Patriots (7-2) at Titans (4-4): 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Point spread: NE -6.5 | Matchup quality: 67.2 (of 100)
Mike Reiss’ pick: The Patriots have 22 touchdowns in 34 red zone trips this season, with their 64.7 TD percentage ranking them 11th in the NFL. And the Titans’ D has allowed just seven touchdowns in 22 opponent red zone trips, a 31.8 percentage that ranks the unit as the best in the NFL. So there’s a good chance this game will come down to the red zone, and New England coordinator Josh McDaniels, Tom Brady & Co. will be at their creative best. Patriots 27, Titans 17
Turron Davenport’s pick: The Titans’ offense showed signs of life Monday by scoring 28 points, a season high. The Patriots’ defense is giving up 22.4 points per game, and most of the points against (13.3) are coming when the game is out of reach in the second half. If the Titans can reach the end zone early and keep the game close, they’ll have a chance. Brady and the Patriots are scoring an average of 30 points per game, while the Tennessee defense is allowing an NFL-best 17.6. Something has to give. Patriots 28, Titans 24
FPI win projection: NE, 62.4 percent. The Titans are the No. 1 scoring defense this season, but do not rank in the top 10 in opponent Total QBR (11th) or defensive efficiency (13th). The Patriots’ seventh-ranked offense and fifth-ranked defense, according to FPI, make them a favorite on the road.
What to watch for in fantasy: The Titans have been very good against running backs this season, but the way James White is being utilized by the Patriots still makes him a very interesting case.
Could this be where the Patriots‘ winning streak ends? New England has garnered six straight victories, putting up gobs of points when needed (SEE: Chiefs, Packers), held the fort when needed (SEE: Dolphins, Bills, Packers) and made waves on special teams when needed (SEE: Bears). What will be necessary versus the suddenly unstuck Titans? Solid blocking up front, for starters, and positive special teams play. This Tennessee defense is no joke. The Titans are first in the entire NFL in offensive points allowed (141). They are also hell on wheels in the red zone, where they allow 1.6 yards per play, a 51.2 passer rating and touchdowns only 31.8 percent of the time. The Pats must create rushing lanes and let Tom Brady pat the ball when the field is squeezed near the Titans‘ goal line. And Stephen Gostkowski must be money. He is so money he doesn’t even know he is money.
Bills (2-7) at Jets (3-6): 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Point spread: NYJ -7 | Matchup quality: 13.5 (of 100)
Mike Rodak’s pick: The last time Josh McCown started against the Bills at MetLife Stadium, a 34-21 Jets victory last November, his Total QBR (85.5) was the fifth-highest of his 95-game career. McCown did not throw a pick-six all of last season, whereas Bills quarterbacks have thrown as many this season (three) as they have touchdown passes. Jets 20, Bills 13
Rich Cimini’s pick: The Jets go from Brock Osweiler to Nathan Peterman (maybe), who produces more turnovers than Pillsbury. If the defense can’t end its three-game takeaway drought, something is seriously wrong. McCown hasn’t played a regular-season game in 337 days, but his mind and savviness will overcome the rust and carry the Jets to an ugly win as they head into their bye week. Jets 12, Bills 6
FPI win projection: NYJ, 71.8 percent. Regardless of which quarterback plays for either team, the Jets will be a heavy favorite thanks to their defense. New York ranks third in defensive efficiency this season, while the Bills have the worst offense in FPI’s data set by efficiency (since the start of 2008 season).
What to watch for in fantasy: In the rare game where both defensive units stand out as strong streaming candidates, both offenses feature largely inept quarterback play this season.
Whew, doggie — this game is a beaut … like them green walls. That’s what Cousin Eddie might say about this game. At least Clark Griswold’s family truckster with the sweet wood-grain siding could move. Not sure either of these offenses can advance worth a lick. With rookie Jets QB Sam Darnold sidelined by a foot injury, it will be Josh McCown‘s car to drive. Plane to fly. You know what I mean. Nate Peterman, meanwhile, sports a career TD-to-INT ratio of 3:12, or 1:4. (To put that in perspective, Aaron Rodgers‘ is 328:79, or roughly 4:1. Go Bills.) Unfortunately, this matchup comes down to the lesser of two, well, cruddy offenses. In that regard, New York clearly holds the advantage. Gang Green looks to acquire more than its lowly average of 5.1 yards per play. Despite that awful number, the Jets still are over a yard ahead of the Bills, who manage just 4.0 per play. No team has averaged less since the 2004 Bears, led by Chad Hutchinson, Craig Krenzel, Jonathan Quinn and Rex Grossman. #SexyRexy
Dolphins (5-4) at Packers (3-4-1): 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
Point spread: GB -10 | Matchup quality: 45.9 (of 100)
Cameron Wolfe’s pick: It’s not often that a team with a winning record is a double-digit underdog against a team with a losing record, but that’s the case here as Miami has done little to prove it can keep up when facing elite quarterbacks. The Dolphins lead the NFL with 15 interceptions, but as Adam Gase said, “Aaron Rodgers is a little different than Sam Darnold.” Miami simply doesn’t have the offense to keep up with a desperate Green Bay team at home. Packers 31, Dolphins 16
Rob Demovsky’s pick: The Packers should bounce back after consecutive road losses at the Rams and Patriots, but it only means something if they put together a consistent performance. They haven’t in ages, and if they’re to have any chance the next two games, at Seattle on a short week and at Minnesota, they have to build momentum Sunday. Packers 23, Dolphins 13
FPI win projection: GB, 82.0 percent. Rodgers enters this game ranked 19th in the NFL in Total QBR (58.0) and has not even reached a 65 Total QBR in a game this season. Since Rodgers took over as the starter in 2008, he has posted at least a 60 Total QBR in every season.
Feel free to swipe left on Brock Osweiler at Lambeau. I mean, when you’re staring at Aaron Rodgers‘ profile, it’s hard to linger too long on Osweiler’s bio. Sorry, dating apps are seeping into your friendly writer’s musings. The Dolphins own a winning record at 5-4, yet have been outscored by 38 points. They have really struggled on the road the last three times out. Granted, the competition has been pretty stout: Texans (currently 6-3), Bengals (5-3) and Patriots (7-2). But the Fins lost those three games by a combined score of 107-47 — a robust average deficit of 20 points per game. Miami’s defense could allow the team to hang around, given the Packers‘ poor play calling as of late. Key will be how Osweiler performs on third downs, with the Dolphins converting just 39.4 percent to first downs this season. Field goals won’t win the day in Green Bay, where the Packers have yet to lose this season.
Last week 2-1, Season total 18-10
Patriots @ Titans: 27-24
Titans have played better as of late, however, too many weapons at WR are out. Pats are warming up for what should be another run without a championship! Patriots will win, not easily; that crappy D will keep Titans in the game. That same crappy D will be why they will NOT win another SB before Tom calls it a career. This is BB’s last year, I doubt he wants to keep doing this beyond this year. Especially with folks like Gronk coming back down to planet earth, and off-season moves no longer being camouflaged by a great QB!
Bills @ Jets: 9-17
Yea, I will once again go against trend by experts. Jets are not scoring 20 and Bills keep that below 10 average rolling! I do not ever remember a more inept O than Bills this year. I guess records are being broken, so far since 2009, but I can see that number dropping to 1980s. Bills are trying to get record of most starting QBs in one year with multiple INTs…. Barkley!!!!! Yea, he is next!
Jets are banged up, McCown has not played since a year ago….I still say he is better than any Bills QB on current roster! Last time McCown played Bills it was for all the marbles as Bills were in gear for a playoff drive! (Remember that Link?)…..This year may be worst!
Dolphins @ Packers: 13-30
Yea no! Dolphins are not winning in “cold” Wisconsin……this is a team that needs warm, and HC doesn’t realize that the best RB is called Drake, not Old-Man-and-the-Sea. Dolphins will lose easily and even if Gase survives, he is coaching on borrowed time……unless he can convince Ross that its because God, Ryan, is out!
Ross wants a real HC and a control freak!!!!! He tried that once with Parcells, however he had run out gas by then. As I have predicted from off-season, Michigan-Harbaugh is going to get a blank check and total control to come back to the NFL!……That is not a bad thing, as so far, since Shula, all the HCs and QBs have sucked!….Is Kaep coming back too????? This is the biggest kneeling team in the NFL, Kaep would be proud!