For the second straight week, we got off to a hot start and then fizzled at the end. We picked the exact score of the Packers game and we’re just one point off on the Colts versus Falcons. Though it started out well, we ultimately fell back down to earth again. For the week, we finished 15-17. For the season, we are now 37-39 in a season that had wrecked many experts across the board.
“Lock it in” consists of a four-person panel and their best score among the four this season is 37-43 on the year with picks, and those are preferred picks, not all the NFL picks. Moving forward, we will iron it out and hopefully lead you to a winning season. I’ll be sure to identify my “locks” for the week since I’ve only really been identifying them on Podcasts so far this season.
If you want to hear more of my picks in podcast form, check out “The Open Bar Podcast,” available every Thursday and free on iTunes. It’s three guys and we’re all drinking and talking football.
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So let’s get into this week’s picks with lines from the new BetRivers online sportsbook. If you have a few minutes, check out Collin’s in-depth predictions and analysis. Got just a minute? Here is a summary of Collin’s picks for the upcoming week.
|Matchup/Line||Collin's Pick||Take With the Spread||Over/Under|
|Eagles @ Packers -4 O/U: 46||Packers 27 Eagles 20||Packers||Over|
|Panthers @ Texans -4.5 O/U: 47||Texans 23 Panthers 18||Texans||Under|
|Browns @ Ravens -7 O/U: 45.5||Ravens 23 Browns 13||Ravens ***Lock of the Week***||Under|
|Chiefs -6 @ Lions O/U: 54||Chiefs 31 Lions 27||Lions||Over|
|Chargers -16 @ Dolphins O/U: 44||Chargers 27 Dolphins 13||Dolphins||Under|
|Patriots -7 @ Bills O/U: 42.5||Patriots 23 Bills 13||Patriots||Under|
|Raiders @ Colts -7 O/U: 45||Colts 22 Raiders 21||Raiders||Under|
|Titans @ Falcons -4 O/U: 45.5||Falcons 26 Titans 20||Falcons||Over|
|Redskins @ Giants -3 O/U: 49.5||Giants 28 Redskins 27||Redskins||Over|
|Seahawks -5 @ Cardinals O/U: 48||Seahawks 30 Cardinals 23||Seahawks||Over|
|Bucs @ Rams -10 O/U: 49.5||Rams 30 Bucs 17||Rams||Under|
|Jaguars @ Broncos -3 O/U: 38.5||Broncos 17 Jaguars 13||Broncos||Over|
|Vikings @ Bears -2.5 O/U: 38||Vikings 23 Bears 20||Vikings||Over|
|Cowboys -2.5 @ Saints O/U: 47||Cowboys 31 Saints 20||Cowboys||Over|
|Bengals @ Steelers -4 O/U: 43.5||Steelers 24 Bengals 16||Steelers||Under|
September 26th (Thursday night)
Eagles @ Packers -4 O/U: 46
The Eagles are a handful of silly plays and injuries away from being 3-0. The Falcons loss was one game that really was highlighted by an array of untimely injuries and one massive broken play near the end. For the Packers, they’ve comfortably controlled each game they’ve been in this season, cruising to victory with little offensive involvement in the second half of these games. For this one, I can see the Packers attacking the Eagles a lot through the air with early success. The Eagles should be able to find more offensive success than any other team the Packers have faced thus far, but the short week and the road will be too much for the Eagles to overcome. Packers 27 Eagles 20
September 29th (Sunday)
Panthers @ Texans -4.5 O/U: 47
The Panthers had a very impressive game last week against the Cardinals in Kyle Allen’s first start of the season. That being said, it was the Cardinals — any team with a quarterback capable of making it to the game on time stands a good chance to look good against the Cardinals. The Texans have been notorious for playing down to their opponent’s level and I think this game will be no different. Texans 23 Panthers 18
Browns @ Ravens -7 O/U: 45.5 – LOTW
The Browns have looked, well, terrible on the offensive line all season. Unless they make some personnel changes or adjust their schemes with more pre-snap movement or go with a two tight end formation, I can see their struggles continuing this season. It’s certainly possible they change things up and make adjustments for this week against the Ravens, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they let their line and quarterback get ripped to shreds for another few weeks before Freddie Kitchens starts employing new tactical changes or turns over playcalling to the OC. The Ravens were just eviscerated by Pat Mahomes but honestly, who hasn’t been? I’m going with the Ravens at home this week, balancing a productive offense and pushing into Browns territory, again and again. I’m making this one of my locks for the week. Ravens 23 Browns 13
Chiefs -6 @ Lions O/U: 54
Despite all we’ve seen from the Chiefs this season, I think their defense is still not very good. The Lions have been moving the ball pretty well all season and they have the offensive weapons to be able to hang if this one turns into a shootout. I think the Lions defense, except for the first game, has come out and had very strong first halves in every game, so the likelihood of the Chiefs blowing the gates off the Lions defense early don’t seem especially likely. I think the Lions might get out to a lead in this one but ultimately, Pat Mahomes will not be contained and the Chiefs will pull this one out on the road. Chiefs 31 Lions 27
Chargers -16 @ Dolphins O/U: 44
The Chargers really blew the Lions game by virtue of losing their kicker. They blew the last one by taking their foot off the gas and failed to contain Deshaun Watson in the second half. I don’t think they’ll be in trouble this week, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to be attacking the Dolphins at will either. I think the Chargers will get out to a sizeable lead by the third quarter and then Justin Jackson will come in and get a heavy dose of reps as they run out the clock. It may not stop the Dolphins from scoring a garbage-time touchdown to cover though. Chargers 27 Dolphins 13
Patriots -7 @ Bills O/U: 42.5
The Patriots might have taken their foot off the gas a little too early last week, which came as a shock to the betting world, given their past. The Patriots put in Jarrett Stidham in the second half and Stidham tossed a futile pick six to let the Jets cover late. There was also a fumble that sparked life in an otherwise lifeless 30-0 game. We’ve yet to see the Patriots tested this season and although I think the Patriots failed to cover last week, it was more of an indictment on their rookies making critical mistakes. Their defense has yet to allow a touchdown in the last 16 quarters, going back to the Super Bowl. I think the Pats will spread out the Bills defense and pull off a statement win on the road. Patriots 23 Bills 13
Raiders @ Colts -7 O/U: 45
I’ve only been off by two points or so in the past two Colts games, combined. I think there’s a lot of positives for the Colts to take away from this season in what many believed may have been lost when Andrew Luck retired. However, I am on record as being a believer in Frank Reich, the offensive line, the defense, and Jacoby Brissett from the start this season. This will be an excellent opportunity to keep pace in their division this season, so I have faith the Colts, even without TY Hilton, will find a way to pull out another win. I just don’t believe the Raiders are as bad as we all believe they are. This game should stay close throughout, as I believe the Raiders will hone in on the Colts rushing attack and force Brissett to beat them with his secondary receivers. Colts 22 Raiders 21
Titans @ Falcons -4 O/U: 45.5
Has there been a more hot/cold team over the past five seasons than the Titans? Every week, we think we’ve figured something out about them and they go and surprise everyone with either a huge win or a massive letdown. One week, Mariota looks alright, the next, he looks like he shouldn’t be in the NFL. It’s been more bad than good lately and I just don’t know how to grade this team. The Falcons, on the other hand, are still the team we’ve been watching each week who can’t seem to stop the run, can’t run it well on offense, and can’t seem to get in a comfortable rhythm. With this being a home game and the Titans demonstrating extreme ineptitude on offense, I like the Falcons to pull it out. I believe the Titans will be able to establish the run. I just also believe Marcus Mariota won’t be able to make throws when his team depends on him Falcons 26 Titans 20
Redskins @ Giants -3 O/U: 49.5
There’s nothing good about the Redskins right now outside of their emerging rookie star receiver, Terry McLaurin. The rest of the team looks like a disheveled mess and the Skins were absolutely ripped apart early on Monday Night Football earlier this week. The Giants were dead in the water, down 18 with a rookie quarterback making his first start and their superstar running back out of the game with an ankle injury. All seemed lost for the Giants until Daniel Jones rallied the team, down 18 on the road, and snatched victory from the unsuspecting Bucs. It was a truly amazing scene if you’re a Giants fan.
This week, rivalries sure have a way of messing with things. Though I like the momentum of the Giants and fear greatly for the future of the Redskins, the Redskins have had moments of competence this season. Terry McLaurin will be unleashed against a secondary who just allowed Mike Evans to get 190 yards and three touchdowns. They may be up **** creek without a paddle, but the Redskins have big advantage in the passing game this week, so it’s more like they’re up **** creek without a paddle but they have an outboard motor. Whatever, you get the picture. This one should be a shootout. Giants 28 Redskins 27
Seahawks -5 @ Cardinals O/U: 48
The Seahawks fought back a week ago to nearly complete a comeback against the Cardinals. If you’re a Seahawks fan, you’re probably accepting the fact the O-line isn’t good at run blocking. It’s too bad it takes the Seahawks coaching staff so long to just spread out the opposing defense with Wilson each week but hey, maybe they’ll learn that earlier this week when they face the defenseless Cardinals. I don’t think we’ll even make a whole lot of progress talking about the Cardinals offense because it just isn’t consistent and the O-line looks terrible. We can speculate ‘til we’re blue in the face, but the simple fact is, the Cardinals have no identifiable advantage in any aspect of the game, so I can’t imagine they’ll be able to hang in this one. Seahawks 30 Cardinals 23
Bucs @ Rams -10 O/U: 49.5
The Bucs are coming off a historic collapse. It was embarrassing and also amazing to watch. This week, the Bucs will be facing a Rams team who has struggled to establish the run this season and has, at times, looked very shaky on offense. On the other side, the Rams have looked more competent on defense this season since the opener, as Aaron Donald has been an absolute nuisance to opposing offensive lines all season long. I don’t expect it to be much of a game, but I wouldn’t rule this out from being entertaining. None of us can really be certain if we’ll see Jekyll or Hyde from Jameis Winston in this one. I’d stay away from this game if I were you. Rams 30 Bucs 17
Jaguars @ Broncos -3 O/U: 38.5
Jacksonville was aided in last week’s victory by a few factors, but let’s give them credit for actually attacking on offense, instead of coddling their young quarterback like the Titans did. Oh wait, Marcus Mariota is in year four, isn’t he? The Jaguars deserved every bit of credit for shutting down the Titans and their performance from sixth round 2019 pick, Gardner Minshew, leads me to believe they will be a little more aggressive on offense moving forward. I think the Jaguars can keep this a very tight game, since they shouldn’t have to worry too much about ol Joe Flacco on the other side.
I expect the Jags to struggle a little more on offense in this game than a week prior, but I think they can keep it pretty close until the end. The Broncos are not a team we should be sleeping on. Write off their first loss against the Raiders — the first coaching start for Vic Fangio — and the Broncos hung tough with the Bears and the Packers. Despite the momentum of the Jags, it’s going to be a much more challenging environment for Minshew to be able to pull off a victory this week. Broncos 17 Jaguars 13
Vikings @ Bears -2.5 O/U: 38
The Vikings are…good, I suppose? Their defense has been great so far, as they’re suffocated both the Falcons and Raiders but struggled with the more dynamic Packers. Through three weeks, the Vikings only have 63 pass attempts, which reflects their desire to be a run-first offense. They’ll likely need to balance their attack a little more when they go on the road to take on the Chicago Bears. I like the Vikings more in this because their offense simply has more weapons. Mitch Trubisky hasn’t done much to impress me or show me he’s improved and making strides in his career (no, him cherry-picking easy scores against the Redskins didn’t do squat). I like the Vikings in a close one, even on the road. Vikings 23 Bears 20
Cowboys -2.5 @ Saints O/U: 47
The Cowboys have been a well-oiled machine on offense for 85% of the season. It really resembles much of what the Rams have been doing over the past few seasons, except their quarterback doesn’t have to be spoon fed information on every play. The Saints benefitted from a few big plays last week on special teams and defense, otherwise, they would’ve likely been in a much more tightly contested game. Alvin Kamara made a lot more happen that he probably should’ve and the Cowboys now have a decent idea of how the Saints will approach offensive play calling going into this game. I think the Cowboys have only shown part of their hand and the Saints are doing everything they can to get by with Drew Brees out, so I’m confident the Cowboys will be able to exploit this weak Saints secondary and slow Kamara enough to put it out of reach. I’m making this my pick of the week. Cowboys 31 Saints 20
September 30th (Monday night)
Bengals @ Steelers -4 O/U: 43.5
The Steelers look a little better on defense since the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade, but lost a lot of offensive potency when Roethlisberger went out for the season with the elbow injury. Last week, the Steelers didn’t attack the defense the way many hoped as Mason Rudolph tried to play the short game in the first half, until the coaches finally took the blinders off and gave him the green light to test deeper waters downfield. Though it was by no means an impressive performance, Rudolph still has a ways to go with his command of the offense and trusting his blocking (rightfully so).
His pocket presence and movement still have a ways to go as well. For the Bengals, all we know so far is their O-line can’t create running lanes. That’s not going to get any better this week as the Steelers sport a fairly strong rush defense. I expect the Steelers defense to come up big here and the Bengals to abandon the run and go full Dalton in the second half. Expect James Conner to shake his early season struggles and lead the Steelers on a ground and pound campaign to victory and the first for the Steelers in 2019. Steelers 24 Bengals 16