I’ve been assigned two early NFC games in Week 5 in Bears vs. Vikings and Falcons vs. Bucs, and frankly, both look like they might be blowouts. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, October 09, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at US Bank Stadium
What Happened With the Vikings on Week 4?
Usually, NFL teams get their bye week after playing a game in London, but that’s not the case for the Minnesota Vikings after beating the Saints 28-25 this past Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Greg Joseph’s 47-yard field goal with 24 seconds left.
New Orleans kicker Wil Lutz had a chance to tie on a 61-yard attempt; the kick had the distance but hit the left upright and then the crossbar before bouncing out as time expired.
Vikings' wide receiver Justin Jefferson had 10 receptions for 147 yards. He also registered his first career rushing touchdown in the win. It marked his 16th career game with at least 100 receiving yards, tied with four others for the third-most such games by a player in his first three career seasons in NFL history. Only Randy Moss (19) and Odell Beckham Jr. (19) have more.
Minnesota lost rookie first-round safety Lewis Cine to a broken leg in the win over the Saints so his season is over. It was such a bad break that he’s still in London having surgery.
The Vikings’ 3-1 record is their best after four games since QB Kirk Cousins joined the team in 2018.
The Vikings didn’t want their bye this early so they requested not to take it post-London. Theirs will be Week 7. Minnesota will be the sixth team to opt-out of the bye post-London. The previous five went 2-2-1 against the spread on the NFL picks in their following game and 3-2 straight up. Favorites went 1-1 both ATS and SU.
What Happened With the Cubs on Week 4?
Chicago was a 20-12 loser at the New York Giants on Sunday and it’s a minor miracle the team is 2-2 considering the Bears are averaging a ridiculous 97.5 yards passing.
Second-year QB Justin Fields looks lost, although to be fair he has little around him skill position-wise. Top running back David Montgomery missed the Giants game due to injury, and it’s not clear if he will play here. Khalil Herbert is just as good and had 19 carries for 77 yards.
Kicker Cairo Santos missed Week 4 against the Giants while tending to a personal matter, but is "back and full-steam ahead." Arguably the team’s best offensive lineman, Cody Whitehair, injured his knee and will miss a while.
Pick and Prediction
Look, I probably won’t recommend the Bears against the spread all season. Their offense is stuck in the stone age. I would buy this down to -6.5, though, to avoid a possible push. Chicago is 1-5 ATS in its past six road games and 1-4 ATS in its past five against the Vikings.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, October 09, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Raymond James Stadium
What Happened With the Falcons on Week 4?
Must admit that I never would have guessed the Falcons and Bucs would be 2-2 and tied for first in the NFC South after four games – wasn’t sure Atlanta would even win two games this season. The Falcons haven't played a game decided by more than four points. Tampa Bay faced the NFL's most difficult strength-of-schedule over the first four weeks.
Despite starting former No. 2 overall bust Marcus Mariota at quarterback, the Falcons are in the Top 10 of the NFL in scoring at 25.8 ppg. On Sunday, the Dirty Birds upset visiting Cleveland 23-20 despite Mariota going just 7-for-19 for 139 yards with a pick.
Atlanta rushed for 202 yards and two scores despite losing No. 1 running back Cordarrelle Patterson during it with a knee injury – he has been placed on injured reserve. He entered Week 4 as the NFL's No. 3 rusher.
Expect rookies Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley to be popular pickups in your fantasy league this week as each had 10 carries in place of Patterson on Sunday. Huntley had been called up from Atlanta’s practice squad but now will be signed to the 53-man roster.
The Falcons have the NFL's fourth-ranked rushing offense with 672 yards and averaging 5.1 yards a carry. Defensively, the Falcons are allowing opponents to convert 44% of third-down chances, ranking 24th out of the 32 teams.
What Happened With the Buccaneers on Week 4?
Tampa Bay had the NFL’s top scoring defense entering Week 4, allowing just 27 total points, but Kansas City had 28 at halftime on the way to a 41-31 win. The Chiefs rushed for a season-high 189 yards, the most allowed by Tampa in a few years. It didn't help that it spotted KC 14 points with two lost fumbles.
The Bucs lost two members of their secondary as safety Logan Ryan sustained a foot injury in the first quarter and cornerback Carlton Davis left with a stinger in the second half. Davis should play this week.
I don’t read too much into that result – every defense has one bad game and Patrick Mahomes can help do that to any club. Since the arrival of Todd Bowles in 2019, first as the defensive coordinator for three seasons and now as head coach, the Bucs have been the most difficult team in the NFL to run against.
Pick and Prediction
Over 53 games in that span, the Buccaneers have allowed 4,470 rushing yards or about 84 per game, and a total of 581 yards fewer than the next best run defense. If Atlanta can’t run the ball, this could get ugly. The Falcons have kept it on the ground on 55.5% of their offensive snaps so far.
Offensively, Tom Brady might be without his top tight end as Cameron Brate suffered a possible concussion vs. the Chiefs. He hasn’t been that involved with 11 catches for 100 yards.
Tampa Bay has won the last four against Atlanta to take a 29-28 overall lead. I don’t love this spread at the NFL odds in regards to a possible backdoor Falcons cover, but the Bucs should be able to win by at least 10. They are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a loss. The Falcons are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a win.
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