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Mike Handzelek's NFL Week 13 Analysis, Review & Notes


By: Point Shaver Handzelek
Date: Dec 5, 2017
   
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Monday, December 04, 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals (NFL) - 8:30 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 4.5/-110 Cincinnati Bengals Pick Title: 8 STAR AFC North Headbanger (WIN) There's no denying that both of those teams have grown to hate each other since their series' inception. HC Marvin Lewis is still roaming the sidelines for Cincinnati since 2003. Since that time, Lewis has only beaten Pittsburgh in the Queen City twice in 16 meetings. That record included both playoff loses in 2005 & 2015. For those who think Pittsburgh has always dominated this series (5 wins in a row coming in), that's partly true. In Pittsburgh, Lewis has beaten the Steelers 6 of 15 tries. In Cincinnati, Lewis has beaten Pittsburgh just twice in 16 tries. However, the Steelers are notorious for playing DOWN to their opponents' level. If Pittsburgh came into this game with most playmakers healthy, we'd certainly be singing a different tune. But in this situation, the underdog with a TD plus is the way to go. The Steelers have another divisional rivalry game on deck as they take on the surging 7-5 Ravens @ Heinz Field next week. My bottom line says Andy Dalton has stayed away from turnovers his past 5 games with a 9/0 TD/INT ratio. His opposition in Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 4 INT's during that same span. This games' outcomes weighs heavily on how key WR Antonio Brown (who isn't @ 100%) gets involved. Remember, 2nd-leading WR in receiving yards - JuJu Smith-Schuster is bothered by a nagging hamstring injury. In addition, Pittsburgh also has their key defensive playmaker Ryan Shazier being bothered by an ankle injury. The pressure is on Shazier to make key plays out of DC Keith Butler's 3-4 alignment since their defense took a big hit with the loss CB Joe Haden (out 3-6 weeks) who went down with a broken fibula. The Steelers go into this with the same mentality as last week when they survived 31-28 against a rookie-type QB. They want to win & get ready for another divisional battle. The 5-6 SU Bengals' mentality of dealing with a do or die desperation mode feeling & revenge should keep them in it to win it. Look for RB Joe Mixon & WR A.J. Green to have success against a Pitt "D" that's just not healthy. My final dagger points out how Pittsburgh struggled on the road against Cleveland winning 21-18 & losing 23-17 versus Chicago. Let's go to the Queen City @ Paul Brown Stadium to play the CINCINNATI BENGALS (buying to + 7 1/2) as my 8 Star AFC North Headbanger!

Sunday, December 03, 2017 Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans (NFL) - 1:00 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Money Line: -290 Tennessee Titans Pick Title: 9 Star NFL Ugly Pig Play Of The Week (WIN)

Yep, there's always that ugly one that makes your stomach growl @ the sound of mentioning them. That's the 7-4 SU Tennessee Titans! For this one, just throw out all the point differential bull crap the mushes are bellowing about. Let's concentrate MORE about venue, QB & the revenge factor since Houston won the earlier meeting 57-14 (Mariota left the game with a hamstring injury in the second quarter of a game that wound up being the worst loss in this series' history). In the past few weeks, the odds-makers have certainly pegged the number close to the outcome in Titans' games of late. That's just another reason we'll grab the value of where we'll be playing this game. This game features 2 defenses rated in the top 6 of the NFL against the run. Our main concern here is how efficient both offenses are. Since rookie sensation & QB DeShaun Watson went down with an injury in the Seattle game, the Texans' offense has averaged 11.5 PPG in going 0-2 SU on the road. In comparison, Tennessee is 4-1 SU @ home & is averaging a healthy 26.4 PPG. Marcus Mariota & Co. come into this game with momentum after finding a way to come back @ Indianapolis for a 20-16 triumph (there first win there in 10 seasons). My bottom line says the Texans' offense will have their troubles until play-making WR Will Fuller (19.2 YPC & 7 TD's) comes back. QB's like a Tom Savage (4/5 TD/INT ratio) will always have trouble against an aggressive 3-4 defensive scheme that DC Dick LeBeau will employ here. LeBeau is good @ taking play-makers (RB Lamar Miller-3 TD's & WR DeAndre Hopkins -9 TD's) away versus weak QB's (Savage). I feel Tennessee should pressure the immobile Savage into 1 strip-sack & at least 1 or 2 INT's this afternoon. In the numbers says we have to show Titans' HC Mike Mularkey some respect as he's been a consistent late bloomer going 6-1 SU & ATS his last 7 games where his team has been the favorite in December. We're ready to go to Nissan Stadium in Nashville to play the TENNESSEE TITANS as my 9 Star NFL Ugly Pig Play Of The Week!

Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL) - 1:00 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: -9.0/-105 Jacksonville Jaguars Pick Title: 8 Star NFL Divisional Contender Play (WIN) Yes, the Jaguars slipped a bit last week with a tough loss @ Arizona. What intrigues me is how they've reacted from a loss the following week. After their 3 previous losses, Jacksonville has rebounded to win all 3 by an average score of 34-5. Two of those games were blowouts against winning teams - @ Pittsburgh 30-9 & in London versus Baltimore 44-7. They now take on an Indianapolis team that's 1-4 SU on the road (beat hapless Houston) where they're yielding 33.2 PPG. By the way, speaking of scoring defense, these same Jaguars are #1 in the NFL in that category yielding 15.3 PPG after 11 games. For those mushes with short memories, this is the same defense that sacked Colts' QB Jacoby Brissett (Tennessee had 8 on him last week) 10 TIMES back in Week 7 in a 27-0 Jacksonville win @ Lucas Oil Stadium. Jax is also #1 in the NFL in sacks with 41 (Pitt 2nd @ 38) under the direction of DC Todd Wash. Look for them to excel again with their book-ends on the front line with DE's Calais Campbell (11 1/2 sacks) & Yannick Ngakoue (10 sacks) against a Colts' O-Line rated last in the NFL in pass protection (QB's sacked 47 times). My bottom line says the Jacksonville defensive secondary knows how to stop the Colts' playmakers, TE Jack Doyle (team-leading 59 receptions) & WR T.J. Hilton (team-leading 740 receiving yards). This game re-establishes them as a major threat to take the AFC South and/or make the playoffs. My dagger has to be looking @ like offenses like Cincinnati's whose very similar to Indy's. The Jags didn't play their "A" game versus the Bengals here 4 weeks ago but still left the stadium with a 23-7 win. If the improving Colts' "D" could get better pressure on Blake Bortles (they're ranked 30th in sacks), then I could substantiate the possibility of Indianapolis hanging in for 4 quarters. As you can see, that's pretty far fetched. Keep a close watch for RB Leonard Fournette who will have a breakout week after being held to 12 carries for 25 yards last week.. Let's go to Everbank Field for home game #1 of 3 in a row to take the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (buying to the strategic number of - 6 1/2) as my 8 Star NFL Divisional Contender Play!

Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals (NFL) - 4:25 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 7.0/-115 Arizona Cardinals Pick Title: 8 Star Public "Missed Perception" Play Of The Week (LOSS) Yes, now Los Angeles Rams have a great offense led by 2nd-year QB Jared Goff. This seems to be a cakewalk on the surface since Arizona comes into this one with a losing record (5-6) & looks terrible during the 1st meeting that ended in a lopsided 33-0 shutout win for L.A. in London. Throughout the years, revenge has a funny way of surfacing to the top when a team loses its QB (Carson Palmer) in the 1st match & gets another crack on their home field. We are in an excellent spot for line value since the Rams come off a 26-20 upset win over New Orleans who saw their 8-game winning streak end. For this one, third-string QB Blaine Gabbert has excellent mobility & should keep the Cards competitive if he stays away from turnovers & takes what DC Wade Phillips' hybrid 3-4 defensive alignment gives him. Los Angeles has a big game @ home with the Philadelphia Eagles & could be caught looking ahead too early. This current 3-game home stand is pivotal to the Cardinals since they take on Washington & the N.Y. Giants immediately afterward. HC Bruce Arians & staff are on the hot seat & fighting for their jobs here. Expect a strong effort here as in the numbers supports us with Arians being a super 8-2 ATS as an underdog in the month of December. My bottom line also points out that Arians is 13-1 SU & 12-2 ATS @ home against teams who come off a SU & ATS win. Let's go to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale to play the ARIZONA CARDINALS (buying to + 10 1/2) as my 8 Star Public "Missed Perception" Play Of The Week! Philadelphia Eagles vs. Seattle Seahawks (NFL) - 8:30 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 5.0/-105 Seattle Seahawks Pick Title: 9 Star NFC 12th-Man Advantage Supreme Play (WIN) Let's get one thing straight before we get into this game. In the past 5+ seasons under HC Pete Carroll, Seattle has NEVER lost by more than 7 points in front of their "12th Man" fans. Even though the RED HOT Eagles are 10-1 SU & have both a top 6 offense & defense, the Seahawks aren't too far away with a top 8 ranking in both categories as well. The only other teams in the NFL to rank in the top 8 in both categories are the Minnesota Vikings & Pittsburgh Steelers. For this matchup, this is a re-visit game for Carson Wentz (2 INT's) who came up on the short side of a 26-15 decision @ this venue last October. Wentz had difficulties calling audibles @ the line of scrimmage versus the infamous 12th Man. However, relieving some of the pressure off Wentz (28/5 TD/INT ratio)this season is an excellent ground game behind him (2nd in the NFL with 1,622 rushing yards, 4.6 YPR & 9 TD's) that aim @ winning their 1st NFL championship since 1960. In addition, the Philadelphia defense ranks 6th overall but lead the NFL versus the run. The Eagles come into this fracas needing just 1 win to clinch the division as they come in with a 4-game division lead over the nearest competitors, the 6-6 Dallas Cowboys. This winner of this one will weigh in on how effective Carson Wentz is converting on 3rd down. Seattle's Russell Wilson is waiting for more possessions since becoming the winningest QB in NFL history in his first 6 seasons with 63 wins. My bottom line says the Eagles already reached their longest win streak (9) since Andy Reid's 2003 team did it with QB Donovan McNabb. To start a season, Philadelphia with a "W" tonight can tie Dick Vermeil's 1980 team that started 11-1 before losing Super Bowl XV by a 27-10 score to Tom Flores & the Oakland Raiders. The daggers for us look @ Seattle QB Russell Wilson & his 17-5 SU & 16-5-1 ATS record during December. HC Pete Carroll has had similar success in his NFL career going 21-9 SU & 21-8-1 ATS in December. However, the real magic seems to rear its head in his 6th home game since taking over the Seahawks' program. Coming into tonight, he's 7-0 SU & ATS in that role. The numbers are in as we go to CenturyLink Field to play the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (buying to a key + 7 1/2) as my 9 Star NFC 12th-Man Advantage Supreme Play! Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints (NFL) - 4:25 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 5.5/-110 Carolina Panthers Pick Title: 9 Star Road Haul Wake Up Call (LOSS) Words of Caution: Watch how the favorites plummet this weekend! You'll see by the majority of our plays we'll play the underdog @ the precise number where it gives us the best advantage. Here we have an up & coming Carolina team (won & covered 4 straight) taking on a bubble burst New Orleans (lost after winning 8 straight) squad. The Panthers just had their bye week just 2 weeks ago & had a breather @ the Jets last week that was much closer than anticipated, 35-27. But here's another classic revenge game as Carolina played horribly @ home losing to the Saints by a 34-13 count back in Week 3. I love the fact that we get a HOT Panthers' team with QB Cam Newton (3 picks in meeting 1) getting to redeem himself versus a banged-up secondary along with having the #2 defense in the NFL. Speaking of Newton, he's making better decisions now as witnessed by his 4/0 TD/INT ratio over the past 3 games. My bottom line says as long as DC Steve Wilks has his defensive QB in MLB Luke Kuechly calling out adjustments in their 4-3 alignment, Carolina should be able to hang. These 2 are 8-3 SU for a reason. The Panthers seem to be more focused on the road this season going 5-1 SU with impressive wins @ New England & Detroit. RB Christian McCaffrey & WR Devin Funchess have established themselves as consistent go-to guys for Newton. Brees will get his share of points but look for both teams to be successful. In the numbers shows up strongly in our favor as QB Cam Newton is a stellar 19-5 SU in his CAREER in the month of December. On the flip side, New Orleans has only covered 2 of 11 times as home chalk off an away game versus a division revenger. The dagger for us has Carolina HC Ron Rivera being a perfect 6-0 ATS (5-1 SU) as an away dog coming off a win & NOW up against a under .750 winning team. Let's roll down to Mardi Gras Country @ the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to play the CAROLINA PANTHERS (buying to + 7 1/2)as my 9 Star Road Haul Wake Up Call!

Well, as predicted the underdogs reared their heads in Week 13 of the NFL covering 10 of 16. QB Jimmy Garrapolo made his debut with the 49ers a successful one throwing for 293 yards in a 15-14 win @ Chicago. I thought we would have gone 5-1 instead of 4-2 but Blaine Gabbert reverted back to his old self & threw a pick 6 which is just what we didn't need since we had Arizona + 10 1/2 off the buy. Cam Newton disappointed us again by not consistently finding the open man downfield. The Panthers' 2nd-ranked defense wound up missing a few cogs that Luke Kuechly couldn't make up for. The Ravens made their presence felt for wild card contention & have a must win situation facing them when they take on the Steelers @ M&T Bank in Inner Harbor. The Browns' WR Josh Gordon finally ended his long suspension & came back with 4 receptions for 82 yards @ the L.A. Chargers. Our best play on the Jaguars cruised from start to finish as QB Blake Bortles threw for 330 yards against a weak Colts' secondary. It was nice to see Tennessee playing up to their potential @ home rushing for 198 yards & a double-digit win over Houston. I feel the AFC West is the Chargers' division to win (currently in a 3-way tie with Kansas City & Oakland) as their defense looks strongest right now. Rivers is keeping turnovers down & passing yards up so we'll see what happens on Saturday night @ Kansas City in 2 weeks. We pegged the Eagles' demise in Seattle as Wentz is now 0-2 @ the 12th Man. If HC Doug Pederson can keep his playmaking personnel healthy, they still have an excellent shot to keep playoff games home IF they beat the Rams on the road this coming Sunday. Momentum is on our side in the NFL as we have a 17-6 record (74%) since November 6th. Thanks to all loyal subscribers & followers! My 2017-18 NFL Overall Seasonal Record is: 41-32 for 56%
 

  Mike Handzelek
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