Here is a quick recap of my 2013 picks from when the model was originally used:
If you notice, the numbers increase around Week 6 where teams really start to show who they are. By then, coaches know what to expect from each team week-to-week and can game plan effectively.
“NSC” is Neutral Site Calculation – the projected spread at a neutral site. In close games, the favor sometimes switches to the other team. I mention NSC a few times below.
Seahawks @ 49ers (SEA by -3.21) Thursday 8:25PM EST
No objection to the model. The Seahawks are a better team than their record and the 49ers are not what they once were. This used to be a game fans looked forward to watching.
Bills @ Jaguars (BUF by -11.87) Sunday 9:30AM EST
Since this game is played in London, the NSC is actually -14.87 in favor of the Bills. With Tyrod and McCoy returning I don’t see how the Bills can lose this game. Plus they win every other game and they lost last week, so there’s that.
Buccaneers @ Redskins (WAS by 18.68) Sunday 1PM EST
The Redskins will win and I’m starting their defense in a fantasy league this week. DeSean Jackson will probably not play but the Skins will get Jordan Reed back to help Pierre Garcon catch errant passes from Kirk Cousins. The Bucs run game is good though – I don’t think this game will be a blowout. I think it will be closer than a 18 point beating, and the model will lower the Redskins in next week’s Power Rankings.
Falcons @ Titans (ATL by -12.23) Sunday 1PM EST
Titans will be starting Zach Mettenberger as Mariota has a sprained MCL. I don’t think Zach Mettenberger can beat Dan Quinn’s defense. I also have my doubts about the team facing the Matt Ryan/Julio Jones/Devonta Freeman trio on offense. I am also starting the Falcons in two Fantasy leagues.
Saints @ Colts (IND by 2.62) Sunday 1PM EST
This will be close, as the NSC is -0.38 in favor of the Saints. Both teams are playing middling offense and defense. The Saints did beat the Falcons and have had a few more days rest. I could go either way, but I will default to the model here.
Vikings @ Lions (MIN by -3.8) Sunday 1PM EST
The Vikings are finally playing as a balanced team on offense. The Lions have one win this year against the Bears. If the Lions get their running game fixed they can beat Minnesota. I don’t think they do it this week though.
Steelers @ Chiefs (PIT by -10.75) Sunday 1PM EST
The Steelers are one of the top rated teams from the Power Rankings. They have been able to win some games without Big Ben, and their defense is playing better. I think this game could be closer than the model suggests, and I don’t know how Landry Jones will be able to handle Arrowhead Stadium.
Browns @ Rams (STL by 6.85) Sunday 1PM EST
The Browns were almost able to beat the Broncos last week, and I believe if they can somehow stop the run (Todd Gurley) they could pull out a W. However, St. Louis is coming off a bye and Cleveland’s offense is mediocre.
Texans @ Dolphins (MIA by 7.53) Sunday 1PM EST
The Dolphins woke up last week, and played lights out defensively. Let’s see if they can continue that momentum into this week. Dan Campbell is relying more on the running game than Joe Philbin ever did. I think Houston is a great team on paper they just can’t figure it out on game day.
Jets @ Patriots (NE by 8.31) Sunday 1PM EST
Billed as the first big test for the Tom Brady “we’ll show YOU guys” winning campaign, I think the Patriots come out with the win here. I don’t think the Jets can offensively keep up with the Patriots. The only solution would be a heavy dose of Chris Ivory to keep Brady off the field as much as possible. Couple that with blitzing and mid-field coverage of Edelman and Gronk and it could happen. Unfortunately for the Jets, they can cover outside receivers extremely well – the Patriots don’t throw to their outside receivers 90% of the time.
Raiders @ Chargers (SD by 5.02) Sunday 4:05PM EST
The Chargers are number 1 in Passing and Overall Offense. The Raiders are 31st in Passing Defense. I don’t know how the Raiders can win this game without forcing a bunch of turnovers. Philip Rivers is an every week starter in daily fantasy leagues and this week is no exception.
Cowboys @ Giants (NYG by 6.15) Sunday 4:25PM EST
This would be a much better game if Tony Romo or Dez Bryant was playing. Since I am assuming Dez will play it safe and not play, the Giants will win this matchup. It will be interesting to see if Matt Cassel can keep it close.
Eagles @ Panthers (PHI by -6.84) Sunday 8:30PM EST
I think the model hates the Panthers because even though they are undefeated they are middle of the pack in the Power Rankings. I would personally pick the Panthers here as they are playing well and Sam Bradford is not. This is the model’s only upset pick this week against Las Vegas odds.
Ravens @ Cardinals (ARI by 15.68) Monday 8:30PM EST
It’s too bad the NFL cannot flex Monday Night Football games because this would have been flexed out. I don’t think the Ravens have a shot here, although I am starting the Elite (?) Joe Flacco in one fantasy league where Aaron Rodgers is on bye.