John Canton: It's week five of the NFL season. As always I'm joined by Bret Clev and Mike Maloney to go over every game this week.
I'm in a very good mood today since my St. Louis Rams defeated the Arizona Cardinals 17-3 on Thursday Night Football. It was so great to see the defense record nine sacks and dominate the line of scrimmage the way they did. As a Rams fan over the years the defense has always been a weakness. Now thanks to some great draft picks (Long, Quinn, Laurinaitis) and free agent signings (Finnegan) they are on the right track. I wish the offense is better, but I think that can happen next year. I'm just glad my team is competitive again. Eight years since the last playoff game. It's been too long.
Standings Straight Up:
John 39-24 (Last Week 12-3)
Mike 37-26 (9-6)
Bret 35-28 (9-6)
I was very pleased with my performance last week. I got 12 wins in weeks two and four. In week three was that awful 6 win performance. Maybe I'm only good every other week? Keep that in mind when you read the picks!
Mike and I correctly picked the Rams on Thursday. Bret incorrectly picked the Cardinals.
On a personal note today was an extremely busy day. This was posted late because of that. My comments will be very brief compared to my usual.
Byes: Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, Tampa Bay
All game times are Eastern.
Miami (1-3) at Cincinnati (3-1) 1:00 PM
Bret: A really fun noon game, and such colorful jerseys! Yay! (I like my ascetics.) I actually think if Miami can win this game they may be on their way to a little resurgence and a chance to be relevant in week 17. (Look at their schedule, they could be favored in their next 6 games.) But, a loss to Cincy here could be really demoralizing for the team.
I still like Cincinnati's defense talent wise- although considering Football Outsiders have them ranked dead last on defense, I'm willing to admit I'm wrong there - and that's really what it's going to come down to. If Cincinnati's defense can keep the Miami offense from putting together long sustained drives - something they're pretty good at - Cincinnati wins this game. But, I don't think they've shown enough this year to convince me they can do that.
Miami on the other hand has been really consistently defensively, and while Green will get his yards and catches, it won't be enough to win the game for Cincinnati. Miami holds onto the ball for 38 to 40 minutes and wins a close one. Miami 21 Cincinnati 20
Mike: Okay, so maybe Ryan Tannehill isn't awful. You have to give a guy credit when he can throw for 400+ yards in a game, especially when it's against a team like the Cards. Same goes for Brian Hartline and his 250+ yard performance. I'm not going to go add him to my fantasy team yet (Tannehill that is, I absolutely snatched up Hartline in one of my leagues), but he's probably not one of the five worst QBs in the league. So, congrats. Because of that I'm willing to give them a shot against the Bengals.
I still think Cincinnati is the better team, but with their defense any competent offense is capable of staying competitive with them. AJ Green is still an amazing receiver, I feel like Dalton's improved a bit since his rookie year, and the Law Firm is doing what he needs to do at running back, so I feel good about their offense. Wouldn't be shocked by a Miami upset, but I think the Bengals take care of business at home. Cincinnati 27 Miami 21
John: I know the Dolphins are plucky this year, but I think Cincinnati's the superior team especially at home. Too much of AJ Green for the Dolphins to handle. Bengals 27-14
Green Bay (2-2) at Indianapolis (1-2) 1:00 PM
Bret: I can see a lot of people smelling trap game here. Don't be fooled. Indianapolis just simply isn't talented enough defensively to slow down Green Bay - even without Jennings. Indianapolis will be able to score some points on Green Bay - who is susceptible to the deep ball - but they won't be able to keep up. I think this plays out as a pretty by the numbers game. Green Bay will have a bunch of long drives and look great doing it. Indianapolis will have similar long drives, but a couple of theirs will stall out and end in field goals, and that'll be the difference in the game. Green Bay 35 Indianapolis 24
Mike: So...great to have those regular refs back, right? Yikes. Hopefully the Packers are able to cash in on some of this football karma some time this season. For what it's worth I'm still trying to figure this team out. I know football games are often decided by the outcomes of a few big plays, I just wonder how things might have played out if a few things had gone differently against the Saints. If Colston gets called for offensive PI on that first touchdown, if Rodgers doesn't get raked in the eye and have to come out when Green Bay has the ball inside the 5, if the replay refs actually watched the replay and ruled the Jimmy Graham catch incomplete, if the refs had correctly called the Sproles kickoff return fumble. If any or all of those things end up going the Packers' way instead of the Saints, maybe we're not looking quite as critically at the Packers. Sure, their defense didn't do a great job against Drew Brees (Although I will argue they did make a nice adjustment on Jimmy Graham after a hot start), but to Brees' credit, he targeted Sam Shields a lot, the clear weak spot in Green Bay's secondary. That was why Marques Colston ended up with such a big game.
Anyways, what does this have to do with this week's game? Basically, Indy's offense is not New Orleans' offense. Andrew Luck is not Drew Brees, and the Colts do not have the same caliber of receiver as New Orleans. I would also expect Green Bay to get more of a pass rush in than what they could do against the Saints. No Jennings will hurt Green Bay, but as we saw against the Saints, when James Jones and Jermichael Finley step up, it doesn't hurt them as much as you'd expect. I think Green Bay covers here, although I'd really love the line if it was -6 instead of a full touchdown. Green Bay 34 Indianapolis 20
John: The Colts are coming off the bye so they've had two weeks to prepare for this game. The Packers are missing their best WR in Greg Jennings. They still have Aaron Rodgers though. I don't think the Colts have the players on defense to significantly slow the Packers down. I like the Packers to win and cover the 7.5 points. Packers 31-20
Baltimore (3-1) at Kansas City (1-3) 1:00 PM
Bret: Kansas City has looked horrible - I have them ranked dead last in the power rankings - but the talent is unquestionably there. Baltimore on the other hand has shown holes in their defense, especially in their front 7, and if there's anything Kansas City can do, it's run the ball. Jamal Charles looks to have a really nice game here.
Flacco and his receivers should be able to torch the KC secondary as well. I don't know why, but the KC corners just refuse to get physical with any receivers this year, and Jones and Smith are too fast to let just run by you. Look for Baltimore's offense to look a lot like Atlanta's offense in week 1, but because of the presence of Rice Baltimore may choose to slow down the offense and try for more high percentage plays and sustained drives. That will actually help KC stay in this one.
If Cassel doesn't absolutely murder them with turnovers again KC should be able to keep this game close offensively - and maybe even control the game most of the way, but in the 4th quarter Baltimore will go bombs away and pull out a win. Baltimore 30 Kansas City 28
Mike: If someone could explain to me why Baltimore is favored by less against the terrible Chiefs than Green Bay is against the semi-competent Colts, I would love to hear it. Kansas City is just bad. They have Jamaal Charles going for them, and that's literally it. Their defense is just awful, Matt Cassel is terrible, Dwayne Bowe only puts up stats in garbage time, there is nothing about this team outside of Charles that is enjoyable to watch. Baltimore could pull out one of their crap offensive gameplans to keep this closer than it should be, but I think more likely is they just run all over the Chiefs and get out to a big lead and don't look back. Baltimore 35 Kansas City 17
John: I've picked the Chiefs at home too often this year only to get burned. Not anymore. I believe in the Ravens as a legit Super Bowl contender. While I expect the Chiefs to put up a fight, their defense is just too poor for me to believe that they can win this game. Ravens 27-20
Atlanta (4-0) at Washington (2-2) 1:00 PM
Bret: I have no idea where all the gambling love for Washington is coming from. Atlanta is extremely strong in the passing game, and Washington extremely, possibly worst in the league, bad against the pass. I just don't see how Washington can stop them.
On the other side of the ball, I give the advantage to Atlanta as well. The Washington offense is based largely on getting defenders out of position and confusing their ranks - but the Atlanta defense barely even has positions, and the way they fly around will only create confusion and clutter where the Washington running game needs seams and open space. RGIII may make some plays over the top in this game, but I don't see it coming on the ground for him. (What they do is a lot different than what I saw Newton doing last week.) I'll take Atlanta to stay atop the NFC. Atlanta 31 Washington 21
Mike: I'm a little surprised this line isn't a little higher, but maybe with Atlanta's defensive disappearing act last week coupled with Griffin's penchant for scoring late when the Redskins are down I guess I get the Falcons -3 line. Atlanta is undefeated in title only. There is really zero reason that they should have won that game last week. Bad fumble by Newton on that QB keeper, then, if you ask me, I think it was a poor decision to not go for it on 4th down and ice the game. I mean, why are you paying DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, and Cam Newton all this money if you're not going to run it on 4th and short in a big situation? Then it was an even worse defensive performance to allow Roddy White to catch that 50-yard pass after managing to force Atlanta to start from the 1-yard line. It basically resulted in the exact same field position had you just gone for it on 4th and failed to convert. So Atlanta was very fortunate last week.
Perhaps Washington gives Atlanta some trouble here. RGIII is a tough guy to keep in check, and I think with his legs and Alfred Morris in the backfield, they could give the Falcons a lot to handle. Unfortunately, I wrote off Washington's defense a couple weeks ago after those two big season-ending injuries, so even with their offense playing well, I just don't think they'll be able to keep up with Atlanta on defense. Atlanta 28 Washington 24
John: Obviously Atlanta's the better team if they were at home, but I'm leaning towards the Skins at home. I like home dogs. The Falcons aren't as comfortable on the road. I also don't think they have the defensive personnel to slow down Robert Griffin III that well. It should be fun to watch. Redskins 34-31
Cleveland (0-4) at NY Giants (2-2) 1:00 PM
Bret: If only Cleveland had someone who could catch - many people will be fired after this year because Greg Little is bad at catching the ball.
New York is banged up, but they seem to be pretty good at 'next-man-upping' things. I think it'll be interesting to see who emerges as the primary back in this game. This sort of game, where New York is likely to go conservative offensively, will go a long way in determining that.
New York wins a game with a score closer than the actual game was. New York 24 Cleveland 19
Mike: Eli's giving 10 points at home, my spidey sense is tingling! It's too bad the Giants lost to the Eagles last week, otherwise this would just set up for a classic terrible Giants home game with them being 3-1 and with a bunch of momentum after knocking off a divisional foe. I'd still expect New York to win this one, but the idea of Cleveland covering just seems so, so appropriate here. Maybe the Browns have some opportunistic turnovers like they did against the Eagles. Maybe they're able to win the special teams battle. Maybe Trent Richardson goes off. C'mon, when has anyone ever felt comfortable betting on the Giants giving double digit points at home? Exactly. New York 24 Cleveland 17
John: The Giants should win. When the Giants should win usually something bad happens because they are the hardest team in the league for me to predict. I think they'll miss Hakeem Nicks quite a bit just like last week, so the offense may stall at times. That should allow the Browns to stay in the game and cover the spread. Giants 26-23
Philadelphia (3-1) at Pittsburgh (1-2) 1:00 PM
Bret: Most important game of the week here. Last I read Pittsburgh was likely to have their star defensive players back - so the 'When the defense gets healthy!' shtick should be over with.
Even with Polamalu and Harrison back, Philadelphia still has the weapons to move the ball and I think they will. The offense will get over 24, and that's all I think they'll need.
I'm not entirely sold on what Pittsburgh is selling offensively this week. Mendenhall, even if he plays, is unlikely to be at full speed and Redman and Dwyer have shown that they're no better than "RB #34" or whatever name you want to give the league average back. Without an established running game, the Eagles may actually be able to get a pass rush going in this game - something they've lacked so far this year. I see the Philadelphia defense stuffing the running game (something they're good at even against better running games) and getting going against the pass. I see a 4th quarter Ben Roethlisberger making sure everyone knows his ankle is about to fall off. I see Philadelphia winning a tough one on the road. Philadelphia 31 Pittsburgh 21
Mike: Few things with this game. First, I don't think much of the Steelers. I don't like their offensive line, and their defense isn't as dominant as they'd like you to believe. However, I believe Troy Polamalu is going to be back for this game. While he's not quite the game changer that he used to be, he is still absolutely a presence in the game. Rashard Mendenhall will also be back for the game. Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman have been dreadful, partially due to the Steelers' poor offensive line, but partly their own doing. Now, Mendenhall's not going to come in and rush for 200 yards, but he's the best back they have on the team, and with their new offensive focus of throwing the ball, he doesn't need to come in and carry the offense.
Then there is Philly, who just seems like a mess on offense. I love Lesean McCoy, but he really struggled to score against the Giants last week. Numerous goal to go situations for him where he just couldn't get it done. And Vick is still not playing particularly well. I could see Pittsburgh really making Philly work for its points this week. I like them to get the win coming off their bye week. Pittsburgh 27 Philly 23
John: I like the Steelers here. They're 1-2 coming off a bye with key players Polamalu, Harrison and Mendenhall coming back. They need this win or it's going to be tough to make the playoffs. Eagles seem like pretenders to me. I like the Steelers at home in a big game for them. Steelers 24-17
Seattle (2-2) at Carolina (1-3) 4:05 PM
Bret: Instant thought: Seattle loses on the road. And I'm tempted to leave it at that....but I won't.
And I won't because Carolina has the worst rush defense in the league, and all Seattle wants to do is hand the ball off to Lynch and leave it at that. They'll be able to do that, and that'll be the story of the game.
Marshawn Lynch 27 carries for 150 yards and 3 TDs. Carolina unable to establish a rhythm offensively. Seattle 27 Carolina 16
Mike: Okay, I think I already addressed Carolina's poor end game performance last week enough that we don't need to rehash it here. Fortunately for the Panthers, Seattle probably can't punish their secondary quite like Atlanta did. This is a very dangerous game for the Seahawks. They are playing on the road, against an offense that's capable of putting up points and making you play from behind, which is a nightmare situation for Seattle. Russell Wilson continues to struggle, which really isn't surprising, and kind of makes you wonder how Matt Flynn would have looked through four games. I'm picking Seattle to eke out a victory, but if Carolina comes out strong in the first quarter, I'm not sure Seattle will be able to catch up. Seattle 23 Carolina 21
John: While Russell Wilson impressed people in the preseason, he's had a few games so far this year that make us remember that he's still just a rookie QB that is going to make mistakes. With that said, I like Seattle here. I think they'll control the game by running Marshawn Lynch and the Panthers will have trouble running effectively against the fast Seahawks defense. If the Panthers can't run the offense struggles. Seahawks 23-20
Chicago (3-1) at Jacksonville (1-3) 4:05 PM
Bret: Chicago's defense is going to be the story of the game. The kind of pass rush Chicago is going to create is exactly what makes Blane Gabbert look like 2011 Gabbert and not potential-to-be-good 2012 Gabbert.
Defensively Jacksonville has been really disappointing, with only 2 sacks so far this year. Just what Jay Cutler needs - a clean jersey and a game far away from the national spotlight. Nice easy day for the Bears. Chicago 27 Jacksonville 9
Mike: Are we allowed to give up on Blaine Gabbert yet? Is anyone in Florida looking forward to him getting pummeled by the Bears' defense this week? Jacksonville's D might be able to keep this one close for a bit, but man, this seems like a total mismatch. I wish you could bet money on turnover margins, because I'd bet pretty heavy on Chicago being positive in that category this week. I'll easily take the six points on the road the Bears are giving here. Chicago 34 Jacksonville 17
John: The Bears defense will win this game for them like they did last week against the Cowboys. Jay Cutler won't have to do much except find Brandon Marshall a few times for some scores. Home field doesn't matter for the Jags. Their fans know what they're getting. Bears 23-10
Tennessee (1-3) at Minnesota (3-1) 4:25 PM
Bret: My pre-season prediction of Minnesota getting to 5-3 continues to come to fruition. The Minnesota offense may be the most successful dink and dunk in NFL history. (Ponder has a minuscule 6.7 yards per attempt this year.) But, it's working! And you can't argue with success. Tennessee may be the most rudderless team in the NFL right now, and going on the road to a team with a lot going for it - and a defense playing exceptionally well - is not a recipe for success. I don't see Tennessee getting anything going offensively, and Minnesota putting together a couple of solid drives to win a rather uneventful game. Minnesota 20 Tennessee 10
Mike: Props to Minnesota's defense, they've been a feisty bunch and look much better than I had anticipated coming into the season. And I'm starting to really like Christian Ponder. I wasn't totally on board with him after his rookie season, but he had glimpses against the Packers of being really resilient on third down. He's very opportunistic, and I love a QB that is an effective runner. It's always been one of Aaron Rodgers' more underrated skills, and Ponder's the same way. You don't really think about it with him, then all of a sudden he'll bust out a 15-yard run out of nowhere for a big first down (Remember that 40-yard TD run he had against the Niners a couple weeks ago?).
With Ponder behind center, Kyle Rudolph providing a solid target to throw to, Adrian Peterson looking pretty impressive, and now Jerome Simpson back from suspension providing the Vikings with a deep threat and really just someone else to draw attention away from Percy Harvin, this might not be such a bad team. Basically, the opposite of Tennessee. Jake Locker is out with a separated shoulder, and I'm not sure if they're expecting Titans fans to be bummed out or celebrating over that news. I mean, congrats to Chris Johnson on practically doubling his rushing total for the season last week, but is there any reason to think that Tennessee is not still one of the five worst teams in football? Unless they can somehow pull a Minnesota and efficiently and effectively run their offense, they have no chance in this game. Minnesota 28 Tennessee 17
John: The Vikings are surprising me. In this game it won't be a surprise. They have offensive weapons in Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin plus a defense that is above average, so I see them taking care of business at home. Vikings 27-13
Denver (2-2) at New England (2-2) 4:25 PM
Bret: Now here's an interesting game. Denver put together a complete game last week - against the Raiders. New England finally let the offense loose in the 2nd half last week - against the Bills. Does that really tell us anything about either team?
I like the direction Denver has been going the past few weeks. Manning and the receivers have improved their timing and communication each week - with the only receiver left out seeming to be Decker - and the running game is developing into a real threat. Watch for Ronnie Hillman to become more and more of a threat out of the backfield.
Defensively for Denver, the unheralded defensive tackles I said had to step up to keep the defense afloat have done just that. They'll need to do the same this week to allow Denver to keep 5 players in the secondary to combat New England's weapons. Denver will really need to improve their pass rush this week as well. Dumervill and Miller have been getting close, just not all the way a lot this year - they'll have to be a step quicker.
New England, I think, hasn't figured themselves out yet. Offensively they have almost too many weapons, and can't seem to figure exactly what they want to do or stick with it. Denver struggles against tight ends, and I'm sure the Patriots know that. I don't think they have anyone who can come close to covering Gronkowski, and of all the pass catchers for the Patriots, he's the one they're going to have to go to be successful.
Defensively, I don't think New England will be able to match up with Denver's passing game - and I don't think they'll be able to rattle Manning - so I expect Denver to score.
The question is can they outscore New England? I'm not sure they can. I see a lot of points here, and another Manning/Pats classic. I'll give it to the home team by a point - but don't be shocked to see these two playing again in January. New England 35 Denver 34
Mike: Funny that both of these teams are 2-2, as it doesn't really feel like they should have the same record. New England had the surprising loss to the Cardinals and the tough loss to the Ravens, but blew out the Bills last week and seem to be one of the top three teams in the AFC. Denver looked bad against Houston and struggled against Atlanta. They looked much better last week, but I don't think anyone trusts them yet.
I think Denver's got a shot here if they can run the ball well. Ronnie Hillman has started to look better now that he's recovered from his hamstring injury, and McGahee is capable of having a good game, but Peyton needs that running game to have the offense clicking. This isn't the Colts where the run game was quite secondary in the game plan. The offense can't just do it all through the air.
The biggest question will be which New England offense shows up? They looked fantastic in all facets of the game last week, but they were also a little pissed off after losing two in a row, they were playing a Bills team that is susceptible to games like that, and honestly they struggled for a good part of the first half to really move the ball. They should take care of business at home, but I don't think this is quite as much of a lock as some people are making it out to be. New England 34 Denver 27
John: Last week the Pats were down in Buffalo 21-7. If they lost that game they would be 1-3. Instead they outscored the Bills 45-7 the rest of the way to win the game 52-28 and send a message to every team in the league that they are still a Super Bowl favorite. That was their wakeup call. While I respect Peyton Manning and the Broncos a lot, I like Tom Brady and the Pats to win this game because of their balance on offense. Teams are trying to defend the pass so much that it's opening up the run and the Pats are capitalizing on that. Brady will have a big game like usual, but look for Stevan Ridley to continue making an impact running the ball. Patriots 34-24
Buffalo (2-2) at San Francisco (3-1) 4:25 PM
Bret: It's easy to write this game off as an obvious San Francisco win, but Buffalo's offense is similar to the Minnesota offense that beat the 9ers two weeks ago. Ball control and running the ball is the only way to beat the 9ers -and I think Buffalo could do it.
Could, but won't. Buffalo's defense has been wildly disappointing - against both the pass and the rush - and soft upfront. San Francisco will push them around and maintain ball control. This game might be close for 3 quarters, but I think San Francisco frustrates Buffalo enough to make them make a mistake and cost themselves the game. San Francisco 21 Buffalo 13
Mike: Similar to last week with the Bills, a healthy CJ Spiller and a healthy Fred Jackson would at least make me seriously consider picking the Bills to cover this week. They're a really good running team, and as we saw with Minnesota, if you can run the ball well, control the clock, get out to an early lead, the Niners are beatable, as they struggle to play from behind. Fred Jackson probably isn't quite 100%, Spiller is feeling better but also is not 100%, which means more of the pressure falls on Ryan Fitzpatrick, and that's just not a winning formula. I'd love to see Buffalo make a game of it, but I just don't see it. San Francisco 24 Buffalo 10
John: I don't think this will be a close game. Niners at home against a Bills team that is coming off an ass kicking last week. I don’t like the Bills chances. 49ers 26-7
San Diego (3-1) at New Orleans (0-4) 8:20 PM
Bret: Three and one? Means nothing to me! I'm going down with the "San Diego is average" ship. An offense featuring Jackie Battle and Robert Meachem? That's just not elite. (And I'm only about 40% sure that Ryan Matthews is any good. If your team is willing to bench you, you're clearly not irreplaceable.)
Defensively, I'll give San Diego credit because they can stuff the run and they're not awful against the pass. Unfortunately that's not a combination needed to beat a team like New Orleans.
New Orleans may be one of the best 0-4 teams in a long time. Their defense is awful, sure - but that offense is dangerous and just waiting to go off. This is the week they do it. An angry Drew Brees takes out 4 weeks of frustration on a secondary without enough depth to keep up with New Orleans options, and they don't let off the gas. New Orleans 52 San Diego 21
Mike: Here's our weird line of the week. Look, I know that you can't trust the Chargers at all, and I get that the Saints still have a good offense even if their defense is terrible and they're playing at home this week. I get all of that. But that still doesn't change the fact that New Orleans has been pretty bad all season, while the Chargers, although inconsistent at times, have certainly played like the better team. So why are the Saints 3.5 point favorites? I don't get the logic. I might even understand making the Saints small favorites, -1 or -1.5 because of home field. I just don't get 3.5 points though. The Saints don't have any semblance of a defense, so I'd expect San Diego to have pretty good luck in moving the ball. I don't expect the Chargers to win big, but I'd certainly expect them to win. San Diego 27 New Orleans 24
John: I'm surprised by the Chargers 3-1 record as I am the Saints 0-4 record. I didn't see this coming from the Chargers. Drew Brees is going for the record of 47 consecutive games with a pass TD. Lucky for him his team can't run well, so they are going to be throwing a lot in this game and I expect a lot of points out of this offense. Finally the Saints get their win thanks to that high powered offense that is tough to stop at home. Saints 41-24
Houston (4-0) at NY Jets (2-2) 8:30 PM (MON)
Bret: Laff. Remember last week when I predicted the 9ers defense would outscore the Jets? Check. Might as well go for it again! Houston's defense will outscore the Jets. People turn this game off at halftime, Tebow starts next week. Houston 34 New York 0
Mike: Well, I'm sure once upon a time this looked like an appealing matchup. Houston is just flying under the radar as the best team in the NFL. Yes, they're getting some recognition for it, but for the most part when it comes to the AFC New England and Baltimore dominate the headlines. Their running game has been incredibly dominant once again, their defense has been very strong once again. They haven't had any super tough or high profile games yet (Denver was their closest), but at the same time they've just been getting the job done without much fanfare.
Then there's the Jets. Sanchez has been bad. What little offensive capability they had in the passing game is now gone with Santonio Holmes out for the year. Shonn Greene still is not very good. Darrelle Revis is out for the year. Mark Sanchez is Mark Sanchez. Not really a lot for Jets fans to get excited about right now. Nine points is a lot to cover on the road, and I could see this being the "huge line with the really good team up against the really bad team where the underdog covers" game of the week, but I can't in my right mind not pick the Texans to win big here. Houston 28 New York Jets 9
John: How long will it take for the "Tebow" chants to start? It might happen after Mark Sanchez' first possession filled with incompletions. The Jets are hurt by the losses of Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes. They're not easily replaced. The Texans are healthy, bigger, faster and deeper. Home field doesn't matter when the road team is this much better. Texans 30-6
The Degenerates Dungeon
This is where we give you some picks for our best bets of the week. Note that lines moves from the time we write this (Friday AM) to the time the games kickoff. We keep track of the odds and we'll use that to write down our records too.
Records so far:
Mike 12-8 (Last Week 4-1)
John 10-10 (2-3)
Bret 9-11 (4-1)
1. New York Jets under 17
If I could move that like to 3.5 with +500 odds, I'd take it.
2. Denver Broncos +7.5
I see this as closer to a tossup than a full touchdown underdog. Even a money line of +250 is tempting.
3. Cleveland Browns +10
There won't be a ton of scoring in this game, Cleveland keeps it close - a lot like the Baltimore game last week.
4. Kansas City +6
That's a lot of points to be getting at home - even for the Chiefs. They'll keep this one closer than that.
5. Chicago +4.5
I just think their defense causes too much trouble for the Jacksonville passing game to keep this one closer than a TD.
Chicago -4.5 @ Jacksonville - Would have preferred the -3 number this opened up at, but -4.5 is still easy money.
Houston -9 @ New York Jets - Like I said before, I'm sure this line is too good to be true, but I think Houston will absolutely demolish this Jets team.
Houston @ New York Jets Under 41.5 - I think the Jets have to score double digits to get to this O/U number, and I don't think that's happening.
Baltimore -6 @ Kansas City - Top 3 AFC team going up against a bottom 3 AFC team. That's not worth at least 7 points?
Tennessee @ Minnesota -5.5 - Had to find a home favorite somewhere. Another bottom 3 team getting less than a TD on the road? Good enough for me.
@ San Francisco -9.5 over Buffalo - Good line. I think it will be a blowout.
Atlanta/Washington over 51.5 - It's a high number, but with these two offenses I still like the over.
@ Cincinnati -3 over Miami - Only three points at home for a 3-1 team against a 1-3 team? Bengals will play well and win.
@ New Orleans -3.5 over San Diego - I believe in you, Saints. At least this week I do.
@ Vikings -5.5 over Titans - Titans are awful. Especially in a tough dome environment they aren't used to.
That's all from us for this week. Follow us on Twitter:
You can also email John Canton at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.