It’s always smart to focus on the good before the bad, so I will do just that.
I went 4-2 with my Best Bets as part of the Pick Six Podcast, which takes my season record up to 33-30. That’s the good.
Now for the bad. I finally had that terrible week picking all the games against the spread, going 5-9 to drop my season record to 79-68-3. My straight-up record was 7-6-1 to put my season mark at 89-60-1.
Last week was one of those slates that I just didn’t feel like I had a good grasp of heading into making the picks, so I kind of expected a down week. Plus, Brady Quinn, who does the weekly picks show with me on CBS Sports HQ, had almost the identical picks that I had. So I knew, considering his run of bad weeks, that I was on my way to the crapper. One more thing: Will Brinson had a good week, which shows how off a week it was and why I didn’t do as well. He’s been picking like a guy who throws darts at the wall.
So let’s turn it around — and hope like heck I don’t have many of the same picks as Brady Quinn.
The Patriots are rolling with four straight victories, which has them pushing Buffalo in the AFC East. The Falcons looked terrible last week against the Cowboys. But these games are always tough for the visitors. I don’t think that will be the case here. The Patriots will continue to roll as Mac Jones plays well.
Pick: Patriots 27, Falcons 19
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The Saints are playing consecutive road games outside the division, which is tough. The Eagles impressed last week in winning at Denver and Jalen Hurts is improving by the week. But this Saints defense is good and I think it will slow the Eagles offense. Saints get by with just enough offense.
Pick: Saints 21, Eagles 17
New York Jets
The Dolphins have won two straight games to get to 3-7 and beat Baltimore with an impressive defensive showing last week. That defense will make things tough for whoever plays quarterback for the Jets. The Dolphins are banged up at quarterback, but it looks like Tua Tagovailoa will be back. They will win behind their defense.
Pick: Dolphins 23, Jets 10
Washington Football Team at Carolina Panthers (-3.5)
This should be the first start for Cam Newton, and it will come against his former coach, Ron Rivera. Washington is without its two starting defensive ends, which will be a challenge. The Carolina defense is improving by the week, and it will force Taylor Heinicke into some turnovers. Carolina takes it.
Pick: Panthers 24, Washington 16
The Bills got back on track last week with a victory over the Jets, while the Colts edged the Jaguars. Buffalo’s defense continues to play top-level football, as it allows just 3.8 yards per rush on the ground. That’s a problem for Jonathan Taylor and the Colts offense. That will force Carson Wentz to win it, and he won’t. Bills take it.
Pick: Bills 30, Colts 20
Baker Mayfield is banged up, but expected to play. He wasn’t good last week against the Patriots, but the Browns defense was just as bad. The Lions got a tie at Pittsburgh last week, but this is a bad spot against a team that is desperate. Plus, the Lions are playing consecutive road games. Browns big.
Pick: Browns 32, Lions 19
The 49ers impressed in a big way in beating up on the Rams on Monday night. But this won’t be easy, traveling across the country on a short week after a big win. That’s why I like the Jaguars. Their defense is playing well, and that unit will keep them in this game and maybe pull off an upset.
Pick: 49ers 23, Jaguars 21
The Texans are coming off the bye, but there is little to think that they will be much improved from the terrible showings before the time off. Tennessee is rolling right now, but the concern here is a letdown after so many big games. That is natural, but the Texans are so bad it won’t matter. Tennessee rolls.
Pick: Titans 29, Texans 16
The Packers are playing great defense right now, which will present a real challenge for Kirk Cousins and the Vikings. Minnesota was impressive last week winning on the road against the Chargers. But this Packers team will get the offense back on track again to go with a defense that will slow Cousins in what is a big game. Packers take it.
Pick: Packers 24, Vikings 19
The Ravens looked awful in losing to Miami last Thursday. The Bears are coming off their bye, and Justin Fields looked better against the Steelers just before the bye than in any other game. The Ravens don’t look right at all. The Bears will hang around behind their defense. The Ravens win it, but barely.
Pick: Ravens 21, Bears 20
Las Vegas Raiders
The Bengals are coming off the bye, while the Raiders have lost two straight games. Cincinnati wasn’t playing well before its bye and it is facing a desperate team. Look for the Raiders pass rush to get after Joe Burrow and be the difference in this one. Las Vegas gets back on track.
Pick: Raiders 30, Bengals 25
The Cardinals should have Kyler Murray back for this one after they laid an egg without him last week against Carolina. The Seahawks are in survival mode after losing to the Packers last week. The Cardinals, with Murray, will get a tough road victory to really put a damper on Seattle’s playoff chances.
Pick: Cardinals 28, Seahawks 20
Kansas City Chiefs
This is the game of the week, and it should be an offensive shootout between Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott. This past Sunday night, Mahomes got the offense back to what we expected to see before the season. That will carry over here. The Cowboys will score their points as well since the Chiefs defense still isn’t great, so look for a high-scoring game with the Chiefs coming out on top.
Pick: Chiefs 34, Cowboys 30
Pittsburgh Steelers (+4.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers
Ben Roethlisberger could be back for this one after the Steelers tied the Lions when he missed for COVID. The Chargers haven’t looked as crisp on offense for much of the past month, which will be a challenge against the Steelers defense. This will feel like a home game for the Steelers with all the Pittsburgh fans who will be there. It will play out like one, too. The Steelers win it in an upset if Roethlisberger is back. If not, all bets are off. I expect him back.
Pick: Steelers 23, Chargers 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Giants are coming off a bye, while Tampa Bay is coming off a horrible showing at Washington. The Bucs will get back on track on offense here, but the defense is struggling. That’s why I think Daniel Jones and the Giants will hang around.
Pick: Bucs 26, Giants 21