There are thirteen games on the schedule with six teams on bye.
Last week’s slate of games were kind of disappointing. There were a lot of games I was excited to see, but there were too many non-competitive games for my taste.
There are some whopper double-digit spreads this week. There’s even one in the London game, which could be a tough cover for the Vikings.
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 8 of the 2017 NFL season.
Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) – My pick is Miami Dolphins
After Miami QB Jay Cutler went out of last week’s game with a rib injury, the Dolphins caught fire. QB Matt Moore lead them to three touchdowns in the final 17 minutes of the game. He then drove them down the field to setup a game-winning field goal. The Ravens have a very good secondary and are known to force turnovers. The Ravens offense isn’t pretty, but if they get any resemblance of a ground game, they could keep this close. The Ravens lack a big, physical receiver. Ravens QB Joe Flacco was his best when he had a tall guy that grabbed balls out of the air. I’m going to take the points.
[LONDON GAME] Minnesota Vikings vs Cleveland Browns (+9.5) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
I really hate London games. Teams just look tired in those games cause they aren’t adjusted to the time and they are worse than most Thursday games. It looks like the Browns may start QB Cody Kessler again. I believe they now know they don’t have the quarterback of the future on the roster. Rookie QB DeShone Kizer has been given a few chances, but he turned the ball over too much. I went back and forth with this pick, but considering the Browns will be without LT Joe Thomas and how well the Vikings defense has been playing, I have to take the Vikings to cover this near-double-digit spread in a foreign country.
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles (-12.5) – My pick is San Francisco 49ers
The Eagles have been great this season. They are balanced on offense and have been able to force turnovers on defense. Both sides of the ball did take a hit on Monday though. They will be without starting LT Jason Peters and LB Jordan Hicks for the season due to injuries. The loss of Peters could have a huge effect on QB Carson Wentz, who has had plenty of time in the pocket due to good pass protection. The Niners were blown out by the Cowboys last week after switching QBs. It looks like QB CJ Beathard is set to start again on Sunday. They have yet to win a game, but before last Sunday, they only had one loss of more than ten points. They had a streak of five losses of less than a field goal. The Niners do have some talent on both sides of the ball, so I’ll be interested to see if they can be competitive. If the spread was ten points or less, I’d probably take the Eagles, but 12.5 points is just a little too high for me.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2) – My pick is Carolina Panthers
There’s one huge similarity these two team share…the inability to run the ball. The Panthers work around it with short passes to RB Christian McCaffrey, but the Bucs just have to ride the arm of QB Jameis Winston. They are as one-dimensional as you get. The Bucs won both meetings last year, but by a field goal or less. The Panthers really need this win. Bills QB Tyrod Taylor shares a lot of characteristics with Panthers QB Cam Newton. They aren’t afraid to tuck and run if nothing is open. Taylor had success doing that and I expect that is how the Panthers will get a big portion of their rushing yards. This game could be very close and I have to take the points.
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (-9) – My pick is New Orleans Saints
The Bears beat the Panthers 17-3 last week…but it was such a fluke win. The Bears needed two defensive touchdowns, since their offense only scored a field goal. Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky only passed the ball seven times and only one of those were to a wide receiver. The Saints defense is pretty darn good and even though Saints QB Drew Brees has had his games with multiple interceptions the last couple years, I have to take the Saints to cover this spread at home.
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (-11) – My pick is Cincinnati Bengals
It’s really hard to change your team’s reputation after failing to score a touchdown in your first two games. The Bengals did just that, fired their offensive coordinator and have since went 4-1 ATS. They failed to win against the spread last week in their 29-14 loss to the Steelers. The Colts are coming off an embarrassing 27-0 loss to the Jaguars. They couldn’t do anything on either side of the ball. Their defense even allowed Jags RB TJ Yeldon to get over 100 rushing yards. TJ FREAKING Yeldon! I would have liked to get this at -10, but I have to take the Bengals to cover. I don’t have much faith in the Colts to stop Bengals RB Joe Mixon. Hell, QB Andy Dalton may even have a good fantasy football game.
Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills (-2.5) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
Oakland comes into this game with a 3-4 outright record and 3-4 ATS. QB Derek Carr has been dealing with a back injury, but played well in their last-minute victory over the Chiefs. Carr had to do just about everything in that game. He threw for 417 yards and three touchdowns. The Chiefs pass defense has struggled since losing safety Eric Berry for the season. The Bills are 4-2 and 4-1-1 ATS. The Bills don’t win pretty, but they get by with a steady offense that doesn’t turn the ball over. Their defense is bend, but don’t break, and they often take chances to force interceptions. I’m sure Oakland is a ‘sexy’ pick after their win over Kansas City, but I have to go with the boring Bills to cover at home.
Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets (+6.5) – My pick is New York jets
Atlanta has a scheduling anomaly and they are playing the entire AFC East in four-straight games. They have lost the first three games and are trying to avoid being swept. Their offense doesn’t look right. QB Matt Ryan can’t move the ball and are abandoning the running game. The Jets are 4-2-1 ATS this season and they haven’t lost against the spread since Week 2. They are 4-0 ATS at home and have caught a few opponents by surprise. The Falcons have to be coming into this game licking their wounds from being dominated by the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. I think the Jets could sneak up on them. I have to take the points.
Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (-7) – My pick is Los Angeles Chargers
After losing their first four games of the season, the Chargers have won three straight games. They also beat the spread in those contests. What changed? Well, I credit the Chargers defense. DE Joey Bosa has five sacks in his last three games. If add him with defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Chris McCain, the Chargers are one of the best pass-rushing teams in the NFL. Los Angeles RB Melvin Gordon has had a pretty good season so far. His numbers have dipped a bit the last two weeks, but hey, at least they are winning. I expect the Chargers to get even better as the season progresses when rookie WR Mike Williams gets more time in the offense. The Patriots dominated the Falcons last week, so this could be a letdown game for them. I know the Pats rarely have those, but let’s face it, the team had to be pumped to win their Super Bowl rematch. This game will be closer than expected with Chargers TE Hunter Henry having a big game. The Pats may still win, but I have to take the points.
Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks (-5) – My pick is Houston Texans
I know playing in front of the ’12th Man’ might be a huge task for a rookie. QB Deshaun Watson just keeps getting better with each passing game. He’s coming off a bye week and will rested and ready to go. Seattle is coming off a tough game at the New York Giants homefield. It took them entire first-half to really get going. QB Russell Wilson had one of his best games of the season passing for 334 yards and three touchdowns. Their offense has been a huge issue this season. They get inconsistent help running the ball and guys aren’t getting open. Wilson has to hold the ball way too long and has eaten a few bad sacks in the process. This game should probably be closer to -3, but I’m glad to hit it at -5 since I’m taking the points. I just think the Texans offense is just clicking right now.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (+2) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are coming off a huge 40-10 win in San Francisco. You can tell their goal was to get back to the basics with RB Ezekiel Elliott being the focus of the offense. QB Dak Prescott can get back to being more of a game manager. The Redskins had a tough loss to the Eagles on Monday Night Football. The fact that Redskins QB Kirk Cousins really doesn’t trust any of his wide receivers is alarming. He is solely relying on his tight ends and running backs to get the job done. This will be an issue if the Cowboys get out to a lead. You can’t come back from any deficit when you have that sort of offense. I’m taking the Cowboys to cover on the road.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions (+3) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
It looks like the Lions will be without WR Golden Tate and could be even more short-handed at the position if Kenny Golladay can’t heal up by this weekend. This is a huge problem since QB Matthew Stafford needs all the pass-catching weapons since they struggle running the ball. This also means Steelers CB Joe Haden will probably be on Lions WR Marvin Jones…which will be bad news for Jones. The Steelers are playing a lot like last year’s team now that RB Le’Veon Bell got the rust out of his legs from the preseason holdout. The defense is playing a lot better the last two games as well. They may have gotten a steal by drafting rookie T.J. Watt who is becoming a game changer on defense. If the Lions had all their receivers, I could be talked into taking the points, but since they will be limited, I have to take the Steelers to cover in Detroit.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-7) – My pick is Kansas City Chiefs
What the hell happened to Denver? QB Trevor Siemian is playing like a guy who shouldn’t be starting in the NFL. It doesn’t help that their running game hasn’t been there the last two weeks. Denver is just having trouble putting points on the board. The Chiefs haven’t had that issue this year. After starting the year winning their first five games, they have lost back-to-back games. They have been exposed as a team who needs to have the lead early in the game to carry out their gameplan. Denver still has a very good defense, so it will be interesting to see how well the #1 offense does against them. I have to go with the Chiefs to cover on Monday Night Football.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob