Thursday night’s game may have left many fans of the Patriots yearning for more offense, but the result delivered a nice kick start to this year’s holiday bonus for me: four units to cover, plus another on the under. Hopefully the correct prognostication continues Sunday.
San Diego at Philadelphia (early, CBS)
Eagles -7; over/under 54½
Coast-to-coast travel versus Eagles’ up-tempo pace
The Chargers ran out of gas in week one, allowing 17 4th quarter points to blow a 21-point second half lead. That game ended about 1:00 am Tuesday morning; now they have to travel across three time zones to play an early game Sunday. Shame on the NFL schedule makers; I don’t see how the Chargers have a chance in this game.
Prediction: Eagles 34, Chargers 24 X
Eagles -7 (two units) XX; over 54½ ✔
Final Score: Chargers 33, Eagles 30
Cleveland at Baltimore (early, CBS)
Ravens -7; o/u 44
Will the defending Super Bowl champions fall to 0-2?
The Ravens have not lost to the Browns since 2007, and you know that John Harbaugh read his team the riot act after last week’s fiasco at Denver. Still, I can’t get past how fundamentally poor Baltimore looked on defense, specifically with their tackling. Brandon Weeden looked good in preseason but completed just 26 out of 53 passes last week, getting sacked six times; the Cleveland offensive line needs to do much better to have a chance to pull off a win.
Prediction: Ravens 23, Browns 17 ✔
Browns +7 X; under 44 (one unit) ✔
Final Score: Ravens 14, Browns 6
Tennessee at Houston (early, CBS)
Texans -8; o/u 42½
Old Houston vs New Houston
Titans rookie guard Chance Warmack had a good debut last week against Pittsburgh, but facing J.J. watt and the Texans front seven is a completely different obstacle. Tennessee is feeling good after an upset victory and Houston is playing on a short week, but reality should set in quickly on Sunday; the Texans appear to have the edge at every single position.
Prediction: Texans 27, Titans 17 ✔
Texans -8 X; over 42½ ✔
Final Score: Texans 30, Titans 24
Miami at Indianapolis (early, CBS)
Colts -3; o/u 43½
Miami brings the heat to Luck and the Colts
The Colts were the league’s feel-good story in 2012, but that’s not going to be the case this year. The Dolphins racked up six sacks last week, and Andrew Luck was sacked four times last week by a mediocre Raider defense. Indy can’t count on their running game to help them out with Vick Ballard now on IR, Ahmad Bradshaw still recovering from off-season foot injury, and Donald Brown never showing much in the NFL. Miami DT Paul Soliai will collapse the pocket and make life difficult for Luck all afternoon long.
Prediction: Dolphins 20, Colts 13 ✔
Dolphins +3 (two units) ✔✔; under 43½ (two units) XX
Final Score: Dolphins 24, Colts 20
Carolina at Buffalo (early, FOX)
Panthers -3; o/u 43½
Cam Newton vs EJ Manuel
The Panthers did a very good job of shutting down Seattle’s running game last week. Rookie NT Star Lotulelei looks to be the real deal, and with LB Luke Kuechly makes this defense far superior than any out of Carolina in quite some time.
Prediction: Panthers 27, Bills 20 X
Panthers -3 X; over 43½ ✔
Final Score: Bills 24, Panthers 23
St. Louis at Atlanta (early, FOX)
Falcons -6½; o/u 47½
Steven Jackson runs over his old team
Normally I would be hesitant to give visiting teams much of a chance inside the Georgia Dome, but the Falcons have a long list of injured players while the Rams are quite healthy. The rams secondary did not look good last week, but will Roddy White (ankle) and Julio Jones (knee) be well enough to take advantage of that mismatch? Since Jeff Fisher became their coach the Rams are 11-3 ATS in the underdog role, including 7-2 ATS on the road. The Falcons have not lost back-to-back games since 2009 and look could potentially fall two games behind the Saints.
Prediction: Falcons 24, Rams 20 ✔
Rams +6½ X; under 47½ ✔
Final Score: Falcons 31, Rams 24
Washington at Green Bay (early, FOX)
Packers -7; o/u 49½
The Pack is back
Robert Griffin looks as if he is subconsciously favoring his surgically repaired knee, not placing enough weight on it in his throws; the bad mechanics are causing a drop in the velocity and accuracy of his throws. While the home field advantage at Lambeau may not be the same as it was in past years, I don’t see Green Bay failing to succeed here. Aaron Rodgers bounces back after a loss very well: the Packers have not suffered consecutive losses since 2010, going 13-0 (and 11-2 ATS) at home off a defeat since late 2008. Mis-communication within the Packer defense is a concern that needs to be addressed, but I don’t think Washington can keep up with Green Bay
Prediction: Packers 34, Redskins 20 ✔
Packers -7 (one unit)✔; over 49½✔
Final Score: Packers 38, Redskins 20
Dallas at Kansas City (early, FOX)
Chiefs -3; o/u 46½
Monte Kiffin’s improved defense vs Andy Reid’s new-look Chiefs
The Chiefs have been the media darling for that team that makes the huge leap from a terrible season to the playoffs in one year, and more have jumped on that bandwagon after winning 28-2 last week. I’m going to pump the brakes on this one; let’s not forget they played the Jaguars, who are rightfully favored to be the worst team in the NFL in 2013. The Kansas City offense still has a long ways to go; they averaged a mere 4.6 yards per play last week. Since 2010 the Chiefs have been listed as a home favorite six times, and lost each of those six games – four by double digits. The public is overreacting; the Chiefs are improving but Dallas is still the better team.
Prediction: Cowboys 27, Chiefs 17 X
Cowboys +3 (two units)✔✔; under 46½✔
Final Score: Chiefs 17, Cowboys 16
Minnesota at Chicago (early, FOX)
Bears -5½; o/u 42
Pondering who will be the next Viking quarterback
The Bears had one of the NFL’s best defenses last year, ranking third in points allowed (17.3) and first in turnovers (44). Their problem has been with their offensive line, specifically in pass protection. Last week they showed improvement in that regard against a very good Cincinnati defense, allowing zero sacks. I think this team underachieved under Lovie Smith and is playoff bound with rookie head coach Marc Trestman.
Prediction: Bears 27, Vikings 14 ✔
Bears -5½ (one unit) X; under 42 X
Final Score: Bears 31, Vikings 30
New Orleans at Tampa Bay (late, FOX)
Saints -3; o/u 48½
Sean Payton’s offense vs Tampa Bay’s improved secondary
All week long Tampa has been abuzz with talk about QB Josh Freeman’s work ethic and commitment. The Bucs have added CB Darrelle Revis and S Dashon Goldson to their defensive backfield, but that won’t matter much if they don’t get consistent pressure on QB Drew Brees; DE Adrian Clayborn can’t do it all himself. If the Bucs go 3 and out early or if Freeman throws a pick, the rare sold out crowd could turn ugly very quickly.
Prediction: Saints 28, Bucs 17 ✔
Saints -3 (one unit) X; under 48½ ✔
Final Score: Saints 16, Bucs 14
Detroit at Arizona (late, FOX)
Lions -2; o/u 47½
Calvin Johnson vs Larry Fitzgerald
Arizona handed the Lions their worst loss of the season last year, 38-10, when they forced three Matthew Stafford interceptions and returned two of them for touchdowns. Expect them to try to put the game on Stafford’s shoulders once again and challenge him to win with his arm while they goad him into making mistakes reading their coverage. The Cardinals have a very underrated defense and some dangerous weapons in their passing game.
Prediction: Cardinals 27, Lions 24 ✔
Cardinals +2 ✔; over 47½ X
Final Score: Cardinals 25, Lions 21
Jacksonville at Oakland (late, CBS)
Raiders -6; o/u 40
Week Two Toilet Bowl
I will readily admit that I underestimated Terrelle Pryor’s talent level last week. The Jags were so inept last week they didn’t even cross the fifty until the 4th quarter. Chad Henne gets the start at QB over Blaine Gabbert for Jacksonville, which is a step in the right direction. I still don’t understand why they don’t sign Tim Tebow though; at least that would sell a some jerseys and more tickets, even if he never played a down.
Prediction: Raiders 17, Jaguars 13 ✔
Jaguars +6 X; under 40 (two units) ✔✔
Final Score: Raiders 19, Jaguars 9
Denver at New York Giants (late, CBS)
Broncos -4; o/u 54½
Manning vs Manning – who gets the next endorsement?
That’s what the hype will be, but the real story is the prolific Denver offense versus a banged up Giants defense. Tom Coughlin’s team faced a formidable challenge even without injuries to DE Jason Pierre-Paul, LB Dan Connor and CB Prince Amukamara; that just exacerbates his dilemma. Looking at the schedule six weeks ago I thought this would be a prime opportunity for the Broncos to be upset, but I don’t see that happening today. The Broncos hurry-up offense will leave the depleted Giants in the dust regardless of how many injuries they fake.
Prediction: Broncos 34, Giants 24 ✔
Broncos -4 (two units) ✔✔; over 54½ ✔
Final Score: Broncos 41, Giants 23
San Francisco at Seattle (Sunday night, NBC)
Seahawks -2½; o/u 44
Game of the Week – or Game of the Year?
Seattle was 8-0 at home last year, and 7-1 ATS; the ‘Hawks covered both games between these two last year. Fans in Seattle have brought in representatives from the Guinness Book of World Records in an attempt to set a new record for being the loudest stadium at a sporting event. Key matchup is the Seahawk defensive backs versus the 49er receivers; I’ll go with Seattle to win that battle.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, 49ers 23 ✔
Seahawks -2½ ✔; over 44 X
Final Score: Seahawks 29, 49ers 3
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (Monday night, ESPN)
Bengals -6½; o/u 41
How long will Big Ben last?
The Steelers offensive line is still a sieve, they still have no running game, and Roethlisberger seems to be regressing in terms of pre and post snap reads. Look for Cincy WR AJ Green to have a big game against Pittsburgh CB Ike Taylor.
Prediction: Bengals 24, Steelers 13 ✔
Bengals -6½ ✔; under 41 ✔
Final Score: Bengals 20, Steelers 10
Three Team Teaser: Cowboys +12 ✔; Jags-Raiders under 49 ✔; Broncos +5 ✔ (three units) ✔✔✔
New England Patriots 13, New York Jets 10
Prediction: Patriots 20, Jets 16 ✔
Jets +12½ (four units – Play Of The Week) ✔✔✔✔; under 43½ (one unit) ✔
Week One Results
Straight Up: 12-4 (75%)
Dogs to win s/u: none
Against the Spread: 7-8-1 (47%)
ATS picking favorites: 4-5-1
ATS picking underdogs: 3-3
ATS Confidence Picks: 1-4 (-$340)
One Unit Plays ATS: 0-3 (-$330)
Two Unit Plays ATS: 1-1 (-$10)
Three Unit Plays ATS: none
Four Unit Plays ATS: none
Five Unit Plays ATS: none
Over Under Total: 10-6 (63%)
Picking Over: 4-2
Picking Under: 6-4
O/U Confidence Picks: 4-1 (+$480)
One Unit Plays O/U: 2-0 (+$200)
Two Unit Plays O/U: 1-1 (- $20)
Three Unit Plays O/U: 1-0 (+300)
Four Unit Plays O/U: none
Five Unit Plays O/U: none
Best Bet of the Week: 1-0, +300 (Seattle-Carolina under 45; final total was only 19)
2-Team Teasers: none
3-Team Teasers: none
2-Team Parlays: none
Week One Total: (1650 risked; net +140; +8.5% ROI)
2012 Tale of the Tape
NFL 2012 Results:
Straight Up: 177-86-1 (67%)
Against The Spread: 127-133-4 (49%)
Over/Under: 143-117-4 (55%)
1 Unit Plays: 62-47 (57%)
2 Unit Plays: 45-35-4 (56%)
3 Unit Plays: 27-22-3 (55%)
4 Unit Plays: 2-2 (50%)
5 Unit Plays: 3-1 (75%)
All Confidence Picks: 149-108-7 (58%)
Season NFL Total: +8650
Season College Total
34-18, net +12 Units, +970
Season Grand Total
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