The guide is a bit abbreviated this week, focusing mainly on picks and analysis. This will be the format during weeks where I have other reporting commitments. The picks are here though, and that’s all that matters.
Jaguars -3 vs Falcons, at London, 6:30 a.m. PDT, ESPN+
The Jags’ disasterclass in Houston last week probably brought this one down to a playable number. I have a lot of concerns with Jacksonville’s defensive front and their ability to put pressure on the passer, but you could give Desmond Ridder three months to throw the ball and something would still go awry. I’m going with a bounce back win here for the Jags.
Prediction: Jaguars 26, Falcons 20
Bills -2.5 vs Dolphins, 10 a.m. PDT, CBS
The vast public will surely be on the Dolphins following last weeks crime scene in Denver. This game will look somewhat like a Week 1 for the Dolphins in terms of stopping the Bills’ offensive firepower. Defensively, the Bills are much better than the Chargers are, so I’m not expecting an offensive performance from the Dolphins closer to what we saw against the Patriots and further from what we saw against the Broncos. I like the Bills to pull this one out in Buffalo to give the Dolphins at least one blemish on their record. I still think the Dolphins will be this years AFC representative in the Super Bowl. I don’t think they’ll top Shula’s group however, so here’s one for the loss column.
Prediction: Bills 30, Dolphins 27
Broncos -3.5 at Bears, 10 a.m. PDT, CBS
Full disclosure, I threw down on Broncos -3 as soon as this line came out. It’s now -3.5, as I would have expected. The Bears are an absolute catastrophe right now. Yeah, we saw what happened to the Broncos last week but that was also a team that started playing dead midway through the second quarter. I think Vegas knows what it’s doing here.
Prediction: Broncos 28, Bears 20
Browns +3 vs Ravens, 10 a.m. PDT, CBS
The Browns, despite a bruising Week 2 loss in Pittsburgh, are still the most complete defense in the north. The Ravens line has improved. Has it improved enough to neutralize Myles Garrett and Zadarius Smith? Not likely. I like the Browns outright here. Still, even in the event of a Ravens win, this has a good chance of landing within that 3 point number for the Browns.
UPDATE: with Deshaun Watson being ruled out, disregard all of this
Prediction: Browns 24, Ravens 21
Steelers -3 at Texans, 10 a.m. PDT, CBS
CJ Stroud came through for the Texans with another remarkably impressive outing for a rookie QB, leading them to a 37-17 win. That win, however, was aided in large part due to the Jaguars aforementioned ineptitude on the defensive front. That won’t be an issue the Steelers have. I expect them to put extensive pressure on the Texans line all day long. This will be CJ Stroud’s first true test against a great NFL defense, and like most rookies in these spots historically, it probably won’t turn out well.
Prediction: Steelers 24, Texans 10
Vikings -4 at Panthers, 10 a.m. PDT, FOX
The Vikings need a win eventually, and I’d be shocked if it doesn’t come here. Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson have still led one of the top offenses in the league. That, combined with the Panthers uncertainty around the QB spot could spell trouble for Carolina here.
Prediction: Vikings 31, Panthers 17
Rams PK at Colts, 10 a.m. PDT, FOX
The Colts have been arguably the surprise of the season thus far, starting 2-1 out of the gate with Anthony Richardson having only played in 5 total quarters due to injury. I’m a little surprised the Rams aren’t favorites here even with last weeks loss still fresh on the mind. I cautiously like the Rams here.
Prediction: Rams 24, Colts 20
Bucs +3.5 at Saints, 10 a.m. PDT, FOX
Last week I was convinced the Saints were a contender based off the strength of their defense. After watching them blow a 17-point lead to the middling Packers on Sunday, I’m willing to concede that was probably a bit irresponsible of me. Derek Carr will either be playing through enormous pain or will be inactive entirely. Remember, he suffered an AC joint sprain in the second half last week. It’s a fishy line considering Carr’s injury. Bucs should be favored.
Prediction: Bucs 24, Saints 23
Eagles -9 at Commanders, 10 a.m. PDT, FOX
The Commanders stink. While the Eagles could certainly be better to start this year, they are 3-0 and playing well enough to still look like one of a few viable threats in the league right now. It’s a big line to cover here but the Eagles offense is starting to fully gel and the defense should have no issue teeing off on a scared Commanders offense.
Prediction: Eagles 35, Commanders 10
Bengals -2.5 at Titans, 10 a.m. PDT, FOX
The Bengals are coming off a must-win game on Monday. Fortunately, the came through. The Titans this week make for no walk in the park however. I don’t place too much stock into last weeks loss at Cleveland for them, as I think the Browns have one of the leagues elite defenses. The Bengals defense, while not quite as strong as the Browns, is still incredibly tough. We saw how Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard did the Rams on Monday. Bengals win and cover.
Prediction: Bengals 28, Titans 24
Chargers -5 vs Raiders, 1:05 PDT, CBS
The Chargers were another team that needed a win on Sunday to salvage any hope for a highly anticipated season. Like the Bengals, they came through. This week’s challenge won’t be nearly as touch for Cincy as the one the Vikings presented this past week. The Raiders are a team in disarray and dealing with bigger things at the moment with the Chandler Jones ordeal. This is another chance for the Chargers to get back on track and I think they do.
Prediction: Chargers 27, Raiders 14
Patriots +6.5 at Cowboys, 1:25 PDT, FOX
I fully expect the Cowboys to win here. However, I’ve been a Patriots fan long enough to know that they will hang around in this one until it looks like they have a chance to win the game deep in the fourth quarter. Than they will inevitably blow it.
Prediction: Cowboys 23, Patriots 21
Cardinals +14 at 49ers, 1:25 p.m. PDT, FOX
I know, it’s the Cardinals. I still think 14 is way too big of a line to play anything other than Arizona here. They’ve shown that despite the shortcomings of their roster, they’ll play teams tough. They don’t have the same losing energy we’ve seen from past teams in tanking predicaments. That much is clear. I think they come through with a noble cover here.
Prediction: 49ers 30, Cardinals 21
Chiefs -9 at Jets, 5:20 p.m. PDT, NBC/Peacock
Did you think I was going to mention this game without talking about Taylor Swift? Funny. The pop superstar will once again be in attendance in support of Travis Kelce and the Chiefs. I don’t know if it made the Chiefs play inspired, but they didn’t play with their food last week against a similarly inept Bears team. There’s another big meal on the table this week and the Chiefs look hungry.
Prediction: Chiefs 35, Jets 10
Seahawks +1 at Giants, 5:15 p.m. PDT, ABC/ESPN
This is an interesting game on paper. It’s a game that caused a slip up for a much better Giants team last season. The Seahawks have regressed as well, albeit not as much, but I’m still fairly certain they are the better football team here. The game being in New York gives Daniel Jones somewhat of a chance here. I think the noise in Seattle would crumble him. A chance is just a chance though. Seahawks by a field goal.
Prediction: Seahawks 23, Giants 20