We’re finally at a stage where you can scrub off some teams (but not many!) from the playoff race, but the lines on offer this weekend still appeal.
It’s a good one this week…
(2021 Predictions W-L-D: 30-29-1 50%)
Cardinals (-7.5) @ Bears – 18:00
Just scraping past the Lions has kept the Bears in the hunt and Matt Nagy in a job, but they run into the #1 seed Arizona fresh off a bye, with Nuk Hopkins and Kyler Murray another week closer to full health.
They both should play here, and when Murray has done so this season, he’s racked up a 110 passer rating.
Not only that, but the Cardinals are the only team with a 100% record at covering the spread on the road.
While the Bears’ defense has been keeping them in games, it’s the offense that is in turmoil: They’re just one of three teams (along with Houston and Seattle) that average less than 300 total yards a game.
That won’t cut it against one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Arizona wins this one comfortably.
Prediction: Cardinals 33 Bears 20 (Cardinals -7.5)
Chargers @ Bengals (-3) – 18:00
Well, maybe the Chargers just aren’t a good team… It’s certainly a theory to subscribe to after laying a big old egg against the Broncos last week.
While they’re only one game back on the Chiefs in a bunched AFC West, they feel lightyears away on the field at present.
Cincy meanwhile put a ‘Whuppin’ (© PMT) on the Steelers last Sunday, making a mockery of my pre-game prediction.
When it comes to the bare bones, one of these teams allows a lot of points and one team scores a lot.
The Chargers have given up 293 this season; fourth worst in the league. The Bengals have racked up an average of 28.1; sixth best.
With Joe Burrow having scored nine more TDs than last season having played just one more game, and Joe Mixon coming into further prominence on the ground, you’ve got to love them covering here in their own stadium.
Prediction: Chargers 24 Bengals 31 (Bengals -3)
Eagles (-6.5) @ Jets– 18:00
Despite being in the hunt (yes, who isn’t right now), Philly have only won once at home so far this season.
They should escape these woes for a week by beating the Jets on the road, but in this crazy season, don’t count out Gang Green.
Zach Wilson didn’t look great on his return from injury but if there is any defense that can allow him to finally find his feet, it could be the Eagles.
That’s because they don’t get much pressure on opposing QBS; their record of 19 total sacks is fourth worst in the league.
And yet, the teams with worse records (plus the six teams just above them) all have played a game less.
Wilson might be posting a 63 average passer rating but Philly have been allowing an average of 98.
I do think the Jets get handed another L but they can keep this one close.
After an awful effort against the other New York team on Sunday, expect another low scoring game here, with an underdog cover.
Prediction: Eagles 17 Jets 13 (Jets +6.5)
Ravens (-3.5) @ Steelers – 21:25
The obituaries are being written in and around Pittsburgh; it looks as if the Big Ben era will be ending with a fizzle.
Well, allow Baltimore to pour some more dirt on a franchise that could well be experiencing their first losing season since 2003.
Again, the Bengals made me look a fool with my Steelers +4.5 prediction… Well the beating was so bad that the Steelers to me now are a complete lost cause.
Yes, the Ravens might be fortunate to have an 8-3 record but Lamar Jackson’s X Factor is allowing the third-year QB to play horribly for 80% of a game, knowing that the 20% will be enough to secure victory.
It’s everything that the Steelers don’t have under center. They’ve lost by 9, 14, and tied to the Lions at home so far; Heinz Field is no longer the fortress it once was.
Add the fact that Pittsburgh are 1-5 against the spread at home, and you have a road win that could spark some real anger in the stands.
Prediction: Ravens 33 Steelers 17 (Ravens -3.5)
49ers (-3.5) @ Seahawks – 21:25
Speaking of obituaries… The Seahawks’ season well and truly went off the rails Monday night, when they couldn’t get out of their own way and fell to Washington, leaving them marooned on just three wins.
And outside of the Patriots and Dolphins (I know, I know), the 49ers might be the hottest team in the league, with three straight wins and just one game back from the wildcard holding Rams.
It’s an absolute mess on defense for Seattle, who have given up the second most total yards in the league, despite playing a game less than three of the top five.
They have a short week and although San Fran will be missing Deebo Samuel and Fred Warner, they have enough strength in depth to put up the numbers necessary to win this divisional game and put a flatliner on the 2021 Seahawks, and possibly the tenure of Pete Carroll.
Prediction: 49ers 28 Seahawks 20 (49ers -3.5)
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