SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (5-3) at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (6-2)
LINE: San Francisco by 3
CHEWABLE: Two strong teams coming off a bye after going into their week off through opposite entrances: Niners on a three-game losing slump and the Jags, with five wins in a row, as the hottest team in the NFL. San Francisco is getting multiple pick-me-ups here. Newly acquired Chase Young will be making his Niners debut and will combine with Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead to give fits to the Jaguars offensive line, ranked 28th by Pro Football Network. They should also be getting LT Trent Williams and WR Deebo Samuel back from injuries, Christian McCaffrey is expected to be 100 percent after playing through an oblique issue, while Brock Purdy should get back on track against Jacksonville’s 30th ranked pass defence. Jaguars have a scoring machine of their own in Travis Etienne Jr., who has seven TDs in his last four games, but the Niners are bumpy terrain with the fifth best run defence. San Francisco’s secondary has shown weakness, but it’s just a matter of whether Trevor Lawrence has time to take advantage. Can’t see Niners, at full strength, losing a fourth in a row.
TAKING: SAN FRANCISCO -3
SCORE (O/U 45): Niners 31, Jaguars 27
ATLANTA FALCONS (4-5) at ARIZONA CARDINALS (1-8)
LINE: Atlanta by 1.5
CHEWABLE: Kyler Murray pulls on his Cardinals game jersey for the first time since Dec. 12 and, while he is a difference maker, it’s important to remember that he could be either rusty or not yet back to his old mobile self after ACL surgery, and also that he only plays the quarterback position, not defensive tackle or linebacker as well. Arizona is still an easy team to run against, which means the Falcons get to regularly hand the ball to Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier after two weeks of playing teams (Ravens, Browns) that shut down an opponent’s ground game. Now it looks like the Cardinals will also be getting James Conner back from injury, which is huge because he can give them the running attack they’ve lacked, but Atlanta is also getting help in the return of WR Drake London, and he’ll have a better ball thrower than he’s used to with Taylor Heinicke rather than Desmond Ridder at QB … Falcons, who have the NFL’s sixth ranked defence, have lost two in a row and three of their last four yet still have a shot at the NFC South title. Playing a team that has dropped six straight and only one by single digits, they won’t let this one slip through their fingers.
TAKING: ATLANTA -1.5
SCORE (O/U 43.5): Falcons 27, Cardinals 14
DETROIT LIONS (6-2) at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (4-4)
LINE: Detroit by 3
CHEWABLE: Chargers are coming off two lopsided yet misleading wins to face a well-rested and healed Lions team coming off a bye. In their 21 and 17 point victories over the Jets and Bears, they took advantage of mistakes good offences like Detroit’s wouldn’t make. Lions will have David Montgomery back from injury, and behind the second best offensive line in football he went over 100 yards in the two full games he played before damaging his ribs. While he was gone rookie Jahmyr Gibbs had a breakout game of 152 yards, and together they give Detroit what very well could be the best 1-2 backfield punch in the league. That offensive line, which rates behind only the Eagles, will also be boosted by the return of D Frank Ragnow and G Jonah Jackson. Jared Goff will have plenty of time to hook up with Amon-Ra St. Brown and rookie TE Sam LaPorta … Chargers defence is improving, mostly because of the rejuvenated pass rush, but still ranks 30th in average yards allowed per game. Lions are fifth.
TAKING: DETROIT -3
SCORE (O/U 48.5): Lions 27, Chargers 20
WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (4-5) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (5-3)
LINE: Seattle by 6.5
CHEWABLE: How could the Seahawks be favoured against anybody after being thoroughly embarrassed by the Ravens last week? They scored three points to Baltimore’s 37, had 151 yards to Baltimore’s 415 and had six first downs to Baltimore’s 29. At the same time, Washington was bouncing back from a seven-point loss to the Eagles with a three-point win in New England over the desperate Patriots. Still, this is an easy pick. Commanders are travelling across the country to Seattle, which isn’t easy for the best of teams, and they’ll be without the pass rush they traded to the Bears (Montez Sweat) and the Niners (Chase Young). This will allow Geno Smith plenty of time to “get it right” against a Commanders defence that has allowed more 50-plus yard receptions than any team in the league, and is tied for second in passing touchdowns allowed with 19. Just because Mac Jones and his incompetent group of receivers couldn’t do it doesn’t mean Smith, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett can’t. Expect Smith, who has just four TD passes and four picks in the last three games, to go off on Washington via the air while Kenneth Walker bounces back from a poor performance against the Ravens.
TAKING: SEATTLE -6.5
SCORE (O/U 44.5): Seahawks 37, Commanders 17
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (4-5) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2-7)
LINE: Indianapolis by 1.5
CHEWABLE: Can you imagine Bill Belichick’s historic run in New England coming to a crashing end with a Week 10 loss to the Colts on foreign soil? Having lost hope of a playoff spot before the halfway point of the season and with the team on a bye next week, it’s starting to sound like canning The Hoodie and replacing him with linebackers coach Jerod Mayo is being mulled over by the Krafts, who apparently are looking at the game in Germany like it’s their Super Bowl this season … While Patriots were embarrassed last week by a Commanders team that was tanking at the trade deadline, Colts ended a three-game losing streak by beating the Panthers last week only because CB Kenny Moore II ran 115 yards with a pair of pick-sixes … While neither Mac Jones or Gardner Minshew can be counted on, and because injuries have made the Patriots run defence as porous as the Colts’, don’t be surprised if this one comes down to a showdown between Jonathan Taylor/Zack Moss vs. Rhamondre Stevenson/Zeke Elliott. The edge goes to the Patriots, who we’re also backing because Belichick is 35-16 ATS after losing as a favourite the previous week and is also 3-0 in three trips to Europe.
TAKING: NEW ENGLAND +1.5
SCORE (O/U 43): Patriots 20, Colts 17
CLEVELAND BROWNS (5-3) at BALTIMORE RAVENS (7-2)
LINE: Baltimore by 6.5
CHEWABLE: John Harbaugh calls the AFC North the best division in football and it’s just as hard to argue that as it is to deny these are the two best defences in the NFL. While they rank 1-2 in average yards allowed per game, with Browns giving up 234.8 and Ravens surrendering 262.6 – that might be the only place Cleveland gets the edge. This will be a brawl, unlike the one-sided beating the Ravens administered when visiting Cleveland in Week 4. The 28-3 victory was sparked by Lamar Jackson, who completed 15-of-19 for 186 yards and a pair of scores … Gus Edwards has rushed for five TDs in his last two games and six in his last three, but he will have to search for holes against Cleveland’s sixth ranked run defence … Bad news for Baltimore: Lamar is 8-17 ATS as a home favourite of 3.5-plus points … Bad news for Cleveland: Browns O-line has been ravaged by injuries … Bottom line: Of the Ravens seven victories, only one has been by less than seven points. With a plus-115 point differential that is 35 points better than second best, Ravens are the most complete team in the NFL.
TAKING: BALTIMORE -6.5
SCORE (O/U 38): Ravens 21, Browns 14
HOUSTON TEXANS (4-4) at CINCINNATI BENGALS (5-3)
LINE: Cincinnati by 6.5
CHEWABLE: As spectacular as C.J. Stroud was last week, who dares bet against Joe Burrow and the Bengals these days? In the past two weeks he has torched a couple of good defences (Niners, Bills) and during the Bengals four-game winning streak he has thrown 10 TD passes with a completing rate of 75% … Partly because they put very little pressure on the quarterback, the Texans pass defence is a lowly 24th, further playing into the hands of Burrow … A Cincinnati sore spot is its run defence, which ranks 27th. A Houston weakness is its ground game, which ranks 27th. Saw off … Texans passing game is fourth best, but the Bengals can pressure the QB so Stroud will be looking to click on some short, over the middle patterns with with TE Dalton Schultz, who had 10 catches for 130 yards and a TD against the Bucs last Sunday. Bengals didn’t do a very good job of covering Bills TE Dalton Kincaid, who also had 10 catches for 81 yards … While WR Tee Higgins is expected to sit with a hamstring, Bengals could also be without Ja’Marr Chase (back), although the latter says “in his mind” he’s playing. Bengals could also be a little distracted with a divisional showdown against Baltimore looming Thursday, but not enough to stall against a defence Baker Mayfield ripped through last week.
TAKING: CINCINNATI -6.5
SCORE (O/U 47.5): Bengals 24, Texans 17
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-4) at MINNESOTA VIKINGS (5-4)
LINE: New Orleans by 2.5
CHEWABLE: Josh Dobbs incredibly rode to the rescue for the Vikings last week, leading them to a come-from-behind victory over the Falcons mere hours after joining the team. In the Saints he’ll face an even better pass defence, but also one that is susceptible to running QBs, as Trevor Lawrence proved a couple of weeks ago. Dobbs had seven carries for 66 yards and a TD — his third score in his last three games — against Atlanta, so expect him to make things happen with his legs this week too … Saints are first in the NFC South but the teams they’ve beaten are weaklings: Bears, Colts, Patriots, Panthers and Titans. They’ll have difficulty moving the ball along the ground against the Vikings improving defence. A stat that jumps off the page: Derek Carr is 7-13 ATS as a road favourite. He probably wouldn’t be in that role if the Vikings, who have won four in a row, weren’t getting Justin Jefferson back this week instead of next.
TAKING: MINNESOTA +2.5
SCORE (O/U 40.5): Vikings 24, Saints 21
GREEN BAY PACKERS (3-5) at PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-3)
LINE: Pittsburgh by 3
CHEWABLE: Aaron Jones would never get any votes as the NFL’s most outstanding player, but he’s definitely the MVP of the Packers offence, using his elusiveness and hard running skills to lift both the running and passing games. After weeks of dealing with a hamstring injury, Jones was back to his old self in last week’s slump-busting victory over the Rams, and he’ll get a full workload this week. Also aiding the Green Bay cause is the return to health of LB De’Vondre Campbell and CB Jaire Alexander, although the latter missed Wednesday’s practice with a new shoulder injury. Holding L.A. to three points had just as much to do with the ineptness of QB Brett Rypien, but at full strength the Packers ‘D’ is Top 10 that will be problematic for Steelers, who are the fourth lowest scoring team in the NFL with an average of 16.6 points per game. If Jordan Love can survive Pittsburgh’s pass rush, and Kenny Pickett doesn’t perform more fourth quarter heroics, the visitors will cover.
TAKING: GREEN BAY +3
SCORE (O/U 39): Steelers 21, Packers 19
TENNESSEE TITANS (3-5) at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-5)
LINE: Tampa by 1
CHEWABLE: Will Levis didn’t have anywhere near the same numbers in his first road start — last week’s 20-16 loss to the Steelers — as he did in his four-TD debut the week before, but he was nonetheless very impressive keeping the Titans in the game against a heat-bringing defence. Against a Tampa pass defence that ranks 31st, he should be able to combine with DeAndre Hopkins and Kyle Philips for some big numbers, especially with a rejuvenated Derrick Henry keeping the Bucs off balance. Tampa is on a four-game losing streak but the last three defeats have been by a combined 11 points, and this will be another close one. Swaying the decision is Mike Vrabel’s 7-1 ATS record in his second consecutive road game and the Bucs 38-69 ATS record in their last 107 home games.
TAKING: TENNESSEE +1
SCORE (O/U 38.5): Titans 24, Bucs 21
NEW YORK GIANTS (2-7) at DALLAS COWBOYS (5-3)
LINE: Dallas by 16.5
CHEWABLE: For a divisional matchup, this spread is too high no matter the circumstances. Especially when the G-Men have to be seeking some sort of revenge for the 40-0 beating Dallas gave them in Week 1. And also when the Giants, before last week’s 30-6 loss to the inspired Raiders, had allowed 31 points in three games, At the same time, Giants have scored just 10 touchdowns in nine games and are averaging a league-low 11.2 points per game, and now they turn to undrafted rookie Tommy (not Danny) DeVito as their quarterback, who will be without team leading receiver Darren Waller (hamstring). As decent as the Giants are on defence, the Cowboys offensive line is coming off an outstanding game against the Eagles and Dak Prescott is playing at an elite level of late, with eight TD passes and just one pick in his last three games. Cowboys lost a game they feel they should have won last week and they’ll be taking out their frustrations on the Giants. Worth noting: Favourites of 16.5 points or more are 17-13 ATS over the last 23 seasons.
TAKING: DALLAS -16.5
SCORE (O/U 38.5): Cowboys 30, Giants 7
NEW YORK JETS (4-4) at LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (4-5)
LINE: Las Vegas by 1
CHEWABLE: If the Raiders can put out the victory cigars they smoked last week after beating the Giants (and getting Josh McDaniels canned) in time, they’ll be eager to attack a Jets team that was blown away 27-6 by the Chargers on Monday. But they should be careful what they wish for. Jets actually outgained Chargers in net yards and yards per play but were crushed by their own doing, with four fumbles and allowing a punt return for a touchdown. Don’t forget Jets beat Eagles a couple of weeks ago in the midst of a three-game winning streak. As bad as Zach Wilson can be, experience alone says he’s better than Aidan O’Connell, who was a non-factor in last Sunday’s emotional win. Wilson will have to deal with Maxx Crosby, but O’Connell is facing a ‘D’ that has “embarrassed” Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts. Either way, this one will likely come down to two other players: Jets RB Breece Hall and Raiders RB Josh Jacobs. Hall will be carrying the ball against the 31st ranked run defence, which has allowed an average of 138.7 rushing yards a game, while Jacobs takes on the 30th ranked run defence, which has allowed 137.3 rushing yards per game. Jets have scored just eight offensive touchdowns in eight games, but they’ll bump that average while staying alive in the AFC East title chase.
TAKING: NEW YORK +1
SCORE (O/U 36.5): Jets 20, Raiders 13
DENVER BRONCOS (3-5) at BUFFALO BILLS (5-4)
LINE: Buffalo by 7.5
CHEWABLE: It seems like everyone is expecting the Bills to once again become Super Bowl contenders, and that belief stems from the fact they still have some great pieces on offence. But Joe Public is ignoring the fact that because of all the injuries, their defence has become one of the weakest in the league. And now they’re not scoring like they’re capable of scoring, averaging 20.2 points per game since Week 4, when the squished the Fish 48-20. Since that game, the Bills are 0-5 ATS, with their two SU wins by six over the Bucs and five over the Giants. Today’s Broncos — not the Broncos that lost their first three games of the season and we’re demolished 70-20 by Miami — are better than both Tampa and Big Blue. Heading into last week’s bye they defeated the distracted Chiefs 24-9, and the game before that they downed the Packers 19-17. Sean Payton has the team headed in the right direction. The defence is performing much better than it was in the early going. Russell Wilson has rediscovered his touch. He should be able to find some success with Jerry Jeudy against Buffalo’s depleted secondary, while Javonte Williams grounds out yards against a run defence that desperately misses LB Matt Milano. Bills will find a way to win this game, but it looks like the spread was set six weeks ago.
TAKING: DENVER +7.5
SCORE (O/U 47): Bills 23, Broncos 21
NOTE: Bears line is Chicago -3.5, not what appeared in the paper (Chicago +4) but what is on the website
Home team in CAPS
BEARS over Panthers by 3.5 (38)
F-Colts over PATRIOTS by 1.5 (43)
RAVENS over Browns by 6.5 (38)
BENGALS over Texans by 6.5 (47.5)
Niners over JAGUARS by 3 (45)
Saints over VIKINGS by 3 (40.5)
STEELERS over Packers by 3 (39)
BUCCANEERS over Titans by 1 (38.5)
Falcons over CARDINALS by 1.5 (43.5)
Lions over CHARGERS by 3 (48.5)
COWBOYS over Giants by 16.5 (38.5)
SEAHAWKS over Commanders by 6.5 (44.5)
RAIDERS over Jets by 1 (36.5)
BILLS over Broncos by 7.5 (47)
F-game played in Frankfurt
LAST WEEK: 7-7
BEST BETS LAST WEEK: 1-0
BEST BETS SEASON: 3-6
LAST WEEK: 8-6
BEST BETS LAST WEEK: 3-1
BEST BETS SEASON: 15-13-1