Understandably, backers of the Indianapolis Colts (+175 to win the AFC South at BetOnline) have to have a few doubts as to what they got themselves with Philip Rivers, who was a cornerstone of their “all-in” approach. Rivers came in having a familiarity with the way head coach Frank Reich designs an offense, and what he’s doing may yet bear fruit. But the turnovers have to be minimized. Rivers threw two interceptions in the opening game against Jacksonville and had another one called back on a penalty. This team is set up to be balanced on offense. They have a running back group led by Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor that should be formidable to say the least. And they possess one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. So why are they running it 22 times and passing it 46 times? Hopefully they will address that in time to face the Minnesota Vikings, who come in with a defense that is, to put it mildly, a “work in progress” after allowing Aaron Rodgers to run all over them in a 43-point Green Bay explosion last weekend. Indy lays three points.
People who are speculating about what the Miami Dolphins (+1200 to win the AFC East) are going to do at the quarterback position may not want to waste the effort. We don’t think the coaching staff has any intention of replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick with top draft pick Tua Tagovailoa any time soon. Of course, things can change, especially if they get another three-interception performance from Fitz. While Miami was certainly in rebuilding mode in the off-season, they have taken on enough players in free agency to indicate that they intend to be competitive as quickly as possible. And they may be forced into a decision sooner or later. The Dolphins may find themselves in receiver trouble if Devante Parker continues to be bothered by his hamstring. They thought they were okay at the position, because of the players they had coming back from injury. But they lost some people with opt-outs and more injuries. On top of that, they didn’t seem to make much use of running back Matt Breida, one of the genuine speedsters at his position. Breida, who was with the San Francisco 49ers last year, had just five carries (for 22 yards) against New England.
And in their own way, the Buffalo Bills (the -105 favorites to win the AFC East at BetOnline) present just as stern a defensive challenge to the Dolphins as did the Patriots last week. Buffalo, for all intents and purposes, shut Sam Darnold and the New York Jets down last weekend, holding them to 254 total yards. If there’s a concern about the Bills, it’s the same thing we were talking about with the Colts – under-using a very good running game, anchored by Devin Singletary, with Josh Allen tossing the ball all over the place – 46 times last week, in fact. It worked out well for him against the Jets (312 yards) and truth be told, he does add something to the ground attack, but Allen is still in a learning curve as far as figuring out NFL defenses is concerned, and he may get confused by the better ones if the Bills drift too far into pass-first mode. They’re laying 5.5 points at Miami.
Los Angeles Chargers
We’re still trying to figure out what the Los Angeles Chargers (+800 to win the AFC West) bring to the table, and in that shiny new stadium they have (which they’ll play in for the first time on Sunday afternoon), they’re probably lucky they don’t have any fans, and not a whole lot once they start opening the doors. That way they won’t have to listen to the boo-birds if they can’t move the football. Otherwise, they might be quick on the trigger with rookie Justin Herbert behind center. For now, it’s Tyrod Taylor keeping the seat warm until Herbert is “ready.”
Kansas City Chiefs
The interesting thing is that they might have enough to make the Kansas City Chiefs, +450 favorites to win the Super Bowl, a little uneasy. Let’s face it – they can put some pressure on Patrick Mahomes and a secondary that isn’t going to get burned at will. They’re not likely to win, but they may have enough to make “under” bettors happy.
And by the way, the total on that game is 47 points at BetOnline, where you can take advantage of all the player props, exotics and futures you could ever want, and get greatly enhanced payouts on pre-selected parlays with Odds Booster.