Not only did I go negative for the first time this year, I also missed on both of my SuperLock picks. You may think that’s bad news, but it honestly may have been the best thing for me. I was feeling way too confident in my picks and my demise was inevitable. Now, my mind is clear, and so is the board. I’m not guaranteeing anything, but I will say I’d be surprised if we don’t top the .500 mark this time around.
Last Week: 6-8-0
Current Record: 75-60-0
SuperLock Record: 9-6-0
Los Angeles Chargers (-0.5) @ Oakland Raiders
Pick: Chargers (-0.5)
The Chargers are on an absolute tear, and after taking down A-Fraud, they should have no trouble handling Derek Carr. I’m not completely writing off the Raiders since they’re at home and are a pretty good football team, but their last game went to the wire while the Chargers had theirs wrapped up after approximately three minutes. On a short week, I much prefer the team that wasn’t expending all their energy for a full 60 as opposed to one that would have went to OT if it wasn’t for Patricia deciding to take Golladay and Marvin Jones off the field on fourth and goal. If LA lets Phil sling it, this one shouldn’t be close because the Raiders’ secondary is easily the worst unit on the field. In a pickem, I’ll roll with the better team.
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears (-2.5)
Pick: Lions (+2.5)
I don’t care who the Bears play from here on out, I will never pick them. Mitchell Trubisky is one of the worst quarterbacks I’ve ever seen, and I’ve watched Nathan Peterman play. The Lions have been fairly unlucky this year, but despite this, Matthew Stafford has been playing out of his mind. I’d feel confident in him to outpace Mitch and though their defense isn’t nearly as good as Chicago’s, Trubisky could make a high school defense turn a few defenders into perennial all-pros. This would be my lock of the week but I’m being a little caution because I’m too confident in it, if that makes sense.
Baltimore Ravens (-9.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: Ravens (-9.5)
There is so many unknows surrounding this game. The Ravens just whooped the Patriots, which would make you think they will outright murder the Bengals, but I wouldn’t be too sure. This could be a sleepwalk game for them where they don’t really try and run away with it. On top of that, what if Cincy just decides to run all game to keep the ball out of Finley’s hands and Baltimore isn’t necessarily forced to push the tempo? It’s got the makings for a trap game, but I don’t care. All these previously mentioned things could be true and I’d still be confident in them covering the number. The Bengals’ defense is too terrible for Lamar to not exploit them. I mean, in week one they didn’t need to score and won by about 100, and I think this week we see much of the same.
Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns (-2.5)
Pick: Bills (+2.5)
Please explain this line to me. Sure, the Bills may not have looked great recently, but their defense is going to absolutely dominate Baker Mayfield. The Bills should capitalize offensively due to the inevitable turnovers Baker will commit, and because of this, likely won’t need to have tons of long drives to find paydirt. On top of that, Cleveland’s run defense has been an issue and Devin Singletary is proving to be a major problem. Bills win outright, so them being the underdog makes this an easy pick in my humble opinion.
Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5) @ Tennessee Titans
Pick: Chiefs (-4.5)
I hate the Titans. I have no clue why. Maybe it’s because they have a shittier version of the Chargers’ jerseys or maybe it’s because they try so hard to be Vikings of the south. Whatever it is, I can’t stand to watch them play, and in this spot, KC should ruin them. I don’t even care if Mahomes is active or not because Matt Moore is doing his best Matt Cassel impression and showing he’s somehow a competent replacement, and with their weapons, no defense stands a chance. The home dogs are being faded once more, a decision I’m completely fine with.
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints (-12.5)
Pick: Saints (-12.5)
This may be a bloodbath. Basically everyone on the Saints is healthy, including their o-line, and even before they were all 100% they looked like a top two or three team in the league. On the flipside, the Falcons would like a bottom five team even if every player was fully healthy. Their defense at every level is atrocious, and Brees in a dome is a recipe for disaster. As for Matty Ice, he likes dome too but he may get his head taken off in this one (no that was not a sexual inuendo) with the Saints’ defensive line screaming at him all night. My score prediction is Saints 48, Falcons 20, and by the looks of it, that should cover the spread.
New York Giants (-2.5) @ New York Jets
Pick: Jets (+2.5)
I have no clue what this game entails. The Giants are coming off a short week, but I’d argue Sam’s week is even shorter as he hasn’t been able to sleep due to paranormal activity. Now that he’s back home maybe those ghosts will disappear, but there’s only one problem: this is also the Giants home. This matchup is basically a redux of the movie Step Brothers, where two ill-equipped grown men struggle to maintain a day job, doing foolish activities while wearing helmets. My only hope is that Darnold is past his stretch of terrible performances. If he taps into just a tiny bit of his potential and shows flashes of what he did against the Cowboys, they should win this game easily. I’m mostly just picking the underdog because at this point, I’m not comfortable with either of these teams giving points to anyone.
Arizona Cardinals @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4.5)
Pick: Cardinals (+4.5)
I usually get my SuperLock out of the way early, but this time around it was a little further down the board. I love this game for the Cardinals. They’re coming off a long week where they played their hearts out against the 49ers, a team that has managed to dominate every team in their path up to that point. Yes, one of the scores was off an 80+ yard touchdown to Andy Isabella, but their offense should have no issue making splash plays against a soft Tampa secondary. On top of that, with DJ back, Kyler will have another weapon in the passing game, and with how Drake looked on the ground against an equally daunting SF run-stuffing unit, so I wouldn’t be too concerned that they’ll take a one-dimensional approach. As for the Buccaneers’ offense, they should also dominate against a sub-par Cardinals defense, but I’m not sure they will run away with it. They will be trading blows all game, so whatever the total is set at, I’d smash the over.
Miami Dolphins @ Indianapolis Colts (-10.5)
Pick: Colts (+10.5)
Similar to the Chiefs, I don’t care whether or not Jacoby plays in this game. Whoever is behind center on Sunday will dominate the Dolphins. Miami just made a huge mistake and won their first game of the season, so the last thing they want to do here is risk leaving the day with a win. They’ve already been spreading fake news about Fitzpatrick having a shoulder injury despite practicing in full, so it doesn’t seem too far off base to assume Josh Rosen draws the start. Either way, Flores is going to tell the team to keep their foot off the gas whereas Frank Reich would never do any such thing, and with the Colts in the running to lead the AFC South, they won’t be slowing down any time soon.
Carolina Panthers @ Green Bay Packers (-4.5)
Pick: Panthers (+4.5)
The Packers got exposed last week, and with Davante Adams active, they just don’t look like the same team. Carolina and Green Bay are both above average defenses but struggle mightily against the run, so a sneaky bet is the under, but I also think that bodes well for the Panthers. This could be a slow paced back and forth between these two squads and I don’t think the Panthers ever let the Packers break away at any point. Also, if I were to trust one team to commit to the run, it would be Carolina, which may not seem like a great move in a vacuum, but doing so would work right into GB’s greatest weakness. The Packmen could take this game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended 20-17.
Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Pick: Rams (-3.5)
I’m of the belief that the Steelers’ offense is one of the worst in the NFL, and with Mason Rudolph facing a formidable defense, I expect some turnovers. As for their defense, yes, it looks near-elite, but Sean McVay is coming off a bye, so he’s had ample time to prepare. I think this game could be a blowout and get out of hand relatively quickly. I mean, look at how Mason performed against the Dolphins. If that Rudolph shows up, the Steelers will kiss their chances of keeping this one within 3.5 goodbye. I’ll put my trust in McVay off a bye over Rudolph against an above average defense.
Minnesota Vikings @ Dallas Cowboys (-2.5)
Pick: Vikings (+2.5)
Dallas just beat up on a lowly Giants squad and are now heading into a short week against a team that, on paper, has one of the best rosters in the league. I think this game is close either way it goes, but I’m not convinced the Cowboys even win in this spot. Sure, the Vikings pass defense has been in shambles recently, but Dak is at his best after they establish the run and lean on play action, so with Minnesota being a potent run defense, I’m not sure that plan comes to fruition. The only concern I have is that Kirk Cousins stinks out loud in primetime, so hopefully Dalvin Cook can mask that stench.
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers (-6.5)
Pick: Seahawks (+6.5)
The 49ers are on a long week after barely edging out the Cardinals on Thursday night. While the Cardinals boast a fake Russell Wilson at QB, the Seahawks have the real deal and the team as a whole has a lot more weapons at their disposal than Arizona does. Yes, San Fran’s defense is likely a top two unit in the NFL, but I can’t count Russell out against anybody. I think giving a touchdown is way too big in a divisional game where Seattle still has a better than 0% chance at attaining the division lead. Plus, the 49ers’ run defense, although exposed by Canadian-born “rapper” last week, is extremely stout, which means Wilson may be dropping back more than usual. If that’s the case, Seattle could hang a crooked number and I’m not so sure the 49ers can keep up offensively.