Record: 17-13 | Bonus Record: 3-2
After the most exciting NFL trade deadline in recent history, there is much to unpack about each team’s commitment to the rest of the NFL season and how that will affect the both the outcomes of contests and the methods in which teams utilize players. For example, for better or worse, the Dolphins appear to be all in on the 2022 season, trading significant draft capital for Bradley Chubb, then almost immediately signing him to hefty deal. By considering certain outcome-shifting factors for the deadline, we can gain an advantage when placing bets this week:
Dolphins -4 @ Bears
Although the Bears showed promise over the last two weeks, especially Justin Fields, they will be overmatched hosting the Dolphins this Sunday. After a slow start against the Lions last week, the Dolphins returned from intermission rejuvenated on both sides of the ball and adding a key defensive piece this week should only improve that energy and moral. Chubb also improves the Dolphins’ already stout run defense, helping counteract the run game the Bears employ as the most effective piece of their offense. With the run game limited, Fields could look as uncomfortable as the first few weeks of the season, causing many stalled drives. The Dolphins on the other hand should be able to execute both elements of their offense at will; we all know the shortcomings of the Bears run game and their pass defense only appears respectable because the Bears are so easily beaten on the ground, in reality it’s quite subpar. Expect another dominant week from the most dynamic wide receiver duo in the league, and the Dolphins to secure this victory by convincing measure.
Kirk Cousins O252.5 Passing Yards
Since Kirk Cousins receives way more hate than deserves over the course of his career, I’m going to grant him the honor of making this list with a positive outlook. The Vikings just traded for TJ Hockenson, who could immediately be extremely valuable to the Vikings’ passing game that has lacked consistency at the TE position since Kyle Rudolph left. Whether or not Cousins actually decides to throw Hock the ball, something that Jared Goff seemingly avoided in Detroit, his impact in the run game and diverting defensive attention will definitely be felt. In fact, Hock’s biggest contribution in his first game with the Vikings will probably be open up a plethora of quality looks for JJettas and Adam Thielen. Look for the for huge days from the Vikings’ WRs against a below average Commanders’ secondary, carrying Cousins to this prop.
Stefon Diggs U78.5 Receiving Yards
Diggs’ line is slightly lower than one would expect after his explosion against the Packers last week, but with good reason. The Jets possess two coverage stalwarts at cornerback, which I expect will shadow Diggs the entire game after seeing what Diggs did when not covered by Jaire Alexander last week. With much of the Jets’ highest quality defensive attention set on limiting Diggs, expect some of the other Bills’ receivers to step up to fill the vacated production. Diggs is still insanely talented, but I’m willing to bet that 80 yards could be too much to achieve this week.
Colts @ Patriots U40.5 Total Points
While removing Matt Ryan from starting duties in favor of Sam Ehlinger was the right season long decision for the Colts, the results didn’t show it in week eight and likely won’t in week nine. Ehlinger should struggle against the Patriots’ pass defense, much like Wilson struggled last week. Especially worrisome is the health of Jonathan Taylor, who looks increasingly likely to sit this week. Without a strong run game to take the pressure off Ehlinger, I expect the offensive woes of the Colts to continue, at least until Taylor returns to full health. However, if there’s one aspect the Colts excel, it’s limiting opposing mediocre offenses, which the Patriots possess. This game has first half sleeper with a slight offensive revival in the second written all over it, but not enough to exceed this line.