I have been playing all year but since I just started writing on here, I won't show my record in the interest of full disclosure and accuracy. I won't pick all the games but will provide my locks and reasoning behind them as well as some commentary on the other games.
The Ravens have been playing stellar on Defense and with a few good breaks, could be 4-0. Contrast that with the Colts, who are 2-2, and could easily be 0-4 if not for some late game heroics by Peyton Manning and mistakes by Sage Rosenfels.
The Ravens' bread and butter is tough D and a ferocious power running game. This bodes well for them since Indy is coming in with the 22nd ranked defense so far this season.
That being said, I can’t see Peyton Manning and the Colts continuing to underperform. They are 0-2 at home, and have yet to notch a victory in their new stadium. It is also worthwhile to point out that the same Indy defense was one of the better units in the NFL last season including the 44-20 schallacking of the Ravens in December. The Colts are 5-0 against the Ravens in their last 5 meetings. With a healthy Peyton Manning and Co. and history on their side. Indianapolis will take this game comfortably, lay the points.
The Play : Colts (-1) for 2 units
Raiders @ Saints (-7)
The Raiders are getting the Saints at a bad time. The Saints just came off a huge monday night loss to the Vikings in which they dominated the stats sheet but couldn't convert and had costly turnovers. They still made it a game thanks to heroics by Reggie Bush but ultimately fell short. Look for them to come out with something to prove. I see a blowout here.
The Play : Saints (-7) for 2 units
Bengals @ Jets (-6.5)
This game is going to be high scoring. I realize that the Bengals offense has been...well, offensive but Carson Palmer had a decent game last week as did newly signed Cedric Benson in limited work. Chris Perry still can't hang onto the ball but is explosive. Chris Henry should get some more work and Ocho Cinco can't be shut down forever. For the Jets, things seem to be clicking on all cylinders in the passing game. Favre and Coles have a nice rapport now after hooking up for 3 scores in their last game. Thomas Jones has yet to get things going on the ground, but look for that to change against the porous Bengals D. For what it's worth, I also like the over here.
The Play : Jets (-6.5) for 1 units
COLLEGE BONUS PLAY:
MISSOURI / OKLAHOMA ST. total points OVER
This game might break the scoreboard by the time the nights over. I see this game as a 55-42 type of a game. As long as the weather looks good (which it does as of this writing), take the over on anything under 80pts.
Other lines and why I’m not playing them
Rams @ Redskins (-13.5) – The Redskins look great right now and would be a decent play here, but who knows what the Rams are going to look like with a new coach and Bulger back under center. Redskins should take this one but I don’t feel good enough about it to make it official.
Eagles (-4.5) @ 49ers – Brian Westbrook has broken ribs and may not play. The 49ers are not a very good team, but are explosive enough on offense to keep it close. With all the questions here, I would stay away from this one.
Lions @ Vikings (-11) – You might be safe to take the Vikings here due to the futility of the Lions. In fact, it may be sound strategy to take ANY team that plays the Lions at this point, however out of principle, I don’t try to pick Lions games since they are my team and it’s difficult to be objective.
Cowboys (-5) @ Cardinals – The Cards have been playing very well of late and even without Boldin, the receiving core is getting it done. They have multiple backs doing the dirty work as well. I actually think the Cards could steal this game outright if the Cowboys overlook them, but since Dallas is so loaded, I would pass on this pick.
Dolphins (-3) @ Texans – The Texans aren’t as bad as their record indicates and the Dolphins are surprisingly good. The reemergence of Ronnie Brown in the running game and some creative play calling and formations to get him loose have paid big dividends so far. I like Miamiin this game for a litany of reasons. Keep in mind though, that the Texans had the Colts dead to rights last week before choking. This sets up as a trap bet play for the Phins. I’ll pass.
Patriots @ Chargers (-6) - The Chargers continue to lose, suffering a huge loss to the Dolphins, but they are still dangerous and who knows what kind of game you are going to get from NE and Cassel. While if I had to choose, I would take the points and NE, I would just as soon leave this game alone.
Bears (-4) @ Atlanta – 2 of the biggest surprises this year. I would stay away from this game simply because both teams are performing above expectations and i'd hate to get caught on the wrong side of a reality check.
Panthers (3.5) @ Tampa Bay – This is a key game for two division contenders and will be a hard fought battle. Jeff Garcia is going to get the start for Tampa and could be a spark for them while their defense is always tough. Carolinahas been clicking on all cylinders and Deangelo Williams has been going off. Tampa is tough at Raymond James so this one is too tough to call. I am leaning towards Carolina though.
Jaguars @ Broncos (-4) – This matchup is between two of the best in the AFC. The Broncos have been awesome with Jay Cutler this year and his connections with Marshall and Eddie Royal have been lethal. Jacksonville sports a rock solid defense and a good, ball control offense that tends to keep them in games. I could see this game going the way of a blowout but more likely to be a field goal game.
Packers (-4.5) @ Seattle – The Pack should be able to take this one given the injury plagued Seahawks team, but Seattle at home is a tough draw. Aaron Rodger’s health situation further clouds the picture. I’ll pass.
Giants (-7) @ Browns – The defending champions look great so far this year and Eli has looked more like Peyton so far, even without Plaxico. The Browns came into the year with high expectations but have faltered early. This should be an easy win on the big stage for NY, but I don’t feel too comfortable with the 7 point spread.
That does it for this week.