– Jon Ramsey
Welcome to week 6 of my Friday picks column or as the kids call it these days, bet the opposite and make a lot of money. Generally speaking, if you flip a coin you should be about 50% on picks vs the spread. I, however, have shown that with a little bit of effort you can be 15 games under .500 in only 5 weeks, a sparkling 40% win rate. However, that is before I started playing for real… I have decided to give 110% in my picks this week and guarantee a winning record or your money back. Where else can you get a deal like that? On to the picks!
Cincinnati at New England (-9)
It is Tom Brady’s return to Foxboro as the 4-1 Patriots host the struggling 2-3 Bengals. Cincy’s only 2 wins have come against the lowly Jets and Dolphins, while the Pats were on cruise control playing the Browns and their 4th & 5th string QBs. Without Tyler Eifert, the Bengals passing game has not looked the same this year and his status looks in doubt, as he has not practiced this week. The New England passing game on the other hand looked dynamite with Tom Brady back at the helm, throwing for over 400 yards in his first game back. If Cincy loses here they will fall to 2-4 and probably 3 games back of the Steelers in the AFC North, but I just can’t see them beating the Pats at home. So, I think they keep it close enough to cover, but lose outright.
Baltimore at NY Giants (-3)
The Ravens fired their offensive coordinator this week and are hoping for a spark as they make the short trip north to New Jersey to take on Eli and the Giants. The Giants started out hot at 2-0 but have since dropped 3 straight to the Redskins, Vikings and Packers. While the Ravens started out 3-0 and also have started sputtering losing to the Raiders and Redskins in consecutive weeks. I figure that since they can’t both lose this game that one team will have to get off the slide. Baltimore has the vastly better defense, but maybe the Giants aren’t as bad as we think as playing at Green Bay and at Minnesota in consecutive weeks is a tall task for any team. I think that Eli and Beckman finally hook up in the passing game and the Giants pull out the win.
Carolina at New Orleans (+2.5)
In a battle of NFC South disappointments, it is the Panthers traveling to the Big Easy to take on the Saints and their easy to score on defense. The Saints are 31st in the league in yards allowed on defense and if Cam Newton returns as he is expected to, he could have a big week getting the Panthers back on track. I just can’t see the Panthers who were 15-1 last year falling to 1-5 and being a possible 4 games back of the Falcons in the South. It is a shame for this Saints offense because they are averaging over 28 points per game, good enough for 4th in the league. Any semblance of a defense would make the Saints contenders… maybe they shouldn’t have been so quick to scapegoat Rob Ryan? I will go against the home dog as I like Cam and the Panthers to start making their comeback.
Pittsburgh at Miami (+7.5)
Ugly game alert as the Steelers are welcomed to Miami by Ray Finkle and the Dolphins. This is what I call a “square game”. Everyone and their brothers knows that the Steelers are great and Miami is awful. No way that the Steelers don’t crush Miami, did you see what the Steelers have done in back to back weeks vs the Jets and Chiefs? While Miami can’t even beat Tennessee! The Steelers are going to blow them out. That kind of thinking should have the spread at double digits… but it is only 7.5. Hmmmm, Vegas is trying to tell us something here, and as usual I will listen. I’m not thrilled about it, but I’m taking the Fish and the points.
Jacksonville at Chicago (-2.5)
It is another crappy early game as the 1-3 Jags travel to Chi-town and battle Brian Hoyer and the suddenly potent Bears offense. The Jaguars and Bears are both alone in last place in their respective divisions and would probably help themselves more in the long-term by losing this game. But like we said in the Giants/Ravens game, believe it or not, both teams cannot lose, as much as they will try. Jacksonville’s defense has been surprisingly effective ranking 7th in the league in yards against and on the other hand, Brian Hoyer has been excellent in his 3.5 games, throwing for over 1000 yards and no INT’s. I really like the Bears here, I think that Hoyer is giving the Bears offense good QB play and rookie RB Jordan Howard has been great as well, while the Jags offense just isn’t getting the job done.
San Francisco at Buffalo (-9)
The red-hot Buffalo Bills hope to continue their winning streak as they host the struggling 49ers in week 6. My first question is, should the Bills be favored by 9 over anybody? My second question is, how will the Bills handle success? The 49ers are truly one of the worst teams in the league, but in the NFL it is tough to win football games. The defenses allow similar amounts of yardage with the only difference being turnovers. Can the Bills continue to survive by with their weak offensive outputs? I think the Bills win here, but 9 is too much to cover.
Los Angeles at Detroit (-3) ***Best Bet***
The Rams trying to avoid a 7-9 season come to Detroit to play the Lions who were able to end Carson Wentz’s legendary undefeated season last week. The Rams have continued to struggle on offense putting up only 19 points last week and are barely averaging over 300 yards per game. While the Lions have had all 5 of their games decided by 7 points or less. I really have liked what I have seen from the Lions offense, Theo Riddick is starting to emerge into a star and Marvin Jones has been a free agent steal. The Rams have not been able to get Todd Gurley going and really need better play from the quarterback position. Vegas says these guys are even on a neutral field, but I think that the Lions are the much better team. Lay the points and be happy with it… in fact be so happy with it, because it is my best bet of the week.
Cleveland at Tennessee (-7.5)
The favorite for the 1st overall pick in the 2017 draft, the Cleveland Browns travel to music city to take on the Titans, who might be the sneaky pick to win the AFC South. The Titans have gotten pro bowl level play from DeMarco Murray so far this year as he is 2nd in the NFL in rushing, without much of a passing game to provide balance. While, Isaiah Crowell has been sneaky good for the Browns as he is 5th in the NFL in rushing. Basically what I am saying, without rushing to judgment, is that the run game will be front and center for both teams. The Titans definitely have the better defense, but I just can’t spot them 7.5 points vs anyone yet. Give me the Browns with the late cover.
Philadelphia at Washington (+2.5)
In a suddenly very important game in the NFC East, the Eagles fly down the east coast to our nation’s capital to take on the Redskins who have won 3 in a row. The Eagles offense has gotten lots of publicity, but it has actually been their 2nd ranked defense which has carried their team. The Redskins could be in trouble here as their offense has been quite average, but now might have to play without their biggest weapon in Jordan Reed. The question is can Carson Wentz go on the road vs a division rival and get a win? I think that he can, but not because of his passing, but because his defense will continue to carry the team and allow him to play safe football.
Kansas City at Oakland (+1.5)
A great slate of late games is led off by 2 old time rivals as the Chiefs fly out to Oakland to play the AFC West leading Raiders. Oakland was this year’s preseason hype team and their offense has lived up to that hype, averaging over 28 points per game and almost 400 yards. But keep an eye on their defense as it is by far the league’s worst, allowing over 450(!!!) yards per game. This might be the elixir to cure the woes of the Chiefs offense and get them back in track. I find it also very interesting that a 4-1 Raiders team at home is an underdog. I’m listening Vegas, I am listening. I’ll take the Chiefs.
Atlanta at Seattle (-6)
Best game of the day as the high flying Falcons make the trip to the Pacific Northwest to take on the 3-1 Seahawks. The Seahawks are the NFL’s 3rd best defense vs the pass, only allowing 183 yards per game, while the Falcons boast the league’s #1 pass offense averaging over 330 yards per game. It is strength vs strength which means this game most likely will be decided by the Seattle offense going against the Falcons defense. These teams run very similar defensive schemes as Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was once the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks. Therefore, we must think about if that favors the Falcons or the Seahawks. I think that it will favor the Seahawks because Russell Wilson should be very familiar with how to best attack a weaker version of the defense that he sees every day in practice. At a 7 point spread I’d take the Falcons… but it is only 6, therefore, I am going to lay the points and go with the Seahawks.
Dallas at Green Bay (-4)
I believe in Dak as the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys make the trip to land of cows and discount double checks to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Dallas Cowboys offense, which is led by 2 rookies and without Dez Bryant, are currently 2nd in the NFL in yards per game. That is something that I would have never guessed when it was announced that Tony Romo had injured his back again. The Packers have been a bit of paper tigers this season as their 3 wins have come against teams with a combined record of 5-9 and have yet to win a game by more than 7 points. I love the Cowboys here getting points, I think they are by far the better team. Their offensive line can neutralize the Packers pass rush and Aaron Rodgers will be under immense pressure without his top 2 RBs. If not for really loving the Lions, this game would be my best bet of the week.
Sunday Night Football
Indianapolis at Houston (-3)
Worst Sunday Night Football game of the year as the Colts travel to Houston in a matchup of 2 mediocre football teams. The story of the season for the Colts has been to fall behind early, get Andrew Luck beat up and then ask the young QB to bring the team back at the end of the game. So far, he has been able to do it twice (vs San Diego and Chicago). The Texans on the other hand thought that they would be set at QB with the big signing of Brock Osweiler. But the rookie has done the impossible and been the only man in the NFL that can slow down DeAndre Hopkins. The superstar wide receiver is only averaging 56 yards per game and hasn’t been able to take over a game yet. A leaky Colts secondary which allows over 300 yards passing a game might be the answer to the problem of not getting Hopkins the ball enough. I am going to predict the future now and say that Houston will take the lead early and Andy Luck will mount a furious 4th quarter comeback, and do just enough to cover the spread.
Monday Night Football
NY Jets at Arizona (-8)
Todd Bowles will return to Arizona for the 1st time as the head coach of the New York Jets, as his 1-4 football team plays against the 2-3 Cardinals on Monday Night Football. A win for the Cardinals could get their season back on track, while a loss for the Jets will make their fans want to chant “Just End The Season.” The Cardinal defense has been pretty solid all year and should give Fitzpatrick trouble with their tight man coverage, especially with Eric Decker on injured reserve. So, why am I taking the Jets? Mainly because I think this game has garbage time written all over it. And if there is one QB that I know that can succeed in garbage time, it is Ryan Fitzpatrick. Cards win easy, but Jets cover on a late TD.
Bills Games (3-2 YTD)
Best Bet (2-3 YTD)
Last Week (5-9)
– Jon Ramsey (@YardsPerPass)