[u][b]NYJ @ NE Patriots[/b][/u]
I like New England here.
Bill Belichick is the arch-tactician and his ability to identify, isolate and take advantage of the opposition's weaknesses seems to move up a gear from here on in, particularly in key games and he can rely on his players to implement the plan.
Brady seems to have his game in good order; partly because of the protection he has been getting lately, and partly because the personnel around him who were exposed due to lack of experience have begun to find their feet. It is the sheer versatility of the Pats' O these days that will challenge the Jets very tough defense in ways it perhaps hasn't been so far. The blitzing and shut down corners won't have the same impact with Brady's quick release (this means people can get downfield...
[u][b]Pittsburgh @ Baltimore[/b][/u]
Despite the battering I’ve just taken, I’m going back to the sacks market on this game!
The Steelers pass rush should cause Flacco problems tonight, especially with Michael Oher nicked up and with a shut down run D, Flacco is going to need to air it out. Recently, the Ravens have been giving up sacks (13 in the past four weeks) and the Steelers are suddenly beginning to sack the opposition QB on a regular basis. On the obverse of this, the Steelers are having problems with their O line and Big Ben is obviously going to be limited with his injured foot. Both teams are going to be bringing it on prime time TV and I see a torrid night for QBs ahead.
In terms of the game result, the Ravens have struggled to score of late and, despite Pittsburgh’s...
[u][b]Oakland @ San Diego[/b][/u]
My instinct says that laying 13 points is too much, even though the bolts are rolling and Oakland have been heavily outscored recently. San Diego are badly banged up downfield and, even with Gates looking like he’s coming back, Floyd is limping around (if he plays) and Rivers is looking at guys like Naanee to get it done. He’s no slouch, but he’s no Vincent Jackson. Even with Nnamdi Asomugha and Tyvon Branch injured in the Raiders’ secondary, I’m nervous about Rivers simply running out of personnel deep. That's one of the reasons I have a feeling Tolbert may have a big game tonight; he has stepped up mightily and the O line is clearing out lanes nicely – I like him to score.
An interesting angle here is my good old sacks supremacy spread....
[i]Someone contacted me (yes, really!) about the whole points recommendation thing. It’s my bad; for the ATS picks, the points indicate the strength of bet from 0-5. The ATS picks are the ‘main’ bet.
All other picks, then the points are bankroll points. I’ve altered the way I rate the picks. Sorry about that.[/i]
[b]Jacksonville @ Tennessee[/b][/u]
Simple - if Collins goes for the Titans, then lay the points, if he doesn’t and Rusty Smith is under centre, take the Jags and points. I’m getting nothing on the late injury reports, so I’ll assume Collins goes.
Collins can at least get it done and involve Johnson in the game (Rusty Smith managed to remove his own ace from the game) and the threat of guys like Moss and Washington downfield, the Titans will change ...
[u][b]Texans @ Eagles[/b][/u]
Vick put up the numbers last week (29/44/333 yards, 2 TDs, and a pick) but there were flashes of why I had reservations about Vick: it's not just a question of moving him to his right, to successfully defend him, he needs to be restricted and pressured in the pocket. If you can bring pressure, but leave men downfield, then he forces plays and makes a cobblers of his reads, breaking up the rhythm of the offense and allowing it to stall - and that happened particularly in the redzone last week. I still think the Bears are a bust, but kudos to their front seven for getting it done.
Houston however, are going to struggle to bring that pressure, and they don't have the speed to move Vick around, that's a fatal combination that will expose their now famously...
[u][b]San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals[/b][/u]
Well, a weekend in Vegas stag party of sport (flicking between football and kicking the Aussies around the Gabba at 3am ... really?) ends with someone finding a turd in the punch bowl. And there it is, floating among the fruit, the 49ers at the Cards. Horrible.
The complete absence of quarterbacking means that, if you must take an interest, go with the 49ers, simply because they have the edge with skill players who can match up better. Arizona is nice out wide, but Anderson has to get it there and he couldn't hit a wide open barn door from a yard out. Also, although inconsistent, SF does have a pass rush to speak of. The 49ers are tough against the run, but Wells and Hightower are broken and below par respectively, so it doesn't...
[u][b]San Diego Chargers @ Indianapolis Colts[/b][/u]
A brutal Sunday so far, but that's football.
I like the bolts here: usually, with Peyton Manning giving just 2 points at home, I'd leap on it, but I get the feeling that even 18 is beginning to sag under the weight of injuries. Collie is out again, Addai looks as though he'll follow and Reggie Wayne is limping around. Bizarrely, Garcon is looking increasingly out of sync, and while Tamme and Blair White are stepping up, there's a sense that offensive luck is beginning to run out. The San Diego pass rush has been brutal and their D is all-round solid, so this may be an improvisation too far for the Colts.
The Chargers have injury problems too, but crucially Vincent Jackson has returned after contract/drugs hiatus and the word...
[u][b]Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons[/b][/u]
The coach killers take on the 18-1 home trigger man. This should be a great game; two teams who are playing well and look destined to be significant players down the stretch.
I know I harp on about this (and it’s hardly a startling insight!) but I like to see strength on both sides of the ball – it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but there must be balance. In this respect, the Packers have the clear edge in this matchup.
When Finley went down, I feared for the Pack. He was the x-factor on the offense that somehow seemed to make it tick, even so early in his career, but Rodgers has got Green Bay rolling as Greg Jennings, , James Jones and latterly Donald Driver have proved their worth.
Getting Rodgers as a dog, even in...
[u][b]Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets[/b][/u]
Meh, Bengals. They've hurt me all season with their horrible play. Teams that don't bother some weeks murder you ATS, because the spreads get out of whack and I keep getting the wrong side of it.
However, there's no getting away from it - the Bengals are crap. Simple. What NFL team with any self-respect lays down in front of the Bills? They gave up 35 points in the second half last week without managing a score and if that form carries over, the Jets will murder them.
The Bengals have no pass rush, are struggling to put out a D with healthy bodies on it as Mark Sanchez is beginning to really find his feet under centre. He profited against the Texans' shaky secondary, so goodness only knows what he'll do against a Cincinnati D who...
[u][b]New England Patriots @ Detroit Lions[/b][/u]
Detroit have been something of a revelation this year; in technical coaching terms they have become Scrappy Do instead of Shaggy ripped on dope. If Stafford were fit (and that may never happen, poor guy) and Best wasn’t at 30% with turf toe, this would be a dangerous game for the Pats. As it is, I expect to watch New England chow down on their traditional Thanksgiving lion dinner.
Suddenly, New England has shown a commitment to the run, with Brady attempting only 25 passes last week and rolling with BenJarvus Green-Ellis who got 21 touches and Danny Woodhead changing it up catching out of the backfield. The Lions’D has struggled to maintain its pass rush (Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril and Corey Williams are banged up)and ranks...