Inquirer handicapper Vegas Vic takes a look at the NFL slate, starting with Eagles-Vikings.
Records for Vic and Inquirer staff writers are at the bottom.
VIKINGS (-3) Eagles (o/u: 43.5), 1 p.m. (Fox)
Both teams blasted lousy New York teams last week. The Birds crushed the Jets and their third-string quarterback, Luke Falk, 31-6, and Minny routed the Giants and rookie QB Daniel Jones, 28-10. So what. Now it’s time for big-boy football.
For those who don’t remember, we checked last season’s game at the Linc, the 23-21 Minny victory. Kirk the Cuz was basically spectacular, hitting 30 of 37 for 301 yards with one TD and no INTs. Latavius Murray ran for just 42 yards, but Dalvin Cook (132 yards last week) is definitely an upgrade. Captain Kirk (22/27 for 306 yards) and WR Adam Thielen (seven grabs for 130 yards) had a bit of a kerfuffle leading up to the game against the NYG, but the end result was brilliant.
» FROM THE ARCHIVES: Last year’s Eagles-Vikings game
And now for a couple of trends that you might or might not like: The Birds are only 1-9-1 against the spread in their recent early-afternoon starts, and the cover was last week against the garbage Jets. Meanwhile, the Purple People have covered eight of the last nine as a favorite. Another squeeze, with the Vikes on top, 27-23.
Panthers (-2) Buccaneers (48.5), 9:30 a.m. (NFLN)
At London, ALL-WORLD RB Christian McCaffrey is a little dinged. If he goes, we go Carolina; if not, we just close the wallet.
RAVENS (-11.5) Bengals (48), 1 p.m. (CBS)
Back to basics, which means back to Baltimore.
The first four weeks, we were on or against the Ravens for our best bets, and it worked out to a 4-0 perfecto. Last week, we put the Cowboys on top as the BB and, as we all know, it didn’t work out. (Nice job, Green Bay.)
So, we come back to the Ravens, and do NOT think they’re worth 11.5 points, 12 if you buy the hook, against a division rival. These guys play each other tooth-n-nail. Last season, the Edgar Allan Poes (-7) squeezed out a 24-21 win at home, no cover, then lost, 34-23, at Cincy.
We looked back five years, and found that the games at Baltimore have been VERY good for the Bengals. They have won three of five and covered four of five. And if you’re a trend player, note that the Andy Daltons have covered six of the last seven as an underdog, and the Ravens have managed to cover ONLY two of the last 11 as a double-digit favorite. Yes, this IS my BEST BET BABY!
Seahawks (-1.5) Browns (47.5), 1 p.m.
In a battle between Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield, we gotta lean toward Seattle and Russ.
CHIEFS (-5) Texans (55.5), 1 p.m.
Kinda like Houston in this matchup getting the five, but if you see Patrick Mahomes a little tentative on his bad ankle, then we would immediately jump this selection up close to a best bet. Patrick’s wheels are VITAL to his flow.
JAGUARS (-1) Saints (44.5), 1 p.m.
Teddy Bridgewater looked amazing last week, 26 of 34 for 314 yards, so we’re gonna (excuse me) march with the Saints.
Redskins (-3.5) DOLPHINS (41), 1 p.m.
Rule of thumb: When 0-4 (Miami) plays 0-5 (Washington), you always bet the underdog, but only with Monopoly money.
RAMS (-3) 49ers (50.5), 4:05 p.m.
Took Jimmy G over the Baker last week, and it was a winning ticket. Sticking with Jimmy G over Jared G.
Falcons (-2.5) CARDINALS (51.5), 4:05 p.m.
If Matty Ice can’t find a W out in Arizona, then he should hand his QB jersey over to Matt Schaub.
Cowboys (-7) JETS (43.5), 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Obviously, painfully so, we were a week early jumping on Dallas. But this is the week. Why? The 'Boys have had trouble against the upper crust of the NFL, losing twice, at New Orleans and home to the Packers. But against the Sisters of the Poor (the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins), they posted a 3-0 roll, and outscored 'em, 97-44. Even with Sam Darnold back in action, the Jets are still BOTTOM of the barrel, winning just ONCE in the last 14 outings.
BRONCOS (-2.5) Titans (39.5), 4:25 p.m.
Denver finally busted into the win column last week with a 20-13 W at the Los Angeles Chargers. Joe Flacco wasn’t stellar, but since Tennessee comes to Mile High with an ugly 0-5 record, gotta put a few chips on the Broncs.
CHARGERS (-7) Steelers (41.5), 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Who? Devlin Hodges, that’s who. After losing Big Ben Roethlisberger and backup Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh will roll with Hodges at QB. He was the all-time leading passer out of Stanford, oops, Samford, and won the FCS Walter Payton Award. Which is kinda like the Heisman but for I-AA players. He was 7 of 9 for 68 yards last week after Rudolph was knocked out, and could give the Pittsburgh offense a little jolt of juice. Just enough juice for a cover.
PACKERS (-4.5) Lions (47), 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Yea, Davante Adams might miss the game because of a bum toe, but for the line to drop from an open of -6 to -4.5 does not make sense. Unless of course you’re playing, or praying, for the game to fall 5.
Aaron Rodgers has a memory as sharp as any in the league. And he will not forget the final game last season, an UGLIFIED 31-0 loss at home to Detroit, and getting knocked silly with a concussion in the second quarter. If the weather at Lambeau is clear, you might wanna also tap the Over.
PATRIOTS (-16.5) Giants
» READ MORE: Patriots defense overwhelms Giants, 35-14