The Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans all have bye weeks in Week #8.
The Panthers head into Chicago with the worst record in the NFC and are struggling for a win as they approach a lost season. Owner Jerry Richardson hopes to shake up the franchise by firing general manager Marty Hurney. Carolina’s problems start with their offensive issues; in 2011, the offense averaged 25 points per game, but in 2012 has scored more than 14 points just twice. Cam Newton has thrown five touchdowns and six interceptions on the year and also leads the team in rushing with 273. Though that hasn’t been enough, in the 19-14 loss at Dallas last week, Newton threw for 233 yards and a TD but also threw a critical red zone interception. He also hasn’t gotten much from the duel running attack of Jonathan Stewart, and DeAngelo Williams who combined for just 39 yards on 12 carries.
The Panthers may have a tough day against a Bears defense, which leads the league in points allowed with 13 and has forced a league high 21 turnovers. The Bears at 5-1 are off to their best start in years and continued that trend with a 13-7 victory against the Lions on Monday. The Bears scored on their first offensive drive via a Jay Cutler pass to Brandon Marshall but settled for field goals the rest of the game. The Bears may look to Matt Forte to provide most of their offense against Carolina, the running back has rushed for 371 yards and three touchdowns in the last three meetings and had a career-high 205 rushing in their only meeting last season.
The number has held at Bears -7.5 at most books, but some have moved it a bit more drastically to Bears -9. The total is the same everywhere and has moved just one point from the opening number of 44 to 43.
While the Panthers have been one of the worst teams in football so far, they have lost many of their games by less than 6 points. The Bears are coming off a Monday Night win and have a shorter week than expected against Carolina. Cam Newton also had some success against virtually the same defensive personal that the Bears have now. In last year’s game, Newton went off for 374 yards in a close game, which they did lose, 34-29. We don’t know the Bears will be as amped up as they should be to face a Carolina team that desperately needs a win. Coaches and players in Carolina are worried about their jobs and should come up with a solid game plan for this week. The Bears are clearly the better team, but we think they will underestimate the Panthers in the spot.
The Seahawks come into Detroit hoping to help their bid for the postseason. Winning two of out their last three games, but falling last week to San Francisco, the Seahawks are a tale of two different teams this year. Most of that boils down to the play of rookie QB Russell Wilson, who is excellent at home – 116.9 passer ratings with zero picks – and terrible on the road, 55.7 passer rating with seven interceptions. The Hawks will look for consistency this week from Freeman, against a Lions team that has struggled with much the same problem.
The Lions suffered their fourth loss of the season on Monday Night dropping them to 2-4 on the year. It was another turnover prone disaster for the Lions, who coughed the ball up three times inside the red zone giving them a league worst five red zone turnovers. Detroit couldn’t manage more than 7 points in the 13-7 loss and fell into a deeper hole in the NFC East.
Both teams have been solid defensively this year. The Seahawks are ranked fifth in the NFL in total defense, and the Lions are ranked 8th. Seattle has won the past three matchups.
Opened at Detroit -1.5 and is now at -1 and curiously -2.5 at some books, look around for this one if you intend to bet a side. The total opened at 45 and is now down to 43.
The Seahawks are on about 13 days rest, and more than prepared to handle the so far inept Lions. With that said, it’s hard ignore the struggles the team has had on the road and the inconsistent play out of Russell Wilson. He will also be without one of his favorite targets, receiver Doug Baldwin who is out with injury. The Lions have been inconsistent all season on offense, as Stafford looks to continue his sidearm off the back foot delivery. This one feels like a trap as the Lions have proven basically nothing and probably should not be favored against 80% of the NFL. We’ll stay away from the spread, and take a look at the total. Both teams have struggled offensively, especially Seattle on the road and both have top ten ranked defenses. It’s rare to see a defensive struggle involving the Lions, but we see it shaping up that way.
The Falcons – coming off a bye – are the NFL’s last unbeaten team. They head into Philly this week on plenty of rest, and look to improve from their narrow victory against Oakland on October 14th. The Falcons hit a game winning 55-yard field goal with 50 seconds left to improve to 6-0, the best start in franchise history. Matt Ryan had his worst game of the season in the win but is turning into one of the league’s top quarterbacks. Ryan is fourth in the NFL in passer rating, and has thrown 14 touchdowns to go with 6 interceptions.
The Eagles, also coming off a bye week, hope the rest will serve them well as they take on the Falcons. After firing defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, the Eagles look for more consistent play from their defense. The firing came just after the 26-23 overtime loss at Detroit, in which the Eagles blew a 10 point lead with just under 4 minutes left. The offense, more particularly, Michael Vick has also struggled with consistency. Vick has thrown eight TDs but also has eight picks and five fumbles.
Opened at Philly -2.5 and moved to -3 but both are still available at a number of shops. The total opened at 47 and has trended downward to 45 and 44.5
The Eagles have been absolutely frustrating this season – for fans and bettors alike – and do look overmatched against Atlanta, but if we dig deeper, we do see an Atlanta team that has struggled the past few weeks. They barely got a win against Oakland at home, a game in which Matt Ryan had his worst performance of the season and was sacked a season-high 8 times. The running game has struggled all year for Atlanta, and Michael Turner had another rough game last week against Oakland gaining just 33 yards on 11 carries.
The Eagles are 13-0 after a bye week under Coach Andy Reid and are utterly desperate for a win. The Falcons, of course, won’t be mailing it in, but a loss would still have them way out in front for a first round bye and home field advantage in the playoffs. We’ll go with our gut and take the Eagles at home.
The Redskins head into Heinz Field to take on the Steelers, in what should be one of the week’s most exciting matchups. Washington nearly upset the Super Bowl champion Giants this week, in 27-23 loss at New York. The Skins took the lead with 1:23 left as Robert Griffin III connected with Santana Moss for a go ahead touchdown, but Eli Manning won the game on a deep touchdown pass to Victor Cruz. There isn’t much not to like about Robert Griffin III, he leads the NFL with a 70.4 completion percentage and has a league-leading average in yards per rush with 7.3. He is second in passer rating only to Aaron Rodger and Peyton Manning.
Griffin will still be in for a tough matchup against the Steelers, who are 2nd in the league in total defense giving up 287.5 yards per game. They held divisional rival Cincinnati to just 185 yards in a Sunday Night Football victory and won the game 24-17. The Steelers look to get some key guys back – center Maurkice Pouncey looks to return, and the team may also get running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Issac Redman back into the fold.
The number opened at Pittsburgh -4 and has moved just slightly to -4.5. The total opened at 47.5 and is now at 47.
This one is difficult, because the Steelers defense is unquestionably a step slower this year – despite their number 2 overall defensive ranking. R3G has played well in virtually every game so far, and was just 1 minute away from defeating the Super Bowl Champions last week. Still, we have to go with the Steelers. They will hopefully be getting back some key players and Big Ben has been magnificent this year. He’ll be facing one of the worst pass defenses in the league, in Washington and has a terrific receiving corps to boot. RG3 could keep this one closer than expected, but then again, this one could get blown open. Defensive coordinator Dick Leabeau has never lost to a rookie QB, and we think he’ll have an effective game plan that will limit Robert Griffin’s effectiveness.
Jacksonville heads into Green Bay tied for the worst record in the NFL. Mired in what seems to be a season long slump, things got even worse for them last week. The Jaguars lost again, blowing a 14 point second half lead to the Oakland Raiders losing 26-23. On top of that, they lost Maurice Jones-Drew for at least this week and could also be without QB Blaine Gabbert. The Jaguars are last in the league in total offense, averaging 325.8 yards per game.
The Packers rattled off another victory last week in a 30-20 victory over St. Louis. Unfortunately, they lost Pro Bowl safety Charles Woodson for 6-8 weeks with a broken clavicle. The Packers are playing so great offensively of late that it likely will not hurt too much that Woodson is out. Rodgers has completed just over 71 percent of his passes, while throwing 16 touchdowns and two interceptions over his last four games. He threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win at Green Bay.
Opened at Packers -12.5 and is now at -14.5. The total opened at 44.5 and has moved slightly to 45.5.
This one is the highest line of the year so far, and we can’t blame the oddsmakers because this one could get ugly. The Packers are rolling on all cylinders and have actually improved defensively over the past few weeks. We doubt the drop off from Woodson’s injury will be gigantic, and we look the Packers defense to be more motivated than ever. Couple that with MJD being out and the Jaguars suffering a tough OT loss on the road last week. We like the Pack to win big at home.
Miami is coming off a Week 7 bye. Their last game was a 17-14 victory against St. Louis, a game in which they gave up a season high 462 yards of offense. Still, they emerged with the road victory. The Dolphins have been improving as the season progresses, with QB Ryan Tannehill one of the main reasons for the turnaround. The rookie has been impressive in his last three starts, throwing for 839 yards.
The Jets fell 29-26 to rival New England last week. Beaten up with injuries, the Jets still put together a solid game plan offensively and almost pulled off the upset. Mark Sanchez has his best day of the year throwing for 328 yards and a touchdown.
This is a big divisional game; the Jets won their first meeting against the Dolphins in Week #3. Though they got the 23-20 win, they lost CB Darrele Revis for the season due to a torn ACL.
The spread opened at New York -3 and has now moved to -2.5 and -1 at some books. The total opened at 40 is at 40.5 pretty much everywhere.
Miami is coming off a bye. The Jets are coming off a crushing defeat to a divisional rival. On top of that, they are looking for redemption against a Jets team that barely beat them in overtime back in Week #3. We also think that Miami is the more talented team. The Jets should have a hard time dealing with Reggie Bush, and the improved play from Tannehill as it is clear their defense is not the same without Revis. We like Miami.
We got the Dolphins +2.5 at www.bovada.lv
The Chargers head into Cleveland coming off a desperately needed bye week. After losing their third straight game to the Broncos on Monday Night two weeks ago, the Chargers are looking to be a little more conservative on offense. They have turned the ball over 13 times in the last three games and blew a 21 point lead to the Broncos in the primetime loss.
The Browns still have just one win on the season but have played better in recent weeks. Even though, they fell last week at Indianapolis, 17-13. The offense looks increasingly better with rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden at the helm. However, the Browns may be without running back Trent Richardson who suffered a rib cartilage injury last week at Indy.
The number opened at Cleveland +2.5 and is at +3 most places, but +2.5 is available at some shops. Opened at 46 and has moved down a bit to 44 or 44.5.
Some bettors may think the Browns are the worst team in football, but we disagree. They’ve progressively gotten better each week, and this week Vegas seems to be daring us to take the Browns as home dogs against a Charger team that have been killing themselves with turnovers for three weeks straight. Well… we accept! The Browns aren’t the worst team in the league – they play a lot better at home, and even though, the Chargers are coming off a bye, we see them as a team that is in disarray.
LIVE FROM LONDON, ENGLAND at Wembley Stadium
The Pats come into St. Louis on a bit of roll – considering their slow start – New England has won three out of their last four, but is still wary about their defense. The Pats gave up over 400 yards to the Jets last week and are allowing 376 yards per game to opponents for one of the worst marks in the NFL. Still, their offense finally seems to be clicking as they’ve scored 135 points in their last four contests.
The Rams are coming off a loss to Green Bay last week, where they fell 30-20. Though, they failed to beat the Packers, they seem to finally be improving offensively. Last week was the first time the Rams have reached the 20 point mark since Week 2, and Sam Bradford completed more than 60 percent of his passes for the second consecutive game. Discarding last week, the Rams have been especially impressive defensively, giving up just 11 points per game until last week.
This is the NFL’s annual European game, live from London, England.
Opened at St. Louis +6 and is now at +7 across the board. The total has not moved from its 47 opening number.
This one is a tough one, especially with it being played overseas. The Patriots are still a top team in this league, and certainly deserve to be one touchdown favorites. Something tells me they may come out inspired in front of the London crowd, and play their best football of the season. After all, the people from England will probably be rooting for the team from New England. Maybe the Pats get an unfair home field advantage, ha! But we like the Pats to come out with an inspired effort from their defense and cruise to a victory.
The Colts take on the Titans in what will be a critical matchup to keep pace with Houston in the AFC South.
The Colts head into Nashville after beating the Browns in a narrow 17-13 win last week. The Colts normally rely on their passing game to get the job done but did it mostly on the ground last week as they rushed for a season high 148 rushing yards. Robert Mathis is also likely to return to help a Colts defense that has struggled against the run this year, giving up an average of 148 rushing yards per game.
Those numbers bode well for Tennessee running back, Chris Johnson. Johnson finally had his breakout game last week, rushing for 195 yards and two touchdowns against the Buffalo Bills. The Titans have won back to back games after winning a 35-34 shootout with at Buffalo last week. Matt Hasselbeck has done an excellent job leading the offense in Jack Locker’s absence, leading the Titans to a 2-1 record. Defensively, they are still a mess, giving up a league worst 34 points per game to opposing offenses.
The Titans opened as -2.5 favorites, but heavy betting action has taken the line to -3.5. The total has not moved from its opening number of 47.
The Colts certainly have one of the best young QBs in the game today in Andrew Luck, but that might not be enough against the rejuvenated Titans. With Chris Johnson running wild and Hasselbeck being more than adequate, we love the Titans in this spot. Also, the Colts have been absolutely terrible on the road, averaging four turnovers a game. Defensively, neither team is something to write home about, but we have to like the Titans offense a lot more than we do the Colts’ on the road. We’ll lay the points with the Tennessee at home.
The Raiders and Chiefs face off at Arrowhead in a battle for cellar of the AFC West.
The Raiders, who more and more begin to seem like perpetual underachievers overcame three turnovers and a 14 point deficit to beat the Jaguars 26-23 in overtime last week. It was their first road victory of the season. The Raiders have been inconsistent all season long, and a microcosm of that is running back Darren McFadden. After gaining 113 yards rushing against the Steelers in September, the back has gained just 157 yards in the last three games.
The Chiefs hope a change at quarterback will help turn around their seemingly already lost season. Coming off a bye week, the Chiefs have replaced Matt Cassel with former first round pick Brady Quinn. Quinn was not great in his debut two weeks ago as the starter, throwing for 180 yards and two picks against the Buccaneers on October 14th. He’ll look for more help from Jamal Charles, who leads the NFL in rushing yards per game with 98.5. The back has averaged 81 yards per game in his last three with Oakland, and scored two touchdowns in those games.
This one opened at a pk, and is now at Kansas City -1.5 or -1. The total had just a slight change from 42.5 to 42.
If anyone watched the Chiefs game two weeks ago against the Buccaneers, it looked like they all but completely gave up on their season. However, we know that this isn’t the case. It’s hard to find much to like about either one of these teams, but the Raiders certainly aren’t worth of being road favorites to anyone – even the hapless Chiefs. The Raiders have been inconsistent all season, hence Jacksonville taking them to overtime last week and seem to be relying solely on Carson Palmer to win them ball games. The run game has been bad and the defense has been even worse. We’re no fans of the KC or Romeo Crennel’s coaching style, but the change at QB could motivate this team. They are also coming off a bye week and playing at one of the toughest places in the NFL. The crowed will fully be behind Brady Quinn and are still amped up, despite the Chief’s 1-5 record. Jamal Charles has historically done well against the Raiders, as well. We like KC at home
One of the best rivalries in football is headed for Round 1 this weekend as the Giants head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys.
The Giants, always seemingly a flair for the dramatic, won on a last minute drive by Eli Manning which a produced a Victor Cruz passing touchdown to win the game 27-23. After a shaky start to the season by Super Bowl Champion standards, New York is now firmly atop the NFC East and is looking forward to their rematch with Dallas.
Still, a win by the Cowboys would move them back into contention for the division. They beat the Giants in the NFL opener, a 24-17 victory at New York. They were stifled big time by the Cowboys, and were held to a season low 269 yards of offense in the loss. Still, Dallas has not played their best football last week, despite a 19-14 win last week at Carolina – they’ve lost three out of their last four. They also now face a healthy, more prepared Giants defense that looks to avenge their opening season loss.
This one opened at -2 for the Cowboys and has moved drastically to Cowboys +2. There is heavy action on the Giants in this one. The total has barely moved opening at 47 and is now at 47.5
This line looks awfully enticing to Giants’ bettors, and has certain garnered a lot of public action on the G-men. The line has moved four points since the opener. This is probably one of the toughest games to pick on the board, and we are personally probably staying away from the side, but if we had to choose we would go with the Cowboys +2.
With that said, we like the under. Both teams have improved defensively from last meeting, and even though the Boys lost their top linebacker Sean Lee, their secondary has played outstanding. The Giants are finally healthy in the defensive backfield as well, and nerves should be running high in this grudge match. We look for both teams to try and give each other a heavy dose of the rushing attack, to take the pressure off both quarterbacks.
Sunday Night Football figures to be a high scoring affair, as two of the game’s best quarterbacks face off. The last time Manning and Brees met was in Super Bowl XLIV, a matchup the Saints won.
The Saints haven’t started off the season they way they wanted, going 0-4 in their first four games. They seemed to at least partially righted the ship, and have won two straight games including a 35-28 win at Tampa Bay. Still, New Orleans will need to improve defensively if they want to win some football games. The Saints have been historically bad defensively, giving up 2,793 yards in six games, the most since in NFL history. They are allowing just over 30 points per game, good for fourth worst in the league.
The Broncos have no regrets regarding their offseason acquisition of Peyton Manning. The quarterback brought the Broncos back from 21 points down on October 15th to beat the Chargers 35-24. Denver had a bye last week. Manning has thrown for 1808 yards, 14 TDs and just four picks on the season.
This one has also moved heavily from its Denver -2 opening now and is now at -6. The total is at 55.5 at most books, moving just one point from the opening number of 54.5.
The Saints simply aren’t a very good team. They’ve had plenty of games where they’ve just been thoroughly dominated, and we doubt the return of interim coach Joe Vitt will help matters much. The Broncos should be able to control the game with their offense and once again Drew Brees will be working from behind. Though he’s made the Saints look like a contender in a few comebacks, he’ll have to compete with another field general in Peyton Manning. We doubt the Saints can match the Colts in this scorefest, so we’ll lay the point with Denver at home.