It was beat central last week. A pick at the goal line from Carolina spoiled a cover. The Chiefs scored in just 12 seconds for the second consecutive year against the Bills to spoil the first half. We couldn’t get a 59-yard field goal from Dallas to get a back door cover ourselves. There is no point in complaining. We just have to wake up and get back to it.
We are already at week 7 of the NFL season.
We have a loaded slate. Year to date we are still 17-13-1 on the year, so not too shabby. Without further ado, here are the picks.
Record Year to Date 17-13-1
Cleveland at Baltimore
Spread: Baltimore (-6.5)
Both of these teams seem to be in a tailspin. Cleveland has dropped three straight and Baltimore is coming off a 24-20 upset loss to the Giants.
I think Baltimore is the team that bounces back here.
All Pro guard Wyatt Teller is out as well as right tackle Joe Haeg. Then Denzel Ward will miss the game on the defensive side of the ball and Jadeveon Clowney is questionable. Baltimore should have its way against a Browns defense that has been awful against the run and pass. Bailey Zappe threw for 300 yards on them last week. Cleveland ranks 30th in rush defense DVOA. JK Dobbins will miss this game for Baltimore.
But the Baltimore run game should still be strong. Lamar Jackson has dominated the Browns in the past.
I think that trend continues here. Give me Baltimore’s offense to put up a huge number here and then cover at home.
The Pick: Baltimore (-6.5)
Atlanta Falcons at Cincinnati Bengals
Spread: Cincinnati (-6.5)
The Falcons are 6-0 against the spread. There have only been four teams to start 7-0 against the spread- the 2021 Cowboys, 2018 Chiefs, 2008 Titans, and 2007 Patriots. While the Falcons aren’t as dominant as those teams were, people are still overlooking them. We are going to continue to ride them here.
This will be a tough matchup. The Falcons have allowed the most yards against the pass and now they face one of the best QB-WR combos in football. I think they keep this game close by sticking to the formula; running the football, controlling the clock, and by playing great red zone defense.
Cincy’s offense hasn’t been as explosive this season ranking 21st in DVOA. They have had some protection issues on the O-Line and keeping Joe Burrow upright has been a struggle. Marcus Mariota exploded against San Francisco, and I think Arthur Smith’s team keeps that momentum going.
Simply too many points.
The pick: Falcons +6.5
Kansas City at San Francisco
Spread: Kansas City (-1)
We got the game of the week and a rematch of Super Bowl LIV. Both teams are playoff contenders that are hoping to bounce back off a loss, and a new superstar in San Francisco, with the news that Christian McCaffrey is now a 49er.
I think this is the game that is going to highlight Jimmy Garoppolo’s career. How different would Jimmy G be perceived if he would have hit Emmanuel Sanders open deep and came away with a Super Bowl win? I think Jimmy G thinks about that all the time. He has the chance to change his own narrative Sunday. The Chiefs' secondary is still banged up and they have struggled against the pass (28th in pass DOVA).
Which brings me to: The biggest matchup advantageous here is the San Francisco offense against KC’s defense in the red zone. We know Patrick Mahomes is going to put up numbers. Which means the 49ers are going to need to capitalize on their red zone opportunities. The Chiefs are allowing teams to score touchdowns on 75% of their red zone possessions. With the big news of the 49ers adding McCaffrey at running back, I see them being very successful in that arena.
Then on the defensive side, the 49ers had the formula to give the Chiefs offense trouble. Mahomes struggled at times against Buffalo when they were able to bring pressure using just four guys. This San Francisco defense ranks fourth in the NFL with a pressure rate at 34 percent and they blitz less than 25 percent of the time. The defense will still miss a couple of starters, but they get Nick Bosa back at the edge. Troy Warner is a linebacker that can keep up with Travis Kelice or spy on Mahomes.
I like the matchup on both sides. Then add in the stat that Jimmy Garoppolo is 14-6 SU and 16-4 ATS as an underdog in his career- I’ll take my chances with the 49ers here.
The pick: San Francisco ML
New York Jets at Denver
Spread: Pick em
I like backing teams at home in must win spots. Denver might have looked terrible but if they had good quarterback play, they could easily be 5-1 right now. Russell Wilson is hurt with a hamstring and his status is unknown.
Regardless, I’m going to back Denver’s defense here.
Denver ranks second in overall defense DVOA. The Jets really can only win one way, taking care of the ball and running the football. Breece Hall has been a beast and the Denver defense is average against the run. Denver is going to commit everything to the box and make Zach Wilson beat them. It’s a tough spot for a Jets team that has to be feeling good about themselves. While Denver is the hungry dog desperate for a win. I’ll take the hungry dog here. The New York Jets defense ranks 12th in DVOA. The Broncos offense has to figure it out right?
This is a situational pick and I’ll take Denver at home.
The Pick: Denver (Pick 'Em)
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers
Spread: Los Angeles (-5)
What if I told you before the season the Seahawks ranked second in yards per play and fourth overall in DVOA. Geno Smith is completing over 70percent of his passes and he grades out as one of the most efficient passers in the NFL?
What a crazy story.
Seattle has been great on the offensive end this year.
Los Angeles has been a mixed bag.
Justin Herbert made history throwing 57 passing attempts without a touchdown pass. But the Chargers young phenom signal caller should bounce back here. While Seattle has been great offensively their defense continues to struggle playing an outdated scheme that Pete Carroll stubbornly continues to use. They run cover 3 as a base defense and they continue to get shredded. It probably won't help Seattle that Keenan Allen is expected to return to the Chargers offense.
This game is going to be points, points, and more points. The Chargers rank sixth in the NFL in pace. They don’t slow down when they have a lead (one of the reasons why they always blow games.) The game script will play out perfectly. The Chargers will come out with a lead and Seattle will comeback.
The pick over 50.5
Follow Austin on Twitter - @AMontgomeryLive