Welcome to my weekly installment of NFL picks. This will be my first year doing picks against the spread and my second year doing picks in general.
Feel free to keep track of your predictions and see if you can beat me.
Each week, I will make one survivor pick. When I select a team as a survivor pick, I will be unable to select them for the rest of the season. If my survivor pick loses, I will forgo the survivor pick for the remainder of the season.
Each pick will have an applied confidence level both for the spread and for the straight-up game. Confidence will be a number between 0.0 and 10.0 and will be added to or subtracted from the total depending on if the result goes in my favor. Survivor picks will always be denoted as a 10.
Straight-up Record: 85-49-1 (6-8 last week)
Against the Spread Record: 67-66-2 (4-9-1 last week)
Confidence Points: 337.7 (+24.3 last week)
ATS Confidence Points: 34.1 (-24.6 last week)
Chargers at Raiders (LAC -1)
Chargers 24, Raiders 21
Spread confidence: 7.4
The Chargers have slowly but surely rounded into form, and a win on Thursday would move them back to .500. I think they eke out a close win over Derek Carr and the Raiders.
Lions at Bears (CHI -2.5)
Bears 21, Lions 17
Spread confidence: 3.4
I think this division showdown comes down to a Matthew Stafford drive against the Bears’ defense. I think the Bears win on that final possession.
Ravens at Bengals (CIN +11.5)
Ravens 27, Bengals 17
Spread confidence: 8.1
This is a trap game for Baltimore. While I would prefer the spread to be closer to two touchdowns, I will happily take over a touchdown and a field goal. The Ravens and Bengals play traditionally close games. The Ravens should win, but I doubt it turns into a blowout.
Bills at Browns (BUF +3)
Bills 21, Browns 14
Spread confidence: 10
The Browns are in an absolute tailspin, and they have to play against a good team. I think this is one of the best bets of the week as the Bills should not only cover, but they should win outright. While the Bills might not win in a blowout, a multi-possession win for the Bills should be in store.
Chiefs at Titans (KC -3.5)
Chiefs 31, Titans 24
Spread confidence: 6.1
Even with Matt Moore, the Chiefs have proven that they can still put up points on the scoreboard with almost any team in the NFL. The Titans have a stout defense, but the speed and explosiveness of the Kansas City offense will cause problems for Tennessee.
Falcons at Saints (NO -13)
Saints 41, Falcons 24
Spread confidence: 9.9
Welcome to the blowout section of the article. Defensively, the Falcons are the worst team in the NFL. The Saints should cruise to 40 or more points in a win that sends shockwaves through the rest of the NFL.
Cardinals at Buccaneers (TB -4)
Buccaneers 36, Cardinals 29
Spread confidence: 3.7
In what could be the most exciting game of the week, I think both teams should be able to put up points in bucketloads. Kyler Murray and Jameis Winston should exchange blows for four quarters, but I think Tampa has better personnel in the trenches and at wide receiver, leading to a Buccaneers win.
Dolphins at Colts (MIA +11.5)
Colts 28, Dolphins 18
Spread confidence: 7.2
In an identical scenario to the Ravens-Bengals game, I think the spread is juicy enough to bet on the underdog. The Colts are vastly better than the Dolphins on both sides of the ball, but the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Dolphins have been relatively competitive. The Colts win, but they don’t dominate.
Panthers at Packers (CAR +5)
Packers 27, Panthers 24
Spread confidence: 6.6
Christian McCaffrey, this is all on you. The third-year workhorse is the key to keeping the Panthers in the game as the Packers have been routinely shredded by competent running backs. Now that the Packers are playing the best running back in football, it should be a fireworks show until Aaron Rodgers pulls pixie dust out of his pocket and vanquishes the Panthers.
Rams at Steelers (PIT +3.5)
Rams 23, Steelers 20
Spread confidence: 3.8
The Steelers have improved dramatically since a 1-4 start. Now 4-4, they face a tough challenge in the Rams. The Rams have also started on a winning streak since slipping to 3-3, but the Steelers are significantly better than the Bengals and Falcons. I think that the Rams will win, but the Steelers should keep it close.
Sunday Night Football:
Vikings at Cowboys (DAL -2.5)
Survivor pick: Cowboys 27, Vikings 19
Spread confidence: 10
Do you trust Kirk Cousins on the road in a prime time game? Me neither. I expect the Cowboys to roll offensively and to stifle Dalvin Cook enough to win by more than a field goal.
Monday Night Football:
Seahawks at 49ers (SEA +6)
49ers 24, Seahawks 23
Spread confidence: 8.7
Get your popcorn ready. Two of the best teams in the NFL meet as the 49ers look to maintain their undefeated record, and the Seahawks look to get a huge win in the division. This should be one of the games of the season, and I think a Robbie Gould field goal will be the difference between 8-1 and 9-0 for the 49ers.