New England Patriots 27, Denver Broncos 23
If this game went off as scheduled last week, the quarterback matchup would have likely been Brett Rypien vs. Jarrett Stidham. Now it is expected to be Drew Lock vs. Cam Newton. Everyone wins! The Broncos will also get Phillip Lindsay and possibly Noah Fant back to an offense ready to be frisky again, though Melvin Gordon‘s status is up in the air following a DUI arrest. While Newton’s return will boost the Patriots’ diverse running game, Bill Belichick’s respect for Vic Fangio’s defense wasn’t lip service. The Broncos are a dangerous, well-coached opponent for any team, especially one that has barely practiced in two weeks.
UPDATE: The Patriots cancelled practice Friday after another positive COVID-19 test, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Mike Giardi reported, per a source informed.
Broncos at Patriots (-9.5)
This game was originally scheduled for Week 5 but was postponed, and now the expectation is that Cam Newton and Drew Lock will return. It’s hard to have much faith in the Broncos’ offense, but Vic Fangio has done what he always does defensively: maximize the talent at his disposal. Despite a number of injuries, the Broncos are 10th in defensive efficiency. They slow down New England’s offense and make this a game.
The pick: Broncos (+9.5)
From: The Athletic
Miami Dolphins 27, New York Jets 13
The Jets haven’t kept a game within one score all season. Their offense last week primarily consisted of Joe Flacco trying to make plays off-script outside of the pocket, which went about how you’d expect. Flacco is back again this week and is the younger QB in the matchup. The Dolphins, led by QBR’s fifth-ranked quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, are the logical successors to the 2007 Patriots if last week — and last week only — was any indication. Brian Flores’ defense makes far more sense with No. 1 cornerback Byron Jonesback on the field and when it plays with a lead, allowing Flores to dial up creative pressures. Get ready for the 3-3 Dolphins!
Jets at Dolphins (-9.5)
The Jets are one of two teams that have gone 0-5 against the spread this season. Their minus-86 point differential is the worst in the league. The next-closest team is minus-53. The Dolphins, meanwhile, are coming off an impressive blowout win at San Francisco, but this is a big line. I can’t believe I’m taking the Adam Gase/Joe Flacco combination, but anything can happen in 2020, so what the heck?
The pick: Jets (+9.5)
From: The Athletic
Kansas City Chiefs 35, Buffalo Bills 30
When Kansas City’s offense has the ball, this game will be a matchup of sides trying to live up to previous glory. The Chiefs are 12th in net yards per attempt after finishing first and second the previous two seasons. The Bills’ defense went from mediocre to Lions status in Nashville, with Matt Milano and Tre’Davious White out of the lineup. K.C.’s offense seems like the far easier fix. Both Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen are constantly trying to balance how much they should improvise versus how much they should stick to structure, and while Mahomes is a little out of whack currently, he’s accustomed to being in shootouts. I’m curious if Bills coach Sean McDermott is ready to embrace playing every week in the 30-plus-point range, because that’s the type of Bills team he’s coaching.
Chiefs at Bills (+3.5)
Both teams suffered their first losses in Week 5. Neither seemed panic-worthy. The big concern with the Bills is their defense has not played up to its usual standard. Buffalo was seventh in defensive efficiency last season and second in 2018. Through five weeks, the Bills are down to 27th. Patrick Mahomes’ first half against the Raiders last week was one of his most impressive displays all season, and the Chiefs can still score in a hurry. They bounce back, and Mahomes has a huge day.
The pick: Chiefs (-3.5)