Note: Every week, I pick games against the spread on the Michael Irvin Show on ESPN Radio, and I’m putting them on our blog.
One of the most important things in picking games against the spread isn’t just making the right choices with the spread, but rather picking which games you’re actually right on. Every week, you’re right on some and wrong on others; Figuring out which ones you’re right on is the key. I was set to pick the Browns –3 last night. I had it written down. But I decided not to go with it because of being wary of Brady Quinn and thinking that explosive Denver offense could make me pay. I dodged a bullet. The other game I ultimately axed from my picks this week: Arizona –9. Just a funny feeling that the Niners could make it a game. My picks in bold:
Green Bay at Minnesota Vikings –2
The biggest difference between last year’s Packers and this year’s is not at quarterback but at running back. Last season, Ryan Grant averaged 5.1 yards/carry; this year it’s 3.5 and 2.6 on the road. Facing the No. 2 rush defense won’t help.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles -3
The old Pro Bowl Donovan McNabb is back, effectively using his mobility to evade blitzers and hitting receivers on the roll out. On the flip side, despite the MVP mentions, Eli Manning hasn’t completed 60 percent of his passes in any game in almost a month.
Tennessee Titans at Chicago Bears +3
Kerry Collins has struggled when he’s played teams with top-10 rushing defenses. When the ground game hasn’t been able to carry the offense in those two games, he has a QB rating of 60.7. The Bears have the No. 6 rush defense in the League.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots –3.5
Only two Bills have more than 40 receiving yards/game, and one of them, Josh Reed, is out for the game. Marshawn Lynch hasn’t been able to repeat last year’s success, largely because of an offensive line that hasn’t made holes for him to run through and that has allowed 23 sacks in the passing game. I'm picking the Patriots, though the half point does make me very nervous.
Last week: 4-2. Season: 29-19-2