I had another good week last week and feel like I'm starting to finally get a feel for the teams in the league, but this week I haven't had the time to study I generally put into it and I've been a bit distracted so we'll see how this goes!
Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) at San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have been a better team since they played the Giants on Sunday night, or perhaps even the week before against Green Bay. They don't do a ton great but they do rush the passer and can create some problems for the Seahawks offense and Russell Wilson. Short week Thursday night game on the road that means 6.5 points are too much for me.
Pick: 49ers cover the spread
Buffalo Bills (-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (London)
The Jaguars are not a good football team, but they are very good stat compilers. They are fantasy relevant, but that doesn't help win football games. The Bills have been a bit of a disappointment because they are a talented bunch, but they have way too many penalties, their defensive line is not hitting the quarterback as much as it should be, and they are lacking all of their explosive playmakers on offense with Watkins, Marquise Goodwin, and Percy Harvin out, plus Tyrod Taylor. But even with all that said I still think the Bills are just flat out better than the Jaguars and in London I'll take the better team even though the sloppy field conditions could always make things interesting.
Cleveland Browns (+6) at St. Louis Rams
I think the Rams offense with Todd Gurley might become something enough to be the start of a good offense, but they are not yet a good offense. Six points is too much to lay for a Browns team that plays very hard even though they lack a lot of talent.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
The Steelers are playing better than I have expected them too since they lost Big Ben. It's been impressive. The Chiefs on the other hand have been very poor, but Andy Reid is a good coach despite all of the problems they have had this year and they can still rush the passer which could cause 3rd stringer Landry Jones major problems. Maybe he's the next Tom Brady, but maybe he also gets really exposed this week.
Pick: Chiefs win outright
Houston Texans (+4) at Miami Dolphins
Last week everyone should have seen the Dolphins onslaught coming. The first game after a team fires a head coach the team always plays inspired. The question is can they maintain that intensity? I don't know. That we'll have to find out. But even with that being said I think the Dolphins are just more talented than the Texans.
New York Jets (+9) at New England Patriots
The Jets have a very good, strong defense, and are running the ball as anyone in the league right now. The Patriots quick strike passing game could always cause them problems, as it does every team, but I think the Jets can play enough defense and run the ball enough to shorten this game and thus keep it closer than the 9 points they are getting. I also think outside possibility the Jets win this game provided Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn't turn into a turnover machine against a BB defense, which is very possible.
Pick: Jets cover
Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) at Detroit Lions
The Vikings have one of the more underrated rosters in the league. If Teddy Bridgewater can take another step forward this could really be a team to watch next year. This year they'll win enough games and be competitive, and they are certainly better than the Lions. Also, I think Jim Caldwell was a terrible hire and is one of the worst coaches in the league, which should have been evident without how poorly he did in Indianapolis.
Atlanta Falcons (-5) at Tennessee Titans
A banged up Marcus Mariota vs the Falcons who just lost in an embarrassing fashion on Thursday night with a few extra days to rest up and prepare seems like this will be a beat-down.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) at Washington Redskins
The Redskins to me feel like a gritty team, they aren't great, but they play hard and they have some good players. They have a good core and foundation. Cousins is a turnover machine, but the Buccaneers are not a team that can capitalize in a huge way on turnovers or a team that creates havoc. I think the Redskins are the better team so I'll give the 3.5 points.
Pick: Redskins cover
New Orleans Saints (+4.5) at Indianapolis Colts
Did the Saints figure it out? I've been higher on the Saints than most despite their terrible inconsistency, but I went against them last week. The Colts have a ton of problems, but Luck is a stud. This feels like a toss-up here, but gut feeling is the Saints are going to play this one close.
Pick: Saints cover
Oakland Raiders (+4.5) at San Diego Chargers
Rivers is playing out of his mind, but the team around him is terrible. Some analytics like Football outsiders have the Raiders as a superior team to the Chargers they are coming off a bye and are getting 4.5 points. Plus despite how bad they have been at times the Raiders have actually recently been pretty good in the division. I think the Raiders could win this game outright, so I'll take the points, but of course Rivers could go off and make this difficult.
Dallas Cowboys (+3.5) at New York Giants
Time for depressing stat of the day! The New York Giants currently hold a 1-9 record against Philadelphia and Dallas since 2013 with their win coming against Matt Barkley lead Eagles. yikes. Last week the Giants got beat up front and couldn't generate any sort of offense this week could lead to similar problems as the return of Greg Hardy and possibly Randy Gregory add a dynamic that could be difficult for the Giants to handle. Despite all that being said the Giants are at home and have Eli Manning and Cowboys are trotting out Matt Cassell. Plus, I'll be in attendance this week as I make the trek from Rochester to East Rutherford to watch my beloved G-men.
Pick: This team seems like a resilient bunch, more so then teams in the past and that's what I'm banking on. With trepidation, and because I'm a homer, I'll take the Giants to win by more than 3.5
Philadelphia Eagles (+3) at Carolina Panthers
It feels like the Eagles have some momentum now and I'm worried about the Panthers generating enough offense to win this game. I'll take the 3 points.
Baltimore Ravens (+7.5) at Arizona Cardinals
I keep saying the Ravens aren't a good football team, but 7.5 seems heavy for a team that is at least competent. I know Arizona is terrific at home and has a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, but I'll take the points.
Games I like the most this week are the Falcons (-5), 49ers (+6) and the Browns (+6)