Cincinatti at Carolina | Winner: Cincinatti +3
This game is going to be a very close one, with the Bengals being 4th in points scored per game, and the Panther’s being 8th in points allowed. There are many more offensive and defensive stats that suggest that the Bengals offense vs Panthers defense is one of the premier matchups of the week. However, there is one glaring stat: the Bengals have scored a TD in 83% of their opponents redzone opportunities, and the Panthers have allowed a TD in 100% of their defensive redzone possessions. This is something to watch for during this game.
NY Giants at Houston | Winner: NY Giants +6
Our roster rankings view these teams as both in the bottom 10 of the league. That makes this an awfully difficult pick. The key stat I noted that may be indicative of the kind of day is that the Houston Texans give up 7.4 yards per pass play. This is something Odell will surely take advantage of. Also, The Houston Texans love the deep middle passing play, trying it 8 times this year so far, which is most in the league. So far, the Giants have been the best in the league at covering the deep middle ball. This may lead to an interception, say by potentially Landon Collins.
Tennessee at Jacksonville | Winner: Tennessee +9.5
This is not necessarily an outright stating of a Titans victory, but history states that the game will be within the spread. Every September game between the Titans and Jags in their histories have resulted in either a Titans win or a Jags win by less than 7. So history states it will be within 10 points. The Jags do lead in every major offensive and defensive categories, so a win for them would not be surprising.
Denver at Baltimore | Winner: Baltimore -5.5
I chose the Ravens for a number of reasons. First being the Ravens recent home performances. They are 6-3 in the last 2 years and have won all of the 6 by more than 5 points. They also haven’t lost a September home game in the since 2015. Denver is also playing on the road for the first time this year, so it will be the first time they won’t experience the beginning-of-the-year, high-altitude benefits of Denver. A glaring stat to pay attention to is that Denver is giving up 8 yards per pass.
New Orleans at Atlanta | Winner: Atlanta -3
Our roster rankings here at GamedayCollective have the Saints and Falcons rosters at pretty much the same strength. That is why the ranking comes down to three factors: turnovers, home field advantage, and September stats. On the fact of turnovers, the Falcons have been considerably better at both holding onto the ball and taking the ball away. Their turnover margin is +0.5 while the Saints have a turnover margin of -1.5. A game between teams so closely matched will most likely come down to a key play, which can likely be a turnover. About September stats: the Falcons are 6-2 so far in September over the past 3 seasons.
San Francisco at Kansas City | Winner: Kansas City -6.5
I was originally leaning towards the 49ers due to my roster rankings, but after a further deep-dive into the stats, my viewpoint has changed. Over the past 3 seasons, the Chiefs are 7-1 in September games so far. They have won these 7 games by an average of 11 points per game.
Green Bay at Washington | Winner: Green Bay -2.5
It seems that this Washington roster is currently being overrated. The Redskins are averaging only 16.5 points per game after playing the Cardinals and the Colts. Two rosters we consider to be very weak. The Redskins are also 24th in the league in sack percentage. Aaron Rodgers with time is a scary proposition.
Indianapolis at Philadelphia | Winner: Indianapolis +7
I’m not saying that the Colts are going to win the game, I’m just saying it’s going to be closer than people think. My main reason for picking this is that manning the QB position is a player that hasn’t had any playing experience in a while, and who takes a while to settle in even after a single week bye.
Oakland at Miami | Winner: Oakland +3
I know my last couple of picks have seemed lazy, and that probably won’t change for this pick. My main reason for picking the Raiders is their roster is considerably better in our rankings. In fact, the Dolphins are the second worst roster in the league. Miami, who has a relatively low red-zone scoring percentage, is facing the 10th best red-zone defense in the league.
Buffalo at Minnesota | Winner: Buffalo +16.5
Obviously I don’t think Minnesota is going to win this game outright. However, 16.5 points is a lot to absorb, and I think after weeks of being humiliated, the Bills can at least put up a performance that can be within 16.5 points. If I’m wrong, then this would be one of the worst starts for an NFL team.
LA Chargers at LA Rams | Winner: LA Chargers +7
Currently, the Chargers have the edge in average time of possession, yards per play, yards per rush, and redzone efficiency. These are major stats regarding the control of a game. They also, however unbelievably, have the current edge in offensive and defensive line play. Yes, PFF focus ranked them with the 30th offensive line, but they are 10th in the league in QB sacked % at 3.7%, and it is not a scheme of quick, short passes allowing this because they are 4th in the league in yards per pass. The Rams are a little worse at protecting their QB with a sack % of 4.4%. Regarding the defensive line, the Chargers are 7th in the league in sacking the QB, while the Rams are 29th. Ingram and Bosa are key to securing a win for the Chargers.
Chicago at Arizona | Winner: Chicago -4.5
I think this is one of the best opportunities of the weekend. Arizona is averaging 3 points per game this season; yes, 3 points per game. Chicago also has the 12th current scoring defense after playing Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. They also sack the QB around 12% of the time, 2nd best in the league. PFF has the Cardinals O-line ranked as worst in the league. Our roster rankings have the Cardinals with the 4th worst roster in the league and the Bears with the 9th best roster. This has the potential to be a blowout, but Trubisky has to just lock-in and play within the system.
Dallas at Seattle | Winner: Dallas +2
This is another game that I have supreme confidence in. The key matchup I see that I think will ultimately decide this game is the Seahawks O-line vs the Cowboys D-line. Currently, the Seahawks O-line is ranked 29th on PFF, and is giving up the greatest sack % in the league at 14.81%; this is while giving the ball away 2.5 times per game, 29th in the league. This is against the Cowboys, who are 3rd in the league at sacking the quarterback. The Seahawks defense has also been reduced to mediocrity. They give up 68% completion and 7 yards per pass, and are 18th in yards per rush. The Cowboys are 5th in yards per rush, and 1st in giveaways per game; they are looking to take advantage of the Seahawks’ defensive faults.
New England at Detroit | Winner: New England -7
Bill Belichick is 15-5 against his former assistant coaches. I just had to start with that because it isn’t close to being the best reason why the Patriots are going to win this game by 7. Detroit is in the bottom 5 in the league in these statistical categories: Opponent points per game, opponent points per play, opponent touchdowns per game, opponent yards per rush, opponent rush yards per game, turnover margin, turnovers, interception thrown %, rush yards per game, red zone scoring %, and field goal conversion %. To put this into perspective, the Patriots are bottom 5 in zero offensive categories, in fact, are around top 15 in almost every category. There is also the hitherto unmentioned presence of Tom Brady, who heightens any defensive inefficiencies. All of these factors suggest that it won’t be extremely difficult for the Patriots to win by more than 7.
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay | Winner: Pittsburgh -1.5
My reasonings for this pic could be seen as more anecdotal and less statistical. A minor factor going into this game is that Ryan Fitzpatrick is 0-5 against the Steelers in his career. Another factor being that the Steelers, as we all know, can play up or down to their competition or relative moments. The Steelers are 12-2 in primetime games since 2015, and they are undefeated in primetime games since 2016 (excluding playoffs). Both the Steelers and Bucs are top 10 in scoring and bottom 10 in scoring defense. Other than scoring defense so far this season, the Steelers defense is much better so far. They are 4th in opponent 3rd down conversion %, 4th in opponent completion percentage, and 4th in sack %. The Bucs defense also is worst in the league in opposing completion %, giving up 8.1 yards per passing play, and 376 yards passing per game. This game seems to have potential for a shootout, and I like Big Ben’s odds in a shootout with his weapons.