Four Games to Watch In Week 10

Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins – 12 CT

Good news for Vikings fans: Teddy Bridgewater is back on the active roster after a horrific knee injury over a year ago. Good news for Case Keenum fans: Keenum will be starting at least one more game. It’s a tough situation, who knows how Bridgewater will look coming back from injury? Keenum hasn’t played great, but he’s played well enough for the Vikings to be leading the NFC North. Beyond the QB controversy, it should be fun to watch Everson Griffen and the rest of the Vikings front seven get after the banged up Redskins line. The Redskins beat the Seahawks last week, and are a tough team. Though they’ve been banged up, it appears like they should be getting some of their starting players back from injury. The Vikings are favored in Vegas by 1.5. I’ll take the Vikes to cover, even in Washington.

Cardinals Rams Football

Los Angeles Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 12 CT

This isn’t a matchup I expected to be talking about in week 10, but here we are. After starting the season 0-4, the Chargers have clawed their way to a 3-5 record. Not great, but I’m not ready to write them off yet. The Jaguars are one of the surprise stories of the year so far, with a 5-3 record. The Jags have a serious shot at winning the AFC South, which would snap a nine season playoff drought. The Jaguars are an old school style team; defense and running the ball are their keys to success. Leonard Fournette is having a fantastic rookie season, but he was suspended last week for violating team rules. Hopefully he will get it figured out because he is a very exciting player to watch. The Jaguars are favored by 3.5, expect them to win by a touchdown.

New Orleans Saints @ Buffalo Bills – 12 CT

Another surprisingly good matchup. Think that the Jaguars have it bad that nine season playoff-less streak? The poor Bills haven’t made the playoffs since 1999! The Bills were 5-2 entering last week, and they managed to lose to the Jets on Thursday night. Thursday night games are tough for any team and weird things happen, but that must have been a heart breaker for Bills fans. On the other hand, the Saints have won six straight, and are doing it in some surprising ways: with a balanced offensive attack and solid defense. Drew Brees isn’t having one of his insane seasons statistically, but RBs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have stepped up in a major way and have been great. The Saints are favored by 3, and with the way they have been playing, how can you pick against them?

Dallas Cowboys @ Atlanta Falcons – 4:25 CT

Last week, I said it looked like the Ezekiel Elliott suspension saga had finally ended and that he was suspended for good. I was wrong. A judge allowed Zeke to play, and he helped propel the Cowboys over the Chiefs. Now, Zeke is suspended. For what seems to be the hundredth time this season. I’m so sick and tired of this, it’s pretty ridiculous. It looks like Zeke is finally suspended for the full six and that he’ll miss this, but who knows at this point? The Falcons are struggling in a major way and are at 4-4. There’s something about them that makes me what to believe in them as a playoff team though. But if that’s the case, a win this week would be huge. Atlanta is favored by 3 at home, and I think this is the toughest line yet. How will the Cowboys play without Ezekiel Elliott? Can the Falcons turn their season around? I’m going with all of the favorites this week, I’ll take the Falcons to cover.

Four Games to Watch In Week 8

Oakland Raiders @ Buffalo Bills – 12 CT

Just when I thought the Raiders were having a bad year, they give an impressive performance and beat my Super Bowl favorite, the Kansas City Chiefs. Derek Carr looked fully healthy, and Amari Cooper stepped up and made big plays. The win over the Chiefs may have saved the Raiders season, but now they travel to the other side of the country to face off against the 4-2 Buffalo Bills. The Bills four wins have come against the Jets, Broncos, Falcons, and Buccaneers, but those wins seem less impressive with each coming week. The Buffalo defense is going to need to come out strong to hold the Raiders explosive offense to a minimum. This past game against the Buccaneers was the first time the Bills allowed an opponent to score more than 20 points, and if the Bills can keep the Raiders around that number they will be in a good position to win the game. Vegas has the Bills favored by 2.5, and I’d put my money on the Bills. It’s tough for a California team to travel all the way to Buffalo and play at noon. I expect the Bills to win by a touchdown.

Los Angeles Chargers @ New England Patriots – 12 CT

After starting the year 0-4, the Chargers have rebounded and won three straight. The Chargers should have been dead in the water at 0-4 in what many people thought was the toughest division in the NFL, but now they have a serious shot at making a run at the playoffs. Speaking of three straight victories, the Patriots have done the same. After a shaky start to the season, the Patriots are 5-2. Their defense looked atrocious in the beginning of the season, but on this three game win streak they’ve given up an average of less than 13 points per game. The Patriots are favored by 7, and that line seems pretty fair. I’ll take the Patriots to cover, but I would not be surprised to see the Chargers put up a good fight.

Houston Texans @ Seattle Seahawks – 3:05 CT

The Seahawks made news this week by signing Dwight Freeney, formerly one of the best pass rushers in the league. Freeney is unlikely to be a major contributor, but he might be able to give the Seahawks already tough defense a little boost. Last week, the Seahawks handled the Giants, and have a three game winning streak of their own. On the other sideline, Deshaun Watson is the Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite. Watson and the Texans are third in the NFL in points per game, but can they score on a menacing Seattle defense? The Seahawks are favored by 5.5. While I really like what Watson and the Houston offense has been doing, I think playing in Seattle is just too much to overcome. Seahawks cover.

Watson

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins – 3:25 CT

The Eagles have a solid lead in the NFC East, but don’t sleep on the Cowboys and Redskins as playoff contenders. After a confounding number of appeals, it appears once again as if Ezekiel Elliott will play out the season with the Cowboys. The Cowboys crushed the lousy 49ers last week, but they get a good test this week against the Redskins. While the Redskins don’t have a very impressive record (4-3), I believe they are better than their record indicates. The Redskins have only lost to the Eagles (twice) and Chiefs so far this season, two of the very best teams in the league. Dallas is favored in Washington by 2, but I’ll happily take Washington to win outright.

The Sammy Watkins Trade: A Tale of Two Teams

Sammy Watkins is headed to Hollywood. The super talented but oft-injured wide reciever was traded from the Buffalo Bills to the Los Angeles Rams in a shocking transaction on Friday. The Bills traded Watkins and a 2018 sixth round pick to the Rams for cornerback EJ Gaines and a 2018 second round pick.

The Bills traded their first round pick in 2014 and first and fourth round picks in 2015 to move up five spots for Watkins in 2014. Watkins proved to be a very talented receiver, but Watkins has missed 11 games in his three year career.

sammy-watkins

To replace Watkins, the Bills made a trade with the Eagles to acquire receiver Jordan Matthews. Going into the 2018 draft, the Bills will have two first round picks, two second round picks, and two third round picks. It seems like the two trades the Bills made are setting them up for the future, and the team will take a step back this season.

From the Rams’ perspective, Watkins is a number one receiver and an excellent weapon for last year’s one overall pick Jared Goff. The Rams ranked dead last in offensive yards last season, a miserable 700 yards behind the next lowest team, and 2,613 yards behind the Saints who lead the NFL.┬áIn other words, the Rams offense was atrocious last year. More offensive firepower was absolutely needed, especially in LA where football isn’t the end all be all. The Rams are trying to establish a solid fan base after leaving St. Louis, and now that the Chargers are joining them in Los Angeles, there is even more of a reason to try to put together a fun football team.

The Rams now have a former number one overall pick starting at quarterback, an elite running back in Todd Gurley, and the talented Watkins at receiver. That’s a pretty solid offensive core, and then consider their youth. Watkins is the oldest of that group at 24, Gurley is 23, and Goff is 22. If Watkins and Gurley continue to improve, and Goff becomes a good QB, the Rams offense has a chance to be lethal in a couple of seasons.

While the Bills seem set on building their roster through the draft, the Rams are taking the opposite approach by trading a pick for a proven young talent. Neither of the Rams nor Bills figure to be a factor in the playoff race this season, but their two different approaches to team building will be interesting to watch going forward.