- Ravens should be able to shred the Steelers D on the ground and in big pass plays
- Expect Dallas and Ezekiel Elliot to exploit a bad Packers run defense
- A battered Colts defense has no chance to slow down Kansas City
For purposes of these articles I will list the contest line as well as the most current line using 5Dimes sportsbook. I will note if the current line is playable or not. I have personally bet all of these sides unless otherwise noted. As always, shop for the best lines.
Current NFL Record:
YTD Supercontest Picks: 10-10 (50%)
Thursday Night Football: 5-0 (100%)
Other Sunday Posted Picks: 2-1 (66%)
Overall: 17-11 (61%)
Baltimore -3 at Pittsburgh (Current Line: -3 -130 5Dimes)
- The Ravens should have their way with this Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers run defense ranks 23rd in success rate and 30th in pass defense success rate.
- The Steelers’ run defense has given up 4.1 ypc to a set of run offenses that in aggregate have rushed for only 3.6 ypc on the season. They have faced zero run offenses that rank in the top 10 in ypc or success rate. On Monday night, against a Bengals run offense that ranks dead last by most every metric, they allowed Joe Mixon to run for 62 yards on 15 carries (4.1 ypc)
- The Ravens are ranked first in success rate and ypc. They should have a field day against this Steeler run defense.
- The Ravens’ success on the ground against the Steelers should open up Lamar Jackson for deep shots. The Ravens are fifth in the NFL in explosive pass plays and Jackson has attempted the fourth-most deep passes in the NFL. The Steelers have major issues defending deep passes, allowing the fourth-most explosive pass plays and are 27th in the NFL in defending deep passes according to DVOA metrics. Look for a Marquise Brown to have a big game after leaving a lot of yards on the field last week.
- Yes, the Ravens’ pass defense is terrible but what we saw from Mason Rudolph and the Steelers offense Monday night was a complete mirage. Rudolph attempted a grand total of two passes greater than 10 yards. 17 of Rudolph’s 28 attempts went to running backs. John Harbaugh’s defense will not allow Rudolph to be as comfortable as last week.
- It will also help the Ravens’ run defense to get DL Brandon Williams back in the lineup after a late scratch against the Browns. He is questionable but even if he doesn’t play this week at least the Ravens have time to prepare knowing he won’t play, unlike last week. Nick Chubb tore up this run defense without Williams
Chicago -5.5 vs Oakland (Current Line: -5 -110 5Dimes)
- Oakland played well last week in a win at Indy but let’s be honest, they did so against a Colts team decimated by injury. Without TY Hilton, Devin Funchess, Darius Leonard, and multiple other defensive starters out, the Colts are not a good team
- A big issue here will be Oakland playing its third-straight game away from home and not only that but doing so without going back home in between games at any point. That has to wear on a team.
- On the surface it would seem as though the Oakland OL has done a good job keeping Derek Carr clean in the pocket, but they have done so mainly against a soft schedule of defensive pass rushes. They have yet to face a top-10 pass rush and the two best they faced, Minnesota and Kansas City, handled this Oakland offense very well and allowed only 6 yards per attempt to Carr. They also sacked Carr six times in those two games
- Oakland will have to face the Bears and their No. 1 pass rush in the NFL according to PFF. And I won’t even mention the Khalil Mack revenge game narrative. It will not be an easy task for Oakland without guard Gabe Jackson and Richie Incognito being questionable. Jackson’s replacement Jordan Devey ranks 64th among all guards in pass blocking, per PFF. If Incognito doesn’t play, his backup is Denzelle Good, who ranks 67th in pass blocking among Guards. Yikes.
- On offense, Chase Daniel is a steady veteran who won’t make a ton of mistakes and has proven to be able to get the job done. Against a stingy Vikings defense last week, Daniel came in cold and produced an excellent 0.28 EPA per play and 57% success rate through the air.
- Without Vontez Burfict, look for the Bears to attack the Oakland linebackers with Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery.
- Favorites in London games have historically dominated straight up and ats. Favorites are 18-5-1 straight up and 15-9 ats (63%)
Minnesota -5.5 at NY Giants (Current Line: -5.5 -110 5Dimes)
- Daniel Jones has played well so far but came back down to earth a bit last week against a poor pass defense in the Redskins. Washington ranks 28th in DVOA pass defense and Jones threw two bad interceptions. He will have a tougher time against Zimmer and this pass defense.
- Mike Zimmer has faced a rookie QB for the first time, seven times and in those games have allowed 56% completions, 5 TD/7 INT and 6.1 yards per attempt.
- The real big advantage in this game is the Vikings offense, led by Dalvin Cook, against a run defense that will be missing three linebackers in Alec Ogletree, Tae Davis, and Ryan Connelly.
- Also, this should be a get right spot for Kirk Cousins. He struggles against good pass rushes and pass defenses just like last week against the Bears. Fortunately for Cousins, the Giants are a swiss cheese pass defense. Their pass rush is ranked 30th in the NFL and their pass defense is 24th in success rate with the fifth-most explosive pass plays allowed. Getting to face the Bills and the Redskins with rookie Dwayne Haskins has helped mask how bad this pass defense really is. Against Tampa Bay and Dallas, the Giants were burned for 70% completions, 11.4 yards per attempt with 7 TDs and only 1 INT
Dallas -3.5 vs Green Bay (Current Line: -3 -125 5Dimes)
- This really comes down to two factors for me: Zeke against a swiss cheese Packer run defense and the major impact of Davante Adams not playing.
- Last week the much-maligned Eagles run offense was able to completely dominate the Packers on the ground. They ran it 33 times for 176 yards and a 5.9 ypc and a remarkable 70% success rate. This is an Eagles run offense that couldn’t break 4.2 ypc in any of the first three games.
- Green Bay defense ranks 31st in Adjusted Line Yards allowed at 5.34. They have particularly struggled to defend the run from the center to the left end of the offensive line. They have an Adjusted Line Yards allowed between 5.57 to 5.89 from middle to left end
- The Eagles analytics and scouting department undoubtedly do their homework and attacked the end of the line. Philadelphia ran it 18 times for 122 yards from the middle of the OL to the left end for 6.8 ypc. The Eagles were successful on an otherworldly 16 of 18 attempts for 89%.
- Denver ran it successfully on 17 of 23 attempts (74%) from the middle to left end in Week 3 as well and Dalvin Cook scored on a 75-yard TD off left tackle, so this is something that the Packers have proven they can’t stop.
- Now the Packers defense gets to face Ezekiel Elliott off of a poor game against the Saints. Look for the Cowboys to continue to attack the middle to left end of the line until the Packers prove they can stop it.
- The Packers losing Davante Adams will be a huge loss as well. Adams accounts for 34% of the Packers air yards this season and his 6.4 YAC per reception will be sorely missed. Adams was also seventh in the NFL in air yardage percentage last season so this will be a major void for the Packers.
- The No. 2 and No. 3 wide receivers for Green Bay will have to step up in Adams’s absence but I am skeptical. Marquez Valdes-Scantling ranks 68th in DVOA among WRs this season and Geronimo Allison’s -28.4% DVOA ranks among the worst in the NFL. These figures include having Adams on the field so to think they can seamlessly step in is a major stretch. And these WRs will have to do this against the seventh-best pass coverage defense in the NFL, according to PFF
KC -11 vs Indianapolis (Current Line: -11 -110 5Dimes)
- I will make this short and sweet. The Colts defense will be completely overmatched Sunday night against Patrick Mahomes and this KC offense
- The Colts pass defense ranks 24th in DVOA and will be without major pieces on defense including Darius Leonard, Malik Hooker, Tyquan Lewis, Clayton Geathers, and potentially Rock Ya-Sin. Without a few of these defenders last week, they allowed nearly 6 yards per rush and per pass attempt to Oakland on the second leg of a back-to-back eastern time zone trip
- The defense of the Colts typically is susceptible to TEs based on the nature of their zone defense and will be tested severely against Travis Kelce. Indy allows a target share to TEs, 17% above aggregate opponent expectations. The Chiefs target TEs at a rate that’s 32% above their opponents’ average allowance and at a yards per attempt figure that is 16% above what their opponents have allowed. I am not sure how the Colts will be able to defend this offense.
- The Colts are a fundamentally sound team with an excellent coaching staff, but they are not built to keep up in a shootout.
Other sides and totals I have personally wagered on and I still like at the current number:
- Arizona vs Cincinnati over 47.5