Each week Mike Angelina will share his picks on the Eagles and three NFL plays for the week. The games are in increasing order of confidence, with Game #1 being the top play. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeAngelina
Game #3: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5.5) vs. Carolina Panthers
This game stands out to me because the line is speaking to me. If I were to guess what the line would be before the spread came out, I would have guessed anywhere from 2-4. The fact that it is 5.5 bodes well for Carolina, as it suggests they should easily handle the game. There is the angle that teams rally around the backup QB (hello, Ohio State), and with Derek Anderson in against the Buccaneers (whom he already beat), I think they build off their 31-point victory this week. Tampa Bay is absolutely terrible, losers of 8 of their past 9, so they really have nothing to play for. I’ll take the team coming home a week after scoring 40 points.
Pick: Panthers -5.5
Game #2: New Orleans Saints (-3) vs. Chicago Bears
New Orleans, although they’ve been a team of mystery this season, has actually been pretty solid on the road since the start of October. I think this is the point in the season where the Bears, losers of 5 of the last 7, (including 5 in a row to teams not the Redskins or Vikings) spin out and their whole season blows up. They’ve already pretty much pushed their Defensive Coordinator, Mel Tucker, out the door. This week, Offensive Coordinator Aaron Kromer ripped his QB, Jay Cutler, and then broke down crying to his team trying to apologize for it. Plus, Mark Trestman has put forth some awful, pathetic performances in recent Prime Time games. And, if all that is enough, they will be without their best player for the rest of the season in Brandon Marshall. Meanwhile, while Chicago sits hopelessly, the Saints EVEN STILL at 5-8 have a shot at the division title.
Pick: Saints -3
Game #1: Denver Broncos (-4) vs. San Diego Chargers
I hit on playing against the Chargers once against last week, something I learned to do after their 37-0 pathetic performance in Miami. I’m sticking to what works, as the Chargers are 1-6 against the spread against the AFC, haven’t covered a home game in their four games since Oct. 5, and have been on the wrong side ATS in all four AFC West games this season. Denver, while not quite as good due to some injuries, is pretty close to the talent level of New England. Last week, the Patriots, winners by nine, really should have won by 15-20, if not for a terrible call on Brandon Browner and a rare Tom Brady red zone turnover to end the first half. I suspect Denver wins by not quite that margin, but close to double digits, if not two touchdowns. Denver is also playing well against the pass, allowing the least amount of yards per pass in the NFL. That won’t allow Phillip Rivers to catch up. Furthermore, the best way to beat Peyton Manning is to knock him down, but the only teams with fewer sacks than San Diego are Oakland, Atlanta and Cincinnati.
Pick: Broncos -4
I just saw this match up two weeks ago, and I doubt little has changed. Sure, Dallas has much more time (nearly three times as much) to prepare for this game but I do not see an inferior team coming into the Linc with the division on the line in primetime and beating the Eagles. Eagles win 30-16.