NO (9-2) @ATL (4-7) / ATL +2.5
- An NFC South rematch of a game that we saw only a few weeks ago and one that also featured the debut of Taysom Hill. The first contest was closer than the score indicated but still it was clear to see that the Saints were the better team and that as limited as Hill is as a passer the Falcons defense is bad enough to mask a lot of those deficiencies. On top of that, it's looking like Julio Jones might miss yet another week for the Falcons which would be disastrous for their offense. And yes, Atlanta absolutely destroyed the Raiders last week but if you look at Matt Ryan's performance it was rather pedestrian. On the flip side this Saints defense is much better and Ryan has still been dreadful without Jones which could mean another long day for the Atlanta offense similar to the first matchup. To be fair we do expect the Atlanta defense to cause issues for Hill as well but the Saints have enough advantages at key positional groups and defensively to make up for that. As a result, we are going with the Saints outright and would hammer them on the spread especially if Julio Jones doesn't play.
DET (4-7) @ CHI (5-6) / CHI -3.5
- The Bears have owned this series lately in spite of their QB play as Mitch Trubisky actually has performed well vs the Lions. Now, it's not a guarantee that Trubisky will be the starter for the Bears here, but even Nick Foles should be able to take advantage of this putrid Lions defense. And on top of that if, and to be fair it's a big if, the Bears are smart enough to just feed David Montgomery vs one of the worst rush defenses in the NFL they should be able to have moderate success offensively. On the flip side, while the Lions likely get D'Andre Swift back they will presumably be without Kenny Golladay again which will be an issue vs this very good Bears defense. And while the Bears just got smoked by Aaron Rodgers this Detroit team does not have the weapons offensively to match that type of output. Simply put, matchup wise, the Bears actually have the advantage across the board here. This probably won't be a big scoring affair, at least on the side of the Lions, so for that reason we like the Bears.
CIN (2-8-1) @ MIA (7-4) / MIA -11.5
- Let's be honest, the Bengals are all types of bad without Joe Burrow under center. Brandon Allen is not remotely reliable and the entire offense has become lifeless. Simply put, there is nobody offensively that scares you for the Bengals. On the other side, the Dolphins still haven't named a starting QB, but we anticipate it will be Fitzpatrick as Tua will be given extra time to fully heal (which can be afforded when considering the quality of the opponent). But funny enough, this Miami offense is actually more potent with Fitzpatrick under center and that spells even further trouble for an equally bad Bengals defense. We fully expect a good performance from the Miami defense as well in what is shaping up to be one of the easier games to predict on the week. Translation, we like the Dolphins and even though the spread is big as long as Fitzpatrick is the starter Miami has a great chance of covering.
CLE (8-3) @ TEN (8-3) / TEN -5.5
- As things stand right now with possible rain in the forecast, we would bet that this is a game that features a lot of rushing. But that's not a bad thing as that's actually a strength of both of these teams and they have some excellent RB's. Looking at the bigger picture here though, we have to give the advantage defensively to the Browns, however it's not by much as they have been inconsistent for a large portion of the season. But when we factor in the entire offenses then the Titans start to emerge as the more well rounded team as they have weapons at WR and TE just like Cleveland, but more importantly have more consistent QB play courtesy of Ryan Tannehill. While both teams have an 8-3 record we would say that if any one of these teams isn't as good as that record it's probably the Browns as Baker Mayfield is still struggling as a passer and has benefited simply from easier opponents. For that reason, we favor the Titans in this game but with the spread close to a TD and with the Titans having issues defensively we will actually take the Browns on the spread.
IND (7-4) @ HOU (4-7) / HOU +3.5
- A game that could have been a lot more interesting and potentially higher scoring all of a sudden loses some luster with the PED suspension of Will Fuller. Considering how big of a factor Fuller has been for this Houston offense all year long this is a serious hit for the Texans. Sure, Brandin Cooks is no slouch but losing a viable WR like Fuller will make things harder for everyone offensively. The Colts are a bit banged up defensively to be fair, but even in that state we have more faith in them than the Texans defense especially when you consider the struggles of Houston to stop the run. In fact, the ability or lack thereof to stop the run will likely be the deciding factor for the Texans in this game as the Colts have some very capable RB's, paired with a great offensive line, and will surely focus on that aspect of that game. Due to these reasons we have to give the advantage to the Colts here and favor them on the spread too. If Fuller was playing in this game we would seriously consider a potential upset but his absence is just too big of a loss.
LV (6-5) @ NYJ (0-11) / LV +8.5
- The Raiders had one of the worst let downs last week in recent memory, period. When you consider it was vs the Falcons that only makes matters even worst. To some degree that type of loss and periodic inconsistencies is why some still aren't ready to call the Raiders legitimate contenders. But, we say it every week and it holds true now as well, the perfect remedy to whatever ails you is facing the Jets. The Jets are a complete mess from top to bottom and even though they might have some success scoring vs the Raiders, at the end of the day they will continue their path to 0-16. We should expect a team wide bounce back for the Raiders in this contest and even if Josh Jacobs doesn't play we aren't all that worried as Devontae Booker can carry the load vs the Jets. The only thing that gives us some cause for pause is the somewhat big spread as we could see the Jets getting some garbage time points but we will go out on a limb and say the Raiders can cover.
JAX (1-10) @ MIN (5-6) / MIN -9.5
- There might not be a whole lot of wins between these two teams, but this could very well be the highest scoring game of the week and pretty entertaining in general. Before we continue let's just say that we like the Vikings outright as they are the much better offense with the much better QB. But, the Vikings defense has been a problem all season long as almost no matter who the opposing QB is they have had success vs Minnesota. To be fair, Mike Glennon is probably the worst QB the Vikings face this year, but with the play of James Robinson at RB for the Jaguars that simplifies things a lot for whoever plays QB. And almost all year long, even though it hasn't translated to wins, the Jaguars have been putting up points offensively and frankly we expect it to continue vs the Vikings. In fact, we think this game will be rather close throughout, unless Glennon absolutely implodes, which is why we really like the Jaguars on the spread in what should be a surprisingly good game.
LAR (7-4) @ ARI (6-5) / ARI +2.5
- This game features two NFC West rivals that are both coming off surprising losses. And if these specific divisional games have thought us anything so far it's that the result won't be as simple as you think. The Rams are favored here in large part because they have the better defense and have a good matchup vs the inconsistent Arizona defense. But we still see this game as a coin flip and actually think the Cardinals have a very good chance of getting the upset. In order for that to happen Kyler Murray will have to return to MVP form and be stellar on the ground as well which we definitely know is possible. However, with Murray being a little bit banged up right now and so much being on his shoulders in this matchup we have to give the edge to the Rams. Overall, our professional opinion would be to hedge either hedge your bets on this one by taking the Rams outright and the Cardinals on the spread or either go Cardinals across the board.
NYG (4-7) @ SEA (8-3) / SEA -9.5
- This is a game that will ultimately come down to the status of Daniel Jones. Right now the Giant's QB is in danger of missing this contest and if that's the case then this large spread is absolutely warranted and this could be one of the biggest blowouts of the week. While this Giants defense has been stingy lately it will not be able to keep the Giants in this game on its own and even more so when you consider the opponent in Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Simply put, this will become a situation similar to that of the Bengals without Joe Burrow offensively for the Giants as all their offensive pieces will be hurt along with experiencing trickle down affects to their defense. But let's assume that Jones does play that doesn't mean we think the Giants all of a sudden can win this game because the Seahawks are so much better offensively and at QB. The difference in that case would be the spread as that almost double digit number could be good value. As of right now we like the Seahawks outright but the spread depends on the availability of Jones.
PHI (3-7-1) @ GB (8-3) / GB -8.5
- Stop us if you've heard this before but the Eagles are coming off yet another loss where Carson Wentz didn't look all that great. On the flip side the Packers just dominated the Bears, but their inability to stop the run was exposed yet again. And funny enough the Eagles actually have several very capable RB's that can take advantage of this, which in turn could open things up for the passing attack. For what it's worth we aren't saying that the Eagles will win this game, but the Eagles have been very good at keeping games close all season long. When you take into account the almost double digit spread then all of a sudden, value wise, we actually think the Eagles are a sneaky good pick on the spread. If you don't have confidence in that no problem, you can't go wrong with taking the Packers outright here with the sporadic play of Wentz and the tremendous play of Rodgers and Davante Adams on the other side for GB.
NE (5-6) @ LAC (3-8) / LAC -1.5
- Nice win for the Patriots vs the Cardinals but they are still a very flawed team offensively especially in the passing department. It's tough to trust Cam Newton and this offense any given week but if there was a team that was even tougher to predict outcome wise it's the Chargers. LAC might have the BIG advantage offensively, but they still can't put complete games together and their defense has similar inconsistencies. And for what it's worth the New England defense and Bill Belichick have been very good at slowing down young QB's. In truth, we think that this trend will continue and actually expect that this game could be somewhat low scoring and relatively close. In that scenario we can not go with the Chargers and actually like the Patriots to pull off the upset in a one score margin type of game.
DEN (4-7) @ KC (10-1) / KC -13.5
- Good news Denver, Drew Lock is expected to return at QB. Bad new though, you are facing the Chiefs who absolutely destroyed you the last time you met and not much has changed since then. It's tough for us to make a case for the Broncos here other than saying that this is a divisional game where the Broncos could hang in there for longer than expected if their defense shows up. But, is there really any such thing as a defense being able to stop the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes because we haven't seen it all that often this season. The Chiefs are the better team here they have a defense that is underrated, and their offense is good for almost 30 points every single week. We don't see the Broncos getting to that mark offensively and honestly that number might be conservative for KC. Don't over think this one and just go with the Chiefs across the board.
WAS (4-7) @ PIT (11-0) / PIT -8.5
- All of a sudden Washington is tied for the division lead and is now facing another fellow division leader. Of course, we say this in jest to some degree but funny enough if there were a week where the Steelers could be on upset alert it would be now when you look at the rest of their schedule. The reason for this is that Washington has a very good defense and enough offensive pieces with an experienced QB that doesn't make too many mistakes. And any way you slice it that is a winning formula. Now of course this means that Alex Smith will have to outplay Ben Roethlisberger, which is easier said than done, but all we're saying is don't sleep on Washington in this game. The Steelers are dealing with a scheduling fiasco and COVID drama which could be a little bit of a disadvantage from that perspective. Of course on paper the Steelers have an even better defense and the better offense with more weapons but we are predicting a very close game here regardless. At the end of the day we will still go with the Steelers to win outright but we actually love Washington on the spread.
BUF (8-3) @ SF (5-6) / SF +2.5
- Great win for the 49ers last week in a game where many thought they would lose and same goes for the Bills as they took care of business vs the Chargers. Maybe we're still not respecting SF, but we think that the spread for this game is too low. Last week was a situation where two divisional opponents squared off where upsets are much more likely to happen, but that isn't the case this week. We do expect the SF defense to have some nice moments but at the end of the day we have much more confidence in Josh Allen than we do in Nick Mullens. Weapons like Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, John Brown (if he plays), and Singletary/Moss make us give the advantage to the Bills. This would of course be a different situation if the 49ers were healthy but since that's not the case and the Bills have a solid secondary we think Buffalo pulls away in this game as it progresses.
DAL (3-8) @ BAL (6-5) / BAL -9.5
- Will the Ravens have the bodies necessary to compete in this game? If the Ravens had all their players returning from COVID then this becomes a much easier game to predict but that is far from a guarantee. The single biggest player to pay attention to is obviously Lamar Jackson as we saw this last week how even more limited Baltimore is offensively when Jackson is missing. In fact, if Jackson misses this game don't be shocked to see the Cowboys maybe even get the upset win, that's how much of an impact a loss like that can have. For that reason our advice would be to take the Ravens outright but as far as the spread is concerned if Jackson doesn't play then the Cowboys actually have great value. And if Lamar does play then abide by the same rule just in reverse.
- NO, MIA, LV, SEA, KC