We had a decent Week 7 as our top Confidence Pool plays clicked until the Eagles fell to the Panthers and then only a few more bumps, including our bottom two picks, led to a 10-4 slate. Let’s see what Week 8 brings where we rate our most confident straight up pick (14 with four teams on a bye) all the way to our least confident (1). The point spread on each game is in parentheses but these picks are not against the spread.
Week 7 Straight Up Record: 10-4 (83 of possible 105)
14. Patriots: Patriots (-14) at Bills: If we weren’t on Sportsbook Review checking out what the best online sportsbooks were serving up on this AFC East clash between first and worst, then we might not have believed our eyes. The line opened with the Patriots somewhere around 13-point road chalk but it’s up to as high as -15 in some spots. Hey, squares will be squares but the public isn’t always wrong and the Bills already had their upset of the year back in Week 3 when they shocked the Vikings in Minnesota as 17-point road hounds. There’s only room in this rag-tag band of misfits for one upset per season, and with that we will make Belichick’s Boys our top play of the week on Monday night.
13. Steelers: Browns at Steelers (-8): The Brownies gave Big Ben and the boys a scare in their first match in Cleveland when no one was really taking them seriously, including Pittsburgh. But teams have sat up and taken notice, and at the same time that the Steelers seem to be getting their mojo together, having won three of their last four. It’s time for Pittsburgh to prove that although Cleveland has gotten better, they’re still not the Steelers.
12. Chiefs: Broncos at Chiefs (-10): Kansas City has won the last six meetings between these clubs and the Broncos are 2-9 straight up and against the number over their last 11 road contests. Nothing changes on Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead against the high-flying Chiefs.
11. Texans: Dolphins at Texans (-7½): The Dolphins have a tough time scoring to begin with, so I’m not sure how they are going to produce with a depleted receiving corps and a running game that will be dominated in the trenches by the Texans on Thursday.
10. Bears: Jets at Bears (-7): Sam Darnold is enduring growing pains as the Jets flounder due to an offensive line that’s not very good at doing their jobs and a stable of wideouts that should be put out to pasture. New York melts when faced with a top-notch defense as they did against Minnesota and Jacksonville. The Bears are just as good with the addition of Khalil Mack.
9. Bengals: Bucs at Bengals (-4½): The Bucs gave defensive coordinator Mike Smith his pink slip before last week’s win over Cleveland and his replacement, Mark Duffner, seemed to have made an immediate impact as Tampa surrendered their fewest points all year. That’s a nice story, but the Cats will remind them that they can’t play the Browns every week.
8. Lions: Seahawks at Lions (-3): The Lions are giant slayers at home after knocking off the Patriots and the Packers. In addition, Detroit is 6-0 against the number over their last six against conference opponents. Last time we checked the Seahawks resided in the NFC.
7. Colts: Colts (-3) at Raiders: We clicked on over to Sportsbook Review because we were curious as to what the best online sportsbooks would be dealing on a Raiders club that is shredding payroll as fast as Stormy Daniels sheds clothes. Amari Cooper is now a member of the Cowboys and the only real threat Oakland has is Derek Carr, but he can’t pass to himself. Despite the Colts’ soft defense, it won’t much matter because the Raiders are a team in reverse while Indy will be buoyed from their total domination of Buffalo last week.
6. Rams: Packers at Rams (-10): Some may be wondering why we assigned the Rams a relatively low spot on our totem pool. Well, the truth is that the Packers are never double-digit dogs with Aaron Rodgers under center. We could easily see the wily old vet taking the opportunity to school young Jared and putting an end to the LA juggernaut. It probably won’t happen which is why we have finally pulled the trigger on the Rams but if we’re talkin’ point spread, then …
5. Redskins: Redskins (-1) at Giants: We’re all just a bit wimpy waiting until No. 5 to include the Redskins in our confidence pool. Who the hell are the Giants anyway? If you watched that Monday night mess, then you have to be more convinced than ever that Eli should be tossing sales pitches on TV and not footballs. The Skins have everything going for them in this one except the home field advantage.
4. Eagles: Eagles (-2) at Jaguars: This is the early game taking place across the pond, but regardless of where the Jags play they still don’t have a quarterback and their defense is wilting faster than lettuce in a microwave. Eagles soar.
3. Cardinals: 49ers at Cardinals (PK): The Cards may have gotten crushed last week, but they have had 10 days to prepare and already defeated the Niners by 10 in Frisco (do San Franciscans really consider that some sort of an epithet?) only a few weeks ago.
2. Ravens: Ravens (-2) at Panthers: Hurricane Joe Flacco is more likely to score in bunches than Cam Newton. That’s pretty much the upshot of a game we wouldn’t touch with your money. Oh, and if you don’t think our rationale is based in solid handicapping then I give you this: Baltimore is 5-0 ATS in their last five following a straight up loss while Carolina is 0-5 ATS in their last five following a straight up win. So there!
1. Vikings: Saints at Vikings (PK): We’re not crazy about this game, as you can tell, but what we do know is that the Vikings have a defense while the Saints only pretend to have one. Oh, and there’s this too: Minnesota is 11-1 ATS in their last 12 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.