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Week 4 – Bonjour et bienvennue de France!

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Bonjour! C’est Mike James et bienvenue dans une autre édition de Smooth’s NFL Football picks!

So why am I speaking French? That’s because at this moment I am on holiday, in the beautiful location of Mont St Michel in the northern part of France just outside of Normandy. The island commune is located just off the coast and it is one of France’s most recognizable landmarks. Of course, Normandy was also the site of one of the largest amphibious invasions during World War II over 70 years ago. I will be visiting Omaha beach on Friday, and then end my vacation by going to see my newly adopted football squad, Paris Saint Germain play in Ligue 1 football on Saturday. But of course, we have football to take care of as well. NFL football that is. Let’s do this!

Because we’ve pre-recorded this, we won’t have our usual recap of Week 3 games and the Odds for week 4 have not been reported as of this broadcast. So we’re only going to do head to head predictions without the scores.

Thursday, September 28

Chicago at Green Bay

Always a tough matchup between these two long-time rivals. However, this rivalry will be one sided this season, simply because the Bears are in a re-build and the Packers are playoff contenders.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay

Sunday, October 1

New Orleans at Miami

This game will be played across the English Channel in London, the 2nd of four games across the pond. New Orleans still having issues on defense. Miami transitioning with a new QB. This could be a high scoring matchup, which would favor the Saints.

Smooth’s Pick: New Orleans

Carolina at New England

The Panthers need to get back to scoring. They’ll have a mountain of a task going into Gillette Stadium this weekend. The Patriots are always tough at home, although the Panthers are tough on defense. Eventually, this is the Patriots game to lose.

Smooth’s Pick: New England

Jacksonville at NY Jets

The Jags are technically on the road for the 3rd time in 4 games. But they’ll have to take on the Jets, who are usually tough at MetLife Stadium. This is not gonna be an easy win, and Gang Green may actually be in line for an upset.

Smooth’s Pick: NY Jets

Tennessee at Houston

The Titans take on their division rivals the Texans. On paper, the Titans are usually the favorites, but this game is in Houston, and the Texans defense is always tough at NRG stadium. It will come down to a last second drive to win it.

Smooth’s Pick: Tennessee

Pittsburgh at Baltimore

This is an important game for the Steelers. Also an important one for the Ravens, as well. The winner with take the first step in the AFC North and it will come down to a controlled run game. That favors the Steelers.

Smooth’s Pick: Pittsburgh

Cincinnati at Cleveland

Given the struggles with the Bengals, this would be a great time for the Browns to pull off an upset. In order for that to happen, the Browns offense needs to step up and execute. With this being a home game, now is their chance.

Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland

Detroit at Minnesota

Another NFC North matchup, this time in Minneapolis where the Vikings are a much stronger squad. But the Lions are working on all 4 cylinders and looking good. Look for a decisive victory from the team from the Motor City.

Smooth’s Pick: Detroit

LA Rams at Dallas

This will be a test for this young Rams team. Playing in a loud and hostile stadium with a tough offense. The Cowboys should be able to manhandle this squad.

Smooth’s Pick: Dallas

Buffalo at Atlanta

The Bills will test this high-octane offense of the Falcons. But in the end, the dirty birds will wear down the Bills.

Smooth’s Pick: Atlanta

Philadelphia at LA Chargers

The Eagles will fly to Carson, California to take on the Bolts. Both teams will put the ball in the air often. The advantage goes to the Eagles defensive line who will keep the chargers offense busy all day.

Smooth’s Pick: Philadelphia

San Francisco at Arizona

The Niners continue to get better despite losses. But now they have to travel to Glendale, where the Cardinals look to take advantage of a weak secondary.

Smooth’s Pick: Arizona

NY Giants at Tampa Bay

In-fighting have turned to Giants from contenders to pretenders. Their next game against the Bucs will determine if their season is a wash. Look for a tough game between the two.

Smooth’s Pick: NY Giants

Oakland at Denver

This will be the game of the weekend. The Raiders, tough on the road gets their biggest test of the season in the Mile High city. The Broncos looking to stop a hot offense.

Smooth’s Pick: Denver

Indianapolis at Seattle

The Sunday night game features the Colts heading to the Emerald City to take on the Seahawks and 12th man. Very hard to win in Seattle, but can the Seahawks find offense. My guess says, “yes”.

Smooth’s Pick: Seattle

Monday, October 2

Washington at Kansas City

The Redskins take on the Chiefs in Arrowhead. Both teams have great offenses. It will come down to who has the best defensive secondaries. KC is very tough at home.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City

Now with all picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to gamblersanonymous.org.

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Week 3 – Power Rankings Roller Coaster

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Week 3 and we’re starting to see teams begin to see who they really are and not who they pretend to be in the pre-season.  Power rankings have the Falcons and Lions rising while the Cowboys and Giants fall out of the top 5.  No doubt, there will be more jockeying as the season goes by.

Taking a look at last week’s results,

Against the Spread: 7-4-5
Head to Head: 12-4

Season to Date

Against the Spread: 16-9-6
Head to Head: 22-9

All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Thursday, September 21

LA Rams at San Francisco
Line: Rams by 2

LA had two home games and they looked dominant in game 1 and lethargic in week 2.  Now the fun begins as they take on division rival the Niners, who are looking ragged in their first two games.  However, this is a chance to get one of the few wins on their season.  A low scoring matchup could make it more interesting.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (16-13)

Sunday, September 24th

Baltimore at Jacksonville
Line: Ravens by 3½

This game will be played at Wembley Stadium in London, England.  The first of four games this season.  The Ravens are a surprise 2-0.  Much of it has to do with Joe Flacco coming back from injury just in time for the season.  Helps to have a great defense giving up only 10 points this season in two games. The Jaguars had a disappointing loss at home verses Tennessee.  Despite being the “home” team, they’re not favorable against an opponent like the Ravens.

Smooth’s Pick: Baltimore (27-14)

NY Giants at Philadelphia
Line: Eagles by 6

What was supposed to be a Super Bowl run has turned into anxiety in Big Blue Nation.  Most of the blame goes to the Giants Offensive line who hasn’t protected Eli Manning and opened holes for the running backs. It won’t get any easier for the G-Men as they travel to Philly, where the Eagles have had their number the last four years.  But they’re not perfect, either.  They squandered an opportunity to go 2-0 at Kansas City.  Something tell me I smell an upset brewing.

Smooth’s Pick: NY Giants (20-17)

Houston at New England
Line: Patriots by 13

How the Texans snuck out of Cincinnati on Thursday night with a victory is anyone’s guess. DaShawn Watson will have to be the man for now, as Houston continues its trek into uncertainty.  What is certain is the Patriots will be smelling blood.  Tom Brady was lights out on the road in New Orleans last weekend.  He may run into problems with the Texans defensive line.  But he should overcome that discrepancy.

Smooth’s Pick: New England (28-12)

Atlanta at Detroit
Line: Falcons by 3

The Falcons looked outstanding in both of their games and look to go 3-0 on the road in the Motor City. This will be the first major test of the Lions this season, a win at home verse the defending NFC champions, and you could be looking at a possible heir to the throne.  If you’re betting on this one stay far away.

Smooth’s Pick: Atlanta (27-24)

Denver at Buffalo
Line: Broncos by 3

This is another one of those “trap” games.  The Broncos manhandled Dallas and are 2-0 with both games at home.  Now they get a challenge with an upstart Bills defense that have fared well despite a tough 9-3 loss to Carolina.  The Bills must put up some offense, or you’re gonna see the same result.

Smooth’s Pick: Denver (18-13)

Pittsburgh at Chicago
Line: Steelers by 7

The Steelers are another 2-0 team they travel to the windy city against a Bears team that may be one of the worst in the NFL.  They’ve given up over 25 points in each of their losses. Get ready for a long season of misery Chi-town.

This is my lock pick
Smooth’s Pick: Pittsburgh (31-17)     

Miami at NY Jets
Line: Dolphins by 6

Miami snuck out of LA with a close field goal victory in what would considered lackluster.  Now they have to head to the Meadowlands to take on a Jets team that have their own set of problems.  The Dolphins are 4-1 against Gang Green on the road. Don’t expect anything to change.

Smooth’s Pick: Miami (17-10)

Cleveland at Indianapolis
Line: Pick ‘em

Why?  Because both teams have quarterback issues. Andrew Luck still hasn’t been cleared to play and we won’t know when he’ll be back.  The need him, the Colts are ranked 29th on offense.  For the Browns, Deshown Kizer followed up his great debut against Pittsburgh with a stinker against Baltimore. The Browns have lost their last 14 games on the road. Their last road win came in October, 2015.

Smooth’s Pick: Indianapolis (13-9)

New Orleans at Carolina
Line: Panthers by 6

The Saints are already in trouble dropping two in a row to start the season. Much of it has to do with the poor defense.  They’ll have try to avoid a third consecutive 0-3 start in Charlotte.  The Panthers had offensive woes in their win verses the lowly Niners last weekend.  They may have a sign of life with the Saints coming to town.

Smooth’s Pick: Carolina (24-21)     

Tampa Bay at Minnesota
Line: None

The Bucs played their first game of the season because of Hurricane Irma with a convincing win over the Bears.  They travel to Minnesota where Sam Bradford’s status is questionable after leaving the game against Pittsburgh with a knee injury. There’s not enough data for the sports books to read this matchup. But if Bradford does play, we see a win for the Vikings.  If not, the Bucs may take it in a close one.

Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (14-13)

Seattle at Tennessee
Line: Titans by 3

Seattle looks to go over .500 for the first time this season with a road win in Nashville.  The Seahawks defense is the one holding up the offense, as it scored 9 and 12 points in their first two games.  The Titans had a bounce-back game verses Jacksonville on the road.  They may have their hands full with the Seattle secondary. Expect another low-scoring affair.

This is my upset special
Smooth’s Pick: Seattle (15-13)

Kansas City at LA Chargers
Line: Chiefs by 3

The Chiefs continue their impressive streak as they look for their eighth win on the road at the Bolts temporary home in Carson, California.  The Chargers are fading fast as they lose their first two games.  Don’t let the points spread fool you.  Despite Philip Rivers, this Bolts team isn’t very good.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (33-16)   

Cincinnati at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 8½

Smooth’s Pick: If Marvin Lewis isn’t in trouble now, he sure will be if he loses yet another game.  The Bengals looked lethargic in their two games and now they have to take on a tough Packers team looking to break over .500.  Aaron Rodgers looks to get over his poor Sunday night showing in Atlanta.  Might be a bit tougher with the Bengals, but should have a good game.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (22-13)

Oakland at Washington
Line: Raiders by 3

The Raiders have been road dogs. The final 2-0 team have outscored their opponents 71-36 the last two games.  They look to continue their ‘road warrior’ tour in the nation’s capital verses a Redskins team that bounced back in LA.  This could be a high scoring matchup that could get exciting down the stretch.

Smooth’s Pick: Oakland (37-31)

Monday, September 25

Dallas at Arizona
Line: Cowboys by 3

Dallas got rocked last Sunday verses the Broncos.  They may bounce back verses a depleted and aging Cardinals team.  They lost starting running back David Johnson for the season.  Carson Palmer is showing his age. I would say the Cowboys, but in 8 games in Glendale, they are 1-7.

Smooth’s Pick: Arizona (26-21)  

Now with all our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results.  If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to gamblersanonymous.org

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Colin and Curt – Fighting for a Just Cause

Colin and Curt

“You get out of line, we’ll stick it to you, boy.”

In some ways, the plight of Colin Kaepernick is no different than what happened to Curt Flood.  Flood was a much heralded center fielder who played 15 seasons in major league baseball for the Cincinnati Reds, the Washington Senators and the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a three-time All-Star and a Gold Glove winner for seven consecutive seasons. He batted over .300 in six seasons and led the National League in hits in 1964.

In 1969, Flood, who was playing for the Cardinals at the time, was informed he was being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Flood refused to report to the team, citing its poor record, its dilapidated Connie Mack Stadium, and for (what he thought were) belligerent and racist fans.

To get a better view of what Flood was commenting on, you have to go back even further to 1947 during the season Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the modern era. Philadelphia Phillies ownership was opposed to integration in baseball. Their manager at the time was Ben Chapman, a southerner whose racist behavior came out during an early-season series in Brooklyn. The level of verbal abuse directed by Chapman and his players at Robinson reached such proportions that it made headlines in the New York and national press. Chapman also instructed his pitchers, whenever they had a 3–0 count against Robinson, to bean him rather than walk him.

(Scene from the 2013 film, ’42’. Courtesy of Warner Brothers.)

Chapman’s attempts to intimidate Robinson eventually backfired, with the Dodgers rallying behind Robinson, and there was increased sympathy for Robinson in many circles. The backlash against Chapman was so severe that he was asked to pose in a photograph with Robinson as a conciliatory gesture.

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This incident prompted Robinson’s teammate Dixie Walker to comment, “I never thought I’d see old Ben eat shit like that.” For over 20 years, the Phillies wallowed at the bottom of the National League with their only pennant in 1950 and a late season collapse in 1964.

Flood was very much aware of past behavior of the Phillies and their management’s poor racial history.  Eventually, he challenged Major League Baseball’s decades-old reserve clause, calling it “unfair”, and that it kept players beholden for life to the team with which they originally signed, even when they had satisfied the terms and conditions of those contracts.

Commissioner Bowie Kuhn denied Flood’s request for free agency, upon which, his lawyers sued Major League Baseball. Flood sat out the entire 1970 season. During this period, he was bombarded with hate mail from fans, who accused him of trying to destroy baseball. Teammate and hall of fame pitcher Bob Gibson estimated, “He got four or five death threats a day.”

In response to Flood’s stance, the Cardinals sent two minor leaguers to the Phillies in compensation for his refusal to report to the Phillies. In November 1970, Philadelphia traded Flood and four other players to the Washington Senators. He played only 13 games of the 1971 season with Washington (now the Texas Rangers).

Meanwhile, his case took 4 years from the time it was filed to go thru the courts, right up to the US Supreme Court. In a 5-3 vote, justices voted in favor of Major League Baseball upholding the reserve clause. After Flood’s failed lawsuit, he came to the realization that he would be blackballed from baseball.

He commented, “It would be difficult to come back. And besides, I don’t think I’ll be getting the opportunity to play again. As big as it is, baseball is a closely-knit unit. I doubt even one of the 24 men controlling the game would touch me with a 10-foot pole. You can’t buck the Establishment.”

For his part, Curt Flood’s stand led to the 10 & 5 rule in MLB…”no player with 10 years of service, the last five with the same team, can be traded without his consent.”

It’s now week two of the NFL season, and I can think of at least two teams that could use the services of the free agent quarterback right about now. By the time the season is over, there will be more teams that will need the services of Kaepernick. But it’s clearly obvious that the NFL’s owners don’t want to sign him and will do everything within their power not to sign him. One team even went so far as to sign a former arena league player to try out at QB.

The majority of NFL owners are staunchly conservative, using patriotism as a crutch to extend their control over their players. But there’s a bigger picture here, and that is to set Kaepernick as an example so that others will think twice before taking a stand on any issue. 40 years ago it was Curt Flood. Muhammad Ali was also scrutinized for his political beliefs, as well. US Olympic sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos also took a stand for holding their fists in a show of justice. We looks back now and realize their cause was right. 40 years from now, we’ll be talking about Colin Kaepernick’s stand against police brutality.

We’ll realize he was right, too.

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Week 2 – Back to a full 16 games!

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Week 2 of Smooth’s NFL Football Picks and last weekend was one of the worst opening weekends in 10 years.  Much of it has to do with the boycott of the league for its stance on free agent QB Colin Kaepernick.   I’ll have a blog entry on the topic later this weekend.  We were pretty good with our picks for week 1.

Last Week’s Results

Against the Spread: 9-5-1
Head to Head: 10-5

All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Thursday, September 14

Houston at Cincinnati
Line: Bengals by 6½

The Texans have a major quarterback problem and they’re gonna need to make a decision on if they want to throw rookie QB Deshaun Watson into the mix earlier than planned or go back to Tom Savage.  Watson did lead a scoring drive last weekend.  As for the Bengals, they get another chance to push the re-set button on their offense as they were blanked at home.  Thursday night’s game favors the tigers on sheer experience.

Smooth’s Pick – Cincinnati (23-10)

Sunday, September 17

Minnesota at Pittsburgh
Line: Steelers by 6

The Vikings looked good in their win at home on Monday.  But with less time to recover, they travel to the steel city, where they will take on a team that had a defense that looked a bit flat against a readjusted Browns team.  The advantage goes to the well-touted Steelers offense.

Smooth’s Pick – Pittsburgh (27-21)

Arizona at Indianapolis
Line: Cardinals by 7½

Carson Palmer had a day to forget, throwing 4 interceptions in Detroit last Sunday.  The Cardinals go to another indoor stadium against a vulnerable Colts team who couldn’t find the end zone in LA.  No Andrew Luck means more problems for the Colts and Palmer may be able to adjust.

Smooth’s Pick – Arizona (20-12)

Cleveland at Baltimore
Line: Ravens by 8

The Browns looked better than last year on Sunday and should be able to steal games this season.  Unfortunately, this won’t be one of them.  The Ravens ripped the Bengals last Sunday, shutting down their offense.  They should be able to handle the Browns even more effectively.

Smooth’s Pick – Baltimore (24-16)

Philadelphia at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 5

The Eagles put away a tough Redskins offense rather easily.  Now they’ll have to take on an even tougher offense in the Chiefs, who picked apart the Patriots on opening night.  I like the Chiefs in this one, as they have a much better offense.

Smooth’s Pick – Kansas City (35-21)

Chicago at Tampa Bay
Line: Bucs by 7

Despite the loss, the Bears actually showed some promise, coming from behind to potentially steal a victory from the Falcons last Sunday.  But they’ll come back down to reality, as they’ll take on a fresh Bucs team who had an unscheduled extra week off due to Hurricane Irma.

Smooth’s Pick – Tampa Bay (23-16)

Tennessee at Jacksonville
Line: Titans by 2½

The Titans looked rough along the edges against the Raiders last weekend.  They travel to North Florida to take on a Jaguars team that is much improved and look to go 2-0 for the first time in a long while.  The odds are generous to the Titans.

This is my upset special.
Smooth’s Pick – Jacksonville (22-17)

Buffalo at Carolina
Line: Panthers by 7

The Bills did what they had to do against a weak Jets team last Sunday.  Now they’ll get a challenge against a much better defense and a mobile QB in Cam Newton.  The Panthers off a shellacking against a weak Niners team.  They’ll get a challenge on defense with the Bills.

Smooth’s Pick – Carolina (20-16)

New England at New Orleans
Line: Patriots by 7

The Patriots laid an egg on opening night verses the Chiefs.  They travel to the crescent city to take on a weaker defense in the Saints.  Drew Brees will have to work his magic and make it a high scoring game to win.

Smooth’s Pick – New England (38-30)

Miami at LA Chargers
Line: Bolts by 4½

The Chargers make their first appearance as LA’s home team in 56 years.  Philip Rivers will figure into the offense.  The Dolphins will get their first taste of what Jay Cutler can do. As slight favorites, the Bolts will look to start off strong in their temporary home.

Smooth’s Pick – LA Chargers (34-20)

NY Jets at Oakland
Line: Raiders by 14

The Jets with issues on all parts of this team.  They travel to the bay area to take on a Raiders team that look to systematically pick apart their weaker opponent.  Derrek Carr will have a field day against the weaker Jets secondary and Marshawn Lynch will pound the defensive line.

Smooth’s Pick – Oakland (37-10)

Dallas at Denver
Line: Cowboys by 1½

Though the Cowboys won their game with the Giants on Sunday night, the way they won wasn’t very impressive.  They go on the road to the mile high city to take on the Broncos, who almost blew a 24-7 lead to the Chargers if it wasn’t for a last second field goal block.  Should be a tough match up.

Smooth’s Pick – Denver (27-24)

Washington at LA Rams
Line: Rams by 3

The Redskins weren’t very impressive at home, getting ripped by the Eagles.  They travel coast to coast against a Rams team that dominated the Colts.  There are still some holes in the Rams offense and should show this weekend.

Smooth’s Pick – Washington (24-17)

San Francisco at Seattle
Line: Seahawks by 14

It’s gonna be a long season for the Niners, laying an egg against the Panthers at home.  And now they have to travel to one of the toughest places to win on the road at Centurylink field.  Seattle still hasn’t figured out their offense problems, but may get an easy break this weekend.

This is my lock pick
Smooth’s Pick – Seattle (44-13)

Green Bay at Atlanta
Line: Falcons by 3

This is a rematch of the NFC championship game, and the first game at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  The Falcons escaped Chicago with a hard fought victory.  This game will be no pushover, with the Packers looking for revenge.

Smooth’s Pick – Atlanta (21-19)

Monday, September 18

Detroit at NY Giants
Line: Giants by 3½

The G-men looking to bounce back from a poor showing in Dallas.   They’ll have their home opener and will need to step up the offense.  Odell Beckham Jr currently questionable for Sunday.  Meanwhile, the Lions took to make it two in a row this season.  Matthew Stafford will be tested verses a tougher defense.

Smooth’s Pick – NY Giants (28-17)

Now with all our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results.  If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to gamblersanonymous.org.

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Canadian Cable & Satellite Viewers Shut Out of NFL Sunday Ticket and Red Zone!

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If you’re a cable or satellite subscriber in Canada and you want to see NFL Sunday Ticket or NFL Red Zone, you’re out of luck!

The NFL reached a deal with an upstart company called, “DAZN”, which will provide both channels online.  The company will offer the services to its subscribers for $20 a month, or a yearly fee of $150 dollars after a 30-day free trial.  Customers can access the games via their computer, laptop, mobile, tablet, set-top boxes, smart TVs and video game consoles.  The model is similar to Netflix, Hulu and other online services.

DAZN was first launched in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland in 2016, and has expanded to other countries.  In addition to the NFL, DAZN also offers the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, NBA, NFL, MLB, Formula One and UFC matches.

This deal is nothing new, as the NFL has had exclusive rights with AT&T Direct TV for the last 17 years.  But this is the first time one of the 4 major sports leagues has had exclusivity away from cable and satellite companies in North America.

ESPN’s deal with the NFL ends in 2021, which they are paying $15.2 billion.   Fox, NBC and CBS deal with the NFL worth $28 billion is in effect until 2022.  Industry leaders will be looking at how the DAZN deal in Canada will affect future rights agreements with other sports leagues in the United States.

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Week 1 – 2017 Pre-Season Picks and Beyond!

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Welcome to season 10 of Smooth’s NFL Football Picks for Week 1 of the 2017 season. This is our second season of broadcasting on Smooth Jazz and More. Looking forward to doing well on our picks. Last season, we were correct 62 percent of the time. We have to get better, but of course. This is all for fun and is to be used for entertainment purposes only. If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to GamblersAnonymous.org.

We’ll have our pre-season Super Bowl selections in a moment, but here’s who we’re picking for week 1.

All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com. One game is being postponed due to Hurricane Irma. The NFL has rescheduled the Tampa Bay and Miami game for week 11 on November 19th.

Thursday, September 7th

Kansas City at New England
Line: Patriots by 8

They raise another championship banner at Gillette Stadium. However, there is some concern in Foxborough. WR Julian Edelman blew out his knee in pre-season and is gone for the year. Free agent pickup Brandon Cooks will now figure into Tom Brady’s plans. The Chiefs has a new look backfield with Alex Smith returning as QB. This will be a closer game than normal and could be a key game in the Patriots getting a quick start like they did last year.

Smooth’s Pick – New England (26-21)

Sunday, September 9th

Pittsburgh at Cleveland
Line: Steelers by 8

Pittsburgh came up short in the AFC title game and will look to get back there. They made a few changes in their defense should take the division. However, this Browns team has nowhere to go but up after winning one game last season. The point spread is very cautious, meaning Cleveland is not a push over like last season.

Smooth’s Pick – Pittsburgh (31-17)

NY Jets at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 6½

The Jets are a dumpster fire. The fans may be wearing paper bags over their heads by week 10. Josh McCown was finally made QB after going thru four in pre-season. It may not matter. Buffalo on the other hand may be turning the corner after a disastrous campaign by Rex Ryan last season. They may go to .500 with a pretty good defense. Offense is another story.

Smooth’s Pick – Buffalo (37-12)

Jacksonville at Houston
Line: Texans by 5½

Tom Coughlin returns to Jacksonville in an executive role and may be the best thing to happen to this franchise. There’s lots of talent and potential in a weak AFC South. Houston will also be contenders, having won the division last season. This game is a prelude to a very tough division fight

Smooth’s Pick – Houston (20-17)

Philadelphia at Washington
Line: Eagles by 1½

The Eagles had quick start last season, but crashed and burned down the stretch. If they’re going to make any kind of noise in the NFC East, they’re going to need to steal a victory this weekend against their division rival. The Redskins locked in Kirk Cousins at QB and have some great receivers. Their big problem is on pass defense. They’ll get a test with the Eagles receivers.

Smooth’s Pick – Washington (13-10)

Arizona at Detroit
Line: Pick ‘em

The Cardinals have Carson Palmer at QB and at this point in his career, you have to wonder if he still has enough in the tank. Arizona will fight with Seattle in the NFC West. Detroit had a bit of a step back last season, but still have confidence in Matthew Stafford. This will be a tough call to pick.

Smooth’s Pick – Detroit (21-20)

Baltimore at Cincinnati
Line: Bengals by 2½

The Ravens had a big problem at QB with Joe Flacco out for most of the pre-season. He’s upgraded to probable for this weekend. The Bengals are coming off a very disappointing season and look to bounce back to the playoffs. This will be an exciting divisional matchup.

Smooth’s Pick – Cincinnati (28-14)

Oakland at Tennessee
Line: Titans by 2

The Raiders were one of the big surprises of last season lead by QB Derrek Carr. They caught a bad break, losing Carr for the playoffs. They’re one of the contenders for the AFC West title. The Titans also caught a bad break when they lost Marcus Mariotta for the season. They can surely make a play in the weak AFC South. Look for the Raiders to do well on the road.

Smooth’s Pick – Oakland (24-16)

Atlanta at Chicago
Line: Falcons by 7

The Falcons are still stinging from last year’s choke in the Super Bowl, and will look to get back to the big game. This team is still good enough to make it. As for the Bears, they can only forget about last season, as they regressed to their worst record in over 40 years. It won’t be any easier this season.

This is my lock pick!
Smooth’s Pick – Atlanta (34-13)

Indianapolis at LA Rams
Line: Colts by 3

The Colts are in a state of flux. QB Andrew Luck was injured for most of the pre-season and is doubtful for this weekend matchup. That gives the Rams a chance to get a much needed win. A quick start would be very welcome and will go a long way for this young team.

This is my upset special.
Smooth’s Pick – LA Rams (23-16)

Seattle at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 3

This is one of the best matchups of the weekend, both teams are Super Bowl contenders. The Seahawks will figure to be on top of the NFC West. The Packers will dominate the NFC North. This game will be a match of inches, as the defense of both teams will decide who wins.

Smooth’s Pick – Green Bay (24-21)

Carolina at San Francisco
Line: Panthers by 6

The Panthers look to get back to their winning ways after a tough losing season last year. Cam Newton will figure to get back to top form. For the Niners, they’re looking just to winning, having won only 2 games last year.

Smooth’s Pick – Carolina (24-13)

NY Giants at Dallas
Line: Cowboys by 3½

Both teams dominated the league and the division. Both will fight for the NFC East title once again. Lots of good moves by the G-men, bolstering their receiving corps and O-line. The Cowboys have most of their starters back and will look to equal their 11 wins from last season. This is the third time both these teams have faced off on opening night. Expect another battle.

Smooth’s Pick – NY Giants (30-27)

Monday, September 10th

New Orleans at Minnesota
Line: Vikings by 3½

The Saints took a step back last season and will look to get back to the post season. A number of key pieces missing, but they still have Drew Brees at QB. The Vikings look to become the first team to play a Super Bowl in their own home. That might be a tall order, as they have some issues on defense.

Smooth’s Pick – Minnesota (23-20)

LA Chargers at Denver
Line: Broncos by 3½

The Chargers move back to LA for the first time in 56 years, they’ll play in Carson, California while the new stadium they’re sharing with the Rams is done. They still have Philip Rivers in at QB, but their problem is on defense and it won’t be easy this week verses the Broncos. Denver will have a tougher time this season with Kansas City and Oakland becoming more competitive in the AFC West.

Smooth’s Pick – Denver (29-11)

That’s our picks for week one, before we go, here are our Pre-season picks.

AFC East: New England
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Houston
AFC West: Denver

Wildcards: Jacksonville, Oakland

NFC East: NY Giants
NFC North: Green Bay
NFC South: Tampa Bay
NFC West: Seattle

Wildcards: Minnesota, Dallas

Wildcard Weekend:
NFC: Seattle over Dallas, Tampa Bay over Minnesota
AFC: Houston over Jacksonville, Oakland over Pittsburgh

Division Weekend:
NFC: NY Giants over Tampa Bay, Green Bay over Seattle
AFC: New England over Oakland, Denver over Houston

NFC Championship: NY Giants over Green Bay
AFC Championship: New England over Denver

Super Bowl 52 Pick: NY Giants over New England

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Smooth’s Football Picks – Super Bowl 51

falcons patriots.jpg

After 6 months of training camp, hard knocks, torn limbs and broken hearts, we’re down to the final two teams. One looks to join an elite club of 5 Super Bowl championships, the other looks at a possible dynasty in the making.

Super Bowl 51
NRG Stadium
Houston, Texas

All odds are courtesy of Oddshark.com

Sunday February 5th
Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots
Line: Patriots by 3

Here’s our complete analysis of the game.

Offense: Both teams are high powered. Overall, Atlanta was 2nd, New England was 4th.

Quarterbacks: Tom Brady has done this before. It’s his 7th Super Bowl. He stands to gain a 5th ring if he wins. He’s been nothing short of perfect since coming back from suspension in week 5. 3,500 yards passing 28 TD’s and only 2 INT’s. Matt Ryan has finally come of age. He’s justifies being picked MVP with spectacular numbers. Nearly 5,000 yards passing 38 TD’s and only 7 INT’s during the regular season. However, based on experience, we have to give the edge to Brady.

Advantage – New England

Running Backs: Both teams are at the top 10 in rushing, Atlanta was 5th, New England was 7th. The Falcons’ Devanta Freeman runs the bulk of the snaps, nearly 1,100 yards rushed and 11 TD’s. Tevin Coleman was a nice option with 520 yards rushing and 8 TD’s. For the Patriots, it’s LeGarrette Blount. The big bruising back rushed for over 1,100 yards and a league leading 18 TD’s. We call this match-up at “all square”.

Edge – Even

Recievers: Both teams have spectacular air attacks. Atlanta was 2nd, New England was 5th. Julian Edelman leads the Patriots with over 1,100 yards passing and 3 TD’s. Free agent signing Martellus Bennet was a great pick up in place of the injured Rob Gronkowski, he had 701 receiving yards and led the receivers in TD’s with 7. Chris Hogan was a great replacement for Danny Amendola when he went down, 680 yards and 4 TD. For the Falcons, Julio Jones leads the way with over 1,400 yards receiving and 6 TD’s. Mohamed Sanu was a great second option for Ryan with 653 yards receiving and 4 TD’s. We give the slight edge to the Falcons because of the rank.

Edge – Atlanta

Offensive Line: The New England O-line has given up 4.2 sacks per game, good enough for 6th overall, meanwhile, Atlanta’s O-line gives up 6.4 sacks per game, putting them at 24th in the league. A pretty easy pick on this one. Give the edge to the Patriots.

Edge – New England

Defense: New England takes the advantage with the 8th best defense overall. Atlanta was 25th in the league.

Defensive Line: The Falcons go with Brooks Reed, Johnathan Babineau, Grady Jarrett and Tyson Jackson. Not many sacks among them during the regular season, but they were outstanding in the NFC Championship. The Patriots Go with Alan Branch, Trey Flowers, Malcom Brown and Jaabal Sheppard, with Chris Long. They have over 20 sacks among them, give them the edge.

Edge – New England

Linebackers: Ron Ninkovich, Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy have been the playmakers all season. The leader for the Falcons is Vic Beasley Jr. leading all players with 15 ½ sacks this season. Deion Jones leads all players with 106 sacks this season. The Falcons get the edge in this category.

Edge – Atlanta

Secondary: The Patriots secondary have been solid all season with all four starters at the top in tackles. Malcom Butler leads the team in Interceptions with 4, Logan Ryan and Patrick Chung are 1-2 in tackles. As for the Falcons, free safety’s Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen have over 90 tackles each this season. Giving the edge to the Patriots.

Edge – New England

Special Teams: The Patriots Stephen Gostkowski is 27 for 32 in field goals, going 9 for 19 from 40+ yards. Ryan Allen has a 44.7 average on punts. Cyrus Jones and Julian Edelman don’t have any punts or kickoffs returned for TD’s. The Falcons Matt Bryant has been spectacular on kicks going 34 for 37 and 6 for 8 in kicks from 50+ yards. Matt Bosher is 46.8 yards on punts. Eric Weems takes returns in punts and kicks. His best long was for 73 yards.

Edge – New England

Coaches: Dan Quinn was brought in two years ago by owner Arthur Blank to get the Falcons over the hump. He’s got experience winning a Super Bowl with Seattle, so he knows how to win the big game. As for Bill Belichick, he’s got 5 Super Bowl rings (). He’s been on top for the last 15 years with New England. A sixth one would put him above Lombardi, Walsh and Noll as the greatest coach of all time.

Edge – New England

Intangibles: As a native New Yorker, it’s killing me that Boston continues to win championships. Since 2001, the city has three world series, 4 super bowls, an NBA title and a Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, Atlanta has been known for choking in the big games. Their only championship was back in 1995, when the Braves won. Who knows? Maybe this is the year….maybe.

Edge – New England

Analysis – This has all the makings of a shootout. It could be one of the highest scored Super Bowls of all time. If the Falcons are gonna win, they’re gonna have to get out in front first, and stay in front. Matt Ryan has the offense to do just that. They just need to look at how the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl 42 to figure that out. Keep the possession away for the New England offense, put pressure on Brady and you win. But Belichick has been in these games plenty of times. Brady has, as well. They’ve been too good for too long, and they look like history will be on their side.

Smooth’s Pick – New England (37-35)

Now with all of our picks past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to gamblers anonymous dot org.

And that’s our Super Bowl Pick as well as our final report of the NFL season. Thanks for tuning in and we hope you’ll tune in next season.