Seattle Seahawks (5-3) at Arizona Cardinals (4-4) Line: Seahawks by 6. Total: 40. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Seahawks -7.
Walt's Calculated Line: Seahawks -4.5.
Thursday, Nov 9, 8:25 PM
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The Game. Edge: Seahawks.
WEEK 9 RECAP: I've complained about some of the horrible luck this year - I still can't believe I lost 14 units by a combined three points in Week 8 - so it would be unfair if I didn't acknowledge good fortune. I've been losing close games all year aside from the Week 5 Packers-Cowboys thriller, but I got lucky with the Falcons screwing up two potential long touchdowns to Julio Jones, giving me a five-unit win with Carolina. Also, Jay Cutler was able to engineer a late touchdown drive to get the push. It wasn't a cover, but at least I didn't lose three units on the Sunday night game.
My two bad losses were dropping five and three units on the Bengals +6 and Packers +3 -115, respectively. They were horrible selections, as a result of a misevaluation on Cincinnati and Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers. I finished 7-5-1, +$205, which isn't bad, but happens to be underwhelming.
SEATTLE OFFENSE: The Seahawks managed to score just 14 points against a Redskin defense missing numerous defensive linemen, but that's not truly indicative of how Seattle played on this side of the ball. The Seahawks generated more than 400 yards of offense, averaging 5.8 yards per play. Both were respectable numbers, so what happened?
The answer is penalties. The Seahawks had 16 of them, with numerous infractions negating long gains. Three missed field goals in the rain didn't help either. The good news for Seattle is that this is something that happens to be fixable, as long as the team is focused for this contest. And I don't see why the Seahawks wouldn't be, especially after a loss. The offensive line, which received a boost from the acquisition of Duane Brown, should be able to hold up against Chandler Jones, giving Russell Wilson enough time to exploit the weaknesses in Arizona's defense. The Cardinals have endured some poor linebacker and safety play this year, so Wilson should have success throwing to Jimmy Graham.
Meanwhile, it sounds like C.J. Prosise is going to play. This will provide a huge boost for the Seahawks, who have gotten nothing out of their putrid backs. Prosise isn't much of a runner, but he's a lethal threat as a receiver out of the backfield, so I imagine Seattle will match him up against the poor linebackers I referenced earlier.
ARIZONA OFFENSE: The Seahawks clearly aren't the same without Earl Thomas. We saw this last year when Seattle wilted down the stretch without him, and that was apparent again Sunday when Kirk Cousins marched down the field to score the decisive touchdown in the final minutes. The Seahawks will need Thomas on the field if they want to make any sort of deep playoff push.
That said, Thomas' availability may not matter much in this affair because Drew Stanton is so limited. Stanton had some success against San Francisco's anemic defense, but that won't be the case against an angry Seahawk stop unit. Stanton won't do well throwing into Seattle's secondary, even without Thomas, and I don't trust his pass protection to hold up, as he has just one quality blocker in left tackle D.J. Humphries.
The Cardinals will obviously attempt to establish Adrian Peterson again, but the old man won't be able to replicate what he did versus the 49ers. Whereas San Francisco sucks versus the rush, Seattle thrives against it. No team has gained more than 75 yards on the ground when playing the Seahawks since Week 3.
RECAP: My rule for Thursday games has been to select the better team, given that the superior squad will have an easier time preparing on short rest. However, I think there needs to be an amendment to that rule. And that would be to fade teams that won't be motivated. We saw this the past two weeks when the Dolphins and Bills, both seen as superior, failed to show up because they both thought they'd have easy victories.
I don't think the Seahawks will be lethargic. They're coming off a loss, and they need to keep pace with the Rams. They'll be focused for the Cardinals, and they should beat them as a result.
Unfortunately, this spread (-5.5) is close to the one I came up with (-4.5), so I don't see a good betting opportunity. I like the under a bit, but I wouldn't go crazy with it.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I didn't have Thursday Thoughts for this game because I was running errands all day and got in late (hence, my late Disaster Grades update for Ezekiel Elliott.) However, I didn't think it was a big deal because I don't really have many thoughts on this game. The Seahawks are the better team on a Thursday, and they'll certainly be motivated coming off a loss, so they seem like the right side. However, Earl Thomas is out, which means the Cardinals will have success throwing the ball. That could allow Drew Stanton to engineer a back-door score at the very end. Perhaps the sharps have the same thoughts because they haven't bet this game either. The only money here is public action on Seattle.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Cardinals.
A good chunk of action on the Seahawks.
Percentage of money on Seattle: 66% (40,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Cardinals.
History: Seahawks have won 5 of the past 8 meetings, excluding the 2016 tie.
Seahawks are 34-47 ATS on the road since 2006 if they're not coming off an away loss.
Russell Wilson is 10-6 ATS after a loss as long as he's not favored by -10 or more.
Cardinals are 29-14 ATS at home as underdogs or favorites of less than -3 since 2007.
Minnesota Vikings (6-2) at Washington Redskins (4-4) Line: Vikings by 1. Total: 41.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Vikings -1.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Vikings -1.5.
Sunday, Nov 12, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Vikings.
My overrated-underrated feature will continue in this spot, and I'm going to emphasize injuries (particularly those on the offensive line)...
Underrated NFL Teams:
Buffalo Bills: The Bills suffered a blowout defeat against the Jets, transitioning them from overrated to underrated territory. They simply didn't show up last Thursday night, so I expect them to improve this upcoming week. They still have a great defense and a solid offensive line - despite the seven sacks allowed - and Kelvin Benjamin will help bolster the passing game.
Denver Broncos: The Broncos looked awful against the Eagles, but that couldn't have been a surprise. They were playing their third-consecutive road game on a short week after making a trip to the East Coast. Denver's defense, despite the performance at Philadelphia, is still great. Plus, it's important to note that the Broncos have had just one home game since Week 4!
New York Giants: It may seem stupid to designate the Giants as an underrated team, as they just got blown out by the Rams, but they were missing several players who should return to action soon, including Janoris Jenkins, Justin Pugh, Olivier Vernon and B.J. Goodson. The Giants have played three games since Odell Beckham Jr. went down, and all three have been difficult. They've hosted the Rams and Seahawks, two top-10 teams, and their easiest contest was at Denver, which is a tough place to play. The Giants are a bad team, don't get me wrong, but I don't think they're as terrible as they appeared to be in Week 9.
Overrated NFL Teams:
Atlanta Falcons: I'm done defending the Falcons. They are not the same team as last year. They were lucky to beat the Jets, and they weren't competitive against the Patriots. Their play-calling is extremely predictable, and Steve Sarkisian is not getting the ball enough to Julio Jones. Meanwhile, their defense has been a big disappointment, as they've had no answers for Josh McCown or Jay Cutler recently.
Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys just had a victory over the Chiefs, but let's not forget that they would've trailed the hobbled Redskins 16-7 at halftime if it weren't for a blocked field goal the week before. Dallas has two liabilities on its offensive line, while its secondary is littered with mediocre players. The Chiefs are not who we thought they were, so a win over them wasn't as impressive as people are making it out to be.
Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars had a nice win over a lethargic Cincinnati team that couldn't pressure the quarterback or get off the field on third down. Plus, the result would've likely been 16-7 if it weren't for a punt return, which is obviously less impressive than 23-7. Blake Bortles still sucks, his receivers are pedestrian, and his offensive line is not good.
New York Jets: The Jets played their Super Bowl Thursday night, while the Bills didn't show up. The result was a lopsided affair, and the result of that is people talking about how the Jets are a couple of plays from being 6-3 right now. The Jets play hard each week, so Todd Bowles deserves credit for that, but New York still has less talent than any other team in the NFL, with the exception of the 49ers.
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: The Redskins would be listed in the underrated category if they had their offensive line intact. Alas, that is not the case. They are missing All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams (as well as his direct backup), former first-round guard Brandon Scherff and center Spencer Long. Their left guard is also out of the lineup, but this has been a blessing in disguise because replacement Arie Kouandjio has been better. Still, the Redskins are really hurting right now, so getting some of their blockers back would be a huge boon for their chances in this game.
Washington's ability to score will depend on whether or not the blockers play. Sure, the Redskins won in Seattle without Williams, Scherff and Long, but did so with some crazy luck. They were outgained, 437-244, and they averaged only 4.1 yards per play. Had Blair Walsh not suffered a mental breakdown, they surely would have lost. The Redskins almost certainly won't be as fortunate against the Vikings if their linemen are out again, as Minnesota has a stout front that will put tremendous pressure on Kirk Cousins. I can't even imagine how brutally Everson Griffen will abuse T.J. Clemmings.
Even if Williams and Scherff play, there's no guarantee they'll be anywhere close to 100 percent. If they were completely healthy, I'd like the Redskins' chances of moving the chains a bit, though that would still be difficult based on how terrific the Vikings' defense is.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: The Vikings were the team that had severe blocking issues last year, but they've seemingly resolved those problems. That said, I still don't trust right tackle Mike Remmers to block Ryan Kerrigan. Remmers, if you recall, nearly got Cam Newton killed in the Super Bowl, and Kerrigan is one of the top edge rushers in the NFL. The Redskins should be able to apply a healthy amount of pressure on Case Keenum as a consequence.
This is definitely not something Keenum wanted to hear, as he had his work cut out for him to begin with. The Redskins have an amazing secondary that has gotten much better lately, thanks to Josh Norman and DeAngelo Hall returning from injury. Norman had a blunder toward the end of the Seattle game, but performed well otherwise. However, Hall was the primary story. Despite being a 33-year-old coming off ACL surgery, Hall looked like his former, Pro Bowl self versus Seattle. Given the sudden injection of talent into Washington's secondary, it'll be difficult for the limited Keenum to throw on the Redskins. Fortunately for the Vikings, they have Teddy Bridgewater set to return soon.
That said, the Vikings should have some success running the ball with Jerick McKinnon in this contest. The Redskins are missing their top two interior defensive linemen, and they haven't been tested without Matt Ioannidis yet.
RECAP: This game is extremely difficult to handicap right now because we don't know the status of Washington's linemen. If Williams and Scherff make their return to the field, I'll certainly be picking the Redskins. However, I'd be cautious to bet them because we don't know if they'll be anywhere near 100 percent. Recall that Scherff was active for the Seattle game, and yet he didn't even play!
If both are out, I'll be on the Vikings - which will be my pick for now - but I'm not going to run to the window (or one of the sportsbook tabs in Chrome) to bet them, as they have some tough games after this and may overlook the Redskins.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I may bet on the Redskins depending on who plays. It's not looking good for Trent Williams, who continues to miss practice, but Brandon Scherff looks like he'll be in the lineup, perhaps along with Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed.
SATURDAY NOTES: It's unclear who will play for the Redskins, but Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff and Spencer Long are all questionable for them, which is an improvement over last year. Meanwhile, Vikings right tackle Mike Remmers is out, which is huge because Minnesota will have a backup going up against Ryan Kerrigan. Assuming we get some of the Washington linemen back, I'm going to put a unit or two on the Redskins, but we'll see.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I said I was going to bet a couple of units on the Redskins if the injury news was positive for them, and it is. All five of their linemen are active, and so is Jamison Crowder. On the other side, Everson Griffen, one of Minnesota's top two defensive players, is out. So is right tackle Mike Remmers. I think Washington is worth a three-unit wager under these conditions.
The Psychology. Edge: Redskins.
The Vikings have the Rams and divisional threat Lions after this game, but I'm not sure they look past Washington.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money Washington: 55% (19,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
Mike Zimmer is 37-17 ATS as head coach of the Vikings.
Green Bay Packers (4-4) at Chicago Bears (3-5) Line: Bears by 4. Total: 37.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Bears -2.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Bears -8.5.
Sunday, Nov 12, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Bears.
VEGAS UPDATE: I'll be posting how the Vegas sportsbooks have done the previous week in this spot. Here were last week's most-bet sides:
The highest-bet sides were 17-20-1 heading into Week 9. The public won for the second week in a row, going 3-2-1 on the top games. Highest-bet sides are now 20-22-2.
Here are the five highest-bet sides, as of Tuesday morning:
It's not a surprise to see four road favorites on this list. It is a surprise, however, that there would be a highly bet underdog, but everyone thinks Dallas +3 is free money, apparently.
Oh, and our weekly fantasy football contest has returned. It's like DFS, but weekly and free, and there are cash prizes! There's no reason not to enter, and you can submit up to five lineups per week! Click the link here for our new Weekly Fantasy Football Contest!
GREEN BAY OFFENSE: Mike McCarthy was pretty adamant about Brett Hundley not being the problem after the Monday night loss to the Lions. He's right. It's not Hundley's fault that the defense failed to force Detroit into a single punt (with the help of Mike Daniels' stupid penalty). The problem is Aaron Rodgers not being on the field to cover up all of these warts. Rodgers would've gone toe to toe with Matthew Stafford, but Hundley isn't good enough to maintain consistent drives.
Hundley showed some poor decision-making at the end of the Detroit game that makes me believe he could heave a pick-six in this contest. He threw late across his body twice, which is a major mistake. He wasn't penalized for it, but he will be eventually, and Chicago's defense is the sort of unit that will take advantage of blunders like that. Hundley isn't any good, and he hasn't faced a dominant defense as a starter yet. However, we saw him in relief against the Vikings, when he went 18-of-33 for 157 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He could be in for that sort of game, especially if right tackle Bryan Bulaga is unavailable because of a knee injury he suffered late Monday night.
The only way the Packers keep this close is by establishing Aaron Jones, which they weren't able to do versus Detroit. The Bears aren't very good against the run, but it's not like the Lions are either. Detroit simply played closer to the line of scrimmage because it didn't respect Hundley's ability to beat them downfield, and I doubt Chicago will feel any differently.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: As mentioned, the Packer defense embarrassed itself Monday night. The Lions didn't punt at all, and they would've scored on every single possession if it weren't for a Matt Prater missed field goal and an Ameer Abdullah lost fumble. The Packers have some of the worst cornerbacks in the NFL, and it didn't help that Jim Bob Cooter outsmarted Dom Capers by getting Golden Tate into great matchups.
The Bears don't strike me as a creative bunch, as evidenced by their decision to have Mitchell Trubisky throw only seven passes against the Panthers a few weeks ago. Given that John Fox is coaching like it's still 1995, I don't expect that to change, even with the week off. Trubisky would have a nice opportunity to abuse Green Bay's putrid corners if he had viable NFL receivers, but his top option has been someone named Tre McBride. Perhaps newly acquired Dontrelle Inman will contribute.
Chicago will focus primarily on running the ball with Jordan Howard and perhaps, if the team is daring enough, getting the ball to Tarik Cohen in space. The Packers are pretty stout versus the run with Daniels on the field, however, so the Bears will have to be somewhat active aerially to move the chains.
RECAP: Look at that spread movement! A week ago, the advance line on this game was Bears -2.5. I thought that was a bit low, as I made it -3 or -3.5. Still, this spread is now -5 because of what happened Monday night.
It's a shame Hundley and the Packer defense were both exposed because I would've loved to have bet Chicago at -2.5 or -3. At -5? Not so much. I still would take the Bears because I made this line -6, but I fear as though I, like the public, could be overreacting to one game. That said, this line movement could be totally legit, as Hundley is going to be terrible versus a great defense. Still, this is going to likely be a low-scoring, defensive grinder, so I could see the argument for taking the underdog. I, personally, would like to not have money on Hundley for once. I've lost seven units on Hundley thus far - though not completely my fault because I lost one unit in the game Rodgers got hurt - so I'm taking a long break from betting on Green Bay.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This spread has moved to Bears -6 in many books, thanks to some sharp action on Chicago. The reason for that movement could be Morgan Burnett likely to miss this game, which means Green Bay's defense will be even worse.
SATURDAY NOTES: I thought about this pick a lot over the past couple of days. While we lost good value compared to the advance spread, I don't think this line moved enough. I'm willing to say the Bears should be favored by more than a touchdown, especially with Bryan Bulaga and Morgan Burnett out. I'm going to put a couple of units on Chicago. I'm also switching to the under.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This spread fell to +4 because of some sharp movement on the Packers, but there has since been buyback on the Bears. The line has moved to -4.5 in many books, but is still available at -4 at BetUS (and CRIS and Pinnacle, if you have access to them), so I will lock in two units on the Bears -4.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Chicago: 53% (14,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Packers.
History: Packers have won 7 of the last 8 meetings.
Packers are 44-23 ATS in divisional games since 2006.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) at Indianapolis Colts (3-6) Line: Steelers by 10.5. Total: 47. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Steelers -10.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Steelers -6.5.
Sunday, Nov 12, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Steelers.
HATE MAIL: I will be posting lots of hate mail this season. Even though I went 7-4-1*, I still received a healthy amount of hate in the comment section.
For instance, some idiot with a blue sword thinks I bet Monopoly money on games:
Hmm... so I'm willing to spend $6,500 to enter both Supercontests - as well as additional proxy fees - but I'm not going to bet a few hundred bucks on some games? Are you out of your mind?
Meanwhile, Halloween is over, but this guy is still pretending to be a Jaguar fan:
That's cute! Is Olive Elephant going to be a princess next Halloween!?
Here's another guy who has a little too much time on his hands:
He replied to me, so here's what he said, along with my response:
Conversely, here's a guy who has no time on his hands, so he doesn't want as much information as possible:
And finally, here's the return of an old hater, who still somehow doesn't have a life:
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: When I complained about the Lions not covering in my October NFL Pick of the Month, I received some feedback from miserable people like the ones above, who called me an idiot for not acknowledging the fact that Ben Roethlisberger missed some open receivers downfield. One of the many reasons I bet heavily against the Steelers was because Roethlisberger had been doing that all season. He hasn't been the same this year, which could be a byproduct of his retirement plans last offseason. Roethlisberger, in the past, would've connected on most of those throws, but he has routinely whiffed on long tosses in every game this season.
Perhaps this will change eventually, but I need to see Roethlisberger have a great game first. This matchup seems like an ideal spot for Roethlisberger, but he'll need to rely on other weapons outside of Antonio Brown, given how tremendous cornerback Rashaan Melvin has been this year. Melvin definitely won't lock Brown down completely, but he'll limit him. Fortunately for the Steelers, they have another talented receiver in JuJu Smith-Schuster, who emerged in Detroit. The Colts lack a viable No. 2 cornerback, and they have a weak safety because Malik Hooker is out, so Roethlisberger's matchup is quite favorable. It all depends on how accurate he is in this contest.
As for the Steeler ground attack, Le'Veon Bell will have an unexpectedly difficult test. Believe it or not, but the Colts are actually quite forceful versus ground attacks because of Johnathan Hankins. Only three teams have eclipsed the century mark on the ground against them this year. What Indianapolis struggles to do, however, is defend pass-catching running backs well because of its incompetent linebackers. Bell should have plenty of success in that regard.
INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: The Steelers haven't been at full strength defensively in the past few weeks because they've missed stud defensive end Stephon Tuitt. However, Tuitt is practicing, so he's expected to be on the field come Sunday. If so, he and Cameron Heyward are going to create havoc for the Colts. Indianapolis pass protects well on the edges with tackles Anthony Castonzo and Joe Haeg, but its interior blockers are week.
Shielding Jacoby Brissett will be a major problem for the Colts, but Brissett's mobility will definitely help. T.Y. Hilton will as well, as he'll try to replicate what he did versus Houston. He'll have a chance again a couple of underwhelming safeties. Sean Davis, in particular, has been a liability in coverage, so the Steelers could surrender some substantial plays.
Like the Colts, the Steelers also have some issues dealing with receiving running backs. This would be a nice time for the Colts to get Marlon Mack more involved, but I wouldn't hold my breath in that regard, as Indianapolis seems inexplicably fixated on feeding the ball to Frank Gore.
RECAP: The Steelers are obviously the better team in this matchup, but are they 10 points better than the Colts on the road? I don't think so.
Double-digit road favorites are just 59-79-5 against the spread in the past 30 years (8-14-1 this decade thus far), so if you're going to bet a huge road favorite like this, you have to be wagering on a top-three NFL team going up against a bottom-three NFL squad.
I don't think that's the case in this situation. I have the Steelers third in my NFL Power Rankings, but the Colts aren't 30th or worse. They're 28th, and while that's close, it must be noted that with Brissett at the helm, they've been competitive in every single game this year, save for their shutout loss to the Jaguars.
I don't see why that would suddenly change, especially when factoring in the Steelers' lack of success in games like this over the years. Pittsburgh is often lethargic as large road favorites. Plus, the Steelers have to play on Thursday night, so I don't see them being focused for this matchup. With all that in mind, I'm going with the Colts for three units.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I still like the Colts. The sharps haven't weighed in on this game yet, but it wouldn't surprise me if they came in on Indianapolis at some point.
SATURDAY NOTES: There's some concern with T.Y. Hilton. He's questionable, but even if he plays, he could suffer a setback, which would obviously hurt Indianapolis' chances. Based on reports, I may drop this to two units.
FINAL THOUGHTS: T.Y. Hilton will play, but there's no guarantee that he's 100 percent. I'm going to keep this at three units, especially with the line movement to +10.5.
The Psychology. Edge: Colts.
The Steelers, well ahead in their division, have to play this "easy" game prior to taking on the Titans in four days.
The Vegas. Edge: Colts.
I'm surprised there's not more action on the Steelers.
Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 68% (17,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Colts.
Steelers are 3-16 ATS on the road as favorites of -8 or more since 1990.
Steelers are 23-34 ATS as road favorites since 2007.
Steelers are 12-24 ATS as road favorites coming off a win under Mike Tomlin.
Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3) Line: Jaguars by 4. Total: 41. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Jaguars -3.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Jaguars -1.
Sunday, Nov 12, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Chargers.
I wouldn't say my weekly random NFL notes cluttered these picks pages, so I'll keep them here. What I'm also going to do is store all of them in a Random NFL Notes section so that you can go back and read previous entries in the future.
Some random NFL notes I can't put anywhere else:
1. Perhaps it's not a coincidence that Deshaun Watson suffered a season-ending ACL tear last week. There may have been some bad karma going against him, as several Houston fans wished for his injury, as seen in this ridiculous poll:
How dumb are these people? Who would ask for a World Series championship over the health of a quarterback? Who the f*** cares about baseball? Seriously, it's the most boring thing ever. There are way too many games, and all the games involve fat men standing in a field, scratching their balls for three hours. Why is a championship in a so-called sport like that worth celebrating and sacrificing a beloved, exciting quarterback?
I do have an idea for improving baseball, and it would involve cutting the amount of games in the regular season from 162 to about 20. I would have each team play two games, at most, each week, so the top two starters would pitch every other game. Each contest would mean so much, so I'd even be interested in watching.
2. Speaking of the Texans' quarterbacking situation, I find it ridiculous that a certain quarterback wasn't signed. You know who I'm talking about. Robert Griffin.
It's an outrage that Griffin hasn't been signed yet. A total outrage. How could the Texans not sign him? Griffin should sue the NFL!
As for Colin Kaepernick, I find it frightening that some of the owners have to turn over e-mails to see if there was any collusion. I don't think private communications should be forced from anyone unless there's actual criminal activity involved. It's too invasive. If I were the owners, I wouldn't hand over anything. And if the authorities came at me, I'd make sure to put a horse's head in their bed to send a message. I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often.
3. Keeping with the theme of quarterbacks the Browns passed on, general manager Sashi Brown was asked about Carson Wentz recently, and he had this to say:
"There's a guy out in Seattle running around that the entire league passed on 2 1/2 times."
Really, Sashi? Why not just go for broke and mention Tom Brady?
Here's the difference: People downgraded Russell Wilson for his height, but no one downgraded Wentz for anything. Numerous teams had him as the No. 1 prospect. In fact, some members of the Rams' organization wanted to draft him over Jared Goff. Once the Rams selected Goff, the Browns, and ONLY the Browns passed on Wentz. He was a gift for the franchise after the Rams selected the wrong quarterback, and Cleveland inexplicably traded him away.
And yet, they were going to use these picks to acquire A.J. McCarron! It's really unbelievable how poorly run the Browns are. I was talking to Charlie Campbell recently, and we discussed how we, along with some of our league contacts, could step in and operate the Browns better than they're run now. Of course, that's not saying much. The Browns are so incompetent that instead of baseball personnel, they'll likely bring in hockey or basketball organization members next to screw up once Sashi and the rest of his cronies are fired.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: The Jaguars had quite the offensive showing against the Bengals. They only scored 16 points - seven points came on a punt return - but they managed to maintain possession of the ball for 40-plus minutes, thanks to a ridiculous third-down conversion rate. Cincinnati pathetically couldn't get any pressure on Blake Bortles, who managed to shred the Bengals, though he did have his usual poor throws as well.
I'll be shocked if this game follows a similar trajectory. The Chargers have one of the top defensive fronts in the NFL. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are the best edge-rushing tandem in the NFL, and they have easy matchups. Left tackle Cam Robinson has struggled as a rookie, while right tackle Jermey Parnell has just been mediocre. Both Bosa and Ingram should be able to abuse the tackles, while Corey Liuget will have plenty of success inside versus pedestrian left guard Patrick Omameh.
The pressure Bortles will face could force him into some bad turnovers, and the Chargers the talented cornerbacks, Casey Hayward and Trevor Williams, to take advantage. The Jaguars will obviously attempt to establish Leonard Fournette to keep the pass rush honest, but the Chargers will have Denzel Perryman back this week. Perryman is a nice addition for the Chargers, as he'll be a major upgrade over the incompetent Hayes Pullard.
SAN ANGELES OFFENSE: Philip Rivers won't have the best pass protection either. Yannick Ngakoue has been exceptional this year, while Dante Fowler, while not great, has improved as well. Then, of course, there's Calais Campbell in the interior. Campbell has been tremendous, though the Chargers have some hope in preventing him from completely dominating because rookie guard Dan Feeney has played well since stepping into the lineup. That said, Campbell should win most of his battles, and the same goes for Ngakoue. Fowler will be neutralized by Russell Okung, so that's something, at least.
Rivers will be able to move the chains on occasion by hooking up with Hunter Henry. The Jaguars are terrific at shutting down receivers because of Jalen Ramsey's outstanding coverage, but they've surrendered a decent amount of yardage to tight ends this year. The Chargers have used Henry more as the season has progressed, so he should be a big part of the game plan.
Like the Jaguars, the Chargers won't have as much success on the ground as they'd hope. Melvin Gordon is coming off a 132-yard performance versus the Patriots, but the Jaguars, outside of the Jets game, have clamped down on running backs for the most part this year.
RECAP: I have a bad taste in my mouth from losing my October NFL Pick of the Month so horribly - just kick the damn field goal, Caldwell! - so perhaps this game will help. That's because this is my November NFL Pick of the Month.
There are so many reasons I love the Chargers, so where do I begin? Let's start with them, actually. I think they easily could've made my underrated list. They lost some close games to start the year. Had they made field goals versus Denver and Miami and won those games, they'd be 5-3 right now. What would the spread be in that case? The Jaguars certainly wouldn't be favored by more than a field goal.
The Chargers have had success following their slow start because of their terrific defense, but Rivers has obviously helped. Rivers is the better quarterback in this matchup, by far, and he has an extensive history of covering as an underdog. He's 23-10 as a dog of 3.5 or more points in his career for a reason. I love getting more than a field goal with great signal-callers. There's a good chance they'll win outright, and even if they're down, they have a high chance of getting a back-door cover. Rivers did this versus the Broncos in Week 1, and he would've done the same thing against the Eagles in Week 4 if that spread were priced appropriately.
Most recently, the Chargers lost by eight points to the Patriots, but they were down by five before New England knocked in a front-door field goal with less than two minutes remaining. If the Chargers were able to keep the margin to within five against New England, I think they can do even better against the Jaguars, a team I'm not buying into. Jacksonville is coming off two blowout victories, but it beat two lackluster opponents in Indianapolis and Cincinnati. I have the Colts and Bengals 28th and 27th, respectively, in my NFL Power Rankings. The Chargers are 12th, so this is a big step up. The last time Jacksonville battled a team not 27th or worse in my rankings, it lost to the Rams, 27-17, at home.
The Jaguars, quite simply, aren't very good. They're not bad, as their defense is tremendous, but Bortles sucks, and the offensive line isn't much better. Bortles hasn't screwed up recently because he hasn't been forced into making tough throws in a close game, but he seems primed to make several mistakes against a great Charger defense that limited Tom Brady to just 21 points (and really only 18 before the front-door field goal.) As for the offensive line, I've already discussed the Chargers' major mismatches there.
I think there's a good chance the Chargers win this game outright, so I'm going to bet the full eight units on them.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: I'm going to lock this pick in. Bovada still has +4, which is fortunate because the line has just dropped to +3.5 in most other books. The sharps are betting the Chargers, which is not surprising. It might be possible that this goes up to +4, or even higher, but I think +4 is a great number.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I've locked this pick in, and I'm happy about that. However, it wouldn't surprise me, based on the -3.5 juice at Pinnacle and CRIS, that this line will move back up to -4.
SATURDAY NOTES: I'm punished by locking this in, as some sharp money has risen the line to -5.5. It's even -6 at 5Dimes! UGH!!! However, like I said, I think +4 is a great number, and the Chargers should beat that spread, especially with Denzel Perryman officially back in the lineup to help against the run.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This spread rose to +6, but some sharp money bumped it back down to +5. Perhaps this is because right tackle Jermey Parnell is out. Parnell isn't a great blocker, or anything, but he's decent. He'll be missed big time against the Chargers' dynamic edge rushers. The Jaguars are going to have major problems blocking today.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Los Angeles: 52% (19,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Chargers.
Philip Rivers is 23-10 ATS as a road underdog of 3.5 or more.
Philip Rivers is 3-8 ATS off a bye.
Jaguars are 32-63 ATS against non-divisional opponents since 2008.
Jaguars are 9-17 ATS as home favorites since 2008.
Opening Line: Jaguars -4.
Opening Total: 41.5.
Week 10 NFL Pick: Chargers 17, Jaguars 13 Chargers +4 (8 Units - November NFL Pick of the Month) -- Correct; +$800 Under 41 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0 Jaguars 20, Chargers 17
New York Jets (4-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6) Line: Jets by 1. Total: 44. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Buccaneers -4.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Pick.
Sunday, Nov 12, 1:00 PM
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1. I was looking forward to seeing the initial top 25 college football rankings so I could make fun of the committee. This was going to be the highlight of my week. I tuned in, expecting the worst, and...
I agreed with everything. Seriously. I wouldn't have changed a single thing.
I know, I know, this is boring. You want me to go on rants. But I think they put the four best teams in the country into the top four slots. Clemson deserves to be No. 4, as its only loss came when its quarterback got hurt. None of the Big Ten teams should be in the top four, as the conference is very overrated - as evidenced by Oklahoma's thrashing of Ohio State. And Georgia over Alabama makes sense! The Bulldogs have been more impressive. Besides, does it really matter who's first or second?
2. The supposed reason why Alabama is behind Georgia is strength of schedule. Two of their non-conference games were against Fresno State and Colorado State. Of course, Georgia battled Appalachian State and Samford, so it's not like they can brag about anything outside of their victory over Notre Dame. However, beating Notre Dame is obviously more important than defeating Florida State.
Still, though, I have to bring up these games against stupid teams, and this past week's contest with Mississippi State versus UMass was a perfect example of that. Why is Mississippi State playing UMass, especially at this stage during the season? It's not like these teams are even close to each other, so there's no sort of rivalry for the underdog.
I think this nonsense needs to end. Major-conference teams should only get one game against the sisters of the poor. Just one, so it's like a preseason contest. Major programs should be forced to play other major programs, or risk exclusion from the college football playoff. I think this would make college football so much better as a whole.
3. Much was made this week about the report regarding Sam Darnold. If you missed it, there was a report revealing that Darnold plans on returning to USC if the Browns obtain the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
If this is true, Darnold is a dumba** for several reasons. First of all, this makes him look bad. Not just because he doesn't want to go to a team, but it makes him appear smug, like he just assumes he'll be the top selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. Second, and this is related, but Darnold isn't even the favorite to be the first-overall choice anymore! Because of Darnold's struggles, Lamar Jackson has leapt ahead of Darnold in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft (and Charlie's as well).
And third, the Browns have already passed on Pro Bowl-type quarterbacks like Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson. If Darnold is any good, the Browns won't want him either!
TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: Jameis Winston and Mike Evans won't be playing in this game, though that's probably for the best right now. Winston hasn't been healthy for a while because of his bum shoulder. Evans, meanwhile, hasn't played up to his ability this year. He's extremely talented, but hasn't been on the same page with Winston at all.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is one of the better backups in the NFL, and he certainly has a manageable matchup this week. The Jets don't have a very good defense away from the line of scrimmage. Their linebackers are poor, while their secondary is even worse. Their cornerbacks are pretty terrible outside of Morris Claiborne, and there's a chance Claiborne may not play in this game. Plus, Fitzpatrick still has viable targets like DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and his two talented tight ends.
The problem, however, is that the Buccaneers aren't very good at blocking, as they have just two viable offensive linemen in center Ali Marpet and right tackle Demar Dotson. Left tackle Donovan Smith is a human turnstile, and Kony Ealy should be able to abuse him. Leonard Williams will have success as well. Fitzpatrick, as a result, will have many drives disrupted, and Doug Martin won't have very many rushing opportunities.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: I wrote about this last week, but there's no reason the Jets should have any success on offense. Josh McCown is not a good quarterback; his receivers are very pedestrian; and his offensive line, outside of Kelvin Beachum, is putrid. Despite this, the Jets have feasted on either bad defenses or lethargic teams, which would explain why they've been able to average 22.7 points per game since Week 3.
The Jets will be begin losing once they face talented, interested teams. The Buccaneers are talented, but they are most certainly not interested, as only some of their players are performing up to their abilities. Gerald McCoy, for instance, will dominate the trenches, and Lavonte David should continue to play at a Pro Bowl level. However, the Buccaneers have several liabilities in the secondary that McCown will be able to take advantage of.
The Buccaneers also happen to be very poor against the run. Since Week 5, only one team, the Panthers, failed to rush for 100-plus yards against them. The Jets don't have the best ground attack, but Matt Forte, Bilal Powell and Eli McGuire should be able to get enough on the ground to keep McCown in manageable down-and-distance situations.
RECAP: This is a game between a team that tries hard every game and a team that barely tries ever. That may make it seem like the Jets are a no-brainer selection, but I'm not so sure. I think the Buccaneers will play better with a healthy quarterback, while New York might be flat following its impressive victory over the Bills on national TV.
That said, I don't want to bet on Fitzpatrick effectively winning a game. I'll consider a unit or two on the Buccaneers if this spread reaches +3, but this is a non-wager selection on Tampa at +2.5.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: It's sounding like Brent Grimes will be back for the Buccaneers, which is a plus. I like the Buccaneers, but I need them at +3 to consider wagering on them. The sharps haven't bet on them yet.
SATURDAY NOTES: The spread hasn't moved yet, so I can't bet the Buccaneers yet. It's either them or nothing, as this number is inflated toward the Jets too much.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Wow, look at all the sharp money on the Buccaneers! Here I was, waiting for +3, but the pros have been pounding Tampa all morning. I can't say I'm surprised, as the Jets still suck, but I'm just concerned that Tampa will once again be a no-show.
The Psychology. Edge: Buccaneers.
The Jets just had a statement win over the Bills, and they've had extra time to feel good about themselves. Will they take the Buccaneers seriously? Then again, will Tampa even show up?
The Vegas. Edge: Buccaneers.
Who wants to bet on Tampa? The sharps, apparently.
Percentage of money on New York: 60% (19,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Jets.
Road Team is 79-48 ATS in Buccaneers games since 2009.
Buccaneers are 20-45 ATS at home in the previous 65 instances.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) at Tennessee Titans (5-3) Line: Titans by 4.5. Total: 40.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Titans -5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Titans -4.5.
Sunday, Nov 12, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Titans.
If you've followed this site for a while, you might remember that I like to respond to my spam mails. It all started six years ago, when a man named Jon Wire from the "United Bank of Africoan" promised me an ATM card of some sort, so I responded as a man named Mister Compassion Chuck Norris, who was raised by wolves. The following season, I received e-mails from Richard Held and Loon Bruce, who told me I won a Facebook Award, which comes with a "lump sum pay out of (750,000.00 GBP)." Pretending to be Matthew Millen Kim, I sent out my application and fake money.
I've been messing around with spammers ever since, pretending to be Aaron Hernandez, Tom Brady and Walter White. I'll have new answers to Spam Mails here, so check them out if you want to see me screw with spammers!
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: It wasn't clear if Marcus Mariota would be 100 percent following the bye, but as we discovered by his performance against the Ravens, the answer is no. Mariota scrambled only twice, gaining seven yards in the process. His hamstring will fully heal eventually, but it's discouraging that he's not completely healthy after a week off.
That said, based on how Cincinnati's offense performed a week ago, Mariota wouldn't even have to be at 50-percent capacity to have success in this matchup. Cincinnati's pass rush was invisible last week, putting zero pressure on Blake Bortles behind his poor offensive line. The Titans block much better than the Jaguars do, so I imagine they'll be able to keep Mariota clean for the most part. Making sure Geno Atkins stays of the backfield will be a challenge, as it is for every team, but Cincinnati's next-best pass-rusher, Carlos Dunlap, should be neutralized by Jack Conklin.
As a result of this, Mariota should be able to shred a struggling Cincinnati secondary. It would be nice if he could scramble as well, but it'll be up to Derrick Henry to do all the damage on the ground with DeMarco Murray banged up. The Bengals just surrendered 129 yards on the ground to a Leonard Fournette-less Jaguar team, so Henry should have plenty of success.
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: While the Titans have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, the Bengals are on the other end of the spectrum. They have a horrific blocking unit that features only one viable NFL starter in guard Clint Boling.
I can't see the Bengals keeping Tennessee's defensive linemen and linebackers out of the backfield. Brian Orakpo, Jurrell Casey and Derrick Morgan all figure to win their matchups easily. Andy Dalton will constantly be under duress, which is nothing new for him. Cincinnati's offense has been putrid this season, and that will continue to be the case. It would help if Dalton had more than one talented target to throw to, and A.J. Green will be busy trying to get open against Logan Ryan or Adoree Jackson.
Dalton would also love a consistent ground attack, but Joe Mixon, despite his talent, is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry this season. Mixon simply doesn't have running lanes, and the Titans won't provide him with any; Tennessee hasn't given up 100 yards on the ground since Week 4.
RECAP: The Titans are clearly the better team, and if Mariota were healthy, this would be a sure blowout. However, Mariota will probably continue to be limited, and that should keep Tennessee's offense from being too explosive. Plus, the Titans have to battle the Steelers in four days, so they could have one eye on that game.
I'm still going to select the Titans for office-pool purposes, but I'm not going to wager on them because of the two major concerns. Plus, the line I made for this game is exactly what the spread currently happens to be (-4.5), so there's that.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I still don't have much of an opinion on this game, though I would be betting the Titans if I knew that Marcus Mariota would run more often this week.
SATURDAY NOTES: Once again, I don't have a strong opinion here, and there's no sharp action to report. I'm going to pass on this.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Still no sharp plays on this game. The public is split as well. This matchup is just so blegh. If the Titans weren't heading into a Thursday game, and Marcus Mariota would be completely healthy, I'd be all over Tennessee, but I have no interest under the current circumstances.
The Psychology. Edge: Bengals.
The Titans have the Steelers coming up in four days.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Tennessee: 56% (11,000 bets)
New Orleans Saints (6-2) at Buffalo Bills (5-3) Line: Saints by 3. Total: 48. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Saints -2.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Bills -2.5.
Sunday, Nov 12, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Bills.
Video of the Week: For those of you who have experienced the sheer agony of having a Christmas/birthday present ruined, I'd like to present this (thanks, Luke T.):
If I had a soul, I might have felt bad for the little girl, but I can't stop laughing at her misery.
BUFFALO OFFENSE: I must sound like a broken record by now, but we still don't know how good New Orleans' defense is. The Saints have battled a barrage of terrible or injured quarterbacks since Week 3 this year, as their six victories have come against Jameis Winston (injured), Mitchell Trubisky (terrible right now), Brett Hundley (terrible), Matthew Stafford (injured), Jay Cutler (terrible) and Cam Newton (injured). I'm a believer in several players the Saints have on this side of the ball, but some of the supporting cast members are questionable as far as how skilled they are, and we won't find out until the Saints are tested.
Tyrod Taylor won't provide a great test, but he's better than the other six quarterbacks in their circumstances because he's not injured or terrible. He's been playing at an above-average level, which might be good enough for the Bills to give the Saints some trouble. New Orleans has some awful linebackers Taylor should be able to exploit with his scrambling. Getting the ball to LeSean McCoy and Charles Clay, who is expected to be back from injury, should work as well. I can't see the New Orleans linebackers keeping up with McCoy at all, whether the Pro Bowl back is running the ball or catching passes out of the backfield.
Meanwhile, Kelvin Benjamin will make his Buffalo debut this week. Benjamin is one player I don't like in this matchup, as he'll have to get open against Marshon Lattimore, who is the obvious leader for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: There's a major injury in this game that could impact the result. If you're reading this early in the week, I bet you don't know what it is because ESPN would never mention something like that, as the SportsCenter hosts would rather talk about their irrelevant feelings instead. The injury is a chest malady that left tackle Terron Armstead suffered. Armstead is an extremely talented tackle, and his return to the lineup from an early-season injury is the reason why New Orleans has been so potent on this side of the ball (especially after Zach Strief went down in the London game). However, Armstead could be kept out of this contest, as the Saints picked up a tackle off waivers.
The Saints struggled to score prior to getting Armstead (and Strief) back from injury. They'll have a huge hole at tackle if he misses this contest, which is terrible news against a Buffalo pass rush that is extremely potent. Jerry Hughes and Shaq Lawson will have tremendous success against a rookie blind-side protector and a No. 4 tackle on the right side. Meanwhile, I like Kyle Williams' matchup against a weak New Orleans interior line.
The Bills' ability to win at the line of scrimmage should allow them to keep Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara from going off. Prior to a lazy Thursday night effort, Buffalo had surrendered only one 100-yard rushing performance all year. If the Bills can keep the Saints in long-yardage situations, their secondary should be able to limit Drew Brees, who, as mentioned, will be seeing tons of pressure.
RECAP: I can't emphasize enough how huge the injury to Armstead is. The national media isn't covering it, but it's extremely important. And even if Armstead plays, he may not be 100 percent, which is an extra boost for the Bills.
Besides, I loved Buffalo in this matchup anyway. The Bills are coming off an embarrassing loss on national TV, and they've had extra time to prepare for this game. Meanwhile, the Saints, who play much worse on the road, are at a lofty 6-2 following a divisional victory, so I doubt they'll be focused for a non-conference opponent.
Plus, the Saints could be seen as overrated. I mentioned that their defense hasn't been tested yet, but what about the team as a whole? They've played three true road games thus far. The first was a blowout loss at Minnesota. The second was a big victory at Carolina, but Newton was injured at the time, as he was still coming off surgery he had in the offseason. The third was a win over the Packers in which Brett Hundley had a lead over the Saints in the fourth quarter. Not exactly the most convincing results!
I marked the Bills down at -2.5 even before I knew of the Armstead injury. They play extremely well at home, so I think they should be favored. Yet, the Saints are -2.5. I was hoping to get Buffalo at +3, but +2.5 -105 is still an awesome number, and there could be an opportunity for +3 later in the week. I'm going with the Bills for five units.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This spread has moved to +3 in most books. You can get +3 -110 at Bovada, which I will be locking in, as Terron Armstead continues to miss practice.
SATURDAY NOTES: There's suddenly a chance Terron Armstead could play because he got in a limited practice Friday, but he may not be 100 percent, so I don't think it's a huge concern. The same goes with Cordy Glenn being out for the Bills. Glenn, the team's left tackle, hasn't been playing up to his ability, and rookie Dion Dawkins has been an adequate replacement. I locked this pick in at +3 -110 anyway.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps finally jumped on this game, betting the Bills down to +2.5 or +2. The Saints will have Terron Armstead for sure, but he may not be completely healthy, and their game plan will be disrupted if he leaves the field (think Zach Strief versus the Vikings in Week 1). Armstead should probably be given the week off, but what do I know?
The Psychology. Edge: Bills.
Coming off a blowout divisional victory, the Saints are on the road, playing a non-conference foe that will be looking to prove itself after getting blown out on national TV.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Money has slowed down on the Saints.
Percentage of money on Buffalo: 52% (21,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
Drew Brees is 42-27 ATS off back-to-back wins.
Bills are 28-16 ATS in November home games the previous 44 contests.
Bills are 19-31 ATS in their last 50 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
Cleveland Browns (0-8) at Detroit Lions (3-5) Line: Lions by 10. Total: 43. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Lions -9.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Lions -12.
Sunday, Nov 12, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Lions.
Last year, on the Adventures of Tom Brady's Haircuts, Tom Brady was elected as the President of the United States, as it was revealed that he was the only candidate running because both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were figments of his imagination. In doing so, Tom Brady saved his organization, the Two-Handed Gang, from the Latin Kings. Everything was going swimmingly for Brady while in the White House, until he received a telegram from Bill Belichick, requiring his presence in Foxboro...
DETROIT OFFENSE: We all saw Monday night what Matthew Stafford can accomplish if he has plenty of time in the pocket. Stafford torched the Packers mercilessly, as his team didn't punt a single time. I don't know what happened to Green Bay's pass rush, but the defense allowed Stafford to be nearly flawless. The Browns have similar defensive problems in their secondary and linebacking corps, so Stafford should be able to pick up where he left off.
The Browns can apply pressure on the quarterback with Myles Garrett. The No. 1 overall pick would present a problem for Detroit's third-string left tackle, but it's sounding like Taylor Decker will return to the lineup. Decker thrived as a rookie last year, so his return to the field would be enormous for Detroit, as Stafford won't have to worry about pressure from his blind side as much. With more time in the pocket than he's used to, Stafford should continue to look like he did Monday night.
The only concern for the Lions on this side of the ball is the red-zone offense. Will they continue to struggle near the goal line? Their ability to score sevens instead of threes will determine if they cover this big spread or not.
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: While the Lions will potentially have two talented tackles on the field for this game, the Browns won't have any. This will be their second full game with Joe Thomas out, so DeShone Kizer will see plenty of pressure from Ezekiel Ansah and Anthony Zettel. Ansah has been mediocre this year, save for a brilliant Monday night performance versus Ereck Flowers. He should have similar success against Spencer Drango.
Kizer, of course, will make numerous mistakes. He'll throw some great passes, especially if Corey Coleman is back on the field, as expected. However, Kizer has murdered his team with blunders, especially in enemy territory. I don't see why that would change in this particular matchup, especially with the Lions not having to worry about the run. Isaiah Crowell has been terrible this year, and considering Detroit just bottled up Aaron Jones, Crowell will continue to struggle.
RECAP: Like I said earlier, Detroit's red-zone offense will determine if the Lions cover this game. The good news is that the Browns are dead last in red-zone defense. The bad news is that the Packers are 30th, and Detroit converted just one touchdown in the red area!
My projected spread and this one are practically the same, so I don't see a good betting opportunity. Plus, the Lions are in a tough spot; they're playing on a short work week, and they have divisional battles against the Bears and Vikings coming up. That said, I refuse to pick the Browns, so this will be a zero-unit selection on Detroit.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The sharps have bet the Browns! Yes, it's true. I don't know why - perhaps T.J. Lang's concussion? - but that's what they've done. I will continue to be on the Lions, but I won't be betting them as long as this line is above -10.
SATURDAY NOTES: T.J. Lang is out, while Ezekiel Ansah is doubtful. This is why the sharps have bet the Browns, I think. I don't know. All I know is that I wouldn't want to bet the Browns until they prove themselves to be trustworthy.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Ezekiel Ansah is out in addition to T.J. Lang. Perhaps that's why the sharps have bet this down to +10. I was wondering if -10 gives me a great marginal edge over my projected line of -12. The answer is no. It's just a 3.69-percent edge. I'll wait and see if this hits -9.5, as that'll give us a 5.57-percent edge.
The Psychology. Edge: Browns.
Coming off a perfect Monday night victory, the Lions have this easy game, followed by two divisional battles against the Bears and Vikings.
The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
Sharp action coming in on the Browns.
Percentage of money on Detroit: 66% (8,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Browns.
Lions are 22-35 ATS against losing teams the previous 57 instances.
Lions are 4-15 ATS after a double-digit win since 2011.
Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenever 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, 2017): 0-1 (-$330)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2017): 0-1 (-$330)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2017): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2017): 1-0 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21 and seasonal, 2017): -$720
2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040)
2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$3,790) 2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395) 2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595) 2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640) 2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510
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) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360) 2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-127-10, 53.8% (+$1,055)
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) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-35-3, 54.5% (+$475)
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) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465)
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) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95)
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 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855 2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$275
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) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100) 2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,574-2,383-151, 51.9% (+$5,125) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 817-743-41 (52.3%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 349-314-19 (52.6%) Career Over-Under: 2,080-2,031-56 (50.5%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 39-24 (61.9%)
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.