This week's NFL action is highlighted by a number of games that could go either way. Using the spread to pick games will be harder than previous weeks because the majority of games this Sunday will be quite evenly matched.
There are a couple of these toss up games where the spread goes to the home team. However, it can be seen in three of these instances that the home team's advantage is not as great as the line would suggest.
San Diego at New Orleans
Line: San Diego (+3.5) New Orleans (-3.5)
The Chargers are coming off an impressive win over the Chiefs. Their win featured great play on both sides of the football. The defense forced six turnovers on one of the best offenses in the NFL. Phillip Rivers led the offense to score 37 points. This is only made more impressive by the fact that they were playing on the road. The Chargers are definitely trending upward coming into the week.
On the other side, the Saints are coming off four straight losses. Last week, Drew Brees put on a show. He threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns. The Saints came up just one point short against a very tough Packers team.
The Saints have not looked like themselves this season. This is to be expected,though, after an offseason filled with story after story about the alleged bounty system that had been in place.
Both teams come into this game needing a win for different reasons. A win for the Chargers would take them to an overall record of 4-1. This would give them a commanding lead in the AFC West, especially considering that Denver must travel to New England to play the Patriots this week.
The Saints are desperate for their first win. They must win on Sunday to have any chance of recovering this season.
Overall, I believe that the Chargers will leave New Orleans with a win this Sunday. They trounced a Kansas City team that beat the Saints in the Superdome only two weeks ago. Rivers will look to build on a solid start this season, and Ryan Matthews will look to get going against the abysmal Saints run defense.
Line: Seattle (+3) at Carolina (-3)
This game features Seattle's great defense against Carolina's explosive offense.
The Seahawks are 2-2 this season. Their record is an anomaly of sorts. They have beaten the better teams they were supposed to lose to and lost to teams they were expected to beat. Seattle lost to St. Louis last week. Seattle struggled to get their offense going. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw three interceptions and could not move the offense up the field.
The Panthers on the other hand are coming off a two point loss to the red hot Atlanta Falcons. Cam Newton threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns before he fumbled the ball with just enough time for Matt Ryan to march his team down the field for the winning field goal. This deflating loss brought the Panthers to an underwhelming record of 1-3.
Both teams will look to rebound from their disappointing losses last week. While Carolina is favored, I believe that Seattle will come out on top. Their terrific defense allows them to be stick around with any team in the NFL. Look for Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch to make just enough plays on offense to get the victory this Sunday.
Line: Miami (+4.5) Cincinnati (-4.5)
Miami comes into this game with a record of 1-3. This record is a bit misleading. They have lost their last two games by three points each in overtime to quality opponents.
Reggie Bush has been nursing a slight knee injury, and so it is not surprising that he ran for only 63 yards last week against the Arizona Cardinals. Look for him to rebound this week against a poor Bengals run defense.
Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill carried the Dolphins last week with 431 passing yards and two touchdowns. He has formed a nice partnership with receiver Brian Hartline who has 455 yards receiving this season.
The Bengals are coming off a win at Jacksonville. They are off to a very nice 3-1 start. However, their three wins came against teams that have only three wins combined.
Andy Dalton and the offense will look to build on the three touchdowns they dropped on the Jaguars last week.
A win would take Cincinnati to 4-1. This would place them at the very top of the AFC North and would certainly help their chances in reaching the playoffs again this season.
I believe that Miami will come out on top when these two teams meet this Sunday. Look for Reggie Bush to bounce back with a solid rushing performance. Also, look for Ryan Tannehill to build off his success last week to have another great game through the air.