Listen, Joe Flacco has made a career out of overthrowing receivers and looking for pass interference calls. He’s won a Super Bowl. If he can win a Super Bowl, I can win you a bet. Stick with me, my friends. The good days are coming.
The surprises are coming thick and fast in the NFL this season – almost as quickly as Chargers players seem to be tearing their ACLs. The one thing I’ve learned about the NFL is that big teams typically respond the week after a poor result. I’ll have my faith in one big gun to deliver a redemption tale, while expecting two others to continue their good form with home games and smallish spreads.
In a league where no real Super Bowl hopeful has gone 3-0 yet, the records must straighten out some bit in week four. Crowd noise in Atlanta is good, but it’s not enough to stop Carolina covering the three point spread in Georgia. It’s been all situation mistakes for the Panthers so far. Minnesota was a game where they conceded a safety and flew into an easy lead. That defiance will make them a better team going forward. They had to learn lessons and I believe they have done. Everyone expects things to click for them, and when they do – they’ll go on a run of five or six wins on the trot. I’m willing to roll the dice and say that run will begin on Sunday.
It’s funny – the Oakland Raiders were touted as AFC West winners. That’s not a poor division by any strech, considering Kansas City and Denver will both expect to make the playoffs. But apart from a gutsy performance in week one from Jack Del Rio, they’ve been appalling. Baltimore is noisy at the best of times, but with a 3-0 season under their belts to this point, the Ravens will have a huge advantage in Maryland. Winning by four shouldn’t be a problem.
Make no mistake (because I already have), Minnesota have been lights out so far, despite Adrian Peterson going down, too. They’re a football team built to succeed and maybe come the end of the year, the trade for Sam Bradford may be looked upon as the piece that got the organisation its Lombardi Trophy. That’s a very hostile crowd in Minneapolis – revamped stadium and all – putting Eli Manning in the silent count will be enough to see the Vikings cover their handicap on this occasion.
Carolina (-3), Baltimore (-3.5) & Minnesota (-4.5) pays just over 6/1.