Cardinals (+3) over TITANS: Arizona boasts a decent defense — good thing, since they’ll be facing Tennessee’s newest toy, Julio Jones, along with A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry. Respect Cardinals QB Kyler Murray — and the hosts aren’t hugely trustworthy against top-drawer skill people when they know they need to give defense its just due in game plan. Visitors should last versus overrated AFC South entry.
Broncos (+3) over GIANTS: No gimme, either way … in large part because Big Blue can’t possibly be certain key offensive pieces (QB Daniel Jones and WR Kenny Golladay) will be blessed with aid from RB Saquan Barkley and his iffy knee. Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett needs to step up. Suspect Broncos eke one out.
Jets (+4) over PANTHERS: In early April, Jets traded previous No. 3-
overall draft pick Sam Darnold to Carolina. Now, they must defend against Darnold and friends for some three hours, with ex-BYU signal-caller Zach Wilson leading Gang Green. The Panthers may prevail due to the return to relative health of marvel Christian McCaffrey. Respect Panthers coach Matt Rhule, but this is stiff lay for visitors.
Eagles (+3.5) over FALCONS: Philly relying heavily on QB Jalen Hurts, and Falcons look to rebound off generous dose of photo-finish losses. Respect Falcons QB Matt Ryan, but his lack of mobility is daunting, and tenacious Eagles defensive interior could carry the day.
BILLS (-6.5) over Steelers: The Bills need to overcome this stiff lay, but it’s hard for us to deny Buffalo is primed to ascend to bigger and better things. The Steelers are double-game ’dogs, after being counted out on multiple occasions in recent years, but Pittsburgh’s O-line can’t be relied upon to answer the call eternally, and it may be the Bills’ time — finally.
BENGALS (+3) over Vikings: Well-understand the Vikings’ case, but we’ve long been disenchanted with QB Kirk Cousins’ alleged upside. We may have seen the best of Minnesota, while suspect Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow’s upside is about to explode, taking his squad a meaningful step forward. Take the head start.
LIONS (+7.5) over 49ers: San Francisco has wholly dominated this NFC novelty with trip-hammer efficiency for more than three decades. We’re seldom enthusiastic about laying this caliber of number, however, as sustained San Francisco gusto (given the surface-limited challenge) may be tough to muster, though the Niners are clearly hungry to erase disappointments of 2020.
Seahawks (-3) over COLTS: Tough call — because Seattle QB Russell Wilson bears a remarkable resemblance to Ol’ Man River, despite advancing age and considerable absorbed punishment. The matchups are dubious for banged-up Indianapolis, which is looking to get past this foe with a pass defense that may not be up to it.
WASHINGTON (+1) over Chargers: Bolts money has driven the Chargers to favoritism, but we’ll happily take this home ’dog with the more-reliable stop unit. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick should manage to keep the Football Team in reach throughout, even with WFT wideout Curtis Samuel on IR.
TEXANS (+3) over Jaguars: The AFC South remains a most-sticky wicket for anyone who harbors serious enthusiasm over any possibility regarding laying tangible points with any favorite out of this division. Neither of these defenses inspire much confidence, which makes taking points the eternal temptation.
CHIEFS (-6) over Browns: In 2020, the Chiefs followed a traditional path trod by many good teams which gained tangible popularity, resulting in exaggerated lays that didn’t leave room for speculators who arrived late. That leaves us to hop aboard the Pat Mahomes steam train, as the Chiefs have redemption on their minds after an embarrassing showing in the Super Bowl.
PATRIOTS (-3) over Dolphins: Given his dedicated offseason quest to build the confidence of QB Mac Jones, we’re reluctant to take big swings with a Dolphins side far from home. Bill Belichick remains an uncanny evaluator of talent — and he’s clearly eager to maintain his high batting average regarding personnel evaluations.
Packers (-3.5) over SAINTS (in Jacksonville, Fla): New Orleans looks to march on without Drew Brees, while the Packers face one challenging road trip involving a stiff lay in steamy humidity. Slight lean to the Pack at market, though other pieces tempt more.
RAMS (-7.5) over Bears: Given the near-term prospectus regarding marked on-field success with the Bears remains iffy, Chicago stepping out against transplanted Rams QB Matthew Stafford behind “Red Rifle” Andy Dalton leaves us pessimistic. Expecting the Rams to put up another stout defensive performance against Dalton’s limited bag of tricks.
RAIDERS (+4) over Ravens: Looking for another alert seasonal start from the Silver and Black. We can’t deny the hosts should be loaded for bear in their luxurious new stadium, hard by the Vegas Strip. Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has stuffed Baltimore in big spots previously.