We went 8-7-1 last week, but felt pretty good about it as a lot of our losses NYJ-PIT, MIA-OAK and KC-BUF were just coin flips to us. And our best bets, the Seahawks, Niners and Falcons all covered. This week, we especially like the Raiders and Chiefs.
Giants -1 at Panthers
I don't typically like the Giants as a favorite, but this is close to a pick 'em, and New York typically plays well on the road. It's also good that Week 2 was a home game, and Carolina is not a long trip. Carolina keeps it close, but the Giants pull out a win. Back New York.
Giants 27 - 24
Buccaneers +7.5 at Cowboys
The Bucs look much improved early on, but we expect Dallas to bounce back at home after an ugly road loss in Seattle. Back the Cowboys who pull away here.
Cowboys 27 - 17
Rams +8 at Bears
Like the Cowboys, the Bears are a good buy-low candidate coming off a bad game. Like the Bucs, the Rams might be much improved, but they're also in the wrong venue at the wrong time. Back the Bears.
Bears 31 - 17
49ers -7 at Vikings
The Niners are arguably the best team in the league, while the Vikings are possibly one of its doormats. But seven points is a lot for an outdoor team to lay in a dome, and even Jim Harbaugh's team could have a letdown after two huge wins. Back the Vikings.
49ers 19 - 13
Lions -3 at Titans
I still maintain the Lions are overrated with a below-average defense, a volume quarterback and not much of a running game. I'll take the ugly-looking Titans at home with the points.
Titans 27 - 24
Bengals +3.5 at Redskins
Both of these teams seem erratic, especially on defense, and until we learn more, we have to consider them as rough equals. In which case, the half-point is nice to have. Back Cincinnati.
Redskins 28 - 27
Chiefs +9 at Saints
The Saints don't look like the same team as last year's version, and Kansas City isn't going to lie down here and easily accept an 0-3 start. I could easily see the Chiefs winning outright. Back Kansas City.
Chiefs 31 - 27
Jets -3 at Dolphins
The Jets defense is still elite when Darrelle Revis plays, but the offense lacks consistency, and the Dolphins will give them a tough game at home. Back Miami.
Dolphins 19 - 17
Bills -3 at Browns
The Browns looked like a real team last week with Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson springing to life, and in that case, I don't think the Bills should be parting with the full FG in Cleveland. Back the Browns.
Browns 23 - 20
Jaguars +3 at Colts
This strikes me as a 50/50 game between two rebuilding teams. The Colts future looks brighter thanks to Andrew Luck, but their present isn't anything special. Back the Jaguars.
Jaguars 20 - 19
Eagles -4 at Cardinals
I'm convinced the Eagles are the sharp play - why else the relatively big line after Arizona's been so tough this year? The metrics have the Eagles as an elite team that's been slowed by turnovers, and since turnovers are often luck, perhaps they're a good value. But while all that's nice, the Cardinals just beat the Patriots in New England, and they're typically much tougher at home. I need to see the Eagles win impressively first. Back Arizona.
Eagles 20 - 17
Falcons +3 at Chargers
Can I fade both of these teams at once? The Falcons were gifted the win Monday night by early turnovers, and they typically don't travel well. The Chargers look good through two games and likely get Ryan Mathews and Antonio Gates back. But something always seems to go wrong for Norv Turner's team early in the year, and I'm loathe to buy in now that the price has gone up. Still, the Chargers are probably the lesser of two evils here. Back San Diego.
Chargers 30 - 24
Texans -1 at Broncos
The Texans are arguably the most balanced team in the league, and J.J. Watt looks like an early candidated for DPOY, but it's hard to play in Denver, and Peyton Manning again looked like his old self once he shook off the rust. Plus Denver's defense is pretty good. Back the Broncos.
Broncos 19 - 16
Steelers -4.5 at Raiders
Other than maybe the Chiefs, is there any team that's gotten off to as ugly a start as the Raiders? And yet this line is only 4.5 and not seven or even 10. How can that be? It's certainly not because the public is supporting Oakland – only 12 percent are on the Raiders. Someone else is holding the line here, and it's got to be the sharps who know how hard it is to win on the road and that no team is as good or bad as it looks on a given week. Back the Raiders who keep it close enough.
Steelers 21 - 20
Patriots +2.5 at Ravens
As long as the Ravens are laying less than three at home, I think this is a good deal. The Patriots aren't to be written off after one bad loss, but at best they're equal to the Ravens, just as they were last year in the AFC Championship game when Billy Cundiff missed the game-tying field goal. Back Baltimore.
Ravens 24 - 21
Packers -3 at Seahawks
Maybe the Packers flex their offensive muscle and reveal themselves to be last year's team, but I can't give them credit for that until I see it this year. Teams are taking away the deep ball, and the Packers, who don't run it well, and are used to striking quickly, haven't yet adapted. Seattle's sound defensively, and they're especially tough to play at home. Back the Seahawks who win outright.
Seahawks 24 - 23
We went 8-7-1 last week to go 17-14-1 on the year. From 1999-2011 we've gone 1,689-1,512 (52.8%), not including ties.