Predicting what will happen in the NFL is hard enough without spreads, let alone with them.
This week in the NFL is littered with tough games that could easily be pick ’ems. Case and point: me, last week. Last week did not go so well for me (or you if you followed my advice) with a 5-8 record against the spread. Here’s to reversing that record this week.
Here’s to reversing that record this week.
San Francisco 49ers (1-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-2)
Nine points is the biggest spread of the week and I’m not sure why it was awarded to the Bills. Yes, the 49ers have looked miserable since the season opener, but I think the change at QB will bring a spark to their offense. Now that he’s got his contract reworked, Colin Kaepernick can run Chip Kelly’s offense the way it was meant to be run. Expect the 49ers to keep it closer than double digits.
Pick: 49ers +9
Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) at Washington Redskins (3-2)
You can throw all of the stats and records out the window when it comes to divisional matchups, particularly NFC East division games. Neither team has looked particularly great in recent weeks, with the Redskins struggling to beat the Browns and barely getting by the Ravens last week. That being said, Washington is on a nice three-game winning streak. I think that will come to an end this week in a closely contested battle as Carson Wentz picks apart the Washington secondary. Also, keep in mind that Jordan Reed will probably miss the game due to yet another concussion.
Pick: Eagles -2.5
Cleveland Browns (0-5) at Tennessee Titans (2-3)
Marcus Mariota ran all over the Dolphins last week while the defense applied pressure all day on Ryan Tannehill. Both units for the Browns are inferior to what the Dolphins trot out on Sundays, so take the Titans at home. The Browns will win a game sometime this year. This one just isn’t it.
Pick: Titans -7
Baltimore Ravens (3-2) at New York Giants (2-3)
This one makes me really nervous. The Giants should win this game. Even though the numbers don’t suggest it this year, Baltimore has been torched by the pass in recent years. This secondary has given up 9 TDs so far this season and I expect OBJ & Co. to take advantage of that in a big win.
Pick: Giants -3.5
Carolina Panthers (1-4) at New Orleans Saints (1-3)
The Panthers should be much better than their record shows, but major injuries to stars on offense have slowed them down this year. The Saints are coming off a bye, but Cam Newton looks like he will play this week, making the Panthers the selection against a pitiful New Orleans defense.
Pick: Panthers -2.5
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) at Chicago Bears (1-4)
Another close spread between sub .500 teams, a.k.a. the hardest spreads to pick. Neither team has been particularly spectacular on defense this year, so I expect a shootout. And a shootout favors the Jaguars (the much better offense) coming off of a BYE.
Pick: Jaguars +2
Los Angeles Rams (3-2) at Detroit Lions (2-3)
The LA Rams were exposed in the ground game last week by the Buffalo Bills. Luckily for them, the Lions don’t have much of a running game. Instead, they use Theo Riddick in the short passing game as an extension of the run which has been working relatively well in recent weeks. Riddick will not play this week which worries me – he’s too big a part of this offense. Take the Rams and the points.
Pick: Rams +3
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) at Miami Dolphins (1-4)
The last time the Steelers were on the road, they were shellacked by the Eagles. Fortunately for them, this time, they’re on the road against the Dolphins, a team that was beaten down by the Titans in Week 5. Bottom line – the Steelers are too much on offense for the Dolphins to handle or even keep close.
Pick: Steelers -7.5
Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) at New England Patriots (4-1)
The Patriots manhandled the Browns last week in the Dawg Pound thanks to the return of Tom Brady. The Bengals are obviously more talented than Cleveland, but that atmosphere for Tommy’s first home game after the suspension is going to be raucous. I can’t figure out this Bengals team and this isn’t the week you should try by risking your money on them.
Pick: Patriots -8.5
Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) at Oakland Raiders (4-1)
The Raiders are in first place! What year is this, 2002? The Chiefs, on the other hand, are coming off of a bye with Jamaal Charles expected to get closer to a full workload. These long-time division rivals should play this one close in a Wild West shootout. If the Raiders want to prove their legitimacy, this is their first opportunity to do it.
Pick: Raiders +2
Atlanta Falcons (4-1) at Seattle Seahawks (3-1)
The Falcons proved me wrong last week when they went into Denver and took out the Broncos. Playing the Seahawks in Seattle is a little different story, though. Richard Sherman on Julio Jones. Oh boy, do I hope we see that all day long. The extra week should have helped Russell Wilson heal his lower body injuries and be ready to go on Sunday.
Pick: Seahawks -6
Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at Green Bay Packers (3-1)
Okay so maybe the Cowboys aren’t overrated like I said last week, but going into Green Bay and winning is a tall task. I wish Dez Bryant was more likely to play in this game so we could see a billion “Dez Caught it Memes” all over Twitter Sunday, but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. The Cowboys are 2-0 on the road; the Packers are 2-0 at home. Something has got to give.
Pick: Packers -3.5
Indianapolis Colts (2-3) at Houston Texans (3-2)
The Texans looked miserable last week in Minnesota, but then again who hasn’t against that ferocious Vikings defense? The Texans need to get Deandre Hopkins and Lamar Miller going again if they hope to win this game. Playing at home in prime time against a mediocre Colts team should give them just the edge they need to come out on top by at least three.
Pick: Texans -3
New York Jets (1-4) at Arizona Cardinals (2-3)
The Cardinals are another one of those teams that had high expectations going into this season only to be falling short of them so far in 2016. Carson Palmer looks like he’s going to play which spells trouble for the Jets secondary. David Johnson isn’t necessarily a running back you can overlook, either. The good news? The “hard” part of the Jets schedule is almost over. The bad news? The teams that are a part of the “easy” part might view the Jets in the same way.
Pick: Cardinals -7.5