Last week against the spread: 2-2
2021 overall ATS: 10-13-1
We aren’t there yet, but we’re getting there. Where is that, exactly? It’s the place where winners show up to prove themselves, and where losers go to die. With only one team remaining that’s undefeated — the Cardinals — and just four teams remaining with one loss — the Bucs, Packers, Rams and Ravens — a helluva lot of the league is hovering between 4-2 and 2-4. It’s immature to start suggesting that it’s must-win time, but if not now then… when?
I haven’t been off to a good start, and that’s on me. I have all year to cleanse myself of these biases that I carry with me, and sometimes even a whole year isn’t enough. I speak of small sample sizes in terms of a week, or a few weeks, but the reality is with some items a full season is a small sample size. So we’ll see how it goes.
1. Houston Texans (+18) at Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals have a Thursday Night Football matchup coming around the bend against the Packers, and I don’t think they are in any serious rush to go out and destroy the worst organization in the NFL — regardless if two of Arizona’s big-ticket players (DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt) used to play in Houston. Run the ball, keep as many players healthy as you can, and enjoy a comfortable little win at home.
Score prediction: Cardinals 24, Texans 9
2. Tennessee Titans (+4.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
I’m all in on the Chiefs being All The Way Back after winning 31-13 in Washington last week, and it does seem like a decent road spot given that the Titans are playing on a short week after winning an emotional game against the Bills on Monday Night Football. At the same time, at this point I don’t think the Chiefs should be laying more than a field goal on the road against anyone that is league average or better. Tennessee would seem to qualify.
I’m assuming eventually all these Derrick Henry rushes catch up with him, yet at the same time people have been saying that for like three fucking years. The Titans are absolutely a live dog in this matchup, but I think the key to them winning will have more to do with quarterback Ryan Tannehill running play action and beating Kansas City through the air than what everyone expects — which is Henry barreling straight down the field.
Score prediction: Titans 30, Chiefs 29
3. Miami Dolphins (+2.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons
Don’t get this twisted: both of these teams stink. I just find the Dolphins (1-5) to be one of the better bad teams, and I find the Falcons (2-3) a ridiculous team to be favored by 2.5 points on the road. Maybe all the unrest with Tua, and the prospect of trading for DeShaun Watson, is creating a real rift inside the Miami locker room. But at this point I feel like there is more smoke than fire, and in this contest I think the better team is the one playing at home.
Score prediction: Dolphins 33, Falcons 28
4. Las Vegas Raiders (-3) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
I hope I’m wrong, as this is the one legit square pick I am making this week, but what am I missing with the Eagles? The Raiders actually have a decent offense, and the Eagles are just… not that good? Maybe they are, but I am banking on Las Vegas to do work in a line that really doesn’t make that much sense to me.
Score prediction: Raiders 26, Eagles 17