Pro Picks: Handing the Bears their 15th straight loss won’t come easy for the Commanders

Pro Picks is a weekly column where AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi shares his picks for upcoming games. For all previous Pro Picks, head here.

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Pushing the NFC champions to overtime is only a positive step if the Washington Commanders beat a team that’s lost 14 straight.

Sam Howell and the Commanders (2-2) bounced back from a beating against the Bills to take the Eagles to the limit. Now they’ve got a chance to snap a two-game losing streak when the lowly Bears (0-4) visit on Thursday night.

Justin Fields had a career day but still couldn’t get Chicago its first win. The Bears have the league’s fourth-worst pass defense so Howell could have another big day. Of course, he’s got to stay upright. Howell is on pace to be sacked more times than any quarterback in NFL history.

The Commanders are 5 1/2-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Pro Picks likes Washington but expects a close game.

COMMANDERS, 23-20

PHILADELPHIA AT LOS ANGELES RAMS

Line: Eagles minus 4 1/2

The undefeated Eagles (4-0) just keep winning in different ways, overcoming sluggish starts and defensive breakdowns. The Rams (2-2) are playing better than expected, but Matthew Stafford is banged up just as Cooper Kupp is getting set to return.

BEST BET: EAGLES, 27-16

NEW YORK JETS AT DENVER

Line: Broncos minus 1 1/2

The Jets (1-3) are coming off a close loss to the Super Bowl champs in Zach Wilson’s best game, and are playing for Nathaniel Hackett, who was ripped in comments by Broncos coach Sean Payton before the season. Russell Wilson rode the Broncos (1-3) to a comeback victory over the Bears last week but New York’s defense is far tougher than Chicago’s.

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UPSET SPECIAL: JETS, 20-17

JACKSONVILLE AT BUFFALO, in London

Line: Bills minus 5 1/2

The Bills (3-1) have outscored their opponents 133-33 in three straight wins, including a lopsided statement victory over the Dolphins. They’ve got a tough matchup overseas facing the Jaguars (2-2) in Jacksonville’s second straight game in London.

BILLS, 29-24

HOUSTON AT ATLANTA

Line: Falcons minus 2

C.J. Stroud has been impressive leading the Texans (2-2) to consecutive wins. Desmond Ridder has struggled for the Falcons (2-2) and Atlanta’s offense was dismal the past two games. Giving the ball to Bijan Robinson 25-30 times could be the winning formula vs. Houston.

Falcons, 23-20

CAROLINA AT DETROIT

Line: Lions minus 9 1/2

The Lions (3-1) are rolling and determined to live up to the preseason hype. Bryce Young and the Panthers (0-4) are suffering through major growing pains.

LIONS, 30-16

TENNESSEE AT INDIANAPOLIS

Line: Colts minus 1

The Titans (2-2) finally got their offense going by giving the ball to Derrick Henry. The Colts (2-2) are waiting to get a jolt from Jonathan Taylor while rookie QB Anthony Richardson continues to show promise.

Colts, 20-16

NEW YORK GIANTS AT MIAMI

Line: Dolphins minus 10 1/2

Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins (3-1) found out the road to the AFC East title still goes through Buffalo. They should get back on track against the pitiful Giants (1-3).

Dolphins, 30-17

BALTIMORE AT PITTSBURGH

Line: Ravens minus 4

Lamar Jackson is healthy, the Ravens (3-1) already beat two divisional rivals on the road and are favored to do it again. The Steelers (2-2) may not have Kenny Pickett and it’s unknown which team shows up. They were blown out by Houston last week after consecutive wins.

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Steelers, 22-20

NEW ORLEANS AT NEW ENGLAND

Line: Patriots minus 1

The Patriots (1-3) have to rebound after Bill Belichick suffered the worst loss of his coaching career at Dallas. The Saints (2-2) were dominated at home by the Buccaneers and haven’t gotten their offense going with new QB Derek Carr.

PATRIOTS, 20-17

CINCINNATI AT ARIZONA

Line: Bengals minus 3

Joe Burrow’s calf injury has impacted his performance and the Bengals (1-3) are off to a terrible start. They should get better against the Cardinals (1-3).

BENGALS, 26-17

KANSAS CITY AT MINNESOTA

Line: Chiefs minus 4

A potential shootout between Patrick Mahomes and Kirk Cousins but the Chiefs (3-1) have a better defense than the Vikings (1-3).

CHIEFS, 29-24

DALLAS AT SAN FRANCISCO

Line: 49ers minus 3 1/2

The Cowboys (3-1) seeking to avenge being eliminated in the playoffs two years in a row by the 49ers (4-0). Could be a preview of the NFC title game. The 49ers are the NFL’s most complete team right now.

49ERS, 23-22

GREEN BAY AT LAS VEGAS

Line: Packers minus 1

All-Pro receiver Davante Adams faces his former team. Jimmy Garoppolo should be back from a concussion to throw passes to Adams as the Raiders (1-3) try to snap a three-game losing streak. The Packers (2-2) have a banged-up offensive line that’s making things difficult for Jordan Love and the run game.

RAIDERS, 24-20

Last week: Straight up: 11-5. Against spread: 7-8-1

Overall: Straight up: 39-25. Against spread: 32-29-3.

Best Bet: Straight up: 4-0. Against spread: 2-1-1.

Upset Special: Straight up: 2-2. Against spread: 2-2.

Thursday: Straight up: 3-1. Against spread: 4-0.

Monday: Straight up: 4-2. Against spread: 4-1-1.

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