I’m not sure anybody saw coming what happened last Thursday night as the 1-2 Giants stormed into Fedex Field in Washington and absolutely pounded the division rival Redskins by a 45-14 score. Kirk Cousins was dismal behind center as the RG III replacement took a step backward with his four interception, one lost fumble performance against the G men. Meanwhile, Eli Manning found tight end Larry Donnell in the endzone on three occasions after the sophomore had caught just one career touchdown pass prior to Thursday’s tilt. Obviously we were way off with our selection on this game, however as mentioned very few could have predicted such a dominant road performance by the Giants. We evened our record on Sunday as the Lions were able to go into Metlife Stadium in New York and win a one-touchdown game against the Jets. With Calvin Johnson hampered by an ankle injury, it was up to the Lions supporting cast to carry the load and they did just that, covering a small one point spread.
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We will once again take a look at the Thursday Night game this week as the Vikings, fresh off a fantastic performance against the Falcons, travel to Lambeau field to clash with the Packers of Green Bay. We will also dive into an NFC matchup between Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles and Mike Fisher’s St. Louis Rams.
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
My Pick – PACKERS -9 (+110)
After a poor offensive performance in Detroit two weeks ago, Green Bay was able to get their offense in gear against the Bears in week four. Every single Green Bay offensive possession resulted in at least a field goal attempt, and the Packers threw up 38 points in an impressive road victory over the Bears. The Vikings were equally, if not more impressive in their game Sunday as they halted Atlanta’s three-game winning streak to start the season while putting up 41 points on the visiting Falcons. This week the Vikings will once again be in tough against a formidable offense led by a pass-first Quarterback, this time in the form of Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers enters the tilt just one yard shy of 1000 on the season as he continues to steer this Packers offense back to the high-flying group we are used to seeing out of Green Bay. Rodgers completed 79% of his passes against Chicago while throwing for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. He averages 309 yards through the air against the Vikings in his last nine matchups against Minnesota, but he will definitely be looking for some help from the running game, and more specifically Eddie Lacy. Lacy has yet to rush for more than 50 yards per game this season after averaging over 78 yards per game last year. The young Runningback will be looking for a breakout performance against a team that knows all about how important the running game can be. It is well known that Adrian Peterson will once against be out for the Vikings, Matt Cassel is definitely out for the season, and now rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater is listed as questionable for this Thursday night’s game. Bridgewater was impressive in his first career start against Atlanta with 317 yards through the air and a rushing touchdown. However, if he can’t go against Green Bay that means that starter-turned third string Quarterback Christian Ponder will get his first reps of the season. The Vikings offense never flourished under Ponder’s helm as the starting QB in Minnesota, and interim Runningback Matt Asiata is not the guy who will carry this offense while the passing game tries to figure it out like Peterson has done in years past. The bottom line in this one is the Vikings, despite a great offensive performance last week, will be in very tough on the road this week at Lambeau Field. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb provide one of the best 1-2 receiver punches in the league this year and could very well dominate this game as they did last week, scoring a combined four touchdowns against the Bears. Take the Packers to get over the .500 mark for the first time this season and light up the Vikings, covering the nine point spread in the process.
St. Louis Rams @ Philadelphia Eagles
My Pick – EAGLES -7.5 (+120)
The Eagles tasted defeat for the first time this season last Sunday afternoon against the 49ers as they were the victim of the first 49ers victory at Levi Stadium in Silicon Valley, California. Chip Kelly’s offense was never really able to break through against the 49ers as they had a lot of help from their special teams in scoring their 21 points. However, this loss to San Fran was the only time this season that Nick Foles as been held under 300 yards passing as the mobile Quarterback continues to learn this high-paced Chip Kelly offense. Some say the Eagles are relying too much on their young QB as they refused to give the ball to 2013/14 leading rusher Lesean McCoy from the one yard line on two occasions, resulting in incomplete passes from Foles. This changes on Sunday as the dangerous pass rush of the Rams will force Foles to hand the ball to their playmaking Runningback more often and balance an offense that was too pass-heavy last week. The Eagles have a banged up offensive line, which in my opinion could be a blessing in disguise for the Eagles as it will force Foles to give the ball to McCoy on a consistent basis. The Rams recently named Austin Davis as their official starting Quarterback for the foreseeable future as the College standout has impressed Mike Fisher and company so far in this young season. The Rams had a bye week last week to think about what went wrong against the Cowboys after they blew a 21 point lead two weeks ago, and they will be tested on the road against Philadelphia. With so many playmakers on the Eagles in Foles, McCoy and free agent pickup Darren Sproles, the young Rams Quarterback may have to play from behind for the majority of this game. With just one touchdown and 2.7 yards per carry this season, McCoy is due to bust out in a big way this Sunday. The Rams are 1-6 against the spread in their last seven meetings with Philly and they have surrendered 69 points in their last two contests against the Eagles. Look for a rebound performance from the Eagles offense on their home field this Sunday as they handle the Rams, covering a 7.5 point spread.