At this point I would just advise everyone to fade my NFL picks until further notice. I went 0-2 again last week, which brings my season record to 4-12 against the spread. That said, I’m still going to continue adding my picks with the goal to get back to breaking even for this year.
Atlanta Falcons @ New York Jets
- Atlanta -4.5
- New York +4.5
The Falcons have lost 3 straight and are in absolute need of a win at MetLife Stadium this week. Matt Ryan needs to step up his game and Julio Jones needs to be more involved moving forward if the Falcons are going to have anywhere near the success that they did last season. All of that said, the Jets may be exactly what the doctor ordered for this Falcons offense.
The Jets are ranked 25th in the league DVOA against the #1 wide receiver on opposing teams, so I think Julio being a big part of the answer this week is key for the Falcons success. The Jets are also #24 in the league DVOA against opposing running backs in the passing game, and both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman can do damage out of the backfield for this Falcons offense. I really think this is a great spot for Atlanta to get their offense going again by making their best players (Julio and Freeman) the key targets this week against a defense that allows it.
The Falcons defense gave up 403 yards in the loss to the Pats this past week, but before that they kept both the Dolphins and Bills to under 300 offensive yards in their previous two losses, so it’s not the defense that is really letting the team down at the moment. If the Falcons offense can get going the defense will do it’s part to keep the Jets total to under 20 points. For this reason, I expect the Falcons to cover the spread and get back on track this week.
Play: Falcons -4.5
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Detroit Lions
- Pittsburgh -3
- Detroit +3
The Lions are coming off a bye week, which should have given Matthew Stafford enough time to rest up his injured ankle and come back at close to full health. Golden Tate being out with a shoulder injury could cause issues for the Lions offense, especially considering he’s Stafford’s favourite target and is counted on to move the chains consistently throughout the game. That said, I still think this Lions offense will be able to put up points in this game. Marvin Jones has quietly had a very solid season with his numbers not necessarily representing how well he’s performed because a lot of his big plays have been pass interference calls on the defense on deep balls. Add in the fact that Kenny Golloday should be back and Theo Riddick is due for a big performance and I think the Lions will be able to step up without Tate in this one.
The Steelers looked very good in their 29-14 win over the Bengals this past week and combined with the win over the Chiefs on the road in week 6 and this team is trending in the right direction and all of that talk about Big Ben mailing it in has subsided. It’s still LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown that do the vast majority of damage for this offense. The Lions D actually matches up fairly well with the Lions DVOA against pass catching running backs ranking 3rd in the league and ranked #7 against WR1’s according to FootballOutsiders.com. If the Lions can at least slow down Bell and Brown they should really affect this Steelers offense. And of course there is the well documented struggles that Roethlisberger has on the road.
I expect the Lions to be able to slow down the Killer B’s on the Steelers, while Stafford manages the game and makes the plays necessary to get the Lions back in the win column out of their bye week.
Play: Lions +3