Raiders (+3.5) over the Jets, Result: Win
Oakland is hosting the Jets, the Raiders are getting 3 ½ points – this is arguably the best Raider team since 2002. Their front 7 is heavily underrated, was #2 in the NFL in sacks last year and the Jets’ offensive line right now is weak at one tackle spot and Nick Mangold – the pro bowl centre won’t play. By the way, the running game for the Jets right now is atrocious. Shonn Greene, their #1 pick, is living off that playoff game in 2009. The Raiders finally get to play at home after the league dealt them a bad hand where they opened the season on a Monday night and then had a short week and had to travel east and now they go back out west. It’s the Jets’ turn to travel cross country; this is honestly not a good 2-0 football team right now. The Raiders to me have an exemplary inside pass rush with Richard Seymour and Lamarr Houston and if Nick Mangold’s out, that’s a huge disadvantage. Special teams? Nobody has got a better punter and kicker than the Raiders. It’s a low scoring game, special team’s edge; I’m going to take the points, Raiders upset my Jets 21-20.
Dolphins (+2.5) over Browns, Result: Win
Alright, so I’m taking points with the Dolphins at +2 ½ at Cleveland. Listen, the Dolphins are the only NFL team that’s better on the road, they’ve lost 11 of 12 at Sun Life Stadium yet away from South Florida, they’ve covered 11 of their last 14, yet they’re 0-2 right now and Miami is desperate. They don’t face Tom Brady and they don’t face Matt Schaub, they get a weak armed Colt McCoy who basically is averaging, check this out, Cleveland is averaging only 14 points in their last 7 games. I also think that Peyton Hillis is the only reason why Cleveland moves the ball in this football game and Miami’s linebackers are the most underrated in the league. Kevin Burnett, Karlos Dansby, Cameron Wake…this is just too many points for a Cleveland team that doesn’t score, I’m taking the points and I’ve got Miami actually winning it – you don’t have to take them to win, but I’ll take the points, 21-20 for the fish.
Titans (-7) over the Broncos, Result: Loss
Tennessee at -7, now they shocked Baltimore but that’s not why I like them, because I didn’t think they’d struggle with Baltimore. I told you last week, I love Tennessee in the points against Baltimore, but the reality is that Chris Johnson is only averaging 2 ½ yards a carry for the Titans – that’s cause he had a lockout, he will bust out this weekend…mark my words! Kenny Britt is becoming a star quietly at wide out and Champ Bailey for Denver is hurt. In fact, the Broncos are a mess defensively. Right now, Denver doesn’t have the personnel to rush Matt Hasselbeck. Six starters including Champ Bailey would be out and Kyle Orten is only averaging .46 yards a throw…why? cause Eddie Royal is hurt and Brandon Loyd is at about 75%. Chris Johnson, Kenny Britt and Matt Hasselbeck at home against a completely, physically debilitated Denver team that can’t push the ball down the field. Tennessee to me is a team that is sitting on 11-5 if they can keep Hasselbeck, CJ and Kenny Britt healthy. It should be noted, Denver doesn’t have a pass rush and the best offensive line in this league could be the Titans. They win, swallow the points and they cover 30-20.
Arizona State (-3) over USC, Result: Win
Arizona State’s favoured by 3. USC lacks depth offensively, take out Robert Woods at wide receiver and they don’t’ give you a ton of looks. Now Matt Barkley is playing great but the Trojans will start 7 freshmen –true freshman or red shirt freshman in key positions. Wide receiver, tight end, kicker, linebacker…of the 12 quarters USC has played this year – and I’m talking weak competition in Syracuse, Minnesota and Utah. In 10 of those quarters, they’ve been completely underwhelming. This is the biggest game in Arizona States’ schedule cause the Trojans have owned the Sun Devils for years and even though the Sun Devils are dinged up, they return the most defensive starters in this conference. I think it’s a good game, but a young Trojan offense with a very below average offensive line – even Lane Kiffin would acknowledge that. I think it’s too much to chew, swallow the points; Arizona State beats USC 28-20.
Notre Dame (-7) over Pittsburgh, Result: Loss
This may be the best bet of the week; the Fighting Irish got their confidence back by trouncing a pretty decent Michigan State team 31-13. Now Pittsburgh was 2-0 until they gagged like a cat in a hairball last week at Iowa. But even when they were 2-0, they allowed 45 points, 47 first downs and 800 yards at home to Buffalo and Maine!! Maine?? Who knew they even had a team! The defense for Pittsburgh is going to struggle to get a very balanced Notre Dame team off the field. Now Tommy Reese is making too many mistakes but he looked more comfortable in the 2nd half – and again, this is a Notre Dame team that is better than their record indicates. The weakness of Pittsburgh is their past defense and If you watch the Irish play, they can certainly spread the football around. This is a rout, swallow the points. Notre Dame 35-17 over Pittsburgh.