New England (15.4), Buffalo (16.3), Denver (18.2), Arizona (18.7) and Green Bay (20.2) are the top five defenses, in points allowed, after 13 NFL calendar weeks.
I can’t fail to mention Kansas City, which in the most recent five, all wins, have accepted an average of 11.2 points. I don’t know what the hell Steve Spagnuolo is doing, but it’s already the second time in three seasons that he has dramatically transformed a mediocre defense and, as in 2019, the Chiefs are once again contenders in the AFC, even with a low-key season by US standards. Patrick Mahomes.
And I’m enlisting the best defenses in the league because we’ve come to December and that’s when they begin to take the leading role in the NFL.
Except Denver, the others are all Super Bowl candidates and we saw that Bill belichick He’s not going to hesitate to put a game on the shoulders of the defense and their running attack (the Patriots attempted three passes Monday at Buffalo).
This year there are good defenses and Belichick’s.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona (-2.5)
Nobody talks about the Arizona Cardinals. Probably because they are the Cardinals, one of the NFL franchises historically tied to failure.
In the 2008 season, Arizona made its only Super Bowl appearance, losing 27-23 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Tampa on February 1, 2009.
The Cardinals have an all-time record of 576 wins, 763 losses and 41 draws. In 1994 they moved from Phoenix to Arizona and in that span of 26 years they only have five Playoff appearances.
The Cards, even if nobody talks about them, could be the best team in the NFL in 2021. At the moment, they have the best record in the league, at 10-2.
Monday night could change the way this team is viewed. Monday Night, with all the spotlight, the media attention and that of the fans, at home against the Los Angeles Rams, the team that many chose as their Super Bowl pick.
In Week 4, the Cardinals defeated those Rams 37-20 at their own home, SoFi Stadium, home to Super Bowl LVI. In that game, Kyler Murray threw two touchdown passes and Chase edmunds he added 120 of Arizona’s 216 rushing yards.
Edmunds suffered an ankle injury in early November and since then the Cards’ backfield belongs to the veteran. James conner, who in the most recent four has rushed for 272 yards and four touchdowns.
Conner has visited the end zone in six games in a row.
The Rams are trying to fix their defensive problems against the run. Three weeks ago, precisely in an MNF, the 49ers accumulated 156 rushing yards against the Los Angeles defense.
On Sunday, the coach’s team Sean McVay He ended a three-game losing streak with a home win over Jacksonville, and they allowed just 61 rushing yards.
Arizona’s offense, however, is not dependent on what its running backs do.
Murray and DeAndre Hopkins They make up one of the most dangerous QB-WR duos in the league. D-Hop returned last week after missing three games with a hamstring injury. He had only two receptions against Chicago, but one of them was in the end zone.
In the Week 4 game, Hopkins only caught four balls for 67 yards, in what can be considered a win by Jalen ramsey, the stellar Rams cornerback. That duel will again be key on Monday night at State Farm Stadium.
There’s a lot of talk about the Rams defense, with Ramsey on the perimeter and Aaron Donald and Von Miller on the front 7, but it’s the Cards unit that has the best credentials this year.
Arizona is fifth in yards per game, fourth in pass defense, fourth in third down and fourth in points allowed per game, at 18.7.
Cooper kupp, the NFL’s leading wide receiver in receptions (100), yards (1,366) and touchdowns (11) was limited to five receptions and 64 yards in the October game, his most low-key performance of the season.
If the Cards can contain Kupp again, then Matthew stafford will have to depend on Van jefferson.
Before the Jaguars, Sony michel had his best game with the Rams, with 121 yards, replacing the starter Darrell henderson.
The pick: The coach Kliff kingsbury (1-4 vs. the Rams) he has to attack the Achilles heel of the Los Angeles defense and that means running the ball as much as he can; If their defense limits Kupp’s receptions, then this team will be one win away from their first NFC West title since 2015. Cardinals 28-20 Rams
New York Giants at Los Angeles Chargers (-10.5)
Mike Glennon didn’t do badly in his New York debut on Sunday, but Justin Herbert is three or four steps up. Chargers 27-17 Giants
Dallas (-4) at Washington
Injuries, drops or whatever, but Dallas’ offense needs to wake up and I don’t know if it can against a solid defense from Washington, which in the four-game winning streak has accepted 17.5 points per game. WFT 20-17 Cowboys
TWO MINUTE DRIVE
Pittsburgh at Minnesota (-3)
Minnesota has lost two in a row and four of the most recent six; Coach Mike Zimmer’s team needs to win this week or they can be fired from a playoff berth. Vikings 23-20 Steelers
Atlanta at Carolina (-2.5)
Not all are gourmet dishes in the NFL kitchen. Panthers 33-30 Falcons
Baltimore at Cleveland (-2.5)
Before their bye, Cleveland lost 16-10 at Baltimore, which has beaten its divisional rival four in a row. It is time to break malaria. Browns 17-14 Ravens
Seattle (-7.5) at Houston
A good one and a bad one for Seattle. The bad news: They lost safety Jamal Adams for the rest of the season; the good: this week they visit Houston. Seahawks 27-17 Texans
Las Vegas at Kansas City (-9.5)
Overnight, Kansas City’s defense became one of the best in the league. Chiefs 30-17 Raiders
New Orleans (-5) at New York Jets
New Orleans’ five-game losing streak ends here. Saints 23-16 Jets
Jacksonville at Tennessee (-8.5)
The bye week probably helped Tennessee resolve its identity crisis. Titans 28-19 Jaguars
Detroit at Denver (-8)
In his most recent game against Detroit, Teddy Bridgewater passed for 316 yards and two touchdowns. I expect more of the same. Broncos 27-17 Lions
San Francisco (-1) at Cincinnati
I do believe in Jimmy Garoppolo, but I believe more in Joe Burrow. Bengals 27-20 49ers
Buffalo at Tampa Bay (-3)
First it was Bill Belichick and now Tom Brady. What evil mind made the Buffalo calendar? Bucs 28-24 Bills
Chicago at Green Bay (-12.5)
In 13 home games against Chicago, Aaron Rodgers has thrown 32 touchdown passes against just four interceptions. Packers 27-14 Bears
OVER / UNDER
Dallas vs. Washington UNDER 48
Chicago vs. Green bay UNDER 43.5
Las Vegas vs. Kansas city UNDER 48
In the past week: 10-4
Total in the campaign: 116-79
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Picks: Cardinals to sweep annual series against Rams