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I am so annoyed with myself regarding the result of the Thursday night game because as much the numbers were telling me one thing, I wrote that the Giants had been playing hard, I knew that the Eagles were fighting injuries and I don’t know why I thought the Eagles were going to be four points clear. Luckily Dan made the same mistake but I need to make sure that I am careful with the lines that I am offered in what looks to be a tough week of picks.

Early Games:

The king of the early games is the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the unbeaten Tennessee Titans in a something has got to give match that is my game of the week. The Titans have come back strongly from their Covid-19 outbreak and won two games in six days but their defense is creaking and not as strong as last year whilst the Steelers are top ten in all phases of the game. I haven’t had a chance to watch the Steelers yet this season so I am really looking forward to seeing if Ryan Tannehill can maintain his level of performance against the league’s second ranked defense by DVOA as well as what physical feat Derek Henry can manage next. This is a meeting of two hard nosed football teams and is not one to be missed.

The other game I am really interested to see the result of is the New Orleans Saints coming of a bye hosting the 3-3 Carolina Panthers. This should be a fun divisional matchup where the Panthers may have lost to the Bears last week, but they will still pose a stiff challenge to a Saints team that just hasn’t clicked this season despite their talent on paper.

My thoughts on the other early games:

  • Both the Lions and the Falcons are coming off wins, but the Lions are going to need to do a lot more to convince whilst we will soon find out if the Falcons turn around last week was a bounce back after their coach was fired or if it is something that can be built upon.
  • The Bills have lost two tough games in a row and some cracks are showing in their defense so a trip to face the Jets is probably just the pick me up they need. I’m not sure about the line, particularly with a number of Bills’ players testing positive for Covid-19, but it’s hard to see where the Jets are going to get a win from at this point.
  • The second battle of Ohio of the year gives the Bengals a chance to avenge their earlier loss against a Browns team whose quarterback situation is even murkier with Baker Mayfield nursing injured ribs. The Bengals need to learn how to finish having taken a twenty-one point early lead against the Colts last week so we shall have to see if the coaching staff can get things heading in the right direction.
  • The Cowboys were abysmal on Monday and the noise surrounding the coaching staff this week were not exactly encouraging although Mike McCarthy does have a point about anonymous sources. Still, if the Cowboys can’t be a struggling Washington team then it could well be time for full panic stations in Dallas for those who are not there already.
  • The Packers will want to prove that last week’s performance was a one off, and it will certainly help that no-one can confuse the Texans defense with the Bucs separated as they are by twenty-four places in the DVOA rankings. The Texans are a team that I need to watch soon to get a better feel for them but I think their offence could give the Packers defense some problems so this could be one of the more entertaining games of the week.

Lions @ Falcons (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Lions
Dan’s Pick:      Falcons

Bills @ Jets (+12.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Jets
Dan’s Pick:      Bills

Browns @ Bengals (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Bengals
Dan’s Pick:      Browns

Cowboys @ Washington (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Washington
Dan’s Pick:      Cowboys

Packers @ Texans (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Packers
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Panthers @ Saints (-7.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Panthers
Dan’s Pick:      Panthers

Steelers @ Titans (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Titans
Dan’s Pick:      Titans

Late Games:

The highlight of the late games for me is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers riding high from their convincing win over the Packers travelling to take on the high scoring Raiders coming of the bye. I clearly don’t have a great feel for Raiders as in week five I stated they would struggle against the Chiefs with their defense ranked in the thirties by DVOA and yet they won that gamet. That said, the Buccaneers defense is a very different proposition to the Chiefs and with the Raiders only managing seven sacks so far this season you can seen Tom Brady being comfortable and picking apart that same thirtieth ranked defense. If the Buccaneers can get more of their receives healthy and in sync with the Buccaneers they could be very scary by the end of the year and this will be a good test of how serious a threat they are.

Late game thoughts:

  • The Chiefs are giving a lot of points to a Broncos team who have won two straight including prevailing over the Patriots last week. I do not think the Broncos have a defense that can stymie the Chiefs that much, but I do wonder if this divisional game might be closer than this line suggests and could have a surprise or two in store.
  • The Patriots struggled last week and Cam Newton did not look good returning from Covid-19 but Bill Belichick teams seldom lose two weeks in a row even if they also don’t usually have a losing record. The 49ers at 3-3 are hanging in despite their injury list and this could be an intriguing game, particularly with Kyle Shanahan scheming again the Patriots defence.
  • The Jaguars are not good, but this is a lot of points to lay for a 1-4 Chargers team whose only win was a close fought affair against the Bengals in week one. As much as rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has impressed, I wonder if they can win this game as convincingly as the line suggests or if this game will be close given how often the Chargers seem to be in close games.

Buccaneers @ Raiders (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:      Raiders

Chiefs @ Broncos (+8.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Broncos
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

49ers @ Patriots (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Patriots
Dan’s Pick:      Patriots

Jaguars @ Chargers (-8.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:      Jaguars

Sunday Night Football:

Seahawks @ Cardinals (+3.5)

The Sunday night game showcases the NFC West meeting of the Seattle Seahawks amd the Arizona Cardinals. The curious thing about the Cardinals is that Kyler Murray only completed nine of his twenty-four attempts against the Cowboy last week as they still ran out easy winners, but they will need to be more efficient than that this week as despite their problems on defense, the Seahawks offence with Russell Wilson playing so well is more than capable of keeping up with the Cardinals. This is a game that definitely has the potential to be a really good contest and whilst I think I do give the edge to the Seahawks, I am not convinced by this line.

Gee’s Pick:       Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:      Seahawks

Monday Night Football

Bears @ Rams (-5.5)

This is an intriguing game where I think the line might be off. The LA Rams have shown plenty of potential this season but are probably a tier below the front runners in the NFC. This is a real test for the Rams as whilst the visiting Chicago Bears are once again limited on offence and relying on their defense to keep them in games, this formula has been enough for them win five games so far this season. The Bears definitely have the players to disrupt quarterback Jared Goff with pressure and so I wonder how the Rams offence will look and whether this is a close tense game or if Sean McVay can scheme enough productivity that the streaky Nick Foles led Bears offence struggles to keep up. A fine matchup to finish off the week.

Gee’s Pick:       Bears
Dan’s Pick:      Rams

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.