NFL Week 6: Panthers To Maul Bucs In London10 min read
Lindy’s Sports’ UK editor Simon Milham looks ahead to an action-packed NFL Week 6, which includes the second of four London games, Panthers v Bucs, and a loser-takes-all clash in South Florida.
New York Giants at New England Patriots
It won’t be too much longer before Bill Belichick and Tom Brady retire – and what a glorious send-off it would be should the Patriots emulate the Dolphins’ 1972 Perfect Season, with a Super Bowl victory in Miami.
Cynics never walk alone, and they will tell you that the Premier League has woken up to the fact that every successful league needs a successful villain. And when, on rare occasions, that villain gets a bloodied nose, interest heightens, ratings go up, advertising dollars are reaped, and fat cats get fatter.
Like them or loathe them, the New England Patriots have been great for business.
At 5-0 they have barely broken a sweat and while there are not too many records that Belichick and Brady don’t own, they have lost two Super Bowls to the New York Giants. Two games they had in their grasp, only to inexplicably falter at the death in ridiculous circumstances.
Oh, you think that snickering doesn’t grate? That those wounds have healed? That the humble pie has not made them sick to their stomachs?
Thursday night could be the last time that BB and TB12 face Big Blue. One last chance to unload those heavy chips on both shoulders.
The BetVictor NFL odds suggest the Patriots will win handsomely, as they are 16.5-point favourites at 10/11, while the Giants are 13/2 to win the game on the money line.
The Patriots lead the league in scoring defense (conceding just 6 6.8 points per game) and have allowed just two offensive touchdowns this season, none through the air. It has helped that they have faced three of four winless teams to pad those numbers, however.
Yet the Giants (2-3) are shorthanded off a shot week on offense, with running back Saquon Barkley (high right ankle sprain), tight end Evan Engram (sprained MCL), receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion) and running back Wayne Gallman (concussion) all expected to be ruled out.
And if they cannot improve their defense, which allowed 490 yards to punchless Minnesota attack in a 28-10 home loss on Sunday, taking the Patriots to score over 29 points at 9/10 and to win every quarter at 5/1 could tempt a few. Whichever way it is diced, this could be a very long night for Pat Shurmer’s crew.
Tip: New England -16.5 points
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Panthers and Bucs square off at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the second of four London games on Sunday afternoon (2.30pm), with ‘host’ Tampa a 2.0-point underdog, despite beating Carolina 20-14 in Charlotte three weeks ago.
This is a very different Panthers team to the one that was beaten in a game that saw QB Cam Newton injured and running back Christian McCaffrey held to 37 rushing yards.
Newton is not making the trip, so Kyle Allen, the first undrafted quarterback to win his first four starts (dating to last season) since Hall of Famer Kurt Warner did it in 1999 with the Rams, continues to deputise.
Allen has fumbled six times, losing four, in his three-game winning streak, and his 66.7 per cent completion rate is marginally better than Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (65.6ullback and a decent pass-catcher out of the backfield.
The Rams’ defense is hampered by the loss of edge rusher Clay Matthews, who is ruled out with a broken jaw and it will rely heavily on Aaron Donald trying to provide pressure up the middle, something that the Niners have dealt with well this term; QB Jimmy Garoppolo has only been sacked back four times thus far.
Yet the Rams’ attack, with receiver Cooper Kupp likely to find plenty of room against San Fran’s zone coverage, should answer the bell and end the Niners’ unbeaten start to the season in a game that may well go over the 50.5 points-total line.
Tip: Los Angeles Rams -3.5 points