HAVING landed a stunning full house of winning bets in Week 1, it would be foolish to ignore Tom Selwyn's (@Tom_Selwyn) latest batch of NFL goodness.
Before I get into this week’s picks, a quick recap of a good start to the season:
- Detroit will lose some games due to errors this season but, as I said, it was never going to matter against a poor Giants team – by half-time, the Lions had more penalty yards (85) than the Giants had total yards (78)!
- The unders pick in CAR @ TB was given a boost with Cam Newton ruled out. With Derek Anderson and Josh McCown starting at QB against two good defences, a low scoreline seemed inevitable even if I was panicking a bit by the end!
- New Head Coach for Minnesota, Mike Zimmer, has already left his mark all over the Vikings’ defense; they piled up five sacks, eight quarterback hits and Harrison Smith returned an interception for a TD. It was the most aggressive Vikings defence I’ve seen in ages and it really didn’t matter who was in at QB for St. Louis.
Now onto Week 2…
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens | Friday 01.25
I normally avoid Thursday night games as there isn’t too much time to do research, but after managing to watch both the Week 1 games involving these teams, I feel that Pittsburgh at odds-against (5/4) is a very good bet here.
While the scores indicated both were close games, the Ravens really should have been put to bed by the Bengals who settled for five field goals in the first-half. This allowed Baltimore to get back in it after only really putting up one or two decent drives all game.
Pittsburgh’s problems stemmed from being unable to stop Cleveland’s rushing attack in the second-half, giving up 183 yards throughout the whole game. Luckily for them, one of Baltimore’s problem positions is at RB, gaining only 94 total yards.
These matchups are always close (the last five games have been decided by three points or fewer), but if the Steelers can improve on their run-stopping and force Joe Flacco to throw it as many times as he did against the Bengals – 62! – they should come out on top. Pittsburgh has more offensive talent than previous years and the Ravens' defence is no longer what it once was, especially if CB Lardarius Webb is ruled out.
Arizona Cardinals @ New York Giants | Sunday 18.00
All the signs point to a low-scoring game here and that’s what I’ll be taking! Under 42.5 points. Going to undertake this one in bullet-point format!
- Both teams managed to put up a combined 32 points last week
- The total has gone under in four of the last six for both teams
- Eli Manning does not look comfortable in the new offence and is still without rookie WR Odell Beckham
- Despite only getting two sacks, the Lions were able to pressure Manning a lot
- Neither team seems to have a running game: Andre Ellington had 53 yards for the Cardinals and Rashad Jennings had 46 for the Giants
This looks like a game the defences should win and so unders is my bet here.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos | Sunday 21.25
Backing huge handicaps is not typically a way to success, so feel free to call me out on this one, but I can’t help but think this game is going to be a huge blow-out. Denver will just be way too strong for Kansas City, with the Broncos matching up very well against the Chiefs’ weaknesses. Denver -11.5 here.
I’ll start my reasoning with Kansas City’s OL against Denver’s pass rushers. There was already an awful lot of turnover before the season began with three starters from last year leaving through free agency. This was followed by their starting RT being suspended for the first four games, with his replacement then going down for the season. Not a good situation for any team and the unit gave up four sacks against a Titans team that doesn’t contain Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware..
On the other side of the ball, I’m struggling to see how the Chiefs’ secondary is going to hold up against Peyton Manning and co. Their only established player is Eric Berry and he can only do so much. This is coupled with the loss of their LB Derrick Johnson, who was the leader of that defense.
If this was in Kansas City I would give the Chiefs a fighting chance, but a huge Broncos win seems inevitable here.