Last week, I did go 6-3 in fantasy leagues. But I also went just 6-10 in picking NFL games. This was partially due to the fact that I doubted Washington and Jacksonville after considering picking them earlier in the week. It was also due to the fact that I picked 11 of 16 home teams to win. I’m beginning to doubt that there’s a home field advantage at all this year, at least in the games with no fans. This week, I’ve picked 7 of 16 road teams to win, picking some upsets along the way. I picked 6 of the 12 road teams at games without fans. Keep reading to see my picks below.
Lock of the Week
The Ravens are one of two road teams that I could see posting dominant performances and blowing out their opponents. QB Lamar Jackson’s dual threat ability is a lot for any defense to handle. This Texans front seven was dominant a few years back, but it’s not what it used to be. I see Jackson finishing with three total TD, rushing for one and tossing two. Meanwhile, Baltimore’s strong defense should be able to lock down QB Deshaun Watson’s receivers, making it difficult for Houston to even put up a fight.
Upset of the Week
I don’t think the Jaguars will end up contending this year. But they clearly aren’t tanking for Trevor, and I think they’re capable of winning a second straight game over a Titans team that’s missing #1 WR A.J. Brown. With Brown injured, young CB C.J. Henderson can cover WR Corey Davis. I think the Titans will start strong with RB Derrick Henry posting big numbers against a flawed Jags front seven. But Henry can only take this team so far, and I think QB Gardner Minshew will post an impressive game of his own as he leads Jacksonville to a comeback win.
The Other Games
|TNF (On Twitter)||QB Baker Mayfield has let the Browns down so far this year. QB Joe Burrow should post a strong game, showing off a strong connection with slot WR Tyler Boyd and utilizing his RB, Joe Mixon. But I think the RB duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt can lead the Browns here.|
|Even with the Dolphins welcoming fans, I have the Bills winning this with ease. CBs Byron Jones and Xavien Howard might lock down QB Josh Allen’s receivers. But I think the Bills will go run heavy here, as Allen and RBs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss plow through an improving, but still weak Dolphins front seven. Miami will struggle to fight back against one of the league’s most well-rounded defenses.|
|Both of these offenses are missing a lot. The Jets will be without RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Jamison Crowder. The Niners are missing their top two receivers and TE George Kittle. But I think the Niners run game should be able to beat out this Jets defense.|
|We all saw what this Pittsburgh front seven did to RB Saquon Barkley. Just imagine what they can do to stop RB Melvin Gordon and put the pressure on another second year QB, Drew Lock.|
|The Colts are one team that I think can benefit from the home field advantage. Fans will be in attendance here, and I think QB Philip Rivers and his receivers will get it going at Lucas Oil Stadium to edge out the Vikings.|
|Expect both QBs to air it out here in a high scoring game. But I think it’ll be RB Ezekiel Elliott that makes the difference for Dallas, dominating against the Falcons D and allowing the Cowboys to get out to a comfortable lead.|
|The Eagles may have added CB Darius Slay, but this secondary will still struggle against QB Jared Goff’s deep arsenal of weapons. The TE duo of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert can make this close. However, they can’t make up for Philly’s blatant defensive flaws.|
|QB Mitch Trubisky actually posted a strong game against the Lions D. I don’t expect the same here, but I think defense can win the Bears their second game in a row. They might not be able to shut down RB Saquon Barkley to the extent the Steelers did, but they can put pressure on QB Daniel Jones and prevent Barkley from the big plays he’s famous for.|
|If WR Kenny Golladay was playing, this would be a back and forth offensive shootout. But with Golladay out, expect Green Bay to get out to a comfortable lead and utilize a strong backfield against one of the worst front sevens in the NFL. I also expect QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Davante Adams to post another big game.|
|QB Tom Brady and this offense may have been limited by a strong Saints D. But against an easier opponent, I expect Brady and the Bucs to show us what they’re truly capable of. I have Brady bouncing back for 4 TDs as he utilizes a strong trio of tight ends. It will be too much for even a revitalized Panthers offense to compete with.|
|The Cardinals defense isn’t perfect, but I think edge rusher Chandler Jones will apply pressure on QB Dwayne Haskins and CB Patrick Peterson will win a match-up with WR Terry McLaurin. Washington’s defense will prevent the Cardinals from bringing this game out of their reach, but fall short in the end.|
|QB Tyrod Taylor has a good arsenal of weapons, and I think that will allow the Chargers to make this close. The Chargers secondary is also very good, but not good enough to stop both WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce.|
|SNF||These offenses are actually pretty similar now that QB Cam Newton took over. Newton and QB Russell Wilson are both mobile QBs, and will both run a good balance of pass plays and run plays. I think this will be very close. But even with no fans, I have Wilson and the Seahawks coming out on top at CenturyLink.|
|MNF||WR Michael Thomas is expected to miss this game. But I think the Saints can win without him, allowing the RB duo of Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray to lead the offense while WR Emmanuel Sanders takes on a good portion of Thomas’ normal workload. Even without Thomas, this Saints offense is too strong for this inexperienced Raiders D to handle.|
That’s all for this week’s picks. Stay tuned for more NFL coverage soon.