Only one Week 6 special hit, and it was 'OVER' mentions of deflategate Sunday Night. NBC's Al Michaels had some fun and said it four times in a row. Here are my picks for Week 7 special props.
Will DeAndre Hopkins Have Nine Or More Receptions And 145 Or More Yards?
Yes is +500 on NFL odds and no -800. The best receiver in the NFL right now is not Atlanta's Julio Jones, who started this season with three straight big games, the New York Giants' Odell Beckham Jr., the Pittsburgh Steelers' Antonio Brown or anyone else you might mention. It's Houston's Hopkins, and he's putting up massive numbers despite very questionable quarterback play on the Texans. In a Week 4 loss in Atlanta, Hopkins had nine catches for 157 yards. The next week, a home loss to Indianapolis, Hopkins had 11 catches for 169 yards. And in last week's win in Jacksonville, the former Clemson star had 10 grabs for 148 yards and two scores. He is the first player in NFL history with at least nine catches and 145 yards in three straight games. Houston doesn't have a very good No. 2 receiver, so the QBs are targeting Hopkins a ridiculous amount: 90 times already. That's the most by any NFL player through six games in 24 years. Hopkins is on pace to finish the season with 139 catches for 1,936 yards and 13 touchdowns. This week, Houston is in Miami and the Dolphins rank No. 6 against the pass. Probably the best receiver the Fins have seen thus far is the Jets' Brandon Marshall, who had seven catches for 128 yards.
NFL Free Pick: Much as I'd like to see it, no.
Matt Cassel 'Over/Under' 220.5 Passing Yards, 1.5 TD Passes
Both options are -115 on NFL picks for the yards and the under is a -150 favorite on the TDs. During the Week 6 bye, the Cowboys opted to bench struggling Brandon Weeden for Cassel, whom Dallas acquired early this season from Buffalo once Tony Romo went out with that broken collarbone. Once that deal was made, you knew it was only a matter of time before Cassel took Weeden's job. Cassel ain't much, but he has proven better than Weeden in their careers. It doesn't appear that the Cowboys will get star receiver Dez Bryant back from that broken foot this week as they visit the New York Giants. Big Blue is 30th in the NFL in passing yards per game and 13th in TD passes allowed at nine. When Dallas was at full strength in Week 1 and beat the visiting Giants 27-26, Romo threw for 356 yards and three touchdowns.
NFL Free Picks: 'OVER' both. Cowboys can't run the ball, I expect the G-Men to get a pretty big lead and Cassel to put up garbage-time yards and TDs.
Will Seattle Seahawks Make The Playoffs?
Yes is -130 and no -110. Do you realize that the two-time defending NFC champions have led in the fourth quarter of every game this season but are only 2-4 after blowing a nine-point fourth-quarter lead at home last week to Carolina? In the fourth quarter and overtime this season Seattle has been outgained 636-435 and outscored 48-24 (48-9 the past five games). What happened to that stellar defense? The potential good news is a decent winning streak could be upcoming. The Seahawks are 6.5-point favorites on NFL odds for Thursday's game at San Francisco. Then they go to Dallas, which for sure won't have Romo back yet and probably not Bryant. Seattle will be favored there and then goes on its bye week to heal up. First three games out of bye are all at home: Arizona, San Francisco and Pittsburgh. The only games left vs. teams with current winning records are the Cardinals (twice), Steelers and Vikings.
NFL Free Pick: Yes; I think Seattle still wins NFC West as long as it wins Thursday.
Will Chuck Pagano Be Colts' Coach Game 1 Of The 2016 Regular Season?
Yes is +150 and no -200. Pagano doesn't have a contract following this season and rumors are that the GM and owner don't much like the guy. It's almost like Pagano wants to leave after seeing that ridiculous fake-punt call last week against New England that failed miserably -- Peter King of Sports Illustrated called it the worst play-call he had ever seen, and he's been around forever. I tend to agree.
NFL Free Pick: No way -- unless Colts win Super Bowl, which is very unlikely.