Pudge’s Picks – Week 6 2014


Can Matt Ryan get the Falcons offense to a fast start on Sunday?

Well, I was right to assume that Thursday night’s matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans would be the first one that was competitive, but I backed the wrong horse, thinking the Texans could surprise the Colts at home. They got too far into a hole early and couldn’t climb out.

Hopefully, Sunday I will fare better. Of note this weekend is the fact that the Bills-Patriots game will be “cross-flexed” to FOX, not CBS.

* All lines are from ESPN.

Chicago Bears (2-3) at Atlanta Falcons (2-3)
Sunday, October 12 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

*Line:: Falcons (-3.5)

Pound-for-pound, I believe the Bears are the superior team. But I believe the Falcons have that special magic at home that will allow them to pull off the victory. It’s becoming a broken record, but the Falcons need to start fast to help them win this one. If the Bears get off to an early lead, it might result in another disappointing loss for the Falcons. Unlike what they showed against the Saints in Week 1, I just don’t see the Falcons having the sort of firepower to come from behind, even at home.

Spread Pick: Bears
Straight Pick: Falcons

New England Patriots (3-2) at Buffalo Bills (3-2)
Sunday, October 12 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line:: Bills (+3.5)

The Patriots looked like a playoff-caliber team for the first time last week in a thrashing of the Bengals. But they still might not have solved their offensive line problems and face a formidable Bills pass rush. That could be problematic, but I think a Belichick-coached defense will find a way to limit Kyle Orton enough to pull off the win.

Spread Pick: Patriots
Straight Pick: Patriots

Carolina Panthers (3-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)
Sunday, October 12 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line:: Bengals (-7.5)

The absence of A.J. Green is going to be problematic for a Bengals offense that will have to rely on their ground attack to lead the charge at home. However, the return of Vontaze Burfict to the defense will provide them enough boost to limit the Panthers offensively. I expect a low-scoring affair, and I just hope Andy Dalton gives them enough to get the win for Cincinnati.

Spread Pick: Panthers
Straight Pick: Bengals

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (2-2)
Sunday, October 12 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line:: Browns (-1.5)

I simply don’t trust the Steelers. The fact that they managed only 17 points against the horrible Jaguars defense is a major red flag. The Browns nearly beat them in an improbable comeback Week 1, down 27-3 at halftime. Outside their first half against the Browns and a strong second half against the Panthers in Week 3, the Steelers have put together 16 quarters of underwhelming football this year.

Spread Pick: Browns
Straight Pick: Browns

Denver Broncos (3-1) at New York Jets (1-4)
Sunday, October 12 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line:: Jets (+8.5)

I can imagine the Jets circling the wagons and putting forth a more competitive effort than they have in recent weeks. But I’m not sure that is going to be enough facing a Broncos team and given the Jets secondary woes this year.

Spread Pick: Broncos
Straight Pick: Broncos

Detroit Lions (3-2) at Minnesota Vikings (2-3)
Sunday, October 12 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line:: Vikings (+1.5)

The return of Theodore Bridgewater and the absences of Calvin Johnson and possibly Reggie Bush make this a relative easy pick of the Vikings. That’s not to say the Lions can’t win this since their defense is certainly more than capable of making this a low-scoring affair. But given the way Matt Stafford has played this year, it’s hard to bet on Detroit on the road.

Spread Pick: Vikings
Straight Pick: Vikings

Green Bay Packers (3-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-2)
Sunday, October 12 at 1 pm ET on FOX

*Line:: Dolphins (+3.5)

If this becomes a shootout, the Dolphins are definitely at the disadvantage. But part of me wants to say that the familiarity between coaches Joe Philbin and Mike McCarthy should favor the Dolphins, especially since they had an extra week of prep. The key for the Dolphins will be to shorten the game by running the football, and the probability that Knowshon Moreno suits up this week will be a key factor in whether they can do that. They’ll also need their pass rush to come alive against a Packers offensive line that has been iffy at times. The Packers have played well as of late, but have yet to earn my trust this season because they have a tendency to struggle in these types of games. We’ll see if that trend continues.

Spread Pick: Packers
Straight Pick: Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) at Tennessee Titans (1-4)
Sunday, October 12 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line:: Titans (-6.5)

The Jaguars have split their season series with the Titans five years running, and given the injury to Jake Locker, this is likely their best chance to split again this season. Clipboard Jesus is starting for the Titans and this will be Storm Johnson’s opportunity to spark a dormant Jaguars running game. I’ll probably be kicking myself Monday morning, but I’m going to take the Jaguars to cover in a close one.

Spread Pick: Jaguars
Straight Pick: Titans

Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-4)
Sunday, October 12 at 1 pm ET on CBS

*Line:: Buccaneers (+3.5)

The Bucs appear to be making strides recently, and the Ravens are notorious for being bad on the road. But it’s hard to buy fully in the Bucs given their offensive line woes and limited running game. That’s going to put a lot more pressure on Mike Glennon to win this game and unless he can get one of those patented multi-interception games from Joe Flacco, I doubt he can pull it off. Flacco hasn’t had one of those games yet this year, so he’s presumably due. But I doubt it comes against a defense as soft as the Bucs.

Spread Pick: Ravens
Straight Pick: Ravens

San Diego Chargers (4-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-4)
Sunday, October 12 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS

*Line:: Raiders (+7.5)

The Chargers are fairly beat up at running back with rookie Branden Oliver expected to carry the load this week. But the Raiders have assumed “Jaguars status,” where they are next to impossible to pick to cover. They have a new head coach in Tony Sparano, and traditionally a change in coaches leads to slightly better results. But I’ll have to see it before I will believe it.

Spread Pick: Chargers
Straight Pick: Chargers

Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
Sunday, October 12 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

*Line:: Seahawks (-7.5)

The Seahawks are at home. ‘Nuff said.

Spread Pick: Seahawks
Straight Pick: Seahawks

Washington Redskins (1-4) at Arizona Cardinals (3-1)
Sunday, October 12 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

*Line:: Cardinals (-3.5)

I don’t really know who is going to play quarterback for the Cardinals, but picking them this week is entirely because I have faith in their defense even sans Calais Campbell. If they can slow down Alfred Morris, I don’t have a lot of belief in the ability of the Redskins to play from behind. Trust in the Kangol.

Spread Pick: Cardinals
Straight Pick: Cardinals

New York Giants (3-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-1)
Sunday, October 12 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

*Line:: Eagles (-2.5)

Given the show the Giants pass rush put on against the Falcons offensive line last week, and the issues the Eagles have faced up front this year, things should bode well for the road team. The Giants have also been successful at holding LeSean McCoy to under 50 yards rushing in their last three matchups. But Nick Foles has seemingly gotten his groove back in recent home games and I still question whether the Giants are anything more than a mediocre team that has benefited from subpar quarterback play in recent weeks.

Spread Pick: Eagles
Straight Pick: Eagles

San Francisco 49ers (3-2) at St. Louis Rams (1-3)
Monday, October 13 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN

*Line:: Rams (+3.5)

The Rams have generated just one sack so far this year. So much for that vaunted pass rush they had planned on building this year. They’ll need that pass rush to suddenly come alive against the 49ers if they have any hopes of pulling off the upset. While an injury to 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis will help, I doubt it will be enough.

Spread Pick: 49ers
Straight Pick: 49ers

About the Author

Aaron Freeman
Founder of FalcFans.com