Sometimes when I have a rough week, and I do consider 2-4 a rough week, I feel that I am observing football from a parallel universe.
This was not one of those weeks. This was just one of those weeks in which the ball did not bounce my way. I picked Houston (+5.5) to cover against Miami … but the Texans lost by eight. I picked Baltimore (-6) to cover against Minnesota … only for the Ravens to go up seven late, give up that touchdown with about a minute left and win by three in overtime. Plus, I just flat-out missed on two other games.
Any way you slice and dice it, 2-4 feels and smells like 2-4. As we enter Week 10, I’ll embrace my inner gut and hand off another set of … you guessed it, delicious morsels. I’m 25-19-1 overall.
Baltimore Ravens (6-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-7)
The Line: Baltimore -7.5
My guess is the oddsmakers think the possible return of No. 1 quarterback Tua Tagovailoa gives the home team a better shot of keeping it close on a short week, because this line looks about 2 or 2.5 points light. Last week, the Dolphins bested the Texans, who had a rusty Tyrod Taylor as their signal caller. It’s a short week, but Lamar Jackson seems to be as unrusty as anyone, which equals a rough night for the Fins.
The Pick: BALTIMORE 26, Miami 16
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) at Indianapolis Colts (4-5)
The Line: Indianapolis -10.5
Have to admit, my record on laying double digits is always awful. But the Colts’ bet on Carson Wentz being able to come back and play at high level is paying dividends. While their record is just 4-5, don’t blame the offense, which has scored 162 points during the past five weeks. Meanwhile, I have to believe the Jags’ victory against Buffalo is a total anomaly. The Colts will make this a rough day for Urban Meyer, who was grinning at the final whistle last week.
The Pick: INDIANAPOLIS 33, Jacksonville 16
New Orleans (5-3) at Tennessee Titans (7-2)
The Line: Tennessee -3
From all that I read before the season, the Titans were going to have an awful defense. And while my X’s & O’s knowledge will never be top drawer, I have seen the Titans allow just three points to Kansas City and 16 to the Los Angeles Rams. Since their shocking loss to the Jets in Week 4, the Titans have won five in a row and not even the loss of Derrick Henry is slowing them down.
As for the Saints, they had their hearts in the Jameis Winston basket and I am not exactly sure how that was going to play out, but Winston (torn ACL and MCL) is out for the season. That just has made the post-Drew Brees era much, much tougher for Sean Payton. This just doesn’t look like a good spot for the Saints.
The Pick: TENNESSEE 26, New Orleans 18
Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) at Denver Broncos (5-4)
The Line: Denver -3
One of my best buddies — I’ll call him The Bear — who I talk with often about point spreads always tells me the Eagles are not a good bet at home but can be a very dependable road dog. All three Eagles wins have come on the road. They have wins in Atlanta (Week 1), Carolina (Week 5) and Detroit (Week 8).
The Broncos went into Dallas last week and destroyed a lifeless Cowboys team. Are they rolling heading into this one? I think they’ll have some trouble with a pesky Eagles squad and the improving Jalen Hurts at quarterback. If I am wrong, blame it on The Bear.
The Pick: PHILADELPHIA 24, Denver 20
Carolina Panthers (4-5) at Arizona Cardinals (8-1)
The Line: Arizona -10
If Kyler Murray were certain to play, this line would probably be 3.5 points higher. The Panthers will start P.J. Walker at quarterback with Sam Darnold out several weeks due to a fractured shoulder. Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds apparently won’t play, but James Conner is having an amazing comeback season in the desert.
Should Murray not be able to go, Colt McCoy is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league. This really looks like a long afternoon for the Panthers unless Walker pulls off a shocker similar to what Cooper Rush did for Dallas two weeks ago in Minnesota.
The Pick: ARIZONA 31, Carolina 16
Los Angeles Rams (7-2) at San Francisco (3-5)
The Line: Los Angeles -3.5
This game features two teams whose seasons smell a lot different. Despite that stinker at home last Sunday night against the Titans, the Matthew Stafford experiment has been a huge success in Tinseltown. Meanwhile, the 49ers’ season under Kyle Shanahan has both the smell of a stinker and the feel that this could really go south. San Francisco’s decision to move up in the draft to the No. 3 spot and go with North Dakota State’s Trey Lance was a bit of a stunner, and the Niners’ wishy-washy approach with him looks eerily similar to the Packers’ decision two years ago to draft quarterback Jordan Love rather than help the incumbent starter by making the team better.
The Pick: LOS ANGELES 29, San Francisco 19
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