Picked four games this week. The rest of my contest picks are also included below.
Chargers at Bills (-1)
My line: Chargers -1
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Cowboys (-1.5) at Rams
My line: Rams -1
Analysis: I strongly lean towards the Rams because I don’t know if the Cowboys can win two straight games on the road. With Austin Davis as the Rams quarterback, I don’t trust St. Louis again.
Pick: Pass (Rams)
Redskins at Eagles (-6)
My line: Eagles -6
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I picked the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC North but I think they could be in for some trouble Sunday against Washington. The Eagles are coming off a comeback win on Monday night in Indianapolis. Now they have had a short week to prepare for the Redskins. Next Sunday they play the 49ers so there is also a bit of a look ahead even though this is a division game.
I think the Redskins will come out with new energy now that Kirk Cousins is the quarterback. Robert Griffin III has stolen all the headlines for more than a year regarding his injury. Cousins has been talked about in trade rumors and patiently waited for his turn to be the starter. Now that Griffin is hurt, I think Cousins will take advantage of the opportunity and his teammates will rally around him. My pick will be for the Redskins to cover the spread but don’t be surprised if they win straight up.
Pick: Redskins (+6) Eagles
The NFC North looks like it will be competitive this season so a game like this can go along way in deciding the division winner. The Lions are a small favorite at home but I think they should be the underdog.
The Packers opened the season in Seattle and lost at a stadium where it’s almost impossible to win especially in primetime. Then they found themselves down 21-3 at home to the Jets before Aaron Rodgers found his rhythm and the Packers won by seven. I think Rodgers picks up where he left off. He has a great record against division teams and playing indoors.
It’s hard to tell if the Lions are good or not. They beat a terrible Giants team by three touchdowns, but even then they kept New York hanging around in the game until the fourth quarter. Then they got overmatched by Carolina having a short week to prepare. I think both defenses will struggle on Sunday and Rodgers will make one more play than Stafford to lead Green Bay to victory.
Pick: Packers (+1) over Lions
Super Bowl rematch early in the season. I picked Seattle as a three-point underdog in February, and I like them again this Sunday to beat the Broncos and cover the spread. The Seattle home field advantage is one of the two best in the NFL along with New Orleans. Getting them at home with a spread under a touchdown seems like a bargain at this point.
I think the loss for Seattle last week at San Diego will keep them focused for this game. An angry team and raucous crowd is a team I like to pick.
I haven’t been very impressed with Denver so far this season. They are 0-2 against the spread and don’t seem like they can score at will like the did in 2013. Some players are injured now so I think they will be fine going forward but don’t like them in this situation. Peyton Manning relies on audibles at the line and he might have trouble doing that in Seattle. There won’t be any revenge on Sunday. Take the Seahawks and the points.
Pick: Seahawks (-5) over Broncos
The Chargers are the better team but I like the home favorite Buffalo Bills to win and cover the spread on Sunday. The scheduling situation is a big reason I like the Bills. The Chargers are traveling across the country for an early start time on Sunday. San Diego is also coming off a big win against the Super Bowl champions. Teams that play the Seahawks struggle the week after because Seattle is a physical team.
As I wrote about on my Thursday night preview, I’m reevaluating some of my preseason predictions. I was down on the Bills this season because of their quarterback play. I’m not sure E.J. Manuel is the solution in Buffalo but the rest of the roster has talent at almost every position especially running back and defensive line. It feels odd to think the Bills can be 3-0 by Sunday afternoon but I think that will happen.
Pick: Bills (-1) over Chargers