WE had a great week on Sunday, with 4/5 correct picks and only the moribund Saints prevented us from getting the sweep.
There’s plenty of backable underdogs again this week, so let’s dive in…
2022 Predictions W-L-D: 8-7 (53.33%)
All odds courtesy of Paddy Power
Bills (-3) @ Ravens – 18:00
I backed against the Bills on the road last week and I’m doing it again this week. We all know how good Buffalo is, and a loss in 100 degree heat to Miami doesn’t change that. The Ravens’ secondary will need to step up against Josh Allen; of course they will. But they might not need as many stops as you think. 101 points for Baltimore over three games shows that they have the firepower to go toe to toe with anyone.
Lamar Jackson has never lost to the Bills and has a 5-2 record against the AFC East. If he can maintain production on the ground against a stout front line, it will open up the passing game. And with so many injuries to the Bills’ secondary (their top three corners all have some kind of issue), it could be there where the game is won and lost.
Forget the Ravens’ own shootout loss to the Dolphins, they are a great team, not just good. Baltimore not only cover, but sneak a win to send out a statement to the AFC North.
Prediction: Bills 28 Ravens 30 (Ravens +3)
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Titans @ Colts (-3) – 18:00
It’s a case of ‘After the Lord Mayors show’ for Indy on Sunday. Following the emotional high of beating the Chiefs and kickstarting their season, they’ll be playing the division rival Titans, who sparked their own season back to life with a win against Las Vegas.
When looking at the box score, it’s hard to see how Tennessee won that game… Until you see the Raiders’ third down efficiency. They converted just 1/12, and it’s pretty pleasing for them that going into Sunday, Indy have converted just 35% of their third downs all year, firmly near the bottom of the league in that metric.
And while Matt Ryan did spearhead a win against Kansas City, did he really look anything other than a 37-year old veteran? His O-line got him sacked five times, he threw for just over 200 yards and in the other two games his QB rating has been in the mid-60s.
In his ten full starts against the Colts, Derrick Henry has averaged over 100 yards a game. If he keeps that production up, the blueprint for a road win is there. Titans win a close one.
Prediction: Titans 27 Colts 24 (Titans +3)
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Seahawks @ Lions (-4.5) – 18:00
I’ve seen enough over the last three weeks to change my stance on Detroit to ‘backable favourites’. You’d like to think that more often than not, Dan Campbell makes the right decisions and the team win a game like Sunday against the Vikings, especially with a double digit fourth quarter lead. Alas, it was another heartbreaker, so what better way to get right than a lay-up at home against the (possible) worst team in the league?
Whichever way you cut it, Seattle are bad. No rushing TDs this season, not a single 40+ yard passing play, and a defense that has allowed a league-high 8.4 yards per passing attempt. Geno Smith’s opening MNF game against Denver feels like an increasingly hazy mirage; Pete Carroll may be tub-thumping the press with ‘The future looks bright’ quotes, but the present looks darkeningly bleak.
No excuses, the Lions have to win this game and win well. And I think they will. D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St Brown are trending to not start, but if they do, the line could well move more. As it is, there’s still enough from the likes of Jamaal Williams and Josh Reynolds to get the job done. Detroit wins by a TD.
Prediction: Seahawks 17 Lions 24 (Lions -4.5)
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Cardinals @ Panthers (-1.5) – 21:05
I didn’t have the Panthers being a favourite in damn near any game this season, but here we are. I was wrong about them going into the Saints game, and let’s congratulate the running game, where nearly 150 yards were gained, the bulk of it coming from Christian McCaffrey.
Unfortunately for them, the Cardinals shouldn’t be as giving on the ground. They’ve allowed over 100 yards less over three games than New Orleans, and if their offense is less wasteful than Sunday’s effort vs the Rams (and they should be), they’ll have plenty of chances to score.
Stats wise, their offense is okay. 365 yards last time out, 314 yards from Kyler Murray. They just need to convert better. The Panthers are not on the same level, so I see Murray winning this battle of former #1 draft picks, especially with Baker Mayfield struggling as he has been (51% season completion percentage!)
Prediction: Cardinals 27 Panthers 20 (Cardinals +1.5)
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Broncos @ Raiders (-2.5) – 21:25
You’re giving me a 2-1 Broncos team +2.5 against a team that’s 0-3? Yes please. I know the Broncos are not exactly firing on all cylinders, and the Raiders have lost by a combined 13 points so far, but I can only think that these teams are trending in opposite directions.
Forget the offense for a second, because performance aside, they’ve held the ball for over 34 minutes a game, fifth best in the league. Their defense has allowed just three passing TDs and no rushing TDS and are top ten for rushing yards allowed.
The Raiders were 1/12 on third downs against the Titans (as referenced earlier) and are struggling to get out of their own way at present. With every week that goes by, you’d expect Russell Wilson to adapt to his new surroundings better. While their recent history against Vegas hasn’t been good, Denver pull off the win here to go on a sneaky three win streak.
Prediction: Broncos 24 Raiders 22 (Broncos +2.5)
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