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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

PRO FOOTBALL MEDIA Tuesday's Gone: Week 10 #NFL Game Reviews

Tuesday's Gone: Week 10  #NFL Game Reviews

  6-7 .462 (WINS); 6-6-1 .500 (ATS); 5-8 .385 (O/U)
96-50-1 .658 (WINS); 75-69-3 .521 (ATS); 81-63-3 .563 (O/U)
4-1 (.800)
31-17-2 (.646)
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;;; Point spreads and over/under figures are taken from the opening lines via Vegas Insider

< 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!

Let's be honest, many of us thought after Hard Knocks the Oakland Raiders were going to be the laughingstock of the AFC.

Los Angeles Chargers 4-5 (-1) @ *Oakland Raiders 4-4 (49): Raiders 24-21 Raiders 26-24

Monday, 8:15 PM, Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA (Weather: Partly cloudy; mid-50s)

Keys: The Chargers are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 26-11 drumming of arguably the best team in the NFL in the Green Bay Packers. The Raiders are coming off a great home win v. the Detroit Lions after coming off two tough losses in a winnable game at the Houston Texans and a game v. those same Packers in which the final score didn’t necessarily reflect the game. Raiders QB Derek Carr also fumbled the go-ahead TD out of the end zone, which could’ve put Oakland up 17-14 entering the half, but the rest is history. The truth is the spread reflects the public overreaction to the LAC in concert with Vegas’ understanding that the Raiders are much better than the public realizes and the Chargers are, well, as bad or far worse than the public perception. Both teams are struggling with attrition along their front lines (OAK: O; LAC: D), which comes into play protecting Carr from Joey Bosa (8.5 sacks) and Melvin Ingram. These AFC West rivals match up perfectly in that the Chargers 8th ranked defense (Scoring defense; yards allowed) faces a Raiders offense ranked 8th in yards gained and 11th in scoring offense. Specifically, the keys to the game are the Raiders ground attack (6th yards; 8th ypa) against the Chargers run defense (14th ypa; 20th yards gained) and the Chargers passing game (coincidentally 6th yards & 8th ypa) against the Raiders pass defense (32nd TDs; 32nd yards allowed; 24th INTs; 30th ypa). Neither team takes the ball away much, but only the Raiders hold on to the ball, because the Chargers rank 19th in TOs, which is something to keep an eye on. Look for the Raiders to win and cover at home on the short week and the under. Despite both team's offenses playing to their opponent's defensive weaknesses, both teams combine to average only 43.1 ppg and combine to allow 45.7. * = OAK COVER

The Raiders took care of business Thursday night and thanks to a shanked PAT from the worst kicking team in the NFL we got the cover, too, which might seem obvious at -1, but we all know some of you took that at +/- 1.5. Oakland possessed the ball less, had fewer yards and fewer first downs, but they also had fewer TOs, which I outlined as a key to the game. The Chargers committed three TOs, all Philip Rivers INTs, and so the story goes...

Baltimore Ravens 6-2 (-10) v. Cincinnati Bengals 0-8 (44.5): Ravens 27-16 Ravens 49-13
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH (Weather: Partly cloudy; low 70s)

Keys: The Bengals aren’t technically the worst team in the NFL, but they’re close. In fact, the last time these two teams played in Week 6 it was one of the Bengals closest games of the season. This game comes down to a very simple concept: Running the football. The Ravens are on a historic pace and could become the first team since the 1977 Chicago Bears - led by the great Walter Payton - to average over 200 rushing ypg. Baltimore leads the NFL in rushing yards, ypa and rushing TDs and are second in attempts. The Bengals defense is dead last in every one of those categories besides rushing TDs allowed, where the rank 29th. The Bengals also trot out rookie QB Ryan Finley in his debut, so that about wraps it up. 

Guess who led his team in passing yards, rushing yards and TDs again? It's not as if the Bengals represent any real competition, but the game was on the road, and Lamar Jackson (3 PTDs; 1 RTD) and the Ravens managed 49 points and all with over 17 minutes remaining in the game. In fact, the Ravens only possessed the ball for 23:49, which makes it even more astounding, even accounting for the 14 points Baltimore's defense scored, including a pick-six from newly-acquired Marcus Peters. 35 offensive points in 23:49? These Ravens are getting harder to contend with every week.

Buffalo Bills 6-2 (+3) @ Cleveland Browns 2-6 (40): Bills 23-20 Browns 19-16

Sunday, 1:00 PM, First Energy Stadium, Cleveland, OH (Weather: 40% rain; low 50s)

Keys: Imagine how insulted the Bills have to be getting three points to travel a few hours to play the most over-hyped NFL team since the Browns moved back to Cleveland. The Browns possess one of the worst passing games in the NFL to compliment one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. That’s a bad combo. Cleveland can’t stop the run and then doesn’t have the ability to come back through the air, despite having OBJ and Jarvis Landry on the roster. The Bills defense (3rd scoring & yards allowed) has carried them all season, but Buffalo’s one weakness on defense is against the run (20th yards allowed; 19th ypr), so that cracks the door for Nick Chubb to get going and set up the play action to Landry, the only WR with a favorable match up Sunday. There’s nothing like looking across the field and contemplating your draft choices.

Ugh. Baker Mayfield fumbled late in the 4th Q and the Bills defense scooped up the loose ball and ran it back for what should've been the 23-12 win and cover. The TD was called back, however, as the officials determined it was in incomplete pass. Of course I didn't see it that way. And of course the hapless Browns marched right down the field on one of the best defenses in the NFL and won the game via a Rashard Higgins TD reception on his only target of the game. WTF. At least we got the push.

Detroit Lions 3-4-1 (+2.5) @ Chicago Bears 3-5 (41.5): Bears 23-21 Bears 20-13
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Soldier Field, Chicago, IL (Weather: Partly cloudy; low 40s)
Keys: The Mediocre Bowl is not a good match up for the Bears. The Lions skill position player grouping is one of the best overall groupings in the NFL, and the Bears defense, despite being ranked 6th in scoring, 9th in yards allows and 7th in pass yards per attempt, matches up poorly with the Lions WRs along their secondary. That’s to say nothing of an inconsistent and systematically unlucky Lions team on the road against a desperate Bears team clinging on to their season, but if Matthew Stafford can get right by Sunday and picks apart the Bears secondary this game could be over quickly. That’s a big “if” against a very good Bears defense backed against the wall at home. 

Mitch Trubisky (3 TDs) finally didn't shit the bed and I suppose that means the Bears didn't make the worst mistake they've ever made. False, the Lions are just a mediocre team to begin with and they were without Matt Stafford. I might start adopting a policy where if the starting QB is ruled out at 12:57 PM I might reserve the right to immediately change my score prediction. 

Andy Reid has a tough decision to make about Patrick Mahomes come Sunday morning.

*Kansas City Chiefs 6-3 (-5.5) @ Tennessee Titans 4-5 (48.5): Chiefs 27-20 Titans 35-32
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN (Weather: Sunny; low 60s)

Keys: The big question here is whether or not Patrick Mahomes plays. Even if he doesn’t play, Matt Moore has played well in his absence. The Chiefs once ridiculed defense is suddenly mediocre, which could be the most overlooked aspect of this Mahomes-less Kansas City team. The Chiefs pass defense ranks 9th in ypa and Chris Jones is capable of great things. So even without Mahomes, unless Derrick Henry explodes, Ryan Tannehill won’t be able to generate enough offense to keep pace with the Chiefs myriad weapons, no matter who’s throwing the ball. * = KC COVER

Well, this was one of the worst beats I've taken in a long time. The Chiefs were up 32-27 and setting up for the cover-sealing FG late in the 4Q. Then all hell broke loose. The Chiefs fumbled the snap and the holder threw the ball out of bounds. Intentional grounding. The Titans marched down the short field and scored the go-ahead TD. Kansas City's last effort to get the game to OT as time expired was blocked because the Titans predicted the Chiefs cadence and the rest is history. This ended up being the only game PFM got wrong across the board and ended up being the one blemish in the top-5. That's a bad beat, folks, and I'm all about the excuses.

Atlanta Falcons 1-7 (+13) @ New Orleans Saints 7-1 (51.5): Saints 31-17 Falcons 26-9
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA (Weather: Indoors)

Keys: The Falcons have packed it in for reasons in and out of their control and the Saints are currently 5/1 odds to win Super Bowl LIV. This is perhaps the most complete Saints team in the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era, and for the first time in that era, NO has a defense that outranks their offense. The only thing the Falcons do well is gain yards in bunches because they still possess one of the best QB-WR combos in the NFL (Matt Ryan-Julio Jones et al), but the Saints just happen to have a top-10 pass defense and a secondary that matches up well with every WR on the Falcons team.

When the week began the Falcons were +13. The public bet that all the way to +14.5. When I wrote my article Friday I had the Saints barely covering, winning by 14 points. When I went to thew window Saturday night the game sat at 14.5 points. That half a point was too much for me and my head begged me to take the Falcons at +14.5. Stupid me felt some obligation to my original pick at PFM and I took the Saints. UGH. The under was my only good call, because the Falcons WRs didn't even ball out. Matt Ryan had 2 TD passes, but the day belonged to the Falcons defense (6 sacks) and formerly La-La Land maligned kicker Younghoe Koo, who kicked 4 FGS.

New York Giants 2-7 (-2.5) @ New York Jets 1-7 (43.5): Jets 23-21 Jets 34-27
Sunday, 1:00 PM, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ (Weather: Partly Sunny; mid-50s)

Keys: Isn’t this cute. The two teams that share a stadium get to play each other. So is there an advantage for the “home” team? Probably not. In fact, I would argue the “away” Jets will have a more decided advantage because they’ll look around and see their stadium adorned in blue. Unfortunately for the Jets, they’re probably worse than their cross-town rivals, despite much loftier preseason expectations. This game is a toss-out, but we must analyze. If you calculate these teams SoS against their point differential as the good people at Pro Football Reference have, the Giants rank 28th in the NFL; the Jets rank 31st. The Jets expected W-L record, based on similar metrics, have the Jets at 1-7. What do you know? The Giants have an expected record of 2.6-6.4, meaning, mathematically, they’re over a half win better than their record suggests, which might seem ridiculous, but when you dive deeper into the numbers, especially on the offensive side of the ball, you see things that not only back up the math (10th rush ypa; 18th passing yards), but beg the question: Why haven’t the Giants won even more games? They end over 22% of their drives with a TO, worst in the NFL. That’s why. The keys to the game are whether the NFL’s top run defense can stop Saqoun Barkley and if the Jets can take advantage of the Giants inevitable turnover(s).

I'm lucky I took the over here because I hesitated and this game became the the third-highest scoring game of Week 10 (61 points) behind BALvCIN (62 points) and KCvsTEN (67 points). Jamal Adams got back in the good graces of everyone involved with the Jets when he returned a fumble 25 yards for a TD to open the second half. That was the difference in the game. Daniel Jones threw 4 TDs, but the Giants turned it over twice, the Jets scored 13 unanswered points to end the 3Q through the 4Q and there went the Giants cover and our perfect sweep. 

*Arizona Cardinals 3-5-1 (+4.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-6 (52): Buccaneers 30-27

Sunday, 1:00 PM, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL (Weather: Sunny; low 80s)

Keys: It's the Cardiac Kid v. the Cover Kid. Feast-or-famine Jameis Winston leads the NFL in INT and is the 22nd QB in the league according to Pro Football Focus. By comparison, rookie Kyler Murray ranks 20th. Winston doesn't just throw picks, the team fumbles, too; the Bucs are ranked 31st in TO. The funny thing is the Bucs defense are ball-hawks, too, because they rank 3rd in takeaways. That might negate Tampa Bay's TO woes were it not for the Cardinals discipline. They rank 1st in TOs and Murray has only thrown 4 INTs, a third of what Winston has thrown. You could chalk that up to Bruce Arian's aggressive style, but we all know Jameis. Three of the Bucs first four losses have come by one possession, but the Cardinals don't make many mistakes and they don't lose to bad teams, so the cover is inevitable, the win is possible and the over has a great chance. * = ARZ COVER

When you have a couple of weeks like the ones we've had here at PFM Weeks 9 & 10 getting a perfect call is just what I needed to not scrap the whole website by Week 11.

Will Jameis throw it to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Arizona Cardinals?

Miami Dolphins 1-7 (+10) @ Indianapolis Colts 5-3 (44): Colts 27-16 Dolphins 16-12
Sunday, 4:05 PM, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN (Weather Indoors)

Keys: The Colts are coming off a tough loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the middle of a playoff push and the Dolphins just got their first win of the season. Jacoby Brisett is also questionable, but Brett Hoyer threw three TDs in Brisett’s absence, and the Colts rank 9th in rushing yards and 4th in attempts, meaning they’ll run it all over the Dolphins, who rank 30th and 31st in those metrics, restrictively. Simply put the Dolphins are one of the three worst teams in the NFL and the Colts are a sleeper for a deep AFC playoff run. Miami might try to capitalize on the Colts depleted secondary, but it might not matter. In other words, there’s a reason for the 10-point spread, despite the Colts uncertainty at starting QB. 

If I nailed the Dolphins score, but on the wrong side of victory does it count for anything? I didn't think so. The Colts ran, but certainly not all over the Dolphins like I predicted. Jason Sanders kicked three FGs and the Colts turned it over three times and there you have the most boring game of Week 10. The Dolphins have now won two straight games in their attempt to give away the top draft pick at mid-season, while the Colts are left wondering how they lost at home to the Dolphins.  

Carolina Panthers 5-3 (+5) @ Green Bay Packers 7-2 (47): Packers 26-23 Packers 24-16
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI (Weather: 30% snow; low 30s) 

Keys: I keep coming back to the Packers expected win-loss record of 5.4-3.6. Green Bay could easily be 5-4, and not via hyperbole, but statistical analysis. The eye test should tell you the exact same thing, because not only has the fate of the Packers begun to rest more and more upon the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers, rather than the beautiful balance between the three phases we witnessed through the first few weeks of the season, Rodgers has been as lucky as he’s been great. Interestingly enough, the same people that calculate the expected win-loss record rank the Packers 8th via their SRS metric (Pro Football Reference’s metric qualifying the SoS and point differential). That makes sense though, considering that record would reflect that position, rather than 3rd in the NFL as their 7-2 record suggests. The same could be said of the Panthers, in the context of relying on one person, because without Christian McCaffery, who is silently on pace to break the all-time scrimmage record and score 25+ TDs, the Panthers would be up the jungle with no claws. Rodgers won’t have a field day because the ball-hawk Panthers (3rd takeaways) happen to be one of the better passing defenses in the league; the Packers don’t turn the ball over (3rd TOs), though, so it’ll be interesting to see who the more disciplined team is. The Panthers could take advantage of the snow and Run CMC and chew the clock away, so look for the Packers to win, but the Panthers to cover in a game that barely hits the over.

Wow. Another terrible beat. Run CMC scored what looked like a potentially game-tying TD as the final seconds ticked off the clock, but he was ruled short and the replay upheld the questionable call. I dreamt of McCaffery crossing the goal line and the Panthers missing the 2PAT to get the win, cover and over, but alas, that would be asking way too much of the football gambling gods.

Los Angeles Rams 5-3 (-3.5) @ *Pittsburgh Steelers 4-4 (44): Rams 24-21 Steelers 17-12
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA (Weather: Partly sunny; low 50s)

Keys: The Steelers come into the game banged up on offense, but winners of three straight and four of their last five after starting the season 0-3. Four of those five games also came at home, where the Steelers host the Rams Sunday. The Steelers defense has been the reason for Pittsburgh’s success (2nd TOs; 3rd sacks; 10th rush ypa; 7th pass ypa), as the offense dinks and dunks it’s way around the field trying not to turn the ball over. Both teams are missing key guys (LAR: Brandin Cooks; PIT: James Conner), but the Rams have enough weapons to keep this game a classic top offense v. top defense match up. The travel shouldn’t affect the Rams with the late afternoon game, but the Steelers defense could surprise them and steal a win at home as a rare home dog. It’s far more likely the Steelers cover, but if you like the Pittsburgh money line go ahead and take a risk. * = PIT COVER

Part of me wants to brag about hitting one of top-5 bets, but more of me wants to point out how the Rams are terrible and could easily be 3-6 after losing to Pittsburgh Sunday. The Rams are no longer a feared football team and now sit a whole 2.5 games ahead of the Cardinals, who are led by the smallest rookie QB in recent memory and a rookie head coach. In other words, there's not much separating the NFC Champions and the team everyone is excited to watch rebuild. The Steelers defense, meanwhile, continues their assault on opposing teams, forcing 4 TOs, including two INTs off Jared Goff; in fact, the Steelers defended a mind-boggling 13 of Goff's passes. The Steelers also got after Goff, hitting him nine times, and sacking him four. Pittsburgh can't score, but I'm not sure anyone wants to face this defense right now.

Minnesota Vikings 6-3 (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys 5-3 (47.5): Cowboys 24-23 Vikings 28-24
Sunday, 8:20 PM, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX (Weather: Indoors)

Keys: These could very well be the teams fighting for the NFC in January so Sunday Night Football isn’t only the game of the week, but probably the game of the year so far. The Vikings rank in the top-10 in yards, TOs, points allowed, yards allowed, takeaways, sacks and INTs; the Vikings 11th-ranked scoring offense scores 26 ppg, 0.1 ppg behind the 10th-ranked Carolina Panthers. The Cowboys are even more impressive, albeit via an easier schedule through nine weeks, ranking 5th points scored and 1st yards gained with one of the best running and passing games in the NFL, while holding opponents to the 5th lowest points scored and the 6th lowest yards per game. Both teams are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, and both teams win games by similarly wide margins (MIN: 28.4-17.8; DAL: 26-17.6), but both teams will or could be without key guy on offense (MIN: Adam Theilen, OUT; DAL: Amari Cooper, Q), which affects Dak Prescott and the game total more than anything else. Look for Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliot to battle for NFL RB supremacy as the clock ticks away, another reason for leaning towards the under. These games are tough without the hook. 

Another perfect score called, another Week 10 game in which I lost two of three aspects. I told you this game would come down to one of these RBS stealing the show, and it was certainly Dalvin Cook (26 carries for 97 yards; 1 TD) over Ezekiel Elliot (20 carries for 47 yards). The Vikings ran all over the Cowboys as a team (36 carries for 153 yards), but Dallas stayed in the game and was driving the field for the go-ahead score when Dak Prescott threw the game-sealing INT with three seconds remaining. Originally I had the game 27-24 Cowboys, but I didn't think Dallas could score 27 points on Minnesota, and thus, felt 24-23 was a more realistic score. Always go with your gut feeling, unless that gut says fast food. 

Ezekiel Elliot will try to prove he's the best running back in the NFL when the Dallas Cowboys face Dalvin Cook and the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.

*Seattle Seahawks 7-2 (+6.5) @ San Francisco 49ers 8-0 (46): 49ers 27-21 Seahawks 27-24 OT
Monday, 8:15 PM, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA (Weather: Clear; low 60s)

Keys: If it weren’t for the Sunday Night Game of the Week, both literally and media-ly (I made that up), this NFC West match up would certainly be the game of the week. The Seahawks are one of those strange teams where they have no business being one of the best teams in the NFL, yet here they are at 7-2, and Russell Wilson has no business being the leading MVP candidate and motivation for your local Player Haters Club, yet here he is married to Ciara with a 22:1 TD:INT ratio. The 49ers have all the business in the world being one of the best teams in the league, one of only two ranked in the top-7 in scoring offense and defense, yards gained and allowed and takeaways (Dallas Cowboys). You might call them the best in the league considering they’re 3rd in sacks, 4th in INTs and, oh yeah, the only undefeated team left in the NFL, which just happens to have a more difficult SoS then the aforementioned Cowboys. The potential loss of TE Greg Kittle could be an obstacle, but the 49ers have hurdled that one before. If this game were in Seattle I might be inclined to predict the 49ers first loss of the season, but it’s not. Being on the road doesn’t preclude DangeRuss and the Seahawks from covering, however. * = SEA COVER

What could've been argued as the game of the week did not disappoint. Critical FGs made. Critical FGs missed. Overtime. Russell Wilson once again proving why he's one of the most invaluable players in the NFL. The 49ers taking their first loss of the season. This game had all of that drama and more as the Seahawks held on to the hope of winning the division while maintaining their playoff presence. Both teams had several TOs, both team kicked critical FGs and both teams had defensive TDs in the first classic game of the second half of the 2019 NFL season. The Seahawks are now only one game behind the formerly undefeated 49ers in the NFC West and hold the tiebreaker heading into the Week 17 showdown between these two teams.

Week 10 Byes: Denver Broncos; Houston Texans; Jacksonville Jaguars; New England Patriots; Philadelphia Eagles; Washington Pigskins

Stay tuned for Week 10: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis) coming by Thursday & Saturday!


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