ARI (6-3) @ SEA (6-3) / SEA -3.5
- A rematch of a classic game from only a few weeks ago, both the Cardinals and Seahawks now find themselves at 6-3 with this game having huge divisional implications. The first matchup was a back and forth, high scoring affair where it came down to which QB could make one more play and this will likely be the case yet again. While Murray might have overtaken WIlson in MVP chatter, especially with Wilson's struggles these last few weeks, we should still remember that this Seattle offense is better than what we've seen from them as of late. Unfortunately, injuries could play a factor for Seattle as Tyler Lockett and Chris Carson are both questionable on a short week. The loss of Carson would be easier to overcome, but not having Lockett could be a big deal if this becomes an aerial showdown like expected. Assuming Lockett does play we think that these two teams are very close offensively and this series will be split by each home team. Right now the safest bet would be to probably take the over on the point total as this could be the highest scoring game of the week. Giving credit to Arizona however, if they lose we think it will be VERY close and like them on the spread.
ATL (3-6) @ NO (7-2) / NO -4.5
- What was probably a much easier game to predict a week ago all of a sudden has some intrigue in it as Drew Brees is now injured and we are set to see Jameis Winston under center. Now, undoubtedly there will also be a mix of Taysom Hill in there, but we anticipate Winston will be primary guy. With that being the case it's interesting to see what this Saint team will look like. Offensively we expect a focus on the rushing attack, but at the same time the passing game could get a bit of a boost with the ability of Winston to air it out. The question however will naturally be the turnovers and if Winston will be able to limit those and sustain enough drives . Defensively we know the Saints can be an up and down team so that might end up being the true X-factor in this game. The status of Calvin Ridley for Atlanta though is also something to monitor as he is dealing with a foot injury. Considering how porous the Atlanta defense is the Falcons will NEED Ridley if they have any hope of pulling off the upset here. Overall, this should be a high scoring game and because of the familiarity of Winston with the NFC South we think the Saints will actually pull this off as they are the better overall team, it just might take more work than originally expected. The spread is where we will go with Atlanta however as the Saint offense might have some slow moments throughout the game allowing the Falcons to keep pace.
*Note if Taysom Hill news are true then Falcons are the better pick.
CIN (2-6-1) @ WAS (2-7) / WAS -1.5
- Maybe somewhat similar to last week the Bengals face another defensive minded team, but to be fair Washington is not on the same level as the Steelers defensively. In fact, Washington was in a bit of a shoot out vs the Lions last week and this game has a similar type of expectation here. The Bengals offense is absolutely loaded and while they do have offensive line issues, Burrow is mobile enough to buy some time and find his plethora of weapons. We expect Joe Mixon to miss yet another game which means Gio Bernard should start again for Cincinnati with a chance for a bounce back game here as this should be a much closer contest than last week's affair. Offensively for Washington Alex Smith is in another positive matchup and should be able to keep pace with the Bengals. Assuming this game turns into a higher scoring matchup as it progresses we like the Bengals to pull off the upset as they simply have more offensive options compared to Washington and a QB that gets the edge as far as rushing ability is concerned. Regardless however we expect a back and forth game here where the result should be very close so your best bet is to pick whoever you like outright which is the Bengals for us.
PHI (3-5-1) @ CLE (6-3) / CLE -3.5
- The Eagles are coming off a very bad loss to the Giants despite the fact that they got some key offensive pieces back. And unfortunately for the Eagles, as the season progresses the questions of if Wentz has the ability to take them to next level are becoming more and more valid. On the other side the Browns might have a good record but truly statistically speaking, Baker Mayfield hasn't been great either. Favorably for the Browns their rushing attack takes a lot of pressure off Mayfield and should be the focal point here yet again. In all honesty, we think the separation between these two teams isn't all that much and believe this should be a close game that likely gets decided by 3-5 points. Currently we are giving the slight edge to the Browns outright as we believe they have the more balanced offense but on the spread prefer the Eagles as they have upset potential especially with the inconsistent play of Mayfield which has been slightly forgotten about since the Browns have been winning.
DET (4-5) @ CAR (3-7) / CAR -1.5
- This is a game that could go in many different directions as both QB's are dealing with injuries and aren't locks to be available. But, assuming both Stafford and Bridgewater play this is a great game to take the over on as neither defensive unit is all that great. The potential return of Kenny Golladay would add further firepower to this Detroit offense which we currently give the advantage to especially with the emergence of D'Andre Swift and the poor Panthers rush defense. Obviously if one of these QB's ends up sitting then you should be picking the opposing team as neither squad has a reliable backup. What is known for sure however is the fact that the Panthers will yet again be without Christian McCaffrey. Favorably for them however the Detroit defense is very generous and points will be aplenty. At this stage this game is essentially a pick'em and one that we anticipate will be very close and decided by less than a TD. As long as Stafford plays give us the Lions and if not we suggest pivoting to Carolina.
TEN (6-3) @ BAL (6-3) / BAL -6.5
- Both of these teams are coming off tough losses but the Ravens get a bit of a pass considering the torrential downpour they dealt with vs the Patriots. As long as weather doesn't factor into this game we think the Ravens and specifically Lamar Jackson can have a big bounce back performance vs this Tennessee defense. To be fair the Titans have their fair share of weapons and arguably have the more balanced offense but they won't have as much room for error as we predict that they will struggle to stop Jackson on the ground. We expect a big game from Mark Andrews offensively as this is a TE oriented offense with Andrews being the last man standing to an extent. As underwhelming as the Baltimore WR's have been we don't anticipate this to be a shootout and think the Ravens can grind out a win in what should be a close game.
NE (4-5) @ HOU (2-7) / HOU +2.5
- Both the Patriots and Texans were involved in bad weather games last week but the Patriots were able to come out victorious while the Texans struggled to score at all. In truth, these are both two teams that have been very disappointing all year long as the Patriots can't be relied upon offensively while the Texans are a liability defensively. However, one of those things has to give in this matchup and we tend to believe that it will be the Patriots who can take advantage of a positive defensive matchup and expect Cam Newton to have a big game here. And while the Texans have the much better offense and better weapons that has been the case for them multiple times this season, yet their defense continues to put them in big holes and can't hold a lead. The struggles of the Houston rushing attack have made the offense very predictable as well and that will be a problem when playing a HC like Bill Belichick. We like the Patriots in what has the potential to be a very high scoring game as we have more faith in their defense to make the extra stop when needed.
PIT (9-0) @ JAX (1-8) / JAX +9.5
- Thankfully this is one of the easier games to predict on the week as the undefeated Steelers face the 1 win Jaguars. Regardless of who plays QB for the Jaguars, Luton or Minshew, this is an awful matchup for them. Normally the Jaguars rely on their rushing attack to keep the offense balanced, but that will be very difficult vs the best defense in the NFL. On the flip side the Jaguars have a very bad defense that will have its hands full with a loaded Pittsburgh offense. This could potentially be one of the biggest blowouts of the week as we expect the Steelers to dominate through the air and also get back to emphasizing rushing the football and the Jaguars are the perfect opponent to do that against.
MIA (6-3) @ DEN (3-6) / DEN +3.5
- The Dolphins have quietly put themselves in a great spot for playoff contention as they continue to pile up wins with Tua under center. While the Broncos are trending in the wrong direction again in terms of injuries as the status of Drew Lock is up in the air right now. This does not bode well for Denver as they get ready to face a Miami defense that has played really well as of late. Truthfully however whether Lock plays or not we would still pick the Dolphins outright here as they are playing more complementary football at the moment. The trouble for Miami will come when they are in shootouts or when the defense collapses a bit, but we don't see that offensive potential from the Broncos here so we aren't too worried. If Lock misses this game then the spread becomes an equally great bet for the Dolphins.
NYJ (0-9) @ LAC (2-7) / LAC -8.5
- On paper this is a game that should be a blowout as the Jets continue to be the only winless team in the NFL and are now expected to be without Sam Darnold in this game. And to an extent we will agree because we view the Chargers winning outright as a lock but the spread is where it gets interesting. The reason for that is because the Chargers have exclusively been in close games this year and just aren't involved in blowouts. Now maybe this is the week where that changes and we will admit that as long as this spread stays under double digits we will go with the Chargers, but if it gets higher than that we would avoid it. Matchup wise this is a great one for the Chargers as Justin Herbert should have a lot of opportunities as will the rushing attack. On the flip side we expect the defense for the Chargers to also come alive a bit and produce some takeaways vs a QB in Flacco that can be mistake prone.
DAL (2-7) @ MIN (4-5) / MIN -7.5
- Don't look now but the Vikings are on a bit of a winning streak and are somewhat big favorites in this game. When you consider how bad the Dallas offense has been and the struggles of the defense you begin to understand why, but watch out for a potential trap game here. The Cowboys will be getting Andy Dalton back in this game and Ezekiel Elliott will have a much better chance for success compared to previous matchups. If the Cowboys can get Zeke going then that will ease things for the entire offense and we think the Cowboys keep this one close. Ultimately we will still play this one safe outright because the Vikings offense has a lot of opportunities for success with Dalvin Cook, but also the duo of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. Don't be surprised if this is a very high scoring game as the Vikings have real issues in the secondary and despite the inconsistencies at QB the Cowboys have a trio of WR's that can cause problems all game long. Due to that we actually really like the Cowboys on the spread.
GB (7-2) @ IND (6-3) / IND -2.5
- A bit of a surprise to see the Colts as favorites in this game, but a decisive win over the Titans definitely helped. However, facing Ryan Tannehill and facing Aaron Rodgers are two different things. Undoubtedly, the Colts defense gives Indianapolis bettors confidence as they don't give up points in bunches but vs a QB like Rodgers we think that will only last until a certain point. On the flip side the Packers do struggle defensively to stop the run and the Colts have several pieces that can cause problem for GB at that position. We should also acknowledge that Davante Adams has a hurt ankle but plans to play regardless which definitely gives us more confidence in this GB offense. At the end of the day this could be a lower scoring game than some think but the Packers are a relatively consistent team and if this game really is close then we are going with the QB we trust more and that is for sure Rodgers.
KC (8-1) @ LV (6-3) / LV +6.5
- Maybe this is too simplistic of an approach, but we just don't see the Chiefs being swept by the Raiders this season. Yes, that probably tells you who we like in this game, but can you blame us? In the first contest, the Raiders played the perfect game whereas the Chiefs probably had one of their worst performances of the year and we don't see that happening twice in a row. The Chiefs have the better offense, the better defense and are just better overall. While the Raiders have proven they are playoff contenders it's so difficult to beat a team twice, let alone the Chiefs. If KC can stop the LV rushing attack we actually think this game could turn into a blowout. Don't be shocked if we see the WR deficiencies for the Raiders stick out in this game as well which has been an issue for them all year long. Our prediction is that this game starts out close but the Chiefs pull away as the game progresses as they get revenge for their only loss of the season.
LAR (6-3) @ TB (7-3) / TB -3.5
- This will be a much tougher matchup for the Bucs compared to last week vs the Panthers and we also expect Brady to fall back down to Earth. Now that's not to say that we think the Bucs will lose, but you should expect a much closer game here. The Rams have a good defense and we have seen that when teams apply pressure directly to Tom Brady and can disrupt the TB offensive line that's when the Bucs struggle. And it just so happens that the Bucs will have to deal with Aaron Donald this week. Scoring wise even though there are a lot of weapons in this game for both sides we tend to think it will be a lower scoring game as these are both two very good defenses. The loss of Andrew Whitworth for the Rams is what sticks out to us here as that will have a trickle down affect not only for the rushing attack of the LAR but also for Jared Goff and the time he has to find his WR's. Right now we will give the slight edge to the Bucs because we believe they have more offensive pieces to overcome the tough defensive matchup. However, we suggest hedging your bets here and going with the Rams on the spread.
- NE, PIT, MIA, LAC