Inside the Lines is a weekly feature on ScouTurf.com where we outline the NFL spreads, provide a short snippet of match up insight, and give final score predictions. Despite the upset fest last week, we still managed to go 8-7 against the spread with a 29-34 record on the season.
All lines are from Westgate as of the timestamp of this article. Please visit our disclaimer at the bottom of the page.
Indianapolis Colts (+10.5) at New England Patriots
Everyone started to doubt the Patriots after some ugly losses to the Jaguars and Lions and all they did to silence the critics was dismantle the undefeated Dolphins by 31 points last week. Rinse and repeat. The Colts have shown a ton of spirit, especially on defense, where they are currently ranked second in the NFL with 17 sacks. The speed of Nyheim Hines could cause some problems for a slow Patriots linebacking unit, but injuries to TY Hilton and Defensive Rookie of the Month Darius Leonard makes me uneasy about picking the Colts to cover.
Patriots 27 Colts 14
Tennessee Titans (-5) at Buffalo Bills
The Titans have probably seen Kyle Brandt's rant on Good Morning Football and based on what I know about Mike Vrabel, that clip is going to be loaded on each player's Microsoft Surface by first thing tomorrow morning. This Titans team has yet to blow anyone out of the water, but they've taken on the gritty persona of the guy in charge and that mental toughness has given them the opportunity to churn out wins in close games. If the Titans want to challenge the Jaguars for the AFC South, games against the Buffalo Bills are ones that they can't afford to drop.
Titans 24 Bills 13
Atlanta Falcons (+3.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are in the basement of the AFC North and may end up staying there this week after a tough match up against a hungry 1-3 Atlanta Falcons team who has lost their last two weeks despite scoring 36 and 37 points respectively. Steve Sarkisian has finally figured out how to use his rookie first round receiver in Calvin Ridley and the Steelers quite simply do not have the defensive backs to match up with all of the Falcons' weapons. The Steelers will put up their own fair share of points against a Falcons defense ravaged by injury, but I can't see Atlanta dropping another game in a track meet. Then again, this is the team that was up 28-3 in the Su- (/gets pulled off stage by cane).
Falcons 31 Steelers 28
Denver Broncos (+1) at New York Jets
The Broncos are playing hard and were it not for having to play an alien last week in Pat Mahomes, would have taken a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter home for a crucial divisional win. Poor Sam Darnold had to go from playing the top defense in the NFL last week in Jacksonville to another solid unit that has Von Miller and Bradley Chubb on the edges. The Jets defense should do a decent job and snag a couple takeaways against Case Keenum, who has thrown the second-most interceptions in the NFL through four weeks. The game is going to come down to turnovers, but I can't imagine the Broncos losing three games in a row.
Broncos 20 Jets 17
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) at Kansas City Chiefs
It may not be on prime time, but make no mistake about it, this is the NFL game of the week. People will tune in for the top pass defense against the top pass offense in the NFL, but it's actually going to be the other side of the ball that is going to decide this game. The Jaguars have played sound, discipline football on the defensive side but are still waiting for the takeaway levees to break, and this could be the game Mahomes looks human again. However, the Jaguars are going to need to move the ball against a miserable Chiefs defense that surprisingly ranks number one on third downs, and if the game comes down to Blake Bortles needing to score on a two-minute drill, my confidence lies with the raucous home team.
Chiefs 30 Jaguars 26
Green Bay Packers (+1) at Detroit Lions
I was taken aback when seeing the Packers listed as the underdog against a 1-3 Lions squad, but upon further review, it kind of makes sense. The Lions run defense has been a sieve so far this year, but they actually have the second-ranked pass defense in the NFL allowing only 171.8 yards per game, so they're a poor match up for the pass-heavy Packers. The Lions can move the ball with Matt Stafford and their impressive wide receiver trio, but the Packers should still find a way to win.
Packers 27 Lions 24
Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Cleveland Browns
The Ravens are playing like a top five team so far at the quarter mark, and the acquisition of wide receiver John Brown has paid enormous dividends for Joe Flacco and the vertical passing game. However, this is a black-and-blue divisional game in the AFC North, and the Browns could easily be 4-0 right now if they didn't have a cabbage for a head coach and an officiating vendetta from the NFL. I'm riding Baker to rally and get his second win at home, throwing a huge wrench in the divisional race.
Browns 25 Ravens 20
New York Giants (+6) at Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have been playing extremely well and both teams get back a crucial member of their defense in Thomas Davis and Olivier Vernon this week. The Giants are on the fringe of getting all their kinks worked out under first-year head coach Pat Shurmur, but are not quite there yet. Panthers win the game, but Giants cover the six points.
Panthers 21 Giants 17
Miami Dolphins (+5.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Give me all the Bengals stock. All of it. The Dolphins were brought back down to Earth this past week and go back on the road against a very dangerous Cincinnati team. Add in the season-ending injuries to Josh Sitton and Daniel Kilgore on the interior offensive line with match ups against Geno Atkins and Andrew Billings and Ryan Tannehill may need to wear two braces on his knee this week.
Bengals 36 Dolphins 18
Oakland Raiders (+5) at Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are fortunate that they've had some soft opponents in this stretch without Joey Bosa, and like last week against the 49ers, they can't afford to drop these easy games like playing the Raiders at home. Derek Carr has been inconsistent with a league-leading seven interceptions and the defense just can't get home to the quarterback right now with a league-worst five sacks. That's a poor match up against a veteran quarterback with a quick release like Felipe Rios and a ball-hawking defense led by transcendent rookie Derwin James.
Chargers 30 Raiders 24
Arizona Cardinals (+4) at San Francisco 49ers
If not now, then when? Per PFF, Josh Rosen had the best debut game ever for a starting rookie quarterback in a narrow loss against the Seahawks, and if they can't get their first win against a 49ers team led by CJ Beathard, then you might as well put Arizona on the clock for the first pick in the draft right now.
Cardinals 20 49ers 17
Minnesota Vikings (+3) at Philadelphia Eagles
What happened to the Vikings defense? Ranked as the second best unit in our roster formulas heading into the season, the Vikings have allowed 22.5 points per game and their 381.5 yards allowed puts them in the bottom third of NFL defenses. Carson Wentz has started to knock off some of the rust and gets another week with his top receiving weapon Alshon Jeffery. Close game and the benefit of the doubt goes to the home team.
Eagles 31 Vikings 27
Los Angeles Rams (-7) at Seattle Seahawks
A murder in Seattle! The Rams are a terrible personnel match up for a Seahawks offensive line who has allowed less sacks than only the Texans and Bills through four weeks. Aaron Donald and Ndamokung Suh are foaming at the mouth, and Sean McVay should be able to have his way with a defense that is now down Earl Thomas.
Rams 35 Seahawks 17
Dallas Cowboys (+3.5) at Houston Texans
The Cowboys aren't very good, but the Texans are worse! The Hot Boyz (now with David Irving returning from suspension) going against a miserable offensive line is a nightmare match up for Bill O'Brien. Martinas Rankin has allowed 27 pressures so far this year, which is single-handedly more than six total NFL lines. On the other side, the Texans are banged up in the secondary but have seen a revival in the pass rush from AFC Defensive Player of the Month JJ Watt and a finally-available Jadeveon Clowney.
Cowboys 27 Texans 21
Washington Redskins (+6.5) at New Orleans Saints
It seems like every Saints game this year has been a track meet and I shudder to think of what the scoreline might be if they played the Chiefs. If you've got Alex Smith in your fantasy team, make sure you play him this week. The Redskins have had an extra week of rest and prep coming off a bye, but home field advantage has me thinking Saints win on Monday Night.
Saints 38 Redskins 35
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