Let’s begin with a review of how accurate Vinnie has been against the spread, six weeks in:
On to Week 7!
Denver Broncos @ Miami Dolphins (-2.5): The Broncos offense will look quite different going forward, Tim Tebow starting at quarterback and Brandon Lloyd traded for draft compensation earlier this week. There are multiple factors that would seem to work to Tebow’s and his team’s advantage. Consider that Denver’s having to fly in from the western side of the country is mitigated by Miami not having much of what you’d call a home field advantage in what seems like ages, and by Denver coming out of its bye week. Consider that while Lloyd is wearing Rams colors now, Tebow’s supporting cast is now enhanced by the return (from the injury inactives list) of wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eddie Royal and tight end Julius Thomas. Consider that the Dolphins pass defense doesn’t pose much of a challenge, yielding 284 passing yards on average, 10 touchdowns as compared to only two interceptions, and sacking opposing quarterbacks only eight times. Oh, and consider that Miami’s best chance to score points, running the football, faces a Broncos defense which has allowed no rushing touchdowns. Miami has apparently never hosted Denver and lost, something which will change in Week 7.
Gimme the Broncos plus the points.
Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+8.5): Classic really good team traveling to play really bad team scenario, reducing what may have been the steepest odds in Week 7 to single digits. Don’t be duped into taking the underdog Jaguars just because Jacksonville is hosting, or because Maurice Jones-Drew has the sort of talent that can overcome a host of team shortcomings. Blaine Gabbert is struggling like rookie quarterbacks sometimes will, and won’t find any mercy from the Ravens defense. For Baltimore, Joe Flacco may struggle to find much success on pass plays. This won’t be a problem, though, as the Ravens will turn to Ray Rice early and often, winning in a rout.
Gimme the Ravens minus the points.
Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions (-3.5): It hurts Detroit’s chances that Jahvid Best’s concussion keeps him out of the lineup, and that Michael Turner stands a good chance at big rushing numbers against a Lions front seven that struggled quite a bit against Frank Gore at Ford Field a week ago. This is overall a very good defense, however, and Matt Ryan on the road is a shell of the Falcons quarterback in Atlanta’s home games. The biggest mismatch here pits Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Brandon Pettigrew against a sometimes sufficient, sometimes very poor Falcons pass defense.
Gimme the Lions minus the points.
San Diego Chargers @ New York Jets (+1.5): Whether or not Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis completely neutralizes Vincent Jackson, he of the nagging injuries through San Diego’s first six games, you may as well well count of Jackson not making a huge impact Sunday. Fortunately for the Chargers, Antonio Gates appears ready to re-establish himself in this offense (to some degree); as good as Ryan Mathews has been running the ball, there are plenty of ways Philip Rivers can beat you if necessary. Tough test for a really good Jets defense, which of course will be fun to watch. For New York, Mark Sanchez has struggled to get things going. The Jets offensive line woes have just about become an every week headline, Shonn Greene & company aren’t moving the chains with any consistency on run plays, and opposing teams have had success keeping numerous defenders focused on where Santonio Holmes is at all times. The jawing at one another, on the part of head coaches Rex Ryan and Norv Turner, helps propel this to one of the more intriguing games of Week 7.
Gimme the Chargers minus the points.
Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1): Vinnie was tempted to shy away from this game for many reasons. It isn’t really a home game for the Buccaneers, for one thing, as Wembley Stadium in London hosts its first NFL game since 1986. Then you’ve got the roller coaster sort of defense each team, here, is saddled with. Then there’s the streaky play of these quarterbacks. Jay Cutler, for instance, faces a very nice match up – if his offensive line manages to keep him upright. That seems to be the sticking point, with safety Tanard Jackson boosting what statistically has been a disappointing Buccaneers defense, and defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Michael Bennett looking forward like crazy to the game at hand. Interestingly, Chicago has recently been one of the worst NFL teams against the spread, while Tampa Bay as the underdog has a good pick – a trend which will continue this weekend.
Gimme the Buccaneers plus the point.