The weekend is nearly upon us and the picks are rolling in. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Seattle Seahawks opening as home favorites for only the second time on the year as they are set to take on the New York Giants in the afternoon game — at the same time that their divisional rival Los Angeles Rams will be paying a visit to the San Francisco 49ers. Prior to these match-ups, the Arizona Cardinals will travel to Minnesota for a morning game, and even earlier than that, the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars will be setting up to play in front of a London crowd at Wembley Stadium. So let’s get to the predictions!
Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars — 6:30am PT — ESPN+
Russell Wilson is back after a one-week cameo by Spokane kid and former Boise State Bronco Brett Rypien. The 2-5 Broncos may already be in panic mode and desperately need a win; the Jaguars are similarly 2-5, but they seem to be ascending — albeit slowly — and are starting to see some improved production from 2021 first round picks Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne Jr. Now, a “home” game in London is hardly a home game, so the Jags can pretty much scratch homefield advantage off the board. However, the Broncos are a mess right now, and even their overshadowed defense wont be able to win this game for them.
The pick: Over 39 points, Jaguars win straight up and cover
Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings — 10am on Fox
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Cardinals openiing as road underdogs against the 5-1 Vikings, who are freshly off a bye week. Arizona is coming off a big home victory over the New Orleans Saints in their highest scoring game of the season. In spite of this, the Cardinals have also failed to score more than 17 points in three contests this season; the Vikings, meanwhile, have generally been consistent on offense and have managed to score at least 24 points in every contest except their only loss on the season (a 24-7 loss in their Week 1 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, who have Football Outsiders’ 3rd ranked defense in weighted DVOA). In spite of this, I think that the Cardinals and DeAndre Hopkins can keep this one close, but this one could end up being more defensively oriented than it might look on paper; the Vikings home field advantage ultimately wins out, even though I expect Arizona to cover.
The pick: Under 49 points, the Vikings to win straight up, but Arizona covers the spread
San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams — 1:25pm on Fox
The San Francisco 49ers always seem to have the Rams number; this year, it may be even easier on them than in seasons past, as LA is in an unfamiliar position under Sean McVay. While they are currently sitting at .500, they are seeing a major regression for Matthew Stafford, and already suffered a double digit defeat against the 49ers in Week 4. While the Niners have some issues of their own following a blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, I expect them to get back on track and sweep the Rams handily this weekend.
The pick: Under 43 points, 49ers win straight up and cover
New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks — 1:25pm
The Seahawks open as favorites for only the second time this season, with the unexpectedly surging Giants looking to extend their 4-game winning streak and improve upon their 5-1 record. New York’s only loss on the season so far came at the hands of the rival Dallas Cowboys, who may currently have the best defense in the NFL. The Giants are no slouches on defense, themselves, and have yet to surrender more than 22 points in a game this season. Enter Geno Smith, Kenneth Walker III and the Seattle Seahawks. Vic Tafur of The Athletic had this to say:
“...I am fading the Giants defense this week. They have been second-worst in the league at preventing big runs — behind only the Texans — with a 12.5 percent explosive run allowed rate, and Seahawks rookie Kenneth Walker III leads the league in explosive rush rate (16.4 percent of his runs have gone for 12-plus yards). And the Giants won’t be able to blitz as often as they would like. Geno Smith is completing 72.4 percent of his passes, with a 7.1 YPA, when defenses come after him and he might not even miss DK Metcalf if the receiver is out Sunday.”
The pick: Over 44.5 points, Seahawks win straight up and cover the spread
The Tallysight picks for the FG staff is below: