This weekend figures to be one of the best weekends of college football in recent memory, so if you’ve got your eye on that instead of the unfulfilling NFL slate, we certainly don’t blame you.
But that didn’t stop NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian from making their weekly against-the-spread picks on this week’s version of “The Spread.” See their picks for each and every NFL game this weekend below.
But first, here’s how they fared last week.
Mike Cole: 7-5-1 (61-63-4)
Ricky Doyle: 3-9-1 (55-69-4)
Andre Khatchaturian: 7-5-1 (61-63-4)
And now the Week 10 NFL picks with lines courtesy of OddsShark.
THURSDAY, NOV. 9
(-5.5) Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals, 8:30 p.m.
Mike: Cardinals. Points are going to be at a premium here, as neither offense has shown much punch lately. Seattle’s defense gives it the edge, but I just don’t see them pulling away on the road against a divisional foe on a short week.
Ricky: Seahawks. The Cardinals have alternated wins and losses all season, and they won last week. That should be enough, right? If not, consider the Cardinals are 0-4 ATS with a minus-90 point differential against teams that are .500 or better this season. They also are 0-6 ATS in their last six divisional home games.
Andre: Seahawks. Drew Stanton’s completion percentage is below 50 percent and he’s going to struggle mightily against the Seahawks’ defense. If Arizona falls behind early, it takes Adrian Peterson out of the game and puts more pressure on Stanton, who stinks.
SUNDAY, NOV. 12
Cincinnati Bengals at (-5.5) Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m.
Mike: Titans. I was leaning toward taking the points, and then I read this story about how basically the Bengals defense is terrible now. Tennessee’s running game has started to dry up some, but this could be a good spot to get right.
Ricky: Bengals. Cincinnati’s defense is good enough to keep things close against the Titans, who are 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine games when favored by four points or more. (That record includes last week when Tennessee failed to cover a 4.5-point spread at home against the Ravens, who are basically the same team as the Bengals.)
Andre: Titans. Marcus Mariota has only been sacked eight times this season. That line should also help the Titans’ running attack eat the clock. The Bengals have the third-worst turnover differential.
Cleveland Browns at (-12) Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
Mike: Lions. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 103 against the Browns. Not good! Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ offense should roll here.
Ricky: Lions. At this point, I’m honestly having a hard time envisioning a scenario in which I ever take the Browns again.
Andre: Lions. The Browns give the ball away more than 2.5 times per game. Detroit averages two takeaways per game. Turnovers generally lead to good field position and if you give Stafford good field position he will make you pay.
Green Bay Packers at (-5.5) Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bears. Did you see the Packers on Monday night? The Chicago defense is quietly one of the most underrated units in the NFL, and they should have their way against a seemingly clueless Brett Hundley, who’s making his first road start.
Ricky: Packers. Green Bay’s offense looks lost without Aaron Rodgers, but Chicago’s offense isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire, either, as the Bears have been very conservative with rookie Mitchell Trubisky, whose completion percentage (47.5) is the lowest among NFL starting quarterbacks. The Bears win but don’t cover.
Andre: Bears. The Bears are coming off a bye, while the Packers are coming off a Monday night game. Plus, Chicago has the seventh-highest sack rate and the Packers’ offensive line received a major blow with Bryan Bulaga going down last week.
Los Angeles Chargers at (-4) Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.
Mike: Jaguars. The Jags’ run defense is quietly improving, allowing just 3.8 yards per carry over the last four weeks, which has been against some pretty good competition. If they’re able to take away the run and put teams in third-and-long situations, they’re really dangerous.
Ricky: Chargers. The Chargers are 16-1-1 ATS in their last 18 games against AFC South opponents and 11-4-1 ATS in their last 16 games as road underdogs. But mostly, this pick is going off the belief that Los Angeles’ pass rush will get after Blake Bortles, and I still don’t trust him to make a play in crunch time under pressure.
Andre: Chargers. The Jaguars’ defense is impressive, but it’s not very good against the run, allowing 4.9 yards per rush attempt all season. (second-highest in the league). If Melvin Gordon is running the ball well, it’ll take a lot of pressure off Philip Rivers, who has a much better record when he doesn’t throw the ball 40-plus times a game.
(-1) Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins, 1 p.m.
Mike: Redskins. The Vikings haven’t really beaten anyone this season, and they’re playing just their third road game all season.
Ricky: Redskins. The Vikings’ defense has been good (third against the run, seventh against the pass and first in opponent yards per play), but Minnesota has faced one offense currently in the top 10 in yards per game and two in the top 10 in points per game.
Andre: Vikings. Kirk Cousins was sacked six times last week. That mangled offensive line might be in huge trouble against the Vikings’ tough pass rush (tied-seventh in sacks.) The Vikings defense as a whole allows just 4.6 yards per play. Plus, you have to figure the Redskins are a bit worn down because of their gruesome schedule.
(-2.5) New York Jets at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Jets. Josh McCown is a journeyman quarterback who’s pushing 40, but man, he’s been accurate this season, completing 70 percent of his passes. He should systematically pick apart a Bucs defense that has no pass rush and is allowing the third-highest completion percentage against.
Ricky: Jets. Josh McCown vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Oh, joy. Take the Jets because they’re a better football team, and then do anything other than pay attention to this game.
Andre: Jets. I basically wrote the same thing in my notes as Mike, but in different words.
(-3) New Orleans Saints at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
Mike: Saints. The Bills are a dangerous team at home, and the narrative says Drew Brees struggles on the road … but No. 9 is completing more than 70 percent of his passes and has a 104.7 passer rating away from the Superdome this season.
Ricky: Saints. Buffalo’s bend-don’t-break defense has broken more often in recent weeks, while New Orleans’ defense is playing great. Also, the Saints’ offense has been far more productive than the Bills’ offense — New Orleans is third in the NFL in yards per play (6.1), while Buffalo is 28th (4.7).
Andre: Saints. The Saints have the advantage at quarterback, on the ground and in the trenches. Brees is better than Taylor. Alvin Kamara and Mike Ingram fit perfectly with Brees, who has historically thrived with pass-catching running backs. And in the trenches, Brees has been sacked just eight times all year and their pass rush is ninth in defensive sacks.
(-10) Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.
Mike: Steelers. Pittsburgh has won the last three meetings between these two teams by an average of 24 points, including a 21-point at Indy on Thanksgiving night last season.
Ricky: Steelers. Laying double-digit points on the road is risky business, but the Steelers’ defense is finding its stride, meaning Colts QB Jacoby Brissett probably will be sore come Monday morning.
Andre: Steelers. The Steelers are tied for fourth in sacks and they’re going up against the leakiest offensive line in the league. The Colts have allowed a league-high 35 sacks this season. It also helps that Pittsburgh is coming off a bye.
Houston Texans at (-11.5) Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Rams. Remember when the Texans opened the season against Jacksonville and went down 19-0 at halftime and then Bill O’Brien realized he had Deshaun Watson and put him in the game? Expect the same thing to happen here, except without Watson entering the game.
Ricky: Texans. The Rams are the hot new thing in the NFL right now after rattling off three straight wins, including back-to-back blowout victories over the Cardinals and Giants. But the NFL has humbled everyone this season. It’s the Rams’ turn.
Andre: Rams. If Tom Savage couldn’t move against the Colts, he’s probably not going to be able to succeed against the Rams, who are fifth in the league in sack percentage. (I promise that’s the last time I talk about sack percentage this week.)
Dallas Cowboys at (-2.5) Atlanta Falcons, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Falcons. I’m still not a total believer in the Cowboys’ defense, either. The pass rush numbers look nice, sure, but they might be inflated from games against some of the NFL’s worst and/or most banged-up offensive lines (Giants, Denver, Arizona, Green Bay, San Francisco, Washington).
Ricky: Falcons. Atlanta is fighting for its life in the NFC South after falling to Carolina last week. And sometimes desperation can provide the kick in the pants a team needs.
Andre: Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott is dictating the pace of games right now and as a result, the Cowboys are thriving. Matt Ryan’s only win over the last five games has come against the Jets, and something tells me he’ll struggle against Dallas’ devastating pass rush, which ranks third in the league in sacks.
(-2.5) New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: 49ers. The Giants appear to have quit on the 2017 football season.
Ricky: 49ers. Literally flipped a coin here. And even that was way too much time spent on this game.
Andre: 49ers. I’ll go with the home underdog that has a history of keeping games close against bad teams this year.
(-7.5) New England Patriots at Denver Broncos, 8:30 p.m.
Mike: Broncos. Marcus Cannon has done a great job against Von Miller in the past, but he’s likely out Sunday. As is Chris Hogan. Denver’s only hope to cover is its defense, and the Patriots’ offensive injuries should help facilitate that cover.
Ricky: Patriots. Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said Denver’s defense has missed T.J. Ward, a hard-nosed Pro Bowl safety who signed with the Bucs over the offseason. Nothing will prove that more than having to defend Rob Gronkowski, as the Broncos have been shaky against tight ends this season and could really use Ward’s attitude at the back end of their defense.
Andre: Patriots. The Patriots allow a ton of yards, but they’ve been better as of late and it helps that they’re going up against Trevor Siemian this week. The Broncos are currently dead last in turnover differential — not good news when you’re going up against Tom Brady, who’s very careful with the football.
MONDAY, NOV. 13
Miami Dolphins at (-10) Carolina Panthers, 8:30 p.m.
Mike: Dolphins. Just a few too many points, especially considering four of the Dolphins’ last five games have been decided by six points or fewer.
Ricky: Dolphins. The Panthers turn the ball over too much (16 turnovers; 30th in NFL), and Miami’s run defense is good enough to force Carolina into some unsavory third-down situations.
Andre: Dolphins. Why are the Panthers 10-point favorites against an NFL team? Cam Newton has two touchdowns and six interceptions over the last four games. He’s done nothing to show why he deserves to be a 10-point favorite. Carolina’s defense? Tied for 26th in takeaways. They’re not what they used to be.
Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images
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