Home team in CAPS:
Ravens (-3) over PATRIOTS
New England remains a name side — but the roster, top to bottom, clearly isn’t what it was during Bill Belichick’s two-decade heyday. Clever visitors boast sufficient back class to stay in this all the way, even when operating out of their suitcases.
DOLPHINS (+6) over Bills
We’re not looking to go out of our way to buck the sizzling Bills, but we’re sufficiently impressed by Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa to take a prudent position on him at a reasonable price, and the full six with a stout home ’dog fills the bill. Like our odds under the current circumstances.
Bengals (-5) over JETS
Cincinnati has incurred a severe case of Super Bowl-loser-itis — but we expect QB Joe Burrow and friends should be primed to punish a Jets side that appears to remain in rebuilding mode.
PANTHERS (+3) over Saints
Expect Carolina coach Matt Rhule to benefit from a helpful dose of home cooking in order to get past this test, facing up against a Saints outfit that is the worse for the wear after running out of gas in the fourth quarter against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers.
Lions (+6) over VIKINGS
NFC North divisional battle gives Detroit denizens another chance to feel better about themselves, especially now that they’ve gotten a chance to participate in games when actually favored. Minny should win this, though margin of victory is open to debate.
Chiefs (-6.5) over COLTS
We dislike chasing this caliber of favorite too vigorously, since there typically are multiple better things to do when evaluating a representative league card — but Indy looks severely undermanned here, with a blowout well within the realm of possibility.
TITANS (+2.5) over Raiders
Tennessee took the worst of it against the monstrous Bills. They’ll have plenty of company, as the season wears on — and will be eager to rebound against the up-and-down Raiders, themselves a long way from home.
Eagles (-6.5) over COMMANDERS
Many pundits wasted no time looking forward to considerable improvement out of Philly. They were right! The Commanders have taken the worst of if from the Eagles, and those circumstances are apt to continue.
Texans (+2.5) over BEARS
Chicago’s close to a century older than the callow Houston entry. Both sides are heavily relying on their defenses, but the Bears may be overrated due to their Week 1 win over San Fran.
CHARGERS (-7) over Jaguars
At this point in time, doubt Chargers QB Justin Herbert will face the starter at kickoff. Adjust accordingly, if updated prior to kickoff.
BUCCANEERS (-1) over Packers
Fair credit must be accorded to the homestanding Bucs and Tom Brady. We feel that given the task Aaron Rodgers will be facing here, must lean to Bucs, at the market. Close call!
Falcons (+2) over SEAHAWKS
Atlanta continues to deploy improved measures of defensive grit, in our eyes. We’re not yet sold on Seattle’s ability to maintain defensive intensity — even at home. Upset would be no surprise.
Rams (-3.5) over CARDINALS
Rams coach Sean McVay has been coaxing the best from the Cardinals’ defensive brain trust, so this could conceivably be close, but Arizona is a bit too erratic for our tastes, even at home.
49ers (-1.5) over BRONCOS
So long as we get a functioning Jimmy Garoppolo under center for the visitors, we’re willing to lay reasonable numbers with classy 49ers, given that the home side appears to be less than the sum of its parts.
Cowboys (+1) over GIANTS
Given that this is one of the toughest handicaps on this entire card, will lean to side with the visitors, who boast greater experience and innate talent. Could go either way.
Last week: 4-11
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