NFL Game Previews: Cowboys-Giants Matchup
NFL Game Previews: Cowboys-Giants Matchup

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

Dallas at N.Y. Giants (+7), 48.0 o/u – Monday, 8:15 p.m. EDT

The Cowboys come out of their bye having staved off the Eagles for the NFC East lead with a decisive Week 7 victory, and it's becoming clear that as Dak Prescott goes, so goes the team. In their four wins, including a 35-17 stomping of the Giants in Week 1, he's got a 75.2 percent completion rate, 10:3 TD:INT and 9.6 YPA. In Dallas' three losses, Prescott stumbled to a 2:4 TD:INT. On the other hand, he also attempted more passes in any of those three losses than he did in the four wins, so maybe the formula is that the Cowboys win when they don't force Prescott to do too much. No wonder they can't figure out how big a contract extension to offer him. That Week 1 win came against Eli Manning, and the Giants under rookie Daniel Jones have at least looked more interesting, if not necessarily better. The defense remains a sore spot, especially against the pass – they're 28th in passing DVOA, and the trade deadline addition of Leonard Williams doesn't seem like a difference-maker. Jones finally gets Sterling Shepard back this week, though, and there are enough weapons here to potentially climb out of any hole the defense digs – although that formula didn't quite work last week against the Lions.

The Skinny

DAL injuries: LT Tyron Smith (questionable, ankle), RG Zack Martin (questionable, back), RT La'el Collins (questionable, knee), LB Leighton Vander Esch (questionable, neck)

NYG injuries: none

DAL DFS chalk: Ezekiel Elliott (NYG t-27th in rushing TDs allowed, 27th in passing DVOA vs. RB), Amari Cooper (NYG 30th in DVOA vs. WR1, 29th in DVOA against deep throws)

NYG DFS chalk: Evan Engram (DAL 31st in DVOA vs. TE)

DAL DFS tournament plays: Randall Cobb (NYG 32nd in DVOA vs. WR3), Cowboys DST (NYG 32nd in giveaways)

NYG DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: NYG are 16th in third-down offense at 40.4 percent; DAL is second in third-down defense at 26.3 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 8-3 DAL, average score 25-19 DAL, average margin of victory eight points. DAL has won five straight meetings by an average score of 28-16.

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the low 50s, less than 10 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Elliott shines with 130 yards and a TD. Prescott throws for 270 yards and two touchdowns to Cooper (who tops 100 yards) while running in a score of his own for the third straight game. Saquon Barkley responds with 110 yards and a touchdown, Jones throws for 280 yards and a TD to Engram but gets picked off twice. Cowboys 31-20

Houston vs. Jacksonville (+1.5) in London
46.5 o/u – Sunday, 9:30 a.m. EDT

Another year, another Texans defense gutted by a J.J. Watt injury. This one's especially bad timing for Houston as their secondary is already being held together by duct tape and chewing gum – giving opposition QBs more time in the pocket (and they were already 27th in pressure percentage even with Watt) is a recipe for disaster. Speaking of pressure, there will now be more of it than ever on Deshaun Watson to perform miracles and keep the team in the hunt in the AFC South. He's already on pace for career highs in attempts, completion percentage, passing yards and TDs (both passing and rushing) but hey, I'm sure there's a little more juice to be squeezed there, right? The last four Texans games have had an average score of 35-26 for the winner, and that doesn't seem like a trend likely to reverse itself any time soon. The Jags are 4-4, but none of the wins have come against anyone impressive (seriously: TEN, DEN, CIN and NYJ, combined record 7-24). The closest they came to downing a playoff-caliber squad was in Week 2... against the Texans, when Gardner Minshew came up just short in his first start. The rookie continues to be fairly sharp, posting an 11:1 TD:INT in his seven starts, and a win in the Jags' home away from home – they've played a game at Wembley Stadium every year since 2013 – could give him some crucial job security as Nick Foles inches closer to coming off IR. It would help if Leonard Fournette could figure out where the end zone is, though. The RB has topped 100 scrimmage yards in five straight games, and Week 2's 87-yard performance was his worst output of the year so far, but he still has only one TD despite 39 red-zone touches, which is already a career high. Something, as they say, has gotta give.

The Skinny

HOU injuries: WR Will Fuller (out, hamstring), LT Laremy Tunsil (questionable, shoulder), RT Tytus Howard (questionable, knee), DE Watt (IR, pectoral), CB Bradley Roby (out, hamstring), S Tashaun Gipson (out, back)

JAC injuries: WR Dede Westbrook (questionable, neck)

HOU DFS chalk: none

JAC DFS chalk: none

HOU DFS tournament plays: none

JAC DFS tournament plays: Minshew (HOU 28th in passing yards allowed per game, t-28th in passing TDs allowed), Chris Conley (HOU 30th in DVOA vs. WR3)

Key stat: JAC is 30th in red-zone offense, scoring a TD on 35.7 percent (10-for-28) of RZ possessions; HOU is 32nd in red-zone defense at 69.6 percent (16-for-23)

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 9-2 HOU, average score 20-18 HOU, average margin of victory 14 points. HOU has won three straight meetings, while the two JAC wins are by a combined score of 74-14.

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-50s, less than 10 mph wind, 10-15 percent chance of rain

The Scoop 

Carlos Hyde rambles for 70 yards, while Duke Johnson adds 60 combined yards and a receiving score. Watson throws for 260 yards and two more scores, finding DeAndre Hopkins and Darren Fells. Fournette breaks out with 130 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. Minshew throws for 230 yards and TDs to Conley and D.J. Chark. Jaguars, 30-24
 

Chicago (+5) at Philadelphia, 43.0 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The Bears have been dragged down to the bottom of the NFC North by their inept offense, and while Mitchell Trubisky's stagnation is a large problem for the franchise, the issue may go deeper than that – last week, Matt Nagy apparently never bothered to find out where Eddy Pineiro preferred to have the ball placed on a would-be game-winning field goal, which you'd think would be Last-Second FG Try 101. With that kind of attention to detail from his coach, it's no wonder Trubisky's development has stalled. David Montgomery did have his long-awaited breakout, and the plan for the second half might be to let the defense and the running game take the lead and minimize the need to pass the ball in low-scoring, smashmouth affairs. This seems like the wrong week to try that approach, though. The Eagles' defense is top 10 in YPC allowed, rushing yards per game allowed and rushing DVOA, while their secondary is, well, they have a good run defense. In fact, surprising Thursday win in Lambeau aside, their record seems based entirely on whether they're facing a QB capable of exploiting their biggest weakness – they've beaten Case Keenum, Luke Falk and Josh Allen, and lost to Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins and Dak Prescott. The good news is their remaining schedule has the Eagles facing a bunch more quarterbacks who fit comfortably into that first group, including Trubisky this week. The bad news is what it says about Carson Wentz that he can only beat guys in the first group consistently.

The Skinny

CHI injuries: none

PHI injuries: WR DeSean Jackson (questionable, abdomen), LT Jason Peters (out, knee), LB Nigel Bradham (out, ankle)

CHI DFS chalk: none

PHI DFS chalk: none

CHI DFS tournament plays: none

PHI DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: PHI is second in third-down offense at 49.1 percent; CHI is fifth in third-down defense at 32.9 percent

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the low 50s, 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Montgomery picks up 60 scrimmage yards. Trubisky throws for a season-high 270 yards and TDs to Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel but also gets picked off twice. Miles Sanders leads the PHI backfield with 70 scrimmage yards, while Jordan Howard scores a revenge touchdown. Wentz throws for 220 yards and scores to Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor. Eagles, 21-17
 

Indianapolis at Pittsburgh (+1), 42.5 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The Colts continue to play things close to the vest – every one of their games this season has been decided by a single score – but it's been working, as Jacoby Brissett has been able to minimize his mistakes and Darius Leonard is back to lead a resilient defense. Given the state of the AFC South, that could be good enough to win the division, but it would be nice if someone other than Marlon Mack or T.Y. Hilton emerged as an offensive threat – Zach Pascal's big performance two weeks ago was an intriguing tease, but nothing more at this point. As for the Steelers, they seem to have turned things completely around after their 0-3 start, going 3-1 over their last four with the one loss coming in OT to the Ravens. Mason Rudolph's been nothing special, but the running game churns out yards no matter who gets the ball, and JuJu Smith-Schuster is still a threat even with the downgrade at QB. It's the defense, led by youngsters T.J. Watt and Devin Bush, that's been firing on all cylinders, though. They'll need to make Brissett uncomfortable if they're going to hold serve at home in this one.

The Skinny

IND injuries: T.Y. Hilton (out, calf), DE Justin Houston (questionable, calf), CB Pierre Desir (doubtful, hamstring), S Malik Hooker (questionable, knee)

PIT injuries: RB James Conner (doubtful, shoulder), RB Benny Snell (out, knee), LG Ramon Foster (out, concussion)

IND DFS chalk: none

PIT DFS chalk: none

IND DFS tournament plays: Chester Rogers (PIT 29th in DVOA vs. WR3)

PIT DFS tournament plays: Jaylen Samuels (IND 29th in rushing DVOA), Smith-Schuster (IND 28th in DVOA vs. WR1), Steelers DST (second in takeaways)

Key stat: IND is ninth in sack percentage allowed (4.5 percent); PIT is sixth in sack percentage (8.9 percent) and t-2nd in pressure percentage (29.4 percent)

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the low 40s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Mack picks up 70 combined yards. Brissett throws for under 200 yards and gets sacked four times, but he does find Rogers for a TD. Samuels leads the PIT backfield with 80 scrimmage yards and a score. Rudolph throws for 230 yards and a touchdown to JuJu, but also tosses a pick-six to Leonard to keep things close. Steelers, 20-17
 

N.Y. Jets at Miami (+3), 41.0 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Can't we just, I don't know, bring the Bengals off bye and have all three teams mash together to try and form one NFL-caliber roster? Actually, you'd still mostly end up with the Jets roster doing that. Tyler Boyd would start at WR, you might find room for Xavien Howard and Reshad Jones in the secondary if they were healthy, and who knows what the offensive line looks like, but mostly, it'd probably just be the Jets. The big competition would be at quarterback, though, and that's where this game could get interesting for the dozens of fans who subject themselves to it. Sam Darnold has been awful since returning to the lineup, to the point that it's fair to wonder if he rushed back too soon from his bout of mono. If that's the case, every week gets him closer to 100 percent and a return to the form he showed last year in the second half. On the other hand, Ryan Fitzpatrick is exactly who he's always been – a risk-taker who isn't quite good enough to get away with that style of play consistently. Facing yet another of his former teams, he should be motivated to show the Jets up, and his mistakes may not cost him as much as usual against what has been an unimpressive defensive unit that just traded away Leonard Williams and nearly sent Jamal Adams packing too. The Dolphins have also looked better as a whole since their bye, losing by only one or two scores instead of the four or five they were getting blown out by to begin the year. The quality of the opposition may have something to do with that rather than any remarkable turnaround on their part, but Gang Green isn't 1-6 through sheer bad luck.

The Skinny

NYJ injuries: WR Demaryius Thomas (questionable, hamstring), TE Chris Herndon (questionable, hamstring), LT Kelvin Beachum (questionable, ankle), C Ryan Kalil (out. ankle), LB C.J. Mosley (out, groin)

MIA injuries: LT J'Marcus Webb (questionable, quad), C Daniel Kilgore (doubtful, knee), CB Howard (IR, knee), S Jones (doubtful, chest)

NYJ DFS chalk: Le'Veon Bell (MIA 31st in rushing yards allowed per game, 31st in rushing DVOA, 32nd in passing DVOA vs. RB)

MIA DFS chalk: none

NYJ DFS tournament plays: Darnold (MIA t-28th in passing TDs allowed), Robby Anderson (MIA 32nd in DVOA vs. WR1, 30th in DVOA against deep throws), Chris Herndon / Ryan Griffin (MIA 30th in DVOA vs. TE), Jets DST (MIA 32nd in points per game, t-29th in giveaways, 30th in sack percentage allowed)

MIA DFS tournament plays: Mark Walton / Kalen Ballage (NYJ t-27th in rushing TDs allowed), DeVante Parker (NYJ 28th in DVOA against deep throws), Dolphins DST (NYJ 31st in points per game, 32nd in sack percentage allowed)

Key stat: Both teams are in the bottom five in third-down offense, and bottom 10 in third-down defense

Head-to-head record, last five years: 6-4 MIA, average score 22-21 NYJ, average margin of victory 10 points. MIA has won three straight meetings and five of the last six.

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the low 80s, less than 10 mph wind, 15-20 percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Bell racks up racks up 110 combined yards and two TDs, one rushing and one receiving. Darnold throws for 260 yards and a second score to Anderson. Walton leads the MIA backfield with 60 yards. Fitzpatrick throws for 270 yards and touchdowns to Parker and Jakeem Grant, but he also gets picked off twice. Jets, 27-17
 

Minnesota at Kansas City (+2.5), 48.5 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The Vikes roll into this one having won four straight games, and by point differential they're the third-best team in the league behind the Pats and Niners. Kirk Cousins is putting together the best season of his career, Dalvin Cook is healthy and establishing himself as one of the NFL's elite RBs, and the defense remains tough. What's not to like? This matchup loses a lot of its luster with Patrick Mahomes injured though, and while Matt Moore has done a solid job keeping the offense afloat, it can't be ignored that the Chiefs have lost three of their last four, with the only win coming against the Broncos. Kansas City's injury issues extend beyond their generational QB as well, and while the resurgent pass rush (13 sacks the last two games, after zero in the two before that) is a good sign, this is a team that needs to score lots of points to have success.

The Skinny

MIN injuries: WR Adam Thielen (questionable, hamstring)

KC injuries: QB Mahomes (questionable, knee), LT Eric Fisher (out, sports hernia), RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (out, ankle), DT Chris Jones (questionable, groin), DE Frank Clark (questionable, neck)

MIN DFS chalk: Dalvin Cook (KC 29th in YPC allowed, t-27th in rushing TDs allowed, 30th in rushing DVOA)

KC DFS chalk: none

MIN DFS tournament plays: none

KC DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: KC is 5-0 when scoring 28 points or more, and 0-3 when scoring less than 28. MIN is third in scoring defense, allowing 16.5 points per game.

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the low 50s, 13 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Cook plows ahead for 130 scrimmage yards and two TDs. Cousins throws for 270 yards and a touchdown to Thielen. Damien Williams leads the KC backfield with 50 combined yards. Moore throws for 240 yards and a score to Sammy Watkins, while a Tanoh Kpassagnon fumble return for a touchdown keeps things close. Vikings, 24-20
 

Tennessee (+4) at Carolina, 41.5 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Ryan Tannehill isn't exactly setting the world on fire, but his 73.1 percent completion rate, 8.3 YPA and 6.4 percent TD rate blow Marcus Mariota's numbers out of the water, and the Titans appear to have made the right call in switching QBs. The biggest winner in the receiving corps has been Jonnu Smith, who's looked a little bit Kittleish the last two games, but the entire passing game has perked up – I mean, Tajae Sharpe has scored in consecutive games. The Panthers are licking their wounds after getting dismantled by Tevin Coleman and the Niners last week, and now they have to try and contain a completely different style of back in Derrick Henry. Kyle Allen will need to regain his focus quickly after suffering through his first bit of adversity in the pros, but between Christian McCaffrey and Carolina's pass rush, he shouldn't even be put in position where he has to win the game himself.

The Skinny

TEN injuries: TE Delanie Walker (out, ankle), C Ben Jones (out, concussion)

CAR injuries: QB Cam Newton (out, foot), WR Curtis Samuel (questionable, shoulder)

TEN DFS chalk: Henry (CAR 31st in YPC allowed, 32nd in rushing TDs allowed, 32nd in rushing DVOA)

CAR DFS chalk: none

TEN DFS tournament plays: none

CAR DFS tournament plays: Jarius Wright (TEN 31st in DVOA vs. WR3), Panthers DST (t-3rd in takeaways, second in sack percentage, TEN 31st in sack percentage allowed)

Key stat: See Panthers DST above – TEN is second-worst at allowing sacks, CAR is second-best at producing them

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the mid-50s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Henry batters ahead for 80 yards and a score. Tannehill throws for 220 yards and a TD to Smith but gets sacked six times. CMac gains 120 combined yards and a receiving touchdown, while Allen throws for 220 yards and a second score to D.J. Moore. Panthers, 20-14 
 

Washington (+9.5) at Buffalo, 36.5 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

This is just getting embarrassing. Washington has scored in double digits only once in its last five games, and that was against the Dolphins. Three times in that stretch, the offense has managed one or fewer scoring drives in the entire game – three points against the Giants, seven against the Pats, then the shutout at the hands of the Niners, and the lonely field goal against New York (27th in the league in scoring defense, allowing 27.3 points a game) is by far the ugliest number given the competition. In that game, Dwayne Haskins replaced Case Keenum and got picked off three times on only 17 pass attempts, but it's not like Keenum was lighting it up before he got hurt. This is a terrible, dysfunctional unit that would still be terrible even if it were 100 percent healthy, which it isn't. Haskins' showing so far could be a nightmare for the future of the franchise, but you can hardly blame the kid – he's already on his second head coach. Oh, and just to pile it on, Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams – who'd been holding out all year and only reported to keep his contract rolling – just accused the team's medical staff of jeopardizing his life by misdiagnosing a cancerous tumor in his scalp. This is the squad that heads up to Buffalo to face a defense that gave up 70 points in five games before its bye, but 52 points in two games since, and which just got a big-time wake-up call from the Eagles last week. Getting shut out in the rain by San Francisco could end up looking like a picnic compared to what happens here, especially if Devin Singletary continues to tease a breakout.

The Skinny

WAS injuries: QB Keenum (out, concussion), RB Chris Thompson (out, toe), TE Vernon Davis (out, concussion), LT Williams (out, head)

BUF injuries: RT Cody Ford (questionable, elbow)

WAS DFS chalk: none

BUF DFS chalk: Bills DST (WAS 30th in points per game)

WAS DFS tournament plays: Wendell Smallwood (BUF 28th in passing DVOA vs. RB)

BUF DFS tournament plays: Duke Williams (WAS 32nd in DVOA vs. WR2) 

Key stat: BUF is 23rd in third-down offense at 34.5 percent; WAS is 31st in third-down defense at 50.0 percent, having allowed a league-worst 57 conversions in total

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-30s, 12-13 mph wind, 10-15 percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Adrian Peterson picks up 70 yards. Haskins starts and throws for under 200 yards, getting picked off twice – one of which Tre'Davious White returns to the house. Singletary leads the BUF backfield with 80 combined yards. Josh Allen throws for under 200 yards but does run in a TD. Bills, 20-3

Tampa Bay (+6) at Seattle, 51.5 o/u – Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT

At some point, you have to think Bruce Arians is going to get fed up with the turnovers. The Bucs have lost three straight games, two to divisional rivals, and Jameis Winston has coughed up the ball an incredible 10 times in that stretch (seven INTs, three lost fumbles – plus two more Tampa managed to recover). The coach likes aggressive QBs, but there's just no way to win football games when you're losing that many possessions. It might take Blaine Gabbert getting healthy to really force Arians' hand, though. It's not like Winston isn't putting up numbers when he does throw it to the right uniform, as both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are on pace for over 1,000 yards and double-digit TDs. The Seahawks appear stuck hoping for a wild-card with the way the Niners have dominated in the NFC West, but given how Russell Wilson is playing this year that seems easily achievable, even with a tough second-half schedule. Adding Josh Gordon on waivers gives him another potentially dangerous target once the former Patriot is healthy, although there's always reason for skepticism when New England lets a player go for nothing.

The Skinny

TB injuries: TE O.J. Howard, (out, hamstring), TE Cameron Brate (questionable, ribs)

SEA injuries: WR Gordon (out, knee)

TB DFS chalk: none

SEA DFS chalk: Wilson (TB 31st in passing yards allowed per game)

TB DFS tournament plays: Ronald Jones / Peyton Barber (SEA 30th in YPC allowed, t-27th in rushing TDs allowed)

SEA DFS tournament plays: DK Metcalf (TB 29th in DVOA vs. WR2), Seahawks DST (TB t-29th in giveaways)

Key stat: SEA is second in red-zone offense, scoring a TD on 67.7 percent (21-of-31) of RZ possessions; TB is 25th in red-zone defense at 60.0 percent (15-for-25)

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-50s, less than 10 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Jones leads the TB backfield with 70 yards. Winston throws for 230 yards and two TDs to Godwin, who tops 100 yards. Chris Carson bangs out 50 yards. Wilson throws for 340 yards and three touchdowns, finding Metcalf (who also tops 100 yards), Tyler Lockett and Jacob Hollister. Seahawks, 30-17
 

Detroit (+2) at Oakland, 50.5 o/u – Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT

The Lions remain a tough team to figure out. They barely got past the Giants last week, but it wasn't all that long ago they were giving Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes all they could handle after a 2-0-1 start. Injuries haven't helped – their secondary remains banged up, and they haven't found an adequate replacement for Kerryon Johnson in the backfield. If that means more of Matthew Stafford airing it out, though, they could still be in pretty good shape. He's on pace for his best yardage total since 2012 and his most touchdowns since his 41-TD explosion in 2011. The Raiders have also been an enigma (this is me hedging my bets on this game as much as possible, if you hadn't noticed. I have zero faith in the result the numbers are suggesting, but no strong reason to switch to a different result), but 3-4 isn't a bad record at all considering their first-half schedule. In fact, if you want a dark-horse playoff contender this year, look no further. After this week, Oakland's remaining slate features games against the Bengals, Jets and Broncos, and they'll face only one team that currently has a winning record (at the Chiefs in Week 13). Derek Carr's got a career-high 7.7 YPA and 72.1 percent completion rate, Josh Jacobs has been solid, and Tyrell Williams is 100 percent again to give Carr someone other than Darren Waller to throw to. If the relatively no-name defense doesn't fall apart, they might be able to put together a run.

The Skinny

DET injuries: RB Tra Carson (questionable, hamstring), RG Graham Glasgow (questionable, back), CB Darius Slay (questionable, hamstring), S Tracy Walker (out, knee)

OAK injuries: C Rodney Hudson (questionable, lower leg), LB Vontaze Burfict (out, suspension)

DET DFS chalk: Stafford (OAK 30th in passing yards allowed per game, t-30th in passing TDs allowed), Kenny Golladay (OAK 29th in DVOA vs. WR1, 31st in DVOA against deep throws)

OAK DFS chalk: none

DET DFS tournament plays: none

OAK DFS tournament plays: Derek Carr (DET 32nd in passing yards per game allowed)

Key stat: DET is 11th in red-zone offense, scoring a TD on 61.9 percent (13-for-21) of RZ possessions; OAK is t-27th in red-zone defense at 66.7 percent (16-for-24)

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the low 70s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop

J.D. McKissic leads the DET backfield with 80 combined yards and a receiving score. Stafford throws for 330 yards and three more TDs, finding Golladay (who tops 100 yards), Marvin Jones and T.J. Hockenson. Jacobs piles up 120 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. Carr does his best to keep pace, throwing for a season-high 300 yards and TDs to Waller and Zay Jones. Lions, 31-24

Green Bay at L.A. Chargers (+3.5), 47.0 o/u – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

The Packers have won four straight to seize the lead in the NFC North, and Aaron Rodgers is in the zone – over the last three contests, he's got a 69.9 percent completion rate, 9.9 YPA and 10:1 TD:INT while averaging 339 passing yards a game. Oh, and he's done it without Davante Adams. The Chargers, meanwhile, needed a blown last-minute field goal to escape with a win in Chicago, and they'd dropped five of six before that. Melvin Gordon's return hasn't sparked the offense, although he's scored each of the last two games, and the team hasn't scored more than 20 points against a team that wasn't the Dolphins since Week 1. It's no wonder Ken Whisenhunt got sacked as offensive coordinator. New OC Shane Steichen has been the team's QB coach since 2016, so Philip Rivers at least should be comfortable with him. A Packers defense that sits t-11th in scoring (20.4 points per game) and ninth in QB rating against (86.9) should provide a stern test for whatever wrinkles Steichen is going to introduce into the scheme.

The Skinny

GB injuries: WR Adams (questionable, toe)

LAC injuries: none

GB DFS chalk: Aaron Jones (LAC 31st in passing DVOA vs. RB)

LAC DFS chalk: none

GB DFS tournament plays: Jamaal Williams (see Jones)

LAC DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: GB is 20th in third-down offense at 38.3 percent; LAC is 30th in third-down defense at 47.8 percent

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the mid-70s, less than 10 mph wind, 0-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Jones gains 80 scrimmage yards and a TD, while Williams adds 70 combined yards and a receiving score. Rodgers throws for 320 yards and a second touchdown to Geronimo Allison. Gordon manages 60 yards, but Austin Ekeler gains 60 combined yards and a touchdown. Rivers throws for 280 yards and TDs to Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry, but fumbles by Gordon and Henry kill any momentum the Chargers try to build. Packers, 32-20

Cleveland at Denver (+3), 39.0 o/u – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

The Browns have lost three straight games, but given the opposition (the undefeated Niners and Pats, plus the Seahawks) they might have lost them even if they were playing well. Which, uhh, they're not. Freddie Kitchens has burned through his "Hey, at least I'm not Hue Jackson" goodwill with remarkable speed, and despite all the talent on both sides of the ball, nothing much seems to be clicking and Baker Mayfield looks lost. This could look like a plum job for whoever the next Sean McVay wannabe or Kyle Shanahan disciple is getting all the head coaching buzz in the offseason. At least Cleveland has a QB, though. With Joe Flacco hurt, the Broncos are forced to turn to Brandon Allen – who has yet to see a regular-season snap since being drafted in the sixth round in 2016 – under center, with undrafted rookie (and Mark's nephew) Brett Rypien as the backup. Drew Lock will eventually get his shot when he's healthy, but in the meantime Allen is a total wild card. At least the Denver secondary is doing its thing again. The defense is fifth in QB rating against and is one of four allowing fewer than 200 passing yards a game, and with Chris Harris still in town after the trade deadline, there's no reason to expect a regression. This one could be decided by whether Nick Chubb can out-produce the Phillip Lindsay/Royce Freeman duo.

The Skinny

CLE injuries: RB Kareem Hunt (out, suspension), S Damarious Randall (out, hamstring)

DEN injuries: QB Flacco (IR, neck)

CLE DFS chalk: none

DEN DFS chalk: none

CLE DFS tournament plays: Browns DST (DEN 28th in points per game, t-29th in giveaways)

DEN DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: CLE is 26th in YPC allowed (4.8) and 29th in rushing yards per game allowed (143.3), but t-8th in rushing TDs allowed (five)

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the high 40s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop

Chubb racks up 100 yards and a TD. Mayfield throws for under 200 yards. Freeman leads the DEN backfield with 80 scrimmage yards and a touchdown, while Lindsay adds 60 yards. Allen throws for under 200 yards as well but does hit Courtland Sutton for a score. Broncos 20-13
 

New England at Baltimore (+3.5), 45.0 o/u – Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EDT

Nine games into the season, and New England finally gets an opponent who might challenge them. Their creampuff early schedule has led to some ridiculous numbers for the team's defense, but Bill Belichick hasn't been satisfied with what he's been seeing from the offense and keeps shuffling pieces around, especially among the receiving group – Mohamed Sanu and N'Keal Harry are in, Josh Gordon is out. The big question will be whether that defense can contain Lamar Jackson. Last time they faced a mobile QB, Josh Allen didn't gain much real estate but did scramble for a TD, and Allen isn't on pace for the greatest rushing season by a quarterback in history. On the other hand, maybe the Pats won't care what Jackson does on the ground so long as they shut him down through the air. The list of young QBs who have been tortured by Belichick's defensive scheme is lengthy, and Sam Darnold may not have recovered yet from his last meeting with them. If Jackson can't generate anything with his arm, everything else could be moot.

The Skinny

NE injuries: RB James White (questionable, toe), RB Rex Burkhead (questionable, foot), WR Julian Edelman (questionable, chest), RG Shaq Mason (questionable, ankle), S Patrick Chung (questionable, chest)

BAL injuries: WR Marquise Brown (questionable, ankle), LB Patrick Onwuasor (questionable, ankle), S Earl Thomas (questionable, knee), CB Jimmy Smith (questionable, knee)

NE DFS chalk: Patriots DST (first in points per game allowed, first in takeaways, third in sack percentage)

BAL DFS chalk: none

NE DFS tournament plays: none

BAL DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: BAL is sixth in third-down offense at 47.3 percent; NE is first in third-down defense at 15.6 percent

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the low 40s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop

White leads the NE backfield with 80 combined yards and a receiving score, while Sony Michel also rushes for a TD. Tom Brady throws for 230 yards and a second touchdown to Ben Watson. Mark Ingram gains 60 scrimmage yards. Jackson runs for 90 yards and a TD, but throws for under 200 yards. Patriots 24-16

San Francisco at Arizona (+10), 43.0 o/u – Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EDT

An undefeated team heading into a Thursday road game against a seemingly overmatched divisional foe ... this one checks all the boxes for a shocking upset, doesn't it? Of course the numbers (well, other than the recent head-to-head record) say it'll be a Niners blowout, but that's why it would be shocking. Emmanuel Sanders made a quick impact in his first game for his new team last week, but San Francisco's offense is still built around its ground game, and Kyle Shanahan's scheme has been effective no matter who gets plugged into the backfield — although Tevin Coleman's jackrabbit speed in the open field has been a difference-maker. Combine that with a defense, and especially a pass rush, making a strong case that it's the top unit in the league, and it's hard to see how the Cards can even stay competitive. If Kyler Murray can dodge Nick Bosa and do some damage with his feet though, and newly acquired Kenyan Drake matches Coleman sprint for sprint ... well, maybe. But probably not.

The Skinny

SF injuries: RB Matt Breida (questionable, ankle), LT Joe Staley (questionable, lower leg), RT Mike McGlinchey (out, knee), DE Dee Ford (questionable, quad)

ARI injuries: RB David Johnson (questionable, ankle), RB Chase Edmonds (out, hamstring), TE Charles Clay (questionable, back), RT Justin Murray (questionable, knee), LB Haason Reddick (questionable, knee)

SF DFS chalk: Coleman (ARI 29th in passing DVOA vs. RB), Sanders (ARI 27th in DVOA vs. WR1), George Kittle (ARI 32nd in DVOA vs. TE), 49ers DST (second in points per game allowed, t-3rd in takeaways, first in sack percentage)

ARI DFS chalk: none

SF DFS tournament plays: Jimmy Garoppolo (ARI 29th in passing yards allowed per game, 32nd in passing TDs allowed), Marquise Goodwin (ARI 27th in DVOA against deep throws)

ARI DFS tournament plays: none

Key stat: ARI is 32nd in red-zone conversions, scoring a TD on 32.1 percent (9-for-28) of RZ possessions; SF is second in red-zone defense at 23.1 percent (3-for-13)

Head-to-head record, last five years: 9-1 ARI, average score 25-15 ARI, average margin of victory 10 points. ARI has won eight straight meetings, but three of the last five have been decided by a field goal.

Weather forecast: indoors

The Scoop

Coleman gallops for 130 combined yards and another two TDs. Garoppolo throws for 240 yards and touchdowns to Kittle and Goodwin. Drake leads the ARI backfield with 60 yards and a score. Murray throws for 210 yards and runs in a TD. 49ers, 31-17


Last week's record: 12-3, 9-6 ATS, 11-4 o/u
2019 regular-season record: 75-45-1, 57-64 ATS, 59-57-5 o/u
2018 regular-season record: 160-94-2, 112-134-10 ATS, 113-139-4 o/u
Lifetime record: 711-429-5, 527-576-42 ATS, 425-446-18 o/u (o/u not tracked in 2015)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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