Atlanta Falcons (-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The NFL Draft is a funny thing. It's really can be terribly awful to predict as the Buccaneers have found out this year with the unexpected poor play of rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo who is one of the highest drafted kickers ever. He was supposed to be a sure thing for a kicker that was so terrific in college it's odd how difficult to the transition has been for him. He's only making 58 percent of his tries and hasn't hit a field goal longer than 43 yards. Aguayo is a part of why the Buccaneers have lost three games as he has left points on the board in both field goal kicks and extra points. It has to be disheartening to be a Buccaneers fan. The other major issue with the Buccaneers this year has been the defense, which has been especially poor through the air giving up an average of 8 yards per passing attempt. That's not good enough for what might be the league's best passing offense.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+7.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
The Jaguars are floundering despite a wealth of talent. Blake Bortles has played worse this year than he did last year and it's really because of a lack of big plays. Completion percentage is actually a little higher and TD to INT ratio is still better than 1:1, but his yards per attempt is down to 6.6. There are not enough big plays for the Jaguars this year. The defense despite adding Fowler Jr (injured last year) Jalen Ramsey, and Myles Jack is also playing worse. There's enough talent here. The Chiefs are a better team, but they are limited offensively with their starting QB and now they're onto the backup. I don't think they'll score enough points to blow out the Jaguars.
Pick: Jaguars cover
The Lions' Matthew Stafford has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league this year and even though they are missing Calvin Johnson because of his early retirement, they have enough weapons to spread the ball around and make enough plays, which won't be enough to beat the Vikings, but the Vikings are reeling. They have no play-makers on offense this year and have really struggled (except against the Giants, of course) after losing their two starting tackles for the season. I don't think you can trust the Vikings to lay 6 points, though they are the better team and should win.
Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5) at New York Giants
The Eagles absolutely own the Giants now. It's an extremely frustrating thing as a fan, but I don't know if I see anything changing this week. I haven't seen the ability yet for the Giants to be versatile in their approach and allow for major changes throughout the course of the season to give opposing teams more fits. The Giants have been predictable on offense this year, and outright bad at times. They are 26th in points and 19th in yards. The two things they are doing well on offense are protecting the quarterback - Eli Manning has only been sacked 11 times and moving the ball in between the 20s pretty well through the air. But the red zone offense has been bad (and that's been a downward trend for a few years now), they turn the ball over at an alarming rate (despite forcing four turnovers last week still have a -7 turnover ratio) and they are just not scoring any points. It's mind boggling how you can have a potential Hall of Fame quarterback and a top five WR in the league and not score any points. I hope the Giants took a long look in the mirror over the bye and recognized their deficiencies. You hope they did. Ben McAdoo says the right things, but we don't truly know yet if he will.
The saving grace here is that the strength of the whole Giants team might be in their defensive secondary and the Eagles might have the worst trio of starting WR's in the league. There is no explosion at the position and they drop a lot of passes. The Eagles have had the same problem as the Giants as they'd on't get the ball downfield averaging only 6.7 yards per passing attempt. My expectation is a low scoring game. I'd take the under, but I'd also take the Eagles, until the Giants can show me they can show up and play big in a big spot.
Pick: Eagles win outright
Dallas Cowboys (-7.5) at Cleveland Browns
The Browns are not going to win a lot of games this year, but they continue to play tough. The problem with them as they have been losing a quarterback in the middle of a game constantly, which is a crazy happening. Still they have 21 rookies on their roster. Twenty-one! That's an insane number. They also have 15 other players with less than three years NFL experience. That's 36 young players. It's no reason why they can't win games, but it's also a reason why they should get better as the year goes along. They play hard, they play fast, they just make a lot of mistakes and they don't have a great offense. They get back Corey Coleman this week to pair with Terrelle Pryor which should help open their offense a little bit. The Cowboys on the other hand are coming off a big Sunday night win and are sitting on the mountain top of the NFC East at 6-1 and face the Steelers next week. I don't expect the Browns have any chance of winning this game, but this is a definition of a trap game and I think the Browns can cover.
New York Jets (+3.5) at Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill hasn't been great this year, but he is averaging 8.1 yards per passing attempt, which is indicative of a lot of explosive plays and Jay Ajayi who was inactive the first game of the season and had a total of 31 carries through the teams first five games as suddenly become the league's best running back. And it literally came out of nowhere. The first five weeks he had 31 carries and accumulated 117 total yards as gone for 53 carries and 418 yards the last two weeks (7.8 yards per carry)! I don't know how that happened. One of the strangest stories of the year. Can he keep it up against the Jets stout run defense?
Pittsburgh Steelers (pick 'em) at Baltimore Ravens
The Steelers would be favored by at least three points if Big Ben was playing, but it'll be Landry Jones again. The Ravens started out strong, but have lost 3 in a row to Oakland, NYG and NYJ. The Ravens are statistically in the top 10 in defense in all major categories and I think that'll be enough to get by a Steelers team that's missing its quarterback.
New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at San Francisco 49ers
The Saints are on a roll now winning three of their last four and should win this one easily. The 49ers are the leagues' worst defense but don't have enough offense to take advantage of the league's second worst defense, the Saints.
Carolina Panthers (-3) at Los Angeles Rams
Have the Panthers put it together yet? I'm not convinced. They have real problems in their secondary after jettisoning both of last year's starting cornerbacks, but the Rams aren't the team that can take advantage of that weakness. The Panthers are fourth in the league in scoring offense and signs point to the Rams will once again starting journeyman Case Keenum instead of number one overall pick Jared Goff. This is a floundering team that doesn't match up well with the Panthers.
Indianapolis Colts (+7) at Green Bay Packers
The Packers have been anything but special this year with victories so far over the Jaguars, Detroit, the Giants and the Bears. And losses to the Vikings, Cowboys, and Falcons. The Colts might be one of the league's worst run franchises, but they have been blessed with two very timely number one overall picks in Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. Peyton Manning might be the GOAT. He took the Colts to the Super Bowl twice, despite never having a consistently good defense, or most of the time even average (Super Bowl contender every year with him on the team, 1-15 all time terrible team the year he was hurt) Andrew Luck, as talented as he is, is having a hard time filling Petyon's shoes. The numbers look great (16 TD and 5 INT), but even with that it's been difficult to overcome an overmatched defense. The Packers are a more well rounded team because they have a solid defense, but in general when a great quarterback gets 7 points, take the points.
Tennessee Titans (+5) at San Diego Chargers
I think the Titans are very solid, albeit boring team. They run the ball extremely well (over a 150 yards per game on the ground), they play solid defense (10th in the league in yards allowed), and Marcus Mariota has been good this year (14 TD and only 6 INT, averaging 7.6 yards per passing attempt). The problem is they just lack a few play-makers. Their WR corps is below average and they don't create lot of turnovers. I think they'll give the Chargers enough problems to keep the game close, for a team that has had trouble all year staying out of it's own way.
Denver Broncos (pick 'em) at Oakland Raiders
This should be a fun game to watch.
Buffalo Bills (+7) at Seattle Seahawks
A sudden lack of offensive weapons is really hurting this team. The nagging injury to LeSean McCoy and Charles Clay have been hurting the offense even though they have played most games. And then Sammy Watkins being out has hurt the team as well. Still I think the Seahawks offense is underwhelming, they have problems along their offensive line and the Bills defense line can be a lot to handle. Id on't think they Bills can pull of the upset, but I think it'll be close.