The only reason why I feel the need to make football picks after a week off is anyone who reads this is owed my thoughts so they can go opposite of that and win money. A few thoughts first:
- I am loath to talk about fantasy leagues and teams, etc. But one of the NFL Wins Pools (totally different because I invented the concept) I’m in is crazy competitive right now. The score (total wins) right now is: 30-29.5-29-28.5-28. Gotta love all those ties.
- The NFL ratings were only up last week because it was an incredible slate of games from 1 PM all the way to Sunday Night. ESPN still gets the shaft on their Monday night schedule, but that’s okay because ESPN sucks.
- Today is only the third visit for the Patriots to San Francisco since 1980. There is a technicality: New England was supposed to play there in October 1989 but it was moved to Stanford Stadium due to the famous Bay Area earthquake.
- Fun fact: I’ve been to three Patriots-49ers games live, the most of any matchup and I owe that mostly to my friend Merrill who was a Joe Montana fan in his youth and maintained a weird attachment even through the Jeff Garcia era.
- Having NFL RedZone back in my life for the rest of the season has really helped me get a feel for what’s going on, even beyond 20 minute Mike Lombardi podcast interviews. I went 0-5 on my last set of picks, so let’s try again:
Pittsburgh (-8) at Cleveland
This is it, Steel Men. You’re 4-5 yet the division is still there for the taking. If you can’t beat this Cleveland team by double digits, I don’t know what else to tell ya.
Baltimore (+7) at Dallas
In the aforementioned wins pool, my friend Andrew chose Baltimore 1st overall because as you recall, you must pick 2 teams from each group and he felt the Ravens were the strongest team relative to any group based on his algorithm. It was a gutsy call, but since they were in the same group as Dallas it turned out to be wrong. The Ravens don’t give up big plays on defense and are in every game. I’ll take them getting 7 points against any team in the league.
Detroit (-6) vs Jacksonville
The Jaguars are really terrible and it’s a shame because there was an opportunity sitting there with a vacuum of power in the AFC South. Odds are that Blake Bortles will throw a pick-six anyway so with them only getting six I’ll go the other way.
Miami (-2) at Los Angeles
Jared Goff must really suck if the Rams had to be dragged kicking and screaming into benching Case Freaking Keenum. Miami has been sneaky good, winning four in a row in very unsexy fashion. They run the ball effectively and are one of the best teams at stopping the pass. If I end up being wrong here, it’s because Todd Gurley finally had a good game.
Oakland (-5.5) vs Houston (in Mexico City)
This is a weird game in that it’s a home game for Oakland but is being played much closer to Houston. The Raiders can score points and I don’t think the Texans can keep up with that Brock Osweiler offense. Now that I’ve said that, watch this end 37-34 Houston.
Two weeks ago: 0-5