C’mon, Cody Parkey!
Tough week for yours truly as lucky number Week 7 it was not. After the Cody Parkey extra point miss that turned a W into an L, I knew I was in some trouble. A 1-4 week puts me behind my compadres, who clearly have a better feel for the lines right now. Avert your eyes as I attempt to recapture the magic of 2019.
What’s crazy is that I had my best week I’ve had all year in the pick ’em league, picking every game correct except for three. It just so happens those three games were the ones I picked for the column (and the failed o/u in the Lions-Falcons game). Last year, I was almost always better in this column than I was picking the entire slate as I was able to hone in on the games I felt best about. Last week… not so much. In fact, my record picking the entire league is much higher than this column now that I’m down to 18-17. Time to get back to basics.
The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.
|Analyst||Jeff Berckes||Erik Smith||Bryan Sweet|
|Pick #1||Steelers +3.5||Packers -6.5||Rams -4|
|Pick #2||Chiefs -19.5||Bills -3.5||DET-IND U50|
|Pick #3||TB -10.5||TEN-CIN O54.5||Saints -4|
|Pick #4||Eagles -3.5||Rams -4||Eagles -3.5|
|Pick #5||Rams -4||Chargers -3||Chargers -3|
Jeff Berckes: The Steelers might be the best team in the AFC right now. I’m incredibly excited about watching this game and the spread is barely more than a field goal? Give me the Steelers. I don’t know if they can win the game outright, but I love the idea of getting points betting on an undefeated team in a tight divisional game. PIT +3.5
Of the last 9 spreads that are in the neighborhood of the Chiefs-Jets game, the underdog has covered 8 of 9. I’m going against that trend here and betting the Chiefs. The defending champs can beat average teams by three scores, what makes us think the lowly Jets can stay in this one? I would’ve shied away at 21.5 or more, but I can handle the risk at 19.5 as the Chiefs win this one without much issue. KC -19.5
I’m so impressed with the balanced attack of the Bucs right now that I want to keep riding them while they’re clicking on all cylinders. The Giants look lost on offense right now and should get destroyed by a Bucs defense that just might be the best in the league. TB -10.5
The Dallas Cowboys are 0-7 against the spread this year. You have to ask yourself if you ride that trend or be a contrarian? For me, I think Dallas’s defense has given up and while the Eagles are no sure thing, you can make a case that they have a path to a division championship (probably with a losing record) and have the experience to lean on. PHI -3.5
I’m embarrassed to have believed my beloved Bears would cover against the Rams when clearly Aaron Donald and company have things rolling. They get Tua in his first start in Miami and while you always worry about a west coast team traveling east, the Rams look like they’re the real deal again. The Dolphins are fun, but they’ll likely need to wait another week before Tua can claim his first victory. LAR -4
Erik Smith: I’m not going to lie, I don’t love the spreads this week. Nothing looks blatantly off, so these all could come down to the wire. First up is Packers versus Vikings, where I usually wouldn’t take such a big line in a divisional game. But Green Bay is just better than the Vikings in almost every aspect, they are on a roll, and the Vikings once-proud defense has struggled. Hopefully, we avoid a backdoor cover. GB -6.5
This will be two straight weeks going against Bill Belichick, and I admit I don’t love it, but this Pats team is just lacking playmakers across the entire roster. With Cam Newton currently looking incapable of carrying the team on his back, there isn’t much here unless the New England defense can scheme up a win. BUF -3.5
I hate taking the over when the total is so high, but I expect fireworks in the Bengals Titans game. The Bengals are losing defenders by the week to trades and injuries, while the offense (outside of Joe Mixon) is getting healthier and into a rhythm. Joe Burrow is looking better each week outside of a rookie mistake here and there, and as long as the line can protect him he looks like a pro. Tennessee has struggled to stop anyone, so give me the over, and a big Derrick Henry run should put this over the top. TEN-CIN O54.5
With the way rookie quarterbacks have played, I have high hopes for Tua in his first game. But I expect some growing pains, and all we need is a big mistake and we should have this cover from the Rams. LAR -4
While betting on the Chargers is scary because they tend to let teams hang around and make mistakes late, I can’t help but focus on Justin Herbert vs. Drew Lock in this one. Lock has looked really bad since returning from injury, while Herbert has impressed. I also prefer Herbert’s weapons and defense, and maybe Chargers fans get to put their feet up and enjoy an easy win this week. LAC-3
Bryan Sweet: “Mr. Tagovailoa, I’d like to introduce you to Aaron Donald. Mr. Donald, please refrain from sacking Mr. Tagovailoa until the introductions are complete.” Man, what a way to start your NFL career against arguably the best defensive player in the NFL. Miami somewhat surprisingly turned to the rookie after Ryan Fitzpatrick led the team to a 3-3 start and within striking distance of the AFC East lead. The Rams are one of the better teams in the NFL and should have no trouble confusing Tagovailoa and building a comfortable lead. L.A.’s offense is hitting its stride as well and I think this one might be over early. Rams -4
For two weeks in a row, I’ve argued that two bad defenses playing each other would lead to a bunch of points and chose the over in matchups involving Detroit. This week Detroit squares off against one of the top defenses in the NFL and a team that likes to lean on the running game more than most. The rushing attack of the Colts should shorten the game some and the defense should keep the score down. Detroit has shown improvement on defense the last two weeks and acquired DE Everson Griffen to perhaps generate some pressure on opposing QBs. Time to go with the trend. DET/IND Under 50
It’s looking like three of the biggest offensive pieces for both Chicago and New Orleans will be absent when the two teams face off Sunday as Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Allen Robinson are trending towards missing the game. The Saints offense looked fine without Thomas and Sanders last week as they outlasted a plucky Carolina team. Chicago seems to be heading in the other direction as a promising 5-1 start is beginning to look more and more like a mirage. Despite playing poorer than expected before the season, New Orleans’s defense should be able to contain a limited Chicago offense and secure victory. NO -4
Despite battling through a slew of injuries, the Philadelphia Eagles are atop the NFC (L)East and are staring at a primetime showdown with division-rival Dallas who might be going into firesale mode. Philadelphia is starting to get pieces back and is getting healthier while Dallas looks lost on both sides of the ball. It’s tough to discount the added motivation in division games, but this is two teams that look further apart than an FG. I think Philly rolls easy. PHI -3.5
Let’s dip into the division rival well one last time this week as our attention turns to the Chargers-Broncos matchup in the mountains. Justin Herbert has been better than anyone could have predicted heading into the NFL Draft and has the Chargers believing they can beat anybody. Unfortunately for the Chargers, close games haven’t gone their way. Much like Philadelphia-Dallas above, this looks like two teams heading in opposite directions. L.A. is trending upwards with a franchise QB and Denver, along with QB Drew Lock, looks like it’s heading for a crash-and-burn during the back half of the season. L.A. -3
What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)