NFL Service Picks-Sunday
Re: NFL Service Picks-Sunday
GAME: Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers Sep 9, 2007 1:00PM
SPORT: National Football League Picks
PICK: Philadelphia Eagles
Offered at: -2.5 BetEd
REASON FOR PICK: The Packers do not match up well with Philadelphia at all. Green Bay is using a pair of inexperienced running backs. Rookie Brandon Jackson has struggled to pick up the blitz throughout the preseason. Vernand Morency missed all of training camp battling injuries. Neither guy is prepared to handle the variety of different blitzing looks that they’re going to get from Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. And neither back has shown the ability to steadily move the chains with their legs, leaving Green Bay completely one-dimensional on offense.
Lambeau Field is generally considered to be one of the strongest homefields in the NFL. But the facts don’t measure up to the image. The Packers went 3-5 SU at home last year; 3-5 in ’05, and 4-4 in ’04. The Packers played four playoff teams at home last year. The results weren’t pretty, losing those four games 26-0, 34-27, 35-0 and 38-10. The Packers also lost an ugly game against these same Eagles in Philadelphia, 31-9. Clearly, this is not a team capable of stepping up in class, nor is their homefield edge worthy of much consideration, even on opening day.
The Eagles have been the class of the NFC East for the last seven years, winning at least ten games six times during that span. Donovan McNabb is healthy and eager to put his stamp back on the team, after being replaced by the departed Jeff Garcia for last year’s playoff run. Philly owns the edge in the trenches on both sides of the line of scrimmage, and McNabb’s aerial attack is a bad matchup for a Packers defense that did not perform well against West Coast offenses at all last year. Cheap price to back the superior team here. Take the Eagles.
Re: NFL Service Picks-Sunday
2 Star Selection
**JACKSONVILLE (-6.5) 27 Tennessee 13
10:00 AM Pacific, 09-Sep-07
Jacksonville was a much better team last season than their 8-8 record would indicate, as the Jags averaged 5.6 yards per play and allowed just 4.7 yppl while out-scoring their opponents by an average of 23.2 to 17.1. Jacksonville was 2-7 in games decided by 7 points or less and more of those close games are destined to go their way this season and I’m expecting 10 or 11 wins from the Jags. Jaguars’ coach Jack Del Rio has chosen David Garrard to be the starting quarterback, which seems like a good decision given that Garrard has performed better than Bryon Leftwich over the last couple of seasons. Garrard stepped in for an injured Leftwich last season in week 8 and the Jaguars offense averaged 6.0 yards per play in their final 10 games against teams that would combine to allow 5.3 yppl to an average attack. Garrard has been about average as a passer in his career (6.2 yards per pass play last season against teams that would allow 6.1 yppp to an average QB), but his running ability is a plus and the team seems to rally around Garrard more than they did for Leftwich. The rushing attack is what carried the Jaguars’ offense last season as Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew combined for 2087 yards at 5.3 ypr. I don’t expect those two to run for that high of an average again this season, but the rushing attack will still be among the NFL’s best and I rate the offense at 0.2 yppl better than average overall. Jacksonville is a good team because of their defense, which yielded just 4.7 yppl last season to teams that would combine to average 5.3 yppl against an average defensive team. Jacksonville should be a bit better than that this season, as the run defense was 0.4 ypr better in the 11 games with DT Marcus Stroud available to play than they were in the 5 games he missed. Stroud teams with John Henderson to give the Jaguars the league’s best set of run-stuffing defensive tackles (although Minnesota’s pair of Williams were damn good last year) and the defensive backfield is also good, allowing just 5.5 yppp last season to teams that would average a combined 6.2 yppp against an average defensive team. Jacksonville is one of the best teams in the league and I’m playing them Over 9 wins.
Tennessee was a good story last year, going 8-5 with Vince Young as the starting quarterback after an 0-3 start. Don’t be fooled by that record, as the Titans were not a better than average team with Young at quarterback. Tennessee was 8-1 in games decided by 7 points or less with Young at quarterback and that sort of good fortune is not likely to repeat itself. Tennessee was slightly better than average offensively last season with Young starting (5.3 yards per play against teams that would allow 5.2 yppl to an average attack), but the defense was 0.2 yppl worse than average and the special teams were good. Overall, the Titans were an average team with Young at quarterback but that will not be the case this season after losing starting running back Travis Henry (1211 yards at 4.5 ypr), their top two wideouts in Drew Bennett and Bobby Wade and Pac- Man Jones. Young will have one of the league’s worst receiving corps and the rushing attack will not be nearly as good without Henry. The Titans did get a good replacement for Jones in the secondary when they picked up former Colts’ CB Nick Harper, but Jones was also a weapon as a punt returner and his contributions on special teams will be missed. Overall, I rate the Titans 0.1 yppl worse than average on offense and 0.3 yppl worse than average on defense with better than average special teams. Tennessee is in a tough division so it looks like 6 or 7 wins tops for the Titans this year.
My ratings favor Jacksonville by 11 points and the Jaguars apply to a very good 30-11 ATS game 1 indicator. I’ll take Jacksonville in a 2-Star Best Bet at -7 points or less.
NY JETS 20 New England (-6.5) 21
10:00 AM Pacific, 09-Sep-07
The Patriots had an off year offensively in 2006, averaging just 5.2 yards per play (against teams that would combine to allow 5.2 yppl to an average team), but adding receivers Donte Stallworth, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker will provide a major upgrade for Tom Brady to throw to and I expect Brady to return to the high yards per pass play numbers he had registered in 2004 and 2005. The rushing attack looks like it will be solid with Laurence Maroney taking over full-time duties and running behind a very good offensive line and I rate the Patriots’ attack at 0.6 yppl better than average this season with potential to be even better if Randy Moss comes close to his old Minnesota Vikings form. The Pats’ defense was solid last season, rating at 0.2 ypr and 0.3 yppp better than average, but they should be even better with the addition of LB Adalius Thomas. New England is also among the best in the league on special teams and I rate the Patriots as one of my top 3 teams going into 2007.
New York was an average team last season and they were lucky to finish 10-6 and to make the playoffs. The Jets were 0.2 yards per play worse than average on offense (5.0 yppl against teams that would allow 5.2 yppl to an average attack) and 0.2 yppl worse than average defensively (5.3 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.1 yppl against an average defensive unit) and 1 point better than average on special teams. The Jets should be better offensively, as the addition of RB Thomas Jones from Chicago (1210 yards at 4.1 ypr) gives them a decent rushing attack after averaging just 3.7 ypr in 2006 and quarterback Chad Pennington should have another better than average season. Pennington averaged 6.2 yards per pass play last season against teams that would allow just 5.8 yppp to an average QB and that was right in line with his career rating of +0.4 yppp. While New York will probably be slightly better than average this season on offense it appears as if their defense will be slightly worse than average until they can prove that they can stop the run (allowed 4.7 ypr last season to teams that would average 4.2 ypr against an average team). The Jets are likely going to be a better team overall this season but it’s doubtful that they’ll reach 10 wins and the playoffs given their tough schedule and mediocre talent.
My ratings only favor New England by 3 ½ points in this game, so it appears as if the Patriots were a bit over-hyped in the off-season. The Patriots also apply to a negative 11-25-1 ATS game 1 indicator that plays against road teams that were 12-4 or better the previous season. I’ll consider New York a Strong Opinion at +6 points or more and I’d take New York in a 2-Star Best Bet at +7 or more.
Tampa Bay 20 SEATTLE (-6.0) 21
01:15 PM Pacific, 09-Sep-07
The addition of Jeff Garcia to play quarterback will ensure that the Buccaneers will rebound from last year’s 4-12 record. Garcia is not going to put up the numbers he did in Philadelphia last season (6.5 yards per pass play), as the Eagles had better receivers than the Bucs do this year, but he should be around the 5.9 yppp average that he’s produced over the last 3 years with Cleveland, Detroit, and Philly. A decent pass attack will be a huge improvement over last year, when Tampa had to rely on rookie Bruce Gradkowski and the Bucs finished the season averaging an NFC low 5.0 yppp. Tampa’s rushing attack suffered as teams stacked the line with little fear of the pass, but the Buccaneers should be closer to average running the ball this season after rating at 0.4 ypr worse than average in 2006. Overall, I peg Tampa Bay to be 0.2 yards per play worse than average offensively after being 0.7 yppl worse than average last season. Tampa’s defense is getting older, but the Bucs should still be a mediocre unit after finishing a bit better than average defensively last season (5.3 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.4 yppl against an average defense). Tampa Bay plays a pretty easy schedule this season and they look like an 7 to 9 win team to me.
Seattle was a bad team last season but made the playoffs anyway by playing a bad schedule of teams. The Seahawks were out-scored 20.9 to 21.3 points per game and they were out-gained 4.8 yard per play to 5.4 yppl and had worse than average special teams. The offense was hurt last year by a less talented offensive line and an injury to top back Shaun Alexander. Alexander averaged just 3.6 ypr and while he’s likely to top that number this season he won’t come close to his lifetime average of 4.4 ypr, which was helped by a great offensive line. Only left tackle Walter Jones is an above average linemen now that All-Pro C Robbie Tobeck has retired, so Alexander’s days of topping 4.0 ypr are likely over. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had far less time to throw the ball last season and suffered too many sacks. The results was a horrible 5.5 yards per pass play. I expect the pass attack to rebound this season to an above average level, but not to the Pro Bowl level Hasselbeck was at a few years ago. The Seahawks’ defense also fell off sharply last season, as an injury to run-stuffing DT Marcel Tubbs greatly affected the run defense. Seattle allowed just 3.8 ypr in the 5 games Tubbs played in and 4.8 ypr in the 11 games in which Tubbs was out. The bad news is that Tubbs suffered another injury and will not play this season, leaving only untested rookie Brandon Mebane as a legitimate run stuffer. DE Patrick Kearny was added to help the pass rush and to CB Marcus Trufant should rebound from a bad year, so the pass defense should be better than average after struggling last season. The defense looks just average overall unless the Seahawks can find an adequate replacement for Tubbs. Seattle is a better team this season, but they’re just average overall and will struggle to get back to the playoffs. My ratings favor Seattle by just 4 points and Tampa Bay applies to an 89-56-3 ATS game 1 indicator, so I’ll consider Tampa Bay a Strong Opinion at +6 points or more.
OAKLAND (-2.0) 23 Detroit 16
01:15 PM Pacific, 09-Sep-07
Lions fans are dreaming big this season thanks to a potential potent offense now loaded with good receivers after drafting WR Calvin Johnson with the #2 overall pick. Detroit should have a much better pass attack with Johnson joining Roy Williams and Mike Furrey, as the Lions lacked a good 3rd receiver last season. However, the offensive line is the league’s worst and quarterback Jon Kitna was sacked 63 times last season, so the line will have to get better before the Lions truly blossom offensively. Bringing running back Tatum Bell over from Denver isn’t going to add anything to the ground game since Bell’s 4.4 ypr was produced running behind Denver’s good offense line and he won’t have nearly that much success without holes to run through. Detroit was 0.1 yards per play worse than average last season (5.2 yppl against teams that would allow 5.3 yppl to an average team) despite throwing the ball nearly 70% of the time, but I rate the Lions’ attack at 0.3 yppl better than average this season. The offense will have to be even better than that to make up for a defense that was 0.4 yppl worse than average in 2006. That defense will get better against the run with DT Shaun Rogers back after he missed most of last season, but the pass defense will still be bad after losing their best cornerback Dre’ Bly to Denver in the trade for Bell. Detroit is still going to be worse than average defensively and worse than average overall this season, but they can greatly improve their 3-13 record if they can just win a few close games after gong 1-8 last season in games decided by 7 points or less.
I knew I would have the Raiders rated higher coming into this season than they were at the end of last season, but I’m surprised by how much the Silver and Black will be improved. Oakland had a very good defense last year, rating at 0.4 yards per play better than average (4.8 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.2 yppl against an average team), but their offense was so horrible that that defense was constantly put on the field with their backs against their own goal line. Raiders’ coach Art Shell made a HUGE mistake in hiring his old offensive coordinator from the 90’s despite his having been out of football for a decade. The results were horrendous, as the offense was constantly confused and had no belief in the plays that they were running – plays that simply didn’t work against modern defenses. Oakland has no good system for picking up blitzes and the Raiders’ quarterbacks were sacked a combined 72 times while Oakland averaged a pathetic 4.2 yppl (against teams that would allow 5.4 yppl to an average team) while turning the ball over 46 times. The Raiders new head coach Lane Kiffen was smart enough to retain defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and the defense should be just as good as it was last season with all 11 starters returning. The offense will be much better too in Kiffin’s sophisticated offense and offensive line coach Tom Cable is installing a zone blocking scheme that suits the personnel much better. The Raiders’ linemen haven’t lived up to their massive potential because they haven’t been coached up at all. That has changed this year and the Raiders only allowed 7 sacks in 4 games with the quarterbacks no longer taking 7 step drops. The run blocking has also looked better and the Raiders should be a bit closer to average running the ball than they were last year. Oakland’s pass attack will be the major beneficiary of the coaching changes, as both Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper have proven to be serviceable quarterbacks and the receiving corps is not really too bad at all with Ronald Curry posting an impressive 8.2 yards per pass thrown to him last season and Jerry Porter returning after spending last season in Shell’s doghouse. The Raiders have averaged 5.7 yppp in the pre-season with McCown and Culpepper combining to average a solid 6.4 yppp. I realize that some of those numbers came against second string defensive units, but McCown averaged 5.5 yards per pass play as a starter in 2004 and 2005 in Arizona and Culpepper has averaged 5.4 yppp in his last two seasons, so the Raiders should be somewhere in that neighborhood throwing the ball this year (which is still much worse than the league average of 6.1 yppp). If that is the case then I rate the Raiders at 0.5 yppl worse than average offensively, which makes them a pretty decent team if their defense is once again at 0.4 yppl better than average. That’s actually not that far fetched considering that the Raiders were only 0.2 yppl worse than average two years ago with Kerry Collins at quarterback. If the offensive improvement is as much as I think it’s going to be then the Raiders could be looking at a 7-9 or 8-8 season this year.
My ratings favor the Raiders by 6 ½ points and the Raiders apply to an 89-56-3 ATS game 1 indicator. I’ll consider Oakland a Strong Opinion in this game at -3 points or less.
Re: NFL Service Picks-Sunday
4 Unit Play. #111 Take Philadelphia -3 over Green Bay (Sunday 1:00 pm Fox) Andy Reid makes his return to Green Bay, a place where he experienced great success under Mike Holmgren. He has owned the Packers of late, going 5-0 the last four years and outscoring them by 57 points in the latter three. The Eagles team is expected to repeat as NFC East Champions and has QB McNabb back in the saddle to open up the 2007 season. But the biggest edge lies at the running back position, as the Eagles can rely on Brian Westbrooke, whereas Green Bay does not have any running backs people have ever heard of. Philly won this game 31-9 in 2006 and I don’t see as lopsided in 2007 but I still see a comfortably win by the Eagles.
4 Unit Play. #122 Take Over 42 ½ in Carolina @ St. Louis (Sunday 1:00 pm Fox) Both of these teams are looking to get back into the playoffs after being absent in 2006 and both are loaded on the offensive side of the football. The Rams were sixth in the league in offense in 2006 and still have Steven Jackson, Tory Holt, and Marc Bulger. Carolina has always been able to move the football through the air. The Rams did not show anything during the NFLX season and were holding it all back for this affair. Expect them to come out big in the dome, as both teams reach the twenties in points and we will with the over.
4 Unit Play. #126 Take Oakland -2 over Detroit (Sunday 4:15 pm Fox) No surprisingly this game is not the feature game this weekend, but it should be a good match-up between two squads looking to improve after bad 2006 seasons. The main stat is this game is the road record of the Lions, 6-42 in their last 48 games. The Lions will be without their main running back in Kevin Jones and thus will have to live and die through the air, which does not bode well since QB Kinta committed 33 turnovers. Detroit loses this game and Oakland just capitalizes on their mistakes.
3 Unit Play. #136 Take San Francisco -3 over Arizona (Monday 10:15 pm ESPN) An important game for two improved teams in 2007 takes place on Monday night, as these two teams open the season for the second straight year. The Cardinals still have a bad defense and were burned by the passing game last year, ranking 30th in the NFL. The 49ers made some quiet signing during the off-season bringing in CB Clements and WR Jackson, both of whom are proven starters in the NFL. This will be a high scoring game in which the 49ers pull away late and win this affair.
Re: NFL Service Picks-Sunday
The Gator Report
NFL Technical Game of the Week Selection:
Game: Philadelphia vs. Green Bay
Technical Set: Play Under NFL teams when the total is between 42.5 and 49 points with a team that had a winning record last season, 23-4 Under last three seasons. Play Under on Game One NFL home teams with a line of +3 to -3 and a total more than 40.5, 17-1 Under since 2001.
Selection: UNDER 44
Re: NFL Service Picks-Sunday
Strike Point Sports
5-Unit Co-Play of the Week. #407 Take Denver -3 over Buffalo (1 pm)
The Broncos will open up '07 in winning fashion, besting a Bills team that has slipped from last year. First of all the Buffalo defense is a lot worse after losing playmakers and leaders Nate Clements, London Fletcher-Baker and Takeo Spikes. And even if Marshawn Lynch is going to be a solid pro, he is a downgrade from the previously traded Willis McGahee. The Broncos, however, are known for their prominent running game and a tremendous defense. Look for a very efficient offensive attack with Jake Cutler and the ground game. Denver will then proceed to snipe a couple of passes out of the air from J.P. Losman and create favorable field position. This game goes to the likely playoff bound Broncos, so lay the small number here.
2-Unit Play. #414 Take St. Louis -1 over Carolina (1 pm)
One of our sleepers for the upcoming season, St. Louis brings one of the best offenses to the table, and that gives them a big edge against Carolina. Having a quarterback in Jake Delhomme that took a big step back last year and has been questioned coming into this season is going to be an issue all year with backup David Carr looming. Stephen Jackson will have a huge game on the ground, while Delhomme will against start the season in turnover fashion. The Rams have a strong front four on defense and they will pressure Carolina throughout the game. St. Louis also has a major egde with wide outs Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Drew Bennett. Labeled as a small home favorite, St. Louis comes through in the Show Me State.
2-Unit Play. #406 Take Houston -3 over Kansas City (1 pm)
The Texans will take a huge step, winning their opener and making it known they are going to make a push to climb out of the AFC South cellar and compete for a winning record this season. There has been some soft rumors about Larry Johnson and the amount of work he'll get in the opener after missing the entire preseason and camp. If he can't get more than 20 reps or so, that drastically hurts an already one-dimensional Kansas City offense. Houston gets a big upgrade with Matt Shaub under center, while Ahman Green in the backfield as well will help them too. The Texans are improved on defense will playmakers like Mario Williams, Dunta Robinson and DeMeco Ryans. At home they'll be playing behind a freshly excited fan base, and it will be the small favorite that wins and covers this one.
5-Unit Co-Play of the Week. #415 Take Philadelphia -3 over Green Bay (1 pm)
Another play that we are extremely high on, the Eagles come in with a healthy Donovan McNabb and that means issues for a sketchy Green Bay defense. Philly will put together a nice balance of passes to the likes of Reggie Brown and Hank Baskett, while Brian Westbrook combines to total nearly 150 total yards on offense. Just the same, the Eagles defense is one of the best in the NFC, and they'll create two or three turnovers off the hands of Brett Favre, who seems to force more and more as his team gets younger. Philadelphia is more sound in all facets of this match-up, and special teams will be another area where the road team controls throughout the game. Lay the small number, as the Eagles come through with a nice victory this afternoon.
4-Unit Play. #409 Take Pittsburgh -4.5 over Cleveland (1 pm)
With Charlie Frye under center, the Browns will be regulated to the same type of offensive struggles as they have seen the past couple of seasons. Frye is limited as an NFL quarterback, and that will be even more the case against a rejuvenated Steelers defense via head coach and defense guru Mike Tomlin. Pittsburgh will also be improved offensively, with Big Ben having a full year of recovery and rest, while speedy Willie Parker tears up the ground game. Cleveland won't score more than 14-17 points, and that means an opening day cover for the road Steelers against their division rivals.
2-Unit Play. #427 Take Detroit +2 over Oakland (4:15 pm)
It's tough to imagine how the Raiders offense is going to match what an improved Detroit unit is going to put up in this game. Yes, Oakland has a very solid defense, but their offense puts their defense in bad situations and that is going to provide a short field fon seveal occasions for the Lions to strike with their multitude of weapons. Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson and Tatum Bell will all cash in and make a good outing for the Detroit faithful. If Oakland can't put across 20 points in this one, they aren't going to have a shot to win. They might do better, but we definitely see the Lions offense pushing across at least 24. Detroit should be favored, but in the end it won't matter as they come through victoriously.
2-Unit Play. #431 Take Baltimore +3 over Cincinnati (7 pm - MNF)
Gotta love the Ravens being favored in this spot. They may be on the road, but they are still the best defense in the league in our minds and they absolutely fly to the ball. Last season they were +3 on the road in Tampa Bay and all they did was win 27-0 in a defense beatdown. They aren't going to shutout the Bengals, but a victory is in sights and the Baltimore offense will come through as well. With Willis McGahee providing a big push in the ground game, Steve McNair can finally attack downfield with the likes of Todd Heap, Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton. This more balanced offense will allow the Ravens defense to not have to bail their offense out like in past seasons. The likes of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Chris McAllister and Tyrell Suggs will be all over the field to limit Cincy's playmakers. Look for a field goal decision, but the game winner coming off the leg of Baltimore's Matt Stover. The Ravens are the way to go on Monday night.
Re: NFL Service Picks-Sunday
Week 1, NFL Sept 6-10
Saints +6 (1 unit) L
Jacksonville -6 (1 unit)
Under 37 Buffalo-Denver (1 unit)
Carolina +1 1/2 (1 unit)
Eagles -3 (1 unit)
Atlanta +3 (1 unit)
Patriots -6 1/2 (1 unit)
Over 40 Jets-Patriots (1 unit)
Seattle -6 (1 unit)
Chicago +6 (2 units)
Giants +5 1/2 (1 unit)
Bengals -2 1/2 (2 units)
49'ers -3 (1 unit)
Re: NFL Service Picks-Sunday
Game: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
Sep 9 2007 1:00PM
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers
Reason: I'm laying the points with the Steelers on Sunday. One angle I expect to play out again is the rough record by divisional home dogs in week one. Since 2000 these teams are 2-7 SU (3-6 ATS). They were 0-2 last season when both home pups got shutout. The bottom line as far as the matchups are concerned is that Pittsburgh is just too physical and too well groomed for the youthful Browns. The Steelers also have a bit of an element of surprise. The new coaching staff has designed a new-look offense for Ben Roethlisberger and company and kept it under wraps in preseason play. So, the Browns don't have game film on the offense they'll be lining up against. According to contacts, they'll still run many of the same running plays, but will be lined up in new formations before the snap. Add in Pittsburgh's big-time advantage in the trenches on both sides of the ball and I believe we have a beatdown on our hands. The Steelers get off to a quick start and we'll lay the points. Thanks! GL! Scott.
Re: NFL Service Picks-Sunday
Seth Wick's Picks: Week 1 (ESPN INSIDER)
Jets 17, Pats 13
Bills 31, Broncos 27
Steelers 31, Browns 10
Eagles 19, Packers 17
Rams 20, Panthers 18
Falcons 20, Vikings 9
Redskins 14, Dolphins 12
Titans 16, Jags 13
Texans 24, Chiefs 19
Lions 34, Raiders 17
Chargers 23, Bears 20
Seahawks 31, Bucs 20
Cowboys 34, Giants 20
Bengals 20, Ravens 14
Niners 23, Cardinals 22
6. Super Bowl Picks.
AFC West Champ: Chargers
AFC South Champ: Colts
AFC North Champ: Ravens
AFC East Champ: Patriots
AFC Wild Cards: Broncos, Steelers
NFC West Champ: Seahawks
NFC South Champ: Panthers
NFC North Champ: Bears
NFC East Champ: Eagles
NFC Wildcards: Saints, Cowboys
Super Bowl: Patriots 31, Eagles 20.