Panthers – Additionally, the Seahawks prove that Vikings are a fluke and a two-team teaser.
Well – last week was strange. I was all over the place with the Patriots as part of the teaser, making it clear that Cam Newton was the main reason why, and then, in the end, he didn’t play. They almost always provided back cover, but I guess I have to take it as a defeat even. I would never have bet this game, even as a teaser, without Cam Newton, and I changed my pick of our CBS pundit select page as soon as it was clear that Cam would not be playing. But I take the ‘L’ to go 8-6 on the season.
I’ll stick with some of that teaser action, as it has served me well so far this season.
Seattle -7 vs. Vikings
The Vikings ultimately won a match. Hooray! They managed to beat one of the worst football teams, barely. They face a completely different task this week, and the absence of a pass-run against Russell Wilson will be devastating. The Seahawks have a few defensive flaws, but they won’t make Dalvin Cook’s life more comfortable, and I believe Pete Carroll will find a way to keep Justin Jefferson under control too. I don’t have any confidence in the secondary Vikings at the moment, and they are two teams going in very different directions.
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Panthers + 2.5 at Falcons
It’s honestly the weirdest line of the week to me. I have no idea what Atlanta is doing right, and it looks like a team waiting for its coach to be fired. You want to talk about making the moves and lacking in talent or self-confidence – well, these are your Atlanta Falcons. The Panthers believe in Matt Rhule and have a legitimate chip on their shoulder, and Teddy Bridgewater is playing winning football. They’ve become a higher-functioning felony without Christian McCaffrey, and the defense is improving every week. Carolina will continue to throw the ball even without McCaffrey, and the Falcons can’t keep it up. Give me points all day.
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Two-team teaser: Cardinals pick’em / Bengals +19.5
The Cardinals have indeed returned to the ground on both sides and have left much to be desired for the past two weeks. They’ve taken a big step backward, but the good news is that they are facing the worst football team this week. They have to take a few more hits on the pitch and open up this attack, and now is a great time to do so. It may still not be that nice yet, but they are playing with the Jets, and all I need is a decisive win here. I like the Bengals who get 13.5 points, but because it’s the Ravens and because it’s Lamar Jackson — even though he missed training this week – I’m just going to go ahead and pick this in a teaser to be safe. But the Bengalis can make it a game if they work on some screen passes and keep the running backs engaged in the passing game.
Opinions expressed by California Gazette contributors are their own.