As we begin the second half of the NFL season, playoff chases and division races are beginning to take shape. And we now have enough of a sample size to begin seriously evaluating rookie quarterbacks.
No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud is FOR absolutely real, and this week against Joe Burrow he takes center stage.
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5)
The record-holder for most passing yards in a game by a rookie is C.J. Stroud. Last week against the Buccaneers he threw for 470 yards and five touchdowns, in leading the Texans to a last-second win.
But that was the Bucs, who are on a four-game losing streak. The Bengals have won four straight, including impressive wins over the 49ers and Bills, and at home they will be too much for Houston. Stroud will continue to grow and impress and lock up the Offensive Rookie of the Year, but the Bengals will win by a touchdown and cover this spread.
Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)
Don’t be fooled by the Packers win over the Rams. That was against backup quarterback Brett Rypien, who was so bad that his job was given to Carson Wentz the next day. The Packers are not a good team.
The Steelers might be a good team, but they definitely have a good defense that will force at least one interception out of Jordan Love. T.J. Watt is having a monster year and this Pittsburgh offense does enough to cover the field goal spread.
New York Jets at Las Vegas Raiders (+1)
The Raiders feel liberated now that Josh McDaniels is no longer the head coach, and it showed in last week’s win over the Giants. The only offense in the league even close to being as bad as the Giants belongs to the Jets, and the Raiders defense should have another good game.
New York’s defense is elite, but when you have a quarterback like Zach Wilson, that’s not enough. It’s definitely not enough for them to give points. Take the Raiders.
Denver Broncos (+7.5) at Buffalo Bills
The Denver Broncos are on a two-game winning streak, and three games in a row we’ve seen great games out of their defense. They’ve ended the long losing streak against the Chiefs, and once they play this Monday night in Buffalo, the schedule turns favorable. Could Denver go on a run?
The Bills have been so up-and-down, that the answer is yes, the Broncos could continue their winning ways this weekend. But even if they don’t win, getting more than a touchdown is too much. Take those points and the Broncos.
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