RC: I assume everyone is going anti-Miami again in Survivor? So, aside from that -- what's your best bet/s of the week and why? And what are you learning through three weeks of betting -- any team sticking out as a surprise good/bad opposite what people think right now? Give the readers a surprise take on a team!!
Rabbitt: Go chargers this week I guess. All in on the anti Miami survivor train. After my 0-5 performance on a week I loved, I'm not sure I can muster up a bet of the week. I kinda like the browns and cardinals this week, but I liked them last week so perhaps my pulse on the NFL is completely off.
I don't think the Cardinals are as bad as their record. I don't think the packers or the bills are as good as their record... however I'm not sure that is a "surprise take" on either. I do think the packers win again this week, and at 4-0... I guess that makes my packers are going to fall apart talk completely wrong. I think the bills are going to get exposed pretty bad on the other hand, but it's the pats and I fully expect them to make a lot of teams look real bad.
Katz: I am all in on Seattle -4.5. I am done backing the Cardinals as home underdogs. One of two things (usually both) happens every game. At some point, the defense becomes incapable of getting stops. And at some point, Kyler starts to panic in the pocket and immediately run backwards rather than step up leading to drive killing sacks. Kyler may be great for fantasy, but he is so clearly nowhere near his professional peak. He is still trying to run around like he's playing Madden and since the defense can't stop anyone, all it takes is a couple of those and his team falls too far behind. The Cardinals may score 30 this week and still not cover.
Skol: I may take the road less traveled and pick the Rams in knockout this week. Then if Miami somehow punks the Chargers it will take out 2/3 of the remaining players. If I out dumb myself...well then at least I have one less thing to worry about each week.
As far as bets for the week...I’m keeping an eye on a couple of lines...CLE +7 and WAS +3. L. Jackson’s TD run was one of the best I’ve seen but his passing is...not. Throwing balls that look like punts...then his WR intercepts the waiting DB who only has one hand to use because the other is calling for a fair catch and the announcer proclaims that LJax is a highlight waiting to happen. Better defense getting points. Same with WAS...their offense will go from playing the best defense to the worst. I like the prime-time losers to bounce back depending on where the lines go...
Not sure if it’s a surprise but I think DEN still has a path to the playoffs...if they ever could stop doing everything wrong...I also still think DET has a path to 10 losses.
RC: I love WAS + pts against Dan Ten-cent, but I want healthy Keenum. Haskins makes it a wild card vs. supreme confidence for me. I kinda like/love Green Bay at home TNF tonight, anyone else? Anyone on Philly?
Rabbitt: Totally in on GB tonight. Philly can't move the ball on that defense.
Savage: No strong feelings about tonight's game. Sort of has the feeling of a Green Bay win but Philly cover, so I'm staying away.
I'm completely out on Denver at this point and I like Jaguars +3 this week. Denver can't protect Flacco and he misses throws even when he has time. I think that game will be low-scoring and I can't imagine Denver winning by more than a FG, if they can win at all.
For teams not as good/bad as their record, how about Pittsburgh and Dallas? Pittsburgh has a ton of red flags, as RC has pointed out in his recaps, but their opponents have a combined 9-1 record right now. Pittsburgh has been in the last two games despite transitioning from Big Ben to Rudolph. If they can't show up on Monday night and whack the Bengals at home, does Tomlin get fired in-season? I guess I just can't imagine Pittsburgh losing at home to the Bengals to drop to 0-4. Pittsburgh's schedule will do them in eventually, but I think they might be able to rally and stay in the NFC north race for a while.
With Dallas, they've played possibly the 3 worst defenses in the league and 3 teams that will be drafting in the top 5-10. This week will be a nice test to see if they're a contender or just pretty good.
RC: Tonight's game...Better/emerging great defense, better QB, home field, TNF event -- if Green Bay doesn't whack Philly then the door for the Vikings and Bears got opened big time. Assuming GB wins... How bad are the Eagles? 1-3 with the one win a game that the Redskins dogged them in. A bad running game, weak WRs, no secondary so they cannot put pressure on the GB (so Rodgers will eat them alive tonight)...we could be watching the undoing of the Eagles tonight. The tipping point that makes everyone reassess Wentz, Sanders, et al.
The Steelers -- Miami played harder/more effective vs. New England than Pitt did. They lost to fake 2-1 record Seattle. The lost to SF, despite being given 5 turnovers. If the turnovers were more normalized, most of them were with SF driving deep, then the Steelers would have been blown out of SF as well. And on the tape, the 49ers clocked them...the excessive/weird turnovers is what got them closer. The Bengals got-got by SF as well, and they had Seattle beat at Seattle, and they came back against Buffalo's defense and nearly snuck-in and won that game. The Bengals are playing with more juice than Pitt, to me. Don't like either team, but every time I watch Cincy I'm impressed with the effort/plan by the new staff, just undergunned. Every time I watch the Steelers, I just shake my head in disbelief.
Both bad, but I say all this to not count Cincy out -- just like against the Bills last week. I hope the Steelers lose, so that the Tomlin heat goes nuclear and they have to start making radical lineup changes...i.e. benching Conner for Samuels. Tomlin 1000% deserves to be 0-4 with a loss at home on MNF to lowly Cincy, I might use one of 3 genie wishes on it.
Katz: There is a 0% chance Conner gets benched for Samuels. It does not matter how bad he plays. It's not happening. Tomlin is too stubborn. It's fascinating that he was so quick to bench Donte Moncrief (rightfully so) for poor play, but completely overlooks the incredibly mediocre Conner. But he does. And he will continue to do so. I like the Bengals Monday night because they are the better team. They have the better players. Where is Pittsburgh better? Not at QB. Not at RB. At WR, sure, but not by a wide margin. They have the better offensive line, but it doesn't matter when Conner is the one running the ball.
As for tonight, I like the Eagles to cover, but I can't figure out why because I also like the GB defense to show up big time. Thursday night games are usually ugly. The Packers are home. They have an elite defense facing an injured offense with a QB that has a propensity to take too many hits and make dangerous passes. I just get the feeling that the days of "But Packers" are over. They're just not this offensive juggernaut. This could be a surprisingly low scoring game, making 4.5 points more valuable.
Skol: Sorry to jump in late...I think the Eagles thrive in the underdog role and were a poorly timed blitz away from winning their first road game so that makes me want to take the points. Although part of me wants a GB win to further inflate the hype machine. These Thursday night non division home favorites have been so good which is what’s stopping me from actually betting...I’ll take the Eagles in our weekly pick ‘em with no real bet.
I certainly agree that Dallas has played a soft schedule, but I also think the schedule argument is used selectively. They played the bad teams on their schedule and outperformed Vegas expectation in each game. I see them as an ascending team that won a playoff game last year.
For example on the SOS, the narrative on Den isn’t...they played at a division rival in a HR spot (the last MNF game in their stadium) and lost because of a dropped TD pass right in the WR’s hands, essentially beat the best defense in the league with a 4th quarter drive and 2 pt conversion then lost on the road to a Packers team everybody considers the next coming of the ‘85 Bears...the narrative is instead...Flacco sucks. We all know Flacco is no prize, but I think the story is turnovers, dropped passes and defensive injuries. Maybe throw in coaching too...if you’re playing A.Rodgers and you jump offside you have to keep running...that’s preparing for your opponent 101.