Picks by Steve Johnson
Thursday Night Football
Seattle Seahawks (5-3) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-4)
Seahawks -6 | Total 40
I like the Seahawks in this spot for a couple reasons. The rule of thumb on Thursday Night Football, with limited time to prepare, is that you take the better team. The Seahawks are obviously the better team, despite a one game difference in the standings. The Seahawks offense is hot right now. Even though they only put up 14 points in a loss to Washington last week, they left a ton of points on the board. Don’t let the win vs the horrendous 49ers fool you, the Cardinals are done. They lost David Johnson and Carson Palmer, Bruce Arians may be coaching his last season, and worst of all they have Drew Stanton playing Quarterback. The Seahawks will be without Earl Thomas, but will get C.J. Prosise back. Prosise just brings another weapon for Wilson to use in the passing game. If you look at Arizona this year, they’ve played good against the bad teams,(49ers twice, Bucs, Colts) and lost by more than a touchdown to the good teams (Eagles, Rams, Cowboys, Lions). I like the Seahawks for 3 units.
Pick: Seahawks -6 (3 units)
Sunday Early Games
Minnesota Vikings (6-2) @ Washington Redskins (4-4)
Vikings -1.5 | Total 42
This game will depend on the injury report tomorrow. The Redskins have half their starting lineup on the injury report right now. I’m not a believer of the Vikings, I think they’re a little overrated. Yes, the Vikings have won 4 straight, but against Cleveland, Baltimore, Green Bay (Rodgers knocked out), and Chicago (which they could have easily lost). Even if the injured Redskins can go, they aren’t at 100%. I think this game will be a sloppy low scoring game. The Vikings defensive line is going to be pushing the Redskins around, with or without the Skins starting OL. On the other end, you have a pretty solid Washington defense playing against Case Keenum, who I refuse to start believing in.
Update: Waiting on injury reports. Leaning Redskins
Green Bay Packers (4-4) @ Chicago Bears (3-5)
Bears -4.5 | Total 38
I was sitting around last week thinking, the NFL has a talent issue. The issue is injuries to superstars throughout the league, and their backups being trash. Which brings me to how bad the Packers are with Brett Hundley instead of Aaron Rodgers. When you have a elite Quarterback in the NFL, you can make up for so many more weaknesses. This line opened was -3 last week, it opened at -5, and was bet to -6. With the QBs being Mitch Trubisky vs Brett Hundley, the total is at 38. This game is going to suck, unwatchable. They should set the O/U total pass attempts at like 30. I’m not picking a side in this, I think the Bears are a solid survivor pool option.
Update: This line is now at -4.5, this line has been all over the place.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) @ Indianpolis Colts (3-6)
Steelers -10 | Total 45
The Steelers seem to be getting hot, winning and covering 3 in a row. This week they’re a 10 point favorite, one of the highest spreads of the week. I think this spread is a little too high, but just like I wouldn’t bet on Hundley, I won’t bet on Brissett. The Steelers historically, have had trouble covering large spreads on the road. Roethlisberger, isn’t the same Quarterback on the road. Keep in mind, the Steelers play the Titans on Thursday, who are a playoff contender in the AFC. If I had to pick a side, I’d take the points at home.
Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)
Jaguars -5.5 | Total 41
The Chargers are an underrated team. They had won 3 straight (@NYG, @OAK, vs DEN) before losing last week in New England, a game in which they kept close. In my eyes, the Jaguars are a slightly overrated team. Yes, their defense is outstanding with all the acquisitions they’ve made over the past few years. Unfortunately, the Jaguars still have a below average offensive line, quarterback, and receivers. The Chargers should be able to put pressure on Bortles, which is never good. You could say the same thing about the Jaguars line pressuring Rivers, but Rivers is a savvy veteran and can get the ball out quickly. I like The Chargers +5.5 for 4 units.
Pick: Chargers +5.5 (4 units)
New York Jets (4-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)
Jets -1 | Total 43.5
The Buccaneers have lost 5 straight, and will be without Jameis Winston. While we’re on Winston, how weird is he? During the draft process, I thought this guy came off as a fake leader. It may still be a little premature to say it’s any type of conclusion, but it’s not looking good for him and the Bucs. Although Mike Evans hasn’t been that great this year, missing him is still a big loss. The Jets are one of the biggest surprise stories of the year, winning 4 games and covering or pushing on 7 straight games. Their Sunday matchup is a little different, as they are a favorite for the first time this year. Taking a backup QB with the points at home vs his former team is intriguing, but you never know if the Bucs will even show up. There’s a lot of money on the Jets, so we probably won’t see it at +3.
Update: This line has now moved to Jets -1. Stay away from the Jets. I’m putting a unit on the Bucs
Pick: Buccaneers -115 (1 unit)
Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) @ Tennessee Titans (5-3)
Titans -4 | Total 40.5
The Titans have won 3 straight, with a banged up Mariota. Their defense has been playing well, and should be able to get some pressure on Dalton and force bad throws. The Bengals have been bad, and their defense hasn’t been the same to keep them in games. The Bengals have lost confidence and are clearly frustrated (A.J. Green fight last week). I think this line is right where it should be. The low under tells me it’ll be a close game. I think the Titans win this game, for survival pool purposes, and if I had to pick a side, I’d take Titans -4.5.
Update: This line has moved to -4. I’m going to bet a unit on it.
Pick: Titans -4 (1 unit)
New Orleans Saints (6-2) @ Buffalo Bills (5-3)
Saints -2 | Total 46.5
The Saints, are winners of 6 straight, and will face a Buffalo team that just got beat on national TV last Thursday at the Jets. The Bills are an underrated team, why they didn’t show up last Thursday is a mystery. The Saints on the other hand are slightly overrated, and haven’t really played anyone. They’ve only beaten one team with a winning record, the Panthers. The Saints may be without Bree’s backside protection in LT Terron Armstead. This would be a huge loss, as the Bills have a great front. This line is way too to me, with the Bills having extra rest at home vs a dome team. It doesn’t seem like this line will ever see +3, but if it did I’d increase my units. For now, I like the Bills +2 for 1 unit
Update: I think the Bills win this game outright, I’m putting another unit on them and I got it at +2.5
Pick: Bills +2 (1 unit) +2.5 (1 unit)
Cleveland Browns (0-8) @ Detroit Lions (4-4)
Lions -10 | Total 43.5
I’ve already lost a couple times this year, trying to get some value with the Browns. So I won’t even think about taking them today. I like to think when a lot of people are aware of something, and people pile on, usually it’s exaggerated a little. Like I remember when Mark Sanchez was on the Jets and he made bone headed moves, the perception was that he was the worst QB ever. That simply wasn’t the case, but in this circumstance with the Browns being run worse than any franchise in sports, I think it’s true. The best part, is that the Browns front office guys are coming out and defending themselves. Some people will say, oh what do you know, you watch film and write for a blog. The thing is though, you don’t know these personnel guys, you don’t know if they work hard or even if they know football. You can’t give these guys the benefit of the doubt, just because they hold the position. People act like it would be the first time in the history of sports, that somebody in a front office was a complete moron. The Browns are complete morons, and I think I could do a better job. Rant over, the Lions just beat a division rival on MNF, and have the Bears and Vikings after this game, why would they even show up against the Browns? Don’t bet on this game.
Sunday Late Games
Houston Texans (3-5) @ Los Angeles Rams (6-2)
Rams -11 | Total 45.5
Dallas Cowboys (5-3) @ Atlanta Falcons (4-4)
Falcons -3 | Total 49.5
New York Giants (1-7) @ San Francisco 49ers (0-9)
Giants -2.5 | Total 42
New England Patriots (6-2) @ Denver Broncos (3-5)
Patriots -7 | Total 46
Monday Night Football
Miami Dolphins (4-4) @ Carolina Panthers (6-3)
Panthers -10. Total 39.5
Week 1: 1-2, -5.7 units
Week 2: 4-1-1, +14.2 units
Week 3: 4-4, +0.2 units
Week 4: 2-5, -5.6 units
Week 5: 6-1, + 9.5 units
Week 6: 3-6, – 7.4 units
Week 7: 1-0, +2.7 units
2017 Year To Date: 20-19-1, +5.2 units