By Lucas Kochevar
Titans fans, I hope this is the beginning of a new era. The Titans lost to the Ravens in London and quarterback Ryan Tannehill went down with an injury. This forcibly pushed the Titans' hand to put in Malik Willis and it was overdue. Not to kick a man while he's down, but the Titans needed to move on from Tannehill. It's not a win-now move, but the Titans need to look towards developing one of the two quarterback's they've drafted the past two years. The Ravens also continue to look sluggish in the red zone. They'll have to start converting on these opportunities to beat the best teams, but the field goals will do for a game against the Titans. The rest of the league played in nasty low-scoring games, but we saw our last two undefeated teams fall. Both of them upsets with the 49ers losing to the Browns after some tough injury luck and the Eagles just blew a game against the Jets. It'll be interesting to see how these teams rebound this week.
Detroit Lions (+2.5) @ Baltimore Ravens
The Lions are going to be a playoff team, barring something catastrophic. Now there's a new question brewing in Detroit. Can the Lions win the Super Bowl? It seems far fetched, but there's a real possibility with how this team is playing on both sides of the ball. Jared Goff is playing the best he ever has and the defense can be overwhelming. They'll travel to Baltimore for a test this week as the Ravens look to field a touchdown-based offense instead of kicking all the field goals they have. They continue to make it the redzone, but they just can't put the ball in the endzone to truly separate themselves from their lackluster opponents. They'll have their hands full to keep up with a Lions offense that consistently puts pressure on.
The matchup I'm curious to see here is the Lions defensive line versus the Ravens offensive line. The Lions defense has been built through the trenches and we're finally seeing the results of that with Aidan Hutchinson blowing up. John Comisky, an edge they got from the Falcons last year, has also been a very strong rusher for them. It feels like the Ravens have always had a strong offensive line, but I also feel like I've seen Lamar Jackson running for his life every time RedZone flips over to a Ravens game. I really love the Lions in this game with the roll they're on right now. I'm a little worried that they're peaking too early, but I think they have the makings of a great team. They also just need to get healthy at the running back position. Give me the Lions to win this tough road test.
Los Angeles Chargers (+6) @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Chargers and Chiefs always seem to play a fun, chaotic game and I think that'll be the same on Sunday between these two teams. The Chargers just dropped a very disappointing game against the Cowboys and I think the rumblings are coming out that head coach Brandon Staley could get fired if the losses keep piling up. The Chiefs are coming off a long rest week after a Thursday night win over the Broncos. The offense continues to look pedestrian for the Chiefs as it looks like Mahomes his pressing on most of his red zone opportunities. The offenses are normally the storyline for these games, but I think both defenses will make the difference in this game.
The Chargers offense has been very one dimensional with no run game and it's put a clear ceiling on the team. Justin Herbert has been subject to some very tough discourse with his poor performance on Monday. I still think he's stellar but he does need to find another gear to overcome his situation. The Chargers are just special at finding ways to make their lives difficult. The Chiefs are in need of someone to step up on offense. I think rookie Rashee Rice could be that guy as he's built some chemistry with Mahomes over the past couple weeks. Finding the go-to guy that isn't Travis Kelce will be important for the Chiefs once playoff time comes. I like to Chiefs to win this game and Staley to get fired.
Miami Dolphins (+2.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles
This is the game of the week and the NFL actually made a great decision before the season by having this as Sunday Night Football. These two could potentially be in the Super Bowl at the end of the season, but first things first, they'll meet in Philadelphia. The Eagles are coming off a tough loss against the Jets, meanwhile, the Dolphins handled business against the Panthers. The Dolphins might be running into a buzzsaw with an Eagles team that's mad after their performance against the Jets. The Eagles are also getting some notable guys back like Lane Johnson and Darius Slay. They'll need Slay to comeback when dealing with the likes of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
This game will also be a very good test for Tua Tagovailoa. Tagvailoa hasn't had a ton of opportunities for high leverage games in the NFL due to his injuries, but this will be the biggest environment for him. It'll also be a challenge for him to navigate the pocket against a super tough Eagles defensive line. Rookie Jalen Carter has come on the scene strong like how many people projected. The Eagles defense will also have to defend against this Miami run game that's been on point all season. The Eagles offense will be just fine, but this game will be decided by how the Eagles defense fares against the Dolphins historically fast offense.
LK's Bet of the Week: Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts U40.5
The Cardinals are dead. The Arizona Cardinals were a fun and frisky team to root for to cover some bets, but last week was the death of that and now I'm sitting at .500 on the season. That's okay, however, as I love this pick. The Browns and Colts under seems like a bet to too good to be true. The Browns boast a historically great defense with Myles Garrett as the star of the show. They're taking on a Colts offense that's actually been better than projected, but they're starting backup Gardner Minshew since rookie Anthony Richardson went down for the year with a shoulder injury. The Browns offense hasn't been lighting the world on fire, but they should get Deshaun Watson back this week. I think the Colts are still trying to find their footing with Jonathan Taylor back and Richardson gone so they won't score a ton. The Browns could have a good day on offense, but I'm still shaky on Watson.
Record on the season: 3-3
Sources: John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS