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Well, both Dan and I took losses on Thursday, although with the Steelers remarkable comeback we had the chance of the cover despite Mike Tomlin’s team being 29-0 down until 2:11 in the third quarter. It can’t be fun being a fan of the Vikings this season.

I have also given Dan and I a Mulligan on the survivor picks this week given we both selected the Chargers before the news broke about the extent of the Covid-19 break out in their receiver room. Dan is now going against the Texans by taking Seattle, whilst I’m backing the Packers to beat the Bears given Aaron Rodgers’ ownership of the Bears. I just hope that quote and this pick doesn’t come back to bite me.

Dan:     Seahawks
Gee:     Packers

Early Games:

There’s a couple of big divisional games in the early slate and it’s one of them that I’m picking, although if you like bruising competitive football you could do a lot works that watch the Ravens taking on the Browns, but I have settled on the Cowboys travelling to Washington to take on the Football Team. The Cowboys are taking on a team who have won their last four games coming off their bye, whilst the Cowboys have gone 2-3 in the last five, though have had some injury/Covid-19 problems in this stretch. If the Cowboys are the team that we thought they were early in the season, they need to win this game to extend their lead at the top of the division. The truth is that whilst I have been impressed with the way Washington have found their feet since their bye, I have more faith in Dak Prescott to find a way through the Football Team’s defence than Taylor Heinicke not to have a turnover or two against an opportunistic Cowboys defence.

Points from the rest:

  • The Ravens’ injuries meet the Browns’s in what feels like it could be an absolute mess of a game. It’s certainly odd to see the Ravens ranked as lowly as sixteenth overall by DVOA but the Browns are only ranked two places higher and have distinctly whelmed this season.
  • You know it is bad when the league’s own website is carrying a story about the disfunction of your team. The Titans have a bunch of injuries and may well have problems covering this line, but it would be a genuine surprise if they lost to the Jaguars.
  • Divisional games are funny things, and I am still not convinced by the Chiefs’ offence, but their defence genuinely have found their feet and the Raiders insisted on playing the wrong defence the last time these two teams met and it’s hard to see Gus Bradley changing it up this time so whilst hesitant, I think the Chiefs may cover this one.
  • The Saints are so injured on offence, but the Jets have so far to go before they will be truly competitive, and the Saints have a really good defence so that’s where I’m inclined to pick in this one.
  • I’m not sure what to expect from the Panthers after the firing of Joe Brady, and the Falcons have been at least competitive so far this season so it’s hard to find a side in what is a meeting of two bad teams that is strangely intriguing as a watch.
  • The Seahawks still have a lot of problems, and it feels like there will big changes in the off-season, but the Texans are just plain bad and it feels like they are not even finding young players to build around for the future.

Ravens @ Browns (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Ravens
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

Jaguars @ Titans (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Titans
Dan’s Pick:      Titans

Raiders @ Chiefs (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Saints @ Jets (+5.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Saints

Cowboys @ Washington (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Cowboys
Dan’s Pick:      Cowboys

Falcons @ Panthers (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Falcons
Dan’s Pick:      Falcons

Seahawks @ Texans (+7.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:      Seahawks

Late Games:

The big game from the slate game must be the Bills trying to get over the tough loss to the Patriots on Monday by taking on the Buccaneers in Tampa. The absence of a Bills run game will be less of an issue against a defence that is one of the toughest to run against in the league and perhaps the bigger test will be the Bills defence going against Tom Brady on the road without corner Tre’Davious White who was lost for the season in week twelve. This was meant to be the year the Bills took the next step and instead they find themselves two games behind a Patriots team resurgent in 2021 despite a bad start to the season. The Bills have not had a marquee win since beating the Chiefs in week five and need a performance to settle the nerves and give themselves a platform to build on with their crucial return visit to New England in week sixteen on the horizon.

Points on the Rest:

  • The Broncos should beat the Lions as they have for the most part beaten the teams they should do and are at home, but there are plenty of questions around the Broncos as they still have not found a franchise quarterback and who knows how the Lions will respond to their first win of the season.
  • The Chargers will just be happy to get a win against the Giants given the issues they are having at receiver thanks to a Covid-19 outbreak. The Giants have been competitive at times this season, but it feels like they will be going into the offseason with more questions than answers after second year head coach Joe Judge struggled to build on some glimpses of hope from last season.
  • The Bengals had enough bad turnover luck last week that I am not freaking out about their loss to the Chargers, but the 49ers are not an easy team to beat and I don’t think any Bengals fan will feel relaxed about Joe Burrow’s hand problem until he’s got through the game looking good, even if he did nearly pull of the comeback last week with his hand swelling after the dislocation of his little finger. The 49ers are a strange team to pick this season and with Deebo Samuel and Eligah Mitchell injured they could struggle in this one.

Lions @ Broncos (-8.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Lions
Dan’s Pick:      Lions

Giants @ Chargers (-10.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Giants
Dan’s Pick:      Chargers

49ers @ Bengals (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Bengals
Dan’s Pick:      Bengals

Bills @ Buccaneers (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Bills
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

Sunday Night Football:

Bears @ Packers (-12.5)

This should be a marquee game, except the Bears have struggled all season and the Packers have only looked bad when Roders was out through Covid, although they did drop a game against the Vikings in week eleven. Still, coming off a bye with Rodgers talking about his toe feeling better it is hard to see anything other than a Packers win in this one, although whether it will be by thirteen is a different matter.

Gee’s Pick:      Bears
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Monday Night Football

Rams @ Cardinals (-2.5)

This is one of the matchups of the week and I’m just hoping I can find time to watch it at some point. That said, I’m not convinced that the Rams will silence their critics this week given their only win in four games was against the Jaguars last week. The Cardinals may still have questions about what they can do in the playoffs, but with a 10-2 record despite missing their starting quarterback for three weeks they are definitely a team to take seriously. A top three defence under Vance Joseph has every chance of causing problems for a Rams’ offence that hasn’t looked right until it faced the Jaguars, so I see the Cardinals as favourites in this one.

Gee’s Pick:      Cardinals
Dan’s Pick:      Cardinals

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.