Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5) at Cleveland
Cleveland is clearly improved. 2-0-1 at home. But the Chargers are better. 1.5 doesn’t seem like enough.
Los Angeles Chargers 30, Cleveland 23.
Buffalo at Houston (-7.5)
All five of Houston’s games have been decided by 7 points or less. Three by three points. Buffalo ain’t great and is on the road. But the feeling is they may keep it close.
Houston 24, Buffalo 18.
Carolina at Washington (-1.5)
The ‘Skins have been playing well every other week. This is the good one.
Washington 27, Carolina 24.
Chicago (-3.5) at Miami
Are the Bears for real? Looks like they could be. I know Miami isn’t and this will put them back to 3-3 after that phony 3-0 start.
Chicago 24, Miami 17.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (-2.5)
Speaking of fraud teams, the Bengals can’t be as good as 4-1, can they?! Two words: Marvin Lewis. That should answer your question.
Pittsburgh 41, Cincinnati 34.
Seattle (-3.5) at Oakland
Jon Gruden probably should have stayed in the booth after being away from the game for a decade. Then again, we can’t expect him to perform miracles with this Raiders team in his first year.
Seattle 27, Oakland 13.
Indianapolis at New York Jets (-2.5)
Indianapolis 31, New York Jets 17.
Arizona at Minnesota (-10.5)
Disappointing year for the Vikes thus far, but Arizona appears to be wretched this year, last week’s win against the possibly equally wretched 49ers notwithstanding.
Minnesota 34, Arizona 10.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-3.5)
I’m not sure how good the Falcons actually are, but I’m fairly certain they should be better than 1-4. I also think they are better than the Bucs. At least in their home stadium.
Atlanta 31, Tampa Bay 27.
Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) at Denver
The Rams look unstoppable. That’s all.
Los Angeles Rams 45, Denver 24.
Baltimore (-2.5) at Tennessee
This one may be another snoozefest. But at least the teams involved are better than the other one we spoke about earlier.
Baltimore 20, Tennessee 17.
Jacksonville (-3.5) at Dallas
Blake Bortles was brutal last week. And he sucks anyway. But Dallas sucks more. Similar to Marvin Lewis, I have no idea how Jason Garrett has hung on so long there.
Jacksonville 34, Dallas 16.
Kansas City at New England (-3.5)
Neither defense should stop either offense. But with all the weapons the Chiefs have, I have no idea how the Pats cover all of them. KC has had some big wins against the Pats in the middle of the regular season in recent years too. But the Patriots have also come out of the woodwork in games like this and shut a young QB down…especially in Foxborough. If the Pats lose, they will find themselves down by 3 games already in the AFC in the race for home-field advantage. They have risen to the occasion before. That all being said, I wish I could pick them here, but I simply can’t.
Kansas City 45, New England 34.
San Francisco at Green Bay (-9.5)
Boy, did the Niners season go right down the tubes once Jimmy Football got injured.
Green Bay 37, San Francisco 13.
Week (against the spread): 1-0
Week (straight up): 1-0
Season (against the spread): 38-41
Season (straight up): 46-33
…for the Philadelphia Eagles, that is. 2-3 record to start 2018. Pretty underwhelming, but still only a half game out of first. The 2018 NFC East everyone! I know, I know…Carson Wentz is coming back from a major injury. But he has been back for 3 games and the numbers are good anyway. So it can’t be all that bad.
Speaking of bad, the schedule thus far hasn’t been filled with heavyweights. Atlanta, Tampa, Indy, Tennessee and an underachieving thus far Minnesota team.
So what’s the problem? Looks like they have had some injuries. And you know…maybe they weren’t all that good last year in the first place? Sour grapes? Absolutely!! But backup quarterback Nick Foles played out of his mind in the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl and Coach Doug Pederson pushed all the right buttons. Good for them and give them a ton of credit.
But I hope they go 2-14 this year.
So the New England Patriots lost to the Eagles in the Super Bowl and their 3-2 record isn’t much better. Seems like they are up to their usual early season tricks however. We will see what it looks like Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. We’ll talk more about that in the next piece. We sure as hell do not need to recap last weeks game against the Indianapolis Colts. Per usual, the Pats handled the Colts easily. But it was a little concerning how the defense played down the stretch of that game though.
Anyway, for now:
Philadelphia (-3.5) at New York Giants
Ah, so THAT’S why we started off the column with Eagle talk! Yup. So what more do we have to say here? The Giants still stink. And it was awesome to see them lose to the Carolina Panthers on a 63 yard field goal as time expired. Gave me great joy. That’s all.
Philadelphia 28, New York Giants 20.
Week (against the spread): 7-8
Week (straight up): 8-7
Season (against the spread): 37-41
Season (straight up): 45-33
…no, I am not really going to talk much about Zeke here. But I will say, now I know how the rest of the world felt about the Deflategate circus. Well, I knew how they felt anyway on that, since I felt the same way. Dragged on for far too long, with all the appeals and all the lawyers and all that nonsense. Serve the suspension already. That’s how I felt about Tom Brady at the time, even though I thought the offense was ridiculous and that every team likely does something similar, just that the Patriots were dumb enough to get caught. In a nutshell anyway. But I just wanted him to serve the suspension so that the whole thing went away.
Now, Elliott is supposed to start serving his six game suspension after the latest court ruling this week. But does anyone think it is really “over”? Zeke’s men are “considering all options” and, though I am far from an attorney, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the field during the Cowboys next game in Week 7.
The reality is, he has (allegedly) a brutal history of domestic violence. Again, serve the suspension already. You know you deserve it. Not to mention some jail time too. Zeke gets six games for “allegedly” beating women on a regular basis. Brady got four for taking the air out of footballs. Sigh…
That’s enough of that…from me anyway.
As for the picks, almost picked the correct score for Thursday Night this week (picked 27-24 and ended up 28-23). Solid. Better game than I thought it would be as well. We shall see if this is a good sign for the rest of them…
Green Bay (-3.5) at Minnesota
Minnesota is always a tough place to play. Divisional matchup to boot. But Case Keenum under center again. No Dalvin Cook. No Stefon Diggs. Tough for me to take the Vikes here.
Green Bay 27, Minnesota 17.
Cleveland at Houston (-9.5)
All aboard the Kevin Hogan bandwagon!! Hell, I don’t know if Hogan can actually play. But with the Texans injury issues, I feel like taking the points with the Browns here. I know, Houston put up 57 on the Titans at home 2 weeks ago and even 34 at home against the Chiefs in a loss a week ago. How does anyone think the Browns are going to stop these guys? I don’t know. I just feel like the spread is too big. I’ve been wrong plenty though.
Houston 24, Cleveland 17.
Miami at Atlanta (-10.5)
On the flip side, this spread may not be big enough. In Atlanta, who is off a bye and off a terrible loss at home to Buffalo before the bye. This could be over by halftime.
Atlanta 44, Miami 10.
San Francisco at Washington (-9.5)
Yup, I’m taking the points with another awful team on the road. The Niners have lost all five games they have played. But did you realize that 3 out of the last 4 have been on the road and they have lost all 4 by a field goal or less? Sure, some of the competition has stunk too (Colts, Cardinals). But the other 2 (Rams, Seahawks) were decent foes. Similar to Cleveland, they may not win. But I’m looking for them to keep it close.
Washington 31, San Francisco 24.
Chicago at Baltimore (-6.5)
Mitchell Trubisky looks like he has some skills. But he looked nowhere near ready to play in the NFL when I saw him last Monday night. I don’t expect that to change against the Ravens.
Baltimore 23, Chicago 13.
Detroit at New Orleans (-4.5)
I put my faith in the Lions last week, while acknowledging it could be a mistake. Surprise! It was. Not this week. The Saints at home off a bye. Stafford banged up. Feeling good about N.O. I’m sure I’ll be wrong on this one though.
New Orleans 27, Detroit 20.
New England (-9.5) at New York Jets
Battle for first place!!! Who saw that line ever being printed in 2017, regarding the AFC East? No one. But this is where the Pats kick it into high gear and take off. So says me. Brady hurt? Pffffffft. This one won’t be close.
New England 38, New York Jets 17.
Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville (-2.5)
Goes without saying that these two teams, both sitting at 3-2, are the biggest surprises (on the positive side) in the league this year. Unless you count the Bills and the Jets with the same record…which I don’t. Although maybe I should count the Jets, since they did beat Jax. Anyway…the Jags have been kind of inconsistent this year, alternating dominant efforts with mediocre to poor ones. So I haven’t bought in on them at all. But last week’s demolition of the Steelers in Pittsburgh finally got me to take notice. So I guess it’s time for me to actually pick them to win for once.
Jacksonville 28, Los Angeles Rams 24.
Tampa Bay (-2.5) at Arizona
The Bucs stunk a week and a half ago and still almost came up roses at the end. Arizona simply stinks. Don’t try to convince me that AP is going to save the day here either. Certainly not this week.
Tampa Bay 31, Arizona 13.
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland (-3.5)
I don’t believe that the Chargers have been as bad as their record. Oakland probably has played as bad as their record. Derek Carr is back after missing the last game. Maybe Amari Cooper will finally show up too. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking that I think Oakland takes this game. They were supposed to be battling for one of the top seeds in the conference after all. Maybe this is the springboard.
Oakland 31, Los Angeles Chargers 24.
Pittsburgh at Kansas City (-3.5)
Is Big Ben done? I hope so! KC seems like a juggernaut. Typically, this is where the underdog wins and makes everyone look foolish. Sticking with the Chiefs at home this time though.
Kansas City 27, Pittsburgh 23.
New York Giants at Denver (-11.5)
The Giants lost 14 wide receivers for the year last week. Zero running game. Plus their coach seems to be a buffoon. And they plain suck this year. Denver coming off a bye should be ready to roll in this one.
Denver 34, New York Giants 17.
Indianapolis at Tennessee (-1.5)
Could go either way on this one. Mariota or Cassel, does it matter? Indy has surprised to go 2-3 in the absence of Andrew Luck. The Titans have underachieved for sure. Divisional matchup. I have no idea.
Tennessee 20, Indianapolis 17.
Week (against the spread): 1-0
Week (straight up): 1-0
Season (against the spread): 38-40
Season (straight up): 49-29