5 for 5 - Week 4, 2018
Week 4's 5 picks with 5 reasons for each, using the Westgate Super Contest lines:
1. Mia +6.5 (@ NE)
2. Ind -1 (Hou)
3. Phi -4 (@ Ten)
4. Oak -2.5 (Cle)
5. NYG +3.5 (NO)
5 for 5
1. Miami Dolphins +6.5 (@ NE)
NE is not 1-2 ATS and returning home after double digit losses at Jac and Det. With high risk, I will now ignore all the stats I used last week to show Belichick's excellent ATS record after and go against NE because I think Miami will give them fits on defense.
1 - Mia beat Oak with a few explosive plays (and otherwise was not great).
2 - NE has given up the best offensive games for both Det and Jac
3 - NE is still without Edelman, which allowed Det to double Gronk and force the ball elsewhere. Gordon may make his debut clearing some space but hard to bank on a new receiver making an impact in a trust heavy offense
4 - Mia is 2nd overall in FootballOutsiders.com DVOA, ranking 8-3-7 for Off-Def-ST, while NE is 23rd ranking 18-21-23, this doesn't yet include opponent adjustments but both teams have played opponents with the same SU record: 0-3 (Oak and Hou), 1-2 (NYJ and Det), and 2-1 (Ten and Jac)
5 - In those same DVOA rankings, the DAVE (which includes preseason), Mia is 5 and NE 8
Counterpoint - NE usually crushes Mia in NE (35-17 last year before losing in Mia 27-20), Tannehill versus Brady, Tannehill has never won in NE (0-4; 3-6 overall), and all those ATS records I used last week to show why NE would crush Det...
2. Indianapolis Colts -1 (Hou)
1 - Ind's pass D has not been great in recent years, and a reason I took Cin over them in week 1, but they are (a somewhat surprising) 12th in defensive passing DVOA
2 - Hou is 28th in DVOA versus the pass and 8th in Adjusted Sack Rate, thus they may be able to get after Luck but if not Luck could have a big day
3 - Opponents of each: Ind - Cin (L), @ Was (W), @ Phi (L) while Hou @ NE (L), @ Ten (L), NYG (L), it is hard hard to argue much this early in the season but I think Ind's done better against better opponents
4 - Hou is 0-3 and could look at this essentially as their season's turning point, but I'll look at his more as an underperforming team that wouldn't be in this situation if they were good
3. Philadelphia Eagles -4 (@ Ten)
Not a fan that the line has moved to -3, regardless let's dive in:
2 - Ten will have to game plan around the injury, which they successful did the last two weeks against Hou and Jac, however Hou is 0-3 and Jac had a "Bortles game" (not in a good way), I think it will be much tougher for Ten to pull it off this week
3 - Wentz's second game back will have him more up to game speed
4 - I think Ind is decent, and while still losing in turnovers 2-0, Phi was able to win
5 - Phi is 13th (19-7-29) for Off-Def-ST in DVOA while Ten is 24th (28-18-4), that's a big difference in Special Teams but is buoyed by Ten's fake punt versus Hou. I think the bigger difference is Went coming back and the 19th offensive rank not fully representing their current offense
4. Oakland Raiders -2.5 (Cle)
1 - Oak is not that bad, they were winning in the 4th quarter of each of their last two games that they lost (@ Den, @ Mia), which I see as not playing awful (it's certainly not great) but for a team that didn't make the playoffs last year, losing a two close road games should give a bit of hope, even if Oak could have easily won both
2 - Hue covering on the road? Mayfield was a great spark in the Thursday game against the Jets, but the team is still run by Hue, and the main reason they've won 2 games in two calendar years
3 - Rookie QB on the road? Just as Mayfield was a great spark in their last game, the Jets were not prepared. Mayfield might very well be an awesome player but I think that lack of preparation from Jet's D made him look much better than he is now. Oak will have some tape and know he is starting
4 - Oak's schedule was home, road, road - with the home loss being MNF versus LAR (who are tops in the league), I think home field is being underrated here
5 - Did I mention Hue Jackson and the Browns covering on the road?
Counterpoint - Oak is 31st is defensive DVOA, while Cle is 30th in offensive. That 30th for Cle was with Taylor and not Mayfield, oh and Oak is dead last in defensive line Adjusted Sack Rate, so Mayfield will likely have time
5. New York Giants +3.5 (NO)
This could be a painful one if NO puts up 30, but I think it'll surprise most people.
1 - Eli is like a movie villain, he just won't die and pops back when you least expect it, case in point: Eli as a home dog 9-4-1, and when the team coming in has won their last two he is 8-1
2 - NO after big divisional game in OT, staying on the road for second week in a row
3 - NO outside of the dome and on the road
4 - If NO is slower than normal on turf, their 4th rated offense by DVOA isn't as dangerous, but they still have the 28th rated defense by DVOA
5 - NYG have been on the road the past two games, just like with Oak, it's a boost to come back home that is not being thought of by most
Counterpoint - NO is 12th in DVOA (3rd in DAVE) and NYG is 29th in both... uh oh.
Sixth - Pittsburgh Steelers -3 (Bal)
Still no Jimmy Smith for Bal, Flacco plays terrible on the road, and Big Ben looks to be getting back into form. But let's see Pit play two good games before jumping on them. Just going to watch and enjoy.