The NFL is set to open it’s fifth Sunday of the regular season this afternoon. The Arizona Cardinals finally recorded a loss on the season, will the Atlanta Falcons be next? Can Cam Newton find his game this week or is he mired in a sophomore slump? Peyton Manning returns to New England this week to battle is arch rival, Tom Brady.
Now that the calendar has flipped to October, weather might start to become an issue in some games played each week. There is a cold front which drapes from the Eastern Seaboard, to the Northern Gulf Coast this morning. Rain is expected from the Middle Tennessee Valley through New England. There is a chance of rain for the Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Carolina games this afternoon. Rain is likely for the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and New England Patriots contests. In another sign that things are cooling down around the country, frost is expected this morning in Kansas City. Lets get to this week’s picks and predictions.
Atlanta Falcons @ Washington Redskins +3 O/U 52
The Falcons are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now. Matt Ryan is really coming into his own in the Falcons’ new offensive scheme. Look for him to have another big afternoon against the Redskins 31st ranked pass defense. I’ll take the Falcons, give the points and the over.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 43
The Eagles are the first team in NFL history to win their first three games by 2 points or less. The Steelers get healthy after their bye week with the return of RB Rashard Mendenhall, LB James Harrison and S Troy Polamalu. I like the Eagles luck to run out this week as the Steelers defense forces too many turnovers. Steelers, give the points and the over.
Green Bay Packers @Indianapolis Colts +6.5 48
The suffered suffered a tough week with the announcement that head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia. Bruce Arians will serve as the team’s interim head coach. I like Green Bay, giving the big number and the under.
Cleveland Browns @ New York Giants-8 44
The Browns might be 5-0-1 ATS in road games in their last six contests but the last time the Browns won in New York was 1985. It’s a big number to give, but I can’t see this game being close, especially if the contest is going to be played in the rain. I’ll take the Giants, giving the points and the under.
Baltimore Ravens @Kansas City Chiefs +6.5 47
This is not your typical Baltimore Ravens team. The defense is not playing on the level it once did and you can sense the shift towards the Ravens becoming more of an offensive minded team. The Ravens secondary is allowing 295 yards per game, ranking 29th in the league. Rookie QB Brandon Weeden threw for 320 yards against the Ravens in Baltimore last week. The Ravens are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games as a favorite. Kansas City is notoriously tough place to play. While I like the Ravens to win SU, I’ll take the Chiefs +6.5 at home and the over.
Miami Dolphins @Cincinnati Bengals -3 44.5
The Miami Dolphins are not a horrible team. Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill shows some promise. The Dolphins are ranked number one in run defense but 30th in pass defense. Look for the duo of QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green to consistently click all afternoon. Interestingly enough, this game opened at -6.5 and has dropped down to -3. Bengals, give the points and the under.
Seattle Seahawks @Carolina Panthers -2.5 42.5
The Seahawks are fielding a tough defense in the league this year. However, this is the second straight road game for Seattle and with the Patriots and 49ers looming in the next two weeks, it might be easy for the Seahawks to overlook Carolina. These teams have only played each other five times in franchise history and the home team has won every game. I’ll take Carolina, give the points and the under.
Chicago Bears @ Jacksonville Jaguars+5.5 40.5
This game opened at +3 and increased to the current +5.5. This game to me has all the makings of a trap game. It’s another road game, coming off a short week for the Bears. The Bears allow 13 points per game and the Jaguars are only scoring 15 points per game. I don’t know why, but somehow I believe the Jaguars will cover the spread. Take Chicago SU but I’ll take Jacksonville ATS and the under.
Tennessee Titans @Minnesota Vikings -5.5 44
The Minnesota Vikings have been one of the surprises in this young NFL season. But giving 5.5 points? RB Chris Johnson finally cracked the century mark last week, and did so against a stout Houston Texans defensive unit. I think the Titans find a way to keep it close in this contest. I”ll take Minnesota SU, but Tennessee ATS and the over.
Denver Broncos @New England Patriots -6.5 52
This will be a great national late afternoon game this week. Manning vs Brady once again. According to Vegasinsider.com, the betting public is nearly evenly split on the spread. The Patriots are 25th in the league against the pass, but there is an 80% chance of rain for this game. I’m taking the Patriots SU but Denver ATS and the under.
Buffalo Bills @ San Francisco 49ers -9.5
After playing three of their first four games on the road, the Niners return home for three straight. The Niners have the third best rushing attack in the league while the Bills are 28th stopping the run. The Bills have allowed 100 points in their two losses so far this year. It is a huge number to lay, but take the Niners, give the 9.5 and take the under.
San Diego Chargers @ New Orleans Saints -3.5 53
The Saints defense has been horrible this season. The team is allowing 32 points per game and has been gashed for over 186 yards per game on the ground, the league’s worst average. Enter Ryan Mathews and Jackie Battle. The Chargers have been perfect on the road this season and I look for that trend to continue this week. Take the Chargers and the points along with the under.