This is a superb matchup between arguably the two best teams in the NFC (the Packers would like a word, but these are two of the top teams in the conference). Carolina returns home after an impressive two-game road win streak and Philly will likely be missing Lane Johnson for this one, but edge pressure from Brandon Graham and the presence of Fletcher Cox will be enough to keep this game close. Someone wins by a field goal so give me the points.
The Pick: Eagles +3.5
Jets (+9.5) vs. Patriots
The Jets are far from the laughingstock everyone expected this year, ripping off a three-game win streak heading into a home matchup against the Patriots. New England is coming off a 10-day rest, which is always bad news for their opponent and will ultimately prevail in this game. Even the Pats defense should be able to stifle the Jets offense. Guessing here, though, that the young Jets defense, with Jamal Adams starring as a rookie, can be a pain long enough to keep it within a score.
The Pick: Jets +9.5
Ravens (-6.5) vs. Bears
This line is moving towards the Bears, so I'm going to take the Ravens here at less than a touchdown. That number is way too high, but the Bears have been substantially worse on the road, are coming off a short week and don't have any playmakers in the passing game. Baltimore's defense snuffed out EJ Manuel last week in Oakland and can severely limit what Mitchell Trubisky does in his second start.
The Pick: Ravens -6.5
Saints (-4.5) vs. Lions
New Orleans was smart enough to take a bye after the London game and is now well rested for the Lions, who are banged up and dealing with another Matthew Stafford injury. He has not confirmed if he'll play, but the line is moving towards the Saints here. Give me a rested Drew Brees, less Adrian Peterson, more Alvin Kamara and a tough spot for the Lions. Saints roll and keep pace with their division foes.
The pick: Saints (-4.5)
Dolphins (+11.5) at Falcons
Another massive spread involving a terrible team in the Dolphins going up against a good team in the Falcons, with the good team coming off the bye. This line isn't even outrageous because the Dolphins can't score and the Atlanta defense is good. But I look at that Falcons schedule and see "AT NEW ENGLAND" next week and this has my brain screaming trap game. They just want to get a W and get out. Dolphins will backdoor this spread.
The Pick: Dolphins +11.5
Texans (-10) vs. Browns
Everything about this line screams TAKE THE BROWNS. The Texans just lost J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the year and Kevin Hogan is an upgrade over DeShone Kizer. But I'm done taking the Browns after doing so for like three straight weeks and getting it handed to me. This is the Deshaun Watson "you probably should not have passed on me twice in the draft" game and he is going to destroy Cleveland. I will undoubtedly regret this later.
The Pick: Texans -10
Credit: Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports
49ers (+10) at Redskins
The frisky 49ers have decided not to win any football games, but they have been fairly decent at covering against the spread. So far this season they're 2-1 against the spread as a road dog. This is a tougher circumstance because Washington is coming off a bye and it's a long trip to the East Coast for the Niners, but it's the Kyle Shanahan revenge game! Washington wins but the 49ers keep it close.
The Pick: 49ers +10
Chargers (+3) at Raiders
Full disclosure: there is not a line on this game yet, but I am going to assume the Chargers, who have been mostly terrible this season, will be getting at least a field goal on the road against the Raiders, who will likely be getting Derek Carr back. If that's the case, give me the Chargers to keep it close and to win outright because I apparently can't quit Philip Rivers. The Chargers are 1-0-1 as road dogs this year too, though. They're just better away from home again.
Vikings (+3.5) vs. Packers
Short week against a really dangerous opponent with Case Keenum likely starting again is not a great spot to be if you're the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers are probably going to win this game, and I don't feel entirely comfortable betting against Aaron Rodgers. But the Vikings moved the ball much better after Keenum came off the bench and can generate enough points to keep this within a field goal thanks to Harrison Smith and the defense limiting Rodgers.
The Pick: Vikings +3.5
Cardinals (+2.5) vs. Buccaneers
The Cardinals are no good and very terrible and just had to trade for Adrian Peterson (!) to try and salvage their season. Not great, Bob. But this is a value situation, because the Buccaneers are overrated as road favorites heading out to Arizona. I don't think AP magically makes the Cards contenders, but I also think this defense can manage to turn Jameis Winston over a few times and scrap out a win or at least a close game. Arizona's been a little bit better at home, enough to warrant taking as a dog here. Maybe. I think. Kind of.
The Pick: Cardinals +2.5
Steelers (+4.5) at Chiefs
Finally a dog that actually makes me feel comfortable taking. This is a PERFECT spot for the Steelers -- they're coming off a humiliating home loss to the Jaguars in which people questioned Ben Roethlisberger's commitment to playing football and get a Chiefs team that just blew out the Texans on the road in prime time. Everyone will be loving Kansas City and forgetting what Pittsburgh did to Alex Smith and Andy Reid a few months ago in the playoffs.
The Pick: Steelers +4
Giants (+12) at Broncos
How on earth can anyone justify taking the Giants here? I DON'T KNOW. I mean, there is no logic behind it. The Giants are going to be starting Roger Lewis and Tavarres King at wide receiver against the best secondary in the NFL. The Broncos are coming off a bye week and get a reeling 0-5 team at home in prime time. They should slaughter the Giants. Give me the points for no other reason than the NFL is a weird, unpredictable creature.
The Pick: Giants +12
Credit: Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports
Colts (+3) at Titans
This line is assuming that Marcus Mariota plays, otherwise maybe the Colts are favored on the road in a prime time game? If so that would be the only favorite I'm taking this week and I like Indy in this spot. The Titans BADLY need a win, but they're just not good on defense and if Matt Cassel is playing they're just not good. This could be a breakout Marlon Mack game, with the young running back looking like he might be emerging against the 49ers last week.
The Pick: Colts +3
Credit: Brian Spurlock / USA TODAY Sports
Jaguars (-2.5) vs. Rams
The Rams are a good team and they very well might be able to come into Jacksonville and run the ball with Todd Gurley. But if they can't and they get behind at all in this game, it is going to be a problem for Jared Goff against a dangerous Jags secondary. Meanwhile, Leonard Fournette is just a dang ANIMAL and he is going to run people over again on Sunday. I'm buying the Jags and fully expect to regret it later.