So last week went pretty well as far as these picks are concerned, as we finished at 10-4 against the spread despite picking Kyle Orton on the road on Thursday night. This week I'm hoping for more of the same, despite picking Alex Smith's terrible ass on Thursday night.
And really, Alex Smith was impressively bad against the Raiders, still failing to throw a touchdown pass to a wide receiver all season long, and allowing a winless Oakland team to get its first win. It took Smith into the third quarter to throw consecutive passes more than five yards downfield, which was not fun to watch. Anyway, let's pick some football games.
Spreads are from Westgate Superbook, from VegasInsider, and home teams are in CAPS.
Browns +3 over FALCONS
JOSH GORDON BACK! Man, I hope Josh Gordon scores 10 touchdowns on Sunday and burns a picture of Roger Goodell to celebrate after each one.
Gordon's return comes at a great time for Cleveland, by the way, as they take on a Falcons defense ranked dead last in DVOA both against the pass and in overall defense. Atlanta is also the only team in the NFL allowing eight yards per pass attempt to their opponents. That's not good.
Titans +11 over EAGLES
Did you know that the Eagles, despite some high scoring performances over bad teams this year, are only 18th in DVOA on offense, while the Titans are 20th? This game is more evenly matched than I would have thought by just looking at the names of the teams involved.
Tennessee's biggest problem defensively is stopping the run, as we saw on Monday when Le'Veon Bell just demolished them all night. The Titans, in fact, are dead last in DVOA against the run, which looks scary against LeSean McCoy. Philly is only 20th in the league in yards per rush, though, so Tennessee shouldn't get gashed too badly this week. They'll stay relatively close here.
Lions +7 over PATRIOTS
Nearly 80% of bettors are on the Patriots here, which isn't surprising given how well New England has played over the last month and a half. With that said, Detroit is well equipped to give the Patriots problems this week.
The Lions are still number one in the league in DVOA on defense, sitting third in that metric against the pass and first against the run, which should help them limit Jonas Gray in a way that Indianapolis (31st DVOA against the run) couldn't. The Lions are also one of eight teams allowing fewer than 6.5 yards per pass attempt. They will allow points, as every team does, but not enough for this one to get out of hand.
Packers -8.5 over VIKINGS
The Vikings are fucking horrible offensively. They are third in the league in DVOA rushing the football, but are 31st in passing. Their pass offense is so bad that their overall DVOA on offense is 29th. That's not gonna get it done against the Packers, who are putting up 50 points at will this season.
It's worth pointing out that, when these two teams played earlier this season, the Packers scored over 40 points. And that was when the Packers weren't playing well.
COLTS -14 over Jaguars
Fourteen points is so many points to give but, after getting murked by the Patriots on Sunday Night Football, the Colts are going to come out and destroy Jacksonville.
Bengals +1.5 over TEXANS
This will be the first real challenge for Ryan Mallett, and there will be some growing pains here. Arian Foster's questionable status is also worrisome here, as is the fact that AJ Green is finally back and productive for Cincinnati.
BEARS -5.5 over Buccaneers
Jay Cutler is bad, but the Bucs' pass defense is allowing 7.5 yards per pass attempt this season, and are one of just five teams to fall into that category to this point in the season. That means that Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey are going to have opportunities for big days that not even Cutler can screw up.
Cardinals +7 over SEAHAWKS
Drew Stanton is averaging just under a half yard per pass attempt more than Russell Wilson this season. While Stanton's sample size is much smaller, his attempts have all come against the Giants, Niners, Rams, Lions, and Broncos, four of five of which have very good defenses.
Arizona may win this game outright, thanks to their defense, which is fifth in yards against per rush, which is huge against a Seattle team that can't throw the football and relies on the run.
Rams +5 over CHARGERS
Heading into San Diego's Thursday night game against Denver, Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning were at the top of the NFL's yards per pass chart, both at around 8.7 yards per attempt. Since then, Rivers' number has dropped by nearly a full yard per pass to 7.76, good for eighth in the league.
And while the Chargers have taken steps backward this season, the Rams have improved from week to week, having defeated both defending conference champions this year. They may win this game outright on the strength of their defense, which has finally come around with the emergence of a pass rush many thought would be dominant from the beginning of the season.
Dolphins +7 over BRONCOS
These teams are very evenly matched in DVOA on both sides of the ball, and Miami doesn't have a whole bunch of injuries on offense like Denver does. Denver will win, but win close.
49ERS -9 over Racists
Dan Snyder can open a can of soda that was shaken without him knowing it was shaken.
Cowboys -3.5 over GIANTS
The Giants are goddamn terrible, and it breaks my heart. Even when their defense plays well, the offense finds a way to not do enough to win. Dallas will win here, to get their fans ready for another December collapse.
Ravens +3 over SAINTS
If this game was held in Baltimore, the Ravens would be favored by a touchdown, because the Saints have been playing poorly as of late. The Ravens are going to end the Home Saints thing once and for all on Monday night.
Jets +3 over BILLS (game in Detroit)
If ever there was a game that belonged in Detroit, it's this one.
This Week: 0-1 (Get Bent, Alex Smith)
2014 ATS: 88-72-1 (55%)