Arizona Cardinals (-3) at Detroit Lions
Things are falling apart in Detroit, as the Lions dropped to 0-4 after a tough loss in Seattle on Monday night. The Cardinals (3-1), despite losing a hard-fought game to the Rams last week, look much better than the Lions at this point. They are 6-3 ATS on the road going back to last season, so I don’t see the venue posing a problem for Arizona. Once the Cardinals’ 5th-ranked defense stifles Matt Stafford and the lackluster Lions offense (ranked 30th in YPG), Carson Palmer should shred Detroit’s defense with the rejuvenated Larry Fitzgerald and (possibly) Andre Ellington. This could get ugly late as Arizona looks to stay on top in the ultra-competitive NFC West.
The pick: Cardinals -2.5
San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants (-7)
The 49ers lost a bunch of defensive starters in the offseason and it’s shown in their first two road contests this year (47 points surrendered to the Cardinals and 43 to the Steelers). San Fran’s road struggles are nothing new, as they are 1-4 ATS as road underdogs dating back to the waning days of the Jim Harbaugh era. The Giants have had their share of struggles to start the season, but they emerged with a quality win over the Bills in Buffalo last week and could be on the road to another NFC East crown as the division looks very weak. Although the Giants’ defense is almost as bad as it was last year, they should be able to hold the fort as the 49ers have mustered only 48 points in four games, by far the lowest mark in the league. This should be an easy win for “Big Blue”.
The pick: Giants -7
Pittsburgh Steelers at San Diego Chargers (-3)
The Steelers would have won last Thursday if not for some poor kicking by Josh Scobee (who has since been replaced by Chris Boswell), but that doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t look very sharp in their first game since Ben Roethlisberger went down with a knee injury. Now they’ll take their show on the road on Monday night to San Diego, where the Chargers are 9-1 in their last 10 games as a favorite. The Steelers’ 12th-ranked defense will have its hands full with the third-best offensive attack in football, led by Phillip Rivers and an accomplished tandem of running backs (Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead), and field-stretching wideouts (Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson). I don’t foresee the aging Michael Vick matching scores with the Chargers, so it looks like the San Diego fans will go home happy on Monday night.
The pick: Chargers -3
Best of the rest (picks in bold)
Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons (-7.5)
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5)
Seattle Seahawks at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)
St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers (-9.5)
Chicago Bears at Kansas City Chiefs (-9)
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
Buffalo Bills (-2.5) at Tennessee Titans
New England Patriots (-8.5) at Dallas Cowboys
Denver Broncos (-4.5) at Oakland Raiders