After an abysmal start to this weekly series, I bounced back with four out of five picks last week. I’m going to try to keep the ball rolling, with another five spreads to bet on this Sunday.
Minnesota Vikings (-1.5) at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday 1 p.m.
Regardless of if Patrick Mahomes plays, I believe the Vikings have what it takes to go into Arrowhead and come out with a win.
For starters, the game isn’t in prime time. Minnesota shrivels under the bright lights, but it’s a 1 p.m. game, which should help Kirk Cousins. Speaking of Cousins, he has been playing at an MVP caliber since a poor showing at Chicago. A 6-2 record speaks for itself, and the Vikings can take advantage of a battered Chiefs defense by running surefire Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook.
Score Prediction: Minnesota 27, Chiefs 24
Chicago Bears (+4.5) at Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday 1 p.m.
It might sound strange, but I liked what I saw from Chicago last week.
They may not have won, but they certainly deserved to, only falling by a point against the Chargers. I think with their season on the line, they have what it takes to go into Philadelphia and not only cover, but win.
The NFL never makes sense, and this would be just the pick to not make sense. The Bears still have a dominant defense, and a lot of the Philly defensive problems have been masked last week because of the putridness of Josh Allen. Mitch Trubisky is somehow worse, but the weapons surrounding him are better. I pegged the Bears to take a step back, but I think they coalesce for this week and surprise the NFL world to stay in contention in the crowded NFC North.
Score Prediction: Chicago 22, Philadelphia 21
Cleveland Browns (-4.5) at Denver Broncos, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
Denver is a miss, quite simply. Joe Flacco is done for the year, and Brandon Allen will get eaten alive by Myles Garrett and company. The Browns are the more desperate team and have more talent. Cleveland went in and beat Denver last season on Saturday night, and I see no reason why this will change.
Score Prediction: Cleveland 17, Denver 10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5.5) at Seattle Seahawks, Sunday 4:25 p.m.
I’m still not ready to give up on the Bucs (for betting purposes). In the scheme of the playoffs, Tampa Bay is cooked. But I like them heading up to the Emerald City to face Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
CenturyLink Field is no longer a scary place to play, as the Seahawks have lost to the Saints and Ravens at home this year, while barely surviving the Bengals and Rams. The Seahawks need to be able to move the ball on the ground to help Wilson and his below-average receiving corps, and Tampa Bay is the best rushing defense in the league, allowing just a minuscule 62 yards on the ground.
I don’t think Tampa wins, but 5.5 points is a big number to swallow. I won’t.
Score Prediction: Seattle 27, Tampa Bay 24
New England Patriots (-3) at Baltimore Ravens, Sunday 8:20 p.m.
Bill Belichick’s defense always takes away an offense’s best feature, which is the main reason I’m rolling with the Patriots to cover on Sunday night.
Simply put, Lamar Jackson will not be allowed to run. The typically man-heavy defense will feature a lot of zone coverage, and the fact that the Patriots like to rush linebackers will help them spy and track down Jackson before he can break a big run.
The New England offense will be bolstered by the return of first-rounder N’Keal Harry from IR, and a Baltimore defense that ranks 26th in yards allowed through the air will get torn to shreds early by Tom Brady. Baltimore coming off a bye is dangerous, but I think the Patriots will get an early lead and tee off on Jackson down the stretch to hang on in what will be their toughest game of the season.
Score Prediction: New England 28, Baltimore 24