- I said last week that I didn't trust Dallas to not 'kill themselves' in their game with the Giants, but even I was cringing at the manner in which they put themselves in a 23-0 hole. Without those early mistakes and poor decisions, the Cowboys would have won easy and been in a strong position within the NFC East... Now they find themselves in an awkward spot to even make the Play Offs.
- I'm really hoping at least one of the two NFL games coming to London will be competitive next season after the Patriots blew out the Rams.
- At the beginning of the season I tipped Miami to win at least 6 games and match last season- then they got rid of Vontae Davis and hadn't upgraded the Offense, or so I thought, and I took that down to 4 wins... The Dolphins have already surpassed my expectations and could put themselves in a really strong position to make the Play Offs if they can beat Indianapolis this week.
- Life in Philadelphia has really become much much tougher for Andy Reid as he lost coming off a bye, something he has not done previously... They HAVE to win in New Orleans this Monday Night if they are to avoid a complete meltdown.
- San Francisco have taken control of the NFC West and I think they are going to run away with that Division and still look a good shout to take one of the top two seeds in the NFC.
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers Pick: I can't believe how quickly Thursday has come around this week, but I think a small interest on the Kansas City Chiefs is worth chancing in this one to open Week 9. I like the Chiefs, despite their ineptitude, for the following reasons:
First, the Chargers have been awful the last couple of games and I don't know whether this is the Offense they would have expected at the start of the season. Norv Turner is under pressure and they just don't deserve to be better than a touchdown favourite against anybody right now.
Second, Matt Cassel does make a lot of mistakes, but he is far better than Brady Quinn and can help the Chiefs stay close if they get the ground game going.
Third, the underdog has really shone through in the Thursday night games so far, and San Diego are a bad team as I mentioned above.
Fourth, Kansas City are a solid road underdog against Divisional rivals, going 11-2 against the spread in that spot; San Diego are just 3-7 against the spread as the home favourite against Divisional rivals.
Not a great start to the week, but that Kansas City game was much closer than the final score indicated with the Chiefs continuing to shoot themselves in the foot and they look like the leading contender for the Number 1 Pick in the Draft next April.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns Pick: I like the Baltimore Ravens in this spot for the following reasons:
First, I think the Ravens are being under-rated now after a beating from the Houston Texans, while road favourites coming off a bye generally do cover the spread.
Second, the Ravens have won 9 games in a row in this series and they should be fully motivated after almost losing against the Browns earlier this season. Baltimore have won 4 straight in Cleveland by at least 10 points per game.
Third, the Ravens are 5-2 against the spread as the road favourite against Divisional rivals.
Arizona Cardinals @ Green Bay Packers Pick: I like the Green Bay Packers in this one to cover the spread for the following reasons:
First, the Packers had a scare last weekend against Jacksonville, but they can focus fully in this one as they are going into the bye next week and can't afford to take a Conference opponent lightly.
Second, the Cardinals Offensive Line has blown and they are also going into the bye next week so they may be just looking into that to sort out the issues they have. Arizona are also off a tough emotional beat down at home on Monday night to their Divisional rivals San Francisco.
Third, the Cardinals are just 2-5 against the spread in their next game following a Divisional battle as long as they are not playing an AFC West rival.
Detroit Lions @ Jacksonville Jaguars Pick: The spread is horrible, but I think the Detroit Lions will cover for the following reasons:
First, Jacksonville aren't making the Play Offs this season and could easily be looking ahead to the Thursday Night game against Indianapolis and a chance to hurt a Divisional rivals hopes.
Second, going on from that, Jacksonville are just 5-9 against the spread against non-Conference rivals in the last few seasons.
Third, I am tempered by the fact that Detroit have some big games on deck after this one, but they are in a Wild Card race and I don't think they are in a position to take any team lightly for the rest of the season and every game is important to them now.
Buffalo Bills @ Houston Texans Pick: Bit of a risk here, but I am backing the Buffalo Bills to keep this closer than many will expect for the following reasons:
First, the Bills have a rushing attack that can shorten games and instigate long drives that could lead to the Houston team having less time to get over the double-digit hump.
Second, one trend that I absolutely find fascinating is a team is 1-37 against the spread in their next game if they outscored their last opponent in every quarter, won the turnover battle and time of possession by over 20 minutes, something Houston did against Baltimore.
Third, another fascinating trend I read is that teams losing a close home game (1-3 points) before going into a bye are then 17-6 against the spread in their next game.
Dallas Cowboys @ Atlanta Falcons Pick: I like the Dallas Cowboys to cover the spread in this one for the following reasons:
First, Dallas have had a big problem in hurting themselves- that was the case last week as they spotted the Giants a 23 point lead and almost still won the game. I think they are the 'best bad team' as a friend of mine put it earlier in the season and think they are under-rated here.
Second, I just don't have big faith in Atlanta who should have lost to both Carolina and Oakland in games here and they are off a big win in Philadelphia and may be in a breather spot as they face the New Orleans Saints on the road next, a game that could essentially put them in total command of the NFC South.
Third, the Cowboys are 10-4 against the spread as he road underdog.
Fourth, I mentioned that the Falcons have a big Divisional game on deck- so do the Cowboys, but the difference is the Cowboys don't have a 4 game lead in their Division and that makes this game way more important to them than the Falcons.
Other games: Cincinnati Bengals + 3.5 Points, Miami Dolphins - 2 Points, Tennessee Titans + 3.5 Points, Carolina Panthers + 3 Points, Oakland Raiders - 1 Point, Minnesota Vikings + 4 Points, Pittsburgh Steelers + 3 Points, Philadelphia Eagles + 3 Points.
MY PICKS: Kansas City Chiefs + 7.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Baltimore Ravens - 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Green Bay Packers - 10 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Detroit Lions - 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Buffalo Bills + 10 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Dallas Cowboys + 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Week 8: 4-3, + 2.58 Units
Week 7: 3-3-2, + 0.58 Units
Week 6: 3-5, - 5.26 Units
Week 5: 2-5, - 6.24 Units
Week 4: 6-3, + 2.50 Units
Week 3: 4-3, + 0.95 Units
Week 2: 6-4, + 3.92 Units
Week 1: 3-6, - 6.76 Units
Season 2012: 31-32-2, - 8.13 Units