Full NFL October Preview
Football fans have been treated to a great deal of drama, excitement and intrigue in the opening three weeks of the NFL season. Teams such as the Rams, Raiders and Broncos have exceeded expectations, while the Chiefs have underwhelmed in back-to-back defeats.
The battle for Super Bowl glory looks wide open, and the sportsbooks have rapidly shifted their NFL futures odds. We can expect many more twists and turns during October, and these are the key games to look out for:
Arizona Cardinals at LA Rams
Sunday, October 3, at SoFi Stadium
Just six teams remain undefeated after three weeks of the season, and two of them will square off at SoFi Stadium on Sunday. Many NFL fans expected the Rams to make a strong start to proceedings after they traded Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff and signed DeSean Jackson, but not even the most optimistic Cardinals supporters expected their team to be 3-0 at the start of October.
The NFC West is easily the strongest division in the league this year. The 49ers are 2-1 and there is still plenty of time for Russ to get the Seahawks cooking, so all four teams could conceivably reach the playoffs.
This upcoming game between the Cardinals and the Rams should prove to be a fascinating clash. Stafford and Cardinals QB Kyler Murray are now the joint favorites to win the NFL MVP award, so it will be exciting to see them go head-to-head.
The Rams are fresh from beating the defending Super Bowl champions, and Sean McVay has won eight straight against Arizona, so it is easy to see why the Rams are the 5.5-point favorites with FanDuel and Caesars Sportsbook. After their emphatic victory over the Bucs, they should cover the spread, but they will need to be at their very best.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots
Sunday, October 3, at Gillette Stadium
The prodigal son returns. Tom Brady led the Patriots to six Super Bowl wins during his glorious spell at Foxborough, but he left for Florida last summer. He now has another ring to his name, having silenced critics that argued he would crumble without Bill Bellichick’s tutelage, and it will be intriguing to see what sort of reception he is afforded at Gillette Stadium.
Will Brady get a rousing reception? Or could he even face boos? That will provide an interesting subplot to this game, which the Buccaneers really need to win after that heavy defeat to the Rams. The Patriots are 1-2 this season, and Mac Jones threw three interceptions in a dismal 28-13 loss against the Saints on Sunday. Brady should remind his former employers what they are missing when he returns to Foxborough, and he could even break the NFL’s all-time passing-yardage mark in this game.
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, October 10, at Arrowhead Stadium
Two of the preseason Super Bowl favorites will lock horns for an eagerly anticipated game at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 5. The Bills were priced at +1200 to secure the Vince Lombardi trophy at the start of the season, leaving them behind only the Chiefs and the Bucs in the betting. They suffered a surprise defeat to the Steelers in Week 1, but they have bounced back with blowout wins against the Dolphins and Washington.
The Chiefs find themselves in unfamiliar territory, languishing at the bottom of the AFC West after losing two of their opening three games. They need to get back to winning ways as quickly as possible, but they could struggle against a rampant Bills offense. Josh Allen will relish the opportunity to eclipse Patrick Mahomes, and it will be exciting to see them battle for supremacy.
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
Monday, October 11, at M&T Bank Stadium
The indefatigable Lamar Jackson has led the Ravens to a 2-1 record after three weeks of the new season. He was powerless to prevent a 33-27 defeat to the Raiders in Week 1, but he was electric in the 36-35 win against the Chiefs, before powering his team to a 19-17 victory against the Lions.
He will bid to keep the good times rolling when the Ravens welcome the Colts to M&T Bank Stadium in Week 1. Indianapolis remains winless after a 25-16 loss to the Titans in Nashville. Carson Wentz is struggling with two bad ankles, and he has performed admirably, but this is starting to look like a lost season for the Colts. The Ravens should capitalize.
Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos
Sunday, October 17, at Empower Field at Mile High
The Raiders are currently 3-0 for the first time since their Super Bowl season in 2002. They were expected to endure a difficult season, with a mess of a defense, a one-dimensional attack and a threadbare offensive line, but they have delighted in defying expectations. Derek Carr is playing like an elite QB, and the Raiders are suddenly playoff contenders.
The Broncos are level with the Raiders at the top of the AFC West after easing to victories against the Giants, Jags and Jets, so their meeting with Las Vegas in Week 6 could prove pivotal. Denver has not been handed a serious test yet, so it will be interesting to see how it fares against the Raiders.
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, October 17, at Heinz Field
Veteran QBs Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger will go head-to-head at Heinz Field in Week 6. The Seahawks and the Steelers both sit bottom of their respective divisions after losing two games straight, and they will both be desperate for victory in this game.
The Seattle defense currently looks broken, having given up 532 yards against the Titans and 453 yards to the Vikings. However, the Steelers have big problems on offense, so they may be unable to exploit Seattle’s defensive weaknesses. This is a game in which Seattle could secure a morale-boosting win.
Denver Broncos at Cleveland Browns
Thursday, October 21, at FirstEnergy Stadium
The Browns will face a stern test of their Super Bowl credentials when they take on a dangerous Denver team at FirstEnergy Stadium in Week 7. Cleveland significantly strengthened the defense with the arrivals of Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Newsome and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the offseason, and Kevin Stefanski has given Baker Mayfield another weapon.
The Browns quickly recovered from a narrow Week 1 defeat to Kansas City by comfortably beating the Texans and the Bears. They look like the best team in a talented AFC North division right now, and they should get the better of the Broncos in this game.
Detroit Lions at LA Rams
Sunday, October 24, at SoFi Stadium
This could be one of the most exciting games of the season. These franchises traded quarterbacks in the offseason, with Matthew Stafford moving to LA and Jared Goff heading to the Motor City. Which team got the better deal? We will find out in Week 7.
Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals
Thursday, October 28, at University of Phoenix Stadium
The situation in Green Bay was looking grim following the blowout loss against the Saints in Week 1. Reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, who spent the summer threatening to leave the franchise, looked listless and disinterested, leaving some fans wondering if the Packers should have let him go.
However, they quickly bounced back with a routine victory over the Lions, and Rodgers then excelled in a game-winning drive against the 49ers in Week 3. He now looks fully motivated, and the Packers are back in business. This game against a strong Cardinals team will not be easy, but Rodgers could outgun Kyler Murray.
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, October 31, at U.S. Bank Stadium
The Cowboys should cruise to the divisional title if Dak Prescott stays healthy. He held his own against Tom Brady in a narrow Week 1 defeat, before driving his team to impressive wins against the Chargers and the Eagles.
Some Cowboys fans are daring to dream of a deep postseason run, but there is a lingering sense that this team lacks depth, and it will be interesting to see how it fares against the Vikings in Week 7.
Futures Betting Update
The Chiefs are no longer the outright favorites to win the Super Bowl with some sportsbooks. BetMGM makes them +600 joint favorites along with the Bucs, and SBK has +680 on both teams. Several books have cut the odds on the Bills winning the Super Bowl, but you can still find +1200 at DraftKings. DraftKings also has a market leading +1400 on the Rams, whereas most sites will now only go to +800.
1,203 – Derek Carr leads the league with 1,203 pass yards, which puts him comfortably ahead of Tom Brady and Kyler Murray.
353 – Derrick Henry has already rushed for 353 yards and three TDs after making a blistering start to the season.
367 – Cooper Kupp leads the way for receiving yards with 367. He also has five TDs, which is more than any other receiver.
44 – Look out for Bobby Wagner, who leads the league with 44 combined tackles.
21.7 – Trenton Cannon is the fastest ball carrier in the league this season, with a speed of 21.7 mph.
2.24 – Chandler Jones currently holds the season record for the quickest sack at 2.24 seconds.