(All home teams in bold)
Detroit (-2.5) vs Carolina
Carolina’s defense struggles to get turnovers, while Detroit seems to get a handful of them each game. Although I believe Cam Newton will have his second straight productive game, the Lions are a really good football team, are at home, and will win the turnover battle. Sounds like all the ingredients for a win.
Pick: Detroit (-2.5)
Cleveland (-1) vs New York Jets
Before the season started, there were probably a lot of people who thought this would be a matchup of two winless teams. Well, they were half right. The Browns are 0-4, but the Jets are somehow 2-2 and now go on the road to face a team that looked terrible against Cincinnati last week. First overall pick Myles Garrett is finally going to make his NFL debut for Cleveland, though, and this Jets team is missing both starting running back Matt Forte and linebacker Josh Martin. They have questions in the secondary, too, with Juston Burris getting hurt in Thursday’s practice. I like Cleveland to win their first game and avoid the 0-16 talk (their schedule gets quite difficult after this).
Pick: Cleveland (-1)
New York Giants (-3.5) vs. LA Chargers
The Chargers seem to be in every game, and the Giants are having offensive line issues. Joey Bosa might have a monster performance on Sunday. Couple that with Philip Rivers and the Chargers saying that they are “looking forward” to playing on the road, and I think the Bolts are going to get their first win and send the Giants to 0-5.
Pick: Chargers (+3.5)
Cincinnati (-3) vs Buffalo
Buffalo is 3-1 and coming off a huge win against the defending NFL champions, while Cincinnati is 1-3 coming off their first win against a lowly Browns team. Logic would tell you to pick Buffalo here, but Cincinnati has discovered a rhythm on offense. That rhythm? Get the ball to AJ Green more. He has received 36.4 percent of the Bengals’ targets during the last two games. The Bills do have a great defense, but AJ Green is going to make a couple plays and that will be the difference.
Pick: Cincinnati (-3)
Indianapolis (-1.5) vs San Francisco
The 49ers have not lost by more than three points in their last three contests as they head to Indianapolis to take on a 1-3 Colts team. However, in San Francisco’s most recent loss, they almost played five full quarters of football. They also have to travel and have one of those dreaded 10 AM starts. Couple that with emotions being high (Peyton Manning is being honored with a statue pregame) and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Indianapolis win in a blowout.
Pick: Indianapolis (-1.5)
Tennessee (-3) vs Miami
Marcus Mariota is a gametime decision here, which makes the pick difficult. The drop off from Mariota to backup QB Matt Cassel is significant. The Dolphins’ defense only giving up 19 points per game, and the Titans will have trouble moving the ball if Mariota is unable to go. Meanwhile, the Jay Cutler-led Dolphins offense has only scored six points in their last two games. The skill positions on that offense are too good to remain quiet. Head coach Adam Gase will let Jay Cutler loose a little bit and Jarvis Landry/Jay Ajayi will have big games.
Pick: Miami (+3)
Pittsburgh (-8.5) vs Jacksonville
Ben Roethlisberger is playing at home with a motivated wide receiver in Antonio Brown (who seemed embarrassed by his actions on the sidelines last week). Antonio Brown makes people forget about his tirade and redeems himself with his best game of the year.
Pick: Pittsburgh (-8.5)
Philadelphia (-6.5) vs Arizona
Larry Fitzgerald always plays well against the Eagles, and Carson Palmer has thrown for over 300 yards in three straight games. Not sure if Arizona has enough to pull off the upset, but 6.5 points is a lot here.
Pick: Arizona (+6.5)
Oakland (-2.5) vs Baltimore
Derek Carr is not playing, which means EJ Manuel is slated to start for Oakland… hence the line here. Regardless, Marshawn Lynch has had a few quiet games and is due to erupt, and Oakland’s defense should feast on Joe Flacco and draw at least a couple of turnovers. That’ll be the difference; Oakland will rebound from a few tough weeks and win going away.
Pick: Oakland (-2.5)
LA Rams (-1) vs Seattle
The Rams have had Seattle’s number over the past couple years, and Seattle’s defense (at least right now) is not what it once was. Russell Wilson seems to have teams he dominates and teams he struggles against. The Rams are a team he has a lot of problems with. Todd Gurley has a big game and the upstart Rams move to 4-1.
Pick: Rams (-1)
Dallas (-2.5) vs Green Bay
It appears as if Aaron Rodgers is going to be without Ty Montgomery, who suffered broken ribs during last Thursday’s game. Montgomery has had a big role in the Packers offense. Rodgers also might be without David Bakhtari and Bryan Bulaga, two key members of his offensive line. That being said, it does not look like LB Sean Lee is going to play this week, which will make things easier on the Green Bay offense. The Cowboys are healthy and Dak Prescott looks like he is getting into a groove, but there’s just something about this year’s Cowboys team that makes me hesitant to pick them against a quarterback of Rodgers’ caliber.
Pick: Green Bay (+2.5)
Kansas City (-1) vs Houston
Kansas City barely covered last week on a last-second fumble TD that I’m sure made a lot of bettors either (A) extremely happy or (B) extremely sad. Deshaun Watson looks like the real deal at QB for Houston and will lead the Texans to victory over the Chiefs in what will be the best game of the weekend.
Pick: Houston (+1)
Minnesota (-2.5) vs. Chicago
Mitchell Trubisky is making his first start for the Bears. The Vikings could possibly be without Sam Bradford (who continues to rehab his knee) and will be without Dalvin Cook, who was lost for the year with an ACL injury. The Bears will have had ten days to get Trubisky ready, and he gets Chicago buzzing with a nice performance and a victory.
Pick: Chicago (+2.5)