Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks (-7)
The Seahawks (2-3) are in for a tough game at home this week against the 4-0 Panthers. At first glance they profile as very similar teams. Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and their respective offenses put up enough points to get by, but the calling card for both of these teams is their defense. The Seahawks rank 5th in YPG with only 19.6 PPG allowed, while the Panthers are 10th in YPG with just 17.6 PPG allowed this season. But the biggest difference between these teams is the quality of their offensive lines. The Seahawks have allowed 22 sacks this season, the worst mark in the NFL, while the Panthers have allowed only seven sacks, fifth-best in the league. If Russell Wilson doesn’t find some time in the pocket he will inevitably make mistakes, and the Panthers are among the best in the league at picking off the quarterback, with eight INTs in four games this season. Getting seven points with Carolina, fresh off their bye week no less, is very appealing as it should be a low-scoring affair.
The pick: Panthers +7
Denver Broncos (-4) at Cleveland Browns
The Broncos, 4-1 ATS and undefeated SU this season, look like a good bet again in Cleveland this week. Peyton Manning and his offense haven’t been as productive as in years past, but they’ll meet virtually no resistance against a Browns’ defense that surrenders over 400 YPG and will likely be missing its best playmaking CB, Joe Haden (concussion). The Browns’ offense has shown signs of life against the wretched Raiders and Ravens squads, but I highly doubt Josh McCown will pass for 341 or 421 yards against the number-one ranked defense in football. He’ll more likely be running for his life as the Broncos lead the league in sacks with 22 and will be matched up against a line that’s allowed 18 sacks in five games this year.
RELATED LINK: Chip Kelly not interested in college coaching gigs
The pick: Broncos -4
Miami Dolphins at Tennessee Titans (-2.5)
This game is such a mismatch on paper it’s amazing to me that the Titans aren’t favored by a touchdown or more. The Dolphins just fired their coach and a bye week isn’t going to cure what ails them. Since 2000, teams that fire their coach during the season are 8-17 SU in their next game. Miami is among the worst in the league in both offense (28th in YPG) and defense (29th in YPG) and have mustered just one sack in four games. Marcus Mariota should have a day comparable to his week one decimation of the Buccaneers while the Titans’ third-ranked defense shuts down the anemic Dolphins attack.
The pick: Titans -2.5
Best of the rest (picks in bold)
Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Buffalo Bills
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-3)
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (E)
Kansas City Chiefs at Minnesota Vikings (-4)
Washington Redskins at New York Jets (-6)
Arizona Cardinals (-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers
San Diego Chargers at Green Bay Packers (-10.5)
Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) at San Francisco 49ers
New England Patriots (-8) at Indianapolis Colts
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5)