As we approach the halfway point of the season, we’ve got teams trading, teams tanking, and teams establishing dominance. Let’s whirl through the week’s match ups and make some picks against the spread.
Miami (+7.5) @ Houston
The Dolphins started off 3-0 while Houston started 0-3. Now, they’re both 4-3. Brock Osweiler actually looked pretty decent once again, but his defense is joke city down in Miami. It’s not a great time to have a short week to prepare for Houston, who dominated the Jaguars to win their fourth straight. Deshuan Watson is so banged up, he had to take a bus to the game because his bruised lung prevented him from flying. He’s got the Texans flying on offense, and all those weapons are finally being utilized. Miami’s in trouble in this one.
The Pick: TEXANS
Philadelphia (London) Jacksonville (+3)
Holy shit what the hell is going on with Jacksonville? They’ve not only lost three straight, they’ve been utterly dominated in those games to the tune of 90 – 28. That’s disastrous. Blake Bortles got benched, and it had to happen. He’s always been the weakest link of the team, but now he’s turning the ball over too much for the defense to overcome. There were reports of players airing serious grievances in the locker room after the game so the frustrations are boiling over. The Eagles aren’t playing impressively this season, but they won’t need to be all that against Jacksonville. Average will suffice, and Carson Wentz can bring that across the Atlantic for this one.
The Pick: EAGLES
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) October 21, 2018
Cleveland (+8.5) @ Pittsburgh
The Browns have had a knack for keeping their games close, but they’re not able to overcome the utter incompetency of Hue Jackson to pull out victories. Baker Mayfield’s been taking too many sacks, many of which appear to be due to a lack of open receivers. Considering he’s throwing to Jarvis Landry and then a tight end prone to drops (David Njoku), a rookie burner prone to drops (Antonio Callaway), and then a bunch of guys off the scrap heap, that’s not too surprising. Jackson threw offensive coordinator Todd Haley under the bus, and then had to walk it back on Monday. That’s Jackson’s style. He’s an idiot. Haley, however, will be properly motivated to give it to his old team, and while the Browns have no shot to win this game, they will keep it close enough to cover because that’s what they do. They go to overtime every week. Oh, and this should be Hue’s last week because he’ll get fired after this loss.
The Pick: BROWNS
Denver (+10) @ Kansas City
Denver broke their four game losing streak against the ultimate slump buster in the Arizona Cardinals. You can pretty much throw out any win a team gets against Arizona, Oakland, and San Francisco for the rest of the season, so who cares. Obviously not Vegas, because they’re giving Denver an appropriate 10 points against the potent Chiefs. The Chiefs dominated Cincinnati, who isn’t half way bad. That 45 – 10 trouncing was just more of Patrick Mahomes dominating the league. The kid is on fire and the Chiefs are rolling behind him. It’ll take an outstanding effort from an outstanding team to topple the Chiefs, and that’s not Denver. Ten points is a lot of points obviously, but the Chiefs are a team you can rely on to cover this one.
The Pick: CHIEFS
Ron Parker to the HOUSE! pic.twitter.com/jd1ISMEEPp
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) October 22, 2018
NY Jets (+7) @ Chicago
The ending of the Bears game last week was one of those gut punches to the balls. A Hail Mary completed before the goal line and the receiver is kept out of the end zone basically inside the one-yard-line. Devastating! The Bears were very good against New England, and have been very good all year, managing to lose games in difficult fashion every time they’ve lost. The Jets have been boom or bust this year, and they imploded against the Vikings last week. Sam Darnold is either making big plays or turning it over too much. He threw picks and fumbled last week, which is how they got smoked by the Vikings. The Bears can make his life miserable this weekend, and that Chicago offense has the potency to cover this one, especially if Khalil Mack and the boys can force a turnover or two.
The Pick: BEARS
Redskins @ NY Giants (+1)
The fire sale began in the swamps of New Jersey this week, as the Giants traded away Eli Apple and Damon Harrison. Fans would probably have preferred it to have been Eli Manning instead of Apple, but the tank is on. Manning looked good early, but proceeded to fall back into the same rut he’s been in all year. He looks like he’s lost it and that’s only going to trickle down into more aggravation for OBJ who will then be more outspoken about it. Everything points to a long remainder of the year for the Giants. The Redskins are somehow 4-2 because they’re not that good. They certainly have done enough to win the games they’ve won, but they’re not a team you can count on to win against the top tier teams. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Giants fall in the 30’s and are only getting a point at home, which means the Redskins should win this one.
The Pick: REDSKINS
Seattle (+3) @ Detroit
It appears Matt Patricia is getting things straightened out in Detroit. At 3-3, the Lions are right there in the division race with the Vikings and Packers. Kerryon Johnson is a revelation in the backfield, as the Lions are now rolling on the ground as opposed to their previous heavy reliance on Matthew Stafford’s right arm. They’ve already won big games at home (Packers and Patriots), and now they get a Seahawks squad that’s figured shit out after a shitty start. Despite the resurgence out of Seattle, Detroit’s outstanding play at home is the deciding factor in this one. In all honesty, this spread screams for a push, but my gut is telling me Stafford has a big game now that Seattle has to account for a formidable rushing attack.
The Pick: LIONS
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 21, 2018
Tampa Bay (+4.5) @ Cincinnati
Of all the shocking shit that happened in week 7, Tampa Bay winning on a 59-yard Chander Catanzaro field goal late in overtime may have been the craziest. The dude missed an extra point and a 40 yarder earlier in the game, which would lead any sane individual to confidently doubt his ability to connect on a near 60 yarder to win it. Not to mention, a miss gives Cleveland amazing field position and a chance to win it themselves. But Tampa Bay risked it all and reaped the rewards. It was costly though, as star linebacker Kwon Alexander was lost. It’s a devastating blow as Tampa Bay had a vastly improved defensive day after firing their defensive coordinator. Meanwhile, Cincinnati is coming off getting blown out by the Chiefs. It’s a bad omen, as Tampa Bay is like a poor man’s Chiefs: they aren’t good defensively at all but can certainly get after it on offense. With points, it’s hard not to like Tampa’s match up with Cinci, since we just saw them fail in devastating fashion against such a similar team.
The Pick: BUCCANEERS
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) October 21, 2018
Baltimore @ Carolina (+2)
After laying an egg against the Redskins, it appeared Carolina was destined to drop another one to Philly last week. Of course, they rallied late and came out with a huge W against the defending champs. Their reward is two points against the Ravens, who lost in brutal fashion when reliable Justin Tucker missed the first extra point of his career…an extra point would’ve tied the game late. Nonetheless, the Ravens hung with the Saints and who knows what would’ve gone down in overtime. It seems too easy, but this spread is screaming that Tucker will cover it with a field goal late in this one down in Carolina.
The Pick: RAVENS
Indianapolis @ Oakland (+3)
After trading Khalil Mack before the season, the Raiders only confirmed their intention of tanking this year by sending Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas. Astonishingly, they got a first round pick, so hopefully they can use it to find another Pro Bowler to replace him in the 2019 draft. There’s also the rumblings that the Raiders have lost faith in Derek Carr because he may have been crying on the field after getting his ass kicked since his line can’t protect him. That’s utter malarkey, because Carr has been as tough as nails in his short career. There’s just so much disarray in Oakland you can’t count on them for anything for the remainder of the season. The Colts proved they can win against a shit squad, as they torched the Bills to the tune of 37 – 5. This one may get that ugly in Oakland.
The Pick: COLTS
Frank Reich was very happy to see 12 hold back at the one-yard line.
"I would have came out there and body slammed you." 😂 pic.twitter.com/yHtwHC64LB
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) October 23, 2018
San Francisco (+1) @ Arizona
The Battle for the Bottom! Who you want to count on in this one? The Cardinals, who got blown out by a Broncos team that lost four straight, or the Niners, who got utterly humiliated by the Rams. Common sense could indicate the Niners right? Meh, who the fuck knows? Both of these teams suck. This is a game I’m not touching with borrowed money I don’t need to pay back. Arizona seems like they’ve completely given up, while the Niners are so decimated with injuries that they just can’t compete. I guess I’ll take the home team for purpose of these picks.
The Pick: CARDINALS
There was a game tonight.
Instead of a final score graphic, here’s a GIF of puppies to cheer you up. pic.twitter.com/i0IXegS8iI
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) October 19, 2018
Green Bay (+9) @ LA Rams
Seeing an Aaron Rodgers led Packer squad get 9 points is staggering, but only emphasizes how elite the Rams are this year. The Rams are going to score and score a lot, because they’re the Rams, but also because the Packers defense is a joke. That means Rodgers is going to have to score in bunches, and fortunately he’s got Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison back at receiver. The Packers are also coming off of the bye, so they’ve had two full weeks to prepare for the prolific Rams offense. All of this coupled with 9 huge points has me keen on the Packers. It’s tough to count out Aaron Rodgers, but it’s even tougher to count on him to lose a game by ten points. With that in mind, I’m rolling with the Pack.
The Pick: PACKERS
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) October 19, 2018
New Orleans (+1) @ Minnesota
Remember when Minnesota got manhandled by the Buffalo Bills? Three straight wins later, the Vikings are suddenly looking like what everyone expected: the class of the NFC North. With New Orleans at 5 – 1, we’ve suddenly got a monster match up for the NFC in this one. We’re looking at the second and third best squads in the conference showing down on the turf. Sure, the Saints got lucky that Tucker missed that PAT, but they went on the road and outdoors to win a game in a tough environment. They’ll get to play indoors on the turf on the road, so that works in their favor. However, I can’t get over how difficult it was for the Saints to outlast the Browns at home earlier in the season. A lone point isn’t enough to tease me into trusting them this week, so let’s watch Latavious Murray continue to run amok for the Vikings and beat the Saints.
The Pick: VIKINGS
Buffalo (+14) @ New England
It’s the Battle of the Bookends of the AFC this weekend! The Patriots are tops while the Bills are bottoms. That’s why this spread is 14 points. The Bills got run out of Indy to the tune of 37 – 5, so 14 points isn’t even remotely enough to move the needle in this one. It’s a safe bet to count on Tom Brady to throw for over 300 in this one. Maybe 400. He might not even play in the fourth quarter. I cannot emphasize enough how confident I am that New England is going to trounce the living shit out of Buffalo. The Bills are in turmoil. Their quarterback situation is so bad, they went with Derek Anderson to avoid playing the awfulness that is Nathan Peterman. They lost Le’Sean McCoy to a head injury last week. They have no redeeming qualities. They’re going to get mercy ruled in New England. The only thing that’s going to be worse than the Bills performance will be the ratings for Monday Night Football.
The Pick: PATRIOTS