It’s time to pick on the over-hyped and awful teams in the NFL and get the W for you punters.
It’s just.. the Chiefs. They’re winning tight games. They haven’t got the firepower to blow teams away, so to have them has 7.5 point favourites against a team with Mike Evans in it seems a bit much to me. Alex Smith utilises an offense that relies on disguise, misdirection and Travis Kelce getting a favourable match-up through offensive scheming. The Tampa Bay defense may not be star-studded, but they do have one of the more versatile groups, which should help them in sub-packages against unpredictable teams.
Andy Reid’s a genius. I’ve long been an admirer of his and I still wonder how he gets it done with so few apparent weapons on offense. Jameis Winston has far more at his disposal and yet struggles for consistency. There are glimpses though, that both he and fellow draftee Marcus Mariota could be top drawer when under center in the future. Expect a bold showing from the former on Sunday.
Verdict 1: Tampa Bay (+7.5) @ 20/23
No Matt Kalil, no party as far as I’m concerned. The Cardinals are basically a Super Bowl team waiting to happen, yet sit on a 4-4-1 record. I fully believe they can turn this season around and make the playoffs. For this to happen, however, they need to win on Sunday and that’s my logic.
McKinnon and Asiata have been effective. They’ve racked up the yards and made a good one-two punch but lacked an identity. It still feels like the Vikings can’t win without fooling you and until that mentality changes, they won’t overcome the challenge of better built teams. This has been a central flaw in their poor mid-season form and that looks set to continue from where I’m standing.
David Johnson is uncoverable. Good luck to whoever you send, because he’ll get free. Even Eric Hendricks, who, to me, is one of the best 4-3 linebackers you’ll find in the NFL, won’t be able to keep up. They’re also running low on confidence, while the Cards came off the back of a last-minute field goal win. Bruce Arians is about to steady this ship.
Verdict 2: Arizona Cardinals (win) 10/11
The league’s best team going to the league’s worst team. This is probably the spread you’d expect, but I’m not sure the gulf in class is accurately measured here. There are some major pluses on our side going into this one. Tom Brady’s coming off the back of a game where things didn’t go his way. I don’t like the Patriots, but one of the things I admire most in sport is how Brady responds to setbacks. Nobody else does it as well as he does. After being embarrassed by Seattle on his home turf, a trip back to his native California should see him leave with an emphatic win and the souls of many 49ers fans to boot.
Many thought Chip Kelly would rejuvenate this team. Not quite. They’ve lost Navarro Bowman to a major injury. Arik Armstead also went down while DeForest Buckner is left to carry the burden of the pass rush. No quarterback, no confidence, no atmosphere and no unity? San Fran sounds like a bundle of joy, and they’re about to lose by at least two touchdowns this week.
Verdict 3: New England Patriots (-13) at Evens
This week’s treble pays approx 7/1 on New England (-13), Tampa Bay (+7.5) & Arizona Cardinals (Scr).