The opening odds start here
Arizona -2.5 over Detroit (bought half):
Call it a coincidence, but the Cardinals ran into a defensive buzzsaw against St. Louis last week where despite looking relatively immortal on offense previously, never got a lead nor a consistent rhythm in a 24-22 loss at Glendale. Not exactly a prime spot for the winless Lions (0-4) to be next on the schedule as head coach Jim Caldwell finds himself on the coveted hot seat. Rookie Todd Gurley carried 19 times for 146 yards (7.7) while Nick Foles completed 16/24 for 171 yards and 3 TD as the Rams surprised the Cardinals 24-22. Tavon Austin caught 6 passes for 96 yards and 2 scores and the Rams defense came up big when it counted forcing 3 turnovers and 5 Arizona field goals by Chandler Cantazaro. Carson Palmer (29/46 352 1 TD 1 INT) couldn't lead Arizona to the end zone until late in the 4th quarter hooking up with David Johnson (4-63 1 TD) on a 23 yard scoring toss. Gurley, who was delayed in his pro debut by a knee injury, gained 9 yards in six carries (1.5) in his debut last week against Pittsburgh and had 5 yards on three attempts (1.7) in the first half Sunday. The Cardinals scored touchdowns in 11 of 12 trips to the red zone in the first three games but were just 1 for 5 in Sunday's defeat. Without Marshawn Lynch sidelined with a hamstring injury, Seattle's Russell Wilson completed 20/26 for 287 yards and a TD as the Seahawks edged the Lions 13-10 at CenturyLink Field. Doug Baldwin (3-36 1 TD) helped open the scoring catching a 24 yard TD pass from Wilson, and the Seattle defense did the rest holding Detroit to just 256 yards of total offense. Steven Hauschka converted 2 52 yard field goals, and the outcome came down to a controversial non-call. Kam Chancellor knocked the ball free from Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson at the 1-yard line when it appeared the Lions were going to take the lead. With Detroit on the verge of capping a 91-yard drive Chancellor came from the side and punched the ball from Johnson's arm as he was being tackled by Earl Thomas. It bounded into the end zone where it was guided over the back line by K.J. Wright for a touchback and Seattle's ball at the 20. Wright should have been called for an illegal bat for hitting the ball out of the end zone, but no flags were thrown. That wasted a 24/35 203 yard effort by Matthew Stafford, but Seattle did it's job defensively holding the Lions to just 56 yards rushing.

Palmer (85/134 1155 10 TD 3 INT) seems to have rediscovered the fountain of youth especially with the emergence of top target Larry Fitzgerald (30-432 5 TD), who caught 7 passes for 99 yards in a losing effort last week. Arizona has the 4th overall offense in the NFL, 7th in the passing game. John Brown (19-228 1 TD) lines up opposite Fitzgerald and provides versatility in running shorter outes in the open field. Chris Johnson (68-302 4.4 2 TD) is also off to a nice start, and should endure some success against a Detroit run defense that allows about 113 yards per contest. Arizona’s offense features a unique balance of rushing and passing. The Lions will need to stop both. Establishing their own ground game would be beneficial in this case. Remaining balanced and unpredictable against an aggressive Arizona defense is the only recipe for success.

Stafford (106/163 1017 5 TD 5 INT) was turnover free last week but endured little success moving the ball for the most part against a stout Seattle defense. While his efficiency numbers are fairly accurate, the end result has not resulted in a considerable amount of points. Johnson (27-255 1 TD) has not been as much of a factor as originally hoped, however a couple of key drops and miscommunication routes have contributed to three and outs leading to punts. When Johnson is struggling to defy opposing coverages, Stafford has Golden Tate (18-190) as a secondary option. There's not much to lean on when it comes to the running game, which is 3rd worst in the league averaging just 47 yards on the ground. Detroit's playbook is basically one dimensional and for Stafford to be protected needs cooperation from a line that has allowed plenty of faults. It's apparent that the Lions are squandering massive offensive potential. Their cast of weapons on paper strikes one as an explosive team, but their actual results indicate the contrary. Since jumping out to a lead in week one with 21 points in the first half against the Chargers, they have scored 45 points in 14 quarters of play. Simply dreadful by standards.

Stafford is limited to do his thing out of the pocket especially under constant duress, which will likey be to the advantage of Tyrann Mathieu and Alex Okafor. Palmer has played well and will look to alleviate a lot of stalled drives last week by hoping to cash in more to the end zone from last week's upset. Ezekiel Ansah already has 4 sacks on the season, so it may be a test for Palmer to elude the pass rush. However Detroit's pass defense is vulnerable allowing nearly 273 yards per contest. If pressure cannot be applied on Palmer, look for him to take advantage early which means an uphill climb for Stafford and a one-dimensional attack.


The opening odds start here

NYG -6 over San Francisco (bought half):
Will the real Giants please stand up? Since two losses to open the season by a combined 5 points, big blue (2-2) has emerged from the doldrums with 2 convincing wins to Washington and Buffalo moving into a 3 way tie for first in the NFC East. Last week in a 24-10 win over the Bills, Eli Manning completed 20/35 for 212 yards and 3 TD. Rashard Jennings was held to just 38 yards on 9 carries (4.2) but sealed the win with a 51 yard TD reception to preserve a 2 score win. The Giants held Buffalo to just 55 yards rushing, and the Bills saw a lot of positive plays called back due to 17 penalties. Tyrod Taylor completed 28/42 for 274 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT, but couldn't punch it in when it counted. The Bills were playing minus two stars with running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and receiver Sammy Watkins (calf) both sidelined by injuries.Since a 20-3 opening weekend victory over Minnesota, San Francisco (1-3) has dropped 3 straight including a 17-3 home loss last week to Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers completed 22/32 for 224 yards and a 9 yard TD pass to Richard Rodgers (5-45 1 TD) to open the scoring. Eddie Lacy ran for 90 yards on 18 carries (5.0), and the Packers only other TD came on a one yard draw to John Kuhn, his only carry of the contest. While both defenses played well, Green Bay's was a bit better than San Francisco's as the 49ers were limited to just 237 total yards and a 33 yard FG by Mason Crosby on offense. Colin Kaepernick (13/25 160 1 INT) could be in trouble as his starting job is looking less and less guaranteed with each progressing week . Jim Tomsula insists Kaep is safe for now, but it could be a matter of time before we see Blaine Gabbert under center. San Francisco looks to end their 3 game losing streak visiting the Meadowlands for the Sunday night game.

Manning (90/143 976 7 TD 1 INT) has looked near flawless thus far, as Odell Beckham (24-307 2 TD) is picking up where he left off from his incredible rookie season. Rueben Randle (14-175 2 TD) has been used more in the flat but has incredible speed generating first downs and positive yardage after the catch. Once Victor Cruz returns from a knee injury that has sidelined him over the last year, Manning will have a versatile and one of the more dangerous receiving corps in the league. Jennings (42-134 3.2 1 TD) shared the bulk of the ground work with Andre Williams (37-121 3.3 1 TD), and both should endure more success against the Niners who give up about 115 rushing yards per contest. The 49ers made a move to reinforce the interior of their defense by adding inside linebacker Gerald Hodges in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings.Aaron Lynch recorded 2 sacks against Green Bay last week, so Manning may need to establish position with quick efficient strikes when it comes to the passing game.

Kaepernick (72/116 727 2 TD 5 INT) , who was sacked 6 times last week, has generated just 48 points this season with the lowest ranked passing attack in the league netting just 182 yards per contest. Top target Anquan Boldin (15-124 1 TD) has not helped his cause well covered by opposing secondaries and forced his role to a blocker when Kaepernick is forced to scramble himself downfield. Carlos Hyde (62-282 4.5 2 TD) was held to just 20 yards on 8 carries (2.5) in the loss to GB last week and has considerably struggled over his last 3 games. A test for certain will be the Giants last ranked pass defense taking a huge hit on the injury front as linebacker Devon Kennard (hamstring) and defensive ends George Selvie (calf) and Robert Ayers (hamstring) are all ruled out for Sunday night’s game. Hyde however may have his hands full against the league's top run defense averaging a shade under 70 yards per contest.

On either side of the ball, the Giants overall are the far superior team. They have more talent in the passing game, and will force SF to become one dimensional especially if Hyde cannot make breaks through the front seven. It's not clear how much longer of a leash Kaepernick has, but as long as the Giants can defend the passing game or lack thereof, Manning will do the rest as he has been virtually mistake free. That is of course except for the play calling department electing to throw on 3rd down deep in Cowboys territory with under 2:00 left and Dallas having no timeouts left.


The opening odds start here

New England -9 over Dallas:
Coming off their bye week, the Patriots (3-0) head south and west to Dallas (2-2) who suffered a heartbreaking loss to New Orleans last Sunday night amidst a multitude of injuries. Drew Brees (33/41 359 2 TD) and his bruised shoulder wasted no time on the second play of OT finding CJ Spiller (5-99 1 TD) for an 80 yard TD strike crippling the Dallas Cowboys 26-20 at the Superdome. Brandon Weeden (16/26 246 1 TD) continued to show efficiency since taking over for Tony Romo who suffered a broken left clavicle in a win over Philadelphia in week 2. However New Orleans did just enough on defense to stall the Cowboys despite a 91 yard TD drive evened the score at 20 in the final minutes of regulation for Dallas. Two weeks ago New England jolted Jacksonville 51-17 behind 358 passing yards and 2 TD from Tom Brady, including his 400th career scoring strike. Legarrette Blount rushed for 78 yards on 18 carries (4.3) and 3 TD while the New England defense held the Jaguars to just 298 total yards including just 57 on the ground.

Brady (96/133 1112 9 TD) sidestepped a potential 4 game suspension stemming from last season's deflategate scandal, and has yet to throw a pick in 2015. Top target Julian Edelman (30-279 2 TD) has broke free more efficiently in the open field leading to plentiful receptions engineering huge scoring drives. Rob Gronkowski (16-308 4 TD) continues to use his 6'6" 265 frame as a decisive advantage not afraid to challenge opposing corners possessing good speed for an agile TE. Brady has not gotten much from the running game as of yet though it's only a matter of time before Dion Lewis (30-146 4.9 2 TD) and Blount (20-82 4.1 3 TD) to get their chances when Brady is pressured on a more consistent basis. Dallas is 9th against the run but doesn't pose much of a threat in the secondary yielding 257 passing yards per contest.

With Lance Dunbar placed on injured reserve due to a torn ACL injury, Weeden's options become even more scarce. It's hard to believe that Weeden (45/59 551 2 TD 1 INT) is already going through his 4th season, but he thus far has done all he could to do his best Tony Romo impression. It certainly doesn't help when your instant playmaker Dez Bryant remains on the sidelines nursing a broken foot, but early reports indicate he may not miss as much as 3 months. Truth be told, Dallas still has plenty of depth in the receiving corps as long as they can stay healthy. Jason Witten (25-238 2 TD) has the most dependable hands while Terrence Williams (12-193 2 TD) and Cole Beasley (18-174) are likely to see more targets with the injury to Dunbar. At least the Cowboys found out the easy way thus far that they didn't lose much in the running game with Philadelphia picking up DeMarco Murray in the offseason. In fact, weeden doesn't have to be as successful as Romo in the run and shoot since he has Joseph Randle (59-229 3.9 4 TD) in the backfield. That's not to say that the Cowboys even with their key injuries cannot challenge top offenses like New England in shootouts, but using the ground game more methodically can prove to be successful the longer you leave Brady on the sidelines. The Cowboys may endure some difficulties on defense especially if Sean Lee remains out with a concussion. The week off from Brady may impact his rhythm and sharpness.

It’s hard to go against New England in this spot considering how well the team was playing heading into its bye. The Cowboys are not nearly as confident nor experienced with Weeden leading the offense. Bottom line is the Cowboys will have to throw the ball to keep up with Tom Brady and New England‘s explosive offense. Weeden may be a seasoned veteran, but he's no Tom Brady, who might replicate his week 3 numbers in a blowout win.