September 13, 2015 (Posted at 11:00 AM ET)
There are 3 NFL picks today.
SPS is confident of topping all charts by the time the Super Bowl comes around! However, it is a marathon; NOT a race.
1) Take the UNDER 44 total points in Miami Dolphins vs. Washington Redskins risking 3% of the bankroll.
Joe Philbin has proven to be a defense-first type of coach over the years and emphasizes solidity and stoutness above all. As if his defense which was already among the best with the likes of Cameron Wake wasn't strong enough, they went out and bolstered it even more this off-season by signing Ndamukong Suh! Theywill be a hard team to break down this season and are facing a squad that is in disarray and without a true offensive identity. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Philbin and his offensive-coordinator are often conservative with the ball and choose to run the clock down instead of extending their lead. Their tendency to keep possession and move the chains methodically limits the opportunities that both sides get.
Jay Gruden along with Mike Pettine are the two most likely candidates to be fired first this season in our opinion. The confusion surrounding the QB situation has been a real problem for Washington for a couple of years now. We believe Kirk Cousins is the right choice, nonetheless, the fact that Robert Griffin is still on the team and hovering around in the picture prevents this team from being a fully cohesive unit. There are different reports and opinions being tossed around every day and the players themselves seem to be split on their philosophies. The Redskins' management has been poor from the front office to the sidelines and this is a franchise that is likely to have another terrible season. Unless they get points from special teams, we don't see their offense moving up and down the field with ease today and could see their efforts ending in field goals and punts for the most part. It also doesn't help that Cousins has struggled with interceptions in his NFL career!
The weather forecast is 30% chance of rain for this contest and that is likely to make an offensively dull game even more of a possibility! Both teams will rely on running the ball as much as throwing out deep passes and when they do, the chances of completions isn't very high. Dolphins RB, Lamar Miller had an outstanding season last year and is one of the backs that will be charged with the task of running the clock down at times. On the other side, Alfred Morris is a capable back as well and will get his fair share of carries. This won't be a shootout. There will be miscues as there often has been with Jay Gruden's Redskins but they won't always result in points being put on the board. We expect a fairly low-scoring affair.
2) Take San Diego Chargers at -3 spread against Detroit Lions risking 3% of the bankroll.
The Detroit Lions are poised to compete for their division title this season, but this is not the same Detroit Lions team as in years past. Yes they still have Calvin Johnson, but they have also lost a lot of pieces on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Perhaps their biggest losses are Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairly. For a defense that ranked number 2 in the league last year, the loss of these players will surely take them a step back. Another underrated piece that will be missing from the Lions defense in this contest will be DeAndre Levy, who is out with a hip injury. Levy led the Lions with 151 tackles last year and keyed the NFL's best rushing defense. Levy being off the field will no doubt have an impact in this contest.
The San Diego Chargers are also a team that is restructuring their style of play. Last season QB Philip Rivers pretty much carried the offense on his own. They were an extremely predictable one-dimensional offense that were consistently dropping back and passing. This allowed opposing defenses to simply pin their ears back and rush the passer. San Diego has stated that they are going to be a much more balanced team this year, and they could as they have a (potential) elite caliber running back in Melvin Gordon on their roster. Gordon lit up the college football world last season and could come in and make an immediate impact in this system. In addition, Danny Woodhead who is more than serviceable is back after missing most of last season with injuries.
Playing on the road in the first game of the season always puts added pressure on a team. Matthew Stafford is a decent QB, but he has struggled mightily in his career away from Ford Field. He often forces the ball into windows that he has no business throwing in. His decision making is often questioned and he has cost his team the game on more than one occasion. The San Diego defense could force Stafford into some uncomfortable situations and cause some turnovers. Melvin Gordon could be in line for a big debut today and if he can add the balance that has been missing out of the Chargers' offense that should allow Philip Rivers to be much more deliberate in the passing game and he’ll be tough to beat at home. We believe the Lions will struggle a bit in this contest with so many new pieces in place and that will allow the Chargers to come away with the win. This is a short number to lay with the home team.
3) Take the UNDER 41 total points in Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars risking 3% of the bankroll.
There is really nothing too complex about this pick. In our opinions, both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers are not offensive powerhouses and lack playmakers. They have much better defenses than offenses and that will be put on display. They have both shown that even when they have been able to move the ball down the field, that their drives have often resulted in Field Goals rather than TDs, which keep their games lower scoring.
As a former linebacker himself, Ron Rivera is one of the most defensive minded coaches in the league which also make him extremely conservative. Rivera's teams run down clock which limits opportunities for both themselves and opponents and often end up relying on their kickers to hit field goals. Cam Newton had his worst season last year and will likely have limited options at receiver this year, especially since one of his favorites targets, Kelvin Benjamin, has been lost for the season. This offense is poised once against to struggle putting points on the board and will rely heavily on solid defensive play captained by Luke Keuchly! The Jaguars also bolstered their defense in the offseason and should be improved from a year ago.
With this being opening weekend and the first game of the season, we expect there to be offensive issues with both teams. Chemistry, timing etc. all need time to formulate, especially with teams like both Carolina and Jacksonville who already have a history of struggles on offense. The total in this matchup is set low and we believe that is for good reason. There will be some field goals scored, but we don't believe there will be a lot of touchdowns. Ron Rivera is often conservative and relies heavily on Graham Gano to hit field goals. There will only be a few TDs the entire game and as long as there is no special team scores or overtime, this one should land comfortably under the total.
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