Sunday, October 22 – Early Games
LA RAMS (4-2) -3.5 vs. Arizona (3-3) (Played in London)
Rams and Cards meet at Twickenham Stadium, a rugby stadium in south west London that was built in 1907, in a rare London night game. This is actually a home game for the Rams which is strange that they would give up the “true” home field advantage of playing this key division game in Los Angeles. Having played at Twickenham in 2016 (loss to the Giants), the Rams will likely have more fans at Twickenham then they would if was played in L.A. If you haven’t noticed, I am working Twickenham in as much as possible as I like saying it. I’m sure you’ve said “Twickenham” in a faux British accent each time you’ve read it. If not, you will now. Twickenham.
Even so, not sure where this spread is coming from. These two teams are pretty even and this should be an exciting game. Arizona’s running game woke up last week. Not sure if it was the Bucs D, the Adrian Peterson trade or the return of two key offensive linemen that made the difference for the cards. Probably a mix of all three.
The Rams won in Jacksonville in what was a very unlikely match-up of the week. Opening the game with a kickoff return for a TD, the Rams held on for a win. An in-game injury to Leonard Fournette, a token Blake Bortles INT and a blocked punt returned for a TD made all the difference. Taking those factors out, the game was a toss-up.
I think Arizona wins this game straight up so I’ll gladly take the 3.5. This game is a must see match-up and should be a fun, high scoring game. That being said, given the history of London games, it’ll probably be a low-scoring, lopsided, sloppy, messy game. Either way we like the Cards and the points.
PICK: Arizona +3.5
Carolina (4-2) -3.5 @ CHICAGO (2-4)
In week 6, underdogs were 11-3 ATS (against the spread for any newbies) and on the season they are 57-34 ATS. Vegas loves when underdogs cover, as the general betting public usually bets the favorites.
There are two types of underdogs: 1) short dogs - when a team is getting 2.5 pts or less and 2) long dogs - when a team is getting 3.5 or more. With home field advantage typically worth 3 pts, you can see where the advantage starts to come into play with underdogs at home.
Here’s a perfect case. Chicago at home getting 3.5 pts. Chicago is coming off an overtime win at Baltimore. Baltimore is a tough place to play and aside from two second half return TDs, Chicago dominated this game. Chicago has played 3 home games thus far:
Week 1: Loss to Atlanta by 6 with a last second chance to win
Week 3: Beat Pittsburgh by 6
Week 5: Loss to Minnesota by 3 with Mike Glennon
Not a bad showing for the Bears which is why we love the 3.5.
Carolina is coming into this game with 10 days rest after a loss to Philly and they need it. Injuries are mounting and Luke Kuechly is still out with the aftermath of his 3rd concussion in 3 years. This is a huge loss for the Panthers but a big win for the commercials as Kuechly has quickly become the advertising world’s next Clay Matthews.
Without Kuechly in the middle, the Bears should be able to move the ball effectively. For Carolina, expect the Bears to hit Cam early and often and late which is ok as the refs never give Cam those calls. Take the long home dog in what will likely be a close game.
PICK: CHICAGO +3.5
New Orleans (3-2) -5.5 @ GREEN BAY (4-2)
Before the Rogers injury, this line was Green Bay -6.5. Within a few hours last week, Rogers went down for the season and the Saints recorded a big win against the Lions. And boom goes the dynamite, the Saints are now favored by 5.5 on the road. A 12 point move! Rogers is great, but a 12 point move make this is our Real Housewife’s of Atlanta Overreaction of the Week.
Saints recorded 3 defensive touchdowns. Two of which happened in the Detroit end zone. With a 21 pt. lead at the half, it looked like the Saints would run away with the game. But Matt Stafford rallied the Lions all the way back to within 7 before throwing an INT in the end zone. Game over. Not really a warm, fuzzy feeling for Saints fans after leading by so many.
After the shock of seeing Rogers carted off wore off, the Packers were down to the Vikings and just trying to get off the field without further injury. Amid calls for Romo, Favre or Kaepernick, Mike McCarthy reiterated that Brett Hundley will be the starting QB. He looked just ok last week after coming in mid-game. With a week of first team reps and a game plan designed for him, we think Hundley will do fine. Ironically, this is the same situation the Vikings were in when Bradford got knocked out in Week 2. Case Keenum came in and looked dreadful. In Week 3, with a full week of first team reps and a new game plan, Keenum lit up the Bucs. Look for something similar this week.
It’s been a long time since Green Bay has gotten this many points at home. Grab them before everyone realizes that it’s the Saints outdoors on grass. They are a totally different team outside the Superdome.
PICK: GREEN BAY +5.5
MINNESOTA (4-2) -5.5 vs. Baltimore (3-3)
Baltimore lost in overtime last week to Chicago. The Ravens needed two return touchdowns from their special teams to make this a game. The second, a 77 yard punt return, came with under two minutes remaining in the game to tie it up. Flaccid (damn auto correct), I mean Flacco threw 41 passes for under 200 yards. That’s not very good. Neither is the Ravens offense. The Ravens have been dreadful since losing Marshal Yanda for the season in week 2. They’ll continue to struggle this week against one of the toughest defenses in the league.
Last week, Minnesota beat Green Bay soundly and knocked Aaron Rodgers out for the season with a broken collar bone. Case Keenum has looked competent at QB and that’s all that the Vikings have needed. With the NFC North in Minnesota’s control, expect them to take care of business at home. The defense should come up with some big plays in a comfortable win for the Vikings.
PICK: MINNESOTA -5.5
BUFFALO (3-2) -2.5 vs. Tampa Bay (2-3)
Jameis Winston hurt his shoulder last week in Arizona and was limited in practice all week. It was just announced that Winston returned to normal throwing and the shoulder was feeling good. After seeing him repeatedly overthrow DeSean Jackson in practice, the Bucs cleared him for Sunday and announced he would be starting.
The Bills are coming off of a bye and two weeks of celebrating their win over Atlanta. Amazingly, the Bills enter this game 3-2 and their best player, LeSean McCoy, has yet to find the end zone. I know this because he was my second round pick in fantasy (OBJ was my first pick) and I am 0-6 so far. Look for McCoy to break out for a huge game against the Bucs D who provided a nice door mat to the Adrian Peterson Welcome Back Party.
Buffalo is a tough place to play. Factoring in the home field advantage (3 pts.), Vegas is actually saying that these teams are equal with a slight lean to Tampa. We don’t see that. This line is too short so we are happy to give the 2.5 with the Bills.
PICK: BUFFALO -2.5
Jacksonville (3-3) -3.5 @ INDIANAPOLIS (2-4)
Jacksonville is 3-3 alternating wins and losses each week. Good news for Jags fans, it’s an odd week, which means the good Jags will show up. Well actually, the good Jags and Blake Bortles.
For the Colts, Andrew Luck had a set-back with his shoulder recovery and is still out. I think they would be better off to just shut him down for the season and focus on Jacoby Brissett for the remainder of the year. Best case, Brissett plays well and you can trade him when Luck returns. Worst case, well that story has been playing out for the Colts over the last few weeks.
Leonard Fournette is questionable for the Jags. This is big. If he plays, Jags should win easy as Fournette will keep the ball out of Bortles hands and the defense will take care of the rest. If he’s out, who knows what will happen.
At this point, we are taking the Jags as the defense is just playing too well. If Fournette does not play, we’ll likely change this pick and take the 3.5 at home.
PICK: Jacksonville -3.5
MIAMI (3-2) -3.5 vs. NY Jets (3-3)
The Dolphins are 3-2. The Jets are 3-3. Dogs and cats are living together. It’s mass hysteria.
Surprising? Sure. But what else would you expect in 2017.
I still cannot name more than 5 players on the Jets. But I do know that they have been playing hard. And if not for one of the worst calls in history, the Jets would be 4-2 and leading the AFC East. The only people in favor of the overturned touchdown, fumble and touchback call last week are Pats fans. Everyone else in the world thinks the play should have stood as called.
Miami pulled off a major upset last week beating the Falcons in Atlanta. After going up 17-0 by halftime, the Falcons disappeared. Pretty sure they were looking ahead to Sunday’s Super Bowl rematch with the Patriots. No matter how disinterested Jay Cutler looked, Miami rallied in the second half for the upset. Even so, I think the Dolphins got lucky as they have in all 3 wins this season. Week 2 – Chargers missed a game winning 44 yard FG as time expired, Week 5 – Mariota goes out with an injury and they get to play against Matt Cassel and Week 6 – the aforementioned Falcons look-ahead collapse.
No way the margin of victory is more than 3. These two always play close. Take Jets and the 3.5 points. We think the Jets win out right, getting their 4th win of the year and cashing the over on the season win total.
PICK: NY Jets +3.5
Tennessee (3-3) -5.5 @CLEVELAND (0-6)
Ty, Doug, Tim, Spergon, Kelly, Luke, Jeff, Trent, Charlie, Derek, Brady, Ken, Bruce, Seneca, Jake, Colt, Brandon, Thad, Brian, Jason, Connor, Johnny, Austin, Cody, Robert, Kevin, DeShone
Nope, this is not a list of Alpha Delta pledges.
It’s the first name of every starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns since 1999 when they rejoined the league. That’s 27 quarterbacks in 18 years. 27! Just for reference, Tom Brady’s first season was in 2000.
Browns are going back to DeShone Kizer (9 INTs in 5 games started) this week after giving a start to Kevin Hogan (5 INTs in 4 games played – 1 start). So over the first 6 games, the Browns QBs have thrown 14 INTs. They have also been sacked 18 times and lost 3 fumbles. So, if you need a defense in fantasy, look no further than the Tennessee Titans.
Marcus Mariota has been slowed the past few weeks by a hamstring injury. After missing week 5, Mariota started last week. Due to the injury, he had to stay in the pocket rather than scramble and run. He went 23-32 for 306 yards and a TD. Good stats and an impressive performance in the win over the Colts. Expect more of the same this week.
Tennessee needs this win to prove they are a good team. Cleveland has to win or show some progress before we’d even consider backing them. Although Cleveland is a long home dog, we can’t back them until they show us something. Probably not this week.
PICK: Tennessee -5.5