Chris Berman has taken his Swami Sez NFL picks segment seen on SportsCenter to ESPN Chalk. Each week during the NFL regular season, he’ll give his favorite picks against the spread here with a little further analysis.
Season record: 18-4 ATS (last week: 4-1)
There’s a lot of excitement in Dallas, starting with the Texas Rangers in the playoffs, the annual Texas-Oklahoma game in college football and
culminating in the Cowboys’ home game Sunday. Each week, this Dallas team seems to improve, and Ezekiel Elliott and this offensive line are starting to click. I have plenty of respect for Cincinnati, but with Tyler Eifert still out, I think Dallas has enough at home to beat a very good Bengals team.
Score: Dallas 23, Cincinnati 20
Without Adrian Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater and tackle Matt Kalil, any Vikings fan should be over the moon with a 4-0 start. The run has included wins over Green Bay, Carolina and the New York Giants Monday night. Do they finish this run with a crescendo heading into their bye? All credit to Minnesota’s defense, but I think Houston can go head-to-head in the trenches and keep this one close, even without J.J. Watt. Minnesota wins a close one.
Score: Minnesota 20, Houston 17
I generally don’t like to take road favorites, especially ones with a rookie quarterback. However, Andy Reid has always been great off of byes, and since Doug Pederson coached under him in Kansas City, I’m going to bank that Pederson will have a good game plan for this one. Plus, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz (former Detroit head coach) returns to face the team that fired him. He ought to know what makes Matthew Stafford nervous, and he’ll cook up something here to stifle that offense. Eagles keep it rolling.
Score: Philadelphia 23, Detroit 17
Neither team seems to have much going this season, but DeMarco Murray has played well, and I think Tennessee’s running game will use the clock and keep this one close. I’ll take the head start with the points.
Score: Tennessee 20, Miami 19
In a game where neither team reaches 20, I’ll again take the points. Tyrod Taylor looked good last week against the Patriots, and Buffalo did what it had to do — just enough to win the game. I’m also assuming the Bills aren’t so thrilled with themselves that they forget they still have work to do, because this Los Angeles defense is very good. I’ll be keeping an eye on the injuries to LeSean McCoy and Marcell Dareus, but I like the Bills in this one.
Score: Buffalo 19, Los Angeles 18