Chiefs +3 at Panthers
Kansas City did what they needed to last week at home against an inferior opponent, and now they get their most important players on offense back as quarterback Alex Smith and running back Spencer Ware have both cleared the concussion protocol. Jeremy Maclin aggravating his groin injury in the first quarter last week is a blow, but they haven't been on reliant on him as much this year thanks to Chris Conley, Albert Wilson, and speedster rookie Tyreek Hill stepping up on the outside. Meanwhile, Carolina let L.A. hang around last week and eventually gave up a late touchdown to only win by 3 and push. Their secondary is still a problem, and I can already see a big day for tight end Travis Kelce against them. Panthers tight end Greg Olsen will likely be covered by star safety Eric Berry, and I think the Chiefs can match up well on defense overall. Give me the points and better team, even on the road.
|Dontari Poe and this defense will need to win the battle inside to get the road W.|
Chargers -4 versus Dolphins
This spread is higher than I'd prefer between these two comparable teams, but I think San Diego could pull away with the way Melvin Gordon is running right now. Jay Ajayi has been no slouch himself, but I think the Chargers pass rush could get to Ryan Tannehill and stop this offense in its tracks. Philip Rivers and the resurgent Antonio Gates should be able to get the better of this Dolphins secondary and take care of business at home.
Steelers -2.5 versus Cowboys
Pittsburgh being favored against a 7-1 team may be a surprise, but Vegas knows how good they are at home. Ben Roethlisberger didn't look right in his return from a torn meniscus, but he has another week to get healthier and will be going against a middle of the pack pass defense. The hapless Browns couldn't take advantage of Cowboys safety Barry Church being out, but I'm sure Antonio Brown will. The Steelers defense having Cameron Heyward back on the defensive line is huge for their chances of stopping Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas offense. Dak Prescott has yet to look like a rookie quarterback, but playing in this hostile environment is a tall order in this long-time rivalry.
|Le'Veon Bell's receiving makes him a threat no matter the run defense.|
Patriots -7.5 versus Seahawks
Giving more than a touchdown against a quality Seattle team is tough, but New England is 12-4 after a bye under Bill Belichick, outscoring teams 441-259, or an average of 11.375 per game. The Seahawks also have to travel across the country on a short week and could be without top runner Christine Michael. Rookie linebacker Elandon Roberts will have to show why he's ready to take the place of traded starter Jamie Collins, and his speed could help in coverage against C.J. Prosise. Conversely, the electric Dion Lewis is set to make his season debut and provide a more dynamic receiving threat out of the backfield than James White for this already explosively offense. The Seahawks defense hasn't been a shutdown unit of late, and Tom Brady proved in Super Bowl XLIX that he can move the ball on them.
Bengals +2 at Giants
Although we're in Week 10, I still don't have the best feel for either of these teams, so I'm taking the points with Cincinnati in what should be a heavily contested game. I like the chances of their talented offense breaking through against New York's defense coming off the bye, especially now that Tyler Eifert is healthy at tight end. The Giants will likely be able to move the ball against their defense, as well, but I think Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins will be able to get enough pressure to force Eli Manning into a mistake.
Last week: 1-3-1
Season total: 28-26-2