It’s been a good two weeks here with my picks. I went 22-5 straight up the past two weeks and 19-8 against the spread.
Let’s just say I am hot right now and plan to keep it going.
Last week’s schedule featured a lot of high-profile games, but this week there aren’t as many.
In fact, there might be two. The first is Thursday’s game matching the Carolina Panthers at the Pittsburgh Steelers. The New Orleans Saints at the Cincinnati Bengals is another intriguing game, although putting Bengals in the intrigue category could draw the ire of some.
Despite the number of marquee games, I intend to keep my good streak going. Let’s ride the wave.
Panthers at Steelers (-3.5)
This is an enticing Thursday night game. Both teams are playing well and come in on winning streaks. It’s always tough for the visitor on a Thursday, but I think Cam Newton will keep the Panthers in this one. Steelers win, but it’s close.
Pick: Steelers 27, Panthers 26
Saints (-5) at Bengals
This is a tough turnaround for the Saints, coming off a big home victory over the Rams and now facing a good team coming off the bye on the road. The Bengals are banged up with A.J. Green likely out, which will help the Saints secondary. But I think the Bengals hang around in this one. Saints win it, but it’s tight.
Pick: Saints 24, Bengals 23
The Falcons are playing consecutive road games outside, which is a challenge. But the offense has come alive behind Matt Ryan. The Chiefs carved up the Browns defense last week, and this week it will be Ryan. The Browns won’t keep up.
Pick: Falcons 31, Browns 23
This is a tough spot for the Dolphins. They face a good team coming home after two road losses. Oh, that team also has Aaron Rodgers. But I think the Dolphins will hang around here, even with Brock Osweiler at quarterback. The Packers win, but it’s close.
Pick: Packers 24, Dolphins 20
This is essentially a playoff game for these two. Loser has six losses and is likely out of the playoffs. Both teams are coming off a bye, so they are rested. I think this will be a game where the Jacksonville defense plays like many expected before the season. They get the best of Andrew Luck and Leonard Fournette runs to control the clock.
Pick: Jaguars 21, Colts 20
The Bears are riding high, while the Lions are coming off a bad showing against the Vikings. Matt Stafford was sacked 10 times, so the Bears front has to be salivating to get after him. Chicago hasn’t exactly beat up a lot of good teams to get to first place, so this won’t be easy. But they will find a way late to pull it out.
Pick: Bears 24, Lions 21
Cardinals at Chiefs (-16.5)
The Cardinals are coming off the bye, so they are rested. That defense better be as it readies to face Patrick Mahomes and his potent offense. On the other side, Josh Rosen looked good in his last game, but this road environment will be tough for him. Even so, I think the Cardinals keep it closer than expected.
Pick: Chiefs 30, Cardinals 20
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This game pits former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, now the coach of the Titans, against Bill Belichick. That will be interesting. The Titans impressed Monday night in beating Dallas, but New England’s defense will slow Marcus Mariota’s little surge and the Patriots will go into Nashville and handle the Titans.
Pick: Patriots 30, Titans 17
Redskins at Buccaneers (-3)
The Redskins are really banged up on offense, with the line down three starters. The Bucs have defensive issues, but even those won’t matter against the Washington line. Tampa Bay will start Ryan Fitzpatrick here again at quarterback, and I expect him to have a good day. The Redskins defense won’t be able to pull this one out for the offense.
Pick: Bucs 23, Redskins 17
This is the dog game of the day, featuring two teams playing for next year and beyond. But the Bills are woeful on offense – no matter who plays quarterback. The Jets might be without quarterback Sam Darnold, which means Josh McCown will start. The Buffalo defense has played well for the most part this season and will keep them in this game.
Pick: Jets 19, Bills 16
The Chargers are rolling, while the Raiders are reeling. The Oakland defense is a mess and Philip Rivers is having an impressive season. Look for Rivers and the offense to roll up a big number in this one. Chargers take it.
Pick: Chargers 33, Raiders 17
Seahawks at Rams (-10)
The Rams suffered their first loss last week, and now must regroup against a division rival that is coming off a loss. The Seahawks will pound it on the ground against a Rams defense that has been vulnerable to the run. They will try and keep Jared Goff off the field, and it will work to keep the game close. But the Rams will win it.
Pick: Rams 26, Seahawks 23
The Cowboys must have this game to have a chance to win the division. They looked awful against the Titans Monday night on offense and the heat is on Dak Prescott. The Eagles are coming off a bye, so they have the big edge there. They also look to be rounding into form. Their defense gets the best of the Dallas offense as the Eagles win it.
Pick: Eagles 28, Cowboys 13
The Giants are coming off a much-needed bye, while the 49ers will be rested as well having played last Thursday. The 49ers are expected to start Nick Mullens again in this one after his impressive showing against the Raiders. Can he keep it up? I don’t think it will look quite the same. The Giants aren’t as bad as the Raiders and the bye did them good. Giants take it.
Pick: Giants 28, 49ers 20