Green Bay Packers

The (Under) Dogs Are Barking! Week 8 Edition

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee (USA TODAY Sports)

It’s Halloween weekend, and I’m hoping for more treats from this week’s slate of underdogs. After another 2-1 week, I’m hitting at a 70% clip through seven weeks, which is probably unsustainable, but I do like this week’s set of dogs. I wish I had the stones to make the Packers one of my three picks. I think they have a good chance to somehow stay inside the number, but I like these three puppies better:

Panthers +4 at Falcons

Of course, we all predicted that the winner of this game would be in first place in the NFC South at the season’s halfway point, right? The Atlanta Falcons’ bubble finally burst in Cincinnati last week after covering its first six games. The primary reason? Their secondary is in shambles, with starting corners Casey Hayward and AJ Terrell out, along with a starting safety.

The Carolina Panthers shocked everybody with their blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they’re competing for QB P.J. Walker and interim coach Steve Wilks. Both teams should be able to move the ball on the ground, too, and this game has the feel of a tight one. Atlanta shouldn’t be favored by four over anyone.

Cardinals +3½ at Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings burned me once this season, and they are undeniably at their best at home and are healthy and well-rested coming off their bye. Since it’s Kevin O’Connell’s first year, we have no idea how the Vikes will perform with the extra rest, but they will have their hands full with an Arizona Cardinals team that’s at its best when it’s playing away from home.

The last eight times they’ve been underdogs, they’ve won the game outright. Kyler Murray is a different QB when DeAndre Hopkins is on the field, and he’ll find him open early and often, especially when Hopkins is lined up in the slot like he was last week. Vikes’ slot corner Chandon Sullivan is a weak link in the secondary. Minnesota is 3-0 at home, all against the NFC North, but they only covered one of those games and the guess here is that the Cards keep it close and could spring the upset.

Commanders +3 at Colts

Make no mistake, the Washington Commanders are a better team with a mobile Taylor Heinicke under center and they have a chance to make it three straight wins against an Indianapolis Colts team that surprisingly benched Matt Ryan in favor of second year QB Sam Ehlinger. This smells like a move instigated by meddling owner Jim Irsay, desperate for a shiny new toy to play with.

Ehlinger is more mobile than Ryan (I might be more mobile than Ryan), and he’ll need that athleticism to deal with Washington’s tough pass rush, which will have an edge over the Colts’ disappointing offensive line. Sure, the recipe is to give Jonathan Taylor a million touches, but the line has not opened the holes we’re accustomed to. The Commanders are feisty. I think they spring the road upset.

Last week: 2-1

Season: 14-6-1

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The (Under) Dogs Are Barking: Week 3

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee (USA TODAY Sports)

Well, what do you know, we’re off to a 5-1 start. A special thank you and a nod of appreciation to Sean McVay for kicking a head-scratching […]

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