2015: 60% Hilton Contest Winner w/ 65%
2020: 49% (57% dogs)
2021: 50% (54% dogs)
Week 2: 7-3 (70%) Units: 22-10.5 +11.5 (68%)
Week 3: 8-2 (80%) Units: 29-8 +21 (78%)
Week 4: 2-8 (20%) Units: 7.5-29 -21.5 (21%)
Week 5: 4-1-1 (80%) Units: 15.5-3 +12.5 (84%)
Week 6: 4-6 (40%) Units: 15-19.5 -4.5 (43%)
Week 7: 4-1 (80%) Units: 16.5-3 +13.5 (85%)
Week 8: 5-2 (71%) Units: 16.5-7.5 +9 (69%)
Week 9: 2-5 (29%) Units: 9.5-19 -9.5 (33%)
Week 10: 4-3 (57%) Units: 10.5-10 -0.5 (51%)
Week 11: 2-3 (40%) Units: 4.5-11 -6.5 (29%)
Week 12: 3-4 (43%) Units: 7-9.5 -2.5 (42%)
Week 13: 3-3 (50%) Units: 10.5-11.5 -1 (48%)
Week 14: 4-5 (44%) Units: 12-10.5 +1.5 (53%)
Week 15: 5-6 (45%) Units: 13-18 -5 (42%)
Week 16: 4-6 (40%) Units: 14.5-24.5 -10 (37%)
Week 17: 2-5 (28%) Units: 6.5-16 -9.5 (29%)
Week 18: 3-6 (33%) Units: 9.5-20 -10.5 (33%)
Wildcard: 1-2 (33%) Units: 5-5 0
Divisional: 2-1 (66%) Units: 7-5 +2
Championship: 1-0 (100%) Units: 5-0
Superbowl: 1-0 (100%) Units: 4-0
Total: 5-3 (63%) Units: 21-10 (68%)
Season: 71-72-1 (50%) Units: 240.5-240.5 0 (50%)
Favorites: 20-29-1 (40%)
Dogs: 51-43 (54%)
Cincinnati +4 LA Rams (4 Stars) ** WIN **
Bengals 24, Rams 26
Two very different methods, but nearly identical results:
<======== Method #1: Gamebook ========>
Rams 26, Bengals 24 (-1.5)
Rams: 34 passes for 254 yards, 23 rushes for 96 yards, 2.3 sacks and 1.9 turnovers
Bengals: 35 passes for 250 yards, 25 rushes for 86 yards, 4.2 sacks and 1.4 turnovers
<======== Method #2: Monte Carlo ========>
Rams 26, Bengals 24 (-1.5)
Rams odds to win: 55%
Bengals odds to cover: 58%
Rams: 36 passes for 331 yards (24 completions, 1 int), 24 rushes for 101 yards, 2.4 sacks, 2.1 pass tds, .67 rushing tds, 1.85 fgs made
Bengals: 34 passes for 345 yards (24 completions, 1 int), 25 rushes for 84 yards, 3.4 sacks, 2.2 pass tds, .65 rushing tds, 1.5 fgs made (kicking game less automatic than Rams)
In a couple one-shot games. Both teams run the ball well – usually. If they run the ball too well, it could lead to a low-scoring game with long drives. The passing games are dangerous, but if either team falls behind catching up will be difficult because the opponent’s running game is good and they should expect to risk being sacked a lot!
San Francisco +3.5 LA Rams (5 Stars) **WIN**
Close game but important edges to the 49ers. More rushing yards, slightly lower sack and turnover risk, similar pass yardage but slightly higher ypp for the 49ers. Basically this comes down to the defenses and while the Rams have an excellent defense, the 49ers are still notably better at keeping people out of the endzone. Both teams are brutal against the run, but the 49ers will find a way to make theirs work because it is a much more polished running machine. I estimate the 49ers chance to win straight-up as high as 60%.
49ers 26, Rams 23
I do not expect a pick on the Chiefs game. I like the Chiefs and the line is reasonable, but I do see a path to an upset for the Bengals. I’ll hang my hat on the 49ers. My total for the game would be under, if you are daring.
Green Bay -5.5 SF (5 Stars) LOSS
We just saw 5-of-6 top Qbs in the NFL absolutely romp in the wildcard round at home. Why on earth would you expect anything different from AARON RODGERS in this game, fresh off a bye? Well, I don’t. Anything less than 30-34 for 5 TDs and 472 yards will be a massive disappointment. Nothing against SF – who certainly calculates as a worthy opponent – but we’ve seen this movie before.
Packers 38, 49ers 16
LA Rams +3 Tampa Brady (5 Stars) **WIN**
Ever since Odell Beckham got fitted for a Rams uniform, this has been an entirely different team. Rather than looking like the Vikings West, they now remind more of the NFC Chiefs. Meanwhile, Brady’s team is falling apart around him. They don’t even have their own crazy wideout, because the dude ran off into the sunset a few weeks ago. The Bucs defense is injured and Brady is making wine out of water for WRs. Even their most reliable RB has been MIA for weeks. I think the Rams will win this game but even if Brady pulls out more of that Brady magic, that “+3” looks like an awfully comfortable safety net in this one! But I think we’re going to see a very frustrated Tom.
Rams 29, Bucs 27
Kansas City -2 Buffalo (2 Stars) **WIN**
Vegas really wants you to jump on the Chiefs for that FG win! Ok, I’ll bite. I do think this will be a barnburner and you have to love the over. There’s no reason both of these teams won’t be scoring at will (see Packers write-up). But I’ve got good numbers on this matchup and they do show KC winning somewhere between 2 and 4 points unanimously, and that’s exactly what I think will happen.
Chiefs 34, Bills 30
It has been an awful 2nd half for me. But fear not – I know NFL playoffs and I will break down as many of these game as I can for you. Be aware, there’s generally one side to take in the NFL playoffs – the road team. The line is almost always weighted towards them. So usually it’s just a degree of how much you want to play the road team, if at all.
137. New England +4 Buffalo (3 Stars) LOSS
Honestly, I hate picking the Patriots. I’d much rather ride Buffalo. But this is a pretty compelling pick for Saturday. While not windy, it will be ice ice baby. I feel that plays into the Pats wheelhouse, the more physical team. My outlook is Buffalo by 1 to New England by almost 5. A few things that stand out – 66% to nearly double more turnover risk with Buffalo, and a surprisingly high chance for a defensive TD. The Patriots commitment to the run could really rack up a lot of ground yardage. Passing yardage for both teams – especially considering the weather – could be very low. I also like this under 43, considering how much running there will be (although effective running for both teams). I see long, clock-chewing drives, both teams can be hard to pass on, the weather is bad and they both will play the red zone tough. I don’t love this game on the money line, a very close Bills win is predicted by most algorithms so this could definitely go down to the wire. You have to love that Bill Bilichick is not going to beat himself. I feel this is a rather strong play.
Patriots 23, Bills 19
Cincinnati vs Raiders
I think the turnover risk definitely favors the Bengals. I see the Bengals definitely winning. Not really feeling the spread though and it is hard to like the Raiders when I don’t see a win. The Bengals feel similar to the Chargers, but they have a much stronger defense. The offensive numbers look really close, but hard to overlook the turnover risk. No Pick at this time.
138. Philadelphia +7.5 Tampa Bay (2 Stars) LOSS
The E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES – beneficiaries of a pretty easy late schedule – show up as one of the best teams in the NFL. Of course, they face Tom Brady, clearly one of the least bankable playoff Qbs one can imagine. Hey – I trust my numbers and they say this is too much of a spread. The main thing to watch here is the Eagles running game vs. the Bucs stout D. My numbers say the Eagles will embarrass Tampa. Also, while not racking up many yard, the Eagles are expected to be very productive passing. All that being said, I still expect a Bucs victory.
Eagles 22, Tampa 27
139. SF +3.5 Dallas (5 Stars) **WIN**
While there is good reason to expect Dallas to win, this is a great statistical matchup for the 49ers. Again, the key thing to watch is the SF running game, which should give them a massive advantage in an otherwise close matchup.
SF 29, Cowboys 27
128. Dallas -7 Philadelphia (5 Stars) **WIN**
129. KC -10 Denver (4.5 Stars) LOSS
130. Cleveland -6 Cincinnati (4 Stars) LOSS
131. Tennessee -10 Houston (3.5 Stars) LOSS
132. LA -4.5 SF (3 Stars) LOSS
133. Atlanta +4.5 New Orleans (3 Stars) LOSS
134. Washington -7 Chicago (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
135. Buffalo -16 NY (2 Stars) **WIN**
136. LA Chargers -3 LV Raiders (2 Stars) LOSS
See you for the playoffs! To be notified of updates, follow me on twitter: @blackcatnfl
121. Miami +3 Tennessee (4 Stars) LOSS
This is the kind of lackluster game Miami really excels at.
Dolphins 21, Titans 19
122. NY +6 Chicago (4 Stars) LOSS
The Bears are so bad, the Giants might be able to hang in this one.
Giants 21, Bears 23
123. Dallas -6.5 Arizona (3 Stars) LOSS
With Hopkins out, the Cowboys can focus on taking Kirk out of the game and limit them in the passing offense. The Cardinals could see decent success on the ground, however.
Cows 28, Cards 19
124. Pittsburgh +3.5 Cleveland (3 Stars) **WIN**
Roethlisberger should close out his career in Pittsburgh with a MNF thriller.
Steelers 17, Browns 20 OT
125. Philadelphia -4.5 Washington (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Eagles could outrush anyone else this weekend against the Football team.
Eagle Fang 24, Cobra Kai 17
126. NY +13.5 Tampa Bay (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
I’m sure I’ll regret this one tomorrow, but I will trust my numbers in that the Jets are at worst a 50/50 prospect to cover this one. Somehow I think the Bucs may just run Jones all day and head home with an easy win that falls short of this spread.
Jets 20, Bucs 30
127. Indianapolis -8.5 Las Vegas (2.5 Stars) LOSS
According to my simulation on John Madden 2021, anyway!
Colts 28, Raiders 17
111. GB -7.5 Cleveland (5 Stars) LOSS
Never mind that the Browns are still decimated with injuries at trivial positions like CB. GB isn’t losing this game at home with a chance to wrap up the playoff race for the top spot. This line is a Christmas gift anyway you look at it!
Green Bay 30, Browns 11
112. Arizona -1 Indianapolis (5 Stars) LOSS
I’m expecting the Cardinals to represent the NFC and handle the Colts in a rebound game. The Cardinals have had a rough spot getting caught by the Rams and wtf the Lions, but they aren’t going away quietly into the night!
Cardinals 23, Colts 21
113. Cincinnati -3 Baltimore (5 Stars) **WIN**
Again, never mind the Ravens injuries and COVID issues, of which they have many. I think this is a bad matchup for them against the high-flying Bengals pass offense.
Bengals 29, Ravens 21
114. Jacksonville EVEN NY Jets (2 Stars) LOSS
Mostly a COVID play. The Jets defense is decimated, and they completely sucked anyways!
Jaguars 21, Jets 20
114(b). Jacksonville +1.5 NY Jets (+1.5 Stars or 3.5 stars total)
115. Seattle -6.5 Chicago (4 Stars) LOSS
The offensively challenged bears will eventually succumb to Russell Wilson.
Seahawks 21, Bears 11
116. Minnesota +3.5 LA Rams (3.5 Stars) LOSS
The two not-ready for primetime Qbs face off in a contest that can really lay claim to which one of these guys is better. While the Rams will likely edge out the Vikings statistically across the board, I do not think it will be enough to escape the curse of the down-to-the-wire Vikings.
Vikings 28, Rams 27
117. LA -10.5 Houston (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Not that Chargers don’t have their own mammoth issues, but it’s hard to see how the Texans can field a team. Isn’t there some college champion squad they can field instead just to be more competitive?
LA Chargers 27, Texans 14
118. Miami -2.5 New Orleans (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
The backup’s backup backup against the Dolphins blitz-happy attack. This one is gonna be very ugly! Even the terrible Tuas should be able to outscore the inert Saints O. It’s a bit surprising this line isn’t -6.5.
Dolphins 21, Saints 15
119. Las Vegas 0 Broncos (3 Stars) **WIN**
This team was barely holding it together WITH steady Teddy. Without him? They are in real danger of being caught by Carr having one of his good days, which can be pretty good.
Raiders 26, Broncos 23
120. Buffalo +1 NE (3 Stars) **WIN**
No hurricane in this one! I think the outcome will be different.
Bills 23, Patriots 21
100. KC -3 LA (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
Chiefs well rested off the bye – ie, the Vegas Raiders. It’s hard to win on the road on Thursday night football, but the stronger defense prevails.
Chiefs 26, Chargers 20
101. NE +2.5 Indianapolis (4 Stars) LOSS
This is a very close game with all projections inside of a FG, but overwhelmingly my numbers favor NE winning, not the Colts. Digging in statistics, while both running games could be overwhelmingly productive, the Patriots project a better passing threat with a higher ypp. And I would not put it past Belicheck to find a way to make this a tougher day for Jonathan Taylor than expected. While I project a strong rating, it is largely based on the relatively closeness of the game and getting nearly a FG – not on who will prevail.
Patriots 26, Colts 24
102. Dallas -11.5 NY Giants (3 Stars) **WIN**
Simply have lost confidence in Giants ability to compete.
Dallas 24, Giants 10
103. Tennessee +1.5 Pittsburgh (3 Stars) LOSS
Same applies to the Steelers. Look out for that Foreman!
Titans 26, Steelers 21
104. Buffalo -13 Carolina (3 Stars) **WIN**
This line is also too heavy, but I expect the Bills to rebound and put together a very solid win against a hapless Panthers team. Let’s see the Bills finally shut down the run?
Bills 26, Panthers 10
105. Arizona -13 Detroit (3 Stars) I got the score right but wtf?
Another team poised to rebound. Sure it is a lot of points on the road, but…the Lions.
Arizona 30, Lions 12
106. Cincinnati +3 Denver (3 Stars) **WIN**
Cincy hasn’t won much of anything lately, but they can still chuck the rock and will eventually breakthru that defense. At worst, this should be close and within a FG margin.
Bengals 28, Broncos 27
107. Jacksonville -4.5 Houston (3 Stars) LOSS
Expect the Jags to respond positively to the firing of Urban.
Jaguars 24, Texans 17
108. Chicago +6.5 Minnesota (2 Stars) LOSS
Playing bad dogs on Monday night football isn’t really a great way to make a living, but all of my algorithms agree that 6.5 is a bit on the rich side for the die-hard Vikings. There’s actually very little daylight between these teams statistically, although the turnovers and sacks will be the death of the Bears chances to win this game.
Chicago 24, Minnesota 29
109. LA Raiders +3 Cleveland (1.5 Stars) **WIN**
Not even factoring in the Covid factor, I like the Raiders a lot in this one. Although the team has been in a bad downward spiral since they started shedding receivers like a Tom Brady team. Fortunately, they are playing the one team that also doesn’t know how to throw the ball to receivers.
Viva Vegas 21, Browns 23
110. Seattle +7 LA (3 Stars) LOSS
One good game in an urgent situation – against a Cardinals team that apparently isn’t playing all that great now anyway – did not sell me on these Rams. I think the Seahawks are trending up too.
Seahawks 23, Rams 24
There will be more picks. To be notified of updates, follow me on twitter: @blackcatnfl
91. KC -10 Las Vegas (3 Stars) **WIN**
After picking against the Chiefs about 10 times this season, playing almost NO favorites and certainly no double-digit favorites, am I really playing…Chiefs -10? Yes sir, I am! First, let me say this is the first line that has been somewhat reasonable on the Chiefs. Second, the first meetup was one of the most embarrassing games of the season. The Raiders played like all their coaches had been fired and they had NO CLUE how to slow down the frequently-inept Chiefs. Will they figure this out this time? Will the Raiders offense rediscover their down-the-field magic (even with most of those receivers gone)? I guess anything is possible. But more probably – this will be 4 more quarters of commitment to excrement from da Raiders!
Chiefs 28, Raiders 17
92. Denver -11 Detroit (3 Stars) **WIN**
First, Detroit is fat & happy off of last week’s win. Second, they are sick and injured as all hell. Their offense is worst in the league and they are now on their THIRD Rb with little prayer of mounting a passing attack. If that’s all not bad enough, the Broncos are honoring a beloved former player who is now dead. As dead as the Lions chances will be at halftime!
Broncos 28, Lions 15
93. Tampa Bay -3.5 Buffalo (3 Stars) **WIN**
First, Brady plays amazing at home. Second, the Bills have a lot to prove to show they can slowdown Fournette, one of the hottest backs in the league still standing. Third – with little hope of a running game themselves – Josh Allan will need to play a perfect game to even keep this close.
Bradys 28, Bills 18
94. NY Giants +10 San Diego (3 Stars) LOSS
It’s a big line thanks to the Giants starting who-the-hell knows at Qb. But I’m projecting a decently close game, and this projection does not depend on much production from the Giants passing game. The softness of the Chargers run D plays right into their prayers! And the Chargers have some problems of their own, with Keenan Allan out with COVID and other players missing practice all week. I like the chances of a G-Man cover!
Giants 19, Chargers 23
95. Washington +4.5 Dallas (3 Stars) LOSS
I love the Washington run game against a Pollard-less Cowboys. There will be some big plays in the air against the Skins, but is Terry McClaurin a Cowboy-killer? Maybe! 4.5 points is a pretty fair line but I see some upside on Washington before a very pumped-up home crowd.
Skins 27, Cowboys 23
96. Atlanta +2.5 Carolina (3 Stars) **WIN**
First, Cam Newton is simply wretched with no running game and an inconsistent defense to back it all up. Second, no firing the offensive coordinator isn’t going to fix that. Third, Patterson never seems to have a bad game and is the most bankable part of this match!
Falcons 24, Panthers 23
97. Cleveland -3 Baltimore (1.5 Stars) LOSS
First, Baltimore no longer has a secondary and can outpass the Ravens. Second, Lamar hasn’t had a 20-point fantasy game on the road ALL YEAR. Third, you have the Ravens pro bowl RB attack matching up against Lamar scrambling. Taking the Browns!
Browns 28, Ravens 24
98. Arizona -2.5 LA Rams (1.5 Stars) LOSS
You know how you can bank all your cash on Kirk Cousins coming up small in big spots? Well, the Kirk Cousins award of the 2021 season might be stolen by – Matthew Stafford! Time and time again they’ve had everything on the line in big primetime spots, and fallen short. How many times does Lucy need to pull the football before you start realizing she’s gonna pull the football and you’ll wind up flat on your back!
Cardinals 28, Rams 24
99. Cincinnati +1.5 SF (1.5 Stars) LOSS
First, the 49ers have no secondary to contain the Bengals O, even if it is a bit banged up. Second, if you want to get into a running match, there isn’t much more reliable than Joe Mixon this season. Third, it’s hard to see this as anything short of a pure pick’em match!
Bengals 26, 49ers 24
It’s been some tough sledding lately, but my most in-depth algorithm – Monty – is on fire. It picked 13 of 15 winners last week straight up in a pretty contested schedule (one loss was Detroit and they covered). Monty is a full monty carlo simulator. It’s a data pig so it takes awhile to start generating winners reliably, but when it does – look out! Monty debuted in picks about 3 years ago and is most famous for predicting the Bucs to slaughter the Chiefs in the Superbowl last season. This week…Monty TAKES THE WHEEL! 100% Monty Picks.
85. Denver +9.5 KC (5 Stars) LOSS
It doesn’t matter WHICH algorithm you ask. Another week, another overrated Chiefs line! This time, KC is showing up as a pretty damn good defense – wtf? Their offense looks mediocre though and it’s too much to ask that KC racks up 9.5 points on that Bronco defense. Is the KC defense for real? Monty likes the Broncos the best but all algorithms expect a game < 7. Get ready for the JAVONTE WILLIAMS show!
Broncos 23, Chiefs 24
86. NYG +6 Miami (4.5 Stars) LOSS
Statistically, the Giants stand out pretty well against the Giants, something that belies both their record and production. All my metrics say this is a pretty even game and 6 only gives you one direction to go here. We’ll see how their backup does against the Dolphins high pressure D, but there’s enough of a running game to think it’ll be ok.
Giants 23, Dolphins 21
87. Pittsburgh +4.5 Baltimore (4 Stars) **WIN**
I’m ready to call the Steelers burnt toast. They’ve been blown out really in the last couple games in a row. Can they rebound and hang here at home with the season hanging in the balance? Maybe. Monty predicts…A WIN. Two other top algorithms call the exact same Ravens -1.8, which is remarkable because the algorithms are not remotely similar. The bad: the Steelers D have looked helpless against running Qbs this season. We’ll put that in the “bad” category in this one. Needless to say, to have a chance – we need “no int” Roethlisberger in this one and they need decent productivity from the ground game.
Steelers 24, Ravens 23
88. Detroit +7.5 Minnesota (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
If you don’t expect a close game involving the Vikings, you haven’t paid attention this year. Monty sees a few more negative plays from the Lions, but the stat sheet might not be too bad. Get ready for the JAMAAL WILLIAMS show!
Lions 21, Vikings 23
89. NE +2.5 Buffalo (3 Stars) **WIN**
What really stuck out here is – can the Bills play run defense against the Patriots? If not, it could get pretty ugly. I think Josh Allan will be very productive though.
Patriots 27, Bills 24
90. LV -1 Washington (2 Stars) LOSS
What stood out here was the Raiders – one of the best in the league at completing deep throws – against the Skins weakness in that area. Even with some personnel issues on offense, I’m expecting a big day from Carr – if they ever get the ball out of Gibson’s hands.
Raiders 24, Skins 21
Very tight games. Many of these I have as pretty much ties +/- 2 points.
79. Minnesota +3 San Francisco (3 stars) LOSS
Vikings 27, 49ers 26
80. Carolina -2 Miami (2.5 stars) LOSS
Panthers 24, Dolphins 21
81. Green Bay +1 LA Rams (2 stars) **WIN**
Green Bay 27, LA Rams 24 (OT)
82. Denver +2.5 LA Chargers (2 stars) **WIN**
Chargers 24, Broncos 23
83. Indianapolis +3 Tampa Bay (2 stars) LOSS
Bradys 28, Colts 26
84. Cleveland +3.5 Baltimore (2 stars) LOSS
Browns 24, Ravens 26
78. Detroit +3 Chicago (3 stars) **WIN**
They will probably win!
74. Dallas +2.5 KC (5 Stars) LOSS
It’s the DEFENSE stupid! Nobody is worried about Mahomes, but that defense! Seriously, the Cowboys may 40-burger the Chiefs. While most teams not as dumb as the Raiders contain the Chiefs explosiveness, the Cowboys won’t be contained by this D. These are two of the most overrated teams every week, but the Chiefs hype has maintained their weekly overinflation. Keep your eye on the turnover machine that is the Chiefs offense vs. the hyper-opportunistic Cowboys D because if the cowpricks get their picks, this one is done.
Cowboys 28, Chiefs 26
75. Detroit +12.5 Cleveland (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
The Browns are going to run all over the Lions in humiliating fashion. My best hope is they run the clock out on their time to post a blowout? Even expecting a total blowout, 12.5 was too much for me. Detroit can get some passing yards in this one and the running game won’t be bad.
Lions 21, Browns 31
76. NY Giants +11 Tampa (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Like above, the numbers don’t stack up very well for the Giants and this could be ugly. Even if the Giants have a 300 passing yard night, Brady will probably have a 400 yard night. Hopefully somewhere in the dark basement of the Giants training facility is a magical book titled, “How to defeat Tom Brady in big games”.
Giants 20, Bradys 29
77. Pittsburgh +5 LA (2 Stars) **WIN**
Pittsburgh won’t have their defense this week, so it is hard for me to imagine them covering in a low-scoring affair. But at least Roethlisberger is playing, and the Steelers are going to try to run the living daylights out of the rock against the Chargers bottom-ranked run defense. Will that be enough? At least the Chargers will need to deal with the Pittsburgh faithful, who are sure to turn out in droves in this LA game.
Steelers 23, Chargers 26
73. Atlanta +6.5 New England (3.5 Stars) LOSS
New England crushed last week while the Falcons flailed. But this is a tough spot for New England, not too much time to overcoach the rookie in this short week on the road. Obviously a high line leaving the bettor to decide on Atlanta or not. I think this will be closer even though the Patriots may play extremely well. There is an unusually high risk of a pick 6 in this game for the Falcons benefit, but I think NE will pull this out with a late FG.
Falcons 24, Patriots 27
66. Las Vegas +2.5 KC (5 Stars) LOSS
KC is the gift that keeps giving…huge lines. Can we have 9 primetime underdogs win in a row? Some of my algorithms suggest a huge Raiders win. Conservatively…
Raiders 27, Chiefs 24
67. Washington +10 Tampa Bay (4 Stars) **WIN**
The man – the moment – the LEGEND! Who could forget TAYLOR HEINICKE dominating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers early this year in the 2020 season playoffs? Sure, Tampa escaped with the W and went on to win the Superbowl, but the legend was born. In that game, Heinicke passed for 300 yards, rushed for 46 more including a diving TD, peppered McLaurin for 75 yards and lost by only 8 points behind the efforts of a vastly superior Washington defense than what we have today. Wait, which side am I picking? Dear lord.
Skins 24, Bucs 30
68. Atlanta +9 Dallas (3 Stars) LOSS
One of my algorithms loves the Falcons – and it was right last weekend. It’s calling an upset again, while other algorithms suggest 8 points. If the Cowboys continue slumping just a little, that’ll be enough to cover.
Falcons 23, Cowboys 29
69. Minnesota +2.5 LA Chargers (2 Stars) **WIN**
WARNING: This pick has been destroyed by COVID and violence charge since posted.
Looks like another super close game, but Dalvin Cook figures to go bonkers in this one. Plus the Vikings have edges in sacks and turnovers to help them squeek this out.
Vikings 23, Chargers 24
70. LA Rams -4 San Francisco (2 Stars) LOSS
The Rams can still play defense, and it isn’t clear that the 49ers can play offense. The 49ers were punked by Arizona last week just by backups, so I view 4 as cheap. If the Chiefs fail on SNF (see above), this will be the first cover on SNF/MNF in 10 games, by my reckoning.
Rams 29, 49ers 23
71. Detroit +8.5 Pittsburgh (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
My projections for Detroit/Pittsburgh are bizarrely similar to Atlanta/Dallas. I do have a projection Detroit wins – by passing and an ineffective Steelers attack – although other outlooks are 8 points.
Lions 21, Steelers 24
72. New England -1 Cleveland (2 Stars) **WIN**
I would pass on this game typically, but with Cleveland’s offense ravaged with COVID, I like the Patriots.
Patriots 23, Cleveland 20
There may be more picks. To be notified of updates, follow me on twitter: @blackcatnfl
59. Minnesota +6 Baltimore (5 Stars) **WIN**
The Ravens do what they need to win the game. They aren’t out there to win by 20.
Vikings 27, Ravens 28
60. Philadelphia +2.5 LA Chargers (4.5 Stars) LOSS
The team that doesn’t want to run plays the team that can’t stop the run. At least the quarterback can scramble for 100 yards? They did run for 200 yards against Detroit.
Eagles 23, Chargers 21
61. Arizona -2.5 San Francisco (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
As long as the Cardinals don’t hand balls to opponents on the 20 2x a game, they will win every week. Cardinals have been a great value every week. This is a gift.
Cardinals 28, 49ers 21
62. Green Bay +1 Kansas City (4.5 Stars) LOSS on posted line of +1 – Win +7.5
It’s hilarious! Every single week. Heck, if the Chiefs ever win a game again, it won’t matter because the following week they’ll have to cover -19. What is Aaron Rodgers going to do to that league-worst pass defense of the Chiefs? Never mind that they have a pretty good pass defense themselves and the Packers are a VERY opportunistic turnover team. KC = Knightmare City! UPDATE: Rodgers isn’t playing – he has covid. F((&!!!! Impact: not good. I’ll take the “L” at +1 because that’s what I posted, but still “love” it at +7.5.
Packers 29, Chiefs 24
63. Houston +6.5 Miami (4 Stars) LOSS
Maybe the Dolphins will do a Philadelphia against the weak Texans and crush them, but the numbers the Dolphins are at best 4 points better and that’s largely based on the Texans getting crushed every week by ridiculously better teams. They should fare better here.
Texans 23, Dolphins 25
64. New Orleans -6 Atlanta (3 Stars) LOSS
Atlanta has been doing better, but against weak competition. New Orleans brings a bigtime defense and a bigtime running game. Yes, they have a Qb situation so we’ll lock this in as a 3 star play, but they are the far better team here.
Saints 28, Falcons 19
65. LA Rams -7.5 Tennessee (3 Stars) LOSS
This would be a good line – maybe – if HENRY WAS PLAYING! He’s not. The Titans are a terrible team that Hulk Henry has put on his back time and time again and bailed out. What are they without him? Add in the boost the team must feel seeing management go “All In” with the Broncos trade this week. Finally, we’ve had – 6? – underdogs cover on Sunday and Monday night in a row. The favorite is due bigly. I’m moving this line 3 stars and it probably should be 5.
Rams 30, Titans 20
There may be more picks. To be notified of updates, follow me on twitter: @blackcatnfl
52. Carolina +3 Atlanta (4 Stars) **WIN**
Atlanta has a terrible defense, which offsets the potential ineffectiveness of the Panthers offense. And the Atlanta offense really isn’t much better, they are getting points on some pretty easy teams themselves. The net is a pretty even game. The Panthers can play defense – particularly against more offensively challenged opponents – and I think they will rebound off of last week’s (months?) embarrassment.
Panthers 24, Falcons 23
53. Arizona -6.5 Green Bay (4 Stars) LOSS
I don’t have great luck evaluating injury impacts, but I looked this one up and – this Davante Adams guy? He’s pretty impactful. I’m going to gamble he ends up not playing (it is Wednesday that I’m posting this). The line would be pretty fair if he did play, with him out I can’t say all of his 700 yards will turn into 0 yards of offense – but it’s going to be pretty impactful. The Packers would have a pretty tough time passing on the Cardinals even if he does play. And they figure to be gashed on the ground. If he plays and the line drops, I’ll just add cash.
Cardinals 30, Packers 20
54. Chicago +3.5 San Francisco (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Hard to imagine a worse matchup than the Bears against that TB run defense last weekend. SF run defense will be far more bendable. Garoppolo could do little on Seattle’s pass defense and it doesn’t figure to get much better against the Bears. Expect this one to go to the wire.
Bears 21, 49ers 20
55. N.Y. Giants +10 KC (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
Have I mentioned that the Chiefs are overrated? Same song every week – THIS is the week they will rebound and just crush and announce they are ready to dominate the world! Well, I don’t think anyone will be too impressed if they overcome the Giants 50-0. And not surprised. But the defense still sucks, the Giants should be fine on offense. The Eagles were in a similar situation and lost by 12, played well enough to -8 if I recall correctly. The numbers point to an even closer outcome. But the Chiefs will win without doubt, this is just a question of by how much. In fact, if the Chiefs are impatient to show off Mahomes and don’t take advantage of the running game they can have against the Giants, it will help cover this spread.
Giants 23, Chiefs 30
56. New England +6 LA Chargers (3 Stars) **WIN**
New England has been hot, but this is a big step-up in competition. Still, they should be able to run the ball very well against the Chargers porous run D and it sets up as another effective day for the rookie. Chargers really don’t calculate as a dominating team, not anywhere you expect considering the great Qb play they’ve been getting. 6 points is looking to be a lot.
Patriots 20, Chargers 23
57. Denver -3 Washington (2 Stars) **WIN**
Washington actually played a lot better last week than the final score appears due to poor red zone play. But they are a terrible team with a terrible defense and a near bottom offense. Denver at least can play D. Same call as last week – the Denver defense can dominate a weaker offensive opponent.
Broncos 26, Skins 21
58. Dallas +2.5 Minnesota (4 Stars) **WIN**
I don’t believe Dak isn’t going to play, so I’m jumping on the line move. But even if he doesn’t, it won’t be the first time a team has overcome a major loss to win anyway.
Cowboys 30, Vikings 28
There could be more picks with line moves. To be notified of updates, follow me on twitter @blackcatnfl.
47. Tennessee +4.5 Kansas City (5 Stars) **WIN**
Not to sound like a broken record, but the Chiefs lines are always too high. This is no exception. If the Bills can’t stop Henry, what will happen against the lowly Chiefs? While my life experience says Henry will probably get 17 yards somehow, he figures to get a buck fifty easy against the Chiefs.
Titans 28, Chiefs 27
48. Cincinnati +6.5 Baltimore (5 Stars) **WIN**
Baltimore may have won by blowout last week, but I think most weeks you can expect their games to be down-to-the-wire.
Bengals 24, Baltimore 26
49. Indianapolis +4 San Francisco (4 Stars) **WIN**
With Jonathon Taylor in the zone of being a 2021 RB star, I don’t see much reason to give SF 4 points here.
Colts 24, 49ers 23
50. Denver +2 Cleveland (3 Stars) LOSS
Me last week: I will not chase injuries! Browns: hold my beer. I liked Denver as a dog before the Cleveland Browns offense fell apart. Denver has dominated bad offenses early in the season and I think we can play that band again. Nothing against Case Keenum, but he also has 0 all-pro running backs this week and probably not OBJ or a line. Have to like the under 41 here too.
Broncos 21, Browns 12
51. Seattle +4.5 New Orleans (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
There’s a lot I don’t know about this game. But what I do know is the Saints are going to outrush Seattle by a margin of 50 yards! Unfortunately, that’s not worth 4.5 points so I’m taking the Seahawks!
Seahawks 23, New Orleans 25
37. Philadelphia +7 Tampa Bay (5 Stars) **WIN**
7 points is a big ask on the road. For reference, last week only the Bills earned +7 based on their play (others were close, earned != got) and typically these thumpings have an emotional component this game lacks. In fact, I rated the Tampa game vs. New England as a +12 effort but the Bucs didn’t even cover that one! The stats of this game are incredibly close and suggest this game will come down to the wire. On my monte carlo simulation, the Eagles actually led all Qbs in passing yards against the Tampa Bay sieve of a pass defense. The Eagles have also led most of the league in fewest big plays down the field allowed, something the Bucs surely will test. They do have a massive defensive tackle playing at an all-pro level in Javon Hargrave too.
Eagles 24, Tampa 27
38. Arizona +3.5 Cleveland (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
I have this game being brutally close and likely coming down to the wire, so 3.5 points is a gift. The Browns success is very dependent on running the ball effectively, and I don’t see how losing Chubb and having Hunt be a bit banged up is helpful. In fact, Cleveland seems pretty banged up in general. For these reasons, I think this coin toss falls in favor of the Cardinals.
Cardinals 27, Browns 26
39. Buffalo -5.5 Tennessee (4 Stars) LOSS
While Buffalo is could suffer a letdown after last week’s huge victory, the defense figures to wreck havoc on the Titans and is one of the best in the league at containing the run. Tennessee won’t be able to stop the Bills and this one could get very ugly!
Bills 31, Titans 17
40. Washington +7 Kansas City (4 Stars) LOSS
The Chief lines are ridiculous. Seriously, at what point do you just accept that the Chiefs are mediocre because of their horrendous defense? Washington has already scored 30+ 2x this season and there’s no reason to think they won’t do it again. So if the Chiefs are going to cover this spread, they are going to need to 40 burger this one without CEH and with a possibly ailing Tyreek Hill. Truth be told, the Skins have had serious defensive issues too but are still more competent at pass defense than the Chiefs. Washington’s YPP has been similar to Kansas City. It won’t be a shock if they even win this game.
Skins 30, Chiefs 33
41. Pittsburgh -5 Seattle (3 Stars) LOSS
If you are waiting for a team to flip the switch, don’t look at the Chiefs – look at the Steelers! Russell Wilson will have an MVP game Sunday night without even taking the field. Now down both Wilson and Carson, the Seahawks look ready to be served up for a homecoming feast in Pittsburgh on Sunday night! The MIA Steeler defense is healthier and likely to show up in a big way. But what I’ve focused on here is not predicting how ineffective Seattle may or may not be, but that against the laughably weak Seattle defense I expect the Steelers to at least be decent on offense. With good field position most of the game from a dominating defense, they should have a 28 point outing against a Seahawk team that’ll score between 0 and 20.
Steelers 28, Seahawks 20
42. Houston +10 Indianapolis (3 Stars) LOSS
Houston hasn’t been terrible. Aside from the offense being overwhelmed by Buffalo and New Orleans, they’ve been reasonably productive on offense. The Colts are not a great defense and the Texans should score in the 20s. The Colts season high scoring is 28, despite having played some soft defenses. As a -10 favorite, Indy has 1 win (by exactly 10 points, and against the worst team in the NFL).
Texans 24, Colts 29
43. Chicago +6 Green Bay (3 Stars) LOSS
Khalil Herbert will have to be effective. Chicago is the best at bringing pressure, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can rattle Rodgers a little and force this into another late Packers FG win. Green Bay has not played well on the road yet this year, and Chicago is still undefeated at home.
Bears 20, Packers 23
44. Dallas -3.5 New England (3 Stars) **WIN**
Dallas will run all over the Patriots, who will be stepping up in class here against the Cowboys and likely look less effective. Dallas is great at forcing turnovers and the Patriots rookie is likely going to be victimized.
Cowboys 27, Patriots 21
45. LA Chargers +2.5 Baltimore (2.5 Stars) LOSS
Not a good time to be missing your safeties, with the Chargers coming to town – who are 2nd only to the Rams in passing efficiency. But much like the Arizona/Cleveland game, the ground advantage favors the Ravens in what should be a tight game. This game will not be unlike last week’s game vs. the Browns, which the Chargers won by 5. I feel the upside of this line favors the Chargers. Aside from the Broncos drubbing, Baltimore has won by margins of 2, 1 and gone to OT 2x (one win, one loss) – and this is their biggest test yet!
Chargers 27, Ravens 26
46. Jacksonville +3 Miami (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
The two worst teams go at it on a neutral field. The Dolphins have injury concerns on both available Qbs. Jacksonville has the more potent running game, which is the most bankable part of this matchup. There could be a ton of passing yards though. A fairly even matchup which – if anything – tilts slightly towards the Jags.
Jags 24, Dolphins 23
The favorites woofed last week and the cat rolled over….but the dogs will have their day again! The nice thing is to see the dogs get a bit juicier the next week. What am I biting?
31. Pittsburgh -1 Denver (5 Stars) **WIN**
I’m not sure anyone will score in this game. But it is time for Pittsburgh’s defense to rise. The Steelers may not be looking great on offense, but they aren’t Jacksonville and the Jets. At home, -1 is arguably a “dog” line.
Steelers 23, Denver 17
32. Green Bay -3 Cincinnati (4.5 Stars) PUSH
Cincinnati has looked good but I think Green Bay is a whole ‘nother level for their defense to tackle. I think Green Bay needs to separate themselves in a game like this to be taken seriously.
Packers 31, Bengals 23
33. Indy +7 Baltimore (4 Stars) **WIN**
Sure the Ravens will win, but this is a team that likes to take things to the wire.
Colts 19, Ravens 24
34. Phily +3.5 Carolina (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
The status of McCaffrey is unsure at this time, but I don’t think he returns healthy.
Eagles 23, Panthers 20
35. SF +5.5 Arizona (3 Stars) LOSS
After riding the Cardinals 3-0 over the last 3 weeks, I turn my back on the only team that has loved me in this close divisional match that could come down to the wire.
49ers 21, Cardinals 24
36. Detroit +9 Minnesota (3 Stars) **WIN**
Never really fond of the Vikings as a favorite, especially laying 9 points. The statistical matchup looks more favorable than you’d expect! Maybe even an…upset?
Lions 24, Vikings 20
22. Arizona +4.5 LA Rams (5 Stars) **WIN**
Two explosive offenses meet, but the defense of the Cardinals looks a little better to me and the Rams face a potential letdown after pounding the Bucs. I’d be more concerned about the Rams running game if Henderson were healthy, as the Cards struggle vs. the run.
Cardinals 31, Rams 30
23. Denver +1 Baltimore (4 Stars) LOSS
Denver obviously has been lapping it up on some terrible teams, making this a bit difficult to handicap. But I’m not terribly impressed with the super banged-up Ravens, who have now had 3 toss-up games. They also have an ailing secondary against a Broncos passing game that has been explosive, while the Broncos have looked like a top 5 passing defense in their easy schedule. I’m exhausted just watching the Ravens and don’t expect their A game as they head home for MNF next week.
Broncos 24, Ravens 21
24. New Orleans -7 NY Giants (4 Stars) LOSS
I don’t see the Giants running the ball at all on the Saints, forcing them to air it out with no wide receivers on the field. Meanwhile, the Saints can pound it all day long here. I don’t see this as a very good game for the Giants at all.
Saints 24, Giants 13
25. Houston +17 Buffalo (4 Stars) LOSS
Any time you play a team like Houston, you need to be prepared they may not show. But the Texans really have not been that bad, and the Bills must already be thinking about the Chiefs on SNF next weekend. When you consider the Steelers game and some laughable opposition the Bills have faced, I wouldn’t crown them quite yet either.
Texans 16, Bills 29
26. Carolina +4 Dallas (4 Stars) LOSS
I mean, Dallas beat the mighty Eagles – how can anyone doubt they won’t sweep the rest of their schedule? Gotta love the public money here and there’s a lot of reason to jump off the Panthers, now without McCaffrey and having had a pretty easy schedule themselves. But I still believe this defense is going to be a very tough test for the Panthers and the Cowboys D is still pretty awful. Outcome likely to be a bit of a tossup, I’ll lean…
Panthers 24, Cowboys 23
27. Detroit +3 Chicago (4 Stars) LOSS
Justin Fields is STARTING!!!!!
Detroit 24, Chicago 2
28. Pittsburgh +6 GB (3.5 Stars) LOSS
The last couple weeks, the Steelers have been very banged up. The pass rush disappeared and the secondary has been torched. They enter this game decidedly healthier and could recapture some of the look they had in the opener. MVS is out, so the Packers won’t get their free burner TD from him. Claypool hasn’t been very effective this season. The Packers defense looks like it can be had. Still, the Aaron Rodgers factor may prove too much to win the game.
Steelers 19, Packers 21
29. Seattle +2.5 SF (3 Stars) **WIN**
Russell Wilson is the best deep thrower in the NFL. As long as he’s on the field, the Seahawks have the better offense and always have a chance to pull out a win.
Seahawks 27, 49ers 26
30. Miami -2.5 Indianapolis (2 Stars) LOSS
The Colts are too banged up for this game, looks like another L for them!
Dolphins 21, Colts 17
21. Cincinnati -7.5 Jacksonville (3.5 Stars) LOSS
Working on a short week in a road game won’t help the Jacksonville rookie Qb get his first win. I actually was a bit surprised when I realized the Bengals were at home laying 7.5 points, not on the road. There’s little evidence to believe Jacksonville will do much better than their 10 point home loss vs. Denver here. The Bengals bring a pretty competent offense that may not get many more yards, but will has a major YPP advantage and – of course – turnovers figure to make up the rest of the spread margin. Rushing game – with the return of their lineman – also favors the Bengals ability to milk the clock and protect the lead at the end. The computer analysis algorithms I ran on this game were very consistent on the expected outcome…
Bengals 27, Jaguars 16
Some early shots at the early lines…get these now because I see them moving against me.
11. Arizona -7 Jacksonville ( 5 Stars ) **WIN**
2 games in, the Cardinals are firing on all cylinders with QB Kyler Murray leading the league and a defense with some teeth. I’m sold, they are for real and they got a squeeker out of their system last week. Jacksonville is a low end 3rd tier team facing a top tier team that can swarm the rookie with their defense and bury him in an offensive shootout. 7.5 looks like a bargain! Based on what we’ve seen through 2 weeks, this may be the biggest mismatch possible.
Cardinals 34, Jaguars 14
12. New Orleans +3 New England (4.5 Stars) **WIN**
I continue to pick on the rookie class as they enter with lots of tape in game 3, and have confidence the Saints D – who decimated Aaron Rodgers – will pick the rookie apart. Add in a vastly superior running game and calling this game “even” with a 3 point line is a laughable insult. So far, the Patriots have managed a 1 point loss against a mediocre Miami team and they beat another rookie on a bad team. Good luck here!! If you want one more tidbit to consider, the Patriots play Tampa Bay in week 4. They might not even bother with prepping for this game. Saints defense still ranks very well despite the drubbing last week.
Saints 24, Patriots 19
13. Las Vegas -4 Miami (4.5 Stars) LOSS
Vegas faces a potential letdown after their massive two week openers and a primetime game next week. And the Dolphins certainly could use a rebound after the Bills drubbing. But it isn’t clear they’ll have Tua or that they can keep either Tua or Jacoby healthy against a defense that has been putting heat on opposing Qbs. Giving Vegas only a point over HF – in their new stadium! – against the struggling Dolphins smacks of disrespect. Part of a good bounceback formula is that the favorite needs to be significantly overrated. The Raiders are not. Miami has all the trends against Raiders, which is holding down the spread because bettors like trends. If you like stats and playders – you’ll bet the Raiders!
Raiders 27, Dolphin 16
14. Carolina -8 Houston (4 Stars) **WIN**
We knew Houston was going to be bad. Their big win week 1 was obviously a red herring. Now the Texans are already trotting out some random rookie and facing a 2-0 Panthers team that completely drubbed the Saints and have the most dominant running back in the NFL. On a short week. Not to mention Carolina’s D is ranking at the top, at least for now.
Panthers 28, Texans 16
15. Cincinnati +3.5 Pittsburgh (4 Stars) **WIN**
This is a tricky one. Statistically, the Bengals are outplaying the Steelers. However, the Steelers have had a dramatically harder schedule and last week’s performance was substantially marred by in-game injuries, particularly on the defense. It’s also not really clear just HOW good the hot Raiders and meandering Bills really are. Playing those two teams tough would generally mean the Steelers are a major notch above the Bengals, as you might expect, and this would be an easy cover. Two problems: 1) The Steelers are still substantially injured going into this week. 2) The Bengals offense is still underperforming overall and is set for a rebound against a banged up defense. Ultimately, I’m going with the statistical matchup which says….
Bengals 24, Steelers 23
16. Philadelphia +3.5 Dallas (3.5 Stars) LOSS
The Eagles usually don’t matchup well with the Cowboys but THIS time they are debuting Jalen Hurts on MNF! The high value fantasy star could prove the complement they need to a productive running game to make this close. Anyone can score on the Cowboys and Jalen may be able to pace Dak until the Eagles D can come through.
Eagles 21, Cowboys 19
17. Green Bay +3 SF (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
The best indicator of how you’ll do in week 3 is how you played in week 2, not how you played in week 1. Yardage in this game could be extremely close. I actually think the Packers have a better defense than the 49ers.
Packers 26, 49ers 24
18. LA Chargers +7 KC (3 Stars) **WIN**
I heard the Chiefs are 1-11 vs the spread in their past 12 games. That sounds impossible! For any game, the Chiefs are capable of blowing out the opposition and that makes 7 appear dangerous for a dog. Add in that the Chiefs are not going to drop this game to the Chargers. But the math says this is a value as the Chiefs are overrated every game. The Chargers are off to a slow start, but they should carve up the Chiefs D like a Thanksgiving turkey.
Chargers 20, Chiefs 23
19. Atlanta +3 NYG (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
Neither team has a defense, so this one should have some good fireworks. The ground games in particular should be exciting.
Falcons 28, Giants 27
20. Detroit +7.5 Baltimore (2.5 Stars) **WIN**
Detroit’s offense really is serviceable and the Ravens enter this game totally banged up.
Lions 28, Ravens 34
Since 2015, my picks have had a familiar pattern: my dogs still do extremely well but I’ve simultaneously managed to do AWFUL on favorites. How is that even possible? Well no more! There is going to be a significant reduction in favorites posted this season…
1. Miami +3.5 Buffalo (5 Stars) LOSS
Everyone is looking for Buffalo to bounce back, but maybe the Bills just aren’t going to pickup where they left off. Miami looked pretty good against the Patriots last week and I don’t think they will give their divisional foe a bye week. They step up in class here so this pick could get ugly so I’m holding my breath!
Dolphins 20, Bills 17
2. Philadelphia +3 San Francisco (4 Stars) LOSS
Both of these teams played well last week. But I liked what I saw in Philadelphia more in a nice small upset rather than a thumping of a bad team. Garapollo is just waiting to have a bad game and be yanked whereas the Eagles are committed.
Eagles 27, 49ers 22
3. Las Vegas +6.5 Pittsburgh (4 Stars) **WIN**
Another game pitting two big winners against one another. I just can’t get to 6.5 points though. Both teams could come out flat for this one after big week 1 games.
Vegas 28, Steelers 25 (OT)
4. Carolina +3.5 New Orleans (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
Considering the blowout that New Orleans is emerging from, I was impressed my simulator felt Carolina would probably win this game. Battle of two massive RBs, even though the Qbs will likely decide this one.
Panthers 24, Saints 20
5. Dallas +3 LA Chargers (3.5 Stars) **WIN**
If and when this goes down the stretch in what will probably be a shootout, I have a lot more faith in Dak in this type of game. I’m not sure I’d call this a bounceback since Dallas didn’t look bad and had a pretty hopeless opening draw, but they do need this win more. Chargers were lucky to be playing Washington.
Cowboys 30, Chargers 24
And the week 2 bouncebacks…
6. Tennessee +6.5 Seattle (3 Stars) **WIN**
After apparently missing the bus last week, I’m looking for the Titans to bounce back. You have to wonder if Seattle will have a field day on that Titans secondary though! The Titans still bring a dynamic offense that should wake up this weekend and push the Seahawks a bit, who don’t exactly have a stellar defense either.
Titans 21, Seahawks 24
7. Minnesota +3.5 Arizona (3 Stars) **WIN**
Arizona looked unstoppable last week and their running game will roll. But I don’t expect the Vikings to roll over and play dead – again. The Vikings still have weapons galore and can hang with anyone. Cousins can pick you apart on a good day.
Vikings 19, Cardinals 20
8. Indianapolis +3.5 LA Rams (3 Stars) **WIN**
The Rams had an exciting opener and thumped a bad Bears team. Now we’ll see what they really look like against a defense that covers people. The Rams are in a sandwich between two huge primetime games, facing the Bucs next week.
Colts 22, Rams 23
9. Chicago -1.5 Cincinnati (2 Stars) **WIN**
Speaking of a bad bears team, based solely on last week this looks like they are going to lose by 15 points. But I’m going to trust the oddsmaker that the Bengals are not as good as they seem, and maybe the Bears aren’t quite this awful after being put in a bad opener spot.
Bears 20, Bengals 17
10. Jacksonville +6 Denver (1.5 Stars) LOSS
I don’t think you can bounce back from any lower than getting thumped by Houston. At least their air game could be exciting and cover if they don’t give up a pick 6. Some of those INTs last weekend were bloody awful. Hard to give Denver 6 points though!