Broncos (1-3) at Patriots (2-2), 1 p.m. Sunday (CBS)

Spread: Patriots by 10

Outlook: Both teams expect their QBs back, with Drew Lock returning after two games out and Cam Newton activated off the COVID list (along with CB Stephon Gilmore). New England has won five in a row in the series, and the Broncos have been a bad road team for a good while. That betting line, though.

Prediction: Patriots, 24-16

GAME OF THE WEEK

Browns (4-1) at Steelers (4-0), 1 p.m. (CBS)

Spread: Steelers by 3 1/2

Outlook: Cleveland is off to its best start since 1994, but even harder to believe is that the Steelers haven’t been 4-0 since 1979! Baker Mayfield (with sore ribs) faces an elite pass rush and a run D that will make offensive balance tough. Add Ben Roethlisberger against a depleted secondary and 16 in a row at home over the Browns by an average margin of 12.5 points and Pittsburgh is still better.

Prediction: Steelers, 34-24

UPSET OF THE WEEK

Texans (1-4) at Titans (4-0), 1 p.m. Sunday

Spread: Titans by 3

Outlook: The Titans played Tuesday, and at 4-0 for first time since 2008, are due a hiccup. Three of Houston’s four losses have been by one score against a very tough schedule. That the home team is only favored by three despite the disparity in won-lost records – that’s telling

Prediction: Texans, 28-24

OTHER GAMES

@Colts (3-2, -8) over Bengals (1-3-1), 27-16: Indy’s defense is really solid, despite last week’s stumble vs. the Browns, and the Colts have won 13 of their last 16 at home. Looks like an uncomfortable day for rookie Joe Burrow, and the Colts will run on a bad ground D to take pressure off Philip Rivers.

@Vikings (1-4, -4) over Falcons (0-5), 34-24: The game is on despite some COVID issues this week in Atlanta, playing its first game since firing coach Dan Quinn and its GM. Key offensive injuries (Julio Jones, Dalvin Cook) are there, but two pliable defenses should make for a shootout just the same.

@Giants (0-5, -3) over Washington (1-4), 24-20: New York has been competitive in four of five losses, especially the past two, and are slightly less awful than the No Names.

Ravens (4-1, -7 1/2) over @Eagles (1-3-1), 27-20: The Eagles face their worst home point spread in 14 years. It’s a risk, but we will hunch Carson Wentz keeps the picks to one, max, and the Eagles cover.

@Panthers (3-2, -2) over Bears (4-1), 20-17: Not sure how Chicago is 4-1 with this offense. Carolina has won three straight with a much-improved D, and QB Teddy Bridgewater is playing great.

Lions (1-3, -3) over @Jaguars (1-4), 31-23: Two bad defenses that can’t stop anybody, so I’ll give the edge to Matthew Stafford and his slightly better offense.

Dolphins (2-3) over Jets (0-5), 37-16: Rarely in this series has Miami been such a favorite, or has a Jets team been so awful. Sam Darnold (shoulder) won’t play, and Joe Flacco – 6-0 in his career vs. Miami – gets the start. But those six were with Baltimore, filet mignon to the Jets’ dog food.

Packers (4-0, even) over @Buccaneers (3-2), 34-26: Old G.O.A.T.s on parade, it’s Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady head-to-head for only the third time (it’s 1-1). It being a rare pick-’em game also adds interest. Tampa has won seven of nine at home against the Packers, but Green Bay averages a league-best 38 points and Rodgers should have Davante Adams back.

Rams (4-1, -3 1/2) over @49ers (2-3), 23-20: QB Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) is back after the Niners were thrashed in Miami last week. But a porous O-line against Aaron Donald and a pass rush with 20 sacks make for a rough return.

Chiefs (4-1, -3 1/2) over @Bills (4-1), 31-20: Both teams are coming off their first loss. Buffalo’s oversold defense has been really disappointing. If Patrick Mahomes can get a cleaner pocket than he had last week, the Chiefs should roll.

@Cowboys (2-3, +2) over Cardinals (3-2), 30-27: Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury leads to capable backup Andy Dalton. Plus, that Dallas defense can’t possibly be this awful every week … can it?

Last week: 10-4, overall; 7-7 vs. spread

Season: 49-27-1; 39-36-2


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.