The Patriots opened as 4-point favorites as they travel to New York to face the Jets in Week 7.
I was so cock-sure of my picks last week that I called them a parlay waiting to happen. And promptly went 1-2. Thankfully, one of those misses was on a last-second TD throw from Brady to Thompkins, so I couldn’t be too broken up about it. But in spite of that happy accident, this has been a brutal year for handicappers. Some of the best minds I know are hitting somewhere south of Big Papi’s batting average. Of course, it’s a cyclical game, so swings are to be expected. I sure as hell hope that means we’re due to see the pendulum swing back into the black very soon.
Living on the outskirts of the Pittsburgh media market, I was forced to endure last week’s Jets game in its entirety. And it was painful. Cromartie looked like he was playing with cement shoes, the rest of the secondary couldn’t cover lunchmeat, and the Jets offense only managed 267 yards and six points. It’s not hard to create a scenario in your head that involves another member of the Ryan family with a pained expression at the end of the game this week.
The Steelers laid out a pretty decent blueprint for beating the Jets – lots of intermediate passing to take advantage of soft coverage, plus just enough pressure to force Geno Smith into quick decisions. He had a serious case of happy feet against Pittsburgh, and most rookies can’t correct that issue immediately.
With that said, I hate, hate, hate the idea of picking a team fresh off a gigantic win when they are playing an opponent that has at least a few things going for them and are fresh off a rough loss. Those lines are always inflated. Also, the loss of Jerod Mayo will hurt a lot more with Wilfork already off the field. And with Talib possibly at less than 100 percent (I had a hip flexor injury before, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone), this has all of the makings of a game whose ugliness might rival the first matchup between these two teams. I’m begrudgingly taking the Jets and the points.
Other Lines I Like
49ers (-4) @ Titans
Chris Johnson has been doing a convincing impression of a tree, and he’s their best weapon on offense. They’re starting Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB. They’re facing a 49ers defense that is allowing 3.8 yards per carry and has more picks (8) than passing TDs allowed (7). I don’t mind laying 4 on the road when the hosts could easily score in the single digits.
Jaguars (+9) vs. Chargers
This Jaguars team stunk it up against the spread the first few weeks with Gabbert at the helm, and it has created some big numbers to cover. With Henne under center and Blackmon back in the fold, they should be a sneaky value play for the next week or two. The Chargers will also be coming off a short week to travel to the East Coast for a 1 p.m. game. That rarely works out well.
2013 Record ATS: 6-11-1
Record ATS since 2010: 113-110-3