Chiefs-Titans, Game of the Week. Packers Looking to win 6 Straight. Panthers Face Injury Hit Giants in NY
Kansas City Chiefs @ Tennessee Titans (Titans +5.5)
This is one of the games of the week between two teams who score for fun but struggle to keep their opponents out – consequently their inconsistent start to the season. The Chiefs hold a 3-3 record, the Titans 4-2.
This should be a fascinating match up. On one hand you have the Kansas City Chiefs with their explosive offense. On the other, Tennessee’s seemingly unstoppable run game and the juggernaut that is, running back Derrick Henry. This is why I think the spread for this game is too high. It will be a high scoring game, but these two teams will likely go blow for blow. Kansas City can’t stop the run (27th in the NFL) – Derrick Henry leads the league in rushing AND touchdowns (783 yds and 10 TDs). He’s gunning for a 4th straight game with at least 125 rushing yards and a rushing TD.
Another factor to consider is turnovers. The Chiefs have given the ball away more than anyone else in the NFL this season (14) – they need to look after the ball much better if they are to win this game. Finally, everyone remembers the AFC Championship game two years ago when Kansas City overturned a double-digit deficit to win en-route to winning the Super Bowl. Prior to that however, the Titans beat Kansas City earlier in the same season AND beat them the season before – both games were decided by 3 or fewer points. After seeing Tennessee take care of the Buffalo Bills on Monday night, it’s inconceivable that they can’t cover the line in this encounter. Tennessee Titans +5.5
Washington Football Team @ Green Bay Packers (Packers -8)
There’s trouble in Washington and you sense it’s coming to a head. Veteran kicker, Dustin Hopkins was released this week, in a surprise move and head coach, Ron Rivera publicly stated his highest paid defender, Landon Collins is to be used as a “downhill player.” In other words a move away from his usual safety position and more of a linebacker – something Collins has shied away from in the past. The moves are a result of a string of poor defensive performances. Washington is giving up 31 points per game – the worst in the NFL. All of this from a defense, which, heading into the season, was expected to be one of the best.
Now the Aaron Rodgers led, Green Bay Packers await in Lambeau Field. Since an awful week 1 showing, the Packers have won 5 straight. In that span, they’re averaging 28 points per game and it’s not just on the arm of Rodgers either. In last week’s win in Chicago, they racked up a season best, 154 rushing yards. Align that with a Washington team which has yielded 30 points or more in each of their last 4 games, it’s easy to see why Green Bay are heavy favourites. Green Bay Packers -8
Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants (Panthers -3)
On first viewing, this may raise some eyebrows but dig a little deeper and the reasoning becomes a lot clearer. Despite dropping 3 straight games following a 3-0 start to the season, the Panthers have been competitive in every game – despite not having their best offensive player, Christian McCaffrey available. Indeed, they lost to the Vikings in overtime last week and were beaten by 3 points by the Eagles a week earlier.
Now they face a trip to New York but look at the team the Giants have available. Their best offensive lineman, Andrew Thomas was this week moved onto injured reserve and won’t be back for at least 3 weeks – he joins fellow offensive linemen, Nick Gates and Shane Lemieux on IR. Running back Saquon Barkley (anke) has once again been sidelined by injury and wasn’t practising at the start of this week. Neither was highly paid free agent wide receiver, Kenny Golladay (knee) or Kadarius Toney (ankle). Defensive tackle, Danny Shelton is dealing with a pectoral injury while linebacker, Blake Martinez was lost for the season before it began.
The Panthers may not be the best team in the NFL this year but they do have the NFL’s best pass rush win rate (per ESPN) and against an offensive line which has been decimated by injuries. That spells trouble. Panthers -3