New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons
Spread: Saints -6.5
This is a weird one to pick. I’m taking the Falcons to cover but it’s more in hope than expectation. The Saints haven’t been an offensive juggernaut this season and 6.5 points is a big number to cover. My concern is the Falcons offense is projected to struggle heavily in this one. The Saints are very good against tight ends and running backs which means the Falcons will need to rely on their wide receivers to have a good day and given the lack of depth now Ridley’s gone, this game will likely turn into a slugfest. I’m not comfortable with the Saints doing a lot though Alvin Kamara does figure to have a good day but I’m not sold on Taysom Hill having a big day and the Falcons will be highly motivated for this one as a loss would likely signal the end of their playoff hopes. I see the Saints winning, but only by a field goal.
Saints 17-14 Falcons
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Buffalo Bills
Spread: Bills -14.5
A pattern I’m starting to notice is that when there is an inflated spread in a game, the home team tends to cover. This does make sense as bad teams will feel obliged to play harder at home while good teams might look to rest guys on the road when up big as they don’t have a obligation to entertain the crowd on the road. So I’m going to take Jacksonville to cover here but won’t be betting the game. This does depend on James Robinson being fit though, he’s day to day at the moment and if he plays he’ll help Jacksonville have slightly longer drives and maybe stop Buffalo from scoring as many points as they might do otherwise. I see this being 28-7 in the 4th quarter and it will be a case of whether Buffalo stop Jacksonville from getting the back door cover or not. I can see Jacksonville getting there though as Lawrence is good enough to punish a team if they drop in intensity.
Bills 28-14 Jaguars
Cincinnati Bengals vs Cleveland Browns
Spread: Bengals -2.5
This is another game I have no interest in betting but I’m taking Cleveland to win. The Bengals struggle against the run and with Chubb getting healthier every week, I’m hoping the Browns can lean on him instead of having to rely on a not fully fit Mayfield to get their points this time. This figures to be an ok matchup for the Bengals offense as well as the Browns are weaker against the pass than the run and that will suit the pass heavy Bengals offense. That being said, Denzel Ward is back for the Browns and he’ll help limit Chase from going off completely in this one which is another positive for the Browns. Overall, the Browns for me are still stronger than the Bengals when fully fit and with them getting guys back, they’re going to be closer now to playing their best football.
Browns 27-20 Bengals
Dallas Cowboys vs Denver Broncos
Spread: Cowboys -10
I’m taking Dallas to cover in this one. They’ve been cautious with Prescott so I believe he’s fully ready to go and I don’t see the motivation for Denver in this one. They’ve just traded away their star player in a sign that the front office believe this is a lost season, they have a load of injuries and they’re playing a team on the road that are starting to turn into a juggernaut and can force turnovers. Dallas are weaker against the pass than the run so for Denver to have any chance in this one, Bridgewater will need to have a big day but he’s struggling to reach 200 yards at the moment in the air and is turning the ball over. I expect a Dallas blowout here.
Cowboys 30-14 Broncos
Miami Dolphins vs Houston Texans
Spread: Dolphins -5.5
I’m leaning towards Miami since the Texans will need to lose to preserve a good draft pick while Miami has traded their first round pick away already, so they have less incentive to tank. I like the coaching advantage Miami have in this one and that Houston are weak against tight ends, which means Tua should be able to find Gesicki comfortably and that may reduce his chances of turning the ball over in this one. That being said, Houston do figure to be stronger on paper as Tyrod Taylor is likely to be back and with the Dolphins being incredibly weak against wide receivers, I can see Brandin Cooks having a big day in this one and scoring a deep touchdown. But Miami can still cover, the Texans D is poor except the pass rush and I like Tua to be savvy enough to avoid turning the ball over too much and we’re not sure on how fit Taylor is yet, maybe he needs a week to get back into things.
Dolphins 28-21 Texans
New York Giants vs LV Raiders
Spread: Raiders -3
I’m taking the Raiders in this one. Obviously the Ruggs news is very concerning and there’s a chance players won’t be fully focused but they’ve already lost their coach this season and gone on to cause an upset in Denver after that. These teams are well matched and both defenses are similar but the edge for the Raiders is the Giants are extremely weak against the run and Josh Jacobs may finally have his breakout day on the season. I also trust Derek Carr more than Daniel Jones and can see him continuing his high level of play in this game. I expect this game to be close and maybe it could just be a 3 point game and a void on the spread, but I’ll go with the Raiders by 4.
Raiders 21-17 Giants
Baltimore Ravens vs Minnesota Vikings
Spread: Ravens -6
This game is annoying for me. I was ready to heavily bet the Vikings but they’ve just lost their Center Bradbury to Covid for this game and now that makes things more awkward. That being said, I’m still taking them here, they matchup really well against the Ravens. The Ravens have struggled a bit against the run this year so Cook figures to have a good day and Cousins is comfortable against defenses that blitz heavily. The Vikings have been weak against wide receivers this year and that’s the only area of the Baltimore offense that has been lacking so far this year, I can see the Vikings slowing Mark Andrews and somewhat limiting the Ravens running game though I still expect the Ravens to rush for over 100 yards. I’ll take Baltimore to scrape a win but the Vikings to cover.
Ravens 27-24 Vikings
Carolina Panthers vs New England Patriots
Spread: Patriots -3.5
This should be a real old fashioned game of football with both teams possessing high quality defenses and this could be a low scorer. My pick hinges on the fitness of Darnold and McCaffrey, if they were both fit I’d 100% be on the Panthers here but even if they aren’t, I’m taking Carolina anyway. They have the home advantage and I’d argue they have the better roster than New England, Mac Jones was really poor last week for a long stretch of the game against a pass D at a similar level to the Panthers and I can see him struggling again here. The Panthers will also struggle on offense but I’m hoping they can make enough plays on the ground to get to around 20 points and get the win.
Panthers 20-17 Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles vs LA Chargers
Spread: Chargers -1.5
Both teams are weirdly similar on defense for this one. They both have struggles against running backs and tight ends and it may just come down to which of these teams have the better personnel in those positions. I’m leaning towards the Chargers, Ekeler is the best RB on the field and the Eagles for some reason can’t seem to get Goedert into games, the Chargers are getting guys back at linebacker as well so they should be better equipped to cover tight ends. The obvious concern for the Chargers is they can’t cover the run and the Eagles RBs had a real breakout day last week, I’m hoping though that was more a case of the Lions being poor and that while the Eagles will do damage on the ground, Herbert can play well enough to keep the Chargers in the game and prove to be the superior QB in this matchup. I like the Chargers to scrape home late here and cover the spread.
Chargers 24-21 Eagles
San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals
Spread: 49ers -1.5
This completely depends on the injury report. Arizona have Hopkins and Murray both hurt ahead of this one and they seem like game time decisions, if Murray doesn’t play, the backup QB is Colt McCoy and Arizona will have no chance with him on the field against a well coached team. I’m taking the 49ers as it does seem that Murray will be hobbled at best in this game and he shouldn’t be as explosive as normal which will help a injured 49ers defense but I’d still wait on the injury report before betting this one. Both teams will have some offense but it’s really hard to tell which areas will be most effective without knowing who will be on the field.
49ers 24-20 Cardinals
Kansas City Chiefs vs Green Bay Packers
Spread: Chiefs -7.5
This number is completely wrong, it’s gone from a pick em to the Chiefs being 8 point favourites due to Rodgers being out. The thing is the Chiefs are clearly not an offensive juggernaut at the moment and the Green Bay defense has been excellent this season despite injuries to guys like Alexander. Kansas are horrible against the run as well so even if Jordan Love doesn’t get asked to throw the ball much, the Packers will be able to move the ball effectively on the ground and establish some scoring drives. I’m tempted to take the Packers outright still, Kansas are starting to struggle heavily and have a brutal schedule for the rest of the season if they don’t fix their defense. I can see the Packers playing old fashioned football and controlling possession with their run game and taking a huge win.
Packers 26-21 Chiefs
LA Rams vs Tennessee Titans
Spread: Rams -7.5
I’m on the Rams here. They match up extremely well against the Tennessee defense and the Titans offense isn’t really built to exploit the weakness the Rams D has against tight ends. Also, with Henry now out the Titans running game will be much weaker and with Jalen Ramsay likely to blanket AJ Brown, the best chance of offense for the Titans will be a hobbled Julio Jones. Tannehill turned the ball over a few times last week and I can see him doing the same again with the Rams having a dominant pass rush now with the trade for Miller. The Rams offense should be able to beat the Titans through the air though I expect them to do little on the ground in this one, Stafford is consistently well protected and can pick apart a secondary that can be beat deep.
Rams 34-20 Titans
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Chicago Bears
Spread: Steelers -6
This is another defensive slugfest waiting to happen. I’m probably taking the Bears, but this relies on Matt Nagy not being incompetent as if he just forces Fields to be a pocket passer again, he’ll get hit another 8 or 9 times and throw a couple of picks due to getting no protection but if he’s allowed to scramble, he can extend plays and beat a Pittsburgh secondary that has been fairly pedestrian this season. The Steelers will hope that the return of Mack won’t massively improve the Bears run D that was horrible last week and they’ll be looking to Najee Harris to continue to carry the offense given that Big Ben is not good enough to carry an offense anymore. I expect the Steelers to win, due to the coaching mismatch but I can’t see them scoring enough points to cover 6 on the spread.
Steelers 17-14 Bears