Last week was a struggle as I went just 7-7 and 6-8 to bring the records on the year 93-54 and 74-73.
Falcons (-1.5) over BUCCANEERS- I’m sure most thought early in the year that this would be a big game in the NFC South, but instead its only importance is draft position. The Bucs are usually more competitive than the Falcons who have already packed it in, but coming off their Monday win I could see them having a sluggish start. Falcons 23 Buccaneers 20
BILLS (-1.5) over Jets- It seems like every week the numbers say take the Bills and every week they fail to cover and hopefully this will be no different. Jets have been up and down all year and I don’t usually have good feelings about them coming out of the bye week. Jets can survive a loss but the Bills will call it a year if they lose this week. Bills 23 Jets 20
Ravens (+2.5) over BEARS- Intriguing game with the loser taking a significant blow to their playoff hopes plus you have a side story of Jay Cutler being overshadowed by Josh McCown right now. Chicago has more talent but there are areas where the Ravens will pick up big yards in a hurry. Bears receivers vs Ravens secondary probably makes the difference in who wins. Bears 26 Ravens 24
BENGALS (-6.5) over Browns- If the Browns can find a way to pull this one out they are amazingly right in the thick of the playoff chase. The Bengals are on a bad streak right now and I don’t think I can ever pick them in a close game, but they should be able to shut down the offensively challenged Browns to keep the coaching decisions out of the headlines. Bengals 21 Browns 14
Lions (-2.5) over Steelers– The Steelers name carries a ton of weight because even on the road I expected the Lions to be a bigger favorite. Who knows what the real story is behind the Steelers and Roethlisberger but I tend to think it has to be a distraction. Steelers don’t have the firepower to keep up. Lions 28 Steelers 19
Raiders (+6.5) over TEXANS– I get that the Raiders are bad but this line is far too big to be picking Houston. Houston plays hard but will make more than their share of mistakes to keep a team like the Raiders alive. Raiders could be evaluating QB’s right now which could be scary moving forward but the Texans are in the same boat too. Close game. Texans 20 Raiders 17
EAGLES (-3.5) over Redskins– I am a little hesitant on this because the Eagles have been so bad at home but this should be the game where they get their first win. Washington can’t get out of their own way and their QB just is not the same player after injury and he was their team last season. Eagles 30 Redskins 24
Cardinals (-6.5) over JAGUARS– The Jaguars won a game. Making it two in a row against this defense will be impossible. Cardinals 31 Jaguars 13
Chargers (-1.5) over DOLPHINS- Another really good matchup this week with potential playoff implications. Miami is kind of in shambles right now and clearly has a leadership void. They need someone to stand up and take charge but it does not seem like they have that player. San Diego is all over the place with their play each week, but Rivers has been better and I’d take my chances with him over Tannehill. Chargers 23 Dolphins 20
Packers (+6.5) over GIANTS- The numbers are definitely skewed for the Packers since I don’t adjust for Rodgers being out, but I do know the Giants and the amount of mistakes that they make is enough to neutralize some of that loss. A Giants win will certainly make the NFC East very interesting. Not sure if that happens. Packers 30 Giants 20
SEAHAWKS (-13.5) over Vikings- In a week filled with good games this will not be one of them unless you are a Seahawks fan that wants to watch a blowout. Seahawks 37 Vikings 14
49ers (+3.5) over SAINTS- Terrific game. If the Niners can find a passing game they can win in New Orleans. Even without the passing game they will compete. This will be one of the Saints first tests of matching up with a really physical team. Ill give the home team the edge but the numbers come out to basically be equal. Saints 23 49ers 20
Chiefs (+8.5) over BRONCOS- I think the Chiefs are the kind of team that can give the Broncos fits. While the Bronco pass attack will likely neutralize some of the pass rush, the Chiefs are disciplined enough to not get beaten by the little screens and passes that the Broncos love to use. Denver’s defense is so bad that Alex Smith might even look adequate. Chiefs 27 Broncos 24
PANTHERS (-2.5) over Patriots- Finally we get a game worth watching on Monday night. I’m a little nervous about Carolina having a hangover after last weeks win and being a little overcome by expectations and a national game, but they are the better team. By the end of the year I really think Carolina will be looked at as the best defense in the NFL and they will go a step closer to getting that recognition after Mondays effort. Panthers 21 Patriots 14
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.