Against the Spread
Bears +1 @ Rams
Who’s starting for the Bears in this game: Jay Cutler or Josh McCown? Well, not sure it matters. Josh McCown looks like he’s going to be the starter this weekend and the Bears are seeking to push his record as starter to 3-0. In four games this season, and two starts, McCown has thrown for 754 yards and five touchdowns while racking up a 100.0 passer rating. The Rams have been strong on defense and should provide a nice test for McCown and the Bears offense; however, the reason to bet against the Rams is their 27th ranked offense. The Bears should be able to contain rookie RB Zac Stacy, which will force backup QB Kellen Clemens to throw the ball against the ball hawking Bears secondary. The Bears are easily the more talented team on both sides of the ball and are underdogs in a game that they desperately need to win to stay in playoff contention. Bears are the pick.
Prediction: Bears 27 – Rams 23
Chiefs -4.5 v. Chargers
Coming off of a loss to the Broncos in Mile High, the Chiefs should be fired up to keep pace in the AFC West as the Chargers come to town. The Chargers, who are 4-6, bring a healthy offense to Arrowhead stadium and are coming off a loss in Miami, while traveling for the second straight weekend. Arrowhead is one of the most difficult stadiums to play in and the Chiefs have one of the top three defenses in the National Football League. The Chiefs offense, specifically Jamaal Charles, should find success early and often against a putrid San Diego defense. Alex Smith should be his normal efficient self and the KC defense will probably score a touchdown of their own. This game shouldn’t be close.
Prediction: Chiefs 31 – Chargers 14
Panthers -4 @ Dolphins
Both the Panthers and the Dolphins are coming off of huge wins that put them squarely in the playoff races in their respective conferences. Carolina has taken down the 49ers and the Patriots in consecutive weeks and look to keep pace in the NFC South with the New Orleans Saints, who possess a one game lead on the Panthers in the division. Cam Newton and the Panthers offense has been just good enough to allow the stifling Carolina defense to take over games and frustrate opponents. This weekend should be no different with the Dolphins struggling to score the ball. Ryan Tannehill and the rest of the Miami offense has been average at best all year and are without two or three of their starting offensive lineman. That means the Dolphins are in BIG trouble against the Carolina D. This will be a low scoring affair with the Panthers imposing their will and winning the line of scrimmage. Panthers by a touchdown.
Prediction: Panthers 24 – Miami 17
Browns +2 v. Steelers
The Steelers and the Browns are somehow still alive in the playoff race. How is that even possible? Well, the AFC North is probably the worst division in football, save the NFC East and even that is up for discussion. Last week the Browns gave up 41 points to the Bengals and the Steelers gave up 27 points in one quarter to the Lions, including over 300 passing yards in that quarter to Matthew Stafford. It’s not exactly like these teams play defense, though the Browns have a better one than the Steelers do. So why pick the Browns in a game that seems to be so evenly matched? It’s simple. The Browns are underdogs at home and have a winning record in Cleveland. There is always value in picking a home dog.
Prediction: Browns 27 – Steelers 20
49ers -5.5 @ Redskins
Betting a desperate team on the road flying across the country to play on Monday Night Football? Heck yea! The 49ers, who have dropped two straight games to the Panthers and Saints, are in desperate need of a huge victory in Washington to keep pace in the NFC Wild Card race. While the Redskins are eager and motivated to get themselves out of the cellar of the NFC East, they are going to need to find a way to slow down Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick. That is going to be difficult considering the Washington D is allowing 31.1 points per game. On the other hand, the 49ers defense has played well all season and is only allowing 17.8 points per game. On Monday Night the 49ers should be able to control the ball and the time of possession, while dominating on defense and scoring enough to put this one away early. There is a concern of a backdoor cover in my mind but it does not sway the fact that the 49ers should win this one by double digits.
Predictions: 49ers 34 – Redskins 23
Saint-Falcons Over 53
The Saints are in a dome. They should be good for over 30 points on Thursday night. The Falcons have had their problems on offense but a 20-point game should be expected from their offense. Look for this one to approach 60 by the time it’s over.
Steelers-Browns Over 40
Both defenses are coming off of subpar performances and are breaking down late in the season. 40 total points is just too low for this matchup. I expect this game to approach 50 total points and perhaps exceed that. Moreover, if you have any WR’s on either of these teams make sure to start them on Sunday. Both Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon should have huge performances this weekend.
Chargers-Chiefs Under 41.5
As we’ve discussed, the Chiefs have one of the best defenses in the business and should hold the Chargers to their lowest scoring output of the season. The Chiefs offense hasn’t been particularly impressive either and anything over 20 points should secure the win for Kansas City. The under is a solid play in this game.
Last Week: 2-2-1