The Godzilla missed his deadline by 48 hours, so we’re forced to write two columns instead of one. If you asked the Godzilla why he submitted his column so late, he’d respond with “I run a business.” Yeah, yeah. So does Elon Musk, but I bet he could come up with something to say about the Ravens by Thursday night.
Nate and I will be rolling in this column and the Godzilla has his own thing going on here. This is the column to read. We went nuts last week with major wins and are both well above a 50% winning percentage. We’re all in on the AFC South. We love the Falcons. We think the Commados stink. Stick with the winners. We’ve been grinding all week on injury reports and advanced metrics to get you the best six plays right here. Let’s get into it.
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (+3.5)
Kickoff: 9:30 am EST
Jack: This game starts at 9:30 am EST, because it’s in London. That’s bad news for #NoPickNate, because he lives on the godless West Coast and has to wake up at 6:00 am to get his props in.
We told you last week to hammer this line at Vikings (-1), because we knew it would climb up the ladder. We were right and now you have to lay 3.5 points and pray you don’t get beat by the hook.
The Vikings snuck past the Lions last week after the walloping they took against the Eagles in Week 2. This isn’t exactly a primetime game, but it’s another opportunity for Kirk Cousins to show us he can’t throw the ball to open receivers. The Vikings defense showed us something in Week 1 against the Packers, but have struggled to hold teams to under 20 in their last two games.
The Saints are battling a host of injuries, including Jameis Winston’s back problems. They struggled to score any points against the Panthers last week and seem to have lost their big play ability. The defense is streaky and could stifle Kirk Cousins. The issue is this team should be 0-3.
We grabbed this line at -1 and feel great about that, but even -3.5 is a good play here. Take the favorite. Pick: Vikings -3.5
Nate: As Jack mentioned, last week we told everyone to hop on the Vikings because we expected the line to move. Well, it did, but there’s still value on the Vikings here at -3.5 (and even more if your book is still hanging -3). These London games feature weird trends, primarily that in ten games over there, the favorite has never lost straight up, and is incredible against the spread. The Vikings are just the better team having beaten the Packers and Detroit. New Orleans, on the other hand, has been fighting for its life and losing to a depleted Buccs team and the terrible Panthers. Jameis is still Jameis if he ends up playing and he will turn the ball over to give Minnesota some opportunities for easy points. If he doesn’t play, Andy Dalton will be at the helm and we can’t assume things will go well. Everything here points towards the Vikings. Pick: Vikings -3.5
Chicago Bears at New York Giants (-2.5)
Kickoff: 1:00 pm EST
Jack: The Giants have done me a lot of solids this year: they covered against the Titans, they flopped against the Cowboys. I’m on a Giants heater. Let’s see how we do today.
The Bears have one of the worst run defenses in the league. They give up 157 yards per game to the run. This does not bode well for a matchup against the Giants, who feel like Saquon Barkley is their ticket to greatness. Look for the Giants to control this game pace early with a good ground game. The Bears don’t have any playmakers on the edge either, so I don’t expect them to get to Daniel Jones as much as the Cowboys did.
In terms of total offense, the Bears also stink. The rank dead last in yards per game with an embarrassing 265 yards per game. For the Bears to keep the close, the Giants have to lose the turnover battle in a big way. I think they bounce back after a tough loss at home and cover the spread here. Pick: Giants -2.5
Nate: Just a classic battle between two teams looking to move up to 3-1 and race towards the playoffs, right? No. Both of these teams suck and have been very fortunate to get to this point. Neither will win many more games this season, but presumably one will win here. I hate that I have an opinion on this game and I hate recommending this bet. But just go ahead and take the Bears +2.5 (or maybe you can find +3). Football outsiders has the Bears defensive DVOA ranked at 11th. This is to say that the Bears should be able to make things difficult for Daniel Jones and the Giants. I trust the Bears with their ability to run the ball and control this game. Take the points where the wrong team is favored. Pick: Bears +2.5
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) (O/U +/- 43)
Kickoff: 1:00 pm EST
Jack: Tennessee is another team that stinks against the run. They are only slightly better than the Bears, giving up 147 yards per game on the ground. The problem is that the Colts have not been able to run the ball effectively this season – a major concern for a team with Jonathan Taylor. They average about 4 YPC, which is a huge drop off from the 5.7 YPC they averaged last year. The O-line play has looked pedestrian at best and the defense has been susceptible to the big play.
The good news for the Colts is that the Titans, another run first team, have had even less success on the ground. This has forced them to go from a run 1st team to a pass 1st team. Their rush on 1st down percentage hovers around 16%. That’s a major drop off from the 24% from 2021. If the Titans win this game, they win it through the air as the Colts secondary makes bonehead plays for big yardage.
This is a nasty divisional game with two teams who are probably playing for second. (Jags all the way.) I think both these teams run the ball all game and struggle to score. Play the under. Pick: Under Total Points +/- 43.
Nate: I wish both teams could lose here to help our plethora of Jags futures even more, but alas, the best we can hope for is a tie. Yes, I know we’re all believers in the Colts after they beat the unbeatable-looking Chiefs, but the Titans aren’t quite as bad as we’ve been telling John this season. They have issues, but I’m not sure they are issues that Indy can exploit. Matt Ryan is not good and the offense has been horrible. Once the Titans can figure out that Derrick Henry isn’t the guy to build the offense around and let Tannehill air it out more, they will be a tougher team to handle. This is a hunch, but I think that the Titans show up here and win outright. I’ll be riding with them, even though I hate it. Titan up, or whatever it is they say. Pick: Titans +3.5
Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys (-3)
Kickoff: 1:00 pm EST
Jack: The Cowboys are back! The defensive line looked incredible on Monday Night against the porous Giants. This prompted Michael Irvin to proclaim the Cowboys the Super Bowl Champs for the 2022 season. Look at the Cowboys roll!
I’m not willing to go that far, but I am so tired of getting burned by Carson Wentz and the Commanders that I’m taking Dallas at home and laying the points. I still think Washington has one of the most explosive offenses in the league with major big play potential. But if the Carson Wentz Traveling Circus isn’t going to cash in on these dudes, then I’m out.
Look for the Cowboys to have another incredible pass rush against a division rival. Let’s hope Cooper Rush can keep the band together and the Commanders fall on their face. Pick: Cowboys -3.
Nate: The Cowboys defense has been elite this season and it’s allowed Cooper Rush to keep this team afloat in the absence of Dak Prescott. Carson Wentz has been getting sacked a ton this season. The Cowboys defensive line dominated against the Giants, and I see no reason why they won’t feast again against Washington. Micah Parsons & Co. are like sharks with blood in the water in this matchup. I cannot stand this ridiculous Washington team, and I love the Cowboys, so call me a homer if you want, but the Cowboys keep rolling here. Pick: Boys +3
Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons (+1)
Kickoff: 1:00 pm EST
Jack: This website is all in on the Falcons. 1-2? This team could very well be 3-0. Nate and I loved them so much we placed a modest wager on their odds to win the NFC South. Who’s going to stop Cordarrelle Patterson? Who kicks field goals better than Youghoe Koo? Certainly not the Browns, who are 2-1 and major pretenders.
I’ve been a big believer in Jacoby Brissett this year, but I can’t budge from the Falcons cover machine. Take the point in Atlanta and pray Mariotta doesn’t do something stupid in the fourth quarter. Pick: Falcons +1
Nate: In our first season as full-time NFL analysts, Jack and I have settled on being massive fans of the two most ridiculous teams in the NFL with the Jaguars and Falcons. We think both can be contenders in their respective divisions. Both of these teams have had shockingly good offenses led by the unlikeliest of heroes. Atlanta has played everyone tough this season. My heart wants this Falcons team to snag another W here, but my head tells me these teams score some points. Neither trots a good or even decent defense out there. They both can score. I think this is a game ripe for betting a total, though I won’t fault you for taking the Dirty Birds. Pick: Over 47.5
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers (-1) (O/U 43.5)
Jack: I’m salivating at the opportunity to play the over for this game. According to lineups.com, the Cardinals have the worst defense in the league. My guys at ProFootballFocus rate the D as 32nd. This is atrocious and should point to a Panthers team that’s looking to build on last week’s win.
However, the Panthers don’t exactly score at will and Kyler Murray can put up points quickly. I’m not sure why this O/U is at 43.5, but I’m not complaining. I think both teams score thirty in an absolute waste of a football game. Take the over and root for points. Pick: Over Total Points +/- 43.5.
Nate: I worry about the Cardinals defense here, because Jack is right, they are not good. But they run a scheme that could make Baker Mayfield uncomfortable. More importantly, I see no reason why the Panthers should be favored here. Mayfield doesn’t look like the answer at quarterback, and Matt Rhule continues to progress towards his inevitable mid-season termination. Cards are never a fun team to bet on, and it’s always a crapshoot wondering about how much time Kyler Murray has spent playing Call of Duty each week. That being said, betting on this trash Panthers team feels even worse. Pick: Cardinals +1
New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers (-9.5)
Kickoff: 4:35 pm EST
Jack: Nate and I are in agreement that you cannot trust anything that comes out of the Patriots organization. That’s why we would have suggested taking the Packers before the Pats ruled out Mac Jones for the game. Now he’s out and the line is at -9.5.
For my very few avid readers of this sheisty website, we know that laying anything over a touchdown rarely works out. NFL teams just don’t blow each other out with any frequency. I’m going with the Pats here, because I think Aaron Rodgers mails it in for most of the game. There’s no way he respects Brian Hoyer. The Pats will hang around for most of the game and then Rodgers will win it at the end. Take the 9.5. Rooting for a blowout is never fun. Pick: Pats +9.5
Nate: This is just the ultimate Bill Belichick spot. Mac Jones is hurt and the Patriots are revealing nothing about the injury, but the earliest reports suggested multiple weeks so it’s safe to assume we don’t see him for a couple weeks at least. We see him do this all the time with backups. He throws out the playbook and installs some wonky scheme that frustrates the other team and as they struggle to adjust, the Pats find a way to hang around. Green Bay struggles to control the line of scrimmage on defense, and that could be the key here. Brian Hoyer hands the ball off 50 times and manages to make just enough plays with his arm to keep his team in it. Green Bay is improving, but they aren’t at the point where they are blowing people away. Take the crafty coach here. Pick: Pats +9.5