By Lucas Kochevar
The Bengals are back and the 49ers are dead. Maybe dead is a bit harsh, but its gone downhill quickly for the 49ers as of late. San Francisco has really just been a tire fire with both sides of the ball being downright bad. The offense has been fine, but Brock Purdy's turnovers at certain points have just been killers. The defense isn't helping him that much at all too. They allowed Joe Burrow to find his rhythm and it might be the beginning of the Bengals resurgence. The Bengals seem to love starting out slow and really it was Burrow's calf that was slowing them down. He seems to be healthy and the Bengals are set up nicely to try and take control in the AFC. They're still behind the Ravens, but they're really rounding into form. The Panthers also decided to leave the winless record club and beat the Texans. It was a terrible game, but Bryce Young finally showed those flashes of the Bryce Young at Alabama.
Miami Dolphins (+1.5) vs Kansas City Chiefs
The first game on the day in Germany between the Dolphins and Chiefs. The Dolphins are on the fraud watch since they really haven't beaten a real team. Their most impressive win is over a Chargers team that's deeply unserious. The Dolphins also have an energy about them that doesn't scream "They can win in the cold weather." and I'm not sure they can. They got manhandled by the Bills and Eagles and their defense doesn't seem as strong as they were coming into the season. They did get Jalen Ramsey back and he got an interception in his first game with them. He'll be a big part in trying to stop the Chiefs, who are trying to get back on track too after an embarrassing loss against the Broncos. There's also the factor in travel, where the Dolphins arrived on Monday and the Chiefs waited until Thursday.
This game is a revenge game for star receiver Tyreek Hill as he takes on the Chiefs for the first time since the trade. The easiest bet in the world will be Tyreek Hill anytime touchdown. He's going to score once, guaranteed. The Chiefs defense has been really solid this year and they'll have their hands full with all the speed that Miami possess. I am curious to see how the Chiefs look after their worst performance of the season. There hasn't been a receiver to really separate themselves from the pack, but I have a feeling rookie Rashee Rice can have an impact on this game. They'll definitely need to turn down the drop issue that they've run into. Most of the time I would pick the team that has the better coach, quarterback and defense, but I think the Dolphins will make a statement win over the reigning champs in Germany.
Seattle Seahawks (+5.5) @ Baltimore Ravens
The Seahawks are travelling out East to Baltimore to take on the surging Ravens. Although the Ravens never feel like they're the best team in the AFC, they continue to stack wins and remain among the best record-wise. They Ravens are coming off of a win against the Cardinals, where Gus Edwards scored three touchdowns. It wasn't a great win as they only beat the worst team in a league by a touchdown. The Seahawks are coming off a win against the Browns. They didn't have a great win either was they beat a backup quarterback by four points at home. Geno Smith doesn't quite look the same as he did last season, but they're still getting good games from him.
The Seahawks have a chance to really go ahead of the 49ers with a win over the Ravens, but I'm not sure it'll be that easy. The Ravens offense has started to hit it's stride and it will go against a very solid Seahawks defense. The Seahawks secondary has a unique task of slowing down Mark Andrews and Zay Flowers. I want to add Odell Beckham Jr. to that but he hasn't quite been productive for Baltimore yet. Andrews and Flowers, on the other hand, have been very solid and I think they can be even better. Playing against Tariq Woolen and Devon Witherspoon will present a unique challenge against these guys with their physical play. I like the Ravens to win this game and really separate themselves from the rest of the AFC for the time.
Buffalo Bills (+1.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals
As I mentioned earlier, the Bills are travelling to play the Bengals in Cincinnati for the first time since the Damar Hamlin situation last season. Despite not playing that much, I'm sure Hamlin will be a lead story for Sunday night. Outside of Hamlin, there are some great storylines to follow in this game. The Bengals have started to turn it around, especially after their win on the road last week. The Bills are also coming off a solid win on Thursday against the Buccaneers, however, they still haven't looked cohesive. The Bills are a team that are just a rollercoaster ride with insane peaks and valleys. Josh Allen has shown the glimpses of the great Josh Allen, but he's been just flat out sloppy. On the other side, Burrow has really just been on an upward trajectory.
This trajectory could be a deciding factor in the game. I feel great about the Bengals chances in this game because the Buffalo defense is beat up like no other. With several key guys missing for the year, the Bengals wide receivers can stretch the Bills defense out. The player that needs to get going is Tee Higgins. After coming into the season with a contract dispute, Higgins hasn't quite gotten off the ground in terms of his production. This can be his breakout game with a banged up secondary. The Bills are once again facing questions about their run game as they signed Leonard Fournette recently. The Bills haven't been close to a real competent run game with Josh Allen as the starter, but I thought that they were trending in a good direction early on this season with James Cook. I think Cook is the X-factor for the Bills this week. As I said earlier, I think the Bengals have a chance to dominate Buffalo and further cement themselves as a contender.
LK's Bet of the Week: New York Giants @ Las Vegas Raiders U37.5
There are some DASTARDLY games going on this weekend. Absolutely terrible games that shouldn't be seen by mortal eyes. The film from some of these games should be taken out back and set on fire. With that being said, it's UNDER TIME. The last time I took an under it was the worst bet I've ever gave out. This time, however, I feel absolutely terrific about. The Raiders just fired their head coach and GM in a smart move and they're also benching Jimmy Garoppolo. It's a complete overhaul and they're starting a rookie quarterback. Rookie quarterback's are a bad recipe when you're looking for points, unless you're Will Levis playing the Falcons. The Giants are also in a weird spot coming off a game that just didn't make any sense. Tyrod Taylor got hurt and Tommy Devito came into the game. Yes, that's a real person and not a character from "The Sopranos". It was weird because the game was teleported to the 1930s and the Giants lost. I'm not sure who will be at quarterback on Sunday for the Giants, but it won't matter either way. The under is going to be incredible television to root for, but it'll be an ugly game. Let's win this bet.
Record on the season: 4-4
Sources: Image via Fan Nation Dolphins