Sportsmasher’s goal at the beginning of the 2012 season was to go over (.700) in win percentage while gambling, and that is clearly going to take a Herculean effort, because at the midway point of the regular season Sportsmasher is one game below (.500). Entering week ten, Sportsmasher is feeling a little more confident, coming off of a (8-6) week while stranded during Hurricane Sandy. Maybe being trapped for three days with no power was a gambling awakening for Sportsmasher? Let’s find out in week 10:
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5) The Colts are coming off of an emotional win where head coach Chuck Pagano (who is undergoing cancer treatment) gave one of the most moving post game speeches of all time. You know what that means? Young team + rookie quarterback + emotional win + short week + road game + divisional opponent = TRAP GAME. The only thing is, the Colts are playing the worst team in the NFL (I think the Chiefs are better purely on talent), and I hard time imagining a scenario in which the Colts don’t win this game. The half point scares me (you may want to buy a half point and make it -3), but I believe in Andrew Luck, and I have to pick the Colts here.
The Pick: Colts (-3.5) FINAL SCORE: Colts 24 Jaguars 17
***REXRATED BEST BET: COLTS (-3.5)***
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots (-11) This is a big spread for a divisional game, and the Bills should be able to score some points against the Patriots, however they have absolutely no chance of stopping the Patriots on offense. The best bet on this game might be the over, at home and coming off of their Bye Week, the Patriots are going to be extremely tough to stop. Bill Belichick will want to make a statement that the Patriots (5-3) are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, and the Patriots should do so against the (3-5) Bills. Only the Saints allow more total offense per game than the Bills do, and the Patriots will be able to turn those drive into a lot of points.
The Pick: Patriots (-11) FINAL SCORE: Patriots 41 Bills 20
***REXRATED BEST BET: BILLS (+11)***
San Diego Chargers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) Tampa Bay rookie running back Doug Martin is all the rage right now, after shredding the Raiders for 251 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns last weekend, and he looks to be the fantasy football star of the future. When Martin gets going, the rest of the Buccaneers offense clicks, and the Bucs can hang with anyone in the league. The problem with this is the fact that the Chargers have the fourth ranked run defense in the NFL, and will be able to stop Martin and force Josh Freeman to throw the ball downfield, which is the main reason I like the Chargers in what should be a tight, low scoring game. Take the points.
The Pick: Chargers (+3) FINAL SCORE: Chargers 20 Buccaneers 16
New York Giants @ Cincinnati Bengals (+4.5) Coming off of a home loss, the Giants always play well on the road, and I think they will do the same in Cincinnati this weekend. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is a bad matchup for the Giants injury-weakened secondary, and he will make his share of plays, but the Giants pass rush will quarterback Andy Dalton into some mistakes. Cincinnati is close to being a very good team, but seems to have taken a slight step back this season, while the Giants look like a typical Giants team. They know they will get to the playoffs (everyone else in the division stinks) and when they do, they will have a punchers chance to win the Super Bowl. I think the Giants rebound from a tough home loss and win easily on the road this weekend.
The Pick: Giants (-4.5) FINAL SCORE: Giants 31 Bengals 20
***SPORTSMASHER BEST BET: GIANTS (-4.5)***
Denver Broncos @ Carolina Panthers (+4.5) This is a really bad matchup for the Carolina Panthers, Peyton Manning is playing at an MVP caliber level, and he should absolutely shred a poor Carolina defense. Cam Newton has been playing better as of late, but it is clear that the Panthers still lack the playmakers that it is going to take him to succeed every week offensively, and I think they are an offseason away from a big improvement. I think Denver moves the ball on Carolina, and while Cam Newton will make some impressive plays, Denver is too much.
The Pick: Broncos (-4.5) FINAL SCORE: Broncos 27 Panthers 16
***SPORTSMASHER BEST BET: BRONCOS (-4.5)***
***REXRATED BEST BET: BRONCOS (-4.5)***
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins (-6) I was surprised by this line, I mean the Dolphins are playing much better than the Titans, but the if the Titans can get the run game going they are capable of moving the ball on the Dolphins. The problem with this, of course, is the fact that Miami has the third ranked rush defense in the NFL (giving up 83.9 yards per game). I think that Miami will win this game, but there is not much separating these two teams, and six points is far too many. Dolphins win but take the points.
The Pick: Titans (+6) FINAL SCORE: Dolphins 24 Titans 20
Oakland Raiders @ Baltimore Ravens (-9) The one thing that people seem to keep forgetting when it comes to the Baltimore Ravens 2012 season is, since they lost Ray Lewis and LaDarrius Webb to season ending injuries, they have been nowhere near as good. The Ravens offensive line is a mess, and they have really struggled after they have started the season as good as any team in the NFL. Do not get me wrong, Oakland stinks and they never play well on the east coast, especially at one o’clock. I think Ray Rice will shred the Raiders terrible run defense and the Ravens will win, but nine points is too rich for my blood.
The Pick: Raiders (+9) FINAL SCORE: Ravens 26 Raiders 20
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints (+3) This is an easy one for me, the Saints (3-5) are coming off of a short week, they beat the Eagles on Monday night due to the horrible play of Michael Vick. The Saints defense is atrocious, they cannot stop anyone, and this is another game where the best bet might be the over. Atlanta has too many weapons on offense for the Saints to handle, I see both Julio Jones and Roddy White going over 100 yards easily on a bad Saints secondary, and while I do not think Atlanta will go undefeated (14-2) is a real possibility. The Falcons defense will get some stops on the Saints, who will not be able to stop the Falcons offense.
The Pick: Falcons (-3) FINAL SCORE: Falcons 38 Saints 27
***SPORTSMASHER BEST BET: FALCONS (-3)***
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings (+2.5) I was very surprised to see the Vikings (5-4) being home dogs against the Lions (4-4) this weekend, I mean Minnesota started hot and Detroit started slow, and both teams are mediocre in the NFC. If a team had Detroit’s offense (and Adrian Peterson) and Minnesota’s defense and special teams, we could be looking at a Super Bowl contender, but each team has serious flaws. This is a real toss up game to me, Detroit is playing better football right now, while Minnesota has the home field advantage. I think it will be a close game, but Calvin Johnson finally gets in the end zone and Matt Stafford makes some throws that win the game for the Lions, putting them back into the playoff conversation.
The Pick: Lions (-2.5) FINAL SCORE: Lions 24 Vikings 21
New York Jets @ Seattle Seahawks (-6) This line seems big to me, however Seattle always wins at home, and they almost always cover. The Jets run defense is 29th overall in the league, so expect a big game for Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle running game, while quarterback Russell Wilson (who has not thrown an interception at home this season) uses the play action off of a successful run game to his advantage. Seattle’s big athletic defense will give the Jets problems, and the combination of the home crowd and pass rush will fluster Mark Sanchez on 3rd downs. I will not pick against the Seahawks at home until it bites me.
The Pick: Seahawks (-6) FINAL SCORE Seattle 27 Jets 16
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5) These two rivals are so similar it is eerie. Both of them enter the 2012 season with Super Bowl aspirations, however a combination of injuries, mistakes and horrible offensive line play have doomed both of their postseason hopes. It’s hard to believe that the Eagles are getting points at home in this game, these two divisional rivals are both (3-5), however Tony Romo has made fewer mistakes than Michael Vick this season. Dallas has been in a lot of close games, they just always seem to come up short, while the Eagles beat themselves with turnovers. With Demarcus Ware chasing Michael Vick around, he is bound to make some turnovers, so I tend to lead Cowboys in this one.
The Pick: Cowboys (-2.5) FINAL SCORE: Cowboys 24 Eagles 20
St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers (-11.5) The 49ers one weakness is that their offense is not good enough to play from behind, if a good offense can get them down early and they turn the ball over, they are in trouble. This is what makes the Rams such a bad matchup for the 49ers, they are headed in the right direction, but I just don’t see how they move the ball on the 49ers defense. It is tough to pick a team with Alex Smith under center when they are giving 11.5 points, however, the Rams need a lot to go right to compete with the 49ers on Sunday. I think the 49ers pass rush gives Rams trouble and forces Sam Bradford to take some sacks and commit some turnovers. The 49ers capitalize at home and cover.
The Pick: 49ers (-11.5) FINAL SCORE: 49ers 23 Rams 10
Houston Texans @ Chicago Bears (-1.5) One of the best games we have seen this season pits the Texans (7-1) versus the Bears (7-1) at Soldier Field on Sunday Night Football. Interesting stat, the Texans have not lost a road game while the Bears have not lost a home game, something has to give. Each team has an incredible defense, while I give Chicago the slight edge offensively, because I think the Texans offense will struggle if the Bears can stop Arian Foster and the Texans rushing attack. I think this will be a tight game which could come down to a field goal, and could really go either way, but at home with their defense I have got to pick the Bears.
The Pick: Bears (-1.5) FINAL SCORE: Bears 27 Texans 24
Kansas City Chiefs @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-12.5) Despite the fact that the Chiefs are coming off of 11 days rest, they are probably the second worst team in the NFL, and they would really struggle going to Pittsburgh under any circumstance. However, Monday Night Football, after just beating the defending champion Giants? The city of Pittsburgh can feel their team gaining momentum and that stadium will be rocking on Monday night. I do not think that the Chiefs run game will be able to find any success against a Steelers run defense that ranks first overall in defensive yards per game allowed (262.6) and I think Ben Roethlisburger will find some success downfield in the passing game. The Chiefs will not be able to move the ball on Pittsburgh, who will force sacks turnovers and mistakes. Blowout.
The Pick: Steelers (-12.5) FINAL SCORE: Steelers 30 Chiefs 6
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)
Week 7: (6-7)
Week 8: (5-9)
Week 9: (8-6)
2012 Season: (64-65-3)
Sportsmasher Best Bets: 12-13
RexRated’s Best Bets: 13-14-1
BYE WEEKS: Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins