22 Oct Pick 1: Denver vs. San Diego and Indianapolis vs. Pittsburgh
The Teaser: Pair Denver and Indianapolis
Game 1: Denver vs. San Diego
The Initial Line:
Denver -8 home vs. San Diego
Add 7.5 points to Denver’s line
The Final Line:
Denver routed San Francisco on Sunday Night Football, winning at home 42-17. Peyton Manning broke the all-time passing TD record held by Brett Favre, as Peyton added to his new record with 4 TDs off of 318 yds in the air. They had 419 yds of total offense and also forced an INT off of Kaepernick on defense. San Diego had its 5 game winning streak snapped on Sunday, losing at home to divisional rival Kansas City 23-20. Both teams battled to the end, but Alex Smith had no turnovers while Philip Rivers threw one INT which may have been the difference. Antonio Gates had another big game, catching 3 passes for 61 yds and a TD.
This Thursday Night Football matchup is shaping up to be a great one between two of the best QBs in the game, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. They both rank in the top 5 in TD passes and passer rating, and both seem to be in good position to lead their teams to the postseason. Home field advantage will definitely benefit Peyton, as he is now 18-2 (90% Win %) at Mile High Stadium since becoming the starter in 2012. Philip Rivers was able to force one of those 2 losses last year, but Peyton is riding high off of his new record and will put up big points once again on Thursday. This should be a good battle between elite QBs, but in the end Denver will win so take them at -0.5 to ensure that outcome.
Game 2: Indianapolis vs. Pittsburgh
The Initial Line:
Indianapolis -3 away vs. Pittsburgh
Add 7.5 points to Indianapolis’ line
The Final Line:
Indianapolis had a convincing win at home against a well-rounded Cincinnati team, blanking them 27-0. Andrew Luck continues to show why he is a front-runner for MVP, passing for 344 yds and 2 TDs. However it was Indianapolis’ defense that impressed, as they held Cincinnati’s 5th ranked offense to a staggering 2.5 yds/play and only 135 total yards. They will be a tough team to beat if the defense can support Luck’s offensive attack. Pittsburgh got a home win over Houston on Monday Night Football, defeating them 30-23. During one stretch right before the half, Pittsburgh scored an astounding 24 pts in under 3 minutes of play which gave them a huge momentum swing. Le’veon Bell continues to impress, as he raked up 145 total yards (57 rushing, 88 receiving) and had a TD catch.
Indy is arguably the hottest team in the NFL, as they have won 5 straight games after starting 0-2. Andrew Luck leads the league in passing yards and TD passes, and the defense showed that they can play well against some of the best in the league. Pittsburgh had a good win on Monday, but they still don’t look like a dominant team. All of their home games have been one score games (2-1), and Houston was running all over them at home until that magical 3 minute stretch that changed the tides. Luck should be able to pass against the 13th ranked pass defense, and Indianapolis is just the superior team. I have no doubts that they will win their 6th straight game, but take them at +4.5 in case Pittsburgh pulls another miracle out of a hat at Heinz Field.