The first NFL weekend of October was an oddity for me.
I went 6-9 straight up with my picks and 9-6 against the spread. That’s just weird.
Call me Mr. Vegas.
Ok, so maybe not.
Let’s just say I like the home teams.
Let’s hope I can stay hot against the spread and improve the straight-up record.
New York Giants at New England Patriots (-16.5)
Bill Belichick is 11-0 against rookie passers at home in his Patriots career. That will make for a tough challenge for Daniel Jones and the Giants. Belichick and his talented secondary will throw a ton of looks at the rookie and he will make mistakes. Pats take it.
Pick: Pats 31, Giants 10
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This is a big division game. Kyle Allen has led the Panthers to three straight victories since taking over for Cam Newton. The Panthers front on defense has been very good as well. Tampa Bay is in the middle of a brutal stretch of games. This is their home game and I think Jameis Winston will outplay Allen here. Bucs win it.
Pick: Bucs 24, Panthers 17
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Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-11.5)
The Ravens are coming off a tough, physical game with the Steelers, which can impact a team at times. Not here. The Bengals have issues on both sides of the ball, which I think will show up. Lamar Jackson will have a big day throwing it and running it like Kyler Murray did against the Bengals last week.
Pick: Ravens 30, Bengals 16
Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns (+1)
The Browns haven’t come close to looking like a playoff team, while Russell Wilson has the Seahawks rolling at 4-1. Seattle will be the more-rested team coming off a Thursday night game, while the Browns played a Monday night game. Even so, I think the Browns will get back on track here and pull off an upset. Mayfield rebounds.
Pick: Browns 23, Seahawks 21
The Jaguars defense was awful last week against the Panthers, but I think they bounce back at home here. The Saints have been good with Teddy Bridgewater, but I think this is where that stops. This will be a low-scoring game, but the Jaguars will take it at home with a late field goal.
Pick: Jaguars 20, Saints 17
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (-5)
Get ready for a lot of points as Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson square off. Mahomes is dinged some with an ankle injury, but I think he will still be able to carve up the Texans. On the other side, Watson will get his as well. First one to 35 wins. That’s the Chiefs.
Pick: Chiefs 37, Texans 30
Washington Redskins at Miami Dolphins (+3.5)
The Redskins are a mess and now have an interim coach in Bill Callahan. Does it matter? Yes, Miami isn’t good but at home in the heat and coming off a bye, I think they will show up. Miami will become the first of these two winless teams to get a victory. Dolphins take it.
Pick: Dolphins 23, Redskins 20
Philadelphia Eagles (+3) at Minnesota Vikings
Is this a big game? It seems like it. That’s not good news for Kirk Cousins. The Vikings and Cousins impressed last week against the Giants, but not this week. The Eagles have found themselves and they are getting right. That continues here. Eagles win in an upset.
Pick: Eagles 27, Vikings 23
Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) at Arizona Cardinals
Look for a lot of points in this one. Both defenses have major issues. Kyler Murray was impressive in leading the Cardinals to their first victory last week. The Falcons have been a mess on defense and were lit up last week by the Texans. This week will be much of the same, but Matt Ryan will win a shootout.
Pick: Falcons 36, Cardinals 30
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (-4)
This is a big game for both teams, but it’s a statement game for the 49ers. At 4-0, playing on a short week off a Monday night game, this will be a real challenge. Their pass rush has been outstanding lately and that will be a factor. But I think the Rams, who will have added rest, will be ready against their division rival. Jared Goff plays well and wins it.
Pick: Rams 27, 49ers 21
Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos (-2.5)
The Broncos won for the first time last week and played well on defense. The Titans were a disaster on offense in losing to the Bills last week. This will be much of the same. Look for Von Miller and mates to get all over Marcus Mariota. This will be a defensive game won by the Broncos.
Pick: Broncos 21, Titans 13
Dallas Cowboys (-7) at New York Jets
The Cowboys come into this one off two straight losses. They haven’t looked crisp the past two weeks, but that will change here. The Jets are a mess, even with Sam Darnold back. The Cowboys get back on track with a big game from Ezekiel Elliott.
Pick: Cowboys 28, Jets 13
Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5)
The Chargers have so many injuries that are showing up on Sundays. The Steelers will likely be playing third-team quarterback Devlin Hodges for Mason Rudolph. He came off the bench last week and did some good things, but starting is a different story. The Chargers will get all over him.
Pick: Chargers 21, Steelers 14
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-4.5)
The Lions are coming off a bye, which means they will be rested. But Green Bay was impressive last week against the Cowboys. They were the more physical team. They will be here as well. The Packers will win a low-scoring game.
Pick: Packers 21, Lions 13