Staff picks and key trends involving this week's NFL games.
Quick hit: Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby is expected to play for the first time since suffering a gruesome broken ankle in Week 1. Darby, acquired from Buffalo just prior to the season for Jordan Matthews, was taken with the 50th overall pick in the 2015 draft. He was selected three spots after the Eagles selected Eric Rowe (remember him?).
Eagles vs. spread: 7-2
Cowboys vs. spread: 5-4
Vegas Vic's take: Sometimes, it just looks TOO easy. Consider. Dallas will be without RB Ezekiel Elliott after he exhausted all his legal options. The 'Boys also will have a gigantic hole in the heart of the defense with LB Sean Lee listed as doubtful. There are also holes in the offensive line with four-time Pro Bowl T Tyron Smith reportedly out. How much did they miss Double E? Backup Alfred Morris had only 53 yards. How much did they miss Lee? They gave up 27 points. How much did they miss Smith? Atlanta DE Adrian Clayborn had six sacks! Can it get ANY easier for the Birds? Of course. They just had a week off to heal some bumps and bruises. The Green Machine has covered four of the last five on the road, and six of the last seven as a favorite. And the last time the Birds played at Dallas coming off a bye was back in 2015, as a 3-point fave, and they won 23-16. Looking for a wider margin, and thinking Good Guys 31-17.
Quick hit: Matthew Stafford has won seven of his last eight starts against the Bears.
Lions vs. spread: 5-4
Bears vs. spread: 5-4
Vegas Vic's take: Chicago has the spread hat trick at home against Detroit, covering three in a row.
Quick hit: In the first five games, Kansas City rookie Kareem Hunt rushed for 609 yards and 6.3 per carry as the Chiefs went 5-0. In his last four, Hunt has 191 rushing yards on 3.3 per attempt and the Chiefs are 1-3.
Chiefs vs. spread: 6-3
Giants vs. spread: 3-6
Vegas Vic's take: Gotta try the NYG as a double-digit dog at home, even with the great Andy Reid numbers, 16-2, after the bye week.
Quick hit: Jay Cutler vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick in the Battle of Florida. Whoever wins can keep it.
Buccaneers vs. spread: 2-6-1
Dolphins vs. spread: 3-4-2
Vegas Vic's take: They're calling this the "Battle for the Heart & Soul of the Sunshine State." My reaction? Who cares.
Quick hit: Though he was on the injury report with a balky hamstring, Green Bay quarterback Brett Hundley is expected to play. After him on the depth chart is Joe Callahan, who was promoted from the practice squad after Aaron Rodgers' injury. Callahan played at Holy Spirit High in Absecon, N.J. before going to D-III Wesley in Delaware.
Ravens vs. spread: 4-4-1
Packers vs. spread: 4-5
Vegas Vic's take: Baltimore as a road favorite? Don't think so. The Ravens have covered only one of their last nine as a road favorite, and we're expecting the Lambeau magic to lead Green Bay into the winner's circle.
Quick hit: Rams quarterback Jared Goff can join Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks to ever have three consecutive games of 300 yards passing, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Brady accomplished the feat in 2007, his seventh season as a starter and the year the Patriots went 16-0. Goff is in his second season starting.
Rams vs. spread: 6-3
Vikings vs. spread: 6-3
Vegas Vic's take: Everyone is gaga, not Lady Gaga, just plain gaga, over Los Angeles QB Jared Goff. And why not? After a horrible rookie campaign when the Rams went 4-12, Goff has led them to a gorgeous 7-2 record. Bravo. The turnaround is HUGE, and certainly deserves all the glowing ink that Goff is getting. But, as usual, we dig deeper. Take the last three games where L.A. absolutely destroyed the opposition by scores of 33-7, 51-17 and 33-0. Now, check out the teams on the short end of those scores. The 33-7 came against the 3-6 Texans, who were WITHOUT Deshaun Watson. The 51-17 came against the 1-8 NY Giants, who are WITHOUT a clue. And the 33-0 bagel came against the 4-5 Cardinals, who lost Carson Palmer in the 2nd quarter and have been without David Johnson all season. You feel me? Minny has won five in a row straight up, and is, WITHOUT a doubt, the biggest money maker against the spread at home, covering 17 of the last 22. Only one thing left to say: This IS MY BEST BET BABY!
Quick hit: Larry Fitzgerald (15,066) and Jerry Rice (19,247) are the only players with 15,000 receiving yards for one team. Rice added 3,648 yards at the end of his career with Oakland and Seattle. Don't remember Jerry Rice being a Seahawk.
Cardinals vs. spread: 2-6-1
Texans vs. spread: 5-4
Vegas Vic's take: If you're having trouble selecting the proper side in this game, welcome to my world. Take a hall pass.
Quick hit: The Browns are a humorous 1-24 in the two seasons Hue Jackson has been head coach. Hey, they're 7-18 against the spread.
Jaguars vs. spread: 5-4
Browns vs. spread: 2-7
Vegas Vic's take: Never thought much of Jacksonville on the road, but this season, my tune has changed. The Jags have won three of four away from home, while Cleveland has won, wait a second, NOTHING!
Quick hit: New Orleans' defense is fifth in fewest points allowed this season. Last year, they were 31st. In 2015, they were 32nd.
Redskins vs. spread: 3-6
Saints vs. spread: 7-2
Vegas Vic's take: Drew Brees is completing nearly 72 percent of his passes this season, which would break his own NFL record. And now he has the luxury of a two-headed monster at running back with Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. New Orleans rumbled for 298 yards and six rushing touchdowns against Buffalo last week. And since Washington has a bunch of holes on the defensive side, can I say, march with the Saints?
Quick hit: San Diego defensive end Joey Bosa last week recorded his 20th sack in his 21st game, the fastest to get to 20 since the sack became an official stat in 1982. It took Reggie White 22 games to get No. 20.
Bills vs. spread: 4-3-2
Chargers vs. spread: 4-4-1
Vegas Vic's take: If Philip Rivers is not seeing double from last week's concussion, we like the Lightning Bolts.
Quick hit: The Bengals have lost three of the last four and the wheels seem to be coming off (see below).
Bengals vs. spread: 4-5
Broncos vs. spread: 2-6-1
Vegas Vic's take: Not at all thrilled with this game, and wouldn't even let my kids bet the Monopoly money.
Quick hit: A win by the 7-2 Patriots would clinch their 18th consecutive season of going .500 or better, tying the 1957-73 Browns for second-most in history. Only the Cowboys' 21 straight seasons (1965-85) had a longer streak. Most importantly, the championships won during these streaks: New England 5, Dallas 2, Cleveland 1.
Raiders vs. spread: 5-4
Patriots vs. spread: 3-5-1
Vegas Vic's take: Here's why Bill Belichick will go down as one of the greatest coaches ever. Instead of going back home after blowing out the Broncos last week, Double B decided to head to Colorado Springs, elevation 6,035, for the week. Why bother practicing in elevation? Because this game is in Mexico City, elevation 7,280 feet. A minor touch, but certainly a brilliant one. And oh yeah, New England rumbles in with a ridonkulous 13-0 perfecto on the road.
Quick hit: Atlanta defensive end Adrian Clayborn is coming off a 6.5 sack game last week against Dallas and could be going against another backup this week if Seattle left tackle Duane Brown (ankle) can't play. His replacement would be former Eagle Matt Tobin, who was college teammates with Clayborn at Iowa.
Falcons vs. spread: 3-6
Seahawks vs. spread: 3-5-1
Vegas Vic's take: Last week, we were wondering when the Super Bowl hangover would clear up for Atlanta. We thought the home game against the Cowboys would be the perfect spot, and used the Falcs as a best bet.. BOOM, 27-7. The road will be tougher, but Seattle suffered a devastating injury to four-time Pro Bowl CB Richard Sherman. Losing Sherman against a pass-happy team like Atlanta is not good news, and should result in a cover for the visiting Birds from the South.
Steelers 40, Titans 17: Nothing ruins a weekend like playing against Antonio Brown in fantasy and watching him put up 10 catches, 144 yards and three touchdowns. The Steelers have won five in a row and have three in a row coming against Green Bay, Cincinnati and Baltimore before a Week 15 meeting at home with New England.
Entering Week 11