We’re focusing on the NFC South for our NFL picks story today – well, except for New Orleans, which plays Thursday night.
Here’s a look at Bucs vs. Panthers and Falcons vs. Bengals. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Sunday, October 23, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Bank of America Stadium
What Happened on Week 6?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is the first of two meetings between the clubs with the Panthers going to Tampa on New Year’s Day. Did Tom Brady make a big mistake coming out of retirement for this season? He has looked rather old at times and apparently is now getting a divorce from Gisele Bundchen because of it.
Tampa Bay was a 10-point favorite in Pittsburgh on Sunday but lost 20-18 as the offense continued to scuffle. The Bucs scored only one touchdown in four trips into the red zone. Brady was 25-for-40 for 243 yards and a touchdown. At one point, cameras caught Brady excoriating his offensive linemen on the sideline.
Brady's Total QBR of 52.1 is his lowest since ESPN implemented the metric in 2006. His 8 touchdown passes are his lowest since 2016 when he saw action in only two games. Last year, the Bucs averaged 30.33 points in the first six weeks. This year that number is 19.0.
It’s not all on TB12 as the rushing attack ranks last in the league in both yards per game and yards per carry. Top tight end Cameron Brate left Sunday’s loss on a stretcher but fortunately only suffered a sprained neck. He’s pretty clearly not playing this week. Brate has 13 catches for 114 yards.
Carolina might be the biggest mess going on in the NFL. Of course, the team fired Coach Matt Rhule after Week 5 and on Sunday interim coach Steve Wilks sent unhappy receiver Robbie Anderson to the locker room for good mid-game after Anderson kept arguing with position coach Joe Dailey.
On Monday, Anderson was traded to Arizona. I fully expect star running back Christian McCaffrey to be dealt with by the trade deadline.
The Panthers lost 24-10 to the Rams and third-string quarterback PJ Walker had just 60 yards passing. Walker said he will be ready to practice Wednesday even though he wasn't able to finish Sunday's game because of a fourth-quarter neck injury.
Wilks expects 2021 starter Sam Darnold to come off injured reserve Wednesday after missing the first six games with an ankle injury, but it's unlikely he could be ready for Sunday's game.
This NFL pick is simply me thinking the Bucs shouldn’t be 10.5-point road favorites over anyone right now. Tampa is 0-4 against the spread in its past four games.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, October 23, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Paycor Stadium
What Happened on Week 6?
It’s the first meeting between these teams since 2018 and Atlanta’s first trip to Cincinnati since 2014. The Bengals won both of those.
I frankly wasn’t sure Atlanta would win even three games this season, but the Falcons have definitely overachieved with a 3-3 mark. They upset the visiting 49ers on Sunday 28-14.
Former No. 2 overall pick and bust Marcus Mariota has been pretty good overall and threw for two scores and rushed for another against what was the NFL’s top defense. He had just one incompletion.
“I think he’s just now coming into his own as far as coaches believing in him, allowing him to be who he is, allowing him to be the person that he is, and allowing him to thrive,” said linebacker Rashaan Evans, who also played with Mariota in Tennessee. “Coaches, a lot of times they can quit on players, even if they start slow. But for right now, Marcus has been playing the best ball of his career and I think he’s going to continue to keep doing those things.”
Atlanta has been excellent running the ball (165.2 ypg) despite top running back Cordarrelle Patterson landing on injured reserve after Week 4. Sunday was the fifth time this season the Falcons have eclipsed 150 yards rushing. Cincinnati allows 121.0 ypg on the ground.
The Bengals rallied for a 30-26 win at New Orleans on Sunday in the return to the Superdome for QB Joe Burrow and WR Ja’Marr Chase – they led LSU to the national championship game win there in the 2019 season.
Burrow threw for 300 yards and three scores while rushing for a touchdown vs. the Saints, while Chase had seven catches on 10 targets for two touchdowns and a season-high 132 yards.
Chase's second TD was a 60-yarder with less than two minutes left and the Bengals down 26-24. It marked the first game-winning touchdown of 60-or-more yards within the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime since Week 14, 2018 (Kenyan Drake with a 69-yard score).
Since Chase entered the league in 2021, he and Burrow have connected for 11 touchdowns of 15 yards or more, the most of any duo of that span. Atlanta has struggled against the pass, allowing 281.2 ypg. Only Tennessee is worse.
Cincinnati did see middle linebacker Logan Wilson leave injured, and it’s not clear yet if he will miss time. Wearing the green dot for the Bengals on defense, Wilson is responsible for getting every player lined up correctly after defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo communicates the calls to him.
The Falcons are 1-4 ATS in their last five games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. The Bengals are 8-1 ATS in their past nine after a win and 5-1 ATS in their past six at home. They should win by at least a touchdown.
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