Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Week 2 Picks

With a 3-13 ATS record week one (8-8 straight up), that marks my single worst week of picking the games in 5 years.  I have just put myself in a hole I won't be able to climb out of all season.  I was 11-5 on over/unders if that counts for anything.

The strategy of siding with the top QBs backfired, as Rodgers, Peyton, Brees and Brady went 0-4 against the spread and 1-3 straight up.  Lots of stupid upsets and backdoor covers.  Nice job of Jay Cutler to lose a home game as a 7 point favorite.  Somehow I forgot what a loser he is.

One of the biggest stories nobody is talking about is the Chiefs losing their best defensive player Derrick Johnson for the season.  Their run defense just plummeted considerably and so did their already slim wildcard hopes.   Same goes for Houston, losing Clowney for 4 weeks, probably longer.

I also think it's a little self-righteous how everybody is trying to make an example out of Ray Rice, now calling for Goodell's job.  Yeah the guy is scum and deserves to be suspended for the year, maybe for life.  But let's not be naive;  he got caught on video doing what dozens of players do every year and get away with, because they aren't on video.  Goodell handled the situation terribly, but I don't think you fire a commissioner every time they mishandle a situation.  Unless he gets caught in some kind of cover-up scandal, which at this point appears quite possible.
*Edit - appears likely.

Here are the week 2 picks:

Steelers (1-0) @ Ravens (0-1)
Thursday Night
Predicted Line:  BAL by 1.5

Actual Line:  BAL by 3 

Instead of delving into the nuances of an unpredictable AFC North or discussing the disgusting Ray Rice situation  ... here's this instead.  This is why we love football.

Steelers 20-18.
(Under 44.5)

Lions (1-0) @ Panthers (1-0)
Predicted Line:  CAR by 1

Actual Line:  CAR by 3 

Cam Newton is apparently closer to probable than questionable at this point, which explains the spread.  With Cam's rib injury limiting his mobility and ability to throw the ball, and with Carolina's complete lack of offensive weapons, Detroit's piss-poor secondary has a chance to survive two weeks in a row without getting exposed.

Two quick sidenotes ...

1.  For your enjoyment - here is one of the worst sports articles I've ever read, comparing Calvin Johnson (the best WR in the NFL hands-down - maybe the best overall player - and a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer) ...  to Kelvin Benjamin (who has played 1 game in the NFL, and by my count is maybe the 8th best receiver in the NFC South.)

2.  In case you were wondering what an ass Cam Newton is, watch this.  Not only are his body language and tone of voice completely dismissive and arrogant,  but the way he is wearing that hat suggests elite levels of doucherity.   Also, he can't seem to speak a coherent sentence.  He says over and over that he needs to be protected with Suh and Fairley, instead of from Suh and Fairley.  I understand misspeaking once...but saying it wrong 5 times in a row?  I am of the opinion that he's just an self-obsessed idiot.

Unfortunately, he's a pretty talented idiot, and worse yet, the Panthers have a great freaking defense.  If Detroit couldn't run the ball whatsoever against the crappy Giants (30 attempts, 76 yards, 2.5 YPC), how are they gonna run on Luke Kuechly and last year's #2 rushing defense?    Easy answer:  they're not.

But if Joe Lombardi and Caldwell neglect the 1st and 10 runs and commit to throwing the ball 60 times, Detroit can plan on racking up crazy yardage against a lousy secondary.  Stafford is clearly back to 2011 form;  after two stupid seasons of sidearm flicks and undisciplined mechanics (and an 11-21 record), you can already see a drastic and positive change in the Lions quarterback.  Credit Caldwell, credit Lombardi, credit Stafford himself.  Who cares.  The guy is on his way to an efficient and dominant season.  The sidearm didn't show up once Monday Night and that spells a playoff run.

Of course, the O-line needs to protect Matthew from a scary Panthers pass rush, and that won't be easy.  We won't have another turnover-free game.  But Calvin could easily top 150 yards again, and if Carolina chooses to double-team Megatron (which the Giants stupidly did not do to their own demise), that gives Ebron and Tate a chance to finally make some noise.    The one Lion who needs to step up is Joique Bell.  He looked like he spent a little too much time with Mikel LeShoure this offseason; another game full of those worthless 2 yard runs and the RB timeshare will be history.

Overall, I love the Lions chances to win their road opener.  There will be mistakes early and some adversity playing on the road, but they'll get it done in a comeback.  23-17.
(Under 43.5)

Dolphins (1-0) @ Bills (1-0)
Predicted Line:  BUF by 2
Actual Line:  MIA by 1 

Both teams won last week as huge underdogs.  Remarkably one of them will be 2-0.  I'd like to see it be Buffalo.   Bills 16-10.
(Under 43)

Jags (0-1) @ Redskins (0-1)
Predicted Line:  WAS by 7
Actual Line:  WAS by 6 

Redskins haven't shown to be good enough on either side of the ball to cover this many points.  Beware the Allen Hurns and Cecil Shorts combo!!   Skins win 26-24.
(Over 43.5)

Cowboys (0-1) @ Titans (1-0)
Predicted Line:  TEN by 3

Actual Line:  TEN by 3.5

Turns out the Cowboys D is as bad as advertised.  Tony Romo is much worse.  Holy crap was he bad.  Can I go back and change my 8-8 prediction for Dallas?  They aren't winning more than 4 games.   Philly might win the East at 6-10.

The Titans just beat up on the Chiefs;  I'm not gonna pretend like I watched a minute of that game, but hey, Jake Locker's numbers look very solid.  Good enough for me to start wondering if Tennessee might challenge Indy for the AFC South.  I'll go ahead and say Titans 37-27.
(Over 49.5)

Cardinals (1-0) @ Giants (0-1)
Predicted Line:  ARZ by 3

Actual Line:  ARZ by 3 

After watching Eli Manning in person, I vow not to pick the Giants once this entire year.  What a pathetic sack of crap.  Cardinals 28-0.
(Under 43)

Patriots (0-1) @ Vikings (1-0)
Predicted Line:  NE by 4.5
Actual Line:  NE by 3 

I knew I shouldn't have picked Brady to cover 6 points on the road.  How many times does he freaking have to dupe me into thinking he can still cover big spreads?!   Screw it;  Vikings win 27-26. The AFC East is Buffalo's division to lose!
(Over 49)

Saints (0-1) @ Browns (0-1)
Predicted Line:  NO by 5.5
Actual Line:  NO by 7 

I don't typically like the Saints outdoors, on grass, or against the AFC.  Brian Hoyer seems to know something about backdoor covers and inexplicably close contests.  I'm not feeling this spread at all.  Saints 24-20.
(Under 47.5)

Falcons (1-0) @ Bengals (1-0)
Predicted Line:  CIN by 4.5
Actual Line:  CIN by 5 

Massive overanalyzing of the matchups leads me to want to take Cincy to cover.  Their roster is so superior to Atlanta's.   But there is one simple fact compelling me to take Atlanta.

Matt Ryan > Andy Dalton

I will say Bengals 24-23.
(Under 48)

Rams (0-1) @ Bucs (0-1)
Predicted Line:  TB by 3

Actual Line:  TB by 6 

Apparently the Rams quarterback will be some guy named Austin Davis, with Shaun Hill out with a thigh injury.    All I can find out about Austin Davis is that he was undrafted in 2012 and cut from a couple practice squads.  Hmm ...  Also, Rams stud DE Chris Long is out for up to 2 months with ankle surgery.   So take the Bucs in a no-brainer, right?

Nah.  6 points for Josh McCown to cover doesn't seem right.  Plus, the Bucs D just got lit up by Derek Anderson and DeAngelo Williams.  No reason to think Zac Stacy can't rush for 130 yards and keep it close.  How about Tampa 24-20.
(Over 43.5)

Seahawks (1-0) @ Chargers (0-1)
Predicted Line:  SEA by 5.5
Actual Line:  SEA by 6 

I have a feeling I'm going to pick every single Seattle game wrong this season.  They are capable of blowing out anyone, but I have to think on the road they'll have some close calls.  I like San Diego this year and I'm sticking to what I think I know.  Bolts keep it close, but fall to 0-2.  Seattle 27-24 in OT.
(Over 44.5)

Texans (1-0) @ Raiders (0-1)
Predicted Line:  HOU by 3
Actual Line: HOU by 3 

Oakland is going to give the Giants a serious battle for the #1 pick.

Coincidentally, Houston plays the Giants next week, which means Ryan Fitzpatrick will be sitting at 3-0 ... and could be headed into this year's annual Highly-Improbable-Matchup-of-Undefeated-Teams.  Against his former team - the potentially 3-0 Bills!  Gotta love the drama!  

But just by virtue of Ryan Fitzpatrick being a road favorite, I'll say the Texans do not cover, and win 17-15.
(Under 39.5)

Jets (1-0) @ Packers (0-1) 
Predicted Line:  GB by 12.5
Actual Line:  GB by 8.5 

Looks like we're getting about 4 points of value on this spread because the national public watched Green Bay get beat up in Seattle.  They've now had a few extra days to prepare for possibly the worst roster in the NFL.  With Cobb, Nelson and Lacy all healthy, the Packers will score early and often. Green Bay 38-26.
(Over 46)

Chiefs (0-1) @ Broncos (1-0)
Predicted Line:  DEN by 10.5

Actual Line:  DEN by 13 

Despite the loss of Derrick Johnson and the horrid play of Alex Smith last week, I don't like laying this many points in a division game.  Broncos 37-27.
(Over 51.5)
*EDIT -- changed my mind.  Broncos 37-20.

Bears (0-1) @ 49ers (1-0)
Predicted Line:  SF by 4

Actual Line:  SF by 7 

Nice overreaction line to the Bears loss against Buffalo.  I'm all over that.  Niners 27-26.  Wouldn't be shocked to see Chicago pull the upset.
(Over 48.5)

Eagles (1-0) @ Colts (0-1)
Predicted Line:  IND by 3

Actual Line: IND by 3 

On Monday afternoon, LeSean McCoy left a 20 cent tip on a $60 bill at a restaurant in order to make a statement about the importance of good customer service. Apparently the waiter was rude and disrespectful.

I'm not sure how I feel about this.  Why 20 cents?  Why not 2 bucks?  10% would have still been a bad enough tip to make a statement.  I also would really like to know what was so disrespectful. Was the guy racist? Does he have a grudge against football players who bullied him in high school?  Or is he just a crappy waiter to everyone.  This story should be analyzed in greater detail - not for the controversy or drama, but because it's perplexing and fascinating.

I'll take the Colts 31-27.
(Over 54)

Go Lions!!

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