Seriously? Have you heard some of the crazy hype around Dak Prescott after his preseason performances? Trent Dilfer is gushing like a schoolgirl. Michael Smith is already predicting the Cowboys shouldn’t want to bring back Tony Romo when he’s finally healthy again (he’s assuming of course that Prescott will be a star).
Slow down. Let’s see this kid perform in a real NFL game before proclaiming him a future pro bowl quarterback.
Every year it seems inevitable, some NFL team will lose their starting quarterback due to injury for a substantial amount of time before the regular season event commences. This year is no exception. As a matter of fact, during the last week alone, we’ve witnessed two such unfortunate mishaps. Dallas’ Tony Romo sustained a broken vertebrae last week at Seattle, and will be lost for at least half the season. Then just yesterday, Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater suffered a gruesome knee injury during practice,and it will definitely sideline him for the year, besides quite possibly jeopardizing his playing career.
Tony Romo is injured again, and Dallas fans have to feel sick. Some are hyping Dak Prescott as an interesting replacement, but I’m not buying that hype.
Meanwhile, Ezekiel Elliott looked amazing in the preseason game against Seattle, including a punishing play when he ran over Kam Chancellor. Elliott flashed all the skills he showed at Ohio State where he led the Buckeyes to a National Championship, and he naturally has fantasy football fans drooling.
But you have to wonder how much the Romo injury will affect his production. He has an amazing line in front of him, but defenses will be stacking the box and daring Prescott to beat them with his arm. This will be interesting to watch.
Saints vs. Panthers, 1:00PM ET
After the Seahawks thrashed the Saints on “Monday Night Football” a few weeks back, Drew Brees reminded reporters that New Orleans has the best road record of any team in the NFL since 2009. While that may be, there’s no denying that the Saints are a much different team on the road this year than at home. Part that is because the Saints are seemingly unbeatable inside the Superdome. But Sean Payton is also more conservative with his play-calling on the road, Brees is less accurate, and Rob Ryan’s defense is softer versus the run. The Panthers should adjust to what they the Saints did to them in Week 14 when these two teams met in New Orleans (a walk away win for the Saints). I expect them to tighten up their red zone coverage and not allow Jimmy Graham to get a free release up the seam and torch them for a second time. The Saints are just 1-4 against the spread in their last five games in Carolina and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall versus the Panthers. FREE PICK: PANTHERS -3
Cowboys vs. Redskins, 1:00PM ET
Kirk Cousins was outstanding in the first half last Sunday in Atlanta and nearly helped Washington overcome seven turnovers to beat the hapless Falcons. He may have just as much success on Sunday versus a Dallas defense that ranks dead last in yards allowed this season, but this isn’t the game the Cowboys will choke away. (That’ll come next weekend when they host the Eagles for what will amount to the NFC East Division title game, a la Week 17 last season.) Regardless of who is under center, the Redskins remain a mess defensively and they’re just 2-9 against the number in their last 11 games versus NFC opponents. They’re also 0-4 ATS in their last four divisional games and 0-5 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win. The Cowboys should get it done on Sunday. FREE PICK: COWBOYS -2.5
Steelers vs. Packers, 4:25PM ET
The Packers have won two straight games after out-playing their opponents in the second half. They trailed by double-digits at home to the Falcons two weeks ago and by 23 points at half versus the Cowboys in Dallas last Sunday but still managed to win. At some point they’re not going to be able to dig themselves out if they continue their inconsistent play on offense and shoddy play on defense. Green Bay is just 1-6 against the spread in its last seven games overall, 0-4 ATS in its last four home games and 0-4 ATS in their last four games against a team with a losing record. On the other side, the Steelers are 5-1 against the number in their last six games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a straight up win. With Aaron Rodgers sidelined for another week with an injured collarbone, look for Pittsburgh to pull off the minor upset. FREE PICK: STEELERS +2.5
Bears vs. Eagles, 8:30PM ET
The total is set high in this one but neither of these teams were interested in playing defense last week. The Bears are going to have loads of trouble slowing down LeSean McCoy on Sunday night and after getting torched by Matt Cassel last week, the Eagles should struggle trying to defend Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte. The over is 4-1 in the Bears’ last five games overall, 11-3 in their last 14 road games and 9-2 in the Eagles’ last 11 games following an ATS loss. FREE PICK: OVER 55.5