Browns (+2.5) Vs. Broncos:
The Browns head to Denver to take on Case Keenum and this misfit Broncos offense with their most prominent offensive player this season being an undrafted rookie in Phillip Lindsay. This is not the best “spot” on the road off of a big win while playing a team coming home off of a bad loss. That’s not ideal, but I think the Browns are just significantly better at football. The defense creates more havoc than the Broncos do, especially up front. The Browns have exponentially better skill position players on offense. I like the Browns here, even on the money line.
Cowboys (+3) Vs. Colts:
Listen, the Cowboys have been on an insane streak that I have been riding the entire time. Every week, the story stays the same. “Well, the Cowboys have been good, so this is a letdown spot here.” I just don’t think that it’s coming. I think the Cowboys can lose games, but not because they don’t show up. This is a very young and clearly hungry team. All of their best players are relatively young, and that has allowed them to really show up every single week, especially since the adversity early in the year. Ezekiel Elliott has been incredible in the second half of the season. The addition of Amari Cooper and the expansion of Zeke’s passing game role has made this offense much better. They gained 576 yards on the Eagles last week. The Cowboys struggle in the red zone, but I think even that part of the game should be ironed out if they spend time on it. The Colts defense doesn’t have the personnel to just shut down these Cowboys top options. On the offensive side of the Colts, we have seen tight ends gash the Cowboys this season. Eric Ebron projects to have a solid game, but I just think the Cowboys play style along with their talent wins them this game.
Patriots (-2.5) Vs. Steelers:
The Patriots have had the Steelers number for a long time now because of schematic issues similar to what we have seen from the Chiefs/Chargers matchup that occurred on Thursday. One team’s scheme works in most games, but their rival is able to attack the weaknesses. Last week, Keenan Allen obliterated the Steelers’ defense by lining up in the slot and getting a ton of linebackers in coverage. Allen got open basically whenever he wanted. Oh, the Steelers can’t defend slot receivers? Hmmm. The Patriots have a pretty good offense that is centered around forcing bad matchups with tight ends, running backs, and slot receivers. This is the key to the Patriots success vs. the Steelers, and I have never really seen them change. I don’t expect them to now, and I have to take the team with the ability to out-scheme the other team. The Patriots are joining into this game knowing how to attack the Steelers, and it will almost certainly work. The Steelers don’t know what to expect. Typically, the Patriots shadow AB and focus on Bell. Without Bell, we should see one of the Steelers’ WRs get bracket covered, and the other get shadowed with Stephon Gilmore. The Patriots should be able to score much more consistently here, so I’ll eat the 2.5 points on the road.
Seahawks (-3.5) Vs. 49ers:
This smells like a trap spot, but I don’t think I can leave this one on the board. The 49ers talent and experience just don’t stack up. I still think that the Seahawks are kind of running on fumes this season. The only “good” team they have beaten is the Cowboys at home really early in the season. Those weren’t the same Cowboys anyways. The 49ers have a decent amount of young talent on the offensive end, but the injuries are too much for them to overcome here. I think eventually they make too many mistakes to stay in this game. When looking at this game, would you have jumped to the 49ers side if the line was +7.5? I definitely wouldn’t, so I just think we are getting a lot of value here.