Last week’s record against the spread: 7-7-1
Arizona Cardinals (-4) @ San Francisco 49ers
Winner: Arizona Cardinals, 61.5 percent
Pick: San Francisco 49ers +4
Chicago Bears @ Indianapolis Colts (-4.5)
Winner: Indianapolis Colts, 54.6 percent
Pick: Indianapolis Colts -4.5
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins (-3.5)
Winner: Miami Dolphins, 57.7 percent
Pick: Miami Dolphins -3.5
Philadelphia Eagles (-3) @ Detroit Lions
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles, 55.9 percent
According to Inside the Pylon’s Mark Schofield, rookie quarterback Carson Wentz’s success can be attributed not only to the passing concepts that give the rookie simplified reads, but also because the quarterback’s skills are maturing faster than many expected.
New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers, 75 percent
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -7
New England Patriots (-10.5) @ Cleveland Browns
Winner: New England Patriots, 85.6 percent
Pick: Cleveland Browns +10.5
Guess who’s back. Back again. Tom Brady’s back. Tell a friend.
Perhaps Brady will need a game or two to shake off the rust, but his performance during the first game of the season throughout his career has always been solid. He has completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 7.4 yards per attempt with a 3.4-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his first start of a season. That’s nearly identical to his production in every other game with the exception of his touchdown-to-interception ratio, which is lower (2.8).
And the Patriots are going up against the Browns, who rank 25th in Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average.
But over 10 points is a lot to give on the road. According to the simple rating system, which adjusts margin of victory for strength of schedule, the Patriots should be three-point favorites after adjusting for home field, but that doesn’t account for the return of Brady. The NFL forecast at FiveThirtyEight does account for his return, and they have the Patriots as a 7.5-point favorite.
Washington Redskins @ Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
Winner: Baltimore Ravens, 61.7 percent
Pick: Baltimore Ravens -3.5
Houston Texans @ Minnesota Vikings (-6.5)
Winner: Minnesota Vikings, 68.3 percent
Pick: Minnesota Vikings -6.5
Atlanta Falcons @ Denver Broncos (-6)
Winner: Denver Broncos, 77.4 percent
Atlanta’s offense had a monster game last week. Quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 503 yards and four touchdowns and wide receiver Julio Jones caught 12 of those passes for 200 yards and a score. But that was against Carolina.
This week they face the Broncos, who has held all four opponents to under 20 points and 200 passing yards this season. Football Outsiders ranks them as the No. 3 pass defense in 2016 with a defensive line that owns the league’s highest adjusted sack rate (10.2 percent), which factors in down, distance, and opponent. And when Ryan is pressured, his completion percentage drops from 80 to 50 percent this season.
Keep an eye on Broncos linebacker Von Miller. He has 19 total sacks, hits and hurries so far with nine stops at or behind the line of scrimmage.
“He’s a great player; there’s no getting around that,” Ryan said of Miller. “You certainly have to account for where he’s at. But that’s what we work on all week, to try and [build a] game plan so that we can fit the things that we do well to go against what they do well and their personnel.”
Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams (-2.5)
Winner: Los Angeles Rams, 51.3 percent
San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders (-3.5)
Winner: Oakland Raiders, 64.3 percent
Pick: Oakland Raiders -3.5
Cincinnati Bengals (-1) @ Dallas Cowboys
Winner: Cincinnati Bengals, 50.6 percent
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -1
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers (-7.5)
Winner: Green Bay Packers, 68.3 percent
Pick: Green Bay Packers -7.5
If the Giants are going to beat the Packers, they must find a way to get wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. back on track.
He has just 22 catches for 303 yards and no touchdowns after amassing more than 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons.
The game charters at Pro Football Focus rank him 46th of 87 receivers playing at least half their team snaps in 2016 while Football Outsiders rank him No. 25 at the position for Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (51 DYAR). Football Outsiders also have Beckham ranked 34th for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which means he is neither providing the Giants total value nor value per play.
Even his route running is off. In 2014, his rookie year, he averaged 2.74 yards per route run. In 2015, he averaged 2.43. This season, it’s just 1.92 — placing him 21st of 48 receivers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers (-7)
Winner: Carolina Panthers, 67.9 percent
Pick: Carolina Panthers -7