@ Bears -6.5 vs. Lions
This game appears to be a clash of skewed confidences. The Bears have some swagger from back to back wins against the Jets and Bills, while Detroit just lost at home to Seattle and in Minnesota. Or put another way. The Bears beat two lousy teams and the Lions lost to two decent ones. I’m not sure anyone really knows what these teams are yet, and that includes the teams themselves. For this week I suspect Detroit’s desperation to win might outweigh the Bears false sense of confidence from their big wins over bad teams.
Detroit to cover and win.
Saints -5.5 @ Bengals
A team that just dismantled the undefeated Los Angeles Rams is now only giving 4.5 points against Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. What am I missing here? The Bengals are without their one and only dependable offensive weapon in AJ Green and I can’t see them keeping the pace in this game without him. Many are calling for Tyler Boyd to fill the void but I suspect he struggles against WR1 coverage. I’d also suggest Joe Mixon is a great talent and fun to watch but I certainly haven’t seen him, or the Bengals ground game for that matter, truly dominate. I just don’t see a path for Bengals success here.
Saints to cover big.
Falcons -4.5 @ Browns
Atlanta started their season 1-4, followed up with wins against the messy Buccaneers and disastrous Giants to finish on a high note before their bye week. At the break their season appeared to be at a tipping point as they prepared for a matchup with Washington. They delivered in a pretty big way with a lopsided win. The big point total was certainly encouraging, but when you look under the hood and realize they walloped a team who lost a good portion of their offensive line mid-game, the result may leave you less enthusiastic. This week they face Cleveland, a team under constant reconstruction, guided by an interim coaching staff and hoping like hell some leaders emerge from their locker room. On paper this is a game Atlanta should certainly win and that’s the bet.
Atlanta to cover (but there is upset risk here).
Patriots -6.5 @ Titans
There have been a few former Pats coaches who have fared well versus Belichick. The long-forgotten Eric Mangini for one, and Josh McDaniels not so long ago, and most recently Matt Patricia’s early season win with the Lions. Given the state of the Titans QB situation, it seems highly unlikely that Mike Vrabel and the Titans will add their names to the list. A coaching staff that can’t harness the strengths of their best players, isn’t likely to out maneuver the Patriots.
Pats to cover.
@ Colts -3.5 vs. Jags
The Jags are coming off a bye week and a whole lot of disappointing early season losses. I suspect management and the coaching staff are putting a lot of weight into the outcome of this week. I’m guessing the Jacksonville defense finds it swagger and the Colts and Andrew Luck take a bit of a step back.
Jags to cover and win.
@ Chiefs -16.5 vs. Cardinals
Sixteen and a half is a lot of points and a real temptation, but this is the Chiefs at home against a rookie quarterback a few weeks into his career with a newly anointed offensive coordinator. This is a learning curve year for Rosen and the Cards and this week’s lesson won’t be pleasant.
Chiefs to cover.
@ Jets -7.5 vs. Bills
The Bills defense is better than you think. The Bills offense is worse than you can imagine. The Jets coaching is far better than the Bills and I fully expect them to walk away 8 points better than Buffalo. Also, Josh McCown is better right now than Sam Darnold. Buckle up for some Fitzmagic light.
Jets to cover.
@ Buccaneers -3.5 vs. Washington
The Washington offense line has been shattered by injury. Even if the replacement players were Pro Bowl caliber talents (they aren’t) it would take them weeks to form chemistry as a unit. Yes, Tampa’s defense is dreadful. The issue is, the only way Washington can win this game is if they dominate on the ground, hold on to the ball and suffocate Tampa with their defense. My concern is that Washington’s defense has little room for error and may find themselves on the field more than they like. A gassed Washington defense and an ill-equipped offense won’t be able to match Tampa’s output.
Tampa to cover
Chargers -10.5 @ Raiders
Another big spread that isn’t tempting enough to take. The Raiders appear to be in complete disarray. The scorched earth approach Gruden and Davis have employed seems to be taking its toll on the locker room as this looks like a dysfunctional team with little cohesion of confidence. The Raiders are entering 2015-17 Browns territory.
Chargers to cover
@ Packers -10.5 vs. Dolphins
A questionable QB situation in Miami versus a Green Bay team coming off two difficult games. The season is getting away from them (and hopefully Mike McCarthy this offseason). This should be a statement game. They’re home, they’re pissed off and they’re up against a pretty lousy, and banged up Dolphins team. I expect they should come out with guns blazing and try to set the tone for a strong finish.
Packers to cover.
@ Rams – 10.5 versus Seattle
The Rams off a loss are a tempting bet, but this Seattle team may be annoyingly competitive the rest of the season. I say annoyingly because I would like to see nothing more than the dismissal of Pete Carroll and his staff at year end and the hiring of a more progressive staff, one with the wherewithal to embrace Wilson’s unique set of skills. But after watching Wilson play this past week, it seems his own competitive nature may overcome Seattle’s archaic game planning. I suspect Seattle’s pride and feistiness will keep them hanging around late in this one.
Seattle to cover
@ Eagles -6.5 vs. Cowboys
Timing is everything and time seems to be on the Eagles side in this particular case. They’ve had two weeks to indoctrinate Golden Tate, they’ve had several more to get Alshon Jeffrey back to full strength and Carson Wentz’s knee, the subject of much early-season consternation, might be that much closer to 100%. This is the time of the season that the cream starts to rise to the top and the coaches who shouldn’t be employed, cement their cases for more golf time. Book your tee times Jason Garrett.
Eagles to cover
@ 49ers – 3.5 vs Giants
Two disappointing teams with built in excuses. San Francisco has a 3rd string QB/possible scapegoat starting while the Giants have perennial train wreck Eli Manning at the helm, holding back all of their otherwise explosive talents. Truly this feels like a coin toss game, but let’s give Eli one last chance and opt for the Giants.
Giants to cover.