The Teaser: Pair Kansas City and New Orleans
Game 1: Kansas City vs. Dallas
The Initial Line:
Kansas City pk (even) away vs. Dallas
Add 7.5 points to Kansas City’s line
The Final Line:
Kansas City +7.5
Kansas City was able to get the easy victory on Monday Night Football, defeating division rival Denver 29-19. The KC defense was able to force 5 total turnovers on Monday, while kicker Harrison Butker went 5/5 on FGs with a long of 51. Dallas got the best of one of their division rivals as well, beating Washington 33-19 on the road. Dallas got 3 turnovers (2 fumble recoveries and an INT) while Ezekiel Elliott hammered Washington on the ground with 33 carries for 150 yards and 2 TDs.
After a 2 loss skid, Kansas City seemed to get their groove back against Denver. They still boast the 3rd best offensive attack in the NFL, led by RB Kareem Hunt who also leads the league in rushing yards. Dallas’ 2nd ranked rush offense will surely take a hit this weekend with Elliott’s suspension finally taking place. Elliott had amassed an average of 120.2 yards/game in Dallas’ 4 victories but only 69.7 yards/game in their losses, which shows the impact he can have in their team performance. Kansas City also does a great job protecting the football, as they rank 2nd in turnover differential at +10 and are tied for 1st in the least giveaways on the year (3). Against the spread, Kansas City is 3-1 on the road with the only loss coming on the last second TD to Oakland. Dallas on the other hand is only 1-2 ATS at home (compared to 3-1 on the road). This could be a close game, and a revamped Dallas squad should not be overlooked at home for a late victory. However, getting KC with some insurance points seems like the move. 7.5 points gets them over a TD cushion, so that sounds like a lock.
Game 2: New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay
The Initial Line:
New Orleans -7 home vs. Tampa Bay
Add 7.5 points to New Orleans’ line
The Final Line:
New Orleans +0.5
New Orleans continues to surge, securing their 5th straight victory by defeating Chicago at home 20-12. This newfound defense has been a nice sight for NO, as they added 2 sacks and an INT to their credentials in the win. Tampa Bay couldn’t muster a strong offensive attack on their home turf, and they fell to Carolina 17-3. QB Jameis Winston’s mental mistakes continued on Sunday, as he threw 2 INTs in the 3-turnover game while the offense was held under 300 total yards.
New Orleans is now 12th in points allowed/game (20.7), but have allowed 17 or less in 4 of the 5 in their current win streak. Despite being 38 years old, Drew Brees is still one of the best in the business, ranking 6th in passer rating at 101.7. However, his counterpart Winston only ranks 18th at 88.3 as the turnovers continue to haunt him (6 INT, 7 fumbles). His shoulder is also not 100% and was reaggravated Sunday, leaving the possibility that Fitzpatrick may have to step in at QB. With 4 straight losses for Tampa Bay while New Orleans has 5 straight wins, these teams are trending in different directions in the NFC South and it’ll be hard to break that trend this weekend. The divisional rivalry may keep the competition close, but New Orleans should secure its 6th straight and a stronghold on the division so take them in a teaser to win the game.