THE NFL (9-6 last week)
I really don't like the looks of today's schedule. There's not a whole lot out there that's floating my boat, and you'll see that right now with my BUTTA for today.
BUTTA (1-0 last week)
Broncos/COWBOYS (O56 1/2) - I hate to break it to all you die hard Cowboys fans, but the D in Big D is atrocious.. Peyton is licking his chops waiting for a shot at this group. The Donkeys won't score all the points necessary to make this a winner for me, but they'll come close. We'll only need a little help from Romo and the 'Boys offense.
ALL THE REST
1. Saints (-1 1/2) over BEARS - I think the Saints are the 2nd best team in the NFC right now, and that Bears defense isn't all it's cracked up to be. I won't move on this one though because there's always a concern as the weather starts to turn just how a dome team is going to respond when they go outside to play.
2. Patriots (-1 1/2) over BENGALS - Usually, I have to factor in when a team is playing it's 2nd straight road game, but I don't think that applies as much to the Pats. This number has swung a whole 3 points, so many must agree with me. Where the Bengals were (-1 1/2) to open the week, you can see where it sits now, and I think it's a justified move.
3. Jaguars (+11 1/2) at RAMS - This will be the Jags best chance to steal one for awhile, and there's no evidence that there's a distinct edge for the home team when 2 bottom of the barrel teams play.
4. Ravens (+3) at DOLPHINS - All my numbers are telling me that the Fins win and cover this game, but I'm leaning to the Ravens anyway. Both QBs were turnover machines last week, and I just like Flacco's chances of bouncing back strong this week more than Tannehill's.
5. Eagles (+2) at GIANTS - EGAD! What a putrid looking thing this is. Remember what I said above with the Jags/RAMS matchup? It applies here too, and might even be a stronger situation for the Eagles since the Giants are still going to be missing their starting center and G Chris Snee again as well.
6. PACKERS (-7) over Lions - I'm going to give the Pack the benefit of the doubt here even though that defense doen't deserve it. Once again, it's one of those situations where a dome team is heading outdoors in the elements, not that the weather is looking to be a factor in Green Bay---yet.
7. Chiefs (-3) over TITANS - Sometimes, it's not who you're playing but when you play them that counts. The Chiefs caught a break last week when Jake Locker got hurt, so they'll be facing backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick instead. Fitz has had a history of carving up the Chiefs in the past, but that was under the watchful eye of Chan Gailey in Buffalo, who had a personal vendetta against K.C. after being fired as O.C. one week before the regular season several years back. There's no Gailey now, and that Chiefs defense has become a hard rushing, ball-hawking bunch that should give Fitz fits! HA! I just made that up! Anyway, the Chiefs are the 1st team in the entire history of the NFL to win their first 4 games of the season after losing 14 or more the year before. That originally had me perked up to go against them here, but as I said: Sometimes it's not who you play, but when you play them.
8. Colts (+3) vs. SEAHAWKS - I don't know how they do it. With the exeption of last week's "scrimmage" against the Jags, the Colts D seems to get pushed around a little every game, but they still win. The Hawks are the best team in the NFC right now, but they had to leave Houston under the cover of darkness last week after totally stealing a game they should have lost. That doesn't bode well for a team that, as good as it is, is right back on the highway again this week against another quality opponent.
9. Panthers (-2) over CARDINALS - I don't have much to say about this game other than maybe we might have to start looking at the Panthers as a decent team again.
10. Broncos (-8 1/2) over COWBOYS - As a rule, I don't like laying more than a TD in the NFL, but I don't think the Cowboys offense is going to be able to score enough to keep up with what their defense gives up.
11. Chargers (-5) over RAIDERS - Strange set of circumstances thanks to the A's being in the playoffs has this game starting at 10:30pm here in God's Country and being part of what will end up being a prime time double header on the tube. That's just the aestetics of things though and really has nothing to do with anything. The Bolts are looking like a team that might end up being pretty decent when all is said and done, and the Raiders are the Raiders, which is to say not too good. I'm going to lay low on this one for now, but if I get my OVER play with the Broncos today, and this number holds pretty steady, I just might want to float a little on the moneyline with the Bolts. We shall see.
12. Texans (+5 1/2) at 49ERS - I haven't seen any TV promos for this game, but I imagine that it's being billed as a potential Super Bowl matchup? That would make the 2nd week in a row for the Texans, so ho-hum with that gibberish. The Niners are tough to beat at home, but they, like the Texans, haven't shown any real signs that they'll make a serious bid for the big game at the end of the year. This is one of those "mushy" numbers that's hard to do anything with, but I'll lean to a Houston squad that got it's pocket picked last week to be focused enough to hang around with a chance to win it at the end.
TOTALS (4-2 last week)
In addition to what I doing with BUTTA today, I've got these to consider as well:
OVERS - Ravens/DOLPHINS (43 1/2), Eagles/GIANTS (53 1/2), Panthers/CARDINALS (42 1/2) and Texans/49ERS (42 1/2)
UNDERS - Saints/BEARS (50 1/2), Patriots/BENGALS (46) and Chargers/RAIDERS (46 1/2)
Have a grand and glorious Sunday, everyone! I went to the extra early Mass today, so I'm dragging a little bit right now. Looks like just enough time to catch a few quick winks before all the action starts. Be careful out there, and I'll talk to you tomorrow.