ATL (1-6) @ CAR (3-3) / CAR -2.5
- Stop us if you've heard this before but the Falcons continue to find new, mind-boggling ways to lose games in the 4th quarter. All jokes aside, this is a game that we saw only a few weeks ago in which the Panthers came away with a relatively comfortable win. However, that was also a point in time where Julio Jones was hurt and Dan Quinn was still the Atlanta HC. Needless to say, a lot of things have changed since then in the positive for Atlanta regardless if that is translating to wins or not. For the Panthers there is a very small chance we see McCaffrey return in this game, but regardless if that happens or not Mike Davis should be able to do great as his best game while filling in for CMC was actually vs the Falcons. Matchup wise we expect the Panthers to have an easier go as they are facing a weaker Atlanta defense that has problems across the board whereas the Panthers have actually been alright in pass defense. While this might not bode well for Matt Ryan we expect him to have a much better outing compared to the first time the two teams played and for this to be a more competitive game. Ultimately we still give the small edge to the Panthers outright because of the easier defensive matchup, but we actually think the Falcons on the spread are a smart play. With Julio back in this offense the Falcons have been very competitive and they have hung in all their games.
NE (2-4) @ BUF (5-2) / BUF -3.5
- After two ugly losses in a row the Patriots look like a team that is in serious trouble and has no business being talked about as a playoff contender. Maybe we are prisoners of the moment but anytime your starting QB is benched that's usually not a good sign. To be fair, we know that Newton is better than what we've seen but he's going to have another tough matchup as he faces Josh Allen and the stacked Buffalo offense. And sure the Bills haven't looked as dominant as we thought recently, but it's still a no contest when comparing offensive talent. In truth, Newton and Allen are similar type of QB's, but Allen is the younger, more accurate and better equipped player right now. We believe that both teams will put forward better efforts than what we've seen recently and keep this game close, but ultimately the Bills are simply the more complete team right now. For that reason we are going with the Bills outright but we do expect the Patriots to hang in this game before fading late.
TEN (5-1) @ CIN (1-5-1) / CIN +5.5
- Kudos to the Titans for a hell of an effort that came up just short vs the Steelers in a narrow loss. In a similar way we could also say the same thing about the Bengals and how they played vs the Browns in a game they narrowly lost. However, it's clear that one team is better than the other here, as the record indicates. This should be a nice opportunity for the Titans to bounce back as they have a great matchup vs a very beatable Bengals defense. In truth, as well as Tannehill has played he probably won't have to do all that much here as this could turn into the Derrick Henry show relatively fast. Simply put, we have seen this Bengals defense be an issue all season long and we don't anticipate that will change all of a sudden. For the Bengals to hang in this game they will have to be almost perfect offensively and Joe Burrow will have to play mistake free football. While there is an outside chance this could happen as Burrow definitely has the offensive pieces we believe this is ultimately asking too much of the Bengals. However, if Joe Mixon sits again and Gio Bernard (a more complete player) is the starting RB we do like the chances of the Bengals a bit more and could see them at least covering on the spread, which will be our stipulation as of right now.
LV (3-3) @ CLE (5-2) / CLE -2.5
- Coming off a predictable loss vs the Bucs, the Raiders now face the Browns who will be without OBJ for the rest of the season. While this is a big loss the Browns do have enough offensive talent to make up for this. As is usually the case with Cleveland this game will likely come down to what version of Baker Mayfield we see. Favorably for Mayfield, the Raiders defense isn't too intimidating and he should see a lot of opportunities and still has the better offensive cast around him compared to Derek Carr. On the flip side, the Raiders should have a more balanced offensive performance as this will be a better opportunity for Josh Jacobs to perform compared to last week's game vs the Bucs. For what it's worth we actually do have more faith in Carr than Mayfield, but in the long term the weapons at WR, or lack thereof for the Raiders is what makes is give the edge to the Browns. However, we think this game will be close and the Raiders are very capable of pulling off an upset especially if Mayfield implodes, which we have seen many times before, so we will hedge out bets on the spread.
IND (4-2) @ DET (3-3) / DET +2.5
- The Colts are coming off the bye and face a Lions team that against all odds is coming off a victory vs the Falcons. Regardless of that result though, the Lions are at .500 and clicking offensively behind the steady play of Stafford and emergence of rookie D'Andre Swift. While on paper this might be a matchup where Philip Rivers and the Colts hold the edge by a wide margin over this Detroit defense we still don't have enough faith in the Indianapolis offense to win comfortably here. For that reason, coupled with the steady defensive play of the Colts, we believe this will be a back and forth, low scoring game. Ultimately we don't expect a big game from either QB here, but do give the slight edge to the Colts when considering their rushing attack and superior defense. However, we really like the Lions on the spread as the Colts have played teams close all year and we all know the tendency of Rivers to commit untimely turnovers.
MIN (1-5) @ GB (5-1) / GB -6.5
- A rematch of a game we saw in Week 1 where the Packers were victorious and first exposed the Vikings defense will sadly probably have a very similar outcome. In fact if Dalvin Cook doesn't play (which we think he will) this game could be even uglier. And sure we realize that Justin Jefferson has improved immensely since the start of the season, but he has his inconsistencies like any rookie and when you throw in the erratic play of Kirk Cousins then you can see why we give the edge to the Packers offensively. For GB even if they are without Aaron Jones yet again it won't matter as they have a stable of RB replacements and ultimately as long as Rodgers keeps playing at an MVP level everyone can RELAX. While the Packers defense isn't perfect their offense is rolling right now and we can't see the Vikings keeping pace with them here. We LOVE the Packers in this game.
NYJ (0-7) @ KC (6-1) / KC -19.5
- Simply put there is a reason why this game almost has a 20 point spread. The Jets won't have the benefit of the Chiefs settling for FG's like the Bills did last week and when you throw in the stingy play of the KC defense this one is all but a wrap. Seriously what else do you need to know this is Gase vs Reid and Darnold vs Mahomes. Also let's not forget this is the Le'Veon Bell revenge game as we would bet that he has a relatively strong performance in a game that could turn into a blowout by halftime. The Chiefs are a no brainer Lock the only question is do you want them on the spread and as crazy as it sounds we probably lean yes right now.
LAR (5-2) @ MIA (3-3) / MIA +3.5
- Welcome to the NFL Tua Tagovailoa! Heading into their bye week the Dolphins made the surprising decision to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick and name Tua as their starter. Personally we think this was unwarranted but either way Tua will be thrust into the starting lineup and he will get to celebrate by facing Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Honestly, right now we just don't have enough to go on when predicting what this offense will look like with Tua. Will the rushing/passing attack take a step back or will the level of play be maintained? A very fair question, which nobody has the answer to right now. With that in mind we predict that there will be some ups and downs for this Miami team in a game where they could struggle in either way. The Rams are playing good defense right now and we expect them to pressure Tua early and often. Offensively the Rams are also in a good position to outscore the Dolphins behind the steady play of Goff and abilities of Kupp and Woods. Simply put, the Rams are more of a sure thing and even though it might be the "boring" pick taking the Rams is the smart play.
PIT (6-0) @ BAL (5-1) / BAL -3.5
- A clash of two defensive minded division rivals, this should be a GREAT game! The Ravens are coming off the bye week, but unfortunately for them they now have to face the lone undefeated team in the NFL. But let's throw the records out as this should be a very close game where the defenses could have the last word. If that's the case we have to determine which QB is better equipped to overcome those defensive challenges. While the spread might say it's the Ravens and Lamar Jackson we actually disagree. Sure, Jackson will create a lot of opportunities with his legs but we think that will only get him so far. The Ravens offensive weapons leave a lot to be desired when compared to the Steelers and ultimately we believe that will be the difference. As long as Ben Roethlisberger plays like he has up until this point we think the Steelers win this game. The ultimate reason for this is that we just have more faith in Big Ben when facing a great defense than Lamar at this point in his career where he is still more run oriented.
LAC (2-4) @ DEN (2-4) / DEN +2.5
- Right now Justin Hebert is playing like Denver hopes Drew Lock will one day. Hebert is coming off an offensive explosion vs the Jaguars and is definitely trending up. However, let's realize that this Denver defense is much better than that of the Jaguars and that these are two teams that know each other very well. The Chargers on paper have the much better offense, but we do expect them to fall back down to Earth a little bit. In fact, we think this will be one of those classic, tight Charger games. The difference maker though could very well be the availability of someone like Tim Patrick for the Broncos as they are already at an offensive disadvantage. We tend to believe that the offensive talent will win out for the Chargers here but hedging your bets on the Broncos, who will likely finish with a similar record to the Chargers at the end of the year, is a smart bet.
NO (4-2) @ CHI (5-2) / CHI +2.5
- All of a sudden more and more people are starting to realize why so many analysts were calling the Bears the worst 5-win team in the NFL. Sure the Bears have a great defense, but it's all meaningless when you are stuck with the offense, QB, and play-calling they have. On top of that throw in the fact that their best offensive weapon, Allen Robinson, is in the concussion protocol and this looks like it could be the worst offensive game we see for the Bears all year. The silver lining for Chicago is that the Saints could be without Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders yet again, but does it really matter when at the core of this game the central matchup will be Brees vs Foles? We'll give credit to the Chicago defense here and say they keep this game closer than it should be for a long while, but at the end of the day the Saints are contenders and the Bears are pretenders.
SF (4-3) @ SEA (5-1) / SEA -3.5
- We predicted a close game for Seattle last week vs the Cardinals and boy was it ever as they actually ended up losing in OT. Now, Seattle has to deal with another surging divisional opponent in the 49ers who are coming off a dismantling of the Patriots. Both teams are dealing with injuries to their RB's but we believe that Seattle is better equipped to overcome that issue. Offensively Seattle has the better and more consistent QB who also possesses the better weapons around him. Defensively is where this game gets interesting as the 49ers seemingly with all their injuries are still the better unit. While we like Seattle outright in what should be another high scoring game we think that this will be a back and forth contest and that the 49ers can make enough plays defensively to keep this game close.
DAL (2-5) @ PHI (2-4-1) / PHI -6.5
- Things have only gone from bad to worse for the Cowboys since the Dak injury as this game will likely see Ben DiNucci as their starting QB. But even if Andy Dalton wasn't in the concussion protocol would that bring about a different result, probably not. As if the Cowboys QB struggles weren't problematic enough, Ezekiel Elliott has wildly underperformed these last two weeks in part due to game flow and in part due to his own struggles. But the worst part about all of this is we still haven't mentioned the biggest issue for Dallas which is their awful defense which seemingly continues to get worst as they either cut or trade key free agent acquisitions. The translation to all of this is that Dallas has likely called this season a wrap and that the Eagles will be the beneficiaries of that this week. We expect a big game, if not his best of the year, from Carson Wentz as the Eagles should have no problem scoring vs the Cowboys. How well the Eagles defense plays could be determining factor as to how big of a blowout this game is.
TB (5-2) @ NYG (1-6) / NYG +10.5
- Even without Chris Godwin the Bucs are by far the better team here. Tom Brady is playing very good football and we doubt that this Giants defense will slow him down. In the same breath this is an awful matchup for Daniel Jones and the Giants offense as this TB defense is very good up front and will force Jones to beat them with his arm. And even with Sterling Shepard having come back last week we think this is too much to ask for. The Bucs are clicking offensively right now and we expect their defense to force several turnovers in this game as they likely pull away late and win comfortably.
- TEN, GB, KC, TB