Two weeks into the NFL season, we’re already starting to separate the contenders from the pretenders.
In this edition of the Showstopper, we’ll head into the huddle and break down all the best betting angles for Bucs vs. Rams and Packers vs. 49ers.
Also, get college football analysis for No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 16 Arkansas in the Southwest Classic.
No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies vs. No. 16 Arkansas Razorbacks
Saturday, September 25 | TV: CBS
It’s a battle of undefeated SEC rivals in the Southwest Classic. The Aggies carry an 11-game winning streak dating to last season and also hold a 9-game winning streak against the Razorbacks. The last time these teams met while both were ranked, the Razorbacks lost 45-21 to the Aggies back in 2016. Arkansas’ dual-threat quarterback KJ Jefferson has punished opponents with his legs more than his arm, but now he’ll face the nation’s top scoring and passing defense. The Aggies only allow 77.3 yards passing per game and they haven’t given up any points in their last seven quarters, so it may again come down to Jefferson’s speed if he wants to rack up some points on Texas A&M.
Leading the way for the Aggies on offense are running backs Isaiah Spiller and Devon Achane, who each average more than six yards per carry, with 450 combined rushing yards between them. The Razorbacks did impressively hold Texas star Bijan Robinson to just 3.6 yards per carry in a 40-21 victory, so their defense is up to the challenge of limiting the Aggies’ dangerous ground attack. Five of these past seven head-to-head matchups have been decided by a single score, and this one could shape up to be another hard-nosed slugfest at AT&T Stadium.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, September 26 | TV: FOX
While the Bucs have picked up right where they left off, the Rams have gotten everything they expected from star quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has thrown five touchdowns with a 127 QB rating over his first two games for his new club. The Super Bowl champs face a tough test at SoFi Stadium, especially since the Rams won their last contest 27-24 in Tampa last November. Tom Brady has tossed nine touchdown passes already, but the Bucs offensive line showed some signs of weakness by allowing three sacks and five quarterback hits to Atlanta’s defense last week. Expect L.A.’s fearsome pass rush led by Aaron Donald to bring the heat in an effort to disrupt Brady in the pocket.
Brady will have one less weapon at his disposal, as wide receiver Antonio Brown tested positive for Covid-19 and remains in league protocol. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski should see increased usage in Brown’s absence. Evans’ matchup with All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey will be one to watch. Bucs linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul is also likely out this week due to a shoulder injury. On the flip side, Rams running back Darrell Henderson is questionable to play due to a rib injury. Even without Henderson, Los Angeles will more often look to exploit the Bucs’ weak secondary than try to run the ball. Rams wideout Cooper Kupp ranks among the league leaders with 271 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, September 26 | TV: NBC
Sunday night’s showdown features a 49ers team looking to go 3-0 after road victories at Detroit and Philadelphia. It hasn’t always looked pretty for either of these clubs, with mixed defensive performances combined with inconsistent rushing attacks. The Packers’ passing offense looked much sharper in last Monday’s win over the Lions, but they now have to take a long flight West on a short week of rest. Green Bay has lost four of its past five games in California.
On the injury front, the 49ers are dealing with a couple of notable running back issues, as JaMycal Hasty suffered a high-ankle sprain last week and Elijah Mitchell is questionable due to a sprained shoulder. It could lead to a busy day for San Fran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who is 4-0 in his career in games played on Sunday night. Deebo Samuel has been targeted on 36.4% of Jimmy G’s passes thus far. For the Packers, the offensive line continues to be a concern, as guard Elgton Jenkins was forced to miss practice due to an ankle injury. Jenkins had been filling in for injured All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.