RedZone Sports’ Steve Baumohl with his best bets for this week’s NFL action
New England @ Tampa Bay
TAMPA host the New England Patriots, who are on the back of a disappointing defeat by the Carolina Panthers, this weekend.
The Panthers, whose own offensive ineptitude has been evident since Week 1, found the perfect antidote to the Patriots’ defense.
Cam Newton completed over 75% of his passes while the team rushed for 140 yards.
It’s clear now that the lack of a pass rush for the Patriots is clearly having a knock-on effect on other defensive units, and all this does is put pressure on Tom Brady to keep scoring to bail them out.
I don’t see their defensive problems getting fixed overnight, so expect them to struggle over the next few weeks.
This should come as music to Tampa Bay’s ears, as their head coach, Dirk Koetter, puts an emphasis on their passing offense.
Tampa, who just managed to squeak by the New York Giants, have players that could prove a match-up nightmare for the Pats’ defensive backs.
Both Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson are dangerous receivers that can stretch the Patriots’ secondary, while a hungry Doug Martin returning from suspension should provide a welcome boost to their running game.
We all expect to Patriots to win. However, after dropping two home games as nine-point favourites, tread with caution when giving up points with this team.
I can see Tampa keeping this close and receiving almost a touchdown at home seems a bit too much.
Carolina @ Detroit
Detroit beat Minnesota in a game they had no business winning. Detroit were fortunate to recover three fumbles from Minnesota, while Matt Stafford was sacked six times, a season high.
They only gained 3.7 yards per play (compared to Minny’s 5.8 yards) and were giving up over five yards per carry before the fumbles and Dalvin Cook’s injury struck. It was a cruel blow (the rookie RB is now out for the year with a torn ACL) which clearly affected the mentality of his Vikings’ teammates.
Detroit now host Carolina, who just overcame New England at Foxborough, and confidence seems restored in Cam Newton and his offense.
Julius Peppers is playing at a high level and he can again cause problems for Detroit, in much the same way Danielle Hunter did.
In short, Carolina are the better team here and can come away with a win, riding an improving offense.
Green Bay @ Dallas
Green Bay come into the game with a lot of injuries, mainly at the offensive tackle and running back positions.
Fortunately for them, they face a Dallas D who will doubtless struggle to take full advantage. Dallas’ defense were simply abused by Jared Goff last weekend, and now square up to the mighty Aaron Rodgers, who will take full advantage of this porous secondary. On the other side of the ball, Dak Prescott is starting to make more errors, having been asked to do more on offense than last year when he was more of a game-manager.
So if all-star linebacker Sean Lee doesn’t go again for the Cowboys, I can’t see them being able to stop Rodgers. This may come down to the team with the ball last, but I’ll take the better QB any given Sunday.
Tampa +5 10/11
Carolina to win 5/4
Green Bay to win 11/10