Broncos, Patriots are picked to win
Going on the road on a short week against a division rival is usually a challenge for most teams.
For the defending champion Denver Broncos, it is extra difficult this week.
Coming off their first loss of the season, the Broncos will be without coach Gary Kubiak when they visit the reeling San Diego Chargers on Thursday night.
Kubiak is taking a week off after experiencing a "complex migraine condition" Sunday night shortly after Denver's 23-16 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Kubiak was sent home from the hospital Monday and issued a statement saying he was feeling much better, thanking his team's medical staff and expressing his confidence in Joe DeCamillis. DeCamillis, the special teams coordinator, is serving as interim head coach.
Trevor Siemian is expected to return as quarterback for Denver after rookie Paxton Lynch struggled against the Falcons.
The Broncos (4-1) have won 15 consecutive division road games, the longest such streak in NFL history.
The Chargers (1-4) are coming off a 34-31 loss at Oakland, where rookie Drew Kaser botched the hold for a potential game-tying field goal late in the game. It was the 10th straight AFC West loss for San Diego going back to 2014.
The Broncos (No. 5 AP Pro32) are 31/2-point favorites over the host Chargers (No. 27, AP Pro32)
KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP
Tom Brady and the Patriots had no trouble with the injury-riddled Browns last week, so we'll take another first-place AFC team this week. Big Ben and the STEELERS are the choice here.
No. 3 Steelers (minus 8) at No. 29 Miami
The Steelers have been one of the AFC's top teams. The Dolphins, who had aspirations of making the playoffs entering the season, are one of the AFC's biggest disappointments so far.
No. 13 Baltimore (plus 3) at No. 19 New York Giants
Both teams are reeling, with Giants losing 3 in a row and the Ravens' skid at two. Ravens' offense gets going with new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
No. 16 Bengals (plus 9) at No. 2 New England
Bengals had a no-show in Big D. Going into New England for Brady's home opener? That's a Big L.
BEST BET: PATRIOTS, 48-10
No. 31 San Francisco (plus 8) at No. 11 Buffalo
49ers get a lift from Colin Kaepernick's first start of the season.
UPSET SPECIAL: 49ERS, 24-13
No. 8 Philadelphia (minus 3) at No. 14 Washington
Redskins have won three in a row, but Carson Wentz cools them off.
No. 32 Cleveland (plus 71/2) at No. 23 Tennessee
Josh McCown could return for Cleveland. Browns are bound to win at some point.
No. 21 Carolina (minus 3) at No. 25 New Orleans
With Cam Newton's status uncertain, Saints find a way in a matchup of one-win division rivals.
No. 28 Jacksonville (plus 3) at No. 30 Chicago
Another meeting of one-win teams. Brian Hoyer wins it for Bears.
No. 18 Los Angeles (plus 3) at No. 20 Detroit
Lions falter after upset of Eagles.
No. 12 Kansas City (plus 11/2) at No. 10 Oakland
Chiefs are winless on the road. Not a good omen going into Black Hole.
No. 7 Atlanta (plus 6) at No. 4 Seattle
Falcons coach Dan Quinn returns to the Pacific Northwest, but Russell Wilson is ready for him.
No. 9 Dallas (plus 4) at No. 6 Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers slows down Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
No. 22 Indianapolis (plus 3) at No. 15 Houston
Texans might be the weakest first-place team in the league. Colts could tie them with a win.
No. 26 New York Jets (plus 71/2) at No. 17 Arizona
Carson Palmer is expected to return for Arizona. Cardinals' D is eager to test Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Last Week: Against spread (10-2-1). Straight up: (9-5)
Season Totals: Against spread (38-34-3). Straight up: (46-31)
Best Bet: 2-3 against spread, 3-2 straight up.
Upset special: 3-2 against spread, 3-2 straight up.
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