Thanksgiving was just the tip of the iceberg for Covid-related incidents in the NFL by the look of it, the Steelers vs. Ravens was postponed for Sunday afternoon, now moved to Tuesday and increasingly looking like that it may be moved again despite the insistence from the league. The Ravens have had 15 positives across the team and staff, and now the Steelers have several places placed on the Covid/Reserve list including cancer survivor James Conner. Fingers crossed they all go through it with no issues.
With over 100,000 new cases per day since the start of the month, 143,000 reported yesterday after a peak of 208,000 it’s no surprise that it’s affecting the NFL especially when people seem to be flaunting the rules put in place by the league to try and restrict the spread. It’s a mess, the whole country seems to be a mess at the moment.
The 49ers are having to move for 3 weeks as Santa Clara County announce their Covid rules, it means they can’t practise or play in the area, so they’ll be shifting up the road with many thinking it will be to San Diego with that empty stadium, which makes sense.
Right, lets at least try and look at the football. These will be briefer than usual with so many games on and frankly, so little time for me to get them done.
(6-4) Cardinals -1.5 @ Patriots (4-6): 49
Previewed for SBR – Highlights – Kyler isn’t on the injury report, Patriots haven’t done well with mobile QBs this year, he’s the most mobile there is.
Larry Fitzgerald is on the Covid list so it could mean more for the tight ends, and more snaps for Andy Isabella. Got to think Gilmore covers Nuk which won’t be easy for him.
The Patriots lost Rex Burkhead for the season, he had been the goal-line back, could mean more attempts for Harris when he gets down there, Michel probably returns.
I think the Cards win and cover. Nothing on total
Kenyan Drake 051.5 rush yards (Skybet)
(4-7) Panthers +3 @ Vikings (4-6): 50
Teddy B has fully practised all week so I’d assume he plays over PJ Walker who filled in well last week, so back to normal with target shares I guess. DJ Moore (6th), Robby Anderson (12th) are both top 12 receivers this year, but struggle to find the endzone. Curtis Samuel has been more involved in recent weeks. Christian McCaffrey is out again, so back to Mike Davis although they mixed in Rod Smith a little last week too with 8 carries. 7.5 anytime for him is a little shorter than I’d have liked for a punt.
The Vikings look to be without Adam Thielen and Irv Smith who’d been increasing his role in the offense, so probably more Dalvin Cook although it’s tough to give someone who’s had 70% of the offensive touches in some games, even more of the ball. Justin Jefferson becomes the #1. Chad Bebbe and Bisi Johnson probably a few more touches, and more for Kyle Rudolph (5/2 for him anytime)
I can’t get a read on these unpredictable teams, I’d say Vikings to win and therefore cover, but I won’t be backing either side. Lean to over the total.
Rudolph o3.5 receptions – 2.10 (365) was going to be an official tip, but he’s only gone over it once this year and the Vikings could just run it 90% of the time so I’ll leave it out.
(7-3) Browns -7 @ Jaguars (1-9): 48.5
The Browns leave their stadium for the first time in a month to travel to Jacksonville for what should be a walk-over for them. Both teams are hit by absences here, Garrett and Ward are the Browns best defensive players, both out. It shouldn’t matter but it’s worth noting at least.
They’ll run the ball a lot, Chubb and Hunt are the best 1-2 punch in the league and they grind teams down, Chubb gets more on the ground, for some reason Hunt seemingly got most of the red-zone work last week. 1.73 and 2.1 the best anytime prices for them, don’t mind Hunt as the bigger price. The passing game has been inept in terrible weather, it will be interesting to see how it goes when not in a hurricane tonight. Hodge and Higgins are expected to “replace” Beckham. Bryant o9.5 rec. yards is tempting.
The Jags are without their best pass rusher and their two best corners, as well as missing Chark and Conley at WR. Mike Glennon gets the start at QB as they continue their tanking. James Robinson the one bright spot for the team this year, he’s probably been the best rookie back in the league, I usually take receptions on him but another change of QB means we don’t know the tendencies, so I’ll give it a miss.
Have to say the Browns win and cover, but taking them to win by a TD on the road? The Cleveland Browns? I struggle to do it.
(3-7) Chargers @ Bills (7-3): 52
Probably the highest scoring game of the weekend, the Chargers are so fucking tough to call, it seems like they should win every game yet it just doesn’t happen like that. Justin Herbert was already the fave for OROY, it’s not locked in with Burrow going down. He’s been brilliant, 2,700 yards, 22:6 and a QBR which ranks him 14th in his rookie year is mighty impressive. He’s thrown at least 2 TDs in his last 7 games and faces a Bills D which can be beaten through the air.
Keenan Allen is his main man, a ridiculous 16 receptions from 19 targets last week with 145 and a TD is crazy, and he now leads the league in receptions. Mike Williams is a good #2 and the guys like Guyton utilise the big arm Herbert has. Hunter Henry is line for a TD tonight against a Bills team who struggle to cover the middle of the field, could be another 15+ targets for Allen and Henry should get a good sprinkling too.
I haven’t even mentioned Austin Ekeler returning for them, that’s a big boost, but reports say he won’t get the full workload, so Pope and Kelley will get some attempts with Kalen Ballage ruled out.
The Bills can put up points as well, Josh Allen still isn’t perfect, but he’s got the weapons to succeed, Stefon Diggs is 8 behind Keenan in receptions and sits 3rd in yards this year, he’s made a big difference to the team, John Brown has gone to IR though which really hurts them, the stats with and without him can’t be ignored. Gabriel Davis will step in for him and Cole Beasley is always reliable in the slot. Running back is messy with Singelatry and Moss sharing work, Moss seems like he’ll win out as the 1 in the long run, but Allen tends to run in the red-zone so not worth betting on either imo. They lead the league in % of targets to their WRs.
This should be a cracking game, there’s no odds-on TD scorers, but it’s not going to be easy finding who does get in. Henry and Williams both above 2/1 are tempting. I’ve taken a punt on Donald Parham the big tight end scoring again at 12/1 on PP.
(6-4) Raiders -3 @ Falcons (3-7): 54
Should be another high scoring game in Atlanta. The Raiders look really good and are hitting the easier stretch of their schedule. They want to be like the Browns and run it constantly, Josh Jacobs is good at that, but they can throw the ball too, Derek Carr having the best season of his career.
It’s not rookie Ruggs who is getting the downfield passes though, Nelson Agholor has learnt to catch and gets a lot of chunk plays, Hunter Renfrow is good in the slot and Darren Waller is probably the third best play-making TE in the league.
The Falcons look like they’ll be without Julio, so all on Calvin Ridley who gets peppered when Jones is out, Russell Gage will get more and Olamide Zaccheus/Christian Blake will probably see more targets. Todd Gurley is out for them on the ground, so Brian Hill is odds-on which I won’t be taking, maybe more for Ito Smith at 10/3 or Ollison at larger prices.
I liked the Falcons early in the week, but have flipped, Julio being out is a big thing, but I won’t back either side as I think the Falcons bounce back after last week. Should be a lot of points as neither team can really defend.
(6-4) Dolphins -7 @ Jets (0-10): 44.5
All change at QB in this one, Ryan Fitzpatrick in for Tua and Darnold returns for the Jets.
The return of Darnold makes it tough to judge the pass catchers in NY, although I like Mims while Gore/Adams will get the carries.
The Dolphins are down another RB with Ahmed out, so Breida probably gets the ball, 2.3 the best price for him anytime. 9/2 for Fitz isn’t terrible.
Have to say the Dolphins win and cover, but won’t bet it. Under the total? Dolphins D is good.
Dolphins D/ST – 9/2 (Hills)
(3-7) Giants -6 @ Bengals (2-7-1): 44.5
The Giants haven’t won outside of division this year, they should here against a backup QB. Wayne Gallman should have a good day now that he’s the main back there, he’s scored in 4 games in a row now and I’ll be backing him at evens or better which he is today. Shepard and Engram get the bulk of the receptions in the middle of the field while Slayton, I’m convinced will get a 2 TD game at some point this season, gets a decent matchup. Daniel Jones has been running a lot more recently 26.5 his rushing line, it’ll be around that.
The Bengals saw once again that Ryan Finley isn’t an NFL QB after his dismal performance last week, so they’ve gone with Brandon Allen at QB. Has to be better than Finley. It ruins all pass catchers in Cinci though, I guess Boyd gets more with short passes, but Allen probably has a bigger arm and more of a “fuck it” attitude than Burrow so Tee Higgins could feasibly continue his run of big games. He’s had a reception of 24 or more yards in all of his last 7 games. Gio Bernard loks like he’ll start after concussion worries.
I backed the Giants at -4.5 earlier in the week assuming it would be Finley at QB. I worry about taking the Giants -6. They should cover, but they play in the NFC East and they’re on the road, it feels horrible backing them. Probably lean over the total
Tee Higgins longest reception o20.5 – 1.83 (365) – A slight risk given the unknown of the QB, but he’s very, very good.
(7-3) Titans +3 @ Colts (7-3): 51.5
The Titans won in OT against the Ravens last week to keep themselves in the race for the AFC South, they need to level things against the Colts to do that after losing 34-17 on TNF a couple of weeks back.
Derrick Henry tends to come on when the weather gets colder, they’ve been increasing his role especially early in drives and there’s no reason that won’t happen again here, he had 19 for 103 against the Colts last time. Tannehill has been good again this year, but he’s taken some big shots. AJ Brown is a full grown man, his TD last week was brilliant, he’s still a little hit or miss, but get him the ball in the space and you’re not stopping him. Corey Davis has been reliable and Jonnu Smith found the endzone again last week for them.
The Colts are without Jonathan Taylor who had 26 touches last week, so probably back to Nyheim Hines who had 115 and 2 TDs in the games vs the Titans last time, with Jordan Wilkins mixing in as well. Michael Pittman had his breakout game against them and looks really good as the main man in the passing game for them. I like his over. It’s tough to trust any other pass catchers really, Hilton is done, the tight ends all get involved, my love for Big Mo has been shown on here many times and he gets over 50% of the snaps there most weeks.
Lean to the Colts essentially wrapping up the division, they won in Tennessee, should be on a high after the comeback against the Packers last week. They’re the most complete team.
Michael Pittman o51.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (PP)
(8-2) Saints -15 @ Broncos (4-6): 37
Well. Lots and nothing to talk about here. The Broncos don’t have a QB. They’re starting Kendall Hinton off of the street, who played QB for Wake Forest in college, with Royce Freeman as the emergency QB. Their team total is 9.5. With only a day to prepare it’s going to be a mess, expect a ton of Lindsay, Gordon and maybe Freeman running the ball, maybe some wildcat, probably no many pass attempts.
Taysom Hill started at QB last week and looked fine, it gives them more options at QB with his rushing, his passing was adequate and he should be better for the experience here. Alvin Kamara didn’t get a catch in that game, Thomas had 9 of them and should have had more, his 5.5 reception line is probably the lowest it’s been all year. Latavius Murray had 49 on the ground and 36 through the air for the Saints.
With the utter unknown it’s not really one to bet on. The Saints shouldn’t have to break stride to win, but will they run up the score? I don’t know. Avoid.
(4-6) 49ers +6.5 @ Rams (7-3): 44.5
The 49ers welcome back some players finally, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Richard Sherman all return for them, and Jordan Reed should be playing as well. Mostert probably gets the bulk of carries as he has done when active, Jeff and McKinnon will chip in as well though, who gets the TDs is unpredictable to say the least. Deebo should be healthy finally too but Aiyuk misses out, so more Richie James? Kendrick Bourne is apparently still there too but hasn’t done much this year.
The Rams impressively won in Tampa with the passing attack taking the spotlight last week, they’ll probably go back to the run game here with Henderson, Brown and Akers a good three-headed attack. Good for them, shit for us. Woods and Kupp are really damn good, 57.5 and 59.5 for their receiving lines tonight. Josh Reynolds had been getting involved on the outside while Van Jefferson scored his first TD last week. I still like Reynolds o3.5 but there’s little margin for it as he tops out at 4 usually.
Shanahan does well against McVay and that’s off-putting if you want the Rams ATS. The Rams should win, they’re the far healthier team against a backup QB. But I can’t do it.
Jordan Reed anytime – 5/1 (Hills)
(9-1) Chiefs -3.5 @ Buccs (7-4): 56
Highest total of the week in what should be a shoot out in Tampa.
The Chiefs won a hard fought game against the Raiders last Sunday night while the Buccs failed in prime-time again on MNF vs the Rams.
Patrick Mahomes is probably going to be the MVP again this year, 3,035 yards, 27 TDs, 2 INTs this year, and leads the league in QBR. Not much more to say about him, he’s brilliant.
Tyreek Hill seems to be quietly having a great season too, he’s scored in all but 2 games this year, including at least 1 in his last 4 games, although the opposition has been lacking and gets considerably tougher here. Travis Kelce is having the best season of his career as well and has over 100 yards in his last three games. Sammy Watkins returns for this one with Byron Pringle heading to IR, apparently you can stop one you pop… yeah. Mecole Hardman is tough to trust, as always and Demarcus Robinson will get some as well.
The run game found the endzone last week too, Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed in for two and even Lev Bell got one. The Bucs run D is the best in the league though so it won’t be easy for them here.
Tom Brady needs to bounce back again and he has done after their public losses this year, he won’t face as much pressure tonight and goes up against a worse secondary than the Rams of last week. He should be fine with time to find his man. He is terrible down the field at the moment though which must be a worry for Tampa.
He’s got his boy there now though, Antonio Brown seems to be getting the bulk of the targets now, catching 8 of 13 targets last week, 18 in his three games with the Bucs now. Mike Evans gets the TDs though, while Chris Godwin doesn’t seem to have found a big role after his return from injury. Gronk and Brate still get theirs in the passing game as well.
They need more from Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, Jones still seems to have the role on the ground but Lenny does get involved as well, both of them have hands made of bricks with terrible drops last week.
Realistically the Chiefs should win, but it’s on the road against Brady after he’s been embarrassed. It could be a trap spot for them and it worries me. They do need to keep winning to try and steal the #1 seed in the AFC and without any research it seems that the top AFC teams tend to beat the top NFC teams more often than not.
Chiefs should win, but I won’t be backing that, I’d actually lean under on the total. Should be a great game, and I might actually try and stay sober enough to watch it properly. Try being the word there, watching the Bengals could be painful.
(5-5) Bears +9.5 @ Packers (7-3): 44
I don’t want tot talk about the Bears. Mitchell Trubisky starts. Who cares? Foles is shit, Trubisky is shit, the offense is dire as a whole. David Montgomery returns to take 20 carries for 45 yards. Allen Robinson is brilliant but has to play with this team. They’ve lost 4 in a row, in fairness they have played good teams and kept it close in most games thanks to their brilliant defense.
The Packers fucked me over last week throwing away a big lead in Indy, an MVS fumble cost them a chance to win, and Rodgers generally doesn’t forget that kind of thing. Davante Adams is the best WR in the league? Definitely the most important for his team this season, he’s scored in 5 in a row since returning from injury with at least 7 catches in each of those games, this is the toughest D he’s had to face though, Allen Lazard is a week healthier and they like Tonyan as well. Aaron Jones needs to bounce back, he’s not been great since coming back from injury, Jamaal Williams has been doing well in the backfield and retains a role despite Jones being there.
Packers should win, I actually prefer the Bears on the spread though, I think they’ll keep it tight still. Probably lean under the total.
Jamaal Williams o11.5 rec. yards – 1.80 (365)
- Jordan Reed anytime – 5/1 (Hills)
- Dolphins D/ST – 9/2 (Hills)
- Kenyan Drake 051.5 rush yards – 1.83 (Skybet)
- Tee Higgins longest reception o20.5 – 1.83 (365)
- Michael Pittman o51.5 rec. yards – 1.83 (PP)
- Jamaal Williams o11.5 rec. yards – 1.80 (365)
After a rough few weeks I’m cutting down a little here with the hope of being more selective. See how this goes.
Good Luck this week, could be a minefield so we’ll need it.