Last week was the worst week of the season. We were thoroughly destroyed and there’s no getting around it. Lucky for me, most of the other “experts” and handicappers I know were taken to the woodshed this week too. It was a very odd week in the NFL as 11 of the 15 road teams won. The only home teams to win were the Giants, Bears, Saints, and Steelers.
I will be upping my game this week and adding more data into consideration for the picks this week. It’s time we right the ship and push towards breaking the .500 mark. For the season now, we are 48-60.
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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|
|Rams @ Seahawks -1.5 O/U: 49.5||Rams 31 Seahawks 27||Seahwaks||Over|
|Cardinals @ Bengals -3 O/U: 47||Bengals 27 Cardinals 23||Bengals||Over|
|Falcons @ Texans -5 O/U: 49||Texans 27 Falcons 20||Texans||Under|
|Ravens -3.5 @ Steelers O/U: 44||Ravens 29 Steelers 20||Ravens||Over|
|Bears -4.5 @ Raiders O/U: 40||Bears 23 Raiders 16||Bears||Under|
|Jaguars @ Panthers -3.5 O/U: 41||Jaguars 20 Panthers 16||Jaguars||Under|
|Vikings -5.5 @ Giants O/U: 44.5||Vikings 27 Giants 17||Vikings||Under|
|Patriots -15 @ Redskins O/U: 42.5||Patriots 31 Redskins 10||Redskins||Under|
|Jets @ Eagles -13.5 O/U: 44.5||Eagles 24 Jets 10||Eagles||Under|
|Bucs @ Saints -3.5 O/U: 47||Bucs 27 Saints 24 (OT)||Saints||Over|
|Broncos @ Chargers -6.5 O/U: 44.5||Chargers 26 Broncos 17||Chargers||Under|
|Packers @ Cowboys -3.5 O/U: 46||Cowboys 27 Packers 24||Packers||Over|
|Colts @ Chiefs -10.5 O/U: 56.5||Chiefs 38 Colts 20||Chiefs||Over|
|Browns @ 49ers -3.5 O/U: 46.5||49ers 24 Browns 20||49ers||Under|
October 3rd (Thursday night)
Rams @ Seahawks -1.5 O/U: 49.5
It’s been a rough past few seasons for the Seahawks in this rivalry. The Rams had one of the most unexpected games of the young NFL season last week. In one of many shocking outcomes from last week, the Bucs put up 55 points in LA and stunned the Rams. The Seahawks faced little resistance on the road and discarded the Cardinals in Arizona. This Thursday, I think the biggest issue for the Seahawks will be getting into a positive game script against a high-pressure offensive opponent.
The Rams are going to run their offensive schemes similarly against everyone, but the Seahawks have to understand their run-heavy attack hasn’t been their strength this season and they’ll want to attack through the air early in this one if they want to keep pace with the Rams high-powered offense. Rams 31 Seahawks 27
October 6th (Sunday)
Cardinals @ Bengals -3 O/U: 47
Neither of these teams has looked good this season. The Bengals can’t run block or defend well, at all. There are times their run defense looks okay and then there are times you wonder how they can look good for stretches and then fall apart completely. With yet another receiver going on IR (John Ross) the Bengals will be even more shorthanded on offense. The Cardinals are coming off their least spirited effort of the season thus far, losing in a blowout at home to the Seahawks.
What are we seriously expecting from a team with a coach who was barely .500 in college, with a rookie quarterback, a terrible offensive line, and a bottom level defense? When you put these two teams next to each other, they both seem equally terrible, but I’m going to lean on the home team this week, because this road dominance streak can’t keep on forever. Bengals 27 Cardinals 23
Falcons @ Texans -5 O/U: 49
I’m sure glad the NFL is piling up teams with bad records for all these noon games. The Falcons are the only team I’ve yet to correctly pick this season (win or lose). Like the Browns, this team has weapons but fails to use them when we actually expect them to. Last week, the Falcons were dominated at home by the Titans. This week, they’ll travel to face another team that was beaten in their own home as well, the Houston Texans.
This is a tricky game I don’t really know what to make of yet. It’s difficult to get a read on these teams with fluctuating offensive identities and these two vary each drive, it seems. When in doubt, I’m going to go with the home team. I think the Texans defense has been better than we realize and their offense is always capable of coming to life at any moment. I think the Texans will get DeAndre Hopkins heavily involved and use him to carry this team to victory and reclaim the lead in the division. Texans 27 Falcons 20
Ravens -3.5 @ Steelers O/U: 44
The AFC North used to give us these rivalries each year that were amazing to follow. The games seemed full of spirit and passion, personal fouls, targeting penalties, and all this other fun stuff you’d typically see at a Raiders-Eagles tailgating fight. Well, the time has finally come. Big Ben is gone with his elbow surgery, just a year or so removed from his Lisfranc injury. AB is dealing with an Anne Frank injury and hasn’t been seen now for some time. The “Killer Bees” have been completely dismantled and all we have now is a knock off version of what was recently a very prolific offense.
For the Ravens, it’s the dawn of the Lamar Jackson era. It’s the tale of two-storied franchises possibly going in different directions. For now, the question will be, can the Steelers contain the Ravens offense. The Browns wreaked havoc last week in the backfield enough to disrupt the Ravens through the air. If the Steelers can do the same, while also pushing the ball downfield with Mason Rudolph, they might be able to make it a game. I’m not yet sold on Rudolph, so I’ll be going with the Ravens on the road. Ravens 29 Steelers 20
Bears -4.5 @ Raiders O/U: 40
The Bears looked better with Chase Daniel at quarterback this week. I get Trubisky is the “Franchise” quarterback they traded up to take — passing up on Watson and Mahomes — but the coaching staff is ultimately who is to blame here for not designing an offense around the talent they have. The under-utilization of David Montgomery appears to be upsetting fans and fantasy owners alike. Every time he gets the ball, he makes holes and challenges defenders.
It’s been a frustrating offense to watch in 2019, but it’s possible we get better output from Chase Daniel until the party ends and we have to be subjected to Mitch Trubisky once again. I liked the way the Raiders fought last week. They took down a solid Colts team on the road and now host a team that will be limited, at least in theory. Unfortunately for the Raiders, I think the Bears got better after losing Trubisky, so I think they’ll have a slight leg up on their opponent this week with the veil of offensive uncertainty. The Bears will get to roll out plays the Raiders haven’t seen yet and because of that, I’m taking the Bears on the road. Bears 23 Raiders 16
Jaguars @ Panthers -3.5 O/U: 41
Gardner Minshew has been the talk of the town so far. He was tested last week in a road matchup against a decent defense and for all intents and purposes, he passed with flying colors. This week will test him yet again as the Panthers have been a fairly stout defense for most of the season, allowing more than 20 points on just one occasion (Rams during the opening week). The Jaguars have been equally strong on defense and I anticipate this being a defensive struggle. With or without Jalen Ramsey, I think this one ends up being very close. I think we’ll see a little more Minshew magic this week. Jaguars 20 Panthers 16
Vikings -5.5 @ Giants O/U: 44.5
Okay, Vikings, you’ve cost me after losing to a backup quarterback last week and your quarterback looks like one of the guys on Space Jam who got all his talent stolen. The real question may be, “If Cousins never comes through against big teams, was there even real talent there to begin with?” The big mismatch in this game is the Viking’s perceived ability to pass the ball versus the Giants and their void of a pass defense.
Last week, the Giants showed signs of life as they celebrated a pick party against both Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins. The momentum here is with the Giants, but the Vikings have a defense unlike anything Daniel Jones has experienced up to this point, so I’m reluctantly going to go with the Vikings, yet again. Hopefully, the Vikings can set aside their love affair with Dalvin Cook for a second and pass the ball early and often. Vikings 27 Giants 17
Patriots -15 @ Redskins O/U: 42.5
The Patriots are enjoying a stress-free season, courtesy of their elite defense. They almost lost one last week to the Bills, but their defense managed to block a punt and return it for a touchdown, further distancing themselves from having anything close to a competitive or even watchable game. Guess what, folks? The Patriots have another incredibly awful matchup this week! As if their schedule already hasn’t been easy enough, the team gets to travel to DC where there’s more quarterback controversy afloat and the Redskins are winless, following a curb-stomping loss against the sleepy Giants.
Here’s a recap so far. The Patriots have faced the Steelers with a weakened Big Ben, the Dolphins, The Jets and their 3rd string QB, and the Bills and Matt Barkley. It’s not that the Patriots don’t have a world-class defense, it’s just funny to me to see such a fortuitous stretch of scheduling in the NFL. I have no idea why this is only 15 points but . Patriots 31 Redskins 10
Jets @ Eagles -13.5 O/U: 44.5
The Eagles are back! Well, we think they might be anyways, but they’ve fooled us before. Lucky for them, they shouldn’t be tested this week against the Jets, considering how the Jets still haven’t confirmed the return of Sam Darnold at quarterback. If he plays, I like the Jets to cover. If he doesn’t I’ll take Philly and their abysmal pass defense, because, hey, it’s Luke Falk they’re facing. If their secondary can’t show up for that, this might be the last time I roll with them for a while. Eagles 24 Jets 10
Bucs @ Saints -3.5 O/U: 47
Tampa Bay is coming off their biggest road win in possibly a decade, maybe longer. The Saints now have two impressive back-to-back victories against quality opponents. Something has to give in this one. As much as I want to go with the Saints here, because of their rushing defense and solid overall defense over the past couple games, I think the issue for the Saints has been stopping offenses in 11 personnel formations.
In obvious passing down situations, the Texans and Seahawks were able to mount significant drives and score again and again. Last week, the Cowboys tried to run a balanced attack. Meanwhile, the Bucs defensive front has been a problem for opposing teams, their defense seems susceptible to dynamic passing offenses, which the Saints aren’t right now, and their offense is pass-heavy. I like the Bucs on the road to steal another. Bucs 27 Saints 24 (OT)
Broncos @ Chargers -6.5 O/U: 44.5
The Chargers just got Melvin Gordon back. As if things couldn’t get worse for the winless Broncos, they just found out that Joe Flacco is still their quarterback, so I think you can see where this may be headed. Bradley Chubb is also done for the year, so my guess is, the Broncos are going to be struggling to find ways to pressure Rivers.
Before last game, the Broncos had zero sacks on the year, which seems kind of amazing in 2019 through three games. The Broncos are going to be desperate and desperate teams in the NFL tend to still be dangerous teams, even with losses in personnel. I think this game will be closer than we may think, but I’m still going with the Chargers at “home,” if there is such a thing for them anymore. Chargers 26 Broncos 17
Packers @ Cowboys -3.5 O/U: 46
Week 4 was a sullen week for both Packers and Cowboys fans. All the talk around water coolers across dairy land and the country of Texas was about how both these teams were back. Some water cooler talk was better than others, “Dak might be the MVP. Dallas is going to feast next week” – Sam D. All the hits were playing. “Packers are gonna expose Wentz this week” – Sam D. I really tried to find more water cooler quotes.
Perhaps I should’ve checked to make sure the water hadn’t been swapped with alcohol, but the point is, everyone was high on the Packers and Cowboys last week and we all (myself included) got an ice-cold serving of “Down to Earth Pie.” Is that the right expression? I don’t even know anymore. This week, I think the game will be very slow out of the gate as neither team will want to make the first mistake. The Cowboys will have a distinct advantage at home, but I think this may be one of those games that come down to a field goal, given the two extremely conservative coaches on each side. Cowboys 27 Packers 24
Colts @ Chiefs -10.5 O/U: 56.5
The Colts suffered an unexpected home upset against the surprising Raiders. After garnering more street credit as the team everyone crossed off before the season began, the Colts still have a solid team. Don’t be fooled by the loss to the Raiders. This team is solid all around and can compete with anyone. Unfortunately, the Colts will be on the road in Arrowhead to take on the Chiefs. This line is a bit of a trap, but I’ve managed to correctly pick against the spread (ATS) correctly for both these teams this season, so I feel like I’ve got another decent shot at getting this one right as well.
I think the Chiefs will have no real concerns solving the Colts defense, but if the Colts are shorthanded and without Marlon Mack or TY Hilton, I think they simply won’t be able to keep up. If Hilton and Mack play, I like the Colts to cover (Chiefs 34 Colts 24). However, if Mack and Hilton are out, I’m going Chiefs. Chiefs 38 Colts 20
October 7th (Monday night)
Browns @ 49ers -3.5 O/U: 46.5
The 49ers have put together an undefeated season, thus far. We certainly thought it was possible in 2018 when all the hype of Kyle Shanahan was at its peak, but following a season riddled with injuries, the 49ers found themselves near the top of the draft. With that pick, they selected Nick Bosa with their top pick. PFF’s Austin Gayle posted an interesting bit on Twitter about Bosa and his impact on this Niners defense. Through four games, Bosa is atop the edge defending rankings among rookies in the NFL with a pressure rate of 36% on passes thrown 2.6 + seconds after the clock.
That may seem like an odd stat, but it’s more of a true representation on how he affects QBs than sacks are. The next one below him is at 26% so Bosa will be key in disrupting Baker Mayfield in this one. I can see the Browns struggling similarly to the Rams game, where the Rams pass rush was affecting Mayfield on a good majority of his dropbacks. 49ers 24 Browns 20