By: Jake Bevans (@Bevmo4less)
Going into week four, we are starting to get a good idea of who our “David” teams are and our “Goliath” teams are and I will highlight some of the underdogs who have a strong chance of squeaking out a win this week.
New England Patriots upset Kansas City Chiefs
Vegas Spread Chiefs -7, O/U 53
*Update-Cam Newton will miss the matchup.
The Kansas City Chiefs are a team that looks like they haven’t missed a beat since their comeback victory in Super Bowl 54. So one could raise the question, how can you bet against the Chiefs? Bill Belichick is the answer to that question.
If there is any coach who can out gameplan Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes it is the six-time Super Bowl Champion. The first key to winning this matchup is something new to the Patriots this season, Cam Newton.
Cam Newton won’t play, updated, but the 2020 version of the New England Patriots is a run the ball down your throat type of team who can take advantage of a Kansas City Chief’s defense who may be missing their All-Pro Defensive Tackle, Chris Jones. Without their top run-stopper, the Chiefs allowed 4.3 yards per carry in 2019, and surprisingly, in 2020 with Chris Jones in the lineup, the Chiefs have allowed 5.3 yards per attempt.
The final and most important key to winning this matchup is the time of possession. In 2020 the Patriots are averaging the NFL’s seventh-best time of possession at 32:43. If Coach Belichick can install a gameplan that leans on the running game and bleeds time off the clock, while keeping the ball out of Patrick Mahomes’ hands, the New England Patriots have a real shot to take down the reigning Super Bowl Champions.
Atlanta Falcons upset Green Bay Packers on SNF
Vegas Spread Packers -7, O/U 57
At this point, can we say that the Falcons are the most unlucky team of 2020? Without factors like injuries and Covid-19, they’ve managed to lose two heartbreaking come-from-behind games and another that was in reach for a majority of the matchup.
While boasting one of the NFL’s best offenses, their defense allows the second-most yards per game and the most points per game. Much of the same can be said regarding the Green Bay Packers although, their defense is closer to the middle of the pack than the Falcons can ever hope to be this season.
While this game is set up for fireworks, the outcome will be decided by who makes the least mental errors. The Packers may be without All-Pro Wide Receiver Davante Adams and would then have to lean on players like Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling which can be a cause for concern.
On the other side of the field, Julio Jones missed Week 3, along with Davante Adams, but Matt Ryan still has a rock-solid supporting cast with Calvin Ridley, who’s arguably been the 2020’s most impressive wide receiver. Then, of course, Hayden Hurst is flashed some in three games with Atlanta.
It’s safe to keep an eye on the injury report before placing any bets for this game, but should both teams be at full strength, this game should be a lot closer in the box score than what Las Vegas is predicting.
Carolina Panthers Upset Arizona Cardinals
Vegas Spread Cardinals -3.5, O/U 52
Through three weeks of the NFL season, has there been a more entertaining quarterback to watch run the ball than Kyler Murray? I certainly don’t think so. While on the ground he passes the eye test, the same can’t be said about his decisions in the passing game.
Murray’s top weapon- DeAndre Hopkins, is tied for the top of the league in targets with 37. This offense would run more smoothly if that number wasn’t close to second on the list. Now, there’s no doubt that they should not be forcing DeAndre Hopkins the ball but Kyler Murray is one of five quarterbacks so far this season with at least one interception in each game so it begs the question, why not lean on the arguably best wide receiver in the game?
The Christian McCaffreyless Pathers have found a new spark in their offense with Robby Anderson who is sixth in receiving yards through three weeks. Patrick Peterson is more than likely to lineup across DJ Moore all game so Robby Anderson should be able to find separation from the Cardinals’ other defensive backs.
Outside of Carolina’s aerial attack, Carolina is sitting at 25th in the NFL at plays per game which is 19 spots below their opponents in this game which leads me to believe that time of possession will have another large role in this game’s outcome. This puts Mike Davis in a prime position to help the Panthers come up with their second win on the season. While Davis hasn’t posted monster rushing numbers, in the game and a half since McCaffrey’s injury he has had eight catches in each of the games he’s played in this season.
All in all, If Teddy Bridgewater can do what the Panther’s organization brought him in to do and game manage his way to a few good throws to Robby Anderson and Mike Davis, (while avoiding the likes of Patrick Peterson), the Panthers have a real chance to take home the dub in Carolina this weekend.