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2018 Week 14 Preview: Ross Jacobs' Notes
Ross Jacobs is a budding football analyst/scout and a long-time friend of FFM. He’s been working on a project all season watching/studying all the games/studying the line play as a key indicator for handicapping and fantasy play.
Weekly, he’s been sharing his notes on each game with me…what he saw with the games that just happened and what he sees coming up with the games about to play.
I’ve enjoyed reading his study notes on the games all season and asked him if I could share them with the FFM audience, and he was happy to. So, please enjoy Ross’s takes on the games more from a line of scrimmage/O-Line standpoint but with an overall view of seeing all these teams and taking notes for data analysis all season.
These are his notes for the upcoming week's games…
*Forgive typos, just notes transcribed.
Week 14 Preview
Ravens +6.5 at Chiefs
This is a lot of points to give the Ravens. They have a good defense and if they can run the ball and control the clock they can play keep-away from Mahomes and company. I'm going to take the Chiefs here though because I think Lamar is going to have trouble trying to keep up and if the Ravens fall behind they are done for.
Colts +4.5 at Texans
Yes I take the Colts every week and pick against the Texans every week, and yes I'm going to do it again. I think the Colts are criminally underrated despite what happened last week, and I think the Texans are vastly overrated, one of the most overrated teams I've ever seen. Maybe I'm the fool, but I'm not ready to fold my opinions of these two teams yet. Colts to cover and I suspect outright win. This is the first of my Blazing Five.
Panthers +1.5 at Browns
This low line is due to the Panthers losing the last couple of games, but it was a particularly poor day for Cam and it's unlikely he stays bad for long. Unfortunately though they are facing my beloved Baker Mayfield who has been mostly brilliant from the moment he started and this week gets to face a crumbling Panthers secondary. I could see this going either way really and I would never actually bet it, but I'm going to side with the Panthers having a bounce-back performance here and getting themselves back into wildcard contention.
Falcons +5.5 at Packers
I guess losing McCarthy is worth a whole TD? Why are the Packers constantly put on a pedestal no matter how awful they look? Aaron Rodgers is why, but even he can't save this sinking ship. I think these teams are roughly equal. Green Bay has the better defense and Atlanta the better offense, but it theoretically evens out. You never can count out Rodgers which is why the line is 5.5, but I'm still taking the Falcons and the points.
Saints -8 at Buccaneers
Is there anyone that thinks the Saints aren't going to come out and try to beat the hell out of the Bucs this week? None of us expected the Cowboys to take it to them and you know they are seething and looking for a good beatdown to help them forget. I think the Saints score 40 here and the Bucs try to keep up for a bit but just can't hang in the end. Saints to cover.
Jets +3.5 at Buffalo
I'm sorry, what? The Bills are favored? I guess everyone just assumes Josh Allen is going to run for 100 yards every single week, but there is no way I'm betting he does that again. Yeah the Jets look awful, but it's Josh Allen and the Bills for crying out loud. I have to take the points just on principle, but you couldn't pay me to bet on this travesty of a game.
Patriots -7.5 at Dolphins
I'm not betting against the Patriots right now. They finally are starting to look a bit more like themselves. Still not the juggernauts of previous years, but still pretty good. The defense especially is coming on very strong and the Dolphins will be lucky to get to 20 points. I like the Patriots to cover.
Rams -3 at Bears
I love the Bears as much as the next guy, but Trubisky is coming off a shoulder injury and may not be 100%. I am however a tick worried about the Rams after seeing the unusual amount of pressure they gave up last week. It's something to watch because the Bears are obviously a great pressure team, and the Rams are at their best when Goff is given plenty of time to work the field. I'll take the Rams to cover, but I'll be anxiously watching this one to see how they look.
Giants -3.5 at Redskins
Is this a joke? I don't care if the Redskins are starting RC at quarterback and the rest of us at offensive line, there is no way the Giants should be 3.5 point favorites. Anything is possible, but this line looks juicy to me. I'll probably butcher it again this week, but this is going in my Blazing Five. Redskins and their JV squad to cover over the godawful Giants.
Broncos -4 at 49'ers
This is no gimme. As RC noted, the 49'ers are fighting and are certainly not devoid of talent. If Chris Harris plays it's a different story, but without him this is interesting. I think I'm going to get frisky and take the points mostly because I just want to see Vance Joseph fired. I wouldn't bet this for real.
Bengals +14 at Chargers
This is a Blazing Five for me. 14 is a lot of points, and I do not believe the Chargers are all that good. They're ok, a fringe playoff team, but no real threat to win the Superbowl unless they just get hot. In addition the Bengals are being discounted because of Jeff Driskel but as RC noted he's playing rather well. I could see the Chargers pull a classic Chargers move and blow what should be an easy win here, or at least put the fear of God into their fans by sneaking out a close win. Gimme the Bengals.
Lions -3 at Cardinals
Here's another Blazing Five for me. The Lions suffered through a brutal schedule the last several weeks which accounts for their poor record recently, but the reality is they've actually played quite well despite it. The Cardinals meanwhile are easily one of the worst teams in the league because they just cannot figure out how to use their all-world RB the way he should be used, the way he has been used before. Seriously, why don't the Arizona coaches just watch tape of DJ in 2016? Guess they are too smart for that. Long story short, the Lions are underrated and the Cardinals suck so I'm taking the Lions to cover.
Eagles +3.5 at Cowboys
Ok, I'll bite now. I've got a bad feeling last week was a fluke and I'm “buying high,” but LVE looks like he may actually be the next Brian Urlacher he was billed as and if so he's taking this Dallas defense to new heights. The entire Philly offense rests on Wentz to Ertz and LVE should be all over Ertz this week. If Dallas can get to 20 points they very well might cover this. I'll take Dallas, but I'm still wary of buying in completely.
Steelers -10.5 at Raiders
I have to imagine the Steelers are going to come out and pound the Raiders here. It just feels like a suckers bet to think that because Pitt has struggled recently and the Raiders kept it close with the Chiefs that the same thing could happen here. It feels like a bunch of flukes to me, and the true reality is these teams are a mile apart. It's a lot of points, but I'm taking the Steelers and putting this in my Blazing Five. This looks like 30-10 to me.
Vikings +3 at SeahawksHave the Vikings beaten a team with a winning record yet? I'm not completely sure, but I don't think so. They remind me of that 9-7 Redskins team from a few years ago that somehow had a winning record but only because they played so many bad teams. They never once beat a team with a winning record either. Who was the QB of that Redskins team? Oh yeah, Kirk Cousins. I know the guy is a hard worker and he has put up some astounding numbers, but there is this nasty pattern in his game history and there's just no denying it. He racks up stats and wins against bad teams and can't pull out the good stuff against better teams. The Seahawks aren't on a level with the Rams or Saints or Chiefs, but I think they can handle a Vikings team that likes to pose as a playoff contender from time to time. Seahawks to cover.