Adam's Past Picks
Took the Cowboys in the first meeting, a game in which they outplayed the Eagles and absolutely should have won in Philadelphia had it not been for a variety of circumstances I do not see repeating in Dallas. The Cowboys are more rested entering the game, and this is a tough situational spot for the Eagles going on the road after suffering the blowout loss to the 49ers. Philadelphia is one of the best teams in the NFL, but Dallas at home is a different animal this season (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS). The Cowboys since 2021 are also 11-2 ATS after failing to cover the prior week. The offense is healthy, the defense is feasting and Dallas should pull away in the second half.
The Chiefs' defensive effort last week was massively disappointing, but it was likely a blip from a unit that held the best offenses it has faced this season to 17.5 points on average. Most important for Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes is that Rashee Rice as emerged as a reliable pass catcher, which should serve the offense well down the stretch. Plus, Travis Kelce is primed for a bounce-back performance. Not having Isaiah Pacheco is an issue, but Jerrick McKinnon has often thrived when given extra carries. The Bills are on an 0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS streak away from home (their only road win was at Washington), and Buffalo is 0-2 ATS as underdogs this season.
This should be an interesting showdown in Los Angeles with the Chargers coming off a groan-inducing 6-0 win over the Patriots and the Broncos dropping their first game in six tries. Where this could get rough for LA is the passing game as Russell Wilson should be able to overcome his turnover woes against a porous secondary. Denver, meanwhile, has done a great job forcing turnovers recently, even if those are a measure of luck. And if we get into a one-score game scenario, which coach do you trust? I'll take the one with a Super Bowl ring over the one likely getting fired after the season. Give me the points, though it is interesting so much action is on Denver without the line shifting.
Two things can be true. Zach Wilson is the Jets’ best active QB and never should have been benched for Tim Boyle. New York has problems beyond QB. There’s something to be said for how Wilson plays when his back is against the wall; he always seems to surprise, and that could be the case Sunday. But the Texans have won four of five – all against better QBs – and shown an ability to stop the run, the Jets’ best way of generating offense. Houston still has plenty of weapons with Tank Dell out (Nico Collins, anyone?). The weather will keep this low-scoring, which is partially why the line has been halved (-6), but this could be a pull-away Texans win.
The Ravens and Lamar Jackson have been dominant against NFC teams. Baltimore should run all over Los Angeles, and off a bye, there's no doubt the Ravens will be ready for the Rams’ run game, which opened up its passing last week. LA and Matthew Stafford have beaten up on rough defenses, and while this might be close in the first half, Baltimore pulling away over the final 30 minutes feels like an inevitability. Hate that the hook came in and made this tougher to stomach, but Sean McVay is 6-15-1 ATS against teams with extra preparation, and the weather works in the Ravens’ favor. The Rams offense is far worse on the road, and its defense is the weakest unit in the game.
Fading the Browns on the road was a successful play last week, and while we pointed out they are far better defensively at home, it’s important to note they have beaten up on numerous poor offenses while in Cleveland. That said, the Jaguars enter with Trevor Lawrence at least hobbled and both leading receiver Christian Kirk and starting LT Walker Little are out. Two of Jacksonville’s top three cornerbacks are also down. Joe Flacco showed enough last week to believe he can capably lead the Browns, and with the line well under a field goal at home, I’ll take a shot.
Interesting spot for the Lions going back on the road outdoors against a Bears team that been stepping up since the return of Justin Fields. This is the second time these teams are meeting in Chicago’s last three games, and it’s trying to avoid a season sweep. Let’s remember that Detroit is 5-1 straight up and ATS on the road with the lone failure coming at Baltimore. Chicago is 1-3-1 ATS at home with its lone cover over Las Vegas. Jared Goff should get whatever he wants against this weak Bears secondary, and even if they struggle early, the Lions should pull away in the second half. Would only go a half unit with the hook.
Army has won five of the last seven meetings in this series, and while the Black Knights have largely been impressive under Jeff Monken, they have dipped this year. Meanwhile, the Midshipmen have righted the ... nevermind ... in Year 1 under Brian Newberry with their best season since 2019. Navy has done that on the back of its defense, which actually ranks quite well nationally in nearly every category except defending the pass. Army, meanwhile, is horrendous defensively -- particularly against the run, which is where Navy's offense thrives. Generally, I have a much stronger play in the Army-Navy Game. But in this one, with a total around 28, I'm taking the points.
Tough call here. The Packers are getting a lot of love after the nationally televised win over the Lions (second meeting), and they have both won and covered three of their last four games. Meanwhile, belief in the Chiefs seems to be at a near-low – not as low as the temperatures Sunday night at Lambeau Field. Kansas City’s defense should be the difference here. It’s great to see Jordan Love making strides, but he has not faced a unit like this. Rashee Rice emerging should help Patrick Mahomes, and Isiah Pacheco’s burst should be utilized with significant carries given the weather. This will be close for a while, but I like KC to pull away in the fourth quarter and win by a touchdown.
The Rams appear to be getting into a groove now that their offensive weapons are healthy -- yes, Cooper Kupp is back this week despite being largely ineffective this season. The Browns, meanwhile, cannot keep their quarterbacks healthy. Cleveland makes its bones on defense, but the unit is far less effective on the road (where it allows nearly 30 points per game) than at home. Los Angeles is more than capable defensively, and against Joe Flacco (who was sitting on his couch last week), the Rams should be able to feast.
Picking against the Eagles has not been an overly successful move this season, and it’s tough to do so here given we have seen the 49ers go on a significant slide already in 2023. However, it’s tough to argue the rest differential between the teams with Philadelphia playing its third game in 13 days and San Francisco getting 10 days off before this showdown. The Niners have bounced back from their midseason lull, and all of their wins this season have been by margin. Their defense is also better overall, and I don’t see the Eagles getting enough stops to prevail.
It's fair to have zero belief in the Chargers and Brandon Staley, but what am I supposed to believe about the Patriots and Bill Belichick? New England has averaged 6.5 points over the last two weeks. Sure, the defense has only allowed 10.0 points in that span, but that was New England taking advantage of bad quarterbacks. The Pats are amazingly 0-9 ATS in their losses, and if you asked me to simply pick a winner Sunday, it’s Los Angeles – even despite the travel disadvantage. Sure, I wish the line was tighter, but Keenan Allen is active and this is the definition of a must-win game for the Chargers, which frequently crush bad teams.
It’s been tough to trust the Falcons all season, but unless the Jets are going to score twice on defense, I don’t see how Tim Boyle is going to put up points. New York’s defense is one of the best in the league, but it gets exhausted from being on the field constantly. Atlanta is a beatable team in most games, but it has shown an ability to put up points, even against tough defenses. The increased work for Bijan Robinson has been a light at the end of the tunnel for the Falcons, and I like them to eventually prevail by a field goal.
The lack of belief in the Lions is understandable given Jared Goff’s last two performances, but are we really just going to throw out all of his other efforts? Goff is back indoors Sunday -- where he's a better passer -- against a Saints team that is only 2-2 at home this season. New Orleans’ secondary is thinning, and it is down two key pass catchers, though Chris Olave will be active. Detroit enters off extra rest with more time to prepare and get right on both sides of the ball. The hook has come off this line, too, making it a bit more attractive. The Lions are 4-0 ATS when favorites of 2-4 points.
The Broncos’ reliance on an absurd number of turnovers feels unsustainable, but the defensive turnaround is tough to argue. C.J. Stroud has been coughing the ball up recently, and the Texans’ running game falling off a bit may allow Denver to pressure Stroud. Still, Houston’s more explosive offense should win out in the end at home against a Denver team that has won four of its five games on this streak at Mile High. The Broncos are 1-2-1 ATS away from home this season.