Green Bay @ New Orleans
Recommended Bet: NO -3.0
Green Bay Packers: (Week 5 bye)
-WR DeVante Adams (hamstring) was injured week 2. He is DOUBTFUL.
-C Corey Linsley (hand) was injured week 2. He’s practicing in full and should be fine.
-DT Kenny Clark (groin) was injured week 1 and INACTIVE week 2 after not practicing all week. He did not practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday.
IR: WR Devin Funchess (opt out), RG Lane Taylor (knee)
New Orleans Saints: (Week 6 bye)
-WR Michael Thomas (ankle) was INACATIVE week 2 after not practicing. He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and looks unlikely to play.
-LG Andrus Peat (undisclosed) left in the 4th quarter.
-DT Malcom Brown (foot) did not practice Wednesday/Thursday.
-DE Marcus Davenport (elbow) was INACTIVE weeks 1 and 2. He has not practiced this year.
IR: LB Kiko Alonso (knee)
Line Watching: The line opened at -3.5 and was bet down to 3, which is where it is as of writing (Friday afternoon).
If you’re looking to fade early season, 2 game sample size crap, this weeks picks are full of them. But this game easily takes the cake.
Early season tape watchers will tell you Aaron Rodgers has returned to MVP status and old man Drew Brees has a noodle arm that couldn’t complete a bubble screen. And they wouldn’t be wrong. Rodgers hasn’t looked anywhere near this good since 2016 and has easily been the best quarterback in the league. In the interest of context, he’s played two pretty horrid defenses (Minnesota and Detroit), and he’ll be without the Packers only true receiving weapon. Rodgers does play behind one of the better offensive lines in football and will look to complete passes to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, and RB Aaron Jones. To give Jones credit, he’s an incredible receiver for a running back, but the rest of the options are consistently awful. The defense is solid up front — particularly if Kenny Clarke can play. The Smith’s (Za’Darius and Preston) are a solid pass rushing duo. The secondary is led by CB Jaire Alexander and a solid safety tandem in Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage.
Drew Brees has been made. I grant you this. It’s particularly concerning because he’s looked pretty awful at the end of his last two seasons, but he always seems to start hot. The fact that he’s played this poorly (60.8 PFF grade) this early is a terrible sign. But we shouldn’t overlook the Saints roster, which is probably the most complete in the league. The Smith brothers are solid, but they’ll need a bulldozer to get by tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramcyk. Michael Thomas likely isn’t playing, but Alvin Kamara, Emmanuel Sanders, Jared Cook, and Tre’Quan Smith are all much better options than the Packers receivers. The defense is just as complete — they’re pass rush features Cam Jordan, one of the better edge rushers in football, and Marcus Davenport. The backend is manned by a solid corner duo in Marshon Lattimore and Jenoris Jenkis, as well as a play-making safety Marcus Williams. There simply isn’t a negative anywhere on this roster (except maybe QB).
Tampa Bay @ Denver
Recommended Bet: TB -6.0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (Week 13 bye)
-WR Chris Godwin (concussion) was INACTIVE week 2. He’s been removed from concussion protocol and will play week 3.
Denver Broncos: (Week 8 bye)
-QB Drew Lock (shoulder) was injured week 2 and will be out “at least” two weeks. He is OUT week 3.
-WR Jerry Jeudy (ribs) is QUESTIONABLE, but practiced in full Friday. He’ll play.
-RB Phillip Lindsay (foot) was injured week 1 and INACTIVE week 2. He is expected to miss the “next few weeks,” per the NFL network. He is DOUBTFUL week 3.
IR: WR Courtland Sutton (ACL – season ending), T Ja’Wuan James (opt out), DE DeMarcus Walker (calf), DT Kyle Peko (opt out), DT Dre’Mont Jones (knee – short term), OLB Von Miller (ankle), LB Mark Barron (hamstring), CB AJ Bouye (shoulder)
Line Watching: The line opened at 6 and now sits at 5.5.
If we’re going to keep overreacting to two weeks to judge whether or not old QBs are declining, we’d have to also conclude that Tom Brady still has it. The box scores might not be quite as kind to Brady, but he currently sits at 4th in PFF grades behind Rodgers, Wilson, and Goff. Part of what’s pulling his box score numbers down are drops — Tampa receivers have dropped 8 balls this year, most in the league. Brady will have a healthy Chris Godwin and Mike Evans for the first time all year, and that’s arguably the most dangerous duo in football. Others receiving targets will be TE OJ Howard and WR Scotty Miller — TE Rob Gronkowksi is a wrestler playing football. The backfield duties will be split between Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones, and LeSean McCoy. Meanwhile, the defense is also extremely talented. The front 7 in particular is absurd — lead by Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul on the edge, Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh on the side, and Levonte David and Devin White at linebacker. The secondary is a bigger question, featuring young talented players that are more unknown in the league. Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis have both been strong at cornerback since midway through 2019, and 2020 second round safety Antoine Winfield Jr has a respectable 77.4 PFF grade through 2 games this year.
The Broncos have been hit hard by the injury bug. They’ll be without their QB Drew Lock (shoulder), top receiver (Courtland Sutton, ACL), best edge rusher (Von Miller, ankle), and best corner (AJ Bouye, shoulder). That leaves Jeff Driskel at quarterback and rookie Jerry Jeudy as the top receiver. I’m as big a believer in route running phenom Jeudy as anyone, but asking him to lead an offense with a backup quarterback against this defense is a monstrous task. Not to mention their offensive line, which is mediocre at best. The defensive interior is the lone bright spot on the team (that’s healthy) — Jurrell Casey is consistently one of the best defensive tackle in football, while Shelby Harris and Mike Purcell are both well rounded tackles. Without Miller, Bradley Chubb is their top edge rusher. Chubb came in as the 5th overall selection in the 2018 draft, but simply hasn’t lived up to the hype. He was mostly injured last year, but with just 5 total pressures and zero sacks through 2 games, he isn’t off to a great start. On the back end, I like the versatility of safety Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan’s skills covering the slot, but this should still be a secondary that Brady doesn’t have any issues picking on.
That’s it for now, bitches.