The short NFL week with a turnaround to Thursday night claimed another victim. It’s ridiculous for the NFL to expect someone to make it 10 weeks into a season with little time off, and then have to turn around and be ready to go every week on a Thursday.
I’m talking, of course, about myself. I would have had the necessary recovery time to make picks today. But I was out of commission and couldn’t get cleared in time to post my picks before the Thursday Night game.
As it turns out, I simply missed out on a point spread push thanks to a missed extra point, which is all that matters. No harm, no foul when it comes to the picks record. And now on to the weekend.
Last week: 6-6-1 ATS
Overall: 62-51-3 ATS
SUNDAY 1 PM
New Orleans (-3) at Buffalo
The Saints are rolling. The Bills puked all over themselves in New Jersey on a Thursday night. But, it’s starting to get cold up north and time to go against the dome teams in colder weather. Bills +3.
Cincinnati (+4.5) at Tennessee
The Carl Pickens Bowl (because I wanted to remind you both that Pickens played briefly for the Titans and that I’m old enough that I once drafted him in fantasy football) is quite the exciting one. The Titans do not inspire much confidence as a favorite. The Bengals are due to do something to sort of save Marvin Lewis’ job (because we know it doesn’t require an actual playoff win). Bengals +4.5.
Minnesota (-1.5) at Washington
This is the line that perplexes me the most. Washington’s been a decently competitive team and just won at Seattle. The losses are to Philadelphia 2x, at Kansas City, and Dallas. Minnesota’s the slightly better team, but I’ll stick with Washington -1.5 at home, and getting a little healthier on defense each week.
LA Chargers (+3.5) at Jacksonville
Jacksonville leads the AFC in point differential and gets Leonard Fournette back this week, if he can show up on time to everything this weekend. Still getting less respect than the results suggest. Jaguars -3.5.
Green Bay (+5.5) at Chicago
Green Bay went from being one of the NFC favorites to now being considered about 2.5 points to 3 points worse than the Bears on a neutral field. The Packers might not be very good, but this is a series with little home field advantage and the Bears not used to being in a favorite role. Packers +5.5.
NY Jets (-2.5) at Tampa Bay
The Jets are road favorites at Tampa Bay. That would have been unfathomable two months ago. That said, this line makes no sense to me. The Bucs were clearly impacted by Jameis trying to play through his shoulder injury. The Jets have been a much better team at home (wins over Bills, Jags, Dolphins) and the only road win was by 3 points at Cleveland, in a game where they were outgained by almost 200 yards. Bucs +2.5.
Pittsburgh (-10) at Indianapolis
As news of Andrew Luck’s continued uncertain future trickled in this week, I saw plenty of praise for Jacoby Brissett. He’s done a solid job in adverse circumstances (getting traded right before the season), but I’ll throw a little cold water on that. We tend to grade young QBs on a generous curve. And the combination of his low TD total and extremely high sack rate are concerning (the sack rate is identical to last year in NE in his two starts also, by the way). Here are the 10 most similar 24-year olds since 1978, pro-rated and adjusted to league averages in the passing categories:
David Archer, Don Majkowski, Charlie Batch, Tony Banks, Timm Rosenbach, Jim McMahon, Michael Vick, David Klingler, Randall Cunningham, and Ryan Tannehill
He’s going to get a chance to start for awhile in this league, and his running ability offsets the sack rate to some degree, but he’s far from a sure thing to be more than a journeyman.
Oh, but I do like the Colts +10 getting points at home.
Cleveland (+11) at Detroit
Detroit’s coming off a big divisional win at Green Bay, and has some injury question marks. Way too many points here, though it is the Browns so understandable. Still, Browns +11.
SUNDAY AT 4:05/4:25 PM
Houston (+11.5) at LA Rams
It’s hard to imagine this line would have been much more than a field goal if Deshaun Watson was playing. Great job on the QB evaluation, Houston. Tom Savage is a play against until he stops playing. Rams -11.5.
Dallas (+3) at Atlanta
Ezekiel Elliott’s out, and now so is Tyron Smith. Atlanta has been squandering chances all year, and the offense has disappeared in the second half of many games. I think they finally turn it around here in a big spot. Falcons -3.
NY Giants (-2.5) at San Francisco
I’m supposed to trust the Giants to lay points when the team is in locker room turmoil and they are making a cross-country trip? No thanks. I think there is a chance Jimmy G comes off the bench if necessary in this one. 49ers +2.5.
New England (-7.5) at Denver
Brock Osweiler still has a 13-9 record as a starter despite being, you know, not good. Denver is in a tail spin but I think they come with a better effort on defense in this one, and keep it competitive. Broncos +7.5.
Miami (+9) at Carolina
I have no faith in Miami’s offense but will take the points here because Carolina hasn’t been the most consistent team themselves on offense. Dolphins +9.