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Both these teams are banged-up, Cleveland a bit more than Arizona, so bettors might be wise to check injury updates before getting down on this game. Ultimately, the Cardinals impress us with their toughness and Murray, while the Browns still seem to lack something. We love Cleveland's running game, but they might be without their top two backs. And we give Murray the edge in the quarterback match-up. This should be a close one and three, and a hook might come in real handy. We like Arizona and the points here, and they might win this one outright.
Assuming Darnold does not have another disastrous performance, the Panthers are the play here as they will benefit strongly from the match-up and stylistic schemes. Expect a slow-paced game with the Panthers pulling out the victory!
Tampa seems to toy with some opponents; they let the Falcons and Dolphins hang around for three quarters, then hit the accelerator and won by huge margins. And they're really dangerous on offense with Brown getting integrated. Philadelphia, meanwhile, just pulled an upset on the road, which in our mind makes it an excellent candidate for a letdown this week. We're betting the Bucs here, and we're getting down early before that spread goes up any more.
This isn't about being a believer in Carson Wentz or even the Colts in general, but they're not a bad team. There isn't anything they're terrible at. There may be games where their defense falters, or the offense doesn't carry its share of the load. But they're a competent team that got a helpful taste of victory last week and could be getting a little better. I see this being a tough game, with the Colts covering the spread
Taking the 49ers here is a dicey spot with the uncertainty surrounding some injuries and just their current uneven form. They're in an urgent spot where falling under .500 in this strong of a division would put them in a tenuous spot. They really need this one, and while desire isn't enough on its own to overcome a better team and numerous injuries, I see this being a tough divisional game where the Niners find enough answers to keep this one within reach. I'll take the 49ers.
Both these teams are a little banged up at the moment; bettors might be wise to wait for more up-to-date injury information before getting down on this game. Ultimately, we just see Green Bay as vulnerable to a letdown this week, following two-up efforts the last two weeks, while we ex-pect a sharper performance from Cincinnati after they sleep-walked through a good part of last week's game. Joe can sling it pretty good, and that Packers' defense can be had. We're betting the Bengals here and won't be surprised when they win this game outright.
I'm banking on the Cowboy's defense to help them extend the margin and get the cover.
Los Angeles suffered a letdown last week, following the big win over Brady and the Bucs, but in our mind, that just makes them good candidates for a bounce-back effort this week. On the other hand, Seattle won a game last week in which it got out-gained by over 200 yards. In our minds, that result puts the Seahawks on our "fade" list for this week. Plus, LA just seems to own the edge on Seattle over recent seasons. We like the Rams here.
Being on the wrong side of a key number in a divisional game raises some red flags for those who have been hurt before in similar situations. Still, there are some elements of this matchup that suggest the Chargers can establish more separation than that. I don't think this needs to be a coming-down-to-earth game for the Raiders in order for the Chargers to thrive. It's just that the timing of this game might shake out better for the Chargers from an overall energy standpoint. Maybe the preseason concerns for the Raiders that they've been able to mask both through better play but also by virtue of who they're playing come more to light this week. I'll take the Bolts.
This means a lot to Arizona, not just in the sense of lending some real credibility to their fast start but also in exorcising this divisional demon. They know they can't be the team they want to be with the Rams, just continually beating them without fail. Not that a home game with first place on the line with a new face behind center should give way to a flat Rams' performance, but I think that extra edge will be enough to see Arizona through to a cover. I'm taking the points.
If we get decent production out of the Dallas defense, I just don't see the Panthers' offense keeping pace behind QB Sam Darnold, who has just three touchdowns and one pick through the opening three games. Also, let's not forget that Carolina will be without RB Christian McCaffrey at least for another week. McCaffrey pulled a hamstring in last week's win against the Texans, meaning the offense will be without their biggest playmaker. Needless to say, I just don't see many paths to a Carolina cover in this game barring an amazing defensive effort. Therefore, I will take my chances with one of the best offenses in the NFL that is getting tremendous value as a small home favorite.
Burrow is miles ahead of Lawrence in the adjustment to professional football, and Cincinnati owns the better defense. Also, the Bengals beat Jacksonville last year 33-25, and they're a better team now than they were that day, while the Jags probably aren't. Finally, while we usually consider Cincinnati a candidate for a letdown following a big rivalry win on the road, Jacksonville just doesn't have enough to make that happen. We're betting the Bengals here, minus the points.
The Eagles have a certain understated effectiveness. Hurts is underrated. They're a little stronger in the trenches than some think. And Dallas is seeing key pieces either drop or damaged. Even so, I'm not so sure the Philly pass-resistance is as good as it's been made to look for the past two weeks, something Prescott and his remaining weapons can still exploit. I think the effectiveness we saw last week from the Dallas "D" will manifest again this week in their home opener, where they should be fired up and ready to go. To top it off, while you'd suspect the Eagles to be getting better value in a spot like this, the spread doesn't seem that tough on Dallas. This is the NFC East where you can only feel so confident, but I like Dallas on MNF. I'm taking the Cowboys.
A cross-country trip on the short week raises some red flags, as does the unevenness seen through two games with the Packers. I just question whether the San Francisco offense can keep pace with a big part of their offense in limbo with all the running back injury setbacks. Green Bay's secondary hasn't been tip-top, but they're good enough to put a crimp into what might be San Francisco's best chance to gain an offensive foothold. Against a San Fran team that might have to change up what they do best on offense, I think taking the points in this spot seems like the good move. I'll take Green Bay.
The Saints laid a stinky egg last week against Carolina, but in our minds, that just sets them up for a bounce-back performance this week. The Patriots, on the other hand, took advantage of the Jets and their young quarterback last week but probably won't receive that many gifts this week. We like New Orleans here and won't be surprised if they win this game outright.
It comes down to protection and the Falcons don't have any.
Carolina gets our NFL handicapping check-mark in the quarterback comparison and owns the better defense. Plus, the Panthers are now in their second season under Coach Rhule, while Houston is playing just its third game under Coach Culley. We like Carolina here, minus the points.
Using what happened last week with the Packers and trying to use it as fuel against the Lions could backfire. Maybe I’m not acknowledging what my eyes saw on Sunday or even how well a down Lions team has matched up with the Packers over the last few years, usually keeping it pretty close. I just see the Packers not taking this lightly in any way. It looks to be setting up for a thorough Packers’ win on Sunday. I’ll take Green Bay.
Baltimore may be hurting for running backs but still managed to rush for 189 yards last week. The Ravens also own the better run defense in this match-up. Also, the previous three meetings between these two teams played close; two were decided by three points (in overtime) and five points, and the other was a seven-point game midway through the fourth quarter. We see another close game here, so we're taking the Ravens plus the points.
It's a dangerous spot for an Arizona squad that isn't quite “there” yet. There are a lot of bumps on the long road back toward respectability. And an on-again/off-again team with a wide range like Minnesota is the perfect candidate to exploit an off-target Arizona bunch. I just see the back-to-back road spots being tough on the Vikings. A high-energy Cardinals team in their home-opener will do enough to edge the cover in a good game.