PATRIOTS THIS WEEK 

TITANS (8-3) at PATRIOTS (7-4), 1 p.m. (CBS)

SPREAD: Patriots by 6 1/2

OUTLOOK: The point spread seems too big at first blush, right? It is big for a reason. This will be a game where Ryan Tannehill really misses Derrick Henry. New England has won five in a row, and its defense, especially in the air, is great. Meanwhile, Mac Jones, steams toward rookie of the year honors. Mike Vrabel is 2-0 vs. Bill Belichick. Call this Revenge of the Mentor.

PREDICTION: New England, 28-16

GAME OF THE WEEK

RAMS (7-3) at PACKERS (8-3), 4:25 p.m. (FOX)

SPREAD: Even

OUTLOOK: I mean, what’s not to love? Two powers that could meet again for the NFC championship. Aaron Donald chasing Aaron Rodgers. The Rams are off a bye but also in a two-game offensive funk. Green Bay is 4-0 at home and on a 10-1 run there, so go with Lambeau.

PREDICTION: Green Bay, 31-23

UPSET OF THE WEEK

CHARGERS (6-4) at BRONCOS (5-5), 4:05 p.m. (CBS)

SPREAD: Chargers by 2 1/2

OUTLOOK: Denver’s superior defense plus the home field vs. the Chargers much better offense makes for a tasty matchup in the dense AFC West. Denver is on a 7-1 run at home vs. the Chargers. L.A. lives and dies with Justin Herbert, and Denver’s top-10 pass D should make it tough.

PREDICTION: Denver, 23-20

OTHER GAMES

@Dolphins (4-7, +2) over Panthers (5-6), 23-20: Plenty of good seats are still available on the Dolphins bandwagon. That’s why Miami is a slight home underdog to a fellow losing-record team despite three wins in a row.

@Bengals (6-4, -4 1/2) over Steelers (5-4-1), 24-21: It seems weird picking Cincy to beat Pittsburgh in this big AFC North matchup. But the Bengals handled their rivals 24-10 in September, and I like them again at home.

Buccaneers (7-3, -3) over @Colts (6-5), 30-24: A big test for Tampa Bay, on a short week after playing Monday, and a contrasting matchup of MVP candidates in Indy’s 22-year-old running beast Jonathan Taylor and Tom Brady, who’s old enough to be his dad.

Eagles (5-6, -3 1/2) over @Giants (3-7), 24-20: NYG lost big Monday night and fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Philly has won three of its last four, is finding a groove with Jalen Hurts and has been a pretty good road team (4-2).

Falcons (4-6, -1) over @Jaguars (2-8), 27-18: Atlanta has a rest/prep edge after playing last Thursday and hopes to have RB Cordarrelle Patterson back from an ankle injury. Near pick-em game is a coin flip, but the thing I trust most here is that turnovers by the Jags will shape the result.

@Texans (2-8, -21/2) over Jets (2-8), 27-20: The inherent volatility of bad teams means no result here would surprise, and Houston stunning the Titans last week doesn’t change that. But NYJ is 0-5 on the road and now missing top RB Michael Carter. The Jets get back rookie QB Zach Wilson … but is that a good thing?

@49ers (5-5, -3) over Vikings (5-5), 26-23: Both teams have climbed back onto periphery of NFC wild-card hunt. Minnesota’s win-path is usually a hot Kirk Cousins, but San Francisco – with the NFL’s No. 3 pass defense – is suited to not let that happen.

@Ravens (7-3, -3 1/2) over Browns (6-5), 27-17: Cleveland and Baker Mayfield are struggling to score lately, topping 17 points only once in past six games. Baltimore expects to have Lamar Jackson back after he sat out last week ill. The Ravens are a strong home team (4-1) and should take care of business.

Seahawks (3-7, +1) over @Washington (4-6), 19-17: The Seahawks have lost five of the past six, Pete Carroll seems out of answers, and Russell Wilson hasn’t looked himself since returning from his finger injury. And still I am riding with the rise of Russ and a big defensive showing here.

Bye weeks: Cardinals (9-2); Chiefs (7-4)

Last week: 10-5 overall; 9-6 vs. spread

Season: 99-65-1 overall; 80-83-2 vs. spread


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.