This week’s lines are from usatoday.com (as of Thursday night).
New Orleans @ Green Bay (O/U 52.5)
If you had told me before the NFL season started that either the Saints will start the season with a record of 0-4 or the Packers will be 1-3, I would have shed this bag and retired from my professional gambling career. Well, that’s exactly the scenario that we have this week. What a crazy start to the season!
The Packers look to get back on track after facing tough defenses in their first three games against San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle. Not to mention getting robbed of a win in Seattle by a horrible call. I can’t stress enough how happy I am that the real refs are back!
Facing the Saints defense this week looks to be the perfect matchup for the Packers offense to get out of their funk. The Saints have one of the worst defenses in the league, giving up an average of 34 points per game and ranking last, giving up 477 total yards per game. QB Aaron Rodgers will look to feast on the Saints D and finally have his breakout game of the season.
The Saints are also dead last in the NFL against the run, giving up 215 yards per game. Packers RB Cedric Benson isn’t anything special but he should find some running room and get a score of his own on the ground. As usual, Saints QB Drew Brees will have plenty of options to throw to and will put up good numbers but when your defense acts as a sieve, it’ll be difficult to keep up with the Packers.
The last time these teams played on Sept. 8, 2011, 76 total points were scored. Look for another high scoring game this weekend.
Gimme the over.
San Francisco @ NY Jets (+3.5)
The Niners were upset 24-13 on the road last week against the Minnesota Vikings. It was a bad loss but I’m willing to give the Niners a mulligan and expect this to be a wakeup call for one of the top teams in the league.
Instead of heading back to the West Coast only to have to return back east for the game, the team has decided for the second year in a row to stay in Youngstown, Ohio and prepare for their matchup with the Jets.
It proved to be a smart move last year after beating both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Jets were dealt a huge blow last week, losing defensive back Darrelle Revis for the year due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The team has asked RB Joe McKnight to learn the cornerback position, a position that he has not played since high school. I don’t see this experiment turning out well. The Jets run defense is one of the worst in the league, giving up 149 yards per game, ranking 28th in the league. We all know the Niners love to pound the ball. Running backs Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter are in for a busy day.
The Niners are averaging 141 rush yards per game, look for them to improve on that number this weekend. Jets QB Mark Sanchez will be without one of his offensive weapons – rookie WR Stephen Hill is expected to miss the game due to an injury to his hamstring.
Look for the Niners to bounceback this week and handle the Jets on the road.
Gimme the Niners minus the points.
Miami @ Arizona (-5)
The Cardinals are this year’s biggest surprise with impressive wins over Seattle, New England and Philadelphia in their first three games of the season. Their defense is giving up only 13.3 points per game, 2nd in the league. They shut down QB’s Tom Brady and Michael Vick and will terrorize Dolphins’ rookie QB Ryan Tannehill who has a QB rating of 58.3 with one TD and four interceptions through his first three games.
Dolphins RB Reggie Bush injured his knee last week and is questionable this week. He’s the team’s only offensive weapon and he won’t be 100% if he ends up playing. Cardinals RB Beanie Wells was placed on the injured reserve list and is eligible to return in Week 12 at the earliest. RB Ryan Williams will take over the starting job this week. He’s the more dynamic player of the two and should keep the gig when/if Wells returns.
The Dolphins have one of the better run defenses in the league, giving up only 66 yards per game, third in the league. They should be able to contain Williams this week but the Cardinals defense will just be too much for the Miami offense, giving them good field position throughout the game. Not to mention, the Cardinals have one of the best wide receivers in the league, Larry Fitzgerald. He had his best game of the season last week going over 100 yards receiving with a TD. Look for him to have another good game this week. The Dolphins pass D is 29th in the league, giving up 307 yards a game.
The Cardinals have turned things around since late last season, winning 10 of their last 12 games. After this week, make it 11 of their last 13.
Gimme the Cardinals minus the points.
Rest of the NFL Games
NE -4 over Buffalo
Patriots coach Bill Belichick won’t let his team lose three straight.
The Bills may be without RB CJ Spiller while RB Fred Jackson is questionable for the game.
Detroit/Minnesota Over 47
The Lions are giving up 31 points per game and the Vikings are getting WR Jerome Simpson back from his three game suspension. QB Matthew Stafford is expected to play after injuring his hip in last weeks game. Expect a shootout.
Atlanta -7 over Carolina
Cincinnati -2.5 over Jacksonville
The Bengals showed they can put up points last week, scoring 38 points against the Redskins. The Bengals have more talent and should be able to cover.
Houston -12 over Tennessee
NY Giants +2 over Philadelphia
Seattle -2.5 over St. Louis
San Diego -1.5 over Kansas City
Washington +2.5 over Tampa Bay
Denver/Oakland O 48.5
Dallas/Chicago U 42
Total Record: 5-9