Raiders/Broncos Meet in AFC West Clash. Bengals Travel to Detroit & Belichick Plots to Stifle Dak/Dallas Offense
Las Vegas Raiders @ Denver Broncos (Broncos -3.5)
Where do we start with the Raiders?! It’s been a dreadful couple of weeks for the organisation. On the field their record has slipped from ,3-0 to 3-2 after being completely outplayed by the Chicago Bears last Sunday. That performance, in part, may be attributed to the controversy surrounding their now former head coach, Jon Gruden, after he announced his resignation on Monday.
The Raiders are a distracted team and now they have a road game against a divisional rival – the Denver Broncos. A Broncos team who possess a top 3 defense, which gives up fewer points than anyone in the NFL, other than the Buffalo Bills – just 15 points per game! Factor in the rarefied air in Denver, at altitude. Take the Broncos all day in this match up! There’s a lot for the Raiders to deal with right now and last weekend’s showing suggests this is a group struggling to handle it. Broncos -3.5
Cincinnati Bengals @ Detroit Lions (Bengals -3)
Both these teams are coming off heart breaking losses a week ago. In Detroit’s case, it literally reduced head coach, Dan Campbell to tears. It doesn’t get any easier with the news, starting centre, Frank Ragnow has undergone season ending surgery on a toe injury. They’ve already lost last year’s 1st round pick, cornerback Jeff Okudah for the season and have yet to see left tackle, Taylor Decker play a snap in the regular season. This is a team which needs its best players on the field.
In contrast, the Bengals have been a revelation! They should have beaten the Packers last weekend. The fact there’s disappointment they didn’t, highlights how far this team has come. The connection between QB Joe Burrow and rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase is proving to be almost unstoppable and is complimented by the aggressive running of Joe Mixon. Mixon is carrying an ankle injury though. If he’s limited, rookie 6th round pick Chris Evans is ready to fill the void.
Dan Campbell has got the Lions playing hard for 60 minutes, every game but the Bengals should have too much for them. Bengals -3
Dallas Cowboys @ New England Patriots (Cowboys -3.5)
The Cowboys were highlighted in last weeks’ column and they made a fool of the prediction, routing the Giants. The same mistake won’t be made this week!
Since the week 1 loss in Tampa, Dallas have roughly a 50/50 split, running and passing the ball and are proving to be unstoppable. Whether it’s on the ground, where they average around 5 yards per carry or through the air where Dak Prescott has an embarrassment of riches to choose from, the Cowboys offense is cooking – through 5 weeks they’re scoring 34 points per game!
For much of the last two decades, the Cowboys entered a game against the Patriots as underdogs. This week they are 3.5 point favourites for a game in New England and it’s not hard to understand why. The Patriots have a rookie QB – Mac Jones. They’re struggling to put points on the board – just 96 through 5 weeks. The chess match comes on defense. Can head coach, Bill Belichick find a way to slow down this Dallas offense? Only the Chargers have so far found a way of holding Dallas below 29 points this season (20). Compare that with a Patriots offense which has only scored more than 17 points in a game, twice. Dallas should cover the spread. Cowboys -3.5