RedZone Sports’ Steve Baumohl with his best bets for this week’s NFL action
Jacksonville Jaguars at San Francisco 49ers
I love both teams right now, but one is far superior.
Jimmy Garoppolo has revitalised the 49ers and once he fully grasps Shanahan’s playbook, he could be a terrific quarterback but let’s not get carried away.
He has played Chicago, Houston and Tennessee and they barely won two of these games. Neither of those teams were fully able to exploit the 49ers’ weakness, which is their questionable offensive line and sub-par wide receivers.
Now they play the Jaguars, who I think are the most complete team in the AFC.
Their defense is a scary match-up for anyone and they have the personnel to wreak havoc on the offensive line and completely shut down the 49ers’ receivers.
Last Sunday, Jacksonville were without their three best wide receivers and best running back but still dominated the Texans.
However, the most surprising aspect was the performance of their offensive line. They rank fifth in adjusted sack rate and you can see how much time Blake Bortles has in the pocket.
Brandon Linder, Jermey Parnell and Patrick Omameh are all back to full strength and provide Bortles with a lot of clean pockets to throw to Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens.
Speedy wide receivers are a match-up problem for San Francisco’s secondary and once they clear zones, Bortles will be ready to hit them in stride. The Jags are Super Bowl bound and are in with a chance of a first-round play-off bye.
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
I was completely lost for words after what the Rams did to the Seahawks last week.
I haven’t seen a beating like that for some time, but that performance from Seattle had been coming.
They had done well to last this long into the season with their injuries and personnel problems but it all came apart.
They now travel to Texas to face the return of Ezekiel Elliott and I fully expect the Dallas offense to come out firing.
Both teams have very low chance of making the play-offs but after getting run on by Todd Gurley, facing Elliot is not going to be easier.
The Seahawks’ defense is likely to be without Bobby Wagner and that’s a terrible loss, especially against a diverse offense.
The Seahawks won’t be able to close out the space and they don’t have the physical, quick corners to cover Dez Bryant.
I expect the Cowboys to exploit all the match-ups in the short passing game and come away with a comprehensive victory.
Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears
There’s not much to say about the calamity Browns this year.
They have managed to lose games in crazy ways and the coaching decisions have been mind boggling, to say the least.
But if there is one highlight of their season – it’s their run defense. They are only giving up a stingy 3.3 yards per carry and linebackers Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey have been the shining lights; combining for over 250 tackles.
They now play Chicago and it’s their only shot to avoid an 0-16 season, as they go to Pittsburgh next week.
Fortunately for them, the Bears can only score one way and that’s through their run first offense.
This is strength against strength. You can beat Cleveland through the air but Mitch Trubisky has disappointed and the playbook is very vanilla for this offense.
On the other side, the return of Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman has given this offense a boost over the last few weeks and if you’re going to beat the Bears, it’s through the air.
Jacksonville -4 v San Francisco 25/26
Dallas -4.5 v Seattle 25/26
Cleveland +6.5 v Chicago 5/6