Jay Ajayi rides again and a long day for the Lions
Last week started off with a serious thud when Spencer Ware was forced out of the game with a concussion, still well shy of his mark, plus a disastrous afternoon for the Colts offense that saw Andrew Luck get sacked oh… just a half-dozen times this time against a Chiefs pass rush that had only 8 entering the game. But thanks to the scores on reception totals for Jordy Nelson and Alshon Jeffery, we salvaged 2-3, which takes the season record to 23-20. As always, all lines appearing below are courtesy Bovada.
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Frank Gore rushing yards UNDER 54.5
In Week 6 at Houston, Frank Gore finally broke through on behalf of all Colts running backs with the team’s first 100-yard performance since Vick Ballard in 2012. Gore, Andrew Luck and the Colts offensive line have a much tougher challenge on the ground this week against a slightly overrated but still formidable rushing defense at Green Bay. Opposing rushers average only 3.36 yards per carry against the Pack, meaning Gore would need about 16 carries and an average performance to exceed the 54.5 total.
Gore has averaged just under 16 carries per game so far and Green Bay is much more susceptible through the air with starting cornerbacks Sam Shields and Damarious Randall on the shelf and safety Micah Hyde shifted to cornerback in their absence. Point is, count on much more Andrew Luck passing than Frank Gore rushing.
Aaron Rodgers passing yards OVER 285.5
That’s a good segue to Rodgers, who answered some doubters last week at Atlanta with a 28-for-38 performance for 246 yards and four passing touchdowns. Rodgers has averaged 48 passing attempts over his past four games as Green Bay has seemingly embraced a more one-dimensional approach. That said, RB/WR Ty Montgomery, who missed last week’s game with an illness, is set to return.
In Weeks 7 and 8, when Mike McCarthy used Montgomery in a hybrid role, he collected a total 20 receptions for 164 receiving yards, which help pad Rodgers’ passing stats big time (Rodgers finished with 294 and 326 passing yards in those games). Rodgers’ passing outlook is also improved because the Colts will be missing both top cornerback Vontae Davis and top safety Mike Adams. Combined with the Packers’ back-end injury woes and the Colts’ scoring ability, Rodgers ought to be putting the ball in the air 40-plus times.
Jay Ajayi rushing yards OVER 74.5
No, Ajayi isn’t going to run for 200 yards again and he may not make it to 100, either, against a stout Jets defensive line and a rushing D that allows only 3.3 yards per carry. I think by sheer volume, thanks to an improved Miami offensive line, Ajayi’s freshness off the bye and in general on the seasonl, and owing to the weather forecast that calls for wind and rain, Ajayi will top the number.
Right now Ajayi leads the league in yards after first contact with 4.2. He’s been a beast to take down and has the potential to break a long one to offset small gains. The Jets secondary has been getting scorched this season but offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen would be foolish to not stick with the running game, which has given the Fins a two-game winning streak.
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Marvin Jones receiving yards UNDER 57.5
Rotoworld’s Evan Silva points out an interesting correlation between Jones and Lions running back Theo Riddick: Jones has reached 50 yards zero out of six times in games when Riddick has played. Meanwhile, Golden Tate’s usage has ticked back up and tight end Eric Ebron is back in the mix for this tilt against the Vikings, who return home to the raucous U.S. Bank Stadium crowd where Minnesota hasn't played since Oct. 9 after two embarrassing games on the road and a bye. This is going to be a rough game for the Lions and Jones against a stingy Vikings defense.
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Kenny Britt receiving yards OVER 67.5
The Panthers got their groove back last Sunday at home against a struggling Cardinals offense but now fly cross-country to face a rested Rams squad. All season, the Panthers have been susceptible on the back end, particularly to boundary wide receivers who have racked up catches and yardage, including Arizona’s J.J. Nelson last week (8 receptions, 79 yards, 2 scores). Britt isn’t a speedster but his large, imposing frame (6-foot-3, 223 pounds) makes him difficult to cover. He’s seen consistent targets from Case Keenum and averages 76.4 yards per game on the season. He should be able to exploit the Panthers’ main weakness in this spot while the Panthers’ front 7 will make it difficult to run.