Updated: Friday, October 13, 2017, 12:51 PM
Our staff picks this week’s NFL games. Sunday
Texans (-9.5) Browns (O/U: 46.5), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: Kevin Hogan will be the Browns 28th different starting quarterback since 1999. The wonderful list: Derek Anderson, Jason Campbell, Tim Couch, Austin Davis, Jake Delhomme, Ty Detmer, Trent Dilfer, Ken Dorsey, Charlie Frye, Jeff Garcia, Bruce Gradkowski, Robert Griffin III, Kelly Holcomb, Brian Hoyer, Cody Kessler, DeShone Kizer, Thaddeus Lewis, Johnny Manziel, Josh McCown, Luke McCown, Colt McCoy, Doug Pederson, Brady Quinn, Connor Shaw, Seneca Wallace, Brandon Weeden, Spergon Wynn.
Browns vs. spread: 1-4
Texans vs. spread: 3-2
Vegas Vic’s take: Yeah, I know, I know. Houston lost arguably the best defensive player in the NFL last week in J.J. Watt. Yeah, yeah, I know that LB Whitney Mercilus, a second team All-Pro in 2016, is also gone for the rest of the season. So, if you recall, Watt missed the last 13 games of the 2016 season, and Houston made the playoffs with a 9-7 record. And when Watt went down, the Texans posted a win and a cover at home the following week. But the best news for the banged up Texans team is that Cleveland is coming to town. Yes, the pathetic Brownies, that are 0-5 this season, and have managed a grand total of one win in the last 21 games. They are also packing an 0-11 road losing streak in the suitcase. No doubt that Houston will win this game, and if you don’t wanna lay nine and a hook, try the money line which is right around Texans -$450. Welcome to Houston, Best Bet country!
Ed Barkowitz Texans Zach Berman Browns Les Bowen Texans Paul Domowitch Browns Marcus Hayes Browns Jeff McLane Browns Vegas Vic Texans (Best Bet)
Patriots (-10) Jets (O/U: 47.5), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: A win would make Tom Brady the all-time winningest regular-season quarterback, breaking a tie at 186 with Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. Brady has 54 losses (.775 win pct.), Manning had 79 losses (.702) and Favre 112 (.624). Brady also has those five little Lombardi Trophies, compared to two for Manning and one for Favre.
Patriots vs. spread: 2-3
Jets vs. spread: 3-2
Vegas Vic’s take: New England’s last three games: three-point win, three-point loss, five-point win. The plus-10 looks very tasty.
Ed Barkowitz Jets Zach Berman Patriots Les Bowen Jets Paul Domowitch Jets Marcus Hayes Patriots Jeff McLane Patriots Vegas Vic Jets
Falcons (-12) Dolphins (O/U: 46.5), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: All four of Miami’s games have been under. In fact, way under. The total points in their four games are 26, 20, 26 and 36. The corresponding over/unders for those games were 41.5, 51.5, 43.5 and 46.
Dolphins vs. spread: 2-2
Falcons vs. spread: 2-2
Vegas Vic’s take: If you look at the standings and see Miami’s 2-2 record, you would think that the Dolphins are an average team. They ain’t! The two wins were a 19-17 squeeze against the sad-sack Chargers, and 16-10 W against the Titans who played without QB Marcus Mariota. The Dolphins have scored 22 points the last three times out, for an average of 7.3 points per game. Atlanta should have that in the first quarter. Actually making a big fat wager on the Falcons -6 in the first half.
Ed Barkowitz Falcons (Best Bet) Zach Berman Dolphins Les Bowen Falcons Paul Domowitch Falcons Marcus Hayes Falcons Jeff McLane Dolphins Vegas Vic Falcons Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal-Constitution Matt Ryan and the Falcons should be fresh enough coming off their bye to cover two touchdowns against the struggling Dolphins. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Saints (-5) Lions (O/U: 50.5), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: Some triviality opposite of the Tom Brady note above. Drew Brees (103) is one of six quarterbacks with 100 regular-season losses. The others are Vinny Testaverde (123), Brett Favre (112), Fran Tarkenton (109), Warren Moon (101) and Norm Snead (100). Half of Snead’s losses came with the Eagles from 1964-70 when he went 28-50-3.
Lions vs. spread: 3-2
Saints vs. spread: 2-2
Vegas Vic’s take: New Orleans lost to Detroit at home last season, 28-13 as a six-point point favorite. Now the Saints are laying five. Since Matthew Stafford keeps the Lions competitive ‘til the final gun (two losses by a total of seven points), gotta roar with the visitors.
Ed Barkowitz Lions Zach Berman Lions Les Bowen Saints Paul Domowitch Lions Marcus Hayes Lions Jeff McLane Lions Vegas Vic Lions
Packers (-3) Vikings (O/U: 46.5), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: The Packers last four games all have gone over. Three of Minnesota’s last four have been under. Good luck with that.
Packers vs. spread: 3-2
Vikings vs. spread: 2-3
Vegas Vic’s take: Is there any doubt when it comes to Aaron Rodgers vs. Case Keenum? Not in this space.
Ed Barkowitz Packers Zach Berman Packers (Best Bet) Les Bowen Packers Paul Domowitch Packers Marcus Hayes Packers Jeff McLane Vikings Vegas Vic Packers
Ravens (-6) Bears (O/U: 40), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: The Bears are 2-8 against the spread on the road since the start of 2016.
Bears vs. spread: 3-2
Ravens vs. spread: 3-2
Vegas Vic’s take: Even though last week’s 30-17 win at Oakland was against EJ Manuel at QB and not Derek Carr, like what we’re seeing from Joe Flacco, one of the greatest Fightin’ Blue Hens ever. He was 19 of 26 for 222 yards last week against a very tough Silver & Black defense. Didn’t have any TD tosses, but also didn’t have any picks and was not sacked. Chicago brings plenty of ugly to the table. How ugly? The Bears crawl into Baltimore riding an 0-10 streak on the road. Gimme a cup of Joe.
Ed Barkowitz Bears Zach Berman Ravens Les Bowen Ravens Paul Domowitch Ravens Marcus Hayes Ravens Jeff McLane Bears Vegas Vic Ravens
Redskins (-11) 49ers (O/U: 46.5), 1 p.m.
Quick hit: The last time the Redskins were double-digit favorites was in 2008 when they lost outright at home to St. Louis, 19-17. The Rams were 0-4 and had just fired Scott Linehan and replaced him with Jim Haslett.
49ers vs. spread: 3-2
Redskins vs. spread: 2-2
Vegas Vic’s take: Totally see the crew from D.C. on the winning side, but for an ugly 0-5 team, San Francisco is — you ready for this? — 4-1 (80%) against the spread. And the Niners have covered two in a row as a double-digit ‘dog.
Ed Barkowitz 49ers Zach Berman 49ers Les Bowen Redskins (Best Bet) Paul Domowitch 49ers Marcus Hayes Redskins Jeff McLane 49ers Vegas Vic 49ers
Jaguars (-2.5) Rams (O/U: 42), 4:05 p.m.
Quick hit: Leonard Fournette fans take note. The Rams, thanks largely to giving up 229 yards against the Redskins in Week 2, are dead last in run defense.
Rams vs. spread: 2-3
Jaguars vs. spread: 3-2
Vegas Vic’s take: Jags look good on the road but can’t seem to win at home, where they have posted only one W in the last nine.
Ed Barkowitz Rams Zach Berman Jaguars Les Bowen Jaguars Paul Domowitch Jaguars Marcus Hayes Rams Jeff McLane Jaguars Vegas Vic Rams
Buccaneers (-2) Cardinals (O/U: 44.5), 4:05 p.m.
Quick hit: The Cardinals are the only winless team against the spread.
Buccaneers vs. spread: 1-3
Cardinals vs. spread: 0-5
Vegas Vic’s take: Tampa has covered just one of the last six overall and is now a road favorite. Don’t think so.
Ed Barkowitz Buccaneers Zach Berman Buccaneers Les Bowen Cardinals Paul Domowitch Buccaneers Marcus Hayes Buccaneers Jeff McLane Buccaneers Vegas Vic Cardinals
Chiefs (-4) Steelers (O/U: 45.5), 4:25 p.m.
Quick hit: Alex Smith has 11 touchdown passes, no interceptions and a passer rating of 125.8. Ben Roethisberger has six TDs, seven picks and a 75.8 rating. How come this line is only 4?
Steelers vs. spread: 2-3
Chiefs vs. spread: 5-0
Vegas Vic’s take: Pittsburgh was on my radar screen right after Ben Roethlisberger looked like he was gonna cry in a postgame interview when he said, “I might not have it anymore.” Then I started digging a little deeper, and revenge is gonna carry the day. The Steelers smoked the Chiefs last season in Pittsburgh, 43-14, then bounced ’em out of the playoffs in KC, in front of the home folks, 18-16. Double revenge should put some cash in the pockets of Chief Nation.
Ed Barkowitz Chiefs Zach Berman Chiefs Les Bowen Chiefs Paul Domowitch Chiefs Marcus Hayes Chiefs Jeff McLane Chiefs Vegas Vic Chiefs
Raiders (-3.5) Chargers (O/U: –), 4:25 p.m.
Quick hit: The Raiders have won four in a row in this series, the last three all by three points.
Chargers vs. spread: 1-3-1
Raiders vs. spread: 2-3
Vegas Vic’s take: Of course, this is a Derek Carr selection. If Carr takes the keys for Oakland, scrub city. If Carr stays in the garage, it’s the Bolts.
Ed Barkowitz Raiders Zach Berman Chargers Les Bowen Raiders Paul Domowitch Chargers Marcus Hayes Chargers Jeff McLane Raiders Vegas Vic Chargers
Broncos (-12) Giants (O/U: 39.5), 8:30 p.m.
Quick hit: On top of everything else the Giants are dealing with, stud defensive end Olivier Vernon is still dealing with an ankle injury and missed practice Wednesday and Thursday.
Giants vs. spread: 2-3
Broncos vs. spread: 2-1-1
Vegas Vic’s take: Is it just me or does this game smell like 42-3? Or does this game just smell? The New Yorkers come to Denver bruised, battered, and with a big fat zero on the left side of the standings. Like 0-5. And of course we have odds on the Giants going 0-16. If you think that they’re gonna go for the giant bagel — lose all 16 — then you would put up $100 and get back $900. If you think they are gonna finally win a game, you would put up $1800 to win back only $100. So, chances are, they ain’t gonna swallow 11 more losses, but hey, ya never know. The Giants will be without their three best wide receivers. No Odell Beckham Jr. No Brandon Marshall. No Sterling Shepard. Also, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been suspended. What else can go wrong? Ben McAdoo’s hair. C’mon Ben, a little less product! The last NFC East team that rolled into Denver was the Cowboys, and they limped out on the wrong end of a 42-17 score.
Ed Barkowitz Broncos Zach Berman Broncos Les Bowen Broncos Paul Domowitch Giants (Best Bet) Marcus Hayes Broncos (Best Bet) Jeff McLane Broncos Vegas Vic Broncos Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram As the Broncos showed Jason Witten and the Cowboys in Week 2, Denver is a very difficult place to play. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS) Monday
Titans (-3) Colts (O/U: –), 8:30 p.m.
Quick hit: Even without Andrew Luck, four of the five Colts’ games this season have been over.
Colts vs. spread: 3-2
Titans vs. spread: 2-3
Vegas Vic’s take: This picks swings on Marcus Mariota’s health. Double M plays for Tennessee and we wash the pick. Double M is out and we’re on Indy.
Ed Barkowitz Titans Zach Berman Titans Les Bowen Titans Paul Domowitch Titans Marcus Hayes Colts Jeff McLane Titans Vegas Vic Colts Thursday
PANTHERS (-3.5) Eagles (45)
The Eagles sure made a statement with a huge 28-23 road win that could carry a lot of weight come January.
Panthers (Best Bet)
Entering Week 6
Best Bets Overall Pct. Zach Berman 3-2 41-35 .539 Marcus Hayes 4-1 40-36 .526 Jeff McLane 3-2 40-36 .526 Vegas Vic 3-1-1 37-39 .513 Les Bowen 4-1 36-40 .474 Ed Barkowitz 2-3 36-40 .474 Paul Domowitch 2-3 36-40 .474