At some point during last night’s unexpectedly exciting Rams-49ers game, I realized that I was failing all of you. During last year’s NFL playoffs, right after I started this site, I’m sure many of you became reliant on my picks to boost your income a little bit. But through the first two weeks of the NFL season, my picks were nowhere to be found. Any coincidence it was arguably the worst two weeks of football since the merger? Not likely. I’ll raise my hand and take the blame for that, but much like the effectiveness of Color Rush, my NFL picks are officially Back. These game breakdowns will be a lot shorter than the playoff ones because I don’t hate myself enough to write 1,000 words about 15 week 3 games, but the fact remains that these are all stone cold locks and, if you were smart, you’d take these and bet the house on all of them. Lines taken from Bovada.
(Side rant coming out of last night’s broadcast that I’m not sure really belongs here, but whatever: after he made the game-clinching sack, Cris Collinsworth said that Aaron Donald was already a Hall of Famer. I saw a couple people grumbling about it on twitter.com, but didn’t do much research to find out if there were a lot of people who A. noticed it and B. had an issue with it, because I’m fine with just using a straw man. Do people really think Aaron Donald isn’t a Hall of Famer? Have these people watched him play? Have these people watched other defensive linemen play? I know there’s a valid narrative that there is a huge dearth of offensive line talent, but, in my mind, that’s partly because we’re currently in a golden era of defensive linemen. Literally the two greatest defensive linemen to ever play the game are in the league right now, and Donald is one of them. Maybe I just have a different standard, but I value someone’s prime years over stats accumulated over a million seasons, and I’m not sure Donald has even hit his prime yet. If you don’t think Aaron Donald is in already, how do you feel about Joe Namath, Harry Carson, Terry Bradshaw, and a million other players who are currently in the Hall of Fame who were all worse than Aaron Donald is at age 26? He’s a slam dunk Hall of Famer.)
Baltimore Ravens (-4) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Seems like the Jags have played a thousand games in London, but this is only their fifth game, and, don’t look now, they’re riding a two game London winning streak. That’s like the Patriots winning 25 straight games. So you know they’re red hot, but they may run into trouble if eliteness travels across the pond.
Pick: Ravens -4
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-6)
Wait, an NFC East divisional game isn’t on national TV? What the hell is that about? Who can I complain to? Anyway, while the thought of this Eagles’ d-line going against the Giants’ woeful offensive line is enough to get my d-line loving blood flowing, but are the Giants really going to go 0-3? And are the Eagles really going to win an important game by 7 points? I don’t really think so, either.
Pick: Giants +6
Houston Texans at New England Patriots (-14)
While my default is always to bet the Pats, this line is too high. The Pats have a billion injuries on offense going against one of the best defenses in the NFL. This is going to be boring, so if you’re not a diehard Pats fan like me, I would probably say don’t watch this no matter what. (If you couldn’t figure it out, J.J. Watt is the other one of the greatest d-linemen ever, btw)
Pick: Texans +14
Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5) at Chicago Bears
Steelers are trash on the road. The Bears are wearing their awesome throwbacks. I have no data to back this up, but the Bears have never failed to cover while wearing those.
Pick: Bears +7.5
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (-6)
Remember what happened when the Patriots played the Saints last week? Yeah.
Pick: Panthers -6
Atlanta Falcons (-3) at Detroit Lions
I know the Lions are somehow impossible to kill, but they kinda suck. Falcons are officially on a “this 40 point lead will drag us out of the pit of despair the Patriots sentenced us to until we blow it in the fourth quarter” tour, which would seem like they’re perfect prey for the “be terrible until the fourth quarter” Lions, but the Lions defense is too bad. The Lions will come back, but not far enough.
Pick: Falcons -3
Cleveland Browns (-1.5) at Indianapolis Colts
Just a little word of advice: stay as far away from this game as humanly possible. If any game could ever finish as a 0-0 tie, it’d be this one.
Pick: Browns -1.5
Tampa Bay Bucs at Minnesota Vikings
Well, this is awkward. There’s no line for this game! I’m assuming it’s because no one knows if Sam Bradford is still alive or not. I’m gonna improvise here and say the line would be Bucs -2.5 just so I can give something. This game is either going to be terrible or great, really depending on Sam Bradford’s health (never a good thing).
Pick: Bucs -whatever
Miami Dolphins (-6) at New York Jets
AFC East bitches!!!! Why don’t our games get put on national TV all the time? Oh, right, because every team is terrible. Seeing the Niners come close to winning a game might breathe new life into the Jets’ tanking efforts, so they’ll probably lose by a lot.
Pick: Dolphins -6
Denver Broncos (-3.5) at Buffalo Bills
You know what this has made me realize? There’s too many blue teams. There needs to be more green, more purple. Someone needs to have the guts to go pink. Too much blue.
Pick: Broncos -3.5
Seattle Seahawks at Tennessee Titans (-3)
For the last few years, I’ve had my finger on the pulse of the Seahawks. I’ve gotten their games right more than pretty much any other team in the league. This is one of the easiest ones I’ve ever seen. Any time they look terrible and get people talking about how bad they are, they start stomping on people again.
Pick: Seahawks +3
Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers (-9)
Can the Bengals really be this bad? Yes, yes they can.
Pick: Packers -9
Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
The amount of different ways the Chargers have found to go down multiple scores in the first half only to come storming back with five minutes left and lose by three is truly astounding.
Pick: Chargers +3.5
Oakland Raiders (-3.5) at Washington Redskins
I don’t know why (maybe because the Raiders have been really good and the Redskins haven’t), but I’m really feeling a Raiders blowout here. Just a gut feeling.
Pick: Raiders -3.5
Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) at Arizona Cardinals
Yuck. I have no interest watching this game whatsoever. Cardinals stink. Cowboys are (surprise) overrated as hell. I’ll watch it, because, as Thursday Night Football tells us, when it’s on, it’s on, but I’ll be unhappy about it.
Pick: Cowboys -3.5
SPECIAL BONUS COLLEGE PICKS
Betting college football is easier, more enjoyable, and less stressful than betting NFL. I highly recommend it. Here are some of my favorite bets for tomorrow:
- Pitt vs. Georgia Tech over 56
- TCU +14 vs. Oklahoma State
- Rutgers +12 vs. Nebraska
- Michigan vs. Perdue over 56
- Oklahoma -28 vs. Baylor
- Missouri -18 vs. Auburn
- Oregon vs. Arizona State over 76