The NFL season is nearing the halfway point, and that means the Oct. 30 trade deadline is just days away.
We’ve already seen some movement across the league, and there are reports indicating a flurry of activity could still be on the way.
Three guys not on the move, however, are the NESN.com trio of Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian. They’re not on the trading block and are instead back to make their weekly against the spread picks.
Here’s how they fared last week.
Mike Cole: 5-8-1 (49-54-2 overall)
Ricky Doyle: 6-7-1 (49-54-2)
Andre Khatchaturian: 7-6-1 (51-52-2)
And here are their Week 8 picks with lines courtesy of OddsShark.com.
THURSDAY, OCT. 25
Miami Dolphins at (-7.5) Houston Texans, 8:20 p.m. ET
Mike: Texans. It’s a big number, but Miami has is going uphill without two of its best receivers and Brock Osweiler under center on the road against a talented defense on a Thursday night.
Andre: Texans. In the last four weeks, the Texans are undefeated and have allowed the second-fewest yards per play. Their offensive line has been an issue, but Miami’s pass rush is essentially non-existent with just 11 total sacks on the year.
Ricky: Texans. Remember when the Dolphins were 3-0? Yeah, me neither.
SUNDAY, OCT. 28
(-3) Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville, 9:30 a.m. (in London)
Mike: Jaguars. This has all the makings of a defensive struggle, as injuries continue to hamper the Eagles’ offense, while Blake Bortles stands in the way of the Jaguars creating any sort of offensive momentum. I think it comes down to a late field goal, so I’ll grab the points.
Andre: Jaguars. Bortles’ stats over the last three years in London: 3-0 with eight touchdowns and one interception. The Jags average 36 points per game in those games. Philly is also 26th in yards per play differential. An ugly stat for a team that’s favored in a neutral site.
Ricky: Jaguars. The Jaguars typically play well in London, for whatever reason. And while tempers reportedly flared in Jacksonville’s locker room after the Jags’ third straight loss, a trip across the pond — a potentially galvanizing experience? — could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
(-2) Baltimore Ravens at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Panthers. Carolina has won its last five home games, and the Panthers are 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games in Charlotte. The Baltimore defense also hasn’t been as effective on the road, either.
Andre: Panthers. This game might come down to who controls the clock. Carolina is the best rushing team in the NFL, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Baltimore is 31st in that category. Sure, the Ravens have a suffocating defense, but Ricky will explain below just how good Carolina has been at home lately.
Ricky: Panthers. Carolina is 8-0 SU and 6-2 ATS in its last eight home games, winning by an average of eight points per game. And you want to give me points? Sure.
Cleveland Browns at (-8) Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.
Mike: Steelers. One of these weeks, the Browns aren’t going to force a ton of turnovers and just get blown the hell out. I think it’s this week against Ben Roethlisberger and Steelers, who will have something to prove after their six-turnover showing in Week 1 vs. the Browns (which they still tied).
Andre: Browns. Cleveland has enough defensive weapons to force a few turnovers and keep this game close. They’re still the league leaders in takeaways with 20. Six of Cleveland’s seven games have been decided by four points or less and four of those games have gone to overtime.
Ricky: Steelers. Pittsburgh’s offense started clicking before last week’s bye, and that trend will continue this week against a Cleveland defense that ranks 28th in the NFL with 134.7 rushing yards allowed per game. The Steelers’ offensive line will generate some push, and James Conner will continue to build on his AFC-best seven rushing touchdowns.
Denver Broncos at (-10) Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.
Mike: Broncos. The Broncos did an adequate job of slowing down Patrick Mahomes a few weeks ago, and maybe their pass rush is just disruptive enough to keep it within the number here. There’s also going to be some wind, and maybe that will affect the Chiefs’ passing attack. Maybe.
Andre: Broncos. Way too many points in a divisional showdown. Denver is second in yards per rushing attempt and the Chiefs have allowed the third-most yards per rush attempt. The Broncos are also second in the league in sacks. Mahomes’ passer rating dips by 60 points (the sixth-biggest dropoff) when he’s pressured.
Ricky: Chiefs. The Chiefs are 7-0 ATS this season. They’re also 14-1 SU and 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games against AFC West opponents dating back to last season. Most importantly, though, Kansas City’s defense is starting to come around, which might be the scariest thing that happens this Halloween.
New York Jets at (-7) Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.
Mike: Jets. Mitchell Trubisky was way too careless with the ball last week and should have had at least four interceptions against the Patriots. If he does the same this week, expect the Jets — third in the league in takeaways — to make him pay and keep this close.
Andre: Bears. The Jets are extremely hit or miss this year. In three wins, Sam Darnold has seven touchdowns and three interceptions and the Jets average 41.3 points. In four losses, Darnold has three touchdowns and seven picks and the Jets average 14.5 points. I believe Darnold will struggle on the road against a tough Bears defense.
Ricky: Bears. Expect Chicago to respond after back-to-back losses to Miami and New England. The Bears rank second in the NFL with 17 takeaways and a plus-7 turnover differential, while Darnold already has thrown 10 interceptions.
Seattle Seahawks at (-3) Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
Mike: Lions. Detroit’s running game is coming alive, averaging 5.3 yards per carry over their last three games, which should make for an enticing matchup against the Seahawks, who have the NFL’s No. 25 rushing defense.
Andre: Seahawks. Russell Wilson has been getting better protection in the last four games (just seven sacks compared to 12 in the first two games). In those four games, Wilson has completed 68 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and a pick. Overall, Wilson’s passer rating jumps 38 points when he’s kept clean.
Ricky: Lions. It’s weird seeing the Lions with a running game. But that’s the world we now live in, and no one benefits more than Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, who’s been very efficient — 11 touchdown passes to only one interception over his last five games — without having to shoulder the entire offensive load.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at (-4.5) Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m.
Mike: Bengals. The loss of Kwon Alexander is really going to hurt an already shaky Bucs defense, which will have its hands full with the Bengals offense.
Andre: Bucs. The Bengals rank 27th in yards per play differential. They should not be getting 4.5 points against an explosive Tampa offense that’s fourth in yards per play.
Ricky: Bucs. Tampa Bay fired its defensive coordinator last week and then allowed a season-low 305 yards in Week 7. Granted, the improvement came against the Browns. But perhaps the message was received.
(-1) Washington Redskins at New York Giants, 1 p.m.
Mike: Redskins. The Giants’ fire sale has begun. All goods must go!
Andre: Redskins. The Redskins rank fourth in turnover differential and that’s thanks to Alex Smith, who has only thrown two picks this season. Washington’s run defense has also been strong as of late. They held Christian McCaffrey to just 20 rushing yards and Ezekiel Elliott to 33 rushing yards. They will neutralize New York’s lone strength and force Eli Manning to throw the ball a ton.
Ricky: Redskins. It looks like the Giants are in full tank mode. So why should I expect them to win?
(-3) Indianapolis Colts at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m.
Mike: Colts. See above and replace “Giants” with “Raiders.”
Andre: Colts. The Raiders’ pass rush is non-existent (maybe getting rid of Khalil Mack has something to do with that) and when Andrew Luck is kept clean, his completion percentage jumps 14 points and his passer rating jumps nearly 30 points. On the flip side, the Colts are fourth in sacks and Derek Carr’s passer rating drops nearly 70 points when he’s pressured (the third-biggest dropoff).
Ricky: Colts. Speaking of tank mode…
Green Bay Packers at (-9.5) Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: Rams. I just don’t have any reason to believe the Packers will be ready to play. In their two road games this season, they’ve trailed by an average of 21 points at halftime. If they’re down that much against the Rams, not even Aaron Rodgers will be able to make a game of it.
Andre: Packers. Green Bay is the only team in the NFL that ranks in the top 11 in yards per play and yards allowed per play. They’ll keep this game close.
Ricky: Packers. The Rams are a wagon. And they’ll probably win. But I’ve seen enough logic-defying performances by Rodgers over the years to know he’s a few otherworldly throws away from at least keeping the Packers close.
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.
Mike: 49ers. Only because my contract says I need to pick someone.
Andre: 49ers. My toilet bowl smells better than this one.
Ricky: 49ers. This game sucks.
New Orleans Saints at (-1) Minnesota Vikings, 8:20 p.m.
Mike: Vikings. Remember how good the Saints’ defense was last season? It’s been a different story this year, as the New Orleans secondary has been one of the worst in football, which is bad news when you have to go on the road and try to be the first team this season to keep Adam Thielen from racking up at least 100 receiving yards. Vikes in a shootout.
Andre: Saints. New Orleans has the best rush defense in the NFL, allowing just 3.1 yards per carry. Minnesota ranks 27th in rushing yards per game will not be able to establish the run in this game and Kirk Cousins will be forced to throw the ball a lot. Cousins is 5-15-2 when he throws the ball 40 or more times in a game. Minnesota’s biggest strength might be its pass rush, but Brees has only gotten sacked eight times this year.
Ricky: Saints. The Vikings have taken care of business against two rookie quarterbacks — Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold — over the last two weeks. This Sunday? They’ll face an all-time great in Drew Brees, who’s playing exceptional football thanks in large to New Orleans’ assortment of weapons and its strong work along the offensive line. The Saints’ defense also has the personnel to make the Vikings’ offense one-dimensional, in which case Cousins will fall flat on his face.
MONDAY, OCT. 29
(-14) New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, 8:15 p.m.
Mike: Bills. That’s so many points for what will equate to the Bills’ Super Bowl. The Patriots should win comfortably, but they do have some injury concerns, and I wonder whether they just might keep the back door open for a Bills cover.
Andre: Patriots. Only 14 points?! Buffalo is still averaging fewer than four yards per play. The Bills are also third in giveaways and the Patriots, despite their defensive struggles, have been successful in forcing turnovers this year. In their last three meetings, the Patriots have beaten the Bills by an average margin of 19 points.
Ricky: Patriots. There’s still something a little off about this Patriots team despite their four-game winning streak, but nothing brings out the best in New England quite like a trip to Orchard Park, where Bill Belichick’s bunch has gone 11-2-1 ATS in its last 14 matchups with Buffalo.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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