NFL betting tips: Eagles set to rue Johnson absence

 
Steve Baumohl
New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles
Lane Johnson (middle) will miss this game for Philadelphia (Source: Getty)

Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers

Friday 1.25am

PHILADELPHIA, fresh off their resounding win over the Arizona Cardinals, will look to keep their three-game winning streak alive when taking on the Carolina Panthers, who just survived a furious comeback from the Detroit Lions last time out.

If one takes a closer look at both of these teams, they will find that they’re not too dissimilar. Both team strengths are being able to pass the ball efficiently and being strong against the run, while sharing the same weakness against the pass; as evidenced by their allowed passer rating of 98.1 (Panthers) and 95.5 (Eagles).

The Eagles get a defensive boost with the return of Fletcher Cox, but the loss of Lane Johnson, who has concussion, could prove costly to this team's success in the passing and running game.

The Panthers have a defense that could wreak havoc on a subpar offensive line, and with the two teams being so similar, it only takes one injury to tilt the advantage towards the other team.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday 9.25pm

The undefeated Kansas City Chiefs will look to get revenge for the painful play-off loss suffered last season at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Alex Smith is performing at a high level right now and with a dominant running game, the team is playing some of the best football in the league.

On the defensive side, they are allowing just a 51.4-completion percentage from opposing quarterbacks – a remarkable stat considering they’re without Eric Berry in the line-up.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers' offense have struggled to capture the eye-catching form of last term.

He is regressing and now faces a dominant Justin Houston, who will look to cause him more problems.

Pittsburgh’s defense took advantage of an early schedule that involved playing DeShone Kizer, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco and Mike Glennon but now they face their strongest test.

Kansas are the better team right now, firing on all cylinders, and with the added motivation, I can see them winning comfortably.

Chicago Bears at Baltimore Ravens

Sunday 6pm

The Bears travel to Baltimore after a heartbreaking loss to the Vikings. Mitch Trubisky, making his first start, threw a terrible interception on what could have been the game-winning drive.

However, there are signs he was more competent than Glennon and his mobility will clearly help the Bears’ running game.

On the road facing a strong Ravens defense isn’t ideal for a rookie, but if they ask Trubisky to just manage the game, they can keep it close.

Baltimore’s strength is their pass defense, while their run defense can be exploited, especially by a two-headed attack from Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen.

On the other side, the Bears' weakness is their pass defense, but this is not something Flacco is capable of fully exploiting right now.

He’s struggling for form and Chicago’s pass rush can get to him to cause problems.

Baltimore will most probably win this game but to give up 6.5pts with an inept offense is asking too much.

POINTERS

Carolina Panthers -3.5 v Philadelphia 20/21

Kansas City Chiefs -4.5 v Pittsburgh 20/21

Chicago Bears +6.5 v Baltimore 25/27

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