The Giants opened this week as 4.5-point home underdogs against the Cleveland Browns, who are coming off a wild Monday night matchup with the Baltimore Ravens that resulted in a 47-42 loss. Despite the loss, Cleveland showed off the prowess of their dynamic pair of running backs, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The two combined for 213 yards from scrimmage and four total touchdowns. Quarterback Baker Mayfield also had his best game of the year, throwing for 343 yards and two touchdowns while adding a third touchdown on the ground. After such an explosive game, it will be interesting to see how the Browns will follow up that performance.
The Cleveland Browns have been an extremely high-variance team over the course of the season. They have scored over 40 points three times so far this year, including their two most recent games, and they have also scored 10 or fewer points four times this year. This Giants team, whose foundation is a strong defense and a ball-control offense, would be best suited to take on the low-scoring version of the Cleveland Browns. Based on the season struggles of the offense and the limitations Daniel Jones showed against Arizona, The Giants would struggle to keep up with Cleveland in a high-scoring affair.
The Jets will play their second consecutive game on the west coast as they head to So-Fi Stadium to take on the Los Angeles Rams. The Jets opened this week as massive 16.5-point road underdogs to a Rams team that just crushed the New England Patriots 24-3 last Thursday night. The Rams’ defense currently ranks in the top three for points allowed, pass yards allowed, and rush yards allowed, and their offense is coming off their most successful rushing games of the season. The Rams are 5-1 at home this season and are in the heat of the NFC West division race.
Last week served as a breakout game for Rams rookie running back Cam Akers. Akers, who was highly regarded from his career at Florida State, led the team with 29 rushes for 171 yards against the Patriots will pose a major threat to the Jets. With Jared Goff struggling, and the defense playing so well, the Rams have shifted their offensive game plans to lean more heavily on the run game. Thankfully for the Jets, their rush defense has been performing relatively well thanks to the emergence of Quinnen Williams. He and the rest of the defensive front may be the Jets’ best chance to keep things close in Los Angeles.
The Eagles opened as 6.5-point home underdogs against the Arizona Cardinals, who are coming off a convincing 26-7 victory versus the New York Giants. Arizona boasts one of the league’s top-scoring offenses, and although they’ve fallen from the top spot they held earlier in the season, they are still extremely dangerous. Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who is currently 3rd in the league in receptions and 5th in the league in yards, will be the Eagles’ biggest challenge on Sunday. With multiple injuries in the secondary, including lead cornerback Darius Slay in the concussion protocol and Rodney McLeod out with a torn ACL, Hopkins could be due for a big day.
The biggest wildcard matchup in this game is going to be Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts versus Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons. Simmons, who is one of the most athletic defensive players in the entire league, played linebacker, cornerback, safety, and sometimes running back during his college career at Clemson. He would be the best candidate on Arizona’s defense to spy on Jalen Hurts and limit his production as a runner. Simmons has not yet found a consistent role in the Cardinals defense throughout the season, but this responsibility may be the best fit for his skill set. If Simmons can win in this respect, it will be a true test of Jalen Hurts’ skills as a pure passer.