For the sake of Greg Kaplan’s dying soul, we’re not going to say anything more than the fact that he posted his worst single-week win-loss record to date after a 4-10 performance. We don’t want to replace him as the author of this post, mostly because we’re slightly worried about what may become of him if we don’t let him continue writing it.
Last Week: 4-10
This is bar-none my worst season performance in a gambling environment six weeks through a season. I have no explanation for what happened last week. None. Favored teams won a stunning two games. I wasn’t the only person that struggled. But, of course, someone went a perfect 14-0 in my pool. Go figure. Let’s move on…
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers (-7.5)
Tale of two teams from last week. The Seahawks rallied the troops to take down the Patriots in one of the more stunning comebacks we’ll see this season, while the 49ers put up an absolute stinker at home against the Giants. However, Thursday night games have favored the home team thus far, the Seahawks seemed primed for a let down after that type of victory and I don’t see any way Jim Harbaugh allows the 49ers to play two consecutive tough games at home.
The Pick: 49ers
Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills (-3.5)
I’m still very unsure how the Titans managed to knock off the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. At the same time, the Bills finally played a little defense. Or, they at least ran into an Arizona Cardinals team that has no form of an offensive line, a middling running game and had Kevin Kolb go down to an injury. I still have very little faith in the Bills defense and Ryan Fitzpatrick for that matter. The Titans offense seems just good enough to either beat the Bills or keep this game within a field goal.
The Pick: Titans
Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts (-3.5)
Another game that makes absolutely no sense: we knew the Colts struggled against the run, but nobody saw Shonn Greene exploding for 160+ yards and 3 touchdowns, including his fantasy owners (me included, who benefited from his 34-point performance in two different leagues). The Browns knocking off the Bengals, for the record, also didn’t make too much sense. Hard to make head and tails out of what is going on with either team. But, with Trent Richardson possibly not at full strength, I’d take the better of the two rookie quarterbacks, which is still Andrew Luck. They’ll hopefully hold serve on home turf.
The Pick: Colts
Washington Redskins @ New York Giants (-7.5)
For whatever reason, the Giants always seem to have problem when returning home after a massive road win. Doubling that is their recent struggles against the Washington Redskins, and that was with the likes of Rex Grossman at quarterback. Robert Griffin III is on another level as far as playmakers go right now, and I actually like the Redskins to win this game, not just cover the spread. Everything about this game just smells of a massive G-Men let down.
Before Giants fans jump on me, I actually was going to pick the Giants first. But, I’ve gone against my initial reactions, since those haven’t worked. NOBODY BELIEVES IN YOU!
The Pick: Redskins
New Orleans Saints (-2.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In the oddest of all twists, of my four wins last week, the Bucs were included in the positive notes. That’s two (TWO!!) Bucs wins for me this year. Or, two more than I had all of last season. As for this game in particular, it’s always dangerous, regardless of who the coach is, to give Drew Brees more than a weeks time to prepare for an opponent. I’m not sure the Tampa Bay secondary is strong enough to slow down the likes of Colston, Graham and even Devery Henderson. I like a lot of the things the Bucs are doing this year, but I have to side with Brees. New Orleans will win 6 games this year, which means they’ll have to find at least 5 more wins somewhere. I see this game being one of those 5.
The Pick: Saints
Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) @ Carolina Panthers
Jason Garrett seems to be the only thing holding back the Cowboys from being an over-.500 team right now. The Ravens did everything they could last Sunday to hand the game to Dallas, but it was all for nothing. Nevertheless, with or without DeMarco Murray this week, there is almost nothing to like about the Panthers right now. Cam Newton is not only far from the player he appeared to be last season, but he’s taken some massive steps backwards as far as a leader and pass thrower. The Cowboys are always good about bouncing back after rough losses before Week 14, so they’re primed for a nice looking road win this week.
The Pick: Cowboys
Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans (-5.5)
Before the injuries to Lardarius Webb and Ray Lewis, the Ravens defense was looking far removed from their traditional, hard-mouthed defenses of old. Add in a still-absent Terrell Suggs and a banged up Haloti Ngata, there are few players left healthy on the defensive end of the ball to make a difference in a game against a high-powered offense like Houston’s. Arian Foster will be the best player in this game, and there is no way the Texans are going to play as flat as they did against Green Bay for a second straight week. 5.5 may be a lot of points considering both teams are 5-1, but the Texans are head and shoulders better right now. That should show on the field when all is said and done.
The Pick: Texans
Green Bay Packers (-5.5) @ St. Louis Rams
The Rams defense is good enough to hold the Packers to under 24 points, but there just isn’t anyone on the offensive end of the ball that give me faith of the team scoring more than 10 points against a team like the Packers. St. Louis will be in a situation where they will have to match score for score against Green Bay, and it just won’t happen. It’s not that I don’t think Sam Bradford can’t do it. It’s more that Steven Jackson hasn’t played like himself, and the team’s #1 weapon in the passing game is now Brandon Gibson. That doesn’t taste right to me.
The Pick: Packers
Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings (-6.5)
On paper, the Vikings have the clear advantage on the offensive side of the ball, and while the Cardinals appear elite on defense, don’t discredit what Minnesota has going on at all. However, everything about this game feels like it’s going to be decided by four points or less, with the end result likely being a Vikings win. Again, the only reason my gut is telling me to pick the Cardinals is because I don’t see the Vikings pulling away with this game. It’ll be close, which means take the points.
The Pick: Cardinals
New York Jets @ New England Patriots (-10.5)
OK, that’s a lot of points. But, I’m in no hurry to the pick the Jets, not even after they put up a ridiculous number of points against the Colts. The Patriots are going to play this game mad. You don’t think they’ll use last week’s disappointments fuel them to 40+ points against a crippled Jets team without a star player on either side of the ball? If you think Greene is going to go nuts, or Mark Sanchez is going to throw 4 touchdown passes, you’re crazy. The Patriots could win this game by 30 if they wanted to.
The Pick: Patriots
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders (-4.5)
I hate the Jaguars. I don’t generally care for the Raiders either, but my hate for the Jaguars is at an unexplainable level. Maybe it’s because I’m stuck in what the NFL is telling me is a Jacksonville market and I’ve had to watch way too much of this team this year. I don’t trust Blaine Gabbert. I can’t name more than three people on their defense, and even that is a stretch. Go Raiders!
The Pick: Raiders
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals
Who is left healthy on the Steelers? I’m led to believe everyone on their offensive line is hurt, their top two running backs, Troy Polamalu and probably a few others I’m forgetting. Dirty little secret in the NFL, maybe the explanation for the Steelers not beating the Titans on Thursday was the Steelers just aren’t that good. The Bengals defense is lackluster, at best. But I’m still a huge fan of their offense (I’m finding myself starting to just root for my fantasy teams, in this case A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham). Bengals, at home, during a prime time game. I kind of like that.
The Pick: Bengals
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears (-5.5)
Is it possible the Chicago Bears are actually the best team in football when Smokin’ Jay Cutler isn’t going through one of his trademark meltdown games? A one-dimensional offense will not beat the Bears defense. In this case, without a reliable running attack to balance their options, I don’t have anywhere near the faith needed to take Matt Stafford against the suffocating Bears D.
The Pick: Bears