football

Are There Demons in Denver?

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

When we wrote, somewhat facetiously, that Zach Wilson would see ghosts when he faced the Patriots, similar to the ones Sam Darnold saw last season, we never expected a four-interception Nightmare in the Meadowlands.

New England has perennially had a terrific defense – talented, experienced and well-coached. Any young quarterback would be hard-pressed to excel against that high-level opponent.

Jags rookie Trevor Lawrence will have almost a full season under his belt before taking his chance against the Paranormal Patriots on Jan. 2 in Foxboro. Maybe he’ll see open receivers and not illusions of open receivers. Maybe not.

Makes you wonder what Mac Jones sees every day in practice.

The Broncos don’t have as daunting a defense as the Patriots and OLB Bradley Chubb (ankle surgery) won’t be on the Mile High Field Sunday (4:00 p.m.; CBS) when the Jets (0-2) play in Denver (2-0). But this is about as difficult a bounce back game as Wilson can face.

The Broncos have allowed an average of just 251 yards through two games (3rd best) and 13 points per game (3rd). Von Miller is a pass-rushing terror and coach Vic Fangio has made more experienced QBs than Wilson see spirits.

BRONCOS -10.5 over Jets – It’s a mere 90-minute flight from Denver to Draper, Utah, Wilson’s home town. The rookie might need some home cookin after another multiple-interception game.

+ Panthers -7.5 over TEXANS – Usually we’d jump on a Thursday night home dog but the Texans, in Year 1 of a massive rebuild, is down to its third-string quarterback. Nice story if Sam Darnold can shine on a nationally televised game.

BILLS (-9.5) over Washington– Josh Allen has yet to have a breakout game. He’ll have to come up big because the Bills run game against the Redskins defense is a bad matchup. But love Bills defense vs Taylor Heinicke.

Cards -7.5 over JAGUARS – It’s a mere 70-minute flight from Jacksonville to Carterville, Ga., Lawrence’s home town. The rookie might need some home cookin after watching his defense get the Kyler Murray treatment.

BROWNS -7 over Bears – The Justin Fields era begins for the Bears as it should. His first start is in Cleveland against a formidable defense. The rookie might need…

LIONS +8 over Ravens– Quick turnaround for the Ravens who snatched a remarkable win from the Chiefs and go on the road. Letdown City.

TITANS -5.5 over Colts – Speaking of remarkable comebacks. The Titans proved they are the team to beat in the AFC South. The oft-injured Carson Wentz sprained both ankles last week.

CHIEFS -6.5 over Chargers – The Chiefs have now lost two of their last three – one to the Bucs in the Super Bowl and at Baltimore on national TV so, of course, the naysayers are finding multiple flaws. One response: Patrick Mahomes.

PATRIOTS -3 over Saints – Mac Jones becomes the first player in league history to win MBQ – Most Boring Quarterback. Belichick almost smiles. Almost.

Falcons +3 over GIANTS – This might be the most important game in the Dave Gettleman tenure. If Daniel Jones regresses after last week’s excellent outing and Big Blue falls to 0-3, the GM will have little to stand on.

Bengals +4.5 over STEELERS – If Pittsburgh hadn’t found a funky way to rally and beat the Bills in the opener, last week’s embarrassing, 26-17 loss to the Raiders would have been their 6th loss in seven games. And Big Ben is bruised.

Dolphins +4 over RAIDERS –Miami was a hot stock coming in to 2021 and were undressed 35-0 by the Bills. The Raiders were a penny stock but 2-0 after shocking Pittsburg. Market correction.

RAMS +1 over Bucs – The Rams finally have the offensive and defensive balance. Or let’s just say they have Matt Stafford.

Seahawks -2 over VIKINGS – Who is worse at late-game clock management – Mike Zimmer or Mike McCarthy? This depends on Dalvin Cook’s healthy.

49ERS -3.5 over Packers – Packers rebounded bigtime, but that was against the Lions on Monday Night Football. San Fran gets its showcase game on Sunday Night Football.

Eagles +4 over COWBOYS– Jalen Hurts give the Dallas D fits. Dak Prescott strafes the Philly D. Taking the points and the over – over/under (51.5).

+ Best bet.

Last Week: 8-7-1; Best Bet: 1-0.

Season, 15-15-2; 2-0.

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