The Chiefs should stay unbeaten and cover the spread this week.
Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans (-10)
The Browns have lost 15 straight road contests, covering on just three occasions, and look like a bad bet once more on Sunday. They encounter a Texans defense that just lost JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus for the season, but Cleveland has cracked the 20-point plateau just once all year (against the hapless Colts). Now they’re faced with a quarterback conundrum of sorts, as DeShone Kizer was benched last week in favor of Kevin Hogan, who held his own in the second half against the Jets in a 17-14 defeat. No matter their decision, Houston’s offense is far more dynamic thanks to rookie sensation DeShaun Watson. The Texans are 3-1 ATS in games started by Watson this year and have averaged over 44 PPG in their last three contests.
Expect Houston to dominate the time of possession battle en route to a comfortable victory at home.
The pick: Texans -10
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5)
The Chiefs have won and covered in all five games they’ve played this season and should run that streak up to six against the underachieving Steelers.
Kansas City has the number-one scoring offense in the league and is poised to take advantage of a glaring mismatch in the ground game. The Chiefs’ rushing attack, led by Kareem Hunt, is the NFL’s second-best by YPG and will face the league’s fourth-worst run stoppers. Pittsburgh has the best pass-stopping unit in football but Alex Smith is having a career-year, leading the league’s 10th-best aerial attack.
Age appears to be catching up to Ben Roethlisberger, who threw five INTs to the Jaguars at home last week. Le’Veon Bell has been solid but not spectacular this year, with just one 100-yard game under his belt through five weeks. His longest carry this season is just 21 yards. It’s hard to envision the Steelers matching strides with the league’s best team on the road. The Chiefs are the best bet of the week.
The pick: Chiefs -4.5
New York Giants at Denver Broncos (-11.5)
Eli Manning faces a daunting task opposing Denver’s defense without Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall (both of whom are lost for the season) and possibly Sterling Shepard (considered day-to-day). The Giants average fewer than 78 YPG rushing, so their run game can’t be counted on either.
New York’s defense should receive a heavy dose of CJ Anderson and the Broncos’ third-rated rushing attack, as the Giants have been highly vulnerable on the ground through five games (29th by YPG). This should enable the Broncos to control the clock, as they usually do (fourth in the NFL by time of possession). Expect Denver to prevail in a lopsided affair on Sunday night.
The pick: Broncos -11.5
Best of the rest (picks in bold)
New England Patriots (-9.5) at New York Jets
Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons (-11.5)
Green Bay Packers (-3) at Minnesota Vikings
San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins (-10)
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints (-5.5)
Chicago Bears at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2) at Arizona Cardinals
Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5)
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders [OFF]
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans [OFF]