Welcome to SLICED SPREAD, the place on Inside Pulse Sports for weekly NFL picks against the spread, head to head survivor picks, and score prognostications.
Week 2 was one of those weeks where I felt equally vindicated and humbled all in one fell swoop.
–The Detroit Lions (-9.5), Pittsburgh Steelers (-14.5) and NY Jets (-9.5) covered their numbers as huge favorites, making me smile each time they padded their respective leads on Sunday.
–The Houston Texans (-2.5) did me proud as road favorites down in Miami, and together with the Lions and Steelers I was able to secure a perfect 3-0 record with my LOCKS of the week.
–After a rough start to the 1:00 pm games (more on that in a minute), I was able to rebound to go 4-0 in the late afternoon matchups, thanks to covers by the aforementioned Texans (-2.5), Patriots (-7.5), Cowboys (-2.5) and Bengals (+4.5). I felt like I was the only person who picked the Patriots to cover this past week, so that one was especially gratifying.
–The Minnesota Vikings absolutely CHOKED on Sunday, losing to a Bucs team that simply seemed to want it more. It’s one thing to be burned by a team for ineffectiveness, but to be spurned by the clear lack of a collective will to win is a very tough pill to swallow.
–The Buffalo Bills (-4.5), Washington Redskins (-4.5) and Atlanta Falcons (+2.5) all had THRILLING head to head wins Sunday over the Raiders, Cardinals and Eagles, respectively. Of course, that didn’t really help me out all that match against the spread, but at least they were exciting games to watch nonetheless.
–Lastly, and largely thanks to Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers (+9.5) getting the backdoor cover to ruin that game for me, I ended up with a 3-7 record ATS after the 1 o’clock games went final. Oh, and memo to the Baltimore Ravens: what the hell happened?
Onto the breakdown!
SLICED SPREAD: NFL WEEK 2 BREKADOWN
WEEK 2 ATS: 8-8
WEEK 2 LOCKS ATS: 3-0
WEEK 2 H2H: 12-4
WEEK 2 H2H SURVIVOR PICK: WIN (Lions over Chiefs)
THIS SEASON ATS: 16-16
THIS SEASON LOCKS ATS: 5-1
THIS SEASON H2H: 23-9
H2H SURVIVOR TEAMS USED:
Chargers (Week 1, Win)
Lions (Week 2, Win)
SLICED SPREAD: NFL WEEK 3 PICKS
Home teams are shown in CAPS
Point spreads shown in ().
PHILADELPHIA (-7.5) over NY Giants — “Prepare for [the] metamorphosis. Are you ready, Kafka?” That little quote from Spaceballs the movie is the big story this week. Will a concussed Michael Vick be healthy enough to compete in Philly’s home opener against the Giants, or will Mike Kafka have to step in and start? Either way, I like the Eagles to win and cover against a listless Giants team that is just desecrated by injuries. Eagles win 28-16
Detroit (-3.5) over MINNESOTA — I am simply riding the hot hand in this one. After all, I hopped on the Lions’ bandwagon last week, and it paid off. Lions win 23-17
CAROLINA (-3.5) over Jacksonville — The Jaguars can run the ball, but they can’t do anything else. After two weeks of picking against Cam Newton and getting burned, I am going with a Panthers’ team that can and should outscore the Jags by a few points in this one. Panthers win 31-17
Houston (+4.5) over NEW ORLEANS — I like the 2-0 Texans as a 4.5-point underdog this week, as they’ve proven they have the offensive firepower to hang with just about any team in the league in this early stage of the season. That includes an offense led by Drew Brees, even if the Saints end up edging out Houston head to head. Saints win 31-29
New England (-8.5) over BUFFALO — Yes, the Bills have scored a ton of points the past two weeks, and yes, they pulled out a very exciting win over Oakland at home last week. With that said, do you really think Ryan Fitzpatrick can match Tom Brady point for point with the way Brady is playing right now? The extremely focused Patriots pull away late when Buffalo runs out of steam. Patriots win 41-30
CINCINNATI (-2.5) over San Francisco — The Bengals and Niners have both shown they can hang tough so far this season. I just happen to like the value of Cincy at home as small favorites with San Francisco having to travel across the country for this early afternoon game. Bengals win 21-13
Miami (+2.5) over CLEVELAND — A sloppy win over the Colts does not make me a believer in the Browns. I feel like the Dolphins are going to come out to Cleveland and play as if their season is on the line, and, with all of their AFC East division rivals at 2-0, it just might be. Dolphins win 20-17
Denver (+7.5) over TENNESSEE — The Titans shocked everyone I know by blasting the Baltimore Ravens last week. With that said, I sense a little bit of a letdown here against the spread since I don’t think Tennessee will be able to match the intensity they displayed during such a rousing win. The Titans take it head to head, but the Broncos ultimately score enough to cover. Titans win 26-20
Baltimore (-3.5) over ST. LOUIS — If there’s one team that has to be seething from last week’s proceedings, it’s this very talented Ravens team that came out flat and got flattened as a result. As for the Rams, they just seem a little too mistake- and injury-prone for my taste, especially against what should be an awfully angry Baltimore defense. Ravens win 28-13
*LOCK IT UP: OAKLAND (+3.5) over NY Jets — The Jets travel to Oakland this week, a place that has been a black hole for them historically. As good as the final score looked against Jacksonville last week, Mark Sanchez made some very regressed passes and the Jets’ running game really failed to get going for a second straight week. I feel like the Raiders are good enough to take out some very good teams at home this year, and that includes Gang Green in Week 3. Raiders win 24-20
SAN DIEGO (-14.5) over Kansas City — Last week, when I (successfully) picked the Steelers -14.5 over the Seahawks, I explained that sometimes you just have to stare right through the big number and go with the favorite. I have that same sentiment this week, where the Chargers will punish the hapless Chiefs for emotional payback after San Diego couldn’t get it done against the Patriots. Chargers win 31-13
Green Bay (-3.5) over CHICAGO — The Packers and Bears both failed to cover in Week 2, albeit in very different ways. I blame Cam Newton and the Panthers offense more than I do the Packers, while the Bears really let me down in New Orleans. Do the Bears have anyone on their offensive line who can block? It’s just a matter of time before Jay Cutler gets knocked out again, and no matter what he’ll continue to get knocked around. The Packers stay on track and out-pace the Bears in a close but comfortable win. Packers win 30-22
Atlanta (+1.5) over TAMPA BAY — The Falcons and Bucs both surprised me last week when they secured head to head victories, but both teams capitalized on their opponents’ misfortunes more than they outright won. I still contend the Falcons are the more talented team, and I like the value that Atlanta gets being a road dog against Tampa. Falcons win 21-20
Arizona (-3.5) over SEATTLE — As much as the Seahawks get clobbered on the road, everyone knows they are a much tougher out when they are home. With that said, the Cardinals are the more talented team and they will prevail. Here is an interesting stat courtesy of Seahawks.com: In his career, Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald has caught more passes against Seattle than any other team, 88 catches for 1,158 yards and 9 touchdowns, to be exact. The Arizona offense takes it. Cardinals win 21-10
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
*LOCK IT UP/H2H SURVIVOR PICK: Pittsburgh (-10.5) over INDIANAPOLIS — The Colts’ have no “Luck” in 2011, but that could change in 2012, you know, depending on who they draft with the first overall pick. Since I already used the Chargers in Week 1, I like the Steelers as my H2H survivor pick this week, even more than the Patriots in Buffalo and the offensively impressive but still winless Panthers at home. After all, I’d be stunned if the Colts suddenly woke up and won when going up against the Steel Curtain. Steelers win 28-9
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
*LOCK IT UP: Washington (+6.5) over DALLAS — Rex Grossman and the Redskins are still being underrated by the oddsmakers, which is completely fine with me. I’ll take the points and call it a night in what should be a hard-fought divisional contest. In fact, I like the Redskins outright. Redskins win 27-24
That’s it for this week’s edition of SLICED SPREAD.
See you next week – CB.