Welcome to this week’s edition of NFL Breakdown. We focus on three games you need to check out and all the info that you’ll need ahead of the contests. This week we will look at the matchups between the Panthers vs Buccaneers, Browns vs Texans, and Lions vs Washington Football Team.
Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Spread: Buccaneers -6 (-110)
- Point Total: 50.5 (-110)
Carolina had a tough week. The Chiefs handed them their 6th loss of the year as RB Christian McCaffrey returned to action. To make matters worse, McCaffrey suffered a shoulder injury and will miss at least one more game. Teddy Bridgewater was able to keep the game close, throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns in one of his best performances of the year. Wide receiver Curtis Samuel caught 9 passes for 105 yards and one of those scores. This week is essentially a must-win for the Panthers if they want to stand any chance of making the playoffs.
Speaking of tough weeks, Tom Brady and Co. got absolutely bullied by Drew Brees and the Saints. The 38-3 beatdown was the worst of Brady’s historic career. Until this year, Brady had never been swept by a divisional opponent. After the game, Brady said, “Everyone’s got to do a lot better, and it starts with me.” Brady threw three interceptions, but did manage to get newly activated WR Antonio Brown involved with three catches for 31 yards. Things might be looking up for Tampa Bay, after their other two losses this season the Bucs have wrecked their opponents. One of those opponents was the Panthers in Week 2.
Tampa’s rushing attack was stellar against the Panthers in their first meeting. They will look to get going early after only five carries against New Orleans. Carolina does not have a strong defense and Brady is obviously on a mission this week. The Bucs are number one in rushing yards allowed per game and without McCaffrey, the Panthers will have to rely on Bridgewater to pull it out. Carolina has only covered once at home this season. I do not expect him to be up to the task, give me the Bucs to cover and the over.
Cleveland Browns vs Houston Texans
- Spread: Browns -3.5 (-107)
- Point Total: 47.5 (-110)
Cleveland is coming off a bye and is currently sitting at 5-3 for third place in the AFC North. The second half of their season has them primed to make a push for a wildcard berth, but that begins with them hosting the Texans. Running back Nick Chubb appears to be ready to make his return from IR and the Browns can definitely use him. Kareem Hunt has played well in relief, however, being able to use both backs has been far more effective. The Browns do allow the 7th most points so far this season and Baker Mayfield will try to shake off one of the worst performances of his career against the Raiders. Not having Odell Beckham Jr. certainly will not help, but Chubb’s return should take some pressure off.
Houston, while still technically eligible to secure a playoff spot, is dead in the water. Their only two wins this season came against Jacksonville, with last week coming down to a two-point conversion stop to secure the win. The Texans will likely be without starting running back David Johnson which means the far less efficient Duke Johnson will get the nod. They have not covered a single time on the road yet this year.
The Texans are dead last in rushing defense and fourth in points allowed. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt should eat. Mayfield may not have to do much and Cleveland should be able to hone in on Deshaun Watson and his receivers. Give me Cleveland -3.5 and the over.
Detroit Lions vs Washington Football Team
- Spread: Lions -4.5
- Point Total: Unavailable as of this writing
Making their first appearance in the breakdown, the Detroit Lions. The Lions have yet to win a division game this season and continue to underperform behind “defensive guru” Matt Patricia. Matthew Stafford was unable to practice with the team prior to the game against the Vikings, and was replaced by Chase Daniel in the loss. Detroit gives up the 7th most yards from penalties and the third-most rushing yards per game.
Also making their first appearance, the Washington Football Team. They are my current pick to win the NFC East. Alex Smith threw three costly interceptions last week against the Giants, but I expect him to get better. Especially when Antonio Gibson should have a fantastic matchup against the Lions. Do not put too much stock in Washington’s offensive rankings to this point as inconsistent QB play greatly affected them. With a clear-cut healthy starter and the worst division in front of them, Washington is poised to break out.
Detroit has not covered at home all year against the spread. The 4.5 points they are currently favored by is too much against a determined Alex Smith and legitimate number one WR Terry McLaurin. Not only will the Football Team cover, they will win and start their march to the week 17 showdown for the division against the Eagles. I am taking the Team in this matchup.
Week 9 Recap: After a few good picks in Week 8, I had my humble pie. I had my first 0-for against the spread of the season.
- Last Week Against the Spread: 0-3
- Last Week Over/Under: 2-1
- Season Against the Spread: 10-8
- Season Over/Under: 5-2
*Odds via DraftKings