We liked the luck we had last week, because we actually won our teaser, and so we are going to the same kind of teaser at the same place. That means it’s a four-team, 6.5-point NFL teaser at Top Bet., with our payout being +200 (2/1) if we can hit all four of them.
With all of the shifting when it comes to quarterbacks – and seven of them who are starting this week did NOT begin the season as the starter with their team – it is hard to gauge what their teams are going to do, but as usual, we hope that getting the extra points can make us happy in the end.
This is what we’re looking at:
In Buffalo, EJ Manuel, the rookie first-round draft pick, has been cleared to play after sitting out four weeks with his knee injury, and if that isn’t good enough, Thad Lewis, who started three games in Manuel’s place, is physically eligible to play again as well after he missed a week with a rib injury. Jeff Tuel had to step in last week against Kansas City, and though he was serviceable running Doug Marrone’s no-huddle attack, he also threw that interception at the goal line that Sean Smith took all the way back for a touchdown, turning a potential 17-3 Buffalo lead into a 10-10 tie. Add another turnover, this time a fumble return for a TD, and that was all she wrote for the Bills.
But Buffalo dominated the undefeated Chiefs, outgaining them by a 470-210 margin, including 241 yards on the ground. All these are encouraging signs. When you look at the Steelers, you are looking at a team whose morale has to be at a low after yielding 55 points to the New England Patriots, and they are having all kinds of problems with their offensive line, therefore making it more difficult for them to have a running game. At TopBet.eu the Steelers are a three-point favorite in the NFL betting odds. I’d have to think that grabbing 9.5 points with the Bills might be a bargain here.
With the Seattle Seahawks, we have a situation where we may have to “cross the line.” The zero line, that is. The Seahawks went to Atlanta last year for the NFC semi-final game and literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. And they are looking for some revenge. They are in a position to get it. If you believe that Seattle is one of the NFL’s premier teams, you also have to believe that they are capable of much more than they have shown the last couple of weeks, as they have struggled mightily with the Rams and Bucs.
The Falcons are in a position where they are not able to exploit the passing game as much, since they have injuries to wideouts Roddy White and Julio Jones, and that will make the job easier for the Seattle secondary. We like to think we can back the ‘Hawks for a straight-up win in the Georgia Dome, as we were not at all impressed with Atlanta’s lack of effort against Carolina and aren’t that interested in guessing when Steven Jackson is once again going to become a major factor. With the Seahawks laying 5.5 points in the pro football odds at Top Bet, we are willing to adjust that to grab a point with Seattle, even though it does not necessarily meet with the conventional wisdom.
Speaking of the team that beat Atlanta last week, the Carolina Panthers are on a hot streak, to say the least. They are now legitimate contenders, at least for a wild card spot, with a 5-3 record. But that four-game winning streak may come to a screeching halt against the San Francisco 49ers, who are on a streak of their own, having won and covered five consecutive games, during which time they have averaged over 34 points a game. Now they have more healthy bodies on hand; Mario Manningham has been activated, for example. Aldon Smith is out of rehab and ready to play. Michael Crabtree is practicing again, although he may not be available for this one. The point is that the Niners are 6.5-point favorites at Top Bet, so we can tease them down to a pick’em.
Miami may or may not have a divided locker room; at least we don’t hear a whole lot about teammates who have come out against Richie Incognito. But they are disappointed in Jonathan Martin, and where this NFL investigation is going to lead is anybody’s guess. Fundamentally speaking, this is a team that has allowed 35 sacks of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and will be missing two starters on its offensive line. Tampa Bay is itching for that first win, and we have to speculate as to how deflated they are about blowing a 21-0 lead at Seattle last week. Meanwhile, Mike Glennon has done a real good job of minimizing giveaways, as he has thrown just three interceptions in 204 attempts. With the Dolphins a three-point favorite at Top Bet, we simply have to take the extra points here.
And so this is the summary:
San Francisco pick’em
Tampa Bay +9.5
We think we’ve got a winner here!
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