We’re on a roll! Last weeks 8-5-1 record takes us to a 50% record (36-36-3) on the whole season. Good, but not quite the target of 52%. Unfortunately, my Best Bets are lagging behind a little bit at 7-8-0.
But we mustn’t get complacent. For those of you who follow myself or Real Sport on Twitter, you would have seen that I took Atlanta -3.5 on Thursday Night only to watch them fumble away the football 3 times in the first half and drop their unbeaten record because they couldn’t cover Ben Watson. As a Patriots fan, I’ll always have a soft spot for Watson, but he’s hardly the second coming of Jimmy Graham for the Saints.
There is also plenty to digest from last weekend. Kansas City, after a tough opening slate that featured, loses to 3 of the still unbeaten teams, managed to lose to the 9-point underdog Chicago Bears while the great Jamaal Charles tore his ACL and is done for the year. That injury will severely limit their offense and force us to reconsider just how good they are.
We also have a potential QB issue in Buffalo where Tyrod Taylor is dealing with a knee injury that could force him to miss the chance to spoil the Bengals perfect record as well as another QB switch in Houston where Brian Hoyer is back in as the starter. Surely it can’t be long before Bill O’Brien bites the bullet and puts J.J. Watt under center??
So on to our Best Bets for Week Six.
New England Patriots (-10) over INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
As a Patriots fan I feel duty-bound to take this line, which opened at -7 in some places and has since been pushed higher and higher. But I have the feeling this is still 4 points too low. We all know the story by now so I won’t go into the “deflategate” history, but let’s just say there’s some bad blood between these two.
The Patriots put on a display of organisational strength last week in Dallas. After giving up 5 sacks in the first half they made adjustments to keep Tom Brady clean all the way through the second half. With Dallas focusing on keeping Rob Gronkowski quiet it was Julian Edelman making big gains and Keyshawn Martin with key catches. It’s that ability to adjust that has defined the Patriots through the years, and that has spelt doom for Indy in this match-up in recent years.
For as much as the Patriots offense is Tom Brady and quick passes the last 3 times the Pats & Colts have played it’s been the running game that has dominated. The Patriots have gone to a 6 man offensive line and pounded the ball with Legarette Blount, and one game of Jonas Gray, for 5.65 yards per carry and 11 touchdowns. In those 3 games the Patriots average margin of victory is 25 points. (BONUS BET: There are some places that will give you Evens on Blount to score at any time in this game. Take it!)
So the question is do the Patriots come in with a heavy formation and go back to the ground and pound or keep up with the quick and frequent passes? I’m sure the options are tormenting Chuck Pagano almost as much as the uncertainty about Andrew Luck’s status.
Which ever way the Patriots decide to go with their offense it will be the well-oiled machine we’ve seen for the last 14 years. And 13 of those were without revenge on the mind.
Denver Broncos (-4) over CLEVELAND BROWNS
This is the same theory that worked out last week: Take the great defensive unit against an offense you don’t truly trust.
Ok, so there’s no DeMarcus Ware this week after his injury against Oakland but the rest of this defense is still very scary with Shaquil Barrett and Shane Ray ready to step in and race Von Miller to Josh McCown.
Speaking of McCown, he might be ok! After earning his last 2 contracts on a 6 game hot streak in Chicago he’s fended off Johnny Manziel and looked like more than just a game manager so far, and now he’s going to be the best QB on the field in a game that also features Peyton Manning and his slow, fluttering excuse for a pass.
Cincinnati Bengals (-3) over BUFFALO BILLS
Yep. A 3rd undefeated team in my Best Bets. This Bengals team is for real because it can keep Andy Dalton clean. When he’s not hurried Dalton is great, picking passes to AJ Green and the break-out star Tyler Eifert. They were also able to eat up the Seahawks offensive line during their epic comeback, which bodes well against a Bills O-Line that is barely better. With Tyrod Taylor nursing a knee injury, LeSean McCoy out, Karlos Williams still in the concussion protocol and now Sammy Watkins demanding more targets the Bills look to be teetering on the brink of implosion. Their defense can still cause issues, but Cincinnati are a very balanced offense that can counter whatever Rex Ryan might try.
Rest of the picks:
TNF: Atlanta -3.5
Washington Redskins (+6) over NEW YORK JETS
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-3.5) over Kansas City Chiefs
Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) over PITTSBURGH STEELERS
TENNESSEE TITANS (-1.5) over Miami Dolphins
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (-1) over Houston Texans
Chicago Bears (+3) over DETROIT LIONS
Carolina Panthers (+7) over SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (+2) over Baltimore Ravens
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-10.5) over San Diego Chargers
New York Giants (+4) over PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Last Week: 8-5-1 (2-1-0)
Overall: 36-36-3 (7-8-0)