We sure have been waiting for this Thursday night showcase. Top overall draft pick Baker Mayfield vs. No. 3 selection Sam Darnold, a mano a mano between the rookie quarterbacks.

Oh, wait. Mayfield is a bench jockey in Cleveland right now, while Darnold is winging touchdowns and interceptions for the Jets.

Enthusiasm peaked after Darnold destroyed Detroit in New York’s opener, then came to a near halt when he struggled against Miami. The Browns have a developing defense led by the NFL’s No. 1 draft choice in 2017, Myles Garrett. If Darnold can stay upright and cool, New York could win.

But that’s hardly the history for the Jets. You know, just when things are looking up …

The Jets, ranked 21st in the AP Pro32, are 3-point underdogs to No. 26 Cleveland. That’s the value of a field goal, or three extra points. Maybe in the Browns’ case, we shouldn’t go there considering what happened in New Orleans with all the flubbed kicks.

Of course, they have a new kicker — and will get their first win of the century. Well, not quite that long.

BROWNS, 17-16


Yes, we survived with the Rams after the Saints let us down in Week 1. Can’t ignore that huge spread in Minnesota, so the VIKINGS are the choice.

No. 20 San Francisco (plus 6 1-2) at No. 4 Kansas City

This line appears a bit low given the Niners’ struggles at times with the lowly Lions. Like the Ma-HOME-s team here.


No. 18 Pittsburgh (minus 2) at No. 8 Tampa Bay, Monday night

Obviously, the oddsmakers don’t believe in FitzMagic. Against this leaky secondary and turnover-prone opponent, we do.


No. 32 Buffalo (plus 17) at No. 3 Minnesota

Buffalo once was an even bigger underdog at 17½ points vs. Miami in 1985. Dolphins won 28-0.

FYI, 80 teams have been 16-point or more underdogs and, forgetting the spread, went 5-75 on the scoreboard.


No. 14 Los Angeles Chargers (plus 7) at No. 1 Los Angeles Rams

Remember when La La Land had no NFL teams?

RAMS, 22-17

No. 17 Chicago (minus 6) at No. 31 Arizona

Some will tell you the desert has no team this year.

BEARS, 12-10

No. 24 Indianapolis (plus 6) at No. 7 Philadelphia

Looks like Carson Wentz will be back for Eagles, but don’t expect too much so soon.

EAGLES, 23-19

No. 15 New Orleans (plus 3) at No. 9 Atlanta

Saints are struggling, Falcons are banged up. Key early NFC South matchup.

SAINTS, 28-27

No. 29 New York Giants (plus 6) at No. 28 Houston

Now Eli has to avoid J.J. and Jadeveon? SACK ALERT!!!

TEXANS, 20-9

No. 27 Oakland (plus 3) at No. 13 Miami

Dolphins are one of league’s most pleasant surprises and remain unbeaten.


No. 10 Cincinnati (plus 3) at No. 12 Carolina

Bengals are one of league’s most pleasant surprises and don’t remain unbeaten.


No. 6 Green Bay (minus 3) at No. 22 Washington

We now are sure even a hobbled A-Rod is an elite quarterback. But that secondary is woeful.

PACKERS, 30-28

No. 11 Denver (plus 5) at No. 16 Baltimore

Return of the Orange Crush. This could be defensive gem.

RAVENS, 17-16

No. 19 Dallas (minus 1) at No. 25 Seattle

Cowboys can rush QB, Seahawks can’t protect QB. Seems simple.


No. 5 New England (minus 6 1-2) at No. 30 Detroit

Will Belichick go easy on former assistant Patricia in prime time? Doubtful.


No. 23 Tennessee (no line) at No. 2 Jacksonville

Just when we were ready to make Jags the BEST BET, there’s no line.



2018 RECORD:

Last Week: Against spread (9-6). Straight up (9-6-1)

Season Totals: Against spread (17-13-1). Straight up: (19-11-2)

Best Bet: 1-1 against spread, 2-0 straight up

Upset special: 1-1 against spread, 0-1-1 straight up


Source: The Associated Press

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