There are some very intriguing games this week in the National Football League between very good teams. Rams/Bills, Dallas going to Seattle and the Packers in New Orleans on Sunday night. There is a big difference though between games I can’t wait to see as a fan and games I’d consider throwing a dollar or two on if I was a betting man. For that reason, I have focused on 3 teams that are currently 0-2 and very desperate. The Minnesota Vikings, the Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans all enter Sunday with really a must win mindset. After a day in the film room you may want to consider this information before you make a pick. Even though I’m 7-0 so far in picks against the spread- it can’t last, can it?
The Chicago Bears go to Atlanta this week to face a team that could be in the tank after a collapse of epic proportions last week in Dallas. Couple this with the Bears QB Mitch Trubisky leading the Bears to win last weekend. They should be riding high, right? I’m just not buying what Chicago is selling. I see a team here that has scored 5 offensive touchdowns, worst of any 2-0 teams and is far from getting my trust on the road. I also don’t think they are a team that can prepare with discipline and handle the prosperity that comes with a 2-0 start. I think they were fortunate last week to beat a bad Giants team and I see Atlanta hitting the reset button and finding a way to score 30+ points again. The best thing that can happen to you when you fall off, or in this case, crash your bike is to get up and ride again- ASAP. I’m betting the Falcons can’t wait to get this taste out of their mouth and have been focused all week in preparations to do just that. I’d give the points.
I wanted to favor the Vikings this week (being 0-2 and desperate) before I watched the film of their game with the Colts in week 2. I have always liked the Colts and the identity they have created of smash mouth, downhill, run between the tackles offensive football. What was apparent after a bit of a finer focus on the Vikings defense was that the Colts shoved their run game right down the Vikings throats. I have much respect for Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and his defensive prowess but I just don’t see, and the film backed this up, was a roster built to stop a power running team like the Colts. Well, guess what? They face a similar team in the Tennessee Titans this week. The Titans, “King Henry” is as big and physical of a runner as there is. Henry leads the league in rush attempts and is second in yards, coupled with Ryan Tannehill’s 6 TDs and 0 interceptions through the first two weeks, is just too much to ignore. On offense, the Vikings lack of execution was only outdone by the game-plan they rolled out vs the Colts. Roll outs and boot legs for an un-athletic QB? Na. They have yet to find any downfield version to stretch the field and replace WR Stephon Diggs. TE’s as your focal point in the passing game? No, thanks. I’m giving the 2.5 points and Minnesota has to wait another week to get off the mat.
The 3rd 2-0 team I peeked at is the Houston Texans. This one was simple for me. A bad matchup for the offensive line that has forced QB Deshaun Watson to not trust protection schemes, and therefore bolt from the pocket often and forego footwork and fundamentals in the first two weeks. Look for the Steelers 3-4 alignment and newly anointed Defensive Player of the Week defensive end TJ Watt to pressure Watson just like other teams have to date. The Texans offense is not hitting on all cylinders and has struggled with execution not only up front but timing in the passing game downfield as well. An ample replacement for traded WR DeAndre Hopkins has yet to emerge. Now, Watson’s best option, oft-injured WR Will Fuller is already less than 100%. I’m giving the points and taking the Steelers.
Keep in mind- my opinions and $2.50 will get you a Starbucks on just about any corner, outside of NYC. Good luck this weekend, it will be a fun weekend of NFL games, regardless.