Another mediocre week for Sportsmasher, who was again just below .500 during a difficult week 6 of NFL action, and has some serious ground to make up this season before he can again brag about his skills. Both Sportsmasher and Rexrated went (1-2) on their best bets, and were incorrect with nearly every comment they made on the “Comedy Food Sports” podcast last week. With a whopping six teams on bye this week, the staff here at Sportsmasher has some ground to make up, so let’s get to the week 7 picks:
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers (-7.5) – A great divisional Thursday night matchup of two teams with excellent defenses, the 49ers (4-2) are coming off a surprising home beat down from the defending champion New York Giants, while the Seahawks (4-2) are coming off of a shocking home upset of the New England Patriots. I think the problem for both of these teams is the same, they are great in close games, but if they have to overcome a serious deficit I’m not sure either can play from behind. I think this game will be a close slugfest, and think that both teams will struggle to move the ball, so I think 7.5 is far too large of a spread.
The Pick: Seahawks (+7.5) FINAL SCORE: 49ers 24 Seahawks 20
Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills (-3) – The Titans (2-4) defense ranks dead last in the NFL, they are really struggling on that side of the ball this season, and I think they have to overhaul the entire unit or at least find some true impact players this offseason. The Bills (3-3) are not a good team, but they should have no problems moving the ball down the field against a porous Titans defense, and should defend home field easily in this one. The Titans are 0-3 on the road, and I expect that streak to continue, I like the Bills in a rout.
The Pick: Bills (-3) FINAL SCORE: Bills 30 Titans 17
***SPORTSMASHER BEST BET: BILLS (-3)***
Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings (-6) – The Vikings (4-2) are coming off a tough road loss at Washington, but must be licking their chops at the prospect of facing the Arizona Cardinals (4-2) at home where the Vikings are undefeated. The Cardinals are coming off of a Thursday night loss to the Rams in St. Louis, and but the extra rest will not help quarterback Kevin Kolb, who is out several weeks with dislocated ribs. The Cardinals offensive line is atrocious, and the Vikings pass rush should have a field day teeing off on John Skelton, who has no running game to lean on. Although the talented Cardinals defense should keep this game somewhat close, they will be on the field a lot, and I still think the spread is too high.
The Pick: Vikings (-6) FINAL SCORE Vikings 23 Cardinals 13
Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts (-3) – Two rookie quarterbacks square off as Andrew Luck takes on Brandon Weeden when the Colts (2-3) square off against the Browns (1-4) in Indianapolis. The Browns have been playing better recently, and are coming off their first win of the season against the Bengals, while the Colts were just blown out by the Jets in New York. This game really depends on which rookie quarterback plays the better game, and I’ll take the Andrew Luck to Reggie Wayne connection at home, but think it will be a close one.
The Pick: Colts (-3) FINAL SCORE: Colts 27 Browns 23
***REXRATED BEST BET: COLTS (-3)***
Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans (-7) – The Ravens (5-1) are one of the best teams in the NFL, however they just lost future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis and Pro Bowl-bound cornerback LaDarius Webb for the remainder of the season due to injury. 2011 Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs will make his 2012 debut following rehabilitation for a torn Achilles suffered in April, and while these injuries will certainly take a toll on the Ravens defense, I think that they will still be a tough team to beat. The Texans (5-1) have one of the toughest defenses in the NFL, lead by the current leader for 2012 Defensive Player of the Year, J.J. Watt and I expect them to be able to run the ball effectively with Arian Foster. This to be a nasty game between two AFC contenders. I think that the Texans will defend homefield, however, it will be closer than the spread indicates.
The Pick: Ravens (+7) FINAL SCORE: Texans 31 Ravens 27
Green Bay Packers @ St. Louis Rams (+6) – The Packers (3-3) finally found their offensive rhythm last weekend, when they blew out the Texans in Houston, and they look to keep it going in St. Louis this weekend. The Rams (3-3) are undefeated at home, and look to keep their momentum going, after defeating the Cardinals last Thursday. Although the Rams pass rushers will have their way with a poor Green Bay offensive line, and should pressure Aaron Rodgers all game, I like the Packers to win this game easy. Their offense excels on the turf, and they should score a lot of points against the Rams.
The Pick: Packers (-6) FINAL SCORE: Packers 34 Rams 20
***SPORTSMASHER BEST BET: Packers (-6)***
***REXRATED BEST BET: Packers (-6)***
Dallas Cowboys @ Carolina Panthers (+2) – An interesting matchup, the Panthers (1-4) have been awful so far this season, but they are coming off of a bye week and should be ready for the Cowboys. Dallas (2-3) is coming off another heartbreaking loss, this one due to terrible clock management against the Ravens. Unless Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has a monster game and takes over, which he has not done so far this year, Dallas should win this game easily. However, Cam Netwon has had a week to work on correcting the mistakes that have plagued him early in 2012, and he could break out of his slump against Dallas. Stay away for me, but for picking purposes, I’ll take Dallas.
The Pick: Cowboys (-2) FINAL SCORE: Cowboys 27 Panthers 20
Washington Redskins @ New York Giants (-6) – Redskins (3-3) quarterback Robert Griffin III is coming off of an incredible performance in a home win against the Vikings, while Eli Manning and the Giants (4-2) are coming off of a statement win against the 49ers in San Francisco. Normally when the Giants come off of an impressive road win, they return home deflated and lose to inferior opponents, however they will be fired up to get their first crack at the Redskins rookie sensation quarterback this week. I think that Manning and the Giants offense controls the tempo of the game, while the Giants talented core of pass rushers make things difficult for RGIII.
The Pick: Giants (-6) FINAL SCORE: Giants 31 Redskins 20
***SPORTSMASHER BEST BET: Giants (-6)***
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) – The Saints (1-4) have been terrible during this post-bountygate season, and although they do have talent, I will not pick them until they improve on defense. The Buccaneers (2-3) have struggled as a whole on offense this season, but I expect quarterback Josh Freeman and company to be able to move the ball with ease on an awful New Orleans defense. This Saints team should not be giving three points on the road to anybody, including the two win Buccaneers, who I like to win this one.
The Pick: Bucs (-3) FINAL SCORE: Bucs 24 Saints 21
New York Jets @ New England Patriots (-11) – The Jets (3-3) got dealt the wrong weekend to head up to New England and face an angry Patriots team. The Pats were just beaten in Seattle in a game where quarterback Tom Brady looked uncharacteristically inaccurate and Bill Belichick did the worst job of game management that I remember in his career. The Jets have struggled on offense this season, and lack a pass rush, which is the key to beating the Patriots (making Brady uncomfortable in the pocket). There is a lot of bad blood here, and I would normally give the Jets a puncher’s chance, but this is a statement game for New England.
The Pick: Patriots (-11) FINAL SCORE: Patriots 41 Jets 20
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders (-4) – An ugly matchup which showcases two of the league’s worst teams as the Jaguars (1-4) and their league worst offense visit the Oakland Raiders (1-4). Although the Raiders have an awful record, they have looked semi-competent at times, and nearly beat the undefeated Falcons in Atlanta last week. The Jaguars rely on their running game alone to move the football and are dead in the water if Maurice Jones-Drew does not have a huge game. In what should be a tough game to watch I expect the Raiders to hold on their home field and win this game, I would pick a push, but I’ll knock the Jags down a few more points for pick purposes.
The Pick: Raiders (-4) FINAL SCORE: Raiders 24 Jaguars 17
***REXRATED BEST BET: Raiders (-4)***
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals (+1.5) – I might be alone on this one, but I really do not think the Steelers (2-3) are that good, and will miss the playoffs in 2012. I think they are headed in the right direction and will be a contender again before long, however they are currently caught in that awkward phase where their young talent has not matured and their old veterans have declined. The Bengals (3-3) have some firepower on offense and their pass rushers will be able to get to Ben Roethlisberger, although this is a borderline must win game for the Steelers, I’ll take the Bengals getting points at home to a team that I think is in mini-rebuilding mode.
The Pick: Bengals (+1.5) FINAL SCORE: Bengals 27 Steelers 24
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears (-6) – Great Monday Night Football matchup with the Detroit Lions (2-3) coming off a huge win against the Eagles in Philadelphia taking on their hated rival the Chicago Bears (4-1). The Bears defense has been nothing short of incredible so far this season, while the Lions got off to a very slow start and are already in “must win” mode. I think this will be a very aggressive game, I expect the young Lions to come out with some fire, while the more established Bears will not take their crap. For me, the line is too big in this game, it’s tough to pick a winner but expect it to be close. I’ll take the Lions, because they cannot afford another loss, while the Bears can.
The Pick: Lions (-6) FINAL SCORE: Lions 24 Bears 21
Week 1: (9-7)
WEEK 2: (7-8-1)
Week 3: (10-5-1)
Week 4: (8-7)
Week 5: (5-9)
Week 6: (6-7-1)
2012 Season: (45-43-3)
Sportsmasher Best Bets: 9-9
RexRated’s Best Bets: 8-10-1
BYE WEEKS: Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs