Indianapolis Colts at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m., CBS
Line: Colts -3 | Total: 50
Through his first five games in Indianapolis, the knock on Philip Rivers was that he struggled mightily when the Colts (4-2) fell behind, to some a serious sign of his decline. Then in Week 6, he fell behind by 21 points before catching fire and throwing for three touchdowns, putting up 371 yards, 31 points and tying for the largest regular season comeback in franchise history — against Cincinnati’s truly atrocious defense.
The Lions (3-3) present a fairly interesting challenge. Having won three of its last four games, Detroit has mostly benefited from a soft part of the schedule, but has, at the very least, been executing far better than at any point under Coach Matt Patricia. And the Lions’ win over Arizona in Week 3 is proof that their success can’t be entirely dismissed.
The Colts are likely to get linebacker Darius Leonard back from a groin injury this week, which dramatically improves the team’s defense, but they should be favored even if he needs another week. Pick: Colts -3
Jets at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m., CBS
Line: Chiefs -19.5 | Total: 48.5
In the only other instance of the Jets starting 0-7, in 1996, quarterback Neil O’Donnell lost the team’s first six games before injuring his shoulder and handing off to Frank Reich, who lost his first two games. Reich and company finally eked out a win over Arizona to end the losing streak at eight. Then the Jets lost their final seven games as well.
Playing on the road against the Chiefs (6-1) seemingly guarantees that these Jets will match that 0-8 start. Does Kansas City care enough about this game to win by 20 points? Can the Jets lose by 20 without any effort from the other team? Reasonable questions. But expect the Jets to lose, regardless. Pick: Jets +19.5
Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m., Fox
Line: Browns -2.5 | Total: 53.5
If you like to see quarterbacks chuck the ball down the field with impunity, this should be the game for you. According to Football Outsiders, the Raiders (3-3) and Browns (5-2) have two of the 10 least efficient pass defenses in the N.F.L., a stat that has been borne out on the scoreboard as both teams allow opponents more than 30 points a game.