Pro Picks is a weekly column where AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi shares his picks for upcoming games. For all previous Pro Picks, head here.
Will Levis has a quick turnaround to follow up an impressive debut.
The Tennessee Titans’ rookie quarterback makes his second start Thursday night on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He won’t have to face injured All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, but he can expect to see plenty of T.J. Watt. Levis revived Tennessee’s passing attack, showing off his big arm with four touchdown passes in a win over Atlanta.
The Titans (3-4) don’t have to put all the pressure on Levis and DeAndre Hopkins because they still have star running back Derrick Henry, who wasn’t moved at the trade deadline.
Kenny Pickett plans to start for the Steelers (4-3) despite finishing a loss to Jacksonville on the sideline with a rib injury.
The Steelers are 2 1/2-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Pro Picks leans toward the home team.
Line: Chiefs minus 1 1/2
A potential preview of the AFC championship game featuring two of the league’s most prolific offenses and quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs (6-2) look to get back on track after their six-game winning streak ended in Denver last week. The Dolphins (6-2) have the league’s highest-scoring offense and are No. 1 in rushing and passing. Kansas City’s No. 4 ranked defense gives the Chiefs a slight edge.
Line: Texans minus 3
Despite a three-game losing streak, the Buccaneers (3-4) are in the mix in a mediocre division. Baker Mayfield and the offense have struggled but the defense has 13 takeaways. The Texans (3-4) are going the opposite direction, having won three of four after an 0-2 start. Rookie QB C.J. Stroud is coming off his least productive game as a pro.
UPSET SPECIAL: BUCCANEERS, 20-19
Line: Packers minus 3
The Packers (2-5) have played sloppy football during a four-game losing streak and slow starts have hurt them. The Rams (3-5) could be without QB Matthew Stafford because of a thumb injury.
Line: Patriots minus 3 1/3
The Commanders (3-5) pushed Philadelphia to the limit and then traded their two top pass rushers. QB Mac Jones and the Patriots (2-6) will benefit most from Washington’s fire sale this week.
Line: Saints minus 7 1/2
Derek Carr and the Saints (4-4) seem to be coming around on offense. Their defense is already among the best in the league. Maybe Montez Sweat can bolster Chicago’s defense. The Bears (2-6) won’t have QB Justin Fields for a third straight game.
Line: Falcons minus 4 1/2
No Kirk Cousins for the first time and no Justin Jefferson for the fourth straight game for the Vikings (4-4). Rookie QB Jaren Hall gets the start for Minnesota, which has won three in a row. The Falcons (4-4) are turning to Taylor Heinicke over Desmond Ridder.
Line: Browns minus 7 1/2
Too many questions at quarterback for both teams. Deshaun Watson or P.J. Walker for the Browns (4-3). Rookie Clayton Tune or Kyler Murray for the Cardinals (1-7). Arizona has no reason to rush Murray back to the lineup.
Line: Ravens minus 5 1/2
The first-place Seahawks (5-2) don’t seem to be getting much respect from oddsmakers. The Ravens (6-2) have won three in a row and kick off a three-game homestand. Baltimore’s formula for success is consistent. They have the league’s No. 2 defense and No. 3 rushing offense.
Line: Colts minus 2 1/2
Colts QB Gardner Minshew has been a turnover machine during a three-game losing streak yet Indianapolis is a road favorite against a team that finally earned its first win of the season. The Panthers (1-6) are sure going to want to win one for coach Frank Reich, who was fired last season by the Colts.
Line: Eagles minus 3
The Cowboys (5-2) have to go through the Eagles (7-1) to get where they want to go. Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown have carried Philadelphia’s offense lately. Micah Parsons and Dallas’ defense present a difficult challenge. The Eagles should be up for it.
Line: Raiders minus 1 1/2
The Raiders (3-5) are in disarray after firing coach Josh McDaniels. The Giants (2-6) have plenty of issues of their own.
Line: Bengals minus 1 1/2
Joe Burrow and the Bengals (4-3) have hit their stride after a poor start. The inconsistent Bills (5-3) look to avenge a playoff loss in the divisional round. It’ll be an emotional return for Damar Hamlin and his teammates.
Line: Chargers minus 3
The Chargers (3-4) and Jets (4-3) could be fighting for the AFC’s last wild-card spot so the winner gets an edge. Justin Herbert has a tough task throwing against Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed and New York’s fifth-ranked pass defense. Jets QB Zach Wilson made a couple of big-time plays in the clutch last week.
Last week: Straight up: 11-5. Against spread: 8-7-1
Overall: Straight up: 80-42. Against spread: 66-51-5.
Best Bet: Straight up: 6-2. Against spread: 3-4-1.
Upset Special: Straight up: 6-2. Against spread: 6-2.
Thursday: Straight up: 6-2. Against spread: 7-1.
Monday: Straight up: 7-3. Against spread: 8-1-1.
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