We’re halfway through the NFL season and there’s always one main storyline to take out of this – that one three-win team is probably making the postseason.
Usually by Week 9, we can tell who that is. Right now, the some the likely contenders include the Chargers, Raiders, Steelers, Lions and Bears.
That’s a lot of real quality that’s going to miss out on the postseason, but which one of them will make the leap in the second half of the season to reconfirm the storyline that gets brought up every single year?
Well, there’s only one way to find out.
Detroit Lions (+2) @ Oakland Raiders: -110
I understand that the Lions are travelling across the United States with nobody even resembling a running back in their back pocket, but you also need to understand the following:
Matt Stafford is disrespected. He’s having a career year, he’s finding targets left, right and center – and Detroit would 100% be the biggest loss to the postseason if they were to fall short off the back of an ultra-competitive NFC North.
Oakland have listed Josh Jacobs are questionable for Sunday and if he can’t go, they’re pretty strapped and haven’t fully recovered from losing Jared Cook in the off-season – whatever Darren Waller is, what he is absolutely isn’t – is Jared Cook.
Also, the Lions play man coverage more than any other team in the league and Tyrell Williams has always struggled against tight trail defences.
Expect Oakland to struggle to move the ball on first down, leading to good edge pressure from these Lions.
Back the Lions on CanPlay.
Carolina Panthers (-4) @ Tennessee Titans: -102
The Panthers, honestly.
It was a difficult game against the Niners, but Norv Turner has always come out firing as soon as his unit struggle to move the ball.
And just to be clear, his unit don’t struggle to move the ball in general – Kyle Allen got slapped in the face a few times. Christian McCaffrey still did his thing en masse and the Panthers offence will come back to being exactly who they were prior to the mishap.
And that’s also not truly fair on Allen. He does not go from the next big in football to Cam Newton’s shoe-shiner in the space of a week. I think we all just need to accept that 49ers are the best team in football, and live with it.
Tennessee are – well – not.
New England Patriots (-3.5) @ Baltimore Ravens: +102
It’s here, it’s here! The first really short handicap against the Patriots.
Folks, you know the drill don’t you?
Lump on here, because Bill Belichick’s record against young quarterbacks is outrageous. If you missed what he did to Sam Darnold a fortnight ago, go and watch it.
They’re going to force Jackson to throw the ball into man coverage – something he will struggle to do against a coverage system this sophisticated.
The Pats are going to serve up some of that zero-safety blitz that they love rolling out. In the last two years, the only quarterback who has been able to combat it is Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers Lamar Jackson is not.
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