Carolina Panthers (+9.5) @ New Orleans Saints (20/23)
It’s best to examine the Panthers in two separate phases. Through the opening six weeks of the season, they had the best, most efficient offence in all of football.
They relied on Christian McCaffrey doing what he does best for a sample, then capitalising on the overly cautious adjustments the defence makes to combat this. Get McCaffrey on a screen pass to quell the pass rush, who will drop a linebacker into contain to protect against that screen for the rest of the game, and try reverses with McCaffrey and sit-down routes to Olsen to move the chains.
But overconfidence in Kyle Allen has resulted in some calamitous performances and now they’re back on the fringes of the wild card spots again.
The one good thing about this week? New Orleans should set up in a way that makes Norv Turner call exactly the above – and with Kyle Allen making absolutely no adjustments at the line anyway, the noise in the dome won’t hurt.
Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (9/10)
Most NFL General Managers want a six-foot-six quarterback, who weighs in about 220lbs and who can absolutely rip off a ball based solely on arm strength. There are two MVP-level players in the NFL this season, through the first 11 games. One of them is Russell Wilson, who you’ll see here – and the other is definitely not Carson Wentz.
No, it’s sub-six-foot Lamar Jackson, who carries about as much weight as a promise from a liar – a player who an actual NFL official believed was better off converting to a wide receiver if he wanted to make it in the league.
The term ‘LOL’ was invented for such instances. On Sunday, Russell Wilson is going to rip that Philly base defence apart through play-action passes after wheeling out on a bootleg. Because he’s one of a few quarterbacks who can. The league has moved on from Brett Favre. Now it’s about formation manipulation – who can stem off pressure long enough to capitalise on a linebacker chasing a receiver downfield on a go route.
The answer? Russell Wilson.
Baltimore Ravens (-3) @ Los Angeles Rams (20/23)
Tuesday 01:15 (Monday Night Football)
The highest-scoring offence in the NFL coming up against the team who have gone backwards more than any other.
This one’s an absolute matchup nightmare for the Rams, and the only joy that Chicago got last week was utilising Tarik Cohen. If they match a linebacker up on one of the premier pass-catching backs, can you imagine what their gameplan to contain Lamar looks like?
My guess would be similar to the painting your six-year-old did that you applaud given their age. Well, it’s not quite as noble when it looks like a six-year-old designed the defensive strategy for the Los Angeles Rams.
This might be a bloodbath.