Good morning Bolts From the Blue!
The Chargers will face a revamped Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon in what is looking like yet another make or break game for Brandon Staley’s men in blue in Week 10. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Chargers as 2.5-point underdogs to the Lions. The Bolts have won two straight games to return to .500 on the year but those have been against teams who are fighting to stay relevant and questions have to be rightly asked if the Chargers can beat an actual contender. The Lions are leading the NFC North with an impressive 7-2 record that sees them in the second seed spot if the playoffs started tomorrow. Their turnaround under Dan Campbell has been remarkable and they had their highlight moment when they bested the Chiefs in the opening game of the year. Needless to say that if our Chargers manage to get a win here, then the playoff race will certainly be on and some sceptical fans will start to believe in this team. That is a big if though as the Lions are returning to full health and their only losses have come to teams currently leading their divisions.
The Sunday matchups that I am most excited about are headlined by a defensive showdown when the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, two of the most impressive defenses in the league, clash in the early window. The Ravens look like the best team in the league right now playing complete football excelling in all three phases, they have won their last two home games by a combined 75-9 and they were against proper teams in the Lions and Seattle Seahawks, who are both leading their divisions. Their defense has been lights out conceding only 13.8 points per game, by far the lowest total in the league, however they are going up against a Browns defense that is the only team allowing less yards per game than them. The Browns are not as balanced as their AFC North rivals though, their offense has been woeful at times this season and they have been made to look better on the scoreboard by constantly getting good field position from their stout defense. This is shown in their miserable 184 passing yards per game and going into a matchup which they lost 28-3 in the reverse fixture, that is not going to be enough to earn a win. I am excited by this game schematically because I am a defensive coach but I do not expect this to be close. Draftkings Sportsbook has the total as 38 and the under is -108, I’d feel comfortable taking that, the moneyline at -285 and the -6.5 spread for Baltimore. I just don’t see any way the Browns can better their Week 4 efforts when the Ravens have improved every week since then.
The other game I’ll be trying to watch at the same time as that battle is the Jacksonville Jaguars playing host to the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers on a slide right now losing three straight after winning their first five games however they are getting back towards full health with the return of Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams so they are actually favored over the Jags despite the home team winning five games in a row. I am relishing this matchup and think it will be a very close affair, the total is set at 44.5 and I’m thinking the over at -115 is likely here as both teams have the potential to be explosive with players like Christian McCaffrey and Travis Etienne Jr. who can really fly. I also like the +3 points on offer for the Jags at -102. Whilst I think the return of key players for the 49ers will see them improve on their 17 point offensive limit from the last 3 weeks, the Jags have been efficient and ruthless under Doug Pederson, stretching away when needed and closing games out when times get tough and that gives me enough confidence to give them a three point buffer.
I am also keen to watch the Houston Texans take on the Cincinnati Bengals more from a single player point of view, their rookie quarterback, CJ Stroud has been absolutely outstanding so to see him take on a solid if not spectacular Bengals’ defense will be a great test for him. I am not keen on any of the lines in this game due to the unknown factor of both of Cincinnati’s star wide receivers, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, likely missing this week’s game however I am backing Stroud to continue his form by taking him to surpass 275 yards at a tasty +145.
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