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Pudge’s Picks – Week 6

October 13th, 2013
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Will the Steelers get their first win in 2013 this week?

I was not at all surprised that the Giants managed to cover in the Thursday night game. I said as much in my pick, but given that thus far this season I was 0-3 when picking the Giants, I could not pick them a fourth time despite an unwieldy spread in favor of the Bears. So this week I start 0-1 against the spread, but 1-0 straight up.

No Falcons this weekend, and I’m thinking perhaps that maybe that will bring me luck to get this season back on track as far as my picks go. I don’t know if I can say the same for the Falcons season, but I’m optimistic for myself.

I think part of my problem has been that I’ve made too many “unilateral” picks this year. Meaning too often I’ve taken the same team to win the game as to cover. And generally speaking when the spread is under 3 points, it makes sense for that to happen. But when it’s larger than that, I should be much more willing to take the underdog.

Detroit Lions (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (3-2)
Sunday, October 13 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Browns (+2.5)

Brandon Weeden is starting, so how can I pick the Browns? But the concern with the Lions is if Calvin Johnson is once again out, the Lions really have nothing offensively they can throw at that tough Browns defense. But I trust Suh, Fairley, and that Lions front to wreak havoc on a week Browns’ front line, but the Lions looked completely out of sorts without Johnson last week. But even if Johnson does play, I can’t imagine him to be that effective going up against Joe Haden at less than 100-percent.

Spread Pick: Browns
Straight Pick: Browns

Green Bay Packers (2-2) at Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Sunday, October 13 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Ravens (+3.5)

Baltimore had a dozen listed as questionable or worse on their injury report this week, but I suspect most of them will play. I believe that Torrey Smith should feast against a weak Packers pass defense that is made weaker by the absence of Clay Matthews. But it should be noted that the Packers are 4-2 in games that Matthews has missed over the years, so it’s not as if they haven’t been able to overcome his absence. I simply don’t trust Joe Flacco, and the Packers are looking for their first road win, as they blew fourth quarter leads to the 49ers and Bengals earlier this season.

Spread Pick: Packers
Straight Pick: Packers

St. Louis Rams (2-3) at Houston Texans (2-3)
Sunday, October 13 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Texans (-7.5)

This is going to be an interesting game if only for the fact that Matt Schaub is backed up against the wall. Without a strong performance this week, he may soon lose his grip on the starting job. The Rams have scored a grand total of 3 points in the first half in a pair of road games. Houston hasn’t been great this year, but I suspect their defense should have little issue with the weak Rams offense, and be able to pound the ball against a weak Rams run defense. So the Texans shouldn’t need Schaub to play that well to win.

Spread Pick: Texans
Straight Pick: Texans

Carolina Panthers (1-3) at Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
Sunday, October 13 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Vikings (-2.5)

To be honest, most of the matchups tell me that I should favor Carolina in this one. The Panthers have the front to bottle up Adrian Peterson, Matt Cassel is starting for the Vikings, and Steve Smith should have a field day against a weak Vikings secondary. But Peterson is going to be dealing with the death of his son, and not to be cold-hearted but I expect him to play inspired football much like Brett Favre and Torrey Smith did the weeks following the deaths of their loved ones. I wish Peterson the best in this trying time.

Spread Pick: Vikings
Straight Pick: Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4)
Sunday, October 13 at 1 pm ET on FOX

Line: Bucs (+1.5)

This is an interesting matchup: Philly’s offense against Tampa’s defense because Philly’s defense and Tampa’s offense are both terrible. Nick Foles will be starting for the Eagles, but I think he might do better than Michael Vick since he should be better able to protect the football. The question really is whether Schiano has coached up Mike Glennon enough with the week off to make a competent showing against a weak Eagles defense. If Tampa is going to salvage their season, it starts this week.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Over/Under on how many times I call out Dalton this year is 20. Here’s a tip: bet the over.

Spread Pick: Bucs
Straight Pick: Bucs

Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) at Buffalo Bills (2-3)
Sunday, October 13 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Bills (+7.5)

Thad Lewis will be starting for the Bills this week, and normally I would be quick to dismiss the Bills for that reason. But then I realize that he still may be the best quarterback on the field on Sunday with Andy Dalton lining up across the field. The problem for Lewis is that he may not get a ton of help with both C.J. Spiller and Stevie Johnson being questionable this week. Fred Jackson has played well this year, but I think he’ll run into some problems against a Bengals front that is starting to play well. Top receivers have also savaged the Bills weak secondary, and thus A.J. Green should have a big game assuming Dalton doesn’t suck. That’s not a safe assumption.

Spread Pick: Bills
Straight Pick: Bengals

Oakland Raiders (2-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)
Sunday, October 13 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Chiefs (-9.5)

At some point, the Chiefs are going to a drop a game but I don’t believe it will be this week. The Chiefs defense is just too good, and Terrelle Pryor is going to need to have the game of his life to overcome it. And the Raiders defense simply isn’t good enough to make me believe that this will be the week that Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith blow it for Kansas City.

Spread Pick: Chiefs
Straight Pick: Chiefs

Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4) at New York Jets (3-2)
Sunday, October 13 at 1 pm ET on CBS

Line: Jets (-2.5)

I like the Steelers chances given that the Jets are coming off a shortened week and are going to be hurting in the secondary and at wide receiver. I expect Dick LeBeau to throw some things at Geno Smith that Mike Nolan was unable to do. But the problem in that thinking is that Jets defense is going against a weak Steelers offensive line. Roethlisberger could easily be sacked eight times in this one. Mike Tomlin has won five straight coming off a bye week, and thus I’ll cross my fingers and hope the Steelers finally get their act together and get a win.

Spread Pick: Steelers
Straight Pick: Steelers

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) at Denver Broncos (5-0)
Sunday, October 13 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS

Line: Broncos (-27.5)

I said in Week 3, that I suspected the Seahawks-Jaguars matchup would feature the biggest line of the season. Well, I was wrong. I think many expect this game to look like what happens when Alabama hosts some FCS cupcake. I’m not sure that will happen, simply because Denver may take it fairly easy if they get up big. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brock Osweiler in before the fourth quarter, which opens up the possibility of a backdoor cover. But considering Jacksonville lost by 26 to Kansas City, 28 against Seattle, and 34 versus Indianapolis, it doesn’t seem likely they will fare better against a better team in Denver. And as I’ve made a habit of saying in recent weeks, if I’m going to go down, I will not do so with the Jaguars.

Spread Pick: Broncos
Straight Pick: Broncos

Tennessee Titans (3-2) at Seattle Seahawks (4-1)
Sunday, October 13 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS

Line: Seahawks (-13.5)

While Seattle gets a boost from the healthy return of center Max Unger, they are still starting Paul McQuistan and Michael Bowie on the outside against a potent Titans pass rush. But why am I examining this game? Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting for the Titans, and the Seahawks are at home. I have little confidence in the Titans offense to really do much against the Seahawks defense, but I do think enough of the Titans defense to keep Seattle from running away with this and within two scores.

Spread Pick: Titans
Straight Pick: Seahawks

New Orleans Saints (5-0) at New England Patriots (4-1)
Sunday, October 13 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

Line: Patriots (-2.5)

The Patriots rarely lose two in a row, but I don’t like their matchup against the Saints. Without Vince Wilfork or Tommy Kelly, I see Drew Brees having all day to throw against a good Patriots defense. And I think Rob Ryan will have that Saints defense ready to go against Tom Brady and his lackluster receivers, as they will likely have another game sans Rob Gronkowski.

Spread Pick: Saints
Straight Pick: Saints

Arizona Cardinals (3-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-2)
Sunday, October 13 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

Line: 49ers (-11.5)

Wait, someone remind me how the Cardinals are 3-2. Oh, they haven’t really played anybody. What looked to be a tough opening to the season was made easy since both the Rams and Bucs are pushovers, and the Lions are a bad road team. The only test the Cardinals have faced was against the Saints in Week 3, where they got blown out. If Larry Fitzgerald is out of this one, I don’t give the Cardinals much hope.

Spread Pick: 49ers
Straight Pick: 49ers

Washington Redskins (1-3) at Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
Sunday, October 13 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

Line: Cowboys (-5.5)

You know the main reason why I like Washington in this one? I think Dallas is ripe for a letdown game after a strong showing against the Broncos last week. Sure, the Redskins defense is hot garbage, but so is the Cowboys. They gave up 93 rushing yards to Knowshon Moreno last week, and 112 to the Chargers the week preceding who are a well below average rushing team. The Redskins game plan will consist of controlling the line of scrimmage with Alfred Morris, and being able to open up big plays against a Dallas defense that has given up quite a bit.

Spread Pick: Redskins
Straight Pick: Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts (4-1) at San Diego Chargers (2-3)
Monday, October 14 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN

Line: Chargers (+1.5)

I don’t know if you guys know this, but the Colts are rolling. And they’re facing a Chargers defense that struggles to create turnovers. Philip Rivers had avoided the turnover bug until last week against the Raiders, and I’m not sure if he’s in for a repeat performance against an opportunistic Colts defense. Andrew Luck has been solid this year when he’s had to be, and the Colts running game has been on point all year long. The Chargers definitely can beat the Colts, but it will take a strong performance from the former and a weak one by the latter for that to happen. That certainly can happen on any given Sunday, but this one is being played on Monday. You see what I did there?

Spread Pick: Colts
Straight Pick: Colts

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