Miami Dolphins 30, New York Jets 17
Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will come after rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on Sunday because that’s what Gregg Williams does, especially when trying to avoid his second 0-16 record in four years. I expect the Dolphins to have an answer because they learn from mistakes and already out-coached the Jets staff in a 24-0 shutout back in Week 6.
Dolphins at Jets (+6.5)
Brian Flores against Adam Gase offers the biggest coaching mismatch of the weekend. I love Flores’ straightforward approach. He didn’t think Tua Tagovailoa was playing well enough to win the game last week so he gave Ryan Fitzpatrick a shot in the fourth quarter. It didn’t work out, and now he’s going back to Tagovailoa. It’s OK. Everyone can handle it. Too often coaches are over-concerned about egos and locker-room dynamics with moves like that. Why not just focus on what gives you the best chance of winning? It’s tough to see the Jets finding a way to consistently move the ball in this one. I think Miami bounces back and wins big.
The pick: Dolphins (-6.5)
From: The Athletic
Buffalo Bills 31, Los Angeles Chargers 30
The Chargers, Steelers and Chiefs remain the only three teams to avoid a two-score loss this season. That figures to remain true for the Bolts this week against a Bills outfit still allergic to putting together a complete game on both sides of the ball. The return of Joey Bosa last week and possibly Austin Ekeler this week gives Los Angeles hope in what should be another narrow loss to a quality opponent.
Chargers at Bills (-5.5)
If the season ended today, the Bills would be the No. 3 seed in the AFC and host the Browns in the first round. That’s a scenario Buffalo fans would likely be happy to sign up for. Justin Herbert, meanwhile, continues his quest to shatter a bunch of rookie quarterback records. This has the feel of a game where the Chargers keep it close, do dumb things in the fourth quarter and the Bills win by a field goal.
The pick: Chargers (+5.5)
From: The Athletic
Arizona Cardinals 27, New England Patriots 24
After facing Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson this season, Bill Belichick is probably ready to end his tour of the Quarterback Revolution. It’s clear that no amount of scheming is going to make the Patriots’ front seven talented enough to hang with players like Kyler Murray, especially when the opposing QB’s backed by a dynamic running game. Cam Newton is playing well enough to stay close in games, but not well enough to survive a defense ranked 25th in EPA and dead last in DVOA.
Cardinals at Patriots (+2.5)
It’s gone largely unnoticed, but the Patriots’ offense has steadily improved. The unit is all the way up to 19th in efficiency, and Cam Newton is on pace to complete a career-high 68.1 percent of his passes while rushing for over 600 yards. New England’s defense, though, has fallen to 32nd in DVOA. The Cardinals are coming off a Thursday night during which Kyler Murray appeared to suffer a shoulder injury. I don’t like betting against Bill Belichick as a home underdog.
The pick: Patriots (+2.5)