Remember that all games are an hour eariler this week, so we kick off at 1700 UK time for the early games, 2005 for the late ones, and that Sunday night football is on at 0020 for this week only before they yanks catch up to us and shift their clocks an hour later.
Annoying for me, we’re watching my daughter have a small role in an Am-dram of the Aladdin musical at 1800. Fucking terrible planning on my part, luckily there’s not many watchable games early on anyway, hopefully come out of the performance with some winnings at least. Oh, and immense pride in my daughters achievements. Obviously.
Carolina Panthers +3 @ Atlanta Falcons: 46.5
The Panthers finally pulled Sam Darnold last week after a few weeks of “below average” play, however, luckily for him PJ Walker came in and was even more terrible, so for now they’re stuck with Darnold going forward. They said last week they’d be trying to run the ball more and keep it out of his hands, that resulted in 12 for 28 yards for Chuba Hubbard and 25 attempts for Darnold in a horrible loss to the Giants.
They’re struggling all over on offense, DJ Moore still the most targeted and actually still having decent games, but when your WR2 is Robby Anderson and he’s caught 6 of 20 targets (25 yards) over the last fortnight, and 13 of 38 (101) over the last month, you’re going to struggle to move the ball. There’s not a lot behind him either with the tight end position poor and WR3 looking like Keith Kirkwood. You can’t rely on someone called Keith.
They have been trying to strengthen the defense but they can’t do it all.
The Falcons won with the last kick of the game last week to make it two wins in a row. It’s still not high-scoring but it’s looked better since they realised what they have in Kyle Pitts who finished last week with 163 yards, and somehow no TD. The receiving TDs went to the returning Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage who instantly give them more weapons than the Panthers while Cordarelle Patterson scored a rushing TD as he was still heavily involved in the game, although only 2 receptions for him last week, a good time to get off that train.
Defensively they’re not exactly stellar, allowing 28 points to the Dolphins, but they got the job done for once and only really need to keep DJ Moore in check to get the win here.
I don’t want anything on this game, both are unreliable, the offensive talent is far better for the Falcons, while the Panthers D is better. I have to lean to the Falcons, and probably under. I think the Falcons can put up points, I’m not sure the Panthers can.
Cincinnati Bengals -11.5 @ New York Jets: 42
THE AFC LEADERS – THE CURRENT #1 SEED IN THE AFC.
It very strange seeing the Bengals are double-digit favourites, just two weeks after being 3.5 pts on the road. That seemed big at the time, but what a fortnight it’s been after DEMOLISHING the Ravens last week.
Now, I’m a pessimist on the whole, so I’m still expecting things to go hideously wrong at some point. Negative one. Most of the offense is coming through Chase who has more yards in his first 7 NFL Games than anyone else in history and currently sits 2nd in receiving yards after 201 last week. Now that could be seen as a bad thing, but he’s making plays and Joe Burrow is enjoying having his college stud back playing with him.
Burrow is the only QB in the league with multiple TDs in every game this season, and while 6 of his 17 have been to Chase he’s supplied CJ Yew-Zah-Mah with 5 from Tight end while Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd have a few between them but should probably do more. Joe Mixon is running well, sitting 2nd in attempts and 3rd in rush yards, while Samaje Perine has scored a few times in relief this year.
Things get worse for the Jets, they lost Zach Wilson last week, signed Joe Flacco but will be starting Mike White who finished last weeks game. A lot of his receptions went to the running backs though with 130+ between Michael Carter and Ty Johnson last week. Corey Davis put up some yards as the WR1 and he may well be out this weekend too.
They’ll be hoping CJ Mosley can go, but they’re not a good team this year, and injuries have made them probably even worse.
I mean, I can’t really see the Bengals losing here, but they’ve got the Browns next week, so there’s a slight chance they ease off at the end of this, I can’t take them to cover.
Los Angeles Rams -16.5 @ Houston Texans: 46.5
Another big spread here, and another involving the Rams who failed to cover at home to the Lions last week. They made tough work of it, but the result wasn’t really in doubt.
Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp have a great relationship and Kupp scored another double last week to make it 9 on the season now while Darrell Henderson had 15 of the 18 carries but failed to find the endzone, should have similar here, and he should score. Bobby Trees was second in yardage, another 70 for him, could be 150 in any given week. Tyler Higbee got some use and Van Jeffereson is clearly the WR3, especially with Desean Jackson now seeking a trade before the deadline.
Not a whole lot to like about the Texans who traded away their main RB for a 7th round pick in a few years time with Mark Ingram going back to the Saints. Brandin Cooks is their one bright spot but that trade pissed him off. They’ll be starting Davis Mills once more with Tyrod Taylor not yet ready to return and they seem determined to get that 1 overall pick next year. The removal of Ingram probably means David Johnson gets more with Philip Lindsay behind him.
Have to lean to the Rams covering, the Texans have scored fewer than 10 points in 4 of their 7 games this year.
Miami Dolphins +14 @ Buffalo Bills: 49
Annnnnnd ANOTHER double-digit spread, this time an AFC East clash with the Dolphins way wayyyyy behind the Bills this season.
There’s some chat that the Dolphins are the only team that Deshaun Watson is willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to. I’ve spoken to people on twitter and Dolphins fans and fortunately most seem to think giving up the amount they would have to to get Watson would be batshit crazy. They had an over-achieving year last year where the defense got them through and that seems to have ruined the fanbase, some of whom seem to think they should be winning 12+ per season. Tua isn’t the issue. Selling the future for someone who might be arrested, giving you no picks to fix the many, many issues on this roster would be fucking stupid.
Mike Gesicki gets a lot of targets.
The Bills come off their bye week with another comfy fixture. I might have got them wrong this year, I felt they’d fall back from their form last year but it’s carried on and despite a close loss to the Titans last time they played, they’ve been a very entertaining offense. Josh Allen is playing at a high level still and Emmanuel Sanders coming in has given him an uprade, Cole Beasley hasn’t yet caught covid while Stefon Diggs is still good.
The run game has been split between Zack Moss and Devin Singletary but Moss has been getting the high value work near the endzones, while Josh Allen has been stopped at the 1 seemingly every other week.
I would actually have to take the Dolphins covering here, just feel that it’s an inflated line and divisional games are usually a little tighter.
Philadelphia Eagles -3.5 @ Detroit Lions: 48.5
It’s an insult to the Eagles that they’re only considered a field goal favourite at the winless Lions, but they’ve been shit this year, so I guess it’s fair.
There’s a little chat about Gardner Minshew taking over at QB and as a passer that maybe an upgrade but Hurts rushing ability is still useful. They got rid of Ertz so Goedert gets all the TE work while Devonta Smith has looked good in a terrible position.
Miles Sanders has gone on IR for at least 3 weeks, so it’s a mix of Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott at RB, while Jordan Howard is called up from the practise squad to steal some TDs from them. If they get that close. They don’t really use the run game anyway as Nick Sirriani seems to be a moron.
The Lions had been keeping games close and covered a big spread against the Rams last week. D’Andre Swift is the only real success of the season, he’s been electric this year on the ground and through the air. Other than that it’s TJ Hockenson and not really anyone else.
I can’t NOT take the Eagles on such a low spread, maybe buy down to 3, but they should cover that. Under? This is going to be a horrible game.
Pittsburgh Steelers +4.5 @ Cleveland Browns: 41.5
A tough one for me to call from all the way up here at the top of the division, but I’ll give it a go.
The Steelers had a bye week so you’d think that if Ben hasn’t spent it wanking then he’ll be the healthiest he’s been in weeks for this game, he’ll be without Juju of course, but in the last couple of weeks it seems like they’ve finally been able to get the offensive line doing something and the run game going with Najee Harris having 200+ rushing yards in the last two wins against the Broncos and Seahawks. They need that run game going to take some work away from Big Ben who really shouldn’t have returned this year.
Chase Claypool can boom but it’s Diontae Johnson who gets most of the targets, he’s had double-digits in every game he’s finished, 9 receptions in 3 of those 4 and a TD in 3 games this year, usually a deep shot down the right sideline. They are without Eric Ebron, so it’s all ahead on the Pat Friermuth train.
Remarkably it looks like Baker Mayfield will be back for this one after missing a week with a dislocated, torn, shredded, detached shoulder. I can’t see him being full healthy but he wants to play and it looks like he will be. I can’t see it being a good idea as I’m sure that he’ll take some hits from TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith.
They should have Nick Chubb back as well meaning that last weeks hero D’Ernest Johnson fades back into nothing-ness. Probably. I’d imagine it’ll be a whole lot of Chubb with the odd throw to Jarvis Landry now that he’s returned. That’s about it frankly as any connection with Odell Beckham is still weak no matter who’s under center. They’ll be hoping that having his mate back will help the passing game, but the ground is where they win and where they’ll try and dominate this one.
I’ve actually got a funny feeling the Steelers get Ben another win in Cleveland’s stadium. Line has moved 1 pt towards the Browns from 3.5 yesterday.
San Francisco 49ers -4 @ Chicago Bears: 39.5
A total under 40 points. Yikes.
Pre-season this looked like it could be a fun game involving two young mobile QBs running the ball 10+ times a game against decent defenses. How quickly football moves. It looks like it’ll be Jimmy Garoppolo under center but there’s talk of it being his final game with Trey Lance looking to take over in the coming weeks providing he can stay healthy.
It looks like Deebo will get a load of work again as he seems to be the only person targeted on this team and he sits 4th in rec. yards so far this year, mostly yards after the catch as he gets free and runs for miles. He and running back Eli Mitchell are the only real highlights of this offense which once again has been beaten up by injuries.
Still it could be worse, they could be the Bears. They’ve been horrible to watch with Fields at QB, he’s only crossed 200 yards once, thrown 2 TDs and last week fell apart against the Bucs. His rushing should be used far more, and it has increased in recent weeks but they should be utilising that part of his game more.
Damien Williams is back off covid so will get a few carries, but rookie Khalil Herbert was the first person all year to rush for anything at all against the Bucs last week, should get a lot of work this week against a poorer defense. It seems Darnell Mooney is the favoured target in the passing game, but that doesn’t mean too much. Poor Allen Robinson is irrelevant at the moment.
I know these are well supported franchises, but things aren’t good. Or fun watching either this year. Still have to take the 49ers to cover, but I don’t think many will be rushing to watch this.
Tennessee Titans +2.5 @ Indianapolis Colts: 51
This was a 1 point spread earlier in the week, but is now floating between 2.5 and 3. The two games between these two teams this year will probably decide the division as their records are going to be pretty close come week 18. Looking at the last 10 games between the two doesn’t help in the slightest. 5-5 straight up, 5-5 against the spread and 5-5 O/U. It’s well balanced.
The Titans will again be without Julio Jones, so I guess a big game is in store for AJ Brown who’s one of the more exciting WRs with the ball in his hands, after a rough start and me trading him away in fantasy he’s been far better the last couple of weeks with 220 yards and a TD. He gets a decent matchup here and should get the bulk of the targets once more. He had 8 receptions last week while no-one else had more than 3. Josh Reynolds who should get targets with Julio out.
But lets be honest, it’s mostly just Derrick Henry running the ball, he leads the league in carries, yards, TDs at the position despite being held to 3 yards per carry last week somehow. He ran for 281 yards and 3 TDs against them last season, and a couple of TDs against them in 2019 as well. He good.
This week his opposite number might be someone in as good form as he is, with Jonathan Taylor looking great against the weak opposition they’ve faced recently with 100 yards in 3 of their last 4 games and 5 TDs in that span, as well as adding 140odd and a TD through the air although most of that came on one reception he took to the house. All of that from fewer than 18 carries per game. Taylor was getting the most redzone carries in the league early on without scoring, the variance of that seems to have turned and he’s making up for it now.
The offensive line is improving and that’s helped Carson Wentz who’s hit some form for the first time in his short Indy career. Obviously looking a lot better now he’s back nearing full health. TY Hilton has only played a few quarters this year, he looked good in the little he has done but missed last week and it looks like he’ll make it through a questionable tag to play this week. It’s fine for them as Michael Pittman has stepped into the WR1 role over this last few weeks finally. Oh, and of course Big Mo Alie-Cox has been on fire with 4 TDs in their last 4 games. HE’S BIGGER THAN EVERYONE ELSE.
Um… I don’t know how this is going to go. I think the line move to the Colts is correct, they’ve looked good recently, but it could go either way.
Jacksonville Jaguars +4 @ Seattle Seahawks: 44.5
I know I said the Eagles line was embarrassing, but this line seems crazy to me. I know it’s Geno Smith and not Russell Wilson, and I know the Jags are coming off a bye while the Seahawks had a rough loss against the Saints, but 4 points, at home, in one of the few stadiums where there’s still some kind of home-field? This is basically saying there’s only 1.5-2 points difference between these teams.
Now. I might go against that whole paragraph here as I really don’t rate the Seahawks, Lawrence will be the best QB on the field, James Robinson probably the best running back, and whomever is playing safety for the Jags will probably be the best safety on the field too…
But does that mean much when the rest of the roster is sub-par? The O-Line isn’t great, the pass-catching group is average and the defense hasn’t been good this year either, in fact it’s bottom of footballoutsiders DVOA this year. Just the 7 passing TDs this season and three of them came in week one. But one for Marvin Jones along with a few long distance FGs proved enough against the Dolphins in London a fortnight ago. Shenault, Jones and the mighty Jamal Agnew are the most targeted of the pass-catchers for the Jags.
The Seahawks are not fun to watch at the moment, one of my concerns with them was how shallow they were and without Russell Wilson they’re just boring. The run game isn’t great with Chris Carson out and now it seems he might miss the entire season, Alex Collins isn’t bad, Rashaad Penny made it through a week without heading to IR, so they might get better there but the OL isn’t good.
DK Metcalf is a large man, Tyler Lockett runs routes better than most, but Geno Smith passing the ball isn’t ideal, but this is the easiest matchup they’ve had all year so they should be able to move the ball. Even Geno should be able to move the ball. Surely.
Another that’s tough to judge, but surely I’ve got to say the Seahawks covering this line?
New England Patriots +4 @ Los Angeles Chargers: 49.5
Another interesting one taking place in LA this weekend as the Patriots travel over to take on the Chargers fresh off their bye week. The Patriots are coming off their best win of the season, although I’m not sure it really counts for much.
As in the article above, it’s been a weird year for the Pats, wins against the very worst teams in the league (2 vs Jets and 1 vs Texans) and mostly narrow losses to some of the best teams in the league.
Mac Jones has been the best of the rookie QBs, although that’s like saying that Romeo was the best of the blazing squad, might be true, but doesn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things. He’s fitting in well in the NE system, but still doesn’t seem to be let of the leash and allowed to throw downfield, although they did seem to open things up a little in last weeks rout.
Despite spending big in free agency they still don’t have elite pass catchers which doesn’t help the predicament although Hunter Henry has now scored in 4 games in a row despite minimal targets in those games, he’s clearly a reliable guy in the redzone, he faces his old team here. Agholor, Meyers, Bourne are just names really and Jonnu Smith needs to start proving his worth week in, week out since his move from Tennessee.
They do have a good running back though and Damien Harris has now scored in each of his last 3 games with over 100 in his last two. Behind him is muddled with rookie Stevenson left out again last week, but Brandon Bolden and JJ Taylor both finding the endzone in his place. I don’t know who makes the cut this week.
The Chargers should bounce back from their humbling loss to the Ravens after a week off, Justin Herbert looking to re-ignite his push for season MVP.
Mike Williams is the favoured downfield target while, as always Keenan Allen proves reliable in the medium range. The main bit of news for them though is the health of Austin Ekeler who has sat out of Thur and Fri practises with a hip injury randomly obtained at some point after Wednesday. It sounds like he’ll be playing but it’s something to keep an eye on. If he can’t go then Josh Kelley, Justin Jackson and I guess Larry Rountree will probably share carries between the three of them.
The Chargers run D is their main weakness on that side of the ball which matches well for the Patriots, but I think the Chargers will be able to put up points as well. I’ll probably take the Chargers only giving up 4 and lean to the over. Although Pats games have generally been quite low, they have blown up the last two weeks and become a little more interesting.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -4.5 @ New Orleans Saints: 50.5
Tompa Bay rolls on and doesn’t look like stopping, Brady leads the league in TD passes, he’s second in yards, he’s 2nd in QBR for the season all unheard of for someone his age to still be playing at such a high level. Obviously it’s helped having probably the best roster in the league with weapons at all positions, but still he’s the one who runs the offense so smoothly.
They’ll be without Antonio Brown this week and possibly for a few weeks but he missed the last game and they stomped on the Bears. It just meant more for Chris Godwin and Mike Evans who scored 4 TDs between them with Evans getting a hat-trick. In fact it meant a lot of targets for them, 21 between those two and just 15 for the rest of the team. Tyler Johnson the nominal WR3, but tonight should see the return of Rob Gronkowski who will likely be the third most targeted player.
They’ve got the run game going recently after settling on the fact that Leonard Fournette doesn’t only have to play well in the playoffs, he’s scored 4 times this season, all in their last 3 games. Ronald Jones still gets some work and Gio Bernard will be in for third downs if they happen to be trailing at all. It’s a good trio.
They’re not bad on defense either, teams haven’t been trying to run on them, so fair play to Khalil Herbert who hit 100 yards on the ground in a rout last week.
The Saints are a tough one for me to call. They’re winning mainly due to their defense this year as they really don’t seem to have any faith in Jamies Winston to run their offense safely. This is the first time Jameis will have played his former team and frankly I agree with the Saints in this specific instance, it could be a long night for him against this defense. In fairness his interceptions haven’t been too costly this year.
They haven’t got Alvin Kamara involved anywhere near as much as he should this year until last week where he put up 179 yards against the Seahawks, a lot of it coming in the 2 minute drill at the end of the first half. 128 of those from dump offs as they took advantage of the Seahawks defense. They brought Mark Ingram back from the Saints in the week and he could become the first player to take part in 18 regular season games. He had a good partnership with Kamara when he was here before and I’d assume it’ll carry on.
The pass catching group is still without Michael Thomas although he could be back next week so it’s “led” by… someone. Marquez Callaway I guess. They really don’t have much talent in that area. Tre’quan Smith hasn’t stepped up, L’il Jordan Humphrey, Kenny Stills, Kevin White. It’s shit.
I have to say the Bucs win and cover this one. Brady seems unstoppable at the moment.
Washington Football Team +3.5 @ Denver Broncos: 44.5
What a year for WFT. So much hype and hope coming into the season and it’s not gone to plan. The vaunted defense has been dismal and without that and Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB they’ve really struggled. Taylor Heinicke came in for Fitz and was ok for a few games but now there’s video on him it’s been rough.
They have a weird offense. Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin could get into any team in the league but other than that it’s a struggle. Curtis Samuel would have been the 2 but has been injured for most of the year, Adam Humphries is what he is. There’s not much. In fact Ricky Seals-Jones quickly stepped in to the role as a the second most targeted player on the offense. It is good news for Gibson though as he isn’t on the injury report for his shin this week.
In fairness to Washington their schedule has been horrible, losses to the Chargers, Bills, Saints, Chiefs and Packers are to be expected really while they won the two you would expect them to agains tthe Giants and Falcons.
The Broncos should welcome back Jerry Jeudy after they activated him from the IR overnight and they really need some help as they’ve lost 4 in a row after starting with 3 wins against terrible teams. Very similar to Washington in fact, they won the games you’d expect them to, lost to the AFC North. Teddy Bridgewater is who he is as well, he’ll do the job but won’t elevate anyone on the team.
Jeudy bolsters a WR group led by Courtland Sutton who’s been good this year, 10th in yard on the season and by far the most targeted player on the team, outside of him it’s been Tim Patrick who’s all right and that’s about it from the WRs. Noah Fant has actually done better than I realised and he has shown the talent to be able to step up. Their running game has been good in real life, a near 50/50 split between Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams who have both done well, both capable of pass catching. Williams the more aggressive as he runs through tackles.
Bleh, this was a rough one, I have no real opinion on either team here. I think that Washington might get off the schnide finally.
Dallas Cowboys +3 @ Minnesota Vikings: 51.5
The worst possible situation for us here. Dak Prescott is “game-time” so we won’t know until 2300 or so tonight whether he’s playing or not. Without knowing that it’s impossible to call. What I can say is early in the week the line had reached Cowboys -2.5, the Dak news has swung it through to Vikings -3 now, so 5.5 move, if Dak is confirmed out. Maybe up to 7? That would be a 9.5 point move from Dak to Cooper Rush at QB.
Whether Dak goes or not I assume it will be a run-heavy scheme as they either try to keep the ball out of Rush’s hands or they try and reduce the workload for Dak to minimise the worry of injury. He and Pollard have been a very good partnership on the ground this year, Zeke getting most of the redzone carries turning it into 6 TDs this year, while Pollard adds some spark with good burst.
Ceedee Lamb has stepped up as WR1 this year, he and Amari Cooper have 4 TDs each, but Lamb leads the team in yards. Michael Gallup has missed most of the season but Cedric Wilson has done well in his place and Dalton Schultz has been putting up yards from the TE spot. With Dak they’re one of the best offenses in the league.
Their defense has stepped up this year and that’s really helped the whole team, Trevon Diggs a possible DPOY with at least one interception in every game this season.
The Vikings are well organised. Kirk Cousins has been as good as he usually is which isn’t enough for most fans, but it works well for this team, which is based largely on Dalvin Cook in the run game. Cousins will keep the ball moving, he’ll find Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson regularly and KJ Osborn has been getting involved at time as the WR3 for them, it would have been a big year for Irv Smith at TE but he’s out now so Tyler Conklin is getting work at that position.
Dalvin Cook is the best active RB in the league with McCaffrey out and if he’s on form he can tranform any game, and if he needs a rest they can bring in Alexander Mattison as relief who’s a Wish version of Cook.
The worry here is that it’s prime time and Cousins’ record in those games isn’t good.
This obviously comes down to Dak. If he plays the Cowboys win, if he doesn’t, quite obviously I’d take the Vikings, however, I think there’d be a limit. This isn’t the Cowboys of last year. If it hit Vikings -7 then I’d be back on the Cowboys I think.
Bets for the night
Quick update on the year, we’re at 31 points of profit after a nice 10 point week due to the big priced tight end TD scorers. Spreadsheet here to see all bets I’ve put on here through the year.
Two points on each unless stated.
- Eagles -3.5
- Seahawks -4
- Joe Mixon – 11/10 (PP)
- Dallas Goedert – 15/8 (365) – Is 19/10 available at smaller books
- D’Andre Swift – 13/8 (365) – I’m surprised he’s still priced so high
So, Mo Alie-Cox is best priced 7/2 this week on PP, Hunter Henry is 7/2 on Boylesports. I’m sure one will score this week but I might be pushing things a little as they’ve been in good form recently.
As always looking at Mike Gesicki (up to 46.5 now), Kyle Pitts (up from 48.5 to 62.5) and Cordarelle Patterson (33.5 rec yards) first every week.
- Tyler Higbee o39.5 rec. yards – 5/6 (PP)
- Ja’marr Chase longest reception o26.5 yards – 5/6 (365) – nod to @paulsingh22 for staying on this one
- Kenneth Gainwell o29.5 rush yards – 10/11 (PP)
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