DJF’s NFL Five
I’ve decided to challenge myself to post my top five NFL picks each week, limiting myself to 10 units and keeping tracking of my progress. I’m not a professional by any means, but I’ve done pretty well over the past few years.
Pick 1: San Diego +1 at Kansas City. 3 Units. San Diego’s not nearly as bad as they looked against an excellent Atlanta team last week while Kansas City was beaten soundly twice before eeking out an unlikely overtime win against a team with no coach. The one thing the Chiefs have had success doing offensively is running the ball, but the Chargers have held opposing teams to 3.6 yards per carry, giving up only 67.3 yards per game, good for fourth best in the league. I look for Phillip Rivers to rebound this week, a healthy Ryan Mathews to be involved early and often and the Chargers to take this one easily.
Pick 2: Green Bay -7.5 vs. New Orleans. 2.5 Units. When a team eschews balance in an effort to become elite on one side of the ball, as New Orleans has been doing with their offense, that side of the ball has to be absolutely dominant. In recent years, the Saints’ offense has been just that, and we’re seeing now that it’s been due in large part to Sean Payton. The Packers offense hasn’t been sharp through 3 games, but they’ve played the 49ers, Bears and Seahawks whose defenses are among the very best in the league. Aaron Rodgers and his receivers will feast on this inept Saints defense while the suddenly average Saints offense will not be able to keep pace. The Packers run away with this one.
Pick 3: Arizona vs. Miami, Under 39.5. 2.5 Units. Both of these teams possess defenses that are vastly superior to their offenses. With Kevin Kolb and Ryan Tannehill, both teams will struggle mightily to sustain any drives. Arizona’s allowing only 13.3 points per game, while Miami’s 22 per game is a bit inflated due to a week 1 loss against Houston in which Miami turned the ball over 4 times in the 2nd quarter, allowing Houston to score each time with an ultra-short field. Assuming there aren’t a ton of defensive scores, this game has a 17-10-type final score written all over it.
Pick 4: New York Giants +1.5 at Philadelphia. 1 Unit. The Giants came out flat to start the season against Dallas, then played terribly in the first half of their game against the Bucs in week two. Since then, however, they’ve looked like the class of the league. The absolutely dominated Tampa Bay late in that game and carried that over into a beatdown of Carolina 4 days later. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has looked completely undisciplined on offense and despite their 2-1 record, their point differential is -19 (The Giants sit at +29). The Giants have been perhaps the best road team in the league over the past few seasons and I expect them to win this one with relative ease.
Pick 5: Chicago at Dallas, Under 41.5. 1 Unit. Quick, name the lowest scoring team in the league through 3 weeks… If you guessed Dallas, you’re right (they’re tied with Philadelphia having scored only 47 points thus far). Dallas’s offense has been sputtering while their upgraded defense has been very impressive. Similar things could be said of Chicago, whose offense has struggled, but whose defense is giving up only 16.7 points a game, good for 5th best in the league. I expect Dallas to win a 20-14-type affair.