We’ve rounded the halfway mark and we’re headed for home or whatever you want to call the stretch run of the NFL season. It’s fascinating to see the playoff standings right now, with things mostly sitting pretty chalky in terms of who we expected to see in the postseason before the season. That never happens in the NFL and we’re somehow getting it here! There’s a ton of parity as usual, but the top and bottom of the league are starting to separate pretty aggressively — the bad teams in the NFL are REALLY bad.
Let’s try and pick on a couple of them as part of the best bets below.
Andy Reid/off the bye. Sing that mess on repeat and don’t overthink this game. The Eagles are a great football team and do a lot of stuff that will make life difficult for Kansas City but if you’re giving me Andy Reid/off the bye at less than a field goal I’m taking it every single time. Especially when he’s playing his old team and even more especially when Patrick Mahomes knows they could very well see them in the Super Bowl again and doesn’t want to give them any hint at being able to emerge victorious.
This is a massive spread and a bit aggressive fading a Las Vegas team that’s been quite feisty the last two weeks under Antonio Pierce. However, that feisty team unleashed against two very bad teams in the Giants and Jets. The Giants are either the worst or second-worst team in professional football and the Jets offense is so bad it lets anyone hang around. The Dolphins offense? It’s not bad! Josh Jacobs might get his here early but the Raiders will have to pass a ton to keep up which means Aidan O’Connell under a ton of pressure for the whole second half against a Vic Fangio defense. Tyreek Hill also destroys former division opponents, combining for 20 catches, 372 yards and three touchdowns in earth-scorching performances against the Chargers and Broncos already this year. He’s going to dismantle this Raiders defense.
The formula for Los Angeles is as simple as this: when Matthew Stafford plays, this team is good. When he doesn’t, this team is bad. Stafford is back now and the Rams are a one-point dog at home to a very good Seahawks team, but a Seahawks team that the Rams have been good against since Sean McVay took over. Aaron Donald is still Aaron Donald and he’ll create problems for Geno Smith. Stafford and McVay know this game is critical to keeping any playoff hopes alive. The Seahawks, at 6-3, look locked into a playoff spot. The Rams, at 3-6, are being counted out. But the Rams have 4-5 very winnable games left on their schedule. If they can pull off a small upset at home in Week 11, the postseason is very much back on the table.
Broncos (-2.5) vs. Vikings
Speaking of sneaky playoff teams … the Broncos are +550 to make the postseason. I’m not saying this is an easy pathway by ANY stretch, because the AFC is looking like a gauntlet. And the Broncos are still in the basement of their own division, with a long way to go before they’re in the mix in the postseason. They have six “in-the-hunt” teams to crawl over before they even get to sniff a wild card spot. But their four wins are interesting — they beat a bad Chicago team miraculously, they snuffed out a terrible Packers team … and then they beat the Chiefs and Bills sandwiching their bye week over the last three weeks. Quite the paradox! The defense has turned things around in the last month and Sean Payton is suddenly getting the most out of Russell Wilson. I think Denver keeps it rolling against the Joshua Dobbs Cinderella story.
Chargers (-3) at Packers
Speaking of that terrible Packers team … I’m laying the points with the Chargers in this one, even though my Spidey Sense is tingling a bit in the other direction. Green Bay is AWFUL. Jordan Love doesn’t look good, even though this disaster is not entirely his fault. The defense features nine first-round picks and it’s been horrendous for the last half-decade. Joe Barry ain’t it, guys. The focus will be Love because he replaced Aaron Rodgers, he was a first-round pick, they traded up for him, they gave him an extension, etc., etc. But the reality is it would require an MVP effort from the quarterback for this team to be good. The loss of Rodgers should be more apparent than ever in Green Bay. The Chargers are desperate and will score enough to steal a cover here.