Walk the Line: Week 5
Last week, I came extremely close to picking the 49ers over the Jets as my lock. I believe the spread was -4 to San Francisco. The Jets and their dual-headed quarterback tandem (or whatever you want to call it, I'm not sure Tebow even has a position anymore) got shutout.
I don't want to turn this into a column about the Jets, but I feel a need to get this off my chest.
If I were the Jets' general manager I would instantly clean house. Right away. Get rid of Ryan, Sanchez and Tebow. Both of those quarterbacks don't have any legitimate potential, and at this point their team is just a mockery and the laughing stock of the NFL, partly due to ESPN's over-coverage. But hey, can't we assume that's what they wanted when trading for Tebow in the first place? If they don't do something drastic, things are never going to change. And their defense and running game are simply not as good as it was when they carried Sanchez on their back to the AFC Championship in back-to-back years.
Bottom line is, when I sat down to write this column today I said, "I'm picking the Texans 100 percent. I can honestly see the Jets losing by 30 in back-to-back weeks." But then I saw the spread (-9 to Houston, which will probably inflate before Monday) and it scared me off. I tend to stay away from games that have spreads higher than a touchdown. So take what you will with that prediction, or lack thereof.
In a recap of last week, the Bengals covered easily, but the Cardinals failed me. They had to give Miami six points and only won by three in overtime. Sorry, I guess I didn't expect a defense that had just allowed one total touchdown against Philadelphia and New England to allow Ryan Tannehill to throw for 431 yards.
I've now gone 1-1 every week in my two "Locks" picks. I'd call that consistency. At least I'm narrowing the games you have to pick from down to two, but it's up to you which one you pick from there. On to the picks.
Note: Lines as of Oct. 4, via: sportsbook.ag
Matchup of the week (2-2): Denver Broncos (+7) at New England Patriots (-7)
Finally. What everyone has been waiting for: Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. Two of the best quarterbacks of all time and first ballot hall of famers. I'm torn here. The Broncos' two losses at the hands of the Falcons and Texans could have been blowouts. They haven't started games well this season, and if they go down to the Pats early I don't see Brady letting his foot off the gas. Bills fans know how that feels.
But I just can't see Peyton going down without a fight. A seven-point spread is a lot considering how well Denver's defense has played and how well the Broncos have (almost) closed games. So I'm taking the Broncos. Broncos 30, Patriots 34
Locks (4-4): Baltimore Ravens (-6.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (+6.5)
The only thing Kansas City has going for them is Jamaal Charles and its running game, but the Ravens shouldn't have a problem with that. In Kansas City's three losses this season, it has been defeated by an average of 17 points and gave up at least 35 points to the opposition. The Ravens are averaging 30.5 points per game, so they might just put up 40 on the Chiefs' defense. Ravens 27, Chiefs 17
Atlanta Falcons (-3) at Washington Redskins (+3)
I've had terrible results this season when including a team I picked last week in this week's picks. But this line is too juicy not to consider. A lot of people are over hyping the Redskins. They have losses to St. Louis and Cincinnati, and barely beat the Buccaneers last week. Although RGIII has put on some great performances in the fourth quarter in his rookie season, he won't be able to do it against the NFC's best team. The Falcons should enter the fourth up double digits, so even with a minor comeback from RGIII, he'll have a lot of catching up to do with this slim spread. Falcons 30, Redskins 20
That's it. This has to be the week I finally go 2-0. I'm putting my destiny in the hands of arguably the two best teams in their respective conferences.
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