New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns October 9, 01:00 EST
Line: Patriots -10.5
New England was stunned at home 16-0 by Buffalo last week. Rookie QB Jacoby Brissett had a rough outing, going 17-27 for 205 yards as well as getting sacked 3 times and losing a fumble. TE Martellus Bennett was a weapon all day, catching 5 passes for 109 yards. TE Rob Gronkowski continued to struggle with 1 catch for 11 yards. The ground game produced 90 yards on 22 carries. The defense surrendered 134 yards on the ground and 246 through the air. They had 2 sacks for only 2 yards. CB Logan Ryan had 17 tackles, a ridiculously high number for a CB. On the bright side, QB Tom Brady and DE Rob Ninkovich are both back from suspension this week.
Cleveland fell to 0-4 with a 31-20 loss at Washington last Sunday. Rookie QB Cody Kessler was 28-40 for 223 yards, a TD pass and an interception. RB Isaiah Crowell had a big game, gaining 112 yards on 15 carries and he also scored once. He probably should have gotten a few more carries. The Browns were undone by a defense that gave up 4 red zone TDs and 145 rushing yards. They did hold the Redskins to 183 passing yards but until they fix their run defense (a bane for several years) they will have trouble stopping anybody. Now they get an angry Pats squad.
The Cleveland Browns defense doesn’t put a scare into many offensive co-ordinators, but the D when reasonably healthy is adequate at ranks in the middle of the pack for most categories. Where they do struggle on defense is stopping the run allowing a 24th ranked 118.3 yards per game. New England’s QB Tom Brady returns from his suspension and may not be in top form, so we expect the Pats to do a lot of ground and pound eating up the clock. The Browns offense with rookie Kessler at the helm has been reasonably effective, but they’ll be taking a big step up in class this week facing a team that has allowed 16 total points in their last two games against on paper superior offenses.
Take the UNDER 46.5
Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys October 9, 04:25 EST
Line: Bengals -1
Cincinnati improved to 2-2 with a decisive 22-7 victory over Miami last Thursday. QB Andy Dalton was 22-31 for 296 yards and a TD. He was sacked once after being dropped 12 times in the first 3 games. WR A.J. Green befuddled the Dolphins secondary to the tune of 10 catches for 173 yards and a TD. The running game stalled again, gaining 77 yards on 37 carries. The defense came to play as they held Miami to 62 yards rushing, had a pick, forced a fumble and had 5 sacks, 2 by DE Carlos Dunlap.
Dallas improved to 3-1 with a 24-17 victory at San Francisco last Sunday. Rookie QB Dak Prescott continued his impressive play by going 23-32 for 245 yards and 2 scores. His receivers stepped up in the absence of WR Dez Bryant as 4 of them had 41+ yards receiving. Rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott had a great game as he rushed for 138 yards and a TD. His per carry average was 6.0. The defense had a solid effort, limiting the 49ers to 196 passing yards and a 3.7 ypc average. They also had a sack and a pick.
Putting points on the board has been a problem for the Bengals this season scoring a 24th ranked 19.5 per game. Scheduling has been a big factor in that with Cincinnati starting the season off with two games against the elite defenses of NY Jets and Denver and an underrated Pittsburgh unit. This Sunday they’ll take on arguably the weakest D on the year. They’re expecting TE Tyler Eifert who recorded 13 TDs in 13 games LY to make his seasonal debut. The Cowboys have scored 24 points in all but their opener where they moved the ball well but couldn’t finish drives, but any of the opposition certainly couldn’t be considered the second coming of the ’85 Bears. Dallas is still dealing with some offensive line injuries and their No. 1 WR Dez Bryant is considered iffy for Week 5. Note that the Bengals were 6-2 on the road last season losing by three to Arizona and Denver.
Take the Cincinnati Bengals -1
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders October 9, 04:25 EST
Line: Raiders -4
San Diego blew a chance to even their record at 2-2, giving up 2 TDs in the final 4:50 of the game in a 35-34 loss to New Orleans last Sunday. Both scores came courtesy of fumbles by RB Melvin Gordon and WR Travis Benjamin. The Chargers ran for only 38 yards on 21 carries but Gordon did score twice. QB Philip Rivers threw for 321 yards and 2 scores but was sacked 3 times and picked off once. WR Dontrelle Inman came through with 7 catches for 120 yards and a TD. The defense didn’t play that bad, holding the Saints to 207 passing yards, notching 2 picks and 2 sacks. They did allow 3 rushing TDs but held New Orleans to 83 yards rushing on 34 carries (2.4 ypc).
Oakland improved to 3-1 with a thrilling 28-27 come-from-behind win at Baltimore last week. QB Derek Carr threw his 4th TD pass of the game with 2:12 remaining and the defense held on from there. The Raiders are 3-0 on the road for the first time since 2000. Carr threw for 199 yards and wasn’t sacked as he improved his TD/INT ratio to 9-1. WR Michael Crabtree caught 7 passes for 88 yards and 3 TDs including the game winner. Oakland managed only 62 yards on the ground at 3.3 ypc. The defense gave up 282 passing yards and 130 rushing yards but made some key big plays. They had 2 sacks and recovered a fumble. New rookie starters MLB Cory James and SS Karl Joseph led the way for the 2nd week in a row with 15 and 8 tackles respectively.
The Raiders have taken a chuck out of our bankroll this season, but we believe we have the statistical data after four weeks to make a solid prediction on this week’s match against the Chargers. Neither one of these teams have had trouble scoring this season, but the Chargers have been decimated by injuries with many of their top playmakers on the infirm list. The impact of the injuries has been masked by their last two opponent’s defensive deficiencies. Not that Oakland has excelled on the defensive side of the ball. They haven’t, but stats aside this may be the best defense that San Diego has faced this campaign. The Raiders have the firepower to run away with this and should be fully motivated after dropping their home opener.
Take the Oakland Raiders -4