The spotlight NFL Week 11 Picks Against The Spread- Monday Night Football

Believe it or not, week 11 in the 2015 NFL season comes to a close tonight as the 9-0 New England Patriots play host to the 5-4 Buffalo Bills.  We are fresh off of another 5-2 week and now have our overally record up to 59-24 on the season.  The major headline for the Patriots is going to see how they adjust to the loss of wide receiver Julian Edleman.  Whereas the headline for the Buffalo Bills is going to be can they open up a bit of distance for themselves in the wildcard race that has 1 game separating 7 teams currently.  Of course this is also Rex Ryan’s return to Foxboro as the coach of the Buffalo Bills which adds a little extra pizzazz to the matchup for sure.

Yes Rex Ryan has won in Foxboro before, and has even done so in the postseason, but that was a long time ago.   Rex Ryan actually doesn’t have a particularly good record against the Patriots (4-10) despite his insistance that he isn’t there to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings.  Ryan has also long 8 of the last 9 matchups against the Patriots including an 8 point loss to the Pats earlier this season in Buffalo.  The Bills are coming off a big win last week against the Jets but, like I said in my preview for that game, it was Rex Ryan’s Superbowl.  Also, let’s be honest, the Bills won that game moreso due to the Jets’ ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball which included costly turnovers. The Bills offense looked better by finally getting Shady McCo involved in the offense but I’m still generally unimpressed with Tyrod Taylor who threw for only 158 yards last week and who, despite an 11-4 TD-INT ratio is ranked 31st in passing yards amongst qualifying quarterbacks.

Flipping the dime on the Patriots side of things, I’m not going to say that the loss of Julian Edleman is going to be easy but, let’s face it, one of the best things the Patriots do is adjust.  I mean let’s not forget that Bill Belichick once won 11 games with Matt Cassell and we saw how good hes been ever since.  The story before the season was how the Pats would adjust with losing Darrell Revis and they may go 16-0!  They’re all about the next man up and I can see Danny Amedola playing a larger role in the offense for the Pats, sliding into the role once occupied by Edleman.

A rare night as a Jets fan when I’ll actually be rooting hard for the evil empire and sporting some blue.  At the end of the day if you ask me to choose, I’d go Brady over Taylor, Belichick over Ryan and the New England Patriots over the Buffalo Bills any day of the week.

The Pick: Patriots (-7) 

The Spotlight NFL Week 8 Picks Against The Spread

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s spotlight NFL picks against the spread for Week 8 in the 2015 season.  At this point in the year it’s important to finally give up on some teams.  The Detroit Lions made the playoffs last year, this year they are a bad team, hell, they may very well be the worst team in the entire league (Jim Caldwell just isn’t a big time coach in this league).  Many people had the Ravens in the Superbowl (A move I didn’t understand at all by tbe way with the lack of talent around Joe Flacco and a subpar defense) but alas they are a bad football team who can’t get out of their own way. Oh and tom Brady is very good, actually he’s a freak of nature.  Unfortunately, my wifi in Dubai wasn’t great so I couldn’t get my pick in but you probably didn’t me to tell you that the Patriots were money in the bank by a touchdown this week.  Seriously though, through 7 games this season Tom Brady leads the league with an unhuman 20 touchdowns and 1 interception.  ONE FREAKIN INTERCEPTION THROUGH SEVEN GAMES!!!! Andrew Luck usually has more interceptions than that before halftime.  Andy Dalton is having a career year with a 14-2 TD-INT ratio and it looks simply mediocre behind the type of season Tom Brady is having.  So yes at this point it’s time to realize some teams just plainly aren’t any good and stay away from them while on the contrary leaning on the teams that are good  when all else fails.  With that said let’s get into this week’s top picks against the spread.

Top Picks For Week 8 In The NFL

1) Houston Texans (-3) over Tennessee Titans

Last week I underestimated the Titans (or more importantly over rated the Falcons) and it came back to bite me as the Titans hung in the game to lose by a mere field goal against an Atlanta team that was seemingly on cruise control.  Well with Marcus Mariota out again I’m going back to the well this week.  Zach Mettenberger just isn’t very good and we all remember the infamous “Selfie Sack” game the last time the JJ Watt met Zach Mettenberger and I expect that the Texans defense will have enough pride to win this one on their own without having to even talk about who’s playing quarterback for the Texans. Also don’t look now but by the end of the this week, with the Colts heading to Carolina (and Andrew Luck sitting on one win all season), the Texans can be tied for first place in the horrible AFC South.  They know that too, take the Texans by a field goal!

2) Cincinnati Bengals (0) over Pittsburgh Steelers

But Tommy, Big Ben is back this week.  I know I know and I also know that most money is pouring in on the Steelers this week and so does Vegas.  Look Big Ben is great and it can’t go without being mentioned that this will be the first week that the Steelers will be a full speed on the offensive side of the ball all season.  The Steelers arguably have the best back in the game in Le’veon Bell and the best wideout in the game in Antonio Brown (hope you fantasy players didn’t sell too low on him because he’s a must start once again).  Now that we got all of the due props out of the way, let’s bring in some reality.  Big Ben is likely going to be rusty and  the Steelers are welcoming in an undefeated division rival in the Bengals who have played the best team football on both sides of the ball than anyone else this season.  Add in the fact that the Bengals have had two weeks to prepare and it should be clear why I’m going the other way.

3) New York Jets (-2) over Oakland Raiders

As I always say I’ll never pick against the Jets and so because of that I hate touching their games period.  I’m also not huge on picking an east coast team traveling to the west coast.  That said, I’m riding Gang Green again this week and they’ve been good to us.  The Jets have played one bad game all season and came closer than anyone in taking down the champs last week.  It won’t be as easy for Derek Carr and company this week as it was in San Diego last week, not against that stout Jets defense.  The Jets need this game to stay ahead of the pact in the AFC wildcard picture by being that remaining non unbeaten team with less than three losses.  They can sweeten their position with a win here over Oakland.

4) Seattle Seahawks (-4) over Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys looked better last week with Matt Cassell under center and this week they get their stud wideout back in Dez Bryant.  I’m also not big on the Seahawks so I hate making a pick like this but I have a hard time believing that the Cowboys are going to have any luck moving the ball down the field against that Seahawks secondary.  The Hawks haven’t looked great but they’re still better than any backup quarterback.  The Cowboys need Tony Romo or this may end up being a lost season…if it already isn’t.

5) Minnesota Vikings (-1) over Chicago Bears

This was real close to being my lock of the week but it is a bit of a trap game and I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Jay Cutler especially off a bye.  The Vikings have been flying under the radar but actually having a pretty good season with a 4-2 record, if the season ended today they’d actually be in the playoffs.  That said both of these teams have pretty poor offenses ranked 28th for the Bears and 30th for the Vikings.  The Vikings have been getting it done the same way they have for years, they ride or die with Adrian Peterson.  When he’s on the field, he’s the best player on it and this week will be no different.  I like the Vikings to run away with this one.

6) IF YOURE DESPERATE- San Diego Chargers (+4) over the Baltimore Ravens

Two teams that are under achieving big time but I try to give you 7 games every week and I didn’t get my Chiefs pick in on time so here it goes.  I’m back to the well one last time by believing in Phillip Rivers in Baltimore.  The Chargers just have more weapons on the offensive side of the ball (to the point that they lead all of the NFL in total offense, though they’re usually playing from behind so take that with a grain of salt) and the Ravens have no business being favored by more than a field goal.  The Ravens, seriously, are one Josh Brown made field goal away from being still winless, that’s how bad they’ve been.  Expect the Chargers to keep it close and may even win the game outright.

7) LOCK OF THE WEEK: New Orleans Saints (-3) over New York Giants

I’ve been pretty big on Eli Manning this year as honestly save for two fourth quarter collapses in the first two weeks of the season, the Giants could be 6-1 this season.  That said, I hate this spot of them this week.  The Saints are finally starting to find their groove and WhoDat Nation can feel it.  It’s only a field goal and I love the Saints at home here.  I haven’t lost a single Lock of The Week through the first 7 weeks of the season and I don’t expect it to be this week.  Eli Manning doesn’t play particularly well at the Superdome and this week will be no exception.

That’s going to do it for me for now but I will be back in the middle of the day to review the big Sunday Night Football matchup a bit later on so stay tuned for that.  Until then, let’s make some money!

The Spotlight On The AFC East in 2015

Here’s the thing with the AFC East. I do believe that one of the other three teams in the East is going to get into the playoffs as a wildcard and a good argument can probably be made for either one but I’m going to make the case for my team.

The division winner- The New England Patriots (10-6)
Truth be told, had Tom Brady’s suspension been upheld, I think I  would’ve predicted the Pats to get in more as a wildcard. However, with Brady’s suspension overturned, he’s just so far and away the best quarterback in the division and I can’t bet against him. That said, I’m really not liking the Pats defense without Darelle Revis or longtime leader of the defense Vince Wilfork. Brady will also be without longtime safety valve, Shane Vereen, on the offensive side of the ball but I think so long as he has Gronkowski (and newly acquired TE Scott Chandler) he will find a way. One thing to keep an eye on, and part of the reason I’m giving the Pats 6 losses, they finish the season with 3 of the final 4 on the road.  That isn’t ideal even if you are the defending Superbowl champs.

The Wildcard- The New York Jets (10-6)

Go ahead and call me a goober if you must but I’m picking the Jets to sneak into the playoffs as a wildcard.  There was perhaps no team more active over the offseason than the Jets who took care of almost every area of need. Whether it be at wide receiver with the addition of Brandon Marshall, running back with the additions of Zac Stacy & Stevan Ridley and the secondary with the return of both Antonio Cromartie & Darelle Revis, the Jets would seemed primed to make a run under first year head coach Todd Bowles.  So why aren’t they my pick to win the division? What else, the issue of quarterback. First off this idea that Ryan Fitzpatrick was brought in as a veteran backup and is in any way shape or form a step back from Geno Smith is ludicrous. Fitzpatrick will never be representing the AFC in the Pro Bowl but is a smart enough quarterback to not blow games for his team which was a problem with Smith. Also, likely because Fitzpatrick was given so much money by the Bills and never lived up to that contract, Fitzpatrick is actually pretty under rated as a passer. Each year he’s improved his quarterback rating since 2011 up to a respectable 95.3 last year.  Last season, he posted a respectable 63% completion percentage and a career best 17-8 TD-INT ratio. This was en route to him leading a Texans team to a respectable 9-7 record while competing for a playoff spot with comparable talent. If the jets can remain around .500 before their bye, the schedule gets a lot easier and I have the Jets winning 10 games and returning to the postseason.

3) Right On The Outskirts- The Miami Dolphins (7-9) 

Looking at the Dolphins schedule you’ll probably be quitck to throw your arms up in the air and call me expletives…provided you only look at the first seven weeks of their schedule.  Seriously, there is an outside chance that the Dolphins will be first place in the AFC East and start the season 6-0.  Then all breaks loose for the Dolphins schedule as they go on the road for three straight weeks to face to Foxboro, Buffalo and Philly.  They should come back to Earth really fast and then they have games remaining against Dallas, the Colts, Giants and Ravens as well as trips to the Jets and the Chargers.  Remember this is isn’t a case where I think the Dolphins are going to be Tennessee Titans awful, I’m sure they’ll be competitive, and something can be said for riding the momentum of a fast start.  They now have Ndamukong Suh & a pretty stout defense to boot. But that’s always the story with the Dolphins. They still have the same quarterback and this time he doesn’t even have Mike Wallace and the Dolphins haven’t done much to replace Wallace. Ryan Tannehill isn’t the type of QB who can make household names out of a Jarvis Landry or Kenny Stills . That said, I also don’t believe in Joe Philbin, even if this is his last shot. 

The Bottom Of The Barrel- The Buffalo Bills (6-10)

A lot of people are picking the Bills and first year coach Rex Ryan to make a run at the postseason. Does this sound familiar a Rex Ryan team with a great defense, a ground and pound attack with a stud running back, a couple of playmakers at wide receiver and no sign of a quarterback whatsoever? Of course it does! At the end of the day it comes down to the fact that the Bills have a collection of unproven quarterbacks. The fact that so many people are picking this Bills team to make the playoffs when opening day starter, Tyrod Taylor has thrown a total of 35 passes in his 4 YEAR NFL career is baffling! Look at their schedule and find me more then six wins, I bet you can’t!