Kentucky jumps into Top 25, Ridley shows out for the Falcons

Kentucky is undefeated and ranked. The Bills won, and no one retired at halftime this game. Last week was full of unexpected plot twists. This week will have the potential to be just as whacky. Let’s check out the upcoming action.

Players to Watch

NFL

Calvin finally had a big day. I’ve highlighted him several times so far this season. He had been held in check in the first two games of his NFL career. That ended with a bang on Sunday. Calvin Ridley exploded against the porous Saints secondary for 146 yards and three touchdowns. Those are Julio numbers. And they are an excellent sign for the stagnant Falcons. If Matt Ryan can start spreading the ball around to his receivers, then they should all benefit from more quality looks.

They play the Bengals next week and should look to capitalize on their offensive success from last week. The Bengals defense will now have the added challenge of having to game plan for Ridley. If they double Julio that leaves Ridley open all day long. But if they add an extra man to slow down Ridley, Julio will get a one on one which is always a problem for the defense. Ridley was available in a ton of leagues before his breakout performance. If you are at the top of your waiver wire rotation, then I would snag Ridley while you can.

SEC

The Ole Miss Rebels have a ton of offensive weapons. The guy that makes that boat row is quarterback Jordan Ta’amu. Through four games he’s leading the conference in passing yards and is in the top five in all the other significant statistics. He’s step for step with Drew Lock and Tua Tagovailoa as the best quarterback in the SEC.

My main concern is that his impressive stats have all came against lesser caliber teams. The one game he had a bad performance was against Alabama which isn’t surprising. They terrorize opposing quarterbacks. But his performances against SEC foes is something to look at going forward. If he can produce, then he will continue to build upon his growing reputation.

 

Games of the Week

NFL

Buccaneers Vs. Bears (-3)

Fitzmagic lost a little of his charmed touch in last week’s loss to the Steelers. He threw three straight interceptions at one point but was able to claw his team back into the ball game and finished with over 400 yards for the third time in as many games. Buccaneers have an interesting choice to make with suspended quarterback Jameis Winston making his return. The Bucs are staying quiet, but it appears they will stick with Fitz for now while Winston eases into the action. With offensive weapons like Mike Evans (Texas A&M), OJ Howard (Alabama), and Peyton Barber (Auburn) on the team it’s hard not to produce at the quarterback position, so Winston is just as likely to step in and put up big numbers, but I like Fitzpatrick’s veteran savvy.

The Bears defense will be looking to shut down one of the best offensives in the league. Khalil Mack has turned this defense into something to be reckoned with. The addition of rookie linebacker Roquan Smith (Georgia) has also been a welcomed addition. The trade for Khalil Mack helped take most of the spotlight and pressure off of Smith. Now he can go out there and relax and just play ball. On the offensive side of the ball, tight end Trey Burton (Florida) is leading the team in receiving yards. He’s a free agent signee, so I’m sure the Bears are loving everything they’re seeing out of him so far.

I like the Bears defense in this one. They’ll slow down the Bucs explosive offensive and grit their way to a win while covering the spread.

Sun 9/30- 1:00 ET- FOX

Final Score: 28-24 Bears

 

Chiefs (-5) Vs. Broncos

The Monday night game will feature one of the better division rivalries in the NFL, Kansas City and Denver. The Chiefs look like a brand-new team after trading away Alex Smith and plugging in their 2017 1st round draft choice Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. He owns the record for most passing touchdowns to begin a season with 13 through three games. He’s been lights out, and he’s got a ton of weapons to choose from in Andy Reid’s system.

Von Miller (Texas A&M) and the stout Broncos defense will attempt to create havoc for the Chief’s young gunslinger. If anyone can make quarterbacks uncomfortable, its Miller as he’s been the best pass rusher in the league since he entered in 2011 with 87.5 sacks during that span. Miller already has four sacks this season but was held in check last week against the resurgent Ravens. He’ll need to have a monster game if the Broncos want to hang around in this one.

I like Mahomes and the Chief’s explosive offense in this matchup. I think they’ll roll into Mile High Stadium and grab a victory.

Mon 10/1- 8:15 ET- ESPN

Final Score: 31-21

 

SEC

South Carolina Vs. #17 Kentucky 

This has shaped into one of the more exciting games in the SEC East this season. South Carolina was the underdog darling to begin the year, but they’ve lost some steam after their loss to Georgia. They still opened as 2-point favorites in this one though. Will Muschamp will need his quarterback Jake Bentley to have a good game if they want to even up the Eastern Division race.

Meanwhile, Kentucky has emerged out of nowhere as one of the few undefeated teams in the conference. I think, if Benny Snell keeps getting the touches he’s getting, they will keep winning ball games. He’s been unstoppable thus far and had his best game of the year last week against SEC West opponent Mississippi State. The Heisman talk is starting to gain momentum as well and could take a huge leap forward if he turns it up against South Carolina. The Wildcats have been able to ride Snell’s success into their first Top 25 ranking since 2007. Depending on how the rest of the games unfold, Kentucky could sniff the Top 10 with an impressive showing on Saturday.

I’m going all in on the Kentucky hype train. I think they win and beat the spread.

Sat 9/29- 7:30 ET- SECN

Final Score: 42-38 Kentucky

 

Ole Miss Vs. #5 LSU 

This game will feature one of the best offenses in the conference versus one of the worst. On the offensive side of the ball, Ole Miss hasn’t skipped a beat under first-year head coach Matt Luke. This team has already scored 70 points in a game this season, so they don’t lack in points production. Aside from the lopsided loss to Alabama this team has handled their business and should give the LSU defense fits.

Ed Orgeron quickly flipped the script in Baton Rouge. He went from being a hot seat candidate to having his team in the Top 5. That’s an impressive first month of the season. He’s been able to accomplish the feat by relying on a shutdown defense. If they don’t score they can’t win is certainly a good way to sum it up. Because if they do score LSU might not be able to overcome it. Their offense has been mundane and almost nonexistent. They’ll need to find some way to produce points if they want to stand a chance against Jordan Ta’amu and the Rebels.

LSU has some big wins under their belt so far, and I think they’ll continue with a solid win against an explosive offense.

Sat 9/29- 9:15- ESPN

Final Score: 31-24

 

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 (Photo Courtesy Athlon Sports)<

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