We’re back with another exciting week of football! I was wrong with my opening pick on Thursday night. I assumed quarterback Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos would figure out their offense. No Jonathan Taylor at running back spelled trouble in my eyes for the Indianapolis Colts’ offense. I was right about the (lack of) scoring. But the Colts outkicked the Broncos, as head coach Nathaniel Hackett’s offense couldn’t generate a single touchdown. A 12-9 score on a prime-time game isn’t ideal, so let’s hope Sunday reintroduces some excitement around the league.
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New York Giants (+8) at Green Bay Packers (-8) - 9:30 AM ET, NFL Network
I know the spread here would make you believe the Packers are the better team. I’d like to believe that’s true. But this year, quarterback Aaron Rodgers hasn’t looked like the dominant player we’re used to seeing. He and wide receiver Davante Adams might regret the divorce. They barely found a win against New England’s third-string QB. Head coach Brian Daboll has the Giants motivated, and running back Saquan Barkley looks like the player we all fell in love with prior to his ACL injury.
I’m picking the Giants to beat the spread, but Green Bay wins at home.
Atlanta Falcons (+9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9) - 1:00 PM ET, FOX
This game comes down to the health of the Buccaneers. The offense hasn’t looked great. But timing will develop, and Tom Brady will still be Tom Brady.
The Buccaneers cover.
Tennessee Titans (-2.5) at Washington Commanders (+2.5) - 1:00 PM ET, CBS
Running back Derrick Henry finally looked like himself last week, gaining 114 yards on 22 carries while adding a touchdown. I think he’s got his groove back. Washington also won’t be able to contain wide receiver Robert Woods from making big plays when the Titans need them the most.
I’m going with Tennessee on the road.
Seattle Seahawks (+5.5) at New Orleans Saints (-5.5) - 1:00 PM ET, FOX
Quarterback Geno Smith has been one of the most surprising stories in the NFL this year. According to Bruce Nolan’s STEW, he’s actually been the third-best QB in the league so far this season. While I don’t anticipate him maintaining this level of play throughout the remainder of the season, it’s certainly been impressive to watch him outperform Wilson’s efforts in Denver. With that being said, I think the Saints at home are still a team that should concern others around the league. Injuries have slowed them down, but they get healthier this weekend.
Saints cover a home and Jameis eats the dub.
Chicago Bears (+7) at Minnesota Vikings (-7) - 1:00 PM ET, FOX
Will the Bears ever have a fun offense? I don’t think this is the week we find out. This game smells like bad offense and good defense. I think the Bears keep it close, but wide receiver Justin Jefferson has a game.
Vikings don’t cover the spread, but their fans get to participate in Victory Monday. Skol, Vikings!
Detroit Lions (+3) at New England Patriots (-3) - 1:00 PM ET, FOX
Quarterback Jared Goff has been fun to watch. I didn’t think I’d ever type those words, but here we are. This year’s Hard Knocks stars have made me fall in love with their team, and they make it hard for me to root against them. The Patriots are still doubtful about quarterback Mac Jones, but they almost beat Rodgers and the Packers with rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe.
With the spread so close, I’m going to bet on the Lions to win on the road against the third-string rookie.
Houston Texans (+7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (-7) - 1:00 PM ET, CBS
The Jaguars are gonna win the AFC South and I’m shook— Jefe (@JSpenceTheKing) October 7, 2022
Who would have thought competent coaching could turn this Jaguars team around so quickly? The Texans have a good running back now. But they still haven’t given quarterback Davis Mills enough weapons for me to trust him to beat the spread.
Jacksonville continues to impress in a divisional matchup. They cover the spread and win comfortably at home.
Miami Dolphins (-3) at New York Jets (+3) - 1:00 PM ET, CBS
Even with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa unavailable for this game, I’m shocked the spread is so close. Teddy Bridgewater isn’t a world-changer at quarterback, but he’s started and won games in the NFL. I bet some Broncos fans can tell you how much better he’s been than Wilson this season. I don’t expect the offense to slow down. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill leads the league in receiving yards. He keeps proving that he is an ultimate weapon.
Dolphins cover and win in New Jersey.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+14.5) at Buffalo Bills (14.5) - 1:00 PM ET, CBS
Easy money. Rookie quarterbacks don’t have fun against head coach Sean McDermott’s defenses. McDermott and defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier have faced a rookie QB 11 times since 2017. In those matchups, the rookie QBs have recorded a 59.5 passer rating while throwing seven TDs to 17 interceptions. Good luck, Kenny Pickett.
Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Cleveland Browns (+3) - 1:00 PM ET, CBS
This spread is only close because Justin Herbert isn’t fully healthy and the Chargers have injuries in big places. Pass rusher Joey Bosa is expected to miss 8-10 weeks with a groin injury. That hurts in more ways than one. But I don’t trust quarterback Jacoby Brissett to get the ball to his receivers consistently enough to compete with even an injured Herbert.
The Bolts win on the road in a fun game to watch.
San Francisco 49ers (-6.5) at Carolina Panthers (+6.5) - 4:05 PM ET, CBS
This one is simple for me. The Panthers’ starting QB is Baker Mayfield. I most certainly trust head coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo more than Mayfield.
49ers cover and win on the road.
Dallas Cowboys (+4.5) at Los Angeles Rams (-4.5) - 4:25 PM ET, FOX
The Rams aren’t who we thought they were. I see a quarterback controversy in Dallas if Cooper Rush pulls this win out. The Cowboys haven’t been the most electric offense, but they have been consistent and Rush doesn’t lose games.
Cowboys win on the road.
Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5) at Arizona Cardinals (+5.5) - 4:25 PM ET, FOX
The Cardinals need wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Quarterback Kyler Murray needs Hopkins. The Eagles aren’t taking it easy on any of their opponents. In Phoenix, the pressure is on Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury after both received hefty extensions.
I’m expecting them to rise to the occasion and pull this win out. The Eagles fall as the last undefeated team headed into this weekend. Cardinals win in a fun QB matchup.
Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5) at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) - 8:20 PM ET, NBC
The Ravens are coming off a disappointing 23-20 loss to the Bills. Quarterback Lamar Jackson looked unstoppable in the first half—at one point leading Baltimore to a 20-3 lead to eventually be shut down the rest of the way. This is the second time in a month Baltimore has given up a 17-point lead.
The Bengals are headed into Baltimore with the classic “half bye week” after beating the Miami Dolphins 10 days ago on Thursday Night Football. The extra time should have allowed Cincinnati to get healthier and better prepare for this game.
As much as I’d like to, I just can’t believe the Bengals are the team to beat in the AFC. They snuck into the playoffs on their way to the Super Bowl in part because of the injury to Jackson last season. The Ravens were in position to win the division until their star quarterback went out. This year, despite the roster additions during the offseason, I don’t think Cincinnati has done enough to prove they can follow that run with a strong season. Quarterback Joe Burrow still doesn’t have the protection he deserves. He has major weapons, but he doesn’t have the time to get them the ball enough to beat Jackson at home.
I’m picking the Ravens to not only cover the spread and win, but to expose the Bengals. I’m picking the Ravens in a double-digit win.