New England Patriots -6 at New Orleans Saints
Last week’s 42-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs left Patriots fans feeling empty and it gave Vegas fat(ter) pockets. Last week’s season opener was one of the biggest wins the wise-guys had on an opening day game. The Patriots made losers out of anybody who took them straight up, second half, teasers, parlays etc. . . More so, the Patriots defense could not get their pass rush going and the offense seemed lack-luster. Could this be the end of Tom Brady? Most likely not. Super Heroes go out as winners, usually. Now, the public has to decide if the Pats reign over the NFL is coming to an end, or if the Pats will rectify this embarrassing loss. The Saints on the other hand, weren’t embarrassed by the Vikings last week, but they were definitely kept in check for all four quarters. The Saints showed that their defense is still “bleh” and they also showed that the signing of running back Adrian Peterson is going to be a headache for most of the year. Peterson is the least valuable back out of the three-man-rotation in the Saints backfield and that isn’t going to sit well with the future hall of famer. Aside from that drama though, Drew Brees still completed 73% of his passes against a good pass rush, so just imagine what he’ll accomplish against this Patriots defense. The Patriots are still winning the division, they can probably even win this game – but the Saints have the upper hand playing at home to avoid the 0-2 start.
The Pick: Saints +6
Minnesota Vikings +4.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers
Weren’t we just discussing the Vikings? Yes, we were. Quarterback Sam Bradford looked amazing carving up the Saints defense, and rookie running back Dalvin Cook, proved to be worth the first round pick running for 127 yards in his first game. The Steelers opened as a 10 point favorite last week against AFC North doormat, the Cleveland Browns, but had to hold on tight for the entire ride to come out on top 21-18. Really wasn’t an impressive win for the Steelers who people expect to have an almost unstoppable offense this year. Pats Pulpit on SB Nation wrote up a piece going in detail about how Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is a completely different player at home than he is on the road. In the last three years he’s thrown 62 touchdowns at home compared to 24 on the road and has a quarterback rating of 109.5 compared to a traveling QB rate of 85.3. This is another case of the public seeing Minnesota look great on national television and getting the points against a veteran team who struggled against the lowly Browns. Don’t fall for the trap.
The Pick: Steelers -4.5
Arizona Cardinals -7 at the Indianapolis Colts
I’ve got issues with both of these teams. First, the Colts. . . Chuck Pagano is the worst coach in the NFL. And has been for years. Why is he still the coach of the Colts? Oh, because the Colts are one of the more poorly run franchises in the NFL. They have failed to give Andrew Luck a competent coach or a decent team; and now it seems their medical staff may have failed Andrew Luck who is still sidelined. Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien looked awful against the Rams last week and even if newly acquired Jacoby Brissett doesn’t know the playbook yet, he’s the better option. Jacoby Brissett is a “Beating Vegas” favorite because he was the reason money was put on N.C. State when he was the one under center. With that being said, the Colts are awful. . . And that leaves us with the Cardinals. The most disappointing, under achieving team in the NFL. Unlike the Colts’ Pagano, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is actually a great coach – but something just isn’t clicking on this team. Where it needs to click the most is the quarterback position but folks, remember you heard it hear first (said it last year too) – Carson Palmer is done. He has nothing behind his throws and reminds me of the Cap Rooney character Dennis Quaid played in the movie “Any Given Sunday.” This will be one of the most toughest games to watch this year.
The Pick: The Under at 44
Good Luck and Wager Wisely!