Miami Dolphins (1-4) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5), London
- Time: 9:30 a.m.
- Line: Dolphins by 3 (47)
The skinny: A pair of Florida teams having highly disappointing seasons will take part in the NFL’s second game in London this season.
Facts: This marks the 30th time in the 30 games across the pond that British fans won’t get to see a pair of winning teams meet. It’s the 10th time a team has arrived winless. Miami, which has the league’s 31st-ranked offense and 30th-ranked defense, naturally has the league’s worst point differential at minus 75. Jacksonville’s margin is second worst, at minus 59. Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (ribs), injured in Week 2, is scheduled to be taken off IR and might start in place of backup Jacoby Brissett, who’s the league’s 28th-ranked passer. Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence, FYI, is two spots behind him. In their 2020 meeting, since-departed Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick led Miami to a 31-13 win as a three-point dog, the second of the Jags’ current streak of 20 losses.
Analysis: Jacksonville warrants a small edge in that members of the staff and veteran players have been regulars playing overseas and have provided Lawrence and first-year pro coach Urban Meyer a road map regarding preparation and proper sleep and so forth. Miami, meanwhile, showed little life in getting beaten down by Tampa Bay last week, 45-17. As for Lawrence, he had seven INTs his first three games but only one the past two. That’s a positive sign for a team hungry to end its historically long losing streak. And he’ll have a rugged RB in James Robinson to help lead the attack. He’s the league’s third-leading rusher.
Forecast: Jaguars 31, Dolphins 21
LA Chargers (4-1) at Baltimore Ravens (4-1)
- Time: 1 p.m.
- Line: Ravens -2.5 (51)
The skinny: Two teams off remarkable fourth-quarter comebacks meet in a key AFC battle that likely will have major repercussions in the battle for conference playoff seeding.
Facts: Baltimore’s rally from a 19-point deficit to win 31-25 in OT at home vs. the Colts on Monday night is the biggest comeback of the season. The Chargers, meanwhile, erased a 14-point deficit at home against Cleveland and won 47-42, scoring 26 points in the fourth quarter. That’s the most by any team in a period this season. The last time the teams met, in the 2018 postseason, LA’s Philip Rivers led the visiting Chargers to a 23-17 playoff win as a three-point underdog. That was Ravens QB Lamar Jackson’s first playoff game. Teams on short rest off an MNF outing have gone 6-2 ATS/5-3 SU this season. LA won its only other East Coast game this year, 20-16 over Washington in Week 1. Last year the Chargers made four long trips, going 0-2-2 ATS, 1-3 SU.
Analysis: The Ravens have much more balance on offense this season, as exhibited by Jackson’s league season-high 442 passing yards last week. A year after ranking first in rushing yards and last through the air, Baltimore has the sixth most passing yards and fourth most rushing. The Ravens should thrive against the league’s worst rush defense. As for the Chargers, their comeback vs. Cleveland was fueled in part by key injuries to Cleveland’s defense during the game, including the loss of the Browns’ top two cornerbacks and a pass-rush specialist. .
Forecast: Ravens 27, Chargers 21
Minnesota Vikings (2-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-2)
- Time: 1 p.m.
- Line: Vikings by 2.5 (45.5)
The skinny: The Vikings, coming off an uplifting last-snap victory over Detroit, face a Carolina team recoiling after losing its second straight after a 3-0 start.
Facts: Panthers QB Sam Darnold had one INT in his team’s first 41 drives of the season en route to a 3-0 start, but has had five in the past 18 possessions, including three last week at home vs. Philly in a 21-18 defeat. Vikings RB Dalvin Cook, who has missed two of the past three games (ankle), is off the injury report, but his backup, Alexander Mattison, who had a pair of 100-yard games in his absence, is questionable (shoulder). Speaking of injuries, Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey, who has missed 15 of the team’s past 19 games, likely will sit out this week as well with his hamstring injury. Carolina is 3-0 with him this year, 0-2 without.
Analysis: Even without McCaffrey, the Panthers moved the ball well on the ground last week with rookie Chuba Hubbard getting 101 yards against the Eagles, and now the team’s starting left tackle returns. That’s always important. Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins is more than capable of winning the battle of QBs, but with the team’s run game fragile these days, go with the home team and the point.
Forecast: Panthers 26, Vikings 20
Green Bay Packers (4-1) at Chicago Bears (3-2)
- Time: 1 p.m.
- Line: Packers by 6 (44.5)
The skinny: The longtime rivals will meet for the 185th time and on this occasion with first place in the NFC North at stake.
Facts: The Packers are 10-1 at Soldier Field dating to their 2010 season NFC title game victory. The Bears will be trying for their third straight win behind rookie QB Justin Fields, who is 2-1 as a starter. All other first-year QB starters are a combined 3-16, with two of the wins coming when facing a fellow rookie. Green Bay’s Davante Adams had 206 receiving yards in last week’s 27-24 overtime win in Cincinnati, the most for any pass catcher this season. Chicago will be without RB David Montgomery (IR, knee), the team’s leading rusher who had two of his four 100-yard rushing games against Green Bay last season. The team’s second-leading RB, Damien Williams, is on the COVID list. And then there’s rookie Khalil Herbert, no relation to LB Khalil Mack, who had 75 rushing yards last week in Vegas.
Analysis: Fields isn’t on the injury report but did have to deal with knee and rib issues in last week’s 20-9 victory in Las Vegas. And without his top two RBs, he could find himself exposed when having to carry some of the running load. On the good side, the Bears’ defense leads with the league with 18 sacks and will be going against an offensive line that’s not up to full strength, especially with OLT David Bakhtiari continuing to be out and now even his backup questionable. The Bears keep it extra close, but probably will find a way to lose to QB Aaron Rodgers.
Forecast: Packers 23, Bears 21
Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) at Detroit Lions (0-5)
- Time: 1 p.m.
- Line: Bengals by 3.5 (46.5)
The skinny: The surprising Bengals, who finished 6.5 games deep in the AFC North cellar last year, look to stay in playoff contention against a Lions team that’s being sized for toe tags.
Facts: For the second time in three weeks, Detroit was a 19-17 loser thanks to long-distance field goals at the final gun — an NFL-record 66-yarder vs. Baltimore in Week 3 and last week’s 54-yarder at Minnesota. Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow, who suffered a throat contusion last week (probable, voice) and made a hospital visit has been said to be full go this week. Bengals kicker Evan McPherson provided some chuckles last week when he celebrated what he thought was a game-winning 49 FG against Green Bay, only to be informed, sigh, that the ball hooked left. Detroit QB Jared Goff has fumbled four times the past two games, losing three of them, and will be working without Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow (IR) for the second straight game. Cincinnati, beginning a three-game road trip, has won the past six in the series and hasn’t lost in Detroit since 1970, when Gordie Howe was in his final season with the Red Wings.
Analysis: Somehow the Lions keep playing teams close despite having the league’s third-worst defensive passer rating and allowing an enemy receiver to have a 100-yard game each week. That bubble figures to burst here with Bengals WRs Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd finding space to roam in the Lions’ secondary. And if Cincinnati RB Joe Mixon can play (questionable, ankle), the one-two air and ground punch should be enough to prevail with room to spare. The word is Mixon is giving his injured body part a good rest this week.
Forecast: Bengals 29, Lions 17
Houston Texans (1-4) at Indianapolis Colts (1-4)
- Time: 1 p.m.
- Line: Colts by 10 (43.5)
The skinny: Indianapolis returns home after a three-game road trip to face struggling Houston, which has lost four straight.
Facts: Houston rookie QB Davis Mills joined Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers as the only quarterbacks this season to have a passer rating below the 39.6 Mendoza Line one week and then sky past 140 the next. After Mills had a 23.4 reading at Buffalo in Week 4, he was at 141.7 vs. Bill Belichick’s Patriots last week, but in a 25-22 loss. The only other QB this year with that high a rating in defeat was Mills’ teammate, Tyrod Taylor (144.3) in Week 2 at Cleveland. Indy QB Carson Wentz threw for 402 yards last week in the Colts’ 31-25 OT loss at Baltimore. It was the third time this season a 400-yard passer was on the losing team.
Analysis: Since Houston scored 37 points in its opening-day win over Jacksonville, the Texans have totaled 52 their past four, including the year’s most lopsided loss, 40-0 at Buffalo. But Mills showed he’s growing into his position with three TD passes against New England. He could do that well if not better this week against an Indy defense that was gouged for 442 air yards last week in Baltimore and has allowed a league-high 15 TD passes and has the third-worst completion percentage against. This is way too many points to give a team that also has a strong running game but doesn’t get to show it off while playing from behind most of the time. Who cares if Indy WR T.Y. Hilton is scheduled to return.
Forecast: Texans 27, Colts 23
LA Rams (4-1) at NY Giants (1-4)
- Time: 1 p.m.
- Line: Rams by 10 (48.5)
The skinny: LA enters the soft part of its schedule when it travels cross country to face the Giants, to be followed by games vs. Detroit and Houston.
Facts: The Rams are catching the Giants with their QB situation up in the air. Daniel Jones suffered a concussion in last week’s 44-20 loss in Dallas and as of Thursday night hadn’t been cleared to play. Last season the Giants were 3-0 against the spread when a double-digit underdog, including a 17-9 road loss to the Rams as a 13.5-point dog. If Jones can’t go, Mike Glennon gets the call. The nine-year pro has a career mark of 6-21 as a starter and hasn’t won since 2017 with Chicago. The Rams are coming off an extended break after their 26-17 win at Seattle, spurred by Robert Woods’ 150 receiving yards. Giants rookie WR Kadarius Toney didn’t have a bad Week 5, either, with 189 yards, tied for third-highest by anyone in a game this season. A total of 109 came with Glennon at QB.
Analysis: If Jones can’t go, or if he’s asked not to participate in the running game, that’s particularly bad news since he’s the team’s leading rusher. And the team’s star RB, Saquon Barkley, is out with an ankle injury. The next one in line is Devontae Booker, but he’s averaged only 2.8 yards on 23 carries. Sheesh! It won’t matter how many WRs return from the injury list for NYG.
Forecast: Rams 30, Giants 10
Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) at Washington Football Team (2-3)
- Time: 1 p.m.
- Line: Chiefs by 6.5 (54.5)
The skinny: Coach Andy Reid’s Chiefs, who used to be the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this season, faces a Washington team that was favored to repeat as NFC East champ but has fallen flat.
Facts: Kansas City has yielded a league-high 163 points through five games, most in the league. Washington, which allowed the fourth fewest last season, stands second worst this season with 154 allowed. On offense. Football Teams has struggled mightily, too, with 16 3-and-outs, including fumbles and INTs. KC, meanwhile, has had only four. Flashback: In the teams’ previous meeting, in 2017, football bettors in DC taking Washington suffered one of the cruelest defeats in history when, as a 6.5-point underdog, Washington fell behind KC 23-20 on a FG with 4 seconds left. So, far, so good. But Washington then proceeded to have a lateral-palooza on the ensuring kickoff, which resulted in a fumble and a return score for KC after the clock expired. Final, 29-20. Washington’s top receiver, Terry McLaurin, caught only four of 11 targeted throws last week for 46 yards in a 33-22 loss to New Orleans, which allowed 402 air yards the week before to NYG.
Analysis: Over the past three weeks, KC twice has had a minus-4 turnover margin, and that’s not a winning formula. QB Patrick Mahomes has vowed to resolve that issue and likely will be extra careful with his acrobatic throws. But he’ll be without leading rusher Clyed Edwards-Helaire (IR, knee), so Darrel Williams will be asked to fill the void, and maybe Jerick McKinnon can return to the form he showed in years past with Minnesota. If so they can dominate possession like they did last week vs. Buffalo, with 25 more offensive snaps.
Forecast: Chiefs 38, Football Team 28
Last week: 7-8-1 ATS; 10-6 SU
Season total: 45-33-2 (.577) ATS; 53-27 (.663) SU