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Mike Handzelek's Week 4 NFL Analysis/Review/Notes/Look-Aheads


By: Point Shaver Handzelek
Date: Oct 4, 2018
   
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Sunday, September 30, 2018 Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) - 8:20 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 3.0/-115 Baltimore Ravens Rating: 7* Mike's X's & O's NFL Later Game Coaching Advantage Play (WIN) HC John Harbaugh did what he had to do to get his offense ready for this season. He brought in better receivers for QB Joe Flacco. What is a reflection of this? If you look @ Baltimore's Red-Zone Efficiency, you'll find they're a perfect 12-for-12 on the season. As far as offenses staying on the field, these same Ravens hold a big edge on 3rd-down conversions with a 45.7% to 35.1% gap over the Steelers. What's alarming about Pittsburgh is the fact they're a missed FG & late TB drive away from being 0-3 heading into this. What's saved them? QB Ben Roethlisberger has 7 TD passes & has consistently found WR's JuJu Smith-Schuster & Antonio Brown while keeping RB James Connor in the stats with 117 rushing/receiving yards per game. Last season was rare as Pittsburgh swept Baltimore 39-38 @ this venue & humbling them 26-9 @ Inner Harbor. That hasn't happened since 2008! What's different about this year? DC Keith Butler's rushing defense is DEAD LAST in the league against the run & "D" is allowing 29 PPG (contrast this with 17.7 PPG for Ryan Shazier's last 7 games). In the Yards Per Point offensive category, Pitt comes in 20th while the Purple N' Black are a high 2nd. On the flip side of the coin, the Ravens have the #1 ranked defense in the league & are 2nd against the pass. I feel the presence without holdout RB Le' Veon Bell will be felt tonight against an opportunistic "D" that's consistently forced turnovers (24 in a little over 1 season). My bottom line points out over & under valued teams. Baltimore has continued to be under-valued in divisional tilts coming into this fracas with a nifty 12-4 ATS run. In contrast, the Steelers with HC Mike Tomlin are 0-3-1 versus these same Ravens the last 4 @ this venue. The undisciplined Black N' Gold are also on pace to set an NFL record for most penalty yards for a season. Don't forget that Pittsburgh's locker room interviews unveiled the "We Suck" right out of their mouths during post-game comments. However, the dagger for us has to be the kicking game. K Justin Tucker has made a super-dependable 96% of his last 25 FG attempts. Let's go to Heinz Field by Three Rivers to play the BALTIMORE RAVENS (buying to +6) as my X's & O's NFL later Game Coaching Advantage Play! Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots (NFL) - 1:00 PM EDT Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 6.5/-104 Miami Dolphins Rating: 8* Mike's NFL Public Missed Perception Play (LOSS) Sometimes in this league of upsets you have to think OUT of the box! For this matchup, you can come up with every trend, intangible & situation that ALL come up pointing ti New England. That's fine & good if the think the NFL is that easy. I'm here to tell you HC Bill Belichick's kryptonite is September. Is these Patriots as bad as they looked against Detroit? No! Are the Dolphins as good as their nifty 3-0 start? Also a resounding no! However, I can tell you BOTH these teams' defenses aren't too far apart. Miami rates OUT of the top 20 while New England is 4th from last in the league. In the important category of 3rd down defense, the Dolphins allow a 43.2% success rate while the Patriots are @ a whopping 48.7%- good for 30th in the league. NE holds the ball for 7 minutes LESS per game than their opponents so far. Looking @ 3rd-down offenses, BOTH teams aren't that efficient @ staying on the field. Miami holds the better numbers with a 32.3% to 28.6% which are both in the bottom 6 of the league. The KEY here looks @ NE OC Josh McDaniels. Early on, he's been bent out of shape @ trying to establish the run & NOT concerned about stretching any margins. Again, that's Belichick & September all over. Another MAJOR factor is the fact that DC Matt Burke runs the same 4-3 alignment & similar stunts that NE just saw. Fellas, the blueprints were JUST LAID OUT by Matt Patricia on how to pressure Tom Brady (averages a low 202 yards of net passing per game) effectively IF (that's a BIG IF) he has limited targets to throw to. What do we know for this game? TE Rob Gronkowski is hobbled, WR Julian Edelman isn't back yet, RB Rex Burkhead is out & new wideout Josh Gordon is hobbled & not @ 100%. My bottom line says NOT to forget New England's defense is now run by Linebacker Coach Brian Flores who took over when Patricia buzzed out for Detroit. My dagger here has to ALSO be the health of the Patriots' "D". With SS Patrick Chung & RDE Trey Flowers having concussions along with RCB Eric Rowe nursing a groin injury, there's ZERO EXCUSES why Miami QB Ryan Tannehill (winner of 10 of his last 11 starts SU) cannot exploit holes in the defense similar to what Matt Stafford did last week. Remember, Dolphins' WR Danny Amendola (team leader in receptions) played for Belichick/McDaniels & knows their systems. HC Adam Gase has been needling his team ALL WEEK about their 9 years of losses @ this venue. That's a plus along with the Fish having the better rushing & defense. Let's go to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough to play the MIAMI DOLPHINS (buying to a key +8) as my NFL Public Missed Perception Play! NOTES/LOOK-AHEADS: Well, I guess you have to lose sometime! What's baffling to me is how BAD DC Matt Burke looked when after blueprints were laid by Detroit the previous week, the Dolphins' "D" had "NO CLUE" how to fill "A" gaps (or any gaps for that matter). The Patriots ran the ball frequently (Josh McDaniels does this early every season) as in 40 times for a punishing 175 yards (held the ball for 36+ minutes). After our first loss, we got right back on the winning train with the Ravens (2nd-ranked in total defense) who dominated Pittsburgh on the road. Once again we saw Baltimore destroy a team in the second half of a game as they now have out-scored their opponents 49-9 in 2018. QB Joe Flacco (being pushed by the rookie) has responded in a BIG way throwing for 1,252 passing yards in his first 4 games. How about the way the end of the Browns/Raiders game transpired. Even though there was no conclusive evidence that RB Carlos Hyde didn't run for a first down (Cleveland would have ran the clock out for a 42-34 win), game officials still reversed the call to make it 4th down. The Raiders got the ball back, scored a TD & forced OT with a 2-point conversion before giving HC Jon Gruden his 1st win 45-42. So the record remains intact (since 2002) that NFL #1 overall draft pick & rookie QB's making their first start have now gone a PERFECT 0-11 SU & ATS. Flipping south to Atlanta saw those Dirty Birds getting edged AGAIN 37-36 by the Bengals. DC Marquand Manuel is building up a hot seat for himself as his 4-3 has been burned for 79 points in 2 home games. The Falcons are ranked a dismal 29th in scoring "D", 28th in total defense & 27th in sacks after the first quarter of the regular season. Has the first 4 games seen parity reign? I'm definitely leaning in that direction since these 4 playoff teams (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minnesota & Atlanta) have combined for an unbelievable 5 total wins! More than half of the first 62 games (37) have been decided by 8 points or less. Have the new "PANSY" rules on protecting QB's affected the numbers? From 2015 thru 2017 (48 games), only 9 QB's were able to pass for OVER 8 yards per pass attempt. This season has seen 9 QB's OVER 8 YPPA after 4 games! What about the spreads? Even though we're @ the quarter point, a whopping 80% of double-digit dogs have covered the number! Only 2 of 32 teams (Buffalo @ -14 PPG & Arizona @ -14.3 PPG) have an average loss by more than 7 points. looking @ some NFL post-season odds. The Chiefs & Patriots are both 7-2 favorites to win the AFC. The Rams (the only other team to have a Top 10 offense & defense besides Jacksonville) are overwhelming 10-11 chalk to come out of the NFC. That same L.A. team has a wider gap for winning the Super Bowl @ 9-5 with Kansas City & New England a distant 2nd @ 8-1. Let's examine week 5 & see where the numbers send us! Mike Handzelek's 2018-19 NFL Overall Seasonal Record: 7-1 for 88%
 

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