Plenty of NFL this Sunday, including Jacksonville and Buffalo facing off in London. Neil Monnery previews that game and likes the big upset as well as the Patriots and Giants to win later in the day.
"Starting QB Tyrod Taylor won't suit up for the second week on the spin. He'll be joined on the sidelines by Sammy Watkins Kyle Williams, Percy Harvin, Karlos Williams and Seantrel Henderson."
Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars (in London)
Live on Sky Sports 3 and BBC Two
Wembley signed a deal to bring the NFL back for at least two games a year for as long as the London experiment shows no signs of slowing down. We already have the new White Hart Lane locked into two matches a year from 2018. Sunday's game is another 'home' game for the Jaguars, who will continue to travel over to the English capital city as part of this new deal.
On Sunday they'll face the Buffalo Bills who have not just been hit by the injury bug, put positively smashed over the head with it. Starting QB Tyrod Taylor won't suit up for the second week on the spin. He'll be joined on the sidelines by Sammy Watkins, Kyle Williams, Percy Harvin, Karlos Williams and Seantrel Henderson. A worrying sight for all Bills fans as at 3-3 they are still just about in the wildcard hunt.
EJ Manuel went 28 for 42 for 263 yards and both a touchdown and an inception in his start last week. He faces a defense this week though who are giving up 29.3 points a game and 366.2 yards of offense per outing. The Jags quite simply aren't very good, certainly on the defensive side of the ball.
On offense though they have weapons. Blake Bortles has Julius Thomas, Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson to target, although the latter is listed as questionable. All three though if healthy rate as legitimate targets who can get both separation and go up and get the ball. This game should be one for those who like high scoring and my tips will reflect that.
On that note I'll take the over in the over/under 41.5 points market. I'm also going with the Jags straight up, in large part to the injuries the Bills have suffered. You can get them at 3.02/1 on the exchange. As for first touchdown scorer, at 12/1 on the Sportsbook, Allen Hurns is my guy here.
2pt Back Jacksonville to win @ 3.002/1 on the Exchange
2pt Back over 41.5 points scored at 20/21 on the Sportsbook
1pt Back Allen Hurns to score the first touchdown at 12/1 on the Sportsbook
New York Jets @ New England Patriots
Start-time: Sunday 17:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports 3
I got a shock this week when I saw Peter King had the New York Jets as number four in his fine fifteen. I know they are 4-1 and have a very good defense but if they are the fourth best team in the NFL then the league is down. If they go into New England and win then I'll start to reconsider but I'm still not sold at all on the Jets being anything better than a wildcard team.
They travel to Foxborough on Sunday knowing that to win, they are going to have to lean on the running game of Chris Ivory. Controlling the clock and not making mistakes is the only way anyone is beating these Patriots. If the Jets rolled into town with Geno Smith under center then they would have no chance. Ryan Fitzpatrick is at least a bit more trustworthy, who shouldn't try and force it. The 32-year-old though has given up at least one interception in five straight games this season. That isn't a good sign.
Over on the other sideline, the Patriots are playing with swag. That offense is purring like a Porsche 911 engine. It is a rare occurrence when a QB has both the physical tools as well as the mental tools to understand a defense and execute plays. Tom Brady is at that point with this team. The Pats don't play with a traditional deep threat WR, but instead run a slant heavy, rub route, crossing pattern and up the seam passing offense. This will mostly negate the so called 'Revis Island' in this match-up, so don't get concerned by that when you go to the Exchange or Sportsbook.
My colleague and uber Jets fan Luca Bercelli has said that the Jets match-up well against the Patriots, in his tip sheet. I couldn't disagree more. The Jets match-up terribly against the Patriots because the blitz heavy Jets D will be picked apart by the quick passing of Brady.
When it comes to tips then I'm quite relaxed about the Patriots winning straight up. The 7.5 on the spread though I'm less confident about. The Pats keep dropping below the spread late when the game is won by giving up garbage time touchdowns. The over/under is set at 48.5 and in a rare moment, I'm fancying the under at 20/21 on the Sportsbook. Staying there and Chris Ivory at 13/2 for the first touchdown raises an eyebrow and if the Patriots are to score first, 16/1 for Danny Amendola is worth a point.
2pt Back under 48.5 points at 20/21 on the Sportsbook
1pt Back Chris Ivory to score the first touchdown at 13/2 on the Sportsbook
1pt Back Danny Amendola to score the first touchdown at 16/1 on the Sportsbook
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
Start-time: Sunday, 20:25
TV: Live on Sky Sports 3
The final game of the three games on this calendar date will be done by one of my NFL colleagues, but the reverse of this game had one of the best finishes of the season so far in Week 1. The Giants had that game won, the QB told his teammate not to score so they could waste more time and the Cowboys got the ball back and went down the field and won it with seven seconds remaining.
On Sunday evening though the Cowboys will not have their QB of that comeback suited up. Tony Romo is still very much out and Dez Bryant's return is considered a long shot, although the star wide receiver is back in practice. Under center will be Matt Cassel. Those six words do not make Betfair customers rush to the exchange to back the Cowboys to do anything good. After Brendon Weeden's very short leash in the big D, the offense is now turned over to the former Patriot, Chief, Viking and Bill.
The Cowboys will need their defense to get to Eli Manning and they have this trio of linebackers who gave the Patriots fits a fortnight ago. Rolando McClain, Greg Hardy and Sean Lee can get to the QB and cause chaos in the backfield. Eli's performance on Monday night was not up to scratch. If he plays like that (24/38, 189 YD, 1 TD, 2 INT) then the Cowboys will have every chance to win a low scoring affair.
The points in this one have been set at 45.5 and I'm liking the under at 10/11 on the Sportsbook. I do think the Giants eke out this one but it will be close. The question is whether they win by 3.5 or more. I'm thinking they do - just. I type this though with very little confidence.
Neil Monnery NFL P/L 2015 Season
Staked - 53pts
Returned - 110.33pts
P&L - +57.33pts