Jacksonville @ Tennessee (-3.5)
Power rankings: Jacksonville 21, Tennessee 10
Spread update: This line is sticking at 3.5.
Keys to the game: The biggest mismatch is in the run game. The Jags have one of the worst run-blocking offensive line (they are, interestingly enough, very good in pass protection and rank 23rd in rush offense DVOA. Even with the season Travis Etienne is having, it isn't enough to overcome the line. Meanwhile, the Titans are 1st in both run defense DVOA and run defense EPA/play. Even with Denico Autry (knee) out, this is a mismatch in the Titans favor. The Titans pass defense is far worse (22nd in DVOA), but they do feature an above average pass rush (even without Autry). DT Jeffery Simmons, in particular, will have an advantage over the Jags interior of the line. The issue with the Titans is their secondary (in particular their cornerbacks) where Jags receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones will have an advantage, but this is far from the scariest group of receivers around. Trevor Lawrence has improved in his second year, but he's been inconsistent at times -- this matchup games down to which version of Lawrence shows up.
The way to attack the Jags defense is through the air -- they rank 30th in pass defense DVOA and 25th in pass defense EPA/play. The Titans passing offense (14th in DVOA) will be without WR Treylon Burks (concussion), but still should have enough to take advantage of the Jags coverage issues. Robert Woods will represent a major mismatch. The Titans offensive line, which is arguably the worst in all of football, will have to contend with an above-average pass rush (DE Josh Allen and DT Arden Key). Derrick Henry is, naturally, a great running back, but he receives zero hrelp
NY Jets (+9.5) @ Buffalo
Power rankings: NY Jets 11, Buffalo 2
Spread update: This line has moved away from the model. The Bills are now 10-point favorites.
Keys to the game: The Jets offense (19th in DVOA/25th in EPA/play) will have an uphill battle against the Bills defense (4th in DVOA and 9th in EPA/play). The bright side for the Jets is the Bills pass rush took a major hit when Von Miller tore his ACL, but they should still be effective with Gregory Rousseau, Boggie Basham, DaQuan Jones, and Ed Oliver. The Jets offense is returning George Fant (knee), but their line is still bottom-tier due to a slew of injuries. The best shot for the Jets are their receivers (Garrett Wilson/Corey Davis) are better than the Bills banged up corners (Tre'Davious White is the only non-injured capable starter), but the Bills do have a strong safety (Jordan Poyer) and linebackers (Matt Milano/Tremaine Edmunds).
The Bills offense (4th in DVOA/3rd in EPA/play) should be a fun matchup against the Jets defense (5th in DVOA/7th in EPA/play. The Jets will have a major advantage in the trenches -- the Bills line has 4 weaknesses and Dion Dawkins (who is coming off an ankle injury) and the Jets are 6th in pressure rate despite blitzing 31st most often. DT Quinnen Williams will have a big advantage over the Bills interior line. Last time around, Josh Allen was under pressure on 31% of dropbacks. The Jets starting corners with their PFF grade ranking: Sauce Gardner (2nd), DJ Reed (20th), and slot corner Michael Carter (7th). This is naturally a strong secondary, but the Bills passing offense is virtually unstoppable. In today's NFL, good offense usually beats good defense.
Baltimore (+2.5) @ Pittsburgh
Power rankings: Baltimore 13, Pittsburgh 18
Spread update: This line has moved toward the model. Pittsburgh is now 1.5 point favorites.
Keys to the game: The Ravens offense (6th in DVOA/9th in EPA/play) will take a big hit without Lamar Jackson (knee). In comes Tyler Huntley, who is an effective runner, but isn't nearly as effective as a passer as Jackson. The battle in the trenches should be a fun one -- the Steelers have an above-average pass rush (TJ Watt, Cam Heyward, and Alex Hightower) but the Ravens offensive line is one of the best in football. Watt also hasn't had a game with over 3 pressures since returning from injury and is questionable (ribs) -- it's safe to say he isn't quite in the same form that he was during his sack breaking 2021 season. The Ravens have an average group of receivers which should matchup evenly with the Steelers average secondary, but the difference maker is Mark Andrews. The Ravens also should have an advantage in the run game -- their rushing offense is 2nd in DVOA vs the Steelers run defense which ranks 12th.
The Steelers offense (21st in DVOA/23rd in EPA/play) will have an uphill battle against the Ravens defense (9th in DVOA/14th in EPA/play. The Steelers have a weak offensive line, where the Ravens will have an advantage in the run game (their pass rush is below-average). The strength of the Ravens is their secondary, which should matchup well against a Steelers receiving core that could be without Diontae Johnson (hip). Johnson is questionable, but did get in a limited session on Friday, which puts him on the optimistic side of questionable. Even still, things won't be easy on rookie Kenny Pickett when trying to find open receivers with Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphreys, Kyle Hamilton, and Marcus Williams looming.