VSiN’s NFL expert offers one side and a total for Sunday’s cards.
Falcons (-2, 45.5) at Jaguars:
The Falcons have scored three points in the last two games and have allowed 68. It looked like Atlanta was about to turn a corner with wins in three out of four games, but it turns out it just had a lot to do do with playing against the Jets and Dolphins, along with the Saints in a bad spot after a loss to the Buccaneers.
This line opened pick ’em and hovered there until some influential players took Falcon’s side. Jacksonville has all sorts of problems and Trevor Lawrence has had no more than 162 passing yards in each of the last three games. The game design and planning for Jags has not given the rookie much of a chance at this point and he has made some questionable decisions with football.
That said, the Falcons are much closer to Jacksonville’s level than the Colts or 49ers, who are both playing good football right now. This game was a vomit that made sense. Atlanta, however, seems to have more upside, which is why the line moved in favor of the road team.
Cordarrelle Patterson trained in a limited way on Wednesday, and he has become such an integral part of this offensive that his presence may actually be enough to move a Falcons line. There’s not much to like about this game, and many player props were still off the board at the time of release, but Atlanta has more promise and potential than Jacksonville.
Burke’s bets: Falke -2.
Browns at Ravens (-3.5, 46.5):
“Sunday Night Football” is a massive game with huge implications in AFC North, as the Browns say goodbye next week and meet the Ravens again at home the following week. Furthermore, a win here for Cleveland gives it seven wins as the crowded playoff picture continues to get more messy.
At the back, a win for the Baltimore Browns pushes a few more notches down and also pushes the Ravens closer to being in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed.
While the sharp money on the Browns early in the week has been very interesting, my focus for this game is actually on the total. We are down to 45 in some places and it seems to be too low. The Ravens scored 85 points in last season’s two meetings, and Cleveland scored 42 points in the second game. Maybe we can draw a line through the Week 1 matchup when the Browns started again with Kevin Stefanski after not having a preseason, but the second game was a 47-42 thriller in a similar spot, albeit Monday night.
These are two strong rush offenses capable of moving the chains on the ground, as Cleveland ranks first or second in most offensive categories, and the Ravens are sixth in rush-off DVOA. Baltimore’s passing defense is cruel, and the Browns throw football a lot more than you would expect with the strength of their running game. The Ravens do not tackle well in space, nor do the Browns.
The Cleveland offense has not lit up the scoreboard lately, but two of the home games were played under windy conditions, and the Patriots just strangled Cleveland as they have many teams. Baltimore’s defense is not at that level. The weather looks good for Sunday and I think this match has a higher expectation of points than what the line draw suggests.
Burke’s bets: Over 46.5.