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NFL Picks: It’s Border Battle Sunday

WINNIPEG, MB. — We hear a lot these days about how ratings for NFL football are down. That is true, depending on the region of the country in which you live, but it’s not for the reason the federal government would like you to believe (why does the federal government care about NFL ratings?).

Anyway, the ratings aren’t down because some players have chosen to take a knee in protest of police brutality and the murder of unarmed African-Americans, they are down because (a) Thursday Night and Sunday Night Football telecasts are both struggling against the networks — unless your favorite team is playing, why would you bother? – and (b) because there are so many teams with horrendous quarterbacks and porous offensive lines and as a result, the games are just downright awful.

Anyone, other than Bears and/or Vikings fans, who was around at the end of this past week’s Monday Night Football game, was either snoozing on the couch or had the game on in the background while engaging in Twitter wars with Trolls. Sure, the ending was interesting, but the rest of it was dreck.

Minnesota’s Sam Bradford nearly got killed and had to be bailed out by Case Keenum who would have been killed by a decent football teams while Chicago’s rookie sensation Mitch Trubisky was just horrible – 12-for-25 with a first-half touchdown and a game-losing interception.

As we’ve said all season, there are teams that simply do not want to win and this past Monday, the Vikings shocked themselves by winning a game they never should have been close to winning.

It’s not going to be so pleasant this week. It’s the Vikings and Packers ion the annual Border Battle at TCF Bank Stadium and while ratings might be down around the league, they won’t be down in Minnesota or Wisconsin. In fact, if you don’t already have a ticket for this one, scalper’s ducats are going to be mighty pricey.

And that’s because, for Week 6, this is a huge game for the Vikings. A win and they’re for real. They’ll move into a 4-2 tie with the Packers and they’ll gain some much needed confidence after last week’s escape from Chicago. A loss, however, and they fall to 3-3 and the Packers improve to 5-1 and everything changes – not for the better.

This will be a huge week for the Vikings offensive line and defensive secondary and if both meet the challenge, we could have a very interesting run to January.

This should be the Game of the Week.

Last week Dr. Football went 8-6 (51-26) straight up and 8-6 (41-36) against the spread while the Coach went 5-9 (49-28) straight up and 5-9 (42-35) against the spread.

Let’s take a close look at all 14 games this week. The Bills, Bengals, Cowboys and Seahawks have the byes.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) at Carolina Panthers (4-1)
Line: Panthers by 3.5

Philadelphia exploded last week against the Cardinals, while Carolina gritted one one out in Detroit. Expect a shootout this week, a game Cam Newton can win late.

Dr. Football: Take the Panthers to win but not cover.

The Coach: Take the Panthers to win and cover.

EARLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Cleveland Browns (0-5) at Houston Texans (2-3)
Line: Texans by 10

Even after losing JJ Watt, Houston will have enough to put this game away in the first quarter. The Coach says: The NFL must look into why the Cleveland organization won’t even try to win football games.

Dr. Football: Take the Texans to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Texans to win and cover.

New England Patriots (3-2) at New York Jets (3-2)
Line: Patriots by 9.5

Despite the fact New England’s play barely resembles last year’s team, there’s no way the Jets beat them even at home.

Dr. Football: Take the Patriots to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Patriots to win but not cover.

Miami Dolphins (2-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-1)
Line: Falcons by 11.5

Despite how well the Miami defense has played, they’re not going to be able to fully stop Atlanta’s offense who may score 40 points on Sunday…or more.

Dr. Football: Take the Falcons to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Falcons to win and cover.

Detroit Lions (3-2) at New Orleans Saints (2-2)
Line: Saints by 4.5

The Lions are coming off a tough home loss to Carolina, while New Orleans is well rested after their bye. New Orleans seemed to find something on defense in the two games before the bye and I think the momentum carries.

Dr. Football: Take the Saints to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Saints to win and cover.

Green Bay Packers (4-1) at Minnesota Vikings (3-2)
Line: Packers by 3

It doesn’t matter who Minnesota plays at QB, they are no Aaron Rodgers, who has proven he can win in loud enemy stadiums.

Dr. Football: Take the Packers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Packers to win and cover.

Chicago Bears (1-4) at Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Line: Ravens by 6.5

Mitchell Trubisky will one day be a good NFL QB, but that day won’t be an October afternoon in Baltimore.

Dr. Football: Take the Ravens to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Ravens to win and cover.

San Francisco 49ers (0-5) at Washington Redskins (2-2)
Line: Redskins by 10

The 49ers may not be as bad as the other 0-5 teams, but they won’t put out much of a fight against a Washington team that went toe to toe last week against the Chiefs.

Dr. Football: Take the Redskins to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Washingtons to win and cover.

LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Los Angeles Rams (3-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)
Line: Jaguars by 2.5

Jacksonville can score and their defense is good, and they face a Rams team who played a tough physical game losing to Seattle.

Dr. Football: Take the Jaguars to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Jaguars to win and cover.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) at Arizona Cardinals (2-3)
Line: Buccaneers by 1.5

Arizona lost big to the Eagles last week, but I expect a big bounce back at home. The Coach says: Adrian Peterson is now a member of the Cardinals. Unlike the Saints, A.P. just might make Arizona better (and did we not say that Peterson would NOT finish the season in New Orleans?)

Dr. Football: Take the Cardinals in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Cardinals.

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)

Line: Chiefs by 4.5

I expect Pittsburgh to put in a better performance this week, so this should be an exciting game with a ton of offense. KC is for real.

Dr. Football: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-4) at Oakland Raiders (2-3)
Line: No Line

Oakland may not have Derek Carr again in this one and this means a fourth consecutive loss.

Dr. Football: Take the Chargers.

The Coach: Take the Chargers.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

New York Giants (0-5) at Denver Broncos (3-1)
Line: Broncos by 12

Denver has playing excellent football, and considering the Giants have no running game and will be using their fourth string receivers, this one looks pretty easy.

Dr. Football: Take the Broncos to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Broncos to win and cover.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Indianapolis Colts (2-3) at Tennessee Titans (2-3)
Line: NO Line

Tennessee has lost two straight games, but should have Marcus Mariota back for this one. Go with the home team.

Dr. Football: Take the Titans.

The Coach: Take the Titans.

—The Coach and Dr. Football, MyToba Sports

Photo – Jordy Grossman

Editor of the popular Game On Hockey Magazine and The Point After Football Magazine, editor of Canadian Meat Business Magazine, sports editor of Grassroots News, TV play-by-play voice of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and author of the bestselling book: The Winnipeg Jets: A Celebration of Professional Hockey in Winnipeg. He likes virgin pina coladas, long walks on the beach, puppies and thoroughbred race horses that run according to form.
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