USA Today Sports

NFL's biggest betting mismatches: Week 6

Each week, we break down some of the underlying mismatches in the NFL, hoping to give you an inside edge when handicapping the schedule. Here are four of the biggest betting mismatches from Week 6:

Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings (-1, 43.5)

Panthers’ third-down offense vs. Vikings’ third-down defense

The Panthers offense doesn’t have much to hang its hat on this year, ranking 24th in yards and 27th in scoring. However, Carolina has been able to keep the chains moving when faced with third-down situations, converting on 47.17 percent of their third downs this season. That’s helped the Panthers control the clock for 32:49 a game – fourth-best time of possession in the NFL.

Minnesota’s defense ranks in the basement of the league, giving up 432.8 yards per game and allowing opponents to score an average of 30.8 points. A big problem is an inability to get key defensive stands. The Vikings are watching foes convert on 47.27 percent of their third-down chances, third worst in the NFL. And because the stop unit can’t put on the breaks, teams have kept Minny's defense on the field for more than 33 minutes per game.

Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets (-1, 41)

Steelers’ discipline vs. Jets’ penalty problems

If you can say anything good about the Steelers’ 0-4 start – and it’s tough to find a positive – it’s that they haven’t shot themselves in the foot with stupid penalties. Mike Tomlin’s troops are forcing refs to throw the flag just 4.2 times per game – tied for second fewest in the league. Those infractions have handed only 185 freebie yards to opponents.

The Jets, on the other hand, should think about adding yellow as an official team color after littering the turf with laundry this fall. New York ranks worst in the NFL with 50 penalties, equaling a league-high 369 yards gift wrapped to rivals – that’s 73.8 yards per game. With a spread this tight, those lost penalty yards could be the difference.

New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots (-1, 50.5)

Saints’ time of possession vs. Patriots’ lack of chemistry

The best way to beat Tom Brady? Don’t let him step on the field. New Orleans has the offense to do just that. It's tops in the league in time of possession, sucking 34:37 off the clock per game. The Saints controlled the ball for 36 minutes in last weekend’s win over the Bears and could keep the clock ticking even longer in New England this Sunday.

Brady and his targets have been struggling to get on the same page all season. Injuries and inexperience have slowed any chemistry on offense, which was apparent in last week’s loss to Cincinnati – completing just 47 percent of passes. And don’t even think of using the driving rain as an excuse. Tommy Boy has done some of his best work in wet weather. All that sitting around watching the Saints Sunday won’t help matters. The returning Rob Gronkowski will be a step behind and Danny Amendola is still trying to get in tune with Brady.

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (-6, 52)

Redskins’ WR Santana Moss vs. Cowboys’ sucky secondary

I hate to inject some personal opinion into this mismatch, but as a loyal Cowboys fan, I can’t stand Santana Moss. The Redskins WR has acquired the nickname “The Cowboy Killer” during his time in D.C., frequently making the Dallas defense look stupid on huge strikes downfield. He had a score and 64 total yards in two games versus the Cowboys last season, which is mild compared to past chapters of this classic rivalry.

Moss may have lost a step but that might not matter against a Dallas secondary that was picked apart for 414 passing yards by Peyton Manning last Sunday. Of course, Washington is no Denver. But Dallas has watched worse offenses go over the top for big strikes. The Redskins are still putting up 284.8 yards through the air per game - eighth in the NFL - and come off a bye week, ready and hungry to get back in the NFC East race.

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Posted by tomnolan
6 months ago

yes ice4blood. that's what im telling you. redskins own the cowboys. they win outright!!
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Posted by eylesy
6 months ago

Jets & Vikings have won their last 3 ATS when playing 3rd home game.
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Posted by DarthHambly
6 months ago

Time of possession is the most overrated stat and so this article goes to show. Pathetic Carolina has fourth best time of possession and nothing to show for it. I;ll take a quick strike offense that can get a touchdown in 2 minutes over a team that takes 10 minutes to get a field goal any day.
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Posted by lvexpert41
6 months ago

Detroit Lions predictable offense vs 4th ranked Cleveland Browns Defense If megaton plays he will have a height advantage against joe Haden, but that is about it. Haden is currently the best shut down corner in the NFL, especially after Richard Sherman's poor performance vs Indy. LB Mingo may be quicker then Reggie bush and Cleveland has other experienced linebackers who can cover him out of the backfield. Edge goes to soon to be an NFL coach and current D coordinator Ray Horton.
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Posted by bigbooze
6 months ago

weeden in for a ruff day TRUST ME
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Posted by tomnolan
6 months ago

redskins own dallas. skins win outright!!!
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Posted by future213
6 months ago

redskins are a joke. If pryror was playing they would be 0-4. Dallas wins the division with 8-8 or 9-7. RG3 back to healing.
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Posted by MTFN50
6 months ago

I wouldn't be surprised because Dallas has a way of losing these games. But I agree with Ice The Cowboys should beat this overated redskin team.If they show half the offensive power they showed against Denver ,this should be a W ,the way last week should of been .Lets hope the Cowboys head coach doesn't blow this one .Even though I had the Cowboys +8 last week ,im still mad they didn't win ..Forget the interception at the end ,what about some frigin time management from the sidelines .All they needed to do was not score so quick ,eat some clock .They know they were scoring at will ,why not take some time ,keep Peyton off the field a little . Anyway new week new game Cowboys win 35-27
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Posted by J_Logan
6 months ago

As a Cowboys fan, the 6-point spread seems like too much. If they had of beaten Denver it would have been above a TD. But I think they suffer a hangover in this game. Washington is desperate and will win the inches battle. Cowboys win on a last-second field goal.
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Posted by Ice4Blood
6 months ago

If you are trying to suggest that the Redskins can pose problems for Dallas... please stop!
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Top Response

Posted by Ice4Blood
6 months ago

"If you are trying to suggest that the Redskins can pose problems for Dallas... please stop!"