Hey I finally got a Thursday pick right! Think I covered everything here, but I'll add that watching Tyler Eifert just tower over everyone in the end zone is just as fun in the pros as when he was at Notre Dame.
Raiders +4.5 at Steelers
This should be a fun shootout between two old rivals with exploitable secondaries. The early game on the East coast is a concern, but Oakland has been playing well enough to stay competitive.
|With a weapon like Amari Cooper, I'm glad Derek Carr is slinging it downfield more in his second year.|
Jaguars +7.5 at Jets
New York's defense getting the inconsistent Jacksonville offense at home is a nice spot for them to bounce back from last week's embarrassing performance, but I can't lay this many points with Ryan Fitzpatrick's bad thumb.
Vikings -2 versus Rams
Todd Gurley and Adrian Peterson make for must-see TV, and both defenses are playing good football right now. With the advantage in the passing game, I'm taking the home team, but it's close.
Bills -3 versus Dolphins
Both teams are coming off extra rest, and Buffalo look like they're starting to get healthy on offense. With the way Miami got destroyed at home in the first meeting between these two, albeit under Joe Philbin, I've got to take the Bills at home.
Titans +8 at Saints
|Will DGB finally be unleashed under Mike Mularkey?|
Not only do I think Tennessee will cover, but I'm calling them as my upset of the week straight-up. Teams tend to respond well in the first game after a coaching change, and I can't see New Orleans winning four straight. They got one of the luckiest game-winning field goals you'll see last week in a game that saw their defense gave up 6 touchdown passes, and Marcus Mariota is returning for the Titans to take advantage.
Patriots -14 versus Redskins
The only question in this one is how much New England will win by. Although Washington is coming off a bye, their secondary still has no shot at stopping Tom Brady. Like last week, I'm worried about a backdoor cover, but you can't bank on that with the Pats likely teeing off against Kirk Cousins with a lead at home.
Packers -2.5 at Panthers
Carolina gets their next challenge at home again, and they can match up defensively against Green Bay a bit like Denver did last week. However, I'm counting on that performance being an aberration for Aaron Rodgers and taking the more established team.
Falcons -7 at 49ers
I hate laying this many points against the Niners at home, but they're so banged up on both sides of the ball that the inflated line is understandable. Even if Blaine Gabbert can put his natural talent to use, the absence of a consistent running game behind a bad offensive line has him in an even worse situation than Colin Kaepernick. And of course, they'll have to deal with Julio Jones on the other side with a makeshift secondary.
Giants -2.5 at Buccaneers
I was tempted to just take the points with the home 'dogs since both teams have been playing at about the same level of late, but Tampa can't rely on generating turnovers every game. They gave up a ton of yards in last week's gutty win, so Eli Manning should be able to stay hot and exploit this defense in another shootout.
|I wouldn't be surprised to see OBJ do his dance some more this week.|
Although Pep Hamilton got a raw deal as a scapegoat, I am a big Rob Chudzinksi fan, and Andrew Luck finally started to look like himself during last week's frantic comeback. Facing the best defense in the league is a tall task to start for Chud, but at least Indianapolis' defense matches up decently enough with Denver, particularly Vontae Davis on Demaryius Thomas. In last week's big win, Peyton Manning's arm looked fresh coming off the bye, and it would be a cool moment if he gets the 284 yards he needs for the all time passing record in the house he built. However, I'm just not sure he does it in a big win.
Eagles -3 at Cowboys
This line had a huge jump after Dallas was initially favored by 3, and I'm inclined to follow the public with the team coming off the bye. I have a feeling Philadelphia's offense will look a bit more in sync with the extra reps for Sam Bradford, and the defense should be able to avoid giving up big plays to Matt Cassel.
Bears +4.5 at Chargers
|Jay Cutler is quietly ballin' under Adam Gase.|
I don't trust either team in this spot, so I'm taking the points and the slightly healthier team. However, I will say I'm excited to see what Jeremy Langford can do in a feature back role as I liked him coming out of Michigan State this year. On the other side, it's a shame to see Keenan Allen out for the year with a lacerated kidney since he was on pace to challenge Marvin Harrison's ridiculous record of 143 catches in a season.
Last week: 5-7-2
2015 Season Total: 58-56-6