Is it too early to call this a “must-win” week for me? I don’t want to dig a bigger hole after a tough 2-4-1 start (thanks for not kicking the extra point, Cardinals!). After nailing the Thursday nighter, I’m looking for bigger and better on Sunday and Monday:
Last week: 2-4-1
Last year: 25-20-1
Detroit (-3) at Carolina
This is a bit of a yuck-fest, but the Lions are still sort of in this thing at 4-5, and a healthy Matthew Stafford against a Teddy Bridgewater-less Panthers team is an appealing choice. Detroit has been better on the road this year, and Carolina just got embarrassed by the Bucs. Take the road favorite here. Pick: Lions.
New England (-2.5) at Houston
The Patriots aren’t out of our lives yet, and Cam Newton appears to be out of his COVID fog now. New England gets Sony Michel back against a pitiful Houston team that is winless against non-Jaguars opponents in 2020. With a postseason berth still in sight, take Belichick’s team to win its third straight. Pick: Patriots.
Miami (buying to -3 at -135) at Denver
It feels like the Dolphins are playing with house money, and the Broncos were fortunate to steal a win over the Chargers in their last home game and are playing with a banged-up Drew Lock. I like Tua Time to keep rolling in the Mile High City. Pick: Dolphins.
New York Jets (buying to +10 at -115) at Los Angeles Chargers
C’mon, Jets! At some point it’s got to be your time, right? The Chargers aren’t much better, and you start wondering, ‘if not now, then when?’ for this horrendous Jets team. If nothing else they should show some fight coming off a near-miss against New England followed by a bye. Pick: Jets.
Green Bay at Indianapolis (-1.5)
As long as Philip Rivers doesn’t try to be, you know, himself, the Colts always have a chance. The AFC is better overall than the NFC, and Green Bay just struggled inexcusably against a much worse AFC South foe last week. With extra rest coming off their big road win in Tennessee, I like the Colts to keep it rolling. Pick: Colts.
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay (-4)
No way the Tom Brady and the Bucs lay another home primetime egg, right? This will be Brady’s first matchup with the Rams since his Super Bowl LIII win, and the Bucs should be motivated to give a national audience a better show than two weeks ago against the Saints. Pick: Buccaneers.
Arizona at Seattle (-3)
Russell Wilson has never — I repeat, NEVER — lost three straight games in his illustrious NFL career. So why start now in a game the Seahawks desperately need? I’m just as big on the fact that this feels like a prime(time) letdown spot for the upstart Cards coming off their improbable Hail Mary win Sunday against the Bills. Are they really good enough to be 7-3 and sweep the Seahawks? I did pick them to reach the NFC title game this year and do still believe they’ve got a shot, but this feels like the perfect opportunity for the Hawks to bounce back and avenge their late October OT loss to their division foes. Pick: Seahawks.