Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rambling Gambler: Pick Six Week THREE

Ramblings and Gambling:
By Erik Laurinovics, for The Football ERA
Another week down, and it was another tough one... a couple of good wins, a couple bad losses, and a good push.
TENNESSEE-5.5 over Pittsburgh: I'm done with Pittsburgh. Looks like the defense can cover a spread by itself.
Philadelphia -6 over DETROIT: Up 35-17 in the fourth quarter, and the D checks out for the game. Terrible loss.
New England -3 over NEW YORK JETS: Rex Ryan likely takes consolation in knowing that while the Jets won't win the Superbowl, they keep beating New England. This surprised me. I expect the Patriots to come out ready to destroy Buffalo this week.

CINCINNATI +2 over Baltimore: Well, this one made me look good.
GREEN BAY -13.5 over Buffalo: A slow start for the offense, but this was an easy cover.
Houston -3 over WASHINGTON: This almost makes up for Philly. What a comeback by Houston, down 27-10. Can't stop that offense.
Record through Week 2: 5-6-1
Here's what I like for Week 3:
San Francisco -1.5 over KANSAS CITY
Well, time to try picking San Francisco again. The same team that got rolled 31-6 by Seattle takes the Saints down to the wire, while commiting 2 red zone turnovers and giving up a safety. Talk about confusing. The Seattle loss shocked everyone, and I think this past week gives us a better idea of what San Francisco is capable of. They are playing on the road, which is a bit of a concern given the communication issues the Niners had in Seattle. Kansas City, however, has looked so anemic on offense that I think it makes the small spread attractive. Yes, there is a chance the Niners may not show up, but if they can play anywhere close to how they played on Monday night, this will be an easy cover.
NEW ENGLAND -14 over Buffalo
Time for the second stop on the "Watch the Bills get massacred" road trip. This should play out quite similarly to the Green Bay game, except Ryan Fitzpatrick is quarterbacking the Bills this time. It won't really matter, as he is not an upgrade over Trent Edwards. The offense will continue to struggle (17 points in 2 weeks!), and we will continue to see double digit spreads for most teams facing the Bills. I say keep betting against the Bills until they run into a team that doesn't play defense.In case that doesn't convince you, the early money has been all over this line... Opened at 12.5.
Cincinnati -3.5 over CAROLINA
Another pretty straightforward pick in my mind. We just saw Cincinnati contain Baltimore's offense without too much trouble. The Panthers sport a much weaker offense, already having benched Matt Moore and are giving Clausen the start this week. Jimmy didn't show much against Tampa Bay (59 yards, INT) and I doubt he'll be able to get much done against the Bengals' pass defense. Through two weeks, the Panthers have the 22nd ranked defense, giving up 324.5 yards per game. The matchups in this game complete favor Cincy. Bet on them with confidence.
Philadelphia -2.5 over JACKSONVILLE
The Michael Vick experiment is now permanent. Despite saying Kolb will be the starter, Vick's play over two weeks has forced him to the bench. In about 6 quarters, Vick has thrown for 459 yards, 3 TDs, and even more impressively, 0 INTs and he's completing 63.8% of his passes, which is about 10% better than his career average. Aside from the numbers, if you've seen him play these past two games, he's got everything going; video game-like moves to escape pressure and he's outrunning people when he decides to run. Jacksonville's defense won't slow down Philly's offense. Moreoever, Jacksonville looked awful against San Diego, and there was talk of him being benched in favor of Luke McCown, until Luke tore his ACL. Maybe people are afraid MJD will run over the Eagles, a la Jahvid Best, but I'm not concerned. Philly should roll in this game.
San Diego -5.5 over SEATTLE
Seattle looked lifeless last week, and rookie Russell Okung is out again in week 3, which means it will be another long day for the Seahawks' offense. I don't think anyone really knows what happened in week 1, but I'm pretty sure it was a fluke. If you've read my over/under series, you already know I think Seattle will be a disaster this year, and I'm sticking to it. Hasselbeck through 3 INTs last week, and San Diego can obviously create turnovers after getting 6 against Jacksonville. Seattle has yet to establish a running game, so there's not a lot to like. I'm envisioning another blowout win for SD. For fans of the rock-scissors-paper theory, Denver beat Seattle, Jacksonville beat Denver, and San Diego beat Jacksonville, so there you go.
Green Bay -2.5 over CHICAGO                          
Chicago surprised most people last week, upsetting Dallas, in Dallas, coming in as a 7 point dog. This will be a tough game, and you can already argue its a huge game within the NFC North as both teams are 2-0, with Minnesota and Detroit sitting at 0-2. I'm mostly going with my gut on this one, as the teams seem pretty evenly matched on paper... So far in 2010, Green bay comes in with the 15th ranked offense and 3rd ranked defense, while Chicago has the 5th ranked offense and 12th ranked defense.
The loss of Ryan Grant (and Brandon Jackson's ability to run against Buffalo) concerns me to some degree, but I think Green Bay will need to air it out against the Bears regardless, as the Bears are ranked #1 against the rush so far. This game is going to come down to turnovers and big plays, which leaves me looking at the quarterbacks. I find Rodgers and the Packers offense to be more explosive and make fewer mistakes, so I'm taking the Pack minus the points.

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