When the fifth really early Monday morning game finishes, we will be at the official halfway point of the 2019 NFL regular season.
128 games will have been completed and while some things like the Patriots winning the AFC East (again) look locked in stone, there’s still plenty up for grabs in run home.
After a pretty brutal week in terms of watchable games we’ve got quite something to look forward to in every TV window, starting with Kyler Murray against the undefeated 49ers on Friday.
Could the Chiefs bring Patrick Mahomes back 17 days after a dislocated knee?
There’s a lot to cover this weekend in the NFL so let’s get right into the tips as we look for another profitable week here.
How good did the 49ers look last weekend? Carolina’s not a bad team, but they were rubbish as San Francisco dominated wire to wire to win 51-13. Now they head to the desert to take on the top overall pick Kyler Murray and that defence has to be frothing at the mouth at the prospect of facing him here. The Cards had their three game winning streak brought to a sudden halt by the Saints and while they are always a threat of a backdoor cover, I can’t help but think the 49ers are going to have him running for his life on just about every drop back. In the last four weeks the 49ers have given up all of 23 points and another single digit score seems in play here. Arizona has given up over 100 yards on the ground in every game so far this season and the 49ers should have no problem running right over the top of that defence here. Go for the alternate line and back a big win as the 49ers move to 8-0.
We’re not quite sure what the good people of London have done to deserve this matchup but we can only hope that they get treated to some Deshaun Watson magic. When these sides met in Week 2, it was the Texans just falling over the line in a 13-12 game that we wouldn’t even recommend watching the highlights of. Watson has won all three of his starts against the Jaguars and he is looking like a legitimate MVP candidate at times. I like the Texans to win and cover, and for a bit of value I’ll take a same game multi with DeAndre Hopkins to make the most of Jalen Ramsey not being on the Jaguars roster anymore with a big game.
Are the Chiefs really that worried about their chances this weekend they might rush back Patrick Mahomes? Do they actually need him here? Matt Moore is a serviceable fill in an Andy Reid did a great job calling plays for his temporary quarterback and getting the ball in the hands of his playmakers. It’s going to be a real test for him coming up against Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings who need a win to stay in touch with the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North and have won their last four. In each of those games their offence has lead the way putting up over 400 yards in each of those games and the Chiefs can only really slow down bad teams like Denver. I actually like the Vikings in this one and will back them at the line if they are favourites or outright as an underdog.
The Dolphins are not very good but you have to give them this, the not very good players on the team are playing as hard as they can. In the last three weeks they’ve given the awful Redskins, the ok Bills and the TBD Steelers all they can handle. Maybe this is the weekend they get that elusive victory considering just how bad the Jets have been since beating Dallas. There is some real dysfunction going on in New Jersey and still, I think there’s a better than average chance they manage to beat the Dolphins just because they are the more talented side. I don’t think it’ll be a big win by any stretch so I’ll take the margin market of Jets by 1-13 as they accidently stumble into their second win of the season.
The good news for Buffalo is that it’s easy to forget that no show against the Eagles last week and they have a perfect get right game coming up against Washington. The same Washington side that can’t get their best player on the field because he doesn’t want to play for them anymore. Buffalo should win this one comfortably.
It’s been a bruising season for the Steelers with their tougher than expected win over Miami coming at a cost. Injury clouds now hang over pretty much their entire offence and if they get off to a slow start against the Colts its hard to see them being able coming back to be competitive. One way or another Indianapolis is finding ways to win and I just can’t back against them in their current form.
Kyle Allen was awful last week, almost bad enough to make us forget what he was able to do between Weeks 3 and 6. Of course in a surprise to nobody, he’s still going to take the field this weekend because the Panthers hope he will bounce back… and they have no better option. This one should be a pretty scrappy affair with the Titans, who managed to eek out a win over Tampa last weekend. I’m willing to forget what should be an anomaly and back the Panthers to respond here, with their workhorse Christian McCaffery to have a big role as he always does.
This preview is guaranteed to be free of double doink references… except for that one there. Anyway, how can you have a whole lot of confidence in either of these teams to get the job done here? Mitch/Mitchell Trubisky doesn’t look like anything resembling an NFL quarterback right now but the lack of a decent ground game hasn’t helped him much with David Montgomery averaging 3.7 yards per carry and Tarik Cohen putting up a measly 2.7 average when he gets a carry. On the other side of the ball it’s not great reading with an Eagles team that just put up 218 yards on the ground against a supposedly strong Buffalo defence to deal with. Consistency has been a real issue for the Eagles though, with a reasonable question about whether or not they can get the job done here. It might be putting a bit too much weight in the Eagles last week but the Bears have looked pretty bad over the last fortnight and I’ll take the chance to back against them.
Out of all the positions to lose on the offensive line, the centre might be the toughest one to overcome. Seattle’s seven point win in Atlanta last week cost them Justin Britt, the man who snaps the ball to Russell Wilson on every play and now an already depleted line takes another big hit. That’s not exactly good news with the co-leader in sacks Shaquil Barrett coming to town. While replacement centre Joey Hunt won’t be dealing with him directly, getting the right protection is going to be imperative. Of course it just means that Wilson might have to run for his life a few more times than he’s used to but that’s where some of his best plays happen. Tampa will be able to push them throughout this game so I’m happy to stay away from that but I still think the Seahawks will get by in a high scoring affair.
There’s no place like home, even if you’re moving out in a few months. The Raiders are back in Oakland for the first time since September 15 and for the fifth last time before they move to Las Vegas. At 3-4 they need to make the most of the coming three game stand if they want to end their tenure in California with one last playoff appearance. This one should see plenty of points since both sides seem to have their offences in gear and their defences struggling to find the clutch. In a battle between two teams that look pretty evenly matched, take the home side.
Neither of these teams really seem all that capable when it comes to playing well enough to actually win a game, but someone has to. Cleveland is definitely a more talented side but have a remarkable ability to shoot themselves in the foot. Kyle Allen is replacing Joe Flacco who is out with a neck injury, possibly made worse by his post game tirade after the loss to the Colts. Allen can’t be any worse than Flacco and his 6 touchdowns in 8 games so I’ll take a punt on the Broncos here just because they are at home and… well after last week Baker Mayfield might be on the verge of completely shutting down for the season.
Like just about every game in the LA Galaxy’s stadium, the Chargers are the nominated home team but the stands will be decked out in their opponent’s colours. Green Bay will make full use of a de facto ninth home game and Aaron Rodgers will further build his case to be the 2019 MVP by lighting up a badly depleted Chargers team. As good as Phillip Rivers might be, he’s got next to no help there right now with his linemen playing turnstiles on just about every pass play. He’ll still sling it around but probably contribute as many points for the Packers as he will for the Chargers.
It was supposed to be the Steelers in Week 1, it kind of was the Bills in Week 3 and it was also supposed to be the Browns last week but now, the Ravens will be the team to give the unbeaten Patriots their first major test of the season. We’ve seen Frank Gore and Nick Chubb both have plenty of success on the ground against New England and the Ravens lead the league in rushing. Of course this is Bill Belichick we’re talking about and he will have spent the week finding creative ways to keep Lamar Jackson in the pocket and ask him to beat them with his arm. If the Ravens can protect the ball and avoid giving New England short fields they will be in with a real chance, they will definitely be up for this game with the history between the two sides. It’s still Tom Brady and Bill Belichick though and I think the Pats will have to go into their bag of tricks but have just enough to get by.
I know it, you know it, we all know it, this game is playing second fiddle to the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday but that doesn’t mean you can’t put a bet on this one anyway. Dallas is fresh off a bye and the Giants look like they might be getting something going with Daniel Jones. Not enough to actually be a good team but enough to not be completely awful. In a week of interesting matchups this is not one of them, the primetime NFC East matches rarely deliver and this is probably going to be another stinker. Dallas is the better team, they’ll win and we can all forget this game ever happened.