The pesky little secret about the Denver Broncos' impressive 6-0 start is they have played a very weak schedule.
Maybe it's not much of a secret, especially to Chiefs fans who are happy to bring it up when you point out their team's poor schedule. The Broncos have played the 32nd strongest schedule in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders' metrics (the Chiefs are 31st, for those who are wondering).
That changes this week. Denver plays at a good Colts team on "Sunday Night Football." You may have heard this week that Denver's quarterback used to play in Indianapolis.
It's probably a good bet that Peyton Manning will play well in his return, but let's not forget about Andrew Luck's motivation in this battle. Luck wants to carve out his own legacy in Indianapolis (and he will) and beating Manning would look good on that resume. Not to mention that he has a pretty good squad around him, and a home crowd that will be fired up to see the Colts beat a 6-0 Broncos team, no matter who their quarterback is.
I think the Broncos win, but they're favored by 6.5 points, which is a lot. We'll finally get a chance to see how the Broncos do against some good competition.
Here are the rest of the picks (and, if you've seen my record, you obviously know it's for recreational purposes only):
Cardinals (+6.5) over Seattle (picked Thursday): That was a heck of a strong win by Seattle. I have a feeling this might come up again in the power rankings next Tuesday.
Buccaneers (+7) over Falcons: I know, Mike Glennon on the road. But this ain't the 2012 Falcons they're playing.
Lions (-2.5) over Bengals: Probably the second best game of the week. Two teams that we know are good, but still not quite ready to completely buy into either being legitimate contenders.
Bills (+8) over Dolphins: Buffalo quarterback Thad Lewis played pretty well against a tough defense last week. The rest of the team is coming along, too.
Jets (+3.5) over Patriots: You can't keep taking on injuries and not have it affect your team. And Rob Gronkowski's return is great, but he'll take some time to be Gronk again.
Cowboys (+3) over Eagles: Tony Romo should go nuts against that Eagles defense.
Bears (pick 'em) over Redskins: Not sure what Washington has shown to convince me they can beat a good team.
Rams (+6) over Panthers: Last week's win at Houston aside, the Rams still aren't good. But the Panthers' offense can't be trusted yet either.
Jaguars (+7.5) over Chargers: The Jags are on a roll covering the spread, so I can't ditch them now.
Titans (+4) over 49ers: The Titans are as good of a candidate as any to get the sixth seed in the AFC, provided they're still in the race by the time Jake Locker returns.
Browns (+10) over Packers: Way too many Green Bay injuries to lay double digits. And the Browns can play some defense. If Joe Haden takes out Jordy Nelson, who is Aaron Rodgers going to throw to? Jarrett Boykin?
Chiefs (-6) over Texans: If you're going to turn to Case Keenum, give him a better chance than making his debut in front of that crowd, against that defense.
Ravens (+1.5) over Steelers: This rivalry fell off the map fast.
Giants (-3.5) over Vikings: If New York can't beat the Vikings at home, who exactly is it going to beat this season?
Last week: 6-9
This season: 35-57-2
- - - - - - -