Deliberation, cogitation, rumination. Three words that I looked up that mean thinking deeply about something. Which is exactly what I didn’t do last weekend. I checked out the NFL, NCAAF, and Breeder’s Cup lines and went with the ole gut. And the ole gut did not disappoint. Now it’s time to go back to back like the cover of Lethal Weapon. Or like Jordan ’96-’97.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5)
Leonard Fournette made sure he was on time for everything this week after being suspended last week for being late to picture day.
That means that Fournette is a week fresher than he would be with a chip on his shoulder. The Chargers already give up 135 rushing yards per game. Did somebody say 200?
There are some alarming stats by the Jaguars that make me think that this game will be a blowout. One is that the Jaguars only give up 183 passing yards per game. Jalen Ramsey, Telvin Smith and AJ Bouye are the truth. The Jags D also has recorded 35 sacks compared to only giving up 11. The Chargers have a few studs in Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen, but man this Jags D is something else.
The Jaguars have employed the Bears school of thought in shielding their problematic QB with pounding the rock over and over and over. But unlike the Bears, this strategy has been highly effective due to Leonard Fournette. He has the size and speed to control the clock and completely wear out a defense over the course of a game. Blake Bortles has limited his turnovers this year and has proved to be competent enough to get the ball to Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns when need be. Chargers CB Casey Hayward is good enough to pretty much eliminate one of those receivers, so it’ll be up to whoever he isn’t covering to make some big plays. I think the Jags roll here.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) @ Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are a shitshow from top to bottom. Nobody knows what’s going on with Andrew Luck, they just released Vontae Davis, and they flat out refuse to feed the best RB on their team; Marlon Mack. The Colts give up 113 yards per game on the ground plus 293 in the air. This is an explosion spot for the limousine ridin’, jet flyin’, kiss stealin’, wheelin’ and dealin’ Steelers.
That’s fortunate news for the Steelers, as they give up over 100 yards per game on the ground but have been surprisingly stout defending the pass. Joe Haden has been incredible since joining the team late in the preseason. When TY Hilton is bottled up, the Colts have nobody to give the ball to.
On the other side of the ball, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown combine for about 225 scrimmage yards per game. Ben Roethlisberger has shaken the cobwebs and has finally started to look like the Big Ben we’ve known for a decade. The Killer B’s are back in action and the Colts won’t even be a speed bump as they coast to 7-2.
New York Giants (-2.5) @ San Francisco 49ers
If the 1-7 Giants play the 0-9 49ers and nobody watches it, did it ever really happen? Just because nobody is going to be watching the Toilet Bowl isn’t a reason to not bet the shit out of the game, however.
The Giants still have something that resembles a defense (at least on paper) and despite reports that Ben McAdoo has all but lost the locker room, these Giants defenders still have to put out good game tape for future contracts. It certainly helps that Pierre Garcon is out for the season, and that the 49ers will be running with CJ Beathard again.
The Giants are coming off a bye which means that they had an extra 7 days to draw up plays against the winless 49ers defense that allows 135 rushing yards a game, and a staggering 16 passing TDs compared to their 6. That means an extra week to set up plays for Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and Orleans Darkwa. Assuming Eli Manning doesn’t go full Eli, this should be a generally easy victory.
New England Patriots (-7.5) @ Denver Broncos
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick off of a bye headed into Denver to face a depleted Broncos team. Need I say more?
The Broncos just got DISMANTLED against the Eagles last week. The Eagles were without Zach Ertz yet they were still able to hang 51 on what was supposed to be one of the best defenses in the NFL. I know my philosophy is to treat each week as if it were Week 1 of a new season, but that kind of result is something that you can’t completely ignore.
The Patriots match up to the Eagles very similarly offensively. They both employ a committee of RBs that have at least one person who can pound, catch, run fast, or block. They have skills guys on the outside that can win 1-1 matchups. And they have dominant TEs that are too fast for LBs and too big for DBs. The Patriots matchup to the Broncos just as good, if not better than the Eagles do, and they just won by 28.
The Patriots D may be a notch below the Eagles, especially with some key injuries in their front 7. Luckily for them, Brock Osweiler will be on the 1s and 2s again this week.
Although…..although….although…..Brock has been in this situation before:
That was the Patriots’ 1st loss of 2015. That of course was the catalyst for the Broncos Super Bowl run, albeit on the arm of Peyton Manning. Crazier things have happened, but I do not think Brock comes even close to mirroring his performance from November 30, 2015.
** CFB Picks **
NC State (-3) @ Boston College
Iowa (+12) @ Wisconsin
West Virginia (+1.5) @ Kansas State
Florida Atlantic (-4.5) @ Louisiana Tech
Notre Dame @ Miami (+3.5)
Road team week. NC State can ball. Iowa proved that they can hang with the best. Will Grier is Tim Riggins if he played QB. Lane Kiffin is a G. And Convicts > Catholics.
Ask any gambler, any real gambler. It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or by a mile. Winning’s winning.