We saw a disastrous start last Sunday as we sat at 1-4 after the late afternoon games. Fortunately, our Sunday night and Monday night bets hit and we salvaged a not too terrible 3-4 record for the week. That brings our season long record to 49-46-3, with a surging 5-9 Lock of the Week record. We'll look to win three locks in a row this NFL weekend that spans three days.
Buffalo Bills -6.0 at Denver Broncos
Buffalo is playing some of the best football of any team right now, and Bills mafia is excited that their team is looking at their first AFC East title in 25(!) years. Josh Allen is slinging the ball with confidence and he'll certainly take advantage of an injury-riddled Denver secondary. The fact that the Broncos played Chiefs tough two weeks ago slightly worries me, but I think that was more a testament to Kansas City playing a bit lackadaisically. With a defense that has been improving throughout the season and a reason to be at their best from here out, I fully expect the Bills to win by more than a touchdown.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Over 51.5
Let's try this again. The last matchup between these teams just two weeks ago failed to go over the point total due to neither team scoring just a touchdown in the second half. They combined for 44 first half points and finished with only 46 relative to the 50.5 over/under. Indianapolis's offense is firing on all cylinders right now, and their defense and special teams have been able to create points relatively efficiently as well. I think the Colts put up close to 40 in this one and Deshaun Watson is able to lead a few touchdown drives himself. My only concern is that Indy locks up on defense and the score ends up being something like 31-10. I still like the over a lot in this contest.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings Under 47.0
Dalvin Cook had his worst game to that point of the season when these teams last met, and Chicago's lone touchdown came on a kick return by Cordarrelle Patterson to start the second half. The final score in that one was 19-13, and I don't expect many more points this time around either. The Bears seem to know how to contain the Viking passing and rushing attacks, and Minnesota's offense has somewhat struggled lately as it is. They also clearly don't have a consistent kicker, as Dan Bailey missed a total of four kicks last week. I like the Vikings to have more offensive success than they did in Chicago a few weeks ago, but I don't think it will be a booming day for any offensive player on either side. We're looking at a close game with a final score of around 24-20 either way.
Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans Over 51.5
I don't trust Tennessee's defense at all to stop anyone, but their offense is why I'm confident in picking the over here. Derrick Henry leads the league in rushing yards, and has almost 500 more than the third place running back. His dominance on the ground has opened up the passing game this season, and Ryan Tannehill has two excellent targets in A.J. Brown and Corey Davis to throw to. The Titans are still vying for the top spot in the AFC South, and they know they'll need to put up points if they want to win. Detroit's offense hasn't exactly been efficient this season, but Matthew Stafford has as big of an arm as anyone and they can typically score against poor defenses with little pass rush. That is precisely the defense the Titans have, so I think this could end up being a game where either both teams put up close to 30, or Tennessee runs away with it and nearly reaches the over themselves. Either way, I like our chances of the over hitting in this matchup.
Cleveland Browns at New York Giants Under 44.0
I know, the Browns are coming off a game in which 89 total points were scored and they put up 41 the week before, but this game won't be nearly as high paced or explosive for these offenses. The Giants won four in a row before getting stifled by the Cardinals last week, but those wins were not necessarily because of a powerful offense. They only averaged 21.5 points in those games and allowed no more than 20 in any of them. That included a game against the high-powered Seahawks, who they held to just 12. I don't think they'll do as well this week against a hot Browns offense, but Cleveland's defense is poised to create turnovers and force negative plays against the Giants, who will likely have a similar output as last week when they failed to reach double digits in points. I'm looking for a 24-10 final score in favor of the Browns.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Over 40.5
I could be wrong, but this number just feels way too low to not take the over. Yes, Pittsburgh is on a two game slump and Cincinnati's offense is infinitely worse without Joe Burrow, but doesn't it seem inevitable that the Steelers score over 30 here. Last time they met, it was a 36-10 game in favor of the Steelers, and that seems like a reasonable estimate for the score this time around, too. Pittsburgh is looking for a bounce back game after two straight losses, and the Bengals are as good of an opponent to do that against as anyone. They just allowed the Cowboys, the COWBOYS, to score 30 on them. It feels like the Steelers will try to put up 100 if they can to take out some pent up frustration and regain confidence as they head into the postseason.
Lock of the Week: Kansas City Chiefs -3.0 at New Orleans Saints
I mean, how can anyone confidently bet on the Saints when they just lost to the crippled Eagles, who were starting a rookie quarterback for his first time? It would be one thing if Drew Brees were returning*, but he won't be, which makes a bet for the Chiefs seem like free money. I'll be honest, I was high on the Saints even without Brees until they proved me wrong, and that they did with their loss to Philadelphia last week. Because of that, I'm rolling with the Chiefs and not looking back. There's no chance Kansas City loses this game when a first round bye in the playoffs could be in jeopardy if they lose. Granted, New Orleans has the same thing to play for on their side, but as good as their defense has been in weeks past, I don't see them having an answer for Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, etc. The Chiefs win by ten or more points in this one and the Lock of the Week hits for the third week in a row.
*Update: it has been announced that Brees will be starting, but I already placed my bet so I'm still rolling with the Chiefs at -3 as my Lock of the Week.
Written by Nick Swatson