By IAN WUKITSCH
I don’t know about ya’ll, but I’m really getting tired of terrible night games. This week we have the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins going tonight, and the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Tennessee Titans. When is the NFL going to implement some sort of flex scheduling, where they can replace these snooze feasts with some marque matchups? Like give me the Detroit Lions against the Philadelphia Eagles for the Thursday night game, and the Dallas Cowboys versus the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. C’mon Goodell wake up and give the fans something to watch. Or just ignore it like you do everything else, aka Ray Rice case. Whatever, here are my spread predictions for this week.
HOME team in CAPS
Minnesota Vikings (+3) over CHICAGO BEARS
The Bears have turned into the laughing stock of the NFL, my apologies to the New York Jets. Coming off two consecutive blowouts, this team has gone from a potential playoff team with a star-studded offense, to the basement of the NFC North. Jay Cutler has just looked BAD the past two weeks, and is nowhere near to the MVP candidate that Brandon Marshall predicted before the season. They take on a Vikings team which looks to have found their stride, winning two of the last three games, and rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater is improving. Inter division rivalries are always tough to call, but I don’t see the Bears righting this ship anytime soon. Both of these teams enter this showdown with identical team statistics across the board, but the Bears offensive numbers are a little skewed because they have a lot of garbage time stat boosters. Chicago is finished, and look for them to get behind early and then just keel over like they have the past two weeks. Take the Vikings with the points here.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) over TENNESSEE TITANS
This may go down as one of the WORST Monday Night games in recent history. The Titans are a boring team to watch play, and their record reflects that. One of their only bright spots is emerging TE Delanie Walker, who left last week with a concussion and is questionable at best for this week. They rank in the bottom of the NFL in total offense, and their defense is subpar at best. This all spells disaster for Tennessee, as they take on a pissed off Steelers team who are coming off a loss to the Jets. Big Ben is going to put up big numbers through the air, and Le’Veon Bell is going to have a day. The Titans have no chance to keep up with the Steelers high-powered offense once this turns into a shootout, considering the Steelers score an average of ten more points a game than the Titans. Steelers in a rout.
Not So Fast My Friend
The following games are ones I’d try and stay away from this weekend — unless you’re a complete degenerate gambler and are feeling lucky. In that case, good luck.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (+2) at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Both of these teams enter this matchup with a record of 6-3, and both teams have won their last three consecutive games. The Seahawks started off slow last week, but turned it on in the second half behind a great day from “Beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch. As for the Chiefs, they too struggled last week when they hit the road in Buffalo, and it took a 14 point fourth quarter effort to secure the win. This is going to be a helluva game this Sunday, with no real clear-cut winner. I don’t see either of these offenses pulling away and stringing together a couple of scoring drives in a row. With two of the league’s elite backs on both sides in Jamaal Charles and Marshawn Lynch, look for a lot of running plays and screens to get these guys going. Both pass defenses are relatively solid, each allowing less than 225 yards per game, so don’t expect Alex Smith or Russell Wilson to put up crazy aerial numbers. The Chiefs have a slight edge because they are the home team, but this game will be a close one until the end. Too close to call here.
New England Patriots (+3) at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
This is my game of the week, and also a game that I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Both of these teams are coming off a bye week, and are ready to rumble. You have two great QBs going against each other in Tom Brady and Andrew Luck, and both teams score A LOT averaging over 30 points a game. The Patriots are RED HOT, coming off two straight blowouts against the Broncos and Bears before the bye, and Brady has looked like an MVP candidate. Plain and simple this guy knows how to win. He can win inside, win outside, win in the rain, win in the snow, you name it. The Colts historically have not been able to contain him, will this be the year they figure it out? On the other side of the field you have the exciting Andrew Luck, who leads the league in passing yards and is second in TDs. This team can do it all from the offensive standpoint, with a solid RB by committee averaging over 100 ypg and an aerial attack that yields 330 ypg. They put up points in bunches. This game is going to come down to which defense can make a stand first. If the Colts contain Brady and Rob Gronkowski then they should win easily, but that’s much easier said than done. The same can go for the Patriots secondary, which are going to have to stop T.Y. Hilton if they want to stay in this one. This game can go either way. I wouldn’t touch it, but take the over for sure.
Cincinnati Bengals(+7) over NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
If you look at this game from a statistical point of view, you would say the Saints would take this one home easily. New Orleans’ offense averages close to 28 ppg, and their aerial attack led by Drew Brees is one of the best around. Plus they’re playing in the Super Dome, which is always a hostile environment for opposing teams. They have won two of their last three with W’s against Carolina and Green Bay, and are in first place in the NFC South. Should be an easy one for Brees and company right? Wrong. The Saints enter this game with a sub .500 record, and are taking on a Bengals team that is ready to rebound after a laugher of a loss against the Cleveland Browns last Thursday Night. Andy Dalton is going to turn it around this week, and get it into the hands of the healthy playmaker A.J. Green. If RB Giovani Bernard can return to action in time for this Sunday’s game, then I like the first place Bengals to upset the Saints on the road. Bengals with the points for my bold prediction of the week.
The weekend is now in full swing, folks. A lot of great matchups on tap this Sunday. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the games.