Sunday features an NFC matchup that looks to be an exciting game featuring differing philosophies. The Redskins lead the all time series 14-9-1, but the Falcons have dominated as of late, winning 5 straight heading back to 2006.
The Falcons are coming off their bye week, but beat the Giants 23-20 in week 7. Previously, the Falcons were dominated 41-17 by the Steelers in week 5, and beat the Bucanneers 34-29 in week 6.
The Redskins defeated the Giants last week in a low scoring affair 20-13. They beat the Panthers 23-17 in week 6, and survived the Cowboys 20-17 in week 7.
Bovada currently has the Redskins as 1.5 point favourites, with an O/U total of 47.5.
In spite of all the turmoil the Falcons have faced, Matt Ryan continues to be dominant. Ryan has thrown for 2335 yards, is averaging 8.9 yards per attempt, has completed over 70% of his passes, and owns a 15-2 TD-INT ratio. He has been under a fair amount of pressure, but shows nice poise and decision making while continuing to attack downfield. His top target, Julio Jones, has caught 53 balls for 812 yards but is yet to find the endzone. Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu have provided nice #2 options, combining for 716 yards and 9 TDs on 51 catches combined. They have somewhat struggled to run the ball following strong>Devonta Freeman’s injury, but Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith provide enough of a threat to keep opposing defenses honest.
The defense has gotten pressure from a variety of players, with Takk McKinley, Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett, and Jack Crawford each having 19 or more pressures. Outside of Damontae Kazee’s 3 interceptions, the secondary has been more bust than boom with Robert Alford and Brian Poole struggling in coverage.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
G Brandon Fusco (ankle) – placed on IR, K Matt Bryant (hamstring) – questionable
The Redskins definitely have an identity with Adrian Peterson in the backfield. Peterson ran for 146 yards and a TD on 26 carries last week against the Giants, and also added a receiving TD. Alex Smith continues to be pathologically conservative, completing 20/32 passes for 178 yards and a TD. Smith plays mistake free, but does not give the Redskins a downfield threat. He attempted just 2 passes of 20+ yards, missing on both, and threw just 6 of 10+ yards total, completing 3 for 52 yards. Jordan Reed and Josh Doctson were the go to targets last week, with Doctston catching 5 balls for 49 yards and Reed catching 7 passes for 38 yards.
The Redskins defense is becoming one of the top units in the league. They have a variety of pass rushers in Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith off the edge and Matt Ioannidis up the middle. Ioannidis had 3 sacks last week, while Kerrigan and Smith had a sack each as well. DaRon Payne and Jonathan Allen clog running lanes up the middle and allow Mason Foster and Zach Brown to stuff runs at the line. In the backend, Josh Norman is not what he used to be, but is still a viable zone corner capable of stepping in passing lanes. D.J. Swearinger has turned into a playmaker, picking off 2 passes last week.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) – questionable, CB Quinton Dunbar (hamstring) – questionable, RB Chris Thompson (ribs) – questionable, OT Trent Williams (thumb) – questionable
The Redskins defense is tough, but the Falcons air attack can neutralize that. Running the ball is going to be a challenge against a tough Redskins front 7, but there are holes in the secondary they can exploit. The Falcons need to be creative regarding when they take their shots downfield, as the Redskins pass rush can be disruptive.
We know the Falcons can put up points, but the Redskins will play more of a ball control game, taking a couple shots a game, and pounding the ball with Peterson. I don’t think the Falcons are equipped to hold Peterson down for long, and I see another big game for him on the horizon. Linebackers and safeties are the strong part of the Falcons coverage, so Alex Smith will have to get the ball outside to Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson. We think the Redskins do enough to keep up on the scoreboard here, and their defense has the capability to get some huge stops down the stretch and possibly force a turnover or 2. We will take the Redskins to cover at home.
Final Pick: Redskins (-1.5)
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes it return to the iconic Madison Square Garden (MSG) on Nov 3 with UFC 230.
The UFC has had a great run in New York ever since the MMA ban was lifted and fight fans from all over the East Coast are expected to fill MSG.
The UFC usually sets up fantastic cards for MSG but this time the promotion struggled with finalizing a main event and also had to work quickly to make replacements fights due to the injuries of some of the scheduled fighters.
The Main Event will see the Daniel ‘DC‘ Cormier who is the lightheavy weight and heavyweight champion take on Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis for the heavyweight title.
Cormier took the fight on less than a month’s notice and Lewis just fought at UFC 229. The Champ Champ goes into this fight as a heavy favourite with -700 odds as DC has never lost at heavyweight before. DC has better wrestling, better cardio and better fight IQ than the Black Beast and predicts that he will most likely submit Lewis in round three.
The Black Beast’s popularity skyrocketed after his epic comeback at UFC 229 in the final minutes of round three. His comment during his post-fight interview where he stripped to his underwear and said ‘My balls was hot’ went viral and saw his Instagram following go up from 500k to over 1.2 million in a matter of 48 hours. The Beast promises to knock DC out and become heavyweight champ.
UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship
Co-Main Event: Weidman vs. Jacare
Chris Weidman was expected to fight Luke Rockhold at MSG but that fight got cancelled after Rockhold suffered another injury. The New York native was keep to fight at MSG and he will now take on Brazilian Jacare who is a tough match up for the All America. Weidman enters as the favourite with -164 odds and knows that if he wins this middleweight bout, he could very well get a title shot against the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum.
Other Exciting Fights At UFC230
The UFC 230 card may not be as stacked as previous MSG cards but there is still a great line-up of fights that will give MMA fans a lot of action. Some of the other fights on the card include Derek Brunson vs. Israel Adesanya, David Branch vs. Jarod Cannonier and Jason night vs. Jordan Rinaldi.
A fierce AFC North rivalry headlines the early slate Sunday with the Steelers and Ravens facing off in a rematch from week 4. The Steelers lead the all time series 27-22, and have won 3 of the last 4, with defeat coming last time they met.
The Steelers defeated the Browns 33-18 this past week. In week 5, the Steelers handled the Falcons 41-17, beat the Bengals 28-21 in week 6, and had a bye in week 7.
The Ravens are coming off a 36-21 loss to the Panthers. In week 6, they blanked the Titans 21-0, and lost 24-23 to the Saints in week 7.
Intertops in Vegas have this game opening at (-3) in favour of the Ravens, with an O/U yet to be posted.
The offense struggled in parts against the Browns, turning the ball over twice and outside of their scoring drives didn’t move the ball well at all. Ben Roethlisberger was 24/36 for 257, 2 TDs, and an INT. He spread the ball around well, and did a nice job of avoiding pressure and making the easy throw. Antonio Brown hauled in 6 catches for 74 yards and 2 TDs, and this is the best the Ben-Brown tandem has looked this season.
Vance McDonald caught 3 balls for 47 yards and James Conner caught 5 balls for 66 yards. Conner also ran 24 times for 146 yards and 2 TDs, putting his scrimmage yards over 200.
Defensively, they made some opportunistic plays and got solid pressure on Baker Mayfield all game. Joe Haden came away with an interception on a nice pick down the field on the sideline, and T.J. Watt and Stephon Tuitt each got home for sacks.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
CB Coty Sensabaugh (foot) – questionable, QB Ben Roethlisberger (finger) – played through. Questionable, OT Marcus Gilbert (knee) – DNP. questionable
The Ravens lost this one bad, and it would have looked worse if not for a garbage time TD throw by Lamar Jackson. Joe Flacco was uninspiring in his 39 attempts, completing 22 for 192 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs. Flacco looked shook all game between a fair amount of pressure and solid coverage from Carolina. He didn’t have a throw go for over 20 yards, and didn’t test the Panthers downfield much at all.
strong>Willie Snead caught 5 balls for 54 yards, Michael Crabtree had 3 catches for 31 yards, and John Brown caught 3 balls for 28 yards as the Ravens receivers were all but obsolete. They got away from the run game, but Alex Collins did rush 11 times for 49 yards and a TD, while Lamar Jackson rushed 3 times for 26 yards.
For the first time this season, the Ravens defense was on it’s heels more than attacking. The Ravens uncharacteristically failed to tally a sack and struggled to get pressure in general. The Panthers multiple offensive looks kept their secondary off balance, but they contained McCaffrey for the most part out of the backfield.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
OT Ronnie Stanley (leg) – questionable, CB Marlon Humphrey (thigh) – DNP. Questionable
9 of the last 14 regular season matchups between these teams have been decided by 4 points or fewer, and the smart money says it will happen again this week. The Steelers appear to be hitting their stride a bit, and their offense looks more settled in than the first few weeks of the season. The Steelers do not have the dynamic offense like the Panthers, and are in no way similar, but their playmakers trump the Panthers. Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster need to show up in a big way against a tough Ravens secondary, and the Steelers need to continue to grind James Conner behind their powerful offensive line. Big Ben also needs to avoid turnovers and be more selective in his targets.
The Ravens cannot have another performance like last week from Joe Flacco, but luckily the Steelers secondary is considerably less talented than Carolinas. The Steelers need to continue to be opportunistic and force the issue up front with their blitz packages. Baltimore cannot hope to win from behind, and needs to control the ball and the clock if they hope to win. We are taking the Steelers to cover on the road, and to continue their hot play.
Final Pick: Steelers (+3)
Big weekend in the NFL as we have some interesting storylines coming out of week 8. The trade deadline is this week as well, and there are more than a few teams looking to make moves to bolster their rosters.
Lets take a look at some news around the league.
The Browns have fired their Head Coach Hue Jackson after going 3-36-1 over the last 3 seasons. He is the latest Browns coach to flame out, following others who were fired such as Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur, and Mike Pettine. The Browns also cut ties with offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Both moves were necessary, but concerning for the development of rookie QB Baker Mayfield.
Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been promoted to interim head coach in the meantime, but the Browns have a nice opportunity to get a jump start on scouting/recruiting their new head coach.
Some names to watch would be Minnesota OC John DeFilippo, Oklahoma HC Lincoln Riley, and Rams QB coach Zac Taylor.
Your New All Time Leading Scorer
In what may be the quietest news of the week, Adam Vinatieri passed Hall of Famer Morten Anderson for the all time scoring record (2544) in NFL history Sunday in the Colts win over the Raiders. Vinatieri left the game with 2550 total points, and still doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Here’s to you Adam Vinatieri.
Fitzmagic Saga Continues
Following a 4 interception performance, Dirk Koetter benched Jameis Winston in favour of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the 3rd quarter against the Bengals. Down 34-16 going into the 4th quarter, Fitzpatrick spurred a furious comeback that fell just short.
Fitz went 11/15 for 194 yards and 2 TDs, showing no fear and drawing praise from his fellow teammates. Koetter announced Monday that Fitz would be the starter moving forward as the Bucs prepare for Carolina. Winston is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with 10 (Sam Darnold, Case Keenum) in over 100 fewer attempts than either.
“Forget Em, We Got The Win”
The Rams are now 8-0 following the exciting finish to their game against Green Bay on Sunday. With the Rams up 2, and a 7.5 point spread on the line, Todd Gurley decided to pull a Brian Westbrook and purposely fall down in bounds in stead of scoring a TD, which would have possibly helped the Rams cover. Fantasy owners were also not happy, as I’m sure the 6 points would have helped many win their matchups. In an interview following the game Gurley was quoted saying,
Man, forget fantasy and forget Vegas today. We got the win, so that's all that matters.
On The Block
Ahead of tomorrows 4 PM ET trade deadline, there are a variety of hot names on the trade block, and a few others rumoured as well. In years past, the trade deadline came and went without much buzz, but recently has become more important as teams looking to make a playoff run look to shore up positions of weakness. Players rumoured to be drawing interest include:
ARI EDGE Chandler Jones
ARI LB Deonne Bucannon
ARI LB Haason Reddick
BUF EDGE Jerry Hughes
BUF RB LeSean McCoy
CLE EDGE Jamie Collins
CLE QB Tyrod Taylor
CLE TE Seth DeValve
DEN EDGE Shane Ray
DEN WR Demaryius Thomas
DET WR Golden Tate
GB S HaHa Clinton-Dix
JAX EDGE Dante Fowler
MIA WR DeVante Parker
NYG CB Janoris Jenkins
OAK EDGE Bruce Irvin
OAK S Karl Joseph
SF WR Pierre Garcon
TB WR DeSean Jackson
Trades that have already happened
Amari Cooper > Cowboys
Raiders < 1st round pick
Damon Harrison > Lions
Giants < 5th round pick
Carlos Hyde > Jaguars
Browns < 5th round pick
Eli Apple > Saints
Giants < 4th & 7th round picks
There’s your early storylines out of the week 8 contests. Thursday we will have more news, trade results, an injury report, and an updated hot seat watch (spoiler: there’s no Hue Jackson). Cheers!
Legalized sports betting could be on the way for Colorado and Indiana as the two states outline plans to get regulated markets up and running in 2019.
In Indiana, a state-commissioned study by research firm Eilers and Krejcik Gaming has revealed punters could bet more than $250 million each year, prompting the state’s lawmakers to move forward with legislation that would permit online and mobile betting.
The move would eventually enable the state to fully benefit from opportunities offered by legal sports wagering.
Indiana and Colorado, with a population of over 5.6 million and 6.6 million respectively, are just two of a number of states mulling to include sports betting in their offerings.
Illinois has already held talks on the possibility of enacting new laws in 2019. West Virginia and Pennsylvania both have already passed legislation to legalize sports wagering in their respective boundaries.
No Need to Reinvent The Wheel In Indiana
While plans to legalize sports betting have gained the backing of Indiana’s Interim Study Committee on Public Policy, panel chairman Representative Ben Smaltz is waving the red flag saying the move could face significant barriers down the line, including challenges in drafting relevant regulations as well as funding difficulties.
Sara Tait who is the Executive Director for the Indiana Gaming Commission does not share Smaltz’s opinion. Tait stated that sports betting has been successfully regulated and already in operation in other states and Indiana could pursue existing ideas without reinventing the wheel to push forward with a smooth sports betting market.
Colorado Voters Must Decide
In Colorado, Representative Cole Wist said the state should not progress with plans without first holding a proper discussion on the issue. Wist said legalizing sports betting is a no-brainer in Colorado saying the state could follow a similar route as the neighboring New Mexico. Wist is in favour of holding a meaningful conversation on the matter as it will help the state make an informed decision. He also suggested that voters should also be allowed to have their say on the issue.
Colorado is under pressure to declare its stance on sports wagering as neighboring states New Mexico and Nevada allow customers to place sports bets. New Mexico’s Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel started accepting sports wagers earlier this month while Nevada has been doing it for many years.
It’s unclear yet whether casinos operating in Colorado will accept legalized sports betting given their long-standing opposition to proposals which would expand gaming to Colorado’s racetracks.
The Japanese multinational IT solution provider Fujitsu will set up an interbank settlement platform with blockchain technology as part of a partnership project with nine domestic banks. The test of the blockchain-powered platform is organized by the Payment Clearing Network of Japan Banks, also called Zengin-Net. As part of the development, the platform will transact using an unnamed “digital currency”.
The press release states that Fujitsu “will additionally leverage the P2P money transfer platform it developed in (the) fiscal (year) 2017 with three major banks to generate the money transfers to other banks that will trigger interbank funds transfer settlement.”
The Japanese firm further elaborated about the project as follows
“By participating in this project, Fujitsu aims to establish a new platform that utilizes cutting-edge technology to help realize a cashless society.”
The company has been involved in the technical development of blockchain for some time and last year released a tool to facilitate faster transactions for Hyperledger Fabric, the solution of the Linux Foundation’s enterprise blockchain. Fujitsu also introduced a blockchain data storage system to tokenize traditional retail advertising strategies such as coupons and loyalty points in June.
Japan continues to see the emergence of various blockchain- related banking initiatives from its main entities, with the SBI Group launching a settlement system this month that uses Ripple (XRP) as a means of transfer.
Two 1 win teams face off in the battle of the Bay Area in Primetime Thursday night. The Raiders lead the all time series 7-6, but won their last meeting in 2014.
The Raiders are coming off a 42-28 loss at the hands of the Colts. Previously, the Raiders lost 26-10 to the Chargers in week 5, lost to the Seahawks 27-3 in week 6, and had a bye in week 7.
The 49ers lost 18-15 to the Cardinals last week. In week 6, they lost to the Packers 33-30, and lost 39-10 to the Rams 39-10 in week 7.
This game opened up at San Francisco (-3.5) according to GTBets, and an O/U has not been posted.
Offensively, the Raiders moved the ball well against Indy and punted just twice, but could not keep up on the scoreboard down the stretch. Derek Carr was efficient and decisive, completing 21 of 28 passes for 244 yards and 3 TDs. He spread the ball around well, but relied on his short game for the most part, leaning on Jalen Richard out of the backfield and Jared Cook at tight end. Richard finished with 8 catches for 50 yards, while Cook had 4 catches for 74 yards and a TD, chewing up yards after the catch. Doug Martin was effective in his first start for the injured Marshawn Lynch, rushing 13 times for 72 yards, but turned the ball over on a fumble late in the game leading to an Indy touchdown.
The defense struggled all around. They allowed over 220 yards and 2 TDs on the ground, and 230+ and 3 TDs through the air. Tight ends were a real weak spot defensively, and the Raiders gave up 10 catches, 133 yards, and 3 TDs to tight ends exclusively.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
OT T.J. Clemmings (knee) – left game and DNR. Questionable
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were a mess this week. Down 3 on the ARI 45 with 7 seconds left and a timeout, backup center Erik Magnuson snapped the ball over the head of C.J. Beathard, who subsequently scrambled after it and attempted to throw the ball, which made the clock expire. Beathard was 14/28 for 190 and a TD in the game, relying on his tight end George Kittle and receiver Kendrick Bourne in the short game. Bourne caught 7 balls for 71 yards, while Kittle caught 5 balls for 57 yards. Marquise Goodwin also caught a deep shots for 55 yards and a touchdown. The 49ers were not effective running the ball, but not for lack of trying. Matt Breida had 16 carries for 42 yards, and Alfred Morris ran 6 times for 28 yards (long of 26).
Richard Sherman returned this week and looked solid and sure as a tackler, and added a sack. Jacquiski Tartt picked of Rosen on an overthrown ball, and the front did not get as much pressure as they should have against a rough Cardinals OL.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
LB Reuben Foster (hamstring) – left game and DNR. Questionable, S Jacquiski Tartt (shoulder) – questionable, WR Pierre Garcon (shoulder, knee) – DNP. questionable
We imagine this game looked pretty good on paper at the beginning of the season, with Jon Gruden and the new look Raiders taking on Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy G. But neither teams season has gone as planned, and this appears to be another Thursday snoozer. The Raiders shouldn’t struggle to move the ball, but Derek Carr is going to have to be more aggressive as the 49ers are talented in the middle of the field. Doug Martin should have another nice day on the ground, but don’t count on Jalen Richard dicing up the 49ers linebackers.
Beathard is going to have to be more aggressive as well against a bad Raiders secondary. George Kittle should be primed for another big game, as the Raiders linebackers and safeties are liabilities in coverage, and I expect a few more deep shots dialed up for Marquise Goodwin. Home teams have the clear advantage on Thursdays, and I expect the 49ers to walk out with the win. We will wait to place action on this game, as we expect public money to come in on the Raiders, but we are tentatively taking the 49ers to cover at home.
Final Pick: 49ers (-3.5)
The Cleveland Cavaliers started the last four seasons as one of the favourites to win the NBA Championship as they had LeBron James leading the attack and head coach Tyronn Lue plotting out game plans. The Cavaliers went on to four straight NBA Finals and won the 2016 NBA Championships.
For the first time in four years, the Cavaliers were not one of the favourites as they entered the new season. Their core team was no longer together with LeBron James signing with the LA Lakers.
The Cavaliers had a horrible start to the season and found themselves with a 0-6 record and no answers on how to turn things around.
Dan Gilbert who owns the Cavaliers and general manager Koby Altman took the decision to give head coach T Lue his walking papers. Lue signed a new contract with the Cavaliers in 2016 and will need to be paid around $15 million in severance pay.
In a statement, Altman said
This was a very difficult decision. It is especially so, considering Coach Lue's time with us over the last four years, including four straight trips to the NBA Finals. This is a different team equation, though, and one that we felt needed a different voice and approach that required this change.
The Cavs have decided to promote and appoint Larry Drew as the interim coach. It is interesting to note that when T Lue took a break last year due to his health, Drew had an 8-1 record but then again LeBron James was carrying the Cavaliers.
Former & Current Players Praise Lue
T Lue has done a lot for a number of players during his time with the Cavs and they all showed him respect and love. LeBron James took to Twitter to thank his former head coach for the memories they shared and their partnership which helped the Cavs win the 2016 NBA Championship.
T Lue thanks for the memories and more importantly our partnership bringing a 🏆 to that deserved city/fan base. U know how to find me 🙏🏾
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 28, 2018
Kevin Love who plays forward for the Cavs thanked Lue for life changing experiences and lessons that helped him see the big picture. LA Clippers head coach was upset at the way Lue was treated by the Cavaliers but at the same time happy at the way Lu conducted himself after hearing the news.
GM Altman believes that it is time for the Cavs to focus more on young talent and bench the veterans, something that Lue wasn’t really in agreement with. The interim head coach will now have his chance of rebuilding the Cavs.
The gambling industry in the Cayman Islands has flourished during the last few years as there has been very little policing. Both operators and players have enjoyed a free hand which has in many ways worked out well for the Caribbean island which thrives on tourism. Gambling is prohibited on the island but there are a number of venues that offer classic casino games and lottery tickets.
The lack of stringent regulations has enabled illegal gambling operations to grow their business rapidly in the Cayman Islands. The authorities are aware of many gambling venues but usually turn a blind eye. All this is set to change as the illegal gambling business has grown significantly and has caught the attention of the government.
The Gambling Law which was passed in 1964 currently dictates rules and regulations for gambling operations in the Cayman Islands. The law hasn’t been updated in over four decades and is not as stringent as it should be. Legislators are now looking to make significant changes to this law, especially with regards to fines and penalties that will be imposed on illegal gambling operators.
The current fine for using a premise for gambling related activities, handling money from gambling operations and publishing lottery numbers is only $400 and the prison term is set at 12 months. The new legislation will look to increase this fine to $10,000 and push the prison term to 3 years.
The new law will not only come down hard on illegal gambling operators but also on players who participate in illegal gambling. The existing law imposes a fine of $10 and a max prison sentence of 60 days to players who participate in buying lottery tickets or gambling on the island. The new law will see these fines go up to $2,500 and a prison term of 6 months.
Illegal Gambling Linked To Crime Increase
The Portfolio of Legal Affairs of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has also published a report which has linked an increase in crime to an increase in gambling related activities on the island between 2015 to 2018.
The report said
These statistics also suggest a strong connection between certain crimes and gambling activities. This is evidenced by the number of reported robberies, including firearm-related robberies, assaults and other violent crimes that have been proven to be gambling related
Two AFC East teams face off in primetime Monday night as the Patriots take on the Bills. The Patriots lead the all time series 71-43-1, and have won 3 straight in the series.
The Patriots defeated the Bears a week ago 38-31 behind 2 special teams touchdowns. In week 5, they beat the Colts 38-24, and outlasted the Chiefs 43-40 in week 6.
The Bills are coming off a 37-5 drubbing by the Colts last week. In week 5, they defeated the Titans 13-12, and lost 20-13 to the Texans in week 6.
Intertops have the Patriots as 14 point favourites on the road, with an O/U set at 44.5.
New England Patriots
After back to back losses in week 2 and 3, the Patriots have won 4 straight. Tom Brady continues to be an ageless wonder with 1876 yards and an 18-7 TD-INT ratio. The Patriots now have so many weapons to attack opposing defenses, and the emergence of Josh Gordon (13/224/1 in NE) has really taken this offense over the top. Tom Brady appears to have full trust in his new receiver, showing it on 4th down last week by targeting Josh Gordon, who came through with a 21 yard catch.
Julian Edelman continues to be a clutch target on 3rd down, and is still readjusting after missing all of last season and part of this season. The backfield duo of Sony Michel and James White has proven to be incredibly potent for what the Patriots want to do. White leads the team in targets (57), receptions (45), touchdowns (6), and is second in yards (380) while Sony Michel is averaging 4.4 yards per carry on his way to 422 yards. The offensive line has had some bad moments, but Brady’s subtle movements and quick release mitigate any issues they have.
Trey Flowers and Adrian Clayborn have brought the majority of the pressure with 23 a piece, but have just 4 combined sacks. The defense as a whole has 10 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles. While they aren’t flashy, they are one of the most sound units in
Injuries and Inactive Watch
CB Eric Rowe (groin) – questionable, WR Josh Gordon (hamstring) – questionable, RB Sony Michel (knee) – doubtful
This is a bad Buffalo Bills. Derek Anderson started last week in place of an injured Josh Allen, and I would assume that will be the case this week as well due to the other option (Nathan Peterman). Anderson threw 3 picks last week against a below average Colts defense, and averaged 5.6 yards per attempt. Outside of Zay Jones, the receiving corp inspires almost negative confidence.
Jones has 19 catches for 226 yards and a TD this season, while his counterpart Kelvin Benjamin has 14 catches for 217 yards and a TD, as well as 4 drops. Backup tight end Jason Croom has the only other receiving touchdown on the team. Buffalo running backs have combined for 577 yards on 151 carries. The offensive line hasn’t been as bad as you might think, but they are susceptible to penalties.
Defensively, Buffalo is pretty solid actually. Jerry Hughes has been a stud off the edge with 36 total pressures including 5 sacks and 7 QB hits, while Kyle Williams has 6 sacks from the interior. Cornerback Tre’Davious White has allowed just 12 catches on the year, while nickel corner Taron Johnson is breaking out while allowing just 6.6 yards per attempt
Injuries and Inactive Watch
QB Josh Allen (elbow) – out, QB Derek Anderson (back) – questionable, HB LeSean McCoy (concussion) – questionable, HB Chris Ivory (hamstring) – questionable
This one is tricky. A double digit underdog at home usually means hammer the underdog, but Buffalo’s defense is savvy enough to create some turnovers and make life hard for Brady at least. Their coverage has been solid, but the Patriots just have too many weapons to consider that an advantage for Buffalo. Without Michel, the Patriots will be fairly one dimensional, which does help Buffalo.
Buffalo’s offense is just atrocious, and you know Belichick and Co. will have a bead on what Brian Daboll wants to do offensively (Daboll has done 2 stints in NE with Belichick). I expect some more bad turnovers, and pretty much unwatchable football from the Bills offense.
While we think the Patriots should and will win by double digits, 14 is just too much for me, and there is no way we are putting any confidence in the Bills at this point. The Under does seem appealing, as I think Buffalo can do enough to slow the Patriots down offensively, and Buffalo won’t do much on the scoreboard themselves.
Final Pick: UNDER 44.5