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2018 Week 9 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 9 Preview:
Lions +5 at Vikings
My computer thinks this is one of the sneaky best bets of the week. The Vikings have played well the last few weeks, and the Lions got beat pretty bad against Seattle last week, so public opinion is going the other way. However the Lions still have an amazing offensive line, and more weeks than not that should allow them to be competitive despite their other deficiencies. Even if they lose I think they are more than capable of keeping it within the spread. Lions are the first of my Blazing Five.
Chiefs -8 at Browns
You just can't bet against the Chiefs, but I'm a bit hesitant. I still see the untapped potential in the Browns, and especially after this coaching change I think we will see the Browns defense come after Mahomes hard. If Gregg Williams blitzes like a madman then Mahomes could end up with 2-3 interceptions which would give the Browns some likely scoring chances they might not otherwise have. Now I'm not betting on this, it's just something I'm thinking about. In a normal game though these teams aren't close. The Chiefs are capable of beating anyone by 10 other than the Rams, so giving up a mere 8 to Cleveland isn't that big a deal. Things happen and some games like this will get covered due to luck, but you keep betting them and they pay off more times than not. Chiefs to cover.
Steelers +3 at Ravens
This is another line where I'm thinking “wtf is Vegas doing?!” It looks like a slam dunk on paper. But Vegas is full of the smartest guys around so you have to stop and take a deeper look. Games like this make me want to go the opposite of my analysis because it looks so obvious that there must be hidden upside if you flip the bet. However I cannot for the life of me see what that upside is, so I'm sticking with what I know, and that is that the Steelers have a dominant offensive line and a pretty good defensive rush, and the Ravens are banged up and have the worse QB. Steelers all the way.
Buccaneers +6.5 at Panthers
Well the Panthers are starting to look rather stout. As I've pointed out for weeks their offensive line is balling, although I have no idea how considering all the early injuries they sustained. All I know is it is working, and the Panthers are rolling. If Winston was starting this week I would have this in my Blazing Five, but Fitzpatrick complicates things. Nothing is ever easy with that guy. He could throw 4 TD or 4 INT's any given week, and there's simply no telling which it will be. I'm taking the Panthers to cover, but honestly nothing would surprise me here.
Jets +2.5 at Dolphins
I keep defending the Jets as a team in spite of Darnold, but man that guy is just so awful he's dragging this team down an easy 3-4 wins on the season at least. I like the Jets better on every front except QB, but eventually even Darnold has to put together a not-horrible four quarters, right? My numbers say the Jets are drastically better on both lines so as long as Darnold doesn't completely crap the bed the Jets should be able to win this outright. My computer says this is Blazing Five worthy, so I'll put it in there and see what happens.
Falcons +1.5 at Redskins
I'm taking the Redskins, but I imagine I'll probably regret it. They somehow always seem to lose games against .500 teams every time you think they are putting it together. Once again they have the better lines on both sides of the ball, so giving up 1.5 isn't a big deal. Not confident in this one though, so bet at your own peril.
Bears -10 at Bills
I mean what am I supposed to do here? Nathan Peterman is starting so I wouldn't take the Bills if they were getting 20 here. Now I can totally see how the Bears muddle along on offense and don't score enough to cover and the game ends like 17-9 or something, but you have to stretch your imagination to think that Peterman isn't going to throw 11 interceptions by halftime. Watch the Bills come out and run an all Wildcat offense or something and the Bears can't figure out how to stop it. No, the coaches would actually have to have braincells to come up with a plan that actually gives them a fighting chance. They'll come out just like usual and have Peterman throw predetermined slant passes just like usual, and the Bears are going to set a record for defensive TD's scored in a game. God bless you if you play against the guy with the Bears defense in fantasy this week. Half the Bills may walk out of the stadium by halftime. The only knock I see here is that Khalil Mack probably doesn't play because “Bills.” If he was healthy and playing I'd bet my house on this game. Give me the Bears for my Blazing Five.
Texans +1 at Broncos
I love this line. Love it love it love it. Most people are probably dumbfounded how the Texans, who have won 5 straight games, could be 1 point underdogs to the very poor Broncos. It's because the Texans are a fraud. They suck plain and simple, and the only reason they have 5 wins is because they've played 5 terrible teams in a row and gotten lucky enough to pull a few of them out. Now the Broncos are terrible too, but they have something those other teams don't have. A good pass rush. Von Miller and Co are going to be all over Watson this week, and that doesn't bode well for Houston. Now Case Keenum could always mess this up, but I like Denver's chances here. Broncos for another sneaky Blazing Five.
Chargers +1 at Seahawks
Why am I supposed to like the Seahawks suddenly? Their only decent win was this last week against the Lions, and I think that was somewhat fluky. The only other teams they've beaten are the Cowboys, Cardinals, and Raiders. Not impressed. Now the Chargers resume isn't much more impressive, but at least they played the Rams and Chiefs respectably. Both teams are pretty even, but the Chargers have the better offensive line, so you know I'm taking them here. Also noting that the computer really likes this one.
Rams -1.5 at Saints
God I hate betting against the Rams, but the computer says it's the right move. The Rams offensive line has been great all year, but the last few weeks they have been struggling a bit, and you see how close some of these games have been. The defensive line is really starting to perk up to compensate a bit, but at this point it may not be enough against a very good Saints team. Personally I like the Rams here because I think even if their O-line is struggling they should be able to handle the Saints pass rush, but the computer thinks the Saints are a teensy bit better here so that's what I'm locking in. Saints and the points.
Packers +5.5 at Patriots
The computer likes the Patriots to win but probably not by 5.5 against Aaron Rodgers. This is a relatively weak team by Patriots standards, and the Packers aren't that bad. Rodgers is keeping them floating around .500, and if he can nearly beat the Rams he can for sure beat the Patriots. I have no real insights here as both teams are pretty much what everyone thinks they are. Give me the Packers and the points.
Titans +5.5 at Cowboys
I don't get the Dallas love at all. They beat the Giants, came back on the Lions after getting dominated for most of the game, and then whipped the crumbling Jaguars. What about that resume says they should be 5.5 point favorite over the Titans? “But their defense is the league's best!” Give me a break. Here's the “offenses” they've played in addition to the ones mentioned above: Panthers, Seahawks, Texans, and Redskins. Ooh so scary. Of course they face another godawful offense in the Titans here, so maybe I'm the fool, but the Titans have a pretty decent defense too and the Cowboys are no offensive juggernaut themselves, which is why they are 3-4. This looks like a low scoring field goal fest to my eyes. The Cowboys may be the better team and they may win, but they shouldn't be 5.5 point favorites in my opinion. Give me the Titans to cover.