Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to October 21 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
It wouldn’t be fair to say that Bill Belichick got out-coached last Sunday. But Rex Ryan and the New York Jets came prepared for their matchup, alerting the game officials to watch for the Patriots to break a brand-new rule: No pushing your own player forward while trying to stop a field goal. In this case, it just happened to be the potential game-winning field goal in overtime. Nick Folk missed from 56 yards (dubious decision by Ryan there), but nailed his second try from a much more reasonable 42 yards. Final score: New York 30, New England 27.
Gripping stuff, but it was a little less dramatic as far as the NFL betting lines were concerned. The Patriots were 3.5-point favorites in last week’s matchup, and with the loss, they fall to 5-2 SU and 3-4 ATS on the regular season. How will they respond this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) when the Miami Dolphins come to town? The NFL lines for Week 8 have the Pats laying a full touchdown – and the early action is on New England, although in very small amounts.
Here’s the scary part: Tom Brady didn’t throw a single touchdown pass for the Patriots last week. But he threw one for the Jets, as Logan Ryan took one back 79 yards to the house in the first quarter. This is the second time in three games that Brady hasn’t found the end zone – and this time, he had TE Rob Gronkowski (eight catches, 114 yards) on his side. Not good enough against the solid Jets defense.
Having Gronkowski back in the lineup is very important for New England, but it doesn’t make up for the other myriad players who are crumbling before our eyes. Wideout Danny Amendola (concussion) missed the Jets game, as did standout CB Aqib Talib (hip). These are just the latest in a long line of key wounded players; even the Patriots special teams are hurting with safety Tavon Wilson (hamstring) missing the past three games.
Miami Yawn Machine
Meanwhile, the Dolphins have disappeared from the national football conversation after starting the season 3-0 SU and ATS. They’re now 3-3 SU and ATS, bookending their bye week with close losses at home to the Baltimore Ravens (+2.5) and Buffalo Bills (+6). Can’t blame this one all that much on injuries, either. Miami’s just not a very good football team right now.
That’s what the stats say, at least. Football Outsiders had Miami ranked No. 25 in overall efficiency (No. 21 offense, No. 28 defense, No. 13 special teams) before that loss to the Bills. Whatever gains QB Ryan Tannehill (minus-87 Total DYAR through Week 7) has made in his sophomore season appear to have been smothered by an underperforming offensive line; the Fins have responded by trading for Bryant McKinnie, who could end up replacing Tyson Clabo at right tackle despite wearing out his welcome in Baltimore.
Gronk on Line 1
Even if McKinnie steps up his game and gives Tannehill some of that sweet, sweet protection, Miami’s defense just doesn’t bring the same level of resistance that the Jets threw at New England last week. And here’s a scary statistic if you’re a Miami supporter: The Dolphins are No. 31 in the league at defending opposing tight ends. Only the New York Giants have fared worse.
I’m not too keen on picking New England in any situation this year, but hey, it’s my job. Grab them now if you’re with me, before the NFL betting public moves in and inflates the lines any further.
NFL Pick: Take the Patriots –7.5 (+120) at bet365