I went 1-1 last week, winning by the skin of my teeth with the Oakland Raiders and losing when the Bengals concluded their game with a rare tie against the Carolina Panthers. It should be a lot smoother sailing this week with some solid picks I’ve been doing my homework on coming into Week 7. Good luck and let’s make some more money to end the weekend!
Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars +6(-105) Total: 45
Fresh off a win against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, the Browns head down south to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday afternoon.
Cleveland, more than any other team in the AFC has to be the surprise of the conference. Despite still sitting third in the AFC North, the Browns are 3-2 and have some notable wins against New Orleans and of course, last week’s demolition of Pittsburgh.
The noise surrounding Johnny Manziel has quieted as quarterback Bryan Hoyer has been fantastic so far this season. He has led several comeback victories and has been efficient when they haven’t asked him to throw much.
Defensively, the Browns have been up and down this year. Their run defense has been a giant weakness, but against the pass, they are still a near-elite unit. Joe Haden leads a secondary that should give Blake Bortles fits come Sunday.
For Jacksonville, it’s more of the same, another week, and another loss. Boasting the league’s worst offense, and porous defensive unit to boot, the Jags are 0-6 after falling to the Tennessee Titans last week 16-14.
Blake Bortles should have a great future in this league, but he’s still raw and clearly a work-in-progress. He also doesn’t have much help either. Toby Gerhart, who was brought over in the offseason to be the bell-cow back, has been injured for much of the year and was awful before he went down anyway. Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson have done nothing to spark this running game either.
Some might see this as a trap game for the Browns, but I think it’s a spot for them to show they’re not a fluke and that they can handle bad teams like the Jaguars. This is a matchup nightmare for Jacksonville.
Cleveland should have no issues running the ball against a Jaguars front that has been extremely poor, and Hoyer should be excellent off the play action. The Browns weakness against the run doesn’t hurt them much against the worst rushing offense in the NFL. Furthermore, Bortles is not afraid to air it out, and Cleveland has forced plenty of turnovers in the secondary this season.
Pick: Browns –6 (-115)
Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 Total: 44.5
Monday Night’s game at Heinz Field might not be the most appetizing matchup on paper but is a huge game for both the Texans and Steelers. Already in trouble in their divisions and both sitting at 3-3, this is potentially a must-win game for both franchises.
Houston is coming off a tough 33-28 defeat last Thursday against division rival Indianapolis, and as we discussed above, the Steelers were decimated in Cleveland last week. Both teams have had major issues defensively.
While J.J. Watt gets all the ink, Houston’s defense as a whole has been poor. They’re among the worst in the league defending the run and T.Y. Hilton via Andrew Luck shredded them through the air last week.
The same can be said for Pittsburgh. After a slew of injuries, Pittsburgh’s defense has been far from the units we’ve been used to seeing over the past decade. With almost no pass rush to speak of, the Steelers have had issues stopping just about everyone.
Mike Tomlin has decided to bench starting cornerback Cortez Allen, who signed a $26 million dollar deal in the offseason. Tomlin has also stated that many second stringers and rookies will be getting more snaps with Pittsburgh’s rash of injuries and lack of consistent play.
Regardless of their defense, I think the Steelers win this one big on offense. Antonio Brown should have a field day on this secondary and Le’Veon Bell will have plenty of holes to run through. Pittsburgh seems to play up in primetime, and this contest might as well be their Super Bowl. They’re already last in the division, and a loss would be a devastating blow to their already bleak playoff chances.
I could easily see them putting up 30 or so points in this one. I don’t think the Texans get shut out either so I like the over in this contest as well.
Pick: Steelers -3.5 (+105) and Over 44.5 (-110)