Miami Dolphins @ Philadelphia Eagles
Start-time: Sunday 18:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2
Not much debate in this one about who will win. The Dolphins stink and the Eagles are starting to find their feet and look like they could come out of the ugly NFC East.
I do like a good stat and how about this one to show the progress of the Philadelphia Eagles' running game? Through the first four games of the season they went into a two tight end formation on 8% of offensive snaps and rushed for 2.9 yards per carry. On the subsequent four games they've got into that formation on 38% of offensive snaps and are averaging six yards per carry. That is what they call real progress.
I'm not a fan of Sam Bradford and never have been. He is not the right man to run this offense but is he good enough to take them to the division title? Possibly. Last week was only the second time this season his QBR cleared 100.0 and the important thing was he didn't make any mistakes. If he can play mistake-free football then that is all he has to do. He is a game-manager QB and the running backs should be able to carry the load in this up-tempo scheme that they play. The Eagles have lost Jordan Hicks for the season, which is a real issue but this week against the putrid Dolphins, I'm not too fussed.
Miami QB Ryan Tannehill is loved by the talking head community but I have just never seen it. He had a perfect QBR against the Texans but whenever he faces a half-decent defense he comes up short. Everyone fell in love with running back Lamar Miller after back-to-back 100 yard performances but in the past fortnight he's rushed for 59 yards total. The defense gave up 33 points to Buffalo last week, how can we trust we them against a high-tempo offense like Philly run?
Quite simply. We can't.
The spread has been set at 5.5pts but I want more so I'm taking the advanced Eagles -8.5pts spread on the Sportsbook at 27/20. Alas at the time of writing, the first touchdown markets aren't open so I can't add those picks to my tips. I do like either DeMarco Murray or Ryan Matthews though if you can get them at a good price. My secondary bets will therefore be about the points. I like under 49.5 points in the game and under 47.5 points plus Eagles to win with a 5.5pt handicap is at 3/1, you can't argue with that.
3pt Back Philadelphia winning with an 8.5pt handicap at 27/20 on the Sportsbook
2pt Back under 49.5 points at 20/21 on the Sportsbook
1pt Back under 47.5 points and Philly to win with a 5.5pt handicap at 3/1 on the Sportsbook
Minnesota Vikings @ Oakland Raiders
Start-time: Sunday, 21:05
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2
I would like to thank advances in technology for me being able to sidestep this game on Sunday and being able to watch the Patriots v Giants instead.
Still, if I'm being totally honest, this isn't a terrible match-up. The Vikings are now tied with the Packers for the lead in the NFC North and the Raiders are very much in the wildcard mix in the AFC. This game will go a long way to deciding whether either of these teams are going to kick on.
We'll start with the Raiders, who have a real live QB who's starting to get firmly entrenched in the second tier of players in that position. He has talent to throw the ball to, talent that gets yards after the catch. Michael Crabtree and Arami Cooper have formed one of the better wide receiver tandems in the country and you have to think this offense can score points on most teams, most weeks.
The Vikings have their starting QB listed as questionable but his head coach is confident that he'll pass concussion protocol. This is certainly a storyline to watch out for because if Teddy Bridgewater can't go, then this becomes a very tough game for Minnesota as Shaun Hill isn't going to provide fear for the Raiders' defense. Of course the running game of Adrian Peterson will be vital but if Hill gets the start, the Raiders will just stuff the box and challenge Hill to throw the ball down the field.
The spread has been set at 2.5 with the Raiders giving up the points and I think that is about right. I'm not sure how well they will be able to stop AP but I think they'll be able to score on Minnesota. This is very much an over-44.5pts game and that is 20/23 on the Sportsbook. Once I'm looking at the extended spread and Oaklands -4.5pts is 27/20 and I'm snapping that up. The first TD market like above still isn't live in this game as yet, but I'd like Michael Crabtree at the right price.
3pt Back Oakland to win with a 4.5 point handicap at 27/20 on the Sportsbook
2pt Back over 44.5 points at 20/23 on the Sportsbook