October 22, 2017
There are two Sunday picks.
#1: Take Seattle Seahawks -3 spread (buy half point) against NY Giants for 3% of the bankroll.
The Seahawks defense has been disappointing so far this year and is on pace to give up more points and yards than in any of the last 5 seasons! We believe they are better than they have shown thus far and are still capable of shutting down opposing offenses. They are certainly capable of that today against the struggling Giants and we expect them to come out and make a statement! Pete Carroll's bunch need a big game defensively to get their swagger back and facing the injury-depleted G-Men could be just what the doctor ordered.
New York finally got its first win of the season last week against Denver but while that was impressive, it was an anomaly for a team that is just 1-5 on the season and looking lost and confused. Sometimes for a team that is under immense pressure from fans and media, it's best to play away from home and that is what happened last week. Now coach McAdoo and his squad have to play in front of their own fans and we believe the crowd won't necessarily be as supportive as he'd like. They are still very much angry about the way their pre-season hopes have been dashed and will likely show it if the team doesn't get off to a fast start in this matchup. The Seattle defense can smell blood and should capitalize on the unease around the Giants right now.
Odell Beckham Jr. is undoubtedly a game-changer and a player that can single-handedly carry an offense with his incredible speed and athleticism! Not only is he out for the year but so is veteran Brandon Marshall, who was having a poor year but had the pedigree to improve as the season went on. The Giants should get Sterling Shepard back for this one but for a player who's used to being WR3, he now has to take the challenge of being the #1 guy against Richard Sherman and company and we're just not sure he's up to the task. Other receivers did a decent job against the Broncos last week but that was a matchup in which the normally-stout Denver defense had clearly underestimated the visitors. The Broncos were installed as huge favorites in that contest and thought they can simply coast through. That isn't the case here. The Seahawks are only a FG favorite here and having watched the Giants punish complacency last week, they will have Seattle's attention. We don't expect the Seahawks to look past this matchup the way Denver did last week and that doesn't bode well for Eli Manning and company.
Olivier Vernon is a force on the defensive side for Big Blue but the veteran will sit out once again. The pass-rusher will be missed and while NY does still have other capable players, the elusive Russell Wilson could be in for a big game. The Giants have not been able to contain a tight-end all season and that means the inconsistent Jimmy Graham might finally get going. Everyone knows how physically-gifted the former basketball player is, as he showed time and time against with Drew Brees at the Saints! Since joining Seattle however, he has been a shadow of his former self and needs a statement game to get going. He didn't look the same last year and is off to a pedestrian start this year but it wouldn't surprise us if he and his teammates got going tonight. The Seahawks need this game to keep up with the high-flying Rams and should come away with the victory. This is a small number of points to lay with what is the better team in a favorable situation.
#2: Take Indianapolis Colts +3 spread against Jacksonville Jaguars for 3% of the bankroll.
The Colts played quite well against the Titans in Music City on Monday night before falling apart in the final quarter. They outplayed their opponents for three quarters before giving up the lead in the fourth. It was a disappointing loss for them but one that they learned valuable lessons from and one that had its fair share of positives. Tennessee has offensive weapons that Jacksonville does not. Mariota is a far more capable QB than Blake Bortles and DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry are as good a 1-2 RB tandem in NFL as there is! The Jags have a stud workhorse in Leonard Fournette that they have ridden hard all season but with his availability in question today, we simply don't see them having enough offensive firepower.
The former LSU back might play on Sunday but he's listed as 'doubtful' and has not practiced all week. The fact that he even missed Friday's practice suggests to us that there's little chance of him playing. The Floridans have given Fournette the keys to the franchise and as their prized asset, we don't see them risking him when he's not 100%. The chance of re-aggravating an injury is a serious one when resting him is the right thing to do, especially with a bye-week coming up for the Jax and the chance for their featured back to heal properly before that next contest. We expect the coaching staff to give him the day off and instead use Chris Ivory for this AFC South divisional matchup. The problem with that is that while Ivory is a solid running-back, he is not at the same level and his carries aren't likely to hand the visitors a 'W'. That'll force Doug Marrone to put the ball in Blake Bortles' hands a lot more than he'd like to and a lot more than he has in the first 6 weeks of the season! Bortles does not have the confidence of the organization or he would be throwing more passes than he has. They have severely limited play-calls for him this season, electing to run the ball down team's throats with Fournette and company. Now that their main offensive player is either out injured or will play at less than 100%, Bortles will suddenly be called upon to make plays and we don't see him doing a very good job of that. He has been turnover-prone in the past and is lacking self-esteem out on the field.
Everyone has written Indianapolis off but with a 2-4 record in what is a very tight division, all is still to play for. Three teams in this division (including the Titans) have a 3-3 record meaning no squad is going into this week with a winning record. Therefore, despite a 2-4 tally, the Colts are still in it and are firmly in the hunt if they can secure a victory today. We believe they can do that to make the standings even more interesting! Jacoby Brissett is learning with each passing week and has learned some tough lessons in the opening weeks of the season. He's now better equipped to make good decisions than he was a few weeks ago when he was lacking not only game experience at NFL level but growing into his role as a new member of the Colts. He's a lot more comfortable as the signal-caller now and has a poise about him that shows maturity and quiet confidence. The Jags defense has feasted on opposition QB mistakes this season but we see Brissett doing a good job of taking care of the ball this afternoon.
TY Hilton is coming off a quiet Monday Night Football game but is one of the most under-rated receivers in the league and will likely bounce back. He has been extremely consistent in recent years no matter who's throwing the football and we could see him give the Jax secondary some trouble today. Tight-End Jack Doyle caught a touchdown on MNF and will be more confident heading into this matchup while taking better care of the ball after he had a fumble. We believe this could be a close game but this is a false favorite situation and the hosts are more likely to win this game than the visitors. Even if they don't, the 3 points are a big bonus and precious, so we'll gladly take them, knowing they might come into play. Look for Chuck Pagano to rally his team as they are notoriously slow-starters in the season but somehow often end up being in the division hunt one way or another. It doesn't hurt that they are 12-4 against Jacksonville at home over the last 16 matchups! We do think they are arguably the weakest team in the division but on this particular day, they have numerous edges that should see them give home fans something to cheer about.
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