The “Fading Kevin Wheeler” series took a bad turn last week.
After back-to-back weeks where Kevin and I went .500 against each other, he got the upper hand last Saturday when Tennessee and Texas A&M pushed. All told, that gave him three correct picks to my two, shaming me in the process.
Enough of this crap. I’m tired of Wheeler walking around the 101 studios acting like he owns the place. Time to get a win.
Here are the three pro and three college games that Kevin and I disagree on this weekend.
Falcons @ Seahawks
The Falcons are a different team than they were a year ago when they started 5-0 only to finish 8-8.
Alex Mack has been a tremendous addition to an offensive line that is playing incredibly well, and Tevin Coleman gives Kyle Shanahan’s offense more depth now that he’s burning linebackers in the slot.
The Seahawks are well-rested and will no doubt want to prove that the Falcons’ offense is inferior to the “Legion of Boom,” but I’m going to simplify my approach: Give me six points with the team that has won four straight and that has beaten the defending NFC and AFC champions in back-to-back weeks.
Wheeler: Seahawks -6
Stalter: Falcons +6
Cowboys @ Packers
The Cowboys have the best rushing attack in football but the Packers have the best run defense, so what happens to Dallas’ offense when it can’t gain chunk yards on the ground? Dak Prescott has been sensational considering the circumstances, but he may be forced to lead an unbalanced offense on Sunday. The Packers still don’t look like they’re firing on all cylinders offensively but they’re 5-2 against the spread in their last seven home games versus the Cowboys and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall versus Dallas. I say Green Bay’s defense comes up big Sunday afternoon.
Wheeler: Cowboys +3.5
Stalter: Packers -3.5
Eagles @ Redskins
Philadelphia impressed me last week despite coughing up the game at Detroit. One mark of a good team is how they respond to being down at halftime and the Eagles roared all the way back to nearly pull off the comeback versus the Lions last Sunday. Had Ryan Mathews not fumbled the game away late, the Eagles would be 4-0 heading into their pivotal matchup with the Redskins this week. I’m not a believer in Kirk Cousins and as I’ve written before, Washington is winning with smoke and mirrors. I don’t usually lay the points on a road favorite but I’ll happily do so with the Eagles.
Wheeler: Redskins +2.5
Stalter: Eagles -2.5
Kansas State @ Oklahoma
I’m laying the points here. The point spread opened at Oklahoma -10 and has jumped all the way up to 13.5, signaling sharp money on the Sooners. Kansas State has won the last two meetings in Norman between these two teams but under Bill Snyder, an unranked Wildcat team has gone 3-36-1 against AP top-25 teams. Overall, the Wildcats are 22-60-1 against ranked teams under Snyder while the Sooners are 7-2 against the spread in their last nine conference games. It doesn’t make sense that the number has jumped as much as it has, so I’m betting into that and laying the wood.
Wheeler: Kansas State -14
Stalter: Oklahoma -14
Alabama @ Tennessee
Okay, I’ll bite again. The Vols screwed me by not kicking the extra point three weeks ago in their Hail Mary-victory over Georgia and by giving up a touchdown in overtime last week to hand me a push. But Tennessee has also covered big numbers twice against Alabama the last two years and nearly upset the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa last season. The Vols are inconsistent, turnover-prone, and have become way too reliant on second-half comebacks. That said, as good as Alabama has looked this season, this is a large number to lay on a road team playing in a conference game. In the past, the one thing that has given Nick Saban’s defenses trouble is a mobile quarterback so let’s hope Joshua Dobbs is on his game Saturday afternoon.
Wheeler: Alabama -13
Stalter: Tennessee +13
Ohio State @ Wisconsin
My play here is rooted in my opinion that Ohio State is better than Michigan, which received a scare a couple of weeks ago from Wisconsin. It seems to easy to grab the home Badgers with a 10.5-point spread given how well their defense has played, but the Buckeyes are more proficient on offense than the Wolverines. Plus, it’s not as if Ohio State can’t play defense. The Buckeyes rank fourth in the nation in total yards allowed (246.6), fifth in the nation in passing yards allowed (148.6), ninth in rushing yards allowed (98.0), and second in points allowed (10.8). Seeing as how the Buckeyes enter the week with the highest average scoring margin in the FBS at +42.4 PPG, I’ll lay the 10.5.
Wheeler: Wisconsin +10.5
Stalter: Ohio State -10.5
Season Record Fading Wheeler: 8-9-1