Our staff picks this week’s NFL games.
CHIEFS (5 1/2) Eagles (O/U: 47 1/2), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: The Eagles did a nice job holding Washington tight end Jordan Reed to 5-36. This week’s monster is Travis Kelce, who had 5-40 against New England.
Eagles vs. spread: 1-0
Chiefs vs. spread: 1-0
Vegas Vic’s take: All in the family. Doug Pederson is like Andy Reid’s son, and has been around the mustache since, well, forever. According to my man Eddie Bark, Andy’s NFL tree has spawned nine former assistants that got a head-coaching job, and the kids from his tree have only beaten Big Red three times in 11 meetings. Before anyone gets too excited about Kansas City’s offensive explosion last Thursday night against New England, just hold on to this: The last two times out, the Patriots D has given up 70 points, or 35 ppg. And then there’s the spread. There’s always the spread. KC has covered only five of the last 16 at home, and at 31%, that ain’t a money maker. Hit the nail flush last week, calling the Birds to cover, and with a fat 5.5 points, looking for a repeat this week. Also, if you’re interested in the over/under totals — and who isn’t — expecting a tight defensive battle from two offensive head coaches. Sadly, K.C. squeezes out a 24-21 W.
Titans (-2) JAGUARS (43 1/2), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: Leonard Fournette became the first Jacksonville rookie to rush for 100 yards in an opening game. Fred Taylor had two rushing yards in 1998, Maurice Jones-Drew had eight in 2006.
Titans vs. spread: 0-1
Jaguars vs. spread: 1-0
Vegas Vic’s take: Since Jacksonville has covered only one of the last eight at home, we gotta roll with Tennessee.
|Zach Berman||Titans (Best Bet)|
|Marcus Hayes||Titans (Best Bet)|
|Jeff McLane||Titans (Best Bet)|
RAVENS (-8 1/2) Browns (39 1/2), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: Joe Flacco is averaging 280 yards passing in his last four games against Cleveland, and he’s 15-2 in his career against the Browns.
Browns vs. spread: 1-0
Ravens vs. spread: 1-0
Vegas Vic’s take: Looking at my magic 8-ball, I see a Baltimore win and a Cleveland cover. Yeah, my 8-ball does spreads.
PANTHERS (-7 1/2) Bills (42 1/2), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: Jordan Matthews led the Bills in receiving yards last week with 61. He had two catches, one went for 47 yards.
Bills vs. spread: 1-0
Panthers vs. spread: 1-0
Vegas Vic’s take: Buffalo first-year head coach Sean McDermott spent the last six years as the defensive coordinator for Carolina. Think he’s familiar? Not thinking of taking the Buffs on the money line — although an upset is not out of the question — but to just cover this inflated spread. Kinda like what the Buffs have on offense with Tyrod Taylor at QB and old friend RB LeSean “Shady” McCoy, who rumbled for 110 yards in the opener. Watched a bunch of Cam Newton, and while he managed the game well, he just didn’t look like the Cam pre-shoulder operation. And they were playing the 49ers, arguably one of the two most inept teams in the NFL. Then did a deep dive into the old spread stats bible and found this delicious little nugget: The Panthers have covered only two of the last 11 (18%) when favored by five points or more. That all rolls this into the Best Bet category.
|Vegas Vic||Bills (Best Bet)|
Patriots (-6 1/2) SAINTS (55 1/2), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: This is the highest over-under on the board this week. Drew Brees is 3-1 against Tom Brady. Last time they played, in 2013, New Orleans won 30-27.
Patriots vs. spread: 0-1
Saints vs. spread: 0-1
Vegas Vic’s take: Everyone is expecting the Brady Bunch to bounce back with a W, and they will, but not by seven, maybe just a FG.
|Paul Domowitch||Patriots (Best Bet)|
Cardinals (-7) COLTS (44 1/2), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: Maybe Jacoby Brissett is the answer for the Colts, because Scott Tolzien sure wasn’t. Get well soon, Andrew.
Cardinals vs. spread: 0-1
Colts vs. spread: 0-1
Vegas Vic’s take: If you lose by 37 points to the Rams — the Rams! — you will never, ever cover again.
STEELERS (-6) Vikings (45 1/2), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: Antonio Brown’s 492 catches since 2013 are 89 more than any other receiver (Demaryius Thomas).
Vikings vs. spread: 1-0
Steelers vs. spread: 0-1
Vegas Vic’s take: Le’Veon Bell had only 10 carries and 32 yards last week. Double the carries and triple the yards. Buy Steel.
BUCCANEERS (-7) Bears (43), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: Bears quarterback Mike Glennon was with the Bucs from 2013-16.
Bears vs. spread: 1-0
Buccaneers vs. spread: 0-0
Vegas Vic’s take: Not thinking that Chicago is the better team in this matchup, but like the fact that Da Bears have already played a game, while Tampa has not taken the field in anger. And don’t forget, Chicago has covered six of the last eight.
CHARGERS (-4 1/2) Dolphins (45), 4:05 p.m.
Quick hit: Melvin Ingram does not fear Jay Cutler. In fact, he doesn’t even seem to respect him.
#Chargers DE Melvin Ingram was asked what kind of problems Dolphins QB Jay Cutler presents this weekend.
— Jack Wang (@thejackwang) September 14, 2017
Dolphins vs. spread: 0-0
Chargers vs. spread: 0-0-1
Vegas Vic’s take: Miami posted a 3-0 spread perfecto on the West Coast last season, so we’re buying the Fish.
RAIDERS (-13 1/2) Jets (43 1/2), 4:05 p.m.
Quick hit: Jets quarterback Josh McCown’s passer rating in Week 1 was 56.3. Counterpart Derek Carr’s was 114.3. That’s why the line’s 14.
Jets vs. spread: 0-1
Raiders vs. spread: 1-0
Vegas Vic’s take: Never thrilled about laying two TDs but this matchup has a chance to look like an Alabama 41-10 win against Fresno State. Oakland — soon to be Vegas, baby — is about as talented as any offense in the league. And they make more money, for all my people, than just about anyone in the league. The Silver & Black have covered eight of the last 11 overall, and also eight of the last 11 against non-conference opponents.
RAMS (-2 1/2) Redskins (46), 4:25 p.m.
Quick hit: The Rams defense scored two touchdowns and recorded a safety against the poor Colts last week — and that was without Aaron Donald. You like that, Kirk Cousins?
Redskins vs. spread: 0-1
Rams vs. spread: 1-0
Vegas Vic’s take: Okay, we’re not on the Rams. If they score over 40 points again, I will rollerblade down South Street from Broad all the way to Front, dressed as a Los Angeles Rams cheerleader. (And by the way, they used to call these gals the “Embraceable Ewes.” Probably not PC, but a wonderful name.) Back to biz, and you need to know that Washington has been astounding against the spread as an underdog, covering 10 of the last 12.
Cowboys (-2) BRONCOS (42), 4:25 p.m.
Quick hit: Line feels a little low, doesn’t it?
Cowboys vs. spread: 1-0
Chargers vs. spread: 0-0-1
Vegas Vic’s take: Dallas actually has a defense. And the offense, as long as Zeke Elliott plays, is ready to rumble.
SEAHAWKS (-14) 49ers (42 1/2), 4:25 p.m.
Quick hit: A hamstring injury caused Richard Sherman to miss practice on Thursday. He’s never missed a game in his seven-year career (97 regular season, 12 postseason).
49ers vs. spread: 0-1
Seahawks vs. spread: 0-1
Vegas Vic’s take: We know San Fran is lousy, but Seattle’s offense looked abysmal against Green Bay last week. Stay light.
FALCONS (-3) Packers (54 1/2), 8:30 p.m.
Quick hit: Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan have faced each other three times in the last three seasons. Those games averaged a combined 70.0 points per (Atlanta, 44-21; Atlanta, 33-32; Green Bay, 43-37).
Packers vs. spread: 1-0
Falcons vs. spread: 0-1
Vegas Vic’s take: Can anyone tell me what has changed since the NFC Championship game in January when Atlanta rocked the party with a 44-21 victory as a six-point favorite? Nothing. The Falcs are still a primo offense and Green Bay will still have trouble stopping ’em. Expect a louder and crazier crowd with this being the first regular season game to be played in Atlanta’s new home, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Vic does not drive a Benz, but might make a down payment with a W here.
|Les Bowen||Packers (Best Bet)|
GIANTS (3 1/2) Lions (43 1/2), 8:30 p.m.
Quick hit: Can just hear ESPN executives praying, “Please let Odell play. Please let Odell play. Please let Odell play.”
Lions vs. spread: 1-0
Giants vs. spread: 0-1
Vegas Vic’s take: This is a wait and see. Wait to see if Odell Beckham Jr. is gonna play. He is the biggest piece to New York’s offensive success and without him, as we saw in Dallas (only three points), it’s an exercise in futility.
|Ed Barkowitz||Lions (Best Bet)|
BENGALS (-6 1/2) Texans (38 1/2)
Result here: Texans, 13-9. Yawn. Nice job, staff.