Every week I make NFL picks against the spread here at The Props Network.
Week 8: “I’m Seeing Ghosts” Edition
Here’s a fun fact: Even if the Pats offense did not exist the Pats would still be 3-3-1. Now, the Pats have played basically a run of third-rate teams, but that’s still an impressive nugget when you consider that they are basically pitching shutouts every week. As for the Jets, while I love Bell and feel he deserves every penny he gets, the Jets were not smart signing him when they need so much at other positions. The focus should be building a competent offensive line around Darnold, not making a big splash at running back.
Is it just me or does it seem like fading Philly is a really good idea?
Maybe the rumors about Carson Wentz not being a locker room favorite are true. They just blown out in two straight games against quality opponents with supposedly the best roster in football. Is it the coaching? Is it the sniping behind each other’s backs in the press? Maybe it has something to do with consistently falling behind early. To wit, they fell behind to DC, Atlanta, Atlanta, and the Packers before storming back for wins. That sort of shit doesn’t play in the big leagues and Philly is in danger of falling right out of the playoff picture unless they get their shit together fast.
Green Bay still has a horseshoe up its ass
Oh, they get to go to Arrowhead to face the Chiefs and Matt Moore. By the way, if Matt Moore can get a call off the couch after spending last year coaching high school football, ya think maybe Kap could get a call from someone while he’s working out regularly? Anyways, Green Bay’s pass rush is outstanding, but it’s pass defense can be exploited by anyone above the level of terrible. All of the commentators are praising Green Bay right now, but they have been gifted with so many penalties in their favor that it’s almost impossible to quantify.
Ugh, the Chargers are usually aces as a road dog
So, to see them blow it at the goal line at the end of regulation was gutting. I don’t know how they do it, but even with injuries across the field on both sides of the ball they stay in games and the playoff picture. Phil Rivers is still shot putting the ball downfield and trust me, they are much better with Melvin Gordon in the backfield even with his early struggles. He’ll come around, but he did sit out all of training camp and the first five weeks of the regular season.
Teams still have to account for him. All the analytics guys who crunch numbers but don’t actually watch games can jump off a cliff. Running backs matter, so please stop pretending they don’t. It’s almost as if the pure numbers don’t recognize that one of the fundamental aspects of the game is versatility or clock management. Anyways, for all the people who are howling about how the Chargers run game has fallen off since his return, ask yourself if it’s a function of their line play or dodgy play calling by their coaching staff?
The Colts are pretty darn good
Whenever I feel even a tinge of doubt, they come around and kick someone’s ass. Brissett is running the offense efficiently and keeping his stat lines clean. If teams were offering the Colts a first rounder for him during training camp you can see why they decided to hold onto him even when they thought Luck was gonna be around for another 10 years.
The Rams got themselves healthy at the expense of the really terrible Falcons
It was also fun to see 5’8” 200 lbs. DaVontaFreeman take a swipe at Aaron Donald who is so beastly that no one on Earth would mess with him. Yet, there we were with Donald holding Freeman up in the air like a misbehaving child. That thrashing felt so good, but after losing three in a row including a winnable one in Seattle, you get the feeling the Rams will either go on a nice win streak or revert back to being inconsistent. I think a lot of it has to do with them making a conscious choice to save Gurley for the latter part of the seaso
Anyways, on to the NFL picks…
Sean’s week 8 NFL Picks
All lines are from Caesars
NFL Picks #1 – Bengals +13.5, +575 money line vs. Rams -850 (London)
Up front, this week’s slate is pretty rough, but this is a pretty clear mismatch. The Rams have weapons all over the field and the Bengals have, well, not much. I’m not buying the Sean McVay coaching tree storyline yet. Teams rushing out to grab guys who worked with him is the definition of a reach. Matt LaFleur and Zach Taylor are nowhere near ready to be running teams. Yet, there they are. And anyone saying that Taylor knows McVay’s tendencies enough to make this a game is either in denial or on some drugs that I want.
Anyways, Bengals starting tackle Cordy Glenn is most likely out this week, again. Andy Dalton is 28th in passer rating and Total QBR. The Bengals have 23 rushing 1st downs and have given up 70. They are 39.79 percent on third down. They average 6.7 yards per pass attempt and have given up 24 sacks on the year. Oh, and the running game? It’s atrocious. Only 372 yards on the year and 2.9 yards per attempt and only three rushing touchdowns. Oh yeah, they are averaging a measly 16.3 points per game. Defensively it only gets worse. The Bengals have given up 1,323 yards on the ground and a total of 3,077 yards and have collected all of nine sacks. That translates to giving up 439.6 YPG.
The Rams have been a little dodgy all season as they work out a balance of touches for Gurley and try to get their tight ends more involved, but the fact is that they still have a ton of weapons they can use in spite of a dodgy offensive line. In spite of all that they average 27.1 PPG, 385.4 YPG, and are racking up 97.1 YPG on the ground.
Yeah, yeah, Goff is not really impressing anyone and the defense needs to be more consistent, but this is the sort of game contenders tend to fatten themselves up on. After this the Rams go to Pittsburgh before getting Chicago and Buffalo at home. If there’s any time for the Rams to put together a strong string of games it’s now. This is one of those rare times where I feel confident laying almost two touchdowns.
THE PICK: Rams -13.5
NFL Picks #2 – Panthers +5, +220 money line at 49ers
The Niners are hot. That slog in DC will ruin any team’s offensive numbers, so I chalk that up to shitty weather and really regret not taking DC +10. Anyways, I feel like the Niners are getting over-valued here, but let’s walk through this before we jump on that. Sure, Kyle Allen isn’t setting the world on fire, but he plays smart and doesn’t turn the ball over. Sure, that can change any minute, especially against a defense as rugged as San Francisco’s.
The Niners are especially adept at stopping the run. They’ve only allowed 540 yards all season and only one rushing touchdown. Then again, they tend to get out in front, so the opposition has to play from behind. They’re particularly good at ball control and average 34:46 per game. I’m not quite sold on Jimmy G, yet, but they did just trade for Emmanuel Sanders, so that could help open things up for him as the season moves on. It’s just that while I love their defense I’m not so sold on their offense which really needs the ground game to be in control.
At first blush, the Panthers feel like a public dog and they are. They’re coming off a bye, they have some great weapons on offense, starting with McCaffrey. If Cam were healthy and I saw this line, I’d jump on the Panthers without hesitation. But throwing a backup in there? Not so sure about that. Also, I have a very public bias against Riverboat Ron and his undervalued ability to blow winnable games.
I don’t have a ton of strong feelings on this one. However, I am one hundred percent certain that Kyle Shanahan will be better prepared for this game that Rivera and the Panthers will have to throw downfield to have any shot at the win. I am not saying McCaffrey is going to be bottled up, but I am saying that the Niners will probably try to force Allen to win the game for them. If I’m a Niners backer, I’m liking that angle a lot. Double that if Jimmy G finds a rhythm on offense.
THE PICK: Niners -5
NFL Picks #3 – Broncos +5.5, +210 money line at Colts
Right off the bat everyone is going to want to jump on the Colts. It looks too easy, right? Denver got crushed at home after basically handing the game over after an impressive first drive by going for two and then never seriously threatening to score the rest of the game. Even without
Mahomes in the game the Broncos couldn’t stop Andy Reid’s offense. What makes anyone think they can do any better against Frank Reich?
Well, that’s the thing. The Raiders pantsed the Colts a few weeks back and these guys are not infallible. You can’t treat them like a team with a history. Sure, I basically gave the Niners some love, but even though Flacco is putrid, the Broncos as a whole are better than their record indicates. Going into that Chiefs game, they could have been 4-2, but had some really bad breaks against the likes of the Bears.
Before you run off to the window to lay a big number on the Colts, just keep in mind that they are just getting 31:58 on time of possession and their defense is giving up 111 YPG on the ground. This is just a really dangerous spot for them. They will probably win, but it’s not a lock. We’ve seen this movie before: A mediocre team comes off a tremendously terrible performance, goes on the road, is catching almost a touchdown and no respect, and comes out and hits the heavy favorite in the mouth.
This one has one-score-game written all over it and could get inside the total if the Broncos can get a few stops on third down.
THE PICK: Broncos +6
BONUS LEAN: UNDER 42.5
Find my NFL picks each week at Thepropsnetwork.com
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