It was a pretty good week for old guys, including me, with a board that was run the way it should be.
But on the field it's not just the usual old timers like kickers, clipboard-carrying backup quarterbacks or long-snappers who are making an impact. Peyton Manning (39) led the Broncos over the Lions in Detroit, despite winding up like Satchel Paige and grunting like Anna Kournikova on almost every throw! Tom Brady (38) continued the Pats' offensive run, their best since the days of Randy Moss, with a huge win in their bye week against Jacksonville. Steve Smith Very Senior (36) caught 13 passes for 186 yards and two TDs in a tough loss against the Bengals. Carson Palmer (35) hasn't lost a start since 2013. Charles Woodson (38) got an interception to seal Oakland's win in Cleveland. On the other hand, Drew Brees (36) is out with an undisclosed throwing malady that could be a problem with his rotator cuff, which is a deterioration kind of thing.
So this week's picks will be age-weighted, and that's just considering who's doing the picking...
BEST BET: ATLANTA (-6.5 AT 1.97) over Houston: The Falcons are at home, where they usually play better than on the road, not least youngish QB Matt Ryan. Houston's defense may pose them some problems, with their active front led by JJ Watt, but the Houston offense is not likely to burn the Falcons, even if Arian Foster, who's only 29, but that's 58 in running back years, finally makes his season debut. It's a pretty generous spread, but the Birds ought to be one TD better. I also like the JETS (-1 at 1.97) over the Dolphins at Wembley.
VALUE BET: UNDER (46.5 at 2.00) Atlanta v Houston: It's odd to be recommending a game at the Bubba Dome for two bets, but I don't see either team generating consistent offense, and the Falcons are likely to get a big play or two from Julio Jones, and keep the Texans' offense in check. DENVER (-7 at 2.00) v Minnesota looks like a pretty good line as well, as teams tend to fade on the road at Mile High, while Peyton's old arm keeps going.
OUTSIDE BET: SEATTLE (-10 AT 1.92) v Detroit: I'm always hestitane with double-digit spreads, but the Seattle defense looked good last week (albeit against the hapless Bears) and the Lions' attack has been very inconsistent. Still, any team with Calvin Johnson is likely to put some points on the board, but the Seahawks answer with Richard Sherman. Rookie runner Ameer Abdullah may be the key for Detroit, who need to get him the ball more often and more creatively. But I'd be willing to take a flutter on the Seahawks D here, but consider the UNDER (43 AT 1.92) as even more of an outside bet.