As we enter into what could be considered the midway point in the NFL season certain teams are starting to show whether they are pretenders or contenders in both division and playoff races. This week's games feature a lot of teams fighting to stay alive and others fighting to show they belong at the top of their division standings. Two of the games this week feature teams that are favored by less than a touchdown and I believe they are the right side to be on come kick-off. We’ll get into both of those games and why I think it makes sense to stick with that favorite.
The Patriots enter this with a (4-4) record and are favored by (-4.5) points against Sam Ehlinger and the Indianapolis Colts. New England has not looked like a typical Patriots team and has faced a lot of criticism but I think they are the right play to make here at home.
A lot of talk this season has been about whether Bill Belichick has lost his winning ways or “fastball” as some might say but this is the exact game he thrives in. His team will be facing off against a young quarterback only making his second career start and first road start and he will be without star running back Jonathan Taylor as well. Belichick has historically been wildly successful against young quarterbacks and I think this week will be no different.
The main reason the Patriots were able to edge out the Jets last week was their defense and ability to create turnovers. Despite the offensive struggles as Mac Jones tries to get back into a rhythm the Patriots simply beat up teams with losing records. In their last 41 games against teams with losing records, the Patriots are 30-11 ATS.
Indianapolis is 0-4 ATS in the last four games they’ve played in New England and I just don’t think they can get the job done without Jonathan Taylor. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger was fine last week against the Commanders but he’ll need to play a bigger role this week and I think that’s exactly what the Patriots want. I trust New England at home to cover as favorites.
This line could come across as confusing since you have a team considered to be playoff bound this season in the Miami Dolphins being only (-4) to a Bears team coming off a big loss to the Cowboys and who just traded it ways its two best defensive players. It’s a low number and certainly a candidate to be a trap game but I still think Miami is the right bet to make here.
Miami has struggled to stop one thing on defense this year and that is passing but lucky for them the Bears throw the ball less than any other team in the league. Chicago wants to run the ball down their opponent's throat but the Dolphins allow the sixth least amount of rush yards per game with only 100.6 a game. The Dolphins also got reinforcements this week trading for edge rusher Bradley Chubb making the defensive front for the Dolphins a tough unit to face and rush against.
Tua and his receivers have been playing at a high level and have the big play ability the Bears are lacking. They might be a heavy public play this week but I think the Dolphins are the second favorite this week you should trust.
New England Patriots (-4.5)
Miami Dolphins (-4)