Going back to the NFL preseason, we are now 13-1 with all NFL plays at Joe Duffy’s Picks. We gave you specific reasons why we promised best ever football season for gamblers! This is why were labeled “The NFL Specialists” about seven years after our plays went public back in 1988.
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Here is what the pros enjoyed this week!
DENVER -8 Baltimore
Linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed are gone from the defending champions. Six new starters, still talented but best time to play them is early.
On offense top-notch receiver Anquan Boldin was traded to San Francisco, and Dennis Pitta, who became a key weapon at tight end.
Manning threw for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2012, but this year he’ll have wide receiver Wes Welker, which should be a boost to an already potent offense. Welker is perfect for Manning and his hot reads.
Denver strong running game with Montee Ball, Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman, Jacob Hester and C.J. Anderson. Manning has a pretty good offensive line protecting him, especially at the two tackle spots with Ryan Clady and Orlando Franklin
Last season, Manning was sacked just 21 times. Only little brother Eli was sacked fewer times among regular NFL starting quarterbacks.
You know how boiler room touts claim to have scouts all over the country, blah, blah? Well in the most practical sense we do because there are so many quality websites covering the NFL from different angles.
Some proven opinions believe Montee Ball will be a breakout player. Among our Golden Rules is to listen to what the oddsmakers are saying and use their knowledge against them.
Making the defending Super Bowl champs a substantial underdog on opening night is a powerful statement. You will see tonight why.
Baltimore-Denver OVER 48
Denvers top pass rusher, Von Miller is suspended for the first six games. With him on the field, Denver allowed 4.5 yards per play but 5.1 when he was off. In addition, Elvis Dumervil was released because of a fax technicality. When the two were on the field, Denver sacked the QB on eight percent of dropbacks. With the two off, they got a sack 3.4 percent of the time.
The aforesaid trusted sources in the side analysis look for Denver to bring the kitchen sink to compensate for their big drop off in the pass rush. That means a lot of feast or famine, either quick scores or three and out.
Yes Dumerville is on the other sidelines, so will still be a factor, but his absence for Denver means the strength of the defense last year, the pass rush is gone until Miller comes back.
While Dumervil is a big reason why Baltimore will be solid on defense long-term, they need some time to gel. They are not exactly playing the best team to break in a new unit.
Neither team is likely to have long and sustained drives.
TENNESSEE +7 Pittsburgh
The Steelers OL is terrible. The Steelers moved to a zone-blocking scheme this offseason and at best are a work in progress. Their running back corps is shaky. Their defense is ageing. All-world QB Ben Roethlisberger is in decline. Steelers running back Isaac Redman played in one preseason game. WR Mike Wallace in Miami.
The Tits are upgraded. Talent upgrade at both guard positions and their OL is among the most improved units in the NFL. Bernard Pollard and George Wilson greatly upgraded their secondary. Chris Johnson surprised us last year showing signs that he found the Fountain of Youth.
The Titans are dangerous with Jake Locker as he has a lot of upside, while Benji is declining for the Burgh. It is a definite overvalued versus undervalued team.
CAROLINA +3.5 Seattle
The Seahawks had the worst straight up mark of any playoff team last season at 3-5. They are playing the game at 10 AM Seattle time, so it is a tough spot for the Hawks. Russell Wilson is where Cam Newton was last season: facing the burden of much higher expectations. Look for both to regress to the mean, which means Newton will continue the progress he showed last year after getting some humble pie.
Seattle will not be at full-strength. Defensive end-turned-linebacker Bruce Irvin is suspended for the first four games after violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances, and defensive end Chris Clemons is expected to miss the game as he continues to recover from knee surgery. Key offseason acquisition Percy Harvin is out.
Seattle is overrated on DL.
BUFFALO +10 New England
Home underdogs of seven more in Week 1 are 8-3 against the spread. This spread ignores the fact of how successful rookie QBs have been in recent years. EJ Manuel is the leading candidate this season.
Last year’s top wide receivers, Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd, exited Foxborough after falling just short of 200 combined catches last season, while versatile Danny Woodhead is gone as well. We know about tight end Aaron Hernandez being gone and Rob Gronkowski is questionable. With C.J. Spiller and Vincent Jackson, Buffalo has the balance to keep the Pats off balance. This is not as good of a supporting cast as Tom Brady had had in previous seasons.
OAKLAND +10.5 Indianapolis
Terrelle Pryor will have short-term success because he is athletic and teams do not have enough game film to slow him down. As much hype as Andrew Luck came into the league with, he took over one of the worst teams in NFL history and was given a honeymoon period. Now he fits firmly into our easier to be the hunter than the hunted theory.
Darren McFadden is an underrated RB for Oakland. Luck will face a defense with veterans Tracy Porter and Charles Woodson in the secondary.
NEW ORLEANS -3 (-115) Atlanta
I get a bit nervous when the rest of the world is thinking the same way. But much like the emotion following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans will be the toughest atmosphere to play in Sunday. I am not totally sold on the Saints being back, but Sean Payton returning is a humungous emotional lift for this team.
Saints have an 11-3 SU advantage over the Falcons since 2006 when Sean Payton was hired as coach in New Orleans and the Saints are 10-2 against the Falcons with Payton and Brees together.
The Saints certainly aren’t treating this like their other seven home games. They’re pulling out all of the stops. Longtime public address announcer Jerry Romig will be honored before the game. Local hero Steve Gleason, who’s courageously battling ALS, will be recognized as well. And Saints coach Sean Payton’s official return to the sideline will add juice.
The presence of the archrival Falcons, who won the NFC South title and earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs last season, will amp the atmosphere even more. Even Drew Brees is talking as if this is no normal regular season game.
Atlanta won a lot of close games last year and could easily have had several more losses. They do not have such good fortune in this one.
Giants-Cowboys OVER 50
This is a competitor consensus. If we have a lean one way and one of the few sports services or sources we respect has a big pick on a certain side, we pass along as a competitor consensus.
Philadelphia-Washington OVER 51.5
Again totals are much more about pace than offensive or defensive competency. There will likely be more than 80 snaps for the Eagles. Yes Robert Griffin III is coming off a huge injury, but the Redskins have the weapons. Skins strong safety Brandon Meriweather is questionable, but even if he plays, this is the wrong team to be a defensive back and less than 100 percent.
Second-round draft pick David Amerson will start at right cornerback, and sixth-round pick Bacarri Rambo will start at free safety. Against this rapid fire offense, look for them to give up some big plays.
With Mike Vick to running back LeSean McCoy to wide receiver DeSean Jackson, the Eagles have some serious home run hitter. The Redkins have even more and will get the ball plenty of times against the feast or famine Eagles.
SAN DIEGO +4 Houston
It is no secret we are not big fans of Phillip Rivers. But he is high on the list of predictably unpredictable. Off a season that was bad even by his highly overrated standards, he all of a sudden enters very underrated.
Also returning are last year leading rusher, Ryan Mathews as well as eight-time Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates. With my former neighborhood mate Ken Whisenhunt taking over the offense, look for Rivers to come out of the gate quickly.
Houston Texans safety Ed Reed will not start Monday night’s season opener against the San Diego Chargers.
Rivers is 2-0 against Texans and has seven TDs, one INT and 140.3 passer rating. Dwight Freeney will make Charges debut after spending previous 11 seasons with Indianapolis.