Oh, Indianapolis, how could you! Andrew Luck hadn’t lost back to back games since his days at Stanford and the Colts still found a way to spit up that Monday night lead like a bad piece of steak.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. A Colts victory and we’re 8-7 for the week, making that Tuesday workday feel that much better.
But a Darren Sproles performance for the ages and we’re dragging our feet into our desk wrapping up Week 2 at 7-8.
All in all, coming out of Week 2 at 17-14 ATS for the year isn’t too shabby. A good performance in Week 3 can give us breathing room as the temperature starts to drop and the leaves begin to fall.
*all NFL lines courtesy of Bovada*
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-7)
Makes no sense right? They lost to a backup quarterback in Week 1 and an undrafted backup quarterback in Week 2. Now they go on the road against a team who has historically – under their current coach and quarterback – played very well at home.
But it’s a Thursday night game. These games never seem to run to form as every player is still feeling the hits they took four days prior and the gameplay is typically sloppy. Atlanta has allowed the 7th most rushing yards per game and Tampa is 11th in rushing thus far. Tampa’s desperation keeps them close in this game.
THE PICK: Tampa Bay +7
San Diego Chargers at Buffalo Bills (-1)
San Diego has been known to do this. Win a big game at home (last week vs. Seattle) and then travel across country to some colder weather and lay an egg. The Bills are making plays right now and it starts with their rushing attack – 7th in the league – while getting good play from sophomore quarterback E.J. Manuel. The Chargers lost Ryan Mathews to an injury last week, which leaves journeyman Donald Brown and 3rd down back Danny Woodhead to do the heavy lifting. Bills fans always believe 2-0 means Super Bowl, what would 3-0 mean to them? The Ralph will be rocking.
THE PICK: The Bills Make Me Want to Shout! -1
Houston Texans (-2) at New York Giants
We were on the Giants side last week GETTING points at home. They were up 14-10, lost and were never close to the cover. They didn’t lose to Carson Palmer, but to Drew Stanton at quarterback. How can we back the Giants right now? Houston comes in with confidence and a potent rushing attack led by a revamped Arian Foster. We’ll take our chances with Houston’s pass rush against the turnstile offensive line of the Giants.
THE PICK: Texans -2
Baltimore Ravens (-2) at Cleveland Browns
A veteran team with days off verses an inexperienced team learning to win off an emotional high from an upset victory. I’ll go with the experience here. Baltimore looks to put the Ray Rice distraction behind them and are looking to go 2-1 in the division after a thumping of their rival Steelers.
THE PICK: Baltimore -2
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (-1)
Detroit suffered a beatdown last week at the hands of Carolina and is looking to bounce back. Through two games the Green Bay Packers have looked rather average. Blown out on the road in Seattle Week 1 and it took them a half to wake up against the New York Jets at Lambeau Field in Week 2. The Packers are allowing the second most rushing yards in the league at 176.5 per game and are set to face Joique Bell and Reggie Bush. Last year Calvin Johnson had 10 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown in their Thanksgiving matchup. He missed the first game in Green Bay Week 5 of last year and it showed. The Pack has no answer for Megatron.
THE PICK: Lions -1
Indianapolis Colts (-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Desperation seems to be the theme this week and the Indianapolis Colts are just that. After throwing up their big lead on Monday Night Football at home to the Eagles, the Colts look to rebound against a hapless Jaguars team. The Washington football team put up 41 on Jacksonville Week 2 despite losing RG3 to an ankle injury and had to insert Kirk Cousins under center. Toby Gerhart, the Jaguars offseason acquisition, had 17 yards on 9 touches last week. The line is a mess and the Jags have looked like a college team since they lead in Philadelphia 17-0 in the first half of game one.
THE PICK: Colts -7
Oakland Raiders at New England Patriots (-14.5)
Bill Belichick has been a notorious rookie quarterback killer as he’s made life miserable in the past for freshman gunslingers coming in to the league. Enter David Carr and a Raiders team giving up a league high 200 yards on the ground. A team that can’t stop the run against a home team looking to pin its ears back and get after the rookie quarterback? Yeah, we’ll back the Pats here. This game could be over early.
THE PICK: New England -14.5
Dallas Cowboys (-1) at St. Louis Rams
They play better away from home. We backed them last week as a road dog in Tennessee and they rewarded with a blowout victory that didn’t bring the heart palpitations that other games did. They’ll be going up against an undrafted free agent in Austin Davis. The film is starting to come out on Davis who’s looked more than capable of being an NFL quarterback, but the buck stops here. DeMarco Murray’s career against the Rams looks like this: 51 carries for 428 yards and 2 touchdowns. No Chris Long. No problem for Murray and the Boys.
THE PICK: Cowboys -1
Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles (-7)
With all the hype of Kirk Cousins making the start for the injured RG3, he’s still 1-3 as a starter and has a career TD:INT ratio of 10:10 according to ProFootballReference.com. The Eagles have started brutally slow in their two wins, but have turned it up in each second half. It’s time for Chip Kelly’s team to get right in this game and start the game fast, like their offensive tempo. DeSean Jackson is going to want to stick it to his old team, but he’s banged up and may not be 100%. The defensive stats for the Washington defense are flawed as they’ve played Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chad Henne in their first two games. Foles rolls in this one.
THE PICK: Eagles -7
Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati Bengals (-6)
The big factor here is, “Will AJ Green play and how effective can he be?” Dealing with a bit of a turf toe injury, the Pro Bowl wide receiver missed the majority of the previous game against Atlanta and the result was still an Atlanta blowout. We saw what Tennessee really looks like in a lackluster home defeat to Dallas in Week 2. They just aren’t very good right now and have a learning quarterback going in to a hostile environment, where Cincinnati does not lose very often (8-0 in 2013) under Andy Dalton. Bengals flex their muscles in this one.
THE PICK: Bengals -6
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (-10)
Minnesota’s true colors reared their ugly head last week as they were blown out at home against the New England Patriots. Clearly the news and distraction of Adrian Peterson’s ongoing child abuse case hurt them, not only in the locker room, but on the field. He’ll miss this game as well. The worst thing for Minnesota is that the Saints have not won yet, 0-2 on the road so far, and are hellbent on winning this game at home where they play their best football. No playmakers for Minnesota? No victory.
THE PICK: Saints -10
San Francisco (-2.5) @ Arizona Cardinals
This is a tough game to handicap. Both good teams, but we don’t know who is starting at quarterback for Arizona on Sunday. Will it be Carson Palmer or Drew Stanton? 49ers will be ticked as they come off a Sunday night loss (which we had correctly; Bears -7) in which they blew a big lead at their new home stadium. Colin Kaepernick played awful and handed the game to Chicago with two late interceptions. If Stanton plays, this game will most likely be won in the trenches and on the ground. The 49ers bounce back and get a division win on the road.
THE PICK: 49ers -2.5
Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks (-4.5)
This is the perfect time to back Seattle off a bad loss in San Diego, in which everyone is questioning their ability to win on the road. They come home, where they are never beat and are playing a team they just blew out in February’s Super Bowl. They know they have Peyton Manning’s number and Peyton may know they have his number. The Broncos get Wes Welker back, but how effective will he be? The Broncos, who have won their two home games by a touchdown each, are giving up 300 yards in the air thus far. Might be a skewed stat because they play with the lead, but Russell Wilson will be able to pick them apart if they can’t stop Marshawn Lynch.
THE PICK: Seattle -4.5
Kansas City Chiefs at Miami Dolphins (-4)
We’d feel more comfortable if the line was a field goal, but the Dolphins are the better team here. The Chiefs are simply decimated by injuries as their offensive line is banged up and Jamaal Charles has a high ankle sprain. If they can’t protect for Alex Smith it could be a long day against the Dolphins pass rush. Miami is an average team and Ryan Tannehill is an average quarterback, but they play better at home and will be hosting an “Aqua-out” for their fans. Dolphins harass Alex Smith all game and win by a touchdown.
THE PICK: Dolphins -4
Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers (-3)
This is a game of two teams going in different directions right now. The last six quarters have been embarrassing for the Steelers ever since their big halftime lead against Cleveland at home in Week 1 was erased. They now have to face a devastating defense on the road under the bright lights where Cam Newton loves to shine. The Steelers defense is worrisome, as the mixture of young and old guys just aren’t gelling right now. Carolina does what they do best, win the game in the trenches and leave the Steelers black and blue (pun intended).
THE PICK: Panthers -3
Chicago Bears @ New York Jets (-2.5)
Chicago Bears @ New York Jets (-2.5)
An injury to Peanut Tillman decimates an already below average Bears defense that somehow turned it up in the second half of the 49ers game to pick off Colin Kaepernick twice. It’s very tough to win on the road in this league and it’s very, very tough to win two games in a row on the road. The Jets have probably the league’s best run defense so stopping Matt Forte shouldn’t be an issue. Look for the Jets to play keep-away, pound the rock with the Chrises, Johnson and Ivory, and get Geno Smith in manageable situations. The Jets had Green Bay battered against the ropes last week and let it get away. They won’t make the same mistake twice.
THE PICK: Jets -2.5
Best of Luck!