Both for the end of rolling out 16 NFL picks every week…and also for the New England Patriots’ win over the Buffalo Bills a week ago.
Although the Pats were down late, did anyone feel like they were going to lose that game?
I just never did.
Listen, the Bills have had a great year. Sean McDermott seems to be a pretty good coach. But I just haven’t been sold on them all year.
In the first Patriots/Bills game, if Tom Brady doesn’t throw that horrendous interception in the end zone mid-second quarter or so and they score a TD themselves, the game is 20-0 Pats at that early point. (Or 19-0 anyway, as they weren’t exactly hitting a ton of extra points those days). That game would have been OVER, sorry.
The interception gave the Bills life. Defensive lapses on the first drive of the second half by the Bills made the score 13-10 at that point and it was a totally different ballgame.
Fast forward to last Saturday’s game. The Pats offense finally showed up against a defense that supposedly had some ability. Yet a Rex Burkhead fumble set a bad tone early. Then a couple of bad big plays given up by the Pats defense led to two Bills touchdowns.
The Pats really should have smoked the Bills in both games.
Now, give some credit to the Bills of course. Which I will begrudgingly do. But neither of those games should have been close.
So is the Patriots’ offense “back”? After all, the Bills defense was second in the NFL in points allowed (to the Pats), right?
You know how the Patriots get bashed for their pathetic schedule? Welp, take a look at the Bills schedule. Seem a little familiar? Yup, their slate sucked too.
So can we really say the Pats O is rounding back to form?
Sure, they looked better. Brady, in particular, looked a whole lot better. I’m not ready to say that everything is all rosy nowadays, however.
I will say I feel a tad more positive about things, but that is all.
Let’s just get to the playoffs already and let the chips fall where they may.
As for this weeks’ games, I do love how the NFL schedules all the teams fighting for the same thing in the same time slots on the last week of the season. That’s kinda cool. But since most of the playoff spots are sewn up, teams are resting starters and Week Seventeen is primarily for seeding purposes…oh, and we are still trying to enjoy the holiday season ourselves…let’s just blow through these picks as fast as humanly possible. Thank you very much for your understanding.
New York Jets at Buffalo (-1.5)
The Bills are locked into the #5 seed, could they be looking for a little momentum heading into Wild Card Weekend? I initially thought “yes”. But McDermott is being a little coy on how long he will actually play his starters. So that tells me…not much.
New York Jets 17, Buffalo 13.
Chicago at Minnesota (-1.5)
Not sure if the Vikings have a shot at the #5 seed if they win and Seattle loses. But…that momentum thing…especially since they were wretched last Monday night against the Packers. Wait…I just found out the Vikes are starting Sean Mannion at QB today. Plus, Dalvin Cook is still out. Nevermind the momentum thing…
Chicago 20, Minnesota 17.
Cleveland (-2.5) at Cincinnati
I hope they give Freddie Kitchens one more chance next year, just for the comedic element. We may have to worry about the Bengals playing hard again this week, as they did in their near colossal comeback against the Dolphins last week. And…they already have locked up the #1 pick so they may play even faster and looser. Maybe I should change my pick…after all, I just changed the first two…
Cleveland 24, Cincinnati 20.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay (-0.5)
Coach Dan Quinn pulled off a miracle and kept his job. I guess GM Thomas Dimitroff was under the gun too and he also stays. Tampa has been feisty lately as well. Toss up here…what a surprise, based on what the spread is.
Atlanta 34, Tampa Bay 31.
New Orleans at Carolina (-13.5)
Saints need this for a chance at the #1 seed. The Panthers are still going with Will Grier. And apparently will just give the ball to Christian McCaffrey so he can try to set some records, according to their offensive coordinator this week. Nice to set the Saints up with your game plan so early! The only thing that can prevent New Orleans from a romp is…Antonio Brown??
New Orleans 42, Carolina 20.
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City (-8.5)
The Chiefs sure as hell are giving themselves a chance at the #2 seed. Playing at the same time as the Pats, they will come out fast and furious at least.
Kansas City 34, Los Angeles Chargers 23. Lock of the week.
Green Bay (-13.5) at Detroit
The Pack is still fighting for the first seed. The Lions are terrible.
Green Bay 31, Detroit 10.
Miami at New England (-15.5)
I’m not expecting the Patriots to take this game lightly, as they have been probably ridden by coach Bill Belichick all week on the importance of this game with getting the bye and all. The Dolphins have won 4 games this year, about 3-4 more than most people expected. They’ve shown some fight, led by their veteran QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick. I’m sure coach Brian Flores and his guys would love to knock the Pats out of the bye. But the thinking here is that the Pats come out firing and build up a huge lead before gradually inserting backups. I hope that is how it goes anyway. I hope to God that they don’t plan on running Stephen Jackson right into the line 40 consecutive times or something like that…
New England 34, Miami 16.
Arizona at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5)
Arizona 24, Los Angeles Rams 20.
Philadelphia (-4.5) at New York Giants
Something keeps trying to tell me the Giants win this and I need to pick them here. Philly All-Pro tight end Zach Ertz is out. The Eagles have all sorts of injuries. They have been a frustrating team all season. But…I just cannot do it.
Philadelphia 23, New York Giants 20.
Pittsburgh (-2.5) at Baltimore
Can Robert Griffin III and the other Raven backups still beat a Steeler team helmed by the immortal Duck Hodges? They sure can! BUT, we think the Ravens will just try to get the hell out of there without any injuries and the Steeler defense will do what they need to. With the playoffs on the line, we think Duck (or more specifically, the running game) will do just enough here to keep them in the mix.
Pittsburgh 13, Baltimore 10.
Washington at Dallas (-10.5)
Talk about frustrating…HOW ‘BOUT THEM COWBOYS?!! But I just read somewhere that the entire starting Redskin secondary is out. Dallas needs to win. That’s enough for me to offset the “Jason Garrett factor”. Maybe that’s stupid, I don’t know.
Dallas 31, Washington 17.
Oakland at Denver (-3.5)
Miraculously, the Raiders have a shot at the playoffs. The Broncos have shown some life upon rookie QB Drew Lock’s insertion into the lineup. Feel like Oakland will show up, despite RB Josh Jacobs already being ruled out.
Oakland 27, Denver 24.
Tennessee (-4.5) at Houston
Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins are questionable. Will Fuller is out. It’s unlikely the Texans will get a better seed or if even that better seed matters. Sounds like they are going backups too. The Titans also need this one.
Tennessee 24, Houston 17.
Indianapolis (-3.5) at Jacksonville
Dougie Marrone may be coaching his final game for the Jags. Does anyone care?
Indianapolis 20, Jacksonville 14.
San Francisco (-3.5) at Seattle
The Seahawks were embarrassed at home by the Cardinals last week, even after Kyler Murray exited the game. They signed a couple of corpses to round out their running back room this week, including Beast Mode. The Niners won a thriller against the Rams last week. You know what all of this means.
Seattle 38, San Francisco 34.
Week (against the spread): 9-7
Week (straight up): 11-5
Lock Of The Week (season, ATS): 9-7
Season (against the spread): 121-119
Season (straight up): 155-85
…now that Game One of Week One is in the books for the 2018 NFL Season, it’s time to get the rest of the league rolling on Sunday. Per usual, Week One is always hard to predict…seeing that we really cannot take a whole lot from the preseason games. Sure, we know the players and what teams should be good and all that. But one never knows once the curtain goes up. So let us take our wild stab on Opening Week and see how the chips may fall:
Pittsburgh (-5.5) at Cleveland
No Le’Veon? Who cares? He may show up anyway, but does it matter? Hue Jackson is 1-31 in 2 years. Is Tyrod Taylor going to make a big difference? Or any of their other additions? Doubtful. Especially not in Week One.
Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 13.
Tennessee (-1.5) at Miami
Two teams seemingly getting a lot of love. The Titans I guess because they have a new coach in Mike Vrabel and the Dolphins I guess because…I don’t know…Ryan Tannehill is back? Jay Cutler, Ryan Tannehill…what’s the difference?
Tennessee 20, Miami 17.
Buffalo at Baltimore (-6.5)
Nathan Peterman everyone! Joey Flacco is supposedly rejuvenated because he was pissed the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson. What, he wasn’t threatened by Robert Griffin III? Oh and wait…Patriot fans…does this scenario sound familiar?
Baltimore 27, Buffalo 17.
Houston at New England (-6.5)
Pundits, fans, opponents and everyone around the world is predicting the demise of the New England Patriots. Local sportswriters think the team will start 0-2. The team has no wide receivers. The defense cannot stop anyone, no less Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. We’ll see.
New England 30, Houston 27.
Jacksonville (-3.5) at New York Giants
The Jags had a great year last year. The D is apparently still strong. But they still have Blake Bortles…and will have him for some time now. I’m betting they are going to regret that contract extension. The G-Men stunk last year. But that clown head coach is gone. That’s worth at least a win right there.
New York Giants 24, Jacksonville 21.
San Francisco at Minnesota (-5.5)
The Jimmy G era is really kind of starting now. Welcome to Minnesota.
Minnesota 34, San Francisco 17.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-9.5)
Fitzy!! He just won’t go away. But that’s not necessarily a good thing.
New Orleans 41, Tampa Bay 13.
Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-2.5)
Somehow Marvin Lewis remains. Andrew Luck is back. I really don’t have much more to add.
Indianapolis 24, Cincinnati 21.
Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5)
The Chargers are another team I hear a lot of positive chatter about in the AFC. We will see about that, though they should have been a playoff team last year. Hopefully, they got themselves a good kicker this year. The Chiefs are handing the reins to Patrick Mahomes. Expect some inconsistency there.
Los Angeles Chargers 23, Kansas City 17.
Dallas at Carolina (-2.5)
Go with the home team here. Unfortunately, that’s really all I can tell you on this one.
Carolina 31, Dallas 20.
Washington at Arizona (-0.5)
Washington 13, Arizona 10.
Seattle at Denver (-2.5)
I’m not rooting for it, but I’d almost bet my house that Case Keenum comes crashing back to earth this year. Seattle isn’t the same team they were when they were going to Super Bowls. But they still scare me for whatever reason.
Seattle 27, Denver 16.
Chicago at Green Bay (-8.5)
I don’t think Khalil Mack is going to make much of a difference.
Green Bay 34, Chicago 10.
New York Jets at Detroit (-6.5)
I’ll be rooting for Matty Patricia to succeed. Seems like a nice guy. Even though that defensive game plan in the last Super Bowl may have been the worst one I have ever seen. And that includes any Cleveland Browns game plan…ever. Don’t we have to blame Patricia at least a little bit for that, instead of heaping all the blame on Belichick? And for the record, I have never rooted for the J-E-T-S to succeed. And never will.
Detroit 27, New York Jets 9.
Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) at Oakland
Jon Gruden is back on the sidelines! This should be fun. Maybe not this week though.
Los Angeles Rams 45, Oakland 13.
Week (against the spread): 0-1
Week (straight up): 0-1
Season (against the spread): 0-1
Season (straight up): 0-1
…jumping right in and feeling confident…let’s see how long that lasts:
New Orleans (-2.5) at Buffalo
Actually, starting off on one that I have no confidence in at all. Buffalo at home, where they are 4-0. New Orleans outside a dome, where they historically don’t play as well. Probably a cold weather game. Buffalo with 10 days to prepare after getting blasted by the Jets. Seems like a Buffalo pick, no? Well, no…and this is purely a gut feeling with no rhyme or reason behind it.
New Orleans 27, Buffalo 23.
Pittsburgh (-10.5) at Indianapolis
Indy has been a fairly competitive 3-6 team. But not this week.
Pittsburgh 31, Indianapolis 17.
Cleveland at Detroit (-11.5)
There’s usually no way in hell I’d ever lay 11.5 with Matty Stafford and the Lions. But I just have no more words to describe how bad the Browns really are.
Detroit 38, Cleveland 13.
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville (-4.5)
Kind of another gut feeling here as well. Jax at 5-3 just doesn’t feel right to me. The Jags at 6-3 just seems even sillier. I think that’s all it comes down to for me actually.
Los Angeles Chargers 24, Jacksonville 21.
Green Bay at Chicago (-4.5)
Hard to believe that the Packers lose one guy and they completely fall apart. I know, Aaron Rodgers as that one guy is obviously huge. But Tom Brady missed a year and the Pats rode Matty Cassel to a more than respectable 11-5. Though when the Colts lost Peyton Manning for his year, they went 2-14. So I guess it shouldn’t be too hard to believe for the Packers. Whatever…
Chicago 20, Green Bay 13.
New York Jets (-2.5) at Tampa Bay
Tampa is reeling, no doubt. Lost 5 in a row. Jameis Winston is out. The J-E-T-S are a (very) surprising 4-5. But can this be a Ryan Fitzpatrick revenge game? FITZY!!!!
Tampa Bay 31, New York Jets 27.
Minnesota (-1.5) at Washington
This one I think could be a good one. Really? Yup. Big win for the ‘Skins last week at Seattle, coming back late…not one of Kirk Cousins’ strengths. Got them back to .500. The Vikes have cruised to 4 in a row, but against inferior competition. Should be a close battle, but going with the home team here.
Washington 24, Minnesota 23.
Cincinnati at Tennessee (-5.5)
How did A.J. Green not get suspended? Guess it really doesn’t matter for the Bungles.
Tennessee 27, Cincinnati 14.
Houston at Los Angeles Rams (-11.5)
Doesn’t appear that anyone can stop the Rams this year. Certainly not the injury-ravaged Texans, I would think.
Los Angeles Rams 34, Houston 13.
New York Giants (-0.5) at San Francisco
Hopefully no one is subjected to this game being televised in their market. Teams are a combined 1-16, so I suppose the half a point spread is about right. I don’t know if the Niners plan on starting (or even playing) Jimmy Garoppolo. But I say they should. The Colts threw Jacoby Brissett right into the mix and he has been serviceable. Isn’t Jimmy G supposed to be better? Plus, what better team to start him out at than the pathetic G-Men? OK, maybe the Browns, but you get my point. Just do it!
New York Giants 14, San Francisco 13.
Dallas at Atlanta (-2.5)
So I guess the Ezekiel Elliott suspension is back in force. I still believe the ‘Boys have enough to win without him. I said last week that I thought the Falcons look like they are done and I’m sticking to it. Especially after that brutal drop by Julio Jones last week on that 4th down play where he was 10 yards behind the defense. There’s really no explanation for that. Other than that the team is done.
Dallas 27, Atlanta 20.
New England (-7.5) at Denver
Speaking of things I said last week, I said that Denver’s D was still legit. Then they went out and gave up 51 to the Eagles. Nice call. But still, I am not ready to give up on the Bronco D at this point. I’ll give up on their QB’s, but not the D. The Pats are coming off a bye, but believe it or not, they’ve struggled some in that situation over the years…from what I recall anyway. Denver is always a tough place to play. It appears that Phillip Dorsett will log heavy snaps at receiver Sunday night, obviously not ideal. Game will be closer than most think. I wouldn’t even be shocked if the Broncos won.
New England 27, Denver 23.
Miami at Carolina (-9.5)
I still think Miami stinks, despite their 4-4 record. But the 9.5 seems a little high to me. The Panthers don’t exactly blow teams out.
Carolina 24, Miami 17.
Week (against the spread): 1-0
Week (straight up): 1-0
Season (against the spread): 66-67
Season (straight up): 85-48