Falcons -3 -110
– Teams off an overtime game are 4-21 ATS on Thursday and are on a 1-15 ATS run since 2002, losing by 10.7 PPG
– Rookie HCs tend to struggle on their first short week. Don’t have an exact number but I noticed that over recent years. Last year Bowles & Quinn lost SUATS, this year Adam Gase. Over the years, lot of the rookie head coaches lost on TNF: Zimmer, Arians, Gruden, Rivera, O’Brien, McCarthy, Kelly, Tomsula, Philbin, Schwartz, Trestman, Marrone, Smith, Cable, Gailey, J Harbaugh
– Falcons are on triple revenge
– TB have no quality games since week one vs. ATL. They won vs. Derek Anderson while getting outgained by 3 yards per play, they won vs. SF, they needed 24 penalties (200yds) to stay put with Oakland. OAK outgained them by 356 total yards. Under average circumstances, Raiders win this game by 21+.
Baltimore Ravens +3 -110
It’s pretty funny that early ticket (1,500) and money splits were 80/20 in favor of Pittsburgh even though people didn’t know whether Big Ben would be starting or not. The last time Ben rushed back too early from injury, he went 28/45 for 262 yards 1TD & 3INT in a 10-16 loss vs the Bengals. It was arthroscopic, but a surgery is a surgery and it was not even three weeks ago. Who is really expecting a good performance against a decent D on the road?
The Ravens have by far the best run defense in the league. Their -43.7% is 10.4% better than the 2015’s winning run D from the Jets. Add to that that their front seven has been decimated with injuries. Suggs and Mosley come back this week. They played the Bills (3rd in run DVOA), Browns (12th), Raiders (9th), Redskins (13th) and Jets (14th) and pretty much shut down those rushing attacks. Crowell’s 85yd run deflates their YPC number, but fortunately outliers aren’t weighed in DVOA – which is also a basic tool when forecasting, smoothing the outliers. One huge run can only result in 0-7 points and doesn’t indicate whether you move the ball consistently. If you reduce the defensive outcome by the one Crowell run, they gave up 390 yards on 125 carries against five top-15 run offenses by DVOA. This results in 3.12 yards per carry. Le’Veon Bell played four games thus far. Against bottom-10 DVOA run defenses he ran for 8.0 YPC (KC – 23rd) and 5.3 YPC (MIA – 17th). Against top-10 DVOA run defenses he ran for 3.3 YPC (NYJ – 3rd) and 3.9 YPC (NE 6th). So when forecasting the rushing output for the Steelers, I come up with a range of 3 – 4.2 YPC but would expect it to be around 3.6 ypc. This isn’t enough to put either Landry Jones or a not-100% Ben into comfortable passing situations very often. I truly expect the Steelers offense to struggle this week.
What most people also tend to forget is that this Steelers team hasn’t been a good road team. They are 11-10 SU and 10-11 ATS since 2014.
How about the Ravens? I was very high on them going into the season and thought they would have a legitimate shot at winning their division. Each of their games was a one-score affair. I know some of you don’t like the if-game, but if the Raiders don’t benefit from 3 huge drive starts in BAL territory, Mosley doesn’t fumble the fumble-six against the Redskins und if two BAL defenders don’t run into each other on the Odell last-minute TD, the Ravens are 6-1. Against the Jets they were missing their three best offensive players and two of their best defensive players. I don’t count Dumervil because he hasn’t played yet this season. Now they have lost 4 in a row and we get excellent line value. Yanda and Stanley come back and Flacco finally has some protection because the Steelers can’t generate any pass rush. Cameron Heyward comes back but that should be negated somewhat by the offensive line. I am not really concerned if Steve Smith doesn’t make it this week, because of the way the Steelers defense has played in recent road games.
Summary: I get an improved Ravens team getting points at home with a favorable matchup against a questionable road team with a hurt QB.
Rams +3 or better: huge overreaction here. Panthers only beat Cardinals in a terrible spot at home, that’s it. I actually have both teams pretty even on a neutral field with Goff starting. Rams have a great matchup for Carolina, strong interior run-stopping and pressure from the edges against Remmers and Oher. Don’t see Panthers offense doing much in this one. LA come off their bye week, Panthers will travel. Lean Rams.
SD big play: Waiting for -4 at my books. No problem with playing -5 if I don’t get it. Line shouldn’t be under a TD here. TEN have played a cupcake schedule and are only 4-4. Their wins are against DET (last second), CLE (could have lost), MIA without an OL & JAX who quit on their coach. SD come off a game AT Denver. TEN should feel like paradise for SD. Gonna be a classic beating IMO. The Titans offense has played the 2nd-easiest schedule of all teams, only the Chiefs have played an easier one. The Chargers defense is probably the most underrated unit in the entire league. They rank 7th in total DVOA while having played the 6th-toughest schedule. On Sunday they dropped three interceptions in the first half alone and the offense gave up a pick-six. This unit is GOOD, even though playing without one of the best corners in the league. They held the Falcons to just 3 (!) offensive points during the last 36 minutes in regulation at their dome. Since Bosa joined the team they have been getting better and better. This is going to be a much worse matchup for the Titans than you probably expect.
San Diego played just 3 home games thus far and they scored a combined 94 points. I think there havent been defensive scores. The Titans had good games when they were able to control the game with their running game and weren’t forced to throw. Against the Colts and Texans they were behind early and never came back, because this offense isn’t built to play well through the air. This is bad for the NFL, because Marcus Mariota is a much better pocket passer than runner, contrary to the public opinion. The Chargers will score on the Titans, and they will score early, there is no doubt in my mind. Titans will have a hard time scoring from behind against a very decent defense.
MIA at -3: Jets are a bad Football team right now. They won b2b games vs a banged up Ravens team and a Browns team that did everything possible to blow their 13-pt halftime lead. Fitzpatrick threw a clear interception on their first drive in the 2nd half but Enunwa battled the ball away from Taylor. Drive ended in a TD. Miami are finally clicking on offense with their offensive line being healthy. They are 8-0 SUATS when Pouncey, Albert and James started and finished together. Jets have no edge rush and Sheldon could be traded this week. Tannehill gonna have a field day against a laughable Jets pass defense. If they don’t screw it, they should win by 7+ easily. If I don’t get -3, Im going to sell to -4.
New York Giants -2.5 -110: Strong situational play on the Giants. The Eagles play their 4th road game in 5 and come off an overtime game on SNF. Teams off an overtime game the Sunday before vs. teams off 9+ days of rest are 22-51 SU and 26-44 ATS. Just last week the Panthers and Packers covered. If the overtime game was on SNF, those teams are 0-8 ATS, losing by almost 10 PPG.
If the Giants show the exact same ridiculous play-calling than the last couple weeks, I am going to put them on my blacklist. They know that the Eagles’ plan is to create pressure with their front four against a bad Giants OL and that it’s tough to run on them. The Giants have a tremendous matchup advantage with their WRs vs. the Eagles’ defensive backs. Let me just remind you how heavily Deshaun Jackson torched Jalen Mills a few weeks ago. If the Giants go pass-first on Sunday, they have a good shot at putting enough points on the board to easily cover that game.
The Eagles offensive line just lost their second starter this week in Allen Barbre. The matchup of New York’s DL vs. the Eagles’ OL is as bad as the matchup on the other side, yet no one is talking about that. The Eagles aren’t built to attack the Giants’ weaknesses in the middle of the field and I don’t know how they are going to move the ball consistently with that lack of playmakers. Advantage Giants.
Everyone seems to be on the Eagles in a game that looks as an easy home win to me. Giants win 27-14.
NO/SF Over: Neither defense will be able to stop the opposing offense in this one IMO. SFs pass protection has been really decent this year but their QBs couldnt capitalize. With one week to prepare against a bad NO defense they should put up some points.
DAL pk in teasers: money. Browns are on their 0-16 mission.
KC pk in teasers: money.
BUF +7 or better: Bills before their bye week and Rex loves prime time. SEA have their SB revenge on deck. If McCoy is healthy, they should be able to control the clock somehow. Defense should be enough to contain that Seahawks offense quite a bit.