NFL FOOTBALL PICKS - FREE WEEKLY ATS PREDICTIONS
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Both of these teams start the season with something to prove. The Steelers are trying to prove that they are a Super Bowl caliber team and the Redskins are trying to prove that last year’s run to a division title was not a fluke.
Laying points on the road in a season opener can be a risky bet, but I really like Pittsburgh’s chances to come into FedEx Field and post an impressive win in front of a prime time audience on Monday Night Football. The Steelers have just too much firepower to be contained by a Washington defense that was one of the worst in the league last year in yards allowed.
The Jets are notoriously tough when at home, plus they also have a defensive unit that can cause calamity for virtually any opposition. The Jets in East Rutherford are far more ferocious as they play every team tough, to get them with points here is a true value play especially considering the fact line movements suggest that much of the public rather spot points with a road favorite. Dicey play in Week One, the Jets offer more upside.
This game can easily blow up in to a shootout and in potential shootout situations, the academic move is to always take the points. In this instance we can take back the home team with nearly a touchdown and we like this situation given the personnel that lies in Jacksonville’s ranks. Many will judge this game from a superficial angle alone, assuming that Green Bay cannot lose to Jacksonville by virtue of their namesakes. The same prognostication was assumed when the Vikings and Packers were jostling for the NFC North in 2015 when Green Bay had Aaron Rodgers and Minnesota had Teddy Bridgewater at the helm, yet the VIkes were the ones to win the division. Green Bay is one of the most prestigious names in the NFL and thus a contrarian approach can be utilized here to fade the public and lay the Packers when they are almost certainly spotting more points than required.
This won’t be the prettiest game of the weekend and I do expect it to be low scoring. Jackson should be able to improve the Browns offense but needs Gordon and a good RB to do it. Wentz will be doing a lot of handing off in this matchup but Cleveland knows that and should be ready.
Both of these teams can score and while Oakland’s defense is ascending, the offenses should dominate this contest. The Saints didn’t make nearly enough adjustments to their squad and will be transitioning back to a 4-3 defense. It will take time for all the pieces to jell and I expect the Raiders to move the ball at will against this group. Look for a high-scoring affair at the Superdome in this one.
You can talk all you want about the genius of Bill Belichick as the Patriots’ head coach given his proven ability to win with the players he has on the field, but the fact remains that Jimmy Garoppolo is no Tom Brady. That may not matter nearly as much in New England’s next three games, but it will against one of the most balanced teams in the league playing on opening night in front of the home-town crowd.
The actual spread in this game should be wider so I will gladly lay the six points with a “best bet” play on the Cardinals to win and cover on Sunday night
The Giants know they can score points but can they stop anybody? They get a break this week as Prescott doesn’t figure to be as dynamic as he was in the preseason and Spagnuolo should be able to confuse him with multiple looks. The return of DE Jason Pierre-Paul and addition of DE Olivier Vernon should spark the pass rush and I see NY eking out a victory behind Manning and their improved defense.
Both of these teams will be looking to take control of this game on the defensive side of the ball in what should remain a close battle until the final gun. While Denver has the edge playing at Mile High, Carolina still has the better playmakers on offense especially at the quarterback position.
In the end, I do believe that Cam Newton will be the difference. He comes into this game with something to prove despite being named league MVP. I think he goes on to help his team make a few more plays than Denver that prove to be the difference both SU and ATS as a three-point road favorite.
The Broncos just don't give up a lot of points with only New England and Pittsburgh scoring over 20 points against them in their last nine games. The Panthers have allowed over 20 points three times in their last 10 games but all three of the opponents had superior passing attacks compared to Denver's unit. Both teams have proven that they need to stick with a game shortening running attack to have any shot at winning.
The Broncos may be the sentimental pick with Manning at the helm, but the best team usually wins this game and I have the Panthers holding up the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 7 while covering the 4.5 points at the betting window.
The Panthers are 9-0 SU at home this year and 8-1 ATS. They also lead the NFL in scoring and score even more at home. They can score in bunches (as evidenced by last week) and their defense scores points and sets up the offense with short fields. Arizona is 7-1 SU on the road this year and will certainly be a tough out. Both of these defenses are good but the Panthers are a little better. Arizona has a better offense but Palmer was shaky at times last week. He can expect a lot of pressure in this encounter and doesn't move real well in the pocket. The number is pretty low and I'll take a Carolina team that is unbeatable at home this year and has a defense that can control the game even if the offense has a few hiccups.
This should be a great matchup between two of the highest scoring teams in the NFL this season. While I am not sure which team will eventually come out on top this time around, I see both of these offenses lighting things up enough to take the total OVER the 47-point betting line.
The Patriots quickly returned to form against Kansas City after stumbling down the stretch of the regular season, but I like Denver getting points at home in this matchup. Manning gives the Broncos the stability they need on offense and their defense should be able to keep Brady in check at Mile High.
The Chiefs have the pass rush to cause Brady fits, especially if RT Vollmer is unable to go, but the return of WR Julien Edelman in the slot and having RB James White out of the back field will be the difference maker. The Patriots are 7-1 at home this season winning all 7 by a greater number than this line.
This figures to be a classic battle. Seattle is the 2-time defending NFC champ while Carolina is the 3-time winner of the NFC South division. Both teams have great defenses and great QBs but I have to side with the Panthers this week. Their offense is better than Seattle's and they can ground and pound or throw it deep. Newton has played at a high level all year and while his passing numbers are a shade below Wilson's, he's been great at home and his power running can wear on a defense. The Panthers have had a week off to get healthy while the Seahawks offense did nothing in the frigid temperature of Minnesota. I think Carolina's ability to create TOs will play a crucial role in the outcome and the betting number is less than a FG.
Kansas City has won 7 times away from home this year so a road trip to Foxboro isn't likely to shake them. Half the battle in playing the Patriots is to not be afraid of them, something most teams are. The Chiefs are riding high during their winning streak and got contributions from the offense, defense and special teams against the Texans. For the year, they have allowed 25 TD passes but have picked off 26. I expect the Patriots to have trouble running the ball and that means a lot of throws from Brady. The Chiefs have a good pass rush and a good secondary and I don't see them being passed on up and down the field all game. In what figures to be a close game, I'll take the red-hot Chiefs knowing the Patriots are getting several injured starters back. New England finished the year on a 2-4 run and I think their offense will have trouble with this defense. If Kelce can match Gronk, that will be another factor in keeping it close for KC.
It is pretty obvious that Pittsburgh is banged-up verse a Denver team that has had two weeks to prepare for this rematch. However, the biggest factor in my book is still Manning under center with a shot at redemption for a less than stellar performance in the regular season. This is the stuff that legend is made of making the Broncos minus the points my "best bet" pick.
I took the bait last week and went against the Packers, but this is going to be a much tougher road trip for a team that still has some issues on both sides of the ball that were very evident in their recent loss to Arizona. The Cardinals remain one of the most complete teams in the NFL this season and that will be reflected in another SU win against Green Bay that covers the touchdown spread.
On paper this game doesn't appear to be close. Seattle finished 10-6 but is clearly playing their best ball of the season. The return of Lynch will help the offense as will the return off SS Kam Chancellor. Bridgewater threw only 9 picks on the year but he only tossed 14 TD passes. The Seattle defense surrendered 14 TD passes but also had 14 interceptions (10 in the last 6 games). Wilson is playing at a level few expected as he has quickly risen from a 'running' QB who handed the ball off to Beast Mode to a QB who threw for 4,024 yards and 34 TDs (to only 8 interceptions). The advantage the Seahawks have at QB is huge and they have the best defense as well. The Vikings need to pressure Wilson consistently throughout the game, get 100+ plus yards out of Peterson and for Bridgewater to play at a near-perfect level. I don't expect all three of those things to happen and like Seattle to be an easy winner on the road, where they have won their last 5 decisions.