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November Games


Sir Puntalot
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  • 2 weeks later...

Week 10:

 

Thursday:

 

Browns @ Ravens

 

Hosts: Ravens entered the bye week with immense number of key injuries, they had a week to heal and they got most of those players back against Steelers. Coach John Harbaugh had always been sharp after the bye, Big Ben had always struggled at Baltimore and in his first games coming back from injuries and Ravens were not happy to see they were underdogs at home in a divisional game. Despite all these positives and facing a lower table pass defense, Ravens' offense couldn't impress. If you exclude Mike Wallace's heroic 95 yards reception, Joe Flacco's final line would have seemed like this; 17/29 for 146 yards.

 

Facing one of the better run defenses of the league didn't help Ravens' already underwhelming running backs, but they have a dream match up coming, as Browns can't stop the run. What Browns can do is to pressure the quarter back, as the couple rookie pass rushers are improving in the weekly basis, but albeit all the injury problems they had, Ravens are still one of the better pass protecting teams. Browns are even worse against the pass, as except Joe Haden, they don't have a viable starter caliber player in the secondary. Haden can contain whoever he's matched with, but Flacco has various weapons to work with.

 

Visitors: Browns have lots of problems all over the field, but the biggest must be their offensive line, as their quarter backs had always been under constant pressure and the upcoming match up doesn't fit well with this situation at all. Ravens will keep missing Elvis Dumervil, but as the fifth round rookie Matt Judon emerged to be a viable pass rushing option, Ravens still have a quite potent pass rush. Pounding the ball early and often with Isaiah Crowell could be a possibility to nullify the pass rush, but it's not too much of an option as well, since first, Crowell is not that nifty, second, Ravens have one of the best run defenses of the league and third, Browns' best run blocker Joel Bitonio is out of the season.

 

Cody Kessler showed from time to time, he can evolve to be a serviceable starter in the league, even though he didn't have dynamic rookie wide out Corey Coleman for several games. Coleman had an unimpressive return against Cowboys, but it was not that big of a surprise as he was quite rusty. He'll get better eventually and form a dynamic duo with Terrell Pryor, but after a short week against a solid Ravens secondary doesn't sound like the correct recipe. Ravens had lots of injuries in the secondary as well, but they are healthier right now and albeit all the injuries, they were already one of the better pass defenses of the league. Without adequate time in pocket and a running game to balance the things out, it would be unfair to expect Kessler to engineer scoring drives in consistent basis.

 

Verdict: Backing the better team with better quarter back had always been profitable in Thursday's, as the better teams tend to game plan better with limited time of preparation. Besides, Ravens should win at almost all of the departments. But, if you take out a 95 yards pass play and a blocked punt, Ravens could've been lost to Steelers at home despite all the positives heading to the game. Backing them with this double digit spread at this divisional game doesn't sound wise. They are coming off a win against an arch rival to host the only winless team of the league as double digit favorites.

 

This is an ultimate meltdown situation for Ravens, but Browns don't give enough confidence to ride heavily with them, as they are inferior in all of the departments and team discipline seemed to be in the shambles back in recent games. No doubt this will be their Super Bowl and it's significant the bookies seem to want more money for Ravens -10.5 with current juicy odds, although that line passes through a key point and provides one more back door cover probability.

 

First sentence of the “Verdict” section contradicts heavily with the all other arguments written after that, which prevents me to take any spread bet from this game. O/U line doesn't make me excited neither, as with Browns, things can always go south easily and than the game can get out of hand. Considering offensive problems each team should have and this being a divisional short week game, under 45.5 might sound interesting, but I don't see enough value to spend any hard earned money on it.

NO BET

 

Sunday:

 

Texans @ Jaguars

 

Hosts: It is ironically arguable if the offensive coordinator was the main source of the struggles Jaguars are having, but the things didn't seem too much different with a new play caller on the sidelines. Previous coordinator Greg Olson did excellent jobs at his previous stops, such as Tamba Bay and Oakland, so all the burden caused by Blake Bortles' constant regression can't be on his shoulders only. Nevertheless, Jaguars managed to produce only seven points until very late in the game which they had ten days to get prepared, although producing 200+ rushing yards after a while and losing 29 less penalty yards than Chiefs.

 

Jaguars' defense seemed to make a decent job, but let's remember they faced a team which was missing the starting quarter back, two running backs on the top of the depth chart. Also, the only prominent wide receiver of Chiefs, Jeremy Maclin started the game with injury concerns and had to leave the game in the first half, as well. On top of everything, Chiefs converted only one third down all game despite having fourteen such opportunities. Jaguars have a decent defense mostly filled with talent, but they were far from being impressive against such a depleted Chiefs offense, despite having unsustainable luck (Third down conversion rate and penalty yards).

 

Visitors: Texans headed to the bye as one of the worst 5-3 teams of the entire history of the league. They enjoyed a pretty easy schedule, as all of the wins came at home field and three of those games were against teams with losing records. Despite having a healthy winning record, Texans produced only 4.7 yards per play so far. If you exclude home games, that number goes down to 3.9, which is almost laughable. Yes, the competition they faced on the road was much tougher, but still these numbers don't reflect a 5-3 team. Main reason for the struggle is the main guy of the offense, Brock Osweiler. It's hard predict what good will bye week do to him, but the last time we checked, he produced a meager 6.4 yards per attempt against one of the worst secondaries of the league, without its top player.

 

Texans were tipped to take the big step before the season and they are far from being there, although their record might say otherwise. And the reason for people to love Texans before the season was the acquisitions they made to the offensive side of the game. But, even after they lost JJ Watt, Texans' defense carried the team so far quite unexpectedly. They have a ferocious pass rush which will line against one of the worst offensive lines of the league and their underrated secondary evolved to be one of the bests of the league. Main weakness of Texans' defense is the run, but despite having solid numbers, let's not forget Jaguars' run offense consists of underwhelming personnel and four of last five teams they faced had lower table rush defenses, which caused those numbers to shine.

 

Verdict: As expected, O/U line of the game is the second lowest total line of week 10. Jaguars have a really clumsy offense, which can turn the ball over at any given time and several inconsistent players. Whereas, Texans' offense didn't produce anything yet on the road and both of the defenses will have favorable match ups. But still, current line doesn't have any value, as it's been already set quite low.

 

I can't have a feeling for the spread as well, as there are lots of contradicting things all around my head. This will be Jaguars' Super Bowl, but they had been terribly undisciplined on the field lately. Texans had always found ways to beat inferior competition, but all of them were at Houston. Both teams' defenses should dominate their match ups and Texans have much more talent at the offensive end, at least on the paper, but that hadn't been reflected onto the field yet. There is no enough evidence yet, how coach Bill O'Brien's teams react to the bye weeks.

 

This looks a complete toss up game for me, without any value at none of the major betting options. But, Texans are expected to be one of the biggest public bets of the week 10, as Jaguars are coming off three straight losses and one of them was a humiliating nationally televised game, whereas people still expect Texans' big offensive names to start producing. Odds for Texans had already been diminished and seem to continue like this all week, which might cause backing Jaguars to have some good value. I can't say anything right now, but I will be following the odds movement until game time.

 

NO BET

 

Chiefs @ Panthers

 

Hosts: People can downplay Panthers' win at Los Angeles, since it was an unimpressive score against a team which is led by somebody named Case Keenum. Regular football fans might fail to notice but Rams own one of the best defensive front sevens of the league and have tons of personnel to attack the biggest weakness of the Panthers' offense, offensive line. For instance, same Rams' defense held teams like Seahawks and Cardinals (on the road) at 16 cumulative points, when the whole unit was healthy.

 

It was a huge win for Panthers as they couldn't compensate a loss against a team with losing record and it was not an easy game at all. Despite offense failed to impress expectedly, it should be noted that Panthers' defensive front seven plays in an another level after the bye. The defensive coordinator Sean McDermott started to send more blitzes and front seven responded by whooping 12 sacks. Panthers' main liability is the secondary defense, McDermott wanted to solve that by being more conservative, but it backfired as Panthers' front seven stopped making any difference.

 

Visitors: Chiefs are expected to have couple important reinforcements after the last week, as starting quarter back Alex Smith and starting running back Spencer Ware are expected to return. But, here is the problem; Chiefs' offensive strengths and weaknesses perfectly fit to Panthers' defensive strengths and weaknesses. They are a run heavy team without too much talent outside as Maclin is expected to miss this one, or at least not to be fully ready, but Panthers own the best run defense of the league. Smith doesn't have a consistent arm to pull the trigger against Panthers' woeful secondary and except newly emerging Tyreek Hill, he doesn't have too much talent to work with around him as well. Tight end Travis Kelce is Smith's security valve, but Panthers own the best tight end defender of the entire league, Luke Kuechly.

 

Whereas Chiefs' main defensive strength is their opportunistic secondary which is full of play makers, but as Jonathan Stewart seemed really good against Rams despite underwhelming stats, Panthers will depend heavily on the running game and Chiefs own one of the worst run defenses of the league after losing big run stuffer Allen Bailey to the season ending injury. They just let Jaguars to rush for more than 200 yards, it would be unfair to expect better against Panthers' two-headed running dragon. Moreover Chiefs don't have enough personnel to attack Panthers' biggest offensive weakness, both tackles at the offensive line, as they don't have a viable pass rush option other than Tamba Hali, considering Justin Houston didn't play football yet this season, even though he's expected to get activated from PUP list this week.

 

Verdict: Even though Chiefs will be better this week as they have some returning injured players, Panthers should perfectly match with Chiefs. They have a divisional revenge game on horizon against Saints in four days after this non conference game, but they are in no position to mail games, as even a single loss can cost them the season, considering division lead is almost out of the reach and they have dozens of teams to pass for wild card hunt.

 

Although this is not a good spot for the hosts, I don't think they are favorited properly. Considering both teams having full three points for their home advantages, current line means Chiefs and Panthers are equal. These teams might be placed near to each other if you prepare some kind of power rankings for the bigger picture, but for this particular game, Panthers should own most of the match ups and they should have bigger urgency. Adding coach Ron Rivera's dominance as home favorites and coach Andy Reid's unimpressive numbers as road underdogs, these teams shouldn't get treated as equal.

 

O/U line seems tricky even though I lean towards over 44. But I will not pull the trigger, first, I don't like to take two bets from the same game and I believe spread bet has bigger value, second, I expect Panthers to win the game and if they jump on an early lead, than they can eat too much clock as their running game might dominate Chiefs' run defense and Smith doesn't have long ball threat to engineer very quick scoring drives.

 

PICK: Panthers -3 @ 1.95 5/10

 

Broncos @ Saints

 

Hosts: After winning four of last five games, Saints are rolling again. Considering they lost two of previous three games by four total points and the other loss was being against Falcons, they never were a classical 0-3 team anyway. Their defense is bad, but not that bad as advertised, pass rush is getting better in weakly basis and secondary gets healthier as well. Let's not forget their top corner back Delvin Breaux was sidelined for six weeks until returning last week and during those weeks they faced couple of league's best passing offenses Falcons and Chargers, to make the current stats quite lopsided.

 

The main problem they have heading to this game is that they will miss stud tackle Terron Armstead. That caused two shifts in the offensive line against 49ers, coach Sean Payton and his staff had a week to prepare for making subsequent adjustments, but this is not a very solid unit anyway and considering the upcoming opponent, not being full and healthy might have its consequences. Besides Armstead, Drew Brees will have all of his skill players healthy and in form as 49ers soft defense functioned as a great rehab center for some of the struggling play makers.

 

Visitors: Talking about struggling players, Broncos hit rock bottom against Raiders in a very crucial game. Devontae Booker is struggling heavily since he got promoted to the starting job and reports looming around about the probability of losing snaps should not boost his confidence. True that they will face one of the worst run defenses of the league, but considering Trevor Siemian's limitations and the secondary defense got better, Broncos' run offense doesn't consist of personnel to take advantage of Saints' defense when they stack the box.

 

Defense is Broncos' hallmark, but at that side of the field, they are having problems as well. Aqib Talib is expected to miss this game as well. Him missing doesn't only cause him not to play, but it also causes league's best nickelback Chris Harris jr. to play at the outside. Besides Talib, Derek Wolfe is expected to miss this one as well, which is quite significant for this match up, as he's the best inside rusher of Broncos' defensive front seven. No doubt Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware will make big impact against Saints' so-so offensive line, but Brees struggles most when he gets pressurized from inside, so the absence of Wolfe will make life easier for Saints also.

 

Verdict: Saints will travel to Carolina in the upcoming Thursday, but they can't overlook the reigning Super Bowl champions and they don't have luxury to drop games, especially when playing in the Dome. Broncos are 2-2 on the road and one of the victories was against Buccaneers, which traditionally don't own any type of home advantage. They are good, because they can't be bad with the defense they have, but the steady decline at their play must be noted as well.

 

Broncos might have an incredible defensive brain to call the plays and a deep squad to compensate modest number of injuries, but even without missing Talib and Wolfe, they had a below average run defense. Now adding to that, they have two quite crucial injuries for pressuring the quarter back and defending the pass, which might give the edge to Saints' offense against Broncos' defense and if Broncos' defense can't dominate the opponent's offense, than it should be a very long game for them.

 

These teams got closer to each other in the power rankings in the last weeks and considering the health problems Broncos have, I rate them more, or less equal, so Saints not getting full three points don't fit with me, as they have a proper home field advantage. O/U is again irrelevant as I like the hosts with the modest spread which passes through the crucial key point, but I prefer to keep my stakes moderated due to loss of value to early bettors.

 

PICK: Saints -2.5 @ 1.88 3/10

 

Rams @ Jets

 

Hosts: Although Jets stepped up against lesser competition after starting the season with a brutal schedule, limitations of Ryan Fitzpatrick and a special teams meltdown probably finished their season even though it's still early. After this one they are heading to the bye and than they still have four divisional games left, so it's still possible them to turn things around, but considering their starting quarter back, it is an impossible task. Fitzpatrick's status for this game is up in the air, but bookies already released their offers might mean couple things; first, they are almost sure Fitzpatrick will start, or second, they don't think there is too much difference between him, or rookie Bryce Petty.

 

Besides not having enough talent and having a quarter back with obvious limitations, Jets have its problems at the defensive side as well. Biggest strength of Jets' defense is their front seven and two best players of that front seven is Sheldon Richardson and Mo Wilkerson. But, both of them were benched for the first quarter against Dolphins and they are reported to keep missing team meetings. As the season is theoretically over, it's hard to expect coach Todd Bowles to keep his team motivated, especially when two of supposedly team leaders can't get their acts together.

 

Visitors: Here comes an another extremely limited quarter back, but at least he'll face a lesser competition. Keenum is a master of disaster, but he won't be seeing a worse secondary until week 16, if he will be able to survive until than. He will keep making his stature of art mistakes, so it's up to coach Jeff Fisher to prevent such a circus in which Keenum attempts 46 passes and Todd Gurley has given only 12 carries. Speaking of Gurley, the rookie sensation is having a terrible sophomore season and he will not have a favorable match up, as Jets are solid against the run.

 

As mentioned above, Rams' defensive front seven is the best of the league when everybody is healthy and knowing the limitations Fitzpatrick possesses and Trumaine Johnson's ability to blanket Jets' only prominent receiving threat Brandon Marshall, they will have a field day for sure. They are coming off a game in which they harassed the league's most dynamic dual threat quarter back, so it will be a very long game for Fitzpatrick, or Petty. The biggest weakness of Rams' defense is that they don't have a overwhelming secondary except stud corner back Johnson, but Jets don't have a deep and talented receiving corps neither.

 

Verdict: I have no desire to get included any bet regarding this game. No question, both defenses will dominate the opposition, but I rate Rams' defense to be a lot better, considering possible motivational issues Jets might have. But, first that is a provocative argument, and second, there is no value to back the visitors with a spread which isn't going through any key number. This is an early start game in the Eastern coast, which had always been a terrible spot for Pacific teams, which is an another factor for not to back the visitors.

 

I can't back Jets against ferocious Rams' defense as well and O/U line is not appealing neither, as this game has the lowest set total line of the week and couple defensive scores can easily ruin a bet, which is not unlikely at all considering each quarter back's tendency to make mistakes consistently.

 

NO BET

 

Falcons @ Eagles

 

Hosts: Eagles put them inside a big hole by losing to Cowboys and Giants, as besides having the only losing record of their division, they have tie break disadvantages over every team in the NFC East. But there is still hope, as they will face all those three divisional rivals at home and five of their upcoming eight games will be in Philadelphia as well. But, these are not enough to create enough hope I suppose, as Eagles have some problems to address.

 

When Carson Wentz was dominating the scene, he had a very intact and dominative offensive line to protect him, but that is not the case anymore. Lane Johnson is long gone and Allen Barbre is expected to keep missing time. Falcons don't possess a great pass rush, or whatsoever, but they have a dynamic and young crew, which is getting better in weekly basis and considering how pass protection struggled against Giants' underwhelming pass rush, it wouldn't surprise Falcons to sneak through back field as well. Also, Eagles had a much better running game back than as well, but somehow they decided to give the workload to Darren Sproles and nullify his unexpectedness and big play ability.

 

Visitors: Falcons have a healthy lead in the NFC South, but they don't have too much room for error, as both Saints and Panthers got their acts together. They were impressive against Buccaneers, but it doesn't say a lot, as it was against Buccaneers. Eagles have a similar type of defense as Buccaneers possess, they have a talented front seven which is coordinated by coach Jim Schwartz, so they rarely blitz, but also a quite bad secondary, which can't possibly be a match for Falcons' high volume offense.

 

The biggest concern heading to this game is the health of Desmond Trufant, as he is the by far the best corner back of the team. He left the Thursday game, but then he followed the game from sidelines, so it shouldn't be anything serious. He didn't train yet this week, but he should be ready even with limited practice sessions and he still have lots of time. Eagles have really underwhelming receiving corps which shouldn't frighten any team, but the talent disparity between Trufant and his back ups is quite huge and if he can't make it, than it might be significant.

 

Verdict: No doubt which is the better team, but it's hard to find any value with either side. Eagles are 3-0 at home and they had already beaten solid teams such as Steelers and Vikings, whereas Falcons are one of the hottest teams of the league and if Trufant starts, than they are better in most of the departments. But still it will not be a walk in the park, as Eagles are in a must win situation.

 

O/U line is not appealing as well, obviously an overish game is expected, as the Falcons are included. But the line is already the highest of all games and Eagles have numerous sneaky good defensive players, who can nullify some aspects of Falcons' high volume offense. Whereas despite having very impressive stats, Falcons have tendency to struggle at the red zone from time to time and Eagles are one of the worst teams of the league in that regard.

 

NO BET

 

Vikings @ Redskins

 

Hosts: If Matt Jones had avoided to fumble the game away against Lions and Dustin Hopkins didn't miss a routine field goal in a game his team outgained Bengals by more than a yard, Redskins might have been coming off six straight wins to this game. As all the offensive personnel except great tackle Trent Williams is available, Redskins will provide one of the tougher tasks for Vikings' defense. Williams' absence might have became quite significant if this game was played couple weeks ago, as one of the best defenses of the league would have been coming to the town.

 

Redskins' biggest offensive strength is the versatile and highly qualified receiving corps. Vikings have sufficient personnel to limit Redskins' aerial attack in the secondary, but obviously they need more than just players in the secondary defense, as it's impossible to survive aerially, without pressuring the quarter back, or limiting the running game. Redskins' biggest weakness on the other hand is them not having a pro caliber corner back to start opposite of Josh Norman.

 

Visitors: Starting with the last sentence, Vikings' chances to exploit Redskins' defensive weakness solely depends on their offensive line and it doesn't seem good, as they simply have the worst offensive line of entire league currently. Redskins' very underrated pass rush led by Ryan Kerrigan will have all day to pressure Sam Bradford. Running game of Vikings doesn't seem promising as well. Redskins can't defend the run properly, but it's highly doubtful if Vikings have proper personnel to take advantage out of it. Norman can easily blanket Stefon Diggs, who is having a very inconsistent season anyway and than Bradford will be left with very few amount of play makers around him.

 

Couple weeks ago, Vikings would have visited Redskins with the best secondary of the league supported by an incredible pass rush and a solid run defense. Bye weeks generally serves for teams to get healthier and make proper adjustments, but somehow, bye week killed Vikings. They allowed 24 more rushing yards per game despite facing mediocre rushing teams compared with the games before the bye and recorded only two sacks in the three games after the bye week. They might have Eric Kendricks back as he will have adequate time to clear concussion protocol and his return might boost the run defense, but the things don't look promising for Vikings.

 

Verdict: As I stated above, under “normal” circumstances, Redskins would have came this game with a six games winning streak. Whereas even without that streak, these team almost have the same record and they had quite similar strength of schedule so far. But considering the recent forms of the teams, Redskins are the better team for me. So the current line which indicates these are more, or less equal teams wouldn't be right, if Redskins could have full three points as hosts. But, albeit very small sample size, Redskins are 2-7 ATS as home favorites and 11-10 SU under coach Jay Gruden and therefore they can't have full three points as the hosts.

 

Aforementioned assumption makes the current line quite fair, as Vikings are still not that worse than Redskins. At first glance, O/U line seems too low, as Redskins have a quite explosive offense especially when playing at home. But, Vikings are coming off three straight losses and coach Mike Zimmer is a defensive guru, who definitely has the ability and personnel to fix the defensive issues of his team. And, bringing back the top notch defense is the only way for Vikings to keep this game tight and provide themselves a chance to end the losing streak.

 

NO BET

 

Packers @ Titans

 

Hosts: There are certain things Titans can do really well, but also there are other certain things they struggle heavily. First of all, they have one of the best offensive lines of the league and that helps DeMarco Murray to have a resurrection season. Derrick Henry is expected to miss this one, but I don't believe it will be too much significant as long as Murray is healthy. Besides the offensive line, they have a really good defensive front seven, which can defend the run properly and bring the heat to the opposition's backfield.

 

Coming to the things they are struggling with; they don't have a deep and talented receiving corps and they have a quite bad secondary waiting to be exploited. Delanie Walker is Marcus Mariota's only consistent receiving option and although he had an unimpressive game against Chargers, he might have a bounce back game as he had one more week to shake off some injury concerns and Chargers defend the tight end position little better than Packers. But besides him, all Titans have are bunch of hot, or not type of players with certain potential and inconsistency.

 

Visitors: Aaron Rodgers is having the far worst season of his career and it's hard to tell what is wrong with him. All season long, he kept missing quite routine throws for his caliber, despite having a proper protection. Some of the blame should go to ever changing supporting crew because of injuries, but still, he seems quite distracted on the field. Packers once had a good offensive line, but allowing eight sacks in last three games against not so great pass rushing teams sounds quite problematic as they have a quarter back who makes a living with his tendency to leave the pocket quick and throw passes on the move. This doesn't sound promising, as running back position is sketchy at best as well.

 

On the other side of the field, Packers still own the best run defense of the league and a very inexperienced secondary, because of the injuries. But just like pass protection, pass rush is on decline as well. Yes, they had to line up against some underrated offensive lines such as Bears', or Falcons', but Titans' line is at totally different level compared to those units and this time, they have to worry about a dual threat quarter back taking off, quite different than those games. If the pass rush can't step up the effectiveness, than Mariota will have all day to torch Packers' terrible secondary, no matter how underwhelming receiving weapons he has to work with.

 

Verdict: These teams do the similar things well and struggle at the similar departments as well. The winner of the game will be decided at the trenches and I expect Titans to win the battle there. But, it's still hard to swallow Packers sitting at 4-4 and unfortunately, I still can't let my outdated thoughts to leave me alone to pull the trigger for the hosts. Aaron Rodgers must show some character, bounce back from two straight losses and he has a quite favorable match up waiting for him.

 

But, I can't back Packers as road favorites against any legitimate team in the league, as long as they show vast improvements and this line to be under the key point smells like a bookie trap. Bookies want people to pound this “favorable” line, which only needs such a “big” team with “big” quarter back to win “by only a field goal” against an “unknown” team.

 

Another reason for me not to back Titans is their terrible home record in recent years. In Mike Mularkey – Marcus Mariota era, Titans are just 3-10 SU at home, true that two of those wins came this season, but they were against Browns and Jaguars, much different competition compared to Packers.

 

It's hard to get included with O/U line as well. Yes, both quarter backs have quite favorable match ups as both secondaries have huge holes waiting to get exploited. But, it wouldn't surprise Titans' front seven to own Packers' offensive line and create bunch of three and longs for Rodgers to convert, whereas Mariota might have a cleaner pocket, but the running game will not be that effective against Packers' stud run defense and he doesn't have sufficient amount of viable contributors to engineer scoring drives consistently.

 

NO BET

 

Bears @ Buccaneers

 

Hosts: There is no line yet for this game because of the concerns related Jameis Winston's availability. Even though he's expected to start, bookies are being cautious. Besides Winston, Buccaneers have too many doubtful players in crucial roles. Starting with the most unknown one, Bucs' center Joe Hawley left the game against Falcons and hadn't practiced yet. Running back position is in shambles as well, Doug Martin hadn't practiced yet and even if he suits up, his conditioning will be uncertain as he missed last six games, whereas his replacement Jacquizz Rodgers is not expected to play.

 

Buccaneers had already one of the worse offensive lines of the league and if starting center can't manage to suit up, than Winston will have a very long day, considering he'll not a security valve running game as well. Moreover his receiving options don't look that promising as Mike Evans is a huge target with incredible play making abilities, but after him, the talent disparity is too big. Bears have a quite underrated pass rush and they don't particularly suck at defending the run, so it would be unfair to expect Winston to engineer scoring drives consistently.

 

Visitors: Jay Cutler played his best performance for several years against Vikings. But, he always excelled in Monday games and Vikings were terribly unprepared despite having quite of a time. Cutler is the last person to trust in whole Nfl as he showed similar scenes throughout his career. One game he will look like the franchise quarter back to who Bears gave a fortune and than for months, he'll be Cutler we know, the soulless, terrible teammate who makes inexcusable mistakes, over and over.

 

For sure it mostly starts with your quarter back and ends with him as well, as long as you don't own such a dominating defense as 2015 Broncos had. But, Bears are a very good football team in general despite their abysmal record, with very underrated offensive line and defense. When most of the pieces are healthy, they own an easily top-10 offensive line and defense, as the latest updates suggest, they will have most of those crucial pieces healthy. Especially offensive line is crucial as Buccaneers have a disruptive defensive front seven. But as they are not that balanced and deep, in the last weeks, especially run defense seemed to start struggling, which will help emerging star Jordan Howard to make things easier for Cutler.

 

Verdict: Buccaneers have one more win than Bears, but despite having slightly harder schedule, they recorded four less net points, for instance. So these teams are more, or less equal. But, considering the recent forms and injury updates, for me, Bears are slightly better. Adding to that assumption, Buccaneers have the worst home field advantage of whole league, they are 16-36 at home since 2010, which is easily the far worst winning percentage of the league in that span. So let alone they are not getting three full points, they should barely get a single point for playing at home. Summing up everything, I will have a bet backing the visitors, as long as they are underdogs. The size of the bet will depend on the size of the spread, it might be a huge one if it passes through the key point.

 

Cutler did this all his career, but this time he has a team pointing towards positive direction with all aspects, whereas Buccaneers have lots of things on their plates to deal with. Although I feel like I will fancy the “under”, I don't want to speculate anything regarding a theoretical O/U line and I don't think there will be more value than the spread.

 

PICK: Will be announced if Bears get set as underdogs

 

Dolphins @ Chargers

 

Hosts: Phillip Rivers has one of the best performances of his career, if the season had ended now, he would be my unquestionable MVP, even though his team has a losing record. But besides him, Chargers have couple more emerging play makers. Running back Melvin Gordon is having an outstanding sophomore season, after his underwhelming rookie season. He was reported to deal with some minor injuries last season and he looks like an absolute beast coming off a very impressive performance against one of the teams which defends the running back position really well. And the rookie defensive end Joey Bosa is having a terrific season, even though he missed the first three games, who lifted up the pass rush to an another level.

 

Chargers had couple big problems at the first half of the season. First was their habit to make stupid mistakes in the closing minutes of the games to serve them on the plate to the oppositions and the second was sustaining weird number of injuries. First one seems not to be a problem anymore, at least not in ironically consistent basis and the second one seemed to be done with as well. But Pandora's box seems to be opened again. Stud guard Orlando Franklin had entered to the concussion protocol and this is the second time in a year, so it would be surprise him to be ready. One of the most underrated play makers of the defense, Denzel Perryman will keep missing time and both Travis Benjamin and Hunter Henry didn't practice yet, so Rivers' receiving corps might be quite thin.

 

Visitors: Everybody is talking about Jay Ajayi, sure he had some performances, but the thing everybody is missing that Ajayi started his 200+ rush performances, when Dolphins' offensive line was finally healthy for the first time in this season. Dolphins have a very good offensive line with four top-20 picks and they would have much bigger recognition if the best players of the unit, Brendan Albert and Mike Pouncey hadn't missed total of six games, for instance. Chargers defend the run quite good, but Ajayi already performed well against couple top-15 run defenses, so as long as offensive line doesn't sustain an in game injury, he should have some explosive plays to make things easier for Ryan Tannehill.

 

Tannehill will need every help he can get, as he'll be facing a team which doesn't have any problems to produce at the offensive end especially at home. He also got better as his pass protection got healthier, but he is still far from fulfilling the hype around him when the Dolphins brought coach Adam Gase. This mostly falls on his shoulders as he's simply not as good quarter back as he was thought, but not having sufficient number of weapons to work with has its effects as well. Chargers have a quite good defensive front seven and couple good performing members in the secondary, but still they have some replacement level players especially at the safety position, so even though he might keep struggling at the red zone, Tannehill can have some success aerially.

 

Verdict: Chargers are heading to the bye and considering the division they are in, they can't afford to lose any games especially at home from now on. Whereas Dolphins are coming off two straight wins against divisional rivals and in the last one they lost the yards per play battle. Moreover, this is a late start game at Pacific, which is not the most ideal spot for an Atlantic team be in. But, considering Chargers' tendencies to make stupid mistakes, especially when the game is on the line, I can't back with the current spread which passes through the key number.

 

Whereas no way I'm backing Dolphins in such an unfavorable spot, as the worse team which has far worse quarter back, on the road against a team in a great urgency. But, they O/U line seems little low for my taste. Dolphins have an inconsistent but capable pass rush, but Rivers releases the ball really quick, Dolphins have tons of problems at the secondary and Gordon can always carry the load against one of the worst run defenses of the league. On the other hand, as long as they don't have an in game injury, Dolphins' offensive line can keep the pocket relatively clean to make room for Tannehill to exploit weaknesses in Dolphins' secondary, especially if they try to man up the box to contain Ajayi.

 

PICK: Over 48.5 @ 2.05 4/10

 

49ers @ Cardinals

 

Hosts: Cardinals started the season as a candidate to win it all at the end, but several things caused them to enter bye week with a losing record. The most important problem they have is the offensive line as they simply can't protect Carson Palmer, who is a quite fragile guy anyway. Second is related with him directly, as he's having quite a down year, which could be compensated under an another system, but coach Bruce Arians' offense depends heavily on vertical throws.

 

But, Cardinals don't need to worry for this week, as they will play against the worst team of the entire league. 49ers are the only team in the league which allow more than five yards per carry and those statistics include the time when Navorro Bowman was available, for instance, they allowed more than six yards per carry in last three games. David Johnson already rushed for 157 yards when these two teams met almost a month ago and I have no idea how 49ers will limit him.

 

Visitors: Things are not brighter for the 49ers in the other side of the field, either. They have a starting quarter back who lost his starting job to Blaine Gabbert crying out loud, who is reported several times not to study film properly, who was struggling to read the blitzes even back in his best days. To make things even worse, Carlos Hyde still didn't contribute in any full contact practice and Torrey Smith's status for this game in up on the air, as he was already limited against Saints. With stud guard Joe Staley, those two are the only pro level caliber players in Niners' offense.

 

There must be something positive about Niners, but except kicker Phil Dawson, I can't find anything to praise about them. There are lots of things to criticize but this text already exceeded 7000 words and I have couple more games to write about.

 

Verdict: These teams met almost a month ago at San Francisco, when Cardinals started Drew Stanton and Niners started Blaine Gabbert. It was quite an equal game until Niners started to shoot themselves from their own feet, but first, Colin Kaepernick is arguably worse than Gabbert and the upgrade from Stanton to Palmer is huge. And second, it was the last game Niners cared about, as after that one, they lost three games by average of three touch downs, despite they had a relatively easy schedule. And even if that was quite an equal game until the half of the third quarter, Cardinals still won it by 12 points.

 

Despite all of these, I'm not taking any bet from this game. I don't care for the spread, as I can't back the visitors under any circumstances right now and I don't care for the total, as it wouldn't surprise me a well rested Cardinals team with a big urgency to shut Niners' offense down totally. Total line will need both teams to contribute to get beaten. Even though I will skip this game betting wise, I can't wait to watch it to see what Kaepernick will do against one of the most blitz happy defenses of the league.

 

NO BET

 

Cowboys @ Steelers

 

Hosts: Ben Roethlisberger had always struggled in the first game after his injuries as he tends to beat his timetable and as the talent disparity between him and his back ups had always been incredibly big, his teammates tend to relax a little bit. Moreover, weirdly, Baltimore had been a place at where he struggled as well. So, that was a bad spot for Steelers generally, but it doesn't change the fact that one of the contenders of the league sits at 4-4. The biggest concern heading to this game must be Steelers having a so-so run defense and a quite bad pass rush, as they will face with the team which has one of the best offensive lines and the most dynamic rushing offense of the league.

 

It will be a very long task for Steelers' defensive front seven to win the battle at the trenches. They might bring extra men to the box to contain the running game, but they have a bad secondary and Cowboys have nifty play makers, who can hurt aerially. But on the other hand, Steelers' offense will be at full force, as Roethlisberger had one more week to heal and when they are at full force, there doesn't exist too many defenses in the league to limit them and Cowboys definitely don't own one of those defenses.

 

Visitors: Tony Romo might get activated for this game, but it would be a huge surprise if Cowboys don't start with Dak Prescott as the signal caller. Prescott had been really huge so far and he will have a very favorable match up. Steelers own one of the most underwhelming pass rushes of the league and they will be a cake to eat for Cowboys' mighty offensive line, as stud guard Ronald Leary is expected to clear concussion protocol on time. Besides the battle at the trenches, last couple weeks showed that Prescott finally started to bond proper relationships with big dogs of Cowboys' passing offense, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, which is even more frightening.

 

Where Cowboys will struggle is their secondary. Browns couldn't take advantage out of it, as they are the Browns, but one of the best performing corner backs of whole league Morris Claiborne is out for the season and safety Barry Church will keep missing time. Even though Cowboys' pass rush is improving lately, they are still not that intimidating and Roethlisberger has a proper protection. Moreover Cowboys' run defense is somewhere in the middle, but even though they have quite impressive stats lately, they hadn't faced a beast like Le'Veon Bell, who will be in bounce back mode after struggling against teams with solid run defenses for four consecutive games.

 

Verdict: Steelers are coming off three straight losses and there is no room for error anymore, Cowboys are the hottest team of the league, so they will be %100 motivated for sure. But, Cowboys are the hottest team of the league for a reason, as they are playing the far best football recently. Under current circumstances, Cowboys must be couple place above than Steelers in the power rankings and if you give full three points to Steelers for home field advantage, than the spread seems quite fair to me.

 

Both offenses will have the edges against the defenses, as they should win the battle at the trenches and both secondaries shouldn't be match for the opposing aerial offenses. Only thing which intimidates me is that this seems so obvious and I wouldn't be surprised to see if the bet I'll take might become a huge public bet as well. That's why I'll keep my stakes moderated.

 

PICK: Over 49.5 @ 1.91 2/10

 

Seahawks @ Patriots

 

Hosts: Since Tom Brady returned from his suspension, Patriots are 4-0 ATS despite being the biggest public plays of each of those weeks and they seemed indisputable. But, let's break down the competition they faced during current four games winning streak; still winless Browns, Bengals without Tyler Eifert at home and they were trailing until the mid of third quarter, Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger and Bills in an ultimate revenge game. Cumulative record of those teams are 11-24-1 right now. I'm not trying to downplay anything Patriots did in those weeks, but it seems significant to me that they hadn't tested yet properly.

 

No need to explain what can Patriots do at the offensive end. Offensive line had been a constant problem for years, but they have a perfect scheme to utilize Brady's sharp throws and speedy receivers with solid ball handling skills and to nullify the weak spots of their offensive line. For me, the department of Patriots which don't get enough recognition is their secondary defense, as for example, they allow less yards per pass attempt than the famous “Legion of Boom”.

 

Visitors: Russell Wilson had the best game of his season against Bills back on Monday. He was extremely sharp and seemed to trust his legs more. It's very well known he had been dealing with minor injuries all season long, he might be getting healthier. Seahawks' biggest nightmare is the offensive line, but this is one of the most favorable match ups they will ever have after this point of the season as pass rush is Patriots' by far worst department.

 

If Seahawks want to take something out of this game, they must limit Patriots' high volume offense. Absence of Michael Bennett is significant for run defense, but allowing four yards per carry against a red hot LeSean McCoy was impressive both without him and Kam Chancellor, arguably two best run defenders of the team. Chancellor is ready to return and he'll undoubtedly provide a boost. More importantly, Seahawks have a ferocious pass rush and they cover tight ends really well. All of those aspects will help them to attack Patriots' weaknesses and to limit their major strengths.

 

Verdict: Bill Belichick is the best coach of the league and he often excels with extra time to prepare. For sure, he'll game plan to nullify a major offensive option of Seahawks and that will probably be Jimmy Graham. But, he doesn't have personnel to exploit the biggest offensive weakness of Seahawks and Wilson showed several times that he can be quiet dangerous as a pocket passer.

 

On the other hand, this is a revenge game for the visitors, as it will be the first match up after famous 2014 Super Bowl. They already have a healthy lead in their division and a relatively much easier Eagles game at home is on the horizon. They are coming off four straight ATS losses, which can be related to this game being circled on the schedule since the start of the season.

 

This line doesn't make sense as well. Patriots were 7.5 points favorite against Bengals as well for instance, three weeks ago. They might have taken couple steps forward during that period, even though they didn't face a competition to show it, but how come those Bengals, who were 2-3 coming to that game and who didn't have the best red zone target Eifert available, can be more, or less same with current Seahawks? Also Pinnacle seems to want money for Patriots as it keeps the juice low, even though the spread passes through a key number, which is an another positive sign.

 

Even though I fancy Under 49 as well, I like the value more with the spread. But, I also must note, I don't plan to fade Patriots big at New England.

 

PICK: Seahawks +7.5 @ 1.88 3/10

 

Monday:

 

Bengals @ Giants

 

Hosts: Remember what did I write for Texans, only other 5-3 team in the league, that they are one of the worst 5-3 teams of the league's history. Giants are 5-3 and they have minus net points as well. They are not that bad as Texans, as they had much harder schedule, but with their displays on the field, they don't deserve to have a winning record as well. The winning difference was only four points per a game in those victories, which came against; a team debuts the season with a rookie quarter back and rookie running back, Saints, a team lost almost half of their defensive starters during the game, a team which was missing almost half of their defensive starters and had to play a 6:30 AM local time game and a quarter back which threw back to back interceptions in first two drives of the game.

 

Yes Giants have some big and spectacular names, such as Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jason Pierre-Paul. Also, they have some emerging guys like Landon Collins and unsung heroes like Janoris Jenkins. But also, Giants can't rush the passer (second lowest sacks per game), can't run the ball (lowest rushing yards per game), can't eat the clock (second lowest time of possession per game) and can't convert the third downs (fourth lowest conversion rate).

 

Visitors: With four more divisional games ahead of them, Bengals keep their hopes to turn their season around as the AFC North seems to be totally open. But they should get better in several departments. The far biggest concern is the offensive line as they allowed second most sacks per game so far. It's weird for a unit to take such a step back in short notice of time, but having to start sub par players, such as Cedric Ogbuehi doesn't help their cause and with current personnel, the problems don't seem to get resolved, even though they had time to make adjustments during the bye week.

 

As Eifert had one more week to get back to shape, Bengals' offense can get only better. They don't have too many options at the wide receiver position except A.J. Green and Jeremy Hill having one of the most inconsistent seasons of whole players in the league doesn't help them. But the king of regular season, Andy Dalton has a favorable match up against a team which don't have personnel to attack the biggest weakness of his offense.

 

Verdict: Giants should have a worse record and contrary to public opinion, they don't have a proper home field advantage, they are 9-11 SU at home in last three seasons, for instance. But, it's hard to argue if Bengals are better than them. They must get better after the bye, as this squad can't play worse than they were playing and crucial play makers like Eifert and Vontaze Burfict had needed time get back into top condition. But nevertheless, we should see them on the field with a better display before making proper adjustments at the power rankings.

 

Considering Giants should not have full three points as home advantage, bookies rate these teams more, or less equal, which I agree at the current standpoint. Even though I'm pretty confident Bengals will be on top of Giants in upcoming weeks in my power rankings list, I don't want to mess with current moderate spread which doesn't cover any key point.

 

From O/U market, nothing attracts me as well, as the main aspect of Bengals' team I expect to get better is the defense and even though total line seems a little higher than my liking, still I don't want to take a speculative bet, before seeing Bengals to improve defensively on the field.

 

PICKS SUMMARY:

 

1 - Chiefs @ Panthers → Panthers -3 @ 1.95 5/10

2 - Broncos @ Saints → Saints -2.5 @ 1.88 3/10

3 - Bears @ Buccaneers → Will be announced if Bears get set as underdogs

4 - Dolphins @ Chargers → Over 48.5 @ 2.05 4/10

5 - Cowboys @ Steelers → Over 49.5 @ 1.91 2/10

6 - Seahawks @ Patriots → Seahawks +7.5 @ 1.88 3/10

 

All picks are taken from PINNACLE.

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On 11/10/2016, 12:13:20, bmftil31 said:

 

PICKS SUMMARY:

 

1 - Chiefs @ Panthers → Panthers -3 @ 1.95 5/10

2 - Broncos @ Saints → Saints -2.5 @ 1.88 3/10

3 - Bears @ Buccaneers → Will be announced if Bears get set as underdogs

4 - Dolphins @ Chargers → Over 48.5 @ 2.05 4/10

5 - Cowboys @ Steelers → Over 49.5 @ 1.91 2/10

6 - Seahawks @ Patriots → Seahawks +7.5 @ 1.88 3/10

 

All picks are taken from PINNACLE.

Bears are favorites, so no more pick.

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  • 2 weeks later...

NFL: Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys

I favour the Redskins and am very tempted by odds of 3.50 to win this, but will probably end up going with them getting a few points start.

I opposed Dallas at the weekend writing.............

"The Ravens will want to keep their lead over the Steelers until they meet again on Christmas Day ( what a treat !) and I have to say I like them getting a touchdown start against the Cowboys, who Pittsburgh kept to within five last week and this is my idea of the "upset" of the day. Dallas are 8-1, but five games were decided by a touchdown or less and two of the other four were against teams with a combined record of 2-17. Key for me will be the run, Dallas have been able to move the ball on the ground freely, but Baltimore are very difficult to run against (ranked #1), that might force the Cowboys into a more one dimensional offense and Baltimore have had an extra three days to recover and prepare."

That should have been the "upset", Baltimore led by 7 and looked in control until the game turned on one play and some terrible, shoot yourself in the foot, penalties from the Ravens. Cowboys played well enough offensively in the second half to win , Dez Bryant stepping up with some very important receptions and lots of people will have been impressed with how they played, but I have some real doubts about them defensively and they do not look like a 9-1 team to me. Dallas can afford to lose and still stay in control of the division, for the Redskins, they really need to keep winning.

Washington have a very balanced offense with two runners "sharing" circa 900 yards and Kirk Cousins having a career defining season.They have put up 95 points against "winning" teams in the last three weeks. The Skins lost the reverse meeting 27-23, but Prescott, Bryant and Elliott all had big games for Dallas and still Washington came so close and should have won, wasting a series of good field positions in the second half , everything went wrong for them, right for Dallas and still they kept to within 4 points and Washington look much improved since. So too are Dallas of course, but that defeat and maybe more than one, is coming and I fancy the first could be today, points and the "away" win !

Washington Redskins + 5.5 points 2.03 Pinnacle/Vegas Line/ Sportmarket Pro.
"over" 52 points 2.05 Pinnacle/Vegas Line/ Sportmarket Pro.

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  • 1 year later...

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