Breaking Down Super Bowl XLIX

Brady
Brady
I believe Super Bowl XLIX will come down to a final drive and Tom Brady will be under center for it. Will he be successful?

My favorite part of the the two weeks leading up to the playing of the actual Super Bowl is… The playing of the actual Super Bowl.

On Sunday night, we will be able to finally stop worrying about deflate-gate, what Marshawn Lynch says or doesn’t say and whether Idina Menzel has messed up the national anthem or not. In short, it will finally be time to play football.

Choosing who to go with in Super Bowl XLIX has not been easy. There are so many factors that must be considered for both teams and of course we can never predict turnovers or how the game is called by the officials. Nevertheless, I think I have a good read on this game so see whether you agree or not by reading on.

Super Bowl XLIX New England Patriots (-2) vs Seattle Seahawks (O/U 47.5) – Let’s take everything off the field off the table. That means let’s focus on the two teams and not deflate-gate or Marshawn Lynch’s hat.

Tom Brady is making his sixth start in a Super Bowl and he’s lost his last two which were both against the New York Giants. In the prior five Super Bowls, the game has come down to the final drive and I feel this one will be no different.

Seahawks
Look for both Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas to be involved with covering Rob Gronkowski.

If we analyze both of the Patriots’ losses, the Giants were able to get consistent pressure up the middle on Brady and most of that pressure came from just the front four defensive linemen. The Seahawks are significantly better than the Giants were in the secondary but can they get the same type of pressure the Giants did?

My assumption is that the Patriots will learn from Denver’s struggles last year in the Super Bowl and they will not abandon the run. The problem is whether Josh McDaniels chooses to use LeGarrette Blount or another running back like Jonas Gray. Seattle must also decide how they are going to cover Rob Gronkowski. Will they attempt to keep a linebacker on him or will Kam Chancellor or Earl Thomas be stuck with that assignment?

When the Seahawks are on offense, they will know that Bill Belichick typically likes to take away his opponent’s best player. Common sense points us to that being Russell Wilson or Marshawn Lynch. Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will be prepared and I think you’ll see more read-option from Seattle than we’ve seen recently from them this season.

If they find any success with that, the passing game will open up, especially on the edges and to the tight ends. Will that be enough to keep New England on it’s heels defensively?

Obviously the one area we can’t forget is special teams. Turnovers or major mistakes here are likely to be disastrous as close as I expect this game to be.

Trends: The total has gone UNDER in six of New England’s last eight games… Seattle is 6-2 straight up in their last eight games against New England… The Patriots are 2-6 against the spread in their last right games against the Seahawks… Seattle is 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games.

Key Injuries: NE C Brian Stork QUES/Knee, CB Brandon Browner QUES/Knee… SEA S Earl Thomas QUES/Shoulder

The Pick:  No one holds a lead as well as the Seahawks but I think they will fall behind early. Tom Brady has an opportunity to seal his legacy as an all-time great with a win and to do it, he’ll need a touchdown to win the game late. I think Seattle takes its’ first lead in the second half and holds on to win 27-23. Take the Seahawks and the points and take the OVER.

Super Bowl Special Prop Bets Because You Deserve to Win Money on Ridiculous Things

SB XliX
SB XliX
Prop bets are a great way to watch the Super Bowl even for the most average of fans.

I honestly can’t tell you when the first prop bet occurred but it would only seem right if it were during a Super Bowl. I laid out the history of betting the Super Bowl earlier this week and hopefully you took that to heart before laying your dough on either the Patriots or Seahawks.

Prop bets can essentially be wagers on just about anything related to the event. If Dick Vitale were doing the Final Four, there would be a prop on how many times he says one of his famous phrases. When Jim Nantz does The Masters, a prop bet could be home times he mentions the azaleas or other flower.

Prop bets have even started to creep their way into popular culture. You can actually wager on things like the Academy Awards and what color will Meryl Streep be wearing. Yes my friends, we’ve clearly gone off the deep end. The prop bets featured today are just a small sampling of the type of prop bets you can make. But the great news is that you have options.

If you’re attending one of the millions of Super Bowl parties around the country then get creative! Bring in the Super Bowl commercials and you can do that in a number of ways. From the most ads, to the ones with celebrities and so on.

The bottom line is that with prop bets, you can do just about whatever you want. Have fun with them and enjoy the guy.

Today I’m giving you special prop bets from our friends at Bovada. I hope you enjoy these props and my picks for each. My best bets have an * next to them.

Length of the National Anthem by Idina Menzel

Two Minutes 1 Second OVER -120, UNDER -120

Will Idina Menzel forget or omit at least one word from the National Anthem?

Yes +450, No -700

Will Marshawn Lynch grab his crotch after scoring a touchdown?

Yes +600, No -1000

Which coach will be mentioned first by name after the opening kickoff on TV?

Pete Carroll EVEN, Bill Belichick -140

Hoodie
Got thoughts on what style hoodie Bill Belichick will be wearing? You can wager on that.

What color will Bill Belichick’s hoodie be?

Gray -150, Blue +110, Red +700

How many times will Katy Perry be mentioned before halftime?*

Over 2 -110, Under 2 -130

Will Bill Belichick smile on TV cameras during the game?

Yes +150, No -250

Bill Belichick hoodie type

sleeves cut -175, sleeves intact +135

What will Katy Perry be wearing when she begins her halftime show?

Pants (below knees) +275, Shorts (above knees) +225, Skirt or Dress -175

How many times will Gisele Bundchen be shown on TV during the game?

Over 1.5 EVEN, Under 1.5 -140

Who will be shown more on TV during the game?*

Robert Kraft -250, Paul Allen +170

Will Al Michaels mention during the broadcast the spread, total, odds or prop bets during the game?

Yes +170, No -250

What will the Nielsen rating of the game be?

Over 47.5 -120, Under 47.5 -120

Who will the Super Bowl MVP mention first in his interview?

Teammates 3/2, God 2/1, Fans/City 15/2, Owner 12/1, Coach 15/1, Family 15/1, Does not mention any of the above 5/2

How many viewers will the game have?

Over 113 million -140, Under 113 million Even

How many times will “deflated” balls be mentioned during the game?

Over 3 -140, Under 3 Even

 

 

 

NFL Officiating Just Keeps Getting Worse

Gay
Gay
William Gay was essentially flagged for taunting his own teammate.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had just made a crucial stop on third down forcing the Kansas City Chiefs to punt this past Sunday. This was a huge game for both teams. A win by the Steelers gave them a playoff spot for the first time since 2011. A win by the Chiefs would keep their dwindling playoff hopes alive.

The play in question was made by the Steelers’ fine inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons near the Pittsburgh sideline. He had just made an excellent, open-field tackle to prevent the first down and you could see the emotion as he crawled forward and start to get to his feet.

Behind him was his teammate, cornerback William Gay, who proudly stood behind Timmons with his arms crossed in a pose that said, “Not in our house!”

Then a penalty flag came flying in… What on Earth could this be for? The play was over. The only Chiefs player in the vicinity was half-way back to his sideline when the flag came in. The call was made by the official on the Steelers’ side of the field and immediately he ran to the head referee to state what the penalty was.

“Taunting, number 22 (Gay). That’s a 15-yard penalty and first down Kansas City.” Ballistic doesn’t do enough to describe Mike Tomlin’s reaction. His player was just called for taunting his own teammate as Gay was directly facing Timmons the whole time. The Chiefs’ player didn’t even know what was going on behind him, yet the flag came.

Lynch
Apparently grabbing your crotch isn't a flag in the NFL.

But then later on Sunday night, the Seattle Seahawks were pulling away from the Arizona Cardinals when running back Marshawn Lynch broke free on a long touchdown run. As he approached the end zone, Lynch did a 180, leaped into the air and grabbed his genitals. His actions were clearly directed at the chasing Cardinals’ players yet guess what?

No flag.

The two situations could not have been more different. If you showed people each video and then asked them to choose which one received a taunting flag, the overwhelming majority would have said the Lynch crotch grab.

This is the problem the National Football League has created for its’ officials. It started with the assault on taking the violence out of the game several years ago. This season it continued with the “illegal contact” BS on defensive backs and now it has emerged in targeting players for taunting the opposition.

Officials are so uncertain of what to call now we have started to see more and more troubling flags like the one Sunday in Pittsburgh. Quite frankly, little can be done to address the subjective nature of calls that come for “targeting” or “leading with the helmet.” But something can be done to make these erroneous taunting calls go away.

Officials need to address the situation first before even thinking about reaching for the flag. Is the player directly aiming his intentions at the opponent? Is there more than one person involved in the alleged taunt? Perhaps officials should answer those questions first before throwing the yellow napkin.

The flip-side could also go a ways towards helping the officials. If the NFL would allow players to celebrate together, especially after a score, players would be more likely to not taunt because the celebrations would mean more to them.

I’m not naive however, I know the “No-Fun League” would never hear of such celebrations coming back. That’s fine as long as they can figure out when a player is celebrating and not taunting his own teammate.

Early NFL Lines as the Playoffs Come Into Focus

Murray
Murray
I expect the Cowboys to get DeMarco Murray involved early and often in Chicago.

Here’s an early look at your NFL Lines for week 14. Picks in BOLD

Dallas (-3.5) at Chicago – The Cowboys were humbled before a national TV audience on Turkey Day and now hit the road for another Thursday nighter. Look for them to get back to the running game in Chicago.

Baltimore (+3) at Miami – The Ravens dropped a stunner at home to San Diego and now travel to Miami where the Dolphins are fighting for a playoff spot with these same Ravens. Best match-up here is the Ravens’ offense versus the Dolphins’ D.

Tomlin
Mike Tomlin's Steelers in a 'must-win' situation in Cincinnati on Sunday.

Pittsburgh (+3.5) at Cincinnati – It’s this simple for the Steelers; they have to win or the playoffs are all but out for a third straight season. The Bengals have won three-straight road games and will be happy to return home.

Indianapolis (-3) at Cleveland – Will it be Johnny Football or will Cleveland Coach Mike Pettine stay with Brian Hoyer? You can bet the Colts are prepping for both while their offense just keeps humming along behind Andrew Luck.

Houston (-4) at Jacksonville – If J.J. Watt doesn’t finish in the top three for league MVP then there’s a huge problem. He has scored five touchdowns this year and his play on the DL is only getting better. The Jags are coming off an amazing comeback win over the Giants though and will have some momentum.

NY Giants (EVEN) at Tennessee – You have my sympathies if you have to watch this game Sunday. The Giants and Titans are a combined 5-19 and have not won in 13 straight games.

Carolina (+9.5) at New Orleans – The Panthers have lost six straight and are no longer a threat in the brutal NFC South. The Saints got a much-needed win in Pittsburgh to stay even with Atlanta atop the division.

Tampa Bay (+9.5) at Detroit – The Buccaneers are better than their 2-9 record in my opinion. They’ve lost some tough games as evidenced by Sunday’s one-point loss to Cincinnati so I don’t think the Lions should treat this as a cakewalk by any stretch.

St. Louis (-2) at Washington – I’ll join the chorus in saying the Redskins are better without RGIII at QB right now. They just are, it’s that easy. The Rams might be the hottest team in the NFL and are coming off of a massive shutout over Oakland.

NY Jets (+4.5) at Minnesota – The Vikings have played well at home even in defeat and now the Jets come in with Rex Ryan on the hottest seat in the league.

Buffalo (+9) at Denver – Four weeks ago I would have said the Bills have a great shot to win this game because the Broncos really didn’t have a running game. Now that they do, Buffalo will have to respect that and in turn their pass rush will slow down.

Kansas City (+1.5) at Arizona – The Chiefs have dropped two-straight as have the Cardinals. This is a monster game for both teams in terms of playoff implications. A loss by Kansas City pretty much ends their chances of the postseason while a Cards’ loss brings Seattle right back into division title contention.

San Francisco (-7) at Oakland – The Raiders certainly led us on didn’t they? A week after beating Kansas City, they got throttled by St. Louis and didn’t score a point. The Niners need a win to stay alive in the NFC playoff chase.

Seattle (EVEN) at Philadelphia – A possible NFC Championship Game preview here? The Seahawks have suddenly turned on the defense and that’s not good for Mark Sanchez who can be a turnover machine.

New England (-3.5) at San Diego – Best game of the week features teams who right now would be in the playoffs. The Pats headed west immediately after losing to Green Bay so the time change and weather will not be a factor.

Atlanta (+11.5) at Green Bay – There is not a hotter quarterback on the planet than Aaron Rodgers, especially at home. The Falcons can score points but their defense is in for a long day at Lambeau.

A Trio of Thanksgiving Games For Your Plate

Cutler
Cutler
Jay Cutler needs to take full advantage of his weapons if the Bears are to defeat Detroit on Thursday.

I’m getting you you’re Thanksgiving Day games early because I know many of you will be on the road or sleeping in or you’ll be stuck at work so here is my take on al three games for Turkey Day.

Chicago (+7) at Detroit (O/U 47) – At 5-6, the Chicago Bears are in no position to lose games. Thursday will mark the first of two meetings with the Lions in the final five weeks of the season. For Detroit, they cannot afford to fall any further behind Green Bay who they will face in Lambeau Field on the final day of the season. And they haven’t won there in about 25 years.

Defensively, the Bears have struggled all year and that’s good news for a Detroit offense that is also struggling. The key match-up for this one is the Detroit defense against the Chicago offense. If the Bears can’t generate any offense then this could get ugly.

Trends: Chicago is 9-3 straight up in their last 12 games versus Detroit… The Lions are 6-1-1 against the spread in their last eight games against the Bears… The total has gone OVER in four of Chicago’s last five games when playing in Detroit… The Lions are 1-9 in their last ten Thanksgiving Day Games.

The Pick: I love the Bears getting a touchdown and take the OVER.

Sanchez
The Eagles need Mark Sanchez to take care of the ball and they can do that with a good running game.

Philadelphia (+3) at Dallas (O/U 54.5) – Both teams are 8-3 and a win would go a long way towards a division title but these two will meet again on December 14th in Philly.

It may be cliché to say, but I think whichever team has more success running the ball will have an inside track on winning the game. I say this because Mark Sanchez and to a slightly smaller extent Tony Romo, will turn the ball over.

The better each team can run the ball the better each team’s quarterback play is likely to be. One other thing to keep an eye on… The Eagles excellent special teams unit.

Trends: Philadelphia is 15-5 straight up in their last 20 games… The Cowboys are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games… The total has gone UNDER in five of the Eagles’ last seven games playing in Dallas… The Cowboys have won eight of their last ten games on Thanksgiving Day.

The Pick: I like the Eagles getting three and I like the OVER.

Seattle (EVEN) at San Francisco (O/U 40) – These two NFC West foes will follow the same patter as Dallas and Philadelphia. They’ll play each on Turkey Day then see each other again on December 14th.

With each team at 7-4 and trailing the Arizona Cardinals by two games, this game carries monstrous implications. Arizona will have a very winnable game at Atlanta on Sunday so the loser here could fall back three games with four to play.

The 49ers have struggled to score points recently and that will be a factor here despite their home-field advantage.

Trends: Seattle is 1-4 against the spread in their last five road games… The 49ers are 0-5 ATS in their five games against Seattle… The total has gone UNDER in five of the last 6 times Seattle and San Francisco have played each other… The Seahawks are 1-2 in career Thanksgiving Day Games while the 49ers are 3-1-1 on Turkey Day.

The Pick: I think the Seahawks ride the momentum of their win last week and win in San Francisco. Take the UNDER as well.

Your Early NFL Lines Which Are Always Subject to Change

Reid
Reid
Andy Reid has the Chiefs rolling in the AFC West and now they head to Oakland for a Thursday night game.

Kansas City (-7) at Oakland – The Chiefs find themselves tied with Denver atop the AFC West at 7-3 although a home loss to the Broncos in week two gives Denver the edge. The Raiders are… The Raiders who haven’t won now in a calendar year.

Cleveland (+3) at Atlanta – The Browns laid a serious egg at home in losing to Houston Sunday while the Falcons have suddenly won two-straight and sit atop the NFC South at 4-6. If Brian Hoyer struggles to put points on the board in the first half, sound the Johnny Football alarm.

Tennessee (+10.5) at Philadelphia – This line could move substantially depending upon how the Titans did last night. Mark Sanchez came crashing back to Earth while getting buried in Green Bay Sunday. Look for the Eagles to get back to some normalcy at home.

Gray
I'm sure you all saw the performance of Jonas Gray coming didn't you?

Detroit (+5.5) at New England – The Lions put up a valiant effort in losing to the Cardinals in the desert and now face falling behind a hot Packers’ team in the NFC North. What more can be said for the Patriots who are getting it done in numerous ways?

Green Bay (-9.5) at Minnesota – Aaron Rodgers and the Packers take their high-scoring machine on the road to Minnesota where the Vikings are still struggling to find their way. What we have to be careful with here is the potential for a letdown.

Jacksonville (+14) at Indianapolis – I honestly don’t know what’s in the water in Jacksonville but it seems any QB that comes there just gets worse. The Colts will be ready for rookie Blake Bortles and they’ll be fired up after getting pounded by the Patriots.

Cincinnati (+2.5) at Houston – The Bengals may have saved their season with a big win at New Orleans and now face a Texans’ team that is suddenly just a game behind the Colts. Rookie Alfred Blue filled in for Arian Foster with a big day on the ground which helped Ryan Mallett in his debut.

NY Jets (+4.5) at Buffalo – The Jets ended their eight-game losing streak by beating the Steelers and now head to Buffalo where the Bills are clinging to life in the AFC at 5-5. A loss ends any chance of the Bills making the postseason while a win keeps them alive.

Tampa Bay (+6) at Chicago – Jay Cutler finally used the weapons around him to his advantage in beating Minnesota. Meanwhile the Bucs seem to be playing better and better and are getting good performances from young guys.

Arizona (+6.5) at Seattle – Let’s put it this way; the Seahawks cannot afford to lose. They are 6-4 while the Cardinals are 9-1. Not only would a loss end any reasonable chance at a division title but probably a playoff spot as well. Don’t forget, the Cards won in Seattle last year.

St. Louis (+5.5) at San Diego – At 4-6, you’d think the Rams would already be out of contention for the playoffs. Don’t tell them that though as they have played teams very tough in recent weeks and knocked off Denver this past Sunday. For the Chargers, they survived the Raiders but they’re looking up at both Kansas City and Denver in the AFC West.

Miami (+7) at Denver – The Broncos are dealing with injuries to both Emmauel Sanders and Julius Thomas and Miami is playing well. Can Ryan Tannehill survive the pass rush?

Washington (+7.5) at San Francisco – The Redskins seem near an implosion right now and a west coast road trip won’t help any.

Dallas (-3) at NY Giants – At 3-7, the Giants will be left to pay spoiler in the NFC East. Dallas is coming off a bye which had to be good news for Tony Romo.

Baltimore (+4) at New Orleans – Both teams will be looking for wins to stay alive in their respective divisions and the Saints are no longer infallible at home.

Monster Games in the NFL Today

Rodgers
Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers leads the Packers today as they host the Eagles at Lambeau.

Philadelphia (+6) at Green Bay (O/U 55) – Division leaders are set for a chilly showdown in Lambeau Field today as the NFC East leading Eagles hit the road to face the NFC North leading Packers. Philadelphia of course is now led by Mark Sanchez who has played well in a game and a half but now things get a little more serious.

The Green Bay defense isn’t without its’ problems, but they will get after Sanchez so he’s going to have be willing to take his check-downs. The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers will be in the exact same boat as the Eagles come in off a game where they sacked Cam Newton eight times.

Look for both teams to ride the running game a little more than usual.

Key Injuries: PHI Nick Foles OUT/Collarbone… GB Guard T.J. Lang PROBABLE/Ankle

Trends: Philadelphia is 6-3 straight up in their last nine games against the Packers… The total has gone OVER in all five of Green Bay’s last five games… The Eagles are 2-4 SU in their last six games in Green Bay… The Packers are 6-13 against the spread in their last 19 games against the Eagles.

The Pick: I expect a close one today so take the Eagles getting the points and take the OVER.

Stanton
Drew Stanton takes over as the Cardinals host Detroit today.

Detroit (Pick’Em) at Arizona (O/U 41.5) – The big story here is obviously Arizona now being led by Drew Stanton. He’s facing the league’s top defense in the Lions who are riding their front seven to a successful season so far. Arizona’s defense is pretty darn good too and I expect a great match-up between Calvin Johnson and Patrick Peterson.

The one thing I’m really keeping an eye here is special teams. I say this because I have a feeling both teams will struggle to move the ball. Detroit has struggled in the kicking game and that could be an issue today.

Key Injuries: DET DT Nick Fairly OUT/Knee… ARI DT Ed Stinson OUT/Toe

Trends: Detroit is 7-17-1 against the spread in their last 25 games on the road… Arizona is 5-0 straight up in their last five games at home… The Lions are winless in their last five trips to Arizona… The total has gone OVER in five of Arizona’s last seven games when playing at home against Detroit.

The Pick: Take the Cards at home and take the UNDER.

New England (+3) at Indianapolis (O/U 58) – The last time these two teams saw each other, the Patriots were running over the Colts in the AFC Divisional Playoffs en route to the AFC Title game. This one is not without drama as well because the winner gains a serious leg up on the loser in terms of home-field advantage in the playoffs.

It’s easy to assume that both teams will throw the ball all over the field today but don’t be too quick to make that judgment. New England often sets up teams to think this and I have a feeling the Colts will do the same thing.Whoever becomes one-dimensional first will more than likely lose this game.

Key Injuries: NE DE Chandler Jones OUT/Hip… IND DT Arthur Jones OUT/Ankle

Trends: The total has gone OVER in five of New England’s last seven game at Indianapolis… The Colts are 1-4 straight up in their last five games against the Patriots… The Pats are 16-2-1 against the spread in their last 19 games on the road in Indy… Indianapolis is 7-1 SU in their last eight home games.

The Pick: I love the Pats getting the three and take the OVER.

Other Games

Seattle (Pick’em) at Kansas City – Take the Chiefs at home.

Cincinnati (+7.5) at New Orleans – Must-win for both, take the Bengals getting the points.

Several NFL Games for You to Think About for Tomorrow

Johnson
Johnson
Calvin Johnson returns in the nick of time as the Lions host the red-hot Dolphins.

I’m giving you some extra time to mull over these NFL games for tomorrow so consider carefully.

Miami (+3) at Detroit (O/U 43.5) – This is the most intriguing match-up of the week because Miami is red-hot and the Lions are winning close games and get back Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush. The Lions have one of the best defenses in the league but now they face Ryan Tannehill is playing perhaps the best football of his career right now.

The Dolphins are playing great defensively as well illustrated by their 37-0 waxing of San Diego last week. This one may likely turn on turnovers and whether the Miami offense can handle the crazy fans sure to be in Detroit tomorrow.

Trends: The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Miami’s last 15 games… Detroit is 3-7 against the spread in their last 10 games at home… Miami is 5-2 straight up in their last seven games on the road… The Lions are 1-5 in their last six games against the Dolphins.

The Pick: I love the Dolphins getting the three and I’ll take the UNDER.

Gore
Frank Gore has guaranteed a playoff trip for his Niners. Now he has to deliver.

San Francisco (+6) at New Orleans (O/U 49) – Could two teams be any different despite the fact they have the same 4-4 records? New Orleans leads the NFC South after winning two-straight while the 49ers are staring up in the NFC West standings at both Seattle and Arizona. Because their division is the worst in football, there is less pressure on the Saints to win this one.

San Francisco has to face the reality that falling another game behind the Cardinals would mean a division title is out of the question. Therefore they have to play well in order to beat the Saints in the Superdome. If they go with large doses of Frank Gore I think they can pull this one out but that’s always a big “if.”

Trends: The 49ers are 10-4 straight up in their last 14 games on the road… The total has gone OVER in four of the Saints’ last six games against San Francisco… The Niners are 5-10-1 against the spread in their last 16 games against the Saints… New Orleans is 7-2 SU in their last nine games against the 49ers.

The Pick: I like the Niners getting the points in a game of much needed urgency. Take the UNDER as well.

Atlanta (-3) at Tampa Bay (O/U 46) – This game was a “pick’em” game early in the week and frankly this one is tough to call because Atlanta can’t win on the road and Tampa can’t win at home. When Matt Ryan gets outside of the Georgia Dome his numbers slip dramatically so why should we think differently here?

I think the running game of Tampa Bay is the difference today.

Trends: Atlanta is 0-5 straight up on the road in their last five games… Tampa Bay is 3-8 against the spread in their last 11 games… The total has gone UNDER in four of the Falcons last six games at Tampa Bay… The Bucs are 0-5 SU in their last five home games.

The Pick: I like the Bucs getting the points and I’ll go with the UNDER.

Other Games I like This Week

Pittsburgh (-6) at NY Jets – Until the Steelers offense hits a speed bump I’ll take them to cover.

NY Giants (+10) at Seattle – In their last eight games against Super Bowl winning QBs the Seahawks are 8-0. Enter Eli Manning and take the Seahawks to cover.

Chicago (+7.5) at Green Bay – More than a TD dogs are tough to pass on but I will here because the Packers have Jay Cutler’s number. Take the Pack to cover.

Two Great Rivalries are the Focus of Today’s NFL Late Games

Manning Brady
Manning Brady
The two long-time rivals meet for the 16th time in Foxboro today.

St. Louis (+10) at San Francisco (O/U 44) – The Rams head west giving up 30 points per game and now have to play the Niners who are scoring only 22 points per game. Obviously something will give here.

I have no doubt that San Francisco Head Coach Jim Harbaugh has paid close attention to the surging Cardinals and somewhat dysfunctional Seahawks in his own division. Dropping a game here could be a death blow if Arizona continues playing well.

Trends: St. Louis is 8-14-1 against the spread in their last 23 games against San Francisco… The total has gone UNDER in in five of the 49ers last seven games at home… The Rams are 0-4-1 straight up in their last five games at San Francisco… The 49ers are 5-1 SU in their last six games at home.

The Pick: Look for a lot of Frank Gore early and Colin Kaepernick off of him. Take the Niners to cover and the OVER.

Denver (-3.5) at New England (O/U 54) – Tom Brady and Peyton Manning hook up for the 16th time in their careers and this time around Manning’s Broncos are favorites on the road in a place where Brady doesn’t lose very often.

The biggest injury concern I have in this game is that New England will be without defensive end Chandler Jones who is out with a hip injury. His ability to get to Manning and create problematic throwing lanes will be sorely missed.

My gut feeling tells me the Bill Belichick and the Pats will establish the run early to keep Manning and his receiving weapons on the sidelines.

Trends: Denver is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games against New England… The Patriots are 8-17 straight up in their last 25 games against the Broncos… The total has gone OVER in four of Denver’s last five games against New England… The total as gone OVER in eight of the Patriots’ last nine games at home.

The Pick: Take the home underdog Pats and the OVER too.

Lynch
Expect to see early doses of Marshawn Lynch in today's game against the Radiers.

Oakland (+14.5) at Seattle (O/U 43) – Heavy doses of Marshawn Lynch plus the play-action ability of Russell Wilson equals too much for the Raiders. Oh and need I mention the struggling Raiders’ offense against a defense searching for its’ groove?

Trends: Oakland is 1-5 straight up in their last six games on the road against the Seahawks… Seattle is 19-2 SU in their last 21 games at home… The total has gone OVER in seven of the Raiders last eight games when playing on the road in Seattle… The Seahawks are 2-4 against the spread in their last six games.

The Pick: Seattle will pull away late so take them to cover and take the OVER.

Baltimore (-1) at Pittsburgh (O/U 47.5) – The best rivalry in pro football goes primetime again as the Ravens invade Heinz Field. Both teams stand at 5-3 but the game is arguably ore important to the Steelers because they stand 1-2 in the division with two games remaining and both are with Cincinnati.

The Ravens are 2-2 in the division with tonight’s game and then a date with Cleveland remaining so it’s vital for the Steelers to get the win and even the season series with Baltimore at a game apiece.

The Steelers come off an offensive explosion in the win over Indy last week while the Ravens dropped a tough game in Cincinnati to the Bengals who own two victories over the Ravens this season.Look for Baltimore to take shots early against an average Steelers’ secondary while Pittsburgh will look to Le’Veon Bell to carry the load

Trends: Baltimore is 2-3-2 against the spread in their last seven games on the road in Pittsburgh… Pittsburgh is 11-4 straight up in their last 15 games against the Ravens in Pittsburgh… The total has gone OVER in four of the Ravens’ last six games… The total has gone OVER in nine of Pittsburgh’s last 13 games.

The Pick: The Ravens have the Steelers number of late. Take them to cover and the OVER.

NFL Bullets for Week Seven

Cutler
Cutler
Jay Cutler and the Bears fell to 0-3 at home and it didn't sit well with Brandon Marshall.

The National Football League used to be a place where a “sure thing” actually was a “sure thing.” In the 1970’s, we knew that teams like the Raiders, Steelers, Cowboys and Dolphins would be favorites almost every week.

In the 1980’s, teams like the 49ers, Broncos, Giants and Redskins were the “givens” while in the 1990’s the Cowboys and Niners established themselves as “go to picks” when gambling.

Those days are gone because we are now in an era of parity that may be unlike any seen in professional sports. Great teams are a thing of the past because now we have “good teams” that are capable of winning many games but they are also capable of losing games that shouldn’t.

Oh well, this is what the league wants so I guess we have to deal with it.

On to this week’s bullets…

Hoyer
Brian Hoyer was brutal in the Browns' loss to the Jags which opens up questions about Johnny Manziel.

-The Cleveland Browns once again showed why they are the “Cleveland Browns.” A week after blitzing long-time nemesis Pittsburgh, the Browns followed that up with a loss to lowly Jacksonville.

-Any great team always has guys in the locker room who are edgy and aren’t exactly “choir boys.” Seattle’s “choir boy” apparently has been singing the wrong tunes as Percy Harvin was traded to the Jets.

-I’m guessing Harvin had supporters and detractors and Sunday’s loss in St. Louis was evidence of that as several players said the timing was pretty bad. They were informed as they boarded the plane to Missouri on Friday.

-Apparently there is more dysfunction in Chicago where the Bears were soundly beaten by Miami. The Bears are 0-3 at home and loud screaming was heard after the game as Brandon Marshall was allegedly calling out Jay Cutler. Why does this surprise anyone? Resigning Cutler was a mistake.

-I have no problem saying that Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback of all-time. Just make sure you put “regular season” in front. Manning is under .500 in the playoffs and I’m sorry, but that’s where the great ones are truly defined.

-New Orleans wasted a great opportunity on Sunday. They led Detroit by 13 points with four minutes to go. A win would have put them at 3-3 and at the top of the NFC South but they blew the lead and fell to 2-4. Good for them that their division stinks or else it would be too late.

-I still have concerns about Green Bay’s defense and the Packers’ offensive line but I would not want to mess with Aaron Rodgers right now or in the playoffs.

-I have no idea what to make of the Cincinnati Bengals who are now looking up in the standings at Baltimore. Indianapolis is playing well, but shutting out the Bengals? I never saw that coming. If this Bengals’ team misses the playoffs or goes one and done Marvin Lewis would have to be out.

-I have no idea how the Seahawks fell for that Rams’ punt return. How on Earth do you not know where the ball is?

-Antonio Brown and J.J. Watt were once part of the same offense at Central Michigan.

-Congrats to DeMarco Murray who rushed for 100 yards in his seventh straight game to open the season. All he did was break the record of Jim Brown but no big deal right?

-As long as the Cowboys’ offensive line stays healthy I think that offense will thrive. Lengthy injuries however could derail Jerry’s boys.