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Best Bets: Bears-Broncos, survivor picks and more

The season’s off and running and Sam and Jeff got off to uneven starts

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears USA TODAY Sports

Well the NFL season is up and running and overall, Jeff and I did all right and hit on a couple of our picks.

Overall we went 3-3-1, and I hit on the Eagles survivor pick, although I had to sweat out that comeback. Jeff changed his pick at the last minute over to the Seahawks and had to sweat even more in a narrow victory over the not-so-hapless Bengals.

We split our Bears picks, I was on the right side, but that didn’t make the game any more enjoyable. On our NFL picks, Jeff lost out picking the Bucs in a pick ‘em with the 49ers, when really that spread ended up looking pretty out of whack.

I didn’t fare much better, I pushed on the Panthers +3.

Let’s see how we can do this week:

Bears (-3) at Broncos (O/U 40.5)

Sunday, 3:25 p.m. CT

Sam: The Bears need a rebound here. Matt Nagy called a horrible game, had a horrible game plan and Mitch Trubisky was very bad as well. But this is a tough spot, on the road, in the altitude and heat (game day is supposed to have highs near 90).

The numbers aren’t on the side of the Bears in this one, although they will have the advantage of more time to prepare, compared with the Broncos’ short week following Monday Night Football.

The Broncos though are on an incredible 20-straight home winning streak in week two. While that is a weirdly specific stat, even bumping it out, they’re 14-1 at home in September overall and 6-4 against the number as a home underdog in that time. They are also 8-5-2 against the spread overall since 2012.

That’s a whole lot of history saying that the Broncos are the right side in this one. Even if the Bears eek out a win, I don’t feel comfortable picking them to clear the number.

I also feel really good about the under. Both defenses have loads of playmakers and neither offense showed much ability to move the ball in week one.

Pick: Broncos +3, under 40.5

Record: 1-0

Jeff: In a way, I’m kind of surprised by the Bears getting any points at all in this one after that terrible offensive start. Re-watching that Broncos / Raiders game did reinforce that Vic Fangio doesn’t have nearly the talent that he had in Chicago and that the most talented unit on the field Sunday will be the Bears defense.

Still, I’m more than a little worried about how Trubisky and that offensive line looked- not to mention the curious play calling and game management decisions from Nagy. Despite the low over/under total, I agree with Sam and am going to take the under.

However, I’ll begrudgingly take the Bears at -3 as I have been thinking this game has the feel of a 13-6 grinder that tries to send football back to the 1970’s. I’ll roll with the Bears once again.

Picks: Bears -3, Under 40.5

Record: 0-1

NFL Picks

Sam: For my survivor pick I am deviating from the group. While it would be way too easy to pick the Patriots against the Dolphins, like oh-so-many others, I am rolling with the Ravens against the Cardinals. This isn’t so much because I think that the Dolphins can upset the Patriots (although they always seem to struggle against the Fins in Miami), as it is a pick for the new-look Lamar Jackson. Sure, the Cardinals mounted a near comeback in week one to end in a tie against the Lions, but the Ravens defense is sure to test Kyler Murray a bit more. I’m going with the hot hand in Jackson and the Ravens.

For my other ATS pick, I’m looking at the Bengals (-2) against the 49ers. The Bengals put up a valiant effort and came up just short of a big road upset against the Seahawks in one of the toughest road environments in the NFL. While the 49ers have been training in Ohio this week, two straight on the road is never easy for a west coast team and it’s hard to get into the routine of the season without so much as one night at home.

Picks: Bengals (-2), Ravens (survivor)

Record: 1-0-1

Jeff: Once again I agree with Sam in his survivor pick and I’m pretty sure I’m not going to panic and change it. The Ravens were one of the top 3 popular picks last week in survivor groups headed down to Miami to play the tanking Dolphins. I totally get why you’d want to take the Patriots as an easy victory but here’s my strategy. I like the Ravens, a lot, but this is the home game I feel best about for them until December. Divisional games can be dicey and I want to take advantage of this Ravens team while they’re hot and before Kyler Murray and the Cardinals figure it out. Plus, I get to save the Patriots for later!

An update on the Windy City Gridiron Survivor Pool - 48 active players in the pool and 11 earned their first strike last week. Some of you bought into the Browns hype while others were trying to sneak in a Buccaneers victory. Nice idea, just didn’t work out. Remember, 3 strikes and you’re out so keep plugging away.

For the record, I knocked out a perfect 5 for 5 in my picks over at the QB List last week, so I’ve got that going for me. As for my other pick, I’m a big fan of some of the overs this week. I’m going back and forth between the Rams / Saints over 53 (a very big number) and the Cardinals / Ravens over 45. I was at the Rams / Saints last year and they went way over 53, scoring a combined 80 in the Super Dome. I’m not sure Brees is nearly as good outside of NOLA but I’m still going to roll with it and expect big numbers to be put on the board.

Picks: Ravens (survivor), NO-LAR Over 53

Record: 1-1