2019 NFL SEASON
P R O F O O T B A L L M E D I A
Tuesday's Gone: Week 7 #NFL Game Reviews
2019 NFL SEASON WEEK 7:
11-3 .786 (WINS); 9-5 .643 (ATS); 5-9 .357 (O/U)
2019 NFL SEASON TOTALS:
67-38-1 .638 (WINS); 58-46-2 .558 (ATS); 59-44-3 .578 (O/U)
WEEK 7 TOP 5 GAMES:
TOP 5 GAMES SEASON TOTAL:
Note/Key (when applicable): Statistical analysis based on the following metrics (abbreviations): Points scored (PF); points against (PA); Point differential (PD) Yards gained (YG); Yards allowed (YA); Red Zone TD efficiency (RZ); 3rd-down efficiency (3rd); Turnover ratio (TO); Time of possession (TOP); Yards per play (YPP); Sacks (S); Interceptions (INT); Penalty yards (PEN); Against the spread (ATS). *All images from Google with permission to reuse without license* Statistical sources include, but not limited to: Pro Football Reference; Pro Football Focus; ESPN.com; NFL.com; TeamRankings.com. Point spreads and over/under figures are taken from the opening lines via Vegas Insider
NEW TO PRO FOOTBALL MEDIA FOR THE 2019 SEASON
< Drake voice >
"TOP 5 TOP 5 TOP 5"
Pro Football Media will choose the Top 5 Betting Games of the Week for either the spread OR O/U denoted by an asterisk (*). Roll with our Top 5 and watch the money pile up all season!
Pass rushing has been the Kansas City Chiefs Achilles Heal, so Von Miller has a big, but familiar task ahead of him Thursday night.
Keys: The Chiefs come into Mile High Stadium losers of two straight games at home and nearly three games in a row if you consider what the Detroit Lions almost pulled off in Week 4. The return of serial domestic abuser Tyreek Hill certainly helps, but the fact remains the Chiefs offensive line, and even Patrick Mahomes, are hobbled. Kansas City’s kryptonite this season has been the pass rush and ball control and the Broncos are certainly capable of one of those things with Von Miller. Although the Broncos lost defensive end Bradley Chubb for the season, by all reports Denver’s defense has actually played better in Chubb’s absence. This game comes down to a pretty simple premise: The Chiefs can’t afford to lose three straight games if they don’t want to travel to Foxborough, MA in January. Kansas City might not get back to their air raid ways Thursday night against one of the better defenses in the NFL 4,522 feet above Arrowhead Stadium, but even a Chiefs team without Chris Jones can stop these Broncos from scoring.
The key to this game was Patrick Mahomes going down with a dislocated kneecap. The Chiefs managed to put the Broncos away as if Mahomes wasn't injured because Joe Flacco is abysmal.
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA (Weather: Indoors)
Keys: The Rams traded for Jalen Ramsey this week, clearly mortgaging their future to turn this season around and try to win a Super Bowl before the salary cap swallows their chances at one going forward. The Falcons are terrible. End of story, unless you want to tell a sad one about Matt Ryan. The Rams must win now, as in 2019, because there probably is no "then", and that literally starts with this week on the road. * = LAR COVER
The Falcons are who we thought they were. Matt Ryan suffered an ankle injury and after the game Atlanta traded Mohamed Sanu. The Falcons are on to 2020 while the Rams seem to have injected some new life into the team with the acquisition of Jalen Ramsey, who made an immediate impact.
Sunday, 1:00 PM, New Era Stadium, Buffalo, NY (Weather: 20% rain; low 60s)
Keys: The Bills defense is top-3 in nearly every important defensive metric; the Dolphins are in the bottom three. The same can be said about the Dolphins offense, but surprisingly, the Bills offense ranks 3rd in yards gained. There's a good chance the Dolphins get shut out Sunday, but the Bills only average 18 ppg. Buffalo could win 17-0 and still push. I'm not sure I like the sounds of that scenario and the Dolphins have got to grow up at some point. Look for a low-scoring game in which Ryan Fitz-magic pulls out just enough to cover.
The only thing we learned from this game was 17 points is too much to lay down if you're betting on the Bills, who gave up one of their biggest totals of the season to the lowly Dolphins. I told you the Dolphins would cover, but I don't think anyone saw a 52-point total.
Jacksonville Jaguars 2-4 (-4) v. Cincinnati Bengals 0-6 (43.5): Jaguars 23-16 Jaguars 27-17
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH (Weather: Sunny; low 70s)
Keys: If you're a Jaguars fan you're believing in Minshew Mania so much you think he's the reason Jacksonville are 4-point favorites on the road 800 miles away. If you're not a fan of the 2-4 Jaguars you know it's because the Bengals are that atrocious (26th points allowed; 29th points scored). Leonard Fournette should have a field day against a Bengals defense that allows over 184 rush yards per game as the NFL's only 0-6 team will become the NFL's only 0-7 team.
The Bengals actually led this game at the start of the 4Q.
When Anthony Barr is one of the lowest rated players on your 2019 defense you know it's a problem for opposing teams.
Minnesota Vikings 4-2 (-1) @ Detroit Lions 2-2-1 (45): Vikings 24-20 Vikings 42-30
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Ford Field, Detroit, MI (Weather: Indoors)
Keys: The Lions have been on the shit end of every stick that didn't reside in New Orleans this season. Between the officials and a nervous assistant coach the Lions have had a minimum of two games essentially snatched from them. Arguably, this game could be a 4-1 Lions hosting the 4-2 Vikings and bettors might treat it as such. The Vikings have finally hit on all cylinders after Kirk Cousin's awkward apology, but the Lions are a good football team. Except when it comes to stopping the run. That could be a problem Sunday considering Dalvin Cook has already rushed for nearly 600 yards, and despite head coach Matt Patricia being a defensive guy, the Lions defense is the weaker side of their team. The opposite can be said of the Vikings defense, whose worst rated players so far in 2019 are Anthony Barr and Xavier Rhodes. Yikes.
One of the best defenses in the league still allowed 433 yards to the Lions while both teams combined for 936 total yards, 58 first downs and 72 points. Take home message: I missed the game total. The Vikings continued their offensive assault (Cousins: 4 TDs; Cook: 142 rushing yards and 2 TDs) and are quickly re-becoming one of the best two-way teams in the NFL.
*Oakland Raiders 3-2 (+5.5) @ Green Bay Packers 5-1 (47): Packers 27-24 Packers 42-24
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI (Weather: Mostly sunny; low 60s)
Keys: I was as shocked as anyone who doesn't analyze the NFL for a living how well the Raiders have played this season on the offensive side of the ball, especially Derek Carr, whose over-the-shoulder approach has resulted in him being one of the most efficient (1st completion %) and highly-rated QBs (7th PFF; 11th QB rating) in the NFL in 2019. Interesting. Upon further review that could be because the Raiders largely run the ball, because Carr ranks 27th in ypg, and still 24th if you subtract qualified QBs like Sam Darnold, Cam Newton and Eli Manning (injuries a/o benched). Carr's season basically sums up the Packers season: Lot's of shiny numbers covering a mediocre situation. Aaron Rodgers has been abysmal, ranking dead last among qualified starting QBs in completion percentage. Rodgers also ranks near the middle of the pack in ypg and towards the bottom in QB rating. Blame it on a lack of weapons or hang it on a good defense and the first reliable running game the Packers have had in years. I'm rambling. The bottom line is the Packers don't lose much at home, but they're not good enough to cover the 5.5 points against a pretty decent Raiders team that just beat the Bears on a neutral field. Remember, the Raiders run the ball and run it well. Therein lies the key. * = OAK COVER & OVER
The Palindrome Game was my worst call of the week. Derek Carr's ill-advised fumble out of the end zone on 1st-and-goal destroyed any momentum the Raiders had and Aaron Rodgers (5 TDs) picked the Raiders secondary apart to the tune of the Raiders releasing CBs after the game. Sorry, folks, at least we hit the over.
Houston Texans 4-2 (+1) @ Indianapolis Colts 3-2 (48): Texans 27-23 Colts 30-23
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Luca Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN (Weather: Indoors)
Keys: This is the sneaky game of the week. Both teams are coming off wins against the Kansas City Chiefs thanks to the Colts bye week, which isn't only interesting, but pits the likely AFC South winners against each other near mid-season just as the two teams are peaking. Deshaun Watson is being protected more than at any time in his career. That could change Sunday with Tytus Howard out as the Colts pass rush dominates from the right side with Denico Autry and Justin Houston. However, if Watson stays upright the Colts might struggle covering the Texans passing game, but if Marlon Mack gets going like he has been, Watson might not even see the field. That could be tough though, because the Texans only allow 88 ypg on the ground, 54 fewer ypg than the Colts average on the ground. In 11 combined games played between both teams 10 have been decided by one-score (seven or fewer points); expect the same thing Sunday. The Colts might be coming off their bye, but the Texans are hot.
I struggled with this game back and forth for hours, switching potential winners several times before settling on the road dog. Besides Jacoby Brissett throwing 4 TDs this game went about exactly how I envisioned it. Deshaun Watson threw two INTs, which was essentially the difference in the game. The AFC South will undoubtedly come down to these two teams.
Sunday, 1:00 PM, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ (Weather: Cloudy; low 60s)
Keys: The battle of rookie QBs should go well because these two defenses are two of the worst in the NFL. The Giants and Cardinals are ranked 27th and 29th in ppg, respectively, and 28th and 30th in ypg, respectively. More accurately the game should go well for Kyler Murray, because the Cardinals are actually ranked 9th in ypg (378 ypg). For reference, the Giants, led by rookie Daniel Jones, rank 24th (340 ypg). One could argue the Giants rely more on the ground game, but the counter to that is David Johnson (Q) and the fact Saqoun Barkely has been benched with an ankle injury the past two games. In other words, the Cardinals are for real, at least in the sense their tiny rookie QB can gain yards, and keep their terrible defense off the field, away from hurting them. This game hinges on the health of Barkley, who claims to be ready to go, against a rush defense that allows 133 rushing yards per game.
The Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now. Let that sink in. But before you run to pick up Kyler Murray (104 passing yards) in your fantasy league, this game belonged to Chase Edmonds, who the Giants were "chasing" all day. Edmonds replaced the injured David Johnson and ran for 126 rushing yards and 3 TDs.
The Pigskins could see a lot of this Sunday, but mostly for the 49ers.
Sunday, 1:00 PM, FedEx Field, Landover, MD (Weather: 70% rain; low 60s)
Keys: The 49ers travel across the country for the dreaded 1 pm game that second-level statistics don't necessarily back up to play Kyle Shanahan's old team in the pouring rain. That sounds like the perfect recipe for a team that runs the ball more than any team in the NFL, and runs it well, and plays stellar defense. In fact, the 49ers are ranked 2nd in the league in all of the above: rushing yards, points allowed and yards allowed. San Fransisco would be first in all categories if not for Lamar Jackson and the Patriots weak first half schedule.
This game was ruined by weather (437 total yards) and to make matters worse the 49ers couldn't even cover, ending 0.5 points short, as if we needed that dagger twisted with the 7th, 8th and 9th points coming off the foot of Robbie Gould, who already missed two FGs, with 23 seconds left in the game. UGH.
Los Angeles Chargers 2-4 (+2) @ Tennessee Titans 2-4 (40): Titans 20-17 Titans 23-20
Sunday, 4:05 PM, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN (Weather: Sunny; high 70s)
Keys: At least Titans fans have the weather this time of year. This is one of the most underwhelming games of the season and host of two teams that have killed more parlays than other two teams in the NFL this season besides the Seattle Seahawks. Maybe I'm talking personally, but I'd be willing to bet you agree. Both teams have as many questions as talent, both have lost inexplicable games and both have the same record and have lost in the same exact weeks. Perhaps the oddest aspect to the game is the team that actually has a home and fans that come to the games is one of only six teams without a win at home (NYJ; MIA; CIN; WAS; TB). That should change Sunday, but the Titans have handed the reigns to Ryan Tannehill, and the Titans have some huge holes on the offensive line that Joey Bosa can run right through. I wouldn't go anywhere near this game personally, but that's not my job here.
What the hell is wrong with the Los Angeles Chargers?
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Soldier Field, Chicago, IL (Weather: Partly Sunny; low 60s)
Keys: The Bears are coming off their bye week following an embarrassing loss to the Oakland Raiders in London, while the Saints, pronounced dead following Drew Brees' Week 2 thumb injury, haven't lost since said injury. What we know about the Bears is this: The offense is putrid, the defense is next level, and no one knows what the hell happened to Roquan Smith. We don't seem to know much about the Saints, because without Brees they've become a defensively-minded running team. That could be difficult against an angry Bears team at home facing a questionable Alvin Kamara. In fact, a bunch of the Saints weapons are hurting, which makes the Bears task even easier. Chicago gets back on track and hands the Saints their first loss since Brees left injured, allowing Brees to come back in heroic fashion.
The Saints are officially one of the two best teams in the NFL, if not the best. New Orleans SB LIV odds improved to +650 prior to the game and increased to +550 by the end of the weekend. The Patriots remain +250, but would you take the Patriots on a neutral field? Well, probably, because they might hurt Teddy Bridgewater, although coach-of-the-year candidate Sean Payton would likely have a plan for that. Drew Brees looms as do these Saints. The same can't be said for the Bears or their supposedly elite defense, which looked as mediocre as Mitch(ell) Trubisky looked horrible.
*Baltimore Ravens 4-2 (+3.5) @ Seattle Seahawks 5-1 (50.5): Seahawks 28-27 Ravens 30-16
Keys: The addition of Marcus Peters via trade makes the Ravens secondary one of the highest rated in the NFL, which is trouble for Seattle. From this point on should be referred to as the "Wilsons", because he is literally their entire team. One could argue for the validity of the Seahawks defense, but they're no Legion of Boom. The Seahawks home field isn't the same advantage it once was, especially against a mudder like the Ravens, but traveling across the country to play what feels like a 7:30 game on Sunday throws the clock off a bit. Speaking of circadian rhythms, Peters flew to Baltimore just to practice and will fly back to the West Coast with the team for the game. I'm not sure that's the position you want to put your secondary's supposed savior in, but it's happening. Wait, was the savior supposed to be Earl Thomas??? * = BAL COVER
The Ravens shut the Seahawks down 17-3 in the second half and Lamar Jackson continued his record season, eclipsing 100+ yards passing and rushing again Sunday. The Ravens took advantage of two Seahawks TOs and had Russell Wilson (238 total yards) running for his life (8 QBH) most of the game. I really thought the Seahawks would regain control over their own domain, but alas, they did not. Hopefully you cashed in on the spread a/o the O/U.
Carson Wentz is giving the thumbs up, but I have no idea why.
*Philadelphia Eagles 3-3 (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys 3-3 (49): Cowboys 24-23 Cowboys 37-10
Sunday, 8:20 PM, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX (Weather: Indoors)
Keys: Which team wants it more? Since Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott were drafted in 2016 the Cowboys are 4-2 head-to-head, including a 2-1 record at home, but the combined scores of those three games was 83-67 in favor of the Eagles, including two close 29-23 contests and a 37-9 blowout. In other words, the record doesn't tell the whole story. Both teams are loaded with young talent, but attrition has reared it's ugly head already and both teams enter Sunday reeling. The Cowboys have lost three straight, including a loss to the formerly winless New York Jets, while the Eagles just laid an egg in Minnesota, albeit to one of the best defenses in the NFL. You could analyze this game until you were blue in the face, but a NFC East match up with key weapons questionable, offensive lineman hurt and two defenses that have not come close to living up to their respective hypes, is anyone's guess. I suppose Dallas' drive to not drop four straight should win out, but what of Philadelphia's potential losing record going into Week 8? Good luck, folks. * = PHI COVER
I did it again. I trusted the Eagles to cover two weeks in a row and got burned two weeks in a row. To make matters worse, I believed so much in the Eagles at Dallas Sunday night I included them in three different 3-team/4-team/6-team money line parlays (big gambling mistake) and had to watch in horror as every team hit but the Eagles, who fumbled their first two possessions of the game. That last statement sums up the entire game. The Cowboys capitalized on both fumbles and the game was 14-0 before my corn was popped. 20 minutes later it was 27-7 and the game was over. Silver lining: I nailed the game total and the win. Too bad nailing the total does nothing for anyone gambling-wise. Sigh. There are few things worse than watching money line parlays paying bewteen 6:1 and 30:1 odds come down to an Eagle laying an egg, but that's exactly what happened. I don't even care about what the inconsistent Cowboys did.
New England Patriots 6-0 (-9.5) @ New York Jets 1-4 (42.5): Patriots 24-13 Patriots 33-0
Monday, 8:15 PM, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ (Weather: Cloudy; low 50s)
Keys: There are two things besides something catastrophic that could prevent the Patriots from destroying Bill Belichick's arch nemesis on MNF: Sam Darnold provides an offensive spark with limited weapons the likes Belichick & Co. could not have planned for, or conversely, every weapon listed as questionable for the Patriots ends up not playing. Not likely. The Patriots defense has been historic, but before you point to their weak schedule, the Jets are part of that weak schedule. The Jets have elite defenders at every level (Steve McClendon; CJ Mosely; Jamal Adams), too, but unfortunately it's literally just one at every level. Ok, you could add Marcus Maye to that list, which means the Jets safeties are a problem, except they'll be assisting the awful CBs all night or jumping the run. Better yet, they'll probably be blitzing every down for defensive coordinator Greg Williams, which will get torched by Tom Brady's 2-second release no matter who he's throwing to.
Greg Williams has to be punching the wall right now. Not only was he once again embarrassed by Bill Belichick, no one even succeeded in securing a bounty hit. Sam Darnold famously saw ghosts and threw five INTs, making the Patriots putrid offense look like they're still juggernauts. Nothing could be further from the truth, but so long as the Patriots keep playing high school QBs this defense will close out as one of the best to play in the game's 100-year history.