Welcome to The Pick 6, a place where I’ll aggregate and break down my six favorite plays on the NFL board every week during the regular season. Winners aren’t guaranteed in the following column, but they’re pretty damn close.
Please enjoy and don’t @ me if I go 0-6 – I’ll be miserable enough as it is.
The Pick: Bears +7
The Stat: Since 1984, teams are 10-23 against the spread in Week 1 the season after losing in the Super Bowl and 2-14 ATS the last 16 seasons.
Super Bowl hangovers are real, my friends, and I have a feeling the Atlanta Falcons drank A LOT to help themselves forget about their fourth-quarter collapse against the Patriots. They’ll travel to Soldier Field for a date with the Bears on Sunday and they’ll be the second-biggest road favorites on the entire board.
Somebody get Matt Ryan a bloody mary, he’ll need it if he’s going to help the Falcons cover a 7-point spread in Week 1.
The Pick: Colts-Rams UNDER 41.5
The Stat: Scott Tolzien has a career 64.7 passer rating and the Rams were LAST in offensive efficiency in 2016.
The aforementioned Tolzien, whose name sounds like an over-the-counter sleep aid, will lead the Colts out of the tunnel against the Rams this weekend with Andrew Luck sidelined for the foreseeable future and that’s caused a 7-point swing in the odds because of how bad he is. When he last started for Indy, his offense managed just seven points against a mediocre Steelers defense.
LA’s D should be good enough to hold Tolzien down and I don’t expect Jared Goff and the NFL’s worst offense to do much either.
The Pick: 7-point teaser with the Chargers +10.5, Raiders +8.5, Ravens +9 and Panthers +1
The Justification: Philip Rivers always torches the Broncos, the Raiders had a lot of close games in 2016 and could beat the Titans straight up, the Ravens defense is still too good to get blown out by Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis, and the Panthers are Super Bowl contenders this year – they aren’t losing to the 49ers.
Paying out at +200 this teaser actually feels pretty safe.
The pick: Raiders-Titans OVER 50.5
The Stat: Games that closed with the highest total on the board went 13-4 on the OVER/UNDER last season.
People are expecting big things from the Titans and Raiders this season and the two will meet in Week 1 with a total of 50.5. That’s tied with the Packers-Seahawks game for the highest total and as the stat implies, I like this one to topple in Tennessee.
The Pick: Giants +5.5
The Stat: The Giants are 3-0 straight up against the Cowboys in their last three games and the average margin of victory in their last five contests is 2.8.
New York’s defense projects as being one of the best in the NFL this season and Dak Prescott was godawful against the G-Men in his rookie campaign, posting a 58.6 passer rating. While Ezekiel Elliott will suit up for the Boys, I expect the Giants’ elite rush D to keep him somewhat under wraps and help Eli and an improved offensive unit stay within a field goal all game.
The Pick: Cardinals -1.5
The Stat: Matthew Stafford is 0-4 against the Cardinals for his career and the Lions are 0-7 SU in their last seven games against Arizona.
When we last checked in with Stafford and the Lions, they were getting chased off CenturyLink Field in a one-and-done playoff appearance against the Seahawks. Detroit’s offensive line has to be one of the worst in the NFL and the Cards have some supreme pass rushers and linebackers.
With basically no running game, Stafford is going to be forced to stand in the pocket and I think that ends poorly for the most expensive player in pro football. Let’s hope the Lions got some insurance on that contract.
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