I’m sorry I’ve been MIA over the past couple weeks. I owe the readers consistency and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing moving forward. Especially after going 4-0 in Week 3 and whooping the bookies ass! We are finally reaching the bye week portion of the schedule so sadly we have less games to choose from. So not only have I written my three favorite plays below; I will also give you a couple bonus plays to bank on.
The Las Vegas Raiders are going to rally themselves and beat the Denver Broncos. This team has dealt with something that is unprecedented in our lifetimes. The captains on this team will take this game on their shoulders, and show everyone that Gruden didn’t define this ball club.
Detroit is going to get their first win on Sunday. This team has surprisingly been in every game they played. They were beating Green Bay going into half time, and has had two game winning field goals against them as time expired. Their head coach, Dan Campbell, was even seen crying at his press conference after last weeks loss to Minnesota. It’s heart breaking losing in that fashion, and it’s even worse to have to lose twice like that. I expect the Detroit Lions to show up for their coach and get a tough win this upcoming Sunday.
We are going to take the Casino over and show them who is boss. With all of the games on the slate, my favorite two to bet on are right below. Enjoy and let’s get this money!
Arizona Cardinals 5-0 @ Cleveland Browns 3-2 (-3)
Arizona came into this season with odds of +650 to win the NFC West. Yes, those were the worst odds in the entire division. Now those odds have been reduced all the way down to +115, and they are the favorite to win their division. That is all on the back of the way this defense has played. They rank top ten in; yards allowed, sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles, and surprisingly ranking 3rd in points against at 16.6 a game. I would argue anyone who thought this defense was going to take this leap with just an addition of JJ Watt. Now you finally have a defense that can match the energy of the offense in Arizona. Kyler Murray has looked great at times, despite the fact that he still doesn’t have a great O-line. His ability and almost need to run out of the pocket helps make up for the weaknesses of the line in front of him. He also has a solid core of wide receivers that arguably might be the deepest core in the league. Rondale Moore, Christian Kirk, and Deandre Hopkins all have 20+ receptions. AJ Green also came alive in a huge game against a heavy favorite LA Rams for two touchdowns. This emergence of Moore and Green is helping to relieve the pressure Hopkins carried as the lone target last year. We have also seen them not rely solely on Kyler down near the goal line as well.
Now enter another offseason addition, James Connor. Connor ranks second in the NFL with 5 touchdowns. He also isn’t the lead back in this offense, which should be beneficial for his health. Connor has always been a brittle running back, but he has never had problems finding the end zone. So how will the team with the best record in the NFL fare against another potential playoff team? Cleveland should be upset with how the game against LA ended. They went up 27-13 early in the third quarter, and that plays perfectly into their strategy. Get up big, and let that #1 rushing attack melt the clock away. Yet this so called “great defense” was eaten up by Justin Herbert. Now after that loss, you see the people of Cleveland actually calling out Baker Mayfield for his lack of producing when it counts. Despite the fact that he had his best game of the season with 302 yards passing, 2 touchdowns and the biggest stat – zero turnovers. I understand that the QB will always get the blame for the team’s failures, but this time it’s not deserved. The defense failed them with multiple broken coverages and an inability to handle the athleticism of Herbert. They also couldn’t get a stop on 4th down to save their team’s lives. The Chargers had three crucial conversions that all helped them net a touchdown on the drive. Now how will they do against arguably the most athletic QB In the NFL? Can these top tier pass rushers set the edge, and prove why this defense was a preseason top 5 pick amongst everyone who covers the league?
Honestly, this should be the most covered game of the week. Both of these teams aren’t really getting the respect they deserve. I believe most people don’t think Arizona is a serious contender, despite the fact that they have the best record in the NFL. Cleveland will never get the respect they deserve until they actually prove they can compete at the highest level. The stink of the Browns still looms over them. As stated earlier, Cleveland is built on getting a lead early, and leaning on the two headed monster of Chubb/Hunt. This duo leads the league with an average of 187.6 RYPG. That has helped them to be the 4th ranked offense with 435.6 YPG, but don’t tell the people of Cleveland because they probably won’t believe you. Chubb will be out with an injury this week, but Hunt is more than able to be the leading back for a game. This offense in Cleveland is as advertised in my book; and to be honest, are performing better than they probably should. David Njoku is leading this team in receiving yards, and that is mainly because of his long touchdown last week. They can put points up with anyone and that showed last week. Despite the loss, I’m a believer In this team. Myles Garret will be a problem. They need to set the edge and contain Kyler Murray to the pocket. That will limit the big plays, and allow Cleveland to cover the -3 and win this game by 10 points.
Minnesota Vikings 2-3 (-1) @ Carolina Panthers 3-2
Minnesota is coming in as a betting favorite, but they didn’t open that way. This line was at -3 for Carolina, but that has recently changed due to the Vikings team having battled through injuries to key stars, alongside showcasing some promise on both sides of the ball. This team is two field goals as time expired away from being 4-1. They’ve also held a Cleveland offense that just put up 40+ points to just 14 two weeks ago. Kirk Cousins, once again, is leading the offense to a solid 395.2 YPG which ranks 12th in the NFL. They have also had to play two games without the best player on the team, in Dalvin Cook, and surprisingly won both of those games. But who is this team? Would you be surprised to hear they are second in sacks on the season? Or what if I were to tell you they are only allowing 31% on 3rd down conversions? No one thought this defense was going to be anything productive this season. They didn’t do much this offseason in regards to bringing in “big names” to help, but mainly they are staying healthy, which was not guaranteed for this defensive unit last year. Plus, you add In the fact that the offense is chugging along, and you have a surprisingly well-rounded team. They are also in a division that still looks winnable if not an easy second place finish. So do we have a case of a team who is better than their record? The way the line has moved four points tells me that the public thinks so.
Now do we have a team in Carolina who is actually worse than what the stats show? I mean after three weeks, this was touted as the best defense in the NFL based on certain stats. When you dig deeper into the stats and who they played, its not surprising that they looked above what the stats showed. Any team is going to look great when you play the Jets and Texans in two of the first three weeks. Now we see them play the Cowboys and Eagles, and we all have a different perspective about how this team appears. If you were to look at the stats, they will tell you this is still a top 5 defense. Yet I don’t personally believe those numbers on the defensive side. Now lets look at the leap Sam Darnold has taken in Matt Rhules offense. This change in scenery has helped him look like a capable QB, but not the guy who deserved the #3 pick in the NFL draft.
The biggest factor in this game will be the starting running backs, CMC vs Cook. Dalvin has been able to get a full practice on Thursday almost locking in his ability to play Sunday. McCaffrey on the other hand will be out this week, after coach Rhule said it’s “50/50” whether or not he plays a few days ago. This team needs him at 100%, so placing him on the IR until Week 9 is the right move. The Panthers are 0-2 without CMC in the starting lineup and I don’t think that changes this week. This will be a defensive bout IMO, so I want the under and the Vikings to go on the road and win this game.