Bears +5 (Saturday)
Detroit are in the bottom 10 of the NFL in Yards Per Rush Attempt on defence at 4.2 while Chicago are coming off their best offensive showing on the weekend dropping 35+ points for the first time all season.
The last time these 2 teams met, Chicago averaged 7.4 yards per rush (222 yards on 30 carries) and somehow lost!
Key difference for tomorrow’s game is the health of the Detroit Offensive Line – Wagner and Swanson are out while Decker and Lang are carrying knocks against an above average Bears pass rush.
I expect John Fox to run Howard and Cohen all day with success, control the tempo of the game, time of possession and keep the ball out of Stafford’s hands.
Every week, Cleveland find a way to break the hearts of their fans and punters. Up 14pts at home in the 4th quarter against Green Bay last weekend and they couldn’t manage to cover the +3, losing in spectacular fashion by 6 in OT after a predictable DeShone Kizer interception.
Sitting at 3-10 ATS for the year, we will try our luck once more and take them getting a full touchdown at home against a Ravens team coming off a horrible loss in Pittsburgh. Baltimore losing Jimmy Smith for the year could not have been more evident as Big Ben passed for 500+ yards on the Ravens secondary.
Their whole playbook must change as they can no longer rely on Jimmy to shut down the opponent’s best wide receiver. Additionally, that Baltimore defensive unit was on the field for 80+ snaps and now must play back to back road games.
It will be tough and I expect fatigue to show in the 2nd half which may allow the likes of Coleman and Gordon to make big plays down the field to keep the Browns competitive as they look for their first win in 2017.
O54.5 New England / Pittsburgh
This will be a fun bet to cheer home as the two AFC powerhouses battle it out for #1 seed for the playoffs. This Patriots defence is the walking wounded – Gilmore has a sore ankle, 3 defensive linemen are banged up (Branch, Flowers & Wise), Van Noy their leading tackler is out and so is his backup.
Roethlisberger should be able to move the ball down the field comfortably and just pick on Elandon Roberts at linebacker for NE – it’s been a while since I’ve seen a Pats player look so out of their depth on the field, but he was truly awful last week against a poor Miami offence.
Similarly, after Pitt lost Ryan Shazier to that horrific spinal injury, their defence has lacked a lot of pace and is being exposed regularly on the outside. Brady also gets his favourite target back this week in Gronk and should help them to keep the chains moving on 3rd down.