2017 NFL Picks Week 6
Ah, perfection … it feels good. I don’t expect it, but I’ll always take it when it happens and it happened last weekend. C2S finally got out of the red and into the black for the season, and I do expect that because it’s what we’ve always done here. I got on the positive side of the ledger by sweeping the board (4-0), and with relative ease at that as my two dogs, the Chargers and Packers, both won outright while the Chiefs at -1 crushed the Texans in Houston. My UNDER selection in the Jacksonville/Pittsburgh game was also anti-climatic, with the combined score finishing four points under the posted total of 43.
C2s is back again this week with another free slate as well as another play involving Kansas City. If you hadn’t noticed, I’ve had a stake of some sort in every Chiefs game this season and the results have been good. A 4-1 mark, in fact, with the lone loss being the Redskins at +7 against KC on October 2. Anybody who watched that game knows it should have been an easy winner, but a defensive touchdown by the Chiefs as time expired resulted in a 29-20 loss for Washington.
Why am I so fond of having more than a rooting interest in Chiefs games you ask? Well, speaking plainly, I’m a lifelong KC fan and as such, I know the team. I know the players and coaches as well as the Chiefs situational tendencies. This leaves me in prime position to spot good and bad lines as it concerns Kansas City. And this week I like a side and the total in KC’s meeting with Pittsburgh. Specifically, I’m picking the Steelers at +5 (BetOnline) and the UNDER 47 (Bovada).
The Chiefs are, as mentioned, coming off a big road win, and they return home as a favorite opposite the suddenly vulnerable (looking) Steelers. At 5-0, they are, not surprisingly, laying points. This has been a troublesome spot for KC, though, in terms of covering the number, particularly when they scored a lot of points in their last outing. Kansas City, on Andy Reid’s watch, is 1-5 against the spread when playing as a home favorite coming off back-to-back wins, the most recent of which came on the road and saw the Chiefs score 30 or more points.
Until this season, the Chiefs have never been a team to string together too many eye popping offensive performances under Reid. The Under was 5-1 in the same six games mentioned above and Kansas City failed to score more than 19 points in all but one of them.
Kansas City has already found itself in this role once this season and it represented the lone cover referenced earlier as they defeated the Eagles 27-20 at home (four point favorite). We had the Under 47.5 in that contest and were it not for a late touchdown by Philly, the total would not have been close. The contest also saw the Chiefs turn in a lethargic offensive performance by this year’s standard, finishing with 70.2 fewer yards and 5.8 fewer points than their respective season averages. The dip in Kansas City’s numbers points to the close nature of the game, which was tied 13-13 midway through the final frame.
From a Pittsburgh perspective, well, it is all doom and gloom after last weekend’s stunning home loss to the Jaguars. Everyone is down on the Steelers right now, wondering how they fell so far from grace, especially at Heinz Field. When a team finishes -4 in turnover margin and two of it’s five turnovers are returned for scores, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how both the game and score got out of control. That lopsided final, coupled with the Chiefs strong play, has most envisioning a relatively easy win for KC on Sunday.
However, every season features multiple situations like the one the Steelers find themselves in this weekend. A team’s high hopes seemingly dashed due to a couple of ugly performances (see the Bears game too) and the line, as well as expectations, swing big in the opposite direction. But a good majority of the time, particularly when these situations involve a talented, veteran team, it is the perfect time to jump on said team’s beleaguered bandwagon, at least at the betting window.
Pittsburgh definitely fits that criteria, leaving it in position to upset the Chiefs presently over-stuffed apple cart. The Steelers are 3-1 both straight up and against the spread since 2007 when playing as a road dog off a home loss, and they are 4-1 SU and ATS on the road off a game in which they allowed 30 or more points on Mike Tomlin’s watch.
I see Sunday being a tightly contested, low scoring slug-fest. I like the Chiefs to maintain their perfect record and avenge last season’s divisional playoff loss, but just barely. Kansas City will have to overcome a host of injuries to do it as it potentially enters this weekend’s meeting with the Steelers absent Travis Kelce, Albert Wilson, Dee Ford, Mitch Morse and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. That’s five major contributors … and make it six thanks to the ruptured Achilles wide receiver Chris Conley suffered in last Sunday night’s meeting with Texans.
STEELERS vs. CHIEFS PREDICTION: 23-20 Chiefs victory.
STEELERS vs. CHIEFS DFS BREAKDOWN –
There are some potential plums here in spite of what, I believe, will be a low scoring game. Kareem Hunt has been as consistent as they come at running back and I anticipate he will shine again this week. The Steelers are yielding over 130 rush yards per game and doing so at 5.1 yards per carry clip. Hunt will be a high priced back, but he is virtually certain to provide a solid return on a steep investment.
Alex Smith has been the best player in the league this season, but I expect him to look more like ‘game manager’ Alex this weekend. I’m not forecasting a bad performance, just a pedestrian one from a fantasy perspective — much like the line he turned in against the Eagles (251 pass yards, one touchdown, no interceptions). So I say fade.
Ben Roethlisberger has produced some amazing numbers in six career meetings with the Chiefs. How about a 118.5 passer rating, a 73% completion percentage and 13 touchdowns to three interceptions? Yeah, not bad. But I would not ride Big Ben this weekend. Rumors of his demise may be premature, but going back to last year’s playoff meeting with KC, Roethlisberger has thrown seven touchdowns to nine interceptions while putting together an ugly 77.1 passer rating. That’s a seven game sample. He did throw for 286. 2 yards per game during that stretch, though. I expect Sunday will be similar as the Chiefs defense has a penchant for giving up a lot of yards but not a lot of points (366 yards per game allowed compared with 22.2 points per game allowed this season).
Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell are both in play on Sunday. Brown has 21 catches (28 targets) for 341 yards (16.2 yards per reception) and three touchdowns in four games against the Chiefs. Bell, in three meetings opposite KC, has 10 receptions for 59 yards and one score to go with 328 rush yards and one rushing touchdown on 55 carries. Brown and Bell should post solid numbers this weekend and one or both could find pay dirt.
More picks possibly coming before Sunday…stay tuned.