This is probably the most intriguing NFL game of the season when it comes to the point spread. The betting market has spoken and downgraded Green Bay substantially after Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone. In comes Brett Hundley who has been a preseason star the last few months of August. I personally downgrade the Packers seven points, which would still only make the Saints a one-point favorite based off my numbers.
I explained in the beginning of this voice recording about why I like the Packers for the game so give it a listen:
The spread has dropped to +4.5 so I will make this pick official before it goes any lower.
In the voice recording I mentioned a few other games I liked with my favorite being Redskins plus the points on Monday night. I’m still waiting to see where the point spread goes but will tweet as soon as I think I’m getting the best number on Washington.
Stanford (-4.5) over USC: A lot has changed since these two teams met on September 19 in Week 3. Stanford entered the game 1-1 and beat USC straight up as a 10-point underdog. Since then Stanford flirted with a spot in the College Football Playoff but a loss to Oregon gives the Cardinal a slim chance to get a top four spot. USC has fired a coach and just permanently hired one since the Week 3 contest against Stanford. After beating UCLA, the Trojans took the interim label off Clay Helton’s title and he signed a five-year deal to be the school’s head coach. With Stanford having more to play for, I think they cover this number. Helton and USC will have one eye looking towards recruiting and might not be well prepared for this game.
Saints (+7) over Panthers: I made the point spread for this game Panthers -4. So I think there is some value in this line. New Orleans is a much better team at home and their defense has to be slightly better since Rob Ryan got fired. The Saints played the Panthers tough when the two teams met earlier this season and I think this will be another close one.
Rams (+6) over Cardinals: This is the classic take the Jeff Fisher team as an underdog in a division game. The Cardinals might be looking ahead to a Thursday night game at home against the Vikings. I think the Rams will be able to have success on the ground with Todd Gurley and cover this spread at home.
Giants (+2.5) over Jets: The Giants are technically the home team but you can throw out home field advantage here since the Jets play in the same stadium. I still don’t think the Jets are a better team than the Giants and not sure why they are favorites especially without Darrelle Revis. I think the Giants win straight up and put themselves in a strong position to win the NFC East.
Chiefs (-3) over Raiders: I usually don’t like taking away favorites but I think the red-hot Chiefs aren’t getting the respect they deserve in this line. Oakland has won five game but I don’t spot an impressive win on their schedule. The Chiefs are on a great winning and covering streak, and I’m going to take a shot at them doing it again.
I’m not a huge fan of the Cardinals this season but I am very down on the Saints in 2015. New Orleans finished 7-9 last year, and lost Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills. Those two players were important weapons for quarterback Drew Brees who is now a year older. The Saints defense is also a mess right now.
The Cardinals struggled at the end of last season but I wouldn’t put much stock into that because Carson Palmer was hurt. Drew Stanton was serviceable but he eventually got injured, which led to Ryan Lindley starting a playoff game. The Cardinals were 7-0 at home with Palmer and Stanton as the starters last year. Palmer is back and it always seems like the Cardinals have covered a spread in this range under coach Bruce Arians at home. I think the Cardinals are the better team and like them giving less than a field goal.
The New Orleans Saints have been recently known for their high-powered offense and one of the best home field advantages in the league. The defense has been below league average and is one of the reasons why Drew Brees only has won one Super Bowl.
In 2014, the Saints greatly underachieved by finishing 7-9 and dropped their last five games at home. Last season’s performance and record is why I’m confused why they are expected to win nine game this season. Brees is now 36 and showed signs of slowing down last year. He lost two of his top weapons in tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Kenny Stills. Graham was traded to the Seahawks and I don’t see anyone of the Saints roster filling into Graham’s role. The Saints defense didn’t get better and they released Junior Galette after his controversial offseason.
The NFC South was very bad last season but I think the three other teams in the division will have better seasons. I see the Saints as the team in that division not playing better and can see New Orleans finishing in the basement of the NFC South.
Ravens (-6) over Chargers: This line might be a little higher after Baltimore went into New Orleans and beat the Saints on Monday night. The short week isn’t an ideal situation for the Ravens but I think the win by double digits at home. The Chargers are 3-3 in their last six games and haven’t covered a spread. The Ravens are right in the AFC North race and face must-win games every week.
Bengals (-4) over Buccaneers: I think this line might be lower than I expected because the Bengals play the Steelers next week. However, Cincinnati can’t afford to look ahead as the Ravens, Steelers and Browns are right behind them in the division race. Tampa Bay is coming off a big game where they played Lovie Smith’s former team. Next week they travel to Detroit, which might also be an important game for Smith facing an old NFC North rival. The Bengals are a different team with a healthy Giovani Bernard along with Jeremy Hill and I think they win by a touchdown.
Saints (+4.5) over Steelers: The best thing for the Saints after three uncharacteristic home losses is to get away from New Orleans. I think they regroup especially with a division title to play for. I still think the Steelers can win this game but it will be by a field goal. Saints have played a lot of close games on the road where they just fell short.
Panthers (+3) over Vikings: The Vikings had a great effort against the Packers last week and I think they show up flat. The Panthers had a bye week to prepare and amazingly are still in the NFC South race. I think this will be a very low scoring game in Minnesota.
Broncos (-1.5) over Chiefs: The Chiefs have a great home field and this game is at night. I still think the Broncos should be the favorite in this game and the line should be closer to a field goal. Julius Thomas looks like he is coming back for Denver, which will cause matchup problems for the Chiefs defense. The inconsistent play from Kansas City receivers will catchup up to them and I think the Broncos win by at least three points.