Poor Prognostication, now slightly less Poor!
Surprising news, everyone: when I am not actually gambling, it turns out I am really good at gambling. Last weeks picks went 8-1 (Thanks for ruining perfection Buffalo), bringing overall after two weeks to 15-3. This week, I will try to improve on the near perfect picks last week, inevitably fall short, and fall into a shame spiral that will ruin my whole weekend… Picks are in bold!
Auburn (+10) @ Arkansas
Second verse, same as the first. Last week, I picked Auburn to cover because they are still a talented football team that has done nothing but play in close games (except the Clemson game). Arkansas hasn’t shown it has the makeup to overcome their traditional roadblocks (see: Alabama) and have trouble with physical and athletic defenses. Auburn still has one of those, so don’t expect Arkansas to run away with this one. Auburn wins but if they lose, they’ll lose close.
Florida @ LSU (-13)
Two touchdowns is a lot to lose by, especially in the rough and tumble SEC, but LSU is playing head and shoulders above everybody right now. LSU plays even better at home, and if the game were at night, I would have taken a -30 point spread…maybe. Last week, Florida got rolled last week at home by Alabama, and I don’t see them traveling to Death Valley and faring any better. Tigers roll.
Ohio St. @ Nebraska (-10)
Is it a lot of points to give? Absolutely, but I believe in Nebraska’s ability to bounce back a lot more than I do Ohio State’s. Last week, Nebraska got a baptism by fire going into Camp Randall against Wisconsin and got run out of the state. Ohio State, at home, scored six points against Michigan State en route to a 10-6 loss. Nebraska has shown it has the offensive firepower to put up points while Ohio State’s offense has struggled. At home, coming off an embarrassing loss, I look for Nebraska to win big over Ohio State.
Oklahoma (-10.5) @ Texas
The Red River Rivalry is in full effect this weekend as Oklahoma and Texas come to the Cotton Bowl with undefeated records. While neither team has lost, Oklahoma has been the more impressive team so far this season. Their quarterback, Landry Jones, is a Heisman candidate, and their offense runs an up-tempo style designed to put up a ton of points. Texas, meanwhile, has been relying on a quarterback by committee approach, and the only thing that does consistently is stop working. In a big game, on a big stage, this young Texas team takes a licking and Oklahoma wins by two touchdowns.
Tennessee (+3) @ Pittsburgh
Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers allowed Texas running back Arian Foster to rush for over 150 yards against them. This week, they get the Titans and running back Chris Johnson, who apparently found his groove last week, rushing for over 100 yards against the Browns. This is not the Steelers defense we’re used to seeing. The linebackers are old and getting older. James Harrison is out after fracturing his eye bone. The secondary still has the same guys who were the weakness of this team last season. The blueprint is there for running on the Steelers, and the Titans will do that against a short handed squad, pulling the upset on the road. Titans by 3.
Cincinnati (+1) @ Jacksonville
Jacksonville has scored the fewest number of touchdowns this season and scored the fewest amount of points in the league. They are still breaking in a rookie quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, who wasn’t impressive enough to be the starter at the beginning of the season, which means their lone weapon continues to be Maurice Jones-Drew. Meanwhile, Cincinnati seems to have found some life on offense with their rookie quarterback, Andy Dalton, and the Bengals have found some balance in their offense, at least until Cedric Benson starts his 3-game suspension. Look for the Bengals to bring extra help to stop MJD, and the Bengals win in Jacksonville. Cincinnati by 4.
Tampa Bay @ San Francisco (-3)
It is hard on east coast teams to travel west (see: New York Jets @ Oakland, Atlanta @ Seattle). Tampa is still trying to find its identity as a team, and part of their offensive identity is being able to run the ball in order to use play action pass. The 49ers are stout against the run, which will make things difficult for LeGarrette Blount and the Buccaneers offense. The 49ers offense has been rather fundamental so far this season, in order to protect Alex Smith and to re-train him as if he was a rookie. As he continues to play in coach Jim Harbaugh’s system, they’ll open the playbook a bit more and have some bigger plays, but for right now, they’re content to run the ball and avoid turnovers. That will be enough against the slow-starting Buccaneers as San Francisco’s defense prevents the Bucs from another 4th quarter comeback. Niners by 6.
Green Bay (-6) @ Atlanta
The Packers return to the site of their playoff victory over the Falcons last season when Aaron Rodgers threw the ball at will. Expect more of the same this time around. Rodgers comes back to Atlanta with even more weapons than what he had in last year’s Super Bowl run, and Atlanta is pretty much the same defense as it was. The Falcons will hope to keep pace with Green Bay offensively, but Matt Ryan and Michael Turner will not be able to keep them in it, Green Bay wins by 13.
Chicago @ Detroit (-5)
After back to back come from behind thrillers, the Lions get to return home to face divisional rival Chicago. Detroit has found ways to score points in bunches whether it be offensively or defensively. This week, the Lions don’t need to stage a dramatic rally as their offense comes out executing, their defensive line gives their best effort to execute Jay Cutler, and NOBODY KICKS THE BALL TO DEVIN HESTER. Lions go to 5-0 on Monday Night Football, winning by 10.
What are your picks? What do you think of my picks? Let me know in the comments below and enjoy the weekend of college football, playoff baseball, opening weekend of hockey, and Week 5 in the NFL!