Colts (+6) at REDSKINS: Andrew Luck is back, that’s great for the league, and we’re taking — though Luck being the focal point of the visitors’ schemes is a double-edged sword, in that the offense tends to get unbalanced. Underdog should run it as often as feasible, to maintain a measure of defensive honesty.
Dolphins (+3) over JETS: J-E-T-S looked great Monday night, but they’re working off a short week, fresh from romp over this season’s overrated Lions. Home side’s offensive line is flawed — and Dolphins have lost but one game to Gang Green in past decade (2015) when not on the road the previous week.
Giants (+3) over COWBOYS: Dallas racked up 16 missed tackles in mundane opening loss to Carolina. That was a daunting ’17 debut, yes … but the Cowboys’ O-line in severe disrepair, stringing along with developing visitors. It’s tough to rebound as chalk when critical moving parts are missing or hurting.
FALCONS (-5¹/₂) over Panthers: Veteran Panthers TE Greg Olsen broke his right foot again against the Cowboys and won’t be back soon. Throw in both banged-up Carolina offensive tackles, and visitors in dire straits. Atlanta should respond in early must-win spot, but must finish with vigor in this situation.
Vikings (+2) over PACKERS: Aaron Rodgers beat the Bears on one leg in last Sunday night’s second half, doing it on sheer guts and voodoo. To like the Packers here, you have to be certain Rodgers will play — and finish. Can’t go there, with DeShone Kiser as Plan B, though Rodgers made Saturday’s practice.
BILLS (+7¹/₂) over Chargers: The Bolts will miss pass rusher Joey Bosa dearly. No matter how surface matchups may appeal, it’s seldom easy for the Chargers away from home, especially in an early East Coaster. Should some of Josh Allen’s deep bombs find paydirt, look out.
TITANS (+2) over Texans: Word is shifty QB Marcus Mariota will start for the Titans after incurring an elbow issue in third quarter against Miami last week — though Blaine Gabbert is expected to see time. Texans counterpart Deshaun Watson was more than competitive at Gillette last week, before being done in by late mistakes. Second straight road game for visitors is a negative.
STEELERS (-4¹/₂) over Chiefs: Andy Reid’s troops caught the Chargers enduring their now-traditional special-teams inferiority from the outset and led wire-to-wire on the Left Coast. Now they visit the crew that has owned them in Pennsylvania — with Steelers scared straight off their sister-kisser in Cleveland.
Eagles (-3) over BUCCANEERS: Likely Bucs regression off spectacular upset of smug Saints leaves door open for defending champs — though Nick Foles’ present form leaves it largely up to Phildelphia defense.
Browns (+9) over SAINTS: Body-bag game! Sean Payton’s Saints won latest round in resounding Bountygate ’09-revenge match when New Orleans thrashed Rams (and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams) in ’16. But Browns’ defensive effectiveness no fluke. Saints RB Mark Ingram remains suspended. Trust Tyrod Taylor to take care of the ball.
Cardinals (+13) over RAMS: In noseholder, Cards strive to play keepaway from Rams offensive talent, rushing RB David Johnson early and often. Handicap margin has been pushed to the max, Rams coming off offensive-peak season, and no franchise was more fortunate in injury department in 2017.
49ERS (-6) over Lions: Yes, this is way popular and grossly-expensive, as fans react to Monday-night Ford Field horror show — but we persist, as Niners look to mature into competitive NFC West entity. Matthew Stafford should get blitzed senseless, and San Francisco’s schedule dictates max effort here.
Patriots (-1) over JAGUARS: Super losers maintain obvious class advantage, having dragooned AFC South foes in the past 21 opportunities (per Mark Lawrence). Key Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette self-described as a game-time decision with his iffy hammy. Pats hold the strategic/mental cards, though must generate required high energy.
BRONCOS (-6) over Raiders: Even if the visitors were not burdened with dubious assets (Derek Carr and Jon Gruden), it’s far from the ideal time of year to take on the Broncos in Mile High. Diminished Seahawks physicality minimizes fear of backing sides directly off Seattle bouts.
BEARS (-3) over Seahawks: The Bears currently showcase the superior roster, with far better near-term potential. While keeping Chicago mindset off that brutal second half against Green Bay, this is an early read on the chalk’s seasonal prospects. Second-straight-roadie stress may doom ’Hawks.
Last week: 7-7-1
Follow Richard Witt on Twitter: @rich_witt1