Five games against the NFL point spread, that’s what we do at Throwing Darts. Let’s sling it at the board and see what we hit. (Send all your disagreements to @scott_pianowski, provided it’s before the game. After the game, we all know what the final score is.)
Buccaneers -3 at Colts
I like fading Indianapolis after a top-of-range result. I still don’t trust Carson Wentz, who’s grossly overdue for interception regression. The Bucs won’t have Antonio Brown again, but otherwise, the offense is generally healthy. Tom Brady’s always taken Colts week as a grudge match, for obvious reasons.
Steelers +4 at Bengals
Generally, I don’t trust Pittsburgh as a favorite, but love them as an underdog. Mike Tomlin relishes these situations. Ben Roethlisberger is the quarterback under the microscope here, but be mindful that Joe Burrow played poorly against Cleveland two weeks back, and the Bengals won last week despite Burrow’s play (5.1 YPA). Take the generous spot.
Vikings +3 at 49ers
It’s the battle of the metric darlings — both teams are merely 5-5, but are Top 10 in DVOA. Because I’m starting to distrust home-field advantage and especially in San Francisco’s case — the Niners had lost eight straight home games before the win over the Rams — I need to grab these points. I also trust Kirk Cousins more than Jimmy Garoppolo, despite Garoppolo’s form over the last month.
Eagles -3 at Giants
It took a while to figure it out, but the Eagles have an identity now. What is the Giants identity? They’re 27th in offensive DVOA, and below average on defense. Most of the offensive skill guys are on the injury report every week. Daniel Jones might be a lost cause, too. Philly’s easy schedule might spark a surprising playoff run.
Dolphins +1.5 vs. Panthers
I think it’s possible Brian Flores has his house in order; a beatdown of a solid Ravens team is a major statement. Now he gets to work on Cam Newton, who has been fun through two weeks, but still limited — the ordinary Football Team defense won all the key plays down the stretch against Newton. Cam’s going to make a few plays with his legs, but will he make enough with his arm? That’s been the rub over the last third of his career.