It gets a little disappointing when you lose more games than you win. For a moment you even consider saying, “Well, what if I pick all the games this week, but then take the other team. Maybe I could go 8-5 instead of 5-8 like I did last week.” A lesser man would have taken the easy way out and taken the Bizzaro Ben picks. But no, I’ll step up and keep on plugging away, and my picks will improve. At least, they will after this week’s slate of tough games. I promise. As always, home teams are in CAPS.
Panthers (+4.5) over Falcons
I’m tired of picking against the Panthers. They’re 4-1 against the spread this year, and Cam Newton looks better and better every week. I’m down on the Falcons since they cannot stop the pass (294.2 yards through the air, good for 28th in the league).
GIANTS (-3.5) over Bills
It’s pretty shocking the way the Bills have been playing, and it’s also pretty shocking that the Bills aren’t giving more respect. Well, actually the latter isn’t so shocking. They’re giving up 421.8 yards per game, including 102.2 yards to #1 receivers, not even including secondary options like the Giants’ Mario Manningham and the fast-rising Victor Cruz. Also, the Giants pass rush is finally back, which should finally put some pressure on a Buffalo offense I still can’t fully get behind.
BENGALS (-6.5) over Colts
Unlike most first-round receivers, A.J. Green has been everything the Bengals have ever dreamed of. He’s putting up 80 yards per game with 3 touchdowns already. The Colts, on the other hand, have nothing much to be excited about. Maybe fans can get pumped up for a potential Peyton Manning-Andrew Luck controversy.
LIONS (-4.5) over Niners
Who would’ve been guessed these two team would own a combined 9-1 record after 5 weeks? Well, I can get behind only one of these teams, and by my pick, I’m sure you can guess which one it is. One of them has 5 first-round picks starting on offense and a stout defensive line while another has Alex Smith.
PACKERS (-14.5) over Rams
Never take an NFC West team on the road. Ever!
Eagles (+0.5) over REDSKINS
Not only do I refuse to buy into the Redskins, but I’m buying into the Eagles. They are first in rushing, 8th in passing, and 7th against the pass. By seeing those numbers, you’d think they were one of the top-10 team at worse. However, they’re also 30th against the run and are last in the league with 15 turnovers. Tim Hightower won’t gash the Eagles like Fred Jackson, Frank Gore, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Michael Turner did. Plus, Michael Vick kind of has the Redskins’ number.
STEELERS (-12.5) over Jaguars
I hesitate to take the Jaguars on the road, especially when they play the Steelers. People were really down on Pittsburgh last week, but they were proved wrong when they put a 38-17 beatdown on the Titans, a team that is far superior to the Jaguars.
RAIDERS (-5.5) over Browns
I’ve been vocally against Jason Campbell, but by hook or by crook, they’re 4-1 against the spread this year. The Browns’ D will be eaten alive by Darren McFadden, and I just can’t take Colt McCoy going into the black hole.
RAVENS (-7.5) over Texans
Normally, this would be a really tough game to pick, and I may have leaned towards the Texans with such a big line. However, Mario Williams is out for the year and Andre Johnson is going to miss at least two more games. Baltimore’s offense is clicking on all cylinders, and their defense is still the fiercest unit in the league.
PATRIOTS (-7.5) over Cowboys
The Patriots have won 19 straight regular season games in Foxboro. They’ve scored an average of 33.4 points during the streak, winning by an average margin of 17.1 points. Their defense may be shoddy at best, but Tom Brady more than makes up for it.
Saints (-4.5) over BUCCANEERS
Gerald McCoy and LeGarrette Blount are out, and Drew Brees is in. NFC South games are usually bloodbaths, but I see no reason to take the Bucs here. Drew Brees is gunning for his record-breaking 4th straight game of 350 passing yards or more, and he never seems to be short of options on offense. This is your official Lance in my Pants Lock o’ the Week.
BEARS (-3.5) over Vikings
The Vikings are a lot better than their 1-4 record might indicate, they’ve actually out-scored their opponents by 5 points. Then again, Adrian Peterson has never rushed for 100 yards against the Bears, and I don’t generally like my chances when I put all my chips in the hands of 34-year-old Donovan McNabb.
JETS (-7.5) over Dolphins
I really don’t like the Jets. They can’t run, they can’t stop the run, and they depend on Mark Sanchez when they fall behind. But when they’re up against Matt Moore and Lex Hilliard on the road, I’m more than willing to give up 7.5 points.
Last Week: 5-8
Lance in my Pants Lock o’ the Week: 4-1