New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills (Sky Sports HD 6pm)

Let’s get the stats out of the way: The Patriots are playing their second road game in succession and when they have done this previously, they have covered the handicap 19 times in 28 attempts (19-9 against the handicap spread [ATS]) and have won that second road game on 21 of their last 28 tries. Bill Belichick’s team have lost just two of their last 12 trips to Buffalo, including last September’s 34-31 defeat. It is worth noting that the Patriots have not lost back-to-back games at Buffalo since 1988-99 and they have lost just twice to the Bills in the last 23 meetings.

The real surprise is the four-point BETDAQ handicap, which is sure to tempt favourite backers, as the Patriots should perhaps be a point or two higher.

Buffalo’s offensive line is playing well and it is unlikely they will miss running back CJ Spiller (shoulder) too much if Fred Jackson’s knee – which he injured in Week 1 – doesn’t give him too much discomfort on his likely return. But what if he isn’t fully fit? That four-point handicap could start to look very tasty.

It is not an easy game to weigh up, as New England are coming off a controversial and bruising loss at Baltimore. Running back Stevan Ridley has yet to prove that he’s anything other than serviceable, and with Julian Edelman slowed with a hand injury, it could leave tight end Rob Gronkowski, and receivers Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker as the only dependable targets for Tom Brady.

Still, if it comes down to a battle of quarterbacks, Brady would steal Ryan Fitzpatrick’s lunch money every day of the week and remember: this is a passing league. Teams who win the passing battle are 38-9 this season. This line looks wrong and it would be no surprise to see it settled by a field goal either way.

New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers (Sky Sports 9.25pm)

Aaron Rodgers woke up on Tuesday morning and was sacked on his way to the bathroom by his housekeeper.

The Packers doubled their losing tally from last season in Seattle on Monday night, largely in part to a replacement official who had never before officiated above Division III college level. He signalled touchdown when it should have been a touchback and the Packers lost 14-12 but the defeat was of their own making. They put their fate in to the hands of the officials. Rodgers was sacked eight times in the first half.

But it is a long season and they have played two good defences in San Francisco and Seattle. The ship will be steadied in due course. On Sunday, in fact.

Rodgers should finally be able to get the scoreboard ticking. Saints are having problems scoring with their regular aplomb. Last week, they managed just 24 points against a Kansas City team who’d allowed 75 points in their previous two games (against Atlanta and Buffalo).

And the chants of “Geaux Pack Geaux” will ring out as the receiving corps will find more holes than you’d see in a Lib-Dem manifesto.

For the Saints are conceding 477 yards per game on average. They conceded 35 points to Carolina (who had managed just 10 points against Tampa and 7 points last week against the New York Giants). The winless Saints do not possess anything like a good defence. Their designed pass rush looks like it has been drawn in crayon by a five-year-old.

And they rarely win at Lambeau Field; just two victories in 11 visits. Take the Pack to get back on track, although I’m not totally sold on the near double-digit point spread. Nine points is a hefty number to give to Drew Brees and company.

And a small play on the total might also be worthwhile. These two teams combined for an average of 64 points per game in their last six meetings. The BETDAQ points total line is currently at 53.

New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles (C4, 1.20am)

The final live TV game will be well worth staying up for, not least because the incomparable Mike Carlson will be in the Channel 4 analyst’s chair.

The Giants pounded Carolina 36-7 last week, but the Eagles appear to have a bipolar disorder, having chiselled out two narrow wins against Cleveland and Baltimore before being blown out 27-6 at Arizona.

Philadelphia have turned the ball over on average four times per game this season and head coach Andy Reid is 21-55-1 ATS when his teams have a negative turnover differential.

Vick coped with the Baltimore pressure up front, but Arizona and Cleveland dropped an extra man in coverage on occasions, which seemed to confuse the out-of-sorts Philadelphia quarterback.

The Giants’ strength is their front seven and they will need that pressure, as the secondary continues to muddle through with some significant injuries.

Vick has been a little impatient at times this season, looking for the long ball rather than taking what the defence gives him underneath. But he should find a little more success than he achieved against Arizona with the big play.

BETDAQ have the hosts as one-point favourites and while they have had a few extra days to prepare, the Giants could receive a backlash. Take Vick and the Eagles to recover their verve, either on the Moneyline or the Handicap – there won’t be much in it.

Talking of verve, here’s another musical interlude. Cos we know you love ‘em.

Miami Dolphins @ Arizona Cardinals

Over the last few years, the Dolphins have had an excellent record on the road in covering the handicap when playing teams with winning records.

They will certainly need to raise their game in the desert, as Arizona will attack their weakest point – their secondary. It is hard to see how they will cope with the severe test posed by Larry Fitzgerald and company, and if Michael Vick had problems against this marauding defence, why should rookie Ryan Tannehill fare better? The Cards, winners of 10 of their last 12 games, are not 3-0 for nothing.

But while Reggie Bush may not be 100 per cent, Miami’s lines are playing some fantastic football and the handicap is a shade too big for a team that that, historically, has invariably done well against the Cardinals. The Dolphins have the capability to keep things close and at some point that Kevin Kolb magic will turn back into a pumpkin.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Jacksonville Jaguars

You can never be sure which Bengals team will turn up, but their dodgy secondary is not about to be exploited by a tepid Jaguars’ passing game and it is more likely that the nippy Bengals’ pass catchers will victimise the Jags’ pedestrian cover unit on the back end. This looks a solid play.

San Francisco 49ers @ New York Jets

My colleague John Arnette at has a sneaking suspicion that the Jets could be a good bet this weekend as a four-point home underdog. He feels that the “Niners aren’t going to be able to move the ball much on that defence”.

It’s one of the rare times we disagree. While it is true that the Jets will miss Darrelle Revis more in future games, especially against pass-happy attacks, the cornerback’s season-ending injury will mean the whole dynamic of their defence will still have to change.

The Jets now do not have the luxury of playing opposing receivers in man-to-man coverage and converting an unwilling running back Joe McKnight to play cornerback looks a recipe for disaster.

The Niners are the best balanced team in the NFL right now and they simply don’t lose in New York – as a 5-1 record on the road against Gang Green attests.

The BETDAQ line is four points and it really shouldn’t be close – but a saver of the Moneyline looks the sensible course to take.

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions

This has the makings of a potential upset; a division rivalry, with the underdog visitors arriving on the back of a confidence-boosting win over an NFL powerhouse (San Francisco), facing a team with seemingly numerous defensive problems who lost a heart-breaker in Tennessee.

At the time of writing, no market was available, although elsewhere, the line had plummeted from Sunday’s opening 7-point margin in favour of the Lions, to around 4.5 points.

It’s not shock to see money coming for the Vikings and they have the running game to eat up the clock when it matters. If they can keep things close, the Lions are still very beatable. I’ll be taking a chance on the Moneyline at a big price.

Back – New Orleans +9
Back – Over 53 points New Orleans/Green Bay
Back – New England Moneyline
Lay – New York Giants +1
Lay – Arizona -6
Back – San Francisco Moneyline
Lay – Jacksonville +1
Back – Minnesota Moneyline

Twitter: @simonmilham

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