Let’s start by saying that the Saints defense is much improved from last season after drilling through rock bottom and finding the Earth’s core. To beat the Saints in the Superdome the Lions will need to score a lot of points.
They’ve got a pretty terrible rushing attack but they do have Theo Riddick, who has proven very adept in the passing game and averages about 7 targets and 5 catches per game. That might double this week as the Lions will look to control the ball (i.e. keep it away from Brees) and sustain drives. Stafford averages 23.7 completions per game so we’re counting on par for the course in a game where he’s going to have to pass a lot.
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LeGarrette Blount rushing yards -- OVER 70.5
A slightly balky Brady plus a second-half lead (probably) should spell a large dosage of Blount Force Trauma. Even in a hard-fought divisional game against the Jets last week, Blount racked up 67 yards and averages 79 per game this year. As Vegas expects the Rams to score about 16 points in this game, you shouldn’t count on a lot of offense from the Rams with rookie Jared Goff at the helm and that should mean plenty of carries from Blount.
Jay Ajayi rushing yards 65.5 - UNDER
Ajayi’s three-game burst of 528 rushing yards helped spark Miami’s six-game winning streak but he’s returned to Earth with efforts producing 79, 77 and 45 yards, most recently against the lowly San Francisco 49ers run defense, which coincided with the absences of LT Branden Albert, LG Laremy Tunsil and C Mike Pouncey.
The former two are expected to return against Baltimore in a pretty nightmarish matchup for a run-first offense. The Ravens have the league’s top rushing defense with an outrageous -42.5 DVOA, which puts the unit on pace to beat another impenetrable Ravens defense: that of the 2000 Super Bowl Champion Ravens. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase probably won’t abandon Ajayi and the run but will likely rely on a lot of short passing to keep the Ravens at bay and sustain some drives.
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Jordan Howard rushing yards -- OVER 95.5
‘Tis the season for snow football up north as the forecast in Chicago calls for temperatures at about freezing and some light snow. In his first career start last week, Bears QB Matt Barkley ended up airing the ball out 54 times but the Bears shouldn’t be playing catch-up the entire game and the weather conditions should spell a very large workload on the ground for Howard, who is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and has rushed for 100 yards four times in the past eight weeks. San Francisco represents the weakest rushing defense he’s going to face and he should have opportunities to run through the 49ers as they try to pivot on a snowy field.
APNam Y. Huh
Philip Rivers passing yards -- OVER 285.5
The Buccaneers deserve a lot of credit for stringing together three straight wins, including last week’s hard-fought 14-5 battle over the Seahawks. This game against San Diego ought to swing the other way in more of a shootout against a Chargers team that scores a lot of points and allows a lot.
The Bucs’ defense has improved but is still surrendering a lot of big chunk passing plays -- 43 receptions of 20+ yards (29th in league) and 13 catches of 40+ (32nd). The Chargers' offensive line has gotten healthy and Rivers has a lot of capable targets in Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman and Travis Benjamin. The veteran QB averages 285 yards per contest and this should be another over game.