Shit I’m about to become a full time college connoisseur and drop this NFL bit. It’s incredible how little research I put into CFB picks and how much I put into my NFL ones, given the results. The New York Football Giants decided that they didn’t want to play last week and once again my cover team lost. So now I tossed Gronk and 8 of his friends on the cover the switch up the juju, no smith-schuster. Esketit.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5) @ Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins looked atrocious last Monday Night in their loss to the Panthers. They looked like a team that was completely checked out. They woke up Jonathan Stewart, Devin Funchess was unguardable, and Cam Newton ran for 95 yards.
The Bucs have a similar offensive situation as the Panthers. Mike Evans is fresh off his one game suspension and is Randy Moss compared to Devin Funchess. Doug Martin is a burly RB that can ground and pound just as well as Jonathan Stewart. Ryan Fitzpatrick offers sneaky rushing upside and isn’t afraid to dive head first to gain a couple extra yards.
Mike Evans’ suspension was a blessing in disguise as it gave the Bucs an opportunity to give rookie WR Chris Godwin starting reps last week. He turned 10 targets into 5 receptions for 68 yards on the way to a 15-10 victory against the Jets. The Bucs now have Godwin, Evans, and DeSean Jackson as viable outside threats to go with Adam Humphries in the slot and Cameron Brate/OJ Howard at TE.
The Dolphins give up 116 yards per game on the ground and just gave up 294 on Monday night. They have just 5 days to prepare for a Bucs team that is slowly getting healthier. If CB Vernon Hargreaves is healthy enough to go, then the Dolphins are really in trouble. They’ve been outscored 112-45 their past 3 games
Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5)
Who the fook is that guy? I’ll tell ya. Nathan Peterman started his collegiate career at Tennessee. Injuries and the emergence of now Steelers third string QB Joshua Dobbs limited Peterman’s playing time, and he transferred to Pitt. It was there that he and now Steelers backup RB James Conner took down Deshaun Watson and the #2 ranked Clemson Tigers last season. Peterman was the only QB to beat Watson last year. Peterman also met God himself when he was in middle school:
Now that you know Nathan Peterman’s backstory, let’s get into the game. The Chargers are a tough draw for Peterman’s first start. Casey Hayward is one of the best cover CBs in the league, and Trevor Williams has emerged as a phenomenal replacement to Jason Verrett. Tre Boston has been a hawk as well. Nathan Peterman is not nearly the dual threat that Tyrod Taylor was, so the Chargers will likely stack the box and blitz early and often to 1 make Peterman uncomfortable, and 2 try to eliminate LeSean McCoy. If McCoy gets locked up, that will force Peterman to throw the ball more than anybody on the Bills would like, and that means that sooner or later a Charger defender will make a play. Hayward should be able to handle Kelvin Benjamin, leaving a banged up Charles Clay and Jordan Matthews in another tough matchup as the only viable options for Peterman.
The Bills have also been getting destroyed on the ground as of late. This is a Melvin Gordon explosion spot. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara sliced and diced the Bills all game last week, and I bet the Bills are regretting trading away Marcell Dareus more and more each day. I like the Chargers’ experience here over the many question marks that this Bills team has currently.
New England Patriots (-6.5) @ Oakland Raiders
The “Yo Soy Fiesta” man himself is headed south of the border to take on the Oakland Raiders. Bill Belichick probably sees this entire charade as an inconvenience and will have no mercy for Oakland. The Pats have been practicing at the Air Force Academy in Colorado to get acclimated to the high altitude in Mexico City. They also just played in Denver last week in a dominating victory, so they should be more than acclimated by Sunday.
After some defensive struggles to start the season, the Patriots have held opposing teams to 17 points or less in five consecutive games. They have scored 20 or more points in all but 1 game this season, a 19-14 victory against Tampa Bay in Week 5. With Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis being healthy and the signing of Martellus Bennett, the Pats rolled on all cylinders last week and will lock up the AFC East sooner than later. Chris Hogan is still at least a week away from being ready to play, but this Pats offense is already nearly unstoppable.
As I touched upon earlier, the Patriots’ defense has started to figure it out, despite some key injuries. They pride themselves on eliminating the opposing team’s biggest threat. I believe that the biggest threat on the Raiders is Amari Cooper. That means that Michael Crabtree and Jared Cook will need to play their best games to take advantage of some matchups in the vulnerable Pats secondary. It’s simply a matter of how much you trust Derek Carr. Carr has been battling injuries all year and has already surpassed his INT total from a year ago. Their absence of a legitimate run game combined with Amari Cooper’s inconsistency has made Carr’s season a bit of a nightmare.
Defensively for the Raiders, I think they have a disaster waiting in covering Rob Gronkowski. Rookie Safety Obi Melifonwu may be tasked with covering him in only his 2nd career game. Gronk already mossed a 1st round safety earlier this season in Jamal Adams, and I can see it happening again and again and again on Sunday.
Atlanta Falcons (+3.5) @ Seattle Seahawks
There are some rumors circulating about Kam Chancellor’s injury that rhyme with “reason sending.” Richard Sherman is already out for the year with an achilles injury. Earl Thomas should be back, but isn’t confirmed to be playing yet. The Legion of Boom has become the Legion of Doom.
Last year, the Falcons and Seahawks squared off twice, once in the regular season and again in the NFC Championship Game. Julio Jones totaled 13 catches for 206 yards and 2 TDs. That was primarily against Richard Sherman. Now he’s going to be up against Jeremy Lane, the CB that was traded to Houston two weeks ago but failed his physical, so he was sent back to Seattle. This banged up Seattle secondary allowed Larry Fitzgerald to catch 10 passes for 113 yards thrown by Drew Stanton last week. Soooo get used to this:
The Falcons will likely be without Devonta Freeman, but I would argue that Tevin Coleman has been the more productive RB on this team this season. He’ll get 20+ touches and always has big play potential. Austin Hooper is in a good spot as well against the dinged up secondary. The Falcons have great depth in all offensive positions and their defense is starting to come alive as well. Adrian Clayborn recorded 6 sacks last week alone! The team itself has recorded 26 sacks this season while only allowing 15. And, despite only coming away with 2 INTs so far this season, the Falcons have allowed only 219 passing yards per game. On the other side, the Seahawks offensive line woes have continued, as they have allowed 23 sacks this season. You know that Clayborn, Vic Beasley Jr, Brooks Reed, and Takkarist McKinley are licking their chops.
The Seahawks will get Eddie Lacy back, but that doesn’t matter. They can’t run the ball. Instead, Russell Wilson has been relying on making plays like this all year:
Against an underrated Falcons secondary, Wilson’s luck may run out, and I think that the Falcons win outright in a bit of a shootout.
** CFB Picks **
TCU @ Texas Tech (+6.5)
Texas @ West Virginia (-3)
Arizona State (-7) @ Oregon State
Missouri (-9) @ Vanderbilt
No Kenny Trill for TCU against Kliff Kingsbury’s high scoring offense = problematic. It’s Will Grier deep ball SZN. Oregon State = bad. Drew Lock is the most underrated QB in college football.
I’m off to warmer lands for Thanksgiving. Maybe I’ll write a Thanksgiving special if I need to get away from la familia for awhile. If all goes well this weekend, you can splurge on a nice 22 pound turkey. If not…..well there’s always rum ham.