New York Giants (1-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-1) Line: Giants by 8.5. Total: 42.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Giants -4.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Giants -7.
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The Game. Edge: Giants. Injuries: Giants: OUT: QB Anthony Wright (IR), WR David Tyree, DE Osi Umenyiora (IR), ILB Jonathan Goff (IR), S Craig Dahl (IR), K Lawrence Tynes. Rams: OUT: OT Brandon Gorin (IR), Mark Setterstrom (IR), CB Justin King (IR).
I lost two big plays with the Texans and Colts, but overall I went 11-5 last week for +14.7 Units. I'll take that every week. In hindsight, it was really dumb to lay four units with the Colts, given that Peyton Manning hadn't played the entire preseason and was coming off minor knee surgery. Note that all the quarterbacks who missed extensive exhibition action - Manning, Tom Brady, Matt Hasselbeck, Derek Anderson and Tarvaris Jackson - all lost against the spread last week. Only Brady's team won, and that was without him at the helm. Anyone who thinks the preseason should be shortened to two games doesn't understand how football works. While I agree that the final week of preseason could be eliminated, the fact remains that NFL players need at least three contests to get ready for the regular season.
As for the Rams, they could have had 40 preseason games to prepare for the Eagles, and they still would have gotten whacked. What a terrible team. Marc Bulger couldn't take a five-step drop without being pressured by the Eagles, which would explain his pedestrian 14-of-26, 158-yard performance. In fact, I would say that's Pro Bowl-caliber when you consider he had absolutely no time to locate his targets downfield. He also had no support from his running game, as Steven Jackson gained just 2.9 yards per carry.
RAMS OFFENSE: So, if the Eagles were able to clobber the Rams, what are the Giants going to do? Steve Spagnuolo's defense is better than Philadelphia's. Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Jerome McDougle will be way too much for a hobbled Orlando Pace and an awful Alex Barron to handle. Meanwhile, Jackson won't be able to get going versus one of the elite run-stopping units in the NFL. Like last week, the Rams will be in tons of long-yardage situations, which will allow Spagnuolo to tee off on Bulger.
GIANTS OFFENSE: Continuing with our theme, the Rams were also abysmal on defense. They managed no sacks, and corner Tye Hill was burnt so much he was benched. The one bright spot for St. Louis was that it yielded less than four carries to the Eagles, but that's a bit misleading because Brian Westbrook gained 4.8 yards per rush. The average was just 3.9 because of Lorenzo Booker, Correll Buckhalter and Tony Hunt.
Brandon Jacobs, who pummeled the Redskins for 116 yards on 21 attempts, will once again bulldoze an opposing defense, setting up some play-action opportunities for Eli Manning. Not that he needs them anyway; St. Louis' secondary is so porous that if Tom Coughlin told the Rams he would have his quarterback throw on every down, they still couldn't stop the Giants' offense.
RECAP: The Rams should be a great fade until Week 6, which happens to be their first winnable game (at Washington). Until then, feel free to go against them.
I wouldn't recommend laying a ton here though. First of all, nine is a lot of points to lay on the road. Second, with tons of action on the Giants, this line has dropped from -9 to -8.5. Third, this seems too good to be true.
That said, I can't see the Rams covering this game unless it happens to be fixed.
SURVIVOR: Believe it or not, I'm considering the Giants as my survivor pick. I know, it violates one of the cardinal sins (never take a road team), but this week seems like a mine field.
There are only four possibilities, each of which is pretty shaky: Arizona over Miami would require siding with a terrible franchise. Jacksonville over Buffalo seems risky, given how poor the Jaguars have been the past five weeks. Seattle over San Francisco is a divisional matchup. And the Giants are a road team, but my argument for taking them is that they play better on the road than they do at home.
I'll have my survivor pick up later in the week. I could use some feedback on this.
SURVIVOR UPDATE: After thinking it over, I've decided to break one of my rules and go with the Giants. I hate taking road teams, so if the Rams win, I'm going to consider jumping out of my office window (lucky, that's on the first floor). Still, there aren't any other options.
I considered the Cardinals, but they're the freaking Cardinals, and I don't expect them to win by much. Plus, the cardinal rule in survivor pools is to take the best team; visiting squads are downgraded accordingly. But after perusing all the games, I still feel like New York is the safest bet. Besides, the Giants play better on the road than they do at home, right?
The Psychology. Edge: Giants.
The Giants don't have an opponent to look forward to, so with 10 days to prepare for the lowly Rams, they should be focused. The Rams, meanwhile, have to be very discouraged by their 38-3 loss.
The Vegas. Edge: Rams.
The action has curiously drawn closer to 50-50 after being lop-sided toward the Giants.
Percentage of money on New York: 73% (170,000 bets)
Oakland Raiders (0-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) Line: Chiefs by 3.5. Total: 36. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Chiefs -2.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Chiefs -4.
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The Game. Edge: Raiders. Injuries: Raiders: OUT: FB Oren O'Neal (IR), WR Drew Carter (IR), OT Mark Wilson (IR), G Paul McQuistan (IR), CB John Bowie (IR).
If Al Davis wasn't a jerk and kept Art Shell as his head coach, this could have been the worst coaching matchup in NFL history. Art Shell versus Herman Edwards. Ah, what could have been... The Raiders would have been sacked on every play, while the Chiefs, not needing to throw a forward pass because Oakland wouldn't be able to score, would run the ball on every single down. The game would end 0-0 after overtime. Conservative Herm would be happy to come away from this game without a loss, while Shell's expressionless face would still have people wondering whether he's actually alive, or if he's a fellow zombie friend Al Davis dug out of a grave.
The 41-14 loss looked like the Raiders were a Shell-coached team, didn't it? It was pretty similar to the 27-0 beating the Chargers put down on Oakland in Week 1 of the 2006 season. But let's ignore that for a second and check out what happened to this line in the wake of last week's results. This spread would have been -2 seven days ago, but Vegas had to adjust it after the Monday night blowout and Kansas City's close call with the Patriots.
With that in mind, if the Chiefs had to host the Broncos, and the Raiders went into New England, I don't think the results would have been any different. Oakland would have played a very overrated, Tom Brady-less Patriots team very closely, while Denver would have pasted Kansas City. This line has been adjusted to compensate for public perception, creating some value with the Raiders.
OAKLAND OFFENSE: The Raiders were really pathetic versus Denver, but the Broncos acquired decent defensive personnel this offseason, including Dewayne Robertson. Plus, it didn't help the JaMarcus Russell's receivers dropped what looked like half a dozen balls.
Without Jared Allen, Kansas City's defensive front isn't even as close to as talented as Denver's, so Lane Kiffin's gameplan of "Let's run the ball 5,000 times an f**k the run" will actually work this week. Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden could total more than 200 rushing yards versus a front seven that couldn't contain Laurence Maroney and Sammy Morris despite the fact that Matt Cassel was under center.
Meanwhile, a potent rushing attack will give Russell more time to throw when he has to. For his sake, I hope his receivers hold on to the ball. One thing's for sure - they'll have greater success getting open against Kansas City's secondary than Denver's. The Chiefs gave up 7.8 YPA to Brady and Cassel.
KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: One thing we didn't need to learn from watching the Raiders on Monday night was that they can't stop the run. That was an obvious liability coming into the season. They gave up 4.6 yards per carry to the Broncos However, they'll have more success containing the Chiefs' ground attack, as Kansas City has major offensive line problems and can't open up any running lanes for Larry Johnson and Jamaal Charles.
Of course, this won't deter Conservative Herm from pounding the rock. Two yards per carry, shmoo yards per carry, he says! Kansas City won't get the extra help it needs from its running game, as Damon Huard will be under center instead of Brodie Croyle, though one could argue that the difference between Croyle and Huard is negligible. Amid pedestrian pass protection, Huard will struggle to locate Tony Gonzalez and Dwayne Bowe, who will be going against a talented back seven that struggled last week. I expect the secondary to bounce back. Who knows, maybe DeAngelo Hall won't commit 5,000 yards in penalties this Sunday.
As I mentioned earlier, public reaction has given us some value with the Raiders, who actually play better on the road than they do at home. Even though the line is a point or two off from where it should be, bettors are pounding the host. Interestingly enough, the spread has dropped from -4 to -3.5.
Plus, how can you lay four points with Conservative Herm? I'd rather drink gasoline, have a "sexy time" with the horribly aged Shannen Doherty and drown myself. The Raiders are the right side here, even if the Chiefs win by 50.
The Psychology. Edge: Raiders.
These teams hate each other and will be looking to get out of a possible 0-2 situation. The difference is, while the Chiefs played well in the public's eye, the Raiders were humiliated on national TV.
The Vegas. Edge: Raiders.
No way the public wants any part of the Raiders after their 41-14 loss to the Broncos.
Percentage of money on Kansas City: 77% (148,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
History: Chiefs have won 9 of the last 10 meetings.
Monday Night Misery: Since 1999, teams are 12-26 ATS after a 17+ point loss on MNF.
Raiders are 9-21 ATS vs. teams with losing records since 2001.
Chiefs were 1-6 ATS at home in 2007.
Opening Line: Chiefs -4.
Opening Total: 35.5.
Weather: Possible showers, 73 degrees. Light wind.
Chicago Bears (1-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-0) Line: Panthers by 3. Total: 37. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Panthers -4.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Panthers -3.
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The Game. Edge: None. Injuries: Bears: OUT: OT Chris Williams. Panthers: OUT: WR Steve Smith (SUSP), WR Jason Carter (IR).
Before we move on, let's take a look at how Vegas fared last week.
Whenever favorites go 10-6 against the spread, you know the books lost a bunch of money. Key losses for the house occurred when the Giants, Steelers, Eagles, Jets, Saints, Cardinals and Cowboys covered. The books recouped some money with the Falcons, Ravens, Panthers and Bears, but it wasn't enough. However, as I mentioned last week, I suspected that Vegas would allow the public to build their bankrolls, giving bettors confidence, which would set up big losses down the road. That would explain why there were so many soft lines (Giants -4.5, Cardinals -2.5, Saints -3, etc.) The public could go down this weekend. Tread carefully.
Two teams that had the public yelling in disgust were the Bears and Panthers, both pulling off 9-point upsets against Super Bowl contenders.
Was either victory that impressive? Chicago took advantage of a shaky Peyton Manning, who looked like he was very uncomfortable playing on a repaired knee and without his All-Pro center. The Panthers, meanwhile, upset a very overrated Chargers squad whose key players are all coming off major injuries.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: Matt Forte may have looked great, but Indianapolis' run defense is an abomination. I'm not saying Forte isn't talented; I would just remain a bit skeptical for now.
This is a good test for Forte and the offensive line, as the Panthers surrendered 4.1 yards per carry last week. That may not sound like an impressive number, but giving up just 4.1 YPC to LaDainian Tomlinson is pretty solid. I don't think the Bears' front will have as much luck opening lanes versus Carolina as they did against Indianapolis.
If Forte is held to modest gains, Kyle Orton will have to convert more third downs. Once Orton has to drop back into the pocket on obvious passing situations, he'll feel the pressure from Julius Peppers. I like Peppers and Carolina's other ends going against Chicago's pedestrian offensive tackles.
CAROLINA OFFENSE: I have more confidence in the Panthers' scoring attack than I did a week ago, as Jake Delhomme looks fully recovered from Tommy John surgery. That said, Delhomme will have a much tougher test going against the Bears than the Shawne Merriman-less Chargers (I know Merriman played, but he was so ineffective, I didn't see what the point was).
The Bears should do a good job limiting DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart; they yielded just 3.5 YPC to the Colts, so containing the Panthers should be a breeze compared to that.
Also, Steve Smith's absence will mean more in this game than it did last week. Without Smith, the Panthers won't be able to stretch the field. Chicago can actually get to the quarterback as opposed to San Diego. They rattled Manning enough.
RECAP: There aren't any real edges on paper, as these teams seem pretty even, so let's look at a few other things:
First, Carolina sucks at home. I don't know why, but John Fox's squad always comes up short as a host. The Panthers are 15-25 against the spread at home since 2003. Moreover, Delhomme is 9-18 against the spread as a home favorite.
Second, Lovie Smith has always fared well in his second consecutive road game. I don't know what he does to get his team fired up, but the fact remains that the Bears are 5-1 against the spread under Smith in those situations.
And finally, if you side with the Panthers, you're going against an awesome trend. Check the section below, and look for the Statfox Trend. It's always tough for teams to get up as favorites for home games after an extremely tough road victory.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
Both teams are coming off victories as huge underdogs. This game is big for both of them.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
The public likes the Bears, but the line moved from -3.5 to -3 to compensate.
Percentage of money on Chicago: 57% (138,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bears.
Statfox Trend: Coaches favored after coming off a 1-3 point road win are 17-38 ATS in Weeks 2-10 since 2000 (John Fox 0-2)
Road Warrior: Lovie Smith is 5-1 ATS in his second consecutive road game.
Panthers are 4-9 ATS as a favorite since 2006.
Panthers are 15-25 ATS at home since 2003.
Jake Delhomme is 9-18 ATS as a home favorite.
Opening Line: Panthers -3.5.
Opening Total: 37.5.
Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 91 degrees. Light wind.
New Orleans Saints (1-0) at Washington Redskins (0-1) Line: Redskins by 1. Total: 42. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Saints -1.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Saints -3.
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The Game. Edge: Saints. Injuries: Saints: OUT: WR Marques Colston*, WR Adrian Arrington (IR), DT Hollis Thomas (IR), DT DeMario Pressley (IR), DT Lance Legree (IR), DT James Reed (IR), S Steve Gleason (IR). Redskins: OUT: DE Phillip Daniels (IR), DE Alex Buzbee (IR).
Can someone send Jim Zorn an e-mail? I'd do it, but I don't have his e-mail address. I want to send him a link to a Wikipedia page that discusses the 2-minute drill. I figure this would help Zorn and Redskins fans everywhere, as he obviously has never heard of it. Seriously, I've never seen a team less prepared for a situation in a game. It was like watching a combination of Donovan McNabb's famed vomit-inducing 5-minute drill in the Super Bowl that had Bill Belichick asking, "Wait, we're ahead right?" and Art Shell's second stint with the Raiders. I have to wonder if Zorn knows what a 2-minute drill is, or if he just forgot about it because he suffered a heatstroke after tanning too long outside.
Given how horribly the Redskins played last week, I can't believe they were a favorite when Vegas set this line. The spread has moved in New Orleans' favor the past few days to compensate for all the action on the visitor, so maybe Vegas just made an error.
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: The 2-minute drill wasn't the only thing Zorn screwed up. How about Jason Campbell's career? Campbell looks lost in the West Coast offense. He was actually able to move the chains late against the Giants, but New York was simply giving him everything underneath. Even though Jason David still resides in New Orleans' secondary, I don't think Campbell is comfortable enough to take advantage of that.
Another reason Campbell will struggle is New Orleans' pass rush. Perhaps the best aspect of the Saints' defense, Bobby McCray and Charles Grant notched a combined two sacks versus Tampa Bay's solid offensive line. They'll have even more luck versus a Redskins front that looked completely inept against the Giants.
One thing that could work for the Redskins is their running game. Clinton Portis couldn't do much against the Giants, but he'll have more success versus New Orleans, who gave up 7.6 YPC to Earnest Graham and the Buccaneers. Provided Washington isn't behind by too many touchdowns and doesn't abandon the run like Tampa Bay, Portis could approach 150 yards.
NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: And why would the Redskins be down by so many points? Umm... maybe because they couldn't defend the pass or the run against the Giants? Plaxico Burress abused Fred Smoot so much that the latter had to fake an injury (joking).
Fortunately for the Redskins, Shawn Springs is back after missing the opener. Springs will definitely help a lot, but New Orleans' aerial attack is so lethal, I can't see Washington stopping it, especially considering its non-existent pass rush. Seriously, where was Jason Taylor against the Giants? If he comes up empty, he should give back at least half of his $7.5 million.
The Redskins gave up 7.8 YPC to the Giants' rushing attack. That doesn't bode well here, as the Saints ran the ball extremely well against a stronger Buccaneers stop unit.
RECAP: Not only are the Saints the better team, they're stronger on the road than they are at home. The only thing keeping me from laying multiple units on them is the shady line and the public's reaction to it.
Also, New Orleans could be looking ahead to its matchup at Denver next week. But given how unprepared Zorn was last week, I can't side with the Redskins against a top NFC squad.
UPDATE: Marques Colston is out 4-6 weeks, which gives me more confidence the Saints will cover. Teams generally cover in the first game without their best player, as they know they need to bring 110 percent to the table, while the other team is a bit more relaxed.
The Psychology. Edge: Saints.
Marques Colston is out 4-6 weeks, which gives me more confidence the Saints will cover. Teams generally cover in the first game without their best player, as they know they need to bring 110 percent to the table, while the other team is a bit more relaxed.
The Vegas. Edge: Redskins.
Tons of action on the Saints, but this line has moved from Redskins -1 to Saints -1 in some places, so the books are compensating. Still, they opened with a short line in the first place, which had me thinking that they either made a huge error, or this game is going to be fixed.
Percentage of money on New Orleans: 90% (163,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Saints.
Saints are 39-26 ATS on the road since 2000.
Redskins are 2-9 ATS in September home games since 2001.
Opening Line: Redskins -1.
Opening Total: 43.
Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 80 degrees. Light wind.
Indianapolis Colts (0-1) at Minnesota Vikings (0-1) Line: Colts by 1.5. Total: 43. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Colts -4.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Colts -4.5.
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The Game. Edge: Vikings. Injuries: Colts: OUT: TE Mike Seidman (IR), TE Zac Herold (IR), G Ryan Lilja, C Jeff Saturday, DT Anthony McFarland (IR), OLB Tyjuan Hagler, KR T.J. Rushing (IR). Vikings: OUT: G Mike Jones (IR), DE Kenechi Udeze (IR), DE Jayme Mitchell (IR), DT Kendrick Allen (IR), OLB Heath Farwell (IR), S Madieu Williams, S Michael Boulware (IR).
Speaking of Jim Zorn, I found it hilarious that after his 16-7 loss to the Giants, scouts told him that Jason Campbell wasn't a good fit for the West Coast offense. In the words of Adam Sandler, "Something that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!!!" I also really find it odd that Zorn had so much time to tan this summer but didn't get a chance to install a no-huddle offense. Zorn needs to stop fake-baking and get his priorities straight.
But enough about Zorn. What's up with this spread? Colts by 2!? Sounds like money in the bank - Indianapolis should be able to defeat the crappy Vikings by a field goal! Didn't you see the Vikings on Monday Night Football? They suck!!!
At least that's what every casual bettor is saying. With the line set pretty low (I thought -4 or -5 would have been more appropriate if Vegas wanted to induce equal betting), the public is pouncing on Indianapolis as a short road favorite. I wouldn't advise you to follow suit. In fact, I love Minnesota for a number of reasons. Let's go through the matchups first.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: Everyone saw Tarvaris Jackson stink it up against the Packers. Jackson didn't disappoint me, as he played like the quarterback he really is - a signal-caller with terrible mechanics who has great arm strength and scrambling ability. But even with Jackson struggling, the Vikings put up 19 points on a solid Packers stop unit.
Adrian Peterson was key. Though Brad Childress didn't run him nearly enough, Peterson still looked impressive, gaining 103 yards and a touchdown on just 19 carries. Given how absolutely horrible Indianapolis' run defense is, Peterson could conceivably double his output against them. Of course you could say the Colts will put eight or nine men in the box to stop him, but didn't they do that against Matt Forte, who rushed for 123 yards and a score on 23 attempts? And unlike Kyle Orton, Jackson can stretch the field with the deep ball or his scrambling ability.
INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: It's tough to say what affected Peyton Manning more, his surgically repaired knee or his All-Pro center being out. Whatever it was - and it's possible it could have been both - Manning didn't even look close to being the same quarterback. Manning had open receivers, but just couldn't get the ball to them. The pressure the Bears sent up the middle, taking advantage of Jeff Saturday's absence, also gave him problems.
Well, Saturday's still out and Manning's psyche is unlikely to improve that much in just seven days. The Colts are out of luck because the Vikings have the best defensive line in all football. If worrying about Jared Allen and Ray Edwards on the outside isn't enough, Pat and Kevin Williams will dominate the interior with Saturday out of the lineup. That means even more pressure on Manning and absolutely no running room for Joseph Addai.
Minnesota's secondary is questionable, so the Colts' offense obviously won't be completely shut out, but like the Bears last week, the Vikings should be able to do enough to have a great shot at winning this game.
RECAP: I already discussed the line. More than nine-tenths of the public is on the Colts, yet this line is only -2, and has even dropped to -1 at some books. If this doesn't tell you that the Vikings are the right side, I don't know what will.
But how about this? Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier coached the Colts in 2005 and 2006. What does this mean? Well, siding with a coach who recently was with the opposition is a very lucrative strategy in the NFL. There are countless examples of this, ranging from Ken Whisenhunt beating the Steelers last year, to Rod Marinelli dominating a Buccaneers playoff team a few weeks later. Indianapolis hasn't had much turnover since 2006, so Frazier's presence on the Vikings is a huge edge for the team.
Pick of the Month? I am actually thinking about it. For now, no... it's still early in the month, and there could be a better pick down the road, though Minnesota seems like a great choice this week.
The Psychology. Edge: Vikings.
Both teams need to get out of their 0-2 hole. Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier coached the Colts in 2005-2006.
The Vegas. Edge: Vikings.
Whoa, sucker bet alert! The Colts only -2 at the Vikings, who just lost on national TV? Everyone is going to pound Indianapolis at this short price!
Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 94% (162,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
Loser Coach: Tony Dungy is 3-9 ATS when favored after losing as a favorite.
Colts are 14-8 ATS vs. the NFC under Tony Dungy.
Colts are 27-19 ATS on the road under Tony Dungy.
Peyton Manning is 21-15 ATS as a road favorite since 2001.
Tennessee Titans (1-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) Line: Bengals by 1. Total: 37. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Bengals -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Bengals -3.
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The Game. Edge: Titans. Injuries: Titans: OUT: QB Vince Young*. Bengals: OUT: RB Kenny Irons (IR), WR Marcus Maxwell.
I really hate ESPN. While watching SportsCenter, I posted the following comment in the forum, the stars being from the automatic word filter: "****ing SportsCenter ****ing sucks. If you're ****ing going to host ****ing Chris Berman, TJ and the ****ing NFL Blitz, let them cover all of the games, not just six of them, you ****ing ***holes."
Can you tell I'm a bit angry? As I harp every year, ESPN has screwed over its fans by watering down NFL Primetime. I know they're not allowed to televise highlight shows until midnight because of the NBC agreement, but if ESPN had any sort of foresight, they would tape Berman and Tom Jackson doing NFL Primetime, and air it after the Sunday night game and during Monday afternoon.
I'm glad I don't have anger management issues, because they wouldn't be quelled with talking about the Bengals. Way to cost me a game last week, guys. Cincinnati put forth absolutely no effort in its 17-10 loss to the Ravens. If they weren't going to try, why did they even waste everyone's time by showing up? Chad Ocho Cinco should have just skipped the game and traveled to Reebok headquarters to complain about the inability to put his new last name on the back of his jersey.
Seriously, I never thought I'd see the day where an NFL player cared less about winning than he did about the name on the back of his jersey. Congratulations, Mr. Ocho Cinco, you're the most selfish player in the league!
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: I guess Ocho Cinco doesn't care about his stats either because he was held to just one catch against the Ravens. The entire team looked bad, as Carson Palmer was overthrowing and underthrowing players left and right.
Baltimore's defense had something to do with that, but it's not like Tennessee's stop unit is chopped liver. Thanks to Albert Haynesworth, the Titans excel against the run, so Chris Perry, who was limited to 37 yards on 18 carries, will once again struggle to find open running lanes.
Tennessee also pressures opposing passers well. Palmer, who had defenders in his face all day last week, won't have any breathing room, as the Titans registered seven sacks against the Jaguars. The Bengals' offensive line will once again be overmatched.
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: Vince Young is gone, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Young, who ran just once for four yards, went 12-of-22 for 110 yards, one touchdown and two picks last week, and was booed off the field. In fact, he wanted to take himself out of the game after his second interception. Young is now reportedly battling depression and wants to stay away from football from a while. In other news, Tennessee's plan to sabotage Young's career is now a success.
Kerry Collins completed both of his passes for 65 yards on Sunday, though most of that yardage came after the catch. Collins should do fine for now, but will ultimately self-destruct once expectations are too high. But he should be OK for the next couple of weeks, especially if his running game continues to overpower opponents like it did Jacksonville. I can't see the Bengals stopping one of the elite ground attacks in the NFL, especially if they're mailing it in like I believe they are.
RECAP: Until Cincinnati shows some signs of life and effort, I'm going to fade them. I wouldn't bet too much on this game because there's a chance Haynesworth could be out with a concussion. Plus, there's always a chance Collins could show up drunk, yelling "Toga! Toga! Toga!"
The Psychology. Edge: Titans.
It seems like the Bengals are already mailing this season in. The Titans, meanwhile, need to play at 110 percent because their starting quarterback is out. Also, they're looking to avenge a 35-6 loss to the Bengals last year.
The Vegas. Edge: Bengals.
Nearly two-thirds of the public is backing the Titans, yet this line hasn't moved.
Percentage of money on Tennessee: 57% (141,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Titans.
Bengals are 8-21 ATS in September home games since 1992.
Buffalo Bills (1-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) Line: Jaguars by 4.5. Total: 37. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Jaguars -7.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Jaguars -6.
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The Game. Edge: Bills. Injuries: Bills: OUT: OLB Angelo Crowell (IR). Jaguars: OUT: WR Reggie Williams, G Vince Manuwai (IR), G Maurice Williams (IR), DE James Wyche (IR).
Today's YouTube video of the week features one of the most dynamic displays of athleticism I've ever seen. How is this man not playing professional sports? Check it out. Thanks for Forum member NoNonsenseCoach for this video.
When I said a few weeks ago that the Patriots wouldn't win the AFC East, everyone seemed to respond, "But their division sucks!" Well, I always had the Bills in the back of my mind, and I placed them just a few slots behind New England in my NFL Power Rankings. It was somewhat rewarding to see them completely dismantle the Seahawks, albeit Seattle perennially sucks on East Coast games at 1 p.m. and was playing with a skeleton crew offense.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: The Bills did most of their damage with defense and special teams, and I don't see why this contest will be any different. Buffalo stole Marcus Stroud from the Jaguars, and he has been a monstrous force for them, clogging the middle of the line of scrimmage and closing down all interior running lanes. There's a reason the Seahawks averaged just a bit more than one yard per carry until the third quarter.
Buffalo's ability to put the clamps on the run isn't good news for the Jaguars, who couldn't get their ground game going versus the Titans. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew gained two and 2.6 YPC, respectively. Expect similar numbers from them on Sunday, especially with both of the team's starting guards out.
Without an effective ground attack, David Garrard will continue to struggle. I'm not sure what happened, but whatever magic Garrard had last year has vanished into thin air. Coming off a brutal preseason, Garrard was intercepted twice and sacked seven times at Tennessee. The Bills and their opportunistic secondary are coming off a five-sack outing themselves.
BUFFALO OFFENSE: You know that Stroud guy I mentioned a few paragraphs ago? Yeah, I'd say the Jaguars miss him. They couldn't contain Chris Johnson last week, so I don't know what would make anyone think that they could prevent Marshawn Lynch from wild against them.
If Lynch can put up 125 yards or more at a 4.5 clip, things will really open up for Trent Edwards. Edwards began last week's contest 1-of-6 for seven yards, but finished strongly at 19-of-30 for 215 yards and a touchdown, finally settling down midway through the second quarter. And that was against a very solid Seahawks stop unit. As long as Buffalo's rushing attack is effective, I see no reason to believe Edwards will struggle, especially with Lee Evans as a downfield target.
RECAP: The Jaguars are one of my four overrated teams for a reason. It seems like everyone was shocked they lost to the Titans, yet anyone who watched the preseason could have seen it coming from a mile away. They were simply awful in the preseason. Like I said, I'm not sure what happened, but Garrard has lost his sparkle.
I was a bit concerned when I saw that the public was backing the Bills, but my reservations with taking the visitor were a bit quelled when the line dropped to 5.5 at every sportsbook in Vegas.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
Big game for both teams. The Jaguars are a worthy opponent for the improved Bills, while Jacksonville cannot start 0-2.
The Vegas. Edge: Jaguars.
Vegas set a pretty fair line, but the Bills have become a public dog in the wake of smoking Seattle. This line has moved to 5.5 though.
Percentage of money on Buffalo: 75% (129,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bills.
Bills are 14-9 ATS as a dog under Dick Jauron.
Bills are 10-1 ATS against losing teams since 2006.
Green Bay Packers (1-0) at Detroit Lions (0-1) Line: Packers by 3. Total: 45.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 1): Pick.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 1): Packers -4.
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The Game. Edge: Packers. Injuries: Packers: OUT: G Junius Coston (IR), DT Justin Harrell. Lions: OUT: FB Jon Bradley (IR), WR Reggie Ball (IR), TE Dan Campbell (IR), CB Von Hutchins (IR).
Talk about one week completely changing public perception. Seven days ago, people had the Lions as a sleeper. They picked them in my Survivor Pool. Tom Jackson even predicted that they would win the NFC North! Meanwhile, most people were down on the Packers. No way Aaron Rodgers could even come close to matching Brett Favre's success! The public was siding with the Vikings in the Monday night game, even though Green Bay has recently dominated that series. A week ago, Detroit may have been favored in this contest.
Well, here we are. Green Bay is the favorite, and the public is pounding them as if they know the exact score of the game. Detroit, meanwhile, is being talked about as if they're the worst team in the league. I wouldn't be surprised if a few natives are gathering pitchforks and torches, and planning to burn Matt Millen's house down.
DETROIT OFFENSE: As bad as everyone made out the Lions to be, they put up some pretty solid offensive numbers last week. Jon Kitna went 24-of-33 for 262 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He often looked Calvin Johnson's way, as the talented wideout produced seven receptions for 107 yards. Johnson was also targeted in the end zone, but a defensive pass interference nullified the opportunity for a touchdown.
All of this was against two solid corners in Chris Houston and Brent Grimes. I don't think Green Bay's secondary, Al Harris in particular, can keep up with Johnson and Roy Williams. Minnesota's wideouts were often open downfield on Monday; Tarvaris Jackson just couldn't get them the ball. Given the opportunity, Kitna can do so.
Of course, Kitna needs the proper pass protection to do this, and that could be a problem. John Abraham notched three sacks on Kitna last week, and he happens to be Atlanta's only potent pass rusher. The Packers have Aaron Kampman, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and Cullen Jenkins up front, who will make things very difficult for Kitna and his pedestrian blockers.
Don't count on much from Detroit's running game either. Kevin Smith gained just three yards per carry against Atlanta's front seven. Green Bay's defense figures to be much more efficient against the run than the Falcons this season.
GREEN BAY OFFENSE: OK, so maybe Rodgers' performance warrants some of the hype the Packers are getting. Rodgers was poised versus an outstanding Minnesota defensive front, and nearly completed all of his passes, going 18-of-22 for 178 yards and a touchdown. With no pressure coming from Detroit's stop unit, Rodgers will have all day to throw against a secondary that can't stop anything.
The only thing going for Detroit's defense is that the Packers may not have Ryan Grant available for this contest. Grant, who's complaining about hamstring issues, wasn't in the game late for Green Bay. I'm not sold on Brandon Jackson as an NFL runner, so who knows, maybe the Lions won't allow a running back to gain 200 yards this week.
RECAP: If the Packers played the Lions in Detroit 10 times, they'd probably win at least seven of those contests.
That said, this is a bad spot for them. They're coming off a tough Monday night victory against rival Minnesota. Next week, they host the Cowboys. With the Lions getting whacked at Atlanta, the Packers, who have to be feeling really good about themselves right now, may not bring their A-game to Detroit.
Also keep in mind that the Lions are much better at home. They had more than their fair share of blowout losses on the road last season, but they were pretty sharp at home, beating the likes of Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Denver, and nearly knocking off the Cowboys.
A blowout loss at Atlanta has created some line value for the Lions. Plus, no one is betting on them, yet the line hasn't moved off three. The way I see it, you can either put money on Detroit or stay away from this contest all together.
The Psychology. Edge: Lions.
The Lions are once again the butt of every NFL joke. The Packers have to feel good about themselves after their first win. Perhaps too good? Green Bay has Dallas next week, so this is a classic Sandwich Situation.
The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
The Packers are coming off an impressive Monday night win, while the Lions just got BLOWED out. Vegas set a soft line, inducing tons of action on Green Bay. This spread hasn't moved yet.
Percentage of money on Green Bay: 95% (138,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Packers.
History: Packers have won 13 of the last 15 meetings.
Loser Coach: Rod Marinelli is 0-3 ATS after losing as a favorite.
Packers are 20-10 ATS after Monday Night Football in the previous 30 instances.
Free NFL Picks - Late Games Falcons at Buccaneers, 49ers at Seahawks, Ravens at Texans, Patriots at Jets, Chargers at Broncos, Dolphins at Cardinals, Steelers at Browns, Eagles at Cowboys
Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenver winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 21, 2014): 0-1 (-$770)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2014): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2014): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2014): 0-1 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21, 2014): -$65
2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350)
2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2014 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 50-41, 55.0% (+$1,500) 2014 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 12-17-1, 41.4% (-$1,990) 2014 Season Over-Under: 144-119-2, 54.8% ($0) 2014 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$630
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$2,550) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,157-1,978-117, 52.2% (+$10,530) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 694-624-31 (52.7%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 288-251-11 (53.4%) Career Over-Under: 1,685-1,655-48 (50.5%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 30-19 (61.2%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.