Week Six is in the books, and Week Seven is here with what would seem to be very lopsided match-ups. Some smart aleck might even say that this is one of the least interesting weekends that we've seen thus far this season, but we don't listen to those types. There's gold to be found in each of the NFL matchups, you just have to know where to look.
There are four matchups that Vegas sees as a battle between equal teams, giving a 2.5 - 3.5 point advantage to the home team (home teams are always installed as three-point favorites). Those would be Redskins-Panthers, Seahawks-Browns, Texans-Titans and the only real premiere matchup, Falcons-Lions. I guess you can consider the Texans-Titans matchup a premiere one if you believe in Houston this year, which I don't. Even so, that match is downgraded because there is no Andre Johnson or Mario Williams for Gary Kubiak's bunch.
Then there are matches at the other end of the spectrum, where the spreads indicate a glaring mismatch; Rams @ Cowboys, The Pack on the road in Minnesota and the two night games, Indy @ New Orleans and Baltimore @ Jacksonville.
How in the world does Jacksonville get a Monday night game? What did ESPN ever do to the NFL? Well besides their completely ignoring great storylines and playing up trite ones, making up their own QB metrics and claiming them gold in order to drive you to their website?
The redemption is in full effect! I was able to go 10-3 on the Money Lines for the second consecutive week, and a 8-5 record Against the Spread brings me back over the .500 mark for the season. Hey, stop looking at that Over/Under total... nothing to see there. Hopefully, I've gotten myself in a groove that I can stick with for the rest of the season. Follow the jump for this week's lines and predictions.
All lines courtesy of the Las Vegas Hilton, via VegasInsider.com. All picks are against the spread.
LATE / NIGHT GAMES
Kansas City @ Oakland (-5.5) | Pick: Raiders
Note, I hate Carson Palmer. It's possible that he was tanking it the last few years in Cincinnati, but he really did suck in 2009 and 2010. Kansas City is showing a lot of life recently after a horrible start, but Oakland owns the AFC West, having won their last eight against the division. McFadden, who I proudly predicted would be a top running back this season and drafted in my main two fantasy leagues, should get some yards, but don't be surprised if Darius Heyward-Bey has a big day.
Pittsburgh (-3.5) @ Arizona | Pick: Steelers
You know the only quarterbacks with a worse rating than the Cardinals signal caller? Kerry Collins, Rex Grossman, Blaine Gabbert, Sam Bradford and Kyle Orton. Three of those guys have been benched, one is a rookie on a horrible team and the other is a second year pro with no receivers on a winless team. Kevin Kolb has a higher interception percentage than touchdown percentage. Beanie Wells may be the only redeeming thing about this offense. Beanie Wells.
St. Louis @ Dallas (-13) | Pick: Cowboys
Ugh I hate 10+ point spreads. It takes a true blowout to ever feel good about a two-score spread, just ask all of those people that picked Steelers -12 over Jacksonville last week (I didn't, for this exact reason) and watched them give up a 14 point lead. Regardless, the Cowboys need a blowout win here. It's imperative. Is anyone associated with this squad going to be satisfied with a millionth consecutive four point or less game?
Green Bay (-9) @ Minnesota | Pick: Packers
The last time the Pack was this big a road favorite was in North Carolina, when Green Bay failed to cover for the only time this year. My personal betting history is telling me to stop betting against GB, and Christian Ponder's first start gives me a good reason. You know, other than that whole undefeated world champion thing.
Indianapolis @ New Orleans (-14) | Pick: Saints
The Colts cost me a good deal of change last week when they had a game tying field goal attempt blocked with 5:38 to play, made the stop, then proceeded to allow a fumble return for a touchdown to the Bengals. The spread was -7, so the field goal would have all but guaranteed at least a push, as I had them (+4.5) rolled into a five-team parlay with Packers(-14) Eagles(-3) SF(+5) and Bills(+3). Anyways, Saints big. Drew Brees is mad, expect Jimmy Graham to have about 150 yards on Sunday night primetime.
Baltimore (-7.5) @ Jacksonville | Pick: Ravens
Another big home underdog and another non-cover. The Ravens defense (#1 DVOA) is dominating this year, and there is nothing about the Jaguars attack that leads me to believe they will score more than 10 points on Monday night football. How does Jacksonville get a Monday night football appearance? Was this the only chance to get Baltimore on? Wanted to give them the perfect platform to hear Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden to pretend Flacco is a top quarterback? Have they worked out the syncronization between TV and radio to save our ears?
Chicago (-1) @ Tampa Bay | Pick: Bucs
Jay Cutler doesn't see anything wrong with cursing out Mike Martz on the Bears sidelines and really, doesn't Martz look like the type of guy that needs a good swear word or two hurdled at him? Cutler has every right to be upset, the Bears refuse to protect him (10 sacks, 70 QB pressures) or get him help after trading two first round picks for him. The Bears offense is ranked 25th in DVOA this season, defense 22nd. Why would I trust that on the road?
Washington @ Carolina (-2.5) | Pick: Redskins
Cam Newton might be completing less than 60% of his passes, but man is this dude a dynamic force. Seven scores through the air, another six bowling over linemen and linebackers. While the Panthers are enjoying a look to the future, Washington is doing the same... with a 30 year old QB. John Beck takes over for Rex Grossman, 'the best quarterback in the NFC East' according to Deion Sanders. Carolina however has the worst defensive DVOA rating in the league, and I forecast a good week for Washington, specifically Ryan Torrain, and false euphoria setting in around DC.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan made a stink this week by basically claiming he's a better coach than Norv Turner. The bigger issue in New York is that a team built on running simply can't run the ball (26th ranked rushing DVOA). Shonn Greene has been a disappointment to the Jets and fantasy owners everywhere, myself included. Antonio Gates is making his return this week and the Jets don't do a good job covering the tight end.
Seattle @ Cleveland (-3) | Pick: Seahawks
Houston @ Tennessee (-3) | Pick: Titans
Why would you pick Houston without Andre Johnson?
Denver @ Miami (-1) | Pick: Dolphins
Tony Sporano knows he's a goner in 2012, so why exactly would he participate in Suck for Luck? The Broncos on the other hand, are going with Tim Tebow... but gave away their best weapon in Brandon Lloyd. As soon as Tebow was announced as the starter, Miami sold about 20,000 tickets for the game. Wow. Denver's a joke, Miami's a joke. Insert jokes here!
Atlanta @ Detroit (-3.5) | Pick: Falcons
I'm anti-Detroit ever since Jim Schwartz decided to say mean things to Dez Bryant and the Cowboys couldn't seal the deal. I won't lie, it's shaping my gambling habits. If Jay Cutler cared about the Bears fans at all, they would have covered two weeks ago with an insignificant late score. It worked out last week though as Jim Harbaugh chumped Jim Schwartz through the game and after. Here's to Mike Smith smacking the Lions' coach in the head with a clipboard in a post-game celebration this Sunday.
Here's the grid, hope it helps.
|Chicago @ TAMPA BAY||1p||BUCS||1||Bears||43||Bucs||Bucs||Under|
|Washington @ CAROLINA||1p||Redskins||2.5||PANTHERS||43||Redskins||Redskins||Over|
|San Diego @ NY JETS||1p||JETS||1.5||Chargers||43.5||Chargers||Chargers||Over|
|Seattle @ CLEVELAND||1p||Seahawks||3||BROWNS||41||Seahawks||Seahawks||Under|
|Houston @ TENNESSEE||1p||Texans||3||TITANS||44.5||Titans||Titans||Over|
|Denver @ MIAMI||1p||Broncos||1||DOLPHINS||41.5||Dolphins||Dolphins||Under|
|Atlanta @ DETROIT||1p||Falcons||3.5||LIONS||47.5||Falcons||Falcons||Over|
|Kansas City @ OAKLAND||4:05p||Chiefs||5.5||RAIDERS||41.5||Raiders||Chiefs||Over|
|Pittsburgh @ ARIZONA||4:05p||CARDINALS||3.5||Steelers||43||Steelers||Steelers||Over|
|St. Louis @ DALLAS||415p||Rams||13||COWBOYS||43.5||Cowboys||Cowboys||Over|
|Green Bay @ MINNESOTA||415p||VIKINGS||9||Packers||46.5||Packers||Packers||Under|
|Indianapolis @ NEW ORLEANS||830p||Colts||14||SAINTS||48.5||Saints||Saints||Over|
|Baltimore @ JACKSONVILLE||M835p||JAGUARS||7.5||Baltimore||39.5||Ravens||Ravens||Under|
Friendly reminder, don't forget to submit your picks in the 10 for 10 contest. Here's the link.