Carolina Panthers (-4.5) at New York Jets
The Panthers and Jets are both coming off a bye and have rewarded their backers all year (both 6-3-1 ATS), but that’s where the similarities end.
The Panthers, winners of three straight, have been hogging the ball all season, ranking first in time of possession. Their seventh-rated rushing attack faces the Jets’ 23rd-ranked run defense, so they should be able to grind away at the game clock while piling up yardage. By contrast, the Josh McCown-led Jets’ offense (25th by YPG) looks overmatched against Carolina’s second-ranked defense by the same measure. The Panthers’ swarming pass rush (fourth with 29 sacks) should have a field day against New York’s O-line, which is fifth-worst in the league.
Cam Newton and company should control this contest from start to finish. They are the best bet of the week.
The pick: Panthers -4.5
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (-11)
The Eagles (9-1, 8-2 ATS) have few weaknesses and little to fear facing the Bears this Sunday.
Chicago likes to move the ball on the ground with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen but they’ll face a stern test against Philly’s top-ranked run prevention unit. Mitchell Trubisky has been uneven when allowed to throw, so he seems ill-equipped to take advantage of the Eagles’ 19th-rated pass defense.
The Bears’ defense has struggled of late, as they’ve allowed over 360 YPG during their three-game losing streak. Philly’s offense has proven to be dynamic, beating teams on the ground with LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi and through the air with Carson Wentz. This is a big number, but the Eagles should cruise at home.
The pick: Eagles -11
Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5) at Arizona Cardinals
The Jaguars have been a pleasant surprise this season and have been able to take their show on the road. In fact, they’ve covered the spread in seven of their last eight road contests. Meanwhile, betting the Cardinals have been like lighting money on fire, as they’re 2-7-1 ATS this year.
Jacksonville is an “old school” team, as they’ve relied on a stout running attack led by Leonard Fournette and a fearsome defense. Arizona’s stoppers are 10th against the rush but have had difficulty controlling run-happy teams like the Eagles, Rams, and most recently, the Texans. The Cardinals’ offense has lacked any kind punch as of late (14.25 PPG last four games) and third-string quarterback Blaine Gabbert will be under duress against the unrelenting Jaguars pass rush (40 sacks, most in the NFL).
Jacksonville has the edge in far too many departments to give the Cardinals a fighting chance to cover.
The pick: Jaguars -4.5
Best of the rest (picks in bold)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-10)
Tennessee Titans (-3.5) at Indianapolis Colts
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-8)
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-10)
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-17)
Seattle Seahawks (-7) at San Francisco 49ers
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (-5)
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5)
Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-14)
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-7)