Chris Berman has taken his Swami Sez NFL picks segment, seen on SportsCenter, to ESPN Chalk. Each week during the NFL regular season, he'll give his favorite picks against the spread here with a little further analysis.
Season record: 26-11 ATS (last week: 2-3)
Coming off a bye, this is Carolina's last stand. With six losses, the Panthers' postseason hopes would basically be finished. Wouldn't you think you're going to get their best effort here, whatever that is at this point? I do worry about Arizona playing five quarters in that very physical 6-6 tie with Seattle on Sunday, but I think the Cardinals will get it done on the field where they were denied a trip to the Super Bowl last season.
Score: Arizona 24, Carolina 23
Matthew Stafford is playing at a very high level, and this Detroit team has the belief it can win every game late in the fourth quarter. Lamar Miller is iffy for this one, which is a factor. Brock Osweiler hasn't done much to justify his big contract yet, but I think he'll play a little better at home. Detroit has a tough time scoring here, and Houston gets back on track.
Score: Houston 23, Detroit 17
Kansas City played a team like this last week in New Orleans, which can score on offense and has a porous defense. This could be a game where Kansas City opens up the downfield attack with Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce. It's hard to expect the Chiefs' defense to score a TD on defense every week, but it's also foolish to overlook it. Kansas City will do enough to slow down Andrew Luck here and get a big road win.
Score: Kansas City 26, Indianapolis 20
For the second straight week, this isn't a pick against Atlanta. I've been impressed with the Falcons so far. And I don't believe they're headed down last season's path when they stumbled after a 5-0 start. They won't be the first team to lose to Aaron Rodgers. And they won't be the last, either. Rodgers will get this offense on track and the Packers will win on the road.
Score: Green Bay 30, Atlanta 27
San Diego does better than most teams at Mile High. Philip Rivers has a hot hand right now, and this Chargers team is finally playing games for 60 minutes (or longer), instead of 58 or so. At 3-4, San Diego is climbing into the playoff race, and a win here (and a season sweep of Denver) would go a long way toward that goal. It's tough to beat a team twice in 2.5 weeks, but I think the Chargers are capable of it. San Diego will get it done in Denver.
Score: San Diego 20, Denver 19