This was a week to circle on the NFL schedule. Not only do we get Cowboys-49ers on Sunday night, but we get to see how Sean Payton’s trash talk of Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett plays out when the Broncos host New York in a battle of 1-3 teams.
Speaking of 1-3 teams, the Cardinals host Cincinnati with a chance to send the Bengals to 1-4 and a massive longshot for returning to the playoffs. Few could have seen this coming before the season.
- Saints-Patriots Both Score 15 Points (-115) at Bet365
- Jets-Broncos Both Score 20 Points (+165) at Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)
- Cardinals Over 20.5 Points (-115) at Caesars Sportsbook (check our Caesars Sportsbook Review)
Saints and Patriots Race to 15 Points
The bar is low for these struggling offenses after neither the Patriots nor Saints were able to score a touchdown in their losses in Week 4. But there is a right mixture of injuries and motivation in this game to think both could get to 15 points and better in this matchup.
Sunday, October 8, 2023 – 01:00 PM EDT at Gillette Stadium
Saints Need to Pick It Up
The Saints have been struggling on offense all season, but they at least had 16 to 20 points in each of the first 3 games. Last week was a brutal home performance, but it was also Derek Carr’s first game back from his shoulder injury, and Alvin Kamara made his season debut after a 3-game suspension and looked rusty. Kamara had 13 catches for 33 yards, which is historically low and unfathomable.
Carr checking down against a Bill Belichick defense on the road sounds like a major mismatch, but he did lead the Raiders to at least 20 points in his most recent games against New England in 2020 (36-20 loss) and 2022 (30-24 win). Carr had 5 touchdown passes to 1 interception in those games.
The other good news for New Orleans is that the New England defense lost a couple of its best players to injury. Pass rusher Matt Judon is out indefinitely, and rookie corner Christian Gonzalez is also expected to miss time.
Both are definitely not playing this Sunday, which should be a relief to Carr as Gonzalez was looking like a Defensive Rookie of the Year contender. The Saints have a trio of very good wide receivers to use. They have to start getting more consistent production out of this passing game.
The Patriots owned the Jets like they always do, but they allowed at least 24 points in their other games this year.
Mac Jones Running Out of Chances?
Another reason to like the Saints to score at least 15 points is you never know when Mac Jones and this New England offense will cough up a turnover for a quick touchdown. Jones did it twice against Dallas last week, including a brutal pick-6 that looked like a rookie mistake instead of a 3rd-year starter.
Jones was benched for Bailey Zappe last week but is expected to start this game. He needs to have a good showing before that benching turns permanent as Belichick is too old and too close to the all-time wins record to mess around with terrible quarterback play like that.
The Saints have a great defense but their 11-game streak of not allowing 21 points came to an end last week when Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers hung 26 points on them in a game where Mike Evans left early with a hamstring injury.
Do not expect Jones to put up 26 points, but he is at home and has some weapons to work with around him. The Cowboys have a much better pass rush than the Saints, so hopefully Jones will not implode with turnovers and play better this week. He has to be running out of chances to start here.
Between the Saints shaking off some rust, the defensive injuries for the Patriots, and the cracks in the armor of the New Orleans defense last week, this is a prime opportunity for both offenses to chip in at least 15 points to hit this game prop.
NFL Pick: Both Teams Score 15 Points (-115) at Bet365
Zach Wilson Ready for a Terrible Defense?
The backstory for this otherwise boring game between 1-3 teams is fascinating. Nathaniel Hackett was fired after doing a horrible job as head coach of the Broncos last year. Sean Payton was hired and this summer he said to the media that Hackett did one of the worst coaching jobs in NFL history.
Payton was right, but coaches never attack each other publicly like that. Now Hackett comes in as coordinator of the Jets looking to hang a big number on what looks like the worst defense in the NFL. Can Payton back it up and put up a bigger number on New York?
We are looking at a juicy prop with +165 odds at Bet365 for both teams to score at least 20 points.
Sunday, October 8, 2023 – 04:25 PM EDT at Empower Field at Mile High
Hackett’s Side of Things
Maybe the Jets are the risky side of this bet as the offense has yet to score 20 points in any game this season. They got to 22 points vs. Buffalo thanks to a punt return touchdown in overtime. They got to 20 points vs. Kansas City thanks to a phantom safety on a facemask penalty. However, Zach Wilson looked solid in that game Sunday night.
Now Wilson gets an abysmal Denver defense that is last in yards, points, first downs, and pressure rate. The 70 points allowed in Miami inflates these numbers, but Denver’s defense has been awful in every game this season.
- The Broncos allowed 17 points on just 6 drives to the Raiders in Week 1.
- The Broncos allowed Washington to come back from 21-3 down to lose 35-33 in Week 2.
- Everyone knows Denver allowed 726 yards and 70 points in Miami in Week 3.
- The Broncos also made Justin Fields look like a God for 3 quarters on Sunday before finally getting him to turn the ball over in the 4th quarter in a 31-28 game.
Look for Hackett to dial up some of his best calls in this game, and Wilson has talent around him like running back Breece Hall and wideout Garrett Wilson, players who can create big plays in this offense.
Payton’s Side of Things
In the other corner is Sean Payton, known for his history of incredible offense and often poor defense in New Orleans. He seems to be bringing that mixture to Denver this year as the offense has been improved with Russell Wilson, but we don’t even talk about that much because of how bad the defense has been.
But Wilson has thrown 9 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions and he is back up to 7.7 yards per attempt and a 106.7 passer rating. The offense is middle of the road in situational football, but that’s better than last year when they were terrible.
Denver scored 16 points on just 6 drives in Week 1, and the Broncos have scored at least 20 points in each of the other 3 games this year. The Broncos have a nice wide receiver trio with rookie Marvin Mims proving to be a deep threat with 26.9 yards per catch. Even Brandon Johnson, the No. 4 wideout, has 3 touchdown catches on his 7 receptions this year.
The Jets pride themselves as a great defense, but they did allow 30 points to Dallas and 23 to Kansas City (17 in the 1st quarter). Denver is a tough place to play, and despite the jokes people like to make, the Broncos have the best Wilson at quarterback in this game.
You can always tease it down to 15 points for both teams at -150 odds at Bet365. But with the way the Denver defense is playing, the personal factor for Hackett and the Jets, and the way Wilson looks functional in this offense, I think you should go all the way and take both teams to score 20 points.
NFL Pick: Both Teams to Score 20 Points (+165) at Bet365
Arizona to Stun Bengals Next?
No one would have imagined the Cardinals and Bengals would both be 1-3 with Arizona looking like the better football team, but that is where we are going into Week 5. The Bengals have the fewest yards in the league and are next to last in scoring.
The Bengals are still a 3-point favorite, but we are focusing on the team scoring total for Arizona (over/under 20.5).
Sunday, October 8, 2023 – 04:05 PM EDT at State Farm Stadium
Joshua Dobbs to the Rescue?
Expectations were super low for the Arizona offense without Kyler Murray this season. Things seemed to be heading in the direction of tanking when the Cardinals cut Colt McCoy and signed Joshua Dobbs in late August.
Going into Week 5, Dobbs is No. 8 in QBR (67.6) as he has been the 2nd-most valuable rushing quarterback behind only Patrick Mahomes this season. But even his passing has been adequate as Dobbs is completing 70.7% of his passes with a 45.7% success rate (ranked 16th).
The Cardinals have scored at least 16 points in every game but they scored 28 in both home games, which is where this game will be. Week 1 was rough in Washington, but things have picked up in the other games, especially with a running game that has utilized Dobbs’ mobility and gotten good play out of running back James Conner.
Michael Wilson is another unsung rookie wide receiver in 2023 as the later-round guys are vastly outplaying the 1st-round picks. Everyone knows what Puka Nacua is doing for the Rams, but Wilson is a 3rd-round pick who has caught 14-of-16 targets for 237 yards and 2 touchdowns already. He has established himself as the No. 2 wideout in this passing game after Marquise Brown.
Cincinnati’s Defense Is Struggling
The Cardinals are a good matchup for the Bengals, because Cincinnati is struggling with run-based attacks right now. The only great defensive game for the Bengals was against the Rams, who rely heavily on Matthew Stafford throwing to his wide receivers. The Bengals overwhelmed Stafford’s line and sacked him 6 times.
But in games against the Browns, Ravens, and Titans, who are all run-based offenses, the Bengals struggled. The Titans and Ravens had few problems in hanging 27 points on them, and while Cleveland did not get a good game from Deshaun Watson in Week 1, Nick Chubb and the rushing attack piled up 206 yards on the ground in a 24-3 win.
The Bengals are ranked 31st in rushing yards allowed and 30th in yards per carry. The Cardinals have the right rushing attack with Dobbs and Conner to give the Bengals fits. They also have the speed at wideout to do damage in this matchup.
It is time to start fading the Bengals and trust the Cardinals to perform well in this game at home. If the Cardinals can beat Dallas and look adequate against the 49ers for 75% of the game, then why not excel against a Cincinnati team that has played so poorly on both sides of the ball this year?
NFL Pick: Cardinals Over 20.5 Points (-115) at Caesars Sportsbook
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