Well, we saw a piece of history this week with Drew Brees becoming the all-time passing yards leader. We also saw the Saints defense begin to look like its old self, and I believe that will continue. As soon as it started to look like the Titans were just a good football team, they go and lose to the Bills who threw for only 82 yards. All is right in the AFC East as the Patriots return to the top of the division. We also have four teams that are 2-2-1, all of which are in the northern divisions. All while Washington is leading the NFC East at just 2-2. It’s been a wild year so far and it should make for a number of interesting storylines in the second half of the season.
Thursday 10/11/2018 8:20 pm
Eagles vs Giants (+3)
Weather: 72 Degrees 67% chance of rain
These games have been decided by five points or less in five straight matchups. Even when the Giants have struggled, they’ve still managed to play the Eagles tough. I don’t expect this week to be any different on Thursday night. It may rain, but if it does it’s not expected to be more than a drizzle at the moment. The Eagles running game has completely fallen apart and the Giants rush defense is solid. I expect the Eagles to be using the passing game as a run game with a lot of short routes and routes in the flat to the running backs. With that, I still expect them to put up a decent score while some big plays from Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley keep the Giants in this game at home.
Pick: Eagles -3 (Low Confidence), Score: PHI 27 – NYG 23
Sunday 10/14/2018 1:00 pm
Buccaneers vs Falcons (-3.5)
Any game in Atlanta tends to turn into a shootout, and the matchups between the Buccaneers and the Falcons are no different. Jameis Winston will be making his first start for the 2018 season and it will be on the road with a familiar foe. The Buccaneers get the advantage of coming off their bye week though I don’t know how much it will matter. The Falcons are a surprising 1-4 this season and while their playoff hopes seem bleak, I do believe this offense will carry them to a victory in Week 6. I know what to expect from the Falcons in this one, but the Buccaneers with Winston are the unknown. Ultimately, I believe the Buccaneers we saw in their two losses is closer to who they are in reality.
Pick: Falcons -3.5 (Medium Confidence), Score ATL 34 – TB 27
Chargers vs Browns (+1)
Weather: 57 Degrees no chance of rain
This was a tough game to figure out as I believe it will indeed be a very close contest. The Browns defense has been absolutely legitimate while the offense has shown some life against some of the lesser defenses. The Browns also get the advantage of being at home. The Chargers defense has not been as good as I had believed it would be to start the season, but the offense has managed to pick up the slack. Ultimately, I’ll come down on the side of the Chargers because of the offense. I believe the combination of Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, and Melvin Gordon will be able to get enough done to overcome Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, and Carlos Hyde.
Pick: Chargers -1 (Low Confidence), Score LAC 26 – CLE 24
Colts vs Jets (-2.5)
Weather: 58 Degrees no chance of rain
The Jets got a nice home win against a Broncos team that was clearly dragging in this game. With huge plays from Isaiah Crowell and Robby Anderson, the Jets got a big lead and held onto it. The Colts have had some extra time to prepare and rest up for this one and don’t have nearly as far to travel as Denver did. Currently, I am operating under the assumption that T.Y. Hilton will play with relative health, but if he ends up as a no go I do believe he could be the difference maker.
Pick: Colts +2.5 (Low Confidence), Score IND 24 – NYJ 23
Seahawks vs Raiders (+3)
Weather: 57 Degrees 12% chance of rain
The Seahawks have shown they are no slouch, though they now have to come out of Seattle. Lucky for them they get to face a Raiders team who hasn’t amounted to much of anything this season. The Seahawks have established a running game with Chris Carson and Mike Davis as their duo. The Raiders are one of the worst in the league against the run. I expect the Seahawks to have a heavy dose of the run while Russell Wilson makes some key plays to extend drives. The Raiders dysfunction is likely to continue, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be turning it around in this season.
Pick: Seahawks -3 (Low Confidence), Score SEA 27 – OAK 20
Carolina vs Washington (-1)
Weather: 60 Degrees 3% chance of rain
The Panthers are coming off their bye while Washington is coming home on a short week after being trounced by the Saints on Monday Night Football. The Panthers tend to be a considerably better home team than road team, but I do still believe they match up well enough with Washington to pull out a win. The Panthers continue to be one of the best run stopping defenses in the league, which means Washington is going to have to rely on their passing attack at some point if they want to win this game, a passing attack that really hasn’t done much despite facing a number of weaker passing defenses. Washington may not turn the ball over, but I just don’t see them making the plays they need to in order to walk away with a win.
Pick: Panthers +1 (Low Confidence), Score CAR 20 – WAS 17
Bills vs Texans (-10)
The Texans have started to build up some momentum with wins against the Colts and Cowboys. Now they head home to face a Bills defense that has really stepped up its play. The Bills defense is definitely playing at a higher level than the Texans right now, but the Texans have J.J. Watt who is back to tearing up opposing offensive lines. The difference maker in this one is the offenses. The Texans high-power passing attack should be able to get them the victory, but with the state of their overall defense, I imagine the Bills will do enough to lose by just a touchdown.
Pick: Bills +10 (Low Confidence), Score HOU 24 – BUF 17
Cardinals vs Vikings (-10.5)
The Cardinals finally got their first win of the season, and while it could be something that’s a confidence builder, they did it against a 49ers team that is depleted of offensive talent and against a defense that wasn’t all that good to begin with. Now the Cardinals continue their road trip with a game in Minnesota. The Vikings defense has struggled all season, but this week feels like a get right game for them against a lesser offense. While the Cardinals defense has played well, the Vikings passing attack is the best they’ve seen since playing the Rams in Week 2. I expect the Vikings to take out some frustrations on the Cardinals and put together a dominant win.
Pick: Vikings -10.5 (Medium Confidence), Score MIN 30 – ARI 13
Steelers vs Bengals (-2.5)
Weather: 53 Degrees 26% chance of rain
At the beginning of the year, we probably would have thought the records of these two teams would be flipped, but it’s been an interesting season and the Bengals are looking to really increase their stranglehold on top of the AFC North. The Bengals have not beaten the Steelers in their own stadium since the 2013 season. While the Bengals have been the better team in 2018, we can throw that out the window in this rivalry. The last time we saw these two teams play Juju Smith-Schuster absolutely laid out Vontaze Burfict and Ryan Shazier’s life was changed forever. The Steelers have started to figure some things out on both sides of the ball, and I expect that to continue into Week 6.
Pick: Steelers +2.5 (Low Confidence), Score PIT 27 – CIN 24
Bears vs Dolphins (+3)
Weather: 86 Degrees 1% chance of rain
After a hot 3-0 start, the Dolphins have quickly fallen off the rails. They’ve now been stomped by the Patriots and the Bengals. They now face arguably the best defense in the league who is also coming off a bye in the Bears. We finally saw the Bears have a functioning offense before their bye week. It was against the struggling Buccaneers, but it none the less showed that they could move the ball through the air. The weather will play a part in this one though. The heat and humidity will make the game fairly miserable which goes in favor of the home Dolphins. Had the weather been a little nicer I would have higher confidence in the Bears, but knowing they’ll likely slow down in the fourth quarter I’ll still take them to win, but for it to be a little close for comfort
Pick: Bears -3 (Low Confidence), Score CHI 24 – MIA 20
Sunday 10/14/2018 4:05 pm
Rams vs Broncos (+7)
Weather: 26 Degrees 17% chance of snow flurries
It’s going to be a cold October day in Denver this weekend. It’ll be the coldest game of the season to date. Luckily, despite the cold, even if it does snow it should be fairly light. The bigger concern for this game is the status of Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp. I would expect at least one of them will be able to clear concussion protocol, but if they both do miss I’d likely take a field goal away from the Rams. The Broncos defense has looked like one of the best at times and like one of the worst at others. Being at home I imagine we’ll see the better version. Ultimately, Sean McVay is not a coach I’m willing to bet against. I expect the Rams to be up to the challenge and keep their streak of scoring 30+ points for at least one more week.
Pick: Rams -7 (Low Confidence), Score: LAR 30 – DEN 23
Sunday 10/14/2018 4:25 pm
Ravens vs Titans (+2.5)
Weather: 63 Degrees 34% chance of rain
The Ravens are headed to their third straight road game and are coming off a loss to a divisional foe in the Browns. I think they’ll be hungry for a win this week, and they get to face one of the weaker offenses in the league. The Titans have managed to score just six touchdowns through five weeks. Mitch Trubisky has that many in one game against the Buccaneers. It’s hard to imagine the Titans getting in the end zone more than once and having to settle for field goals will not be a winning strategy. I do expect the Titans defense to play strong, though, making the Ravens earn their points. With two great defenses on the field, I’ll take the team with more offensive firepower and back the Ravens in this one.
Pick: Ravens -2.5 (Medium Confidence), Score: BAL 23 – TEN 16
Jaguars vs Cowboys (+3)
Man, the Jaguars are a frustrating team to figure out. Blake Bortles has had a couple games where he’s played lights out, and then he’s had a couple of games where he looks like one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. Now they go on the road to face a very good Cowboys defense. The Cowboys passing attack has been non-existent so far this year. With Fournette set to miss this week as well, it makes this a very close matchup. Because of that I’ll take the home underdog. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dallas walks away with a win.
Pick: Cowboys +3 (Low Confidence), Score: JAX 20 – DAL 19
Sunday 10/14/2018 8:20 pm
Chiefs vs Patriots (-3.5)
Weather: 51 Degrees no chance of rain
The Chiefs are now the only undefeated team left in the AFC. They’ve also gotten there in convincing fashion with road wins against the Steelers and Broncos to go along with a decisive home victory against the Jaguars. The Patriots struggled again to open the season this year, but they have now had two very decisive home victories against the Dolphins and Colts. Foxborough is one of the toughest places to play, and the Patriots are beginning to really roll, both on offense and defense. I do believe the Patriots manage to hand the Chiefs their first loss, but I’m not confident enough in that assessment to give up the 3.5. If this line got down below three, that’d be the point I’d be willing to go in on the Patriots.
Pick: Chiefs +3.5, NE 34 – KC 31
Monday 10/15/2018 8:15 pm
49ers vs Packers (-9.5)
Weather: 39 Degrees no chance of rain
In a normal season, this game would have trap written all over it. However, this season has been far from normal. The Packers are sitting at 2-2-1 underneath the Bears in their division. This mediocre start means the Packers do not have time to dilly dally and will be ready to go for this home matchup. The 49ers started the season looking like a team on the rise, but a slew of injuries have put them right back towards the bottom of the barrel. The Packers are the better offense, the better defense, have home field advantage, and are the more experienced team in primetime. Despite the heavy amount of points you’re giving up, I think you’re fine to give them.
Pick: Packers -9.5 (Medium Confidence), Score GB 27 – SF 10
Kyle Kontos is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Kyle, check out his archive.