5 for 5 - Week 10, 2018
Usually I narrow in on three to four games and then work to find a fifth. This week I immediately had an opinion on 10 games and then worked to cut it down to five. Let's hope that is a positive sign!
Using the Westgate Super Contest lines:
1. NYJ -6.5 (Buf)
2. Atl -4 (@ Cle)
3. Tam -3 (Was)
4. Chi -6.5 (Det)
5. Phi -6.5 (Dal)
All favorites between -3 and -6.5 this week, four home and one on the road, which having "all", especially favorites, never seems to work out well.
1. New York Jets -6.5 (Buf)
1 - Matt Barkley is expected to start for Buf. He signed with the team less than two weeks ago (Oct. 30th), is on his 6th team in 6 years, and hasn't started since 2016 in Chicago.
2 - Josh McCown is starting for the Jets over the injured Darnold. McCown started 13 games last year, going 5-8, not great but remember Jets had a season win total of 4.5 last year which McCown helped them exceed by week 13.
3 - McCown may be an upgrade from Darnold, as the veteran had 7.6 yards per attempt in 2017 (roughly average) while Darnold is at 6.7 so far this year (bottom third)
4 - The line has moved from NYJ -6.5 to -7.5 according to sportsbook.ag
5 - Buf has the 2nd rated D per DVOA and NYJ have the 7th, however on the offensive side of the ball, Buf is dead last (32nd) while NYJ are 30th; I think NYJ will play better on offense with McCown and Buf will continue to be terrible, and using DVOA for a closing point: NYJ overall DVOA 23rd (Buf is 32nd) thanks to a second rated Special Teams
Counterpoint - NYJ hosts NE next week and Robby Anderson is doubtful
2. Atlanta Falcons -4 (@ Cle)
Atl's issues earlier this year were play calling (in that first game against Phi) and defensive injuries. The play calling seems to be much better as the season went on and with their recent bye and experience for the fill-ins, they are riding a three game win streak.
I think Atl will be able to put up points and Clear will not be able to keep up.
1 - This game will come down to if Atl can pass on Cle's D, which KC did easily last week as Mahomes went 23 of 32 for 375 with 3 TDs and a pick. Atl is not KC but it displays that Cle's pass D can be beat for big numbers
2 -Atl is 6th in Offensive DVOA and Cle is 11th in Defensive DVOA
3 - Digging deeper, Cle's 11th rated D contains 2nd rated pass D and the 30th rated run D, just as Ito Smith and Tevin Coleman are coming off a combined 23 carries for 148 and a TD against Was (although that was a favorable game script where Atl used passing to get ahead and running to keep the lead)
4 - Cle's offense is rated 29th per DVOA while Atl's D is 30th, yet it has played better lately against a weaker schedule
5 - The line has moved from Atl -4 to -6
And a bonus: 6 - Greg Williams is still Cle's Coach
Counterpoint - Atl's recent three game win streak has been against the NYG (in a close MNF game), Tam, and Was. Was is the only team with a winning record and (as we will discuss next) are seeing a cluster injuries on their O-Line.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3 (Was)
We are going back to the well with Tam after losing on them last week. I feel like I must be missing something because this spread is only 3, especially with all of Was's injuries. Hopefully it is a lot of recency bias baked into to Tam after losing to Car, because I think this has blowout potential for Tam.
1 - Was will be down 3 offensive linemen and potentially a 4th
2 - Was's secondary just gave up 38 to Atl
3 - Quinten Dunbar, one of Was's best CB's according to this article, is also out
4 - Josh Norman, Was's other CB, just got torched by Julio Jones for 7 catches for 121 and a TD, and he will likely be shadowing Mike Evans (not Julio but not much of a break for Norman)
5 - Tam is starting Fitz-magic and who has a league leading 9.7 yards per attempt
And one more for fun, 6 - the line has moved to Tam -3.5 (-105)
4. Chicago Bears -6.5 (Det)
As a Lions fan, it is not fun making this pick, but unfortunately I believe in it:
1 - Khalil Mack returns from ankle injury
2 - Lions gave up 10 sacks to Min last week (yes, 10 sacks)
3 - Chi is 10th in offensive DVOA and Det is 29th in defensive
4 - Diving in further to the Chi O vs Def D: Chi's Rush O is 7th in DVOA while Det's Rush D is 28th (their pass D is 30th, so not much better there)
5 - With Tate gone, the Lions are a bit off on offense. He was a safety valve on offense, especially when trailing, that Riddick can fill now that he is back from injury, however something is not clicking (and Min's D last week could have been a big reason for that)
5. Phi -6.5 (Dal)
1 - The poor play from Dal's O line is a key reason why they lost to Ten last week. It doesn't get much easier facing Phi whose D is built on a deep D-Line
2 - Wentz has been getting better each week and now coming off a bye after the London win over Jac
3 - Dal is 0-4 on the road
4 - Sean Lee, Dal's best D player and anchor, is out
5 - The line has moved from Phi -6.5 to -7.5
Counterpoint - Cowboys always seem to zig-zag. Division game and the road team won both last year, although the Dal win was in week 17 when Phi was resting everyone after securing the #1 seed
Bonus 6th: SF -3 (NYG)
Nick Mullens is getting the start. He came out and dealed in his Thursday night debut, although that was against the reeling Oak, and seems to really grasp Kyle Shanahan's offense. However, NYG have nothing to play for, except to avoid embarrassment in a primetime game. I think SF continues to put up points and NYG cannot keep up with Eli at the helm, but NYG can be explosive and this is a meaningless game. I'll avoid it.