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2018 Week 8 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 8 Preview
Eagles -3 vs Jaguars
Many people are down on the Eagles and for good reason. They are a reasonably talented team with good coaching, but they haven't been as lucky in games as they were last year and by consequence are just a pretty good team instead of a great one. The Jaguars on the other hand are falling apart at the seams. One detail not being mentioned enough is the loss of Cam Robinson and his backup Josh Wells. The 3rd stringer Josh Walker has really struggled taking over to the surprise of no one, and he has a tall task facing one of the league's best rushes this week. Unfortunately for the Eagles they lost one of their best pass rushers in Derek Barnett this past week. I don't think that will matter much against the Jaguars, who are also without CB AJ Bouye this week, but it could matter against better opponents. The Eagles have plenty of depth to keep rotating against the Jaguars poor O-line so I have to imagine they are in Bortles's face all day or at least until he's benched for Cody Kessler. I'll take the Eagles.
Browns +8 at Steelers
Ido not like this line because I agree it's accurate. The Browns have been rather disappointing even after the Mayfield takeover. Baker is trying his best, but this team just doesn't look ready to compete. If this line was less than 7 I would be all over the Steelers, but I just hate giving up so many points, especially to a team I believe is on the cusp of breaking out a bit. That said all the line matchups drastically favor the Steelers here, and I'm committed to sticking with the formulas which have been working quite well recently. I'll take the Steelers in my Blazing Five because the computer loves it, but this game makes me quite nervous.
Broncos +10 at Chiefs
Ok well I'm just going to ignore the pressure stats with the Chiefs because it just doesn't seem to matter much. When you average 37 points an outing it changes the whole dynamic of the game. How do you bet against them at this point? I hate giving up 10 points to a not horrible Broncos team because all it takes is a couple lucky breaks for the Broncos to cover, but the Chiefs look absolutely unstoppable. I guess I'll take the Chiefs and give up the points, but I wouldn't bet this one for real.
Jets +7.5 at Bears
There's no way I bet this one for real. There's just too many uncertainties to dig through. Does Khalil Mack play and how healthy is he? Does Darnold have a normal bad game or another disaster? These things matter when it comes down to a few points here or there. Less than 7 and I bet this game for the Bears no questions asked. However, as I always point out, most NFL games are decided by less than 7 points, and it often happens even when good teams play bad teams. Mack played the entire game last week, but he's obviously not healthy. The Patriots handled him without problem, as did the Dolphins, and the Bears didn't record much pressure at all in either of those games. The Jets also have an injury list a mile long, and we've seen what that did to the Colts who are a much better team than the Jets. I just can't justify giving up 7.5 here without knowing the status of Khalil Mack. Give me the Jets reluctantly.
Redskins Pick 'em at Giants
The Redskins are the superior team across the board so I don't know how you possibly take the Giants here. I just guaranteed the Redskins will blow it, but I'll take them anyways.
Seahawks +3 at Lions
My computer's favorite bet of the week and an easy choice for my Blazing Five. I'm on board with the Lions as a top 10 team at this point. They have good metrics in every category, and I don't see how the Seahawks affect Stafford enough to pull this off. Now as I always caution, pressure stats don't always work with great QB's and Russell Wilson is one of those greats. He could single-handedly pull this out for Seattle, and it would not surprise me one bit. That said I'm still taking Detroit with confidence based on the computer's recommendation.
Buccaneers +3.5 at Bengals
I have to disagree with RC here. I'm just not convinced the Bengals are as bad as he thinks. They are always going to be up and down because Andy Dalton isn't very consistent, but getting waxed by the Chiefs hardly seems a reason to label them as highly overrated. They've put up good numbers as far as the lines go, and I can't say the same about the Bucs. I'm a bit nervous here because RC is rarely wrong about these things, but I'll take the Bengals.
Ravens -3 at Panthers
This looks like another very accurate line to me. Both teams have been excellent on the offensive line, but the Ravens do appear to have the much better ability to pressure QB's so I'm going to roll with them here in what looks like a wash to my formulas. I think the Ravens are one of the most underrated teams at the moment, so we'll see what they can do against an always dangerous Panthers team with Cam Newton.
Colts -3 at Raiders
Oh baby give me the Colts. I've been on them for weeks as an underrated team due to injuries and RC sees the same thing. These guys have been incredibly impressive on both sides of the ball, and I'll be shocked if the Raiders can keep it close as they seem to be getting wore and worse in every area. Stranger things have happened, but I love this bet and it goes straight into my Blazing Five.
49'ers -1 at Cardinals
A battle between two of the worst teams in the league, and I don't want anything to do with it. My numbers like the Cardinals as they have the better defensive line, not to mention the change in OC could be huge for them, but we don't know enough yet for this to be a top bet. I'll take the Cardinals with some confidence.
Packers +9 at Rams
Does anyone have the guts to give Aaron Rodgers 9 points? This is very likely a high scoring shootout, and I don't like the Rams chances to cover in a situation like that. They have a far better offensive line than the Packers, but the defensive pressure isn't much different surprisingly. The Rams have not been great at that aspect, and it scares me especially against a QB like Rodgers. You simply cannot give him all day to throw. I may regret it, but I have to take the points with Rodgers.
Saints -1 at Vikings
The computer has this one even too, but it doesn't know that the Vikings have several key injuries that tilt this to an easy Saints pick for me. Anthony Barr is out, Xavier Rhodes is questionable, and the big one for me, Riley Reiff is doubtful. The Vikings have been considerably worse every game that Reiff hasn't played. The Saints one weakness is their weak pass rush, but it will be a lot better here if Reiff isn't playing. Put me down for the Saints as a Blazing Five pick.
Patriots -14 at Bills
Good God, who's idea was it to put this game on Monday night? They should be fired right now. You know the drill by now, I don't like giving up 14, but I have to here. Strange stuff happens every week so I'm never going to be that surprised. The Pats could win this by 10 or 13, and it would make perfect sense, but does anyone really think this stays within 20 more than 10% of the time? The Patriots are going to kill the Bills, and nobody can convince me otherwise. This is my final Blazing Five pick for the week.