Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans (Ravens – 0ver 19.5)
Two teams arrive in London on the back of disappointing defeats in week 5.
The Ravens could have had sole possession of 1st place in the AFC North but slipped to second behind the Steelers after a second half collapse in Pittsburgh. While the Titans haven’t been able to win on the road this season. 0-3 on their travels, so while a trip to London, on the face of it isn’t ideal, the good news is, they are the designated home team this weekend.
Of course, there will be plenty of star power on display – Lamar Jackson, Odell Beckham, and rookie Zay Flowers for the Ravens. Tennessee have the likes of Derek Henry and DeAndre Hopkins. However, both need to address fundamental issues.
For Baltimore it’s about simply executing better. A week earlier they went into Cleveland and handled one of the league’s top defenses, minus some key starters. Last week, those starters returned but the team suffered from dropped passes, missed assignments on special teams and turning the ball over in critical situations. That being said, it’s a game they should have won in Pittsburgh. They dominated the matchup. They had a number of opportunities to put points on the board and they let the Steelers hang around – ultimately costing them the game.
For the Titans, they’ve got to be able to run the ball better than they did in Indianapolis. Derrick Henry was held to just 43 yards on 13 carries and was stuffed on a 4th & 1 situation from the Colts 5 yard line, late in the game with Tennessee trailing 17-13. Against the Ravens, they’ve got to be stouter defending the run as well, than they were last week. They went to Indy with a top 4 run defense but got gashed by Zack Moss on a 56 yard TD run. The Colts, as a team, rushed for 193 yards – ending a 10 game streak without giving up 100 yards rushing to an opponent.
Henry put it best when he said the titans are “too up and down” right now. They don’t get into London until Friday. The Ravens arrived late Monday and have taken time to acclimatize. They have talent across the offense and Tennessee have already given up 23 points or more in 3 of their 5 outings. It would be a surprise if the Ravens laid another egg this weekend. Expect them to put right a lot of the mistakes we saw in Pittsburgh.
PICK: Ravens – over 19.5
Carolina Panthers @ Miami Dolphins (Dolphins -13.5)
It’s a struggle right now in Carolina. A rookie quarterback trying to find his way. A new head coach trying to overhaul a team and an 0-5 start to the year.
Probably the last team you’d want to see on your schedule are this season’s Miami Dolphins. It’s like a track meet every time their offense takes the field. Earlier this week there was a stat, that had top 7 top speeds reached by offensive players this year, all belonged to Dolphins playmakers. They didn’t let up against the Giants last Sunday in a 31-16 win – they are ruthless!
You look across the field and you just wonder how the Panthers match up with this team? Even when Tua didn’t receive the play call last week, he called his own and it resulted in Tyreek Hill streaking down the sideline for a score!
It’s one of those games where Carolina are going to need to get all the breaks go their way, just to keep it close. If that doesn’t happen, this could get ugly – fast!
The game’s in Miami. If the Dolphins get in front early, you then have a situation where a rookie QB (Bryce Young) is chasing the game and in the NFL, in that situation, bad things happen. Offensively, Carolina rank 20th or worse in all major categories. Defensively, they rank 5th when defending the pass – that pass defense will be tested in this encounter.
PICK: Dolphins -13.5
New York Giants @ Buffalo Bills (-13.5)
The Bills are returning from a costly and disappointing trip to London. The Giants appear to be in freefall right now.
Buffalo were upset 25-20 at Tottenham last weekend and lost all pro LB Matt Milan, with a leg injury.
The Giants may well get star RB Saquon Barkley back this weekend, but in his absence, became the latest victims of Miami’s explosive offense. Playing the Bills then, isn’t ideal this week.
Big Blue rank dead last in total offense. 31st in passing and 31st in points scored – a poultry 12.4 per game. We wait to see if Daniel Jones is good to go at QB after leaving early last weekend with a neck injury.
Contrast that with the Bills, who prior to last weekend, had scored 123 points in their previous 3 outings. It says something, that scoring 20 points in London disappointed them. It comes as no surprise that they are in the top 4 for overall offense, passing and points scored. What will put fear in the Giants is knowing that the Bills also lead the league on defense with 13 takeaways this season. The Giants rank 22nd in the league, having turned over the ball 8 times.
Remember, the last time Buffalo lost (week 1 at the Jets), they bounced back in impressive style, beating the Raiders 38-10. I would not be surprised if we see something similar again.
Oh….and when it comes to covering the spread, the New York Giants are 0-5 so far this year.
PICK: Bills – 13.5