– Jon Ramsey
It is Week 4 and things are starting shake themselves out as to who the good teams are and who the bad teams are. I think we can safely say that the Browns, Jags and Bears will be picking in the top 5 of next year’s draft. While the Vikings and Eagles are looking like the “came out of nowhere good teams.” The Vikings have a tough test on Monday night and the Eagles have a week off to bask in their blowout win of the Steelers. Who would have guessed that New England would be a dominant 3-0 even though Jacoby Brissett has played 50% of their games. Finally, are we seeing the end of the “bell cow” running back, as player in the NFL has over 300 yards rushing through 3 games? For comparison there are 6 players with 300 + yards receiving and 1 with 400+ (Marvin Jones). Myself, I am looking to bounce back after a tough week 3, but I blame the fact that I am been enjoying pumpkin beer too much… anyways, just bet the opposite and makes some money! On to the picks.
Indianapolis vs Jacksonville (+2.5) in London
The London games are back and the Jags again lose one of their home games to our friends across the pond. As a Bills fan we can all relate to how crappy it is to lose a valuable home game to another city, especially one that doesn’t really root for your team. Having been to a London game I can say that the only advantage the Jags have is that they have done the London trip multiple times, but even so, I don’t think that is that big of a deal. Speaking of big deals, the Blake Bortles hype train has come to a screeching halt and the Andy Luck hype train is in danger of getting beat into submission. But if you ask me, I think that the Luck train is a safer ride than the Bortles one, so mind the gap and take the Colts
Cleveland at Washington (-8)
The 0-3 Browns travel to our nation’s capital to take on the 1-2 Redskins who found a win last week thanks to 500 Giants turnovers. Somehow, the Browns have been semi-competitive despite playing 4 different players at QB in their 1st 3 games. While the Deadskins saved their season last week beating their NFC East rival. Picking Cody Kessler on the road seems like a really dumb bet, so most of the betting public is taking Washington. That means I am going to hold my nose and go the other way and take the Brownies +8.
Buffalo at New England (-6)
The Bills have lost 28 of their last 31 games to the New England Patriots. Let that sink in for a minute, that is almost 15 years of football, and the Bills have only beaten the Pats 3 times and 1 of them was a couple of years ago when the Pats played their backups. The spread has gone up throughout the week and that is mostly due to the fact that it looks like Jimmy Garoppolo will be playing. One of Rex Ryan’s selling points was that his teams always played Brady tough, but what about Brady’s backup? I think that Rex’s defense will get the job done, but it will be the Bills offense that lets the team down against a NE defense that has been dominant at times this season. If the spread was 7, I’d take the Bills, but since it is 6, give me the Pats in a low scoring ugly affair.
Seattle at NY Jets (+2.5)
The Seahawks and a gimpy Russell Wilson come to the Big Apple to play Mr. 6 pack himself Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets. Both teams look to be missing explosive starters on offense (Rawls for Seattle and Decker for the Jets). I think that the loss of Decker for the Jets is a much bigger problem as the Seahawks have Christine Michael picking up the slack, averaging over 5 yards a carry. When a team just plays horrible the week before, I usually like to take them the next week because they usually come out with a little extra effort… especially a home dog. But I am going to go against my rule and instead take the league’s #1 defense on the road giving up points.
Carolina at Atlanta (+3)
The struggling Panthers travel to Hotlanta to play the red hot Matt Ryan and the Falcons. A win by the Falcons would give them a 2 game lead on the Panthers and the current tiebreaker. While the Panthers who only lost 1 regular season game last year are getting close to desperation mode. The Panthers started out strong last week vs the Vikings but then went scoreless for the last 50 minutes of the game. On the other hand, the Falcons can’t stop scoring leading the NFL in both points and yards. So, it is an odd point spread having a team that can’t score being favored by 3 over the home team that scores in bunches. Seems to me Vegas is trying to tell us something… I’m going to listen and take the Cats
Detroit at Chicago (+3)
The woeful Chicago Bears host their friends from the motor city on Sunday at 1pm. The monsters of the midway are hoping to snap a 6 game losing streak against the Lions and have lost 11 of their past 12 home games. Not exactly the type of stats you want to hear if you are a Bears fan. Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones, is coming off of a huge game last week where he had over 200 yards receiving and 2 TDs. The Bears have some weapons of their own in the passing game, with big targets Alshon Jeffrey and 2nd year man Kevin White who is developing into a strong second option. Even though the Bears have some streaks going against them, I think they will be able to take advantage of a weak Lions secondary (276 passing yards allowed / game) and win on Sunday.
Tennessee at Houston (-4.5)
No JJ Watt as the Texans welcome the Titans to Houston this Sunday in an AFC South battle. This game looks to be a real snorefest as each offense is only averaging 14 points a game. Mike Mularkey is making Marcus Mariota as unexciting as possible and the Texans couldn’t even sniff the endzone last week vs New England. Surprisingly, the Titans actually average over 25 yards more per game than the Texans, using that piece of info and the fact that neither offense is that good you take the points.
Oakland at Baltimore (-3.5) ***Best Bet***
Perhaps the most surprising 3-0 team in the NFL is the Ravens and they will host the preseason hype machine Raiders in the last 1pm game this Sunday. The Raiders offense averages over 100 yards per game more than the Ravens do, but their defense is a dumpster fire as it allows over 200 more yards per game than the stingy Ravens defense does. The Ravens have beaten the Bills, Browns, and Jags by a combined 13 points. Not exactly murderers row to start the season. While the Raiders only loss was to the red hot Falcons. I really like the Raiders here as I think the Ravens are a bit of a paper tiger. In fact this will be my best bet as come Sunday night we can say to the Ravens undefeated season, never more.
Denver at Tampa Bay (+3)
The 1st of the four 4pm games has the undefeated Denver Broncos traveling to warm gulf coast to take on the Bucs who have dropped 2 straight. John Elway is proving to be a quarterback genius as his guy Trevor Siemian threw for 4 touchdowns last week vs Cincy and has a QB rating of 95.9 for the season. Jameis Winston has played well in 2 of his 3 starts, including throwing for over 400 yards in a close loss to the Rams las week. The Bucs enter a tough 2 game stretch where they play both of last year’s Super Bowl participants in back to back weeks. I think that the Bucs know if they lose this game, their playoff hopes are done, so I think they are going to come out and pull off the upset. Look for Siemian to finally come back to earth.
Dallas at San Francisco (+2.5)
Dak Prescott is a road favorite in only his 4th NFL start as America’s team flies out to Silicon Valley to take on the Niners in Santa Clara. Both defenses are below average with each of them allowing almost 390 yards per game, a figure that puts them both in the bottom half of the league. While on offense the Cowboys have a top 10 offense, and the 49ers are ranked all the way at 29th. The 49ers have laid 2 giant eggs in their last 2 games losing by 19 each time after shutting out the Rams. I think that this game will help make that Rams game look more and more out of place as I think the Cowboys come in and take care of business in the Bay Area.
New Orleans at San Diego (-4)
Believe it or not, this is the 1st time that Drew Brees will be returning to San Diego as a Saint as his boys travel out west to play the Chargers in sunny San Diego. This game looks like it will be a shootout as both teams have proved that they can score and can’t stop anyone on D. The Saints have the 3rd ranked offense and the 31st ranked defense, which means that if the Saints are going to win, they will need to score at least 28 points. I am going to go with the Chargers here because of their underrated secondary. Jason Verrett is the best corner you have never heard of and he will help his team slow down Drew Brees just enough to give them the cover. Think of something like 31-24 here.
Los Angeles at Arizona (-8)
Would you believe that the Rams are the team tied for the division lead in the NFC West as they make the short flight to the desert to take on the stewing Cardinals. Arizona was a popular pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and haven’t been able to get right. 2 losses to the AFC East are sandwiched around a blowout of Tampa Bay. Which Cardinals team will show up on Sunday? I think it will be the good Cardinals, even though the Rams tend to play their division rivals tough, I cannot see the Cards dropping to 1-3 and possibly 2 games behind the Seahawks (sorry Rams fans you guys aren’t going to win the division.) The Rams are still only averaging just over 15 points a game, and that will not be enough to stay with Arizona who is hoping their season is about to rise from the dead like a Phoenix.
Sunday Night Football
Kansas City at Pittsburgh (-5)
It is a good Sunday night football game as the Chiefs roll into the Steel City to play the Steelers. The Steelers were rolling after 2 weeks, but then got steamrolled by the Eagles in Philly last Sunday, while the Chiefs looked like the Yale Bulldogs totally dominating Ryan Fitzpatrick to the tune of 6 INTs. Antonio Brown vs Marcus Peters should be a great 1 on 1 battle all game, but the Steelers get superstar Le’Veon Bell back from suspension and will put him to work early and often. I still believe that the Steelers are one of the top tier teams in the NFL and they will look to make sure that a national audience knows it as well. I don’t think Big Ben will throw 6 INTs and instead will make life difficult for the Chiefs and give them the victory and the cover.
Monday Night Football
NY Giants at Minnesota (-5)
It will be a battle of former #1 overall picks as Eli and the G-Men travel to Twin Cities to take on Sam Bradford and the Vikings. We are 2 for 2 with good primetime games this week as I am really looking forward to this one. The Vikings have been playing lights out defense so far allowing Bradford to play within himself and not have to stress about points. However, the Vikings have yet to face a group of receivers this skilled as Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz and rookie Sterling Shepard could prove to be difficult covers for an average group of Viking cornerbacks. To quote one of my friends, Eli had a “giveaway game” last week where he just handed the game to the Redskins, I don’t think he does it again as the Giants will at least cover, if not win the game outright.
Bills Games (2-1 YTD)
Best Bet (1-2 YTD)
Last Week (5-11)
– Jon Ramsey (@YardsPerPass)