If you’re like me, the best feeling in the world is that relaxation you get during an entire weekend of football after your team has already picked up a victory. Even a bye week is a welcome change of pace for those of us completely anxiety-ridden when watching San Francisco take the field. And there is a great slate of games this weekend. Here’s what I will be tuning into.
Sunday, 1:00 PM EST
Atlanta (+3) at Detroit
There are a few other contests with tighter spreads that are worth keeping an eye on - NO/GB, LAC/MIN, NE/NYJ. But this game has the chance for real offensive fireworks. The point total is set at 46.0, and I will gladly take the over. Atlanta is third in the league in rushing yards per game and rookie Bijan Robinson is already making a case for one of the best at the position. Detroit is fourth in passing yards per game and has a versatile rookie running back of their own in Jahmir Gibbs.
Neither the Lions or Falcons are on the 49ers schedule but could be opponents in the postseason. Atlanta has had a surprising 2-0 start. Detroit is 1-1 with a road victory over the defending SB Champs and an overtime loss to the Seahawks a week ago. They are currently favorites to win the NFC North.
Sunday, 4:25 PM EST
Dallas (-12.5) at Arizona
The second window of NFL games Sunday is rough, with only three games, all of which have spreads of more than a touchdown. It’s unfortunate that that includes two division rivals, which are worth monitoring (Seattle hosts the Bryce-Young-less Panthers). But San Francisco’s next two opponents are playing in this matchup and so it’s a good opportunity to do some scouting.
Dallas’ defense has been the talk of NFL pundits but was recently dealt a blow with the season-ending injury to cornerback Trevon Diggs. It will be interesting to see if and how DC Dan Quinn adapts his scheme to make up for the loss. Arizona has been more competitive than expected despite failing to notch a win against Washington and New York, but this is a greater test that could reveal their true weaknesses.
Monday, 8:15 PM EST
Los Angeles Rams (+3) at Cincinnati
For the second week in a row we will have two Monday Night Football matchups and both should be better than last week’s sloppy games. Two NFC undefeated teams go head-to-head first, as the Eagles travel to Tampa Bay to take on the surprising 2-0 Buccaneers. That game should tell us more about how good Tampa (and Baker Mayfield) actually is, but I am more interested in the second bout.
Even with a depleted roster, Los Angeles has shown they are not to be taken lightly this season, and their mere seven-point loss to the 49ers is a possible indication of how difficult this team could be if they make it to the playoffs. Matthew Stafford looks like his old self and could provide real issues for a desperate Cincinnati team looking for its first win in 2023. Joe Burrow and the offense have struggled out of the gate and there’s concern that the star quarterback could be out for this game and beyond as he deals with a lingering calf injury. If so, this could be a lop-sided affair in favor of the away team.