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  • Gary Porpora




WEEK FOUR ATS 8 – 7 2020 Overall ATS 34 – 29

Weekly Totals 1 – 5 Cumulative Totals: 11 – 11– 1

Weekly Specials 3 – 2 Cumulative Specials: 12 - 5



PREMIUM PICKS 4 – 7 – 1 CUMULATIVE 23 – 18 – 1



Before you call me a homer, my original call on this game was a 36-34 Pittsburgh win—meaning I thought the Browns would Cover a close Pittsburgh win.

Two factors altered my thinking. First, we are just now finishing up the preseason.

An ugly virus and, of course, the Covid 19 Pandemic have turned the usual course of sports and life into a surreal, deadly snow globe of political warfare of which 218K American souls have become casualties.

For the NFL universe, that means complicated defenses like the Steelers have fielded the last two years are just now finding their form. Much has been made of the sub-standard performance from the Pittsburgh defense, especially the secondary, giving up 29 points to a tepid Philly offense—featuring the greatest receiver in league history, Travis Fulgham. Some Steeler fans panicked even more about Pittsburgh native, Miles Sanders, turning a simple off tackle rush into 74 yards of untouched Pittsburgh misery.

Those same pretender fans forget Carson Wentz was sacked five times and Steelers DB, Steven Nelson, who got “Fulghamized” all day had two picks and Wentz was lucky to complete just 57% of his throws. Sanders, after his 74-yard burst had six yards on ten carries.

You should hear the Steelers fans wail when beat writers point to “miscommunication” as the reason Fulgham toasted Nelson all day…They screech, “How could you give up a 74 yards run?” They bitch, “The defense is overrated and DC, Keith Butler, and the “idiot” Tomlin should be fired, NOW!”

Fortunately, Mike Tomlin has a sense of humor about all the nail biting, and he, in his own way, schools idiot fans who aren’t smart enough to know they’re clueless. I’ve always admired Tomlin’s approach. He doesn’t subscribe to beat writer’s analyses, no matter how valid, or fans panicking—no matter how insulting. His perspective is simple:

“Sometimes they are going to make a play, and you have to roll your sleeves up and fight on,”… “It’s good to see our group gain that understanding. Everything that requires a meeting or a dry erase board or an adjustment, sometimes it’s just getting back out there and fight. I’m just acknowledging some of the plays don’t require an adjustment either in personnel or technique or schematics. Sometimes you just have guys on the other side working hard and performing at a good level as well.”

It’s called perspective—from a coach who’s going to be around for a long, long while... And it makes me tingle knowing a lot of fans—most too gutless to admit their bias—find that fact to be almost unbearable.

Top to bottom, Cleveland has one of the most promising rosters in the NFL. Even with Nick Chubb on the sideline, RB, Kareem Hunt is a versatile weapon for Baker Mayfield—who has bruised ribs to deal with, along with injured offensive linemen, Wyatt Teller. OBJ is supposed to play after a positive Covid test.

Myles Garret, who tried to kill Mason Rudolph with his own helmet in last year’s game, will, no doubt, stalk Big Ben all day. Roethlisberger has thrown one pick in five games and has made it his mission to take care of the ball.

I trust Ben to be more careful than Baker. Garrett aside, the Steelers sack percentage, 12.27% is an historical number and they can make Mayfield’s sore ribs hurt a lot more.

It’s been 16 years since the Browns won in Pittsburgh, and it wouldn’t be shocking if the Brownies took care of business—but it’s been a while since the Steelers played a statement game—I think they pull it out with a late touchdown.

We’re playing the Under.

Steelers 27 Browns 22



There are strange things going on in San Fran. The defending NFC champ’s QB has been hurting all year. Their entire starting defensive line from last year is on IR. Since that was the heart and soul of a very good defense—well, things look pretty bad in the Bay area. Oh yeah, Richard Sherman will also sit out with a strained calf.

The conventional thinking is the Miners can’t be that bad—Miami torched them with a 40 double cheeseburger last week—and they’ll show some pride on defense…against a division foe, in a game they have to win.

Talent means a lot more than pride. You can scheme ‘til the cows go on vacation; any sports team is only so deep. In a league featuring a reverse draft order, measured free agency and a salary cap and floor, teams can’t have a three deep roster at any position.

Meanwhile, the Big Horns are surprising the Bookies and most fans because they are the NFL’s most balanced team. Not only on opposite sides of the ball, but they’re top ten in rushing and passing efficiency and 15th in PPG at 27.2. L.A is top five in passing yards given up; they lead the NFL pack allowing the fewest passing yards per play, and rank 3rd in scoring defense.

We could be looking at the dark horse favorite to win it all come February.

We think this will be a spanking for the ages. San Fran might have trouble scoring; play the Under.

Rams 36 49ers 13



Lot’s of pundits think this could be an AFC Championship preview. Patrick Mahomes plays with the confidence of a Tom Brady when he knew the opponent’s defensive signals. (The good ol’ days.)

Mahomes has a howitzer arm, runs like a deer, and has become a leader even veterans look up to.

Buffalo’s Josh Allen can throw it a mile, runs like a much bigger deer, and the fans in Buffalo finally have a QB to make them stop dreaming Jim Kelley is on the comeback trail.

In this one, the Bills are seeking redemption after Derek Henry and the Titans pounded them into submission in Week Five. K.C. is reeling after the Raiders pushed their chips into the division title kitty with a big 24-point comeback in Arrowhead.

These are two superbly coached teams. I give Andy Reid a slight edge over Sean McDermott. Offensively both squads average a touch over 400 YPG; the Chiefs are much more balanced and Leveon Bell could be a game changer after he gets into shape. (It’ll be a while; Leveon was never a gym rat in Pittsburgh.)

Kansas City has the edge in pass defense, Mahomes has a Lombardi under his belt, and the Chiefs have more game changers on both sides of the ball.

I’ll give the Bills the points; the pick can go either way—if they don’t get well into the 60s with the Total, I’ll be surprised.

Chiefs 35 Bills 31



I picked this puppy with the -1 opening line and the Upset Special boiled down to the Home Dog Cowboys against the Cardinals or Rodgers V. Brady in Tampa.

Let me see…Do I wager on the ‘Boys, who are perennially one of the most overrated teams in sports—without Dak, looking to Andy Dalton for a spark—having a “come to Jerrah” moment and upsetting a surprisingly good Arizona group with one of the Young Guns QBs…

Or…put my money on Aaron Rodgers, who has yet to throw a pick, gets sacked on only 2.6% of his drop backs, completes over 70% of his throws; averages a scooch under 395 PYPG; oh yeah, his team is undefeated and fields the 5th best running attack in the league.

Yeah, I’ll take the Rodgers guy.

The Bucs are clearly better on defense, but they surrendered 38 points to the Bolts, 31 to Carolina and lost to Da Bears—they’re worse than their record indicates.

With Brady, O.J. Howard, The Gronk, joined this week by WRs Chris Godwin and Mike Evans Tampa Bay might not be as disadvantaged as I think—except, a busted ankle will keep run-stuffer, Vita Vea on the sideline and Rodgers will exploit the big man’s absence.

Green Bay wins outright, Over the Number.

Packers 33 Bucs 23

The rest of my winners are in bold italics:

NFL Week 6 2020

Sunday Oct. 18 1:00 pm

Chicago @ Carolina +1.5 . 44

Cincinnati @ Indianapolis -8 . 45.5

Detroit @ Jacksonville +3 . 54

Atlanta @ Minnesota -3.5 . 57

Denver @ New England -9 51

Washington @ New York Giants -3.5 50

Baltimore @ Philadelphia +7.5 47.5.

Cleveland @ Pittsburgh -4 50.5 GW [U]

Houston @ Tennessee -2.5 53.5

Sunday Oct. 18 4:00 pm

New York Jets @ Miami -9 50 4:05 p.m. [U]

Green Bay @ Tampa Bay -1 55 4:25 p.m US [U]

Sunday Oct. 18 1 pm

Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco +3 50 8:20 p.m. (SNF) LW [U]

Monday Oct. 19

Kansas City @ Buffalo +2.5 52 5 p.m . ­O/U

Arizona @ Dallas +2.5 53.5 8:15 p.m. [O]

Bye: Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans, Seattle

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