Week 9 was merely an average week for me. I went 6-6 ATS but only 2-3 on my recommended wagers, losing multiple units in the process. Of course if the Falcons hadn’t kicked a field goal with 20 seconds left last night, I would be pretty happy right now, but that’s not the case. The public made an absolute killing this week, and usually these are the weeks where I tend to fair poorly, so I’m actually not too disappointed with this week’s record.
Anyways, without further ado, here were my thoughts from Week 9.
Broncos @ Bengals
- Closing Odds: Broncos -5.5, total 47.5
- Predicted Outcome: Broncos 28, Bengals 16
- Actual Outcome: Broncos 31, Bengals 23
It looks like the Bengals are back to being the team that I thought they were. Cincinnati made it to the postseason last year by beating up on the league’s worst teams in the regular season, but weren’t able to record a victory against any team that made the playoffs. In their last two games, they’ve been simply outclassed by Pittsburgh and Denver. With the Giants on deck next weekend, there’s a good chance that their season will be officially ended by Eli Manning and company. Meanwhile, the Broncos continue to get the job done. Peyton Manning even tossed a couple of rare interceptions, which is about all you can ask for if you’re an opposing defense, but Denver was still able to pull this one out. If I had to pick a team to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl right now, I’d go with the Broncos. Denver travels to Carolina next weekend, which should be a pretty tough game considering the Panthers are in do-or-die mode right now.
Cardinals @ Packers
- Closing Odds: Packers -10.5, total 43.5
- Predicted Outcome: Packers 26, Cardinals 7
- Actual Outcome: Packers 31, Cardinals 17
The Cardinals managed to keep this game respectable, but there was no way they were going into Green Bay and pulling out a win. Arizona’s offensive line is absolutely atrocious and the Packers were able to put John Skelton under pressure all afternoon. Skelton isn’t very good when he has a clean pocket, so that’s a recipe for disaster. Green Bay hits their bye week next week and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Their entire receiving corps seems to be suffering from some sort of injury, and both Clay Matthews and Bryan Bulaga had to leave this game in the third quarter due to injury as well. The Packers will have a full two weeks to prepare for the Lions in Week 11. As for Arizona, their 4-0 start is a distant memory. They also head into a bye next week but will be greeted by the Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Week 11. What was once a promising start to the season is now a bitter disappointment.
Dolphins @ Colts
- Closing Odds: Dolphins -2, total 43.5
- Predicted Outcome: Dolphins 20, Colts 14
- Actual Outcome: Colts 23, Dolphins 20
I really wished that I knew Chuck Pagano was going to be at Lucas Oil Stadium for this game when I wrote my write-up on Friday. The news of Pagano’s presence surfaced early Sunday morning, and I knew that the Colts would be motivated for this one. Miami actually played a fairly decent road game considering Ryan Tannehill wasn’t at 100 percent, but ultimately, they ran into an extremely hot Andrew Luck. I guess this game will silence all the clowns at ESPN who had Tannehill rated higher than Luck in their rookie quarterback ratings. Indianapolis travels to Jacksonville for Thursday Night Football this week and would improve to 6-3 with a victory in that game. I really think the Colts are going to grab an AFC Wild Card spot this season. Miami also has a winnable game on deck as they host the Titans at home next week. The Dolphins are still in the thick of things in the AFC East and should be able to get back over the .500 mark in Week 10.
Ravens @ Browns
- Closing Odds: Ravens -3.5, total 44
- Predicted Outcome: Ravens 24, Browns 10
- Actual Outcome: Ravens 25, Browns 15
If you have a child that plays quarterback, this is not one of those games where you’d sit them in front of the TV and say “watch how the pros do it”. I had a pretty sizable wager on Baltimore yesterday, and despite Joe Flacco’s efforts to give Cleveland a rare victory, the Ravens were able to pull it out. When Flacco said that he believes he’s the best quarterback in football this season, I think he was referring to the flag football league that he plays in throughout the offseason. Flacco was abysmal, but Brandon Weeden wasn’t much better. Weeden tossed a couple of picks and could have tossed a couple more had Ed Reed not eaten a stick of butter with his bare hands before the game. All in all, the Ravens were able to pull out a much needed victory against a divisional foe. Baltimore returns home to battle the Raiders next week, while the Browns head into their bye week.
Bills @ Texans
- Closing Odds: Texans -11.5, total 48
- Predicted Outcome: Texans 26, Bills 23
- Actual Outcome: Texans 21, Bills 9
I’m really bitter about the Bills not covering in this game. Whether it was Ryan Lindell pushing a short field goal a mile to the right, or Ryan Fitzpatrick fumbling while trying to scramble for yardage, Buffalo managed to find a way to not cover by half a point. Those were specific plays that had me frustrated, but ultimately, Chan Gailey’s game plan was horrible. The Bills were within a touchdown for most of the game but somehow Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller received a total of 12 carries. Gailey continues to have blind faith in Fitzpatrick, and the Bills season continues to spiral out of control. Buffalo is a double-digit underdog in New England next week and considering how poorly they played defensively against the Patriots at home earlier this season, you can chalk up another loss there. As for Houston, they have a huge game on deck against Chicago on Sunday Night Football. That game may just be a Super Bowl preview.
Panthers @ Redskins
- Closing Odds: Redskins -3, total 48.5
- Predicted Outcome: Panthers 31, Redskins 28
- Actual Outcome: Panthers 21, Redskins 13
You’ve probably heard by now (FOX fed it down your throat for the entire game) that the last Redskins game before the U.S. Presidential Election has been almost perfect in predicting who will win the presidency. I was hoping that Carolina would win and some jackasses would drive down the price on Obama based on some stupid trend that doesn’t mean anything, but it never happened. Oh well. Anyways, Washington continues to be pretty overrated as teams are finally starting to figure out how to defend Robert Griffin III. There’s a reason teams don’t run the option at the pro level — it doesn’t work. The Redskins head into their bye week and will have a chance to sort out some deficiencies on both sides of the ball, but their season is all but over. Carolina hosts Denver next weekend which will give us a good reading as to where the Panthers really are at this point.
Lions @ Jaguars
- Closing Odds: Lions -6, total 44
- Predicted Outcome: Jaguars 23, Lions 22
- Actual Outcome: Lions 31, Jaguars 14
OK, I was way off. WAY OFF. I really don’t want to recap Jags games anymore. Blaine Gabbert is a lemon and manages to throw a handful of deep balls a game that look like punts. I put too much stock into the fact that Detroit has a number of big games on deck and failed to realize how epically bad Jacksonville is. The Lions are a favorite in Minnesota next weekend in spite of having lost to the Vikings at home earlier this year, so it appears as though people are back on the Detroit bandwagon. The Jaguars host a Thursday Night Football game which means that some NFL schedule maker probably lost his job this week.
Bears @ Titans
- Closing Odds: Bears -5, total 43.5
- Predicted Outcome: Titans 19, Bears 17
- Actual Outcome: Bears 51, Titans 20
Can I skip this one as well? The Bears are amazing, the Titans suck, and I’m an idiot. That just about sums things up.
Vikings @ Seahawks
- Closing Odds: Seahawks -4.5, total 38
- Predicted Outcome: Seahawks 27, Vikings 9
- Actual Outcome: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20
This wasn’t as much of a blowout as I expected it to be. I was surprised at how well the Vikings were able to move the ball in the first half, but a Percy Harvin ankle injury in the third quarter basically ruined any chances they had at winning the game. Harvin was hobbling around for most of the second half and consequently Christian Ponder had nobody to throw the ball to. Ponder has really regressed since a great start to the season, but he should have a chance to get back on track next week against a weak Lions secondary. As for Seattle, I’m not sure why anyone bets against them at home anymore. The Seahawks have a great running game, a great defense, and an improving quarterback. They’ll welcome the Jets to town next weekend and should be able to force Mark Sanchez into turning the ball over at least 14 times.
Buccaneers @ Raiders
- Closing Odds: Raiders -1, total 47
- Predicted Outcome: Raiders 20, Buccaneers 10
- Actual Outcome: Buccaneers 42, Raiders 32
The Raiders are really painful to watch. Whether it’s Carson Palmer consistently throwing to his check downs or the defense surrendering big rush after big rush, the Raiders just always seem to be lost. I can’t even remember the reasons that I picked them in my betting preview this week. Oakland travels to Baltimore next week and I’m not really sure what to make of that game because both teams are horrendous right now. Tampa Bay is back up to the .500 mark and has a very winnable game at home to San Diego. Josh Freeman looks like he’s steadily improving now that the Bucs have a legitimate running game. Greg Schiano, on the other hand, looks like he’s been hanging out with Jason Garrett during the week, as he continues to do things that defy logic. Oakland was very close to coming back in this game because Schiano elected to let LeGarrette Blount steal carries from the hottest running back in the league. Way to go Schiano.
Steelers @ Giants
- Closing Odds: Giants -3.5, total 48.5
- Predicted Outcome: Giants 38, Steelers 21
- Actual Outcome: Steelers 24, Giants 20
I’m anointing the Steelers as the best team in football right now. I was thinking about it last night and I don’t think there’s a single team I’d take against them on a neutral field. Despite all of the injuries they’ve endured, they continue to win football games, which means they’ll be scary good when everyone else is healthy again. Even Antonio Brown left this game due to injury but the Steelers offense was able to continue moving the ball consistently. I could go on all day. The Steelers will have to avoid a letdown against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football, but that shouldn’t be too difficult considering the Chiefs haven’t led a game at any point this season. As for the Giants, something just appears to be off right now. Hurricane Sandy may have affected their preparation this week so I’ll give them a pass, but if they’re truly a Super Bowl contender again this year, they should be able to beat up on Cincinnati next weekend.
Cowboys @ Falcons
- Closing Odds: Falcons -4.5, total 47.5
- Predicted Outcome: Cowboys 23, Falcons 20
- Actual Outcome: Falcons 19, Cowboys 13.
If you want a recap of this game, please refer to my Twitter feed. I can’t bear to write about this game right now. Garrett is right up there with the worst coaches in the league, and the Cowboys continue to make stupid mistakes on a weekly basis. That’s about all I can tell you without giving myself an ulcer. Dallas travels to Philadelphia next weekend where both team’s seasons are on the line. With the Cowboys’ track record against Michael Vick, I don’t have much faith. Atlanta continues to find a way to get it done, but they’re far from the best team in the NFL. They should beat the Saints in New Orleans next week but it wouldn’t shock me if they lost.
Monday Night Football pick
I’m going to spare you from reading a full preview of tonight’s game. It should be an entertaining game filled with Vick turnovers and gaffes in the Saints’ secondary, but I have no opinion on the game whatsoever. I could make a strong case for both teams.
On one hand, I can see New Orleans struggling to move the ball without Darren Sproles in the lineup. Sproles is a reliable check-down option, and he’s excellent at generating yards after the catch. Just look at what happened to the Chargers offense when Sproles bolted for New Orleans. Philadelphia has historically played well in these primetime games and they’re a very strong 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games following a double-digit loss at home.
On the other hand, I want no piece of the Eagles. Vick can’t protect the ball any better than he can protect a dog right now, and the Saints are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 home games. There aren’t many times when you’re going to get New Orleans as a favorite by only a field goal at the Superdome.
In the ultimate sellout move, I’ll predict that this game lands right on the number. Saints 27, Eagles 24.
Week 10 Early Lines
Colts @ Jaguars +3 – I can’t imagine a single person wanting to be Jacksonville in this game. This reeks of a trap after the Colts emotional win and the Jags being so terrible at home, but this isn’t nearly enough points to be the home dog.
Bills @ Patriots -11.5 – The Patriots are coming off of a bye and the Bills are coming off of another blowout loss. Double-digit favorites or not, the money is coming in on New England here.
Giants @ Bengals +4.5 – People are finally starting to realize that the Bengals are not a good team. I’d be surprised if there was less than 75% action on the Giants here.
Chargers @ Buccaneers -3 – I think people are finally starting to believe in the Bucs. The Chargers will have had extra rest but they’re still not very good, so I think the majority of the action will be on Tampa.
Broncos @ Panthers +4.5 – It’s all Broncos money here. Cam Newton is always enticing as an underdog and Carolina would have probably got a lot of action if the number was somewhere around a touchdown, but this will spread will definitely garner a lot of action on Denver.
Titans @ Dolphins -6 – The Titans are epically bad but there won’t be a lineup of people that are willing to bet on Miami. The Dolphins don’t boast a high-powered offense so it could be difficult to lay the points here.
Raiders @ Ravens -7.5 – There’s a public perception that the Ravens are back after beating Cleveland by 10 points. That game could easily have been a Ravens loss but public bettors won’t have any faith in Oakland either. The Ravens will get two thirds of the action.
Lions @ Vikings +2 – All aboard the Lions bandwagon. Detroit is hot and Minnesota is falling apart. The public won’t care that the Vikings already beat the Lions in Detroit this season.
Jets @ Seahawks -6.5 – The Jets are coming off of a bye but everyone will still remember Mark Sanchez looking like a scrub against Miami two weeks ago. Seattle will get most of the action here.
Rams @ 49ers -11.5 – The Rams have been a good underdog bet this season, so they may be a publicly backed underdog here. I’m not sure people want to lay more than ten points with the 49ers offense right now.
Texans @ Bears -1.5 – This has 50/50 action written all over it. You can make a legitimate case for both teams in this spot.
Chiefs @ Steelers -12 – The Steelers have been notoriously poor as big favorites so there may be a little bit of Chiefs money here, but not too much. Pittsburgh is a public team and they’re hot right now, so they’ll see most of the action.