2010 NFL Week 2 Picks & Predictions

Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver (80) celebrates a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles with teammates Aaron Rodgers (12) and Greg Jennings during the third quarter of NFL football action in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 12, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Here are my top 4 plays to fade in Week 2 of the NFL:

Ravens at. Bengals +2.5, 1:00PM ET
Odds makers claim that they don’t lay traps for bettors. Well then, what do you call this game, you undeniable witchdoctors? Am I really not going to take the Ravens minus less than a field goal against a Bengals team that the Patriots shellacked in Week 1? Pssh. Well, I’m not. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer took the blame for the Bengals’ defensive effort last week, which he should have. He couldn’t have telegraphed where he was sending pressure any more than he did against Tom Brady, who picked Cincy’s defense apart. This week, however, he’s going to come better prepared and now it’s up to the Bengals’ players to execute. I say they rise to challenge. The Bengals beat the Ravens twice last season and have something to prove after last week. They win this game outright.

Bills at Packers –13, 1:00PM ET
I try to not make it a habit of taking teams who lay double-digit points in the NFL, but I can’t help myself here. The Packers are that good and the Bills are that bad. The loss of Ryan Grant (out for the season) certainly hurts, but some people are acting like the Packers just lost Walter Payton. Brandon Jackson is a serviceable starter and besides, the passing game is still the focal point of the offense in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers was shaky last week, but he shouldn’t face as much pressure on Sunday as he did last Sunday in Philadelphia. That means big plays to Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and Jermichael Finley in the passing game. Green Bay rolls in this one.

Texans vs. Redskins +3, 4:15PM ET
Here’s another example of why odds makers are full of crap. The Texans are coming off a huge win in which Arian Foster rushed for over 230 yards and are now only laying 2.5 points to a Redskins team that still has plenty of doubters. Why not take Houston here and lay the measly 2.5 points? Because the NFL is a fickle bitch when it wants to be – that’s why. The Texans are coming off an emotional win over the Colts and now have to travel to D.C. to play a very beatable Redskins team. And while Washington did beat Dallas by holding the ‘Boys to just one touchdown, they’re still lacking believers. For at least one week, I believe.

Rams at. Raiders –3.5, 4:05PM ET
I don’t like this matchup one bit for the Rams. They have a rookie quarterback making his first road start of his career in a hostile environment and a less-than 100% Steven Jackson. Plus, I don’t think the Raiders’ defense is as bad as it showed last week in Tennessee and the Rams don’t have enough pass-rushers to make Jason Campbell uneasy in the pocket. Not having Michael Bush hurts Oakland, but the Raider defense should force a turnover or two to put the offense in good position to score a couple of times. Taking the Raiders when they’re favored makes my stomach hurt, but I feel pretty good about this one.

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2009 NFL Week 9 Picks & Predictions

Here are my top 5 picks for Week 9 against the spread. As usual, fade at will…

Steelers (5-2) at Broncos (6-1), 8:30PM ET, Monday
This game set up nicely for the Steelers, who have won four in a row, are coming off a bye and are playing a Denver team that was thumped last Sunday by the Ravens. But I fully expect Josh McDaniels and the Broncos to learn from their loss last week to Baltimore and rebound on Monday night. Denver is always a tough place to play – just ask the Cowboys and Patriots, whom the Broncos beat earlier this year at Invesco Field. I don’t expect Kyle Orton, Brandon Marshall and Knowshon Moreno to have a lot of success against Pittsburgh’s excellent defense, but I do think Denver’s defense will force a couple turnovers to set the offense up in good field position. Linebacker Elvis Dumervil has been a beast this season and Ben Roethlisberger has always had trouble holding onto the ball. While some will start to doubt the Broncos after last week, I’m holding strong that this is a good football team and will prove it with a small upset Monday night.
Odds: Steelers –3.
Prediction: Broncos 20, Steelers 17.

Texans (5-3) at Colts (7-0), 1:00PM ET
This game has trap written all over it. The Texans have won three straight and four of their last five, while the Colts finally looked beatable last week in their 18-14 win over the 49ers. Your head and gut tell you that Houston will be able to hang with Indy this weekend and at the very least cover the 9-point spread, if not win outright. But don’t be fooled – the Colts are 9-1 in their last 10 games against the Colts and have covered in six of those 10 games. While the ATS trends aren’t impressive, Peyton Manning should have his way with an improving, but suspect Houston defense at home. With Bob Sanders sidelined again, the Texans should score, but it’s not like Indy isn’t used to not having Sanders on the field. This one will be a little bit of a shoot out, but I see the Colts winning by a decent margin in the end.
Odds: Colts –9.
Prediction: Colts 35, Texans 24.

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2009 NFL Week 8 Picks & Predictions

Here are my quick-hit picks for Week 8 in the NFL:

Worth being in trouble with your significant other for:

Vikings (6-1) at Packers (4-2), 4:15PM ET
I think the Packers will have a little something for Brett Favre this time around. I realize he was a legend in Green Bay, but the Packer faithful need to boo this man just as they would Steve Young or Troy Aikman. As long as the Packers somehow figure out a way to get a body in front of Jared Allen, I think they beat a Minnesota team coming off an emotional loss in Pittsburgh last week. Call me crazy, but I don’t think this one will be as close as many expect.
Odds: Packers –3.
Prediction: Packers 30, Vikings 17.

Giants (5-2) at Eagles (4-2), 1:00PM ET
The Giants are hoping to get a few defensive starters back this week (most notably Michael Boley and Chris Canty), but their concern right now should be moving the ball against a Philadelphia defense that played inspired last week in Washington. (Of course, it was Washington.) Both of these offenses struggled last week trying to move the chains consistently and I can see turnovers playing a huge role in this key NFC East battle. Considering the Eagles lead the league in turnover margin, I think they get a win at home. It’s hard to fathom the G-Men losing three straight, but outside of their Week 2 win against the Cowboys, they haven’t been good against teams with winning records this season.
Odds: Giants –1.
Prediction: Eagles 20, Giants 17.

Broncos (6-0) at Ravens (3-3), 1:00PM ET
The Broncos haven’t given anyone a reason not to trust them. They’ve played great defensively, have remained balanced offensively and continue to prove doubters wrong. That said, I think this is the week they suffer their first loss. The Ravens are desperate and Denver doesn’t really have the explosive passing attack to take advantage of Baltimore’s issues in the secondary. I’m willing to bet the Ravens’ coaching staff figured a few things out in their off week and Baltimore will come out ready to play on Sunday.
Odds: Ravens –3.
Prediction: Ravens 23, Broncos 17.

Falcons (4-2) at Saints (6-0), 8:30PM ET Monday
The Falcons are in trouble. Their secondary is starting to show the same problems it had in preseason and Drew Brees should take advantage of that and torch Chris Houston and company. The only chance Atlanta has is to force turnovers on defense and get Michael Turner going in order to leave Brees on the sidelines. I don’t see it happening.
Odds: Saints –10.
Prediction: Saints 38, Falcons 24.

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2009 NFL Week 7 Picks & Predictions

Instead of limiting myself to only four games like I have the previous weeks, I’ve decided to channel my inner Peter King and make predictions (with smaller write ups) on every contest on the NFL schedule this week.

49ers at Texans, 1:00PM ET
It had to have been a long two weeks for San Francisco’s players after the Falcons drubbed the Niners 45-10 in Week 5. Mike Singletary will have his team more focused and I think we’ll see a great defensive effort from San Fran this Sunday to slow down a potent Houston offensive attack.
Odds: Texans –3.
Prediction: 49ers 20, Texans 17.

Packers at Browns, 1:00PM ET
This will be a closer game than most think. The Packers could be looking ahead to a home date with the Vikings next Sunday, although in the end Cleveland’s offense is putrid and while Green Bay has been inconsistent defensively this year, I think they’ll do enough to get the Pack a victory.
Odds: Packers –9.
Prediction: Packers 24, Browns 16.

Chargers at Chiefs, 1:00PM ET
Ron Rivera has no clue on how to get San Diego’s defense back on track, but the young, inexperienced Kansas City secondary could have issues slowing down Philip Rivers and the Bolts’ passing game. Still, I think Matt Cassel and company pull off a surprise upset at home against a San Diego team coming off a short week.
Odds: Chargers –5
Prediction: Chiefs 20, Chargers 18.

Colts at Rams, 1:00PM ET
The Rams have given a nice effort the past two weeks, but this is a horrible matchup for them – even at home. Peyton Manning and company is well rested and the Indy defense will harass Marc Bulger all game.
Odds: Colts –14
Prediction: Colts 34, Rams 14.

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2009 NFL Picks & Predictions: Week 6

Giants (5-0) at Saints (4-0), 1:00PM ET
Hopefully readers will give me credit for attempt to predict the toughest games this week. No? All right then…This is by far the hardest game to predict on the Week 6 schedule, so let’s look at some of the facts. The Saints should be well rested coming off a bye and are playing at home. They have the edge then right? They should, but don’t forget that the Giants essentially had a bye themselves since they played Oakland last week and New York always travels well. Drew Brees hasn’t seen a pass rush as good as the Giants’ all season and I think New York will disrupt his rhythm. And while Darren Sharper and the New Orleans defense is playing out of their minds right now, Eli Manning won’t make the same mistakes rookie Mark Sanchez did two weeks ago when the Saints earned a victory against the Jets. I like Brandon Jacobs to get back on track and for the G-Men to pull off a huge win at the Superdome.
Odds: Saints –3.
Prediction: Giants 27, Saints 24.

Ravens (3-2) at Vikings (5-0), 1:00PM ET
So, are the Ravens just in a slump or were they overrated to begin with? Give yourself a gold star if you answered, “A little of both.” Baltimore lost several defensive starters and their coordinator Rex Ryan in the offseason – they were due to have a setback at some point. While I think the Ravens are a solid football team, I don’t like this matchup for them. They’re reeling after two straight losses and play an unfamiliar foe in a hostile environment. I also don’t like the matchup between the Ravens’ receivers and the Vikings’ corners and wonder how Joe Flacco will do once Ray Rice and the running game is shut down by Minnesota’s Williams Wall. As long as Brett Favre doesn’t get turnover-happy for the first time this year, I like the Vikings to remain undefeated.
Odds: Vikings –3.
Prediction: Vikings 21, Ravens 17.

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