Last week was about getting back to winning ways. Mission accomplished. After an 8-5-1 mark, the season record against the spread now stands at 55-47-5. The games get tougher as the season wears on. Picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk and all spreads are from rtsports.com at the time of writing.
Dolphins at Texans (-7.5)- Houston is trending up after a slow start. Miami is trending down after a fast start, but Brock Osweiler has been okay in his two starts. For teams with the same record, this is too many points. Hou 24 Mia 20
Eagles (-3) at Jaguars (London)- The Eagles are a shell of last year’s Super Bowl champions, but a date with Blake Bortles and a Jags offense that has put up 28 total points in the last three games should be just what they need. Phi 21 Jac 10
Ravens (-2) at *Panthers– These two teams are very similar. Both defenses are good, and both quarterbacks are plenty good enough to lead their teams to the playoffs. The Panthers can do more on the ground with Cam Newton and the diverse skillset of Christian McCaffery. Carolina is just a little less predictable on offense. Car 19 Bal 16
Browns at Steelers (-8)- Ever since these two teams battled to a season-opening tie, the Steelers have slowly begun to look more and more like the Steelers, and the Browns have slowly begun to look more and more like the Browns. Those trends will be underlined here. Pit 30 Cle 20
Broncos at Chiefs (-10)- Make no mistake: Denver can absolutely win this game. They have been the only defense so far not to be overwhelmed by Kansas City’s offense. Denver also has the eighth-ranked rushing offense. The only reason they did not beat the Chiefs the first time around is because they inexplicably went away from the run with a ten-point fourth quarter lead.
Given Denver’s win-loss record in the last year-and-a-half under Vance Joseph, it is highly doubtful this staff can learn from its Week 4 mistake, but ten points is like stealing. KC 28 Den 27
Jets at Bears (-7)- Seven feels like way too small a number. The Jets have a struggling rookie quarterback and limited offensive skill position players, and the Bears are top ten in sacking the quarterback. This is the one sure fire blowout of the week. Chi 24 Nyj 10
Seahawks at Lions (-3)- This is the most intriguing game of the week as well as the weakest pick. Everyone bailed on the Lions after the first two weeks. However, Matthew Stafford has rebounded nicely, Kerryon Johnson has Detroit in uncharted territory with the 11th ranked rushing offense, and the defense has gotten the better of two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in recent weeks.
With the NFC North somewhat down, the Lions have all the pieces to make a real run this year. They should beat Seattle. Still, it is foolish to underestimate Russell Wilson, and it is the Lions we are talking about. They have reached the playoffs just three times since 2000 by losing games like this. This year, be a believer… For now. Det 31 Sea 24
Redskins (-1) at *Giants– This line is one of those “Vegas knows something” lines. The public seems to have warmed up to the ideas that the Redskins are pretty good and the Giants are terrible. However, the Giants can move the ball on offense at least a few times a game, and play better when the public bails on them. Furthermore, the Redskins do not handle success well. The public will be all over the hot Redskins, which is exactly why the other side is the right play. Nyg 24 Was 21
Colts (-3) at Raiders- With the moves the Raiders are making, it has got to be hard for the guys that are there to keep showing up and playing hard, even if they are collecting hefty paychecks. Meanwhile, Andrew Luck is second in the league in touchdown passes and the Colts are very relevant in the subpar AFC South. Ind 28 Oak 17
Bucs at Bengals (-4.5)- There is no reason to panic in regard to the Bengals. They got shredded by the Kansas City offense. So what? The Bucs have not proven to consistent enough this year to be trusted against a team as deep as Cincinnati is on the road. However, they did beat New Orleans on the road to start the year. So, stranger things have happened, but it is hard to feel good about where the Bucs are headed right now. Cin 31 TB 21
Packers at Rams (-9.5)- The Rams are undefeated for a reason. Meanwhile, Green Bay’s roster is an injured Aaron Rodgers and 51 other guys. The Packers are going to lose at least four of their next five, and have zero shot at the playoffs. Still, 9.5 points with their quarterback is something we rarely see, and is too good to pass up. Lar 38 GB 31
49ers (-1) at Cardinals – This could be for the first pick in the draft. Bet this game at your own risk. If you do, you may have to watch. San Francisco offense is the only thing on either team that has been of NFL quality in recent weeks. SF 20 Ari 13
Saints at Vikings (-2.5)- These are two teams that are separated by one win, and both have a real chance to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The difference here will be this game being the Saints second straight road game. It is hard to win consecutive road games in the NFL, especially against good teams. The Saints were fortunate to escape Baltimore last week, and Minnesota should benefit from the Saints not being all that fresh. Min 28 NO 24
Patriots (-14) at Bills– As usual, the Patriots are very good, and the Bills are not. Derek Anderson will get his second straight start. Buffalo fans are nothing if not loyal, and should create quite a festive atmosphere for their first Monday night game since 2008.
For all their issues, the Bills do have two wins this year, and the defense has played to respectable score lines a few times as well. Also, it is only October. New England is still only playing only as well as they have to week to week. Buffalo covers in this one. NE 24 Buf 13