Rough week. We’re back and fired up. Thus, the theme of this week is revenge. We know what all of you devoted readers are thinking: What happened with the picks last week? Well, things just happened on the football field and that’s the way the prediction cookie crumbled last week. However, a true competitor never gives up, and neither will we. We will dust ourselves off, and bounce back strong for the remainder of the NFL season.
The weekly movie references for The Sporting Tribune typically connect with sports-related movies. This week is no different, as we usher words of Russell Crowe’s iconic character from the movie Gladiator, Maximus Deciums Meridous, as he entered the Coliseum arena to engage in battle: “Are you not entertained?” With that in mind, we too are looking for revenge and embark on this week’s predictions looking to avenge our performance from last week as well as entertain our readers.
Some teams and players are feeling our pain and dealing with the theme of revenge this week also. The Buffalo Bills are looking for home-turf retribution after their week-three loss to the Miami Dolphins. Zach Wilson of the New York Jets ate his huge helping of humble pie and is hoping to not just win against the Detroit Lions, but also to win his appeal back from the Jets fans. The last time he started in an NFL game was, let’s just say, not pretty. Now, he is playing in his biggest game as a New York Jet to keep their playoff hopes alive. Finally, Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick is facing his protege, former New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for the second time. McDaniels, then coach of the Denver Broncos, defeated his mentor during the 2008 season and hopes to do the same with the Raiders on Sunday.
Here are this week’s trends:
The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the hottest teams in the league. They have won five in a row and have the best record ATS (Against The Spread) at 10-4. The Minnesota Vikings were coming off a brutal loss on the road against the favored Detroit Lions, and Kirk Cousins for his career is 36-22 ATS after a straight-up loss. This is the first week of the season where there will be Saturday NFL games, and the road teams in those Saturday games are 53-31-5 ATS over the past 20 years.
Let’s see if these trends continue and if the revenge will be accomplished. First, let’s get to this week’s picks:
All betting lines are courtesy of Circa Sports. (Reserve a seat at the Circa Sportsbook or Stadium Swim.)
Colts vs Vikings (-4) Over/Under: 47.5
Frankly, we find the Minnesota Vikings to be a bit fraudulent when it comes to their 10-4 record. Nine of their ten wins have been by one possession. That being said, if there is one game where Kirk Cousins winning record ATS after a loss continues, it will be this game. The Indianapolis Colts came off an embarrassing 54-19 loss to the Cowboys two weeks ago. They commit the seventh-most turnovers on the offensive side of the ball, and while the Minnesota defense has been shaky, the Colts’ offense has looked even worse. Colts quarterback Matt Ryan has seen better days in this league, and it doesn’t help that the Colts’ offensive line is quite banged up at the moment. We expect the Vikings’ offense to have a much better showing as opposed to last week. Dalvin Cook, should be in line for one of his best games of the season, going up against the 21st-ranked rushing defense in the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are a franchise and a team that currently looks lost. We like the Vikings in this matchup. This is our lock of the week.
Our pick: Vikings -4
Ravens vs Browns (-2.5) Over/Under: 38.5
Yes, the Cleveland Browns were one of our four bad picks last week, but we find them in a much more favorable matchup this week against the Ravens. The Ravens had an impressive win against the Steelers, rushing for 215 yards. They didn’t ask Tyler Huntley to do too much, other than not turn over the football, and he had a solid, management-like game. With this knowledge, we expect the Browns to seek revenge after a week-seven loss to the Ravens. Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has struggled so far in his first two games back, but he did look better in last week’s game against the Bengals. Gratefulness should infuse him to have a solid game against the Ravens with their 26th-ranked passing defense. The Browns are playing for their season on Sunday, as a loss will mathematically eliminate them from playoff contention. This is a do-or-die home game for the Browns against a backup quarterback, and we like the dawg pound in this one.
Our pick: Browns -2.5
Bengals (-3.5) vs Bucs Over/Under: 44
We picked against the Bengals last week, but we are riding with “Who Dey” nation this week. As previously stated, the Bengals have won five in a row and currently have the best record ATS at 10-4. Even though the Bengals may not have Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd for the game on Sunday, they still have Ja’ Marr Chase back, who looked like himself last week with Joe Burrow. Burrow is coming off another great game against the Browns. The Bengals still have that explosive running game with Joe Mixon back in the lineup to pair up with Samaje Perine. It is honestly incredible that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still in first place in the putrid NFC South with a record of 6-7. Brady and the Bucs’ offense is a mess, as they are last in the league in rushing yards and 18th in total offense. The Bucs have only covered the spread one time in its previous 11 games and are on the downhill while the Bengals are going uphill. We like the Bengals big in this one.
Our pick: Bengals-3.5
Giants vs Commanders (-5) Over/Under: 40.5
Both NFC East teams are fighting for a playoff position at 7-5-1. The last time they played each other was two weeks ago in the Meadowlands where they ended in a tie. While the Giants have cooled off significantly since their 6-1 start, they match up well with the Commanders, and we think taking the points for the road underdog here is the safe move. We are not going to say the Giants win outright because these divisional matchups could go either way, BUT, we think five points is a bit too much given the fact these teams tied just two weeks ago. The Giants have had tough losses to some of the hottest teams in the league, like the Lions, Eagles, and Cowboys. While Washington did beat the Eagles at a Monday night game, they haven’t had any significant wins. The G-Men are reeling, but we think they will find a way to make this game close. We expect Saquon Barkley to have a bounce-back game from his subpar performance against the Eagles last week.
Our pick: Giants +5