Chargers @ Chiefs -3 O/U 52.5
The Chiefs are 3 point favorites but the line is juiced up to -130 so it would appear that the public is on them heavily. I see money coming back to the Chargers side before kickoff and would not be surprised to see this line get below 3. The Chargers are playing very well and currently ranked 2nd in overall efficiency (2nd Offense, 9th defense, 26th Special Teams). The only team ranked higher than them, their opponent this week, the Chiefs (1st offense, 26th defense, 2nd ST). These teams met in week 1 with the Chiefs getting the victory. The Chargers seemed to let that game get away from them a little bit. They gave up big plays early and found themselves in comeback mode for the rest of the game. I think this week will be very different for them as they should be better prepared for the Chiefs offense. Also I mentioned last week when I took the Ravens that the Chiefs were going to start missing Kareem Hunt. They definitely did and came close to losing last week. They were bailed out by a late Baltimore turnover and a miracle 4th down conversion. Not to mention the fact that the Ravens offense is subpar to say the least. This week the Chiefs terrible defense faces off against a team that can actually move the ball well through the air and on the ground. One thing this Chargers team has prided themselves on this year is grit. They have won games on the road in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and London. They also have home wins against the Raiders and 49ers that were essentially road games since the stadium was filled with their fans. The Chargers have lost their last 9 in a row to the Chiefs. Their last win against them was in week 17 of 2013. I see that streak ending on Thursday along with the Chargers staking claim to home field advantage in the AFC.
Texans -6 @ Jets O/U 41.5
The Texans finally came back down to earth last week in their loss to the Colts. The Colts offensive line was able to let Andrew Luck sit back and pick apart the Texans defense which is extremely overrated in my opinion. Their defensive line with JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus is all-world. They have helped the Texans garner the 2nd ranked rushing defense in the league. Behind the defensive line and into the secondary is where the Texans have a problem. They are currently ranked number 16 in pass defense and last week allowed TY Hilton to gain 199 yards on 9 catches. Their defense is ranked 8th overall but that is after facing the 3rd easiest schedule of opposing offenses. To be fair, none of this really matters this week against the Jets. The Texans will most likely win and cover this week. I am pointing that out to let you know the Texans are frauds and that you should not buy in to their limited success. There are still way too many issues in their secondary and offensive line to consider the Texans a true contender.
Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos -3 O/U 45.5
The Broncos had such a promising start to their season and it seems all but forgotten after just one week. On top of an injury to Chris Harris, Emmanuel Sanders tore his achilles in practice last week. This has put the Broncos in a terrible situation. Without Emmanuel Sanders the offense has no other reliable deep threat. Last week, against San Fran’s 25th ranked pass defense, Case Keenum was only able to gain 186 yards going 24/42. I understand the Broncos are at home and they have the advantage of playing in high altitude but I can’t understand how they are favored in this game. I don’t see the Broncos being able to stop the red-hot Browns offense especially without Chris Harris. I think the coaching matchup favors the Browns with offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens. The Browns offense has continued to improve week after week. This week will be a tough test for a team with a rookie QB but I see the Browns pulling off the outright win.
Cardinals @ Falcons -8.5 O/U 44
Puke. I will not be watching or betting this game. I will be hoping for the Falcons to lose though so I can clinch my pre-season prop bet of them not making the playoffs. I knew the Falcons were very overrated this year and would disappoint.
Cowboys @ Colts -3 O/U 47
This game is very intriguing. The Cowboys are on a 5 game winning streak and their defense is finally getting the respect they deserve. On paper, the matchup of the Colts offensive line vs the Cowboys defensive line is like the irresistible force vs the immovable object. We saw the Colts offense struggle against a great defense two weeks ago when they lost 6-0 to the Jaguars. Another interesting thing to look at is the Cowboys rushing attack vs the Colts rushing defense. The Cowboys offense runs primarily through their running game and Ezekiel Elliot and the Colts rush defense is ranked 5th. The Colts were able to hold the Texans to 89 yards rushing this past week after the Texans had gained 140+ on the ground in their last 9 games. I see this game being a defensive struggle but I would be wary of betting the under because of both teams propensity to turn the ball over. It’s tough to pick a side but I am leaning Colts.
Lions @ Bills -2.5 O/U 38.5
This game is probably only intriguing to me since I have watched the Lions closely this year. I thought they would easily win at least 8 games and make the playoffs in a weak NFC North. Soon after that proclamation, Khalil Mack was traded to the Bears who have taken control of the division this year. The Lions have still been interesting this year though, with wins over the Patriots (called that) and Packers but losses to the 49ers and Jets. They have been riddled with inconsistency both offensively and defensively. I think Matt Patricia is a good coach and I like the foundation he is building there. I also like his familiarity with the Bills to play a factor in this game. Although the Lions and Bills only play once every four years, the Lions have a huge advantage this year since Patricia has coached against them twice a year for the previous 13 seasons. I think the Lions can get the upset this week.
Packers @ Bears -6 O/U 45
This line seems a bit inflated after the Bears win in primetime but I can see them covering. Bookmakers should definitely get some buy-back on the Packers that can see this line go down since they are an extremely public team. But I think the bookmakers have it right. The Bears are on top of the world after shutting down the Rams offense last week. The Packers set some records and played well offensively, but it was against the Falcons and at home. The Falcons suck on the road in cold weather and their defense is ranked last in the league. This week the Packers will have to face the best defense in the league.
Dolphins @ Vikings -7 O/U 44.5
This line seems so inflated that it seems like bookmakers are laying a trap. What do they know that we do not? Especially after the Vikings got absolutely demolished by the Seahawks on Monday night. The Vikings are ranked 16th in overall efficiency (17th offense, 6th defense, 25th ST) which is only 3 spots higher than the Dolphins at 19 (20th off, 4th def, 10th ST). The Dolphins have not played well on the road and are only 1-5. Their last road game was against the Colts and the Dolphins looked like they would get a win until the Colts made a late comeback. Another reason for this line inflation may be Tannehill’s injury. Dolphin’s coach Adam Gase has said he expects him to play but even if he doesn’t play Brock Osweiler knows the offensive system and has played fairly well in limited action this year. I’m leaning towards taking the Dolphins but I will probably stay away from this game because it feels like a trap.
Raiders @ Bengals -2.5 O/U 46
This is another gross game that makes me want to puke. How in the world are the Bengals favored? I know the Raiders are bad but the Bengals have Jeff Driskell starting. Last week he did a good job of managing the game and taking care of the football which will always keep you in the game but we can’t be expecting Jeff Driskel to win a game in the NFL. One thing to take note of is the Raiders have been playing much better in recent weeks. They have been playing with a lot of passion and it seems the players that are left are trying to make a good impression to be kept for next year. Last week the Raiders held the Steelers to just 40 rushing yards. The Bengals have nowhere near the offensive talent the Steelers do so it just doesn’t make sense that they are favored here. Since AJ Green went down the Bengals have not been able to move the ball. I see them still struggling to move the ball even against the Raiders defense that is ranked 2nd worst. I think the best play for this game may be the under.
Buccaneers @ Ravens -7.5 O/U 46.5
This is a tough game to handicap because the bookmakers have a perfect line here. On one side you have the Ravens who have a great defense but their offense has been inconsistent and is very unpredictable with Lamar Jackson now starting. On the other side you have the Buccaneers who’s defense is ranked 3rd worst but has been pretty good offensively albeit against the 9th easiest schedule of opposing defenses. I got nothing for this one. I can’t figure out an edge on either side.
Titans @ Giants -2.5
I see some east coast bias inflating this line. No way the Giants should be favored against the Titans. I don’t care that they had a big win against Washington. Big deal. Last week when I said to take the Titans I mentioned that their offensive numbers are a bit skewed because of Mariota’s health issues at the beginning of the year. They are currently ranked 23rd offensively but they perform much better than that ranking suggests. They have also played the 2nd toughest schedule of opposing defenses this year. I think the Titans will make easy work of the Giants this week. I see a lot of Eli self-sacks in this one. Mariota should have no issues picking the Giants defense apart.
Washington @ Jaguars -7.5 O/U 36
This line could be anything. This is the most unpredictable game this week. Josh Johnson vs Cody Kessler. We saw the Jaguars run defense get absolutely obliterated last week against the Titans. Now there are reports of dysfunction in the Washington locker room after their latest loss. I like taking the over on the low total though. With a mobile QB like Josh Johnson, Washington may be able to get their running game going better. In the limited time he saw last week and with limited practice reps Josh Johnson did pretty well. He faces a much tougher defense this week but they are at a disadvantage in preparation since there sin’t much film on Johnson. I think Washington should cover this game easily. How can a team with Cody Kessler at QB be more than a touchdown favorite, when Cody Kessler has never even been in a game where his team had a lead of more than a touchdown at any point in the game? Seriously, I just looked through Cody Kessler’s game log and he has never had even a 7 point lead lead at any point in any game. I will take Washington on that stat alone.
Seahawks -4 @ 49ers O/U 44
I don’t just like this game, I love this game. The Seahawks are coming off a big win in prime time to play a road game within the division and the line is too high. Also I love that Frank Clark has been giving the 49ers bulletin board material this week as well. The Seahawks have been on fire lately but they are still not very good. The teams they have beaten in their 4 game win streak are, the Packers, he Panthers, 49ers and Vikings. It is tough to win in the NFL but none of those teams are very good either. When you look at the first game these two teams played the final score does not tell the whole story. The Seahawks got a big win 43-16. They had big plays from their offense and defense and their fans were going nuts. Lost in the shuffle of this blowout is the fact the 49ers actually moved the ball very well against the Seahawks. The 49ers out-gained the Seahawks 452 yards to 331 but were done in by 3 turnovers. Nick Mullens threw for over 400 yards which is tough to do against the Seahawks in Seattle. I expect the 49ers to be well prepared as they always have been under coach Kyle Shanahan and I expect them to be successful moving the ball again. I like the 49ers to cover and maybe a little sprinkle on the moneyline.
Patriots -2.5 @ Steelers O/U 52
These two teams are always so close on paper. It is tough to find an edge for either team on the field. When you look at their coaches however there is a huge advantage for the Patriots. It is no secret that Mike Tomlin is not a very good coach. His teams always appear unprepared and former player James Harrison has said he does not put players in the right place. This includes things like having a linebacker in man coverage against a wide receiver like they did with Keenan Allen 2 weeks ago. The Patriots have owned this matchup with the Steelers last win over the Patriots coming in 2011. I am leaning towards the Patriots but I will probably stay away from this one.
Eagles @ Rams -11 O/U 53.5
Oh how the mighty have fallen. In what is a surprise to many (not me) the Eagles appear to be out of the playoff race after winning the Super Bowl just last year. Carson Wentz appears to be done for the season and the Eagles will be going back to their backup, Nick Foles who was last year’s Super Bowl MVP. I have to imagine the Rams are not too happy with only putting up 6 points last week. They will have a chance to make up for it as they go from facing the league’s top ranked defense to facing the 10th worst defense. The Rams defense also looks very good with Aqib Talib back in the lineup. I think the Eagles have trouble moving the ball and the Rams have no problem covering this number.
Saints -6 @ Panthers O/U 52
After such a promising start the Panthers have been such a mess in recent weeks. In their 5 game losing streak they have had everything that can go wrong, go wrong. They have been unlucky along with their defense struggling. Things are not going how you would like them to be going into the game against your toughest opponent of the year. The key matchup will be the Panthers 2nd ranked rushing offense going against the Saints 3rd ranked rushing defense. I’m leaning towards the under in this game. The Saints defense has turned things around after a rough start and are now ranked 13th in overall efficiency. Additionally each of their last four games have gone under. I expect that to continue here.