Thursday, October 15, 2015

NFL Picks, Week 6 - Thursday Night Edition

This week's NFL TV maps: 506sports

The majority of the country (in terms of map coverage, not necessarily number of households) will see 
Denver at Cleveland (CBS, 1 PM)
San Diego at Green Bay (CBS, 4:25 PM)
Carolina at Seattle (FOX, 4:25 PM)

The entire country will see 
New England at Indianapolis (NBC, 8:30)
New York Giants at Philadelphia (ESPN, 8:30 *Monday*)

Atlanta (-3.5) over NEW ORLEANS
The Saints are the new Cowboys. For years (until the last couple of season, really) the Cowboys had big names and talent, so most assumed they would be a factor in the playoff race, and every year they "disappointed". Why? Depth. Yes, those Cowboys had stars, but they were always an injury to the wrong position from having to put a scrub out on the field and ask him to make plays. When you have a weak link out on the field, NFL teams pretty quickly find it and exploit it. A combination of bad salary cap management and inattention to both lines made Dallas a house of cards. Peek behind the front and the structure was rotten. 

These Saints have the same problems. Salary cap mismanagement and a continuing affinity for kicking the salary cap can down the road with restructures (which save money in the present but restrict future flexibility) have left the Saints with little depth at many positions, starting up front on both sides of the ball. As a result, they aren't nearly as good as the names on their roster would have you believe. 

Fact: The Saints have scored more than 22 points this season once, and they needed overtime to do so. 
Fact: The Saints have allowed at least 26 points this season in all but one game, and that game was against Brandon Weeden. 
Fact: The Saints are 1-6 in their last 7 home games, and that one win in overtime over Brandon Weeden. 

It's not that the Falcons are a great team, they have a 5-0 record largely because they have beaten up on weaker teams. But the Saints are a weaker team. Now that the Falcons are no longer pushovers on both sides of the ball, there isn't much support for picking New Orleans to win this game. 

I usually lean towards the home team in the midweek games, unless the quality of the visiting team is much better than that of the home team. Atlanta is significantly better than the Saints right now. 

2015 Midweek Games: 2-2-1

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