LA Chargers @ New England Patriots: LA Chargers to win – 17/10
This season’s Chargers have dispelled many of the conventions we’d grown to know and love about their powder-blue previous selves.
They’ve got a kicker who doesn’t cost them games. They’ve won big games and not screwed up with a run of early losses. They’ve avoided injuries to their star players for the most part (Hunter Henry, you have my sympathies) and they’ve a road record of 8-1 after last week’s away win at the Ravens that makes them look like champions in-waiting.
But being the Chargers, it can’t all be simple.
Despite having the second-best record in the AFC, they’ve to go through New England now – 8-0 at home this season – and take down the greatest QB who’s backed up by the greatest coach of this era.
Encouragingly for LA’s limited fanbase, the Patriots are playing against type as well this year. Gronk looks a shadow of his former behemoth-like self, TB12 looks scared in the pocket, and it’s easy to see why when he has so few options to throw to.
Still, they are the Patriots, and they are at Gillette, so some are encouraged by New England only being asked to cover -4 points when they’re traditionally so dominant on home turf.
But, this season just feels different. If the Chargers really have changed there’s no better way to show it than by upsetting the team that’s defined the last two decades in the league right where they think they’re safest.
I couldn’t tell anyone not to take the Pats to cover, but if you’re thinking about the Chargers +4, I reckon it makes more sense to get the extra on them to win 17/10.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New Orleans Saints: New Orleans -8 – 20/23
Though the Nick Foles story rolls on after last week’s oh-so-dramatic late win, the signs aren’t all that encouraging heading into New Orleans’ Superdome fortress.
For one thing, last week’s game should not have been so close.
The Eagles couldn’t get their running game going, but held off Chicago’s pass-rush and the Bears’ offence looked clawless for long stretches, so you would’ve expected Philly to take advantage, but they didn’t.
They got a huge stroke of luck with Cody Parkey’s double-doink off the woodwork too, and they’ll need that multiplied by ten if they’re to dump the Saints out of the playoffs on Sunday.
The only doubt you’d have about the Saints is that their offence recently hasn’t been the devastating force it was earlier in the season.
They’ve had an odd run to the end of the season, with two games against the Panthers that barely counted for anything, and a massive home win over the Steelers tempered by a road loss at Dallas, but I’d really expect them to pick it up when it matters.
Add in Philly’s injury apocalypse at defensive back, and this looks ready-made for Drew Brees to tear it up. I’d take the Saints -8 at 20/23.
* All odds correct at time of posting.