It was an amazing day of football in London last Sunday, especially for me - getting to rush from Wembley after broadcasting the amazing 34-27 win for the Vikings over the Steelers on Channel 4 and More4, to Ealing - where we did our usual Sunday Night Football game, and saw just as thrilling a game between the Patriots and Falcons, decided when the Falcons fourth and goal fell short on a play where New England virtually triple-teamed Tony Gonzalez at the line of scrimmage.
It was a constant reminder of the way the NFL veers between gladiatorial (or sumo wrestling) style combat between individuals, and the strategic planning of teams to play against individual strengths. Watching Adrian Peterson's first touchdown run, it's actually far more of a brilliantly designed play than the bad tackling we attributed to Ike Taylor; but still, if Phil Loadholt doesn't splash Ziggy Hood onto the ground, and if Joe Webb, who's a quarterback, doesn't get a great block on Troy Polamalu. It's what makes football so fascinating.
There are only five home dogs this week, and Dallas getting 7.5 might seem tempting if you think there has to be a time when the wheels fall off Peyton Manning's trolley. Of course when you look at the Cowboys' secondary, this might not be the week. Though Sean Lee covers passes as well as any middle linebacker in the league.
Sure Thing: Kansas City (-1) at Tennessee
The Titans will start Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB; he can bother teams with inadequate defenses, but against good ones he's usually been found wanting, and I suspect that, even at home, he will again.
Chris Johnson is back to his run sideways until tackled mode, and they lack a good downfield receiver, even though Nate Washington's knock the defender and the back judge over TD last week against the Jets was a thing of beauty.
The Chiefs had the core of a very good team last year when they won only two games, now with a good coach, defensive coordinator and a QB who doesn't create more turnovers than a downtown bakery, they are potentially a playoff team.
Outside Bet: Jets (+10.5) at Atlanta
I'm tempted to call this one a sure thing, because I am not convinced the Falcons have the abilty to pull away from a team at this point, especially a team with as good a D as the Jets. So giving the Jets two scores seems pretty generous to me, and worth an outside shot.
Value Bet: Eagles (+1) at Giants at 2.02
This one basically depends on whether you feel the Giants are collapsing, and Tom Coughlin's going to explode in frustration, or that the Eagles were just an exploding flash in the pan, and Chip Kelly is going to collapse into terminal depression as he starts to realise that maybe his stuff doesn't work in the NFL.
Actually Chip's stuff may or may not work, but the way his defense has been playing, he won't get many chances to find out. Still, I can see them going into Giants Stadium and pulling off an upset of sorts against a team with zero wins.
One To Avoid: Detroit (+7) at Green Bay
Who knows which version of either team will show up. The Lions performance against the Bears last week was encouraging: their D played with both aggression and discipline, reviving the old creature of the night Jay Cutler from his grave, while the offense, with Reggie Bush running like the Bush you can support, was far less one dimensional, Stafford to Megatron.
Meanwhile the Packers continue to go through running backs the way the Kardashians go through sports stars, and the defense is still injury riddled, though Clay Matthews (hamstring) who is crucial, is expected to play. I've picked the Pack straight-up in this one, but seven is a dangerous give.
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