NFL Game Previews: Giants-Chiefs Matchup

NFL Game Previews: Giants-Chiefs Matchup

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

N.Y. Giants (+10) at Kansas City, o/u 52.0 – Monday, 8:15 p.m. EDT

The Giants' big win over the Panthers last week really didn't make any sense, but neither did Kansas City being held to one field goal by the Titans and being below .500 this late in the season, so it's fitting these two teams are facing each other. New York's 2-5 record is well-earned, but given the occasional flickers of backbone the team keeps showing, it's fair to wonder how competitive it might be if the roster was remotely healthy. Once again Daniel Jones will be missing his top running back and, at least on the depth chart, his top wide receiver, although Kadarius Toney was showing signs of seizing that spot before he, too, got hurt. As for K.C., last week had to have been rock bottom, right? Patrick Mahomes looking desperate and Andy Reid having no answers doesn't seem like something that will be a common occurrence. The jibber-jab has been that their scheme has been "figured out" (after, what, four seasons? Jennifer Lawrence OK dot gif) and that defenses have taken the deep pass away. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Travis Kelce is still there, right? And those defenses had a bit easier time on those deep passes while Tyreek Hill was nursing a quad strain. Kansas City still has problems, particularly on defense, but I don't believe Mahomes and the passing game are on that list.

The Skinny

NYG injuries: RB Saquon Barkley (out. ankle), WR Kenny Golladay (out, knee), WR Sterling Shepard (questionable, hamstring), WR Toney (questionable, ankle), LT Andrew Thomas (IR, ankle), S Jabrill Peppers (IR, knee)

KC injuries: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (IR, knee), RT Mike Remmers (questionable, knee), DE Chris Jones (questionable, undisclosed), CB Charvarius Ward (questionable, foot), S Tyrann Mathieu (questionable, illness)

NYG DFS targets: Jones $5,600 DK / $7,300 FD (KC 31st in passing DVOA, 30th in YPA allowed)

KC DFS targets: Byron Pringle $3,700 DK / $5,300 FD (NYG 26th in DVOA vs. WR3)

NYG DFS fades: none

KC DFS fades: none

Key stat: NYG are 32nd in red-zone conversions at 45.0 percent; KC is t-28th in red-zone defense at 73.1 percent

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the low 40s, less than 10 mph wind, 10-20 percent chance of rain

The Scoop Devontae Booker gallops for 110 scrimmage yards and a score. Jones throws for 280 yards and TDs to Shepard and Kyle Rudolph. Darrel Williams bangs out 90 yards and a touchdown. Mahomes throws for 320 yards and three scores, hitting Hill (who tops 100 yards), Pringle and Kelce. Kansas City 31-24

Cincinnati at N.Y. Jets (+10.5), 42.0 o/u – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

If nothing else, the Bengals' emphatic dismantling of the Ravens last week marked them as one of the classes of the AFC in a season when no one seems to be head and shoulders above the crowd. Cincy's been impressive on both sides of the ball -- top four in yards per play on offense and defense, and top seven in scoring -- and while Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase are getting the headlines, there have been contributors all over the roster. I mean, defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo is getting good snaps out of Eli Apple, which is fairly amazing. About the only danger for them here is that they might be looking ahead to Cleveland in Week 9, but even then the Jets are in no position to take advantage of any lapses from an opponent. Robert Saleh has managed to get the defense pointed in the right direction already -- they're middle of the pack in yards per play allowed, at least -- but a team which is last in the league in both the percentage of its own drives it turns into points, and the percentage of opposition drives it allows scores on, is going to have a few problems. Zach Wilson is out for this one, and probably Corey Davis too, but it's not like the passing game can get any worse. (Can it?) The Jets, somewhat hilariously, repatriated Joe Flacco this week to help them get through until Wilson's back, but Mike White, a fifth-round pick of the Cowboys in 2018, will make his first NFL start this week while Flacco gets up to speed. White only saw the first NFL action of his career last week in relief, but I'm sure it will be fine and not at all a reason to load up on as many shares of the Cincy defense as you can.

The Skinny

CIN injuries: RG Xavier Su'a-Filo (IR, knee), CB Trae Waynes (IR, hamstring)

NYJ injuries: QB Wilson (out, knee), WR Davis (doubtful, hip), LT Mekhi Becton (IR, knee), LB C.J, Mosley (questionable, hamstring), S Ashtyn Davis (questionable, shoulder)

CIN DFS targets: Chase $7,500 DK / $8,200 FD (NYJ 30th in DVOA vs. WR1), Bengals DEF $3,600 DK / $4,900 FD (NYJ 31st in giveaways, 32nd in points per game)

NYJ DFS targets: none

CIN DFS fades: none

NYJ DFS fades: Elijah Moore $3,900 DK / $5,200 FD (CIN third in DVOA vs. WR3)

Key stat: NYJ are 27th in red-zone conversions at 53.8 percent; CIN is 11th in red-zone defense at 55.0 percent

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the low 60s, less than 10 mph wind, 1-10 percent chance of rain

The Scoop Joe Mixon racks up 130 combined yards and two scores, one rushing and one receiving. Burrow throws for 260 yards and a second TD to Chase. Michael Carter leads the NYJ backfield with 50 yards. White throws for under 200 yards and gets picked off twice, one of which Chidobe Awuzie returns to the house. Bengals 34-6

Tennessee (+1) at Indianapolis, o/u 50.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

Well, this is probably it for the Colts if they lose. The Titans sit atop the AFC South at 5-2 after back-to-back huge wins over the Bills and Kansas City, and they already have a win in hand over Indy. Another win here, and they'll be three games up having swept the season series against their only credible challenger. Derrick Henry remains the story for Tennessee on offense, and while he failed to run for 100 yards or collect his usual three rushing TDs last week, that was probably because he was too busy throwing a touchdown pass (which, if you're keeping track at home, was one more than Patrick Mahomes managed in the game). You could make a case the Titans' defense has turned a corner, but the win over K.C. seemed to have a lot more to do with their opponent's dysfunction, and this is a unit that coughed up 27 points to the Jets just a few weeks ago, which is like giving up 50 to a real offense. Maybe that was the wakeup call they needed, but I'm still a bit skeptical. The Colts are on something of a roll of their own though, winning three of their last four and with the fourth game being that Monday nighter against the Ravens when they just couldn't find a way to stop Lamar Jackson down the stretch. Carson Wentz has an 8:0 TD:INT and 8.9 YPA over that stretch, while Jonathan Taylor has been nearly as dominant as Henry behind an offensive line that's nearly back in peak form, averaging over 100 rushing yards and 130 scrimmage yards in those four games while scoring six touchdowns. If both running games do their thing, this one could well be decided by which QB or defense steps up at the right time.

The Skinny

TEN injuries: WR Julio Jones (out, hamstring), LB Rashaan Evans (questionable, hamstring), LB Jayon Brown (IR, knee), CB Kristian Fulton (IR, hamstring)

IND injuries: WR T.Y. Hilton (questionable, quadriceps), RT Braden Smith (questionable, foot), K Rodrigo Blankenship (IR, hip), CB Xavier Rhodes (questionable, calf)

TEN DFS targets: Chester Rogers $3,200 DK / $5,000 FD (IND 28th in DVOA vs. WR2)

IND DFS targets: Zach Pascal $4,400 DK / $5,300 FD (TEN 28th in DVOA vs. WR3)

TEN DFS fades: none

IND DFS fades: none

Key stat: TEN is 11th in third-down conversions at 42.4 percent; IND is 11th in third-down defense at 37.7 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 6-5 IND, average score 25-24 IND, average margin of victory 12 points. TEN has won three of the last four meetings, including a 25-16 victory in Week 3

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop Henry thunders for 110 yards and two TDs. Ryan Tannehill throws for 220 yards and a touchdown to Rogers (revenge game!). Taylor responds with 120 combined yards and a score. Wentz throws for 280 yards and a touchdown to Michael Pittman. Colts 23-21

L.A. Rams at Houston (+14.5), o/u 47.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

There isn't a whole lot to say here. The Rams are 6-1, and the Texans are a generous 1-6. Los Angeles has scored 207 points; Houston's given up 203, and that's been the better side of the ball for them. Both teams will be missing their starting left tackles, but which defense do you think is better prepared to exploit that -- the one with Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd, or the one with... OK, Jonathan Greenard (a third-round pick last year) isn't a household name but has six sacks in five games, so we'll call that one a wash. The Rams do have some bodies missing in the secondary, but Davis Mills has been mostly terrible aside from that one inexplicably good game against the Patriots, and the Texans are in no rush to bring Tyrod Taylor back from IR. Aside from that, it's hard to imagine this one being even close, much less a plausible upset candidate. The Rams do have a tilt against the Titans in Week 9, so maybe they get caught looking ahead, but there's just too much talent on both sides of the ball to imagine them all no-showing for four quarters -- which is about what it would take to blow this game.

The Skinny

LAR injuries: LT Andrew Whitworth (out, knee), CB Jalen Ramsey (questionable, illness), CB Darious Williams (IR, ankle), S Jordan Fuller (questionable, knee)

HOU injuries: QB Tyrod Taylor (IR, hamstring), QB Deshaun Watson (out), LT Laremy Tunsil (IR, thumb), C Justin Britt (questionable, knee), LB Christian Kirksey (questionable, thumb)

LAR DFS targets: Darrell Henderson $6,500 DK / $7,700 FD (HOU 31st in rushing yards per game allowed, 32nd in rushing TDs allowed), Tyler Higbee $4,500 DK / $5,300 FD (HOU 29th in DVOA vs. TE), Rams DEF $5,100 DK / $5,000 FD (t-3rd in sacks, HOU 31st in points per game)

HOU DFS targets: none

LAR DFS fades: none

HOU DFS fades: Jordan Akins $2,500 DK / $4,600 FD (LAR fifth in DVOA vs. TE)

Key stat: LAR are third in third-down conversions at 47.5 percent; HOU is 21st in third-down defense at 42.1 percent

Weather forecast: retractable roof

The Scoop Henderson scampers for 100 combined yards and a touchdown. Matthew Stafford throws for 310 yards and three scores, finding Higbee twice and Robert Woods once. David Johnson leads the HOU backfield with 60 yards. Mills throws for 210 yards and a TD to Brandin Cooks but gets picked off twice. Rams 31-7

Pittsburgh (+3.5) at Cleveland, o/u 42.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The last time these two teams met, Ben Roethlisberger threw for over 500 yards and four TDs and the Steelers still lost, as Cleveland picked him off four times. It's gobsmacking to think the 39-year-old is even capable of producing those kinds of numbers in an afternoon's work at this stage of his career -- through six starts this season, he's managed to reach a 6.0 YPA only twice, and his 6.4 mark ranks 30th among all qualifying QBs and ahead of only Justin Fields, Davis Mills and Jacoby Brissett. Yes, that means he's below such luminaries as Zach Wilson (29th), Jared Goff (28th) and Sam Darnold (25th). The limitations in place on the offense have the Steelers in last place in the AFC North, albeit with a respectable 3-3 record, and their formula for success is pretty clear at this point: they're 3-0 when the defense can hold the opposition to 20 points or less, and 0-3 when they can't. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, they're facing a team with a one-armed quarterback. Baker Mayfield didn't suit up last week and is eventually looking at surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, but he'll gut it out for now. The Browns still won without him thanks to the collapsing Broncos, but Mayfield heads into this one without some key pieces at his disposal. Nick Chubb is back though, and the importance of (being) D'Ernest Johnson can't be overstated in a running game built around having two studs to bludgeon the opposition into the ground.

The Skinny

PIT injuries: TE Eric Ebron (out, hamstring), DE Stephon Tuitt (IR, undisclosed)

CLE injuries: RB Kareem Hunt (IR, calf), WR Odell Beckham (questionable, shoulder), WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (out, groin), DE Jadeveon Clowney (questionable, ankle), CB Denzel Ward (out, hamstring)

PIT DFS targets: Diontae Johnson $6,700 DK / $7,500 FD (CLE 26th in DVOA vs. WR1)

CLE DFS targets: none

PIT DFS fades: Najee Harris $7,500 DK / $9,000 FD (CLE third in rushing yards per game allowed, second in YPC allowed)

CLE DFS fades: none

Key stat: PIT is 25th in yards per play at 5.1; CLE is second in yards per play allowed at 5.0

Head-to-head record, last five years including playoffs: 7-3-1 PIT, average score 25-21 PIT, average margin of victory 11 points. The home team is 6-0-1 in the last seven regular-season meetings, but CLE won 48-37 at Heinz Field in a wild-card game last season

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-50s, 15 mph wind, 1-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop Harris manages 70 combined yards. Roethlisberger throws for 250 yards and two TDs, finding Diontae and Chase Claypool. Chubb bangs out 90 yards and a score, while D'Ernest adds 70 yards and a touchdown. Mayfield throws for 260 yards and TDs to Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins. Browns 28-20

Philadelphia at Detroit (+3.5), o/u 48.0 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The NFC East winner already seems like a forgone conclusion, but the Eagles may not actually be as bad as their 2-5 record suggests. Their losses have all been to what (at least at the time) seemed like strong opponents, and statistically they've held their own -- Philly's in the top half of the league on both offense and defense in yards per play, for instance. Jalen Hurts has been erratic as a passer, failing to crack a 7.0 YPA in any of the last three games, but he's adding plenty of value on the ground. The loss of Miles Sanders for this contest probably won't change much -- he was being treated as very fungible by coordinator Steve Steichen, although I guess we'll find out this if that's an accurate assessment or not. At least Nick Siranni has two more wins in his first campaign as a head coach than Dan Campbell. Those scrappy but hapless Lions nearly pulled another upset against the Rams last week in what was more of a redemption game than a revenge game for Jared Goff, but they again fell short. Unfortunately, any time they've held the deficit to one score in a game this year, they've followed it up with a double-digit loss, a pattern that bodes well for the Eagles. Goff's problem has been that he has no one to threaten a defense deep. T.J. Hockenson and the backfield duo of D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams give him good underneath targets, but they can't do much if all 11 defenders are within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. There's been no sign Tyrell Williams is ready to return though, and until he does gaining yards and points is simply going to be a slog for Detroit, especially working behind an offensive line down two starters.

The Skinny

DET injuries: RB Swift (questionable, groin), RB Williams (questionable, thigh), WR Williams (IR, concussion), LT Taylor Decker (IR, finger), OLB Trey Flowers (questionable, knee), CB Ifeatu Melifonwu (IR, thigh), CB Jerry Jacobs (questionable, illness)

PHI injuries: RB Sanders (out, ankle), RG Brandon Brooks (IR, pectoral), S Anthony Harris (doubtful, hand)

DET DFS targets: Swift $7,100 DK / $7,900 FD and Williams $4,700 DK / $5,600 FD (PHI 29th in rushing DVOA, 29th in rushing yards per game allowed)

PHI DFS targets: Jalen Hurts $7,200 DK / $8,400 FD (DET 32nd in YPA allowed, 32nd in passing TD% allowed)

DET DFS fades: none

PHI DFS fades: none

Key stat: PHI is sixth in red-zone conversions at 70.8 percent; DET is 32nd in red-zone defense at 84.2 percent

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop Kenneth Gainwell leads the PHI backfield with 80 combined yards and a TD, while Boston Scott adds 70 yards. Hurts throws for 270 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Dallas Goedert twice and DeVonta Smith (who tops 100 yards) once. Swift dashes for 100 scrimmage yards and a score, while Williams adds 50 yards. Goff throws for 270 yards and a TD to Amon-Ra St. Brown. Eagles 28-23

San Francisco at Chicago (+4), o/u 39.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

At 2-4 with four straight losses and staring way, way up at the Cardinals, the NFC West title is already out of reach for the 49ers, but it wouldn't be a huge shock if they made a run at a wild-card spot over the coming weeks. Those defeats all came at the hands of playoff-caliber opponents -- I'm counting Seattle with Russell Wilson under center in that group -- and it feels like Kyle Shanahan is still trying to make all the pieces fit together on offense. (Maybe if he actually used guys like Brandon Aiyuk and Trey Sermon after spending significant draft capital on them...) The defense has been solid though despite a barrage of injuries, and the unit's 21st-place showing in points per game allowed doesn't match its eighth-place showing in yards per play allowed. The Bears are technically ahead of the Niners in that wild-card chase at 3-4, but they feel much further away from relevance. Khalil Herbert has been a nice find who's probably earned a role in the scheme even once David Montgomery is back, but Justin Fields has simply been lost, stumbling to a 2:6 TD:INT since taking over the starting job in Week 2. He's at least showing flashes of his running ability with 81 yards over the last two games, but being a bargain bin Jalen Hurts isn't going to make anyone happy, a group that includes Chicago's coaches, fans, fantasy GMs who invested in Fields, and perhaps especially Allen Robinson. Matt Nagy's in too deep on the kid to think about switching back to Andy Dalton now, but if the playoffs are really the plan for this season as opposed to 'maybe luck into a wild-card spot but mostly focus on the future', the move should really be on the table. Not that Dalton's good, mind you, but he at least gives the offense a stable enough floor that the defense might steal a few wins.

The Skinny

SF injuries: RB Jeff Wilson (out, knee), TE George Kittle (IR, calf), LT Trent Williams (questionable, ankle), K Robbie Gould (IR, groin), DE Dee Ford (doubtful, concussion), DT Javon Kinlaw (out, knee), LB Dre Greenlaw (IR, groin), LB Azeez Al-Shaair (doubtful, conclusion), S Jaquiski Tartt (out, knee)

CHI injuries: RB Montgomery (IR, knee), RB Tarik Cohen (out, knee), TE Jimmy Graham (questionable, COVID-19), RT Germain Ifedi (out, knee/COVID-19), DE Akiem Hicks (questionable, groin), OLB Khalil Mack (out, foot), S Tashuan Gipson (questionable, hip)

SF DFS targets: Deebo Samuel $7,400 DK / $7,800 FD (CHI 32nd in DVOA vs. WR1), 49ers DEF $3,500 DK / $4,600 FD (CHI 32nd in sacks allowed, 30th in points per game)

CHI DFS targets: none

SF DFS fades: Ross Dwelley $2,800 DK / $5,000 FD and Charlie Woerner $2,500 DK / $4,000 FD (CHI third in DVOA vs. TE)

CHI DFS fades: none

Key stat: SF is first in red-zone conversions at 85.7 percent; CHI is eighth in red-zone defense at 51.9 percent

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-50s, 13-14 mph wind, 1-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop Elijah Mitchell picks up 70 yards and a touchdown. Jimmy Garoppolo throws for 250 yards and two scores, both to Deebo. Herbert runs for 80 yards, while Damien Williams adds 50 combined yards. Fields throws for under 200 yards but does run in a TD of his own. 49ers 24-13

Carolina (+3) at Atlanta, o/u 46.0 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

In the immortal words of the late, great Fred Willard, "Wha' happened?" The Panthers won three straight to begin the year, but they've now dropped four straight, including an embarrassing rout at the hands of the Giants last week. I guess that's what happens when you run into, err, the buzzsaw that is the NFC East? Sam Darnold has looked like a Jets quarterback rather than an NFL quarterback over that stretch, posting a 56.3 percent completion rate, 4:7 TD:INT and woeful 5.6 YPA, and it's almost certainly not a coincidence he can't do his wuhk while Christian McCaffrey has been sidelined. CMac's out at least one more week, but maybe facing one of the league's worst secondaries will perk Darnold up. The Falcons are 3-3, but the wins came against the Giants, Jets and a reeling Dolphins squad. Carolina's arguably in no better shape than Miami was though, so it's possible an Atlanta team that at the beginning of the season looked like it would be in the running for the top of the 2022 draft might head into Week 9 with a winning record. Calvin Ridley's focus may not be entirely on the field, but Kyle Pitts' emergence has given Matt Ryan a go-to option, and this offense could have much better days ahead in the second half.

The Skinny

CAR injuries: RB McCaffrey (IR, hamstring), WR Terrace Mitchell (out, concussion), LG Pat Elflein (IR, hamstring), LB Shaq Thompson (questionable, foot), CB Jaycee Horn (IR, foot), CB CJ Henderson (questionable, shoulder)

ATL injuries: OLB Dante Fowler (IR, knee)

CAR DFS targets: Darnold $5,600 DK / $7,300 FD (ATL 30th in passing DVOA, 30th in passing TD% allowed)

ATL DFS targets: Ridley $6,600 DK / $7,000 FD (CAR 29th in DVOA vs. WR1), Olamide Zaccheaus $3,400 DK / $5,100 FD (CAR 30th in DVOA vs. WR3)

CAR DFS fades: none

ATL DFS fades: Cordarrelle Patterson $6,200 DK / $7,300 FD (CAR first in passing DVOA vs. RB), Russell Gage $4,200 DK / $5,600 FD (CAR first in DVOA vs. WR2)

Key stat: ATL is 14th in red-zone conversions at 61.9 percent; CAR is 25th in red-zone defense at 72.2 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years: 8-2 ATL, average score 29-18 ATL, average margin of victory 13 points. ATL had won five straight meetings at home until a 23-16 victory by CAR in Week 5 of last season

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop Mike Davis leads the ATL backfield with 70 yards and a TD, while Patterson adds 40 yards. Ryan throws for 280 yards and two touchdowns, finding Ridley and Pitts. Chuba Hubbard gains 80 yards. Darnold throws for 300 yards and two scores, both to DJ Moore, but he gets picked off twice. Falcons 21-17

Miami (+13.5) at Buffalo, o/u 48.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT

The last time these two teams met, way, way back in Week 2 in Miami, the Bills were coming off a tough loss. The result was a 35-0 squash. This time, Buffalo's coming off a tough loss and is at home in weather the team from south Florida won't appreciate and has had a bye week to stew about that tough loss. To be fair, Miami's in a little better position too, as Tua Tagovailoa is healthy this time around, but the Dolphins have dropped six straight games and accomplished little more than adding fuel to the Deshaun Watson hot stove (and maybe Brian Flores' hot seat). The offense has been bad, but it's the collapse of the defense that's the bigger factor in their poor record, as the opportunistic unit that led the NFL in takeaways last season hasn't been able to repeat that magic and has been gashed for nearly 30 points a game as a result. Instead it's the Bills' defense that sits atop the league in that category, as well as points per game allowed and yards per play allowed and a gazillion other categories. Considering their next three games come against the Dolphins, Jags and Jets, their stats are probably going to be positively disgusting heading into the second half. Of course Josh Allen and the offense haven't been slacking either sitting second in points per game behind the Cowboys, and even at 4-2 it's easy to make a case that Buffalo is the best team in the AFC, at the very least. If the Dolphins even keep this one within 20 points, it'll be impressive.

The Skinny

MIA injuries: RB Malcolm Brown (IR, quadriceps), WR DeVante Parker (questionable, shoulder), WR Will Fuller (IR, finger), C Michael Deiter (IR, foot), C Greg Mancz (questionable, groin), LB Jerome Baker (questionable, knee), S Jason McCourty (IR, foot)

BUF injuries: TE Dawson Knox (out, hand), RT Spencer Brown (doubtful, back)

MIA DFS targets: none

BUF DFS targets: Cole Beasley $4,900 DK / $6,100 FD (MIA 32nd in DVOA vs. WR3), Bills DEF $3,300 DK / $4,700 FD (t-1st in takeaways, first in points per game allowed)

MIA DFS fades: Tagovailoa $5,500 DK / $7,100 FD (BUF first in passing DVOA, first in passing yards per game allowed, first in YPA allowed, first in passing TD% allowed), Jaylen Waddle $5,600 DK / $6,400 FD (BUF second in DVOA vs. WR1), DeVante Parker $4,900 DK / $5,700 FD (BUF second in DVOA vs. WR2), Mack Hollins $3,000 DK / $5,200 FD (BUF second in DVOA vs. WR3), Mike Gesicki $5,000 DK / $6,300 FD (BUF fourth in DVOA vs. TE), Dolphins DEF $2,500 DK / $3,100 FD (BUF second in sacks allowed, t-2nd in giveaways, second in points per game)

BUF DFS fades: none

Key stat: BUF is second in third-down conversions at 50.0 percent; MIA is 31st in third-down defense at 51.6 percent

Head-to-head record, last five-plus years: 8-3 BUF, average score 32-21 BUF, average margin of victory 13 points. BUF has won six straight meetings by an average score of 39-19, scoring at least 31 points in each

Weather forecast: overcast, temperature in the high 40s, 10-11 mph wind, 30-45 percent chance of rain

The Scoop Myles Gaskin ekes out 50 yards. Tagovailoa throws for 220 yards and a TD to Waddle but gets picked off twice, one of which Tremaine Edmunds returns for a score. Zack Moss leads the BUF backfield with 70 yards and a touchdown, while Devin Singletary adds 50 yards. Allen throws for 280 yards and TDs to Stefon Diggs (who tops 100 yards) and Beasley. Bills 37-10

New England (+5) at L.A. Chargers, o/u 49.0
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT

The Patriots aren't exactly the most consistent team, losing by only two points in the Tom Brady Bowl in Week 4 but then winning by only three points against the Texans the following week, but at 3-4 they're certainly in position to work their way into a wild-card spot. Mac Jones has been merely OK, managing a 9:6 TD:INT and 7.2 YPA through seven starts, but that puts him miles ahead of the rest of this year's first-round QBs. He couldn't even get Jakobi Meyers one lousy TD last week in that 54-13 rout of the Jets, though -- Meyers has now gone 36 games and 126 receptions without a touchdown to begin his career, a streak which has gotta give at some point. (In fact, unless the numbers really lean hard against it, I'm just going to give Meyers a TD every week down in the Scoop section until he finally hits paydirt). The Bolts have a slightly better record at 4-2, but they've been no more consistent. They at least had their bye to figure out what went wrong in that brutal no-show against the Ravens in Week 6. The defense has coughed up 76 points in the last two games, so any triage probably needs to start there, but Justin Herbert has also looked shaky twice in the Chargers' last three contests. His numbers on the year are strong, including a 14:4 TD:INT, but they've fallen short of elite so far and now he has to take on a defense that's made a habit of making life difficult for opposition QBs. (Except for Davis Mills, somehow. Man does that game make no sense at all in hindsight). The AFC West appears to be there for the taking, but Herbert will need to win games like this if L.A. is going to seize the crown.

The Skinny

NE injuries: WR Kendrick Bourne (questionable, shoulder), TE Jonnu Smith (questionable, shoulder), C David Andrews (questionable, ankle), RG Shaq Mason (questionable, abdomen), K Nick Folk (questionable, knee), LB Dont'a Hightower (questionable, ankle), LB Ja'Whaun Bentley (questionable, ribs), LB Kyle Van Noy (questionable, groin), S Kyle Dugger (questionable, neck)

LAC injuries: RB Austin Ekeler (questionable, hip), RT Bryan Bulaga (IR, back), LB Kenneth Murray (IR, ankle), LB Drue Tranquill (questionable, chest)

NE DFS targets: Damien Harris $6,100 DK / $6,900 FD (LAC 32nd in rushing DVOA, 32nd in rushing yards per game allowed, 32nd in YPC allowed), Hunter Henry $4,200 DK / $5,500 FD (LAC 30th in DVOA vs. TE)

LAC DFS targets: Ekeler $7,900 DK / $8,700 FD (NE 29th in passing DVOA vs. RB)

NE DFS fades: Nelson Agholor $4,000 DK / $5,400 FD (LAC fourth in DVOA vs. WR2)

LAC DFS fades: Jalen Guyton $3,200 DK / $4,800 FD (NE fourth in DVOA vs. WR3)

Key stat: LAC are seventh in third-down conversions at 45.0 percent; NE is 20th in third-down defense at 41.7 percent

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop Harris gains 110 yards and a score. Jones throws for 250 yards and a TD to Meyers. Ekeler piles up 130 combined yards and two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving. Herbert throws for 280 yards and a second score to Mike Williams. Chargers 21-20 

Jacksonville (+3) at Seattle, o/u 44.0 – Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT

I hope Urban Meyer sends Jon Gruden a Christmas card or something, maybe a nice cheese basket too. The Jags won their London game before their bye and Meyer got, at least temporarily, taken off the hook as the butt of everyone's jokes. He's still a terrible NFL coach, but he lucks into a shot at another win here with Russell Wilson still in street clothes. Meyer's at least figured out that the Jags offense should run through James Robinson while Trevor Lawrence gets the hang of things, and the second-year back averaged over 110 scrimmage yards in the four games before the bye while scoring five TDs. Given the performance of Seattle's run defense so far this season, there's no reason to think Robinson's workload will suddenly decrease. The Seahawks have lost all three games in which Geno Smith has seen action, but he hasn't really been the biggest problem. Sure, he's not Russ, but he's been a credible No. 2, which is all anyone should have expected. This could be his last start, as Wilson could be back after Seattle's Week 9 bye, so if he has any designs about trying to land a starting gig next offseason, this might be his last showcase. He could hardly ask for a better opponent, as Jacksonville's secondary has been lit up regularly, but his success could be contingent on his ability to find Tyler Lockett on some deep balls rather than chucking it DK Metcalf's way and letting him do all the work.

The Skinny

JAC injuries: C Brandon Linder (IR, knee), RG A.J. Cann (IR, knee), CB Tyson Campbell (questionable, toe)

SEA injuries: QB Wilson (IR, finger), RB Chris Carson (IR, neck), RB Alex Collins (questionable, groin), WR Dee Eskridge (IR, concussion), LT Duane Brown (questionable, illness), LG Damien Lewis (questionable, shoulder)

JAC DFS targets: Robinson $6,600 DK / $8,200 FD (SEA 30th in rushing yards per game allowed, 31st in passing DVOA vs. RB)

SEA DFS targets: Smith $5,300 DK / $7,000 FD (JAC 32nd in passing DVOA, 31st in YPA allowed), Lockett $6,100 DK / $6,600 FD (JAC 31st in DVOA vs. WR2), Freddie Swain $3,200 DK / $5,000 FD (JAC 31st in DVOA vs. WR3), Gerald Everett $3,300 DK / $4,800 FD (JAC 31st in DVOA vs. TE)

JAC DFS fades: Jaguars DEF $2,400 DK / $3,500 FD (t-31st in sacks, SEA first in giveaways)

SEA DFS fades: none

Key stat: JAC is t-31st in third-down conversions at 31.3 percent; SEA is t-6th in third-down defense at 33.7 percent

Weather forecast: clear, temperature in the mid-50s, less than 10 mph wind, zero percent chance of rain

The Scoop Robinson gains 90 yards and a touchdown. Lawrence throws for 240 yards. Collins starts and picks up 60 yards and a score. Geno throws for 280 yards and TDs to Lockett and Everett. Seahawks 27-10

Washington (+3) at Denver, o/u 44.5 – Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

This is one of those litmus test games that determines who's really given up on their season, and who's still got some fight left in them. Washington has lost to five playoff contenders and beaten two also-rans, as Taylor Heinicke has only occasionally played well enough to climb out of whatever hole the defense has dug for him. His play has regressed over the last few games -- 59.0 percent completion rate, 6.0 YPA, 2:4 TD:INT -- and considering one of those games was against Kansas City, who can't use the opposition as an excuse. Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn't look like he'll be back until at least Week 10 though, so Heinicke and his surprisingly talented supporting cast for a 2-5 club will just have to try and get on the same page. The Broncos' season has taken a nosedive after their 3-0 start with four straight losses, and they even let Case Keenum get a revenge win against them, which was awfully nice of them. The losses have been to at least decent teams, but it's the way Denver's been losing that has some folks (well, me, but I can't be alone) wondering if the locker room has checked out on Vic Fangio. In fact, in many ways these two teams are mirror images of each other right now -- offenses that on paper look like they can score some points, and defense that can't stop a soul. The Broncos' unit has surrendered over 25 points and almost exactly 400 yards a game during the losing streak, and again, they faced Keenum in one of them and Ben Roethlisberger in another, not exactly the creme de la creme of 2021 QBs. Jerry Jeudy has a chance of returning this week, although the fact he got shut down for Friday's practice doesn't bode well, but receiving options haven't really been Teddy Bridgewater's problem anyway. I should also note that I have zero confidence any more in whatever score my little cobbled-together algorithm spits out for the Broncos. Their super-soft early schedule still carries too much weight relative to their current form, but trying to untangle that for one team just seems like more effort than it's worth. Bottom line, the numbers suggest (yet again) Denver is the superior team, but they sure ain't playing like it.

The Skinny

WAS injuries: QB Fitzpatrick (IR, hip), WR Curtis Samuel (out, groin), WR Dyami Brown (out, knee), WR Cam Sims (questionable, hamstring), TE Logan Thomas (IR, hamstring), RG Brandon Scherff (questionable, knee), RT Samuel Cosmi (out, ankle), CB William Jackson (questionable, knee)

DEN injuries: WR Jeudy (IR, ankle), OLB Von Miller (questionable, ankle), OLB Bradley Chubb (IR, ankle)

WAS DFS targets: Terry McLaurin $7,600 DK / $7,400 FD (DEN 31st in DVOA vs. WR1)

DEN DFS targets: Tim Patrick $4,700 DK / $5,800 FD (WAS 32nd in DVOA vs. WR2)

WAS DFS fades: none

DEN DFS fades: none

Key stat: WAS is t-28th (with DEN, coincidentally) in red-zone conversions at 50.0 percent; DEN is 13th in red-zone defense at 57.1 percent 

Weather forecast: cloudy, temperature in the mid-40s, less than 10 mph wind, 1-5 percent chance of rain

The Scoop Antonio Gibson collects 100 scrimmage yards. Heinicke throws for under 200 yards but does toss a TD to McLaurin. Melvin Gordon picks up 60 yards and a score, while Javonte Williams also gains 60 yards. Bridgewater throws for 270 yards and touchdowns to Courtland Sutton and Patrick. Broncos 27-7

Tampa Bay at New Orleans (+5.5), o/u 50.0 
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. EDT

The Bucs are sitting pretty in the NFC South, and a win here would make it very difficult for the Saints to catch them, so there's a lot on the line for a Week 8 contest. Since winning the Tom Brady Bowl in Week 4, Tampa's mowed down three straight second-division clubs, although the Eagles gave them a bit of a fight. Brady is on pace for 5,200 passing yards... if the season was still only 16 games long. Add on Game No. 17, and he's headed for career highs in both yards (topping his 5,235 from 2011) and TDs (51, beating the 50 he tossed in 2007). That's, uhh, ridiculous. Quit making every other 44-year-old in the world look bad, dude. Of course, those passes have to go somewhere, and he's done a good job of spreading his largesse around depending on who's healthy. This week, that means no AB again, but Gronk might be back in action. New Orleans has done a good job shutting down tight ends though, and most everyone else too. The Saints are second in scoring defense, with a top 10 spot in yards per play allowed to back it up, and only the Bills have given up fewer TD passes. That's bought Jameis Winston time to get comfortable and his receiving corps to get healthy, and while his 13:3 TD:INT is great, his 58.9 percent completion rate is not up to 2021 standards. (You'd think having Alvin Kamara around to dump the ball to would boost that number, but Winston's managed to float the ball over his star RB's head more than once). Tre'Quan Smith is back in action, but Michael Thomas doesn't have a firm timetable yet, nor is there any guarantee he'll be the same guy after barely playing over the last year-plus and not having Drew Brees around any more. The Saints don't need Thomas to make the playoffs, but they do need something to help Winston find another gear.

The Skinny

TB injuries: WR Antonio Brown (out, ankle), TE Rob Gronkowski (questionable, ribs), LB Lavonte David (questionable, ankle), OLB Jason Pierre-Paul (questionable, shoulder), CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (IR, elbow), CB Richard Sherman (questionable, hamstring)

NO injuries: QB Taysom Hill (out, concussion), WR Thomas (out, ankle), WR Deonte Harris (questionable, hamstring), LG Andrus Peat (out, pectoral)

TB DFS targets: Tyler Johnson $3,100 DK / $4,900 FD (NO 23rd in DVOA vs. WR3)

NO DFS targets: none

TB DFS fades: Brady $7,400 DK / $8,300 FD (NO second in passing DVOA, fourth in passing TD% allowed), Leonard Fournette $6,300 DK / $7,200 FD (NO second in rushing yards per game allowed, second in YPC allowed), Gronkowski $4,600 DK / $6,500 FD (NO second in DVOA vs. TE)

NO DFS fades: none

Key stat: NO is second in red-zone conversions at 77.8 percent; TB is 16th in red-zone defense at 59.1 percent

Head-to-head record, last five years including playoffs: 7-4 NO, average score 29-22 NO, average margin of victory 13 points. TB ended a five-game winning streak by NO in this rivalry with a 30-20 victory in the divisional round last season

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop Fournette manages 60 yards. Brady throws for 270 yards and a TD to Mike Evans. Kamara puts together 90 combined yards and a receiving score. Winston throws for 240 yards and a second touchdown to Adam Trautman. Saints 23-16

Dallas at Minnesota (+1.5), o/u 55.0 – Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EDT

This could be the best game of the weekend, not just because of the teams facing off but because both are coming off byes and should be as well-rested and prepared as teams coached by Mike McCarthy and Mike Zimmer can be. (Ahem). The big concern for the Cowboys, of course, is whether Dak Prescott will be close to 100 percent after he injured his calf on a game-winning toss to CeeDee Lamb in overtime back in Week 6. He'll probably be able to go, but if he can't the job falls to Cooper Rush, and let's just say that would change the projection a tad -- 31-17 Vikings, to be precise. Even if Dak isn't fully himself, he still has a dazzling array of threats to get the ball to, and an offensive line capable of keeping a clean pocket around him. The main reason Dallas has lifted itself out of the NFC East muck is the defense, though. Only a bye week has been able to stop Trevon Diggs from getting his hands on the ball so far, so expect him to be itching to jump some routes. How Dan Quinn deploys Micah Parsons coming out of that bye could spell the difference between a defense that makes enough plays to make an impact, and one that's actually stingy. Kirk Cousins is also smart enough to bait Diggs into some mistakes that gets Justin Jefferson or Adam Thielen free down the field, and the QB is quietly putting together a career season with a 13:2 TD:INT through his first six games. Dalvin Cook (or Alexander Mattison, when Cook's in the shop) remains the linchpin of the offense, but Cousins' performance has been great enough so far to make the Vikings an offense-first team despite Zimmer's best efforts. This one could be a barn burner.

The Skinny

DAL injuries: QB Prescott (questionable, calf), WR Michael Gallup (IR, calf), LT Tyron Smith (questionable, ankle), DE Demarcus Lawrence (IR, foot)

MIN injuries: CB Patrick Peterson (IR, hamstring)

DAL DFS targets: Dalton Schultz $5,200 DK / $6,100 FD (MIN 26th in DVOA vs. TE)

MIN DFS targets: Tyler Conklin $3,200 DK / $5,300 FD (DAL 32nd in DVOA vs. TE)

DAL DFS fades: none

MIN DFS fades: Jefferson $8,200 DK / $7,700 FD (DAL first in DVOA vs. WR1)

Key stat: MIN is t-17th in third-down conversions at 40.0 percent; DAL is ninth in third-down defense at 35.7 percent

Weather forecast: dome

The Scoop Ezekiel Elliott racks up 90 combined yards, while Tony Pollard adds 60 scrimmage yards and a score. Prescott plays and throws for 310 yards and three TDs, finding Schultz, Lamb and Amari Cooper. Cook plows ahead for 130 combined yards and a touchdown. Cousins throws for 330 yards and three scores of his own, hitting Conklin twice and Thielen (who tops 100 yards) once, but a late pick by Diggs sets up the winning TD for Dallas. Cowboys 31-28

Green Bay (+6.5) at Arizona, o/u 50.5 – Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EDT

Well, at least the Packers' backfield is healthy. This potential NFC title-game preview only features one squad at anything close to 100 percent health, as Aaron Rodgers will be missing his top two receivers with Davante Adams and Allen Lazard both stuck on the COVID-19 list (and maybe his top three if MVS isn't ready to come off IR). Given that the Packers could also be missing two starters along the offensive line, their two two pass rushers and their top two corners, even keeping this contest close might end up ranking up there as one of Rodgers' most impressive efforts. The 7-0 Cardinals have only played two games this year that were even within one score, and for the most part have just been wrecking fools; they're scored more than 30 points in six of those seven wins, and allowed 20 or less in six of seven. Kyler Murray is putting the finishing touches on his first-half MVP trophy (oh, wait, that's not a thing?), and about the only thing disappointing about his numbers is that leading his team to blowouts every week means he hasn't had to run as much. The defense has been Arizona's secret weapon, though, and in particular a secondary that came into the season with little expected from it. If the Pack are going to stay in this one, they might need to lean heavily on the other Aaron, as in Aaron Jones — Arizona is 31st in yards per carry allowed, but no one's really had a chance to stick to the run game against them with Murray lighting it up. The one team that did, the Vikings, was also the team that's come closest to beating them on the back of a 131-yard effort from Dalvin Cook.

The Skinny

GB injuries: WR Adams (out, COVID-19), WR Lazard (out, COVID), WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (IR, hamstring), LT David Bakhtiari (out, knee), C Josh Myers (IR, knee), OLB Preston Smith (questionable, oblique), OLB Za'Darius Smith (IR, back), CB Jaire Alexander (IR, shoulder), CB Kevin King (questionable, shoulder)

ARI injuries: WR DeAndre Hopkins (questionable, hamstring), C Rodney Hudson (IR, ribs), C Max Garcia (questionable, Achilles), DE J.J. Watt (out, shoulder)

GB DFS targets: Randall Cobb $3,600 DK / $7,000 FD (ARI 29th in DVOA vs. WR3)

ARI DFS targets: A.J. Green $6,800 DK / $10,500 FD (GB 27th in DVOA vs. WR2), Cardinals DEF $3,000 DK (t-5th in sacks, t-3rd in takeaways, t-1st in points per game allowed)

GB DFS fades: Rodgers $11,400 DK / $15,000 FD (ARI second in passing DVOA, third in passing yards per game allowed, third in YPA allowed), Robert Tonyan $4,600 DK / $8,000 FD (ARI first in DVOA vs. TE)

ARI DFS fades: Christian Kirk $7,200 DK / $11,000 FD (GB first in DVOA vs. WR3)

Key stat: ARI is seventh in red-zone conversions at 68.8 percent; GB is 30th in red-zone defense at 78.9 percent

Weather forecast: 86 degrees, sunny — retractable roof expected to be open

The Scoop: Jones rings up 110 combined yards and a touchdown. Rodgers throws for 260 yards and a score to Cobb. Chase Edmonds gains 80 scrimmage yards, while James Conner runs for 50 yards and a TD. Murray throws for 280 yards and touchdowns to Green and Hopkins while running for 40 yards and a score of his own. Cardinals 31-23

Last week's record: 9-4, 8-5 ATS, 6-7 o/u
2021 regular-season record: 72-35, 56-50-1 ATS, 48-58-1 o/u
2020 regular-season record: 164-91-1, 129-119-8 ATS, 117-133-6 o/u
Lifetime record: 1186-707-6, 915-917-67 ATS, 658-702-27 o/u (o/u not tracked in 2015)

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Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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