Here is a quick look at some of the early Sunday action (1 PM ET):
MINNESOTA VIKINGS at GREEN BAY PACKERS
BetAnySports NFL Line: Packers -6.5, Total 50
Weather may affect this. And that’s fine, because it’s not like Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been an all-weather quarterback. He was shut down by Tampa Bay – there is no doubt about that. But against the rest of the schedule, he’s had 13 TD passes and no interceptions. And he has already ripped this Viking secondary apart, with 364 yards and four TD’s on Opening Day.
We acknowledge that Dalvin Cook will probably play for Minnesota, while Aaron Jones probably won’t for Green Bay. But we also have to consider that Kirk Cousins, who in an interesting surprise is second in the league in average air yards per attempt, has paid the price for it, with ten interceptions. We lean with GREEN BAY here.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS at BALTIMORE RAVENS
NFL Betting Odds: Ravens -4, Total 46
Speaking of “air yards,” Lamar Jackson is third in the NFL in that category, throwing it an average of 9.4 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. And speaking of paying the price, it’s possible that the Steelers can make him pay to a greater degree than any other opponent thus far on Baltimore’s schedule. They get pressure on the passer (most sacks in league), have allowed the lowest completion percentage in the league, and they allow just 3.4 yards per carry. They also surrender fewer yards on a per-drive basis than any team in the NFL. So they can make a claim to being the league’s best defense. If they can somehow neutralize that run game, they’ll be in good shape.
There is no question in our minds that Ben Roethlisberger can challenge the Baltimore secondary, because he can distribute. Wide receivers Diontae Johnson, Juju Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool (deep threat) all have at least 225 yards and three TD catches, and tight end Eric Ebron has been a nice find. We’re ready to take the available points with PITTSBURGH.
TENNESSEE TITANS at CINCINNATI BENGALS
BetAnySports Football Odds: Titans -7, Total 50.5
The Bengals have given up 28 quarterback sacks. AND they have a number of offensive linemen who aren’t available, including Bobby Hart, Trey Hopkins, Jonah Williams and Xavier Su’a-Filo. Joe Mixon won’t make it either, so there goes the running game.
John Ross wants out. Carlos Dunlap complained, and he GOT out. So something unhealthy may be brewing in the Queen City.
But the development of Joe Burrow is a pretty good sign. He is fourth in the league in passing yards; Burrow has been connecting with Tyler Boyd all along, but now AJ Green is more into the act, as is rookie Tee Higgins (who we expect will play). So this guy is going to throw it, and he’s going to go down swinging. Sure, he’s going to run for his life, but he’s used to that. And in a way, he’s fortunate that the Titans don’t generate a lot of pressure – in fact, they are third from the bottom in sack percentage.
Tennessee’s offense may find itself humming against this run defense of Cincinnati’s that is giving up almost five yards a carry and might be a little weaker now without Dunlap. They’ve scored at least 30 points in four of their six games. All of this seems to promote the idea of an OVER, as far as we’re concerned.
NEW YORK JETS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Pro Football Pointspread: Chiefs -20, Total 49
I cannot promise you that the Jets will score. But their defense has hung in there admirably, and they have yielded the league’s second-fewest points per red zone trip. UNDER
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