Tennessee (+3) @ Jacksonville
Niko: The bad news is that these teams are terrible. The good news is that both quarterbacks (Bortles, Mariota) are young, exciting, and have the makeup of long time pros, or even stars. I’m weirdly excited for this game. I’ll take the home team here and go with the Jags to cover.
Pete: Unlike Niko, I am not excited for this game at all. I think that Bortles is a bit overrated, especially after watching him against the Pats. However, I really like Mariota's makeup. He could be a great quarterback in a few years. I will give this one to the Titans.
Jack: I'll agree with Niko, mainly because i own Mariota and Bortles on my fantasy team, but i do think they are exciting young players. Tennessee lost Jason McCourty recently and i think Bortles with the help of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns will tear up the Titans secondary. Jags easily cover.
Indianapolis (+6) @ Atlanta
Niko: Two of the softest, most over glorified teams in football. The only difference is one has their starting quarterback and is at home. I’ll go with the Falcons to cover.
Pete: Talk about a suck fest. Like Niko said, undoubtedly two of the softest teams in the NFL. With Andrew Luck being out, the Colts could surprisingly be better, but I'm a Matty Ice guy. Falcons at home should cover.
Jack: Matty Ice is the most overrated QB in the NFL. He consistently sucks it up year after year and there are always excuses for it. As Pete said, the Colts might be better without Luck right now and i'll go with Colts to cover.
Denver (+1) @ Chicago
Niko: At this point, even Archie Manning would admit Osweiler probably gives Denver a better shot than Peyton. Brock fits the mold of the Kubiak quarterback to a tee: a big, tall, complete stiff (think Schaub, Flacco). I’m going with Chicago at home here, they’ve played very well as of late.
Pete: Surprisingly, the Bears have played pretty damn well as of late. However, I have a hard time betting against that Denver defense. Jay Cutler has the unique ability to vomit all over himself at any given moment, which most quarterbacks do not process. I'll give this to Denver in a close one.
Jack: This line really jumps out at me. I know Manning isnt playing, but were they really a good offense with Manning? How much worse can it get with Osweiler? Jay Cutler vs this elite defense is a recipe for disaster. Denver wins.
Oakland (-2) @ Detroit
Niko: After consistently being horrific all season, Detroit shocked the world and beat the Pack at Lambeau last Sunday, the place of the last Patriots true loss. I’m going to go ahead and call that an outlier, not a trend. I’ll take the Raiders and their high-powered passing game to cover.
Pete: Experts have been debating about who the next great young quarterback will be. We have heard Andrew Luck's name regurgitated by everyone, by money is on Derek Carr. Couple Carr with Amari Cooper, and you have a pretty good starting core. Against a terrible Detroit team that can't move the football, the Raiders should be fine here.
Jack: I like Oakland a lot. They are making the playoffs and should do fine against this horrible Detroit team. Oakland wins
Dallas (off) @ Miami
Niko: The other NFC East squads may have blown it. No team pulled away and took advantage of Dallas’ health issues and now Romo is presumably healthy and ready to roll. It’s going to be a very tall task for the ‘Boys to win the division, but it’s certainly not impossible. I’ll take the Cowboys here in Miami.
Pete: For the past couple of weeks, I have picked the Cowboys to win against lesser competition. Now that they get Tony Romo back, there is no reason why they shouldn't start rolling. They have an extremely exciting offense and are still somewhat in the mix in a terrible NFC East. If the Cowboys want to make a push for the playoffs, this Sunday is a must win game. I think they will get it done.
Jack: The Cowboys with Romo are an infinitely better team than the Cowboys with Cassell. This game will be an easy win for Dallas.
Tampa Bay (+6) @ Philadelphia
Niko: Philly has been so disappointing this season. Sloppy on O, inconsistent on D. They had a chance to essentially clinch the aforementioned NFC East and failed badly. I think they win this game (Sanchez should be able to do 90% of whatever Bradford was doing), but it’ll be close. I’ll take the points here and go with Tampa Bay.
Pete: Philly is a mess right now at quarterback. The revolving door continues, as Bradford has a concussion and will miss this game. Mark Sanchez is pretty damn good in a back-up role, but he's not a starting quarterback in the National Football League. Tampa Bay has been solid, and that should continue this week.
Jack: This game screams trap. I am very surprised to see the spread this high considering how well Tampa Bay has been playing. Tampa has had an elite run defense the last few weeks and if it continues and they force Sanchize to throw, it could get ugly. Tampa Bay covers.
Washington (+7) @ Carolina
Niko: Tough to go against Carolina here, no matter how well the Redskins have played recently. Plus, Washington is 0-4 on the road so far this year. Panthers cover.
Pete: I want to pick the Redskins SO BAD. I absolutely hate Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. I don't mind a little bit of swagger, but, Cam, you're a quarterback. You shouldn't have an entire dance planned out when you score a touchdown. Its just a matter of time before someone smacks him right in the face. But that isn't going to be Washington this week. Panthers cover.
Jack: Carolina has been playing great football, mainly because of Cam Newton. I see no reason this stops this week. Panthers cover.
St. Louis (+1.5) @ Baltimore
Niko: I keep going with Baltimore just to get burned week after week. I just can’t wrap my head around how bad they’ve been. That being said, I’m going to reluctantly go with the Ravens again at home against Case Keenum (!!!) and the Rams, which says more about how I feel about St. Louis than Baltimore.
Pete: The Ravens haven't been able to catch a break all season, and it couldn't happen to a better team. I hope Harbaugh is crying in his footie pajamas at home as he watches the Pats win another Super Bowl in February. St. Louis will beat the lowly Ravens, who may start looking towards the draft soon, if they haven't already.
Jack: I am having a tough time reading this game, Baltimore has been horrible, but St. Louis hasnt been so hot either. Case Keenum could be great or could look like a HS QB, nobody really knows what he'll bring to the table this week. I do think teams perform better when bad QBs are benched for a different QB with upside, so i'll take St. Louis to win.
New York Jets (off) @ Houston
Niko: These teams are going in opposite directions. The Jets haven’t played a complete game since early October and the Texans just beat the Bengals in Cincinnati. While I think New York is the better ball club, I’m going to give the slight edge here to Houston at home.
Pete: The Texans are a desperate football team right now. With the Colts dwindling, its anybodies division right now. After a sloppy victory against the previously undefeated Bengals, Houston could start to roll. The Jets don't really have a quarterback and their defense, led by Darrelle Revis, may be looking a tad overrated right now. I surprisingly like Houston here.
Jack: Houston has been playing better and the Jets have been going the opposite direction. If this were at New York i may give them a shot, but Houston should take care of business at home.
Kansas City (-3) @ San Diego
Niko: KC is hot, and coming off three straight (Pitt, Detroit, @ Denver) wins. Conversely, San Diego has lost 5 straight. SD stands at 2-7 on the year, with the only victories coming at home against the lowly Lions and Browns. They’re just not a good football team. Poor Philip Rivers. Chiefs cover the road.
Pete: This should be one of the better games of the week. Perhaps the Sneaky Great Game of the Week? Kansas City is hot, and San Diego is, well, not. However, I'm a huge Philip Rivers guy. The dude competes and hate to lose. Too bad he plays for a irrelevant football team in a fake football town. I like the Chiefs here.
Jack: I do not think Kansas City is all that good, but they certainly have been playing a lot better than the Chargers. Rivers is doing all he can but the guys around him just are not getting it done. Chiefs cover.
Green Bay (+1) @ Minnesota
Niko: We find out exactly how good the 7-2 Vikings are this Sunday. I’m not 100% sold yet. I have the Packers bouncing back and re-claiming the lead on the NFC North.
Pete: All indications have this as being the Game of the Week. Minnesota has been surprisingly fantastic this season, while the Packers are showing their true colors as an overrated football team. Don't be fooled, Aaron Rodgers can lead his team to 40 points on any given Sunday, but he just doesn't seem to have the same spark this year. He's forcing the ball, not waiting for plays to develop, and doesn't seem to have any confidence in his team (maybe rightfully so). I like the Vikings at home here, as they show the rest of the NFL that they are a legit threat.
Jack: This is definitely the game of the week. Green Bay has looked horrible. Absolutely horrible. Minnesota is a good football team and i think they can easily win this game. Roll Vikings.
San Francisco (+13) @ Seattle
Niko: Seattle held the 49ers to 8 first downs and 142 total yards a few weeks back in San Francisco. Vernon Davis, who is no longer with the team, gained 61 of those yards. There is no reason to think San Fran will keep this close. Yes, it’s a ton of points, but I’m going to go with the Seahawks to cover.
Pete: This is going to be such a bad game. Neither team can really score, so I think the 13 point spread may be a little bit too big. Seattle should be able to win easily, but don't expect to see a good game.
Jack: Seattle is so overrated, will they even score 13 points? San Fran covers.
Cincinnati (+4) @ Arizona
Niko: Cincy is exactly who we thought they were. Zona covers at home.
Pete: Cincy showed their true colors against the Texans last week, and is anyone really surprised? Andy "Cry Baby" Dalton talking about the integrity of the NFL after JJ Watt makes a pretty lame joke about his hair color pretty much sums up this team. I hope Arizona wipes the floor with them.
Jack: Welp. As both of you have said, Dalton reminded everyone who he really is last week. He did not exactly get help from his receivers, but some of his throws were horrendous. Now he goes on the road against a much better defense in another primetime game. Recipe for disaster. Arizona covers.
Buffalo (+7) @ New England
Niko: With the injuries mounting, no matter how badly I want to (especially during ESPN week), I can’t confidently say this will be a cakewalk. I do think the Pats will cover, but the suddenly hot Bills should keep this competitive throughout. More thoughts coming on the roundtable this weekend.
Pete: Anyone else just despise these Monday night games? They throw off my entire week. Pete hates change. But back to the game. I would be crazy to bet against the Pats in Foxboro in November, but I think that Buffalo is going to keep this game close for at least the first half. The good news is the Pats are reportedly getting a bunch of offensive lineman back, which will give Tommy a lot more time back there to go through his progressions and pick out the open receiver. The Pats should cover and open this game up in the second half. Deeper thoughts coming in the Roundtable.
Jack: The Edelman injury sucks. As many columnists have said this week, do not expect Amendola to take over his role. They play two totally different positions, i expect Dobson and Martin to step up and hopefully provide a fraction of what Edelman does for this team. Gilmore should shadow Gronk, with impressive rookie Ronald Darby on Brandon LaFell. That leaves Amendola and Dobson/Martin needing to make big time plays. I believe in all of those players and think the Pats get it done at home. Pats win and cover.