Week 5: 3-0, (100.00%)
Season: 4-0, (100.00%)
First week of posting my full card on Twitter last week and it worked out just fine with the 3-0 sweep. Now 4-0 on the season in my posted plays and while I’m happy to be winning let’s please take this with a grain of salt. We are talking 4 plays. I’m sure I’ll do fine the rest of the way but let’s please keep realistic expectations. All that said, here’s what I’m going with in Week 6….
Steelers (+6.5): I know at 1-4 and now with their 3rd string QB forced into starting duty it’s easy to pick on the Steelers at this point. That said it’s important to keep in mind that other than a blowout loss to New England their other 3 losses were all very close. They lost by 2 to Seattle, by 3 to Baltimore and by 4 at San Francisco. Also I’m not so sure how much of a drop off it is going from Mason Rudolph to Devlin Hodges. Rudolph was doing very little throwing the ball the down the field and checking down all over the place with dink and dunk passes. The gap between the two in my opinion is negligible. On the other side we have the now 2-3 Chargers who haven’t beaten a team other than the Dolphins since week 1. Last week they lost 19-13 to Denver and didn’t score an offensive touchdown. Now on top of everything else they’ve lost Pouncey on the O-Line and that figures to only make life tougher on Rivers. Pittsburgh has one of the best pass rushing defenses in the league and guys like Watt, Tuitt, Dupree figure to be able to get to Rivers plenty. As I’ve mentioned in the past the Chargers have no home field advantage to speak of and I figure at least 65-70% of the crowd at this one will be Steelers fans. I only make this line 3 so to get 6.5 is a no brainer.
Browns (PK): I’ll admit things look awful for the Browns right now but this is where you look for buy low spots. We all saw the Browns get buried by the 49ers on Monday night and now I think the market is overreacting a bit. Yes Seattle is 4-1 but they aren’t exactly blowing people away. They beat the Steelers by 2, the Bengals by 1, and most recently the Rams by 1. I hate to be the “a play here, a play there” guy but the truth is this team really is a few plays away from being 2-3 or even worse. For as ugly as things look right now the Browns there is no denying the talent is still there. With Mayfield, Chubb, Landry and Beckham Jr. they are still among the best in the league at the skill positions. Seattle doesn’t really get to the QB much so if Mayfield has some time to operate I’d expect a nice bounce back showing from him. Seattle is 24th in the league in pass defense and that’s where I think the Browns should be able to have some success. At the end of the day I’m a looking for some regression to the mean for both teams here and that would mean a Browns win.
Chiefs (-4): It’s not often you get a buy low spot with the Chiefs but it looks like we’ve got one here. At some spots this line opened as high as 8.5 and is now all the way down to 4. Yes last week the Chiefs only scored 13 points in a home loss to the Colts but you have to take that with a grain of salt considering Mahomes could barely move in the 2nd half. He was playing with a bad ankle that got worse and continued to further limit his mobility as the game went on. An ankle injury for a guy like Mahomes is everything. It hurts his ability to get out of the pocket and extend plays as well as his ability to push off on his throws. For as great as he is it shouldn’t be all that surprising he and the Chiefs offense struggled once he got hurt. Now he seems to be back close to his normal self and with it I expect a big time bounce back showing. The other end of this one is the Texans off a 53 point explosion last week and now I think some two way overreaction on this line. The Texans are 23rd in the league in pass defense and all signs point towards Mahomes and the Chiefs getting back on track. Now all the way down to 4 this line is almost implying that on a neutral field these teams are even, and frankly I just don’t agree with that. Chiefs for me.
Rams (-3): This line opened at 5.5 and has come all the way down to 3. Given what we’ve seen most recently I guess that line movement isn’t all that surprising, although I see it as an overreaction. My line on this game is 6 and I don’t think the shops that opened at 5.5 we’re off as much as it seems the market does. The Rams have lost 2 straight and the 49ers are off a route on Monday night so again, recency bias certainly looks to be in play here. On top of that here’s another angle that shouldn’t be ignored… the Rams are coming off a Thursday game in Week 5 which gives 3 extra days rest. The niners as mentioned earlier are coming off that Monday night game which gives them one less day of rest. McVay and Shanahan are two of the best young coaches in the game so you figure prep wise both teams will be more than ready to go. That said physically 4 extra days from the Rams is an edge that can’t be denied. All the credit in the world to the 49ers for a lights out start but they’ll have a very tough test here against an angry and rested Rams team. I’ll take my chances McVay gets his squad back on track with a 28-21 type win.