Good news, guys: I took the Steelers. I also took the over and loved it in a big way and boy did it cash easily, with 21 points in the first 10 minutes of Thursday night’s game.
But you knew that already if you were listening to me on the Pick Six Podcast (it’s a daily NFL podcast, why on Earth would you not want to subscribe and get all your football info in one spot?) or on CBS Sports HQ (our 24/7 streaming service with gambling advice and real sports news for real sports fans, also free, why are you not watching?), where I wouldn’t shut up about how much I liked the Steelers and the over. Blind hog, etc.
At any rate, it sure does feel like we might see an overcorrection week in the NFL. There are some WILD spreads out there and the books just spent the weekend getting blasted by the public. (Worth noting: . You shouldn’t feel bad for them and they prefer you think they’re having a tough time, because they’re not.) So after hammering a surprisingly small home favorite in the Steelers, we’re gonna go mostly underdogs.
Basically we’re going to do the opposite of what seems smart and right. Chicken salad on rye, untoasted. Let’s go.
Steelers (-4) vs. Panthers
WINNER, WINNER CHICKEN DINNER. In all seriousness, I loved the Steelers all week and plugged in my SuperContest picks early because of it. Carolina isn’t great on the road, the Steelers are great at home and they’re cooking with gas right now. I’m only writing stuff here to let you know that next week you will want to take Carolina on the road against the Lions.
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Buccaneers (-3) vs. Redskins
Another fairly small home favorite with a number that makes no sense. Why would the terrible Buccaneers be favored by three points against the Redskins? MAKES NO SENSE. Well it does if you look at the matchup in the trenches. Washington’s offensive line has been great but losing Brandon Scherff is a massive blow. Tampa’s defense has been terrible this season, the worst in the NFL. But they are good on the defensive line and should be able to pressure Alex Smith. Here’s an inexplicable stat about the Redskins that is relevant to this:
Like, that doesn’t seem possible. But the reality is Washington can’t play from behind. They have zero explosion and if you get up on them early you can bury them. They can also bury you — the defensive line is stout and can pressure quarterbacks but the secondary has been getting banged up lately and Mike Evans could feast in this matchup. I think Tampa scores early on some shot plays and doesn’t let its foot off the gas in a cruise-control win.
As I’ve been saying all week long on the podcast, if you can get 10 in this game, go get it now. It’s going to move and it’s not going to close as a double digit. This is the biggest underdog Russell Wilson has ever been in his career — since 2012, the Seahawks have never been dogs by more than 7.5 points and have only been dogs by 7.5 points in three games in that stretch, all of which they covered. I get the Rams are going to be angry about losing and they’ll be focused on locking up the division, which a win would effectively do here, but they’re also going to be thinking about Week 11’s matchup against the Chiefs in Mexico City. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are fighting for their LIVES. They are 4-4 and right on the fringe of the NFC playoffs. Lose this game and it’s a major uphill battle with other wild-card teams making moves up the board. Seattle can run the ball effectively and have an offensive line that’s better than people realize. The Rams are susceptible to the run (24th in DVOA defense) and Seattle can muddle this game by churning clock. It’s just too many points.
Cardinals (+16.5) at Chiefs
Hi, my name is Will and I’m stepping onto the tracks in front of an out-of-control freight train. The Chiefs have as many losses against the spread (one) as they do in real life, they’re a covering machine and they aren’t afraid to throw it all over the place late in games. People are not going to be afraid to lay this absurd number because Patrick Mahomes is a terror. The Arizona defense is good but not good enough to slow down Kansas City. So why would I take the Cards? Because this line is stupid and absurd and inflated as all get out. 65 percent of the tickets on this gameare on the Chiefs, per the Action Network, which is an insanely high number for a team LAYING SIXTEEN AND A HALF POINTS. The Cardinals offense is going to be better this week than anyone expects, with a full week off to get Byron Leftwich and Josh Rosen on the same page. Rosen found something late in the Cardinals last game; their only wins might be against San Francisco and I don’t think they’ll win this game, but I do think they’ll manage to put up points against the Chiefs defense and either keep it inside the number or storm through the backdoor.
Lions (+6.5) at Bears
This line is too much. It’s begging people to take the Bears, but the reality is a full touchdown for Mitchell Trubisky is too much. It’s a bloodbath by DVOA, with the Lions checking in at 29th overall and the Bears ranking as the only team in the NFL that has a top 10 defense and offense (!?!). I like the Bears, I do. But this is too many points for a divisional matchup where the Lions will have adjusted to life without Golden Tate. I also don’t love the idea that the Vikings were -4.5 against Detroit and now Chicago is a bigger favorite over the Lions. Again, I like the Bears, but I like the Vikings more and think they have a better home-field advantage. I’d love to tell you I have some great stat on the Lions traveling and playing well on the road. I don’t. On our podcast picking every game this week, R.J. White scared me on this pick. But I’m riding it anyway.
BONUS UNDERDOG OF THE WEEK OF THE YEAR
So Cleveland is an eight-point underdog to the Chiefs, gets absolutely blown out by Kansas City, never comes close to covering and then the line is chopped in half against the Falcons, who profile similarly to KC? Makes no sense. The Browns are not good and could easily lose by 20+ points in this game. At some point I’ll stop taking them. But not at this point — I think they WIN OUTRIGHT. Baker Mayfield’s “breakout” game against a questionable Atlanta defense playing its second straight game on the road. The weather should be frightful and the Browns are going to make something weird happen and then carry Gregg Williams off the field on their shoulders. It will be epic.
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