Minnesota Vikings’ Adam Thielen, left, catches a pass against Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Mills during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

How do you know when your all-out efforts to tank a season are working really, really well?

Answer: You play host to an 0-5 team that just fired its head coach and you’re still a 3 1/2-point underdog.

Congratulations, Miami (0-4). But don’t pop those reverse-1972 corks just yet. You still have to dig shallow, take your nose far from the grindstone and find a way to lose to Bill Callahan’s 0-5 Redskins.

Godspeed, Dolphins.

With all due respect to The Mighty Shield, Sunday is kind of a dog of a day for the NFL.

Five losing teams are favored to win, three of them on the road.  Of course, in addition to the Redskins-Dolphins PeeUU Bowl, 1-4 Atlanta is at 1-3-1 Arizona and 2-3 Tennessee is at 1-4 Denver.

The biggest slap-in-da-face line is 2-3 Jacksonville giving 1 1/2 to a 4-1 Saints team that’s won three straight with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, including a win at Seattle, which is 4-1.

What an outrage! What is Vegas thinking?!

Wait. A challenge flag has been thrown.

Upon further review, Vegas is right. Te-dy Time! is overdue in its descent back to NFL reality. Jags by 3.

The next biggest slap in the face is the undefeated and super-charged, Browns-bashing, prime-time-soaring 49ers getting 3 1/2 at the Rams. The same Rams team that’s fallen from NFC royalty to eighth-best record in the conference. The same Rams team that gave up 55 to the Bucs and followed it up with a second-straight loss.

What an outrage! What is Vegas thinking?!

Wait. We have another challenge.

Upon further review, Vegas gets it. The Rams are lower than they should be. The 49ers are higher than they should be.

Rams by 6.

Elsewhere around the league, there are signs for the first time that Patrick Mahomes might actually be human. Either that and/or the Chiefs need at least a few healthy bodies to keep scoring 35 points and winning every week of Mahomes’ career. (See Upset Special)

Here are this week’s picks:

Eagles plus-3 at Vikings: Vikings 23, Eagles 20

Home-noise advantage propels the Vikings’ pass rush, Kirk Cousins (insert unsure voice here) and the passing game find holes in a beat-up Eagles secondary, Andrew Sendejo doesn’t decapitate any former teammates, and Dan Bailey boots a game-winner at the buzzer.

Panthers minus-2 1/2 vs. Buccaneers at London: Panthers by 6

Saints plus-1 1/2 at Jaguars: Jaguars by 3

Redskins minus-3 1/2 at Dolphins: Redskins by 7

Bengals plus-10 1/2 at Ravens: Ravens by 7

Seahawks minus-2 at Browns: Browns by 7

49ers plus-3 1/2 at Rams: Rams by 6

Falcons minus-2 at Cardinals: Cardinals by 3

Cowboys minus-7 at Jets: Cowboys by 14

Titans plus-2 at Broncos: Titans by 3

Steelers plus-6 1/2 at Chargers: Chargers by 10

Lions plus-3 1/2 at Packers: Packers by 7


Texans plus-4 at Chiefs: Texans 31, Chiefs 24.

Last week: Raiders 24, Bears 14. Result: Raiders 24, Bears 21. Record: 2-3.

Overall record / versus spread: 37-23 / 25-34

Older Post

Thielen missing today's Vikings practice because of illness

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Vikings mailbag: Can offense maintain balance vs. Eagles? Is D-line rotation sustainable?