Denver Broncos +7 at Philadelphia Eagles
The Denver Broncos trot cross country into the City of Brotherly Love where the Eagles have been flying high this season. The Eagles’ offense is one of the NFL’s best and Carson Wentz is the reason why. Only in his second season under center and Wentz is on the short list of those being mentioned in the MVP race. The Eagle’s leading rusher is LeGarrette Blount, who is averaging 4.7 yards a carry, but things may be changing now that they’ve acquired former Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi this week via trade. One wouldn’t be “reaching” by saying maybe Ajayi was acquired for this matchup against Denver because the Broncos rush defense is the best in the league, holding two opponents to three yards a rush and 73 yards on the ground per contest. Things don’t get much easier trying to air it out against the Broncos either. When a secondary has Chris Harris Jr and Aquib Talib, it’s no surprise to see they’ve allowed the second-fewest receiving yards in the NFL, behind Jacksonville. The issue for Denver will be the offense as this will be Brock Osweiler’s first start of the season. The last three years have been a roller coaster of sorts for Osweiler: 2015, was the back up in Denver when the team won the Super Bowl; 2016 signed with the Texans for a contract that guaranteed him over $35 million; 2017 was traded to the Browns, who released him before the season started and was picked up by the Broncos to be the back up quarterback to Trevor Siemian. Siemian had to be benched but make no mistake, Osweiler is awful and if he’s “better” than Siemian that’s like saying you’d rather be “nicked” than “scratched.” The Eagles pass defense isn’t terrific, but their play up front will put unwanted pressure on Osweiler who will be forced to make throws. Eagles edge out a close cover 17-7.
The Pick: Philadelphia -7
Detroit Lions -2 at Green Bay Packers
I have a tradition on Monday Night Football. Pretty much the routine is I have a couple of beers with my dad and we watch the game. Yes, we flip to Monday Night Raw during commercial breaks, but that’s neither here nor there. I look forward to watching Monday Night Football because just for that night I pick one of the two teams and become a fan of theirs for the next three hours. This week, two teams I detest in the NFL are playing against each other: The Lions and the Packers. Terrific. . . All of the trends point in Green Bay’s direction: Lions have lost 25 of their last 26 at Lambeau Field; straight up and ATS the Lions are 1-4 in their last five games and Green Bay is 6-2 ATS in their last eight games at home. 61% of the public’s money is going on the Detroit Lions, mostly because people have given up on an Aaron Rodgers-less Packers squad. That’s understandable, but why would anyone be confident putting their money on an entirely healthy Detroit Lions squad? Three of Detroit’s four losses came at under five points; two of their three wins came against two trash-cans disguised as football teams in the Giants and Cardinals. Bottom line is – when something good is expected out of Detroit, they don’t carry through. We all know Matt Stafford doesn’t beat teams with a winning record and for what it’s worth, the Packers are 4-3, with a head coach you can put in the top five of the league every year. Mike McCarthy is going up against a coach in Jim Caldwell who looks like he’s waiting for a bus to pick him up on the sideline. Home underdog, with a smart coach, after a bye week. Gimmie Dat.
The Pick: Green Bay +2
Atlanta Falcons -1.5 at Carolina Panthers
Here is one of those games where the actual line means nothing because we are looking at the point total, which Vegas has set at 42 total points for this NFC South match-up. The Falcons offense is a shell of what it was last year. When you factor in that the personnel is the same, it comes to the departure of offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, who left to take the head coaching job at San Francisco. Falcons coordinator Steve Sarkisian came with some baggage and it looks like by the end of this season, he’ll be packing those same bags when he gets shipped out of town. Last season this Falcons team was number two in the league in total offense. At the mid-point of the 2017 season, they are currently ranked ninth. Now, this offense will go up against the Carolina Panthers defense which is the second-best against the pass and against the run is allowing an impressive 3.8 yards a rush. The Panthers offense lives and dies with quarterback, Cam Newton, who is a freak of nature. Cam is a once in a lifetime kind of athlete, but he is also an emotional diva. Chances are we’ll see more of the latter this week because the team was apparently shocked that the Panthers front office decided to trade wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills earlier this week. This is a team already short on receiving targets and although Benjamin wasn’t great, he was someone Newton had developed a chemistry with over the years. The Falcons defense isn’t terrible and that might be just enough for this low-scoring affair. Falcons will probably edge out the Panthers 17-13.
The Pick: The Under at 42
Good Luck and Wager Wisely!