PATRIOTS THIS WEEK

Patriots (5-2) at Bills (2-5), 8:15 p.m. Monday (ESPN)

Spread: Patriots by 131/2

Outlook: Buffalo is playing its first Monday night game since 2008. It will not go well. Tom Brady is 28-3 starting against his rival, including 14-2 (with five straight W’s) in western New York. With Derek Anderson at QB again, the Bills’ only hope is New England forgets to pack Brady for the trip.

Prediction: Patriots 41-13

GAME OF THE WEEK

Packers (3-2-1) at Rams (7-0), 4:25 p.m. Sunday

Spread: Rams by 91/2

Outlook: I’m fascinated by what Aaron Rodgers will do as the biggest (point spread) underdog of his career. I have little doubt L.A. stays perfect here; Todd Gurley vs. soft Green Bay run-D is a mismatch. But the Packers, though 0-2 on the road, are coming off a bye that will do Rodgers good, and I trust him, gifted this many points, to keep this inside the number.

Prediction: Rams 31-23

UPSET OF THE WEEK

Seahawks (3-3) at Lions (3-3), 1 p.m. Sunday

Spread: Lions by 21/2

Outlook: I get that Seattle is a team notorious for being much tougher at home than when traveling – our only hesitation on this dice roll, because I think the Seahawks are a better team all-round. Seattle’s defense is jelling, especially against the pass, and its ground game is averaging a stout 157 yards the past four games. Fundamentally, too, I just don’t think Detroit is nearly as impressive as Miami made the Lions seem last week.

Prediction: Seahawks 27-21

OTHER GAMES

Eagles (3-4, -3) over Jaguars (3-4), 23-16: For the season’s final London game, fans get the Disappointment Bowl. Jacksonville has been outscored 57-0 in the past three first halves.Blake Bortles barely keeps his starting job.

At Bears (3-3, -71/2) over Jets (3-4), 27-17: Bet-line leaped two full points as Las Vegas begged anybody to lay money on the Jets. Chicago forces a lot of turnovers and Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold commits a bunch.

At Bengals (4-3, -4) over Buccaneers (3-3), 34-31: Two really bad defenses equal a close, high-scoring game not to be mistaken for a good game. Give Tampa Bay an upset shot if Jameis Winston avoids turnovers – a rarity.

At Chiefs (6-1, -10) over Broncos (3-4), 37-20: Kansas City is on 8-0 run at home in division games. Denver has lost six straight to the Chiefs. Broncos played close in 27-23 Week 4 loss but won’t this time.

At Giants (1-6, -1) over Washington (4-2), 20-17: Washington’s the better all-round squad but the Giants are is just plain due. Washington has lost 10 of 11 trips to the Meadowlands.

At Steelers (3-2-1, -8) over Browns (2-4-1), 31-16: These teams tied in the opener but Pittsburgh is coming on. No Le’Veon Bell is increasingly no problem and James Conner should shred a bad Browns run defense.

Ravens (4-3, -2) over At Panthers (4-2), 19-16: Carolina, on an eight-game home winning streak, is a tempting home underdog but I really love Baltimore’s NFL-best defense. A lot.

Colts (2-5, -3) over At Raiders (1-5), 31-23: Andrew Luck has that Colts offense smokin’ hot. And Jon Gruden keeps trading away his best players for draft picks.

At Cardinals (1-6, +1) over 49ers (1-6), 23-20: Given the woeful records, both teams should be underdogs. The Cardinals are due some home luck and have beaten San Francisco five straight times, including 28-18 in Week 5.

Saints (5-1, +1) over At Vikings (4-2-1), 28-27: The Sunday night stage reprises a 2017 playoff game won by the Vikings in the last seconds. Now watch the Saints exact a dollop of revenge. Minnesota’s defense has humbled rookie QBs the past two games but now gets quite the opposite in the great Drew Brees.

Last week: 8-6 overall, 4-9-1 vs. spread

Season: 72-33-2, 56-47-4

By Greg Cote, Miami Herald


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