Are the Chiefs Back? Who Will Bounce Back when the Bengals Meet the Raiders & Can the 49ers Back Up Monday’s Win Over the Rams?!
San Francisco 49ers @ Jacksonville Jaguars (49ers -6)
Did we see the real San Francisco 49ers on Monday night? Well, we certainly saw the improved version. No doubt they were helped by Matthew Stafford throwing 2 interceptions (including a pick 6) in the Rams’ opening 2 drives but the impressive aspect to this game was the way in which they slammed the door on LA and never allowed them back into the game. The Niners ran the ball 44 times. Jimmy Garoppolo had the type of efficient game that was a hallmark of their run to the Super Bowl two years ago and the defense held the Rams to just 10 points. Don’t blink now but, at 4-5, the 49ers are still in the playoff race with the 13th ranked offense and 8th ranked defense.
Meanwhile the Jaguars – a week removed from upsetting Buffalo – showed plenty of character again in Indianapolis but ultimately came up short. I don’t think there’s any secret to how this game will be decided. The 49ers will look to control the clock and run the ball but have concerns around running Elijah Mitchell, who had a pin inserted to stabilise a finger injury this week. Equally Jacksonville know if their own RB James Robinson can have success on the ground, that’s their best route to causing another upset.
The west coast travel and time difference is a concern for the 49ers but they are the better team and if they are serious playoff contenders, this is the type of game they must have. Beating the Rams becomes meaningless if you can’t get the job done in games like this.
San Francisco 49ers -6
Cincinnati Bengals @ Las Vegas Raiders (Bengals -1)
The Bengals are coming off a bye week. The Raiders are coming off a beatdown by Kansas City. It’s tough to block out the kind of off field distractions that have surrounded the Raiders this season and perhaps some of that can be attributed to last weekend’s 41-14 loss.
Let’s not forget, the last time we saw the Bengals, they got drilled, 41-16 at home by the Cleveland Browns! That followed a road loss to the Jets so this game becomes huge for both teams as we enter the 2nd half of the season.
Both teams have a 5-4 record. Both teams are within a game of the division lead.
The problem is, we’ve seen this story before for Las Vegas. In each of the previous 2 years they had a winning record in the first half of the season and then capitulated in the second half. Despite two bad defeats for Cincinnati, this is a younger, different team still full of optimism and potential – and it doesn’t carry the off field baggage that the Raiders have right now.
Since 1998 the home team in this match up is 7-1. In my opinion the Raiders are dealing with too much right now and the Bengals make it 7-2 this weekend.
Cincinnati Bengals -1
Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs (Cowboys +2.5)
The Kansas City Chiefs are back! They hung 41 points on the Raiders in Las Vegas last week, their defense has only given up 38 points in the last 3 games, they’ve won 4 of their last 5 – all is right in Kansas City once more! Right?!
Well, let’s just tap the breaks for a second. Those wins came against Washington, the Giants, a Packers side without Aaron Rodgers and the beleaguered Raiders. The Defeat was a heavy one in Tennessee. Prior to Monday night’s breakout offensive performance, they’d scored just 36 points in 3 games.
Now the Dallas Cowboys and their number 1 ranked scoring offense come rolling into town, averaging over 31 points per game. This is the game of the week! If the Chiefs are back, we can expect to see these two teams go up and down the field. Dallas has the number 1 ranked offense in football, the Chiefs are ranked 4th. Dak Prescott has the highest passer rating this season, Patrick Mahomes has the highest career passer rating in league history. Both teams have game breaking receivers so it comes down to which team can make enough stops on defense.
Dallas has the NFL’s leader in interceptions (Trevon Diggs has 8) but the Chiefs defense ranks just 26th overall and is still giving up an average of 24 points per game – despite conceding only 38 in their last 3!
Expect a shoot out at Arrowhead. Expect an entertaining game and expect the Cowboys to cover the spread!
Dallas Cowboys +2.5