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Early game thread: 6 games on the early slate

COVID has affected multiple teams

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The NFL has been pressured to shuffle games around this weekend as multiple teams have been ravaged with COVID. There are six games on the early slate. None of the games impact the 49ers playoff race. The Cardinals are 12.5 point road favorites over a Lions team that will be without its top two weapons in T.J. Hockensen and Deandre Swift.

The Cowboys are 11.5-point road favorites over the Giants, who have Mike Glennon under center. Dallas had to hang on for dear life last week against Washington. The more I watch them, the more I think the Cowboys are faulty and won’t last in the playoffs. They have plenty of talent, though.

The Bills are at home and are two-touchdown favorites over the Carolina Panthers, who will rotate both Cam Newton and P.J. Walker at quarterback. Both QBs have struggled, and you’d think Josh Allen and Buffalo will look to take out their frustrations on Carlina after two losses in a row.

The Titans and the Steelers are the marquee matchup this morning. The Niners face the Titans Thursday, so keep an eye on this one. Tennessee is more of a paper champion to me. They struggle to move the ball without Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown and are fortunate to have played a soft schedule. The Steelers are 1-point favorites, but I think they win this one comfortably and limit the Titans.

The final two games are the Jets/Dolphins. Miami is without Jaylen Waddle, but New York has Zach Wilson. He’s been horrific this season, and there’s no way around it. I can’t believe the Jets aren’t getting more criticism for his play.

The Jaguars play their first game without Urban Meyer and are 5.5-point favorites over Davis Mills and the Texans. This feels like the only spot you’d feel comfortable Jacksonville will win or should be a favorite.