Bengals in the Spotlight. Vikings HC on the Hot Seat & Will LA be Charged up in Philly?!
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals (Bengals -2.5)
Two teams coming off damaging defeats but it’s tough to see how anyone can feel worse than the Bengals. A week ago, they were being lauded as possibly the best team in the AFC, on Sunday they blew a double digit, 4th quarter lead to a hapless Jets team, with a back-up quarterback under centre.
The Browns are battling right now but being dragged down by the weight of injuries to key players. In a low scoring affair against Pittsburgh, they couldn’t find a way to win, despite the Steelers losing their kicker in the 1st half. Now another, potentially bruising AFC North contest awaits.
When Cleveland are healthy, there are few better teams in the AFC but right now, they certainly are not! In contrast, Cincinnati have a point to prove. They had the game won in New York and threw it away. This is a “get right” game for them. They average more points per game than Cleveland this season and they concede less. A fortnight ago they made everyone take notice by going into Baltimore and winning convincingly. They take advantage of a depleted Browns team and win again this weekend.
Cincinnati Bengals -2.5
Minnesota Vikings @ Baltimore Ravens (Total Points – under 49.5)
The Baltimore Ravens come out of their bye week scarcely able to believe their luck! They sit on top of the AFC North after watching the Jets shock the Bengals in week 8.
The Vikings are an enigma. A quartet of Cook, Thielen, Jefferson and Cousins looks potent enough to cause trouble for any defense but last week, they couldn’t post more than 16 points against a Cowboys team which had been giving up 24 points per game and was without Dak Prescott on offense!
Make no mistake Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer is on the hot seat and his team is under pressure to deliver.
Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson is 11-0 when playing against NFC teams. Baltimore have had 2 weeks to dwell on that humbling defeat to Cincinnati. Two weeks to reflect on shipping 41 points at home. History won’t repeat itself here. This won’t be a shoot out.
Under 49.5 Total Points
LA Chargers @ Philadelphia Eagles (Chargers -1.5)
Back to back defeats have people doubting the LA Chargers, but those losses were on the road to the Baltimore Ravens and then Bill Belichick and his resurgent Patriots came into town last week. Let’s be clear, the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t in the same category as either of those two teams.
That being said, if Philadelphia are to win this game, running the ball is their key to success. The Chargers are dead last this season in run defense – giving up nearly 160 yards per game on the ground. Philadelphia’s leading rusher this season is QB Jalen Hurts with 432 yards – and this is the key to the Chargers’ success.
If the LA Chargers make Jalen Hurts stay in the pocket and force him to play quarterback, rather than allowing him to extend plays and make them with his legs, they win this game.
The Chargers, with all their offensive weapons, will put points on the board and I don’t believe the Eagles can go score for score with them. Perhaps the best comparison for this matchup, is October 3rd when a similarly poor defense went against the Eagles for the Kansas City Chiefs. That was also in Philly and the Chiefs ran out 42-30 winners. The Chargers get back to winning ways on Sunday.
LA Chargers -1.5