Pro football

NFL INSIDER: The Broncos are who we thought they were

2013-10-10T21:00:00Z 2013-10-25T01:35:06Z NFL INSIDER: The Broncos are who we thought they wereMatt Erickson Times Correspondent
October 10, 2013 9:00 pm  • 

There are a few great games this week, but everyone's talking about the one that is supposed to be an epic blowout.

The Broncos set the modern NFL record by opening as a 28-point favorite at home against the Jaguars. It seems insane, but it's almost surprising it wasn't higher.

The Jaguars haven't covered a spread yet this season and have put up single-digit points in three of their five games. They're averaging 10 points. The Broncos have covered the over in all five of their games – by a landslide. This week, that total is 53. Considering Denver has put up 50-plus in back-to-back games, over that total seems like a lock, too. They're averaging 46 points a game, which is absolutely unheard of.

Most of all, they're playing with crazy amounts of confidence offensively, and the Jags are playing with virtually none. It doesn't seem like a trap at all.

But don't let that game overshadow the competitive ones. I think the Saints continue to get it done on the road at New England after the Patriots put up a paltry six points at Cincinnati last week. The Packers will do their work through the air against the Ravens on the road. The Chiefs excel at home when they're big favorites, which doesn't bode well for the Raiders. And watch out for the Cowboys on Sunday night, playing with motivation at home after losing 51-48 to the Broncos.

Green Bay (2-2) -3 (48) at Baltimore (3-2)

MattE's pick: Packers 27, Ravens 20

Detroit (3-2) -2.5 (45.5) at Cleveland (3-2)

MattE's pick: Lions 24, Browns 20

Carolina (1-3) +2.5 (44) at Minnesota (1-3)

MattE's pick: Vikings 28, Panthers 18

Cincinnati (3-2) -7 (41.5) at Buffalo (2-3)

MattE's pick: Bengals 27, Bills 17

Oakland (2-3) +8.5 (40.5) at Kansas City (5-0)

MattE's pick: Chiefs 26, Raiders 13

St. Louis (2-3) +7.5 (43) at Houston (2-3)

MattE's pick: Texans 26, Rams 20

Pittsburgh (0-4) +2.5 (41) at N.J. Jets (3-2)

MattE's pick: Jets 23, Steelers 20

Philadelphia (2-3) -1.5 (46.5) at Tampa Bay (0-4)

MattE's pick: Eagles 27, Bucs 24

Jacksonville (0-5) +27.5 (54) at Denver (5-0)

MattE's pick: Broncos 48, Jaguars 13

Tennessee (3-2) +13.5 (40.5) at Seattle (4-1)

MattE's pick: Seahawks 31, Titans 13

New Orleans (5-0) +2.5 (50) at New England (4-1)

MattE's pick: Saints 28, Patriots 24

Arizona (3-2) +11 (41.5) at San Francisco (3-2)

MattE's pick: 49ers 26, Cardinals 10

Washington (1-3) +5.5 (53.5) at Dallas (2-3)

MattE's pick: Cowboys 34, Redskins 20

COLTS (4-1) -1.5 (50) at San Diego (2-3)

MattE's pick: Colts 31, Chargers 27

Last week: 9-5 straight up, 7-7 against the spread. Season: 47-29 (.618) straight up, 39-33-4 (.542) against the spread


Matt Erickson is an award-winning journalist whose NFL picks have appeared in The Times for 12 seasons. He covers mixed martial arts for The Times and is assistant MMA editor for USA Today and

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