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Difficulties of Short Weeks

FILE - Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum (5) looks for a receiver during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla., in this Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, file photo. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield will sit out Thursday's game against the Denver Broncos with a painful left shoulder injury and backup Case Keenum will start. Cleveland announced the quarterback switch on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, ending speculation about whether Mayfield would try to push through an injury to his non-throwing shoulder that he suffered last month and has worsened in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)


AP Pro Football Writer

For those who oppose Thursday night NFL games, be it players, coaches, fans or bettors, this week is a perfect example of why.

It’s difficult enough to prepare for a Sunday game when you have key injuries, particularly at quarterback. And when both teams are uncertain about their quarterback situation, well, it doesn’t make for the best brand of football in a short week.

As for Pro Picks, it would be best to avoid making a choice for Denver, ranked 20th in the AP Pro32, at No. 13 Cleveland. The Broncos were a 3 1/2-point underdog, according to FanDuel SportsBook, before the Browns scratched Baker Mayfield because of his left shoulder injury. Case Keenum gets the start and the line dropped to 2 points with that news.

“Case Keenum will be our starter tomorrow night and we have full confidence in him to lead us and do the things necessary to put us in position to win,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Wednesday.

Von Miller, the Broncos’ star linebacker, virtually assured his team will break a three-game slide. We’re not so sure, even against Keenum.

BROWNS, 21-17

KNOCKOUT POOL: Tampa Bay kept us going and now Pro Picks takes the most obvious pick, unbeaten ARIZONA.

No. 30 New York Jets (plus 7) at No. 22 New England

Yes, the Patriots tend to play to the level of the opponent. A bad habit they will break Sunday.


No. 25 Atlanta (plus 2 1/2) at No. 29 Miami

Thought about four other potential upsets, but settled near South Beach as the only one.


No. 31 Houston (plus 17 1/2) at No. 1 Arizona

So wanted to make this the Best Bet, but that’s a ton of points and we’ve been burned already this year.


No. 12 New Orleans (minus 5) at No. 23 Seattle, Monday night

A sign of the times in Seattle with the Seahawks a home underdog.

SAINTS, 25-21

No. 10 Kansas City (minus 5 1/2) at No. 9 Tennessee

The Titans don’t get much chance to relish their win over Buffalo.

CHIEFS, 36-33

No. 26 Washington (plus 9 1/2) at No. 7 Green Bay

Can the Packers clinch the NFC North this week? Not quite, but soon.

PACKERS, 30-20

No. 32 Lions (plus 15) at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams

Matthew Stafford outduels Jared Goff after being traded for each other.

RAMS, 37-16

No. 11 Cincinnati (plus 6) at No. 3 Baltimore

The Bengals have come a long way, but they aren’t ready to beat the Ravens.

RAVENS, 24-17

No. 21 Indianapolis (plus 3 1/2) at No. 19 San Francisco

Two of the league’s most inconsistent squads.

49ERS, 23-21

No. 18 Chicago (plus 12) at No. 2 Tampa Bay

Giving that 44-year-old Bucs quarterback extra rest between games means …


No. 24 Philadelphia (plus 3) at No. 14 Las Vegas

Philly could be a tough out by December. It’s October.

RAIDERS, 26-18

No. 27 Carolina (minus 3) at No. 27 New York Giants

If the Panthers can’t end their skid here, they are headed for the bottom.




Last Week: Straight up: 11-3. Against spread: 7-7.

Season: Straight up: 60-34. Against spread: 50-41-2.

Best Bet: Straight up: 4-2. Against spread: 4-2.

Upset Special: Straight up: 6-0. Against spread: 6-0.


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