Home team in CAPS:
Browns (+3.5) over STEELERS: Ben Roethlisberger has dominated Cleveland this century, and the visitors haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 2003 — but don’t be surprised if the Browns are finally ready for better. The Dawgs fell to the Ravens early on, but have been steaming behind Baker Mayfield and his bruised ribs, and they’re primed for another top try.
Washington (+2.5) over GIANTS: Off a horrific 2018 leg injury, it was heartening to see Alex Smith functioning under center for Washington after Kyle Allen got knocked out of the loss to the Rams this past Sunday. Allen is expected back in harness for the Football Team. Lean to the visitors here, as the Giants figure to be down off a tight loss at Dallas.
Jets (+9.5) over DOLPHINS: RB Le’Veon Bell was the leading rusher for the Jets versus Arizona this past Sunday — and was duly released after that contest. This clash was originally scheduled for later next month, but has been re-slotted here. The broad history of this rivalry has favored the visiting sides, and the market is much more than the Dolphins are used to laying.
PATRIOTS (-10) over Broncos: Brett Rypien has served under center for the Broncos — but Drew Lock is getting back to himself off injury issues, and we’re projecting Lock will start. Clock the status of Denver RB Melvin Gordon III, who was involved in a DUI rap Tuesday night. Keep tabs on injuries in a close call.
Bears (+1) over PANTHERS: Two midseason surprises clash. The hosts have come to life under QB Teddy Bridgewater, though this is no doubt the best defense Bridgewater has faced all season. The home side has snuck up on its past three victims, beating them all as underdogs. Different story here.
Lions (-3.5) over JAGUARS: Compelled to reluctantly nod toward the Lions despite their occupancy of the road-favorite role. Ever cautious about Detroit on grass, but Jags’ D is having a most difficult time getting off the field this season.
VIKINGS (-4.5) over Falcons: Atlanta reported COVID-19 issues earlier this week, though still expect game to proceed as scheduled. The winless Falcons have named Raheem Morris as head coach, after Dan Quinn was shown the door. Minnesota doesn’t have the strength of secondary they’ve enjoyed in recent seasons, but doubt the Falcons can cope with the home side’s passing attack.
TITANS (-3.5) over Texans: Short work week for the Titans, off their Tuesday night carve-up of the visiting Bills. Those who thought Tennessee would be sluggish after their lengthy COVID-19 absence got surprised. The Texans copped their first seasonal win after Romeo Crennel took command. Houston’s talented roster (Deshaun Watson, et al) has potential, but Tennessee remains an underrated item.
EAGLES (+7.5) over Ravens: The home side played the Steelers closer than the scoreboard indicated in Pittsburgh. The Eagles make you work for your yards. The visitors figure to get to Carson Wentz more than occasionally — but Wentz appears to be getting back to his best form.
Bengals (+7.5) over COLTS: Looks too easy, so will lean to Joe Burrow, but can’t get too giddy, due to his relative lack of experience compared to veteran Colts QB Philip Rivers — but Rivers often flings marginal percentage passes. Keep tabs on Indy’s public COVID-19 issues.
Packers (-1) over BUCCANEERS: You can’t dis Tom Brady in good conscience — but consider Brady is now 43 years old, and Aaron Rodgers won’t turn 37 until early December. Given the prevailing talent level, feel the Bucs secondary can be had.
Rams (-3) over 49ERS: There’ll be considerable Niners sentiment this week. No, thanks. The Rams were a relative muddle last year, staggering to a 9-7 mark, though talent suggested better. They’re healthier now. Expect the Niners will have difficulties keeping pace.
Monday Night Football
BILLS (+4) over Chiefs: Buffalo wheels back into action six days after failing to knock the Titans out of the unbeaten ranks at Nashville on Tuesday night. Kansas City is also off a loss — the defending champs failed to defend Arrowhead versus the visiting Raiders. The Bills enjoy a modest edge from tech handicapping standpoint, at market.
COWBOYS (+1.5) over Cardinals: Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury should be thrilled with the progress of his squad, some one-third into this season. Short lay price on the Cards — but this is the visitor’s third consecutive road assignment.
Last week: 8-5.