Last week: 5-10. I’d like to blame my medication but I’m not on any. Bad week. Season record is now 37-26.
- Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-1.5): Four days after Jared Goff produced one of the 10 most prolific passing days in NFL history and set the record for completions in a game, he and the Rams hope to throw less in Seattle and get a better outcome than losing 54-40. Yet it’s the 54 Tampa Bay hung on Los Angeles that worries me for the Rams here.
The Rams' defense has shown vulnerability. Aaron Donald is still great but playing a bit nicked up, and his mates have not picked up the slack in the last two weeks. Russell Wilson is going to be a problem for them, and the efficiency of the Seahawks offense at home carries them to the win in a key NFC West battle.
Seahawks 27, Rams 20
- Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans (-5): The Falcons are a hot mess, but a talented mess. They will need that talent to come together and play four quarters of good football in Houston, a team they don’t match up all that well against. I sense a big game for Will Fuller in the Texans offense.
Texans 33, Falcons 25
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-3): Congrats are in order for Buccaneers pass rusher Shaq Barrett who was named the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Month. He could have a big impact at New Orleans against a line that struggled against Dallas, plus Teddy Bridgewater’s relative lack of awareness and propensity to not escape pressure well. This game will be won (or lost) by the Saints defense and how well they handle Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and the Buccaneers offense. Jameis Winston and the Bucs were on fire last week. I think the Saints cool them off a bit.
Saints 30, Buccaneers 26
- Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans (-3): Predicting what the Titans are going to do on a weekly basis is about as effective as shaking my fist at the clouds and demanding they rain on my neighbor as he mows his lawn for the 77th consecutive day. He often mows twice a day and then uses an industrial-strength leaf blower--for a good 45 minutes--to blow the minuscule clippings out of his driveway. Find another way to occupy your time, dude; watch the Bills pull the road upset...as long as Josh Allen plays.
Bills 19, Titans 16 if Allen plays
Titans 22, Bills 10 if Allen is out
- Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers (-3.5): Just a hunch here that the Jaguars keep the road magic flowing like Gardner Minshew’s luxurious chest hair. Calais Campbell and Josh Allen are a real problem for Carolina, too.
Jaguars 26, Panthers 21
- Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5): One of these two teams will get its first win of the 2019 season. Probably. The Cardinals already have one tie, and it’s inconceivable a team ends with two ties in today’s NFL. I’m surprised the Bengals are favored after their lifeless loss on MNF, and I think Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs vs. the Bengals OL is why the Cards will get their win.
Cardinals 30, Bengals 20
- Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants (+5.5): One of the big reasons why Daniel Jones has made a positive impact on the Giants offense is his ability to keep drives alive on third downs. That will be challenged against a Minnesota defense that is in the top-5 in 3rd down conversions and is also one of the best at shutting down the middle of the field. This should be the breakout game for Kirk Cousins and the Vikings passing offense. Should be. The Giants defense should have some confidence after making some plays last week, so it’s hard to forecast a big week for the vanilla Cousins on the road.
Vikings 24, Giants 21
- New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles (-13.5): Sam Darnold is expected to return from mono. Good timing. He gets to deal with the stereo surround sound that is the Eagles pass rush. The Jets have the least-efficient offense in the NFL through four games and that is an indication that the issues run deeper than Darnold’s disease.
Eagles 35, Jets 17
- Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (+3.5): Pittsburgh has a real chance here to exploit the Ravens defense by following the blueprint the Browns laid out in Week 4: attack the edges with the run and hit the intermediate crossing routes. Those are things the Steelers offense can do, too. However, the Ravens offense is going to be a challenge for the home defense. I like Devin Bush to step up and be a difference-maker against Lamar Jackson. If the Steelers avoid the giveaways and special teams gaffes, they’ve got a very good chance of winning.
Steelers 20, Ravens 17
- New England Patriots at Washington (+15.5): Fun facts--the Patriots have not allowed a single passing TD this season, and they have 10 interceptions. Now they face a Washington team with QB turmoil, a coaching staff on the hot seat and no real path to victory in this game other than hoping Tom Brady, Josh Gordon and a couple of offensive linemen get sick or miss the team bus to the stadium.
Patriots 38, Washington 6
- Chicago Bears vs. Oakland Raiders (+5.5): With Mitchell Trubisky out, the Bears turn to Chase Daniel. He’s a more accurate passer and far less likely to make a mistake, but also much less likely to make a big play. I’m curious how this plays out for the defensive-oriented Bears. In theory, it should work well. The Raiders can be a more difficult foe than Chicago fans might think--ask Colts fans. Playing in England makes this more unpredictable.
Bears 20, Raiders 17
- Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5): Denver is the best of the winless teams, but that’s like having the nicest mullet in a room full of bald guys. I’ve seen the mullet making a comeback and beseech hairdressers of America to stop the insanity! Don’t let it come back, please and thank you.
Chargers 27, Broncos 17
- Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5): This game is all about the Cowboys offensive line vs the Packers improved defensive front. As long as Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick & co. can handle Preston Smith, Kenny Clark and friends, Dallas should win. I don’t have those worries for the Cowboys defense against an out-of-sync Packers offense still finding its way under Matt LaFleur and doing so without Davante Adams.
Cowboys 18, Packers 13
- Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (-11): The Chiefs got a legit scare in Detroit, and I believe it wakes them up to their vulnerabilities. They must try and run the ball to exploit defenses dropping eight into coverage. The Colts don’t quite have the secondary or DL talent to pull off how the Lions contained Mahomes. Of course I say contained and they still put up 34…
Chiefs 37, Colts 24
- Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers (-3.5): The 49ers are coming off the super bye, getting the ridiculously early bye week followed by a Monday Night Football date. I’m worried for the Niners that it sucks away all the positive momentum from the unbeaten 3-0 start, especially with the Browns coming to town after seeming to find their way after their underwhelming start. This should be a fun game. Come for Odell Beckham Jr. and the hyped Browns offense, stay for George Kittle--the best TE in the league.
Browns 31, 49ers 28
LSU 40, Utah State 20 in Jordan Love’s big chance to shake off a rough start for his draft stock
Ohio State 27, Michigan State 10
Florida 22, Auburn 17
Michigan 30, Iowa 28
Oregon 34, Cal 29
Sam Houston State 40, Stephen F Austin 13
Ohio 28, Buffalo 25