Last week: 5-10-1
Home Teams (Benchmark): 6-9-1
Vegas Favorites (Benchmark): 9-6-1
This week: 16-0
Chiefs over Chargers
That was, without a doubt, my worst week picking games ever. I like to think in terms of favorites and underdogs. Last week 6 underdogs won, which is a huge number (especially given one was a tie). If you went to the Kansas casinos and just blindly put money on all the moneyline underdogs you would have come out significantly ahead.
I personally picked 4 underdogs to win. Yet, despite underdogs having a massive week overall, all 4 of my underdogs lost. Let’s review a handful of my misses:
Buffalo over Los Angeles Rams – I severely overestimated the Rams. They were clearly missing the players they lost in the offseason, plus Stafford’s injury looked like a bigger issue than I thought.
Chicago over San Fransisco – Maybe I’m overestimate the 49ers (or maybe even underestimating Chicago), but the field was a complete disaster, which I think leveled the playing field and allowed the Bears to win.
Steelers over Bengals – This is one that, while I didn’t pick, still felt had a high chance of an upset. Even then the Steelers needed to have a whole lot go right for them to pull of the victory, and if you play this 10 times I still think the Bengals win 6 or 7 times.
Commanders over Jaguars – I still think the Jaguars are the better team, but they weren’t as good as I had hoped coming into the season. In particular Trevor Lawrence continues to look bad.
Tampa Bay over Dallas – I had both these teams declining in my season previews, so this game was a question of who declined more. The answer was clearly the Cowboys.
Anyway, to this game, it’s a definite step up in difficulty over Arizona. It looks like we’ll be without McDuffie, but that’s countered by the Chargers being without Keenan Allen so it roughly cancels out. But our new and young secondary is still going to face a major test. Hopefully they hold up, but it’s very possible this gets into a shootout.
On top of that I’m a bit nervous about the Chargers’ improved pass rush. With major questions at right tackle, we need to pray that Bosa and Mack don’t destroy that side of the line.
That being said, Mahomes is still Mahomes, as everybody except PFF saw last week, so the expectation should still be that he can carry us to victory even if the team struggles elsewhere. I just wouldn’t put any money on it.
Ravens over Dolphins
With all the craziness in week 1 the Ravens very quietly won in a blowout over the Jets. This game is big for both sides, since Baltimore wants to prove last year was a fluke and they’re still a top AFC team, while the Dolphins want to prove they’re a new AFC contender.
Personally I’d rather go with Lamar over Tua, so the Ravens are the pick.
Browns over Jets
The Browns continue to be without Watson, but they get an easy matchup against the Jets. They aren’t head and shoulders above New York or anything, but they should be the better team.
Commanders over Lions
I’m honestly surprised the Lions are favored. I know they played the Eagles close last week, and Carson Wentz is Carson Wentz, but Washington has a much stronger overall roster. The Lions do have a chance to win, but the Commanders are clearly the better team until proven otherwise.
Colts over Jaguars
I unfortunately had to drop the Jaguars in my rankings, so now I think the Colts are favored in the division, but there are so many question marks surround both teams that I wouldn’t be surprised by anything.
Right now the preponderance of the evidence is in the Colts favor, so they’re the pick, but anything could happen here.
Saints over Buccaneers
I think Tampa Bay is wildly overrated, but that’s not the reason I’m picking the Saints to win. In fact, I think Tampa Bay is better and will probably win the division.
But I’m a big believer in history, and history suggests that the Saints own the Bucs. New Orleans is 4-1 against Tampa Bay, with the one loss being Drew Brees’ last game in the playoffs where the Saints had the lead in the 3rd quarter but turned it over 3 times in their final 4 drives.
Famous Jameis is certainly capable of similarly handing Tampa Bay the game, but overall I like the Saints in the proven matchup advantage (especially with Tampa Bay being weaker than usual).
Panthers over Giants
My betting strategy is very simple. If I pick a team that’s a moneyline underdog to win, I bet on them. This was not a game I expected to bet on, but for reasons I don’t quite understand the Giants are favored, so here we are.
Sure, the Giants got a nice win over Tennessee, but are they really better than the Panthers now? Maybe, but the Panthers should be a step better and until proven otherwise they should be favored against the Giants.
Patriots over Steelers
I was going to pick the Steelers here, but with TJ Watt out with an injury their defense won’t be nearly as ferocious as it normally is. That being said the Patriots aren’t exactly a juggernaut anymore either, so this is very much a 50/50 game in my mind.
Rams over Falcons
The Rams are big favorites over the Falcons, but not quite as big as they were this time last week. The Rams looked so bad on Thursday I honestly wouldn’t be shocked if they lost this game.
49ers over Seahawks
On the surface, this looks like an NFC contender against a top pick contender. But I don’t think the Seahawks are that bad. And while I still think the 49ers are probably that good, there’s a reason why I had to say “I think” and “probably” in that statement.
The 49ers are rightfully favored but an upset wouldn’t be completely shocking.
Bengals over Cowboys
Yes the Bengals got crushed by the Steelers defense, but I think without that monster pass rush coming at him Burrow will be much more effective. Plus with Dak out the Cowboys are unlikely to put up much on offense. This should be a comfortable win for Cincinnati.
Broncos over Texans
The Broncos are favored by 10, and they should be good enough to be favored by 10 over a team like the Texans. But their loss in Seattle has inserted a bit of doubt into the mix. I’m still picking them to win, but there’s that chance they actually aren’t all that good in which case the Texans could win.
Raiders over Cardinals
The Raiders have a much more talented roster, but is Murray a better quarterback than Carr? You can make the argument, but I think the Raiders talent gets the victory for them here.
Packers over Bears
The Packers have to win this game. You can explain away their poor showing against the Vikings as a fluke and typical week 1 Packers, but losing to the Bears, a team Rodgers completely owns, is a horrible sign for their status as a contender
Bills over Titans
The Bills had an impressive win over the Rams. The Titans had an embarrassing loss to the Giants. So naturally the Bills are huge 10 point favorites in this game. And, sure, they are the better team. But the Titans can be pesky. If the Bills get too cocky they could allow the Titans to squeak out a win.
Eagles over Vikings
During the Kirk Cousins era I’ve always viewed the Vikings as the median mediocre team. They can beat bad teams, but aren’t real contenders. With the Eagles getting a surprising amount of hype this will be a good test for them. The Eagles, in theory, have more talent than the Vikings. But is Hurts good enough to make them that Super Bowl contender?