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As bad as New England's been this season, it's still easily the better team in this match-up. The Patriots own the better running game, the better quarterback, the better defense, and the better coach. They probably should have beat Buffalo last week. New York, on the other hand, looks like a totally lost cause. We're giving the points with New England here.
It's a tough pick to make with so much contrasting data, along with two teams that have a lot in common—division rivals whose fortunes rest with 40+-year old quarterbacks. Which team can have more aerial success with the status of key guys so up in the air? Without really knowing Godwin or Thomas' status, as well as how fast Antonio Brown can hit the ground running, we're a little in the dark. I just see more scenarios shaking out favorably for the Bucs and that between their more-bankable defense and possible help being on the way aerially, they can notch the win and cover at home. I'm taking Tampa.
I don't have the greatest confidence in Phillip Rivers, but I do believe the Colts have the most realistic paths to victory in this game. I have said all season the Colts defense is underrated, and this is the perfect match-up to prove their strength along the defensive front. I expect the Ravens to have trouble running the football and to struggle on offense in this match-up. When the curtain falls, I expect the Colts to be victorious
Tampa Bay looks like it's beginning to click with Brady and his bunch offensively, and the Bucs' defense ranks No. 3 in the League. Also, Tampa just hung one on Las Vegas last week, and the Raiders are better than the Giants. New York's played some close games lately, but those came against their fellow incompetents in the NFC East, Philly, Washington, and Dallas. Plus, the G-Men are banged up. We'll give the points here with the Buccaneers.
When a team is fancied in some circles as a Super Bowl candidate, and they end up bottomed-out after seven games, there's a certain deflation level that you won't see with other teams who just stink, knew they stink, continue to stink, and are more or less at terms with it. Dallas does have some horses, and in their heads, they could figure, "Hey, why the long faces? We're still in this thing!" But what changed from last week when Dallas put forth one of their most-inept performances in years? Granted, things aren't always as bad as they look at their worst, and Philadelphia is far from solid, particularly as a betting favorite, but I'm more inclined to back the Eagles in this one.
Los Angeles got out-played by San Francisco last week, but we expect a bounce-back effort this week. Meanwhile, Chicago won a game on the East Coast last week but now heads out to the opposite coast for this one. Also, while the Rams are out-rushing opponents by 26 yards per game this season, the Bears are getting out-rushed by 23 YPG. We'll play LA for our free pick for Monday night, minus the points.
It's understandable why the Raiders would be appealing in this spot, getting points in a foreign road-spot for Tampa, while rested after a pretty thorough win over the defending champs. Maybe I just smell a rat and think that on a very basic level, the Raiders haven't been able to equal Tampa's rate of improvement on both sides of the ball. And if Tampa's recent run and this setting somehow render them a bit deflated, it's going to be an uphill battle. I just don't sense that come down this week. I'll take Tampa.
I don't normally like betting on bad teams, but the Redskins provide a lot of value in this match-up with the points they are receiving. I would not be surprised if Washington challenges for the upset, so I will back them with confidence this week.
The combination of the 49ers’ injury problems and the Eagles’ urgency to get in the win-column before their season officially capsizes could make Philly an appeal underdog choice this week after they flopped three weeks in a row as the favorite. You can never completely dismiss the heart of a champion, and it could surface here. At some point, however, you either have the horses on offense, or you don't. And it's going to take a special spot to forecast success for the Eagles' offense, as I don’t see it surfacing this week. I’ll lay the number on the 49ers.
I really like the Bears +3 at Bovada potential with Foles at quarterback, and I also think this match-up against the Colts is favorable. I would expect a low scoring game with the Bears controlling things late.
Baltimore is 21-3 with Lamar Jackson starting at QB, but 0-2 against Kansas City. Also, the Chiefs are coming off a less-than-wonderful performance last week against the Chargers, but we expect better this week. And we're getting three and a hook? We'll take KC and the points.