Editor's Note: Adam is SLAMMED this week with all of the items we had signed at the Minnesota Fall SportsFest and from having Austin Ekeler stop by our office. So, he was able to get his picks in before NFL Week 9 kicked off but asked for the hot tag when providing a breakdown and analysis of the games.
This week's Ultimate Pick 6 might be a little different than the usual installment but still features the betting advice from Adam combined with the standard football breakdown. Let's get those winning bets placed!
Indianapolis Colts -1 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Indianapolis Colts come into this game as one of the AFC's top teams with a well-balanced offense featuring Marlon Mack on the ground and Jacoby Brissett through the air. They also have one of the best offensive lines in football which is a crucial component to success. Just ask Baker Mayfield and the Los Angeles Rams how important an offensive line can be.
The Pittsburgh Steelers meanwhile entered the season with a lot of questions. The departures of Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell meant the offense was going to look very different than what we're used to in recent years. A new look offense coupled with iron man Ben Roethlisberger going down for the season with an injury put the Steelers in survival mode.
Both of these teams had their struggles against their overmatched opponents last week but I think it'll be tough for the Steelers to keep up with the Colts offense. The uncertainty of TY Hilton's health would be a downgrade for the Colts offense but I think they overcome that with a ground and pound attack featuring their o-line and Mack. Colts at -1 is the pick here.
Chicago Bears +5 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
This game features arguably two of the most disappointing teams this NFL season. The Chicago Bears were considered Super Bowl favorites with Mitchell Trubisky even gaining some votes for MVP prior to the season starting. My oh my how the times have changed. The Bears offense looks to be in total disarray and Trubisky has looked downright awful for much of this year.
The Philadelphia Eagles have also struggled with consistency this season. Getting a healthy Carson Wentz back coupled with the weapons on offense had many football fans tabbing the Eagles as NFC favorites. However, some underwhelming performances and an absurd amount of injuries have left the Eagles at a modest 4-4 thus far into the season. There are also rumors of internal issues with the team that may or may not be affecting their play on the field.
The Eagles at times have looked like a high powered offense and looked dysfunctional at others while the Bears offense has looked dysfunctional for nearly all of the 2019 NFL season. The Eagles are getting some guys back from injury on the defense and might have the services of Desean Jackson who is still one of the game's best deep-ball threats. Even if they are getting some players back, don't expect either team to pull away from one another on the scoreboard making the Bears at +5 a solid pick.
New York Jets -3 vs. Miami Dolphins
This is a game that should probably be a straight-up pick-em game as both teams have looked awful for most of the season. The New York Jets at least have the excuse of Sam Darnold missing a few games with mono while the Miami Dolphins have been in full tank mode before the season even started.
Despite the Dolphins doing their best to keep their stranglehold on the No. 1 overall pick, they've actually been fairly competitive in their past few games. They could've defeated the Washington Redskins in Week 6 if Kenyan Drake scored on a two-point conversion attempt, kept it close against the Buffalo Bills until an onside kick was returned for a TD and were ahead on the scoreboard at halftime against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. Still, the team seems to always find a way to lose and now without their best defensive player (Xavien Howard went on the IR due to a knee injury), it's only going to be tougher to stay in games down the second half of the season.
While the Dolphins have clearly been tanking this season, the Jets did their best to add pieces to the team in the offseason and seemed committed to making a playoff push this year. Darnold gong down for a few weeks hurt their chances and Jets fans are already second-guessing Adam Gase as their head coach. Considering the rumors of the team trading stars Jamal Adams and Le'Veon Bell (and actually trading away former 1st round pick Leonard Williams) seem to have caused a rift between players and the coaching/executive staff.
This could either lead to the Jets coming out completely flat or putting together an excellent game if they "play angry." Either way, odds are they'll find success against a paltry Dolphins team that just traded away their starting RB and has NFL journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB. The Jets should easily cover the -3 spread.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Over 52
This is a weird game to predict when it comes to spreads and over/unders. On one hand, the Seattle Seahawks should handle the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers easily. But on the other, Jameis Winston has a habit of putting up garbage time stats that make the games seem so much closer than they actually are.
The Seahawks have looked the part of a top NFC team for most of the season. But they've also had some stretches during games where the games could've easily gone the other way if the opposing team managed to take advantage. Credit to the Seahawks as they've been able to avoid those pitfalls but the more times you allow an opponent to stay in the game, the better their chances are at flipping the game. Russell Wilson has looked like an MVP candidate with an array of offensive weapons which has helped mask the struggles of their defense.
Similar to the Seahawks, the Buccaneers offense has looked great (at times) this season. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are having stellar seasons and they've been within 1-2 scores in nearly every game this season despite Winston's turnover woes. The team has become one of the best defensive units against the run but opposing teams are also choosing to take advantage of a weak secondary.
Wilson should have a field day with the Bucs defensive backfield and Winston should be able to put points up on the other side as both defensive units have struggled this year. The Seahawks might not have the Legion of Boom anymore but Winston is always generous with his turnovers. Whether it's Wilson and the Seahawks offense or the team's defense getting defensive scores, expect Winston and the Buccaneers offense have to try and keep up in this high scoring affair. Roll with the over at 52.
Detroit Lions +2 vs. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders finally return home after 7 games on the road and find themselves in an unusual spot as the favored team.
The Raiders have looked like a team on the verge of becoming a real contender for a playoff spot at points this season. Arguably exceeding expectations, the 3-4 Raiders could have a much different record if a few things had gone their way. Luckily for them, the Detroit Lions present an opportunity for the team to push their record to 4-4.
The Lions are a team that is tough to figure out. With head coach Matt Patricia at the helm, most figured the team would feature a strong defense and early on, it appeared that was the case. However, Daniel Jones shredded their secondary last week and Kirk Cousins torched them the week prior. The team traded away safety (and team captain) Quandre Diggs in a stunning move that had their starting DB Darius Slay (who was also rumored to be on the trade block) publicly criticizing the move. The Lions have lost some heartbreakers this season and injuries continue to pile up on both sides of the ball, putting their season at a turning point.
Although Raiders head coach Jon Gruden would love to pound the run with Josh Jacobs, expect David Carr and the passing attack to find some space to operate against a shaky Lions secondary. With the Raiders finding success on offense, Matthew Stafford and the Lions should find their own success against a less-than-stellar Raiders defense allowing the Lions to keep it close throughout the game.
Denver Broncos +3.5 vs. Cleveland Browns LOCK
These two teams have really struggled this season. The Cleveland Browns had an absurd level of hype surrounding them to come into the season and have stumbled to a 2-5 mark this year. Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos have gone through their own struggles at 2-6 and appear to be an organization in flux.
Baker Mayfield was a popular name for pre-season MVP talk considering the weapons the Browns offense put out every Sunday. But for a variety of reasons, the offense hasn't clicked the way anyone on the team would like. Mayfield has been running for his life with poor pass protection yet Nick Chubb is statistically one of the top running backs in the league.
Somebody who won't be running for their life on Sunday will be Joe Flacco. After coming out and criticizing his team following their loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Flacco will be out the next 4-6 weeks with a neck injury leaving Brandon Allen as the team's starting quarterback. Drew Lock remains on the sidelines despite apparently being ready to practice and play. The Broncos, one of the more historic franchises in the NFL, have become a trainwreck to watch on and off the field. Considering the likelihood that Allen struggles against the Browns defense, expect to see a lot of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman in this one.
The Browns offense has struggled with consistency this year which has me thinking they won't be able to pull away from the Broncos in the Mile High City. While the Broncos might not field a powerful offense themselves, they do have enough playmakers to keep it within 1 score for this game. Take the Broncos at +3.5 for the LOCK OF THE WEEK.
Season Record: 17-25
Lock of the Week: 4-2