Home team in caps, all lines courtesy of bet365.com
Falcons (-3) over REDSKINS
Matt Ryan looks to build on his MVP resume against a beat up Washington defence, and with Michael Turner back on track (103 yards on 13 carries, plus a receiving touchdown) his Falcon offense is now fully loaded. Robert Griffin III has proven that he can hold his own in a shootout, however, so the Redskins will be hanging around come the fourth quarter.
Falcons 31, Redskins 27
STEELERS (-3) over Eagles
Both the Steelers and Eagles are at a crossroads. With a win the Eagles stay ahead of the pack in the NFC East, a loss throws them back into the mire with the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins. The Steelers have to look at this game as their season. If they drop to 1-3 and Cincinnati and Baltimore, both playing winnable games (home against Miami and at Kansas City, respectively), win, then Pittsburgh is playing catch up for the AFC North. The good news for Big Ben and company, however, is that they have all six division games left. Pittsburgh’s defense takes advantage of Michael Vick’s mistakes, and the Steelers roll in Heinz Field.
Steelers 28, Eagles 17
COLTS (+7) over Packers
The Packers really haven’t played that great lately. And unlike the Patriots, who are also 2-2 and had an offensive explosion in the second half against Buffalo, the Packers haven’t had a game where they’ve looked superhuman. Hopefully Andrew Luck proves he can cover while getting seven points, because his Colts are going to see a lot of big lines. Green Bay wins, Indy covers.
Packers 30, Colts 24
GIANTS (-8.5) over Browns
Normally this would be a trap game (with the Giants looking ahead to their matchup with the 49ers in Candlestick), but since the Giants lost to the Eagles in Week 4 you can bet that Tom Coughlin crapped the whip last week. I don’t love the Giants here, but taking Brandon Weedon in the winds of the Meadowlands is too much to ask of me.
Giants 24, Browns 9
BENGALS (-3) over Dolphins
Here’s something I’d bet you didn’t know: the number one rushing defense in the league plays for the Miami Dolphins. Pair that with Reggie Bush and the number five rushing offense and Miami seems to be a contender… and then you see they have the worst passing defense in the league. And although Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill has begun to prove that he can be a legitimate starter (431 yards against a good Cardinals defense in Week 4), Andy Dalton of the Bengals has already proven that and then some. He and wide receiver AJ Green (6 catches, 117 yards, 1 TD) are making a claim to be one of the top pairings in the NFL. The Dolphins will hang around and make it interesting, but Cincinnati win by a touchdown.
Bengals 25, Miami 20
Ravens (-6) over Chiefs
Poor Matt Cassell. In all likelihood playing for his job and he gets the mythical Ravens defense. A defense ranked 29th in the league against the pass. As always, time is undefeated, but Cassell isn’t exactly the quarterback to exploit weakness. If this were a seven point spread I might consider the Chiefs, but that extra point is too enticing to not take the Ravens to cover.
Ravens 24, Chiefs 16
Seahawks (+3) over PANTHERS
This is a do or die week for the Seahawks. Not for their season, but my trust in them against the spread. And although the third interception wasn’t his fault (never a good lead-in to a sentence about a quarterback), Russell Wilson looked flat-out bad against the Rams last Sunday. If Seattle drops another game, the rumblings for Matt Flynn to play quarterback may get louder. As for the Panthers, who completely blew their game with the Falcons last week, I don’t like their chances against the Seahawks fourth ranked defense.
Seahawks 23, Panthers 20
Bears (-4.5) over JAGUARS
My feelings for these two teams could not be trending any differently. I am completely in love with the Bears, and couldn’t be wanting to be further away from the Jags (Blaine Gabbert evidently isn’t the comeback king) than I currently am. I know the Bears defense looked dominant, but many of those turnovers were off of terrible Cowboy mistakes. Rather, it’s Jay Cutler and the Bears offense that I’m enamoured with. How Cutler can throw with such power off his back foot is beyond me, but when he’s on it’s incredible to watch. Be prepared for the Bears to go off on a gallop these upcoming weeks.
Bears 34, Jaguars 17
VIKINGS (-5.5) over Titans
Christian freaking Ponder. Unbelievable. Somehow Ponder remains the only quarterback to not throw an interception this season, and with Adrian Peterson somehow completely recovered from his torn ACL (something which I feel we as sports fans take way too lightly nowadays — he tore his knee less than a year ago!) the Vikes offense is nothing to be unafraid of. Jake Locker (shoulder) is out for the Titans, and I’m not taking Matt Hasselbeck getting less than a touchdown in 2012.
Vikings 26, Titans 13
49ERS (-9.5) over Bills
After completely erupting on the New York Jets in New Jersey last week, the Niners feast continues with the Buffalo Bills rolling into Candlestick fresh off their shellacking from the Patriots. The Bills defense was completely torched by New England, and San Francisco plays the game with more physicality than any other team in football. Alex Smith will have to do little as the Niners will be up early; Niners win in a landslide.
49ers 24, Bills 9
PATRIOTS (-6.5) over Broncos
Peyton Manning brings his short passing Bronco offense into Foxboro to take on a Patriots team that seemed to figure something out in the second half against the Bills, as they scored 45 points. Denver’s defense has already been waxed by a high flying offense (against Atlanta in Week 2) and if Tom Brady really has figured it out it could get ugly come Sunday afternoon.
Patriots 41, Broncos 27
Chargers (+3.5) over SAINTS
I don’t understand this spread at all. A 3-1 team is on the road to a 0-4 opponent and they’re getting three and a half points? Okay then. Last week I correctly predicted that Drew Brees will rack in the backdoor covers as the Saints keep losing (ignore the fact that I failed to take my own advice), but for them to be favored, even at home, makes no sense. The Saints defense is terrible, take the points and don’t look back.
Chargers 33, Saints 31
Texans (-8) over JETS
Things are not looking great in the Big Apple. Revis? Out. Holmes? Out. Tebow? Hasn’t been photographed running in the rain for at least a month. One week after getting, to quote Jets head coach Rex Ryan, their “asses kicked” at home against the Niners the undefeated Texans are rolling into town. The consequences of this game are huge: if the Jets lay another egg you know that Tebow time is fast approaching, may God help us.
Oh wait — he’s already on the other side.
Texans 30, Jets 10
BYE: Cowboys, Lions, Raiders, Bucs
Last week’s record: 7-8-1
Overall record: 37-26-1