Atlanta Falcons (-4) at Tennessee Titans 

The Titans dropped to 1-4 on the season last week after getting thrashed by the suddenly-rejuvenated Dolphins. Aside from their Week 1 domination of the Buccaneers, the Titans have looked like anything but a good team all season. Now they’ll likely be without rookie QB Marcus Mariota, as he sprained his MCL last Sunday and is listed as doubtful for this game. That means Zach Mettenberger, who has just an 83.5 passer rating in nine games played, will probably start. Once the Falcons’ number-one rush defense stymies RB Bishop Sankey, Mettenberger will be forced to win the game through the air. The Falcons score early and often, and RB Davonta Freeman should have his way with the Titans’ lackluster rush defense. Tennessee has the number-one pass defense statistically, but they’ve faced the likes of Jameis Winston, Josh McCown, Matt Hasselbeck, Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Tannehill at QB this season; not exactly murderer’s row. Matt Ryan should have no problem finding Julio Jones throughout this game as the Falcons cruise to their sixth win of the season. The pick: Falcons -4 

Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers (-4) 

If I gave you five guesses at who the number-one offense in football is, I doubt you would come up with the 2-4 Chargers, but it’s true. Yet they’ve only scored less than 23 PPG, mostly due to poorly-timed turnovers (and it’s worth noting that the Chargers have one of the worst turnover ratios in the NFL at -4). The Chargers have a weak offensive line (17 sacks allowed) but the Raiders do not do a good job at getting to the QB (just 10 sacks on the year), so Phillip Rivers should be able to orchestrate his offense without duress. The Raiders have the seventh-worst defense in the NFL, so the Chargers should have no problem putting up points. I doubt the Raiders 23rd-ranked offense will be able to keep up against their division rivals. The pick: Chargers -4 

Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (-3) 

The 5-0 Panthers showed that they are a legitimate playoff threat last week with a last-minute win in Seattle against the Seahawks. I’m baffled as to why they are only three-point favorites hosting the mediocre Eagles (3-3). That line implies that the spread would be Even at a neutral site. I am far from impressed with the Eagles’ last two wins over the Saints and Giants; the Panthers have played like a far better team than either of those two squads. Eagles fans should be petrified at the prospect of INT-machine Sam Bradford throwing against the dangerous Carolina defense, which has forced 11 turnovers in five games, among the league leaders in that category. I don’t think the Eagles’ defense has an answer for Cam Newton, who has been electrifying so far this year. The undefeated Panthers should stay perfect this week. The pick: Panthers -3 ]

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Best of the rest (picks in bold

  • Buffalo Bills (-4.5) v. Jacksonville Jaguars (London) 
  • Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) at Detroit Lions 
  • New Orleans Saints at Indianapolis Colts (-4.5) 
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (-2) at Kansas City Chiefs 
  • Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins (-4) 
  • New York Jets at New England Patriots (-9) 
  • Cleveland Browns at St. Louis Rams (-6) 
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Redskins (-3) 
  • Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-3.5) 
  • Baltimore Ravens at Arizona Cardinals (-8.5)