NFL Pick 6: Week 9 Edition
Another week, another set of NFL Pick 6. Let’s break down last week's games in a few brief points. Seattle -8.5 @ Falcons was an unfortunate loss due to a garbage-time field goal of all things. Seattle dominated that game for the large majority and was up by 10 after a late Falcons TD then didn’t ice the game with a first down so Atlanta put up a field goal to cover by 1.5 points, frustrating, but it happens. Colts -5 vs. Broncos was another odd game as the Colts just seemingly couldn’t get it together on offense and it took Jacoby Brissett shaking off defensive linemen in order to set up a late field goal to win the game by 2. Next, we had the Rams -11.5 in London vs. the Bengals and this game actually would have lost if not for a reversed garbage time TD called incomplete for the Bengals. The Rams were able to do whatever they wanted on offense in this game which is why only 24 points is somewhat surprising but can be summed up to the Rams just knowing the game was over and letting off the gas on offense.
The Texans -6.5 vs. Raiders only really proved to me that the Packers must have figured it out on offense and that the Texans secondary can be exposed by an average quarterback. The Texans also lost JJ Watt in this game and for the season which definitely hurt their efforts in slowing down Josh Jacobs, though when your secondary is allowing Hunter Renfrow to go 65 yards to the house it doesn’t really matter if you’ve stifled the run game thus far. 49ers -5 vs. Panthers was an eye-opener to the offensive capabilities of the Niners. The Panthers had been pretty good on defense all year and then San Fran casually drops a 50 nugget on them. I think Kyle Allen got exposed to a very good defense, and it showed turning the ball over 3 times. Allen was also under immense pressure all day being sacked 7 times and hurried much more as well. Also, the 49ers run game is scary going 38-232-5 as a committee against a respectable run defense. Finally, the Saints -12.5 vs. Cardinals clearly showed that the Saints had no fears about Drew Brees’ health as he came out and threw 43 times in a blowout game. The Cardinals offensively couldn’t get anything going as they only scored points from 3 field goals all day mostly due to the fact that they couldn’t keep drives going only managing 10 first downs, and a 2-12 third-down rate. An overall week record of 3-3 isn’t bad, but hopefully we can improve this week.
Against The Spread
PICK: Texans -1.5 vs. Jaguars, Confidence 3 / 5.
This is the London game for the week so there is no home-field advantage. Houston has burned me a couple of times but only having to give 1.5 points against the Jaguars is a line I’ll take all day. The Jags aren’t the same defense that was once feared for every offense in the league, but now just an average one ranking 14th in passing yards per game allowed and 17th in rushing yards per game allowed. The Texans have shown vulnerability to the pass, especially in recent weeks, however, Jacksonville is 20th in pass attempts league-wide but 9th in rush attempts. This shows they want to run the ball in order to control the time of possession and set up wins through the run game and big plays through the air off play-action. I think this game comes down to how well the Texans are able to shut down Leonard Fournette and the Jags run game without JJ Watt. In a game where the spread is 1.5 points, it’s basically pick-em and I’ll always take the better team in pick-em scenarios, Texans -1.5.
PICK: Colts -1 @ Steelers, Confidence 3 / 5.
Losing TY Hilton hurts, but we’re still playing against Mason Rudolph and the Steelers here, right? Both teams are pretty much average in both rushing and passing yards allowed per game though Pittsburgh’s defense has been better since adding Minkah Fitzpatrick. I think recent memory affects this line significantly as the Steelers looked good but against a bad team in the Dolphins, and the Colts struggled to beat the Broncos at home. Like I said above, this line is pretty much pick-em at -1, and in pick-em, you go with the better team. The Steelers are limited on offense, and even more so now without James Conner. I can’t see the Steelers winning this game unless the turnover differential ends up something like +4 or more for the Steelers as their 6-13 third-down rate against a terrible Dolphins team last week is not encouraging for this week without James Conner.
PICK: Eagles -4 vs. Bears, Confidence - 3 / 5.
Yes, the Eagles are banged up in the secondary, but does that really matter against one of the worst QB’s in the NFL? Trubisky has topped a QBR of 90 just once in his 7 starts this year and has thrown just 5 TD passes. The one game Trubisky looked like an NFL quarterback was against the Redskins who are among the worst defenses in football. If the Bears wanted to lean on the run game to set up an easier time for Trubisky passing, there are a number of problems with this. First, the Eagles are great at stopping the run game against pretty much everyone. Second, Matt Nagy probably doesn’t know the meaning of a balanced offensive attack as he either runs the ball 38 times like he did last week, or he’ll run it just SEVEN TIMES like he did vs. the Saints in week 7. The Eagles impressed in Buffalo shutting down a shaky passing game and beating a great defense on the road so it’s tough to not take the Eagles here.
PICK: Jets -3 @ Dolphins, Confidence - 3 / 5.
Last week the Dolphins came out hot in Pittsburgh scoring 2 TDs in the first quarter but then quickly showed their true colours as the game progressed. I believe the Jets are better than their 1-6 record shows but it will take watching this game to be completely convinced of that fact. The Dolphins lost Xavien Howard to IR last week and with that, they lose their anchor on a defense that was already terrible. I believe the Jets will be able to move the ball however they see fit and I think the Jets are better defensively than what we’ve seen in the last 2 weeks. This will be the Jets' first game against a true lousy team, so we’ll have to see how they play in that scenario, but I’m confident they win this one by a TD or more.
PICK: Browns -4 @ Broncos, Confidence - 3 / 5.
If you didn’t hear, Joe Flacco was put on IR this week ending his season, which slots Brandon Allen in for his first ever NFL start since being drafted in 2016. The Browns have looked bad offensively the last few weeks, but have played some fairly good defenses in the Patriots, Seahawks, 49ers, Ravens, and Rams all in their last 5 games. Cleveland is among the worst teams in turnover differential because of their sloppy play offensively. I like the Browns here though because I think the Broncos are going to struggle keeping drives going as Cleveland is actually pretty good in the secondary and the Broncos have no Joe Flacco or Manny Sanders. The Browns are 2-2 on the road and I expect them to make that 3-2 this week by a touchdown.
PICK: Raiders -3 vs. Lions, Confidence - 3 / 5.
The Raiders proved last week that they can hang with the best of them offensively. They also have a bunch of positive things going for them that I think would boost morale in the locker room like their upcoming schedule of 3 straight home games and with that their slightly improved chances of a wildcard spot. I think the Raiders can force the Lions to be a one-dimensional offense in this game by doing what they’ve done to previous teams in shutting down the run game for a team that has no idea who they want to be the focal point of their non-existent run game. The Lions are also terrible defensively allowing the most yards passing league-wide and rank 26th in rushing yards allowed. I think this will be a high scoring game but ultimately one where the Lions struggle to keep pace with the Raiders due to their limitations offensively.