after the Bengals d-backs. Cincinnati has been great all season getting pressure on the quarterback (14 sacks in 5 games), but they will have to be very stingy this week to keep Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub from hooking up for big time plays. The Texans, under Gary Kubiak, are 6-1 ATS on the road after a road loss. Home favorites coming off a road win of 1-3 points are 19-42 ATS since 2000. This does not point in favor of the Bengals. I do think the Bengals defense can shut down the Texans on third downs and will force the Texans to punt the ball effectively and make defensive plays. The Texans are not known for their defense, and they haven't stopped anyone but the Raiders this season. This will be a shootout that comes down to the end. Cincinnati will win at home over Houston 30 - 27.
Carolina Panthers (-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Panthers would like to see their ground game get back to form this week against the Buccaneers pathetic run defense that is allowing over 150 yards per game. I really think Jonathan Stewart will have a breakout game for the Panthers, and that Steve Smith should catch a deep ball or two as the Bucs secondary was exposed by rookie Jeremy Maclin of the Eagles last week. Josh Johnson is athletic and versatile to keep this game close if he can be smart with the football and make plays. I do not see Johnson being very successful when he has Julius Peppers chasing him down every pass play. Carolina over the Bucs 24 - 20.
Kansas City Chiefs (+6.5) @ Washington Redskins - This is a big time spot for both teams. The Redskins are not good, and they haven't beaten anyone worth talking about this season. With a 2-3 record coming into this games, the Skins have beaten St. Louis and Tampa Bay (both 0-5), and have lost to the Giants, Lions, and Panthers ( a combined record of 7-7). Clearly the Skins are not a good football team. Fortunately for them, neither are the Chiefs. With an 0-5 record coming into Sunday, the Chiefs made the long trip to Washington D.C. to take on the Redskins this week. The Chiefs have 6 sacks in 5 games, but have allowed their starting quarterback since Week 2, Matt Cassel, to be sacked 14 times. The Redskins defense is too formidable to lose this game, but the Chiefs have enough on the offensive side of the ball to think of upsetting the Skins. I see it as a close game due to the inability to score by the Redskins, and the effort that the Chiefs put in last week against Dallas. Washington over Kansas City 17 - 13.
New York Giants (+3) @ New Orleans Saints - The Saints are 0-5 the past 5 seasons coming off a bye week. The Giants offensive and defensive lines are the X-factors of this game. Whoever wins the battle in the trenches will win this game. Both teams will make a commitment to the running game in order to keep each other's offensives off the field. Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell will do their best to get bye Justin Tuck and the Giants vicious defensive line, while Jacobs and Bradshaw will spearhead the Giants ground game. The Giants are a premier team on the road as they are 24-6 ATS on the road since 2006. Eli Manning will have friends and family at this game, as it is close to Ole Miss where he went to college. Manning is having a tremendous season so far, second only to his brother in nearly every statistical category. Steve Smith has been the break out receiver for the Giants, and the reason he has been so great is because he is both a down field threat as well as a possession receiver. He is Eli's Marvin Harrison. The Saints are a great team. Their defense is only allowing 16.5 points per game which is down by 7 points from last season at this time. The Saints defense leads the NFL in interceptions with 10, and is 7th against the run (83 yards per game). I give the edge to the Giants due to the fact that they are great on the road, and I see them being the more physical team in this game. Eli will be patient and make the right throws. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw will run the ball successfully allowing the Giants to control the clock throughout the 4th quarter. Giants over the Saints 27 - 24.
Chicago Bears (+3.5) @ Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan has been sensational this season; a 103 QB rating, a 7 td : 2 int ratio, and only been sacked 2 times all season. Ryan has been great and is always sharp when he plays at home where he is 9-1 SU and 7-2 ATS. The Falcons defense is suspect against the run and look for the Bears to exploit that aspect of the Falcons defense. Matt Forte is due for a big game and this is his opportunity. The Falcons are the perfect win for the Bears to get on a roll. However, the Bears seem to play poorly the week after a bye under Lovie Smith (1-4 ATS after a bye). That being said, the Bears need to commit to the ground game in order to keep Ryan and the Falcons offense off the field. I feel too strong about Ryan's confidence level when he is playing at home, therefore I will take the home team to win on a late field goal. The Falcons take down the Bears late in the 4th quarter, 30 - 27.
Baltimore Ravens (+3) @ Minnesota Vikings - Baltimore heads into Minnesota with their bye coming next week. Instead of this being a bad thing, I look at this as a very positive thing for John Harbaugh and the Ravens. The Ravens need to expend all of their team energy this weekend to sure things up before their bye week and leave Minnesota 4-2. The Ravens need to open up their play calling and allow Flacco to take more shots down the field. The Ravens secondary, corner backs specifically, need to step their game up and get back to their vaunted defensive style. The Ravens run defense, ranked 4th in the NFL, should be able to contain Adrian Peterson from having a monster game. This game will be determined by Brett Farve's arm. In his career, Brett has average numbers against the Ravens (82 QB rating, 5 td's to 4 int's, and 3 sacks in 3 games). Farve will have to be sharp and decisive against Ed Reed, the safety of the Ravens. All in all, the game will be close, the crowd will be rockin', and Ray Lewis will be hittin'. The Vikings are not battle tested enough for me to be sold on their 5-0 record. Their opponents are 7-18 combined, and the Vikings should have lost the game to the 49ers 2 weeks ago. A prime reason the Vikings are 5-0 is the play of DE Jared Allen who has 6.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and a safety. The Ravens will have rookie tackle Michael Oher against Allen this week, and that is a crucial matchup for both teams. If the Ravens win that matchup, Flacco will have more time to throw and stand tall in the pocket. On the other hand, if Allen wins that matchup you can bet a silver dollar that Flacco will be eating the turf more than one time in the game. I like the Ravens to win this game outright and have Flacco and Ray Rice take it to the Vikings defense. The Vikings will be out played and out coached in this match up. Ravens over the Vikings 24 - 20.
Denver Broncos (+3.5) @ San Diego - The Chargers are coming off a bye week and are playing at home. Teams coming off a bye and playing at home are 4-0 so far this season. The Chargers defense has to play with more tenacity and chemistry this week if they are going to take down the undefeated Broncos. With only 6 sacks in 4 games, the Chargers pass rush hopefully did their homework this week and has an idea of how to get Orton on the ground. If the Chargers can get the Broncos to be 1-dimensional, by stopping the run, they have a great chance to beat the Broncos. If Knowshon Moreno is able to run will, then the Broncos will win this game. The Chargers on the other hand, must be able to run the ball effectively on first down in order to keep the Broncos defense honest. The Bronocos defense is only allowing 8 points per game, and they are ranked 5th in the NFL against the run. Statistically, the home team has won 12 of the last 16 matchups between these two teams, and the Chargers are used to playing the good defensive teams as they have already faced the AFC's 2nd, 4th, and 6th ranked defenses this season. This week it is the 1st ranked AFC defense. In Phillip Rivers career after a bye week, the Chargers are 4-1 SU, and 3-0 in San Diego. The Broncos on the other hand, lost last season the week before their bye to the Patriots in New England by 34 points, and the year prior to that they lost in San Diego to the Chargers by 38 points. This is a different defense and coach this year, so I do think they will be very focused and prepared to keep this game close all 60 minutes. A late field goal does it for San Diego. Rivers is too sharp for the Broncos defense. Chargers over the Broncos 27 - 24.