Last Week: 5-0
Season: 20-10 (.667)
It was a wonderful weekend at Chuck’s Choices, as the staff of handicapping geniuses (myself, Steve the desert tortoise and Kennedy, my 8-year old upstairs neighbor) swept the board in Week 7. Success is never sweeter than when it comes on the heels of a 2-3 performance in Week 6.
There isn’t much to choose from this week, as the Patriots have already played, Steve refuses to make a wager on any American football game played in another country, and Kennedy still thinks the Broncos’ offense can outscore their defense. Nonetheless, that still leaves us with 11 games from which to choose. Here is our best effort for a second week in a row of undefeatedness. (Yes, I had to teach that last word to my spell-checker.) First team named is Chuck’s Choice for that game. Home teams are in ALL Caps. Point spreads used are courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas, via Sportsmemo.com, and current as of Friday night, October 30.
FALCONS (-7) over Buccaneers
Atlanta went 1-1 on their 2-game road trip and they were almost 0-2, narrowly escaping Tennessee last weekend. This all happened after starting out 5-0 and looking like one of the favorites in the NFC. Two clunkers in a row is all that is needed to to get the team’s–and Coach Dan Quinn’s–attention. The were thrown into a couple of tough spots in the last few weeks, but now it’s “home sweet home” for the Birds. It is risky to ask a team to win by more than a touchdown in a divisional game, but the Falcons have the guns, and QB Matt Ryan, to do it. The Bucs suffered an emotional loss in giving up a big lead at Washington last week, and look to be in a bad spot on the road again. Atlanta’s high-flying offense gets back on track. Falcons 37, Buccaneers 17
SAINTS (-3) over Giants
If you watched the Giants’ win over Dallas last week, you know that they could have–and probably should have–lost that game. The Saints, on the other hand, are a team rejuvenated after a second straight win. There is a good energy around this New Orleans team, as they appear to have regained their rhythm. Heading back to the SuperDome after a big road win won’t hurt, either. We’re looking for the Saints to reclaim that home-field magic they so often enjoyed in seasons past. Fantasy-wise, neither team is good against running backs. More rushing plays mean a lower total, so betting under 50 might work here too. Saints 21, Giants 10
Chargers (+3 1/2) over RAVENS
Yes, it is gutsy to take a west coast team playing the early game on the east coast, but it is hard to resist the Chargers here who, at 2-5, have lost to some pretty formidable competition (Bengals, Vikings, Steelers, Packers, Raiders). I can’t help but think back to last year, when the Bolts went into Baltimore in late November and won the game, outright, over a much better team than the one they will play on Sunday. The Chargers are in a desperate frame of mind, and we can expect a focused effort from them this week. Baltimore is simply not a good team anymore. Since losing Terrell Suggs, the Ravens defense sorely lacks the energy that used to be their signature. In fact, they rank second-to-last in fantasy points surrendered to opposing wide receivers. This is a good spot for Philip Rivers and his WRs, and a good spot for the team. Chargers 39, Ravens 31
Titans (+4 1/2) over TEXANS
It is a scary proposition picking the Titans one the road. This is Halloween weekend, however, so we needed at least one of these. There isn’t much more to say except that Tennessee never gives up, and Houston is in disarray, already wondering who their new coach will be. If you are worried about Zach Mettenberger being the quarterback this week, don’t. He has all the arm that is needed to poke new holes in the Swiss Cheese that is the Texans defense. Money line? Maybe. Titans 31, Texans 13
COWBOYS (+5 1/2) over Seahawks
So what, by beating the 49ers did Seattle become a team good enough to lay 6 points on the road? This game opened at 6, and has been bet down to 5.5 by all of the drooling fans of “America’s Team.” Dallas should have won their game last week against the Giants, if not for some very unfortunate late turnovers. Dez Bryant will probably return this week for the ‘Boys, and that will give them an emotional lift–as if they needed one. One of my favorite handicappers, R.J. Bell at Pregame.com, points out that Seattle, after a win the their division, is 13-34 against the spread. I have heard opinions from sports experts that the Cowboys, despite their 2-4 record, are still the best team in the NFC East. Cowboys 24, Seahawks 17