My tale of two seasons continues — still over .500, but barely. It wasn’t always that way. I was 17-9-1 after six weeks. Since that high-water mark, I have gone an unconscionable 11-18.
So, how will my season go from here on out? If I knew that, I’d be out in Vegas making a living doing this. All kidding aside, I should be able to hit on better than half of my picks since I’m just going with what I view as the best opportunities on the board.
Quick disclaimer here before we begin. I am shying away from the Ravens-Browns game due to lingering questions about Lamar Jackson’s availability (as of this writing) for the contest at M&T Bank Stadium Nov. 28.
Last Week: 2-3
Tennessee Titans (8-3) at New England Patriots (7-4)
Line: New England -5.5
I am going to guess that just before the season started, the Titans would have been favored by four or five points with a rookie quarterback due to be at the helm of a rebuilding Patriots squad. But things have changed, partly because Derrick Henry is most likely out for the remainder of the season. More to the point, the Titans are coming off a shocking home loss to the Houston Texans, and the Pats are good enough for CBS analyst and former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher to change his AFC Super Bowl pick to the Patriots.
The Pick: NEW ENGLAND 29, Tennessee 18
Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) at New York Giants (3-7)
Line: Philadelphia -3.5
It’s as simple as this — I am more and more in on Jalen Hurts and the early work of head coach Nick Sirianni. They are on a two-game winning streak and were good enough to score 40 points on the Saints at home. Now, they go up I-95 to the Meadowlands and face a Giants team led by Joe Judge, who seems to love holding himself accountable after each passing loss. That comes off as less than authentic.
The Pick: PHILADELPHIA 31, New York 21
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) at Indianapolis Colts (6-5)
Line: Tampa Bay -2.5
I am a bit late to the party, but I love what Frank Reich, Carson Wentz and Jonathan Taylor are doing out in the home of the Indy 500. I was a disbeliever going into that game the Colts played in Baltimore, where the Ravens made that late comeback. Since that game, I keep seeing more and more evidence of Wentz playing with the confidence he played with back in Philly before his knee injury. The Colts are 5-1 in their last six. Right now, I think they are the better team from top to bottom.
The Pick: INDIANAPOLIS 26, Tampa Bay 22
Los Angeles Rams (7-3) at Green Bay Packers (8-3)
Line: Green Bay -1
The Rams were last in Green Bay in January for a divisional-round playoff game. They were soundly beaten, 32-18, with Jared Goff at the helm. So it really boils down to this question — are the Rams, with Matthew Stafford, a significantly better version of themselves? I am saying that they are. The Rams are coming off a bye week, too, so Sean McVay has had time to get his talented team refocused after back-to-back losses to Tennessee and San Francisco. Recently acquired linebacker Von Miller has had some time to settle in and get ready to impact the Rams’ defense. It won’t be easy, but I think Stafford goes into Green Bay and does enough to pull out a close one.
The Pick: LOS ANGELES 23, Green Bay 20
Los Angeles Chargers (6-4) at Denver Broncos (5-5)
Line: Los Angeles -2.5
The Lightning Bolts are just 2-2 in their past four, but they are competing against good and solid teams. They lost at home to the Patriots by three, went to Philly and beat the Eagles on the road, then lost by seven to a plucky Vikings squad and then squandered a nice lead late to the Steelers in Los Angeles, only to come back and win, 41-37. I see no way the Broncos can keep up with the type of firepower the Chargers can bring to the table.
The Pick: LOS ANGELES 31, Denver 23
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