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Sunday, 13 October 2013

TPL Picks: Week 6 + spread picks & Game of the Week

And then there were 3. Last week both Seattle and New England were handed their first loss of the season, leaving New Orleans, Denver and Kansas City as our last remaining unbeaten teams. In 2009 the Saints started the season with 13 straight wins on their way to a Super Bowl triumph over Peyton Manning's Colts who had won their first 14 games. Are we going to see another such show down between Manning and Brees? Both are leading seemingly unstoppable offenses and have defenses that are more than capable. There's a long way to go, but it's looking good for Manning-Brees II.

Past the jump you can find our Week 6 winners, Toby's weekly 1-out-of-3 spread picks and our game of the week. Enjoy!


Green Bay Packers (2-2) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Sunday, 1pm ET

The Ravens are one of the hardest teams to get a handle on this year. They've managed to score just 10 offensive touchdowns this season, or 2 a game. That's not normally a recipe for great success, but thanks to their improved defense (and a kind schedule) they've chalked up 3 wins so far this season.

Their defensive improvement is firmly rooted in health. Last year they were banged up throughout the regular season, so far this year they've had a healthy Haloti Ngata anchoring run defense that's allowed just 3.4 yards a carry and one touchdown. On the edge is Terrell Suggs who is now over a year removed from tearing his achilles and has that burst back that he was lacking last season. Suggs has registered a sack in every game this season, including 3 last week against a weak and over-matched Dolphins offensive line. And his job is made easier by the presence of Lardarius Webb at cornerback who has returned from a torn ACL to continue his march up the ranks of the best cover guys in the NFL. Excluding the opening day lost to Peyton Manning's ridiculous Broncos offense, the Ravens are allowing just over 15 points a game. Ray who?

Facing this renewed beast of a defense this week is a Green Bay team who have had their own share of inconsistency. Aaron Rodgers continues to be excellent, they rank 5th in rush yards per game and the return of Johnny Jolly has strengthened their run defense, but it's through the air that the Packers defense has been having issues. They've allowed a 66.7 completion percentage and 8.4 yards per attempt. Considering they didn't have to face Calvin Johnson last week against Detroit that's pretty bad. Compounding the problem is the thumb injury that will sideline Clay Matthews for up to a month.

Without Matthews the Packers are going to struggle getting to Joe Flacco, which means more time for Torrey Smith to find his way behind the secondary. And the Ravens defense should be able to win big up front and get consistent pressure on Aaron Rodgers without having to blitz too often. This will be the key, the Packers have found a ground game with rookie Eddy Lacy, but against this defensive front I think that rushing attack will largely disappear and the Ravens can concentrate on attacking Rodgers and trying to contain the passing attack.

The other thing to consider is that Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense is considerably better at home that it is on the road. In 42 home games Flacco has thrown 55 touchdowns and 24 interceptions, compared to 52 and 40 on the road (in 43 games).  Give me the Ravens in a tight, (relatively) low scoring game. (TD)



Toby's Spread Picks (1-2 last week, 4-8 overall):

New Orleans (+2.5) over New England

The Patriots rarely lose two games in a row, and very rarely lose a home game, but that's what I'm predicting to happen this week.

New England simply don't have the offense to keep up with the Saints, especially as it seems that Rob Gronkowski is going to miss this game as well. While the Patriots defense has been better than most thought it would be this year the fact is that the Saints have the two biggest match up nightmares in the league right now with Jimmy Graham who is in incredible form, and Darren Sproles. Both should win comfortably against the Patriots linebackers and keep the Saints moving all day.

Dallas (-5) over Washington

Lost in the "Romo choked again" jokes is the fact that Tony Romo is fully earning that fat contract he was handed in the off-season. His 71.8% completion rate, 13 TD's to just 2 interceptions is all that's keeping Dallas' head above water. But this week, against the 1-3 Redskins, the Cowboys defense should be able to make some plays. Washington just don't have the personnel to test the Cowboys in pass coverage over the middle of the field, and maybe Robert Griffin III will start running more, but the Washington defense is so horrible (allowing 2nd most rushing yards/game and 5th most passing yards/game) that Dallas should be able to stay well in front.

Seattle (-13) over Tennessee

Ryan Fitzpatrick. In Seattle. Those are the important things to focus on here. Seattle's home form is simply incredible, and Fitzpatrick is going to seriously struggle in that atmosphere against that defense.

     






Toby Durant 
Phil Gaskin 
Gur Samuel 
Giants @ Bears 

Bears 
Bears 
Bears 
Bengals @ Bills

Bengals 
Bengals
Bengals
Lions @ Browns

Lions 
Lions
Lions
Raiders @ Chiefs

Chiefs 
Chiefs
Chiefs
Panthers @ Vikings

Vikings 
Panthers
Vikings
Steelers @ Jets

Jets 
Steelers
Jets
Eagles @ Buccaneers

Eagles 
Eagles
Eagles
Packers @ Ravens

Ravens 
Packers
Packers
Rams @ Texans

Texans 
Texans
Texans
Jaguars @ Broncos

Broncos 
Broncos
Broncos
Titans @ Seahawks

Seahawks 
Seahawks
Seahawks
Cardinals @ 49ers

49ers 
49ers
49ers
Saints @ Patriots

Saints 
Saints
Saints
Redskins @ Cowboys

Cowboys 
Cowboys
Cowboys
Colts @ Chargers


Colts 
Chargers
Chargers
Last Week: 

8-6 
5-9 
7-7 
Overall:
49-28 
42-35 
47-30 



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